In the following verse we are informed about certain knowledge two angels disseminated in Babel, that was later misused by people in such ways as causing seperation between a husband and a wife.
[2:102] They pursued what the devils taught concerning Solomon’s kingdom. Solomon, however, was not a disbeliever, but the devils were disbelievers. They taught the people sorcery, and that which was sent down through the two angels of Babel, Haroot and Maroot. These two did not divulge such knowledge without pointing out: “This is a test. You shall not abuse such knowledge.” But the people used it in such evil schemes as the breaking up of marriages. They can never harm anyone against the will of GOD. They thus learn what hurts them, not what benefits them, and they know full well that whoever practices witchcraft will have no share in the Hereafter. Miserable indeed is what they sell their souls for, if they only knew.
وَاتَّبَعُوا مَا تَتْلُو الشَّيَاطِينُ عَلَىٰ مُلْكِ سُلَيْمَانَ وَمَا كَفَرَ سُلَيْمَانُ وَلَٰكِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ كَفَرُوا يُعَلِّمُونَ النَّاسَ السِّحْرَ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ عَلَى الْمَلَكَيْنِ بِبَابِلَ هَارُوتَ وَمَارُوتَ وَمَا يُعَلِّمَانِ مِنْ أَحَدٍ حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَا إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ فِتْنَةٌ فَلَا تَكْفُرْ فَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مِنْهُمَا مَا يُفَرِّقُونَ بِهِ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَزَوْجِهِ وَمَا هُمْ بِضَارِّينَ بِهِ مِنْ أَحَدٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَيَتَعَلَّمُونَ مَا يَضُرُّهُمْ وَلَا يَنْفَعُهُمْ وَلَقَدْ عَلِمُوا لَمَنِ اشْتَرَاهُ مَا لَهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ وَلَبِئْسَ مَا شَرَوْا بِهِ أَنْفُسَهُمْ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ
God calls this knowledge السِّحْرَ / l-siḥ’ra and is translated as “magic”, “sorcery”, or “witchcraft.” When we look at the root of this word we see it has additional derivative meanings which have to do with the manipulation of speech e.g. eloquence, seduction, hypnotism, or transforming a thing from a proper manner to another manner.
It is also noteworthy that the verse references Babel, which was the capital of Babylon but also signifies the meaning of gibberish. Typically the most common depiction of Babel is in the story of the Tower of Babel which is described in Genesis 11. The main takeaway from this passage is that when people communicate in a common language they can prosper, but when their language gets confused and muddled their progress is halted.
This same lesson applies for us today. When we confuse speech and obfuscate the meaning of words it sets back societal integrity. This becomes particularly problematic when the objective is to cause separation and division among the people. We see this example in the following verse regarding people who extrapolate meanings in the Quran with malicious intent.
[3:7] He sent down to you this scripture, containing straightforward verses—which constitute the essence of the scripture—as well as multiple-meaning or allegorical verses. Those who harbor doubts in their hearts will pursue the multiple-meaning verses to create confusion, and to extricate a certain meaning. None knows the true meaning thereof except GOD and those well founded in knowledge. They say, “We believe in this—all of it comes from our Lord.” Only those who possess intelligence will take heed.
هُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِنْ عِنْدِ رَبِّنَا وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ
The verse informs us to beware of people who extrapolate from the multi-meaning verses to seek الْفِتْنَةِ / l-fit’nati, which in this context means division or disputes.
But I don’t think this is limited to scripture. One method the devil uses to make abhorrent ideas palatable to the masses is through the use of euphemisms.
In some so-called Islamic countries they have a practice known as “nikah al-mut’ah: نكاح المتعة, which literally translates to “pleasure marriage.” From the surface level this does not sound objectionable, but when we realize what this practice actually is do we realize the truth. Nikah al-mut’ah is a temporary marriage, where the divorce date is already determined upon the marriage. So put another way this is just legalized prostitution for the Islamic world, but by using this euphemism one would not get that sense from the name alone.
Another example is that of abortion. Rather than calling it the killing of innocent life in the womb, we hear terms like “family planning” or “pro-choice” as a substitute for this heinous act. We saw saw the term “marriage equality” used for reference to homosexual marriage, or the classic example of calling a nuclear bomb as a “peace maker” in place of a “widow maker.”
Such deceptive tactics help sway public opinion, but it only hides the true meanings, effects, and agenda of such movements. As we saw in the previous article such methods are signs of corruption. Someone who is righteous and has the proper motivations should not try to obscure their message in order to make it seem more appealing to the masses. They should be direct and straightforward, and if it is good then it should stand on it’s own merit without needing to resort to such manipulation.
But while this is bad, the latest approach is even worse. Rather than trying to hide the meaning of something through a clever play on words, now many people are trying to change the meaning of words outright.
For instance, marriage as formally understood between a man and a woman is now meant to encompass members of the same sex.
Even the definitions for the terms “man” and “woman” are being twisted. Where first it was argued that while sex is determined from biology and gender is a social construct, now institutions as prominent as the ACLU are going so far as to claim there is no such thing as biological sex.
Recently J.K Rowling, author of Harry Potter, is being threatened and pushed to be canceled for her tweet defending that only women can give birth or menstruate.
Who would have believed that such a statement would be controversial, but this is what happens when Satan hypnotizes the masses. By manipulating speech and specifically the meaning of words Satan can push his agenda without much pushback, but like any of Satan’s schemes this always backfires against him.
[35:43] They resorted to arrogance on earth, and evil scheming, and the evil schemes only backfire on those who scheme them. Should they then expect anything but the fate of those who did the same things in the past? You will find that GOD’s system is never changeable; you will find that GOD’s system is immutable.
اسْتِكْبَارًا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَكْرَ السَّيِّئِ وَلَا يَحِيقُ الْمَكْرُ السَّيِّئُ إِلَّا بِأَهْلِهِ فَهَلْ يَنْظُرُونَ إِلَّا سُنَّتَ الْأَوَّلِينَ فَلَنْ تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللَّهِ تَبْدِيلًا وَلَنْ تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللَّهِ تَحْوِيلًا
One thought on “Tower of Babel and The Deterioration of Language”
Great article, MashaAllah and God bless you