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Quranic Terminology: Hawl/Hal


Quranic Terminology: Hawl/Hal



Published in November 16, 2019

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy





 The Arabic terms (hawl) and (hal) and their derivations have several obsolete and current meanings within Arabic lexicons; both terms refer to the idea of change, transition, and the passage of one year. Yet, within pondering on the Quran text, we typically understand the meanings of such terms as per the context regardless of lexicons of the Arabic tongue. Let us trace these terms and their derivations employed in the Quranic text in the points below.


Firstly: the noun (hawl) means "a year":

1- The following verse is about the two-year duration of breastfeeding: "Mothers may nurse their infants for two whole years, for those who desire to complete the nursing-period..." (2:233). 

2- A widow has the right to remain for one year in her late husband's house: "Those of you who die and leave wives behind - a will shall provide their wives with support for a year, provided they do not leave..." (2:240). By the way, (annals) in Arabic is a term derived from the word (hawl); a year. This means history or events which occur annually or at each year chronicled by Arab historians. Within the fiqh rules of the Sunnite religion of Satan, Zakat is paid annually and referred to as "annuities"! These Arabic terms are derived from the term (hawl).


Secondly: the word (hawl) as an Arabic preposition which means (around) in terms of time and place:

This is in the sense of a near place:

1- "Their likeness is that of a person who kindled a fire; when it illuminated all around him, God took away their light, and left them in darkness, unable to see." (2:17).

2- "It is by of grace from God that you were gentle with them. Had you been harsh, hardhearted, they would have dispersed from around you..." (3:159).

These verses are about Mecca as a locale and the areas around it:

1- "This too is a Scripture that We revealed- blessed - verifying what preceded it, that you may warn the Mother of Cities and all around it..." (6:92).

2- "Thus We inspired you with an Arabic Quran, that you may warn the Mother of Cities and whoever is around it..." (42:7).

3- "Do they not see that We established a Secure Sanctuary, while all around them the people are being carried away? Do they believe in falsehood, and reject the Bounty of God?" (29:67).

4- "We have destroyed many townships around you, and diversified the signs, so that they may return." (46:27).

These verses are about Yathreb as a locale and the areas around it:   

1- "Among the Desert-Arabs around you there are some hypocrites, and among the inhabitants of the city too..." (9:101).

2- "It is not for the inhabitants of the city and the Desert-Arabs around them to stay behind the messenger of God, nor to prefer themselves to him..." (9:120).

These verses are about Aqsa Mosque at Mount Al-Tur in Sinai, Egypt, as a locale and the areas around it:  

1- Within the Quranic story of Muhammad: "Glory to Him who journeyed His servant by night, from the Sacred Mosque, to the Farthest Mosque, whose areas around it We have blessed..." (17:1).

2- Within the Quranic story of Moses: "Then, when he reached it, he was called: “Blessed is He who is within the fire, and He who is around it, and glorified be God, Lord of the Worlds." (27:8).

The term (hawl) or "around" refers here to the courtiers or retinue members of Moses Pharaoh:

1- "He said to those around him, “Do you not hear?”" (26:25).

2- "He said to the retinue members around him, “This is a knowledgeable magician." (26:34).

This is about disbelievers/sinners and devils around Hell on the Last Day: "By your Lord, We will round them up, and the devils, then We will bring them around Hell, on their knees." (19:68)

This is about the angels who implore the Lord God to forgive believers on earth: "Those who carry the Throne, and those around it, glorify their Lord with praise, and believe in Him, and ask for forgiveness for those who believe..." (40:7). This is about angels on the Last Day: "And you will see the angels hovering around the Throne, glorifying their Lord with praise. And it will be judged between them equitably, and it will be said, “Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds.”" (39:75).


Thirdly: the term (hal) means to separate between two items by placing a barrier:

1- This is within the Quranic story of Noah and his disbelieving son: "He said, “I will take refuge on a mountain—it will protect me from the water.” He said, “There is no protection from God’s decree today, except for him on whom He has mercy.” And the waves separated them, and he was among the drowned." (11:43).

2- "A barrier will be placed between them and what they desire, as was done formerly with their counterparts. They were in disturbing doubt." (34:54).

3- "O you who believe! Respond to God and to the Messenger when He calls you to what will revive you. And know that God separates between a man and his heart, and that to Him you will be gathered." (8:24); the Sunnite faulty understanding of 824 includes assuming that the word (heart) refers to the bodily organ; the Quranic term (heart) is synonymous with (soul) which controls the human body; the real human being is the soul and not the body of clay it wears; more details about this topic are found in our book titled "Each Human Soul Has Two Bodies". Souls are the real persons judged on the Last Day. The Lord God says the following in the Quran: "Every soul is hostage to what it has earned." (74:38); "  Those who believed, and their offspring followed them in faith - We will unite them with their offspring, and We will not deprive them of any of their works. Every person is hostage to what he has earned." (52:21).


Fourthly: the term (hawl) referring to change, transfer, or transition:

 The dwellers of Paradise will never desire an alternative to it nor will they seek to be transferred away from it: "As for those who believe and do righteous deeds, they will have the Gardens of Paradise for hospitality. Abiding therein forever, without desiring any change therefrom." (18:107-108).


Lastly: the term (hawl) referring to might or strength:

 The Almighty, Omnipotent Lord God is severe in punishment: "The thunder praises His glory, and so do the angels, in awe of Him. And He sends the thunderbolts, striking with them whomever He wills. Yet they argue about God, while He is Tremendous in might." (13:13).

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