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Quranic Terminology: The Term (Dhan) and its Derivations


Quranic Terminology: The Term (Dhan) and its Derivations


Published in January 8, 2019

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy






1- The Arabic term/root (Dhan) means "speculation" and "to speculate"; i.e., to have a belief inside one's heart/soul which does not reach the level of certitude of truths; this is understandable from this Quranic context about the stance of polytheists: "And when it was said, "The promise of God is true, and of the Hour there is no doubt," you said, "We do not know what the Hour is; we think it is only speculation; we are not convinced."" (45:32).

2- There are two types of (Dhan) in the Quran: good, positive speculations and bad, negative ones which are groundless suspicions; the Lord God commands us to avoid the bad ones: "O you who believe! Avoid most speculations - some speculations are sinful..." (49:12).  

3- Another Quranic meaning for (Dhan) is to expect, to assume, or to imagine. We provide more details in the points below.


Firstly: good, positive (Dhan) or assumption means to believe in the Hereafter:

1- This is part of the traits of the pious monotheists: "Those who assume that they will meet their Lord, and that to Him they will return." (2:46).

2- The monotheists who assume/believe in the fact that they will return to the Lord God were steadfast within self-defense battles: "When Talut set out with the troops, he said, "God will be testing you with a river. Whoever drinks from it does not belong with me. But whoever does not drink from it, does belong with me, except for whoever scoops up a little with his hand." But they drank from it, except for a few of them. Then, when he crossed it, he and those who believed with him, they said, "We have no strength to face Goliath and his troops today." But those who assumed that they would meet God said, "How many a small group has defeated a large group by God's Will. God is with the steadfast."" (2:249).

3- "Also towards the three who were left behind. Then, when the earth, as vast as it is, closed in on them, and their very souls closed in on them, and they assumed that there was no refuge from God, except in Him, He redeemed them, so that they may repent. God is the Redeemer, the Merciful." (9:118). Thus, their repentance is based on the true belief in the Hereafter.

4- This is about the assumption/belief of monotheists in the Hereafter who, while living on earth, believed in the Last Day: "I assumed I would be judged." (69:20).


Secondly: bad, negative (Dhan) or assumption is of several types:

1- To have doubts or wrong assumptions regarding the Lord God is exemplified in the following Quranic verses.

1/1: Jonah assumed he can escape from the Lord God: "And Jonah, when he stormed out in fury, assuming We had no power over him. But then He cried out in the darkness, "There is no God but You! Glory to You! I was among the unjust ones!"" (21:87).

1/2: Some believers in Yathreb who were sieged by disbelievers within the battle of the confederates had wrong assumptions about God: "When they came upon you, from above you, and from beneath you; and the eyes became dazed, and the hearts reached the throats, and you harbored doubts about God." (33:10).

1/3: The hypocrites expressed their doubts about the Lord God after the defeat of believers in the battle of Uhud: "...while others cared only for themselves, assuming wrong thoughts of God that were untrue - assumptions of ignorance..." (3:154).

1/4: The belligerent aggressors among the People of the Book in Arabia during Muhammad's lifetime assumed wrongly that they are very powerful: "It is He who evicted those who disbelieved among the People of the Book from their homes at the first mobilization. You did not think they would leave, and they assumed their fortresses would protect them from God. But God came at them from where they never expected, and threw terror into their hearts..." (59:2).

1/5: Disbelievers in general have wrong assumptions about the Lord God.

1/5/1: "We did not create the heaven and the earth and everything between them in vain. That is the assumption of those who disbelieve - so woe to those who disbelieve because of the Hell-Fire." (38:27).

1/5/2: "Whoever assumes that God will not help him in this life and in the Hereafter - let him turn to heaven, then sever, and see if his cunning eliminates what enrages him." (22:15).

1/5/3: "And He will torment the hypocrites, male and female, and the polytheists, male and female, those who harbor evil assumptions about God. They are surrounded by evil; and God is angry with them, and has cursed them, and has prepared for them Hell - a miserable destination." (48:6).

1/5/4: "You were unable to hide yourselves from your hearing, and your sight, and your skins, to prevent them from testifying against you, and you imagined that God was unaware of much of what you do. It is that assumption of yours about your Lord that led you to ruin - so you became of the losers." (41:22-23).

2- The earthly/terrestrial religions are based on doubts, lies, and wrong assumptions ascribed to God and on denying God's Verses.

2/1: The polytheists believe in myths/lies of intercession or sinners getting out of Hell.

2/1/1: "And among them are gentiles who know the Scripture only through hearsay, and they only speculate. So woe to those who write the Scripture with their own hands, and then say, "This is from God," that they may exchange it for a little price. Woe to them for what their hands have written, and woe to them for what they earn. And they say, "Hell-Fire will not touch us except for a number of days." Say, "Have you received a promise from God - God never breaks His promise - or are you saying about God what you do not know?"" (2:78-80).

2/1/2: "What will they assume - those who fabricate lies and attribute them to God - on the Day of Resurrection?..." (10:60).

2/2: Those who believe in the myths of crucifixion/murder of Jesus Christ follow nothing but lies and wrong assumptions: "And for their saying, "We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of God." In fact, they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them as if they did. Indeed, those who differ about him are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it, except the following of assumptions. Certainly, they did not kill him." (4:157).

2/3: Wrong assumptions, guesses, or whims of polytheists include ascribing lies to the Lord God within their religions of Satan while denying the Truth or the Book/Scripture of the Lord God.

2/3/1: "If you were to obey most of those on earth, they would divert you from God's Path. They follow nothing but assumptions, and they only conjecture." (6:116).

2/3/2: "The polytheists will say, "Had God willed, we would not have practiced polytheism, nor would have our forefathers, nor would we have prohibited anything." Likewise those before them lied, until they tasted Our might. Say, "Do you have any knowledge that you can produce for us? You follow nothing but conjecture, and you only guess."" (6:148).

2/3/3: "Certainly, to God belongs everyone in the heavens and everyone on earth. Those who invoke other than God do not follow partners; they follow only assumptions, and they only guess." (10:66).

2/3/4: " Most of them follow nothing but assumptions; and assumptions avail nothing against the Truth. God is fully aware of what they do." (10:36).

2/3/5: "They have no knowledge of that. They only follow assumptions, and assumptions are no substitute for the Truth." (53:28).

2/3/6: "...They follow nothing but assumptions, and what the ego desires, even though guidance has come to them from their Lord. " (53:23); "Have you seen him who chose his desire as his god?...Or do you assume that most of them hear or understand? They are just like cattle, but even more errant in their way." (25:43-44).

3- Evil assumptions regarding prophets/messengers of the Lord God are exemplified in the following verses.

3/1: The people of Aad rejected their prophet Hud: "..."We see foolishness in you, and we assume that you are a liar."" (7:66).

3/2: The people of Noah rejected him: "..."We see in you nothing but a man like us, and we see that only the worst among us have followed you, those of immature judgment. And we see that you have no advantage over us. In fact, we assume you are liars."" (11:27).

3/3: The people of Madian rejected their prophet Shuaib: "And you are nothing but a man like us; and we assume that you are a liar." (26:186).

3/4: Pharaoh rejected the call of Moses.

3/4/1: "...So fire-up the bricks for me O Haman, and build me a tower, that I may ascend to the God of Moses, though I guess he is a liar."" (28:38).

3/4/2: "And Pharaoh said, "O Haman, build me a tower, that I may reach the pathways. The pathways of the heavens, so that I may glance at the God of Moses; though I guess he is lying."..." (40:36-37).

3/5: This is about the hypocritical Desert-Arabs: "But you assumed that the messenger and the believers will never return to their families, and this seemed fine to your hearts; and you harbored evil assumptions..." (48:12).

4- The wrong assumptions or guessing of disbelievers, which are against the Divine Knowledge or Book, include denying the Resurrection.

4/1: This is about Arabs (and others) who denied the Resurrection: "And they say, "There is nothing but this our present life; we die and we live, and nothing destroys us except time." But they have no knowledge of that; they are only guessing." (45:24).

4/2: This is about Pharaoh and his deep state: "He and his troops acted arrogantly on earth, with no justification. They assumed they would not be returned to Us" (28:39).

4/3: Bad assumptions of denying the Last Day is of two types: (1) to deny the taking place of the Hour altogether, and (2) entering into Paradise through intersessions if the Hour takes place.

4/3/1: This is about most people in general: "And when We let him taste a mercy from Us, after the adversity that had afflicted him, he will say, "This is mine, and I do not think that the Hour is coming; and even if I am returned to my Lord, I will have the very best with Him." We will inform those who disbelieve of what they did, and We will make them taste an awful torment." (41:50).

4/3/2: This is within a Quranic parable: "And he entered his garden, wronging himself. He said, "I do not think this will ever perish." "And I do not think the Hour is coming. And even if I am returned to my Lord, I will find something better than this in return."" (18:35-36).

4/4: This is about jinn who deny the Resurrection and imitate the wrong assumptions of human disbelievers: "They assumed, as you assumed, that God would never resurrect anyone." (72:7).

4/5: This is about the situation, on the Last Day, of those deniers/disbelievers who had the wrong assumption.

4/5/1: "Do these not assume that they will be resurrected?" (83:4).

4/5/2: "He assumed he would never return." (84:14).


Thirdly: (Dhan) means to imagine or suppose things:

1- This is about when the Israelites imagined that Mount Al-Tur, in Sinai, Egypt, will fall on their heads: And when We suspended the mountain over them, as if it was an umbrella, and they supposed it would fall on them: "Hold fast to what We have given you, and remember what it contains, so that you may be saved."" (7:171).

2- This is about ship-travelers imagining being surrounded by death in the midst of the tidal sea waves and storms: "It is He who transports you across land and sea. Until, when you are on ships, sailing in a favorable wind, and rejoicing in it, a raging wind arrives. The waves surge over them from every side, and they suppose that they are besieged. Thereupon they pray to God, professing sincere devotion to Him: "If You save us from this, we will be among the thankful ones."" (10:22).

3- Shortly before the coming of the Hour of the destruction of the universe, the human beings on earth will wrongly assume they control the whole planet with their scientific advancement and progress: "The likeness of the present life is this: water that We send down from the sky is absorbed by the plants of the earth, from which the people and the animals eat. Until, when the earth puts on its fine appearance, and is beautified, and its dwellers suppose that they have mastered it, Our command descends upon it by night or by day, and We turn it into stubble, as if it had not flourished the day before. We thus clarify the revelations for people who reflect." (10:24).

4- In times of severe persecution and hardships, some ancient prophets supposed that God's victory would not come; yet, it came to them and they were saved: "Until, when the messengers have despaired, and supposed that they were rejected, Our victory came to them. We save whomever We will, and Our severity is not averted from the criminal people." (12:110).

5- On the Last Day, resurrected souls will suppose they lived for a day or a part of a day on earth: "He will say, "How many years did you remain on earth?" They will say, "We remained a day, or part of a day; but ask those who keep count." He will say, "You remained only for a little while, if you only knew." (23:112-114); "On the Day when He calls you, you will respond with His praise, and you will suppose that you stayed only a little." (17:52).

6- Each of the pair (Moses and Pharaoh) had his own Dhan or assumption about the other: "...Pharaoh said to him, "I suppose that you, Moses, are bewitched."...and I suppose that you, Pharaoh, are doomed." (17:101-102).


Fourthly: (Dhan) means to expect:

1- Some Dhan or expectations may be true.

1/1: The expectation or Dhan of Joseph came true and one of his cell inmates was released from prison: "And he said to the one he expected would be released, "Mention me to your master."..." (12:42).

1/2: Satan's Dhan or expectation that he will manage to mislead and misguide the vast majority of human beings is true: "Satan was correct in his expectation about them. They followed him, except for a group of believers." (34:20).

1/3: The following points are about (Dhan) in relation to the Resurrection Day.

1/3/1: "What they used to pray to before will forsake them, and they will realize that they have no escape." (41:48).

1/3/2: "Realizing that a back-breaker has befallen them." (75:25).

1/3/3: "And he realizes that it is the parting." (75:28).

1/3/4: The believing jinn have the right expectation that no one will escape from the Lord God: "We realized that we cannot defeat God on earth, and that we cannot escape Him by fleeing." (72:12).

1/3/5: Sinners will see Hell and expect to enter into it; this will come true: "And the sinners will see the Fire, and will realize that they will enter into it. They will find no deliverance from it." (18:53).

2- "Why, when you heard about it, the believing men and women did not suppose well of one another, and say, "This is an obvious lie"?" (24:12). The Quran has reproached them here; their bad expectations helped spread the groundless rumors in Yathreb (i.e., the rumor about the spread of prostitution among the poor dwellers and immigrants in the city who followed the new faith).

3- Within the context of divorce sharia laws, expectations or (Dhan) here must be true so as to avoid another divorce between any given couple: "If he divorces her, she shall not be lawful for him again until she has married another husband. If the latter divorces her, then there is no blame on them for reuniting, provided they expect they can maintain God's limits. These are God's limits; He makes them clear to people who know." (2:230).

4- Some Dhan or expectations may be untrue.

4/1: The sinners/disbelievers will hear this question on the Last Day: "So what is your expectation/Dhan about the Lord of the Worlds?"" (37:87); of course, they expected entering into Paradise but the opposite will occur to them: "If those who did wrong owned everything on earth, and the like of it with it, they would redeem themselves with it from the terrible torment on the Day of Resurrection. But there will appear to them from God what they never anticipated." (39:47).

4/2: David assumed/expected that the Lord God has tested him within this context: "He said, "He has done you wrong by asking your ewe in addition to his ewes. Many partners take advantage of one another, except those who believe and do good deeds, but these are so few." David assumed that We were testing him, so he sought forgiveness from his Lord, and fell down to his knees, and repented." (38:24).

4/3: The believing jinn assumed/expected wrongly that disbelieving jinn and human beings will not ascribe lies to the Lord God: "And we assumed that humans and jinn would never utter lies about God." (72:5).

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