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Quran and Jerusalem by Suliman Bashear

Quran and Jerusalem by Suliman Bashear

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QUR'AN2:114AND JERUSALEM
BySULIMANBASHEAR
1.Qur'an2:114'describes those whopreventGod's namebeingutteredinHismosques(manmana'amasdjida'llihianyukhdarafith'smuhu)as'mostunjust'(azlamu).If further states that'theyshall not be allowed to enter themexceptinfear;theyshall endurethecurseofchastisementinthis world andgreattortureinthe aftermath'.2Modern scholars who translatedtheQur'anintoEuropean languageshavebrieflynoted the existence oftwooppositedirections ofinterpretationinthetraditional Muslim commentaries:onewhichproposesaJerusalem/Byzantinecontextforthe verse's revelation andmeaning,andanother,whichbringstobearaMeccan/Qurashione.Beyondsuchpassingnotice, however,no seriousattemptwasmade toexaminetheissuethoroughly.3A.Rippinhasrecently paidcloser attention tothis verse.4However,indrawingonWansbrough'sscheme5 forexaminingtherelationbetween'halakhic' and'haggadic'elementsinthe,mainlylater,Muslimcommentaries,Rippincentres attention on theformer;a further examination ofthehaggadicinterpretations giventotheverseby pre-classical exegesistherefore seemsjustified.Myinitial interestin this verse wasarousedbyaunique commentaryinShams al-DinSuyiiti's(d.880
A.H.)
work on themerits(fadi'il)of the Jerusalemsanctuary.6'Itwasrevealed',hesays,'concerningthebarringof MuslimsbytheByzantinesfrom the Jerusalemsanctuary'.7Sucha remarkablecommentaryinitselfjustifiesfurtherinvestigation.Moreover,2:114is followedbytwo verses(2:115-16)which couldbetaken as
'Accordingto the modernstandardEgyptianeditionof1342/1923=2/108ofFliigel'sedition:ConcordantiaeCoraniArabicae,Lipsiae,1842,118-19.In J. M.Rodwell's translation-editionitwasgivenno.19/108.See his: The Korantranslated,London & New Yorkrepr.1913,350.
2
Unless otherwisestated,theEnglish renderings givenin thispaperare baseduponthose ofJ.Arberry,TheKoraninterpreted,London,1964.The literalwordingofthe verse in Arabic is:wa-man azlamu mamman mana'amasdjidaallahi'anyudhkaraihaismuhuwa-sa'afikhardbihd;'uld'ikama kanalahum anyad-khuliuhdllaKhd'ifin,lahumi al-dunyd Khizyun wa-fial- 'dkhirati'adhdbunazTm.3e.g.,C.Sale,TheKoran,New York &London,1984repr.of theoriginal1734ed.,p.15,n.(b).Seealso thenotesof E.M.Wherryon Sale's translationentitled:Acomprehensive ommentaryontheQuran, London, 1896, I,331-2. J.M.Rodwellsaysthatifthe Meccans are those meantbythisverse thenitismisplacedhere,op.cit.,p.350,n. 2. In M. Watt'swords:' the reference s uncertain.Itcanhardlybe thepaganMeccansinthis Medinan context.Jerusalem has beensuggested,'CompanionotheQuran, London, 1967,27.Comparealsowith R.Blachere,LeCoran,Paris,1951,
II,
759-60.RudiParet'sDerKoran(Stuttgart,1982,18)does not comment atall.
4
SeehisunpublishedPh.D.thesis,'TheQuranicAsbdbal-Nuzulmaterial: ananalysisof its useanddevelopmentinexegesis',McGillUniversity,1981,180-7.Iamgratefulto ProfessorRippinformakingtherelevantchapteravailable to me and for the valuablecomments hegaveon several issuesdealtwith in thispaper.
5
Asdevelopedin hisQuranicstudies, Oxford, 1977,towhichfurther references will be madebelow.6thdfal-Akhis.d, Cairo,1982. Thiswork was translated intoEnglishbyJ.ReynoldsasThehistoryoftheTempleofJerusalem,1836.However,itwaswronglyattributedtoJalalal-DinSuyuiii,andthetranslationisoutdated. Extracts weretranslated alsobyG. LeStrangeandpublishedintheJournaloftheRoyalAsiaticSociety,19, 1887,247-305. Reference to amanuscript copyof the workinthe HebrewUniversity(no.64/2)andsomeuse of itwere madebyM. J. KisterandA.El'adintheir'Haddithu...'and'MoslemHolyPlaces...',respectively,to which further reference will bemade below.RecentlyM.Ibrahimpublishedselected extracts in hisedition ofFadd'il,Kuwait,1985.Thoughhementions the existence of moremanuscriptsofthiswork,the editor does not seemto beaware of thepublishedCairo 1982edition.
7
Ithdfal-Akhissd
I,
100.Lit.: nazalatftman'al-ram al-muslimTnminbaytal-maqdis.
 
SULIMANBASHEAR
referringtotheabrogationof theJerusalemqiblaand theargumentsurround-ingthe nature of the relation between Godand Christ.8Consideredtogetherthe two notionspresent,inthe form of aQur'anicsequence,animportant problematic:is there ascripturalbasisforsupposinganearlyMuslim-Christian conflictinJerusalem which forced the former toabandon itssanctuary?Inotherwords,didthe verse indeed refer to thebarringofMuslims fromJerusalem?Ifyes,when and where was it revealed toMuhammad?Ifno,who were those intendedbyitasthepersecutersand thevictims?Wasthere ageneralneedtoachieveharmonybetweenexegesisand sTramaterials?Ifso,when was this need felt and how was suchharmonysoughtafterbytheexegetes,commentators,historians and traditionists who dealtwith thequestionof the'occasion ofrevelation'(sababal-nuzul)ofthisverse? Andwhatcan such aninvestigationteach usaboutthedevelopmentof traditionalexegesisinrelation toother formsofIslamic literary activity?Such anenquirycannot,ofcourse,belimitedtothescrutinyof the variantcontents and isnddsof the different traditionsconcerningthehistorical occasionofrevelation.Examination will also need tobemade of thepossibleeffect ofdifferentreadingsandmeanings,based onanalogiesfromother,parallelQur'anicoccurrences,on thekeyphrasesand termsintheverse.Likewise,theeffect of certainlegalandtheologicalelementsinherent in theverse,orpresentedassuch,onits overallinterpretationmust alsobedistinguished.The effect of themetaphorical understandingofthe verse and itsgeneral applicability, togetherwith other factorsinthewayit wasinterpreted alongnon-historicallineswillalso be assessed.Finally,the relationbetween these technicalandconceptualfactors andthequestionof canonicalcompositionwillalsobe commentedupon.Somelimitations,however,must bestated atthe outset.First,thepresentpaperisbasicallyaninquiryinto whathistoricalprocessescanbediscernedinexegeticaltradition,anddoes not claimto beanythingmore. Certainoftheattemptsofrecent datetoprovidecompletelydetached,ahistorical,meta-physicalorsuificommentariesonthe versewill beexcluded.9Second,thelegalandtheologicalaspectsofearlyMuslimconcepts,attitudes orrulings,willbedealtwithonlyastheyare reflectedintraditionalexegesisandthe latercommentarieswith reference tothespecificcontextof the verse underdiscus-sion.And,therefore,onlytheirintrusion intothismaterialandthe effect of suchintrusion ontheinterpretationof thisverse will be examined.Third,thequestionsofthepositionofthe JerusalemsanctuaryandqiblainearlyIslam andtheIslamicviewsonthe essenceofGod andthenatureofChristwillnotbe examinedin detail. These are crucialissues fortheemergenceanddevelopmentofIslam andhavebeenextensivelydealtwith elsewhere.10nfact,nothoroughreview willbemade ofthe interpretationof2:115-16. Theonlyquestionthatwillbe tackled concernsthe relationof contextualsequence(nazm,irtibdt,ittisdl)between these versesand verse2:114asviewedbythe commentators.Finally, earlyIslamichistoryassuchisbeyondthescopeofthepresentpaper.Speculation,it istrue,is nolongeranythingtobeashamedofinafield where
8
Lit.:wa-lilldhial-mashriquwa-'l-maghribu, a-aynamdtuwallua-thammatawajhualldh.wa-qdluittakhadha alldhuwaladan,subhdnahu,bal lahu mdftal-samdwdtiwa-'l-ardiKullunlahuqdnitun.9Anexampleof suchtreatmentisQushayriLatd'if,Cairo, n.d.,I,127-9 andMuhylal-Dinb.'Arabi(d.638
A.H.),
TafsTr,Beirut,1968, i,78-80. Thelatterwork waspossiblycompiled byIbn'Arabi'sstudent,Kashani(d.731
A.H.).
Inanycase,it mustnot be confused withAbuBakrIbn'Arab's(d.543
A.H.).
Ahkamal-Qur'dn,Beirut,1972,i,32-3,to which further reference willbemadebelow.
'0
G.D.Anawati,s.v.''Isd', E.I.(newed.),iv,81-6;A. J.Wensink andD. A.King,s.v.'Kibla',E.I.Suppl.,v, 82-8,andthereferencescited therein.
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