Author Topic: Why "al masjid al haram" /=/ time of acknowledgement aka the restriction period  (Read 1224 times)

progressive1993

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For some time, I was inclining to the interpretation that "al masjid al haram" referred to the time period of the 4 inviolable full moons/months. One argument against that based on language and usage in the Quran is simply that we already have the terms "al shahru al haram" and "al ashuhru al haram." There is no need for another term for this time. God does not haphazardly use 3 terms for the same thing. "al shahru al haram" is used for the general term for a restricted full moon/month and "al ashuru al haram" are the 4 restricted full moons/months. Al masjid al haram /=/ al ashuru al haram. Additionally, "masjid" would thus be understood as "time of submission/acknowledgement/subservience" and so on.

Now I will analyze the occurences of "masjid" and "masajid" in the Quran:

2:114 Who are more wicked than those who bar God's masajid; so that His name not be remembered in them (feeha); and they seek their destruction (kharabiha - see 59:2 for usage ? physical destruction)? It is they who should not be able to enter them except in fear; they will have humiliation in this world and in the Hereafter a painful retribution.

Why would people bar a restricted period for God?s name to not be remembered? Why is that so important in the restriction period as opposed to other times? How can you physically destroy a time period? Why would God want those who bar his masajid to only enter them in fear if it refers to a peaceful time? If we insert the interpretation of a an institution or physical temple it makes more sense.

2:144 We see the shifting of your face towards the sky; We will thus set for you a qiblah that will be pleasing to you, "You shall turn your countenance/purpose towards the direction (shatra) of al masjid al haram; and wherever you may be, you shall turn your countenance/purpose towards towards it." Those who have been given the law know it is the truth from their Lord. God is not oblivious of what you do.

2:149 And from wherever you go out, you shall turn your countenance/purpose towards al masjid al haram; it is the truth from your Lord; and God is not unaware of what you do.

Do those who were given the law have a 4 period time period of restriction? Or do they have a gathering place where they do there pilgrimage and have a cultural center where they can meet with other believers? Also, it says ?fa walli wahjaka shatra al masjid al haram,? which does not mean physical turning, rather to think about the meeting point of all believers and the peace and cooperation it entails. We are to take part of the spirit of ?al masjid al haram? with us wherever we go. Thus, physical place or an institution can still make sense. The restriction period is only 4 months, so we technically cannot observe it from wherever and whenever. It would be interpreted with the same reasoning.

2:191 Fight them wherever you meet them, and expel them from where they expelled you, and know that persecution is worse than being killed. Do not fight them at/in the vicinity of (aainda) al masjid al haram unless they fight you in it (feeha); if they fight you then fight them. Thus is the reward of those who do not appreciate.

If masjid al haram was a non-phsical building and/or the restriction time, using both aainda and feeha doesn?t make as much sense as if it is a building. Otherwise in and in the presence of (aainda) is the same ? you are either in the restriction time or you are not. However, you can fight someone at/in the vicinity of a building and you can fight them in it.

2:187 It has been made lawful for you during the night of fasting to approach your women sexually. They are a garment for you and you are a garment for them. God knows that you used to betray yourselves so He has accepted your repentance, and forgiven you; now you may approach them and seek what God has written for you. You may eat and drink until the white thread is distinct from the black thread of dawn; then you shall complete the fast until night; and do not approach them while you are devoted in the masajid. These are God's boundaries, so do not transgress them. It is thus that God makes His signs clear to the people that they may be righteous.

If masajid meant time of submission/acknowledgement, it would not make sense. If you are approaching women, then by default you are not making sujud to the message of God. Place makes more sense.

2:217 They ask you about fighting in the restricted month/full moon (al shahri al harami). Say, "Fighting in it is great offense," yet repelling from the path of God and not appreciating Him and the al masjid al haram, driving its inhabitants out is far greater with God. Persecution is worse than being killed." They still will fight you until they turn you back from your system if they are able. Whoever of you turns back from his system, and dies as ingrates, then these have nullified their work in this life and the next; these are the people of the fire; there they will abide eternally!

Why mention both the restricted month/full moon and masjid al haram in the same sentence? Clearly they are different. How can you drive out inhabitants of a restricted time?

5:2 O you who acknowledge, do not violate God's decrees, nor the restricted month, nor the donations, nor what is regulated, nor maintainers of al masjid al haram who are seeking a bounty from their Lord and a blessing. When it is permitted for you, then you may hunt. Let not the hatred of another people, because they had barred you from the Restricted Temple, tempt you to aggress. Bond together in piety and righteousness, and do not bind together in sin and animosity. Be aware of God, for God's retribution is severe.

Same point as above.

7:31 O Children of Adam, dress nicely at every masjid, and eat and drink and do not indulge or waste; He does not like the indulgers and the prodigals.

What is the significance of dressing nicely at a time of acknowledgement or the restricted months? This applies much more soundly to a place of submission.

9:28 O you who acknowledge, those who have set up partners are impure, so do not approach al masjid al haram after this their year. If you fear poverty, then God will enrich you from His blessings if He wills. God is Knowledgeable, Wise.

How can one person in the same city approach or not approach a time period? You can observe or not observe but you cannot approach it ? you are either in it or you are not. A physical building makes more sense. Also, this verse talks about the believers not approaching al masjid al haram since the idolaters took over.

9:107 There are those who have taken a masjid to do harm and hypocrisy, to cause division among those who acknowledge, and as an outpost for those who fought God and His messenger before. They will swear that they only wanted to do good, but God bears witness that they are liars.

This verse makes much more sense to denote a physical building. If masjid was a time of submission, how can you use that for causing violence?

9:108 You shall never stand in it. A masjid that is founded on righteousness from the first day is more worthy of your standing; in it are men who love to be cleansed. God loves the cleansed.

How can you stand in a time of acknowledgement? If understood as a place of submission, it makes much more sense even if we translate ?taqum feehi? as ?persist in it.? Standing in the temple is more literal and makes much more sense. Nothing is forced.

17:1 Extolled be to the One who took His servant by night from al masjid al haram to al masjid al aqsa whose surroundings We had blessed, so that We may show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearer, the Seer.

Was Muhammad taken out of a time period? How can you bless the surroundings of a time of submission/obeisance? ?Time of submission? is not impossible, but place of submission makes more sense.

17:7 If you do good, then it will be good for you, and if you do bad, then so be it. But when the promise of the second time comes, they will make your faces filled with sorrow and they will enter the masjid as they did the first time, and they will strike down all that was raised up.

How can you strike down all that was raised up in a masjid? Why would you strike something down at a time of submission/peace? This is talking about the descendants of Israel. Did they have temples or simply times of acknowledgement? If both, I still think place of submission makes more sense.

18:21 Thus We let them be discovered so that they would know that God's promise is true and that there is no doubt regarding the moment. They argued amongst themselves regarding them, so they said, "Erect a monument/building for them!" Their Lord is fully aware of them. Those who managed to win the argument said, "We will construct a masjid over them."

How can you construct a time of acknowledgement over someone? Is a time of acknowledgement a monument/building? Clearly, place of submission fits better.

22:25 Those who have rejected and repel from the path of God and al masjid al haram that We have made for people, for the dweller in it (feehi) or the visitor to it; and whoever inclines to evil action in it, We will let them taste a painful retribution.

How can someone dwell vs visit a time of acknowledgement? Can someone reside in it? Can you simply visit it? A physical place makes much more sense.

22:40 The ones who were driven out of their homes without justice, except that they said, "Our Lord is God!" If it were not for God defending people against themselves, then many pious communities would be demolished/broken into pieces (haddama), as well as markets, commitments and masajid in which (feeha) the name of God is frequently mentioned, would have been destroyed. God will give victory to those who support Him. God is Powerful, Noble.

Physical building fits much better. Haddama means to demolish or to break into pieces.

48:25 They are the ones who rejected and barred you from al masjid al haram, and barred your donations from reaching their destination. There had been acknowledging men and women whom you did not know, and you may have hurt them, and on whose account you would have committed a sin unknowingly. God will admit into His mercy whomever He wills. Had they become separated, We would then have punished those of them who rejected with a painful retribution.

How can you bar someone from the four restricted months? They are ongoing. Clearly this is referring to hajj and the donations that get sent and the meeting at al masjid al haram.

48:27 God has fulfilled with truth His messenger's vision: "You will enter the al masjid al haram, God willing, secure, with your heads shaven and shortened, having no fear." Thus, He knew what you did not know, and He has coupled with this a near victory.

This verse connects to 9:28 which spoke about the idolaters taking over al masjid al haram and the believers not approaching it. Because of this connection, I think physical building again makes more sense. Taken on its own I do see how ?time of acknowledgement/submission? can be understood.

72:18 The masajid are for God, so do not call on anyone with God.

Place makes more sense than time. I do see how time can make sense. However, throughout history people had places of submission.
10:41 If they deny you, say: "My works are for me, and your works are for you. You are innocent of what I do, and I am innocent of what you do."

Wakas

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peace p1993,

Firstly, if you are critiquing a specific view/article it is helpful to actually reference the work. I assume it is my article you read, hence your feedback/analysis. Whilst I appreciate feedback/analysis many of the issues you raise are addressed in the article.

Secondly, I noted your analysis here is more careless than what I would expect from you. For example:
# you regularly failed to differentiate between Quran's use of "masjid" and "al masjid al haram", i.e. you take it as the same thing sometimes
# your translation of 5:2 contains a glaring error (see the Arabic for when al bayt al haram, and, al masjid al haram, is used)
# your selective use of interpretation/reasoning throughout, e.g. in 22:40 you said hadama/demolish but you used "commitments", implying one can demolish a commitment but not a time of acknowledgement it seems
# you failed to address any of the issues raised in the article for a "AMAH = physical building " view

Thus, I recommend re-reading that article carefully, and pondering over the issues raised, and then seeing which view is the most sound. If after doing so, questions still remain feel free to ask them here.


Note:

Quote
God does not haphazardly use 3 terms for the same thing. "al shahru al haram" is used for the general term for a restricted full moon/month and "al ashuru al haram" are the 4 restricted full moons/months. Al masjid al haram /=/ al ashuru al haram.

They are not the same thing. The former is a time reference only. Please see the article for explanation.

Some confusion may be resulting from not appreciating that AMAH is a reference for the time-period/event of the inviolable months wherein al hajj is held and various restrictions/guidelines are in place at a locality.

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

www.studyQuran.org

progressive1993

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Peace,

I will address some of your points. In any case, Sam Gerrans makes a good case that "al masjid al haram" (if it is a physical building such as the one in Petra) has been abandoned by the believers. Thus, much of this debate would be irrelevant (if that is the case).

Even if that were not the case, if I - and I assume many on here share this opinion - were to participate in the "hajj," it would not be in Mecca circling around a stone house, kissing a black stone inside a vulva-shaped metal enclosure, throwing rocks at "satan" and getting trampled on and pushed around by a bunch of religionists dressed up in centuries-old Arab clothing. It would also probably not be in Petra. And perhaps it would not be using whatever time mechanism Muhammad used, since the details are not given explicitly - unless I come across evidence to suggest otherwise. It would be a local event inviting people to eat and discuss at a time that is convenient. I am over the nitpicking of details and focused on the big picture.

Whatever al hajj is, it involves peaceful cooperation, getting together and food for all mankind. Whether we interpret the period of this hajj as "al masjid al haram" or "al ashur al haram," or use a different mechanism - the most important thing is to do something. I think there is a reason why the Quran does not say "the restricted months are so and so and during this and that time." I think we both agree on the big picture. I think arguing over details is not as important as getting towards implementing something real, and if we were to implement something real, I think you, me and many others on this forum would agree on much more than we disagree on and create something beneficial rather than just debate.

On the Day of Judgement, I do not think that knowing the correct month or place or knowing what AMAH accurately meant while not hosting or participating in such an event will be anything close to being as important as actually doing the thing, feeding people and promoting peace, while perhaps not doing it "accurately" or having a slightly "wrong interpretation" of the verses. Doing something good is better than theorizing about something that one will never do, and it may not even be relevant if we take SG's viewpoint as an example - as stated before.  The same goes for all other concepts and study of the Quran and God's signs elsewhere.

That being said, let me address some of your points.

peace p1993,

Firstly, if you are critiquing a specific view/article it is helpful to actually reference the work. I assume it is my article you read, hence your feedback/analysis. Whilst I appreciate feedback/analysis many of the issues you raise are addressed in the article.

I am referring to the general view from that article, although I wanted to give my own take on the occurences of "masajid" and "masjid" whether it is in "al masjid al haram" or not. This relates to what you said here:

# you failed to address any of the issues raised in the article for a "AMAH = physical building " view

Thus, I recommend re-reading that article carefully, and pondering over the issues raised, and then seeing which view is the most sound. If after doing so, questions still remain feel free to ask them here.

Status quo bias. I don't feel the need to write a refutation of the article to come to a conclusion. I analyze what I see as true and if it is, I will accept it. If it isn't, I will not. I will not take sides. If you are right, then you are right. If you are not, then you are not. With discussion and framing my views anew, it is easier to re-think my views and entertain new ones.

I think you view debate and posts as very rigid, just like your critique of my post about dawn and night. It is not a competition. Its a framework for thoughts and ideas. I am open to new viewpoints, as anyone can see from my posts since 2009.

Secondly, I noted your analysis here is more careless than what I would expect from you. For example:
# you regularly failed to differentiate between Quran's use of "masjid" and "al masjid al haram", i.e. you take it as the same thing sometimes

???

AMAH /=/ any/every masjid. However, if  the "masjid" part of AMAH means time of SJD, then I, who likes consistency when analzying the Quran, will take "masjid" elsewhere to be the same thing. So if AMAH is inviolable time of acknowledgement, then masjid on its own should be time of acknowledgement.

Quite simply, if I am to be consistent, "time of sjd" does not fit as well as "place of sjd" if applied to all instances of "masjid," just like "prayer" and derivatives fail when applied to SLW throughout. Perhaps with further reading time of SJD will make more sense to me, but it would have to be applied on a pan-textual basis if that were the case.

# your translation of 5:2 contains a glaring error (see the Arabic for when al bayt al haram, and, al masjid al haram, is used)

That was an unintentional mistake.

# your selective use of interpretation/reasoning throughout, e.g. in 22:40 you said hadama/demolish but you used "commitments", implying one can demolish a commitment but not a time of acknowledgement it seems

To be honest, this is something I thought about. However, if we understand commitments as "acts of preaching/reading at a specified time" i.e. a gathering of people, it can make sense, the same way a pious community and markets can be destroyed. How do you interpret demolishing/breaking into pieces ("haddama") of "salawat" and "masajid?" Haddama seems to denote physical destruction of something.
10:41 If they deny you, say: "My works are for me, and your works are for you. You are innocent of what I do, and I am innocent of what you do."

Wakas

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Peace,

I'm hesitant to say if Sam Gerrans made a good case or not. See Nun's post here and SG doesn't even address the phrase that follows which weakens his position i.e. "...this year of theirs (Arabic: hum)" implying a continuation of addressee.

However I do agree that the big picture is most important, bearing in mind sometimes the small details can help clarify the big picture.

It seems you did not understand the first point I highlighted, so I will provide a clear example from your initial post:

Quote
2:114 Who are more wicked than those who bar God's masajid; so that His name not be remembered in them (feeha); and they seek their destruction (kharabiha - see 59:2 for usage ? physical destruction)? It is they who should not be able to enter them except in fear; they will have humiliation in this world and in the Hereafter a painful retribution.

Why would people bar a restricted period for God?s name to not be remembered? Why is that so important in the restriction period as opposed to other times?

You talk about "restricted period" but the Arabic of Quran says "masajid" only.


And lastly, I do not expect someone to write a refutation of the article in order to have an opinion BUT if a person reads the article addressing several possible meanings with their problems then makes a post advocating one of the options discussed therein and IGNORES the problems mentioned then I have to ask myself: why?

It's almost as if they want things to stay the same so ignore the challenges.

As I advised, re-read the article as most of the points you bring up are addressed therein. If questions still remain, ask them here. If you feel I'm saying this simply to preserve the status quo then you are entitled to your opinion.
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

www.studyQuran.org

Mazhar

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Quote
Conclusion of parts 1, 2, 3
The Quranic evidence weighs the evidence in favour of SJD meaning "to submit/honour/pay respect", "masjid" meaning "time of SJD", "al masjid al haram" meaning "the inviolable time of SJD" (i.e. the term referring to the time-period/event of the inviolable months). This understanding provides a logical, coherent and practical answer throughout, and helps answer some of the most difficult questions in Quran exegesis (e.g. 17:1-8, 17:60, 48:27, 2:142-150).

What should we understand from SJD meaning "to submit?

sub?mit [səb m?t]
(past and past participle sub?mit?ted, present participle sub?mit?ting, 3rd person present singular sub?mits)

verb
1.  vt propose or hand in something: to hand something in or put something forward for consideration, approval, or judgment
Applications must be submitted in triplicate.
 
2.  vi yield: to accept somebody else's authority or will, especially reluctantly or under pressure 
3.  vi agree: to agree to undergo something
had to submit to intensive questioning
 
4.  vi defer: to defer to another's knowledge, judgment, or experience 
5.  vt argue point: to state or argue that something is the case (formal) 

Microsoft? Encarta? 2006. ? 1993-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Can the word "time" collocate with it?


progressive1993

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Peace,

It seems you did not understand the first point I highlighted, so I will provide a clear example from your initial post:

You talk about "restricted period" but the Arabic of Quran says "masajid" only.

Fair enough. Still time does not fit as well. I also said the following regarding that point:

Quote
How can you physically destroy a time period? Why would God want those who bar his masajid to only enter them in fear if it refers to a peaceful time? If we insert the interpretation of a an institution or physical temple it makes more sense.

Still "masjid" will be a time of acknowledgement/submission. So those who bar masajid will enter a time of submission in fear? Do they change their mind and submit now instead? As I said, this interpretation fails when compared to place of sjd.

I think that "place of sjd" fits better than "time of sjd" for masjid.

And lastly, I do not expect someone to write a refutation of the article in order to have an opinion BUT if a person reads the article addressing several possible meanings with their problems then makes a post advocating one of the options discussed therein and IGNORES the problems mentioned then I have to ask myself: why?

It's almost as if they want things to stay the same so ignore the challenges.

That's exactly what I referred to before: your status quo bias. It seems you did not understand that term. It is when you set a reference point (your article) and view any deviation from it as more critical than you would if you analyzed it for its own merits.
10:41 If they deny you, say: "My works are for me, and your works are for you. You are innocent of what I do, and I am innocent of what you do."