Monday, February 6, 2012

Lower thy wings to the Believers!

Let us consider the following ayat of the Quran (15:88) :
“But lower thy wing (in gentleness) to the believers – Yusuf Ali’s Translation.
“But spread the wings of thy tenderness over the believers” – Muhammad Asad’s Translation.
The Arabic term “janaah” refers to “wing” of a bird. But do we have wings?
Muhammad Asad, comments  thus for the above verse:
“Lower thy wing for the believers”: an idiomatic metaphor for loving tenderness and humility”.
The same word “wing” is used in another context also in the Quran.
“And out of kindness lower to them the wing of humility and say: “My Lord! bestow on them Thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.” (17:24) (Yusuf Ali’s Translation).
Asad’s translation would be “And spread over humbly the wings of thy tenderness”.
This is with reference to our attitude towards our parents.
In his footnote to the verse 17:24 Muhammad Asad writes thus:
“Lower for them the wing of humility, out of tenderness (rahmah)” – a metonymical expression evocative of a bird that lovingly spreads its wings over its offspring in the nest”.
In Yusuf Ali’s footnote we find: “The metaphor is from a bird – who lowers her wing in tender solicitude for her little ones”.
How beautiful the Quranic metaphor is?
In this context let us consider some more hadith:
“The relationship between believers is like a wall, parts of which support other parts.” (Muslim)
“The believers, in their mutual relationship, mercy and affection, are like one body. If any part of it complains, the rest of the body will also stay awake in pain.” (Muslim)
The first generation of Believers as trained by the Prophet of Allah, demonstrated this tenderness in their relationship among themselves.

Let us consider the following hadith:
Hadrat Ibn Abbas says that he was confined within the four corners of the masjid in I’tiqaf when a man came to him. He greeted him and sat down. Ibn Abbas said to him that he looked worried and inquired what was the matter. The man replied: “Yes, O cousin of Allah’s Prophet! I have to pay the right of a certain man’s friendship, by the Owner of this grave, I have no means to pay it.” Ibn Abbas said: May I talk to you in this connection?” He replied that if he wished to, he might. The narrator says that Ibn Abbas put on his shoes and came out of the masjid. The man reminded that he was sitting in I’tiqaf. Ibn Abbas replied: “No, But I have heard from the owner of this grave, and many days have not passed – tears came to Ibn Abbas’s eyes – he says – “he who walked for the need of his brother and satisfied his need, then this act is better for him than ten years I’tiqaf, and he who performed one day’s I’tiqaf for Allah’s pleasure then Allah will place three trenches between him and the hell, and between each of which is a distance greater than the distance between the East and the West. (Baihaqi)
But what about ourselves now in India, Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere?
 by S.A. Mansoor Ali
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