Sunday, August 17, 2008

Word form

Last week in my Quran Study Circle, we discussed a few verses from Surah Waqi’ah. The topic at hand was our dependence on Allah- and Allah alone. Quite often we forget that reality. Quran, over and over again, reminds us of our creation, and that we should give Shukr for His blessings. Starting from verse 57 to 74:

نَحْنُ خَلَقْنَاكُمْ فَلَوْلَا تُصَدِّقُونَ
أَفَرَأَيْتُم مَّا تُمْنُونَ
أَأَنتُمْ تَخْلُقُونَهُ أَمْ نَحْنُ الْخَالِقُونَ
نَحْنُ قَدَّرْنَا بَيْنَكُمُ الْمَوْتَ وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمَسْبُوقِينَ
عَلَى أَن نُّبَدِّلَ أَمْثَالَكُمْ وَنُنشِئَكُمْ فِي مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
وَلَقَدْ عَلِمْتُمُ النَّشْأَةَ الْأُولَى فَلَوْلَا تَذكَّرُونَ
أَفَرَأَيْتُم مَّا تَحْرُثُونَ
أَأَنتُمْ تَزْرَعُونَهُ أَمْ نَحْنُ الزَّارِعُونَ
لَوْ نَشَاء لَجَعَلْنَاهُ حُطَامًا فَظَلَلْتُمْ تَفَكَّهُونَ
إِنَّا لَمُغْرَمُونَ
بَلْ نَحْنُ مَحْرُومُونَ
أَفَرَأَيْتُمُ الْمَاء الَّذِي تَشْرَبُونَ
أَأَنتُمْ أَنزَلْتُمُوهُ مِنَ الْمُزْنِ أَمْ نَحْنُ الْمُنزِلُونَ
لَوْ نَشَاء جَعَلْنَاهُ أُجَاجًا فَلَوْلَا تَشْكُرُونَ
أَفَرَأَيْتُمُ النَّارَ الَّتِي تُورُونَ
أَأَنتُمْ أَنشَأْتُمْ شَجَرَتَهَا أَمْ نَحْنُ الْمُنشِؤُونَ
نَحْنُ جَعَلْنَاهَا تَذْكِرَةً وَمَتَاعًا لِّلْمُقْوِينَ
فَسَبِّحْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الْعَظِيمِ
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The verses reminded me of something I studied with Shaykh Sohail Hanif of Sunni Path. In the Quranic Sciences course, he had explained the difference between a verb usage and a noun usage of the same word.

Verbs are connected to time, and the action occurs during the stated time, while nouns indicate a permanent state. An example of this can be: a person who is riding versus a rider. “A person riding” might mean that he is riding for the first time, or possibly the last, while “rider” may indicate his profession.

Keeping the word usage in mind, let’s look at a verse from Surah Waqi’ah:

أَأَنتُمْ تَخْلُقُونَهُ أَمْ نَحْنُ الْخَالِقُونَ
56:59 Is it you who create it - or are We the source of its creation?

“Is it you who create it” [تَخْلُقُونَهُ] is the verb usage of “create”, while the last word, [الْخَالِقُونَ] translated as “We the source of its creation” is a noun. When Allah (swt) refers to us – the human being – He uses a verb – (that too, with a particle of interrogation). To imply: If you say you have the power to create, you have you ever created, even once?
But Allah’s attribute is a noun. It’s a state – a permanent one.

Similarly:
أَأَنتُمْ تَزْرَعُونَهُ أَمْ نَحْنُ الزَّارِعُونَ
56:64 Is it you who cause it to grow - or are We the cause of its growth?
Referring to human beings, the verb used for “causing to grow” is تَزْرَعُونَهُ. And the noun used as Allah’s attribute is “الزَّارِعُونَ

Once again in:
أَأَنتُمْ أَنزَلْتُمُوهُ مِنَ الْمُزْنِ أَمْ نَحْنُ الْمُنزِلُونَ
56:69 Is it you who cause it to come down from the clouds - or are We the cause of its coming down?

And
أَأَنتُمْ أَنشَأْتُمْ شَجَرَتَهَا أَمْ نَحْنُ الْمُنشِؤُونَ
56:72 Is it you who have brought into being the tree that serves as its fuel - or are We the cause of its coming into being?

In the interrogation clause, a verb is used. Allah’s attribute is a noun.

Allah (SWT) refers to the Quran as best of content and best of form (Quran 39:23). Shaykh Sohail in the Sunnipath course explains how every word is fit perfectly in the verse, how every word so measured and carefully selected to match the situation. Ibn ‘Atiyya, a great Spanish mufassir, said: if a words was to be removed from it, and one would go through the entire of Arabic language to find a word other than this word to replace it, you couldn’t be able to find it, I couldn’t find another word for it.
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Translation
56:57 WE who have created you, [O men:] why, then, do you not accept the truth?
56:58 Have you ever considered that [seed] which you emit?
56:59 Is it you who create it - or are We the source of its creation?
56:60 We have [indeed] decreed that death shall be [ever-present] among you: but there is nothing to prevent Us
56:61 from changing the nature of your existence and bringing you into being [anew] in a manner [as yet] unknown to you.
56:62 And [since] you are indeed aware of the [miracle of your] coming into being in the first instance - why, then, do you not bethink yourselves [of Us]?
56:63 Have you ever considered the seed which you cast upon the soil?
56:64 Is it you who cause it to grow - or are We the cause of its growth?
56:65 [For,] were it Our will, We could indeed turn it into chaff, and you would be left to wonder [and to lament],
56:66 “Verily, we are ruined!
56:67 Nay, but we have been deprived [of our livelihood]!”
56:68 Have you ever considered the water which you drink?
56:69 Is it you who cause it to come down from the clouds - or are We the cause of its coming down?
56:70 [It comes down sweet - but] were it Our will, We could make it burningly salty and bitter: why, then, do you not give thanks [unto Us]?
56:71 Have you ever considered the fire which you kindle?
56:72 Is it you who have brought into being the tree that serves as its fuel - or are We the cause of its coming into being?
56:73 It is We who have made it a means to remind [you of Us], and a comfort for all who are lost and hungry in the wilderness [of their lives].
56:74 Extol, then, the limitless glory of thy Sustainer’s mighty name!

Cross posted on SunniPath Blog

1 comment:

skhan said...

jazakAllahu khair for sharing.