Monday 11 April 2011

15:87 sabʿan mina l-mathānī

Starting off a chain of thoughts...
I speculate that "sabʿan mina l-mathānī" in 15:87 could be referring to “l-samāwāti” two verses before it in 15:85 seeing as l-samawati appears with sab’a (the number 7) in 2:29, 17:44, 23:86, 41:12, 65:12, 67:3 and 71:15  
After reading Farouk's Blog Post on Quranology Blog  about 15:87, where "folding" was mentioned,  I investigated the word folding and found “naṭwī” which is also linked to “l-samāa” in 21:104 - this is also to do with folding, as per the Quranic example of  “folding a book". If we try out the example ourselves and take an open book from flat to closing it, this makes a “V” shape. When I look at  20:12 now – “bil-wādi l-muqadasi ṭuwan” - I get a mental image of a  V shaped valley.
39:67 also mentions the “wal-samāwātu maṭwiyyātun” (this links the samawati from 15:85 with the "folding" concept)
Spookily, I noticed the number 7 in arabic digits is like a V shape too.
(11:5) yathnūna is from the same root as mathani (in 15:87) and is referring to the ṣudūrahum this time.

So yathnuna / mathani  and natwi / tuwan / matwiyyatun are 2 different roots, both implying something to do with folding.  Seeing as the mathani root seem to connote "pairs" or the number 2, I am leaning towards "doubling up" for 11:5 in reference to the sudurahum.  

Chapter 11. This doubling up of the sudurahum in 11:5 seems to be an attribute of the people who are mentioned to be ones who are hiding, covering and concealing. Then come several mini stories of the Messengers/Prophets. After those stories we see a  "fa-is'taqim" which to me is summarising the previous passages of the examples of the behaviour of the Messengers/Prophets throughout this Surah, and gives me a mental picture of the contrast between standing upright, being assertive and determined and having courage, as opposed to cowardice, hiding away, concealing, being deceitful.
wa-aqimi comes up again in 11:114 (for the salat - click here for the salat word study indicating to me that salat is a way to not let the "sudurahum" to become doubled up.  (ṭarafayi l-nahāri is also mentioned here in 11:114 which I would like to do another blog post about soon inshaaAllah) 

The Surah prepares to conclude with "iʿ'malū ʿalā makānatikum" in 11:121 which to me is asking us to reflect on our own "posture" or position and do our deeds accordingly; the question is, are we "doubled up" or "standing upright"?
The chapter then finally concludes with a reminder that God is not unaware of anything we do.

Getting back to what started this chain of thoughts off, if mathayni is to do with 2 and doubling or pairs, then maybe it's not just "samawati" that is referred to, seeing as usually "samawati" is mentioned along with "wal-ardi"   

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