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السلام عليكم

In surah An-Nisa, ayat 46 it says:

مِّنَ ٱلَّذِينَ هَادُوا۟ يُحَرِّفُونَ ٱلْكَلِمَ عَن مَّوَاضِعِهِۦ وَيَقُولُونَ سَمِعْنَا وَعَصَيْنَا وَٱسْمَعْ غَيْرَ مُسْمَعٍۢ وَرَٰعِنَا لَيًّۢا بِأَلْسِنَتِهِمْ وَطَعْنًۭا فِى ٱلدِّينِ ۚ وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ قَالُوا۟ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَٱسْمَعْ وَٱنظُرْنَا لَكَانَ خَيْرًۭا لَّهُمْ وَأَقْوَمَ وَلَـٰكِن لَّعَنَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ بِكُفْرِهِمْ فَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًۭاا "Some Jews take words out of context and say, “We listen and we disobey,” “Hear! May you never hear,” and “Râ’ina!” [Herd us!]—playing with words and discrediting the faith. Had they said ˹courteously˺, “We hear and obey,” “Listen to us,” and “Unẓurna,” [Tend to us!] it would have been better for them and more proper. Allah has condemned them for their disbelief, so they do not believe except for a few."

Why is Ra'ina replaced by Unzurna because some of the Jews meant Ra'ina sarcastically with the meaning "Listen, may you become deaf"? They could use some kind of playful, ambiguous connotation to Unzurna as well. Just like in every language I believe you can give every word a negative connotation or positive whether you may like.

مع السلامة

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  • I don't get your question it looks for me very confusing, what is the source of your Qur'an translation? And for the context if undhornaa there's a verse in Surat al-Baqara 104 explaining why it should replace ra'ina the matter of this verse is purely linguistic, because ra'ina has a Hebrew origin and a specific meaning there.
    – Medi1Saif
    Apr 10, 2022 at 11:08
  • @Medi1Saif Salamu 'aleikum. I meant this question as a question to Allah (swt). I wondered why replace 'ra'ina' because 'unzurna' is also a word to be played with like one can play with every word. I hope this sheds some light on this matter. Ma'a salama. P.S.: I used quran.com as my source of translation. Apr 10, 2022 at 12:31

1 Answer 1

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One of the teachings of Islam is to not be ambiguous and raise suspicion.

In a famous hadith:

Safiyyah (the wife of the Prophet) narrated:

The Messenger of Allah (May peace be upon him) was in the I'tikaf. I came to visit him at night. I talked to him, got up and turned my back.

He got up with me to accompany me. He was living in the house of Usamah b. Zaid. Two men of the Ansar passed by him. When they saw the Messenger of Allah (May peace be upon him), they walked quickly.

The prophet (May peace be upon him) said: "Be at ease; she is Safiyyah daughter of Huyayy."

They said: "Glory be to Allah, Messenger of Allah!"

He said: "The devil flows in man as the blood flows in him. I feared that he might inject something in your hearts," or he said “evil” (instead of something). (Sunan Abi Dawud 4994)

The reason the Prophet clarified to them who she was is so they wouldn't even have room for suspicion of anything bad.

In the same way, Islam encourages us to avoid suspicion and ambiguity. The disbelievers were using the phrase Ra'ina in a joking manner for whatever reason, so Allah told the believers to avoid it and use something more clear instead.

To say they could find something else to be sarcastic about is correct, but that shouldn't stop us from taking on things that are less ambiguous and harder for people to use sarcastically.

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  • Salamu 'aleikum. Could you maybe find the very instance my ayat refers to? (And a side note question could you upvote my question pls?) Ma'a salama Apr 9, 2022 at 5:13
  • I'd accept your answer if you can find the very group in this specific ayat. Apr 11, 2022 at 15:47
  • @Anonymous196 I do not really know what you mean by "very group" more than just the Jews. Also, that seems a bit tangential to the question. Perhaps you should ask a separate question about the interpretation of who used these words and why.
    – The Z
    Apr 11, 2022 at 17:32
  • I meant that there must be a division in Judaism as well as in Islam either by madhab (but in hebrew) or like a specific group of people within Judaism. Apr 12, 2022 at 1:40
  • @Anonymous196 I am not sure what this has to do with divisions of Judaism. It is just that some Jews used it to mock the Muslims..nothing more complicated than that. It's not about a sect or a religious matter
    – The Z
    Apr 12, 2022 at 1:58

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