evebitestheapple

My ex-career as a muslimah

Making of a Deen: Ace cards – Arabic March 10, 2011

Filed under: Making of a Deen — evebitestheapple @ 2:08 am

Note: Refer to the Original post of the ‘Making of a Deen’ series as the starting point

Card games were very popular when I was growing up. Games like Bid Whist, Spades, and Poker were the source of many late-night weekend parties for my parents. However, other than Uno and Solitaire, I don’t know how to play any card games and am unfamiliar with the rules belonging to them. Yet, even a novice knows about the Ace card and the excitement it can incite in player. In Uno, the ‘wild’ card is the equivalent of an ace and the ‘wild draw four’ card is like the ace of spades. When dealing, the smirks and giddy grins of an opponent was always a tell-tell sign that they had a wild card(or two).

Both aces and wild cards are the vanguards of card games. Players, at times, hold onto them voraciously or wield them maliciously. They can even become indignent and smug since these cards can give them a preconceived notion that they will win. But, just like all things in life, the tables can be turned using the less significant cards and the ace rendered completely useless. So the same can be said about Arabic. Shayhks and scholars hail Arabic as the best and most perfect language and that is why Allah chose to send his last Revelation using it. Therefore Arabic is the Ace of Spades for Deen-ul-Islam.

The highest authorities use the high card, or Ace of Arabic, to push the idea of superiority of Islam and Muhammad. Many also use people’s deficiency of Arabic to make bold claims that people leave Islam because they were negligent in learning the language of Rasullullah. This is the card that Muslims pull out of their back pocket in every affair related to Islam. It is the card that gives them the false sense of victory over all the players.  However, it is this very card that can change value to a low card and this low card ace can be a thorn in the side of of Islam.

(insert) [definition] {here}

Many years ago, during one of my attempts to memorize the Quran, I noticed a trend in the translation. It was the habit of translators to put alot of words in parentheses, brackets, and braces. These words were meant to give clarity to the translated ayat through definition and related examples. I never really paid attention to them at first, I just thought the translators had a poor understanding of the usage of these punctuation marks. As time wore on, the words in the brackets became cumbersome to read because of the extra effort needed to correct the sentence in order to understand the translation.

No one can really skip over all the jargon in these marks because they will miss the  meaning of the ayah if they don’t read it. For example, “But as for my part, (I believe) that He is Allah, my Lord, and none shall I associate as a partner with my Lord…(18:38)” doesn’t make sense if I omit or skip over the words in parentheses. Some verses can be quite a challenge to read because they include (these), [these], and {these} all at once. Because of this, many people do not attempt to read the Quran to gain insight, they are just trying to get through a surah without having to take a couple of hours to sort through the verbal jungle. Others just abandon reading it altogether.

I felt reading the Quran to be a double edged sword. If I read it then I would get frustrated with the mish-mash of congested gobbledygook translations thus I would abandon the Quran. But then I would start to feel as though my eman(faith) was declining because I made hijrah from recitation of Kitab-ul-lah. Because of that, and since Arabic takes awhile to learn, I decided to try to make as much sense from the words-in-brackets and transliterations as much as possible.

It didn’t take me long to pick up on some things so I contacted a sister that was studying to be a Hafiz-ul-Quran to ask her some questions. One thing I noticed was the continued use of the word ‘bedouin’ in translations but the word didn’t appear in the transliterations nor the Arabic. Even though I couldn’t read Arabic, I could verify it’s nonexistence in the verse by listening to a reciter. She mentioned the word ‘badu’ actually only appears once or twice in the Quran. Yet beduoin is used regularly in some translations.

I also noticed the word ‘mosque’ is not said in the ayat-ul-Quran even though its used in translations. The actual word in verses is ‘masjid’. For example, “And as for those who put up a mosque by way of harm…(9:107)”  would read as “Wallatheenat-takhathoo MASJIDan diraaran…”. We also talked about how people commonly mispronounce Allah. The average person says ‘Ah’-lah’ saying Ah like they would at a dentist. When I paid attention to the way it was written in the ayat, I said it should be pronounced  Al-lah, saying A as in apple, to which the sister said I was correct. Armed with this new information, reading the words in the brackets took on new meaning.

Are you talking to me?

I am an old-fashioned girl in some senses. In the sense that I can buy something and so long as it lasts and does what I need it to do, I won’t buy another one until the first one completely falls apart. Because of that, it took me forever to buy a cell phone and when I did buy one, it was a plain jane phone. Blackberries and bluetooths were coming out by the time I purchased a phone. Before that, seeing people walking around talking to themselves was a mystery to me. I do it all the time when I’m at home but at the store? Then I learned they were talking on what was called a bluetooth. Before I knew of them, if someone was talking on one I wanted to ask them “Are you talking to me?”.

While reading the Quran, I would wonder who exactly is Allah talking to? and what is he talking about? Allah says “‘Alam nashrah laka sadrak or Have We not opened your breast for you(94:1)”. Okay, so who is ‘you’? Did Allah have a bluetooth on when He was revealing ayat? According to the translation in the parantheses, ‘you’ is Muhammad. Some may say that is obvious but not necessarily so. There are plenty of places in the Quran where Allah addresses people other than Muhammad but He doesn’t call them out by name. There are plenty of words that people have argued over the meaning. There are even some words that to this date are unexplained. Yet shayks, scholars, and imams like to state that learning Arabic is the key to truly understanding the deen. But the more I learn about Arabic, the less sense Islam makes. 

Elephant in the room

After my apostasy, I was talking to a Muslim brother and he whipped out the handy ‘Ace of Arabic’ card to explain that I really should rethink what I had done because ‘to get the beauty of Islam, one needs to know Arabic’. So I mentioned to him that Umar, amir-ul-mumineen, didn’t know some of the words of the quran and had to consult another sahaba about the meaning*. I told him how the sahaba used poetry to define the word for Umar even though poets were supposedly despised by Muhammad/Allah. After that Umar said:

“Stick to the recordings, and you will not be misled”. When asked, “what are recordings?” he replied, “The poetry of pre-Islamic times”. Therein is the explanation of your Book, and the meaning of your words.”

Okay, hold on a minute. How is it an ARAB that speaks ARABIC who: 1. accepted Islam when revalation was revealed 2. was Muhammad’s ace-boon-coon or right hand man 3. was so beloved by Allah that ayat of the Quran were revealed because of him**, NOT KNOW WHAT SOME WORDS MEANT and have to resort to poetry to define them?? What was the brother’s answer? *silence* and then move onto another topic. Scholars will then say that you have to know about uloom, dialects, usool, blah-blah-blah because that arabic ace high card eventually gets turned into a low card and rendered worthless.

No one ever has a real answer for the lifelong question “why do I need to learn an entirely different language to know and understand the best religion for mankind”? That question is the gigantic elephant that sits squarely in the middle of the room that the ulema want to pretend doesn’t exist. They give all kinds of tired, bogus, BS reasons explaining the benefits of learning Arabic or why learning should help me understand. But they can never explain why Allah, master and creator of the universe, would create people speaking in various languages and then send a final Messenger with the last revelation in a language that even the people it was revealed to at that time couldn’t understand.

Out of one side of their face they say “oh, look how the quran is translated into so many different languages” but when the doo-doo hits the fan they say out the other side of their face “oh, you cannot use the translations because you can only understand if you read the arabic”. Allah says:

“And indeed We know that they(polytheists and pagans) say: “It is only a human being who teaches him(Muhammad). The tongue of the man they refer to is foreign, while this(the Quran) is a clear Arabic tongue”(16:103)

But then scholars turn around and say that there are borrowed words of non-Arabic origin in the Quran. Say what? Allah sits on a Throne above seven heavens. Allah created that big ball of heat called the sun. Allah says he talks so much that even if He used the sea for ink, the water would dry up before He’s finished yapping. Allah created Adam out of clay. He created jinns out of smokeless fire. Heck, He even created clay and smokeless fire. He made the night rotate into the day and vice-versa. All He has to do is say “Be” and it is so. So why, with a resume’ like that, does Allah need to borrow words to communicate with Muhammad and send jacked up verses that no one understands without the use of supplementation?

The truth of the matter is the scholars will never be able to give a real answer because Muhammad was a religious entreprenuer who had his eyes on Mecca so he created Islam in hopes of being CEO of the Kabba. Ask a scholar to explain why Allah is constantly saying Us, We, or Our in the ayat and see if you get a sensible response. They cannot use the Arabic card then because it’s not all that hard for Allah to refer to himself as I. After all, the Quran is supposed to be kalaam-ul-lah or the speech of Allah. In those verses that use Us/We/Our they are referring to Muhammad and his alter-ego Allah.  The Ulema know it and Muslims know it but they do not want to admit it so they continue to issue baseless claims that one must study and appreciate Arabic to really grasp Islam. The reality is Muhammad used Arabic in hopes of impressing the Quraish and gaining control of Arabiya with his newfound religion.

And that is one of the reasons why I said goodbye, sayonara, arrivederci, auf wiedersehen, ciao, au revoir, adios, aloha, shalom, and bid adieu to Islam. 

~~~

* Umar was once with the other Companions in a gathering, and he asked them the meaning of the verse “or He will take them upon takhawuf”(16:47). At this an old man from the tribe of Hudhayl stood up and said, “This is from our dialect. Takhawuf means attrition(suffering loss little by little).” Umar asked him, “Is this something that the Arabs know from their poetry?” He answered, “Yes”, and recited to them the line of poetry:

‘Her saddle takhawuf(abraded) from a long and high hump, As when a piece of skin used for smoothing arrows has takhawuf(abraded) from the back of a tree’.  Taken from ‘An Introduction to the Sciences of the Quran’

** Umar said, “My Lord agreed with me on three things: I said ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Would that you took the station of Ibrahim as a place of prayer.’ I also said ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Good and bad persons visit you. Would that you ordered the Mother of the Believers to cover themselves with veils.’ So the divine verses of Al-Hijab(i.e. veiling of women) were revealed. I came to know the Prophet had blamed some of his wives so I entered upon them and said, ‘You should either stop(troubling the Prophet) or Allah will give His Apostle better wives than you.’ When I came to one of his wives, she said to me ‘O Umar! Does Allah’s Apostle haven’t what he could advise his wives with, that you try to advise them?’ Thereupon Allah revealed: It may be, if he divorced you (all) his Lord will give him instead of you, wives better than you Muslims(who submit to Allah)…”

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3 Responses to “Making of a Deen: Ace cards – Arabic”

  1. Becky Says:

    I found this really really interesting. Definitely very thought-provoking and something I’d been wondering about myself.

  2. rasheed Says:

    Eve,

    me again, this might be the wrong place to post this (thanks for your prompt reply on the other post btw), how do you interpret the Miracles of the Prophet/Allah, such as splitting of the moon, the battle of badr when apparently 300 were victors over 3000 with the help of Angels, The Miraj & the prophet describing Jerusalem without having never been there. Of course someone else could have come from Jersusalem & told him all its intricates in detail prior. The battle does make me wonder though. I used to go to Burdah gatherings, not sure you heard of them. The Burdah is known as ‘The Poem of the Cloak’ by Imam Busairi. I have heard many stories about high ranking spiritual men performing bilocation, people being shown stuff in dreams & much more. No doubt you know some stories yourself. With regards to this post, I always wondered about the story of the Tower of Babel & I know you had some interesting dialogue with some here about languages evolving. In Islam Allah says he is not ‘in’ (fii) but above (a’laa) the Heavens. He cant be contained by His creation. But from my past bible studies I read how a pharoah? decided to build a tower to reach the heavens ( or at least the sky) Then God(Allah, Jehovah) changed the tongues of people so they couldn’t understand each other & eventually through that they all went off their own ways. What worries me about this story is Allah is light years away from being just above the clouds & was he ‘scared/worried’ that humans would end up getting into heaven to i dont know, confront Him, take over etc. Does it not surprise anyone that we have sent Rockets into space way beyond the clouds & that our planes regularly fly through the clouds. Would our telescopes just blow up as we try to peer into space?

    On your comment regarding why the use of I/We/Our in the Quran, I never made sense of this either. I was told it meant the Royal ‘We’ but I never really bought that, I just accepted it because I am/was muslim.

    Another frightening thing I was told last year was the quran can actually curse you if it doesnt like when you are reciting. I always thought that was one thing you could do as a means to make tauba. Its not surprising many people dont bother to read it as the language really is so complex that if you mix up your sheen with you siin, of your daal with your dhaal you change the meaning of a word and could end up saying something very offensive. Ive heard brothers who were berated during a prayer for making a mistake with Surah Ahad (112).

    As for the whole arabic thing, I remember reading that the Prophet said ‘do not hate the Arabs as I am an Arab’ or something to that effect. It makes sense because when you go to arabia (as I have been on Hajj) they treat people like sh*t, especially black people. Lets remember that if there was no oil no mecca or kabah there, they would be treated like some 3rd world country that the rest of the world couldnt really care less about. One thing about Hajj I could never get my head around was that whilst on Hajj, you could never retaliate against an arab determined to test your patience. I was told an akhi of an akhi I knew got in a taxi and asked to be taken somewhere. The driver decided whilst being on the clock, to stop of socialise with mates and grab a cup of tea. Talk about service. When the brother enquired as to why and stressed his need in a polite manner to reach his destination, he had hot tea thrown over him, he did nothing. Me personally would have lost my hajj on that, but no where in the shariah does it really warn arabs to not mess with pilgrims & treat them with the respect they deserve, it just warns the pilgrims not to get angry on their once in a lifetime journey to Allah or they will lose their reward….

    Talk about being biased…

    • As far Muhammad’s “miracles” I think he either had an overactive imagination, repeated stories from other cultures, or experienced environmental phenomena. We know things that spooked Muhammad that he speaks about in Quran and Hadith were sometimes merely earthquakes, eclipses, or flooding of dams. Muhammad thought the flooding of Maryib(Marib) Dam in Yemen was really the story of Noah’s Ark and stuck it in the Quran. He would wig out at lunar eclipses so much so that he dedicated an entire salat to it. Why didn’t Allah just send down ayat describing the nature and science of these events to him?

      Muhammad most likely witnessed meteorites in the desert and I imagine he was awestruck. I’ve only seen one myself and even though it was brief, it was awesome. But the best story we can get is Allah is shooting missiles at the devils that are trying to steal a hearing? Why didn’t Allah put something more scientific about meteorites in the Quran? Who knows what Muhammad saw while looking at the moon, if he saw anything. He was so infatuated with it one would think he would know more. Why didn’t anyone else from history report this splitting moon? How did the moon just glue itself back together? How many days did it take for the moon to break apart and come back together? For surely an event like that would not just happen in a matter of minutes.

      My theory is the split moon was merely an optical illusion. Several hadith relate a mountain(Hira I think) was in the view of the split moon. There are times when the moon seems like it is so close you would think you can touch it. If you were to stick an object in front of a view like that it would look like the moon was indeed split in half. This is not hard to imagine considering the fact that when we are driving it seems as though the moon chases us. Or the fact that one minute it is in front of us then we make a couple of turns and it is behind us. A few more miles later we can’t even see it. But that doesn’t mean the moon moves. It means we are observing a combination of change of direction and optical illusions.

      As far as the miraj, there is a story in Zoroastrian teachings that may be similiar. Zoroastrian teachings come from Persia. According to Islamic teachings, Salman Parisi was Persian and spent a good deal of time with Muhammad. Whose to say Muhammad didn’t copy a story from the Zoroastrians like all the other stories he copied? I’ll even go a step further and say that I do believe that it may be possible to time travel while sleeping. But I am talking about the scientific metaphysical aspect of it. Not some drugged up gurus that are hallucinating. Personally, I have been off-and-on reading more about dream states and wondering if it is possible to control and build my dreams. I do believe the military has been working on this for years but I don’t buy Muhammad’s version. If he truly traveled throughout the universe why didn’t explain things like the fact there isn’t any oxygen in space? Or the fact that there isn’t any gravity in space? Or how humongous the earth is? Surely he passed by Jupiter. Why not tell us about this planet’s rings instead of winged horses? This story of Miraj is coming from a man who thought the earth was flat and that the sun orbited earth. He also said the sun went away at night to prostrate to Allah. Why didn’t Allah correct this error?

      I’ve heard the story about splitting of people in different languages in my Christian days although it is vague. I don’t know why people create stories to make their God(s) seem like idiots. Why split the people into different groups to avoid the tower from being built? Why not strike it down with a thunderbolt, or earthquake or something? Humans developed their own language and it is still changing to this day. People need to recognize that all these creations come from the god-like ability within us known as souls and not some mythical man sitting above the heavens ordering things to “Be”.


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