[Image: detail of St. Patrick’s Lorica by Catanea–see below]*
For some time I have been pondering the proper Koran verse to put above my door, as they do in Jordan. I ran across a collection of selected suras that includes this one, Sura 91 Shams–The Sun:
1. By the sun in his glorious splendour;
2. By the moon as she follows him;
3. By the day as it shows up (the sun’s) glory;
4. By the night as it conceals it;
5. By the firmament and its wonderful structure;
6. By the earth and its (wide) expanse;
7. By the soul, and the proportion and order given to it;
8. And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right;
9. Truly he succeeds that purifies it,
10. And he fails that corrupts it!
11. The Thamud (people) rejected (their prophet) through their inordinate wrongdoing.
12. Behold the most wicked man among them was deputed (for impiety).
13. But the apostle of Allah said to them: “It is a she-camel of Allah! and (bar her not from) having her drink!”
14. Then they rejected him, and they hamstrung her. So their Lord on account of their crime, obliterated their traces and made them equal (in destruction, high and low)!
15. And for Him is no fear of its consequences.
This sounds awfully familiar. I do believe it’s similar to the Lorica, or Rune of St. Patrick.
At Tara in this fateful hour
I place all Heaven with its power
And the sun with its brightness,
And the snow with its whiteness,
And the fire with all the strength it hath,
And the lightning with its rapid wrath,
And the winds with their swiftness along their path,
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And the Earth with its starkness —
All these I place
By God’s almighty help and grace
Between myself and the powers of darkness.
Here is the meaning of the Koranic verse:
The apostle of Allah is Saleh, prophet to the arrogant and greedy people of the Thamud, who demanded a miracle from Allah. They were given a she-camel for sustenance and told to provide it with pasture, which is also a free gift from Allah.
This she-camel of Allah is a Sign unto you: So leave her to graze in Allah’s earth, and let her come to no harm, or ye shall be seized with a grievous punishment. -Koran 7:73
Instead they cruelly killed the camel. Given three days to repent, they did not, and on the third night there was a blast in the sky and an earthquake, and they were buried in their homes. The site of this city is thought to be Mada’in Saleh in present day Saudi Arabia, a city contemporary with the Nabatean city of Petra in Jordan.
1. Wash shamsi wa duhaahaa
2. Wal qamari idzaa talaahaa
3. Wan nahaari idzaa jallaahaa
4. Wal layli idzaa yaguhshaahaa
5. Was samaa’i wa maa banaahaa
6. Wal ardi wa maa tahaahaa
7. Wa nafsin wa maa sawwaahaa
8. Fa’alhamahaa fujuurahaa wataqwaahaa
9. Qa d aflaha man zakkaahaa
10. Wa qad khaaba man dassaahaa
11. Kadzdzabat thamuudu bitagh waahaa
12. idzin ba’atha ashqaahaa
13. faqaala lahum rasuulullaahi naaqatallaahi wa suqyaahaa
14. Fakadzdzabuuhu fa’aqaruuhaa fadamdama ‘alayhim Rabbuhum bidzanbihim fasawwaahaa
15. Wa laa yakhaafu ‘uqbaahaa
And here is a YouTube recitation of sura 91 As-Shams by Mishary Al-Afasy.
*Image: (click to embiggen) detail from Lorica of Patrick by Catanea. Original text with XII Century Irish script and Latin gloss. About 530 x 210 mm on (kosher) cow or more likely bull calf vellum. Ink is ferro-gallic, some pigments dug out of the earth (in Soria, Tereul and Olleros de Paredes Rubias [Palencia]), and some bought (vermilion), written with swan quills and painted with brushes. (Catanea, I hope this is all okay.)