226. One thing to keep in mind is three aspects necessary for speech: The words which are the conveyors of meanings, the meanings (the significations) that are being pointed to by the words, and their relationships. It is only in the Qur’an that the highest of these aspects has been reached in the same work, and this has been pointed out by the scholars of Arabic language as one of the clearest signs of the linguistic miracle of the Qur’an. And some scholars have mentioned that the blending together of the words and meanings is the hardest thing to do (since it is something akin to bringing together multiple types of sub-projects to work properly within a harmonized whole), and this is definitely something that has to be considered by all those who reflect upon the Qur’an.
This, while the subject matter of the Qur’an is of the highest level, as it talks about the Oneness of Allah, the rules of Halaal and Haraam, it contains exhortations to good and reprimands against evil, the stories of what happened to those who disobeyed Allah, the prophecies of what is to occur in the future, etc. So it is not that this miraculous mode of expression was used to talk about horses, farm animals, or even the exploits of dead kings, but rather about the highest of all endeavors for human beings, their goal of reaching true felicity through Allah the Exalted.
So in every single case, the exact word has been placed in the exact location in the Qur’anic text; any different, and either the meaning would have changed and there would have been a deficiency in the signification of the speech, or the splendor and beauty would have been compromised, and the overriding eloquence would not be there anymore.
227. One rule to consider is that – especially in the Arabic idiom – there are many synonymous words which for the layman seem to mean exactly the same thing; but for the well-versed, they can distinguish subtle differences between the word used and its potential replacements, and this is seen in the words used in the Qur’an.
228. A point mentioned is that there is a spiritual miracle associated with the Qur’an as well, and this involves the way it first strikes the aural sense and the heart with splendor, followed by a realization of its true dignity and solemnity.
229. I have heard some people (actually, a good number of people) wondering as to why the Ulamaa’ do not do more to enter ‘head-long’ into debates with Islam-haters. There are a number of reasons for this. One of them is that the Shaykh or Mufti may have been given a certain scope and task by his teacher, and this may have included a strict adherence to teaching and/or spiritual development, and it may not have included the ‘mandate’ to tackle what are many a times silly polemics. So this is definitely one issue.
But even if we imagine an ‘Aalim or Mufti wanting to engage a non-Muslim concerning some topic, the ‘Ulamaa will take the deriving of a conclusion (that is, from A to Z) very seriously. They will never enter a debate with someone concerning a topic they know little about, since it would seem to trivialize the importance that they, as Islamic scholars and ‘representatives’ of Islam, give to knowledge and erudition as a whole.
But of course, the Islam-hater in many cases takes Islam as a joke to begin with, so he does not care about checking his sources, or knowing the interrelationships between the sources and the concepts he is presenting. I know it may be said that there is a dire need and the ‘Ulamaa should go forward and discuss the matters with the Islam-haters anyway, but this is an individual decision for the ‘Aalim and Mufti to make, and from what I can see in this vein, their self-respect will not allow them to dabble into such things.
230. A sign that the opponent is not serious in discussing Islam properly is when it is seen that his goal and his end presides way above his methodology, so much so that he will not bat an eyelid to adopt contradictory methodologies if it leads him to his goal. This is why the scholars of Islam are so adamant on having a common base and a well-known methodology, and proper definitions before they start any debate, and also why they may not debate most people to begin with.
From one personal experience, I saw a non-Muslim presenting the premise that the Chinese ethos accepts the existence of mutually exclusive contradictions in their culture, as a counter-argument to the Muslim insistence on the impossibility of logical contradictions. I do not have this article/study with me right now, but this was in fact an elucidation of how the traditional Chinese thinking tries to find common ground between what initially seem to be mutually contradictory positions, and tries to iron out and sort out these apparent problems. But the non-Muslim poster simply wanted to show that many people do not believe in the applicability of the ‘Law of Non-Contradiction’, even if the provided articles themselves undermine this premise. Thus, sometimes the objector cares about sticking to his point at whatever costs, even if it means the utter disfigurement of entire peoples and the mutilation of the original articles he has come across.
231. We have to be honest, that if we take what is termed ‘skepticism’ to the extreme, the supposedly ‘objective person’ would be skeptical even at the gates of Paradise or Hellfire, or even within Paradise and Hellfire itself. So it is not really a question of insufficient evidence, or a criticism of the ‘human endeavors’ and its results, but of a wrong set of base fundamentals and an incorrect methodology to begin with. [Thanks to the brother who pointed out that the skepticism referred to in here is classical ‘radical skepticism’ and not ‘scientific skepticism’.]
232. If it is asked why do we take the ‘dogmatic view’ that skepticism towards Islam is unwarranted and false, one partial response would be to wonder why skepticism towards skepticism itself is taken to be unwarranted for our opponents – since this is what it basically comes down to – what is the scope, extent, and limit of skepticism, and is it being correctly applied. If ‘skepticism’ were to be given a totally unbridled scope, I am sure that the skeptic would soon become insane, since any position taken without boundaries or limitations leads to excesses and adverse results.
233. One matter to consider is, the Qur’an has the clarity of straightforward language while having a sweetness that is more the characteristic of poetic language – and this is a true statement. But not only is the Qur’an much easier to comprehend than ‘poetry’ (which uses an artificially high number of rhetorical features often complicating its understanding), but the Qur’an is also more lucid than normal Arabic prose; and this is because prose has its own way of trying to achieve high-language, which does make it difficult to follow in certain cases.
234. One thing about which Islam gets criticized, but is actually a very positive point of Islam, is that unlike other religions, it formally/theologically did not ‘outsource’ the polity-building venture for its community to ‘the random events of history’ while remaining agnostic about what would happen, nor did it formally say that tying this venture to existing kings and rulers and then trying to curry favor with them until it became dominant in the land was the theologically apt thing to do. Rather, it started from scratch and had to go through the entire process of warfare, consolidation of captured land, etc., until the Muslim polity became a major socio-political force in the world. The fact that this occurred within a few decades is in fact one of the miracles of Islam.
Obviously, a miracle like this will have those who badmouth it due to their aberrant personal inclinations, but for the true seer, if he only considers this, he will count it as a miracle of the Qur’an, of the Prophet ﷺ, and of Islam in general, and the truth of Islam will become clear to him.
235. I was asked as to what it could be that drove the Orientalists to their wrong conclusions. Some people may rephrase the question by asking as to whether criticism from us Muslims against the Orientalists is really warranted, or whether we are just trying to hide the ‘faults of Islam’. To answer this question in a simple way, I ask those of you who know more than one language whether ‘Google Translate’ is a proper service for carrying out straightforward translations of a work, page, or even a paragraph? It is clear that this and other simple automated translation services are of some use, but they have absolutely no sense of the proper context where each word has been used within the original text, and of how it properly translates to the second language in a harmonious fashion. This is why they may give an idea of what is going on in the original text, but they cannot understand the intention of the writer in the original language.
If this is the case with a few pages of text, what about the entirety of Islam, its texts, its rulings, its scholars, and the interrelationship between all of these? One can hypothetically dismiss some or all of the ‘traditional’ elements in the Islamic narrative and come up with his own narrative, and the narrative may even sound good, but so can a person who knows nothing of the original source language take the automatic Google translation and make only cosmetic tweaks and then come up with a ‘translation’ that does in fact ‘sound good’, but in reality misses the mark.
Or if this is not a good example, we can imagine what would happen if a university student where to start taking a higher level course without having taken the prerequisite courses. It is clear that he will struggle a lot, or he may make up his own definitions and terminologies and then get confused and deviated in his field of specialization. The only difference is that in the modern-day secular fields, a person who tries to extemporize in this way will be derided, but in the case of Western-based ‘Islamic academics’, many a times the ‘field’ itself is not taken as a serious Hereafter-based endeavor, and extemporization and spontaneous inventions are lauded and elevated to heights they should not occupy.
So at the very minimum, what happens with someone who takes up ‘Islamic studies’ is that his context is many a times disturbed by his own assumptions and the maverick assumptions of the field. Here I am not even considering whether he has good or evil intentions, but only the difficulties that his background may bring up.
236. The story of al-Baaqilaani’s (RA) life starts by mentioning some biographical data, his teachers and some interesting stories about himself and his teachers, such as the fact that he was considered a pillar of the Sunni ‘Ulaamaa even when he was relatively young. He also attended public discussions/debates with Mu’tazilis in Shiraz and with Christians in the Roman Empire.
In the debates with the Mu’tazila, we learn some things such as: When it is asked as to whether it is possible for Allah to burden someone with what he cannot bear, we say that if the signification is mere Takleef (i.e. only the literal meaning of the term), then there are a number of places in the Qur’an where this has apparently been ordered: such as when Allah commanded the angels to tell Him the names of all creatures even though they did not have knowledge of this, and when Allah (apparently) commands disbelieving people to become stones and iron, or where He orders the disbelievers to make Sujood on the Day of Judgment but they will be unable to do so (as explained in the Ahadith this is due to a physical impediment). And if a more technical meaning is sought, then the original question is invalid, since Takleef for the Sunnis consists of difficult obstacles that are imposed during the completion of the deed; but if the deed cannot be completed at all, there can be no Takleef [as per our definition].
From what I understand, Al-Baaqilani’s analogy of ‘Takleef’ of what cannot be taken on, is that of a writer who cannot do business [not because he is physically incapable of trade, but because he is busy in his writing]. Likewise, the disbeliever is not intrinsically incapable of becoming a believer, but he has chosen one option over the other.
237. Another issue concerns the Ru’yah [Vision of Allah in the Hereafter], and the claim is that this is impossible, since what may be seen with the eyes necessarily lies in a direction opposite to the seer. Al-Baaqilaani (RA) responds by saying that yes, if the thing is seen with the eyes then it is seen in a direction, but Allah will be seen with the cognizance that He will create in the eyes – and one pointer to this is the fact that the disbelieving people will not see Allah in the Hereafter, even though their eyes will be existent. Also, even in this world, we notice that the one whose eyes are dazzled by the sunlight cannot see a thing, even though his eyes are present.
All in all, as per this story, for Al-Baaqilaani (RA) what is seen is not seen with the eyes but with the vision that is created within the eyes; other proofs for this are that the Prophet ﷺ was able to see the Angel Jibril (Alayhi Salaam) while others could not see him, and that the dying person sees angels while those around him cannot see these same angels.
238. It is clear from even a small reading of historical incidents within the Islamic milieu that there was a presence of astrologers, and other types of people who were heretics, and they tried, whenever they spoke to the Muslim scholars, to steer the topic towards some frivolous point, but the issue was that the scholars would find out their tricks, and would make this known to the relevant parties.
What happens today is that with the dissemination of information, any objector can take any point whatsoever and make a big hue and cry about it, and there will always be those simple Muslim men and women (or even boys and girls, in fact) who will fall for these tricks without even knowing what is going on. This has nothing to do with intellectual argumentation, but more to do with manipulation of people for the sake of deriving a sort of pleasure – a hallmark of the unbridled ego.
239. One issue mentioned is that of the miracle of the splitting of the moon at the time of the Prophet ﷺ, that people may object to this and say that how come only the people of Makkah happened to see this, and not the world in its entirety? One answer provided is that the duration for this occurrence was not long, so if the people were not expecting such a thing to happen, they would not have made preparations for witnessing it. Also, there are many occurrences such as eclipses that do occur and are witnessed by so many people, yet the transmission of this information from the ‘witnessing’ standpoint is not so great. Yes, the people today may know that an eclipse occurred at such and such time due to calculations, but if we were to rely only on transmission (which would, in the case of eclipses that occurred a very long time back, be restricted to oral transmission), how many eclipses would be missed or ‘lost to history’?
Thus, these are matters connected to how information about an event is transmitted and passed down from generation to generation, and how problems and deficiencies may enter into the transmission of such occurrences, and how this knowledge may be lost altogether. Note that the transmission of this occurrence of the splitting of the moon has been recorded by a good number of independent witnesses as per our system of recording narrations, so there is no reason to discard the locality of Hijaz due to other areas that may not have recorded the witnessing of this event.
There are other possibilities as well, such as that – as an analogy – even during a total lunar eclipse, the moon is seen in different forms throughout the night, so if one is not previously informed that an eclipse is occurring that very night, he might not be cognizant of this fact based on his observations alone.
Imam Ar-Razi (RA) mentions in his Tafsir that the histories in this age were mostly taken up by soothsayers, so it could be that such soothsayers considered this occurrence as an eclipse, and molded their “histories” accordingly.
Also, one sees that many people today, even older people who have lived many years, may yet be unaware of the patterns of sunrise and sunset. For example, there was a case of an older person who became a Muslim in the West. He said that he would need to follow the timetables for prayer since he would be unsure whether one day the sun would set at a certain time, then the next day 10 minutes later, and the day after that 5 minutes earlier, etc. This means that for his entire life of 60+ years he did not notice that the times of sunset increment or decrement linearly by a minute or two each day and in many days they remain the same, and that they do not change by large aberrant fluctuations – why did he not know this? Because he never paid strict attention to such a thing. In fact, if one asks most people what the time of sunrise or sunset was yesterday, they would not be able to tell you correctly, and they would be off by perhaps 30 minutes or more, since they do not pay attention to such a thing, even though its knowledge is readily available, either on the Internet or by personal observation.
Not only this, but we see that the knowledge of the existence of entire civilizations is sometimes lost for good, and there is no talk of it until an archaeologist makes a finding, and then they can start making studies about such a lost civilization. We see that in here we are not talking about a single occurrence that happened for a little while, or the experiences of a single person, but rather about the existence of cities, an economy, governmental structures and so forth over a large period of time, whose knowledge was totally lost, and no one recorded such a thing, either orally or through writing, for centuries or even millennia, until modern archaeologists discovered some artifacts, tools, or the like, from which they can start to build their theories.
Besides, it is mentioned in our sources that people coming back from their trips to Shaam (Greater Syria) attested to this miracle [because the disbelievers in Hijaaz who witnessed this miracle said the same thing that occurs to the minds of disbelievers today, that it was only a mirage, or a type of magic that is localized to one area]. And it is also mentioned in the Tafseer books that a king in India embraced Islam due to this miracle, and he wrote down what he had witnessed at that time. (Yes, this seems to be an evidence of a lower level, but it is mentioned nonetheless).
Another matter to consider is that when discussing with Jews and Christians for example, there have been certain amazing occurrences affecting heavenly bodies, such as stopping the sun from its normal course, and so forth. If we use the same analogy that they are trying to use against us, we could ask as to why there was no “independent recounting” of whatever amazing things may have occurred to the sun which would have matched their biblical accounts, and this would be a valid way to counter their objections.
And as a final thing, I really want to drive home the point that in the case of the splitting of the moon, we do have mass transmission about this event, even though it is from our sources. But as far as the number of reporters is concerned, most of the scholars of Islam say that it reaches the level of Tawaatur, and this is something which can be verified by a scholar of Hadith sciences. But we see that the very important events in other religions (Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity), do not even have this element of “internal mass transmission”, since the academic transcribing of chains of narration is not something that such religions bothered themselves with much, thus leading to difficulties in ascertaining the events they claimed occurred from their own sources. This is a very long topic which might need many books to develop fully, but here we are only pointing towards it in order for the readers to have some idea of one of the issues at stake.
One more point to be considered, which I think is obvious, but is better to mention: Even eclipses have their area of visibility, so it is not that the sun or the moon will be seen by everyone in the time of the eclipse. This is an obvious point even if it cannot be taken as a decisive argument.
240. This is a message I want to give to the young Muslim people who are considering marriage in an abstract shape or form: When young people consider marriage, they think of the sacrifices that have to be done, or at least have heard of this from some of their relatives, older friends, etc. Maybe they have heard about how the love will remain and the couple always wishes to stay together, and so on and so forth.
What many of us married people did not understand at that time and something I personally think should be made known to all people (married or unmarried, hoping to get married) is that this principle of ‘sacrifice in marriage’ is above and beyond what any love song or poem may tell you and make you feel happy about, and applies to absolutely everything the couple share in: that is, it encompasses their lives in and out.
I am speaking from the male perspective of course, but it seems to me to be applicable throughout: It is not only that one has to do many routine, boring, and annoying tasks just to keep the house running and to keep the relationship humming along, but even at times of leisure, even of intimate closeness, one has to sacrifice one’s conception of ‘absolute’ joy in order to satisfy the other side and to keep the marriage going forward.
Even if I go to a more female-related issue, we see the rule in Islam, that the wife should be ready for the husband whenever he calls her; this is a sacrifice, no doubt, but is an intrinsic part of the marriage, and the marriage needs such sorts of sacrifices and efforts just to stay stable. If it is said the husband should consider the wife’s situation and not call on her in every occasion he wants, then this is also a sacrifice. So it is sacrifice from one or both sides all the time – and this is surrounding the most intimate and the closest portion of the marriage relationship, so think about how other matters would be.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why both within and outside the Muslim world, the institution of marriage itself is under such strain nowadays: If one wants to simply keep himself or herself happy to the maximum, and has ‘hard-headed’ ambitious goals that must be accomplished, there will be many difficulties if the person wishes to maximize his/her ambitions, pleasures, final goals, etc. But that one has to really sacrifice every single conception of ‘maximum personal satisfaction’ one has, and basically defer it indefinitely or even make a conscious effort to root it out their minds, is something people have to consider before and during their marriage.
However, this is not to preach against the well-known general Islamic rule that one should get married if possible. It seems then, that this is one of the ways of showing how the person is to sacrifice his or her most coveted personal goals, joys and pleasures for the sake of the Muslim community, and also why this is the basis of family life and of the society as a whole – since society consists of many individual sacrifices to achieve a certain goal.
241. When we see the proportion of our existence compared to the entirety of human history, we will inevitably understand that our slice within the entire conglomeration of nations and epochs is indeed very small. We must really wonder why, at every point and at every place, men think that the laws they have devised with their own hands are the best that could have possibly been drafted; even the idea that there is an invisible march towards the perfection of laws seems to be quite artificial and without basis, yet this idea is repeated again and again, especially in our times.
From this angle then, on what basis do the opponents of Islam decry the Shariah, when they have not had and cannot have the chance to know the whole spectrum of human proclivities across all times and all places? Of course, this is a probabilistic argument and really does not have much bearing on the authoritativeness of the Shariah per se, but we must remember such a matter, since most non-Muslim people today (no matter where they are from) think that the Islamic laws must be false simply because they contradict the laws and mores of their own place – while this is quite a weak argument that does not hold but emotional weight within the ‘larger picture’.
242. The following is a personal observation, stemming more from the ‘heart’, and I have yet to check with anyone, but: People ask that how can a small amount and a small duration of good deeds lead one to an Eternal Heavenly Abode. One point is, we see that those who go to Paradise, their main pleasure and joy is in ‘seeing Allah the Exalted’, and of praising Him. So when the people enter into Paradise and have this enormous ecstasy of being so ‘close’ to Allah the Exalted, how can it be except that they remain therein forever? For if it was a temporal stay in Paradise, then this pleasure, the true pleasure would be cut at some point, and Allah the Exalted, out of His Mercy for us, has decreed that such will not be the case.
243. With respect to the criticisms or doubts that people have regarding the linguistic miracle of the Qur’an, I believe many a times this comes as a consequence of their not understanding that not all languages are the same, and that not all similes and metaphors work in every language. But this disparity across languages, places, and times is obviously true, and it can be very easily seen even in how news reporters relate their stories. Like let us take a sports team named the ‘Lions’, one in an English-speaking land and another in a Spanish-speaking land. In the latter, it would be totally fine to say ‘the feline team’ and if one is based in a Spanish-speaking country, they can check how the newspapers sometimes refer to such teams. But in the English press, this phrase seems totally out of place.
The reason for this is that the languages have diverged on this point, on the number and range of synonyms which can be acceptably used to refer to words and terms within certain contexts. This obviously requires some hands-on experience in the language itself.
When we come to the Qur’an, we see that the suitability of the language used within the Qur’an would be best known to those who have a natural knowledge of how the language ebbs and flows for different situations. There is obviously no barrier to latter-day people learning the language and learning the different techniques in rhetoric and grammar that are acceptable and pleasing versus those that are inferior and displeasing, but this requires a lot of patience, dedication, experience and also trusting those who have derived the rules of the language, and not a quick dismissal of the value of language in moving the hearts and minds of people.
244. One thing we see Christians mentioning is that it was only ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) who cured the leper and the one born blind, and this shows the alleged divinity of ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam). However, in Islam we say that the miracles shown at the hands of the Prophets (Alayhim as-Salaam) cannot possibly have come into existence due to the Prophets’ own independent volition, but because Allah willed to show this sign to the people in order to prove Prophethood to all who may witness the miracle.
One counterargument to this is: The previous Prophets from Adam to Musa (Alayhim as-Salaam) all prayed to ‘Isa to get their miracles shown to all, while ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam), by virtue of ‘being God’ did not need to do any of these things. But this is fallacious, since every one of the Prophets including ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) occupied a body and had all the characteristics of bodies. So what would refrain another person from saying that ‘Isa (Alayhi Salaam) actually prayed to Musa (Alayhi Salaam) [and says that no, actually Musa (Alayhi Salaam) was in fact God] to get his prayers answered and the miracles shown to everyone?
There is no basis for this, except if one wishes to use baseless favoritism in this situation. [Of course, this discussion can get much more complicated, with the added issues relating to the nature of Allah, the nature of humans, the distinction of Allah from His Creation, etc., but here I am leaving it in the simplest form].
245. There is the interesting story about al-Baaqilani (RA) and the archbishop, and his point that the archbishop can be free from familial relations, while the Christians do not disassociate themselves from the idea of Allah having a ‘Son’. I know there might be criticism that this is only a caricature of the Christian idea that is being mocked, but the truth is that any sort of ‘relationship of multiplicities’ is considered as blasphemous and impossible to attribute to Allah in Islamic thought. All the talk about ‘Love’ and the rest cannot obscure the fact that the Christians believe that there is a genus or class named ‘God’ and occupied by three members, ‘Father’, ‘Son’, and ‘Holy Ghost’ – this is the main point of the problem really, the rest being a sort of ‘filler’.
246. We also have the argument that was brought forward about ‘Aayesha (RAA) and what the hypocrites claimed about her. Note that trying to make the Muslims lose their cool is a very common polemic strategy and it might work with many people. But in this case, al-Baaqilani (RA) basically answered that her case was somewhat like that of Maryam (Alayhaa Salaam), except that Aayesha (RAA) did not give birth to any child, but Maryam (Alayha Salaam) came to the people with a child. Of course, this is not meant in a disrespectful way at all, but sometimes one has to take what is considered as true by both ourselves and our opponents as the basis for proceeding forward in the argument, or of showing why the initial argument of the opponent is actually wrong.
247. Some people may make a big deal out of the story of ‘Umar (RAA) and what he said when he read the Verse: ‘وَفَاكِهَةً وَأَبًّا ’ (Verse 80:31), and that his brief wondering as to what ‘Abba’ means in here is indicative of the Qur’an not being clear whatsoever. But this is not a correct assumption, since as mentioned by Ibn Kathir (RA) in his Tafseer, the generality of this word was known to indicate one of the plants that grows from the Earth, but the question was only with respect to its exact specifications, and ‘Umar (RAA) himself immediately said that this was something beyond what is necessary to know.
So no issue can be made about this matter, and especially so since every single word of every Verse of the Qur’an has an interpretation and explanation behind it, even if it is not apparent to everyone at the very beginning of their recitation (and of course, it cannot be, since the job of writing a Tafseer requires different types of specializations to be employed, and this will not give a result right away in the case of every single Verse).
248. Relying on what al-Baaqilani (RA) says in the introduction to one of his books, many of the charges against the Qur’an from the side of the disbelievers have been around for an extremely long time, such as those tied to the narrations about goats and chickens eating the parchments on which (it is claimed by our opponents) the final recension of the Qur’an was written down, or about the story of the Gharaaneeq (i.e. the ‘Satanic Verses’), or that the Verses of the Qur’an would be written down based solely on the testimony of two people or whoever happened to pass by the street or by the Masjid. For me, this is an indication that perhaps we lay Muslims of today have to really persevere to learn Islam properly, and then start looking for the answers in a methodical and systematic manner. If we simply lazy around, or despair and give up hope, then everything will collapse around us, and this will be our fault to large degree.
249. There have been within our history, certain Batini, Shia-inspired sects, who said that there is absolutely nothing of the Qur’an that can be known from its apparent wording, but that the inner meaning is the only operative one, and that this is only the domain of the Prophet ﷺ and the ‘Infallible Imam’ [whoever that ‘Imam’ may be, as the different Batini groups had much historical disagreement with each other on this question].
250. It is mentioned: It is incorrect to hold that one merely has to believe in the Qur’an and its correctness, without any delving whatsoever into its meanings and its interpretations.