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PREFACE. - Mohammed, The Quran, vol. 1 
A Comprehensive Commentary on the Quran: Comprising Sale’s Translation and preliminary Discourse, with Additional Notes and Emendations (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, and Co., 1896). 4 vols.
Part of: The Quran, 4 vols.
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In presenting to the public the first volume of A Comprehensive Commentary on the Qurán, I think it necessary to make a brief statement as to the reasons which have led to the publication of this work, and the object sought to be attained thereby.
The idea of preparing such a work grew out of the wants which I felt in the pursuit of my own study of the Qurán, and in the work of a missionary among Muslims. The time required to gather up the results of the labours of various writers on Islám; the difficulty of preserving these results in a form suitable for convenient reference; and the still greater difficulty of bringing the truth thus acquired to bear on the minds of Muslims, owing to the absence of any medium whereby the proof-texts, referred to in the English works by chapter and verse, may be found in the original copies current among Muhammadans, where no such mode of reference is used;—all these suggested the great need of a work which would remove in some degree at least these obstacles to the study of the Qurán, and thus promote a better knowledge of Islám among missionaries.
It will thus be seen that I have not laboured simply to make a book. I have endeavoured to provide for a felt want. My object has been to gather up in a few volumes the results of the labours of those who have endeavoured to elucidate the text of the Qurán, adding the results of my own study. It is in this sense that this work is entitled a Comprehensive Commentary. Though primarily intended for the use of those who, like myself, are engaged in missionary work among Muhammadans, it is hoped that it will render valuable service to others.
The plan adopted in the preparation of this work is as follows:—
I. To present Sale’s translation of the Qurán in the form of the Arabic original, indicating the Sipára, Súrat, Ruqú of the Sipára, Ruqú of the Súrat, &c., as they are in the best Oriental editions.
II. To number the verses as they are in the Roman Urdú edition of Maulvi Abdul Qádir’s translation. This arrangement will be of special benefit to missionaries in India.
III. To exhibit in the notes and comments the views of the best Muslim commentators. For these I am indebted for the most part to Sale, the Tafsír-i-Raufi, the Tafsír-i-Hussaini, the Tafsír-i Fatah-ar-Rahmán, and the notes on Abdul Qádir’s Urdú translation of the Qurán. Sale’s notes have been almost entirely drawn (with the aid of Maracers work in Latin) from the standard writings of Baidháwi, the Jalálaín, and Al Zamakhshari. I have also culled much from some of the best European writers on Islám, a list of whose works may be found below.
IV. To the above is prefixed Sale’s Preliminary Discourse, with additional notes and emendations. And the last volume will contain a complete Index, both to the text of, and the notes on, the Qurán, which will enable the reader to acquaint himself with the teaching of the Quran on any particular subject, with a very small amount of labour.
In regard to the spelling of proper names, I have invariably Romanised the original form of the words, except when quoting from living authors, in which case I have felt obliged to retain the spelling peculiar to each writer.
In order to facilitate the study of individual chapters, and to help a better understanding of the various “revelations,” I have prefixed to each chapter a brief introduction, showing the circumstances under which the revelations were made, the date of their publication by Muhammad, and also giving a brief analysis of each chapter as to its teaching.
As to the matter of the notes, the reader will perceive occasional repetition. This is due in part to the repetitions of the text, and partly in order to call special attention to certain doctrines of the Qurán, e.g., its testimony to the genuineness and credibility of the Christian Scriptures current in the days of Muhammad; the evidence it affords to its own character as a fabrication; its testimony to the imposture of the Arabian prophet, in his professing to attest the Former Scriptures, while denying almost every cardinal doctrine of the same,—in his putting into the mouth of God garbled statements as to Scripture history, prophecy, and doctrine, to suit the purposes of his prophetic pretensions,—and in his appealing to Divinity to sanction his crimes against morality and decency.
The need of emphasising facts of this kind has grown out of the attempt of certain apologists for Islám to ignore these unpleasant truths, and to exhibit to the present generation an ideal Muhammad, no less unlike the prophet of Arabia than the Muhammad of Christian bigotry and misrepresentation. My endeavour has been to show what the Qurán actually teaches on these subjects.
On the other hand, I have endeavoured to remove, as far as known to me, the misapprehensions, and consequent misrepresentations, of the doctrines of the Qurán, popular among Christians, believing that every such error strengthens the prejudices of Muhammadans, and thereby aids the cause it seeks to overthrow, whilst justifying similar misrepresentation from the Muslim side. Everywhere I have endeavoured to advance the cause of truth, to show just what the Qurán teaches, and so by stating fairly the issues of the controversy with Islám, to advance the great cause of bringing its votaries to a knowledge of Him to whom all the prophets of God pointed as the Son of God and the Saviour of sinners.
Finally, whilst I desire to express my obligations to all those, now living, whose writings I have consulted or used in the preparation of this volume, I wish specially to make thankful acknowledgment of the help afforded me by Sir William Muir, in permitting me to make use of his most valuable works on Muhammad and the Qurán in the preparation of this work. My thanks are also due to the Rev. P. M. Zenker, C.M.S. missionary, Agra, for much valuable assistance in gathering material from sources inaccessible to me.
Without further preface, and earnestly desiring the blessing of Him who is The only Sinless Prophet of Islám, and the only Saviour of fallen men, I commend this volume to the reader.
E. M. W.
LIST OF AUTHORS AND BOOKS QUOTED AND MADE USE OF IN THE PREPARATION OF THIS VOLUME.
In reading the Romanised form of Arabic proper names, the reader should pronounce—
In reading the fractional sign R , R , &c., in the margin to the text of the Qurán, understand by the figures above the line the Ruqá of the Súrat or chapter, and by the figures below the line the Ruqú of the Sipára. The terms Ruba, Nisf, and Suls mark the fourth, half, and three-fourths of a Sipára.