April 07, 2005

Arabian Dialects

Chris Turner wrote: "If it was necessary for ALLAH - GOD to reveal it in the different dialects, then there must be a significant difference between these dialects - yes or no

"but how different ?

"e.g. is it

"(A) just pronunciation e.g. in the S of England we say "Baaarth & Graaass in the North they say "Bath & Grass" with a short a - but if that is all it was why did Allah have to reveal the Koran in the different dialect, Mohamed could have just pronounced the words differently?

"(B) different words for the same thing e.g. blackberry in the south - bramble in the North? Sidewalk (US) - Pavement (UK),

"(C) different words and grammar, e.g. Standard English, "I am going he is....", old fashioned country English "I be going, he be ...",

"(d) very different words and grammar, UK v West Indian English

"which was it ?"

In my research, the answer is at least both (a) and (b). (It could also be (c) or (d), but I haven't read anything to suggest that yet.)

"In some cases, each tribe used different words to describe the same object. For example, some tribes called the lion an 'asad,' while other tribes called it a 'layth,' 'hamzah,' 'hafs,' or a 'ghadanfar.' In other cases, differences occurred in the way certain letters were pronounced due to vowelling differences."
-- Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, "Usool at-Tafseer: The Methodology of Qur'aanic Explanation," p. 175

"In order to take into account the various differences which existed among the Arabian dialects, Allaah revealed the Qur'aan in seven different forms. The forms matched the dialects of the following seven tribes: Quraysh, Huthayl, Thaqeef, Hawaazin, Kinaanah, Tameem, and Yemen. These various forms did not represent different Qur'aans, as Jibreel only conveyed verses from a single Qur'aan written on a protected tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfooth) in the heavens. However, Jibreel was instructed to recite the verses that he brought in seven forms corresponding to the dialects of the major tribes. The various forms represented the various ways in which the same word might be said according to the various dialects. However, the meanings were all stated the same."
-- ibid, pp. 176-7

"This Qur'aan has been revealed in seven forms, so recite whichever is easiest for you."
-- ibid, pp. 178 (Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 6, p. 482, no. 514 and Sahih Muslim, vol. 2, pp. 389-90, no. 1782)

April 02, 2005

Qur'an Supports Flat-Earth Theory? Irrelevant!

Sabiqun wrote: "I must confess that from here onwards, I don't know how I can address the particular verses in mention without addressing the 'arabic issue'."

Perhaps I can help.

I've only looked at the past few posts in this thread, but what strikes me about this conversation (especially from Rex's side) is how it misses the forest for the trees. There's all this yada, yada, yada about how verses x, y and z somehow "prove" that the Qur'an supports a flat-earth theory.


The purpose of the Qur'an is to provide arguments in favor of a belief in one God, Allah (swt), a moral lifestyle, and so on. In the case of verses 88:17-20 (one example), the argument is the former, how by considering different aspects of nature (in this case, the camel, the sky, the mountains and the earth) one may come (insha'allah) to an understanding as to who the Creator really is.

"Allah commands His servants to look at His creations that prove His power and greatness. He says,

"(Do they not look at the camels, how they are created) Indeed it is an amazing creation, and the way it has been fashioned is strange. For it is extremely powerful and strong, yet gentle, carrying heavy loads. It allows itself to be guided by a weak rider. It is eaten, benefit is derived from its hair, and its milk is drunk. They are reminded of this because the most common domestic animal of the Arabs was the camel. Shurayh Al-Qadi used to say, 'Come out with us so that we may look at the camels and how they were created, and at the sky and how it has been raised.' Meaning, how Allah raised it in such magnificence above the ground. This is as Allah says,

"(Have they not looked at the heaven above them, how we have made it and adorned it and there are no rifts on it) (50:6) Then Allah says,

"(And at the mountains, how they are rooted) meaning, how they have been erected. For indeed they are firmly affixed so that the earth does not sway with its dwellers. And He made them with the benefits and minerals they contain.

"(And at the earth, how it is outspread) meaning, how it has been spread out, extended and made smooth. Thus, He directs the bedouin to consider what he himself witnesses. His camel that he rides upon, the sky that is above his head, the mountain that faces him, and the earth that is under him, all of this is proof of the power of the Creator and Maker of these things. These things should lead him to see that He is the Lord, the Most Great, the Creator, the Owner, and the Controller of everything. Therefore, He is the God other than Whom none deserves to be worshipped." (My emphasis.)
-- Source

Arguments like Rex's is merely barking up the wrong tree.

Understanding the Qur'an is a lot easier when you leave your preconceived notions behind.

April 01, 2005

More about the Sun's Orbit, mentioned in the Qur'an

idbc wrote: "Nice try dunner, but the Sura implies that the moon and the sun have the same orbit. (#42)"

No, the sura makes no such implication. The sura states, "They float each in an orbit." (My emphasis.) Not, "they float each in the same orbit." I've tried to think about why you might have made such an erroneous original statement ("Why does the Quran say that the sun has an orbit, when we know it doesn't ?" (#38)). Even the ancients, as far back as Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus; 85-165 CE), knew that the heavenly bodies all travelled in separate orbits. My conclusion was that you must be taking the perspective of an observer who watches the sun, moon and planets as they traverse the zodiacal band, wherein most of those bodies (with the notable exception of Pluto, the comets and some asteroids) all appear to be moving within the same area of the sky. Even if we take this perspective, the earlier sentence in the sura remains true: "It is not for the sun to overtake the moon..." The sun, of course, can never "overtake" the moon in the sky. The moon moves too quickly in its apparent motion. When there's a solar eclipse, it is the moon that overtakes and then passes the sun, not the other way around.

"It should also be pointed out that is is NOT the 'SUN' that revolves around the a 'galactic center' but the entire solar system. (#43)"

Irrelevant. It is the sun's gravity that holds the solar system together. The sun orbits around the galactic center; the rest of the solar system is merely along for the ride.

"Also as I pointed out the sun does not 'orbit' the center of our galaxy. (#45)"

Never taken an astronomy class, huh? :) Well, here's some information for you:

"The sun is one of hundreds of billion of stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. The galaxy is composed of gaseous interstellar medium, neutral or ionized, sometimes concentrated into dense gas clouds made up of atoms molecules, and dust. All of the matter -- gas, dust, and stars -- rotate around a central axis perpendicular to the galactic plane. The centrifugal force caused by the rotation balances out the gravitational force, which draw all the matter toward the center.

"The mass is located within the circle of the Sun's orbit through the galaxy is about 100 billion times the mass of the Sun. Because the Sun is about average in mass, astronomers have concluded that the galaxy contains about 100 billion stars within its disk.

"All stars in the galaxy rotate around a galactic center but not with the same period. Stars at the center have a shorter period than those farther out. The Sun is located in the outer part of the galaxy. The speed of the solar system due to the galactic rotation is about 220 km/s. The disk of stars in the Milky Way is about 100,000 light years across and the sun is located about 30,000 light years from the star's center. Based on a distance of 30,000 light years and a speed of 220 km/s, the Sun's orbit around the center of the Milky Way once every 225 million years. The period of time is called a cosmic year. The Sun has orbited the galaxy, more than 20 times during its 5 billion year lifetime. The motions of the period are studied by measuring the positions of lines in the galaxy spectra."

Source: Period of the Sun's Orbit around the Galaxy (Cosmic Year) (All italics mine.)

Understanding the Qur'an is a lot easier when you leave your preconceived notions behind.