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In the Name of God بسم الله


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  1. This is a prayer that every Muslim should utter, and live by. It does not however negate the possibility of misjudgements in matters unrelated to religion, that cause no moral harm, nor result in sin.
  2. The fear of Allah never departed from the prophet. However for that particular revelation, he feared the people as well. The verse tells him that Allah is to be feared above anything, so he should make this sensitive revelation known regardless of the people's reaction. The point is, as already said, the prophets felt all the natural human emotions and weaknesses. Allah however kept a close watch over them so as to keep them on the right path and make sure the revelation is properly conveyed. Moses was hesitant to face the mighty Pharao alone, as anyone in a similar situation would be. He was complexed by his oratory capabilities, as anyone about to make an important and public address would also be. He feared he might not properly convince his audience and in addition, that he might be arrested for the crime they accused him of, but he never declined the mission and instead asked God to strengthen his speech, fill his heart with courage and appoint his brother Aaron as a helper and associate in prophecy 20:25-36,26:12-15,28:34-5
  3. Sure. That is in relation to the revelation. This is not addressed to the prophet specifically but all of humanity. Human will is dependent on the will of Allah who sustains the system of causality at all moments.
  4. Alaykum assalam wa rahmatulla Of course the prophet felt fear. This does not mean the delivery of the message was compromised. And yes he misjudged a private matter and the Quran came to correct him in sura Tahrim. That mistake had nothing to do with sin or moral failure. As is explicit in the Quran, the divine protection of the carriers of the revelation pertains strictly to the revelation itself. But in everyday affairs, the messengers, who are still humans endowed with freewill and thus the potential, if not to sin due to their heightened level of spiritual awareness, to make mistakes, they are left to their own devices in their everyday lives to fight off the assaults of evil forces. No prophet was in a constant state of communication with the divine realm. The hadith and Quran itself speak of long periods where revelation had stopped, and the subsequent tauntings of his enemies on the issue, the questions of his followers and his anxious anticipation. The Quran never came to correct the prophet's worldviews in terms of knowledge of nature and general causality, neither of his contemporaries but rather guide him and the rest of humanity through him, to the most complete, advanced human spiritual knowledge. The divine protection therefore only pertained to the Quran which is the source of that perfect spiritual knowledge. The Quran says, throughout their missions, the prophets, including the prophet Muhammad, felt the emotions of anger, mercy, apprehension, sorrow but Allah, by keeping a continuous relationship with them, revealing His word progressively during their prophetic career, comforted them with peace 37:181 increased their supreme character, spiritual awareness, protected them and the revelation from deviation and transgression. Many verses testify to the prophets' moral infaillibility and ability to transmit the message perfectly. The prophets are mukhlasin "purified ones" 38:45-48, protected from all perspectives 72:26-28,22:52-54, guided by Allah 6:84-90,39:36-37,18:17 and no such person can be led astray by any misleading agency. After being chosen and guided the prophets are bestowed with favors from Allah. The Quran praises them for their highest degree of obedience and humility before Allah and draws a clear line of seperation between them as a praiseworthy group deserving to be honored by Allah and those who follow their low desires and go astray 19:58-59,4:69,1:5-7. Prophets never went astray in their communication, implementation of the divine will. That is why Allah in the Quran has unconditionally ordered the believers to obey and fully trust their prophet, and this requires tremendous responsibility hence the necessity of moral infaillibility. The divine protection, allows them to clearly distinguish good and evil, much easier than an average person. But they are not compelled in their choices, human emotions.
  5. As is obvious until now these kinds of verses related to the prophet's personal matters serve us today in many ways one can think of, including exposing the prophet's lofty character in a time where people raise all sorts of calumnies so as to slander him and his household. Your final example is the beginning of surah tahrim and the occasions of revelation. The issue of sura Tahrim is a very interesting one, obviously with implications far surpassing the superficial reading of those critics. In Islam, certain oaths must as a duty be broken because they create an injustice through the prohibition of a lawful thing for the benefit of another party, and prevents one from acting according to God's directives. In addition, it may be that one takes an oath but because of changing circumstances later on, a more righteous course of action must be taken in opposition to the oath, then the oath must be broken and atoned for. What is interesting is that he would not readily break an oath when it would be to his advantage, even if he, per the Quran, would be totally justified doing so. Sura Tahrim alludes to an oath the prophet had taken, to forbid something lawful for himself for the sake of pleasing his wives 66:1-2. In the previous sura the Quran teaches to remain conscious of the bounds of God in situations of hate. This sura, on the other hand, teaches how these bounds should not be violated in situations of love. What also transpires is that Muhammad was a chosen one of sublime morality like the past messengers 3:161,9:128,68:4,33:21 ahead of his time in these matters, not abusing from his social position, taking into consideration the emotions and needs of his wives, as well as full of tact and magnanimity towards them as will be shown later on. The manner in which he embodied universal and Quranic principles and moralities led his closest entourage to be among his earliest followers, contrary to other prophets including Jesus. He basically was as a walking Quran. This means that whatever is stated in the Quran such as kindness towards women, prayers and charity, love and respect for poor, needy, orphans etc. can all be found in his life. As already pointed, previously to the incident in the opening verses of Sura Tahrim, God sanctionned the expiation of oaths when it is something lawful. Nothing can be forcefully forbidden when God made a thing lawful 5:87, even if such an attitude happens to be motivated by the desire to please someone else, as in the prophet's case who sought to please his wives. Sometimes a human being under the influence of emotions without full consciousness of the seriousness of the undertaking, makes an oath and forbids to himself something permissible as was the case with the prophet, and in such cases the oath should be broken 2:225 and then atoned for 5:87-89. The first part of the verse has a compassionate tone, because the prophet did it out of compassion. This however does not mean that he was justified in making something that is otherwise lawful, as forbidden. That authority has never been delegated to the Prophet, not to speak of any other man. The second part of the verse "you seek to please your wives" indirectly warns those who benefit from such act, not to knowingly take advantage of that situation. The position of a Prophet, and by extension that of any respected leader, is very delicate. Such eminent individual does not solely belong to himself but to a nation transcending time and space. The higher the person, the smallest sins are enlarged as if they were enormous. A minor incident experienced by an ordinary man in his life may not be of any consequence, but it assumes the status of law when experienced by a Prophet with a large a devout following looking up to him as the epitome of good manners and spirituality. The life of such a person must remain in line with the divine will, and openly explained to present the right example to follow 62:2"He it is who has sent unto the unlettered people an apostle from among themselves, to convey unto them His messages, and to cause them to grow in purity, and to impart unto them the divine writ as well as wisdom - whereas before that they were indeed, most obviously, lost in error". Similarly, the prophet's pious wives too are to become an example for all women of the ummah, more than any other woman, they should be mindful of God's limits. The Quran often alludes to these notions in regards to the prophet, his wives and the leaders of a community in general, hence God's will to 33:33"remove from you all that might be loathsome, O you members of thehousehold, and to purify you to utmost purity". Had the fine details of the prophet's oath and of the betrayal inside his household 66:1-3 been of any importance to the general message of the verses, then the Quran would have mentionned them but disclosing them was entirely irrelevant to the point and could even distract the audience's attention from it. The secret shared by the prophet and then disclosed by the wives, has thus been altogether ignored. What has been disapproved and pointed out in particular is the very fact that the secret was disclosed to another. The point of the passage is that the violation of the spouse's secrets violates the sacred law. And this applies whether to the husband or the wife. It is interesting to note the tact of the prophet in such tense situation. When the disloyalty towards him from within his household was uncovered, he informed the guilty wife of SOME of what she had revealed, just enough so as to make his point, but refrained from informing her of it all to prevent her further abasement and shame "he made known part of it and avoided part".
  6. The prophet, despite being absolved from strict obligations towards his multiple wives would nevertheless feel saddened whenever he delayed his appointed time with one of his wives This ordinance made sure that no reproach would be cast upon him, and neither would he be hindered by social pressures or customs. So although he had the peace of mind from a spiritual viewpoint that he would never be blameworthy, he still felt uneasy emotionally towards his wives whom he loved. And he did his utmost to spend as much time as he could with them all equitably. Besides absolving the prophet, the ordinance also put all the wives and potential concubines on the same level as it concerned them all from God's perspective. Through it, they find the inner peace that the emotional sacrifice they shall endure, and which they all were fully aware of before accepting to marry the prophet, is for the accomplishment of a higher objective. Their merit with God will naturally be higher given their wordly sacrifices The verse ends with an affectionate message to the prophet's household in general, stressing that God is aware of the difficulties in all levels of life that they must endure, and their toll on their feelings Then through 33:52, the prophet was specifically told not to marry more women or divorce anyone from the wives he already had, if it is for purely physical motives. Here is a man who is supposedly lustful for women, forbidden from taking wives on the basis of their beauty only, which is precisely what is supposed to satisfy his alleged lusts. And besides, the ones leveling this type of mindless arguments, mainly Christians nowadays should ask themselves; how does having multiple or young/beautiful wives stain his truthfulness as a prophet, considering the marital and concubinal history of the prophets of the Hebrew Bible?33:52 was an answer to the hypocrites' annoying talk and unjust provocations the likes that were directed at other righteous men and women 33:48,57-58. The prophet is not here being denied the right to divorce. He is denied to do it for purely physical motives. He could divorce a woman if she misbehaved, then replace her with one regardless of her age or marital history, whose selection would strictly be on the basis of high morality and spiritual qualities 66:5. His divorces therefore would be dictated not by whims or lust but by righteousness and uprightness in conduct. That is based on the notion that This negates the charges and calumnies raised by modern critics, mainly from a Judeo-Christian background, concerning the motives behind the prophet's marriages and these critics should rather turn attention towards their own scriptures where "divine ordinances" regulate whom is to marry whom, strictly on a physical basis Such calumnies werent reserved to Muhammad, in the prophetic history, the likes of Moses were slandered to such an extent that the HB portrays YHWH wrathfully descending on the culprits Numb12,Ex2:21,Quran33:69. Despite these talks, the prophet is consoled that he is under constant spiritual blessings by God and His angels. These blessings in themselves will bring to naught all such imputations levelled against him or the believers in general, while a grievious sin will be written upon the culprits 33:56-8.What is very interesting is that the verse, although restricts any future marriage, allows him still to have as many right hand possessions as he would like to have and establish concubine relationships with them. And yet, here again is a man supposedly lustful, taking only 1 such women although he had the possibility of having much more, even as many as he would have liked.Again, we see a clear pattern from the prophet, abiding by all the restrictions imposed on him but not taking advantage of the legal relaxations. That right hand posession that was in addition his concubine was the noble Maria the Copt, who wasnt even a war captive, meaning the prophet didnt even go out of his way to find a woman that pleased him. She was given to him out of reverence by an Egyptian notable. It is interesting to note that there are at least 2 similar precedents in prophetic history, of a prophet's union with the Egyptian daughter of royalty.First Hagar who was given to Abraham, and then Solomon's unnamed Egyptian wife 1Kings3. The Egyptian notable wanted to establish political relations with the prophet, and this gesture was considered normal as per the decorum of ancient societies.
  7. This particular marriage led to many crucial societal reforms as regards the position of adopted children and orphans. These reforms were at first introduced through admonishment in sura Ahzab 33:4-5 and then with the practical example of the prophet's marriage proposal to Zaynab, now ex-wife of an adopted son (whom society viewed as equals to blood children). This clearly drew a distinct line from any biological connection with the adoptive family. Nothing could strike harder and clearer at the root of that deeply ingrained belief other than a union one would consider incestuous precisely due to that notion. And none other than the most eminent member of a community, one whom an entire nation looks up to as the epitome of morality could do a better job at setting the example.The point of the marriage of the prophet and Zaynab was therefore to implement a social reform, and the prophet, being the moral authority of his comunity as well as last transmitter of divine law 33:40, was the most apt in enforcing it. It is in that reform of principles that Muslims are obliged and commanded to follow the prophet's example. Marrying the ex-wives of their adoptive sons is neither a command nor necessity since the reform was already implemented by the prophet. But it shoud however never be hindered by all the false notions of preislamic times as regards adopted children, and which the Quran came to reform, hence the statement that
  8. The prophet used to answer the call of freeman, slave, maid servant and destitute alike, shortening his prayer anytime someone would visit his open house so much so that his opponents spread it as a form of weakness and credulity while the prophet knew very well who to trust 9:61. They would literally reproach him of being "an ear" because of his empathy and readiness to patiently listen to what anyone had to say.But although at first glance that seemingly gave the impression of being credulous it in fact reveals a great leadership quality of keeping cohesion within a group. He knows very well the liars or people with ill intentions but does not immidiately expose them to the rest of the community so as to leave them the chance to reform themselves, as is commanded within the Quran itself. This passive attitude should however not leave any ambiguity as regards the prophet's intellectual and spiritual stance, as denoted in the rest of the verse.Sometimes as reflected in 33:53, his leniency, kindess and forbearance to his folks would often lead to abuse. People would enter his house at anytime, preventing him and his wives from their spiritual duties and basic privacy requirements. This injunction taught them certain rules of behaviour bearing on the life of such particular society, based on a true feeling of brotherhood, mutual consideration, and respect for the sanctity of each other's personality and privacy. This is the timeless lesson, applicable for all times, and which is now enshrined in the Quran through incidents that concerned the prophet. The Quran is full of such moral lessons, although illustrated through temporal situations, some of them related and others unrelated to the prophet. Here are a few other examples 24:62-63"surely they who ask your permission are they who believe in Allah and His Apostle". In the prophet's time, the sincerity of a person's belief in God and the one representing His will on earth, was measured by their obedience to the prophet. None could dare claim to submit to Allah while rejecting the means by which He was actively comunicating with the people. They could obviously not communicate with God directly and had thus to seek the messenger's guidance to know the divine will. This guidance from the messenger is still found both in the Quran and the sunna he left behind. The timeless application of the verse is thus in consulting both sources of guidance. See also 4:64.
  9. In a dream Allah Ibrahim had formerly shown great spiritual resolve by steadfastly opposing the religious practices of his people and relatives, even when they attempted murdering him. He turned away from his nation and migrated. HE made the painful step of leaving, by Allah's command, his wife and infant son in an area of dry land, where no food and water or any inhabitants could be found. He was now being tested a step further as an upholder of God's way and will. The aim was this time, through his attachement to that progeny he had so long desired and prayed for, to make him reach the climax of prophethood by becoming the universal leader (Imam) of monotheism 2:124. This was another step in Ibrahim's journey, freeing himself from desires of prestige, wealth, women and children and turning with total surrender and progressing with complete devotion to the Lord 37:99"Surely I fly to my lord; He will guide me". Ibrahim was put through this difficult trial when he was already a great Prophet and Messenger of Allah. When he sacrificed his connection to his homeland and idolatrous father, God re-established these broken connections. Ibrahim, the prototype of the religious outcast, was saved from his polytheistic environement, resettled in a better place and granted a righteous offspring. No sooner was all this achieved that once more, all is compromised through a new test of obedience. Would Abraham fall into complacency or be prepared to repeat his former sacrifice of social belonging for the sake of God? Abraham demonstrated again his unshakeable obedience to God, giving it precedence over human loyalties under all circumstances, just as the subsequent prophets would teach their followers, including Jesus and Muhammad. Neither he nor his son failed the test of their trust in God; they both willingly set the stage for the sacrifice, Ibrahim binded his only beloved son and when he raised his hand with the knife he was stopped from going further This shows that the reality of Ibrahim's vision was that he was GOING to sacrifice his son and not that he had sacrificed him. The act of slaughtering was therefore not part of the divine vision since it was not needed for its fulfilment, rather the preparedness to do it amounted to its fulfilment. God did not want him to sacrifice his son, but wanted to detach his heart fully, test his trust for a higher objective that included the dedication of Ismail (and his descendants through him) to the worship of Allah. Again, the Quran never says that Allah ordered Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, but speaks of Ibrahim being tried with "certain words" like Adam received 2:37"some words" that taught him how to perform repentence. The dream was symbolic and its fulfillement consisted in the preparedness in sacrificing his son, just like the fulfillement of the prophet Joseph/Yusuf's symbolic dream of celestial bodies bowing before him consisted in having his close family members prostrating to him Ishmael was ransomed with a great sacrifice 37:107. The text does not say what that sacrifice was and what is it that made it great but as we continue reading, we see a clear correlation with the great institution of yearly sacrifice at the hajj and this heavenly ransom. It is the prime symbol by which Abraham is commemorated, as stated in the next verse Until now and throughout the Muslim world, the courage and trust of Ibrahim in his Lord, his complete detachement from all wordly benefits, including the most precious gifts for God's sake, are remembered through the day of sacrifice ('id al adha).
  10. God is Omniscient but His attribute of Justice necessitates that he does not merely reward and punish people on the basis of His knowledge but only after we manifest our good or evil potentials during trials As denoted at the verse's end these tests are intricately connected to a higher wisdom known only to God. These actions that are in Allah's knowledge are not considered "done" until actually and concretely materializing. Several examples are given in the Quran to illustrate that principle, among the most explicit is the child slain prior to becoming an evil, sinful person. His potential evil remained in Allah's knowledge only, without materializing and therefore was not imputable to him.The trials are the "stumbling blocks" referred to in the Hebrew Bible which God puts on a person's path to reveal his potential Ezek3:21. For this purpose did Allah God puts us through these tests so that He might see us acting out, what He knew we would do. Again because He does not hold one accountable on the basis of His foreknowledge otherwise people might present the fact that "they did not do it" the day they are raised for accountability Wanting to see what you will do does not suggest that He does not know what you will do. He wants to see your actions when they happen on the ground although he knew that they will happen before. One may ask why? the reason is that we are accountable only to what we actually do. So, we are not accountable for our acts that are in God's knowledge until we do them and He observes them happen for fact. The verb "ilm" is not simply "knowing" but also conveys the sense of knowing factually, in concrete. The Aya is addressing our accountability and that is why it emphasizes God observing our actions God is Omniscient of all the Unseen realities of the heavens and earth, past, present and future 15:24-5,22:76,21:28,20:110"He knows what is before them and what is behind them, while they do not comprehend it in knowledge". His perfect knowledge encompasses man's unspoken, conscious thoughts as well as all that goes on within his subconscious self 3:29,4:39,6:3,9:78,14:38,13:10,20:7,27:73-74,29:10-11,35:38,64:4. It is but natural that He who creates knows His creation inside and out Many parallels can be found similarily expressed in the HB He knows the open and hidden realities of all creatures, those living or in the process of coming to life of whom He knows the most intrinsic natural and psychological endowments 31:34. The HB expresses a similar idea in Ecc11:5. As stated earlier, the verb "ilm" conveys the sense of knowing or knowing factualy, it doesnt negate pre-knowledge. When Allah takes action to know a thing as in 29:3, it is to know factually by manifesting the inner self in action. This is why such verses speaking of the test from Allah's perspective, or the surrounding verses, are accompanied by phrases making clear that the test is not aimed at revealing something unknown to Allah, but rather at reaching a higher objective ultimately beneficial for the God-conscious and disastrous for the willful rejectors The Quranic terminology of Allah "willing to know a thing" therefore does not mean that He is willing to find out something He does not know. In 5:94 the people are tested in a matter "that Allah might know who fears Him in secret" then a few verses later, great stress is laid on Allah's all encompassing knowledge of the most intricate deeds and thoughts, whether open or kept secret 5:97-99"this is that you may know that Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth, and that Allah is the Knower of all things..and Allah knows what you do openly and what you hide". Just as Allah's taking an action "to know" the hypocrites from the rest does not reveal something unknown to Him, the same terminology is used in 2:143,18:12 and elsewhere, to mean that Allah's factual knowledge aims at making the hidden to be obvious to the persons involved, not to Him, so as to cause a seperation Like these trials, the day of Judgement is equally a device for God meant, among others things A similar terminology is used in the Bible Gen22:12. When speaking of the system of testing, the Quran states 3:140"and We bring these days to men by turns, and that Allah may know those who believe and take witnesses from among you". Through the testing, Allah seperates the right from the wrong and takes witnesses to the truth. This is further demonstrated in Sura Kahf/18. After a long sleep, Allah raises the sleepers up in order to "know" who will compute in the best of ways, the time they spent in their unconscious state; Some of them started guessing, only concerned with what had actually happened to them physically, while those deeper in their God-consciousness relied on Allah and knew that what they were put through had a higher meaning. Those that computed in the best of ways their time of sleep began witnesses to the truth, a means by which the others that failed can learn and grow spiritualy. A similar situation will occur on the Resurrection when some people will conjecture on the time they tarried on earth while others will recognize the fulfillement of Allah's decree 30:55-6. https://truthanvil.blogspot.com/2020/03/apostate-prophet-gets-philosophical.html?m=1
  11. Sure, no nation believed in its entirety prior to the punishement except that of Yunus. Now, does that negation apply to those spoken of in the Quran only, or does it include all nations to whom messengers were sent, including the vast majority whose stories are omitted from the Quran? The verse does not explicitly include those omitted stories in the negation. The only certainty is that none among those mentioned in the Quran believed prior to the punishment, while among the omitted stories there is no certainty. Your argument switched from, the Quran pointing only to the history of the destroyed nations, which was false, to whether a living nation whose history and its moral lessons is stamped all over the Quran, is relevancy to the discussion. It is relevant to the passage from which you took it, read it again. At best, you've shown one ambiguous understanding in 10:98. Where are these other unsubstantiated claims and assertions
  12. The part quoted was relevant to what was said prior Correct, but there is a nuance. Although the Quran does not give any other such examples, it is to be kept in mind that only a fraction of the messengers sent to mankind, and their stories, are mentioned in the Book 40:78. The Israelites are among those living examples whose history the Quran continuously points to Can you point such embellishments
  13. The Quranic style is not that of story telling. One doesn't focus on the storyline but on the message relevant to its direct context. Repetitions in the Quran become full of meaning when one appreciates that basic Quranic style. Some passages are repeated word for word, in the case of prayers or general pillars of faith but in story telling, the repetitions are rarely if ever the same. This is because in the Quran when it comes to reminding of past narratives and anectodes, the objective isnt dry storytelling and genealogies as in most of the Bible where one can easily and quickly lose track of names, places and other details. These little details, if omitted wouldn't make humanity miss out on anything in terms of guidance, and in fact confuse the reader and distract his attention to trivial matters. The Quran is not a historical record or dry, impartial document: it is argumentative and impactful to get people to believe and actively reform themselves and their environement. Its aim is "message telling" and maximizing its audience's attention to the precept(s) of the story. Muslims will not be asked on the Day of Judgment the details of the people of the cave or how Noah's flood occured, how many generations passed between a person and another, the names in a genealogy or whether they memorized the names of people in the Quran. They will be questioned as to how they responded to the lessons from the different incidents and stories related in the Quran. Thus to focus on the message, the Quran injects the passage of a well-known story, whenever the larger context a sura requires it. And when it does so, it only puts the details of that story that are relevant to that specific context. That is why one sees variations in repetitions, but never contradictions. The only exception to that style of narrative is the story of the prophet Joseph/Yusuf which takes the form of a beginning to end narrative in one place, and a highly eloquent, intricate one at that. Those unable to apreciate that Quranic style speak of contradictory, or incomplete repetitions. This is because first and foremost they approach the Quranic text with the above Biblical paradigm in mind; the Quran, instead of being read on its own is seen as a garbled version of multiple Judeo-Christian sources. If, however, the text is approached according to its own thematic unities, its lack of historical detail and absence of chronological order become unproblematic. And this is the prevalent approach among western scholarship nowadays. The second common problem for those reading the text occurs when they are unable to connect the different repetitions properly among one another and fail to grasp the manner in which each repetition fits in the context of a particular sura. These repetitions always retain a core meaning, and are always thematically correlated with similar passages in other suras, like conversations and dialogues between the suras. The brilliant pakistani scholar Islahi called the recurrence of themes in several suras "complementarity". What is remarkable from a linguistic perspective is that the Quran was uttered publicly, live and as a speech, which prevents any type of editing and yet it forms one incredibly well knit whole, from verse to verse, paragraph to pararaph, sura to sura. If we take the example of sura baqara, the longest of all and revealed over the course of 10 years while other suras were being simultaneously revealed, it is structured in an interconnected manner allowing it to be thematically structured in many different ways. This is a vast field of Quranic studies, with many sub-branches, studied by both Muslims and non-Muslim scholars; the interconnection between suras, passages, verses, words and even letters and how the whole thing remarkably fits together. The idea of the Quran being a dull, boring or incomprehensible repetitive book is a discredited proposition, not only by the scholars of Islam all throughout their exegetical works spanning centuries, but also more recently by non-Muslims who have been doing, and keep on doing, a remarkable job at unveiling the intricate connections of the text, from verse to another, paragraph to paragraph and sura to sura. See Norman Brown's work on sura 18 for instance. That weak assertion is only still circulating among uneducated critics of Islam, and missionaries. For most of modern Islamicists, the Quran has to be approached as a text on its own, with its own internal coherence to be properly understood. So long as explanations to its passages are sought from the perspective of its alleged, ellusive and countless proposed sources, the Quran will remain an obscure book for those approaching it. In the Arabic, none of these verses denote willful disobedience to God, or sin. All they speak of is Yunus' own feelings of regrets. When he left his people, he was angry and in haste. No indication in the text points to disobedience as the cause. He thought the time of respite had expired and the prophecied punishement was imminent due to the people's rejection of him. This can be inferred from the Arabic describing the manner in which he fled 3:140, as if he was running away from danger, catching a boat that was just about to leave port, fully loaded to the point that shortly after, lots had to be cast to release some weight into the sea. It is inferred as well by his anger 21:87 which he thought was reason enough to justify leaving prior to being commanded by God "he went away in wrath, so he thought that We would not straiten him". His regrets occurred when he realized he had misjudged the situation. He neither failed in the transmission of God's message nor in his obedience to God. In his anger, he assumed the time had come for him to escape that land, and that God would approve of his judgement even though he was not yet authorized to leave. Although the Quran does not dwell into the purpose of the plant, it can be inferred that it was a means of soothing Yunus. It comes right after mentioning his poor physical state, following his ordeal in the belly of the fish. One can imagine him cast off on the shore and exhausted. The plant offered him both a comforting shade and sustenance while he was recovering. It is to be noted that the type of plant is different in both scriptures. In the Quran it is a kind of crawling plant like watermelon, cucumber etc. This crawling plant was "over him" meaning he spent some time lying down under it, recovering. The concise and eloquent description fits the story well. In the Bible, the plant is more like a tree and served Jonah a moral lesson in regards to God's mercy, even to those people he was reluctant to preach to. Both stories do not contradict from that aspect and could be speaking of different occasions.
  14. Salaam I will come to the issue of the prophet Yunus/Jonas after an important introduction. In the semitic pattern of prophethood there is an unalterable law of God. When He sends a messenger in a people, these particular people are left with no option, but to hearken His warnings and calls during an interval of time whose expiry can not be hastened nor delayed except by Allah 15:5,16:61,53:58. Allah states about this period that His messengers show the community, starting from the leaders in mischief greatly responsible for the general moral degradation of their people down to the poorest and most insignificant elements of the community 17:16,73:11 the signs of the truth in the heavens and earth, as well as in their own deepest selves 41:53,51:27 to the point that the people must recognize it and mend their evil ways. They are seized with affliction or tried with a sign from God when they reject the messenger 11:52-60,64-68 sent to them in order to humble themselves and mend their ways 7:94. They are urged to reason and ask for God's forgiveness lest the fate of past sinful nations each greater than other in might 43:8, befalls them. They all received God's messengers with the bayinat ie the undeniable evidence, but on account of persistent rejection, were all uprooted by a grasp so encompassing and violent that it is pictured as beginning from their foundations up Mankind is continuously encouraged to research and analyse the history of past nations, unavoidably seeing in it the divine pattern. History is the only extensive evidential base for the contemplation and analysis of how societies function. Proper contemplation of that evidence leads to moral reform, providing a backround for one to test his own moral sense against that of individuals and societies of the past when faced with similar situations. The past causes the present, and so the future. This shows that even in this life, the Creator's relationship with man is not merely based on the physical law, as with other creatures devoid of moral accountability and freewill. The moral law is working side by side with it. Sometimes that higher reality is clearer than at other times, and the clearest manifestation of it is during the times of the prophets. Past nations to whom messengers were sent become means by which the evidence for the hereafter is presented. If moral acts have results in this world, and these results never manifest fully in the world, then it necessitates that another world must exist where the consequences of sin and righteousness will fully appear. Some of these nations completely mend their ways during their time of respite and prior to their annihilation by Divine affliction, as happenned in the prophet Jonas' lifetime during which they all believed If they dont and in addition try uprooting or killing the messengers sent to them with the undeniable bayinat, continuously oppose them and conspire against them to prevent the establishement of the way of God 42:13 then those pinpointed as the guilty ones by the prophets 44:22 in these nations will incure Divine affliction. They may be put to the sword by the believers themselves as in Moses and Muhammad's time, or completely annihilated by natural cataclysms. At other times God might send a powerful ennemy to bring destruction as happened to the Israelites that rejected Jesus, or they are subjugated to the followers of the messengers for generations to come. Concerning this reality, the Psalmist states Allah in the Quran alludes to all these potential outcomes, including the one that will be inflicted upon the rejecters of the prophet Muhammad, similarly to what He had decreed in the times of Moses Besides the people of Jonas/Yunus practically all nations to whom messengers were sent with such warnings faced the punishment of death and sometimes complete annihilation as described for the messengers of old throughout sura 7 and This divine scourge does not befall the sinful nation so long as all the righteous and the prophets have fled the land 4:165,8:33,11:58,12:110,17:15,19:46-50,20:77,28:59. In my view, the story of this prophet and how the divine punishement was averted reflects God's mercy. He does not wish for the destruction of His creatures, even the sinful ones, and therefore sends messengers to make them mend their ways. The people are given reasonable time to present all their objections to these messengers and make up their minds. Meanwhile the messengers and their followers must show patience and forbearance in the face of hostility because God will not immediately punish the disbelievers and the guilty as long as there is still time for them to receive the message, contemplate upon it and reform themselves. It is a time of training and purification to the believers, during which the messengers do their utmost with God's guidance to make good and bad, truth and falsehood perfectly clear The Messengers are a means of communicating the truth of God in such an ultimate form to their addressees that they are left with no legitimate excuse to deny it, especially considering the perseverance of their prophets with the hope of bringing them back from their spiritual degeneration 46:27. If their efforts are unable to influence them, then it only means that nothing can change and reform them. The messengers therefore remove all excuses the rejecters might have on the Day of Resurrection Now we come to another lesson from the story of Yunus. This particular point of warning the nation to an extent that its continuous rejection becomes inexcusable before the sending of the divine scourge, is demonstrated through an incident in his story. Yunus left his people/qawm in wrath thinking the time of the divine chastisement had come due to their refusal to hearken his repeated calls. But he was stopped in his journey by God Himself who mercifully returned him to his people, because their time of respite hadnt expired, their full spiritual potential was still not completely expressed. Sure enough, they ultimately all ended up believing in him before the sending of the scourge 10:98,21:87-8,37:139-148. The manner in which Yunus was brought back to his people was nothing short of miraculous, a display of God's favor to the righteous and pious, another lesson from the story. After he was designated as the one to be thrown to the sea by the boat's crew members, he was swallowed by a sea creature, and would have tarried in it till the day of resurrection in the way we see up to this day the remarkably intact fossilized remains of several millions years old sea creatures, including of their belly's contents. But the fish was made to take him back to a specific location, regurgitate him after several days, and a type of vegetation made to grow over him that he might recover from the ordeal and be protected. It was probably the sight of his miraculous return that deeply struck the people's hearts and made them understand God's loving mercy to all His creatures, that He would send His own prophet to the brink of death and back for the sake of avoiding an ungrateful nation's destruction. In the Hebrew Bible, Jonas is a Jewish prophet reluctant to go on a warning mission to the non-Jewish town of Nineveh in Assyria (equated with present day Mosul in Iraq), as bidden by God, as well as unwilling to see them mend their evil ways since their safeguard from their impending doom would make them remain a constant threat to the Israelites. He therefore escaped on a ship but was eventually cast out by the crew in order to stop the raging storm sent by God, swallowed alive by a large fish in which he remained 3 days and nights, then following his prayers was ejected on dry land. This time Jonas hearkened God's instructions and went back to Nineveh to convey the Divine message. The people of the town, from its king to the populace accepted the warning, repented and mended their ways, which caused the punishement to be averted, contrary to Jonas' wish who had hoped for their doom.
  15. After describing their outstanding moral and spiritual qualities, the Quran nevertheless asks the prophets to keep seeking istighfar/protection (from sins), for themselves and their followers too 47:19 and several prophets are quoted throughout the Quran asking for ghafr 30:24,35,71:28. God is described with the word "ghafur", steming from Gh-F-R meaning covering something. That covering can be for the purpose of hiding, or protecting, as well as both. The implication is that God provides a covering upon the person to hide the sins of the past in case there were any 5:65 all the while providing a protection from the potential sins of the future, by increasing the person's spirituality. It is up to the believer to maintain that covering of protection throughout his life. If he loses it, he is again exposed to moral and spiritual failure. His past sins will remain hidden/forgiven but the future ones will have to be rectified 14:10"He calls you to forgive for you OF your sins". This, as a side note, strikes at the notion of guaranteed salvation and forgiveness from sins -past and future- which is propounded by certain belief systems and more particularily Christianity. Further reading: Sam Shamoun "Muhammad the Sinful Transgressor Revisited"
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