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An Exegesis of Sura 98

An Exegesis of Sura 98

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An Exegesis of Sura Ninety-EightAuthor(s): Yvonne Yazbeck HaddadSource:
Journal of the American Oriental Society,
Vol. 97, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 1977), pp. 519-530Published by: American Oriental SocietyStable URL:
Accessed: 17/07/2009 19:01
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ANEXEGESISOFSURANINETY-EIGHT
YVONNEYAZBE(KHADDAD
HARTFORDSEMINARYFOUNDATION
Thethemes ofSuraNinety Eightin themselvescontainlittle thathad not beenheardbeforebythecompanionsof theProphet.Datingfrom the Medinanperiodit seemstohave served as a kindofsummarystatementof earlierteachings.ItcontainsanindictmentofMedinan Jews and Christianswhorejectedthebayyinaof theProphet,the clearevidenceonthebasisof whichman chooses obedienceorrejectionof God.Theconsequenceofsuchrejection,forthePeopleof the Book asfor thekuffdr,isaforfeitingof rewardinthe hereafterand banishmentto eternalfire.A.SURA98-TRANSLATIONAl-Bayyina:TheClearEvidenceInthename ofGod,thecompassionate,themerciful.1.Thosewhodisbelieved1ofthePeopleoftheBookandthePolytheists2didnotdisengage31kafarl.ThiswordisverywidelyusedintheQur'an.Itsmeaningseems to be tocover orconceal.It isusedasanoppositeofbelief,imdn.KafarainrelationtotheCreatormeansdenialofHim.Kafarainterms ofthegraceofGodmeanstherenunciationof God'sgrace.SeeMuhammad Isma'ilIbrShim,Qmuiisal-alfdzwal-a'ldmal-qur'dniyya(Cairo:1961)p.328.c.f.al-Husaynb.Muhammadal-Isbahani,al-muifraddtfiGharibal-Qur'dn,(Cairo:1970)p.653whoexplains kafaraal-ni'maasconcealinggracebyabandoningtheactofgratitudeforit. SeeS.2:152.Foradiscussion ofapossiblederiva-tion fromHebrew orSyriac,seeArthurJeffery,ForeignVocabulary oftheQur'dn (Baroda:1938)p.250. Thuskafariiis theactofthosewhoshownogratitudetoGod.2mushrikun.From thewordshirk,assigningpartnerstoGod,thistermisusuallyassociatedwithMuhammad'senemies whodid notshare hisbelief inmonotheism.SeeJeffery, ForeignVocabulary,p.185.Cf.al-Isbahnim,al-Mufraddt,p.381wherehedistinguishesbetweentwokindsofshirk,thegreatshirk,that ofascribingapartnertoGodwhichisunforgivable (S.4:48,116)andthelessershirk,which isconsideringotherswithHiminsomematters.(S.7:190).3munfakkina.Thiswordappearsinthisformonlyin thisverse oftheQur'an.Itdenotesseparationafterastrongunionandisusedmostlyinthenegativeform.Tusi,Tafsiral-tibydn(Najaf:1963)p. 388,cf.Zamakhsha-ri,al-Kashshdf'an.Haqa'iqal-tanzil(Cairo:1966)vol.iv,p.274whocomparesittoseparationofbonefrommuscle.It hasbeengivenmanyexplanationsandinter-pretationsbecause ofitsuniqueusageandvaguenessasit doesnotindicatewhat it isthattheydidnotdisen-gagefrom.Onesynonym givento it is(a)zd'ilina whichisexplainedasGodblindedthem tohim.SeeBukhari,Sahih(Cairo:1305h.)vol.vii,p.429;cf. M.al-Masri,TafsirGharibal-Qtr'dn(Cairo:1934)p.122whereheexplainsit astheirrefusal todesistfromthat inwhichtheywereengaged.Anothersynonymofferedis(b)tdrikinawhich thenmeansthattheydidnotletgooftheirreligionastheywerewaitingfor thePromisedProphet.SeeZamakhshari,al-Kashshdf,p.274.(c)Athirdsynonymisbdrihina,thattheywere nottoleaveordepartthisworldbeforetheyreceived theevidence.And,finally, (d)hdlikina,thattheywerenotpersecutedordoomed toperditionexceptaftertheproofwasestab-lishedforthem,withthesendingofmessengersandtherevelationofbooks. SeeQurtubi,al-Jdmi' li'ahkamal-Qur'tn(Cairo:1967)p.141.Theambiguityoftheterm hasalsogivenrisetoseveralattemptsat anadequatetranslation.GeorgeSale,TheKoranwithNotes(Philadelphia: 1850)p.495translatesit asstagger.Healsoadds inthefootnotethatthey"didnotwaver intheirreligion,or intheirpromisestofollowthetruth,when anapostleshouldcometo them."N.J.Dawood,TheKoran(PenguinBooks:1956)p.29translates itas "didnotdesist fromtheirunbeliefuntiltheproofwasgiventothem."Othertranslations readitas"Wouldneverleaveoff",A.J.Arberry,TheKoranInterpreted,(NewYork:1955)p.346;"Werenotgoingto becastoff",W.M.Watt,CompaniontotheQur'an(London:1967)p.670;"Werenotgoingtodepart(fromtheirways)",YusufAli,TheHoly Qur'an, (NewYork:1946)p.1767;and"Couldnot haveleftoff(erring)tilltheclearproofcametothem,"SI.M.Pickthall,TheMeaningoftheGloriousKoran(Mentor:1963)p.446.519
 
JournaloftheAmericanOrientalSociety97.4(1977)
until the clearevidence4 came tothem:2. AnApostle5fromGodreciting6 purifiedpages,73. Whereinareimmutable books.84bayyina."Theevidentproofwhetherrational orconceivedbythesenses."Isbahani,Mufradat,p.89-90.W.A.Bijlefeldinanunpublishedlecture on Feb-ruary7,1972distinguishesbetweenayatandbayyinat."AyatwheneveritappearsusuallymeanssignsofGod,whereasbayyindtisusuallyused with rasiulasaproofof hisapostleship."It hasbeentranslatedas"clear,evident"meaning,"Manifestproof" byR.BruschviginEIIIVol.Ipp.1150-1151;as,"Manifestsign"byE. H.Palmer,TheKoran(Oxford:1900)p.338;as"proof"byDawood,TheKoran,p.29;as"clearproof": byPickthall,TheGlorious,p.446;as"clearsign"byArberry,Koran,p.346,as"evidence"byBell,Qur'an,p.670;as"clearevidence"byY.Ali,Qur'anp.1767and as the"clearsign"byWatt,Companion,p.318.5
rasilun.
"Themessenger,theonethat issent."Isbahani,Mufradat,p.248;cf.IbrShim,Qdmus,p.144whoadds thatit isonesentwith amessage.Themes-sengercanalso bethemessageas inS. 26:16.Foranexcellenttreatise onthe rasuilastheapostle,seeBijlefeld,"AProphetandmore thanaProphet"TheMuslimWorld",LIX,1969p.12ff.6yatli.Translatedinaccurately bySale,Koran,p.495as"rehearsing",yatliimpliesthereadingofamessage.
7
suhufanmutahhara.Thewordsuhuf,meaningsheets,"occursseveraltimes intheQur'Sn,usuallyinconnectionwith therevelation. . .however,itprobablyreferstothe record ofman'sdeeds. Theword isSouthArabian,butoccurs inArabicpoetrybeforeMuhammad'stime."Bell,Introduction totheQur'an(Edinburgh: 1939)p.16;cf.Jeffery, Foreign,pp.192-194.Astudyofthewordssuhufin theQur'anshows nojustificationforpresumingtheprobabilitythatitrefers totherecordofman'sdeed.Rather,suhufappearstorefertoarevelationthatcomeswithanapostleas theproofofhisapostleship.Thispassagehasbeentranslatedas"purebooksofrevelation"bySale, Koran,p.495;as"purepages"byPalmer,Koran,p.338;as"sanctifiedpages"byDawood,Koran,p.29;as"pagespurified"Arberry,Koran,p.346;as"sheetskeptpure" byBell,Companion,p.670;andas"rehearsingscriptureskept pureandholy"byY.Ali,Qur'an,p.1767.
8
qayyima. "True,abiding."ThisformofthewordappearsonlyinS.98;itisused theretwice,once de-scribingbooks,andthe otherqualifyingdin.ForTuisi,Tafsir,p.398itmeans"consistentonthesideoftruth;"cf.al-Masri,M.,TafsirGharibp.122where4. Nordidthose whoreceivedtheBookseparateuntiltheyreceived theclearevidence.5.Andtheywerenotenjoinedbut toworshipGod,faithful to himinreligion,9hanifs,l1prac-heexplainsit asstraight(ororthodox)expressingtruth.Y.Ali,Qur'an,infootnotep.1767says,"straightasop-posedtocrooked;standardasopposedtoirregular;def-inite andpermanent,asopposedtocasual ortemporary."It isrelatedto thewordqd'imorqayyum,used indescribingGodasself-subsistent.Ithasbeentranslatedas"rightdiscourses,"Sale,Koran,p.495;as"right scriptures" byPalmer, Koran,p.338;as"rightbooks"byMuhammadAli,TheHolyQur'dn(Lahore:1951) p.1196;as"abiding scripture"byDawood,Koran,p.29;as"correctscriptures" byPickthall,TheGlorious,p.446;as"truebooks"byArberry,Companion,p.346;as"booktrue"byBell,Qur'an,p.670;and as"laws(ordecrees)rightandstraight" byY.Ali,Qur'an,p.1767.9din.Widelyused intheQur'an,this term seemstohaveseveralconnotations:(a)asjudgementsimilartoHebrewandSyriac usages, (b)as customorusageasinpre-Islamic meaning,and(c)asreligion,acorollaryofPresianusage.Itimpliesthe"obligationswhichGodimposesonhisreasoningcreatures."SeeEIII;cf.Jeffery,Foreign,pp.131-132.Seealso YvonneHaddad,"TheConceptionof theTerm Dinin theQur'an,"TheMuslimWorld, LXIV,Nov.2,1974.10hanif.Translated as"orthodox"bySale, Koran,p.495;as "menbynatureupright"byPickthall,TheGlorious,p.446;as "menofpurefaith"byArberry,Koran,p.346;and as"beingtrue(infaith)" byY.Ali,Qur'an,p.1768.Thiswordappearstwelve times intheQur'dn,teninthesingularand twicein thepluralformashunafd'.There areseveral studies inEnglishon thisword,in-cludingJeffery, Foreign,pp.112-115; Bell,TheOriginofIslamin its Christian Environment(London:1926)alsobythesameauthor,anarticle "Who weretheHanifs?"MW,xx(1930),120-124;FarisandGlidden,"TheDe-velopmentof theMeaningofKoranicHanif,"TheJournalofthe Palestine OrientalSociety,xix(1939),1-13;Lyall,C.,"TheWords'Hanif'and'Muslim"'JRAS, 1903,pp.771-784;Margoliouth,D.S.,"OntheOriginandImportof theNamesMuslimandHanif"JRAS, 1903,pp.467-493.The Arabexegetesexplainit asreferringto"himwhoveers towardsthetruth,"seeTfsi,Tafsir,p.389;alsoas "he who avoidserror and falsedoctrine,"seeIbrahim,Qamus,p.92,cf.Isbahani,Mufradat,p.190 andal-Masri, Gharib,p.122,andBaydawi,Tafsir, p.614.Qurtubi,al-Jami' li-ahkdmal-qur'dn,(Cairo:1967) p.145520

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