Sunday, February 27, 2011

By The Fig And The Olive

I have come to surahs (chapters) that begin with the word consider or by, an exclamation to witness.  In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

By the bright morning hours,
and the night when it grows still and dark
(Ad-Duha, The Bright Morning Hours, 93:1-2)

By the night as it veils (the earth) in darkness,
and the day as it rises bright
By the creation of the male and the female
(Al-Layl, The Night, 92:1-3)

By the sun and its glorious splendour
and the moon as it follows it
By the day as it reveals glory
and the night as it conceals it
By the sky and its wondrous make
and the earth and all its expanse
By the human self, and the proportion and order given to it,
and how it is imbued with its wickedness and its righteousness
(Ash-Shams, The Sun, 91:1-8)

By the heavens and the nightcomer
(At-Tariq, The Nightcomer, 86:1)

By the sky full of great constellations,
(Al-Buruj, The Great Constellations, 85:1)

By the fig and the olive,
and Mount Sinai,
and this secure city
(At-Tin, The Fig, 95:1-3)

By the daybreak
and the ten nights
By the even (numbers) and the odd
By the night as it advances
Is there (not) in these a solemn evidence of the truth for those who understand?
(Al-Fajr, The Daybreak, 89:1-5)

The recitation is of Ad-Duha (The Bright Morning Hours)

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Succour

This surah was revealed in Mina during the Prophet's Farewell Pilgrimage.  It was preceded one day earlier on Friday 9th of Zulhijjah, by revelation of the words "...Today I have perfected your religion for you, and bestowed upon you the full measure of My blessings, and willed that self-surrender unto Me (al-islam) shall be your religion..."5:3.

Some of the Prophet's Companions concluded that his mission was fulfilled, and that he was about to die (Bukhari).  As a matter of fact, the Prophet passed away a little over two months later, and the only revelation which the Prophet received after this surah was verse "And be conscious of the Day on which you shall be brought back unto God, whereupon every human being shall be repaid in full for what he has earned, and none shall be wronged"(2:281).

There were about two and a half millions pilgrims during my Haj, I wonder how many there were during the Prophet's Haj when this last complete surah was conveyed by him to the world.

When God's succour comes, and victory,
and thou seest people enter God's religion in hosts,
extol thy Sustainer's limitless glory, and praise Him, and seek His forgiveness: for behold, He is ever an acceptor of repentance.

An-Nasr(The Succour): 1-3.  It is the 110th surah of the 114 surahs of the Qur'an.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Sincerity

I think it is time I organise my learning and be a bit more systematic.  Today I am learning Surah Al-Ikhlas (The Sincerity).  It is the 112th Surah (chapter) of the 114 Surahs of the Qur'an.  It has four verses.

Say, "He is God, One".
"God, the Eternal, Absolute".
"He begets not, nor is He begotten".
"And there is none like Him".

I learned that the term "as-samad" (the eternal, absolute) occurs only once in the Qur'an and is applied to God alone.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Winnowing Winds

My first son has an English project that calls for him to study and present a post-colonial era literature.  And like his calculus and inorganic chemistry problems, he would come to me for assistance and advise.  He is doing his pre-university studies and that is like many, many moons ago, too far in the past for my recollection.

And so my first response was, google it.  He said, I've done it but I could't find anything.  Plus I am not sure what the lecturer means with post-colonial literature.  And so we started discussing back and forth and topics of World War 1, World War II, it was not a world war, no to the first, yes to the second, Rumi, Hemingway, Mark Twain, all came about, and finally fell on Edward Said's Orientalism.  We've got the book on our shelves, I told my son.

In searching, for the book, we came across many books that had passed my mind and memory.  We saw Chomsky's, Robert Fisk's, Karen Armstrong's, Thomas L. Friedman's, Gore Vidal's, David McCullough's, Jared Diamond's.  We saw the novels, Sheldon's, Grisham's, Cornwell's, Ludlum's, Archer's etc., and I noticed the Jean M. Auel's series.  The titles went from The Girl In The Picture to Islam For Dummies, to Soros On Soros, 7 Habits Of Bla Bla  to Gone With The Wind.  We did not find Orientalism until the next day of searching.  We finally found it sandwiched between Sex In History and my second son's school workbook The Truth About Life, Love+Sex (I didn't dare look inside scared to find out what the government was teaching my children).

My son picked up Amitav Ghosh's The Glass Palace, , described as Dr Zhivago For The Far East.  He said I might read this one.

Some of the books belonged to my husband, some were mine.  We had share-read most of them, shared thoughts on them and many too I found that not only I had not read them, I did not even know I owned them.  One of them was Harun Yahya's Learning From The Qur'an.

Books feed the mind, fuel dreams, influence body postures.  The book I found seemed perfect for my learning of the meaning of the Qur'an.  In the foreword Yahya highlighted Qur'an 51:56: "I only created jinn and man to worship Me", and Qur'an 38:29: "It (the Qur'an) is a book We have sent down to you, full of blessing, so let people of intelligence ponder its Signs and take heed."

Surah 51 is Az-Dzariyat, The Winnowing Winds.  I don't know what my son will present to his teacher, but I am excited and grateful I found my book.