Chapter-X

 

The next verse (15) is:

שוקיו עמודי שש מיסדים על־אדני־פז מראהו כלבנון בחור כארזים[1]

His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.[2]

This verse includes two independent descriptions. The first description relates to the legs of the ‘beloved’ and the second one relates to his countenance. Firstly, the study of the legs of the ‘beloved’ is being undertaken, for which the KJV has used the words ‘His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold’. The Rev. R. A. Redford explains it as follows:

So in the description of the legs we have the combination of white and gold, the white marble setting forth greatness and purity, and the gold sublimity and nobleness; intended, no doubt, to suggest that in the royal bridegroom, there was personal beauty united with kingly majesty.[3]

The commentator here asserts that these words undoubtedly signify the combination of personal beauty and kingly majesty in the bridegroom. As far as ‘Personal Beauty’ of Jesus is concerned:

It was never said of the child Jesus, as of the child Moses, when he was born, that he was exceedingly fair [Acts 7:20][4]; nay, he had no form nor comeliness (Isa. 53:2[5]).[6]

As to his ‘Kingly Majesty’, it is not a statement of fact, but is a grave mockery, to assign it to a person, about whom it is recorded in the very Bible:

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium[7] and gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knees before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.[8]

The Pulpit Commentarydid not indicate any literal application of this sentence of the ‘Song’. It gave it entirely a figurative sense (‘that in the royal bridegroom, there was personal beauty united with kingly majesty’). But, in fact, it can by no means be applied or related to Jesus Christ (pbAh).

When the description of the evangelists regarding the last days of Jesus Christ (pbAh) be studied, one comes across an unsteady, unstable, and wavering person. On the one hand, he wishes, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup [of death] pass from Me;[9]’ on the other hand, he seems to accept it half-heartedly saying, ‘nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.[10]’ No doubt the last words claimed to have been uttered by Jesus, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ (My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?)[11] reveal the belief in the Oneness and Omnipotence of God, but at the same time they show his human limitations and complaint. Keeping in view the critical nature of the moment, they are not compatible with the ideals of perseverance and steadfastness. No doubt they are very apt and meaningful for supplication in solitude, but pronouncing these words openly in public at the time of suffering reveals lack of commitment, courage and confidence in one’s mission and ideals, which are not befitting of the Prophet Jesus (pbAh). ‘Stateliness’, ‘steadfastness’, and ‘magnificence’ are quite irrelevant words for Jesus Christ (pbAh). Such words can neither be applied literally nor figuratively to the life of Jesus Christ (pbAh) in the light of the Bible; wheras they are quite relevant to the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbAh). The unwavering steadfastness of Prophet Muhammad (pbAh) in extremely adverse circumstances of the battlefields of Badr and Hunayn is a rare phenomenon in the annals of the world history.[12] Keeping in view these facts, one is forced to admit the adroitness of Matthew Henry to twist the facts in his favour. He asserts:

This bespeaks his stability and steadfastness; where he sets his foot he will fix it; he is able to bear all the weight of government that is upon his shoulders [one is at a loss to find any substance to this blatant misstatement], and his legs will never fail under him. This sets forth the stateliness and magnificence of the going of our God, our King, in his sanctuary.[13]

Setting aside the figurative application, even when these words of King Solomon (pbAh) be compared to the facts and physical features of Prophet Muhammad (pbAh), one is not to face any disappointment.

Hasan bin Ali (the grandson of the Prophet pbAh) states that he asked his maternal uncle Hind bin Abi Halah (the step-son of the Prophet) about the features of the Prophet (pbAh). He told (about the relevant features):

وَالقَدَمَيْنِ شَائلَ[14]الاَطْرَافِ، خُمْصَانَ الاَخْمَصَيْن[15]ِ، مَسِيْح[16]َالقَدَمَيْنِ، يَنْبُو[17]ْ عَنْهُما الْمَاءُ، اِذا زالَ[18] زالَ قَلْعاً[19]، يَخْطُو  [20]ْتَكْفِيًّا[21]، و يَمْشِي هَوْناً، ذَرِيْعَ[22]المَشْيِ اذا مَشَي كأنَّما يَنْحَطُّ مِن [23]صَبَبٍ[24]

The middle parts of both of his feet were fully fleshed and raised. The soles of his feet were a bit deep [arch-like: which is the sign of strong and healthy feet, having firm ground-grip]. His feet were soft and smooth. Because of their cleanliness and smoothness the water did not remain there but flowed away quickly [as it flows down from gold]. When he walked, he lifted his legs with vigor, [as if walking towards a serious assignment or involvement] leaned slightly forward and placed his feet fully, carefully and softly on the ground. He did not walk arrogantly. He walked at a quick pace with measured treads and long steps. He did not take small steps. When he walked it seemed as if he was descending to a lower place.

Abu Hurayrah states:

كان َرَسُولُ اللَّهِصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَأبيَضَ كأنَّما صِيغَ مِن فِضَّةٍ [25]

Rasulullah (pbAh) was so cleanly, clearly, and beautifully white, as though his body was fabricated by and moulded from silver.

White colour is generally associated with silver and marble. The association of the legs with marble indicates their white and bright colour and it is an established fact that Prophet Muhammad (pbAh) was of white colour as has been explained earlier and just above in Abu Hurayrah’s tradition. Moreover, this association of the legs with marble indicates internal strength and external beauty. The characteristics of the legs and feet of Prophet Muhammad (pbAh) have been mentioned above under the tradition of Hind. Abu Hurayrah states:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَال (...) مَا رَأَيْتُ أَحَدًا أَسْرَعَ فِي مِشْيَتِهِ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَكَأَنَّمَا الْأَرْضُ تُطْوَى لَهُ إِنَّا لَنُجْهِدُ أَنْفُسَنَا وَإِنَّهُ لَغَيْرُ مُكْتَرِثٍ[26]

I did not see anyone faster than the Apostle of Allah (pbAh) in his walking. It seemed as if the earth was being folded for him. We were exhausted in the effort to keep pace with him whereas he did not show even a sign of any fatigue.

Jabir bin Samurah says:

عَنْ جَابِرِ بْنِ سَمُرَةَ قَالَ كَانَ فِي سَاقَيْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَحُمُوشَةٌ [27]

Both the shanks of the Apostle of Allah (pbAh) were thin.

Had the shanks been fleshy, their lower part would have been slim and the middle part very fat. In that case, the simile of ‘pillars of marble’ could not have been applied to them, because the thickness of a pillar is almost equal throughout. As already stated:

عَنْ أَنَسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُقَالَ كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَضَخْمَ الْيَدَيْنِ وَالْقَدَمَيْنِ [28]

The Prophet’s (pbAh) hands and feet were heavy, large and magnificent.

It is a common phenomenon that the parts of the body which remain covered under clothes are white whereas the colour of the parts of the body of even the white people which are open to sun, becomes brownish (golden)[29], especially in hot countries. Keeping in view all the above details it becomes quite clear that the slim shanks resembling white marble pillars on the brown, bulky, and beautiful feet (sockets of gold), present a true and exact picture of the beloved of King Solomon (pbAh). Whoever compares King Solomon’s (pbAh) account of his beloved’s relevant features with the features of Prophet Muhammad (pbAh), would face no hardship in discovering the reality. It would be interesting to note that the detailed account of even the commentators of the Bible tallies only with Prophet Muhammad (pbAh), and the features of Jesus Christ (pbAh) have nothing to do with it.

The second part of verse 15 is:

His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.

Matthew Henry explains this sentence as follows:

His countenance (his port and mien) is as Lebanon, that stately hill; his aspect[30] beautiful and charming, like the prospect[31] of that pleasant forest or park, excellent as the cedars, which, in height and strength, excel other trees, and are of excellent use. Christ is a goodly person; the more we look upon him the more beauty we shall see in him.[32] [Everything subjective and wishful description! No objective study or reference can be afforded in favour of his description.]

The explanation of Lebanon is being afforded from a relatively modern Dictionary of the Bible:

LEBANON, the name of the mountain range parallel to the eastern Mediterranean coast. (…). The name derives from a Hebrew word for ‘white’[33] and refers to snow-capped peaks of the range (Jer. 18:14). (...). The Lebanon mountains were famous not only for their beautiful white peaks but for their cedar forests (1Kg. 4:33; 2Kgs. 14:19; Pss. 92:12; 104:16). These tall and beautiful trees were sought by many peoples in the ancient world. (...). King Solomon used cedars of Lebanon in the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem (...) and in his palace (1kgs. 7:2-3).[34]

Strong’s Dic. indicates that the strong grip of its roots was an important quality of the cedar tree; ‘from the tenacity[35] of its roots’.[36]

The Hebrew Bible word for ‘countenance’ is ‘מראה’, i.e. ‘mar’eh’. It means:

From 7200 [ra’ah; a primary root; to see, literally or figuratively:- advise, approve, appear, consider, perceive, think]; a view (the act of seeing); also an appearance (the thing seen), whether (real) a shape (esp. if handsome, comeliness; often plural, the looks), or (mental) a vision, (...) countenance, fair, favoured.[37]

It can thus be interpreted as follows:

His apparent beauty and comeliness, his lovely appearance and attractive features, his comprehensive looks and lofty ideals, his deep thoughts and far-sightedness are like Lebanon.

The word ‘Lebanon’ has been explained above. Strong’s Dic. explains it in following terms:

From3825 [Lebab; heart {corresponding to 3824:- ‘lay’bawb, courage, friendly, kindly, understanding, intellect, mind’}]; (the) white mountain (from its snow), Lebanon, a mountain range in Palestine:-Lebanon.[38]

It signifies that this word is used for the mountain range of Lebanon and the land of Lebanon due to its snow-covering and white colour. But its literal meanings are ‘heart, courage, intellect and understanding’. The cumulative sense of this simile can be interpreted as below:

The beloved of King Solomon is like beautiful snow-covered mountains of Lebanon in apparent beauty and comeliness. His eyes are replete with love and affection. On the one hand he is a huge and high mountain of courage and valour and on the other hand, he is great in his intellect, understanding, and right thinking.

It has been explained above that according to the account of the New Testament these qualities cannot be attributed to Jesus Christ (pbAh). On the other hand, as far as Prophet Muhammad (pbAh) is concerned, they depict his complete picture. The theme has been discussed in the above pages at some places. A few sentences of Umm Ma‘bad’s account of Prophet Muhammad (pbAh) are being afforded here again:

 [4274] (...) )خرج من مكة مهاجرا إلى المدينة وأبو بكررضي الله عنهومولى أبي بكر عامر بن فهيرة ودليلهما الليثي عبد الله بن أريقط مروا على خيمتي أم معبد الخزاعية) (أبو معبد اللبن أعجبه قال من أين لك هذا يا أم معبد والشاء عازب حائل ولا حلوب في البيت قالت لا والله إلا أنه مر بنا رجل مباركمن حاله كذا وكذا قال صفيه لي يا أم معبد(قالت رأيت رجلا ظاهر الوضاءة[39]أبلج[40]الوجه حسن الخلق (...) عنقه سطع (...) أحور اكحل. إن صمت فعليه الوقار وإن تكلم سماه وعلاه البهاء أجمل الناس وأبهاهم[41]من بعيد وأحسنه وأجمله من قريب حلو المنطق فصلا لا نزر ولا هذر كأن منطقه خرزات نظم يتحدرن (...) غصن بين غصنين فهو أنضر الثلاثة منظرا وأحسنهم قدرا (...) محفود محشود لا عابس ولا مفند.[42]

Umm Ma‘bad said: I saw a man with bright colour, shining face, attractive structure, (…), long neck, white and black eyes, (...), serene, sober, and dignified when silent, attractive and captivating when speaking, brilliant and beautiful when seen from afar, comely and sweet when nearby [the simile of beautiful valleys and snow-clad peaks of the magnificent mountain of Lebanon be brought to mind], candid conversation, words clear-cut, plain, and unequivocal, neither insufficiently brief nor nonsensically verbose, style so beautiful as if pearls be falling down from a string, a branch between two branches, which is the most good-looking, full and fresh of the three, (...) obeyed (by his companions) and honoured, neither rude and crude nor extravagantly absurd.

The second simile of the sentence is ‘excellent as the cedars.’ The Hebrew Bible word for this ‘excellent’ is ‘בחר’ (bahar). It means:

To try, i.e. (by implication) select, acceptable, appoint, choose (choice), excellent, join, be rather, require.[43]

The word ‘cedar’ has been explained above. Collins Dic. has explained it as below:

Any Old World coniferous tree having spreading branches, needle-like evergreen leaves, and erect barrel-shaped. See also cedar of Lebanon (with level spreading branches and fragrant wood), deodar.[44]

The beautiful colour and silk-like softness and smoothness of its wood, the beauty of the fabrication of its tissues, its tenacity and durability, its immunity and resistance against termite and corrosion, its soft and perpetual fragrance, the strength and firm ground grip of its roots, its long life, vast spreading of its branches and its soothing shade, its lofty stature make it matchless in value and quality. Keeping in view this lexical research this simile can be explained as follows:

This magnificent, choicest, and distinguished person of the tribe of Kedar [a play on the word ‘cedar’] and the impressive, invincible, and sweet word of Allah presented by him are beneficial and benevolent and the beauty and virtue incarnate like the cedar tree. He is esteemed and cherished as the fragrant, good-looking, strong, smooth, and soft cedar wood is. The grip of his root (base or foot) is firm. His branches (influence of his teachings) are stretched far and wide. He is extremely pleasant, agreeable and desirable.

The next and the last verse (16) of this prophecy is the most important one. In extreme love and devotion King Solomon (pbAh) pronounces even the name of his beloved, which is a rare phenomenon in the history of Biblical prophecy.

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