Chapter-XI

 

The last verse of this passage is the most important verse of the prophecy. The wording of the verse is:

חכו ממתקים וכלו מחמדים זה דודי וזה רעי כנות ירושלים[1]

His mouth is most sweet, yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

The first clause of this verse is: ‘His mouth is most sweet’ which would be explored in this chapter. The remaining clauses will be dealt with in the next chapters. Matthew Henry explains it as follows:

His mouth is most sweet; it is sweetness in itself; it is sweetness (so the word is); it is pure essence, nay, it is the quintessence of all delights, v. 16. The words of his mouth are all sweet to a believer, sweet as milk to babes, as honey to those that are grown up. (Ps cxix, 103).[2]

The Broadman’s Com. has explained it as follows:

Not only was her lover the epitome[3] of character and of striking physique, but he wielded the language of love with eloquent[4] sweetness.[5]

The Pulpit Commentary has interpreted it as follows:

His mouth, or palate, is sweetness itself; that is, when he speaks his words are full of winning love.[6]

Ronald A Knox has accomplished its commentary in a brief but beautiful and meaningful exclamatory sentence:

Oh, that sweet utterance![7]

The commentator of the ‘Songs’ in the New Bible Com. (Revised), J. A. Balchin, has explained this clause in a single sentence:

Speech; literally ‘palate’ which is considered as the organ of speech.[8]

W. J. Cameron, has explained it only with the help of two references in the New Bible Com:

His mouth (16) cf. Pr.[9] xvi.21; Ps.[10] xlv.2.[11]

It may be noted here that verse 16 is not mentioned in the Dummelow’s Com. (NY: Macmillan & Co., 1956).

The Pulpit Com. has explained it further as:

His mouth was all sweetness (the literal rendering), both his holy words and his gracious looks. (...). The very tones of that most sacred voice must have had an indescribable sweetness.[12]

It becomes abundantly clear from the above exegetical quotations that the word ‘mouth’ of this clause stands for ‘speech’. It has not been used here in the literal sense of the physical ‘mouth’ or ‘lips’. The word ‘mouth’ has been used in the very Bible as well a number of times in the same sense, for example:

Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses.[13]

‘Mouth of witnesses’ would here mean only the words of the witnesses. It can by no means signify the physical mouth or lips etc. In the same way, in Deu. 17:6[14]; 19:15[15] the word mouth has been used for words and evidence. It has been noted in 2 Samuel, ‘thy mouth has testified against thee.’[16] 1Ki. says:

 Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the Lord, and hast not kept the commandment which the Lord thy God commandeth thee. [17]

After being established that the word ‘mouth’ here means ‘speech or utterance’ and keeping in view the sense of these words of King Solomon (pbAh), one should explore their real and exact significance.

It may be noted here that Prophet Muhammad (pbAh) conveyed two things through his mouth: the Holy Qur’an and his own words regarding the Islamic culture.

As regards his own words, they are admitted to be very lucid, compact, sweet, and eloquent. Hereunder are some of his sayings. Abu Hurayrah  reports:

رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَقال ليس الشديد بالصرعة إنما الشديد الذي يملك نفسه عند الغضب[18]

The Prophet of Allah (pbAh) said that the strong is not the one who overcomes one’s competitor in a bout. But the strong and brave is the one who controls oneself in anger.

عن أبي سعيد الخدري ألا وخيرهم بطيء الغضب سريع الفيء ألا وشرهم سريع الغضب بطيء الفيء[19]

(...). Beware! (as regards anger) the best among you is the person who is slow in getting angry but calms down quickly; and the worst among you is the one who enrages immediately but calms down slowly.

عن أنس بن مالك عن النبيصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَقال لا يؤمن أحدكم حتى يحب لأخيه أو قال لجاره ما يحب لنفسه[20]

No one truly believes until he likes for his brother (or he said ‘his neighbour’) what he likes for himself.

عن أبي هريرة قال قال رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ  إنما بعثت لأتمم مكارم الأخلاق[21]

I have been sent down to bring good manners and desirable behaviour to perfection.

عن أبي بردة بن أبي موسى الأشعري عن أبيه عن النبيصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ  أنه كان يدعو بهذا الدعاء اللهم اغفر لي خطيئتي وجهلي وإسرافي في أمري وما أنت أعلم به مني اللهم اغفر لي جدي وهزلي وخطئي وعمدي وكل ذلك عندي اللهم اغفر لي ما قدمت وما أخرت وما أسررت وما أعلنت  وأنت على كل شيء قدير[22]

O Lord, forgive me: my mistake and my ignorance and my transgression (wrong doings) in my affairs, and (all) the other errors that you know better than I. O Lord, forgive me those of my errors which I committed with serious effort, and which I took lightly and committed unmindfully; and the sins which I did mistakenly, and the sins that I committed intentionally: and I have committed all of these sins. O Lord, forgive me the sins that I have committed previously, and the sins that I put off to be done in future; and the sins that I committed secretly and the sins that I did shamelessly and openly. You are All-Potent.

عن أبي هريرة قال قال رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَالمسلم من سلم المسلمون من لسانه ويده والمؤمن من أمنه الناس على دمائهموأموالهم  [23]

‘The true Muslim is the one from whose hands and tongue the other Muslims are (in peace and) secure and the true believer is the one from whom the human beings believe themselves to be safe and secure regarding their lives and property.’

عن أنس عن النبيصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَقال يسروا ولا تعسروا وبشروا ولا تنفروا[24]

Provide convenience and don’t create troubles and hardships [for people]; deliver good message to people (in a pleasant manner) and do not present it in a way that creates hatred (towards the message or the messenger).

عن أبي أمامة قال قال رجل يا رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَما الإيمان قال إذا سرتك حسناتك وساءتك سيئاتك فأنت مؤمن قال يا رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَفما الإثم قال إذا حاك في قلبك شيء فدعه[25]

A man asked the Holy Prophet (pbAh), ‘What is faith?’ He replied: ‘When your good deeds give you pleasure and your bad deeds grieve you, you are then a person of faith.’ He enquired: ‘O Apostle of Allah (pbAh), what is sin?’ The Prophet (pbAh) replied: ‘When anything pinches you in yourself [that is a sin]. You should avoid it.’

عن تميم الداري أن النبيصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَقال الدين النصيحةقلنا لمن قال لله ولكتابه ولرسوله ولائمة المسلمين وعامتهم   [26]

The Prophet (pbAh) said: ‘The Faith is (nothing but) well-wishing and sincerity;’ we asked for whom. He said, ‘For Allah, for His book, for His Prophet, for the leaders of the Muslims, and for the people at large.’

عن عبد الله بن مسعود عن النبيصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَقال لا يدخل الجنة من كان في قلبه مثقال ذرة من كبر قال رجل إن الرجل يحب أن يكون ثوبه حسنا ونعله حسنة قال إن الله جميل يحب الجمال الكبر بطر الحق وغمط الناس[27]

The one who holds even the slightest pride, will not enter the kingdom of heaven. A person asked the Prophet: ‘O Prophet of Allah (pbAh), some people wish that their clothes and shoes should be beautiful.’ The Prophet (pbAh) said, ‘God is beautiful, and He likes beauty. As far as pride is concerned, it is to disregard righteousness due to arrogance and to look down upon people.’

عن أبي سعيد الخدري وعن أبي هريرة عن النبيصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَقال ما يصيب المسلم من نصب ولا وصب ولا هم ولا حزن ولا أذى ولا غم حتى الشوكة يشاكها إلا كفر الله بها من خطاياه[28]

If a Muslim undergoes some fatigue, grief and distress, or even feels a pain of the prick of a thorn [and forbears it patiently], Allah Almighty, in return, forgives some of his previous sins.

عن صهيب قال قال رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَعجبا لأمر المؤمن إن أمره كله خير وليس ذاك لأحد إلا للمؤمن إن أصابته سراء شكر فكان خيرا له وإن أصابته ضراء صبر فكان خيرا له[29]

The matter of the believers is marvellos and wonderful, as each of their affairs is good for them, and this is only for believers and none else. If they enjoy comfort and happiness, they show gratitude for it (towards Allah) and it is good for themselves, and if they have to face some adversity they show patience. It is also good for them.

يا أيها الناس ألا إن ربكم واحد وإن أباكم واحد ألا لا فضل لعربي على أعجمي ولا لعجمي على عربي ولا لأحمر على أسود ولا أسود على أحمر إلا بالتقوى[30]

O people, verily your Sustainer is One and your father is one. Listen attentively, no Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab and no non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; neither has any red person superiority over a black person, nor has a black person any superiority over the red one. The only superiority is due to Godliness.

عن أبي هريرة قال قال رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَانظروا إلى من أسفل منكم ولا تنظروا إلى من هو فوقكم فهو أجدر أن لاتزدروا نعمة الله[31]

Look towards the one who is inferior to you (financially); do not look towards the one who is superior to you (in wealth). In this way you will most probably not underestimate the blessings of Allah upon you.

عن أبي شريح أن النبيصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَقال والله لا يؤمن والله لا يؤمن والله لا يؤمن قيل ومن يا رسول الله قال الذي لا يأمن جاره بوائقه[32]

The Holy Prophet (pbAh) said, ‘By God, they are not believers, by God they are not believers, by God they are not believers.’ People asked, ‘which ones, O Apostle of Allah (pbAh)?’ He said, ‘Whose neighbours are not safe and secure from their devastations and treacheries.’

أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَما آمن بي من بات شبعانا وجاره جائع إلى جنبه وهو يعلم به[33]

Those are not believers who spent their night while they had had their fill and their neighbour on their side was hungry; and they knew it.

قال رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَإن من حسن إسلام المرء تركه مالا يعنيه[34]

The grace and beauty of the Islam of some human beings is that they do not indulge in affairs irrelevant to them.

عن أبي هريرة قال قال رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَالكلمة الحكمة ضالة المؤمن فحيث وجدها فهو أحق بها[35]

The word of wisdom is the lost property of the believer, so he has a better right to it wherever he finds it.

عن أنس بن مالك قال قال رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ  طلب العلم فريضة على كل مسلم[36]

Seeking of knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim [irrespective of caste or gender].

عن أبي أمامة الباهلي قالذكر لرسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَرجلان أحدهما عابد والآخر عالم فقال رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَفضل العالم على العابد كفضلي على أدناكم[37]

The cases of two persons were mentioned before the Apostle of Allah; one of them was a devoted worshipper and the other was a scholar. The Apostle of Allah said ‘The pre-eminence of the scholar over (mere) worshipper is like my pre-eminence over the lowest among you.’

عن أبي مالك الأشعري قال قال رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَالطهور شطر الإيمان[38]

Purification [and cleanliness] is a part of the Faith.

عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ  من لم يدع قول الزور والعمل به فليس لله حاجة في أن يدع طعامه وشرابه[39]

Who did not abandon false words, and actions based on falsehood (while fasting), Allah is indifferent to their giving up food and drink.

عن جابر بن عبد الله قال مرت جنازة فقام لها رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَوقمنا معه فقلنا يا رسول الله إنها يهودية فقال إن الموت فزع فإذا رأيتم الجنازة فقوموا[40]

A bier (coffin) with dead body passed by (us) and the Apostle of Allah stood up for it and we also stood up with him. Then we said, ‘Apostle of Allah (pbAh)! it is a Jewess.’ He said, ‘Death is certainly a horror, so when you see a bier proceeding, do stand up (for it; whether it be a Muslim or a non-Muslim.)’

عن عبد الله بن الحارث بن حزم قال ما رأيت أحدا أكثر تبسما من رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ[41]

I never saw anyone who might have been of more smiling face than the Apostle of Allah (pbAh).

عن جرير بن عبد الله قال قال رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَمن لا يرحم الناس لا يرحمه الله عز وجل[42]

Allah shall not extend [His Grace and] mercy to the one who does not show mercy to the people.

عن زربي قال سمعت أنس بن مالك يقول فقال النبيصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَليس منا من لم يرحم صغيرنا و لميوقر كبيرنا[43]

The one is not of us who is not kind to our younger ones and who does not show due regard to our elderly ones.

عن أبي هريرة عن النبيصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَأنه قاللا يلدغ المؤمن من جحر واحد مرتين[44]

The believer is not bitten twice from the same hole.

عن أبي هريرة قال قال رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَمن لا يشكر الناس لا يشكر الله[45]

Who does not express gratitude to the people, is not grateful to Allah.

عن واثلة بن الأسقع قال سمعت رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَيقول من باع عيبالم يبينه لم يزل في مقت الله[46]

Whoever sells something with a defect in it, which he does not expose, shall remain under displeasure of Allah for ever.

عن عبد الله بن عمر قال قال رسول اللهصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَأعطوا الأجير أجره قبل أن يجف عرقه[47]

Give the workers their wages before their sweat gets dry.

بن أبي قَتَادَةَ عن أبيه أَنَّ النبي eنهى أَنْ يُتَنَفَّسَ في الْإِنَاءِ[48]

The Prophet (pbAh) forbade breathing into the vessel [while drinking].

 عن الْمِقْدَامِ رضي الله عنه عن رسول اللَّهِ eقال ماأَكَلَ أَحَدٌ طَعَامًا قَطُّ خَيْرًا من أَنْ يَأْكُلَ من عَمَلِ يَدِهِ وَإِنَّ نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ دَاوُدَ عليه السَّلَام كان يَأْكُلُ من عَمَلِ يَدِهِ[49]

Nobody ever took any meal better than what he took through the (earnings of the) labour of his hands; and the Prophet of Allah, Da$wood (pbAh) used to eat of the labour of his hands.

عُمَرَ بن الْخَطَّابِ رضي الله عنه  ) ِ(...قال سمعت رَسُولَ اللَّهِ eيقول إنما الْأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّات[50]

Verily actions depend on, and are to be judged according to, intentions.[51]

عن أنس بن مالك قال) (لا إيمان لمن لا أمانة له ولا دين لمن لا عهد له[52]

The one is not a believer who breaches trust and is dishonest; and the one has no faith who does not keep promise.

عنأنس قال قال رسول الله eإذا تزوج العبد فقد استكمل نصف دينه فليتق الله في النصف الباقي[53]

When a man marries, he has indeed perfected half of his faith. As to the remaining half, let him be God-cautious.

عن أبي هُرَيْرَةَ رضي الله عنه قال جاء رَجُلٌ إلى رسول اللَّهِ eفقال يا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ من أَحَقُّ الناس بِحُسْنِ صَحَابَتِي قال أُمُّكَ قال ثُمَّ من قال ثُمَّ أُمُّكَ قال ثُمَّ من قال ثُمَّ أُمُّكَ قال ثُمَّ من قال ثُمَّ أَبُوك [54]َ

A man came [to the Prophet (pbAh)] and said, ‘O Apostle of Allah, which one of the people deserves my favour and affection the most?’ He said, ‘Your mother.’ He said, ‘Who next?’ He said, ‘Your mother.’ He asked the same question for the third time and the Prophet (pbAh) gave him the same answer. When the man repeated the same question for the fourth time the Prophet said, ‘Then your father.’

عن أبي عُبَيْدَةَ بن عبد اللَّهِ عن أبيه قال قال رسول اللَّهِ eالتَّائِبُ من الذَّنْبِ كَمَنْ لَا ذَنْبَ له[55]

The one who repents at and refrains from the sin, is like the one who committed no sin at all

كتب أبو بكرة إلى ابنه )(بأن لا تقضي بين اثنين وأنت غضبان فإني سمعت النبيصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَيقول لا يقضين حكم بين اثنين وهو غضبان[56]

An arbiter between two persons should not pass a judgment when he be enraged.

Some of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbAh)have been afforded above. There is great wisdom and beauty in them. The case of the Qur’an is even more beautiful and charming. It is a masterpiece of its kind and style of literature. Hereunder are given some excerpts from the Holy Qur’an that exhibit its eloquence, sweetness and captivating force:

وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ[57]

 And good and evil are not alike. Repel evil with what is good. Then you will find your enemy like an affectionate friend. But this quality can only be achieved by those who forbear (and are patient); and none is granted this except those who are gifted ones. If the Devil tempts you towards evil, seek refuge in Allah, surely He is the All-hearing, All-knowing.

وَاصْبِرْ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ[58]

And be steadfast in patience; verily Allah will not let the reward of those who are righteous go waste.

لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىَ لاَ انفِصَامَ لَهَا وَاللّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ [59]

There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; and the one who rejects false deities and believes in Allah has grasped a firm handhold which will never break. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.

اللّهُ وَلِيُّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ يُخْرِجُهُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّوُرِ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ أَوْلِيَآؤُهُمُ الطَّاغُوتُ يُخْرِجُونَهُم مِّنَ النُّورِ إِلَى الظُّلُمَاتِ[60]

Allah is the protecting guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of darkness into the light; as for those who disbelieve, their guardians are false deities. They bring them out of light into darkness.

وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّاهَا وَقَدْ خَابَ مَن دَسَّاهَا[61]

Consider the human self (soul) and its perfect proportioning; and how it is imbued with moral failings as well as with consciousness of God. He indeed prospers who causes this ‘self’ grow in purity; and truly lost is he who corrupts and buries it [into dust and dirt].

مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ أَسَاء فَعَلَيْهَا وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِظَلَّامٍ لِّلْعَبِيدِ[62]

Who act righteously benefit their own soul; and who commit evil, shall have to bear the burden thereof: your Lord will not be unjust towards His servants.

ادْعُ إِلِى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ[63]

Invite (them) to the path of your Lord with wisdom and word of good and beautiful advice, and argue with them in the way that is best (and most gracious), for your Lord knows best who have strayed from His path and who receive guidance.

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