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Surah Saba, interpretations required of Verses 11, 12, 13 and 14.


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Author Topic: Surah Saba, interpretations required of Verses 11, 12, 13 and 14.  (Read 51 times)
Ruhi_Rose
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« on: January 31, 2020, 02:30:56 am »


 
BismEm

As-Salam Alaykum dear everyone, sisters and brother.

I need your opinion (or tafsir) on whatever you can interpret to the best of your knowledge regarding the following Verses of Surah Saba.


"Saying: Make you long coats of mail and measure the links (thereof)."  34:11.
 
What does "long coats of mail" refer to?


"And unto Solomon (We gave) the wind, whereof the morning course was a month's journey and the evening course a month's journey, .."  34:12. 

What does the morning and evening course of the wind refer to?


"They made for him what he willed: synagogues and statues, basins like wells and boilers built into the ground."   34:13.

Some Hadith commentators have claimed that the "statues" refer to images of former Prophets and angels which Prophet Solomon directed his workers to make.  According to these commentators the laws of Monotheism in those times did not forbid such statues.  Can this be true, certainly doesn't to me.


"And when We decreed death for him, nothing showed his death to them save a creeping creature of the earth which gnawed away his staff. And when he fell the jinn saw clearly how, if they had known the Unseen, they would not have continued in despised toil."  34:14.  

Would anyone provide details of this historical event with some more Quranic information or Quranic references? 


Thanks and hope to read your input soon, InshAllah.



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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2020, 02:51:54 am »



Walaykum As-Salam Sister Ruhi.   I can give the interpretation of Verse 34:13 now.  For the other three Verses, will need to study a bit and I'll explain them tomorrow, InshAllah.

Quoting you:
Some Hadith commentators have claimed that the "statues" refer to images of former Prophets and angels which Prophet Solomon directed his workers to make.  According to these commentators the laws of Monotheism in those times did not forbid such statues.  Can this be true, certainly doesn't to me.

No, this is a very baseless claim.  NO truth in it whatsoever!

The Arabic word Tamathil (plural of timthal) means making something to resemble a natural thing that could be a human being or an animal or flower, tree, mountain, river or any inanimate object.  Verse 34:13 does not imply that those statues or images were of human beings or any other living beings.  It does not necessarily imply that the "images" made for Prophet Solomon were of human beings or animals.  Those "statues" could have been floral images, geometrical patterns, images of landscapes etc. for decorating towns, villages and buildings.

But let's elaborate this a bit.  While I would not agree with constructing images of humans as it's more likely to lead to veneration (so why take the chance?), several of our jurists may also consider constructing images of animals to be Haram.  However this depends entirely on the intention behind making animal figures.  If it's made from a spiritual perspective of glorifying them, then of course, needless to say, it's absolutely Haram.   But if it's made with a purely secular intent as a piece of decor, for example, the image of a cat prowling on a fence carved with wood or made with marble or ceramic etc. as a non-religious decoration you purchase for your living room, then it's certainly not Haram.  Many Muslims have these types of items in their homes just for decorative purposes with no further use.  Unfortunately again, our jurists forget to focus on niyaah (intent).

Concerning Verse 34:13, the era of Prophet Solomon:  Let's presume, for example (just an example), there was a farm somewhere in the vicinity of the land where Prophet Solomon lived which was known for its abundance of farm produce like goat and cow milk, eggs, vegetables and fruits.  So, on the road leading to that farm, images (or statues) of a goat, a cow, a chicken and a basketful of fruits and veggies were erected as symbolic of the farm's variety of products. Can anyone ever conclude this to be Haram?  I wouldn't even conceive of that.  If Prophet Solomon had set up statues of former Prophets and angels with the intent of proffering divinity to them, would Allah Almighty ever choose such a person as a Prophet and bestow on him so many favors?  Completely impossible.

These wrong claims by hadith commentators are borrowed from segments of later time Jews (I mean Semite Arab Jews not the Khazr turned Ashkenazis) living in the Holy Land who split their loyalty, some were supportive of Prophet Solomon and some not.  Those who didn't support him are the ones who accused him of deviation and thus making up false stories about him that he ordered making human statues of prophets with an approach of reverence.  There are many false stories propagated by various rival groups of Jews, just the way Muslims splitting into Sunnis and Shiias, have fabricated fallacious narratives about several reputable personalities. 

In the modern era, lukewarm folks in the West who are not averse to making or carving mages of humans with intentions of reverence have tried to cite Verse 34:13 as justification that it is allowed in Islam.  It's a very incorrect claim.  First, as mentioned, the word tamathil does not exclusively allude to humans and animals.  It refers just as much to inanimate things.  Thus simply on the basis of this word it cannot be assumed that the Quran allows human statues to be made for the purpose of religious veneration.  That's totally absurd.   Very conveniently these people forget history and the enormous wranglings between Semite Jews that went on unabated in the years after Prophet Moses and got more intense as centuries passed by, in the course of which not only did the Jews (similar to the Christians) alter the Divine Scripture but also wrote and verbally spread countless numbers of tales with no links to reality .. very similar to our ahadith. 


Related post:
Is it permissible for Muslims to use figurines as decor?  

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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2020, 12:41:28 am »



Thank you very much for this very illuminating read, my brother. 

While I would not agree with constructing images of humans as it's more likely to lead to veneration (so why take the chance?), several of our jurists may also consider constructing images of animals to be Haram.  However this depends entirely on the intention behind making animal figures.  

Very correct.  I couldn't agree more.   

I would only like to add, I also see a huge difference between paintings on paper/canvas and making statues.  As far as paintings are concerned, I would say it's fine to paint or draw pictures of anything including humans as long as those pictures don't depict any non-Monotheistic concepts. 
  
E.g. painting of Prophet Moses (pbuh) and parting of the Red sea which is simply an image depicting authentic history.  This is surely okay as it conforms with the descriptions of the event given in the Noble Quran.  Then again, the painting by Iranian artist Muhammed Farshchian on Ghadeer-e-Qum (scroll down this thread) portraying the Prophet (pbuh) and Imam Ali from behind (not showing their faces) .. of course this one is historically not authentic but just interesting from the view point of a nice piece of art.   And of course our Pinterest board on the study of the golden era of Islamic history through paintings.  It's impossible for anyone to get tempted to worship paintings unless the person is stark raving looney!  lol.   These are just for the purpose of appreciation of art, and keeping art authentic and its portrayal as close to authentic history helps to better educate people, right?

Thanks again brother, for your very rational and logical perspectives.   Hope to get the commentaries of the other three Verses too, InshAllah.


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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2020, 12:54:31 am »



You're welcomed sister Ruhi.

O yes absolutely, I agree one hundred percent with your perception.  I was only referring to images in the form of statues constructed with wood, marble, ceramics etc.  For these types of images, erecting statues of humans carries a possibility for some people with weak iman to get tempted into deviation.   The number of such people among true Muslims would be few; but unfortunately there are some in this weaker category. 

Paintings by artists are a completely different issue.  You're totally right, one can paint any image including humans as long as it does not go against the concepts and rules of Monotheism.

InshAllah, I will also put up my opinions on the other three Verses very soon.



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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2020, 12:58:49 am »



Right brother, your understanding is spot on.




InshAllah, I will also put up my opinions on the other three Verses very soon.


InshAllah .....

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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2020, 01:30:30 am »




Walaikum As-Salam.  MashAllah, indeed an interesting thread;  very educative. 

I can take care of the other three Verses mentioning my opinion in regard to their interpretations.


"Saying: Make you long coats of mail and measure the links (thereof)."  34:11.  

Coats of mail means jacket covered with or composed of metal rings or plates, serving as armor.  Refers to the military gear of medieval era, that is, steel armors for defense in battlefield. 

The Almighty bestowed on Prophet David the expertise to make shields and armors of steel.  This fact is confirmed by archaeological and historical research works.  According to them, the iron-age started between 1200 and 1000 BC and this was the period of Prophet David (reportedly around 1000 to 965 BC).  Iron age is the discovery of melting and molding iron.  More recent archaeological works in southern Palestine have shown the place was rich in  iron ore.  Prophet David utilized iron for making objects needed for defense during wars.  Around 1200 BC people in the land of Palestine learned the method of melting and molding iron for making chariots used during battles.


"And unto Solomon (We gave) the wind, whereof the morning course was a month's journey and the evening course a month's journey, and We caused the fount of copper to gush forth for him, and (We gave him) certain of the jinn who worked before him by permission of his Rab."  34:12.

This Verse is about the wind made obedient to Prophet Solomon by the Command of Allah Almighty.  Allah is able to do all things.  He is able to give whatever power He wishes to any of His loyal slaves.  "Kun Faya Kun."  In other words, the wind blew at Prophet Solomon's bidding and for his convenience.   As we know, long distance travelling was mostly by sea in ancient times and largely depended on the direction of the wind.   Travelling by ship was also slower and thus, voyages often took a month's journey at sea were made easier and more convenient for Prophet Solomon because of the favorable direction of the wind always blowing for his ships to and fro along his travelling routes.  It was a huge favor from The Almighty shown to Prophet Solomon.
  
Gushing forth of copper apparently refers to discovery of an useful natural resource, another favor from Allah Almighty.

Whether the jinn working for Prophet Solomon were human beings of surrounding regions or those creatures of Allah made by smokeless fire is only known to Allah Almighty.  We can only presume that they may have belonged to some society or entity whom Prophet Solomon governed with his power bestowed on him by The Almighty. 


"And when We decreed death for him, nothing showed his death to them save a creeping creature of the earth which gnawed away his staff. And when he fell the jinn saw clearly how, if they had known the Unseen, they would not have continued in despised toil."  34:14. 

 
The mushriks of Arabia during Prophet Muhammed's (pbuh) time regarded the jinn as associates of Allah and would also often seek refuge in the jinn. They also believed that the jinn knew the unseen.  They approached the jinn for knowledge of the unseen and for fortune telling.  Verse 34:14 repudiates all such false beliefs.

Also see the following Verses where The Almighty rejects all such beliefs of the disbelievers.

"And they imagine kinship between him and the jinn, whereas the jinn know well that they will be brought before (Him)." 37:158 As-Saffat. 

"Yet they ascribe as partners unto Him the jinn, although He did create them, and impute falsely, without knowledge, sons and daughters unto Him. Glorified be He and High Exalted above (all) that they ascribe (unto Him)."  6:100 Al-Anam. 

Coming to Verse 34:14, it  exposes the reality about the jinn that they do not have knowledge of the unseen.  From this Verse of the Quran we understand that death (or natural death) came to Prophet Solomon while he stood with the support of a staff (apparently made of wood) as the jinn continued to perform their duties at his behest.  Some time at that point Prophet Solomon passed away from this world into the next while  a woodlouse (or wood worm) began chewing at his staff.  When the staff was extensively chewed away by the worm, it couldn't support Prophet Solomon's body any longer and his body fell on the ground.  That's when the jinn realized that Prophet Solomon was a mortal man and they were wrong in presuming otherwise claiming to know the unseen.  This is what I understand.  


Related post:
'Stage between towns' - Surah Saba
   

   
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2020, 05:19:17 pm »



Walaikum As-Salaam and plenty of peace, dear sisters and brother.   Allah Almighty bless all of you.   It was very helpful reading all your inputs that are so compatible with the principles & values of our Great Noble Quran.

Just one point I thought of highlighting for my information.





Whether the jinn working for Prophet Solomon were human beings of surrounding regions or those creatures of Allah made by smokeless fire is only known to Allah Almighty.  We can only presume that they may have belonged to some society or entity whom Prophet Solomon governed with his power bestowed on him by The Almighty. 
 

As we know, in old Arabic (and probably also in modern Arabic), jinn has two definitions - those whom Allah created of smokeless fire and also foreign inhabitants of a land who maybe humans.   Then coming to Verse 34:14 that says   "And when he fell the jinn saw clearly how, if they had known the Unseen, they would not have continued in despised toil."   Also considering the culture of disbelievers in 7th century Makkah who thought jinn had knowledge of the unseen and associated them as partners of Allah Almighty (nauzbillah), which is evident from Verses 37:158 and 6:100 you quoted, isn't it highly likely that those jinn who worked for Prophet Solomon (pbuh) were the ones created by The Almighty with smokeless fire?  After all, jinn also inhabit all parts of the world - villages, towns, cities, forests, deserts etc. - and they have their own circles.   Could the possibility be greater that those working for Prophet Solomon were the jinn who can be categorized as the paranormal from the human perspective?  In ancient Arabia they were the ones who pretended to know the future, and with the passing of Prophet Solomon, The Almighty proved to them that they were wrong.
  
Whether or not Prophet Solomon knew that his workers were the jinn of smokeless fire is something known to Allah Almighty only.  It's likely Allah had given that knowledge to Prophet Solomon but we cannot confirm it. 

Your opinion, Sister Heba.



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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2020, 05:46:56 pm »



Fine commentary Sister Heba.



As we know, in old Arabic (and probably also in modern Arabic), jinn has two definitions - those whom Allah created of smokeless fire and also foreign inhabitants of a land who maybe humans.   Then coming to Verse 34:14 that says   "And when he fell the jinn saw clearly how, if they had known the Unseen, they would not have continued in despised toil."   Also considering the culture of disbelievers in 7th century Makkah who thought jinn had knowledge of the unseen and associated them as partners of Allah Almighty (nauzbillah), which is evident from Verses 37:158 and 6:100 you quoted, isn't it highly likely that those jinn who worked for Prophet Solomon (pbuh) were the ones created by The Almighty with smokeless fire? 
  

Very good observation for a more accurate analysis, Sister Zeynab.   Though Allah Almighty knows the truth of all matters, I think the possibility is higher that they were the paranormal jinn.

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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2020, 02:36:44 am »



 
...... Then coming to Verse 34:14 that says   "And when he fell the jinn saw clearly how, if they had known the Unseen, they would not have continued in despised toil."   Also considering the culture of disbelievers in 7th century Makkah who thought jinn had knowledge of the unseen and associated them as partners of Allah Almighty (nauzbillah), which is evident from Verses 37:158 and 6:100 you quoted, isn't it highly likely that those jinn who worked for Prophet Solomon (pbuh) were the ones created by The Almighty with smokeless fire?  After all, jinn also inhabit all parts of the world - villages, towns, cities, forests, deserts etc. - and they have their own circles.   Could the possibility be greater that those working for Prophet Solomon were the jinn who can be categorized as the paranormal from the human perspective?  In ancient Arabia they were the ones who pretended to know the future, and with the passing of Prophet Solomon, The Almighty proved to them that they were wrong.    

Unagruably, you're right Sis  Smiley   My study overlooked this point that certainly makes it more likely that they were the paranormal jinn of smokeless fire. 

Big thanks for the logical analysis.


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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2020, 10:50:02 pm »



Many, many thanks Sister Heba, Sister Zeynab.    Perfectly clear now.
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