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"Saban minal Masani" ('seven of the opt repeated')


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Author Topic: "Saban minal Masani" ('seven of the opt repeated')  (Read 18 times)
Zeynab
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« on: October 12, 2017, 12:00:13 am »

 BismEm




"Saban minal Masani" (also spelled "Mathani") is a Quranic expression in Surah Al-Hijr, Verse 87.  Surah Al-Hijr is the 15th Chapter of the Noble Quran.  "Saban minal Masani" means "seven of the oft repeated" alluding to seven Quranic Verses that are recited most often.  Undoubtedly, the reference is to Surah Fathiha, the first Chapter of the Noble Quran which is an inseparable part of every Muslim prayer (salat).

A supposed Quran follower named Joseph A. Islam who (I presume) runs a site called Quran Message is against this opinion, arguing that Verse 15:87 refers to specific significant Verses that make up the essence of the Quran, that it doesn't refer to Surah Fathiha.  He claims that the Quranic expression "Saba'an minal Mithani" as reference to Fathiha is a traditional view, even though this is not mentioned in the hadith literature nor are the traditionalists focused on this aspect.  Even if they are, in that case the  interpretation of Verse 15:87 as reference to the Fathiha is probably the only 'traditional' commentary that's fully independent of traditions and instead relies focusing directly on the Quran and not the extra-Quranic literature.  I would take that as a very positive approach.  But hadith followers view Verse 15:87 similarly as Joseph Islam.  This person's claim that Verse 15:87 does not refer to the Fathiha will help to cheer the hadith-following traditionalists who do not want to accept that either.  Traditionalists insist every aspect of the Muslim prayer (salat) was taught by the hadith, not the Quran.  Confirmation of Verse 15:87  as a clear reference to Surah 1 (which it definitely is) would imply that the practice of reciting Fathiha as mandatory in every prayer does come from the Quran and not from the hadith.  No wonder I've never read nor watched any lectures by hadith adhering scholars on the truth of "Saban minal Masani" as the clear Quranic reference to Surah Fathiha.  Joseph A. Islam claims to be a Quran follower but gives credence to the hadithists through his own discrepant analysis.

Let us take a close look at Verse 15:87.
 
Following is the Arabic transliteration:
walaqad  ātaynāka  sabʿan  mina  l-mathānī  wal-qur'āna  l-ʿaẓīma  (15:87)
 
And the English translation (word by word):
"And certainly, We have given you seven of the oft-repeated and the Quran Great."

J.A. Islam argues that because the word "verses" is not directly stated, so it doesn't refer to Surah 1.  That can be perceived as a complete lack of common sense within one's skull cage.  What else can the expression "seven of the oft repeated" imply if not Verses?    We know that Chapter 1 has seven verses (starting from "BismAllah Ar Rehman Ar Rahim") .. and we know for sure that it's recited in every rakat of every prayer.  It's unfortunate that there are persons like him who will work hard to prepare a complicated dissertation turning the actual substance upside down by ignoring the simple and forthright Words in the Message of The Almighty.

Furthermore, this man keeps blathering and sending the readers on a wild goose chase  playing with Arabic grammar and highlighting the use of the conjunction "wa" to demonstrate clarification when that's totally irrelevant concerning the words "saban"and "masani" under discussion in Verse 15:87.  The conjunction 'wa' is not creating the confusion and "saban minal masani" is not interpreted by anyone I know as a substance outside the Quran.  Quite the opposite.  That expression is from within the Quran and that's precisely the reason which makes the Fathiha with seven Verses the most likely reference.  As simple as that.

Not a single translator, traditional or non-traditional has translated "saban" as 'several.'  Everyone has translated it as "seven."  Let us take the translations of Abdel Haleem and Aisha Bewley of Verse 15:87.

"We have given you the seven oft-recited verses and the whole glorious Quran." (15:87) Translated by Abdel Haleem.
 
"We have given you the Seven Oft-repeated* and the Magnificent Qur’an."  (15:87) Translated by Aisha Bewley.

Now let us read the translation by some modernists whose works are generally not taken up by traditionalists.
 
"And, certainly, We gave thee seven often repeated parts of the sublime Quran."  (15:87)  Translated by Laleh Bakhtiar.
 
"We have indeed given you the seven oft-repeated (examples), and the majestic Qur'an."  (15:87) Translated Ahmed Ali.

Also in simple conversational Arabic, the the number "seven" translates as سبعة or سبع   The Corpus Quran gives the same translation for the word "seven."



Joseph A. Islam tries to portray a comparison of the word "seven" or سبعة as in Verse 15:44 with Verse 15:87.   Let me quote Verse 15:44.

lahā  sabʿatu  abwābin  likulli  bābin  min'hum  juz'on  maqsūmun  (15:44)
"For it (are) seven gates, for each gate among them (is) a portion assigned."

Joseph Islam thinks "seven gates" can also mean "several gates."   With the same presumption he claims "seven of the oft repeated" to be "several of the oft repeated" and thus according to him, Verse 15:87 refers to the "core teachings of the Quran" and not Surah Fathiha.  Not to mention, Surah Fathiha is one of the core teachings of the Quran along with Surah Tawheed, both these Surahs highlight Monotheism (Tawheed) as the very first step a submitter requires to accept. 

The load of speculation coming from J.A. Islam for the sake of a needless substandard debate is much too obvious as well as mind boggling.  First, he adamantly rejects the universally accepted definition of "saban" and twists it around from "seven" to "several" and then presumes those "several" oft repeated verses to be the core teachings but he does not say which "several" verses would likely indicate those core teachings.   He then jumps on to pick Verse 39:23 which, unlike Verse 15:87, is a more general Verse denoting the Quran as a guidance with repeated reminders.

al-lahu  nazzala  aḥsana  l-ḥadīthi  kitāban  mutashābihan  mathāniya  (39:23).
"Allah has revealed (the) best (of) [the] statement - a Book (its parts) resembling each other oft repeated."

According to Joseph Islam, the above Verse 39:23 carries the same concept as Verse 15:87 of "core teachings" of the Quran, because of the use of the expression "oft repeated."  But again, he does not mention that Verse 15:87 states "seven" along with "oft-repeated."  Therefore one doesn't need to be a genius to tell that Verse 15:87  refers to a specific core teaching concerning which the first dimension that comes to one's mind is the Fathiha because the allusion is so simple.

The trend of Joseph Islam's approach is strange.  He randomly picks the same or similar vocabulary used in different verses and then concludes that they all carry the same undertones without realizing that same or similar terminology does not necessarily have the same technical application in every sentence of a written or spoken matter.  Needless to say, there are countless examples of multiple meanings of a specific word in every language.  For instance in English the term 'point' can mean a sharp tip, it can demonstrate a direction or it can refer to emphasis within a text or discourse.  You can only determine its precise connotation after reading and grasping the theme of the sentence that contains it. 

In other words, there are certain terms and conjunctions that have or portray more than one meaning in the Arabic language, as in many other languages.  One needs to focus on the context to determine the allusion of every such word.  Similarly, while reading the Quran, it's imperative to concentrate on the Verse - often even on the preceding or following Verses - to understand the connotation of a relevant term or phrase which might be the central theme of that Verse.   It goes without saying that it would be highly fallacious to bundle up Verses containing similar words or phrases and defining them all with the same standard interpretation.

In conversational Arabic the word "several" has four or five variations but none of them are سَبْعًا or سبعة or سبع which only denote "seven."

Take a look at the translations of  "several" in conversational English to Arabic dictionary.



Just because the word سبع is used in some Quranic Verses to denote "seven heavens," that does not have any bearing on Verse 15:87.   

Contrary to the opinion picked by J.A. Islam from Edward Lanes Lexicon on the term سبعة  claiming it's "also used in a vague manner as seven or more or several or many,"  the Quranic Verses that involve the term 'saba' are more than explicit not to leave any room for such guesswork.  It's wider universal definition is "seven" and NOT "several" or "many."  We know for sure that Verse 15:87 alludes to "seven" and NOT "several" or "many."   We also know for sure that J.A. Islam's approach is meant to mislead the readers on Verse 15:87 claiming  "saban" (سَبْعًا )doesn't necessarily mean "seven" and tries to substitute it with "several" which is NOT the equivalent of "saban."   It is J.A. Islam's argument that stands on the flimsy platform, not what he is confusedly trying to refute. His refutal is not based on logic nor expertise of the Arabic language nor what he perceives as correct; rather it's based on his desire of an argumentative rejection of what the Quran asserts with ample clarity.



Related topic:
The Quran teaches the method of salat, not hadith.
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Heba E. Husseyn
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« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2017, 01:22:34 am »

I came across this man's name and some information few months ago and I sensed right away that he's dubious.  After reading this, my suspicions are confirmed.  Never trust this guy.

 

Just because the word سبع is used in some Quranic Verses to denote "seven heavens,"that does not have any bearing on Verse 15:87.

What did he say about the Quranic expression "seven heavens"?


Thank you for a perfect analysis on this topic, Sister.  This is truly important as it makes up one of the references to the fact that the Quran teaches the method of salat, not the hadith. 
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2017, 02:35:35 am »

What did he say about the Quranic expression "seven heavens"?
 

Sorry for the last reply Sis.  He's repeating his same fallacious perception .. that it's not "seven heavens" but "several heavens."  First off, it's not 'several,' it is "seven."  Secondly, those Quranic Verses on the universe are a different topic.  They have no connection with Verse 15:87.  Yet he is bringing it up. 
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