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KITAB, QURAN & ARABIC

CHAPTER 1     KITAB, QURAN & ARABIC –     IS "ARABIC" THE NAME OF A LANGUAGE OF MIDDLE EAST AND "QURAN&quo...

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

SURAH 68 AL- QALAM

2018 / JANUARY



SURAH 68 -  AL QALAM - THE PEN OF DESIRE



ARABIC LITERATURE: 

This surah starts with initial ن

ن - Such type of separate alphabets are called initials or broken letters (Huroof e Muqattat). These abbreviations stand for some words. Abbreviations are used in all languages and Arabic is no exception to it. Arabs used similar letters in their verses which denotes some meaning according to context. نون (nun) according to EWL also means a dimple in a chin of a young child it also means hollow cavity in a mountain in which water stagnates- A dent in the ground due to rain, the depression generally happens on soft stone - it also means oblong depression between mustaches - pot filled with color liquid or dust.
 
In this surah the verses are arranged in such a manner that almost all the verses ends with the 'Nun' sound. It points to the poetic format of this text which facilitates learning by heart as it produces a very charming rhythmic meter. A large number of scholarly books have been written over the centuries on the possible meanings and probable significance of these disjointed letters the muqatta’at. Opinions have been numerous but without a final conclusion. They are also known as fawātih (فواتح) or "openers" as they form the opening verse of their respective surahs or chapters. 

Amin Ahsan Islahi a renowned exegete of the book Qur'an, has mentioned that since Arabs once used such letters in their Pre-Islamic Arabic poetries, it was only appropriate for the text of Qur'an to use that same style. He agrees with Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi (a classical commentator of the Quran) and mentions that since these letters are names for Surahs, they are proper nouns. So there is nothing mysterious or holy about it. The original Quranic text does not contain the title of the surahs and its a later addition for easy references, neither they were represented by numericals. These Quranic chapters were actually represented by initials or first verse of the surah itself.

By the end of the sixth century—the most brilliant period in the ancient history of the Arabs—the Arabic language attained its greatest perfection, in consequence, it is said, of the poetical contests which took place at the annual fair that was held at ‘Ukātz during the month of pilgrimage (Dhu’l-hajj). "For, as every tribe had many words peculiar to itself," says Sir W. Jones, "the poets, for the convenience of the measure, or sometimes for their singular beauty, made use of them all; and as the poems became popular these words were by degrees incorporated with the whole language: like a number of little streams which meet together in one channel, and, forming a most bountiful river, flow rapidly into the sea." The several tribes of the peninsula vied with each other in sending their best poets to represent them at the ‘Ukātz assembly. Of these "Prize Poems" seven, entitled The Mu‘allaqāt, par excellence, are preserved in many of the European libraries: they are the composition of Imra’u-’l-Qays; Tarafa; Zuhayr; Lebīd; ‘Antara; ‘Amr; and El-Hārith.

These poems which were considered as most excellent were afterwards written upon silk, in characters of gold, and hung up in the Temple and now on the walls of the house for decorative purpose — hence, it has been supposed, they were called Mu‘allaqāt, or "Suspended."

The authors of the Mu‘allaqāt were all men of high poetical genius, although they were in no sense possessed of literary culture - indeed, it is almost certain that scarcely one of them could read and write. They were natural poets, whose ignorance of letters was fully compensated by a nice sense of rhythm and the faculty of clearly and vigorously expressing in their rich and copious language what they thought and felt. The people of that era called them genius which means one possessed by genii. According to dictionary genii is a plural of genius page 798-797 Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary. And this very thing is called مَجْنُونٍ  (Majnoon) in Arabic, the possessed one. Although genie is an English word but its root is found in Arabic language. A jinn is an Islamic mythological character also known as spirit, which can take a human form.   

What is Poetry? 

Poetry is always difficult to understand than the prose. Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning. In poetry we have to decipher the message in order to reach the intellect level of the poet. This needs a lot of real imagination and common sense, thus the need arises for an exegesis. There can be many versions of the same poem, depends upon the intellect level of the interpreter.

Poetry as an art form may predate literacy. Epic poetry, from the Indian Vedas(1700–1200 BC) and Zoroaster's Gathas to the Odyssey (800– 675 BC), appears to have been composed in poetic form to aid memorization and oral transmission, in prehistoric and ancient societies. Other forms of poetry developed directly from folk songs. The earliest entries in the ancient compilation Shiling, were initially lyrics, preceding later entries intended to be read. The oldest surviving epic poem is the Epic of Gilgamesh, from the 3rd millennium BC in Sumer (in Mesopotamia, now Iraq), which was written in cuneiform script on clay tablets and, later, Papyrus. The oldest love poem is only slightly younger sitting among Sumerian documents such as a court verdict from 2030 B.C. Other ancient epic poetry includes the Greek epics lliad and Odyssey, the Old Iranian books the Gathic Avesta and Yasna, the Roman national epic, Virgil's Aeneid, and the Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata.

In short, poetry facilitates quick memorization as memorization was the only mode available to keep records intact in those days, when writing was a luxury for a common man. In olden days Hufaz (who can memorized) were respected a lot and was in great demand and people relied on them for information related to different topics.

The script of this surah is a conversation between our Consciousness (Rabb) and the audience. The surah addresses in 1st, 2nd and 3rd person. A very powerful surah aimed at directing us to achieve higher level of Consciousness and discard all that negativity that prevents us from attaining that goal.


EXEGESIS: 

Al Qalam signifies a means by which a person carves out or shapes its destiny or personality. Al-Qalam is not an ordinary pen but a special pen of the sculpture whose ink pot is filled with desire of different colors by which one sketches or writes down the resume of ones own life.  The Quranic translator Maulana Muhammad Ali (1897- 1951) has rightly interpreted the letter ن as an ink pot as the preceding verse clearly explains its function. According to classical lexicons Qalam also means something which is sought after / desirous / neat or pure, e.g a meat cut neatly without skin or hair, bones, intestine and legs can be termed as qalam. The basic meaning of qalam is to cut, trim, prune especially to increase fruitfulness and growth. Verses 1-4 describe how the man attains the highest pinnacle of evolutionary process by channelizing or trimming the desires in a proper way to achieve this highest rank among other species. I deduced Al-Qalam as the person/sculptor or a bud/sapling who has the potential to grow into a good character or a model or a figure or a statue by which the personality is contoured.

The respected author is assuring such personalities who are the model for growth of the highest level of evolution of consciousness, that they are not at all self-possessed as many people around them feel. Their seemingly self-possessiveness is actually a blessing for the people. It is not madness as some people think. People will soon discover their reason for being always occupied in contemplation. There will always be an opposition to them, but do not get affected with it. Your Consciousness is aware of who is on the right track. If you want to reach the highest goal, do not follow ignorant, deniers, jealous people, over-confident people who are habitual swearers, people of malicious intent or gossipers, slanderers, cunning manipulators, or intense greedy people. These people transgress all limits and will surely face the stigma and ignominy in this life.

Some people who wish to be enlightened and they become overwhelmed by the enlightenment, on realizing it they remained silent, fearing that they would have to face the ire and abandonment if they grasped the bitter fact of life. But only those who are determined to understand the message will be able to continue the learning process and implement it. To deviate from the prevalent thought process or beliefs is not an easy task except for the righteous and diligent who are favored by their consciousness due to their tremendous inclination towards acquiring the real knowledge. 

After the emergence of dawn of the real knowledge, the ones who opposed it realized their folly, blaming each other for the lapse. Some among them accepted that they tried to acquire the facts but were misguided because they were prejudice/unfair/unjust/narrow minded and transgressed all limits of decency. Nevertheless hoping that they would amend their ways, but this is only easy for those who are righteous and diligent, they enjoy the protection from their Rabb (consciousness) and they have the chances of amendment.

There will be no chastisement for the peaceful submitters from their Rabb. Chastisement is only for those who are over-smart and they tend to treat their own assessment and judgement as a final authority, they do not believe in patience, they make their opinion, assessment, judgement based on their outside temptations. Their mental perception created by these outside temptations becomes so powerful that it begins to suppress their own inner calling from their Rabb (consciouness) and eventually treat it as secondary. These people are disloyal to their Master (Rabb), the final authority of man. Instead they make their own assessment and judgement, a co-partner in the decision making process of the Creator of Mankind. On this account they face a severe humiliation and chastisement because they did not listen to the knowledgeable Rabb (Rabbul-Aalameen). Their judgments that are based on temptations become their lord, rather bigger than the Rabb, which is termed as Shirk (co-partner) in Islamic terminology, and for this they have to face the consequences.  The Rabb does not tolerate any interference in His Kingdom, He is the indisputable King.

However your Rabb is with the righteous, so do not make friends with the ignorant as they will make you slip down from your blissful kingdom.   


 بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 
INTERPRETATION:


ن ۚ وَالْقَلَمِ وَمَا يَسْطُرُونَ 1

Nun. By the pen of desire and by which they outline (make profile of life) - (96:4) 

مَا أَنتَ بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ بِمَجْنُونٍ 2   

You are not by the grace of your Consciousness, a self-possessed (81:22)

وَإِنَّ لَكَ لَأَجْرًا غَيْرَ مَمْنُونٍ 3

And indeed for you is the unprecedented reward

وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ 4

And indeed you (mankind) are upon a greatest rank of evolutionary process

5 فَسَتُبْصِرُ وَيُبْصِرُونَ

So you will discover and they will also discover

بِأَييِّكُمُ الْمَفْتُونُ 6

Which one of you is the afflicted one

إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ 7

Indeed, your Consciousness is most knowing of who has gone astray from His way, and He (consciousness) is most knowing of the guided one.

فَلَا تُطِعِ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ 8

Then do not obey those who oppose.

وَدُّوا لَوْ تُدْهِنُ فَيُدْهِنُونَ 9

They wish that you should suffer, so actually they would be suffering .

وَلَا تُطِعْ كُلَّ حَلَّافٍ مَّهِينٍ 10

And do not obey every worthless habitual swearer

هَمَّازٍ مَّشَّاءٍ بِنَمِيمٍ 11

 A slanderer, going about with malicious gossip -

مَّنَّاعٍ لِّلْخَيْرِ مُعْتَدٍ أَثِيمٍ 12

(By habit) prohibiter of all good, transgressing all limits, a disobedient   

عُتُلٍّ بَعْدَ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ زَنِيمٍ 13

Cruel and in addition a cunning manipulator

أَن كَانَ ذَا مَالٍ وَبَنِينَ 14

Because he is possessor of intense greed and possessions

إِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ آيَاتُنَا قَالَ أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ 15

When Our signs are unfolded upon him he says "Its an old line" (extraction)

سَنَسِمُهُ عَلَى الْخُرْطُومِ 16

We will stigmatized him on the face

إِنَّا بَلَوْنَاهُمْ كَمَا بَلَوْنَا أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ إِذْ أَقْسَمُوا لَيَصْرِمُنَّهَا مُصْبِحِينَ 17

Indeed We have tried them as We have tried the protected one, When they share the emergence of enlightenment, for the hack of it 

وَلَا يَسْتَثْنُونَ 18

And not concealing (the knowledge)

فَطَافَ عَلَيْهَا طَائِفٌ مِّن رَّبِّكَ وَهُمْ نَائِمُونَ 19

So overwhelmed by it, an overpowering from your Consciousness while they were inactive

فَأَصْبَحَتْ كَالصَّرِيمِ 20

So it happened as if an accomplishment / realization

فَتَنَادَوْا مُصْبِحِينَ 21

So they wish the emergence of dawn (enlightenment)

أَنِ اغْدُوا عَلَىٰ حَرْثِكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَارِمِينَ 22

 "That the Prospects are on your achievement, that you would be in realization"

فَانطَلَقُوا وَهُمْ يَتَخَافَتُونَ 23

So they separated and became silent

أَن لَّا يَدْخُلَنَّهَا الْيَوْمَ عَلَيْكُم مِّسْكِينٌ 24

That it will not be understood at this moment of stillness fallen upon you 

وَغَدَوْا عَلَىٰ حَرْدٍ قَادِرِينَ 25

And the prospects are on the determination of those who value

فَلَمَّا رَأَوْهَا قَالُوا إِنَّا لَضَالُّونَ 26

But when they saw it (the real knowledge) They said "Indeed we were surely misguided"

بَلْ نَحْنُ مَحْرُومُونَ 27

"Moreover we are deprived"

قَالَ أَوْسَطُهُمْ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكُمْ لَوْلَا تُسَبِّحُونَ 28

The most moderate of them said, "Did I not say to you; why did not you made an effort" 

قَالُوا سُبْحَانَ رَبِّنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا ظَالِمِينَ 29

They said "Our Consciousness made a tremendous effort, Indeed but  we were unjust through out."

فَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ يَتَلَاوَمُونَ 30

Then some of them accepted - some blaming on each other

قَالُوا يَا وَيْلَنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا طَاغِينَ 31

They said, "O woe to us; indeed we were transgressors throughout."

عَسَىٰ رَبُّنَا أَن يُبْدِلَنَا خَيْرًا مِّنْهَا إِنَّا إِلَىٰ رَبِّنَا رَاغِبُونَ 32

"Hopefully our Consciousness will change from it to a better one, Indeed we are eagerly inclined towards our Consciousness"

كَذَ‌ٰلِكَ الْعَذَابُ ۖ وَلَعَذَابُ الْآخِرَةِ أَكْبَرُ ۚ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ 33

As well the chastisement - and surely the rearmost/last chastisement is greater if they know

إِنَّ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ جَنَّاتِ النَّعِيمِ 34

Indeed for the righteous diligent deviation/pulling towards their Consciousness is an easy  security

أَفَنَجْعَلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ كَالْمُجْرِمِينَ 35

Shall We then treat the peaceful submitters like criminals ?

مَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ 36

What is [the matter] with you? How do you assess/judge/follow ?

37 أَمْ لَكُمْ كِتَابٌ فِيهِ تَدْرُسُونَ
 
Or do you have something written through which you continuously study ?

إِنَّ لَكُمْ فِيهِ لَمَا تَخَيَّرُونَ 38

That for you shall have through it whatever you choose ?

أَمْ لَكُمْ أَيْمَانٌ عَلَيْنَا بَالِغَةٌ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ۙ إِنَّ لَكُمْ لَمَا تَحْكُمُونَ 39

Or do you have any control upon Us, extending until the moment of establishment, that indeed for you is whatever you asses/judge/follow ?

سَلْهُمْ أَيُّهُم بِذَ‌ٰلِكَ زَعِيمٌ 40

You ask of them (assessment/judgement) which of them, will stand guarantee.

أَمْ لَهُمْ شُرَكَاءُ فَلْيَأْتُوا بِشُرَكَائِهِمْ إِن كَانُوا صَادِقِينَ 41

Or for them co-partners ? Then let them present along with their co-partners, if they are truthful.

يَوْمَ يُكْشَفُ عَن سَاقٍ وَيُدْعَوْنَ إِلَى السُّجُودِ فَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ 42

The Day the agenda will be uncovered and they are invited to understand humbly but they will not be able,

خَاشِعَةً أَبْصَارُهُمْ تَرْهَقُهُمْ ذِلَّةٌ ۖ وَقَدْ كَانُوا يُدْعَوْنَ إِلَى السُّجُودِ وَهُمْ سَالِمُونَ 43

Their mental perception humbled, humiliation will cover them. And they used to be invited to understand while they were free.

فَذَرْنِي وَمَن يُكَذِّبُ بِهَـٰذَا الْحَدِيثِ ۖ سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُم مِّنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ 44

So leave Me, with [the matter of] whoever denies this Happenings. We will progressively lead them [to punishment] from where they do not know.

وَأُمْلِي لَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّ كَيْدِي مَتِينٌ 45

And I will give them time. Indeed, My plan is firm.

أَمْ تَسْأَلُهُمْ أَجْرًا فَهُم مِّن مَّغْرَمٍ مُّثْقَلُونَ 46

Or do you ask for them a compensation ? So they should discharge what was preponderance

 أَمْ عِندَهُمُ الْغَيْبُ فَهُمْ يَكْتُبُونَ 47

Or the unseen is deviating them so they want to document it (by insuring the future)

فَاصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ وَلَا تَكُن كَصَاحِبِ الْحُوتِ إِذْ نَادَىٰ وَهُوَ مَكْظُومٌ 48

Then be patient for the instruction of your Consciousness, and be not like the owner of the temptation/enticement when his inner called while he was repressed.

لَّوْلَا أَن تَدَارَكَهُ نِعْمَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِ لَنُبِذَ بِالْعَرَاءِ وَهُوَ مَذْمُومٌ 49

If not that a favor from his Consciousness overtook him, surely he would have been laid exposed while he faced condemnation/criticism.

فَاجْتَبَاهُ رَبُّهُ فَجَعَلَهُ مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ 50

But his consciousness chose him and made him among the righteous.

وَإِن يَكَادُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَيُزْلِقُونَكَ بِأَبْصَارِهِمْ لَمَّا سَمِعُوا الذِّكْرَ وَيَقُولُونَ إِنَّهُ لَمَجْنُونٌ 51

And indeed, those who are ignorant would almost make you slip with their mental perception whatever version they listen, and say, "Indeed, he is self possessed."

وَمَا هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِّلْعَالَمِينَ 52

But it is not except a reminder for all the knowledgeable. 


BRIEF GUIDELINE OF THE CHAPTER: 

o Beware of your desire, its a pen which paints or molds your life.
o You have the potential to become the best.
o Trust your potentials and silently do your job, as there will be lot of oppositions.
o Real knowledge will emerge, it cannot be hidden for long, everybody will see it.
o People will call names - tag or label you, don't loose determination.
o True genuine knowledge only comes through your own efforts, so be righteous.
o Intense greed, temptations, fear will lead you astray from real knowledge and facts.
o Patience and perseverance is the key to good result.
o The Ignorant always have wrong perception to life, keep away from them.
o Take care of your Rabb (consciousness), He is omnipotent. 
o Rabb is the King and does not tolerate anybody else's dominion in His Kingdom.
o You are the artist of your own life, hold your own paint brush and choose your colors wisely. 











 








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