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Stop Infant Circumcision

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Published on May 11, 2013

Hasur/Concealer of Secrets Q. 3:39

My research shows that the Arabic word hasur does not mean “chaste” with regard to Yahya; rather, it means a “concealer of secrets.” Why the mistake in translation and commentary? As there was no extensive information given in the Quran about the life of Prophet Yahya nor in the Traditions (Hadith), the commentators turned to Christian tradition and simply repeated what they found there.

Muslim commentators of the Quran have placed considerable emphasis on this word. Al-Tabari interprets the word hasur to mean one who abstains from sexual inter course with women. He then reports a Tradition on the authority of Said ibn al-Musayyab which has Prophet Muhammad commenting on this:
“‘Everyone of the sons of Adam shall come on the Day of Resurrection with a sin (of sexual impropriety) except Yahya bin Zechariah.’ Then, picking up a tiny straw, he continued, ‘this is because his generative organ was no bigger then this straw’ (implying that he was impotent).”

Does this mean that even the prophets other than Yahya will be raised up with this sin of sexual impropriety? How can we accept that this was said by such a modest human being as the Prophet of Islam, comparing a straw to another prophet’s generative organ and perhaps implying that Yahya was impotent?

Another commentator, Ibn Kathir, a renowned Islamic scholar, rejects this view and adds: “This would be a defect and a blemish unworthy of prophets.” He then mentions that it was not that he had no sexual relations with women, but that he had no illegal sexual relations with them. Indeed, the whole discussion is unseemly.

It is known that prophets of God are immune from major sins, so this statement makes no sense at all when interpreting the word hasur. In addition, I would like to mention the fact that in his commentary, Ibn Kathir says he (Yahya) probably married and had children. He said this on the basis of what was related in the Quran of the prayer of Zachariah.

There are several reasons why interpreting hasur in this context as “chaste” or “celibate,” as has been done by many commentators, is a misinterpretation: First of all, there is another word in the Quran for “chaste” and that is muhsin. As God used a different word, hasur, it must imply something different.

Secondly, God says in the Quran that Islam did not bring Monasticism, but that it was something that they (the Christians) invented. (Q. 57:27)

Also: “And verily We sent messengers (to mankind) before thee, and We appointed for them wives and offspring, and it was not given to any messenger that he should bring a portent save by God’s leave. For everything there is a time prescribed.” (Q. 13:38)

Was prophet Yahya a messenger of God? OF COURSE HE WAS!!!

The word hasur is used once in the Quran and that is in regard to the Prophet Yahya. A major Arabic-English lexicon, that of Edward William Lane (Taj al-Arus) states that when hasur is used alone, it means “concealer of secrets.” In his translation of Ibn al-Arabi’s Book of the Fabulous Gryphon, (Gerald T. Elmore, Islamic Sainthood in the Fullness of Time, Brill 1999, p. 482) Elmore also translates the Arabic hasur as concealer of secrets. In the referenced passage, “chaste” would not have been appropriate.

News: “Messenger of God” —Ace Knight (האגרון): http://www.globalnewscentre.com/?p=12177

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiMC5...

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