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I don’t know what that Arabic means, I only took it from Pixabay lol

Every person interested in Islam most likely have known this: the very first revelation of Quran, the holy book of Islam is اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ – (Al-‘Alaq (96):1). In Bahasa Indonesia, it is translated into “Bacalah dengan (menyebut) nama Tuhanmu Yang menciptakan”, in English, it will be “Read in the name of your Lord who created”. Iqra, the transliteration of the first word “اقْرَأْ ” has a meaning as “baca” or “read” as in “reading the book”, “reading the comic”, etc.

That’s what I understand, until my English is getting better and I read the Quran English translation.

Based on Sahih International, the translation is:

Recite in the name of your Lord who created –

Recite. Not read. Which has a different scope of meaning. Read, as most of know, is “to learn from what one has seen or found in writing or printing”. Calmly, no sound. While recite has the sense that you read something aloud.

This is something for me. As someone who interested in language studies, it is very interesting. A change of scope of meaning that could change my perspective of reading Quran. Moreover, Muslims are taught that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was illiterate, so “the angel Jibril asked an illiterate man to read, and suddenly he can read” thingy made the Quran revelation story seems magical. (Well, there is a discussion about whether Prophet Muhammad was illiterate, but it is irrelevant now and I have no knowledge about that, so I’ll just leave it here).

So what is the real meaning of iqra “اقْرَأْ ” ?

Muslims was taught that Quran can’t be truly translated, since Arabic is an old language that has concise nature in its words. So the answer to my question lies in the knowledge of Arabic… so I googled it, and found this link that has interesting answers.

In summary, it turns out only Sahih International that translate “اقْرَأْ ” as recite. Most of the translators translate the word to read and one of them to proclaim. So what’s the context or the situation when the first revelation revealed? From the top answer in that link, based on Ibn Kathir’s tafsir..

The context indicates that the word Iqra in verse 96.1 is a command to the prophet (saw) to recite or read or proclaim. Its meaning may be to read and understand the meaning and then proclaiming/reciting it aloud to others. So the conclusion is the word Iqra in the said revelation seems to have a broad meaning (a command to the prophet) to read and then proclaim it to the people of Mecca (who were pagans) by reciting it aloud.

There is also another interesting answer that needs a basic knowledge of Arabic root word system. Turns out the word “اقْرَأْ ” has the same root as ” قُرُوءٍ” which means “menstrual periods”, which can be found in Quran 2:228. Wow, talk about blood clot! The “menstrual periods” word itself come from the real meaning “gathering the blessed blood in the womb and being thrown out” and over time, it has been used as the name of the periods that include women’s idle days and immediately after them.

Later, the word began to be used in the sense of “accumulating something, distributing it, transferring it to other places”. The word used in the sense “getting pregnant, carrying the baby in the womb, and giving birth to it” and “bringing together letters, words, sentences or information and transmitting it to someone else”. (Please go to this answer link for clearer explanation). This is also why it is used in the sense of “reading”, but the real “act of reading something” is “tilawa” in Arabic, which roughly translated as “reading a text that has already been written”.

So by using “iqra“, it means the revelation is a command for the prophet to accumulate something (knowledge/revelation) and then will distribute that knowledge, because he has the responsibility to teach people what he learned, either verbally or in writing.

Yeah! That’s the conclusion of what I have read. My comprehension of the word “اقْرَأْ ” gone deeper, started as only “read”, then “recite”, then has connection with “menstrual blood”, then the real meaning: accumulate something (knowledge/revelation) and then will distribute that knowledge. This is new to me. Hahaha.

This “revelation” also struck me hard. I love reading (but I am getting lazier these days), I love accumulating knowledge, but I realize never really distribute it other that in the format of tweet or social media post. So this blog post should be one of the first steps to “distribute” the knowledge that I had today.

See you later,

N

Another source:

  1. The meaning of “read” in Merriam-Webster https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/read
  2. The meaning of “recite” in Merriam-Webster https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/recite
  3. The meaning of the root word “iqra” http://corpus.quran.com/qurandictionary.jsp?q=qrA
  4. The meaning of the root word “tilawa” http://corpus.quran.com/qurandictionary.jsp?q=tlw

Akhirnya. Selesai juga. Setelah melalui drama dengan penjual buku online yang ternyata menjual buku fotokopian dan halaman tidak lengkap, sekian bulan kemudian, saya menyelesaikan buku ini, yang direkomendasikan seorang dosen yang cukup dikenal di media sosial.

Tingkat keterbacaan (readability) buku ini menurut saya sangat rendah, karena saya sering sekali tertahan di satu paragraf untuk memahami maksud dari kalimat-kalimat tersebut. Entah karena saya yang kurang pintar dalam memahami kata, tata bahasa yang mungkin berbeda pada zaman saat ditulis (tahun 1940an), atau editor yang tidak membuat buku ini lebih mudah dibaca. Kalimat yang ada kadang terasa seperti transkrip kata per kata ketika seorang dosen sedang memberikan kuliah. Buku ini termasuk buku yang harus dibaca lebih dari satu putaran untuk benar-benar dipahami (bagi saya).

Terlepas dari semua itu, buku ini memang memberikan gagasan yang ingin mengganti gagasan masyarakat Indonesia yang sangat percaya pada logika mistika/supernatural dan tidak mau berusaha/berubah. Well, buku ini mengandung banyak hal yang tidak asing bagi pelajar SMA jurusan IPA atau mahasiswa pendidikan teknik, contohnya bab tentang matematika, hukum fisika, logika, dan premis-premisnya yang sangat bertentangan dengan logika mistika.

Walapun buku ini sepertinya harus dibaca berulang kali, ada beberapa hal yang dapat saya tangkap dalam putaran pertama (ditambah sedikit pencarian di Google). Mohon koreksi jika saya salah. Salah satunya adalah materialisme. Selama ini, materialisme dikaitkan dengan harta, tahta, foya-foya, dan sebagainya. Namun, di buku ini saya dikenalkan dengan materialisme yang lain, yang dipertentangkan dengan idealisme, yang tentu saja berbeda dengan idealisme yang selama ini saya tahu. Kata kunci dari materialisme adalah materi (you don’t say), di mana materi atau bukti bendawi sebagai titik awal kita dalam berpikir. Sementara idealisme tentu sebaliknya, ide yang menjadi patokan. Hal-hal gaib (yang tidak ada bukti bendawi dan/atau termaterialisasi) tergolong ke dalam ide.

Setelah membaca penjelasan materialisme vs idealisme tersebut, entah kenapa saya langsung terpikir penemuan mesin uap oleh James Watt. Mesin uaplah (yang sudah ada bukti bendawi) membawa pengaruh pesat bagi kehidupan manusia hingga dapat memicu terjadinya revolusi industri, bukan sekadar ide-ide yang mungkin ada di masyarakat Inggris ketika itu. Maaf melantur. Intinya adalah Tan Malaka mengajak kita untuk “memperhatikan kenyataan bendawi menggunakan pendekatan ilmiah” dan tidak menggunakan hal-hal gaib untuk memutuskan sesuatu.

Setelah itu, dialektika dan logika. Dua hal tersebut berkaitan dengan sudut pandang dan cara berpikir kita dalam memahami sesuatu. Logika adalah ketika suatu permasalahan dapat dilihat dari sudut pandang “ya” atau “tidak”. Sementara dialektika adalah ilmu berpikir kontradiksi yang digunakan ketika suatu permasalahan tidak dapat disederhanakan menjadi “ya” atau “tidak” karena harus memperhatikan berbagai aspek lainnya.

Selain tiga hal utama di atas, buku ini juga membahas agama-agama seluruh dunia, mulai dari logika mistika (dinamisme dan animisme) yang masih banyak di Indonesia hingga agama-agama besar yang banyak dianut di dunia. Tentu pembahasan agama-agama tersebut dikaitkan dengan madilog. Terlihat sekali bahwa Tan Malaka adalah seseorang dengan pengetahuan yang sangat luas (mulai dari matematika, fisika, politik, hingga filsafat) dan memiliki pemikiran yang revolusioner.

Melihat keadaan masyarakat Indonesia sekarang masih menganggap komunis, ateis, dan liberal adalah hal yang sama (saya sempat menganggap komunis sama dengan ateis, terima kasih kepada propaganda masa kecil) hingga menutup pertunjukkan Tan Malaka di Bandung beberapa waktu lalu, serta terkungkung pada logika mistika sehingga tidak tahu caranya berpikir rasional, Madilog masih sangat relevan. Tapi yah, kemungkinan orang-orang tersebut akan mendebat, “Tan Malaka kan komunis! Ateis! Tak beragama!”.

Semoga dugaan saya salah.

Referensi menulis ulasan karena saya tidak paham mengenai banyak aspek filsafat dan paham-paham yang dibahas di Madilog (haha):
1. http://kiriituindah.blogspot.co.id/20…
2. http://www.kompasiana.com/revolusione…

xoxo

N

24973785I was surprised to see that this has not received many ratings and reviews. This book is a great start for anyone who is interested in Islamic studies or want to see a different but objective perspective about Islam. The writer, Dr. Carole Hillenbrand is a Professor Emerita in Islamic History at the University of Edinburgh and the first non-Muslim to be awarded the King Faisal International Proze for Islamic Studies. As a Muslim myself, it is interesting to read another view of my religion.

I expect that some so-called religious people in my country will not even bother to read this book because it is “written by kafirs” and so and so, but I guess that’s what makes their perspective as narrow as they are now. Reading this book made me understand how Islam is perceived by Christian (the author was raised Christian), such as how Christians can’t understand the concept of Muhammad SAW’s “warrior leader who leads the war” because they are used to the concept of “prince of peace” of Jesus. It also bravely points the problem with Islamic world, such as lack of leadership and extreme interpretation of Islam.

The book itself is very beautiful with 79 colored photos and illustrations. Using popular language, the book provides many historical stories such as history of Four Rightly-Guided Caliphs and the sects that “divide” Islam. The book also contains detailed sources, glossary of Islam, and further reading. I can even learn many new things only from the glossary.

Maybe I have some disagreements from some statement in the book, some things about Indonesian Muslims that maybe not too accurate, but overall I enjoyed reading this book. I’ll recommend this to every Muslims, especially the people who acts like nothing is wrong with some people’s interpretation of Islam (you know who “some people” are haha). The best part about this book? I got this book by chance on a half price discount at my favorite book store 🙂

My Goodreads rating: 4/5

xoxo

N

2517

The “My Name Is Red” as title already made me, a devout reader, hooked. Is it Red the Color of Anger? Is it someone named Red? Is “Red” a Turkish word with a whole different meaning that I don’t understand? Not only that, the author is a Nobel Prize winner in Literature. The story is also about Islam and its view about drawings and paintings. Last but not least, the starting chapter: I Am A Corpse, which is a chapter about a corpse telling us about his murder. Say whaatt? Yes, I will read you through and through, my darling.

Using metafiction here and there (a term I understand after seeking guide of the story, because it is not an easy read for me, which is basically a narrative techniques where (two of the example) the characters in the book realize that they are just characters or where “a story about a writer who creates a story”–you get the idea). Just like me will always reminding you that I am a reader, a confused one, after reading this story.

Why did I become confused? Mainly because I don’t really understand Turkish culture, especially Ottoman Turkish one. What is miniaturists? What’s the difference between miniaturists and painters and drawers? What is binder? Why everyone has Effendi as their last name? Who is the murderer of the corpse in the first chapter? Why Black (original: Kara)’s name is specially translated? Why the author loves to make lists?

So here is the list of the answers which hopefully will help the reader to understand the story. Well, it actually a list for myself, who, after doing some googling, became less confused than the beginning.

1. When I first heard the word “miniaturists”, I immediately think about the 3D miniature of some place. I was wrong. Miniature, especially in Ottoman era, is a form of art that made by several people in a team and really reject the idea of individualism aka artistic style. It is actually paintings on paper or golden leaf, and actually a highly-valued art at that time. Only Sultan and rich people can afford it. Miniatures sometimes is used to express a famous story, like Layla and Majnun or Husrev and Shirin. It is the main theme of the story, which intertwined with Islam’s idea about drawings and unfolds slowly as the story progress.

Nizami - Khusraw discovers Shirin bathing in a pool.jpg
Example of Ottoman miniature: “Nizami – Khusraw discovers Shirin bathing in a pool” by Nizami – page detail. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

2. Ottoman Turkey had their own naming system which is a bit different than what we usually know. Some of the recurring names are Effendi (more than 2 characters), Chelebi, Pasha, and Hoja. They are placed after the first name, like Black Effendi and Elegant Effendi (Elegant actually not a real name, it was just a nick name). Turns out that those names are actually titles and it is common at that time to refer at those words in place of family names. Effendi is like “Master” or “Lord”, Hoja is “teacher” or “adviser of Sultan” (Maybe like Haji in Indonesia?). Source.

3. The detective story about who murdered the corpse in the first chapter is also the main theme. The murderer himself allowed us to guess who he is by his choice of words (he has his own chapters). I failed, lol. But the author has an excellent way to disclose who the culprit is until the story is almost finished.

My Name Is Red is not an easy read for me. The words are relatively difficult so the dictionary is a must (for me). The cultural gap also make it worse. Sometimes I hate Shekure. I only wish that the author or the translator making some footnotes here and there to explain the culture.. Or maybe there is an illustrated edition?

However, it is a good read, like the site I am writing the review.

I actually finished it within a week–maybe about 4-5 days. Maybe because the English used is relatively easy. The story itself is quite spine-chilling, where six women are mutilated and buried in several places across Japan to create Azoth, the perfect woman. There are times when my hair raised and I am too scared to sleep while reading the story, lol.

The detectives in the story, Mitarai Kiyoshi and Ishioka Kazumi acted like Sherlock and Watson, respectively. The story is written from Ishioka’s perspective, where we observe eccentric Mitarai’s smart and peculiar behavior. I rarely read detective stories, and I almost forgot the details of Sherlock Holmes, but it is said that what make this story is different is that the author already put the clues in the story. He even encouraged us to solve the case before the detectives does.

The conclusion and the twist are really disturbing for me, but it just shows the reader that the author is quite genius. I am looking forward to read another cases.

xoxo

N

perfect-strangersIt’s been yearrrrssss since I read my last romance book. Part of me will always hate any form of romantic story because it never happened to me and I envy those lucky girls in the story almost all of them are predictable: a perfect woman, a perfect man, a conflict, and in the end, those two that has been named in the back cover fall in so called love or bla bla bla you name it.

So, when the Blind Date from Books&Beyond by only paying Rp99.000,00 for 3 books got me this novel, I directly just read this one because….it has the lowest rating of all. Blind Date with Perfect Strangers it is! HA!

The story was predictable, but I enjoyed it. I was hoping for my definition of strangers: the both characters met for the first time and both of them knew that they are the “perfect” strangers and the song playing was La Valse d’Amelie (version orchestre). Murakami-esque. But of course, the world doesn’t revolve around you, dear.

The conflict was interesting, but it was more interesting when I read the synopsis on the back cover. I thought it would involve all the office/FBI/CIA/Interpol/any spy organization. Hahaha. The flow of the story is too long in the start, but it is forgivable. The ending? As I said, it is predictable, but it will entertain any hopeless romantic out there. Everyone is happy.

I am torn between giving it 2 or 3 but well, 3/5 it is!

And maybe it is a good thing that I got this book from the Blind Date, this exact title was nowhere to be found in Goodreads and I found out that it was combined to another title: Summer in The City. I have fixed it (thank God I have applied for Goodreads Librarian status from a long time ago hahaha).

xoxo

N

FINALLY AFTER MORE THAN A YEAR!

I will not review the story, since I believe this book has going through deep exploration of facts from classic sources (hey, it is the best Prophet SAW biography according to National Seerat Conference!). So, here’s the thing I have learned from this book so far:

The family tree of Arabians is very messed up!!
Uncles married to nieces, man married to many women, whose child is he, and so on. It would be nice if there is a detailed family tree for Prophet SAW and his Companions (there is one family tree but only shows from Quraysh to Our Prophet SAW).

I forgot the names as soon as they are mentioned…
Because there are soooo many! Moreover, Arabians have these “kunya” traditions, which is a tradition to call someone based on the name of their children. In fact, it is honorific. Maybe it is like calling Daenerys “mother of dragons”. But, it also makes me confused………

Misleading history
For Indonesian children, it is taught that every women in Prophet’s life has “Siti”. Like Siti Khadijah, Siti Aminah, Siti Aisyah, Siti Fatimah.. But after living in this world for 20+ years, I just realized that it is a big lie! “Siti” is actually something Indonesians (or maybe Melayus.. There are still Siti Nurhaliza, you know) add for some unknown reasons. I have found some silly articles on the Internet made by Indonesians that claims Prophet SAW is from Indonesia because “Siti” is not an Arabic name!!! Crazy, right?? But several people told me that “Siti” is actually from “Sayyidati”, a honorific name like “Lady” in the West. Still, it is unforgivable for me to mislead many people like this.

Noble family
Prophet SAW is from noble family and also charismatic inside out. I don’t know why it is never mentioned in my Islamic lesson but also not surprised by that information. I mean, it is just make sense! No wonder he got many support (and also enemies) by the time of the Revelation of the Quran.

His birth was on many prophecies
He is already waited by many people at that time. And at the end of his life, the Prophet SAW made several sayings that can be considered prophecies, such as the end of the world and Islam condition after his death.

Losing information
Because I read this in English, I might have lost some information here and there. The English used are so advanced (for me) and the translations for the Revelation always use Shakespearian English (thee, thine, thou, etc). But at least I learned a lot new vocabularies!

Well, maybe that’s all. I still need to do some small “research” to confirm the history I have got from this book. Overall, anyone who is interested in Prophet Muhammad SAW’s life should read this very detailed book.

xoxo

N