Monday, 29 May 2017

He found you absorbed in His love so guided you to Him (Sura 93:7)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allah; the Entirely Merciful the Especially Merciful

Allah Most High says to His beloved Prophet

وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَىٰ۝

And He found thee wandering in search for Him and guided thee unto Himself

(Sura 93: 7)

The word ضالّ as used in this Verse has caused controversy as it ordinarily means “misguided” “erring” “astray”. However, this word has several other meanings, and that meaning should be understood which is befitting the status of the beloved Prophet

Regrettably, certain English translations of the Holy Qur’an have mistranslated this Verse resulting in denigration of the status of the beloved Prophet

The translation of Shi’ite translater, Ali Quli Qara’i: “Did He not find you astray, and guide you?”

The translation of non-Muslim British orientalist, A. J. Arberry: “Did He not find thee erring, and guide thee?”

These are other similar translations are incorrect for several reasons. Elsewhere in the Holy Qur’an it is stated:

مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمْ وَمَا غَوَىٰ۝

Your Companion has not strayed, nor has he erred

(Sura 53: 2)

Therefore, to be consistent with the Holy Qur’an, a majority of the classical exegetes have rejected the meaning that Allah found the Prophet “astray” or “erring” and then guided him to the Truth. They instead mention the reported incidents when the Prophet while still a young child was once lost somewhere in Mecca. At the time he was under the custody of his paternal grandfather Abdul Muttalib, who was greatly distressed that the Prophet was lost and he could not find him. Abdul Muttalib was so distressed he went straight to the sacred Ka’ba and begged Allah to return the Prophet to him. Incidentally, it was Abu Jahl who came across the beloved Prophet and returned him to his grandfather. Another incident is narrated that the Prophet and his uncle, Abu Talib, were once lost on the way to Syria but were miraculously guided back to the way. So here Allah is reminding the Prophet of His favors of guiding him back to the way when he was lost.

Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (d. 606H) has also explained another possible meaning which is that the Prophet was engrossed in the love of Allah, so Allah guided him to Him. This is the translation put forward by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani and Ahmad Reza Khan Barelwi in modern times. Imam al-Razi writes:

الرابع عشر: الضلال بمعنى المحبة كما في قوله:

{ إِنَّكَ لَفِى ضَلَـٰلِكَ ٱلْقَدِيمِ }

[يوسف: 95] أي محبتك، ومعناه أنك محب فهديتك إلى الشرائع التي بها تتقرب إلى خدمة محبوبك

Reference: Tafsir al-Kabir; v.31, p.218

Here, Imam al-Razi has given the example of Prophet Jacob (peace be upon him). When Prophet Joseph (peace be upon him) gave his brothers his Qamîs (frock) as a means of curing the blindness of their father, when the brothers returned to Prophet Jacob the latter said that he could smell the fragrance of his son Joseph, to which the brothers replied:

قَالُوا تَاللَّـهِ إِنَّكَ لَفِي ضَلَالِكَ الْقَدِيمِ۝

They said: “By Allah, you are still deeply engrossed in the same old love of yours.”

(Sura 12: 95)

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