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September 1st, 2008

Ramadan daily Quran study

During this month of Ramadan I plan to post one section (ruku) from a Part of the Holy Quran everyday for people to ponder on. The part from which a section will be selected will be Part 1 on the first day, Part 2 on the second day and so on for thirty days. The section could be any in that part. I will try my best to keep to this schedule.

The post will be a pdf file and will contain only the translation, with brief explanatory notes abbreviated and sometimes adapted from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s English commentary. Each link opens a new window.

Study for fast no. 30.
Study for fast no. 29.
Study for fast no. 28.
Study for fast no. 27.
Study for fast no. 26.
Study for fast no. 25.
Study for fast no. 24.
Study for fast no. 23.
Study for fast no. 22.
Study for fast no. 21.

Study for fast no. 20.
Study for fast no. 19.
Study for fast no. 18.
Study for fast no. 17.
Study for fast no. 16.
Study for fast no. 15.
Study for fast no. 14.
Study for fast no. 13.
Study for fast no. 12.
Study for fast no. 11.

Study for fast no. 10.
Study for fast no. 9.
Study for fast no. 8.
Study for fast no. 7.
Study for fast no. 6.
Study for fast no. 5.
Study for fast no. 4.
Study for fast no. 3.
Study for fast no. 2.
Study for fast no. 1.

40 Responses to “Ramadan daily Quran study”

  1. September 2nd, 2008 at 4:03 pm
    From Samir R. Qazi:

    2:185 mentions “clear proofs”.

    Such “clear” signs are mentioned in a number of places in the Quran (2:99, 2:118, 2:159, 2:187, 2:211, 2:213, 2:219, 2:242, 2:253, 2:266, 3:19, 3:86, 3:103, 3:105, 4:153, 4:174, 5:89,
    6:157, 7:73, 7:85, 7:105, 8:42, 11:17, 11:28, 11:63, 11:88, 11:96, 20:72, 22:16, 22:72, 24:1, 24:18, 28:36, 29:35, 29:49, 45:17, 46:7, 58:5, 61:6, 98:1, 98:4 among others).

    Unfortunately for a person of weak faith like myself, these are anything but “clear”.

    Interestingly, it is evident from the above references that people with faith tend to clearly see the proof/signs and non-believers do not. Also those who fail to recognize these signs once they have been made manifest, are likely to regret their oversight.

    I find it quite frustrating that I do not find these proofs to be “clear” or evident.

  2. I suppose there are two issues here: (1) the interpretation of Quranic arabic and (2) philosophical issues regarding the meaning of words and what can and can’t be known.

    Pickthal uses the term “clear proofs”, Yusaf Ali uses “clear (signs)” and Muhammad Asad translates as “self-evident proofs”. Maybe someone with knowledge of Quranic arabic can throw light on this.

    Obviously it would be absurd to understand “clear” or “self-evident” in a strict mathematical or scientific context since we are dealing with the ultimate reality here.

    Also according to the Quran it is Allah who is ultimately in control of your preception and interpretation of the “signs” depending on your level of spiritual effort/development.

  3. September 3rd, 2008 at 6:07 am
    From Usman Malik:

    I suppose it would be worthwhile to examine what is exactly meant by clear signs or proof.  Obviously the general / literal meaning of the word cannot apply here as the majority of humanity has failed to see the “clear” proofs.  It has to be a qualified meaning.

  4. Clear signs, which were seen, were also rejected:

    “So when Our clear signs came to them, they said: This is clear enchantment.” 27:13.

    “Then they took the calf (for a god), after clear signs had come to them, but We pardoned this.” 4:153.

    In our own lives, we find that if we see clear evidence that some habit or behaviour is harmful, then if we are not guilty of that bad habit it looks like clear evidence to us, but if we are a victim of that habit we set aside the evidence under various pretexts!

    The Pharaoh, due to the arrogance of possessing great power, kept on rejecting various clear signs shown by Moses, despite seeing them.

    “Know that Allah gives life to the earth after its death. Indeed, We have made the signs clear for you that you may understand.” 57:17

    In this case, everyone can see that the earth receives life through rain which causes vegetation to grow again. This is the clear sign from which the Quran points to the conclusion that dead hearts need revelation to come to spiritual life. Having seen the sign, people may not agree with the conclusion.

  5. September 4th, 2008 at 8:08 am
    From Samir R. Qazi:

    Thus the good generally correctly intrepret the signs and their faith gets stronger. The bad, who really need to see the signs, tend to reject/misintrepret the “clear” signs. 

    Maybe when the guilty/bad people see the signs, deep down they realize the truth, but reject it due to their arrogance/other reasons.

    Still, the whole issue appears to be titled in favour of the good. It should be much easier for non-believers to see the “clear” signs. 

    The word used for “clear” in the Quran has the root  بين
    and maybe this needs to be investigated as suggested by Saqib and Usman…

  6. But who is good and who is bad? Many people who accepted Islam in the Holy Prophet’s time were not “good” previously.

    This is not a “Catch 22” situation, that to see signs you have to be good, but to be good you have to see signs!

    These are matters of degree and not binary digits (0 or 1) so that either someone is good or they are bad. Nor is it the case that either you see the signs or you don’t.

    “Good” here could mean sincere in searching while still sunk in sin, which again is a matter of degree.

  7. September 4th, 2008 at 11:55 am
    From Samir R. Qazi:

    Thank you for the clarification. I think I can about fit into the above definition of “good”, and this gives me renewed hope.

  8. September 4th, 2008 at 5:45 pm
    From Samir R. Qazi:

    Study for fast 3
    “He knows what is before them and what is behind them.” (2:255)
    has been translated as:
    Literal: He knows what (is) between their hands and what (is) behind them
    M. Asad: He knows all that lies open before men and all that is hidden from them
    Qaribullah: He knows what will be before their hands and what was behind them
    Khalifa: He knows their past, and their future
    Halali/Khan: He knows what happens to them (His creatures) in this world, and what will happen to them in the Hereafter
    Yousuf Ali: He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them
    QXP: His Knowledge transcends time and space

    I suppose the ayat contains all the above meanings?
    Possibly “between their hands” is a phrase that implies the present and/or future.

    About 2:256 “There is no compulsion in religion”, I do not think this is sufficient answer to allegations that Islam spread by the sword (as claimed in the notes). It certainly indicates that the Quran does not advocate spread by the sword.

  9. Maulana Muhammad Ali had written in his note on 2:256:

    “To all the nonsense which is being talked about the Prophet offering Islam or the sword as alternatives to the pagan Arabs, this verse is a sufficient answer.”

    This is more accurate than my summary of it in the words: “To all the allegations that Islam spread by the sword, this verse is a sufficient answer.” Sorry.

  10. September 5th, 2008 at 4:39 am
    From Usman Malik:

    Ref: Study 4
    It is interesting to note that 3:134 and 3:135 first prescribe an act of good for mankind to carry out (showing mercy) and then invites mankind to seek mercy from Allah.  This can imply that the more a person inculcates the attributes of God in him/her/self, the more likley she/he is to be recipient of the corrosponding divine attrubite.  So the more mercy you show to fellow humans, the more Allah will hasten to show mercy on you after you commit sins.  Similalry the attribute of “ruboobiat” and that corrosponding to “raaziq” of Allah will apply to you better if you also become a “rub” and “raaziq” to fellow humans; and so on and so forth.

  11. Regarding clear signs:

    I am not an authority in Arabic so may be totally off here, but I did look up the root word b-y-n in Lanes Arabic to English Lexicon

    and it appears that the word originally means becoming seperate and as such the significance of a clear sign is it being so distinct that it is clear and manifest.  Hence, it is clear on being disticnt from some thing else, and not clear per se. 


    It (a thing, T, $, M, Mgh, or an
    affair, or a case, M,b)

    was, or became, [distinct,
    as thoutgh sparate from others;
    and thus,] appmrent,
    manifest, evident, clear, plain,
    or perspierous:
    ($,Mgh, Mqb, I:) and

    it was, or became,

    I am not sure of the significance of the meaning here, but it does suggest that God is presenting in the book signs or proofs that are clear on account of being distinct….perhaps as in distinct from arguments that existed before…or distinct in being unique in some way..or appealing…..or having the property of throwing light on a mattter so as to making the truth distinct from falsehhood.  In any case, one could argue that the signs as such then are not miraculous events that by themselves would convince every one, but rather are signs or arguments that upon comparison and reflection make the truth or a matter distinct.  As I said, not being an Arabic scholar I may just have made no sense here.


  12. It is a very commendable effort on your part to look up the meaning of the word, and I would strongly encourage you to learn Arabic grammar (if you do not already know it). Then you will be able to work out what the root of a word is, and also what form the word has, and how that form modifies the root meaning.

    In Bayan-ul-Quran Maulana Muhammad Ali has given detailed meanings of words and their roots. You can look up the index of Arabic words in vol. 2 entitled Lughat-ul-Quran. For bayyana, (the very last index entry under “b”), it refers to footnotes 111, 953 and 1451.

    As you see from the long entry in Lane, bain means between. I would suggest that bain would be the very ancient origin of between.

  13. Usman: thanks for making the effort to look up the meaning of ‘bain’.

    Regarding study for fast 7- ayat 6:53 was just right for today! (re: our new lord and master).

  14. Saqib:  Yes 6:53 indeed springs to mind!! 

    Regarding Study for Fast 7 (btw in Pakistan we are one fast behind UK), while MMA has put the verses in thier immediate historical context, my mind seems to be going elsewhere if we study them in a more universal context.  But first a question:

    In 6:50 after saying that I (i.e the Prophet (pbuh))  have come as a plain warner, a question is posed to the reader or the ppl being warned, and they are asked to reflect upon that.  What is the significance of this?  Is it that the revelations of Allah are so clear (the clarity issue again!!) that only a plain warning without any accompanying fanfare (such as supernatural powers, worldy treasures etc) should suffice, provided that you reflect?

    6:52  can also possibly refer to persons who perhaps have an “unorthodox” yet sincere approach to deriving Allah’s pleasure (by unorthdox I mean unorthodox as defined by the so called “orthodoxy” and  not necessarily as defined by the Quran).  For example great Mulism Sufis etc (HMGA included) are often branded as heretics by the established order.   In 6:53 could the explanation given by MMA be applied in reverse! That the poor may think they are tried by Allah by Him providing more worldy benefits to less grateful persons.

    In 6:54 the concept of Allah ordaining (k-t-b..he wrote  / ordained any other significnace of the word??) mercy on himself is rather fascinating and opens up philosophical issues.  An infinite being, being ordained (even by itself) is a tricky concept.  Is it Allah’s way of emphasizing the limitlesness of his mercy that he has made it binding on himself (even though Allah cannot be bound) this a divine promise to mankind? 

    6:55 while not a part of the study, is very relevent to the discussions taking place on this blog:

    And thus do We make distinct
    the messages and so that the way of
    the guilty may become clear.

  15. Regarding 7:189

    I understand this verse as saying that Man and its mate are created from a single soul (Also in 4:1 and 39:6).  Does this mean that the soul does not have a gender?  And extending the logic from there, that ultimately after creation ends and all souls have been “purified” (taking the Ahmadi view that hell is not eternal and reformatory in nature), and all have attained spiritual progress in heavan, then the differance between individual souls will become less and less and they will ultimatley revert to the original template i.e. “nafs wahida”, and is “nafs wahida” ultimately Allah?

  16. 6:50: reflection appears to be a universal prerequisite for clarity – hence clarity will have a different meaning for everyone depending on mental make-up (as per the old saying alluding to an infinite number of way to an infinite God).
    6:52: appealing interpretation for me personally – despite the commentators favouring a historical perspective
    6:54: infinite mercy etc: yet another Quranic reference to the ever present all pervasive back drop of absurdity that enshrouds all existance ! 

  17. Nafs is feminine in Arabic. The “a” in the adjective Wahida makes it so. This may open up intriguing possibilities for gender issues, or it may simply mean that the particular noun nafs is feminine in Arabic because it has feminine qualities as opposed to masculine. Just as Jalaal vs Jamaal. Both have their place and need.

    One problem with your logical conclusion is that it limits Allah to something finite and not infinite.

  18. September 10th, 2008 at 6:12 pm
    From Samir R. Qazi:

    Usman thank you for clarifying bain.

    3:136 mentions gardens in/under which rivers flow. This description has been used scores of times in the Quran. I fully realize the allegorical nature of these descriptions and that no one can imagine the afterlife etc. Still, the fact is that this description is repeated again and again, with a little more detail in 47:15 which tells about 4 rivers of water, milk, wine and honey. There is also a Hadis I believe that tells about 4 lakes in Jannat ul Firdose from where these rivers originate. Most commentators do not go into much details on this. Mr. Naseer Faruqui in his dars had opinions on what each river signified. What I am interested in is:
    What do these rivers signify to you?
    Why is this the most frequent description of heaven?

    6:50 Saqib: instead of “mental” the better word may be “heart”, the condition of which is likely to influence the understanding/clarity/interpretation

    6:52 Usman: This interpretation also appeals to me

    6:68 Reiterates the murky nature of revelation i.e. the same thing that increases faith in some will increase disbelief in others. Just as the same ayat may be interpreted differently depending on the perversity in the heart (3:7).

    6:69 Sabians, I presume, are the followers of David?

    7:189 Usman: I do not have the references, but in a number of places there is mention of partners in the afterlife, which probably indicates that there is likely to be some gender distinction, at least initially. If the eventual fate is union with Allah, then of course gender cannot exist forever. Gender may also manifest in this universe, and may not have the same significance in the afterlife, even though as “everything” has been created in pairs, this is likely to apply to the afterlife as well…

    About individuality, I feel that we spend a lot of time in developing individuality in this life, and this is likely to play some role in our function in the afterlife.

  19. Tariq:  I suppose the problem is that (barring people with great spiritual insight) our understanding / explanation of any thing is shaped by our sensory perceptions of the pysical world which is finite.   Perhaps then it is fruitless to try to understand Allah in a “metaphysical” sense; as we can only know him thorugh his relationship with the physical world ???????????

  20. Question:

    Infintiy + 1 = Infinity   ????

    Is the absolute number 1 in itself infinite… if only one thing existed…would it be infinite???

    Is it a waste of time to pose such questions!!??


  21. Usman and Tariq: The “physical” world if it “exists” dissolves into infinity/absurdity at either end of the scale – if one wants to take a “scientific” point of view. The seemingly “finite” data from sensory preceptions has spiritual significance depending on how it is processed.

    Samir: re the gender issue – I suppose we are dealing with another unknowable here – if I recall correctly some sufi schools of thought assign a neutral or female gender to God (???)

  22. I once read a translation of the verse about humans being created from a single soul as ‘created from a single cell’, more in line with modern scientific knowledge. I wonder if the word nafs can be interpreted this way. seems interesting

  23. Samir: Followers of David would just be Jews. Sabians are (were) a religion between Judaism and Christianity, who believed in One God but worshipped other things such as angels.

    The “partners” in the after life are not women but your qualities you acquired in this life. Words such as charity, chastity, honesty, probity, even in English seems to be feminine. In fact, the word “charity” is plainly the same as “khairat”. These are the female partners, or hur, of the next life.

    Usman: Infinity is a concept in more than one branch of knowledge (Maths, Philosophy etc.) and presumably not having the same meaning. In Mathematics we first have the lowest infinity (called Aleph 0). This is a “countable” infinity, and is basically the number of numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.  or anything that can be mapped to these numbers (e.g. the set 2, 4, 6, 8, etc).

    Also, the set of all rationals, what people call fractions (of the form m/n where m and n are any positive integers ) is a countable infinity. Yes, you can count all fractions by assigning them 1, 2, 3, etc. It is easy to show how!

    Then there are higher infinities, which cannot be counted, such as the number of all numbers, since that includes irrational numbers (e.g. pi), and doesn’t consist of fractions only.

    Operations like plus and times have to be strictly defined in Maths, so your infinity+1 would only have a meaning if + was defined for such situations. Of course, 1/infinity is taken to be zero. I believe Aleph0 times Aleph0 is defined as Aleph1.

  24. Generally,
    If b/a=c
    Therefore  b/c = a  or b = a X c
    The relation 1/ infinity = 0 is well known.
    Another form of this is 1/0 (or any # divided by zero) = infinity. But I don’t remember ever having seen it written as 1 = infinity X 0.
    I wonder if from a religious point of view, this would be a valid representaion of something being produced out of nothing by God (An infinite force producing something out of nothing) ! 

    I think any discussion concerning infinity is really in the realm of the unknown!

  25. Reference: Study for Fast #12, notes on verse 11:114:
    “The two afternoon prayers and the two after sunset prayers, which

    are spoken of together, may under exceptional circumstances be said together.”

    According to “A Manual of Hadith” (  hadith #6) exceptional circunstances are not required to combine prayers.

    The Shia sect combines prayers routinely. Comments?

  26. Samir:  Regarding 3:136, as per HMGA and MMA, using the Quranic parable of a good tree = good word, they have said that the rivers of paradise represent the spiritual faith that feeds good words and good deed.  Regarding 47:15:

    Water = Spiritual Sustainance
    Milk = Spiritual growth
    Wine = Spiritual Intoxication
    Honey = Taste of spirituality

    This is adapted from HMGA’s “Philosophy of teachings of Islam”; wherein he makes the point that the “Arif” (I think it literally may mean the knower or the aware….can some one throw some light here???) translated as righteous by MMA, experiences all the four above mentioned factors in this world; but in the next world they are experienced in a palapble form….or the experience becomes manifest, allegorically referred to as milk, honey etc in the Quran.  Another way of saying this could be that in the physical world these things are experienced in a spiritual manner, and in the spiritual world (post death I presume) in a physical manner!!  Ofcourse “physical” in the spiritual world having a connotation that we have no clue about.

    I also referred to Maulana Maudoodis Tafseer o this, and he simply says that the milk of the paradise is not from the teats of the animals bit springs forth directly from the earth, so does not have the smell characterisitc of animal milk.  Similarly the paradise honey is not a production of the bee, so is free from waxes and dead insect parts and so and so forth. 

    Have not consluted Maulana Asad or Ibn Kathir as yet.

  27. Ref: Study 10

    Regarding 8:47 – In “Philosophy of T of Islam” HMGA, cites this verse when talking about the attribute of courage and says that the moral courage is where the courageous takes action after due reflection and fully aware of the consequences and reprucussions of his action; as opposed to the “mad dash of a savage.”  Regarding “to be seen by people” I think there is a Hadith mentioned in Zahid Aziz’s book “Islam Peace and..” which says some thing like that warriors who commit violence for show or for thrill will be shamed and punished on judgement day.

  28. September 12th, 2008 at 1:29 pm
    From Samir R. Qazi:

    Usman thank you for the explanation about the rivers. I had forgotten about the explanation in Philosophy of T of Islam, and will look it up there again as well. I already looked up M. Asad’s and Ibn Kathir’s explanations, and M. Asad’s does not go into details, other than referring to commentators who reaffirm the allegorical nature. Ibn Kathir basically says what you did about the fact that the honey and milk are not from animal origin, and quoting the hadis about the 4 lakes in jannat ul firdous. I also looked up the root (noon-hey-ray) for river, and interestingly it is also the root for “day”. Looked up all the references to this in the Quran on openburhan and nealry all of these relate to the (clear) sign of alternation of the night and day, and of course the rivers that flow. Except one, 93:10
    وَأَمَّا السَّائِلَ فَلَا تَنْهَرْ
    which translates: Nor repulse the petitioner (unheard)
    (probably not related/significant?)

    I quite like the fact that the partners in the afterlife are qualities. This is a new and a very appealing concept for me.

    About courage and due reflection – one of the best concepts in Philosophy of teachings of Islam is thinking about the spiritual development of the other party before taking action.

    About study for fast 11:
    9:115 is amazing as Allah also “makes clear to them what they should guard against”. This, and references to the dire end of those who have once been shown the right path, and then go astray, is making life pretty difficult for me…

  29. Tanhar also occurs in 17:23 as it does in 93:10 with the same meaning, I learnt from Bayan-ul-Quran.

  30. Another very useful online resource for Quran study is the compilation of Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s and Maulana Nuruddin Sahib’s writings on various quranic verses, arranged in order. It is on the Qadiani website and May Allah reward whoever went through the effort of putting these together.

    The above link takes you to the compilation by Maulana Nuruddin Sahib and there is a drop down in the top right corner which also has Mirza Sahib’s compilation as one of the last options.

    These may not be exhaustive and sometimes the context within the book or the article where the text is taken from is important, however it is a worthy and noble effort.

  31. Regarding: 13:8

    The ending of this verse “And everything with Him has a measure” is significant and adds to the meaning of the verse.  The word “miqdar” is familiar to Urdu speakers having much the same meaning, and the root is qaf-dal-ray (Q-D-R).  However, the meaning is closely linked to khay-lam-qaf (KH-L-Q) or he created.  The same root of miqadar (Q-D-R) form the words taqdeer; again familiar word to Urdu speakers commonly understood as destiny or fate.  Doctor Basharat Ahmed and Khawaj Kamaluddin have explored this in depth and interpreted that every entity at the moment of creation is created according to a certain measure so that within the entity are placed all the qualities that with proper development and nourishment will enable to fulfill its destiny or goal.  Hence at the time of conception the fertilized egg has within it in latent form information stored in the DNA that will enable it to grow, with proper nourishment from the mother into  ultimately a human being; and without proper nourishment it may not develop to the intended goal.  Now my question is that is the “single soul” referred to in 7:189 the spiritual equivalent of the fertilized egg; an undeveloped entity with all the qualities embedded into it to blossom into the “soul at rest” with divine nourishment.  So that in 13:8, Allah is stating both those that “fall short” and those “which they grow” were blessed with the same qualities to begin with. 

    Secondly the physical and spiritual parallel of the development of the embryo as described in the Quran (See 23:1-14) has been discussed by HMGA .  Can any one throw light on the spiritual equivalent of the 3 layers of darkness around the embryo mentioned in the Quran? 

  32. ref. my previous post see the entry for Q-D-R

    and compare with entry for Kh-L-Q

    appears that the meanings are very similar when talking about creation.

  33. “Glorify the name of thy Lord, the Most High! Who creates, then makes complete and Who measures, then guides” (87:1-3).

    These verses also show the connection between the acts of khalaqa (creates) and qaddara (measures).

  34. Usman,

    Which verse refers to the three layers of darkness around the embryo?

  35. “He created you from a single being, then made its mate of the same (kind). And He sent down for you eight of the cattle in pairs. He creates you in the wombs of your mothers — creation after creation — in triple darkness. That is Allah, your Lord; His is the kingdom. There is no God but He. How are you then turned away?”


  36. In his lengthy footnote on 3:49, explaining the “creation” of birds by Jesus, Maulana Muhammad Ali writes:

    “…The primary significance of khalq is measuring, proportioning, synonym taqdir (Lane’s Lexicon); hence khalq comes to signify the mere act of the determining of a thing. The word was used in this sense in pre-Islamic poetry. The act of khalq in the sense of creation cannot be attributed to any being except Allah….”

  37. Now that Zahid Sb. has been kind enough to quote the verse of triple darkness, does any one have thoughts on this?

  38. Usman,

    I am not sure of the spiritual equivalent of the three layers of darkness around the embryo. Especially if you are trying to relate it to the discussion of the parallel between the growth of the embryo and the spiritual growth of a human as expounded by HMGA. The only thing I can offer is that just as physical growth takes place in darkness, hidden from view and is internal. Similarly the spiritual growth is also an internal process, whose true manifestation will be in the next life.

    Naseer Ahmad Farooqi sahib (marhoom), in his dars on this section, relates the three layers of darkness to the phrase just before it “creation after creation” and the one after “That is Allah your Lord [Rab]”. He states that there are three creations/stages for an embryo (initial creation in the womb, breathing of the Spirit and birth into this world) and at each stage he is in darkness about the subsequent one. The embryo’s lack of knowledge about the subsequent creation (i.e. inability to see) does not mean that the subsequent stage will not happen. Similarly man also has three creations, one is his birth into this world, then Barzakh and then Qayamat when all are raised for judgment. The lack of knowledge about the next stage (inability to see) while in the previous does not imply that the subsequent stage will not happen. Plus, Allah is the Rab who just as He guides an embryo by developing him through all of his stages in darkness, He will also guide man through his subsequent journey. And just because man cannot see the next stage, does not mean that it will not happen.

    I don’t do justice to how he explains it. You will have to listen to it yourself. BTW, the version on the aaiil website actually gets garbled at that exact point where he start talking about this ayat and then ends J …you will have to look for another audio copy of that dars.

  39. Tariq, thanks.  I will listern to the dars….

  40. The concept of Allah being ordaining is a fascinating concept. Emphasizing his mercy to the point of himself is his prove of being divine.