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Engaging the Quran as Revelation

What I understand

5:114

let me say at the start, I celebrate what you may not and I do not celebrate what you may. قَالَ عِيسَى ٱبْنُ مَرْيَمَ ٱللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَآ أَنزِلْ عَلَيْنَا مَآئِدَةًۭ مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ تَكُونُ لَنَا عِيدًۭا لِّأَوَّلِنَا وَءَاخِرِنَا وَءَايَةًۭ مِّنكَ ۖ وَٱرْزُقْنَا وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ ٱلرَّٰزِقِينَ Said Jesus, the son of Mary: ‘O God, our Sustainer! Send downContinue reading “5:114”

signs, rasul, mockery

25:41 وَإِذَا رَأَوْكَ إِن يَتَّخِذُونَكَ إِلَّا هُزُوًا أَهَـٰذَا ٱلَّذِى بَعَثَ ٱللَّهُ رَسُولًا Hence, whenever they consider you, they but make you a target of mockery “Is this the one whom God sent as rasul?  30:10 ثُمَّ كَانَ عَـٰقِبَةَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَسَـٰٓـُٔوا۟ ٱلسُّوٓأَىٰٓ أَن كَذَّبُوا۟ بِـَٔايَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ وَكَانُوا۟ بِهَا يَسْتَهْزِءُونَ And then, evil is the end of those who do evil by giving the lie to signs of God and deriding them 36:30 يَـٰحَسْرَةً عَلَى ٱلْعِبَادِ مَا يَأْتِيهِم مِّن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا كَانُوا۟ بِهِۦ يَسْتَهْزِءُونَ OH, THE REGRETS that slavesContinue reading “signs, rasul, mockery”

2:26

Revelation should, and does, gives clues to readers about what they should seek and find in revelation. It gives clues about how I might be guided in my interpretation of its claims. Very plainly, I put it like this to myself: If I cannot ask and answer the question: “Is that true?” about a verse,Continue reading “2:26”

28:77

What do i do with what i have such that it would be excellent or beautiful to do? has something excellent been done to me by my maker so that i too would do it? how is my doing it likened to his doing it? Here is a thought: He has made known to meContinue reading “28:77”

eternity

“who wants to live forever? who wants eternity?” they say. “life has its miseries, even if minor ones, and to be eternally afflicted by them would be no fun at all. and even the good things in life seem to not be so good as to be desired eternally. wouldn’t one get bored? whats theContinue reading “eternity”

perversity

perversity has many faces. one of its faces is the pleasure a fallen person feels when someone making an effort not to fall, falls…the [first] fallen person is vindicated. the effort to remain standing proved unsuccessful and inadequate. falling is okay and perhaps inevitable. to be a fallen person is okay. no regret is necessary,Continue reading “perversity”

88:10-11

In the garden of God’s presence, it is Him one speaks about – the one who is beloved and praised, to whom belongs all that exists. in His mention, one is found and all else is found and all speech that is not His mention is idle talk for it does not reach its aim,Continue reading “88:10-11”

ease

no concept, on its own, has a single, fixed, agreeable or disagreeable quality. i need to ask “as what” or “with what meaning” do i consider a concept. Ease, ‘as a sort of mud’ in which i get stuck and am thus unable to move towards something else, something i feel the need to moveContinue reading “ease”

we

the warmth people seek to attain or maintain by adopting the practices and perspectives of others, so that they would feel (the warmth) of being a part of some “we” is often the heat that comes from the melting of truth, a heat whose origin and end is, for me, hell

Masjid al haram

Prostrating, for the soul, must be to something inviolable. Turning to the One who has no flaw, no death, no limit to his compassion, whose absolute and absolute compassion is inviolable turns the direction in which one prostrates ones body an inviolable place of prostration, a masjid al haram. If Wherever I turn is HisContinue reading “Masjid al haram”

Maker

It baffles me when I think about it – who made the one who made me? How did the first life, the first consciousness arise? Where did that something that is not nothing come from? How could there be something, the something I call a maker or creator or God? Could it be that thereContinue reading “Maker”

lies that deprive me of truth

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ جَاؤُوا بِالْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنكُمْ لَا تَحْسَبُوهُ شَرًّا لَّكُم بَلْ هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِّنْهُم مَّا اكْتَسَبَ مِنَ الْإِثْمِ وَالَّذِي تَوَلَّى كِبْرَهُ مِنْهُمْ لَهُ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ Indeed those who come forth with a baseless lie or accusation (against others) are many among you; they dont think it is bad for them. they thinkContinue reading “lies that deprive me of truth”

Revisiting basic assumptions – a preamble to reflections on sura al-nur

I am about to embark on an engagement with Surah al-Nur. I think it is important for me to revisit some of my basic assumptions to remind myself what I understand my concerns to be as I turn to revelation, what I take to be revelation’s nature and purpose and what meanings I take particularContinue reading “Revisiting basic assumptions – a preamble to reflections on sura al-nur”

what is all this?

يُسَبِّحُ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ الْمَلِكِ الْقُدُّوسِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ 62:1-2 Nothing around me gives me the comforting impression that they are in control of their existence so that I could countContinue reading “what is all this?”

9:33…associator’s hate

هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ He is the One who sent His messenger with guidance and the truthful obligation/debt, so that it prevails over all obligations/debts however hateful this may be to those who associate or give a share [to something or someone as the one toContinue reading “9:33…associator’s hate”

what i am doing not who i am

مَا كَانَ اِبۡرٰهِيۡمُ يَهُوۡدِيًّا وَّلَا نَصۡرَانِيًّا وَّ لٰكِنۡ كَانَ حَنِيۡفًا مُّسۡلِمًا ؕ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الۡمُشۡرِكِيۡنَ “Ibrahim was neither Jewish nor Christian; rather he was constantly turning away (from seeing things as sources of their own existence while surrendering/submitting (all things to the One source) and he was not amongst those who see things as sourcesContinue reading “what i am doing not who i am”

revelation

anyone who uses the term revelation for something and then ties it to any particular religion, identity, social imaginary, historical context, linguistic scheme of representation, discursive tradition etc etc (fill in your favorite and most theoretically sophisticated, academic buzzword), is not talking about revelation as what it would be for a human being who looksContinue reading “revelation”

it matters

it matters whether i go to the quran with questions about the religion of islam or i go to it with questions about the meaning of things and of my life (and concern about not having gotten it right). any number of teachers, living and dead, claim they will teach you the real/pure and theContinue reading “it matters”

awareness of the source & higher/lasting existence 4:77

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ قِيلَ لَهُمْ كُفُّواْ أَيْدِيَكُمْ وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَاةَ فَلَمَّا كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقِتَالُ إِذَا فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُمْ يَخْشَوْنَ النَّاسَ كَخَشْيَةِ اللّهِ أَوْ أَشَدَّ خَشْيَةً وَقَالُواْ رَبَّنَا لِمَ كَتَبْتَ عَلَيْنَا الْقِتَالَ لَوْلا أَخَّرْتَنَا إِلَى أَجَلٍ قَرِيبٍ قُلْ مَتَاعُالدُّنْيَا قَلِيلٌ وَالآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لِّمَنِ اتَّقَى وَلاَ تُظْلَمُونَ فَتِيلاً “Have you not seen/considered the ones…” If myContinue reading “awareness of the source & higher/lasting existence 4:77”

signs of being with the caller unto God

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِذَا جَاءكَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتُ يُبَايِعْنَكَ عَلَى أَن لَّا يُشْرِكْنَ بِاللَّهِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَسْرِقْنَ وَلَا يَزْنِينَ وَلَا يَقْتُلْنَ أَوْلَادَهُنَّ وَلَا يَأْتِينَ بِبُهْتَانٍ يَفْتَرِينَهُ بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِنَّ وَأَرْجُلِهِنَّ وَلَا يَعْصِينَكَ فِي مَعْرُوفٍ فَبَايِعْهُنَّ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُنَّ اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ My interpretive translation. I am well aware of the assumptions I am making about how IContinue reading “signs of being with the caller unto God”

where am I safe? 60:1

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا عَدُوِّي وَعَدُوَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَاء تُلْقُونَ إِلَيْهِم بِالْمَوَدَّةِ وَقَدْ كَفَرُوا بِمَا جَاءكُم مِّنَ الْحَقِّ يُخْرِجُونَ الرَّسُولَ وَإِيَّاكُمْ أَن تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ رَبِّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ خَرَجْتُمْ جِهَادًا فِي سَبِيلِي وَابْتِغَاء مَرْضَاتِي تُسِرُّونَ إِلَيْهِم بِالْمَوَدَّةِ وَأَنَا أَعْلَمُ بِمَا أَخْفَيْتُمْ وَمَا أَعْلَنتُمْ وَمَن يَفْعَلْهُ مِنكُمْ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ سَوَاء السَّبِيلِ O you who feel secure [doContinue reading “where am I safe? 60:1”

homeless and penniless 59:8

لِلْفُقَرَاء الْمُهَاجِرِينَ الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيارِهِمْ وَأَمْوَالِهِمْ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا وَيَنصُرُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُونَ for the poor among those who break away and go forth: those who have been driven from their homes and their possessions, seeking favor from God and His approval/acceptance, and who help God and His Apostle: it isContinue reading “homeless and penniless 59:8”

O those who are given the book… (4:47)

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَابَ آمِنُواْ بِمَا نَزَّلْنَا مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا مَعَكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن نَّطْمِسَ وُجُوهًا فَنَرُدَّهَا عَلَى أَدْبَارِهَا أَوْ نَلْعَنَهُمْ كَمَا لَعَنَّا أَصْحَابَ السَّبْتِ وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللّهِ مَفْعُولاً O you who have been granted the book, be safe on account of what send down, [such that] there is confirmation of the truth of allContinue reading “O those who are given the book… (4:47)”

no to rational sacrifice, no to “enchantment”

“The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization, intellectualization and the disenchantment of the world…” said Weber in the beginning of the 20th century. Many today think that he was correct in this claim. People today speak of disenchantment and possible re-enchantment of the world. Weber puts rationalization, intellectualization and disenchantment in one box.Continue reading “no to rational sacrifice, no to “enchantment””

ill-spending property

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ لِيَصُدُّواْ عَن سَبِيلِ اللّهِ فَسَيُنفِقُونَهَا ثُمَّ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسْرَةً ثُمَّ يُغْلَبُونَ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ إِلَى جَهَنَّمَ يُحْشَرُونَ Behold, those who cover up are spending their properties in order to turn away from the path of God; and they will go on spending them until they become a regret for them; andContinue reading “ill-spending property”

whose burden is it? 35:18

وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى وَإِن تَدْعُ مُثْقَلَةٌ إِلَى حِمْلِهَا لَا يُحْمَلْ مِنْهُ شَيْءٌ وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَى إِنَّمَا تُنذِرُ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُم بِالغَيْبِ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَمَن تَزَكَّى فَإِنَّمَا يَتَزَكَّى لِنَفْسِهِ وَإِلَى اللَّهِ الْمَصِيرُ (35:18) AND NO BEARER of burdens bears another’s burden; and if one weighed down by his load calls to help him carry it,Continue reading “whose burden is it? 35:18”

beauty of/in the pair

وَمِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقْنَا زَوْجَيْنِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ And in everything have We created pairs, so that you might find/remember (Me, your Lord) It is an act of mercy and wisdom that associates, in my mind, smoke with fire. When i see smoke, I can be, mercifully, alerted to the possibility of fire. This pairing, this association,Continue reading “beauty of/in the pair”

“serving people” as god

أَجَعَلْتُمْ سِقَايَةَ الْحَاجِّ وَعِمَارَةَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ كَمَنْ آمَنَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَجَاهَدَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ لاَ يَسْتَوُونَ عِندَ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ Do you, perchance, regard the giving of water to pilgrims and the tending of the sacred place of prostration as being equal to one who finds safety with God and theContinue reading ““serving people” as god”

overcoming self-harm and finding peace II 27:20-44

وَتَفَقَّدَ الطَّيْرَ فَقَالَ مَا لِيَ لَا أَرَى الْهُدْهُدَ أَمْ كَانَ مِنَ الْغَائِبِينَ And he tried to find the [particular] bird; and so he said: What is it with me? I do not see the hudhud? Is it among those that disappear/are absent/lost/not to be found? لَأُعَذِّبَنَّهُ عَذَابًا شَدِيدًا أَوْ لَأَذْبَحَنَّهُ أَوْ لَيَأْتِيَنِّي بِسُلْطَانٍ مُّبِينٍ IContinue reading “overcoming self-harm and finding peace II 27:20-44”

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