MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Friday, August 19, 2022

New Column : Friday Quotes From The Quran - "mutashaabihat"

 Hi folks. There has been a suggestion (for sometime) that I spend a bit more time on the Quran. I hope the non Muslims may also find it interesting or useful, or both. But sometimes it can get too technical so the nons may not be able to follow it. It will be once a week - on Friday. Hence 'Friday Quotes From The Quran. 

The method is very simple. I will just copy paste or cut and paste from available sources that can be easily verified by the readers. Or I can post YouTube videos or the links to the videos which you can verify for yourselves. 

So for the kickoff here is the word mutashabihat that is found in the Quran. To Muslims this word is (or should be) very well known.

There are 12 occurences of this word mutashabihat and its derivatives in the Quran. This is as per one Quran Index.

Here are all the 12 occurences of the word found in NINE verses. In three verses (6:99, 6:141 and 3:7) the word appears TWICE. I will reproduce these translations.

No 1.  Sura 2:70    They said: "Beseech on our behalf Thy Lord to make plain to us what she is: To us are all heifers alike (tashabaha). We wish indeed for guidance, if Allah wills.

No. 2.  Sura 2:118  Say those without knowledge: "Why speaketh not Allah unto us? Or why cometh not unto us a Sign?" So said the people before them words of similar import. Their hearts are alike (tashabihat). We have indeed made clear the Signs unto any people who hold firmly to Faith.

No. 3  Sura 4:157  That they said, "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear (shubiha) to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not.

No. 4  Sura 13:16    Say: "Who is the Lord and Sustainer of the heavens and the earth?" Say: " Allah." Say: "Do ye then take protectors other than Him, such as have no power either for good or for harm to themselves?" Say: "Are the blind equal with those who see? Or the depths of darkness equal with light?" Or do they assign to Allah partners who have created as He has created, so that the creation seemed to them similar (tashabaha) ? Say: "Allah is the Creator of all things: He is the One, the Supreme and Irresistible.

No. 5  Sura 6:99 And He it is Who sends down water from the cloud, then We bring forth with it buds of all (plants), then We bring forth from it green (foliage) from which We produce grain piled up; and of the palm-tree, of the sheaths of it, come forth clusters (of dates) within reach, and gardens of grapes and olives and pomegranates, alike (mushtabihan) and un-like (ghaira-mutashabihan); behold the fruit of it when it yields the fruit and the ripening of it; most surely there are signs in this for a people who believe.

No. 6 Sura 6:141 And He it is Who produces gardens (of vine), trellised and untrellised, and palms and seed-produce of which the fruits are of various sorts, and olives and pomegranates, like (mutashabihan) and un-like (ghaira-mutashabihin); eat of its fruit when it bears fruit, and pay the due of it on the day of its reaping, and do not act extravagantly; surely He does not love the extravagant.  
No. 7  Sura 2:25   But give glad tidings to those who believe and work righteousness, that their portion is Gardens, beneath which rivers flow. Every time they are fed with fruits therefrom, they say: "Why, this is what we were fed with before," for they are given things in similitude (mutashabiha); and they have therein companions pure; and they abide therein.

No. 8  Sura 39:23  Allah has revealed  the most beautiful message (ahsana al hadith) in the form of a Book, consistent with itself, repeating (mutashabihan): the skins of those who fear their Lord tremble thereat; then their skins and their hearts do soften to the celebration of Allah's praises. Such is the guidance of Allah: He guides therewith whom He pleases, but such as Allah leaves to stray, can have none to guide.

No. 9  Sura 3:7       It is He who sent down upon thee the Book, wherein are verses clear that are the Essence of the Book, and others ambiguous (mutashabihat). As for those in whose hearts is swerving, they follow the ambiguous (ma-tashabaha) part, desiring dissension, and desiring its interpretation; and none knows its interpretation, save only Allah. And those firmly rooted in knowledge say, 'We believe in it; all is from our Lord'; yet none remembers, but men possessed of minds.

Here is a summary of the twelve English translations of mutashabiha and its derivatives in the Quran:

2:70   alike (tashabaha)
2:118 alike (tashabihat)
4:157 to appear (shubiha)
13:16 similar (tashabaha)
6:99 alike  (mush-tabihan)
6:99 like (mutashabihan)
6:141  like (mutashabihan)
6:141 like (mutashabihin)
2:25 similitude (mutashabiha)
39:23 consistent with itself, repeating (mutashabihan)
3:7 ambiguous (mutashabihat)
3:7 ambiguous (ma-tashabaha)

So in TEN occurences (in EIGHT veres) it is translated as alike, to appear, similar, like, similitude, consistent, repeating. Most translations are consistent for these TEN occurences. The reader can check any Online English Quran translation - there are so many available.

Only in one verse Sura 3:7 mutashabihat is translated as ambiguous. Other translators say : unclear statements, several possibilities, allegorical, obscure, parabolical (?), figurative, multiple meaning, not entirely clear.

Of course we can draw more conclusions from this or ask more questions but this is just for information.

And here is a simple method I use to check which among the different English translations of the same word best fit the meaning of the Arabic word.

You take one version of the English translation of the same arabic word and plug it into another verse which also has that same word and then see how it sounds. 

For example if you take 'not entirely clear' (from one translation of Sura 3:7) and plug it into Sura 2:25 it becomes :

Sura 2:25   But give glad tidings to those who believe and work righteousness, that their portion is Gardens, beneath which rivers flow. Every time they are fed with fruits therefrom, they say: "Why, this is what we were fed with before," for they are given things  not entirely clear (mutashabiha); and they have therein companions pure; and they abide therein.

So which one is the better fit, similitude or 'not entirely clear' ? This simple method can help with a better grasp of the meanings.

I spent some time doing this. I enjoy this because it is more for my own education. I get to check so many translations and I become more familiar with the material.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.