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Names of Mohammad and ‘Ali (SBUT) in the Bible Part 15

Names of Mohammad and ‘Ali (SBUT) in the Bible

Part 15


Thomas McElwain also looks at book of numbers 21:17 and numbers 24:6 as strong possibilities that the word ‘Ali is referring to a person; this is what he says:


“Numbers 21:17 is the second text that translators have been willing to leave in a form void of meaning, in the figure of the flying well. It is doubly troublesome in lacking an explanatory context.


“Numbers 21:17 Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it. The authorized translator writes words more appropriate to Alice in Wonderland than to scriptural translation. Most others do little better. Douay, Darby, The Jewish Publication Society Bible, The Twenty-first Century King James, Green’s Literal Translation, The Modern King James Version, The New King James Version, la Bible nouvelle edition de Geneve, the Webster and most other are satisfied with this interpretation.


“The Bible in Basic English tries to avoid the problem of the flying well by replacing it with the obedient well that comes when called: Then Israel gave voice to this song: Come up, O water-spring, let us make a song to it.


“Other translators have recognized the problem and tried to make sense of it by referring to the springing up of the water from a fountain. Among these are Finnish translation of 1938, the Swedish translation of 1917, and la nuova Diodati 1991. These are roughly “surge out, o well!” English translators are willing to depend on the ambiguity of the word “spring” in English.


“A few translators assume a preposition between the verb and the noun, thus making the noun the direction of movement rather than the vocative. This relieves us of the rather forced speech to a well. Among these are the redivierte Schlachter Bibel 1951 Da sang Israel dieses Lied: «Kommt zum Brunnen! Singt von ihm! It is rare to find help from the LXX in this dilemma, but perhaps Luther’s original is such an example Da sang Israel dieses Lied, und sangen umeinander über dem Brunnen.


“The translators in the revision of Luther have succumbed to the general fascination with nonsense. Even the Vulgata is surprisingly interpretive with the LXX with tunc cecinit Israhel carmen istud ascendat puteus concinebant.


“Young makes a novel contribution by rejecting the Masoretic pointing of the word, thus changing it from an imperative to the preposition. (Young’s literal translation. Then singeth Israel this song, concerning the well--they have answered to it. In so doing, Young is the only translator to write a grammatically sensible translation. However, by doing so, he suppresses the song itself, thus raising the issue of what “this” can possibly refer to. In sum, almost every possible configuration has been tried. The implication is that no translator actually knows what the verse means.


“There is a construction that is completely normal and understandable in Hebrew, whereby cAli is the subject and the well the predicate: cAli is a well. It is not clear, however, to whom this proper name refers.”


Therefore Numbers 21:17 actually states “Then Israel sang this song, ‘Ali is a well …”. Thomas McElwain states: “The people of Israel sang about ‘Ali (as) as they walked in the wilderness.”


The Majid Qur’an in Surah al-Baqarah 2:40-147 refers to the favours and bounties Allah had bestowed on bani-Israel but they repeatedly rebelled against Allah and His Messengers, earning in consequence His wrath. As also stated in Qur’an 5:20 Hadrat Moosa (SBUH) reminded these points to the children of Israel, then as mentioned in 5:21, he (SBUH) commanded them: “O my people! enter the holy land which Allah has written for you and turn not on your backs for then you will turn back losers.” But- except two persons (Yoosha’ and Caaleb)- the people again impertinently disobeyed (5:22-24). So as stated in 5:25 Hadrat Moosa (SBUH) prayed: “My Lord! Surely I have no control (upon any) but my own self and my brother (Haaroon); therefore separate us from the people of transgressors.” And Allah SWT answered the request of His Prophet and thus the children of Israel were cursed to wander for forty years in wilderness; this forty years wandering is stated in the book of numbers of the bible from which the above mentioned biblical statements (numbers 21:17 and numbers 24:6) are narrated:


Qur’an 5:26 He (Allah) said: So it shall surely be forbidden to them for forty years, they shall wander about in the land, therefore do not grieve for the nation of transgressors.


It seems that even in those years of wandering Allah gracefully bestowed upon the children of Israel some more favors … but over and over they were again ungrateful …


Qur’an 7:160 And We divided them into twelve tribes, as nations; and We Revealed to Musa when his people asked him for water: Strike the rock with your Staff, so out of it there gushed forth twelve springs; each tribe knew its drinking place; and We made the clouds to give shade over them and We sent to them manna and quails: Eat of the good things We have given you. And they did not do Us any harm, but they did injustice to their own souls.


When the forty years of wandering were over and they were finally allowed to enter the city, they were given another opportunity: they were commanded to recite a special statement of repentance, a specific “Hettah”:


Qur’an 7:161 And when it was said to them: Reside in this town and eat from it wherever you wish, and say a (specific) Hettah, and enter the gate in prostration, We will forgive you your wrongs; We shall give more to those who do good.


The word “Hettah" means to put loads down from one’s back; the most Merciful Allah out of Grace offered the children of Israel yet another opportunity to repent so that they might put down the heavy loads of sins and transgressions; they were commanded to recite a specific repentance  phrase, and to prostrate when entering through the gate of the city. Imam Hasan Askari (SBUH) has said that the Hettah included confessing the acceptance of the Wilayat of Mohammad and ‘Ali and their Aal (SBUT) (Tafsir Borhaan; …).


But again most of them transgressed:


Qur’an 7:162 But those who were unjust among them changed it (Hettah) for a saying other than that which had been spoken to them; so We sent upon them a pestilence from heaven because they had been unjust.


It is important to mention that the children of Israel became deserving of Allah’s Wrath for all the things they had done and lost any status they had before their transgressions:


Qur’an 2:61 … And abasement and wretchedness were brought down upon them, and they became deserving of Allah's wrath: this was so because they disbelieved in the Aayaat (communications, signs …) of Allah and killed the Prophets unjustly; this was so because they disobeyed and exceeded the limits.


Based on the facts which have already been established- i.e. the undeniable fact that bani Israel were quite familiar with Hadrat Mohammad and his Chosen AhlulBayt (SBUT) as the most exalted creations and Aayaat (Signs) of Allah, and the fact that they had observed over and over miracles which were performed in the blessed Names of Mohammad and his AhlulBayt (SBUT) (refer to “Wilayat of Mohammad and AhlulBayt (SBUT), from creation to eternity”), and …- the issue that the bani Israel, when thirsty and in need of water and … in the wilderness,  were singing in praise of Hadrat ‘Ali (SBUH), so that their needs such as their need for food and water might be granted, is quite logical and believable … of course it is also quite obvious that most of them transgressed again when their needs- in the glorious Names of Mohammad and ‘Ali and … (SBUT)- were fulfilled …


Mr. McElwain continues:


“It is possible, but not necessary, to translate cAli as a proper name in Numbers 24:6.


“The Authorized Version is As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters. All translators seem to accept the interpretation “by the river.” Furthermore, it parallels what follows, “beside the waters.”


“Semantically and syntactically there seems to be no better alternative. If one understands cAli as a proper name here, the translation might read (following the Authorized Version otherwise): Ali is like the valleys that spread forth, like gardens, a river: as the trees... No linguistic arguments favour this interpretation.


“However, its position so close to Numbers 21:17, the similar references to water (well, river), and the further consideration that almost the entire book of Numbers contemplates the question of leadership authority, are factors that speak in favour of cAli as a proper name in this text also.”


Therefore he suggests that Numbers 24:6 actually states “’Ali is like the valleys that spread forth, like gardens, a river: as the trees ...”


Here let us narrate a part of a beautiful Hadith from Imam Reza (SBUH) in which the Imam attempts to describe the twelve Infallible Imams (SBUT):


“… (The Infallible Allah-Chosen) Imam is like the rising sun that brightens the world with its light while it is at the horizon in a way that no hand and no eye can touch it. Imam is the shining full moon, the luminous lamp, the glowing light and the guiding star in intensity of darkness in pathways between towns and in deserts and in turbulences of the seas. Imam is the pure water at time of thirst; the leader toward guidance and the savior from perdition. Imam is a fire upon a hill and he is who warms whoever takes refuge with him; he is the guide in dangerous places. Whoever separates from him will perish. Imam is the raining cloud, the bounteous and continuous rain, the bright sun, the protecting cover, and the expanded land. (He is like) a spring full of water, a lake and a garden …”

(Al-Kaafi VI, P198, the Baab Al-Naader wa Al-Jaame' in Imam's virtues and attributes; …)


Then Thomas McElwain moves on to Deuteronomy 17:14:


“Deuteronomy 17:14 also deserves attention. The Authorised Version has this as When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me... The significant phrase is “a king over me” or cAli melekh. If cAli were an epithet (exalted), it should come after the word “king” rather than before it. As it stands, it could be translated “I will set cAli king like all the peoples that are around me.”


“This implies that the personage of cAli is king of all the peoples around …”


Therefore Thomas McElwain is saying that Deuteronomy 17:14 states that the people of Israel were to say “… I will set ‘Ali king, like all the peoples that are around me …”


In another part of the above mentioned precious Hadith Imam Reza (SBUH) has continued:


“… And His Word -Blessed and Supreme-: " Indeed he who has been granted Hekmat, has been granted abundant blessing" (Qur’an 2:269); and His Word about Taaloot: " Verily, Allah has chosen him in preference to you and has increased him abundantly in knowledge and physique (Physical strength; and Allah grants His Kingdom to whomever He wills and Allah is Waase' (Ample-giving, All-Encompassing, …) and All-Knowing." (Qur’an 2:247); and to His Prophet(Mohammad, SBUH and HP), He has said: "Allah has sent down to you the Book and the Divine Wisdom(Hekmat) and has taught you what you did not know; and Allah's Exclusive Abundant Grace (Fazl) on you is Grand." (Qur’an 4:113). And He (Allah) has said in regard to (the twelve Infallible) Imams of His Prophet (Mohammad, SBUH and HP)'s AhlolBayt and his ‘Etrat and his offspring: "Or are they jealous of the People for the Exclusive Abundant Grace (Fazl) that Allah has bestowed upon them? Surely We bestowed upon the Progeny of Ibrahim the Book and the Wisdom (Hekmat) and We gave them a Mighty and Grand Kingdom. Some of them believed in that and some of them have prevented from that, and sufficient (for the disbelievers) is the Blazing Fire of Hell" (Qur’an 4:54, 55) …”


We cordially invite our friends to read both parts of “Pigeon of his sacred shrine” in this site:


To be continued …