Disputatious Qənes

3 Disputatious Qənes


Due to the unrestricted nature of Qəne, BaläQənes  dispute with earthly kings as well as with the heavenly king. Qəne puts to the test all the society’s ideas that are accepted as a norm and created new outlooks. Here are a few examples:



a. Gubaʾe Qana of ʾäläqa Gäbrä Hanna

ኮንኖ ኃጥኣን ኩሎሙ ኢይደልወከ ምንተ፣

አፍቅሩ ጸላእትክሙ እንዘ ትብል አንተ::


        Why do you need to judge the sinful?

        When you, yourself, are telling us to love our enemies.


Here, ʾäläqa Gäbrä Hanna is putting god to the task. It is written that sinners, unlike the righteous, will be punished and will be sent to hell for transgressing God’s commandments. On the other hand, Christ’s teaching tells us to love our enemies. So the BaläQəne is urging God to practice what he preaches.


b. Zäyəʾəze (3ኛ መጽሐፍ ገጽ 160)


እፎ ይብለነ ቃለ መጽሐፍ፣

ኢይክል ሰበእ እምድህረ ልሕቀ በዊአ፣

ውስተ ከርሰ እሙ ዘወለደቶ፣

ይትወለድ እማሕፀነ እሙ ልደተ ካልአ፣

ውስተ ከርሠ እሙ መሬት አዳም አምጣነ ገብአ፣

ከመ ይትወለድ ዳግመ ድኅረ ተወድአ፣

ወርኀ ነቢሮቱ ብዙኅ ውስተ ከርሠ መሬት ርጉዐ፣

ከመ ይትወለድ ዳግመ ድኅረ ተወድአ፡፡


                Why does the Good Book tell us

                That an adult cannot enter

                Inside his mother’s womb

                But one is born again from his mother’s womb

                Since into his mother’s womb / earth Adam has entered.

To be born again after he has finished

His long stay inside the calm belly of the earth

To be born again after all is finished


 It is written in John 3:3-5 that a man cannot go back to his mother’s womb and be born again. At the same time it is stated that everyone will rise at the Day of Judgment.  And the first man Adam, created from the earth returned to his mother earth when he died and will rise again in the future. So the Qəne after presenting the above opposing evidence is disputing the words from John that deny the possibility of being born again.


iii) Roomy enough for 5 


BaläQənes are sharp witted and historically are known to reproach kings with their witty remarks. In the reign of Emperor Te’odros II (1855-1868), the Emperor decreed that only 2 priests and 3 deacons are needed to serve per church. His reasoning was to make the idle clergy productive and to steer them to other professions. ʾäläqa Gäbrä Hanna was present when the king was celebrating the commemoration of the new Däbrä Tabor Mädhane ʿaläm Church. When the king asked what he thought of the church, ʾäläqa Gäbrä Hanna quipped by saying it is roomy enough for two priests and three deacons.




iv) And What is left for the king?


Emperor Menelik’s confidant, ʾäläqa Gäbrä Hanna, was staying in bed due to a sickness and hearing this ʾətege T’aytu sent him a leg of a cow. ʾäläqa was displeased knowing that a whole cow would have been sent if the person who was sick was the queen’s close friend. So ʾäläqa told the messengers. “How generous the queen is! But what is going to be left for the king, if the queen is giving a leg to all the nobility.” The Säm, as it is obvious, shows that he is concerned about the royal kitchen running out of beef. But the Wärq is saying that the queen is having affairs with the nobility.


v) The Saint is not going to have a wedding feast for his children


Seeing the people living in the surrounding of the Abunä Hara Monastery suffering from a famine, ʾäläqa Gäbrä Hanna distributed to the farmers the money from the church collection. ʾäläqa was accused and stood in front of Emperor Menelik who asked him, “Since you are the expert, tell me what does the Fətha Nagast (law of Kings) say?” ʾäläqa responded by saying, “The Fətha Nagast says ‘a third should go to the clergy and a third to the workers’. And I, seeing the desperate times, have distributed the money to the people. What is Abunä Hara going to do with the money? He doesn’t have a father to support or a child to marry off.”     


f. Wazema (1ኛ መጽሐፍ ገጽ 321 ቁጥር 247)


ናጽድቅ ዜና ሕሳዊ

ለአርባዕቱ ኪሩቤል ይደልዎሙ ፍርሃት፣

በሰማይ አኮኑ ተአዘዘ ሞት፡፡

ወሕስወ ኮነ ፍትሐ ኀያላን ነገሥት፣

ዘአሰረ ጴጥሮስ ሲቀ ካህናት፣

እስመ ፈትሐ ካልኡ ዕርገት፡፡


     Let us corroborate the false news

     That the four cherub need to be frightened

     Since death has taken over in heaven.

     Futile is the judgment of strong kings

     That the Apostle Peter had confined

        Since the other/ Ascension has released.


Angels are not scared of death since they are not made of flesh. But seeing the death of Virgin Mary, who has carried the Christ in her womb and thus more important than angels, they should be frightened that they might die too. The second part refers to a verse in Mathew () where it says those confined by the Apostle Peter on earth will also be detained in heaven. And when it says what Peter detained was released through another priest/ascension, it is referring to the ascension of the Virgin’s body after it was shrouded by Peter.