The bedouins are strong in disbelieve and hypocrisy and more likely not to know the limits of what Allah has revealed to His Messenger. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing. (9:97)
Why are the bedouins in particular likely not to know the limits? The reason for this is that the bedouins are nomads. They wander the desserts, not allied to any city, specifically to the northern and southern city. So they are in a state of perpetual freedom, reading life according to limitless tenants of nomadology, an endless line of deterritorialization of consciousness. The limits of what has been revealed are the limits — the binary poles — of the circuit model of consciousness, from Mecca to Medina. Between these two is contingent journeys.
The analogy is to the space of contingency that exists between the binary poles of Boolean logic, between the limits of absolute Truth and absolute Falsity. The earlier Wittgenstein declared this space to be the exactly the structure of the universe: a space of contingent speech/perception/configuration of signs that is limited by the rupture of these signs into self-referential contradiction or tautology of speech. The bedouin space is something like this.
However, the analogy is not completely accurate as we are not describing a binary structure here, which, when viewed from the space of meta-logic, is merely one object logic — a contingent logic — out of an infinite multiplicity of other possible logics. The binary system itself is a contingency that is open to the bedouin: it is a possible plateau of speech that the bedouin is free to pass through, as his caravan is one that potentially passes through any possible plateau. The bedouin can pass through logics (and meta-logics) as well as possible uses of a specific logic.
Nomadology does not involve construction or metalogical (shariaic) function. It involves the breakage and constant, active journey from one logic to another. It is constant (but incomplete) hijrah procession, hijrah without end. This is why hypocrisy is close, because it is breakage, never repair, it is deterritorialization (sometimes good, sometimes bad), pure relativity of number systems, never measure, never an arrived metric, never an enumeration. (They are like Alice and the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass, running to stay in one place and running x2 in order to make a movement — they are pure functors between categories, pure dynamic, even in their “metric”.)
The poles that act as unknown limits to the bedouin in his free trajectories are not so much limits of a particular binary logic, but the ultimate limits of all worlds, of all logics. They are metalogical limits: absolute love and absolute judgement are the poles that delimit the bedouins journey through logics.
Importantly the bedouin is co-dependent on the cities, on the limits: nomads do not subsist in isolation, they trade with the cities and build alliances. In the case of this surah, they build alliances — difficult alliances — with Prophecy.
Their mode of true alliance with Prophecy is different from that of the city dwellers — it is based in spending:
But there are also bedouin who believe in God and the Last Day and consider what they spend as a means of nearness to God and the prayers of the Messenger: they will indeed bring them nearer and God will admit them to His mercy. God is most forgiving and merciful. (9:99)
They do not make the full journey into the rupture of language by the meta-logical limit of Law (a full entry into the space of Shariah-as-meta-logic, as Logic of Life). They cannot be crowned completely by Fire because the limits are unknown to them. Nevertheless, they can simulate this by a particular form of action, of evasive action, of metonymic trajectories (generative movements of deterritorialization, generative war-machines, pure deterritorialization as force, as action, as freedom) that are, importantly, harnessed according to “belief” to achieve a state of “nearness” in action, “nearness” in evasion, “nearness” in nomadology. So while they do not occupy Medina of full crowning, the invocations of the Messenger nevertheless float down to them, the speech of the Messenger comes down into their bedouinic space and provides comfort through/to its sword of deterritorialization.
It trips them out, so to speak. The Message is not a certainty, but their evasive and endless headtrip becomes rendered Holy and so they are given nearness.
But who are the bedouin exactly here? Actual nomadic invariant within forms culture — desert dwellers in the 7th century, heads, freaks, ravers in the 20th? Or a potential personality characteristic, little micro nomadic forms of the soul? All these things.
But we might even go further and say that the bedouinic space is the full, generative, deterritorializing potential of the Mind of Prophecy: the verses speak to the Mind of Prophecy, describing the aspects of his own body, describing what exists below him, what his words float down to and what they effect in terms of bedouinic action.
And the forerunners, the Muhajirun and the Ansar and also those who followed them exactly: Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success. (9:100)
The forerunners are those souls emigrating fully along the circuit model of consciousness, from Muhajireen as migrating-thought/temporal ennoia/procession to Ansar as welcoming foreknowledge/pronoia/providence.
“Those who followed them” refers — self-referentially — to all cosmologies (all logics) that enact a family resemblance to this circuit cosmology (of Muhajireen-Ansar, poles of cities, bedouinic space, etc): all logics of good conduct.
And among the bedouins round about you, some are hypocrites, and so are some among the people of Al-Madinah, they exaggerate and persist in hypocrisy, you (O Muhammad SAW) know them not, We know them. We shall punish them twice, and thereafter they shall be brought back to a great torment. (9:101)
This is because the fire — the crowning fire of the city of Judgement, of Shariah — has great danger too, when the signs of law are closed and no metalogic is perceived. Here only the cold grey eyes of a fascist perfection is perceived: a perfect mechanism of judgement, but without purpose, the neglecting Feminine within the signs, the receptive/generative function of the judgement ignored.
There is a reprieve for those who exist in this space of judgement, of fascism, of the machinery of Shariah:
Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and cause them to increase, and invoke Allah for them. Verily! Your invocations are a source of security for them, and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower. (9:103)
What does it mean that they will be led to “increase” by giving their wealth to prophecy? By reducing the wealth of their knowledge — when Prophecy does this — it is rendered into charity — into creativity-as-charity for the poor girl, transforming her into the Bride of Creativity, into Sakina. And by this action, the souls of Madina are “grown” to increase, to become taller. Their souls will be awoken so that their soul-witnesses to adultery will become visible, each soul-witness increasing their height, and their actual body will become tall, tending toward that of the original Adam (and the dwellers of paradise).
Note 2: The sun and moon
It is He who made the sun a light (DwA) and the moon a light (NwR) and determined for it phases – that you may know the number of years and account [of time]. Allah has not created this except in truth. He details the signs for a people who know (10:5)
Two kinds of light are mentioned here in creation.
The light from the sun (DwA) is used in 21:48 to signify the Torah of Musa and Harun, “the Criterion, a light (DwA) and Reminder for the righteous” — and in (28:71) to signify the continuous light granted purely by mercy of God: “If Allah made for you the night continuous let the Yawm al Qiyama, who is the god besides Allah who could bring you light bidiyan (DwA)” … Light in this sense is used very sparsely throughout the Qur’an. When the sun is not described as being of this kind of light, it is often alternatively names as a “lamp”, siraj (SRJ): “Blessed is He Who has placed in the skies constellations and has placed therein a lamp and a moon shining.” This term has also been used to describe prophecy itself (33:46).
In contrast, the light-as-Nur is much more common. It has also been said to come from the Torah: 6:91 — “Who revealed the Book which brought Musa a light and guidance for the people?”. It is used in other ways — for example, by the hypocrites when they ask to acquire some of the light of the believers (57:13)
What’s the difference?
The light of the moon is sometimes translated here as “reflected” or “derived” light, while the sun’s light is as a “shining” light. Such a translation certainly matches astronomical fact. It is also a translation that works well in terms of the Reality palpated by the Symbolic functionality of the sun and moon.
The lamp of the sun is the origin of light. It is generative, direct, transcendental. It is Prophecy: the top half of the Prophetic orb. The light of the moon is, in a sense, the same light. It is Prophecy: the bottom half of the Prophetic orb, the crown of the human that faces (permeates) our differentiated reality (the reality of all cosmologies, including the one we are constructing here). But as such it is received light, indirect, immanent. The sun continues to blaze while the moon works in cycles of reading, cycles of being, meters of clarity and communion, cycles that determine the journey because the demarcate days.
Verses 21:48 and 57:13 describe Torah as alternatively as this light of the sun and the light of the moon. It’s rather like the Prophetic (human) relationship to the names (conduits) of YHWH and of Elohim. Torah — like all revelation — has this upper half and this lower half of its relationship to light. And both halves are from Allah’s creation.
Note 3: Affliction
And when the affliction touches man, he calls upon Us, on his side or sitting or standing. But when We remove from him his affliction, he continues as if he had never called upon Us to an affliction that touched him. Thus is made pleasing to the transgressors that which they have been doing (10:12)
The Arabic for “side” (JNB) has the additional connotation of a geo-moral spatial “direction” or “distance”, in the sense of a potential distancing from an act or a movement in a particular direction of a map. Sitting is to be grounded, to be in a state of foundation, basis. Standing (QwM) is from a root that is related to the Qiyama (resurrection), to establishment, to uprightness, correction.
The calling of the afflicted man is one that is made to Allah from these positions. The first thing to remember is that the call is, after all, a call derived from the ruh of Allah, a call that, in its purest sense, is a direct line of connection back to the call of Allah (of course running along the resonating programe, the Divinely instrumented circuitry of consciousness/language/perception/creation). And the call takes these forms:
- A call to Allah from the side. This is a geo-moral call made through spatiality: a call that runs through “external” or “hyper-cultural” configuration and associations between signs of the call (each sign associated to the other via spatial situation, spatial configuration). The call is configured across spatiality as an assemblage of signs/self-aspects, each tied to the other via their sides. This is a nafsic call in the sense that it is a spatial encoding of the call but is not made in full consciousness of its ultimate Temporality, which is transformative between forms.
- A call to Allah made sitting. This is a foundational, “base” call: one that involves the basis, the transmissive potential of each sign of the call. This call builds upon that of the side, but now has a transformative aspect, because transformation is achieved through the predicative capabilities of the “base” of each sign. Each sign/self-aspect contains a base that allows inceptive channelling of light of Truth into all other signs according to a principle of archetypical predication — that is, according to a principle of predication, of meaningful application, of meaningful channeling of the potential held within each subject sign outwards, externally to garment its object sign. This base of the signs is where forms can be said to derive. Because the infinite range of forms, of potential language games that we can play, of cultures and modes of being that we might inhabit — these possibilities are all contained as potentials within the base. A call made according to the sitting position, according to this base, is one in which its constituent signs are “opened” in full consciousness of their ultimate Temporality, a Temporality measured by their running through of Light, a self-consciousness of the call’s circuitry marking out Time steps of its own proof. This is (incorporeally) transformative, Malakutian, because it is a call in which Light runs through the forms.
- A call to Allah made standing, channelling Love loving to be Known. The moment at which we stand, there is a full upright correction to body. The call constitutes this correction, so that the Light now runs through the operative configuration of 1) and meta-circuitry of 2), an intensity that consumes and burns out the voices of doubt and all that is left is the body, standing in call, resonating in call to that Love. Essentially the standing is what happens when the “play” button is hit on the circuitry and meta-circuitry of the preceeding calls.
(We note that the spatial call of the side and the temporal call of sitting are two axes that are interrelated according to something like Derrida’s notion of the trace. In particular, temporality as it is characterised here, as it is signed is itself predicated upon by the side, by space: it is situated within space, it cannot escape space. The three movements are related by a disjunction “or” — but are not independent axes, they are codependent in that the “or” is spatial, it is “of the side” — to build disjunctions is to make use of a metonymic “side” — and the language of revelation itself is perfectly disjunctive and metonymic in this sense. But the enactment of tracing the call through spatialized temporality, through the sitting that resonates within the disjunctive relation to the side: this enactment of tracing is like a zap of light that runs down from the crown of the body to the toes of the feet, it is the illuminated Derridean trace.)
This call — in the three forms — comes from “the affliction” which is the (apparent, psychologically viewed) withdrawal of Love, the left handed contraction of Love. It’s removal is the corresponding right handed bestowal of Love. The point of the verse is the superb irony of Love: the contractive aspect of Love entails our entrance into a (meta-meta-circuit) of spatiality/basis/channelling Love. Withdrawal “throws” us into space of differences, the potentialities inherent in a call’s construction and the actual conduit of the Love through the whole system. We channel Love — but beginning with this felt contraction. This then is a Knowing of Love and a bestowal of Love, which results in a momentary “de-spatialized” moment that can result in transgression (transgression is always an imaginary transcendence of the immanence of our created nature in space). But these moments of affliction and relief — these are essential cycles whose waveform runs through all creation, they are the exact nature of the salat, in particular, but of all forms of existence.
Note 4: Generations
And We had already destroyed generations before you when they wronged, and their messengers had come to them with clear proofs, but they were not to believe. Thus do We recompense the criminal people (10:13)
We have mentioned generations as they feature in the Quran before — as forms that the ruh passes through. We are said to live in their inhabitations — so their destruction is a distillation process, one of correction to the “self”. “We” were once of these generations — or rather, what we are now is what was saved from their destruction.
The proofs are the arrangement of signs that constitute a call.
In line with the previous verse, we can see that “generations” are destroyed by the recitation of the call — when the “call” becomes the “shriek”. Again, we will return to this in our discussion of Surah Hud.
Note 5: Heavens and earth
And they worship other than Allah that which neither harms them nor benefits them, and they say, “These are our intercessors with Allah ” Say, “Do you inform Allah of something He does not know in the heavens or on the earth?” Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him (10:18)
This is about the nature of the intercessors. To invoke an intercessor is to assume a model of Divinity that spatially situates him in the heavens (transcendent) or the earth (immanence). When in fact these two poles — of transcendence and immanence, inception and reception — are resonating eyes of the waveform that is God’s countenance (a surface, a face, to which all Truth, all cosmologies, ultimate defer).
Prophets whose names are lost to the ages — for example, the Prophet who introduced the notion of Tengri-Ummai to the people of the Steppes — developed a cosmology in which this resonance was understood. But at some point, the resonance began to be worshipped (as a situated entity), rather than the cosmology taken instead as a means to resonate.
Note 6: The word
And mankind was not but one community, but they differed. And if not for a word that preceded from your Lord, it would have been judged between them concerning that over which they differ. (10:19)
The word (kalima) preceeds all difference. From this word, from its sublimation, there is multiplicity, there is difference that then becomes territories, communities, crystallization of the fragments of the word. This sublimated word is what prevents full judgement being brought down upon this space of difference — in the sense that it prevents the space of difference from being “only difference” (that would be to make it “only fire”). The sublimated word is one of Love reflected, and its sublimation means that their difference, the fragmentation of that word leads to infinitely complex and multiplicitous love songs that can be sung by the different “communities”, to move out of (or rather, via) this judgement into a reformation of that kalima (the reformation being now individualized).
Note 7: The Harvest
The example of [this] worldly life is but like rain which We have sent down from the sky that the plants of the earth absorb – [those] from which men and livestock eat – until, when the earth has taken on its adornment and is beautified and its people suppose that they have capability over it, there comes to it Our command by night or by day, and We make it as a harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday. Thus do We explain in detail the signs for a people who give thought.(10:24)
This is one of the most beautiful insights into how the cycles of life-as-reading works.
At all levels, the earth is a plane of immanence, receptive to the rain of bestowal, mediated by Prophetic understanding into the growth of tafsir, of reading, of recitation, of the generation of adornment and beauty, the garment grown. And the reader’s nafs tells him: “This beauty is mine”. But it is adornment from God: a harvest of Truth, generated by this cycle of inception and reception, this cycle of reading. And so there is a harvest of the Truth (at the level of an individual reading of Quran, or of perception of a single moment in life or of an entire lifetime or an entire body of people, it is all the same process): and there is distillation, and there is harvest of beauty generated in call to Love.
This is a cycle (as all harvests are):
Say, “Are there of your ‘partners’ any who begins creation and then repeats it?” Say, ” Allah begins creation and then repeats it, so how are you deluded?” (10:35)
Note 8: The Qur’an is a Tafsir
And it was not [possible] for this Qur’an to be produced by other than Allah , but [it is] a confirmation of what was before it and a detailed tafsir of the [former] Scripture, about which there is no doubt, from the Lord of the worlds. (10:37)
Something quite extraordinary and sadly neglected is the implications of this verse. The Qur’an is not a correction of preceding Books — it is a confirmation and a tafsir (explanation) of their meaning. And so Muslims should be reading the previous scriptures with this comprehension.
For example, when there is an apparent contradiction between verses (Aaron’s staff or Moses’ staff cast before magicians, how Noah’s son was lost, etc): we must understand that the Truth is in both texts, and the apparent contradiction is a tafsir present in Qur’an that provides the key differentiating, transformative insight into Torah.
To love the Qur’an is to love what precedes it, what it explains, what it is born of, what it completes. So love Torah!
Those who fail to grasp this point are like the People of the Book who were confronted by the differentiating tafsir and are encoded within it:
Rather, they have denied that which they fail to encompass in knowledge and whose interpretation has not yet come to them. Thus did those before them deny. Then observe how was the end of the wrongdoers. (10:39)
As it is said: they hear but do not hear, and see but do not see.