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Quranic Terminology: The Root (k/a/d)


Quranic Terminology: The Root (k/a/d)



Published in November 15, 2019

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy





 In all human tongues, there are synonymous words and there are words with different meanings or semantic levels as per the usage and contexts. The Arabic tongue is no exception to such linguistic rules/features. The Quran has descended in the Arabic tongue; let us explore in the following points the derivations of the Arabic root (k/a/d) in the Quranic text.


Firstly: the Arabic root (k/a/d) within the meaning of (almost) or (about):

Within the Quranic story of Muhammad:

Regarding the stance of disbelievers against Muhammad:

1- "And when the servant of God got up calling on Him, they almost fell on him in a mass." (72:19); this means that they were about to beat him but they did not.

2- "Those who disbelieve almost stab you with their glances when they hear the message, and say, “He is crazy!”" (68:51); this means that they looked with hatred at Muhammad when he read the Quranic verses to them, but they did not harm him.

3- "They almost lured you away from what We have revealed to you, so that you would invent something else in Our name. In that case, they would have taken you for a friend." (17:73); this means that they could not convince Muhammad to change the Quranic verses or to add words to them.

4- "They almost provoked you, to expel you from the land. In that case, they would not have lasted after you, except briefly." (17:76); this means that they were about to expel Muhammad out of Mecca but they did not - at this point in time, before he was driven to immigrate to Yathreb.

Regarding the stance of disbelievers against believers who read the Quran and against Muhammad:

5- "And when Our Clear Verses are read to them, you will recognize disgust on the faces of those who disbelieve. They almost assaulted those who read to them Our Verses..." (22:72); this means that they were about to attack/beat them but they did not.

6- "“He almost led us away from our gods, had we not patiently adhered to them.” But they will know, when they witness the torment, who is further away from the way." (25:42); this means that Muhammad was about to convince them to reject polytheism, but they were never convinced as they adhered to their deities.

Within the Quranic story of Moses:

1- "The heart of Moses’ mother became vacant. She was about to reveal his place, had We not steadied her heart, that she may remain a believer." (28:10); she was about to tell someone about the fact that her baby, Moses, was inside the palace of Pharaoh, but she did not.

2- "...“Son of my mother, the people have overpowered me, and were about to kill me; so do not allow the enemies to gloat over me, and do not count me among the unjust people.”" (7:150); the sinners were about to kill Aaron but they did not.

Within the Quranic discourse about the heavens and the earth (i.e., the universe and/or nature):

1- "The heavens above them almost burst apart, while the angels glorify the praises of their Lord, and ask forgiveness for those on earth. God is indeed the Forgiver, the Merciful." (42:5); "At which the heavens almost rupture, and the earth splits, and the mountains fall and crumble." (19:90).

2- "The lightning almost snatches their sight away. Whenever it illuminates for them, they walk in it; but when it grows dark over them, they stand still. Had God willed, He could have taken away their hearing and their sight. God is capable of everything." (2:20); "Have you not seen how God propels the clouds, then brings them together, then piles them into a heap, and you see rain drops emerging from its midst? How He brings down loads of hail from the sky, striking with it whomever He wills, and diverting it from whomever He wills? The flash of its lightning almost snatches the sight away." (24:43); "...fueled by a blessed tree, an olive tree, neither eastern nor western. Its oil would almost illuminate, even if no fire has touched it...." (24:35).

Within the Quranic discourse about the Hour and the Hell-torment:

1- "The Hour is coming - but I keep it almost hidden - so that each soul will be paid for what it endeavors." (20:15).

2- "It almost bursts with fury. Every time a batch is thrown into it, its keepers will ask them, “Has no warner come to you?”" (67:8).

Within doing something after much hesitation/reluctance or doing something within difficulty:

1- "...a heifer, neither yoked to plow the earth, nor to irrigate the field; sound without blemish.” They said, “Now you have brought the truth.” So they slew her; though they almost did not." (2:71); this means the Israelites were too reluctant to slaughter a heifer as per the Lord God's commands; eventually, they had to obey the divine command.

2- "Am I not better than this miserable wretch, who can hardly express himself?" (43:52); Moses could talk and express himself but with difficulty.

3- "...those who followed him in the hour of difficulty - after the hearts of some of them almost swerved. Then He pardoned them. He is Kind towards them, Compassionate." (9:117); this means that during a self-defense battle, some of the believers were about to lose their faith in God, but they repented of this sin, regained their faith, and He pardoned them.

4- "...So what is the matter with these people, that they hardly understand a thing?" (4:78); this means that the disbelievers in Arabia never made efforts to understand and ponder the Quran because they hated it. "Until, when he reached the point separating the two barriers, he found beside them a people who could barely understand what is said." (18:93); this means that Gog and Magog could not understand the human tongues at the time.

5- This is about Hell-torment which include being forced to swallow putrid water: "He will guzzle it, but he will hardly taste it. Death will come at him from every direction, but he will not die. And beyond this is relentless suffering." (14:17).


Secondly: the Arabic root (k/a/d) within the meaning of schemes, plots, and plans:

 This comes within nouns and verbs in the Quranic text; the disbelievers scheme and plot and the Lord God (within a figurative level) schemes against them. Let us exemplify this in the points below.


Within verbs:

1- This has been uttered by Abraham: "“By God, I will scheme against your statues after you have gone away.”" (21:57).

2- These are two directives:

[A] Muhammad has been commanded to say the following to the polytheists: "Say, “Call upon your partners, then scheme against me, and do not wait.”" (7:195).

[B] these are the words of the prophet Hud to his disbelieving people: "...So scheme against me, all of you, and do not hesitate." (11:55).


Within nouns:

1- Within the Quranic story of Muhammad: "If something good happens to you, it upsets them; but if something bad befalls you, they rejoice at it. But if you persevere and maintain righteousness, their schemes will not harm you at all. God comprehends what they do." (3:120); "Those who believe fight in the cause of God, while those who disbelieve fight in the cause of Evil. So fight the allies of the Devil. Surely the scheme of the Devil is weak." (4:76); "And I will encourage them. My plan is firm." (7:183); "Such is the case. God will undermine the scheme of the disbelievers." (8:18).

2- Within the Quranic story of Abraham: "They schemed against him, but We made them the worst losers." (21:70); "They schemed against him, but We made them the lowest losers." (37:98).

3- Within the Quranic story of Joseph: "And when he saw that his shirt was torn from the back, he said, “This is a woman's scheme. Your scheming is serious indeed.”" (12:28); "He said, “My Lord, prison is more desirable to me than what they call me to. Unless You turn their scheming away from me, I may yield to them, and become one of the ignorant.”Thereupon his Lord answered him, and diverted their scheming away from him. He is the Hearer, the Knower." (12:33-34); "The king said, “Bring him to me.” And when the envoy came to him, he said, “Go back to your master, and ask him about the intentions of the women who cut their hands; my Lord is well aware of their schemes.”" (12:50); "“This is that he may know that I did not betray him in secret, and that God does not guide the scheming of the betrayers.”" (12:52).

4- Within the Quranic story of Moses and Pharaoh: "Pharaoh turned away, put together his scheme, and then came back." (20:60); "So settle your plan, and come as one front. Today, whoever gains the upper hand will succeed.”" (20:64); "Now throw down what is in your right hand - it will swallow what they have crafted. What they have crafted is only a magician’s scheme. But the magician will not succeed, no matter what he does.”" (20:69); "...But the scheming of the unbelievers can only go astray." (40:25); "...Pharaoh's scheme was only in defeat." (40:37).

5- The following verses are about all disbelievers in general: "Whoever thinks that God will not help him in this life and in the Hereafter - let him turn to heaven, then sever, and see if his scheme eliminates what enrages him." (22:15); "Or are they hatching a plot? This plot will entrap the disbelievers." (52:42); "The Day when their plots will avail them nothing; and they will not be supported." (52:46); "And I will give them respite. My plan is firm." (68:45); "Did He not make their scheme go wrong?" (105:2).


Within verbs and nouns in the same verse:

"He said, “O my son, do not relate your vision to your brothers, lest they plan a scheme against you. Satan is man's sworn enemy." (12:5); "They plan a scheme. But I plan a scheme" (86:15-16); "So if you have a scheme, scheme against Me." (77:39).


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