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Quranic Terminology: Generosity/ Generous/ Generously


Quranic Terminology: Generosity/ Generous/ Generously  

Published in September 30, 2017

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy


Firstly: used as one of the Holy Epithets describing Almighty God:

1- In that case, the adjective (Generous) is used preceded by the definitive article (the) in most cases and with capitalization, and sometimes with the superlative form. "O man! What deluded you concerning your Lord, the Generous?" (82:6); "...He who is grateful, his gratitude is to his own credit; but he who is ungrateful-my Lord is Independent and Generous." (27:40); "Read: And your Lord is the Most Generous." (96:3).

2- This noun (Generosity) describes God linked with His Majesty in the Quranic Chapter 55, in the following two verses: "But will remain the Presence of your Lord, Full of Majesty and Generosity." (55:27); "Blessed be the name of your Lord, Full of Majesty and Generosity." (55:78).

3- The adjective here describes His Throne (the Throne is a figurative way to denote His Dominance over the whole universe): "So Exalted is God, the Ruler, the Real. There is no God except He, the Lord of the Generous Throne." (23:116).


Secondly: used in order to describe Gabriel and other angels:

1- Gabriel is described in the Quran as a generous envoy: "This is the speech of a generous messenger. Endowed with power, eminent with the Lord of the Throne. Obeyed and honest. Your friend is not possessed." (81:20-23).

2- The same description is used with angels that record deeds and words of human beings: "Though over you are watchers. Generous recorders. They know everything you do." (82:10-12). These angels will carry these records on the Last Day: " On honorable pages. Exalted and purified. By the hands of the scribes. The generous and devoted ones." (80:13-16). "And they say, "The Most Merciful has taken to himself a son." Be He glorified; they are but generous servants." (21:26). And the angels who came to Abraham are described as follows: "Has the story of Abraham's generous guests reached you? When they entered upon him, they said, "Peace." He said, "Peace, strangers."" (51:24-25). The Egyptian affluent women described Joseph in the following manner in the presence of the Potiphar's wife: "..."Good God, this is not a human, this must be a generous angel."" (12:31).


Thirdly: used as a description of some prophets/messengers:

1- God says the following about Muhammad: "It is the speech of a generous messenger." (69:40).

2- God says the following about Moses: "Before them We tested the people of Pharaoh; a generous messenger came to them." (44:17).


Fourthly: used in order to describe the Quran itself:

God says in the Quran the following about the Quran itself: "It is a Generous Quran. In a well-protected Book." (56:77-78).


Fifthly: used as a description of Paradise of the Hereafter:    

1- The Paradise is described by God as the Generous Gate: "If you avoid the worst of what you are forbidden, We will remit your sins, and admit you by the Generous Gate. " (4:31).

2- The bounties of Paradise are described as ''generous'' and linked to God's pardoning the real, pious believers: "These are the true believers. They have high standing with their Lord, and forgiveness, and a generous provision." (8:4); "Those who believed, and emigrated, and struggled for God's cause, and those who gave shelter and support-these are the true believers. They will have forgiveness, and a generous provision." (8:74); "Those who believe and work righteousness-for them is forgiveness and a generous provision. " (22:50); "...and good men are for good women. Those are acquitted of what they say. There is forgiveness for them, and a generous provision. " (24:26); "But whoever of you remains obedient to God and His messenger, and acts righteously, We will give her a double reward; and We have prepared for her a generous provision." (33:31); "That He may recompense those who believe and do good works. Those will have forgiveness, and a generous provision. " (34:4). 

3- The reward of Paradise is described in the Quran as generous: "Their greeting on the Day they meet Him is, "Peace," and He has prepared for them a generous reward." (33:44); "You warn only him who follows the Message, and fears the Most Gracious inwardly. So give him good news of forgiveness, and a generous reward." (36:11); "Who is he who will lend God a loan of goodness, that He may double it for him, and will have a generous reward?" (57:11); "The charitable men and charitable women, who have loaned God a loan of righteousness-it will be multiplied for them, and for them is a generous reward." (57:18).

4- Paradise dwellers will be honored with generosity: "These will be honored generously in the Gardens." (70:35)

5- The exact opposite will be suffered by Hell dwellers: "And those on the Left - what of those on the Left Amid searing wind and boiling water. And a shadow of thick smoke. Neither cool, nor generous." (56:41-44); "...Whomever God shames, there is none to honor him in generosity..." (22:18).


Sixthly: used in order to describe good words uttered by people:

God says the following in the Quran: "Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be good to your parents. If either of them or both of them reach old age with you, do not say to them a word of disrespect, nor scold them, but say to them generous, kind words." (17:23).


Seventhly: used in order to describe plants of the Earth:

1- We quote the following verses about plants of the Earth: "...And from the sky We sent down water, and caused to grow therein of every generous pair." (31:10); "Have they not seen the Earth, and how many generous pairs We produced therein?" (26:7).

2- Egyptian agricultural wealth during the era of Moses' Pharaoh is described as follows: "How many gardens and fountains did they leave behind? And generous plantations and dwellings." (44:25-26); "So We drove them out of gardens and springs. And treasures and generous plantations and dwellings." (26:57-58).


Eighthly: used in order to describe the message of Solomon to the Queen of Sheba:

God says in the Quran: "Go with this letter of mine, and deliver it to them; then withdraw from them, and see how they respond." She said, "O Counselors, a generous letter was delivered to me." (27:28-29).


Ninthly: used as description of persons:

1- Human beings are honored generously by God, more than any other creatures of God: "We have generously honored the Children of Adam, and carried them on land and sea, and provided them with good things, and greatly favored them over many of those We created." (17:70).

2- The pious servants of the Dominant Lord are described as generous ones in this life: "And those who do not bear false witness; and when they come across idle talk, they pass by with generous dignity." (25:72).

3- The same adjective is used in order to describe the pious ones in general among all human beings: "O people! We created you from a male and a female, and made you races and tribes, that you may know one another. The best among you in the sight of God is the most generous and righteous. God is All-Knowing, Well-Experienced." (49:13).

4- God has generously honored the believing man in the Quranic stories of the village/town that had three messengers: "It was said, "Enter Paradise." He said, "If only my people knew. How my Lord has forgiven me, and made me one of the generously honored."" (36:26-27).

5- The Paradise dwellers are honored generously by God: "For them is a known provision.  Fruits; and they will be generously honored. In the Gardens of Bliss." (37:41-43).

6- The Potiphar acted generously with Joseph in Egypt: "The Egyptian who bought him said to his wife, "Take good care of him generously; he may be useful to us, or we may adopt him as a son." We thus established Joseph in the land, to teach him the interpretation of events. God has control over His affairs, but most people do not know." (12:21).

7- The misguided and impious ones feel insulted when faced with ordeals as part of Fate and feel honored generously when bounties come to them: "As for man, whenever his Lord tests him, and honors him, and prospers him, he says, "My Lord has honored me generously." But whenever He tests him, and restricts his livelihood for him, he says, "My Lord has insulted me."" (89:15-16).

8- Satan hates Adam and his progeny because God has honored them generously above all other creatures: "He said, "Do You see this one whom You have honored generously more than me? If You reprieve me until the Day of Resurrection, I will bring his descendants under my sway, except for a few." He said, "Be gone! Whoever of them follows you-Hell is your reward, an ample reward."" (17:62-63).

9- The adjective generous is used here as God ridicules the imams/leaders of misguidance after they enter into Hell: "The Tree of Bitterness. The food of sinners. Like molten lead; boiling inside the bellies. Like the boiling of seething water. Seize him and drag him into the midst of Hell. Then pour over his head the suffering of the Inferno! Taste! You who are powerful and generous!" (44:43-49).

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