Saturday, December 16, 2017

Trying to Understand a Quranic Passage

In Sura 26, the Quran retells its version of the Exodus from Egypt by the Israelites*. Verse 59 is quite forthright, the Children of Israel are "caused to inherit" the Land of Israel ("goodly dwellings", M. H. Shakir; "a fair estate", Muhammad M. Pickthall.)
by Allah.

Here is one discussion of the verse 59 which mixes up a country, "Palestine", which didn't exist at the time, with the historic Jewish Homeland to where the Israelites were going:

The relevant verses of Surahs Al-Baqarah, Al-Maidah, Al-Aaraf and TaHa confirm that after the destruction of Pharaoh in the sea, the Israelites did not return to Egypt but proceeded towards their destination (Palestine) and then, till the time of Prophet David (973-1013 B.C.) all the major events of their history took place in the lands which are now known as the Sinai Peninsula, northern Arabia, Transjordan and Palestine. As such, in our opinion the verses mean this: On the one hand, Allah deprived the people of Pharaoh of their wealth, possessions and grandeur, and on the other hand, He bestowed the same on the Children of Israel in Palestine, and not in Egypt. This same meaning is borne out by (verses 136-137 of Surah A1-Aaraf): Then We took Our vengeance on them and drowned them in the sea because they had treated Our signs as false and grown heedless of them. And after them We gave as heritage to those who had been abased and kept low, the eastern and the western parts of that land, which had been blessed bountifully by Us. The epithet of the blessed land has generally been used for Palestine in the Quran as in (Surah Bani Israil, Ayat 1); (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayats 71-81); and (Surah Saba, Ayat 18).


[26:16] "Go to Pharaoh and say, 'We are messengers from the Lord of the universe.

[26:17] "'Let the Children of Israel go.'"

[26:18] He said, "Did we not raise you from infancy, and you spent many years with us?

[26:19] "Then you committed the crime that you committed, and you were ungrateful."

[26:20] He said, "Indeed, I did it when I was astray.

[26:21] "Then I fled, when I feared you, and my Lord endowed me with wisdom and made me one of the messengers.

[26:22] "You are boasting that you did me a favor, while enslaving the Children of Israel!"

[26:23] Pharaoh said, "What is the Lord of the universe?"

[26:24] He said, "The Lord of the heavens and the earth, and everything between them. You should be certain about this."

[26:25] He said to those around him, "Did you hear this?"

[26:26] He said, "Your Lord and the Lord of your ancestors."

[26:27] He said, "Your messenger who is sent to you is crazy."

[26:28] He said, "The Lord of the east and the west, and everything between them, if you understand."

[26:29] He said, "If you accept any god, other than me, I will throw you in the prison."

[26:30] He said, "What if I show you something profound?"

[26:31] He said, "Then produce it, if you are truthful."

[26:32] He then threw his staff, whereupon it became a profound snake.

[26:33] And he took out his hand, and it was white to the beholders.

[26:34] He said to the elders around him, "This is an experienced magician.

[26:35] "He wants to take you out of your land, with his magic. What do you suggest?"

[26:36] They said, "Respite him and his brother, and send summoners to every town.

[26:37] "Let them summon every experienced magician."

[26:38] The magicians were gathered at the appointed time, on the appointed day.

[26:39] The people were told: "Come one and all; let us gather together here.

[26:40] "Maybe we will follow the magicians, if they are the winners."

[26:41] When the magicians came, they said to Pharaoh, "Do we get paid, if we are the winners?"

[26:42] He said, "Yes indeed; you will even be close to me."

[26:43] Moses said to them, "Throw what you are going to throw."

[26:44] They threw their ropes and sticks, and said, "By Pharaoh's majesty, we will be the victors."

[26:45] Moses threw his staff, whereupon it swallowed what they fabricated.

The Experts See the Truth
[26:46] The magicians fell prostrate.

[26:47] They said, "We believe in the Lord of the universe.

[26:48] "The Lord of Moses and Aaron."

[26:49] He said, "Did you believe with him before I give you permission? He must be your teacher, who taught you magic. You will surely find out. I will cut your hands and feet on alternate sides. I will crucify you all."

[26:50] They said, "This will not change our decision; to our Lord we will return.

[26:51] "We hope that our Lord will forgive us our sins, especially that we are the first believers."

[26:52] We inspired Moses: "Travel with My servants; you will be pursued."

[26:53] Pharaoh sent to the cities callers.

[26:54] (Proclaiming,) "This is a small gang.

[26:55] "They are now opposing us.

[26:56] "Let us all beware of them."

The Inevitable Retribution
[26:57] Consequently, we deprived them of gardens and springs.

[26:58] And treasures and an honorable position.

[26:59] Then we made it an inheritance for the Children of Israel.

[26:60] They pursued them towards the east.

[26:61] When both parties saw each other, Moses' people said, "We will be caught."

[26:62] He said, "No way. My Lord is with me; He will guide me."

[26:63] We then inspired Moses: "Strike the sea with your staff," whereupon it parted. Each part was like a great hill.

[26:64] We then delivered them all.

[26:65] We thus saved Moses and all those who were with him.

[26:66] And we drowned the others.

[26:67] This should be a sufficient proof, but most people are not believers.

[26:68] Most assuredly, your Lord is the Almighty, Most Merciful.


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