"Three things cannot be long hidden; the Sun, the Moon, and the Truth."--Buddha
It seems only natural to adjoin earlier posts about Time Perception (how we experience Time on Earth) with a post or two about the Celestial Clock Mechanism. In our Solar System it is comprised of Heavenly objects like the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars and the Zodiac/Constellations. Surahs titled for such objects include 53 (Stars/Revelation), 54 (Moon), 85 (Constellations), 91 (Sun), and 86 (Piercing Star/Sirius).
The timing couldn't be better for this discourse since on Friday, November 13, 2009 NASA announced that there is definitely water on the Moon. The news came subsequent to the LCross Mission satellites impacting Cabeus crater on October 9, and the analysis of the resulting plume.
It was reported that the water is present in significant amounts at the Lunar south pole, enough to encourage serious thoughts of establishing a viable Moon Base in the future. This is not the first time the Moon had been 'split' as previous manned missions brought back Moon fragments. It can also be said that each time the Moon is impacted with a meteor or meteorite the Moon is 'split.' But it would seem that the splitting by man-made events is the more significant indicator of the approaching 'Hour' since it is less common and therefore more remarkable; and probably the reason 'splitting' the Moon is mentioned in Chapter 54 The Moon as a noteworthy event.
54 Al Qmar (The Moon)
54:1 اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ
وَإِن يَرَوْا آيَةً يُعْرِضُوا وَيَقُولُوا سِحْرٌ مُّسْتَمِرٌّ 54:2
وَكَذَّبُوا وَاتَّبَعُوا أَهْوَاءهُمْ وَكُلُّ أَمْرٍ مُّسْتَقِرٌّ 54:3
54:1 The Hour approaches and the Moon Split.
54:2 And if they see a Sign, they object and say, “An ever-recurring delusion!” –
54:3 And they deny it and follow their own whims. But every Matter is Proved (finally).
Chapter 91 The Sun, pays poetic hommage to the Star at the center of our Solar system. The Sun is commemorated in a 15 line (Sign) verse having a consistent rhyme scheme at each line's end, (the feminine 'it' form, هَا sound 'ha'). The Sun's Duality is acknowledged in the telling by the use of the homophones 'Brightness' and 'Victims'; the Sun's Brightness reminding of its light/life-giving nature and the word Victims relating to the Sun's infernal quality. The 'ha' chain rhyme not only appears at the end of each of the first 10 lines of the verse shown below but continues throughtout the entire 15 Signs (Ayat) of the Chapter (Surah). (Such that in the chain rhyme ha-ha-ha-... the 'ha' sound is repeated 15 times--Is God Laughing?).
The first 4 lines mention some of the attributes of the Sun--that it is bright, the Moon follows it, it lights the Day, the Night covers its light. The next3 lines resolve to have us consider the Force behind not only the Creation of the Sun, but the Heavens, the Earth, The Soul, and the Soul's Perfection; as well as giving due consideration for the Soul being embued with a propensity toward both Good and Evil. The next 2 Signs point out that there is an expectation or responsibility to magnify the Good in each Soul thereby leading to Success; but should the Soul be stunted by developing its propensity for the Bad it would lead to Failure.
The Sun becomes the metaphor for the Soul and its Success or Failure. For example, Success is like Sunlight, Failure claims Victims. The Moon, or that which Reflects the Sunlight, becomes the metaphor for those who follow such examples of Success or Failure. The Day, which manifests the Sun's presence, is a metaphor for the Outcome of a Soul that is developed for the Good versus the kind of Day you get with bias towards the Bad. In a similar fashion the Night, covering or veiling the Day, is a metaphor that some of the time Results or Outcomes may be secreted or hidden. But given that Night passes into Day, the inference is that all that is hidden eventually comes to Light; just as the Sun is always present whether we see it or not. This last Truth echoes 54:3 in that every matter is Proved or shows itself for what it really is in the final analysis.
91 Ash-Shams (The Sun)
91:1 وَالشَّمْسِ وَضُحَاهَا
وَالْقَمَرِ إِذَا تَلَاهَا 91:2
وَالنَّهَارِ إِذَا جَلَّاهَا 91:3
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَاهَا 91:4
وَالسَّمَاء وَمَا بَنَاهَا 91:5
وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا طَحَاهَا 91:6
وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا 91:7
فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا 91:8
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّاهَا 91:9
وَقَدْ خَابَ مَن دَسَّاهَا 91:10
91:1 The Sun and its Brightness (Victims)
91:2 And The Moon that Follows (it)
91:3 And by the Morning that Lights (by it)
91:4 And the Night that Covers (it)
91:5 And by the Sky and Who.What.How (it is) Built
91:6 And the Earth and by Whom.How.What Expanded (stretched/spread/flattened it)
91:7 And Soul and Who Perfected it (And by the Self and the Other)
91:8 And Inspired it with Piety and Injustice
91:9 As such he who Purifies it Succeeds
91:10 And likewise he who Abases it Fails
َشَاهِدٍ Witness: n. witness, evidence, telltale, text, attestation; v. view, sight, see; adv. ‘to the best of my belief’
And the subject of the Witness is any possible meaning of the word َمَشْهُودٍ 'Mashhood': n. scenery, perspective, point of view, prospect, panorama, outlook, spectacle, what is seen or sighted.
There are many applications for a Spline, the basic thing is a slat, but in designing airplanes, boats and cars, before computers took the field, a spline was a shape made from metal, wood or rubber that helped designers draw smooth curves. In later applications it came to also mean functions or algorithms used to smooth out statistical data and graphs. In mechanics, a spline is a key that has grooves in it that fits into a chamber to make it operate. Spline keys typically have grooves in them so this feature along with the secondary meaning for spline make for the understanding 'those using splines or spline keys.'
In the historical context 85:4 is calling our attention to the Believers who were basically made to pay the ultimate price for their convictions by suffering through being thrown into a pit or gully and set on fire; Abraham himself was said to have been put through just such an ordeal.
Considering 85:4 in its entirety we may be given to understand that those carrying out these torments ‘the companions of the pits or gulleys’ are abhorrent accursed creatures or literally they are ‘killed.’ By extension it would appear those employing any spline or spline key in a manner that harms the Believers are also accursed and/or killed.
85:1 By the Heavens Coupled (Fixed) with Constellations__ وَالسَّمَاء ذَاتِ الْبُرُوجِ 85:1
85:2 And the Promised Day ___________________وَالْيَوْمِ الْمَوْعُودِ 85:2
85:3 And the Witness and What Is Witnessed___________ وَشَاهِدٍ وَمَشْهُودٍ 85:3
85:4 Accursed are the Companions of the Pit___________ قُتِلَ أَصْحَابُ الْأُخْدُودِ 85:4
85:5 The Fire Kindled___________________ ____النَّارِ ذَاتِ الْوَقُودِ 85:5
85:6 While they tended over it__________________إِذْ هُمْ عَلَيْهَا قُعُودٌ 85:6
85:7 And they stood Witness over what they did to the
85:8 And no wrong had they done but they Believed in God
Surah 53 The Stars/Revelation , its first 10 lines translated in an earlier post (Distance RA) and the following 15 lines translated here, relates two meetings between Muhammed (pbuh) and the Archangel Gabriel (pbuh) and the manner in which the Revelation of the Quran was imparted. While many interpret the word 'Najm' as 'Star', the verb for falling or descending is plural such that the subject is 'Stars'. At any rate 'Njmeh' is the singular for 'Star'. Since Signs 53:1-53:18 relate Muhammed's encounter with Gabriel on 2 particular occasions, the secondary meaning 'Revelation' is perfectly acceptable for 'Najm' as well.
وَالنَّجْمِ إِذَا هَوَى 53:1 مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمْ وَمَا غَوَى 53:2 وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَى 53:3
إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَى 53:4 عَلَّمَهُ شَدِيدُ الْقُوَى 53:5 ذُو مِرَّةٍ فَاسْتَوَى 53:6
وَهُوَ بِالْأُفُقِ الْأَعْلَى 53:7 ثُمَّ دَنَا فَتَدَلَّى53:8 فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَى 53:9 فَأَوْحَى إِلَى عَبْدِهِ مَا أَوْحَى 53:10
53:12 مَا كَذَبَ الْفُؤَادُ مَا رَأَى 53:11 أَفَتُمَارُونَهُ عَلَى مَا يَرَى
وَلَقَدْ رَآهُ نَزْلَةً أُخْرَى 53:13 عِندَ سِدْرَةِ الْمُنْتَهَى 53:14
عِندَهَا جَنَّةُ الْمَأْوَى 53:15 إِذْ يَغْشَى السِّدْرَةَ مَا يَغْشَى 53:16 مَا زَاغَ الْبَصَرُ
وَمَا طَغَى 53:17 لَقَدْ رَأَى مِنْ آيَاتِ رَبِّهِ الْكُبْرَى 53:18 أَفَرَأَيْتُمُ اللَّاتَ وَالْعُزَّى 53:19
وَمَنَاةَ الثَّالِثَةَ الْأُخْرَى 53:20 أَلَكُمُ الذَّكَرُ وَلَهُ الْأُنثَى 53:21 تِلْكَ إِذًا قِسْمَةٌ ضِيزَى 53:22
إِنْ هِيَ إِلَّا أَسْمَاء سَمَّيْتُمُوهَا أَنتُمْ وَآبَاؤُكُم مَّا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِن سُلْطَانٍ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ
أَمْ لِلْإِنسَانِ مَا تَمَنَّى 53:24 فَلِلَّهِ الْآخِرَةُ وَالْأُولَى 53:25
53 Najm (Stars/Revelation)
53:11 His heart did not lie about what he saw/witnessed.
53:12 Would you dispute with him as to what he saw/witnessed?
53:13 And likewise he saw Him during another Descent,
53:14 At the farthest/terminus Lote tree.
53:15 Near/In the Promised Garden.
53:16 Where the Lote tree was veiled with that which shrouded it.
53:17 The Eyes did not waver nor did they err/stray.
53:18 Indeed he witnessed some of God's Greatest Signs.
Signs 53:1-53:10 describe one instance of Gabriel manifesting in His Stately Form in order to deliver the Message. Signs 53:11-53:12 allude to just how incredulous one would be were they to witness such an event as an Angel Presenting Himself and Sign 53:11 is an immediate assurance to us, and more so the Prophet at the time, that the Prophet's senses were not deluded by such an incredible encounter. Ayeh 53:12 posits that since no one other than the Prophet witnessed it, how can they be in any position to dispute it (see Chicken Little's quandary)?
Sign 53:13 maintains that Gabriel had Manifested in his True form (described in 53:1-53:10) on at least one other visit; demarcated at the farthest limit or boundary by the Lote tree said to be situated in Paradise proper. At one time in that part of the world it was common to use trees to mark road boundaries and the Lote tree itself may very well be one akin to any of the genus Zizyphus, however, the Lote tree 'veiled in splendor' here in the Garden is an allegorical mystical tree, similar to what is known as the Tree of Life, Tree of Knowledge, or World Tree mentioned in other Religions. (photo: Ed Ailor)
Some assume it to be a particular variety of Zizyphus (a spiny variety of trees and shrubs) that marks the limit or boundary of Human Knowledge. Limited in that even our ability to articulate or in any other way define or understand the what/who/how/why of God, is not available to us; we can only know that God Is.
The Arabic word for the Lote tree is Sidr and since it marks the limit of our Human understanding it is mentioned in 53:14 as 'Sidrat al-muntaha' or the 'Lote tree of the farthest limit/boundary' (true bearing; Start Descent RA (53, 14); T=0); it coincidentally marks the boundary into Paradise.
Due to its regional prevalence many assume the Lote tree was used in the making of Christ's 'crown of thorns', and go so far as to say that particular variety of Lote was spina-christi (common to Southeast Asia). But it is more likely that the jujube and lotus varieties were the regionally common varieties in Christ's environs, so attempting to fix the variety as spina-christi with any certainty is not unequivocal. And stating something as fact when indeed it is only a guess is one way rumors get started.
And that leads to Signs 53:19-53:23 in that, simply naming something and assigning it attributes, no matter how elaborate or widespread this information becomes, does not make it True. Pagan religions all had a Mother Goddess of one form or another to worship, including the pagan Arabs who had a Triad of Goddesses to worship. The Triad comprised Al-Lat, 'Uzza and Manat, of whom Al-Lat was the Grande Damme.
53 Najm (Stars/Revelation)53:19 Have you heard of Al-Lat and Al-'Uzza?
53:20 And the third one, Manat, the other?
53:21 For you the males and for Him the females?
53:22 That is such an unfair division! (for you that is)
53:23 They are nothing but names you invented, you and your forefathers;
_____God had not Sanctioned anything about them. They but follow a guess and their own
_____whims. And now Guidance comes to them from their Lord.
53:24 Should the Human have whatever he/she desires?
53:25 Indeed the End and the Beginning (Last and First; Present and Hereafter) belong to God.
Some trace the name 'Allah' back to the root of the name for the pagan Mother Goddess Al-Lat, saying that Islam is indeed a pagan religion because of this association. Allowing that this etymology is correct (but I doubt it), this is also the case with the very word 'God' which derives from the name Gad (pronounced Gawd) for a pagan diety.
But praying to God with the Understanding that It is the 'Ultimate Creator of All' that is being extolled does not make God a pagan God due to the pagan origin of the word. Prior to Enlightenment as to what God Is, only pagan gods had names and people were wont to worship pagan dieties. It stands to reason that many (if not all) the names we have for God derive from pagan roots but many of us would shrink at the idea that we are praying as heathens just because the Names we now have for God trace their roots back to a Time of Ignorance.
Finally, 53:24-53:25 culminate with the rhetorical question; 'Should we each have whatever it is we desire?' The Realization being that we get what we Earn, what may accrue on various Attempts at what we Do, and Finally, what God intends for us to Have. The very idea that we think we have that much say in the matter is itself an illusion, since Ultimately it All belongs to God.