Author Topic: Safa and Marwa identified - Surah Al-Baqarah [2:158]  (Read 4107 times)

runninglikezebras

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Safa and Marwa identified - Surah Al-Baqarah [2:158]
« on: January 30, 2017, 01:36:41 AM »


SAHIH INTERNATIONAL TRANSLATION

Quote
Indeed, as-Safa and al-Marwah are among the symbols of Allah . So whoever makes Hajj to the House or performs 'umrah - there is no blame upon him for walking between them. And whoever volunteers good - then indeed, Allah is appreciative and Knowing.

Marwah

It's not hard to see Marwah is Mount Moriah (Temple Mount) today in Arabic still called ﻣﺮﻭﻩ Marwah.  Wiki link.  The oldest reference to Mount Moriah is in Genesis and in Chronicles (OT).  This landmark has been called Moriah/Marwa for at least 3000 years.

Safa

Safa is a bit harder to identify.    The writing of the historian Josephus were most helpful in identifying this landmark.  Josephus narrates a story about Alexander the great visiting Jerusalem.  Although the story is most likely fiction, the names of landmarks most likely aren't.

From Jewish antiquities 11.317-345:

Quote
[11.329] And when Jaddus understood that Alexander was not far from the city, he went out in procession, with the priests and the multitude of the citizens. The procession was venerable, and the manner of it different from that of other nations. It reached to a place called Sapha, which name, translated into Greek, signifies a prospect, for you have thence a prospect both of Jerusalem and of the temple.

Now if you understand Sapha means prospect, it's easy to identify the landmark. Prospect in Latin is Scopus.  The landmark Sapha Quran is referring to is Mount Scopus.  This mount gives a prospect over Jerusalem and Temple mount (mount Moriah).  Wiki link



View from mount Scopus (Safa) towards mount Moriah (Marwa)

PS: Yes, this implies the majority of Muslims in the world are doing pilgrimage to the wrong place and praying towards the wrong place (Mecca instead of Jerusalem).

Aries

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Re: Safa and Marwa identified - Surah Al-Baqarah [2:158]
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2017, 02:25:22 AM »

Salam  :peace:

Veeeery interesting, but I have an etymological question to ask... What is the source for that etymology of "sapha" and its relation to "Scopus"?

Since I know σάφα is a very ancient Greek word meaning "completely, cleanly, certainly". Its indoeuropean root is *sap- and it gave other words like "sophos" (wise) and "sophia" (wisdom) and "sapheneia" (clearity of mind / words), but I never saw it related to "scopus" or its root.

Actually I just read "scopus" comes from a different and proto indoeuropean root  (*sḱep-ye- > indoeuropean  *speḱ-). And yes it means to "see/look": in Latin it means "I see" (v. specio) and also it appears as a verb in greek skeptomai (look at, think), but the point is that "sapha" and "scopus" are not related etymologically.Of course I am awared confussion is also one of the mechanism for etymological development.

So, despite of my blablabla, could you please provide the source for that etymology? Thanks in advance.


runninglikezebras

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Re: Safa and Marwa identified - Surah Al-Baqarah [2:158]
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2017, 02:46:15 AM »
To be clear, the sapha mentioned in Josephus antiquities is a corruption of the hebrew "Maspha" or "Mizpah" meaning "watch tower"/"place of outlook".   The Greek rendition of watch tower is "scopio"/"scopeo".  Translated into Latin: Scopus.

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Mount Scopus has been strategically important as a base from which to attack the city since antiquity. The 12th Roman Legion camped there in AD 66.  In AD 70, at the conclusion of the same war that led to the destruction of the Jewish Temple, Mount Scopus was used as a base to carry out the final siege of the city by the same 12th Legion, plus the 15th and 5th Legions, while the 10th Legion was positioned on the continuation of the same ridge, known as the Mount of Olives. The Crusaders used it as a base in 1099.

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Maspha

Name of several places in the Bible. The Septuagint transcribes Masph?, Masseph?, Masseph?t; Vulg.: Maspha and Masphath (once Masphe, Masepha, Mespha); Hebrew: M??peh and M??pah; the latter almost invariably in pause. The word, with many other proper names, is derived from ?PH=watch, observe, and means "watch- tower" (speculum, skop?a), which sense it bears twice in the Bible (Isaiah 21:8; 2 Chronicles 20:24). Josephus interprets by katopteu?menon or (Antt. VI, ii, 1).

I hope this explains the etymological relation to you.

Wakas

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Re: Safa and Marwa identified - Surah Al-Baqarah [2:158]
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2017, 02:55:33 AM »
peace all,

Regardless of meaning, Quran implies they are incidental to al hajj (the commemoration/homage), thus not necessary:

http://mypercept.co.uk/articles/meaning-hajj-Quran.html
All information in my posts is correct to the best of my knowledge only and thus should not be taken as a fact. One should seek knowledge and verify: 17:36, 20:114, 35:28, 49:6, 58:11. My articles

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runninglikezebras

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Re: Safa and Marwa identified - Surah Al-Baqarah [2:158]
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2017, 03:01:22 AM »
This topic isn't about whether hajj is mandatory or not.  Regardless of your off-topic post, the thesis of Jerusalem being the destination of hajj is entirely missing in your article (it only tests the Meccan thesis).

Aries

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Re: Safa and Marwa identified - Surah Al-Baqarah [2:158]
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2017, 03:20:47 AM »
To be clear, the sapha mentioned in Josephus antiquities is a corruption of the hebrew "Maspha" or "Mizpah" meaning "watch tower"/"place of outlook".   The Greek rendition of watch tower is "scopio"/"scopeo".  Translated into Latin: Scopus.

I hope this explains the etymological relation to you.

Uhmm actually I doesnot, because "scopus" and its verb "scopeo" is the copy of the greek "skopos/skope" and it was a very well known word in Alexandrian times and later, so how can "sapha" and "skopus" be the same thing (kind of translation) starting from hebrew or not? What I mean is that if "Maspha" is mount Scopus, I don't know, but "sapha" has nothing to do with the connection of both...

I am not getting into al hajj at all, just curious how this maspha - sapha - scopus thing came out

Thanks anywayyyyyyy
 :peace:

runninglikezebras

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Re: Safa and Marwa identified - Surah Al-Baqarah [2:158]
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2017, 03:28:27 AM »
I'll try again...

Sapha in hebrew means to watch

Maspha in hebrew means a place from where you can watch/watch tower

Sapha into Greek =  "skopos/skope"

Skopos into Latin = Scopus

Wakas

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Re: Safa and Marwa identified - Surah Al-Baqarah [2:158]
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2017, 05:55:09 AM »
This topic isn't about whether hajj is mandatory or not.  Regardless of your off-topic post, the thesis of Jerusalem being the destination of hajj is entirely missing in your article (it only tests the Meccan thesis).

Unfortunately rlz, you have a propensity to be hasty and misread. My comment in this thread didn't even mention anything about whether hajj is mandatory or not. Ironically this makes your post off-topic.  8)


This thread is about identifying safwa and marwah, and people can read an analysis below:

2:158 Indeed, the safa1 and the marwah2 are from the markers/tokens (sha3air)3 of God, so whoever did HaJJ 4 (at/of) the shelter/house5 or enlivened/visited6 there is no blame/error on him that he go amongst by/at them both7 and whoever volunteered good/better8 then God is Appreciative, Knowing.

1 - root: Sad-Fa-Waw. See Project Root List to read about possible meanings for given roots in this article.
2 - root: Miim-Ra-Waw.
3 - root: Shiin-Ayn-Ra. The root meanings and Quran usage suggest the word describes things/tokens/symbols/markers/practices (usually to do with sustenance/benefit) that have a deeper significance, i.e. help make us aware of something (e.g. God and His beneficience). Honouring such "sha3air" can indicate "taqwa" (forethoughtfulness/conscientiousness/piety) of the hearts, and can provide opportunity to be thankful and/or magnify God for what He has guided you - see 5:2, 22:32, 22:36-37.
4 - root: Ha-Jim-Jim. Note the perfect/past tense implies one could have done "HaJJ" but not necessarily encountered "safa" and "marwah" yet, meaning they are not compulsory aspects of "HaJJ" (or "umrah") but are accessible secondary to it. Also if they were an intrinsic part of "al HaJJ" then there would be no need to state "there is no blame on him that he should go about/amongst them". This is further reinforced by the imperfect tense "ttawwaf" which follows. As a side note, some Traditional commentators also mention this point.
5 - root: Ba-Ya-Ta. It principally means to reach the night or spend the night in and "bayt" is that place. It can be used for any structure that is utilised for such a purpose. Thus, "bayt" is closer to shelter as the conceptual meaning and within that meaning is the house. In this context it refers to the locality/region/area, wherein "al hajj" is being held, and is thus acting as a shelter/house for the people. This will be further discussed later.
6 - root: Ayn-Miim-Ra. Also perfect/past tense.
7 - root: Tay-Waw-Fa. Note it says "ttawwaf bi" which is the exact same phrase in 22:29 (involving the ancient/noble shelter/house / "al bayt al 3tiq") which most commentators take to mean "circuit" but they do not take it to mean "circuit" here. Some may argue that since there are two objects here, going to and fro is the implied meaning here rather than "circuit".
8 - the phrase "whoever volunteered good/better" is likely related to what came before, i.e. "no blame on him that he go about them". Interestingly, if it is taken as "whoever volunteered better", as I feel the implication is, then this can only mean: better than "going about/amongst safa and marwah". The obvious question then is: what is better?

2:158 clearly indicates there is a difference between HaJJ and i'tamara/visited (commonly translated as "umrah").

The additional information we have extracted about "safa" and "marwah" is as follows, which may help narrow down the possible meanings:
1) other occurrences of "sha3air of God" refer to provision of sustenance/food by means of the animals, thus they could be related to that
2) they are accessible to those who did HaJJ or visited the house/shelter, but are secondary to it
3) it is possible some might mistakenly assign blame if one goes about them or one going about them could think they are doing something negative/wrong
4) it may be possible to volunteer better than going amongst them

When we look at CAD "al safa" can refer to the animals which give much milk (said of she-camel/sheep/goat), and "al marwah" can refer to a stone where a cooking fire is started or on which an animal is slaughtered. If we opt for these meanings then the one going about them in 2:158 would be consuming food, not providing it. If so, this makes it easy to understand why this could be thought of as a negative, i.e. someone at this location could take advantage of such offerings/availability and consume aplenty without giving in return. This would also help explain why it says "whoever volunteered better" because providing food is better than consuming it, and this may tie in with verses such as 2:196 which discusses giving an offering/gift (e.g. an animal to be used for food provision). This is also the case for one who did HaJJ because even though doing HaJJ involves providing food for others, one could still consume more than they gave.
If we do choose this meaning, then we may need to consider why animals of milking are not discussed under the ordinary food to give/feed others with for one undertaking the HaJJ and this may be because it is more difficult for one to do, as the timing needs to be right for a female animal to give milk, e.g. shortly after them giving birth. Giving an animal for slaughter is much easier.
There are other possibilities for these words from CAD, e.g. "al safa" can mean "the palm tree heavy with fruit", "al marwah" can mean "a type of fragrant tree".

A plausible interpretation of "no blame on him that he go about them" is that this phrase is often used in AQ to discuss an exception/modification to the recommendation/rule/principle (e.g. 2:229, 2:282, 4:101, 4:102, 24:29, 24:58, 24:60), thus could refer to an exception, e.g. regarding slaughtering of animals on a stone (as this may be misconstrued as a throwback to idolatrous practice, see 5:3), or "marwah" can mean a stone from which blades are made even though there is no hunting or fighting in this period, or sightseeing of unique/stone landmarks at such a location could be mistaken for their veneration. Volunteering good/better in this case would be to help out at the event rather than sightseeing perhaps.

There seems to be insufficient evidence, as per Quran, to definitively deduce the meaning of "safa" and "marwah", however we should bear in mind that whatever they are the implication is that they are not critical/compulsory aspects for one who did "HaJJ" or visited.

And your claim that the above work only "tests the Meccan thesis" shows once again you did not read the article carefully. Granted, on a superficial reading one might think that, but the article goes into detail about various attributes the location would have etc thus allowing a reader to test any location to see if it fits. Of course, a dedicated article on a Jerusalem thesis would be better but for now I'm not that interested in the location, whether it be Jerusalem or Mecca.
All information in my posts is correct to the best of my knowledge only and thus should not be taken as a fact. One should seek knowledge and verify: 17:36, 20:114, 35:28, 49:6, 58:11. My articles

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Aladin from Azra tribe

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Re: Safa and Marwa identified - Surah Al-Baqarah [2:158]
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2017, 06:27:10 AM »
So, you're telling that "first Muslims" were performing El-Hajj as going to Jerusalem and it wasn't forbidden to them to visit those two hills?
If I remember good, Jerusalem in that time was under Romans, so maybe Romans were "first Muslims"?

Don't be fooled, El-Hajj is not for any building or place, it's for Allah's friend, Ibrahim hanif a.s. and his pure progeny a.s.

Allah swt knows best.
There cannot be both opinion and knowledge
of the same thing at the same time

"The First Teacher", Aristotle

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Re: Safa and Marwa identified - Surah Al-Baqarah [2:158]
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2017, 08:59:49 AM »
Hajj is one's own devotion. If one puts their own things aside for something this is hajj. Going around doing good deeds is hajj.

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