This essay is a proposal for the source of the confusion of the Islamic scholars regarding Quran 7:54 which mentions Allah’s (swt) throne. They must have consulted a biblical source for the meaning of this ancient word arsh. This biblical source refers to the throne of God as the mercy seat; a chariot with two or four angels at its side on the ark of the covenant. The Jews literally believed that this mercy seat was a duplicate of the throne on which their deity physically sat in the sky. In any case, here is the Hebrew explanation of the biblical word eres pronounced ehres. According to Strong’s:

eh’res from an unused root meaning perhaps to arch; a couch (properly, with a canopy):–bed(-stead), couch.

Unused root in this context means the word cannot be directly traced to an Hebrew origin.

In Akkadian, the word pronounced in English (but spelled with an ayin) as ‘ershu’ has multiple meanings and multiple spellings to indicate the exact word. The primary meaning is to be wise or to be full of wisdom as applied to kings and divinities. Other unrelated words pronounced ershu but with different spellings include the following varied meanings: bed, a tilled field or plot, a desired thing, claimed property, bed, cradle, marriage bed, necessary. However, the Akkadian word ‘ershu’ that is derived from Sumerian origin, means divine wisdom.

Again, I am not blaming Islamic scholars for the confusion. Cuneiform was deciphered only 150 years ago, so the original meaning of ‘arsh became obscured over time as the word entered other Semitic languages. So, it is little wonder that most scholars refused to interpret the word arsh as an actual seat, especially considering Quran 40:7 which says: “Those who bear the arsh…. ” If the arsh were a chair or couch on which a deity was physically sitting, then that deity could not be Allah (swt) who has no physical form. However, if arsh meant divine wisdom, then this aya makes sense as the angels carry the divine wisdom or revelation to prophets in the form of direct revelation and to the rest of humanity as so called discoveries which are really another form of revelation.

In addition, the stem of the Arabic word, istawa is presumed to be ‘swy’ meaning ‘to be equal’, ‘to regulate’ etc. The word is followed by the word aly often translated as the preposition ‘on’, but actually means ‘high’, ‘exalted’. However, if we consider that the word arsh originated in Sumerian with the meaning ‘divine wisdom’, then we must return to that language or its nearest derivative language to find the meaning of ‘istawa’. In this case that language is Akkadian and the word is ishdu which means ‘reign/ throne’. Allah (swt) uses words appropriate to the Semitic culture which expressed the notion that a deity’s reign (ishdu) is exalted thru His Divine Wisdom (arsh). So, the most proper translation of Q 7:54 would be: “Lo! your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days, moreover (thumma) He reigns exaltedly (in) DIVINE WISDOM (arsh). He covers the night with the day, which is in haste to follow it, and has made the sun and the moon and the stars subservient by His command. His verily is all creation and commandment. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!”

From the above explanation all should understand that Allah’s Throne Above the Waters (Quran 11:7) means Allah’s DIVINE WISDOM above the waters. In other words Allah, through His DIVINE WISDOM, created EVERY LIVING THING FROM WATER. This means every living thing evolved from water. Furthermore, Quran 21:30 describes the BIG BANG and the evolution of all living things from water. “Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living ? Then will they not believe.” The first scholars to propose the ‘theory’ of evolution were Muslims like Ibn Khaldoun who derived his ‘theories’ of evolution from the Quran.In addition the most ancient and accurate meaning of the Arabic phrase ‘Istawa aly alarsh’ in Quran 7:54 is He reigns exaltedly (in) His Divine Wisdom, that is Allah (swt) created His creation which he continues to govern in HIS DIVINE WISDOM. Everybody here: WHY WILL YOU NOT THEN BELIEVE????

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