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Group Reading: The Qur'an

Discussion in 'Islam DIR' started by Bismillah, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

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    As-Salaam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh (may the peace, blessings, and mercy of Allah be upon you)

    I wanted to create a group reading of the Qur'an. This is, inshallah, to allow a greater understanding of what Allah has commanded to mankind and a greater understanding of the edicts of Islam. Most people here, I suspect, will be using a translation of the Qur'an.

    Who: This is for both Muslims and non-Muslims.

    What: We will be reading either from the Qur'an.

    When: I will post the surahs (chapters) and ayats (verses) that we will discuss and have two days for reading and discussion. Then we will move on to the next section.

    Which translation: I highly recommend the translation by Muhammad Assad. His footnotes are very thorough and provide great insight. Aside from that translation my favorite is MAS Abdel Haleem's translation of the Qur'an.

    Background: The Qur'an (meaning recitation) is considered to be the verbatim word of Allah (God) revealed to the Prophet Muhammad from the Angel Gibreel and from the Prophet to humanity. It is unchanged. The Qur'an is considered a living miracle and seen as proof of Islam. I would higly recommend that you listen to the recitaiton of the Qur'an as it is an Islamic art (the recitation is called qirat). The Qur'an is not a book in the traditional sense, but rather an oral text and even if one does not understand the meaning of the Arabic the power and emotion is tangible. There are many reciters one of my favorites is Sudais.

    Today is the 23, normally there will be two days for reading and discussion before we move on but for the first time I want to leave an extra day for people to have a chance to view this on RF. On the 26th the next reading will be posted inshallah.

    The Qur'an is normally dived up into 30 sections, I am going to divide each juz (section) into another thirds to make it easy for people to follow along in light of busy schedules.

    The reading assigned is

    • All of Surah (chapter) Fatihah
    • Ayats (verses) 1-50 of Surah Bakarah
    I hope any and all who participate and read this thread find it beneficial ameen.
     
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  2. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva

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    I'd like to take part. I promise to be thoughtful and respectful. :)
     
  3. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

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    Ymir thank you very much for your participation! I am very eager to hear your thoughts as well

    Also, a side note for everyone, people can start posting their thoughts as soon as they wish there is no need to wait for the two days to expire to post.
     
  4. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

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    Also, for those who haven't seen, there is another group reading of the Prophet Muhammad's life sallallahu alahyi wa salam
     
  5. Union

    Union Well-Known Member

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    Salam all . Thanks to Walid for creating such a wise thread .

    I love the way the Qur'an started .

    Sura Fatiah introduced the identity of ALLAH (swt) , Who is HE .

    Then the first part of Surah Baqrah (verse 1-25) introduced the Book of ALLAH (swt) , i.e., the Qur'an . Verse 2.2 says that it is the guidance for the Muttaqi and there is no doubt in it . Then verse 2.23 Challenges to creates even a single surah similar to Qur'an's .

    Then from verse 2.30 onward ALLAH (swt) introducing HIS Prophets and Messengers , starting with Adam and of the children of Israel .

    Hence after reading Surah Fatiha and Surah Baqrah (1-50) , we came to know :

    01- Who is ALLAH (swt) .
    02- What is the nature of Qur'an.
    03- Who are the Prophets and Messengers .

    Many more other things can be ascertained from reading the ranges of Ayats, but to me the above are the most enlightened ones .

    Thanks .
     
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  6. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

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    As salaam alaikum

    Surah Fatihah (The Opening): This is the first surah in the Qur'an. I used this for the translation.

    I used this for the recitation

    [youtube]1H40PtCvJRk[/youtube]
    Sura Al-Fatihah Compilation | 13 Different Recitors - YouTube

    Period of revelation:
    It is one of the very earliest Revelations to the Holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa salam. As a matter of fact, we learn from authentic Traditions that it was the first complete Surah which was revealed to Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him) [taken from Maudidi's tafseer]

    The verse begins with the basmala as the first ayat. This is the beginning of every single Surah in the Qur'an aside from Surah At-Tawba. For a detailed look at the basmala refer to this thread.

    The next three verses we read are praising the greatness of Allah and the need we have for Allah.

    The last three verses when read then become a invocation by us, the unbiased reader, to guide us as we worship and rely on Allah and Allah alone.

    The Fatihah is our first prayer to Allah and when we read the surah proclaiming Allah as the Sustainer of the worlds ("worlds" denotes all categories of existence both in the physical and the spiritual sense [Assad]) and pray to Allah we have in some sense become Muslims or those who submit to Allah. And when we become practicing Muslims we go back to the Fatihah back to the beginning and five times a day we recite this chapter in our daily prayers. This is truly the opening of the Muslim's spiritual devotion.

    Fatihah asks Allah to guide us and the next Surah then starts "Alif Laam Meem This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah". The relationship is that of prayer and answer from Allah. The rest of the Qur'an is then the answer and guidance for mankind from Allah.

     
    #6 Bismillah, Jul 24, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
  7. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

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    I used the recitation at Quran.com and Muhammad Assad's translation.

    Salaam Union, I agree. From verses 1-30 revolve around the believers, those who are "bent on denying the truth", and the hypocrites (these are a well known group of seditionists who tried to destroy Islam internally). Verses 30-39 talk about Adam, the role of mankind and its creation, the defiance of Iblis, the casting out of Adam to Earth, and the promise of guidance from Allah to mankind (as well as the consequences of accepting or rejecting that guidance). From this point (of talking about guidance) it transitions into the children of Israel exhorting them to accept the messenger of God reminding them of their favors, of their errors, and calling them to goodness and piety.

    The verse preceding says this is the book of guidance for those who are conscious of Allah and then states
    [FONT=Verdana,Arial] Assad has a very interesting footnote reading[/FONT]
    The same people perhaps who are bent denying the truth, whose hearts are sealed, and their eyes are closed?
    So these people are different from the kaffirun and furthermore Assad explains how sealing of the heart is caused by the person them self
    Also I thought the parables with the light and thunder were very illustrative. They kindle the fire of Islam but find no illumination from it because of their hypocrisy and falseness of faith. Likewise the thunder shines light but blinds them as well so that they find no guidance even though they profess to being Muslim and then contrasts by saying to mankind be conscious of God through worship!

    When Allah later states that he taught Adam the name of all things this marks a very important characteristic of humanity
    And the difference between man's ability to reason and learn and the angels is contrasted directly in the next verse when the Angels state that they have no knowledge except that which Allah bestows upon them.

    The verses go on to address the children of Israel. It's interesting to point out this is a Medinese revelation where relations between the Muslims and powerful Jewish tribes were becoming increasingly uneasy. One verse that summarizes it well says
    [FONT=Verdana,Arial]the trifling gain being the belief that only among the Jews will Allah's messengers manifest themselves, in essence do not reject Islam and the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam because he is an Arab and not a Jew.

    These are some of the parts I picked out for perhaps more discussion/reflection.
    [/FONT]
     
  8. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

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    Salaam alaikum,

    The assigned reading and discussion is
    • Ayats (verses) 51-120 of Surah Bakarah.
    This is not strictly 1/3 of the Juz but I added 20 ayat because they fall under the same theme so it is better to read them as one than to split them up

    The next assigned reading will be on the 25
     
  9. Bismillah

    Bismillah Submit

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    As salaam alaikum,

    I know the reading was from verse 50-120 but I actually went back to 40 (as that is the beginning of a series of verses and passages talking to the children of Israel)

    The translation I used was Muhammad Asad

    I used this recitation, the next passage of verses are found in the queue of videos at the right. Also for each verse I have quoted from Surah Baqara there is a timestamped link, the Chapter and Verses are the link, so that you can listen to the recitation of the verse as you read, if you wish. I did this because it is important to understand that the Qur'an is first and foremost an oral document (the name Qur'an itself means to recite). This was the means the Arabs of Mecca first heard the Prophet Muhammad preach and it Muslim belief that this speech is the unerrant word of Allah transmitted to Angiel Gabriel transmitted to the Prophet transmitted to the world. It was the leaders of the Quraysh who warned strangers to close their ears to the Qur'an labeling it as hypnotic and magical, something that overcomes the sense.

    [youtube]Ykpg56_krgQ[/youtube]
    The Qur'an | (Chapter 2: verses 40-66) Surah al-Baqarah - YouTube

    Before the rest of my post I would just like to make a clear distinction. I will be using the term “bani Israel” and “children of Israel” numerous times. The phrase will carry two very different tones. This is because within Sura Baqara there are those who are admonished and those who are given glad tidings among bani Israel. This is not me cherry picking or ignoring verses some would call "unpleasant" rather it is the Qur'an, itself, providing the contextualization for its praise and condemnation. I did not search across the chapters and verses, these ayats were within our assigned reading.

    The repudiation of Allah is addressed to the people of the following qualities: worshiping the golden calf in the absence of Moses, a descent into symbolic worship of material goods and polytheism (Asad Note 78) in Islam the former is also considered a form of shirk (polytheism) [2:51], proclaiming disbelief in Moses' message until they were granted sight of God [2:52], commanded, by God, to enter Israel in the spirit of humility (prostration) but instead were bent on evildoing [2:58-59], who went to Egypt in shame for they enjoyed the paltry comforts (herbs, cucumbers, garlic, lentils, and onions) of captivity [2:61], who turned away from the pledge at Mount Sinai [2:64], who profaned the Shabbath to "be as apes" as a warning, 'for further detail of the Sabbath-breakers, and the metaphorical allusion to "apes" see 7:163-166' (Asad Note 52) [2:65], who made obstinate and obdurate demands when commanded to sacrifice a cow [2:67-71], whose hearts hardened and became like rocks or even harder [2:74], who rewrote the divine writ for their own trifling gain [2:79], who slay one another and drive one another from their homelands [2:85], and when the apostle of God would be sent some would be gloried in arrogance, and some would give the lie, and some would slay [2:87 and 2:91].

    The above is an incomplete list. The distinction, within bani Israel, is stated clearly in the following verse
    Where a "good many" or party of them would listen to God's word and then pervert it with their grievances (some of which listed prior). Not "all of them" or even just "they".

    Indeed the Qur'an also has this to say about the Jews and the Christians
    As Allah is talking about bani Israel he has described two groups with two traits and two destinies that Allah states as shown by the ayats
    Carrying on with my own impressions then, the reading starts with an address to the children of Israel, but I want to ask. Is this only a dialogue between Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, and bani Israel? I do not think so, but rather it serves as a double meaning to the Muslims as well. A cautionary tale to the Muslims that, just as we have been blessed and empowered by Allah, so were the children of Israel and if some of them could fall awry of the straight path what prevents a Muslims from similarly being misguided from sirat al mustaqeem? For how many Muslims do we know could use this reminder and admonishment?
    That they recite the Qur'an and profess its beliefs and yet do not follow the manners befitting that of a Muslim. This is the advice of the Qur'an to these people
    Seek humility in your manner and innerself inshAllah
    There is often confusion when Moses, alay as salaam, is telling his people to sacrifice the cow (verses 67-71). The importance and necessity of the cow as a sacrifice is clear in the following verse
    The sacrifice is then a command to the collective community (implied by the "you had slain") to sacrifice a cow in the case of an unresolved murder. This is an Old Testament ordinance and examined in greater detail in 2:67 [Muhammad Asad Note 53]. But the most relevant thing I find about this is when Allah states in verse 71 about this incident
    This is, at times, overlooked I think in the day to day mentality of the Muslims. If you look at the further notes its importance in how we approach our religion becomes immediately relevant
     
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  10. Bismillah

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    How interesting then the preceding exegesis? We have been told that Islam is a straight forward easy and moderate religion. I remember when the Prophet Muhammad was present at (supererogatory) prayers but then did not appear for a few and the companions asked why he did not come. He replied in some words to the jist that he did not want to burden people by making them think these prayers were mandatory.

    A personal observation I took away was Allah reminding of the favors bani Israel are shown, but warning them that these favors does not preclude the punishment of Allah. Similarly many Muslims lose their taqwa and their sense of morals making justifications that they have professed correct 'aqeedah. They stop fearing the Day of Judgment and the requital promised! Subhanallah is this not the same error of arrogance that Allah is addressing in these verses? This parallel between the arrogance of some of the children of Israel and the arrogance of some of the Muslims is bought to my mind again when the Qur'an states
    May Allah protect us, forgive us, and guide us.

    A mark of distinction is the pledge of bani Israel with Allah, I think it is very instructive the rights, expectations, and vows between them and Allah
    And yet you will have people who say that Allah commands us to do evil and wickedness. How puzzling then, have they ever glanced upon the covenant that Allah entrusts between the people and him? Wickedness in tawhid and zakat and sadakat, and adab? This is the same covenant between the Muslims and Allah.

    The reciter for this particular ayat is so passionate, I love it, as the ayat charges bani Israel with spiritual bareness whose hearts are harder and more obstinate than rocks. It brings to my mind the previous verse which said that their hearts were already filled with knowledge and not willing to accept the revelation of Islam
    There come ayats that refer directly to the Medinese Jews. This is implied and made a parable starting at verse 86 but stated in the most definitive terms in these two verses
    And the "enemy of Gabriel" is a clear reference as stated
    So, going back to what I was saying, the Qur'an is comparing the Jews of Medina with the worst of the children of Israel.
    Because it was the plot of the three major tribes, in varying chronology, in reneging the treaty between the Muslims and themselves, aiding the Quraysh financially and militarily (arms) in several battles, assassination attempts , and aiding the Quraysh and their allies at the battle of the Trench and plotting to throw their gate open during the attack (for further information on the political and military landscape of Medina following the establishment of the Muslims and the degradation of relations between the three powerful Jewish tribes I encourage readers to also participate in the reading and discussion of a biography of the Prophet Muhammad)
     
  11. Bismillah

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    A detail that was intrigued me was this verse
    This is very puzzling. Now, as I pointed out earlier, the Medinese Jews are being compared to some of the previous mistakes of earlier Jews (i.e the golden calf in the verse directly succeeding this one) so is this an explicit comparison between the previous Jews who had killed Prophets of Allah (see chapter 2 verse 61 note 48 for further elaboration of the stated) and that of the later attempts by some Medinese Jews to kill the Prophet and the fledgling Muslim community? The word used to signify "slay" is تَقْتُلُونَ on which Assad comments
    As in it is relating, to the Medinese Jewry, the current intent to slay the Prophet of Allah. Though this verse was revealed at most two years after hijra (the Muslim fleeing to the city of Medina formerly known as Yathrib) before the relations between the powerful Jewish tribes and Muslim community had degraded to violence (which happened at different times). As these verses were being revealed to the Muslims they were also answers and questions addressed to the Jews of Medina. When it was revealed it was a prediction of the intent of these tribes to slay the Prophet of Allah as previous Jews had done, as the conflict between the Muslims and Jews culminated at its climax it was a reflection of their actions and attempts to slay the Prophet of Allah (i.e the verses had predicted and now were reflecting the reality of a particular tribe's attempts to directly assassinate the Prophet), and afterwards (i.e in the modern day) these verses function as a point of reflection of how the worst of bani Israel had persecuted the Prophets of Allah (including the Prophet Muahmmad). The Qur'an emphatically states
    And of course this is true for the long dead Jews who transgressed but this gives me a vibe of prescience how much better it would have been for these tribes to overcome their arrogance and attacks on the Muslims in this world (for they were very wealthy and powerful) and more importantly in the hereafter.

    This verse is talking, in one manner to the Sahaba, but in another way to us as well. How many among us do not have the patience and faith when it comes to our religion. We want to learn now and fast. We want it to come easy and concise. But rather religion is a way of life a journey and we cannot change our religion to our life. But rather slowly ease ourselves into the Islamic lifestyle and morals exemplified by the best of creation.

    Much of the attention in the verses leading to 120 deal with Allah proclaiming that it is only through him and him alone that man attains justice. Punishment and reward paradise and hellfire. That it will be Allah who will judge these arguments and put them to rest. This verse, I think, is the main point
    One of the most important ayats in the surah I think are the ones were Allah describes himself. These verse are important because this is the nature of our Lord and the nature of our existence. This lecture does a really good job explaining the importance of Allah's attributes I recommend it to anyone.
    When you make dhikr and remembrance of Allah recite these verses where he describes himself and recite his names and their meanings (a beautiful book by Imam Al-Ghazali on just this topic PDF warning).
     
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