In the Name of Allah The All Merciful, The Most Merciful.
1. Say: "O you, the repudiators...
2. ...I worship not what you worship.
3. And not are you worshippers of what I worship.
4. And not am I a worshipper of what you worshipped.
5. And not are you worshippers of what I worship.
6. For you, your religion - and for me a religion."
surah was revealed in direct response to a suggestion made by
the repudiators of Makkah that they would make a 'fair trade'
with the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) with regards to the practice of
their religion: they would worship Allah for a year and the next
he would worship their idols and so forth in a perpetual
cycle of compromise.
verses four and five there are at least five different
interpretations. Most, if not all, English translations
available have chosen one over the others by translating verse
for as saying "will
not worship" instead of "am not a
worshipper". This interpretation understands the
repetition of the thought expressed in verses two and three to
be a device used to connote a change of tense. However, it
should be stated that the words are NOT conjugated as such and
the idea can be taken to mean the future in the same manner that
"I am not" could be taken to mean "I am not now,
nor will ever be".
preserving the tenses as they appear in the Arabic, all five of
the following interpretations are supported:
As stated above, the interpretation chosen by most translators
indicates that the first set of verses (2&3) refers to the
present while the second set (4&5) refers to now and
forever in the future.
Another interpretation holds that the first set points
to who each camp worships and the second set points to
the method, actions, and practices that each camp performs.
A third interpretation holds that the repetition is a means of
reiterating and confirming the thought.
Yet another interpretation states that the repetition in verse
four points to the fact that the Prophet had never in the past
worshipped their idols or deities even before he received the
message of Islam, and verse five confirms the ongoing
repudiation by those challenging.
The fifth interpretation mentioned here refers to the grammatical non-verb structure of the verse (called Jumlah
Arabic). A Jumlah Ismiyyah is fully a grammatically
conforming sentence without a verb which carries the meaning
of a state of being verb (which does not exist in Arabic). For
example, in Arabic "I Abraham" is a complete
sentence which has no verb and in English can only be "I
am Abraham." This interpretation infers that
grammatically, a negation used in such a sentence not only negates the omitted (implied)
action but negates the possibility of the action ever occurring. It
therefore negates the thought in its entirety, meaning that
the idea proposed by the repudiators is not only repulsive, but something
neither permitted nor possible.
page last modified on: May 03, 2006 -
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