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Islamic Ideology (11 Jun 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Adjurations in the Quran



By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

11 June 2019

Scholars of Islam have strangely struggled with explaining the adjurations in the Quran when these offer them the opportunity to show their skills of interpretation and understanding of metaphors and of poetic allusions. Some have even wondered “what does Allah mean by swearing by something that is inferior to Him?”!  Others are clearly embarrassed by Allah swearing so often because a man who swears often is looked down upon. The scholars have struggled with the following thoughts:

The Qur’ān says: “Do not yield to any mean oath-monger.” (Q 68:10) This verse implies that swearing an oath is condemnable. An oath therefore does not behove the Majesty of Allah.

People never take an oath except by something exalted and glorious. The Prophet (sws) has said: “Whoever swears an oath should swear it by God or keep silence.” (Bukhārī No: 3624) This clearly forbids taking an oath by anything other than God. How is it then becoming of Allah, the Lord of the worlds, to swear by His creatures and also by ordinary things like the fig and the olive?

Imām Rāzī tried to explain the oaths by saying that since the Qur’ān was revealed in the language of the Arabs, it follows the convention of swearing excessively in that society! The scholars have been baffled because they have failed to come to grips with Divine Speech and the distinct difference between the objective and quite often the irrelevance of the oaths of human beings and the adjurations of Allah in the Book which are very precise and apt and serve the purpose of explaining something less understood by what is openly recognized or easily understood.  Quranic adjurations are in a very distinct and unique class incomparable with any work of human beings.  Although the scholars have struggled and tied themselves in knots trying to explain these, we shall soon see that these are very simple to understand and serve a very useful purpose in driving home a point and making it clear.

Surah 36 YaSeen

(1) Ya Sin.

(2) By the Qur´an, full of Wisdom,-

(3) Thou art indeed one of the messengers,

(4) On a Straight Way.

(5) It is a Revelation sent down by (Him), the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful.

(6) In order that thou mayest admonish a people, whose fathers had received no admonition, and who therefore remain heedless (of the Signs of Allah).

To the readers of the Quran who find the Book full of wisdom, invoking the property of the Quran as a Book full of wisdom, constitutes proof of Muhammad being indeed one of the messengers of Allah on a straight path. Would such a Book which is full of wisdom say anything false or foolish?  Can Muhammad to whom such a Book is revealed be a false messenger?

The two Arabic letters Ya and Sin are explained by most scholars as addressing the Prophet since the next few verses are addressed to him. However, although the verses following “Ya Sin” address the Prophet, these are also meant for every reader who reads the Book. Ya Sin could therefore be a shorter form of “Yāayyuhā L-Nāsu” which means “O you people”. Since this combination of letters appears only once in the Quran, anything we say about it is only conjecture. However, when the letters are recited, the effect on the listener is to alert him or draw his attention to what follows and far more effective than “Yāayyuhā L-Nāsu”. Without doubt this Surah is addressed to all mankind and not only the believers.

Surah 79 An-Nazi'at / Those who drag forth

(1) By the (angels) who tear out (the souls of the wicked) with violence;

(2) By those who gently draw out (the souls of the blessed);

(3) And by those who glide along (on errands of mercy),

(4) Then press forward as in a race,

(5) Then arrange to do (the Commands of their Lord),

We are aware of the different ways in which people die - some with ease and others after great suffering when everyone is praying for their death so that they are relieved of their suffering. This is then followed by a brief description of the role of angels. The rest of the Surah is about the Hereafter about which we know very little. In the death and the manner in which different people die is a lesson as well as proof of Allah’s control over our lives in this world. This proof is offered as evidence of the truth of what Allah says will happen in the Hereafter. The purpose of the adjuration here is to draw our attention to what is known or can be known as proof of what we do not know but are being informed of.

Surah 91 As-Shams

(1) By the Sun and his (glorious) splendour;

(2) By the Moon as it shows up after the Sun;

(3) By the Day as it shows up (the Sun´s) glory;

(4) By the Night as it conceals it;

(5) By the Firmament and its (wonderful) structure;

(6) By the Earth and its (wide) expanse:

(7) By the conscious living human being, and the proportion and order given to it;

(8) And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right;-

(9) Truly he succeeds that purifies it,

(10) And he fails that corrupts it!

(11) The Thamud (people) rejected (their prophet) through their inordinate wrong-doing...

The great order, beauty, purpose and unfailing precision and regularity of a few wondrous natural phenomena are cited as proof of what follows. The purpose is to say “As surely as the wondrous phenomena sworn by,  the human consciousness enlightened by the Quran as to what is right and wrong, succeeds if it purifies self and fails if it corrupts it. This law of consequences of human behaviour is as certain, fixed, and unchanging, as the laws the heavenly bodies follow”.

Surah 93 and 94 Ad-Dhuha / The Morning Hours and Ash-Sharh / The Consolation

These Surahs are usually read together since the subject matter is common.

(93:1) By the Glorious Morning Light,

(2) And by the Night when it is still,-

(3) Thy Guardian-Lord hath not forsaken thee, nor is He displeased.

(4) And verily the Hereafter will be better for thee than the present.

(5) And soon will thy Guardian-Lord give thee (that wherewith) thou shalt be well-pleased.....

.... (94:5) So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief:

(6) Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.

The metaphor of the Glorious morning light following the Night when it is still is clear and made amply clear with the 94:5 and 94:6

Surah 100 Al-Adiyat / The Chargers

(1) By the (Steeds) that run, with panting (breath),

(2) And strike sparks of fire,

(3) And push home the charge in the morning,

(4) And raise the dust in clouds the while,

(5) And penetrate forthwith into the midst (of the foe) en masse;-

(6) Truly man is, to his Lord, ungrateful;

(7) And to that (fact) he bears witness (by his deeds);

(8) And violent is he in his love of wealth.

(9) Does he not know,- when that which is in the graves is scattered abroad

(10) And that which is (locked up) in (human) breasts is made manifest-

(11) That their Lord had been Well-acquainted with them, (even to) that Day?

The adjurations in this Surah provide evidence of man’s vanity, passions and vaingloriousness. This is contrasted with the unglorious end of such a vain man and the fact that he has very little to be proud about.

Surah 95 The Fig and Surah 103 Al-Asr

(95:1) By the Fig and the Olive,

(2) And the Mount of Sinai,

(3) And this City of security,-

(4) We have indeed created man in the best of moulds,

(5) Then do We abase him (to be) the lowest of the low,-

(6) Except such as believe and do righteous deeds: For they shall have a reward unfailing.

(7) Then what can, after this, contradict thee, as to the judgment (to come)?

(8) Is not Allah the wisest of judges?

(103; 1) By (the Token of) Time (through the ages),

(2) Verily Man is in loss,

(3) Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.

The subject matter in the two Surahs above covers the characteristics of those who are successful and is almost the same as shown below:

(95:6) (All our unsuccessful) Except such as believe and do righteous deeds: For they shall have a reward unfailing and (103:3) (All our unsuccessful)Except such as believe, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.

Surah 103 swears by Time to say that all through the ages, or as Time is a witness, the people who have been successful are as described in the Surah.

Surah 95 swears by City of security or Sanctuary which we know is Mecca and associated with Muhammad (pbuh), the last Prophet.

By the Mount of Sinai associated with Prophet Moses (pbuh)

By the Fig and the Olive. What does the Fig and the Olive refer to? To be consistent it must refer to two other messengers of Allah and not to the fruit. Olive refers to the Mount of Olives associated with Jesus (pbuh) and The Fig refers to the Fig tree under which Buddha (pbuh) received enlightenment.

Please notice that not only time is a witness to the essential requirement for success, but the message carried by all the messengers of Allah through time from Adam to the last Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the same is what Surah 95 is saying.

 Muslims have a problem with naming Buddha as a prophet. The Quran is also very subtle in doing so and not sworn by the “The Mount of Olives” and “The Fig Tree” as it could have very well done if it wished to be more explicit.  The subtlety could be because Buddhism has changed over the years into worship of Buddha and the Quran therefore refrains from explicitly endorsing it in its present state. There are certain things that the Quran merely hints at and is meant only for those who can understand and digest and not for everyone. Most Muslim scholars have waxed eloquent on the virtues of the Fig and Olive as a fruit and it does not bother them to mix the metaphors. Imam Razi is among them.

What is common between Buddhism and the three Abrahamic faiths is:

A very clear and explicit deontological moral code which is followed as a religious duty out of reverence for the code or reverence for the Law Giver or Allah. This fulfils the criteria of doing righteous deeds

A firm belief in the consequences of our deeds on this earth. This fulfils the criteria of belief

While the Abrahamic faiths believe in a personal God, the Buddhists are believed to be agnostic, but their agnosticism is not denial of God but on the other hand they recognize a Being or Intelligence higher than self which governs the Universe, ensures order and corrects things.  They see their moral code given by Buddha to be in accordance with this higher Intelligence and submit to it out of reverence.  This is a very refined concept of God and perhaps more accurate, whereas, ours is closer to building a mental image of God while the Quran says Allah is unlike anything we know. At the other extreme is building an idol of God which we avoid as this is explicitly prohibited. The Buddhist concept is extremely refined but difficult to follow, which is why in the later revelations perhaps, the concept is made a little more concrete, but less concrete than building and worshiping an idol. In essence, the Buddhist religion is very much Allah’s religion like the other explicitly named religions.

Surah 37 As-Saaffaat / Those drawn up in Ranks

(1) By those who range themselves in ranks,

(2) And so are strong in repelling (evil),

(3) And thus proclaim the Message (of Allah)!

(4) Verily, verily, your Allah is one!-

(5) Lord of the heavens and of the earth and all between them, and Lord of every point at the rising of the sun!

(6) We have indeed decked the lower heaven with beauty (in) the stars,-

(7) (For beauty) and for guard against all obstinate rebellious evil spirits,

(8) (So) they should not strain their ears in the direction of the Exalted Assembly but be cast away from every side,

(9) Repulsed, for they are under a perpetual penalty,

(10) Except such as snatch away something by stealth, and they are pursued by a flaming fire, of piercing brightness.

(11) Just ask their opinion: are they the more difficult to create, or the (other) beings We have created? Them have We created out of a sticky clay!

(12) Truly dost thou marvel, while they ridicule,

(13) And, when they are admonished, pay no heed,-

(14) And, when they see a Sign, turn it to mockery,

(15) And say, "This is nothing but evident sorcery!

(16) "What! when we die, and become dust and bones, shall we (then) be raised up (again)

(17) "And also our fathers of old?"

......

The adjuration “By those who range themselves in ranks”,is an endorsement of the strategy of standing united against evil and for proclaiming the Deen of Allah and compared with Allah ranging the lowers stars to beautify the Heavens and to guard “against all obstinate rebellious evil spirits”.

Surah 51 Adh-Dhaariyat / The Winnowing Winds

(1) By the (Winds) that scatter broadcast;

(2) And those that lift and bear away heavy weights;

(3) And those that flow with ease and gentleness;

(4) And those that distribute and apportion by Command;-

(5) Verily that which ye are promised is true;

(6) And verily Judgment and Justice must indeed come to pass.

(7) By the Sky with (its) numerous Paths,

(8) Truly ye are in a doctrine discordant,

(9) Through which are deluded (away from the Truth) such as would be deluded.

(10) Woe to the falsehood-mongers,-

(11) Those who (flounder) heedless in a flood of confusion:

.....

The winds play an important role in dispersing seeds, pollen and spores. These carry the clouds that bring rain which revive vegetation and help grow crops and fruit in abundance.  The ships sail with their help and wind power finds many other uses. The winds play a beneficial role without which life on this earth is not possible. This is a Sign of Allah and of his Mercy and distributive justice and power to do all things. Man however chooses the wrong path from the many paths available to him forgetting Allah and His Power to bring him to justice.

We have seen that the adjurations in the Quran are not like the oaths of us human beings, but among the most powerful and most easily understood Signs of Allah, through which Allah makes the most telling points. These draw our attention to what is both striking and obvious, to serve as evidence for the Message that needs to be understood. We have also seen that there is no mystery in the adjurations and neither does it require deep mystical knowledge to understand their meaning and purpose. It requires simplicity, humility and integrity to understand but not complex or esoteric scholarship. The scholars with their esoteric scholarship have made heavy weather of these simple to understand adjurations and confused themselves and others.

Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He is a frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/naseer-ahmed,-new-age-islam/adjurations-in-the-quran/d/118851

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TOTAL COMMENTS:-   16


  • If it is so clear to you, why was it not clear to so many other ulama? And why can't we respect Buddhism on its own terms rather than seek its flimsy corroboration in our Book?


    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 6/19/2019 1:01:51 PM



  • That the correct meaning is very clear is what I have already shown and also explained the reservation for openly endorsing Buddhism.

    The Quran does not say that the Mutashabihat verses are clear to all but only the Muhkamat verses. These are Mutashabihat verses which when not clear, should not be speculated upon but when the correct meaning is arrived at, we know that it is the correct meaning.  Most of the Mutashabihat verse are also clear but a few have remained unclear for centuries. For example verse 24:35, 7:172 and a few more. These are like puzzles which become clear only after the puzzle is solved. It remains a puzzle until we acquire  the exact knowledge required to know what the metaphors used mean. For example, a person who does not know that Buddha received his enlightenment under a Fig tree will not be able to figure out the metaphor of The Fig in the verse.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/19/2019 2:56:41 AM



  • Naseer sb. says, "The lack of a better explanation is proof of its correctness."
    Is Quran a Book that needs explanation or is it a Book that is clear?

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 6/18/2019 1:02:30 PM



  • When you have nothing to say either way and cannot offer any better explanation, why do you say anything at all? 
    The lack of a better explanation is proof of its correctness.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/18/2019 3:59:09 AM



  • Naseer sb.,
    You lie again when you say I have no problem with Buddha's prophethood. All I said was, "I have not said a word about Buddha's prophethood. Why do you lie so much? "
    "A Book that is clear" would itself clarify what it meant by "The Fig",  "The Olive",  "The Mount of Sinai"  and "The City of Sanctuary". Any meanings offered by self-appointed scholars are just guesses and not worth a dime.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin Faruki - 6/17/2019 12:55:25 PM



  • So you don't have a problem with Buddha's prophethood?  Good.
    You also appear to uphold the principle that the Quran is "a Book that is clear"
    So, do you agree that "The Fig" signifies Buddha, "The Olive" signifies Jesus, "The Mount of Sinai" signifies  Moses and "The City of Sanctuary" signifies Muhammad?
    Or do you have a better explanation?
    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/17/2019 3:20:08 AM



  • Naseer sb. says, "most people will have a problem accepting Buddha as a prophet of Allah. GM sb is  one among the many who have such a problem."
    I have not said a word about Buddha's prophethood. Why do you lie so much? All I said was that you were overreaching when you saw endorsement of Buddha in Quranic verses and claimed, "There are certain things that the Quran merely hints at and is meant only for those who can understand and digest and not for everyone." You were in effect claiming that some passages, contrary to the principle of "a Book that is clear", can be understood only by Naseer sb. and by people wfo have an insight as sharp as Naseer sb.'s!
    The question of whether Buddha was a prophet or not cannot be tied down to what the Quran says or does not say, and certainly not on Naseer sb.'s exclusive understanding of what some verses mean.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin Faruki - 6/15/2019 12:46:33 PM



  • SA,   Surah 31 Luqman is about Luqman. If you go by what he preached, you would think that he was a prophet. But was he a prophet? The Quran does not say so nor is his name mentioned with the names of the rest of the prophets.

     (31:12) we bestowed (in the past) Wisdom on Luqman: "Show (thy) gratitude to Allah." Any who is (so) grateful does so to the profit of his own soul: but if any is ungrateful, verily Allah is free of all wants, Worthy of all praise.

    (13) Behold, Luqman said to his son by way of instruction: "O my son! join not in worship (others) with Allah: for false worship is indeed the highest wrong-doing."

    (14) And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command), "Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal.

    (15) "But if they strive to make thee join in worship with Me things of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not; yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration), and follow the way of those who turn to me (in love): in the end the return of you all is to Me, and I will tell you the truth (and meaning) of all that ye did."

    (16) "O my son!" (said Luqman), "If there be (but) the weight of a mustard-seed and it were (hidden) in a rock, or (anywhere) in the heavens or on earth, Allah will bring it forth: for Allah understands the finest mysteries, (and) is well-acquainted (with them).

    (17) "O my son! establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just, and forbid what is wrong: and bear with patient constancy whatever betide thee; for this is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct of) affairs.

    (18) "And swell not thy cheek (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for Allah loveth not any arrogant boaster.

    (19) "And be moderate in thy pace, and lower thy voice; for the harshest of sounds without doubt is the braying of the ass."

     We do not even know who Luqman was, where he lived and when, and what became of his son. What purpose does the story of Luqman in the Quran serve? It is to say that there are many men of Allah, bestowed with wisdom from Allah, and who preach what the prophets preached, but they are not necessarily prophets. We are not given the freedom to identify prophets based on what they say and their apparent wisdom and righteousness.

     Then there is the story of Zul Qarnain in the Quran. Is this story even a real one or the kind of story found in the Arabian Nights? The style adopted by the Quran while narrating this story is that of narrating a fable and not a true story. This is the only part in the Quran where the style changes dramatically and becomes metaphorical which has misled many who take it literally. Why is this story even there in the Quran? It was as an answer to the questions Jews asked the Prophet to test whether he was really receiving revelations from Allah. There are FOUR stories in Surah Kahf which are not found in the Jewish scriptures but only in their oral traditions. The story of the people of the Cave is a true one based on the style of narration and the second one too could be true,while the third is certainly true as it involves Moses, but the fourth about Zul Qarnain may only be a fable popular among the Jews.

     Yusuf Ali writes a long note trying to figure out who Zul Qarnain was and conjectures that he may have been Alexander the great when there is little resemblance in their stories.  While one was a mighty conqueror, the other was a mighty traveller. And while Zul Qarnain may have been a prophet, Alexander cannot even be considered a man of God. What purpose does this story in the Quran then serve? It says very subtly that religion is for the city people and not for the simple tribal folks who live in the forests. These people may be left alone to lead their lives of innocence even if they go about naked. This point is of course missed by every commentator of the Quran who go on a wild goose change trying to figure out who Zul Qarnain may have been when he is probably only a mythical figure in a fable told.


    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/15/2019 6:09:14 AM



  • A man with even a modicum of wisdom will not debate so much with such little knowledge. He would readily understand and accept, that irrespective of what the Fig signifies, the adjuration is emphasizing that every messenger of Allah has brought the same message explaining what it takes to succeed  in this life and the Hereafter. While Surah 95 is swearing by all the messengers of Allah through time, Surah 103 is swearing by Time itself as witness. Is that so difficult to understand?

    The article acknowledges that most people will have a problem accepting Buddha as a prophet of Allah. GM sb is  one among the many who have such a problem. What is the big deal about being one among the many doubters?


    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/15/2019 6:02:40 AM



  • There are four stories in Surah Kahf and not three as mentioned in my previous comment.

    1. The story of the people of the cave
    2. The story of the two gardens and their owners
    3. The story of Al Khidr and Moses
    4. The story of Zul Qarnain


    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/15/2019 5:47:35 AM



  • Thank you Naseer. The translation of Yusuf Ali is wonderful. I read it many years ago. Even if he considers that Budha could be a prophet , it should be taken seriously.

     Is there any reliable work on identifying prophets not mentioned in the Quran ?

     Is there any app or site from where one can search ayats containing some words, context or topic?
    For example if I key in the word zakat , all ayats referring to it would show up , preferably with translation.

    By S. A. - 6/15/2019 12:18:58 AM



  • The meaning of the metaphors is in your mind. If the meaning is so obvious, why did no one else see it? As they say, ""The wish is father to the thought".

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 6/12/2019 1:03:00 PM



  • SA thanks for your comment. I just checked up Yusuf Ali's commentary on the Surah. He does mention the possibility of The Fig referring to Buddhism based on what some others have suggested  but with grave reservations.  The scholars do not seem to have any hesitation in mixing up the metaphors! The complete notes of Yusuf Ali on the verses are reproduced below:
     By the Fig and the Olive,

    The substantive proposition is in verse 4-8, and it is clinched by an appeal to four sacred symbols. viz., the Fig, the Olive, Mount Sinai, and the sacred City of Makkah . About the precise interpretation of the first two symbols, and especially of the symbol of the Fig, there is much difference of opinion. If we take the Fig literally to refer to the fruit or the tree, it can stand as a symbol of man's destiny in many ways. Under cultivation it can be one of the finest, most delicious, and most wholesome fruits in existence: in its wild state, it is nothing but tiny seeds, and is insipid, and often full of worms and maggots. So man at his best has a noble destiny: at his worst, he is "the lowest of the low". Christ is said to have cursed a fig tree for having only leaves, and not producing fruit (Matt. 21:18-29), enforcing the same lesson. There is also a parable of the fig tree in Matt. 24:32-35. See also the parable of the good and evil figs in Jeremiah, 24:1-10. But see n. 6198 below.

     It is possible that the Olive here refers to the Mount of Olives, just outside the walls of the City of Jerusalem, for this is the scene in the Gospel story (Matt. 24:3-4) of Christ's description of the Judgement to come.

    2. And the Mount of Sinai,

     This was the Mountain on which the Law was given to Moses. The Law was given, and the glory of Allah was made visible. But did Israel faithfully obey the Law thereafter?

    3. And this City of security,-

     "This City of security" is undoubtedly Makkah. Even in Pagan times its sacred character was respected, and no fighting was allowed in its territory. But the same City, with all its sacred associations, persecuted the greatest of the Prophets and gave itself up for a time to idolatry and sin, thus presenting the contrast of the best and the worst.

     Having discussed the four symbols in detail, let us consider them together. It is clear that they refer to Allah's Light or Revelation, which offers man the highest destiny if he will follow the Way. Makkah stands for Islam, Sinai for Israel , and the Mount of Olives for Christ's original and pure Message. It has been suggested that the Fig stands for the Ficus Indica, the Bo-tree, under which Gautama Buddha obtained Nirvana. I hesitate to adopt the suggestion, but if accepted it would cover pristine Buddhism and the ancient Vedic religions from which it was an offshoot. In this way all the great religions of the world would be indicated. But even if we refer the Fig and the Olive to the symbolism in their fruit, and not to any particular religion, the contrast of Best and Worst in man's destiny remains, and that is the main thing.

    This raises a doctrinal question of considerable importance: how does Islam view the ancient vedic religions and Buddhism, or for that matter, any other religion?

    As Muslims we are not in a position to affirm whether Budha was a prophet or not. Although the Qur'an states that Allah sent Prophets to every people (35:24), it does not mention the names of all of them. In fact it mentions by name relatively few of the Prophets of the Semitic tradition, or only such as with whom its first audience, the Arabs were generally familiar. As to its present form, we find the doctrines of Buddhism clearly at variance with monotheism and cardinal Principles of the True Religion as explained in the Qur'an. This may have been the result of distortion or loss by the followers of its original teachings.

    As a general rule, we cannot describe anyone as a Prophet or Messenger of Allah unless explicitly mentioned in the Qur'an, or Hadith. The Message as brought by Prophet Muhammad preserves in itself all that was essential in the earlier revelations or scriptures: it abrogates all the previous messages sent through earlier Prophets.


    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/12/2019 2:22:36 AM



  • GM sb specializes in contradicting me which is most welcome provided it is constructive. Can he or anyone else give a better explanation of the adjuration?

     (95:1) By the Fig and the Olive,

    (2) And the Mount of Sinai,

    (3) And this City of security,-

     The metaphors of the City Of Security and the Mount of Sinai are clear and beyond dispute.

    So what could the metaphor "The Fig and the Olive mean"?

    Look at the sheer balance in the metaphors. Two of the Metaphors "The Fig Tree" and "The Mount of Olives" have a fruit in them and are combined. 

    Christianity and Judaism are discussed in detail in the Quran and therefore mentioning these religions explicitly cannot be mistaken as a full endorsement of these religions in their present form.  Buddhism is not discussed in the Quran at all and therefore a direct reference to it could be inferred as full endorsement of Buddhism in its present state which has been avoided in my view.

    These verses use metaphors and are therefore among the Mutashabihat verses. These are not "Muhkamat"  verses to be taken literally. The Muhkamat verses are for all to understand. The Mutashabihat are for those endued with understanding and if some people fail to understand, it does not matter. 

     When using metaphors, how well Allah combines two explicit metaphors with two implicit ones to communicate a certain reservation about one of them, because the subject matter of what it refers to has not been discussed in the Quran. Combining with it the metaphor of Olive, makes it easy to understand the metaphor of The Fig. While partially hiding the meaning of the metaphor of "The Fig and the Olive", Allah also provides a very clear clue to their meaning in the way He uses them with two other explicit metaphors the meaning of which is very clear. The brevity and the precision with which the Quran communicates what it wants to communicate, is another clear proof of the Quran being a Book full of Wisdom.

     While understanding the meaning of the metaphor of the “The Fig and the Olive” has eluded the scholars, but once the correct meaning has been explained, its meaning no longer remains in doubt. The correctness of a truth statement is always self-evident, verifiable and easily proved wrong if it is wrong. Try proving it wrong or try coming up with a better explanation.

     However, most Muslims will continue to disbelieve in the correct meaning because they are conditioned to reject even Christianity and Judaism which are explicitly endorsed in the Quran and therefore they taking the Fig to refer to Buddha or Buddhism is very difficult indeed. The Muslims and their scholars will never be able to come up with a better explanation nor prove what I have said wrong and therefore the meaning of “The Fig and the Olive” will remain a mystery to them and the scholars will continue to engage themselves in trying to discover more magical powers in the two fruits while wondering all the time why on earth Allah had to swear by such ordinary fruits and not by something more exquisite such as saffron or pistachio or almond or hazel nut! It is in such an environment of confusion and lack of clarity that the mumbo jumbo of mysticism thrives.

     I have explained the meaning without any disclaimers because logically speaking, there can be no other meaning, and as I have repeatedly said, logically derived meanings are as good as if the same was stated explicitly in the Book.


    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/12/2019 12:24:39 AM



  • Naseer a very difficult topic extremely well written. Must congratulate you on your presentation.
    But still I am not convinced about the Budha reference.
    Has anyone else given such a reference ?

    As you have tried to connect a tree with Budha , have you come across any other such verse.
    Yes the Quran says that it has sent many prophets in every land speaking their tongues.
    It is a tough topic to research and find who they could be.

    By S. A. - 6/11/2019 11:41:06 PM



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