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

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



Published in November 21, 2019

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy






 The Quranic/Arabic root (z/a/d) and its derivations have two significations: (A) provisions or to take provisions, and (B) to increase. In the points below, we trace how the root (z/a/d) and its derivations are employed in the Quranic text.


Firstly: the root z/a/d, and its derivations, in the sense of provisions (noun) and  to take provisions (verb):

1- This meaning is mentioned in this Quranic verse about taking provisions before embarking on the journey to the Eternal Afterlife: "...And whatever good you do, God knows it. And take provisions, but the best provision is righteousness. And be mindful of Me, O people of understanding." (2:197).

2- Death, of course, is alluded to in the verse 2:197. Sadly, most people forget that their temporary existence on earth is like a journey in a train, and when the time comes, the train of life comes to a stop and they descend/die. We are never to forget that the real persons are the souls; we wear the bodies of clay momentarily before our real selves/souls return to their original place after death: Barsakh. Pious monotheists remember death and think of it all the time; they take heed of the fact that dead bodies of deceased persons turn into bones and dust; this is the inescapable fate of all mortals; we are to focus on the Eternal Life; human beings will be immortal either in Hell or in Paradise; this is done as per one's personal choice/decision; if one takes provisions for the Hereafter (i.e., piety/monotheism + good deeds), one will earn the Eternal Life in Paradise; heedless, deluded, misguided people whose focus is on this transient life on earth and they never care about their life after death (and they never think of death at all) are actually taking provisions of sins which will cause them to be tormented inside Hell forever.    

3- Pious monotheists know that their life on earth is temporary and take provisions by performing good deeds within piety which will benefit them in the Hereafter; their piety and good deed will turn into the Paradise pleasures and bliss: "Such is Paradise you are made to inherit, because of what you used to do." (43:72); "...And it will be proclaimed to them, “This is Paradise you are made to inherit, on account of what you used to do.”" (7:43).

4- Disobedient, disbelieving sinners are heedlessly taking provisions of sins which will turn into torment inside Hell-Fire; the Lord God is never unjust towards them; they have wronged their souls: "Then it will be said to those who did wrong, “Taste the torment of eternity. Will you be rewarded except for what you used to do?”" (10:52); "On the Day when the punishment will envelop them, from above them, and from beneath their feet, He will say, “Taste what you used to do!”" (29:55); "So taste, because you forgot the meeting of this Day of yours; We have forgotten you; so taste the eternal torment for what you used to do." (32:14); "What about someone who covers his face against the terrible misery of the Day of Resurrection? To the unjust ones it will be said, “Taste what you used to earn.”" (39:24); "...Those who hoard gold and silver, and do not spend them in God’s cause, inform them of a painful torment. On the Day when they will be heated in the Fire of Hell, then their foreheads, and their sides, and their backs will be branded with them: “This is what you hoarded for yourselves; so taste what you used to hoard.”" (9:34-35); "Those who withhold what God has given them of his bounty should not assume that is good for them. In fact, it is bad for them. They will be encircled by their hoardings on the Day of Resurrection. To God belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth, and God is well acquainted with what you do." (3:180).


Secondly: the root z/a/d, and its derivations, in the sense of (increase):

 This meaning of the root z/a/d (i.e., increase) is employed more times in the Quranic text than the meaning of "provisions". We trace this meaning in the following points.

Regarding belief:

1- Reading/listening to the Quran increases the belief of believers: "The believers are those whose hearts tremble when God is mentioned, and when His Verses are read to them, they increase them in faith, and upon their Lord they rely." (8:2); "And they fall to their chins, weeping, and it increases their humility." (17:109).

2- The belief of true monotheists increases in times of ordeals and adversities:

2/1: This is after the defeat in the battle of Uhud during Muhammad's lifetime: "Those to whom the people have said, “The people have mobilized against you, so fear them.” But this only increased them in faith, and they said, “God is enough for us; He is the Excellent Protector.”" (3:173).

2/2: Within the siege of Yathreb by troops of polytheist: "And when the believers saw the confederates, they said, “This is what God and His messenger have promised us; and God and His messenger have told the truth.” And it only increased them in faith and submission." (33:22).

Regarding guidance:

 Of course, guidance is a personal responsibility of each individual and it is never the responsibility of society or the State. The Lord God says the following in the Quran: "No burdened soul can carry the burden of another. Even if one weighted down calls for help with its burden, nothing can be lifted from it, even if they were related. You are to warn those who fear their Lord inwardly, and perform prayers. He who purifies himself purifies himself for his own good. To God is the ultimate return." (35:18); "Whoever strives, strives only for his own soul. God is Independent of the beings." (29:6); "...“Give thanks to God.” Whoever is appreciative - is appreciative for the benefit of his own soul. And whoever is unappreciative - God is Sufficient and Praiseworthy." (31:12).

 This is about personal responsibility in choosing (mis)guidance:

1- "“Insights have come to you from your Lord. Whoever sees, it is to the benefit of his soul; and whoever remains blind, it is to its detriment. I am not a guardian over you.”" (6:104).

2- "Say, “O people, The truth has come to you from your Lord. Whoever accepts guidance is guided for his own soul; and whoever strays only strays to its detriment. I am not a guardian over you.”" (10:108).

3- "Whoever is guided - is guided for his own good. And whoever goes astray - goes astray to his detriment..." (17:15).

4- "...Whoever is guided - is guided to his own advantage. And whoever goes astray, then say, “I am one of the warners.”" (27:92).

5- "We sent down upon you the Book for the humankind in Truth. He who follows guidance does so for the good of his soul. And he who strays in error does so to its detriment. You are not their guardian." (39:41).  

 This is about one's personal responsibility in choosing to perform (mis)deeds:

1- "Whoever acts righteously does so for his soul; and whoever works evil does so against his soul. Your Lord is not unjust to the servants." (41:46).

2- "Whoever does a good deed, it is for his soul; and whoever commits evil, it is against it; then to your Lord you will be returned." (45:15).

 Those who are willing to be guided are guided the more by their Lord God; i.e., they choose guidance and the Lord Allah increases their guidance:

1- "You cannot guide whom you love, but God guides whom He wills, and He knows best those who are guided." (28:56).

2- "...He guides who is willing to be guided to a straight path." (2:142).

3- "This is a Reminder; so whoever wills, let him take a path to his Lord. Yet you cannot will, unless God wills. God is Knowing and Wise. He admits into His mercy whomever He wills. But as for the unjust ones, He has prepared for them a painful torment." (76:29-31).

4- "It is only a Reminder to all humankind. To whoever of you wills to go straight. But you cannot will, unless God wills - The Lord of the Worlds." (81:27-29).

 Hence, all human beings are free agents who willingly choose to (dis)believe, to (dis)obey, and to be (mis)guided:

1- "And say, “The truth is from your Lord. Whoever wills - let him believe. And whoever wills - let him disbelieve”...." (18:29).

2- "What of him whose evil deed was made attractive to him, and so he regards it as good? God leads astray who is willing to be misguided, and He guides who is willing to be guided..." (35:8).

 Let us trace further the root z/a/d and its derivations in the sense of (to increase) in the Quranic text.

 The Lord God increases the guidance of those who seek/choose guidance:

1- "As for those who are guided, He increases them in guidance, and He has granted them their righteousness." (47:17).

2- "God increases in guidance those who accept guidance. And the things that endure - the righteous deeds - have the best reward with your Lord, and the best outcome." (19:76).

3- "We relate to you their story in Truth. They were youths who believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance." (18:13).

 Hence, the Lord God increases His bounty to them:

1- "And He answers those who believe and do good deeds, and He increases them of His grace..." (42:26).

2- "But as for those who believe and do good works, He will pay them their wages in full, and will increase His grace for them..." (4:173).

3- "God will reward them according to the best of what they did, and He will increase them from His bounty...." (24:38).

4- "He will pay them their dues in full, and will increase them from His bounty..." (35:30).

5- "And He answers those who believe and do good deeds, and He increases them of His grace..." (42:26).

This is about the increase of disbelief:

 The Quran increases the disbelief, sins, and misguidance of those who have rejected the Quran; this is in contrast to the fact that the Quran increases the belief and guidance of those who believe in it.

 This is about the disobedient sinners/disbelievers among the People of the Book:

1- "The Jews say, “God’s hand is tied.” It is their hands that are tied, and they are cursed for what they say. In fact, His hands are outstretched; He gives as He wills. Certainly, what was revealed to you from your Lord will increase many of them in defiance and blasphemy. And We placed between them enmity and hatred, until the Day of Resurrection. Whenever they kindle the fire of war, God extinguishes it. And they strive to spread corruption on earth. God does not love the corrupters." (5:64).

2- "Say, “O People of the Book! You have no basis until you uphold the Torah, and the Gospel, and what is revealed to you from your Lord.” But what is revealed to you from your Lord will increase many of them in rebellion and disbelief, so do not be sorry for the disbelieving people." (5:68).

 This is about the comparison between believing companions and hypocritical ones during Muhammad's lifetime about their stance regarding the revelation/descent of the Quran: "Whenever a chapter is revealed, some of them say, “Which of you has this increased in faith?” As for those who believe: it increases them in faith, and they rejoice. But as for those in whose hearts is sickness: it increases their disgrace and adds to it, and they die as unbelievers." (9:124-125). The Quran increases the faith of believers and the loss of disbelievers: "We send down in the Quran healing and mercy for the believers, but it increases the unjust ones only in loss." (17:82). The verse 17:82 miraculously applies to imams/sheikhs or clergymen of the terrestrial religions of the Muhammadans who distort meanings of Quranic verses to accommodate and promote the lies and falsehoods of their terrestrial religions; i.e., they misuse the Holy Quran, the Book of Guidance, in order to mislead and misguide others. Their hearts are filled with the sickness of polytheism, disbelief, disobedience, and sinning; this is chosen by them within their free will; the Lord God increases their sickness:

1- "In their hearts is sickness, and God has increased their sickness. They will have a painful torment because of their denial." (2:10).

2- "Say, “Whoever is in error, the Dominant Lord will lead him on.” Until, when they see what they were promised - either the torment, or the Hour. Then they will know who was in worse position and weaker in forces." (19:75); and this is about the guided ones: "God increases in guidance those who accept guidance. And the things that endure - the righteous deeds - have the best reward with your Lord, and the best outcome." (19:76).

 Within their own free will, they go into extremes of disbelief, tyranny, and polytheism; they hate and feel aversion regarding the Quranic warning:

1- "As for those who disbelieve after having believed, then increase in disbelief, their repentance will not be accepted; these are the lost." (3:90).

2- "Those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe, then disbelieve, then increase in disbelief, God will not forgive them, nor will He guide them to a way." (4:137).

3- "And when it is said to them, “Bow down to the Dominant Lord,” they say, “And who is the Dominant Lord? Are we to bow down to whatever you command us?” And it increases their aversion." (25:60).

4- "And they swore by God with their solemn oaths, that if a warner came to them, they would be more guided than any other people. Yet when a warner came to them, it only increased them in aversion." (35:42).

5- "We have explained in this Quran in various ways, that they may remember, but it only increases their aversion." (17:41).

6- "We said to you that your Lord encompasses humanity. We did not make the vision We showed you, except as a test for the people, and the tree cursed in the Quran. We frighten them, but that only increases their defiance." (17:60).

 In fact, misguided ones in all eras advise others to commit sins resulting in loss:

1- Saleh has said the following to his people of Thamood: "He said, “O my people, have you considered? If I stand upon clear evidence from my Lord, and He has given me mercy from Him, who would protect me from God, if I disobeyed Him? You increase nothing for me except loss.”" (11:63).

2- This is a Quranic warning addressed to the early believers in Arabia against hypocrites among the companions/contemporaries of Muhammad: "Had they mobilized with you, they would have increased only your difficulties, and they would have spread rumors in your midst, trying to sow discord among you. Some of you are avid listeners to them. God is Aware of the unjust ones." (9:47).

3- Clergymen are human devils aided by jinn devils to spread devilish revelations: "Some individual humans used to seek power through some jinn, but they only increased them in confusion." (72:6); the Lord God increases the loss and hatred of such disbelievers: "It is He who made you successors on earth. Whoever disbelieves, his disbelief will recoil upon him. The disbelief of the disbelievers adds only to their Lord's disfavor of them. The disbelief of the disbelievers increases only their loss." (35:39).

 The Lord God increases their torment:

1- "Those who disbelieve and obstruct from God’s Path - We will increase the torment added to their torment, on account of the mischief they used to make." (16:88).

2- In contrast, the Lord God increases the bliss of charitable ones: "...We will forgive your sins, and give increase to the charitable ones.”" (2:58); "...We will forgive your sins, and will give increase to the charitable ones.”" (7:161).

3- Both Hell-torment and Paradise bliss are eternal and increasing in the Hereafter: "Enter it in peace. This is the Day of Eternity.”Therein they will have whatever they desire - and We have even more increases." (50:34-35); "Whomever God guides is the guided one. And whomever He leaves astray - for them you will find no protectors apart from Him. And We will gather them on the Day of Resurrection, on their faces, blind, dumb, and deaf. Their abode is Hell; whenever it abates, We increase the blaze for them." (17:97).

4- The torment of disbelievers increases; the Bounty of the Lord God increases when one is thankful to the Lord Allah: "And when your Lord proclaimed: “If you give thanks, I will grant you increase; but if you are ungrateful, My torment is severe.”" (14:7).

5- Hence, false gods cause the increasing of the loss of disbelievers/polytheists: "These are of the reports of the towns - We relate them to you. Some are still standing, and some have withered away. We did not wrong them, but they wronged themselves. Their gods, whom they invoked besides God, availed them nothing when the command of your Lord arrived. In fact, they increased only their ruin." (11:100-101).

The root z/a/d and its derivations within the increase of power/might:

1- This is about the speeds of angels within their movements: "Praise be to God, Originator of the heavens and the earth, Maker of the angels messengers with wings - double, triple, and quadruple. He increases creation as He wills. God is Able to do all things." (35:1).

2- Hud has said the following to his people of Aad: "Are you surprised that a reminder has come to you from your Lord, through a man from among you, to warn you? Remember how He made you successors after the people of Noah, and increased you greatly in might..." (7:69).

3- Within the story of the Israelites, we read this about king Talut: "Their prophet said to them, “God has appointed Talut to be your king.” They said, “How can he have authority over us, when we are more worthy of authority than he, and he was not given plenty of wealth?” He said, “God has chosen him over you, and has increased him in knowledge and stature.” ..." (2:247).

The root z/a/d and its derivations within the increase of numbers:

1- This is about the people of Jonah: "Then We sent him to a hundred thousand, or more." (37:147).

2- "And they stayed in their cave for three hundred years, adding nine." (18:25).



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