Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER III.: ENTITLED SURAT ÁL IMRÁN (THE FAMILY OF IMRÁN). Revealed at Madína. - The Quran, vol. 2
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CHAPTER III.: ENTITLED SURAT ÁL IMRÁN (THE FAMILY OF IMRÁN). Revealed at Madína. - Mohammed, The Quran, vol. 2 
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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ENTITLED SURAT ÁL IMRÁN (THE FAMILY OF IMRÁN).
This chapter contains a variety of passages belonging to different periods. The revelations are, however, all of Madína origin, excepting verses 26 and 27, which seem to be the remnant of a lost Makkan Sura.
As to matter, the chapter may be divided into two portions. The first, extending to verse 120, relates to various matters of instruction and warning, suited to the circumstances of the Muslims during the period of prosperity intervening between the victory at Badr and the defeat at Ohod. The remainder of the chapter was intended to counteract the evils consequent upon the misfortunes of the Muslims at Ohod.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
Verses 1-25, 28-57, 66-94, and 98-120, belong to the period intervening between Ramadhán of a.h. 2 (Badr) and Shawwál of a.h. 3 (Ohod).
Verses 26 and 27 are Makkan, but their date cannot be ascertained. Verses 58-65 allude to the visit of the Christians of Najrán to Madína in a.h. 9. They probably belong to that year.
Verses 95-97, referring to the rites of pilgrimage as fully established, must be referred to the later years of Muhammad’s life, say a.h. 10.
The remaining verses, 121-200, belong to a period immediately succeeding the battle of Ohod, and must therefore be referred to the latter part of a.h. 3 or the beginning of a.h. 4.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) A. L. M. (2) There is no God but God, the living, the self-subsisting: (3) he hath sent down unto thee the book of the Qurán with truth, confirming that which was revealed before it; for he had formerly sent down the law, and the gospel a direction unto men; and he had also sent down the distinction between good and evil.(4) Verily those who believe not the signs of God shall suffer a grievous punishment; for God is mighty, able to revenge. (5) Surely nothing is hidden from God,of that which is on earth, or in heaven: (6) it is he who formeth you in the wombs, as he pleaseth; there is no God but he, the mighty, the wise. (7) It is he who hath sent down unto thee the book, wherein are some verses clear to be understood, they are the foundation of the book; and others are parabolical. But they whose hearts are perverse will follow that which is parabolical therein, out of love of schism, and a desire of the interpretation thereof; yet none knoweth the interpretation thereof, except God. But they who are well grounded in the knowledge say, We believe therein, the whole is from our Lord; and none will consider except the prudent. (8) O Lord, cause not our hearts to swerve from truth, after thou hast directed us: and give us from thee mercy, for thou art he who giveth. (9) O Lord, thou shalt surely gather mankind together, unto a day of resurrection: there is no doubt of it, for God will not be contrary to the promise.
∥ (10) As for the infidels, their wealth shall not profit them anything, nor their children, against God: they shall be the fuel of hell fire. (11) According to the wont of the people of Pharaoh, and of those who went before them, they charged our signs with a lie; but God caught them in their wickedness, and God is severe in punishing. (12) Say unto those who believe not, Ye shall be overcome, and thrown together into hell: and an unhappy couch shall it be.(13) Ye have already had a miracle shown you in two armies, which attacked each other: one army fought for God’s true religion, but the other were infidels; they saw the faithful twice as many as themselves in their eyesight; for God strengthened with his help whom he pleaseth. Surely herein was an example unto men of understanding. (14) The love and eager desire of wives, and children, and sums heaped up of gold and silver, and excellent horses, and cattle, and land, is prepared for men: this is the provision of the present life; but unto God shall be the most excellent return. (15) Say, Shall I declare unto you better things than this? For those who are devout are prepared with their Lord gardens through which rivers flow; therein shall they continue for ever: and they shall enjoy wives free from impurity, and the favour of God; for God regardeth his servants, (16) who say, O Lord, we do sincerely believe; forgive us therefore our sins, and deliver us from the pain of hell fire: (17) the patient, and the lovers of truth, and the devout, and the almsgivers, and those who ask pardon early in the morning. (18) God hath borne witness that there is no God but he; and the angels and those who are endowed with wisdom, profess the same; who executeth righteousness; there is no God but he; the mighty, the wise.
∥ (19) Verily the true religion in the sight of God is Islám: and they who had received the scriptures dissented not therefrom, until after the knowledge of God’s unity had come unto them, out of envy among themselves; but whosoever believeth not in the signs of God, verily God will be swift in bringing him to account. (20) If they dispute with thee, say, I have resigned myself unto God, and he who followeth me doth the same; and say unto them who have received the scriptures, and to the ignorant, Do ye profess the religion of Islám? now if they embrace Islám, they are surely directed; but if they turn their backs, verily unto thee belongeth preaching only; for God regardeth his servants.
∥ (21) And unto those who believe not in the signs of God, and slay the prophets without a cause, and put those men to death who teach justice; denounce unto them a painful punishment. (22) These are they whose works perish in this world, and in that which is to come; and they shall have none to help them. (23) Hast thou not observed those unto whom part of the scripture was given? They were called unto the book of God, that it might judge between them; then some of them turned their backs, and retired afar off. (24) This they did because they said, the fire of hell shall by no means touch us, but for a certain number of days; and that which they had falsely devised hath deceived them in their religion. (25) How then will it be with them, when we shall gather them together at the day of judgment, of which there is no doubt; and every soul shall be paid that which it hath gained, neither shall they be treated unjustly? (26) Say, O God, who possessest the kingdom; thou givest the kingdom unto whom thou wilt, and thou takest away the kingdom from whom thou wilt: thou exaltest whom thou wilt, and thou humblest whom thou wilt: in thy hand is good, for thou art almighty. (27) Thou makest the night to succeed the day: thou bringest forth the living out of the dead, and thou bringest forth the dead out of the living; and providest food for whom thou wilt without measure. (28) Let not the faithful take the infidels for their protectors, rather than the faithful: he who doth this shall not be protected of God at all; unless ye fear any danger from them: but God warneth ye to beware of himself: for unto God must ye return. (29) Say, Whether ye conceal that which is in your breasts, or whether ye declare it, God knoweth it; for he knoweth whatever is in heaven, and whatever is on earth: God is almighty. (30) On the last day every soul shall find the good which it hath wrought, present; and the evil which it hath wrought, it shall wish that between itself and that were a wide distance: but God warneth you to beware of himself; for God is gracious unto his servants.
∥ (31) Say, if ye love God, follow me: then God shall love you, and forgive you your sins; for God is gracious and merciful. (32) Say, Obey God, and his apostle; but if ye go back, verily God loveth not the unbelievers. (33)God hath surely chosen Adam, and Noah, and the family of Abraham, and the family of Imrán above the rest of the world; (34) a race descending the one from the other: God is he who heareth and knoweth. (35)Remember when the wife of Imrán said, Lord, verily I have vowed unto thee that which is in my womb, to be dedicated to thy service; accept it therefore of me; for thou art he who heareth and knoweth. (36) And when she was delivered of it, she said, Lord, verily I have brought forth a female (and God well knew what she had brought forth), and a male is not as a female. I have called her Mary; and I commend her to thy protection, and also her issue; against Satan driven away with stones. (37) Therefore the Lord accepted her with a gracious acceptance, and caused her to bear an excellent offspring. (38) And Zacharias took care of the child; whenever Zacharias went into the chamber to her, he found provisions with her: and he said, O Mary whence hadst thou this? she answered, This is from God: for God provideth for whom he pleaseth without measure. There Zacharias called on his Lord,and said, Lord, give me from thee a good offspring, for thou art the hearer of prayer. (39) And the angels called to him, while he stood praying in the chamber, saying, Verily God promiseth thee a son named John, who shall bear witness to the Word which cometh from God; an honourable person, chaste, and one of the righteous prophets. (40) He answered, Lord, how shall I have a son, when old age hath overtaken me, and my wife is barren? The angel said, So God doth that which he pleaseth. (41)Zacharias answered, Lord, give me a sign. The angel said, Thy sign shall be, that thou shalt speak unto no man for three days, otherwise than by gesture: remember thy Lord often, and praise him evening and morning.
∥ (42) And when the angels said, O Mary, verily God hath chosen thee, and hath purified thee, and hath chosen thee above all the women of the world: (43) O Mary, be devout towards thy Lord, and worship, and bow down with those who bow down. (44) This is a secret history: we reveal it unto thee, although thou wast not present with them when they threw in their rods to cast lots which of them should have the education of Mary; neither wast thou with them when they strove among themselves. (45) When the angels said: O Mary, verily God sendeth thee good tidings, that thou shalt bear the Word proceeding from himself; (46) his name shall be Christ Jesus the son of Mary, honourable in this world and in the world to come, and one of those who approach near to the presence ofGod; and he shall speak unto men in the cradle, and when he is grown up; and he shall be one of the righteous: (47) she answered, Lord, how shall I have a son, since a man hath not touched me? the angel said, So God createth that which he pleaseth: when he decreeth a thing, he only saith unto it, Be, and it is: (48)God shall teach him the scripture, and wisdom, and the law, and the gospel; and shall appoint him his apostle to the children of Israel; and he shall say, Verily I come unto you with a sign from your Lord; for I will make before you, of clay, as it were the figure of a bird; then I will breathe thereon, and it shall become a bird, by the permission of God; and I will heal him that hath been blind from his birth; and the leper: and I will raise the dead by the permission of God: and I will prophesy unto you what ye eat, and what ye lay up for store in your houses. Verily herein will be a sign unto you, if ye believe. And (49)I come to confirm the law which was revealed before me, and to allow unto you as lawful part of that which hath been forbidden you: and I come unto you with a sign from your Lord; therefore fear God, and obey me. (50) Verily God is my Lord, and your Lord; therefore serve him. This is the right way. (51) But when Jesus perceived their unbelief, he said, Who will be my helpers towards God? The apostles answered, We will be the helpers of God; we believe in God, and do thou bear witness that we are true believers. (52) O Lord, we believe in that which thou hast sent down, and we have followed thy apostle; write us down therefore with those who bear witness of him.(53) And the Jews devised a stratagem against him; but God devised a stratagem against them; and God is the best deviser of stratagems.
∥ (54) When God said, O Jesus, verily I will cause thee to die, and I will take thee up unto me, and I will deliver thee from the unbelievers; and I will place those who follow thee above the unbelievers, until the day of resurrection: then unto me shall ye return, and I will judge between you of that concerning which ye disagree. (55) Moreover, as for the infidels, I will punish them with a grievous punishment in this world, and in that which is to come; and there shall be none to help them. (56) But they who believe, and do that which is right, he shall give them their reward: for God loveth not the wicked doers. (57) These signs and this prudent admonition do we rehearse unto thee. (58) Verily the likeness of Jesus in the sight of God is as the likeness of Adam; he created him out of the dust, and then said unto him, Be; and he was. (59) This is the truth from thy Lord;be not therefore one of those who doubt;(60)and whoever shall dispute with thee concerning him, after the knowledge which hath been given thee, say unto them, Come, let us call together our sons and your sons and our wives and your wives, and ourselves and yourselves; then let us make imprecations, and lay the curse of God on those who lie. (61) Verily this is a true history: and there is no God but God; and God is most mighty and wise. (62) If they turn back, God well knoweth the evil-doers.
∥ (63) Say, O ye who have received the scripture, come to a just determination between us and you; that we worship not any except God, and associate no creature with him; and that the one of us take not the other for lords, beside God. But if they turn back, say, Bear witness that we are true believers. (64) O ye to whom the scriptures have been given, why do ye dispute concerning Abraham, since the Law and the Gospel were not sent down until after him? (65) Do ye not therefore understand? Behold ye are they who dispute concerning that which ye have some knowledge in; why therefore do you dispute concerning that which ye have no knowledge of? God knoweth, but ye know not. (66) Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian; but he was of the true religion, one resigned unto God, and was not of the number of the idolaters. (67) Verily the men who are the nearest of kin unto Abraham are they who follow him: and this prophet, and they who believed on him:God is the patron of the faithful. (68) Some of those who have received the scriptures desire to seduce you; but they seduce themselves only, and they perceive it not. (69) O ye who have received the scriptures, why do ye not believe in the signs of God, since ye are witnesses of them?
∥ (70) O ye who have received the scriptures, why do you clothe truth with vanity, and knowingly hide the truth? (71) And some of those to whom the scriptures were given say, Believe in that which hath been sent down unto those who believe, in the beginning of the day; and deny it in the end thereof; that they may go back from their faith;(72) and believe him only who followeth your religion. Say, Verily the true direction is the direction of God, that there may be given unto some other a revelation like unto what hath been given unto you. Will they dispute with you before your Lord? Say, Surely excellence is in the hand of God, he giveth it unto whom he pleaseth; God is bounteous and wise: (73) he will confer peculiar mercy on whom he pleaseth; for God is endued with great beneficence. (74) There is of those who have received the scriptures, unto whom if thou trust a talent he will restore it unto thee; and there is also of them, unto whom if thou trust a dinár, he will not restore it unto thee, unless thou stand over him continually with great urgency. This they do, because they say, We are not obliged to observe justice with the heathen: but they utter a lie against God, knowingly. (75) Yea, whoso keepeth his covenant, and feareth God,God surely loveth those who fear him. (76) But they who make merchandise of God’s covenant, and of their oaths, for a small price, shall have no portion in the next life, neither shall God speak to them or regard them on the day of resurrection, nor shall he cleanse them; but they shall suffer a grievous punishment. (77) And there are certainly some of them who read the scriptures perversely, that ye may think what they read to be really in the scriptures, yet it is not in the scripture; and they say, This is from God; but it is not from God: and they speak that which is false concerning God, against their own knowledge. (78) It is not fit for a man that God should give him a book of revelations, and wisdom, and prophecy; and then he should say unto men, Be ye worshippers of me, besides God; but he ought to say, Be ye perfect in knowledge and in works, since ye know the scriptures, and exercise yourselves therein. (79)God hath not commanded you to take the angels and the prophets for your lords: Will he command you to become infidels after ye have been true believers?
∥ (80) And remember when God accepted the covenant of the prophets, saying, This verily is the scripture and the wisdom which I have given you: hereafter shall an apostle come unto you, confirming the truth of that scripture which is with you; ye shall surely believe in him, and ye shall assist him. God said, Are ye firmly resolved, and do ye accept my covenant on this condition? They answered, We are firmly resolved: God said, Be ye therefore witnesses; and I also bear witness with you: (81) and whosoever turneth back after this, they are surely the transgressors. (82) Do they therefore seek any other religion but God’s? since to him is resigned whosoever is in heaven or on earth, voluntarily or of force: and to him shall they return. (83) Say, We believe in God, and that which hath been sent down unto us, and that which was sent down unto Abraham, and Ismaíl, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which was delivered to Moses, and Jesus, and the prophets from their Lord; we make no distinction between any of them; and to him are we resigned. (84) Whoever followeth any other religion than Islám, it shall not be accepted of him: and in the next life he shall be of those who perish. (85) How shall God direct men who have become infidels after they had believed, and borne witness that the apostle was true, and manifest declarations of the divine will had come unto them? for God directeth not the ungodly people. (86) Their reward shall be, that on them shall fall the curse of God, and of angels, and of all mankind: (87) they shall remain under the same for ever; their torment shall not be mitigated, neither shall they be regarded; (88) except those who repent after this and amend; for God is gracious and merciful. (89) Moreover they who become infidels after they have believed, and yet increase in infidelity, their repentance shall in nowise be accepted, and they are those who go astray. (90) Verily they who believe not, and die in their unbelief, the world full of gold shall in nowise be accepted from any of them, even though he should give it for his ransom; they shall suffer a grievous punishment, (91) and they shall have none to help them.
∥ (92) Ye will never attain unto righteousness until ye give in alms of that which ye love: and whatever ye give, God knoweth it. (93) All food was permitted unto the children of Israel, except what Israel forbade unto himself before the Pentateuch was sent down. Say unto the Jews, Bring hither the Pentateuch and read it, if ye speak truth. (94) Whoever therefore contriveth a lie against God after this, they will be evil-doers. (95) Say, God is true: follow ye therefore the religion of Abraham the orthodox; for he was no idolater. (96) Verily the first house appointed unto men to worship in was that which was in Bakkah; blessed, and a direction to all creatures. (97) Therein are manifest signs: the place where Abraham stood; and whoever entereth therein shall be safe. And it is a duty towards God,incumbent on those who are able to go thither, to visit this house; but whosoever disbelieveth, verily God needeth not the service of any creature. (98) Say, O ye who have received the scriptures, why do ye not believe in the signs of God? (99) Say, O ye who have received the scriptures, why do ye keep back from the way of God him who believeth? Ye seek to make it crooked, and yet are witnesses that it is the right: but God will not be unmindful of what ye do. (100) O true believers, if ye obey some of those who have received the scripture, they will render you infidels, after ye have believed; (101) and how can ye be infidels, when the signs of God are read unto you, and his apostle is among you? But he who cleaveth firmly unto God is already directed in the right way.
∥ (102)(102) O believers, fear God with his true fear; and die not unless ye also be true believers. (103)(103) And cleave all of you unto the covenant of God, and depart not from it, and remember the favour of God towards you: since ye were enemies, and he reconciled your hearts, and ye became companions and brethren by his favour: and ye were on the brink of a pit of fire, and he delivered you thence. Thus God declareth unto you his signs, that ye may be directed. (104)(104) Let there be people among you who invite to the best religion; and command that which is just, and forbid that which is evil; and they shall be happy. (105)(105) And be not as they who are divided, and disagree in matters of religion, after manifest proofs have been brought unto them: they shall suffer a great torment. (106)(106) On the day of resurrection some faces shall become white, and other faces shall become black. And unto them whose faces shall become black God will say, Have you returned unto your unbelief after ye had believed? therefore taste the punishment for that ye have been unbelievers: (107) but they whose faces shall become white shall be in the mercy of God, therein shall they remain for ever. (108) These are the signs of God: we recite them unto thee with truth. God will not deal unjustly with his creatures. (109)(109) And to Godbelongeth whatever is in heaven and on earth; and to God shall all things return.
∥ (110) Ye are the best nation that hath been raised up unto mankind: ye command that which is just, and ye forbid that which is unjust, and ye believe in God. And if they who have received the scriptures had believed, it had surely been the better for them: there are believers among them, but the greater part of them are transgressors. (111) They shall not hurt you, unless with a slight hurt; and if they fight against you, they shall turn their backs to you; and they shall not be helped. (112) They are smitten with vileness wheresoever they are found; unless they obtain security by entering into a treaty with God, and a treaty with men: and they draw on themselves indignation from God, and they are afflicted with poverty. This they suffer because they disbelieved the signs of God and slew the prophets unjustly; this, because they were rebellious and transgressed. (113)Yet they are not all alike: there are of those who have received the scriptures, upright people; they meditate on the signs of God in the night season, and worship; (114) they believe in God, and the last day; and command that which is just, and forbid that which is unjust, and zealously strive to excel in good works; these are of the righteous. (115) And ye shall not be denied the rewardof the good which ye do; for God knoweth the pious. (116) As for the unbelievers, their wealth shall not profit them at all, neither their children, against God: they shall be the companions of hell fire; they shall continue therein for ever. (117) The likeness of that which they lay out in this present life is as a wind wherein there is a scorching cold: it falleth on the standing corn of those men who have injured their own souls, and destroyeth it. And God dealeth not unjustly with them; but they injure their own souls. (118) O true believers, contract not an intimate friendship with any besides yourselves; they will not fail to corrupt you. They wish for that which may cause you to perish: their hatred hath already appeared from out of their mouths; but what their breasts conceal is yet more inveterate. We have already shown you signs of their ill-will towards you, if ye understand. (119) Behold, ye love them, and they do not love you: ye believe in all the scriptures, and when they meet you, they say, We believe; but when they assemble privately together, they bite their fingers’ ends out of wrath against you. Say unto them, Die in your wrath: verily God knoweth the innermost part of your breasts. (120) If good happen unto you, it grieveth them; and if evil befall you, they rejoice at it. But if ye be patient and fear God, their subtlety shall not hurt you at all; for God comprehendeth whatever they do. (121)Call to mind when thou wentest forth early from thy family, that thou mightest prepare the faithful a camp for war; and God heard and knew it;(122) when two companies of you were anxiously thoughtful, so that ye became faint-hearted, but God was the supporter of them both; and in God let the faithful trust.
∥ (123) And God had already given you the victory at Badr, when ye were inferior in number; therefore fear God, that ye may be thankful. (124) When thou saidst unto the faithful, Is it not enough for you that your Lord should assist you with three thousand angels sent down from heaven?(125) Verily if ye persevere and fear God, and your enemies come upon you suddenly, your Lord will assist you with five thousand angels, distinguished by their horses and attire.
∥ (126) And this God designed only as good tidings for you, that your hearts might rest secure; for victory is from God alone, the mighty, the wise. (127) That he should cut off the uttermost part of the unbelievers, or cast them down, or that they should be overthrown and unsuccessful, is nothing to thee.(128) It is no business of thine; whether God be turned unto them, or whether he punish them; they are surely unjust doers. (129) To God belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth; he spareth whom he pleaseth, and he punisheth whom he pleaseth; for God is merciful.
∥ (130) O true believers, devour not usury, doubling it twofold, but fear God, that ye may prosper: (131) and fear the fire which is prepared for the unbelievers; (132) and obey God and his apostle, that ye may obtain mercy. (133) And run with emulation to obtain remission from your Lord, and paradise, whose breadth equalleth the heavens and the earth, which is prepared for the godly; (134) who give alms in prosperity and adversity; who bridle their anger and forgive men; for God loveth the beneficent. (135) And who, after they have committed a crime, or dealt unjustly with their own souls, remember God, and ask pardon for their sins (for who forgiveth sins except God?), and persevere not in what they have done knowingly; (136) their reward shall be pardon from their Lord, and gardens wherein rivers flow; they shall remain therein forever: and how excellent is the reward of those who labour! (137) There have already been before you examples of punishment of infidels, therefore go through the earth, and behold what hath been the end of those who accuse God’s apostles of imposture. (138) This book is a declaration unto men, and a direction and an admonition to the pious. (139) And be not dismayed, neither be ye grieved; for ye shall be superior to the unbelievers if ye believe. (140) If a wound hath happened unto you in war, a like wound hath already happened unto the unbelieving people: and we cause these days of different success interchangeably to succeed each other among men; that God may know those who believe, and may have martyrs from among you: (God loveth not the workers of iniquity;) (141) and that God might prove those who believe, and destroy the infidels. (142) Did ye imagine that ye should enter paradise, when as yet God knew not those among you who fought strenuously in his cause, nor knew those who persevered with patience? (143) Moreover ye did sometimes wish for death before that ye met it; but ye have now seen it, and ye looked on, but retreated from it.
∥ (144) Muhammad is no more than an apostle; the other apostles have already deceased before him: if he die, therefore, or be slain, will ye turn back on your heels? but he who turneth back on his heels will not hurt God at all; and God will surely reward the thankful. (145) No soul can die unless by the permission of God, according to what is written in the book containing the determinations of things. And whoso chooseth the reward of this world, we will give him thereof: but whoso chooseth the reward of the world to come, we will give him thereof: and we will surely reward the thankful. (146) How many prophets have encountered those who had many myriads of troops: and yet they desponded not in their mind for what had befallen them in fighting for the religion of God; and were not weakened, neither behaved themselves in an abject manner? God loveth those who persevere patiently. (147) And their speech was no other than what they said, Our Lord forgive us our offences, and our transgressions in our business; and confirm our feet, and help us against the unbelieving people. (148) And God gave them the reward of this world, and a glorious reward in the life to come; for God loveth the well-doers.
∥ (149) O ye who believe, if you obey the infidels, they will cause you to turn back on your heels, and ye will be turned back and perish: (150) but God is your Lord; and he is the best helper. (151) We will surely cast a dread into the hearts of the unbelievers, because they have associated with God that concerning which he sent them down no power: their dwelling shall be the fire of hell: and the receptacle of the wicked shall be miserable. (152)God had already made good unto you his promise, when ye destroyed them by his permission, until ye became fainthearted, and disputed concerning the command of the apostle, and were rebellious; after God had shown you what ye desired. (153) Some of you chose this present world, and others of you chose the world to come. Then he turned you to flight from before them, that he might make trial of you: (but he hath now pardoned you: for God is endued with beneficence towards the faithful;) (154) when ye went up as ye fled, and looked not back on any: while the apostle called you, in the uttermost part of you. Therefore God rewarded you with affliction on affliction, that ye be not grieved hereafter for the spoils which ye fail of, nor for that which befalleth you, for God is well acquainted with whatever ye do. (155) Then he sent down upon you after affliction security: a soft sleep which fell on some part of you; but other part were troubled by their own souls; falsely thinking of God, a foolish imagination, saying, Will anything of the matter happen unto us? Say, Verily, the matter belongeth wholly unto God. They concealed in their minds what they declared not unto thee; saying, If anything of the matter had happened unto us, we had not been slain here. Answer, If ye had been in your houses, verily they would have gone forth to fight, whose slaughter was decreed, to the places where they died, and this came to pass that God might try what was in your breasts, and might discern what was in your hearts; for God knoweth the innermost parts of the breasts of men.
∥ (156) Verily they among you who turned their backs on the day whereon the two armies met each other at Ohod, Satan caused them to slip for some crime which they had committed: but now hath God forgiven them; for God is gracious and merciful.
∥ (157) O true believers, be not as they who believed not, and said of their brethren when they had journeyed in the land or had been at war, If they had been with us, those had not died, nor had these been slain: whereas what befell them was so ordained that God might take it matter of sighing in their hearts. God giveth life and causeth to die: and God seeth that which ye do. (158) Moreover if ye be slain, or die in defence of the religion of God; verily pardon from God, and mercy, is better than what they heap together of worldly riches. (159) And if ye die or be slain, verily unto God shall ye be gathered. (160) And as to the mercy granted unto the disobedient from God, thou, O Muhammad, hast been mild towards them; but if thou hadst been severe and hardhearted, they had surely separated themselves from about thee. Therefore forgive them, and ask pardon for them: and consult them in the affair of war; and after thou hast deliberated, trust in God; for God loveth those who trust in him. (161) If God help you, none shall conquer you; but if he desert you, who is it that will help you after him? Therefore in God let the faithful trust. (162) It is not the part of a prophet to defraud, for he who defraudeth shall bring with him what he hath defrauded any one of, on the day of the resurrection. Then shall every soul be paid what he hath gained; and they shall not be treated unjustly. (163) Shall he therefore who followeth that which is well-pleasing unto God be as he who bringeth on himself wrath from God, and whose receptacle is hell? an evil journey shall it be thither.(164) There shall be degrees of rewards and punishments with God, for God seeth what they do. (165) Now hath God been gracious unto the believers when he raised up among them an apostle of their own nation, who should recite his signs unto them, and purify them, and teach them the book of the Qurán and wisdom: whereas they were before in manifest error. (166) After a misfortune had befallen you at Ohod (ye had already obtained two equal advantages), do ye say, Whence cometh this? Answer, This is from yourselves: for God is almighty. (167) And what happened unto you, on the day whereon the two armies met, was certainly by the permission of God;(168) and that he might know the ungodly. It was said unto them, Come, fight for the religion of God, or drive back the enemy: they answered, If we had known ye went out to fight, we had certainly followed you. They were on that day nearer unto unbelief than they were to faith; they spake with their mouths what was not in their hearts: but God perfectly knew what they concealed; (169) who said of their brethren, while themselves stayed at home, If they had obeyed us, they had not been slain. Say, Then keep back death from yourselves, if ye say truth. (170) Thou shalt in nowise reckon those who have been slain at Ohod, in the cause of God, dead; nay, they are sustained alive with their Lord,(171) rejoicing for what God of his favour hath granted them; and being glad for those who, coming after them, have not as yet overtaken them; because there shall no fear come on them, neither shall they be grieved. (172) They are filled with joy for the favour which they have received from God and his bounty; and for that God suffereth not the reward of the faithful to perish.
∥ (173) They who hearkened unto God and his apostle, after a wound had befallen them at Ohod, such of them as do good works, and fear God, shall have a great reward; (174) unto whom certain men said, Verily the men of Makkah have already gathered forces against you, be ye therefore afraid of them: but this increased their faith, and they said, God is our support, and the most excellent patron. (175) Wherefore they returned with favour from God, and advantage: no evil befell them: and they followed what was well-pleasing unto God: for God is endowed with great liberality. (176) Verily that devil would cause you to fear his friends: but be ye not afraid of them: but fear me, if ye be true believers. (177) They shall not grieve thee who emulously hasten unto infidelity; for they shall never hurt God at all. God will not give them a part in the next life, and they shall suffer a great punishment. (178) Surely those who purchase infidelity with faith shall by no means hurt God at all, but they shall suffer a grievous punishment. (179) And let not the unbelievers think, because we grant them lives long and prosperous, that it is better for their souls: we grant them long and prosperous lives only that their iniquity may be increased; and they shall suffer an ignominious punishment. (180)God is not disposed to leave the faithful in the condition which ye are now in, until he sever the wicked from the good; nor is Goddisposed to make you acquainted with what is a hidden secret, but God chooseth such of his apostles as he pleaseth, to reveal his mind unto: believe therefore in God and his apostles; and if ye believe and fear God, ye shall receive a great reward. (181) And let not those who are covetous of what God of his bounty hath granted them imagine that their avarice is better for them: nay, rather it is worse for them. That which they have covetously reserved shall be bound as a collar about their neck on the day of the resurrection: unto Godbelongeth the inheritance of heaven and earth: and God is well acquainted with what ye do.
∥ (182)God hath already heard the saying of those who said, Verily God is poor, and we are rich: we will surely write down what they have said, and the slaughter which they have made of the prophets without a cause; and we will say unto them, Taste ye the pain of burning. (183) This shall they suffer for the evil which their hands have sent before them, and because God is not unjust towards mankind; (184) who also say, Surely God hath commanded us, that we should not give credit to any apostle, until one should come unto us with a sacrifice, which should be consumed by fire. Say, Apostles have already come unto you before me, with plain proofs, and with the miracle which ye mention: why therefore have ye slain them, if ye speak truth? (185) If they accuse thee of imposture, the apostles before thee have also been accounted impostors, who brought evident demonstrations, and the scriptures, and the book which enlighteneth the understanding.(186) Every soul shall taste of death, and ye shall have your reward on the day of resurrection; and he who shall be far removed from hell fire, and shall be admitted into paradise, shall be happy; but the present life is only a deceitful provision. (187) Ye shall surely be proved in your possessions, and in your persons; and ye shall bear from those unto whom the scripture was delivered before you, and from the idolaters, much hurt; but if ye be patient and fear God, this is a matter that is absolutely determined. (188) And when God accepted the covenant of those to whom the book of the law was given, saying, Ye shall surely publish it unto mankind, ye shall not hide it: yet they threw it behind their backs, and sold it for a small price: but woful is the price for which they have sold it.(189) Think not that they who rejoice at what they have done, and expect to be praised for what they have not done; think not, O prophet, that they shall escape from punishment, for they shall suffer a painful punishment.
∥ (190) And unto Godbelongeth the kingdom of heaven and earth: God is almighty. (191) Now in the creation of heaven and earth, and the vicissitude of night and day, are signs unto those who are endued with understanding; (192) who remember God standing, and sitting, and lying on their sides; and meditate on the creation of heaven and earth, saying, O Lord, thou hast not created this in vain; far be it from thee: therefore deliver us from the torment of hell fire: (193) O Lord, surely whom thou shalt throw into the fire, thou wilt also cover with shame: nor shall the ungodly have any to help them. (194) O Lord, we have heard a preacher inviting us to the faith and saying, Believe in your Lord: and we believed. O Lord, forgive us therefore our sins, and expiate our evil deeds from us, and make us to die with the righteous. (195) O Lord, give us also the reward which thou hast promised by thy apostles; and cover us not with shame on the day of resurrection: for thou art not contrary to the promise.
∥ (196) Their Lord therefore answered them, saying, I will not suffer the work of him among you who worketh to be lost, whether he be male or female: the one of you is from the other. They therefore who have left their country, and have been turned out of their houses, and have suffered for my sake, and have been slain in battle; verily I will expiate their evil deeds from them, and I will surely bring them into gardens watered by rivers; a reward from God; and with God is the most excellent reward. (197) Let not the prosperous dealing of the unbelievers in the land deceive thee; it is but a slender provision; and then their receptacle shall be hell; an unhappy couch shall it be.(198) But they who fear the Lord shall have gardens through which rivers flow; they shall continue therein for ever: this is the gift of God; for what is with God shall be better for the righteous than short-lived worldly prosperity.(199) There are some of those who have received the scriptures who believe in God, and that which hath been sent down unto you, and that which hath been sent down to them, submitting themselves unto God; they sell not the signs of God for a small price: these shall have their reward with their Lord; for God is swift in taking an account. (200) O true believers, be patient and strive to excel in patience, and be constant-minded, and fear God, that ye may be happy.
[(1) ]A. L. M. See note on chap. ii. ver. 1, and Prelim. Disc., p. 100.
[(2) ]There is no God but God, &c. These words express one half of the Muslim creed; they are said to have been delivered on the occasion of a visit to the Prophet by certain Christians from Najrán. On being invited to join Islám, they professed their faith in Jesus the Son of God. To this Muhammad replied that they were unable to receive the true religion because of their having attributed to the Deity the human relationships of wife and son. The Christians declared their belief in the Sonship of Jesus, saying, “If God were not his father, who was?” To this Muhammad replied, that, according to their own religion, God was immortal, and yet they believed that Jesus would taste of death; that he ate and drank, slept and awoke, went and came, &c. This, he averred, could not be predicated of divinity. See Tafsír-i-Husainí in loco.
[(3) ]He had formerly sent down the law, &c. The Muslim commentators understand the reference to be to all the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, and that these were “a direction” unto the Jews that they should not call Ezra the Son of God, and “a direction” to the Christians that they should not call Christ “God, the Son of God, or one of three persons of a Trinity.”—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(4) ]Those who believe not the signs, i.e., who reject the teaching of the Qurán. If our view of the latter clause of the preceding verse be correct, allusion may be had to the teaching of former Scriptures as well.
[(5) ]Nothing is hidden from God, &c. A distinct recognition of the omniscience of God. The commentators see in this statement a refutation of the Christian doctrine of the Divinity of Christ. The Son of Mary did not know everything, therefore he could not be divine. Here again we see that the Muslim conception of Christ’s divinity is that his humanity was divine.
[(6) ]He that formeth you, &c., i.e., “tall or short, male or female, black or white, deformed or perfect, beautiful or ugly, good and fortunate, or wretched and miserable.”—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(7) ]Some verses clear, . . . others are parabolical. “This passage is translated according to the exposition of al Zamakhsharí and Baidháwi, which seems to be the truest.
[(8) ]O Lord, &c. Muslims understand all prayers of this kind found in the Qurán as introduced by the word “say.” See notes in chap. i. This prayer is dictated by the third clause of the preceding verse, and is connected with that passage thus: “They who are well grounded, say . . . O Lord,” &c.
[(9) ]A day, &c. Rodwell gives the correct rendering of this passage thus: “For the day of whose coming there is not a doubt, thou wilt surely gather mankind together.” So too the Urdú and Persian translations.
[(11) ]They charged our signs with a lie. Muhammad again likens himself to Moses and other prophets, whose message had been treated with contempt by infidels like unto the Jews and Quraish of his time.
[(12) ]Ye shall be overcome. These defiant words, addressed to the enemies of Islám, and to the Quraish in particular, were inspired by the Muslim victory at Badr, a.h. 2.
[(13) ]Ye have already had a miracle shown you. “The sign or miracle here meant was the victory by Muhammad in the second year of the Hijra over the idolatrous Makkans . . . in the valley of Badr. . . . Muhammad’s forces consisted of no more than three hundred and nineteen men, but the enemy’s army of near a thousand, notwithstanding which odds he put them to flight, having killed seventy of the principal Quraish” (forty-nine, see Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 107, note), “and taken as many prisoners, with the loss of only fourteen of his own men. This was the first victory obtained by the Prophet; and though it may seem no very considerable action, yet it was of great advantage to him, and the foundation of all his future power and success. For which reason it is famous in the Arabian history, and more than once vaunted in the Qurán (chap. viii. 45, 46) as an effect of the divine assistance. The miracle, it is said, consisted in three things: 1. Muhammad, by the direction of the Angel Gabriel, took a handful of gravel and threw it towards the enemy in the attack, saying, May their faces be confounded; whereupon they immediately turned their backs and fled. But though the Prophet seemingly threw the gravel himself, yet it is told in the Qurán (chap. viii. 17) that it was not he, but God, who threw it, that is to say, by the ministry of his angel. 2. The Muhammadan troops seemed to the infidels to be twice as many in number as themselves, which greatly discouraged them. And 3. God sent down to their assistance first a thousand, and afterwards three thousand angels, led by Gabriel, mounted on his horse Haizúm; and, according to the Qurán (chap. viii. 17), these celestial auxiliaries really did all the execution, though Muhammad’s men imagined themselves did it, and fought stoutly at the same time.”—Sale.
[(15) ]Shall I declare unto you better things than this? This verse, taken in connection with the preceding, clearly shows that the joys of the Muslim heaven are carnal. “The provision of the present life,” viz., women, gold and silver, horses, cattle, and land, were such as could alone gratify the “eager desire” of an Arab in this life. All these are to be infinitely multiplied amid the pavilions and gardens of paradise. See also notes on chap. ii. 25.
[(19) ]The true religion . . . is Islám. “The proper name of the Muhammadan religion, which signifies the resigning or devoting one’s self entirely to God and his service. This they say is the religion which all the prophets were sent to teach, being founded on the unity of God.”—Sale, Jaláluddín.
[(20) ]Do ye profess Islám? See Rodwell’s note on this passage. The mission of Muhammad thus far was that of a preacher only. Although the enemies of Islám were threatened, the policy of Muhammed was as yet purely defensive.
[(21, 22) ]The Jews are referred to in these verses. The intensity of the opposition is very marked.
[(23) ]Part of the Scripture, i.e., the Scriptures given to the Jews. This verse shows clearly that these Jews possessed copies of the Scriptures attested as the word of God by the Qurán. Some commentators regard the word nasíban = part, as designating only a portion of the Pentateuch, but “the book of God” in the following sentence is evidently the equivalent of “part of the Scriptures” here, and that undoubtedly refers to the volume of the Jewish Scriptures.
[(24) ]A certain number of days. The number, according to the commentators, is forty or seven or four. It is worth noting the fact that this claim ascribed here to the presumption of the Jews is precisely the claim of all Muhammadans who believe that all believers in God and Muhammad will certainly reach the joys of paradise. Some may have to undergo purgatorial sufferings, but only for “a certain number of days.’
[(25) ]How then will it be, &c. Sale gives a tradition on the authority of Baidháwi, “that the first banner of the infidels that shall be set up on the day of judgment will be that of the Jews, and that God will first reproach them with their wickedness over the heads of those who are present, and then order them to hell.”
[(26, 27) ]Rodwell regards these verses as misplaced here. They are probably the fragment of some Makkan chapter.
[(28) ]Unless ye fear any danger from them. There shall be no friendship between Muslims and unbelievers, unless fear of the enmity of the infidels should make it necessary. Here we find a divine sanction to that duplicity so prevalent among Muslims. Taken in connection with the preceding context, this passage would seem to sanction apparent estrangement from Islám, provided expediency should demand it. Under such circumstances a Muslim may appear to be more friendly towards the unbelievers than he is towards his co-religionists.
[(29) ]Whether ye conceal, &c., i.e., God knows the faith of your hearts. If, therefore, you should find it necessary to dissemble so as apparently to deny the faith, be of good cheer—God knows your heart-faith—“God knowest whatever is in heaven, whatever is in earth.”
[(31) ]Say, if ye love God, follow me. Passages inculcating the duty of love to God are of rare occurrence in the Qurán. Here it is made the ground or reason of acceptance with God and of the pardon of sin. In other places salvation is made to depend on faith and good works (chap. ii. 3-5, 37, 38; chap. iii. 194; chap. iv. 55, 121-123, &c.), on repentance (chap. ii. 161; chap. xxv. 69-76, &c.), on pilgrimage and warring for the faith (chap. ii. 217; chap. iii. 196; chap. lxi. 12, &c.), on almsgiving (chap. ii. 271-274), on the grace of God (chap. xxxvii. 39, 55), &c. Everywhere the plan of salvation by atonement, as clearly taught in the Christian Scriptures, is ignored. It is in reference to this fact that missionaries have been led to make the statement, controverted by Mr. Bosworth Smith (“Muhammad and Muhammadanism,” 2d ed. p. 332), that “even the religious creed of Muhammadanism is further removed from the truth than is that of the heathen.” We think there can be scarcely any doubt as to the truth of this statement. All heathen forms of religion have relics of truth bound up in their doctrines and rites, handed down, probably, by tradition from ancient times, which afford to the Christian evangelist some kind of common ground in his endeavour to lead them to accept Christ as their substitute, and to believe in him as their Saviour, because he alone satisfies the conditions of their own religion and the cravings of their souls for a Divine Helper. But Muhammadanism strikes at this most important doctrine—this very heart of Christianity. It sweeps away almost every vestige of Bible truth as to the way of pardon. It fills the mind of its votaries with complacent pride and self-satisfaction. It destroys the last workings of a guilty conscience. In short, it imports all the evils of that form of Judaism against which our Lord hurled his “woes,” saying, among other things, “Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him twofold more a child of hell than yourselves.” Does Mr. Smith deny the justice of this declaration of our Lord? If not, does he infer that our Lord himself thought “polytheism better than monotheism, and idolatry than a sublime spiritualism”?
[(33) ]The family of Abraham. This expression, say the commentators, includes a number of prophets descended from Abraham, including Muhammad. It probably is intended to include all the prophets from Abraham to Moses. See Tafsír-i-Raufi and Abdul Qádir.
[(34) ]A race descending the one from the other. This seems to show that Muhammad regarded the prophets as either lineally descended one from another, or that they were successors to each other in office, both of which ideas are incorrect.
[(35) ]When the wife of Imrán said, &c. According to the commentators her name was Anna or Hannah. In the Apocryphal Gospels the parents of Mary are called Joachim and Anna. The name was probably derived from Christian tradition (see Arnold, Islám and Christianity, p. 150), but the “wife of Imrán” in this verse looks very like the wife of Elkanah in 1 Sam. i. 11. All the stories related by the commentators confirm this impression.
[(36) ]I have brought forth a female. Hannah prayed for a son (1 Sam. i. 11; see note on ver. 35). The birth of a female seemed to be a disappointment, as such would not be suitable for the service of the Temple. For extracts from the spuriousGospels containing the traditions which are here incorporated in the Qurán, see Arnold’s Islám and Christianity (pp. 150-155) and Muir’s Life of Mahomet (vol. ii. pp. 282, 283). These both draw from the Christologie des Koran, by Gerock, 1839, pp. 30-47.
[(37) ]The Lord accepted her, i.e., though a female, she was received into the Temple as one dedicated to God. Zacharias became her guardian and cared for her.
[(38) ]He found provisions with her. “The commentators say that none went into Mary’s apartment but Zacharias himself, and that he locked seven doors upon her; yet he found she had always winter fruits in summer and summer fruits in winter.”—Sale.
[(39) ]The angels. In chap. xix. 17 it is said that a “spirit” (Gabriel) came to Mary. The commentators interpret “angels” to be equivalent to “spirit,” and understand Gabriel to be meant. They account discrepancies of this sort as of little moment.
[(40) ]How shall I have a son? See note on ver. 38. Sale states, on the authority of Jaláluddín, that the wife of Zacharias was eighty-nine.
[(41) ]Thy sign shall be, &c. This statement disagrees with that of Luke in two particulars—(1) In duration of Zacharias’s dumbness; and (2) in regarding this dumbness as merely a sign given in answer to prayer, and in no way a punishment for unbelief. The “three days,” say the commentators, began with John’s being conceived in his mother’s womb.
[(42) ]The angels. Gabriel. Compare Luke i. 28.
[(43) ]Be devout, &c. This passage is also based on Christian tradition. See Rodwell’s note.
[(44) ]When they threw in their rods. “When Mary was first brought to the Temple, the priests, because she was the daughter of one of their chiefs, disputed among themselves who should have the education of her. Zacharias insisted that he ought to be preferred because he had married her aunt; but the others not consenting that it should be so, they agreed to decide the matter by casting of lots; whereupon twenty-seven of them went to the river Jordan, and threw in their rods (or arrows without heads or feathers, such as the Arabs used for the same purpose), on which they had written some passages of the law, but they all sunk except that of Zacharias, which floated on the water; and he had thereupon the care of the child committed to him.”—Sale, Jaláluddín.
[(45) ]The son of Mary. See note on ver. 39. The phrase “Jesus, son of Mary,” had become so stereotyped in Muhammad’s mind, that he here puts it in the mouth of the angels when addressing Mary herself.
[(46) ]He shall speak . . . in the cradle. For his words see chap. xix. 28-34. The commentators tell many stories to illustrate this text. In regard to these Sale says:—“These seem all to have been taken from some fabulous traditions of the Eastern Christians, one of which is preserved to us in the spurious Gospel of the Infancy of Christ, where we read that Jesus spoke while yet in the cradle, and said to his mother, ‘Verily I am Jesus the Son of God, the Word which thou hast brought forth, as the Angel Gabriel did declare unto thee; and my Father hath sent me to save the world.’ ”
[(47) ]Compare with Luke i. 34, &c., to see how far this comes short of attesting the former Scriptures.
[(48) ]Scripture . . . wisdom . . . law . . . gospel. The last two expressions describe more clearly the meaning of the first two. Jesus is said to have acquired a perfect knowledge of the law without any course of human instruction (Abdul Qádir).
[(49) ]To confirm the law, i.e., Jesus attested the genuineness and credibility of the Jewish Scriptures. The language implies the presence of these Scriptures in the time of Jesus, as does similar language imply that the Christian Scriptures were present in the days of Muhammad.
[(51) ]The apostles. The twelve disciples of Jesus are here likened to the companions and helpers of Muhammad.
[(52) ]We believe on the gospel. We have followed the apostle, i.e., Jesus.
[(53) ]Stratagem. This is better translated by Rodwell, plot. The plotting of the Jews was to kill Jesus; God plotted for his delivery. Sale remarks on this as follows:—“This stratagem of God’s was the taking of Jesus up into heaven, and stamping his likeness on another person, who was apprehended and crucitied in his stead. For it is the constant doctrine of the Muhammadans that it was not Jesus himself who underwent that ignominious death, but somebody else in his shape and resemblance (chap. iv. 156, 157). The person crucified some will have to be a spy that was sent to entrap him; others that it was one Titian, who by the direction of Judas entered in at a window of the house where Jesus was, to kill him; and others that it was Judas himself, who agreed with the rulers of the Jews to betray him for thirty pieces of silver, and led those who were sent to take him.
[(54) ]I will cause thee to die, &c. These words are a source of great difficulty to the commentators, as they seem clearly to contradict the statement of chap iv. 156. All Muslims agree that Jesus was taken up to heaven. This verse, however, taken as a chronological statement of events, would make it necessary to believe he had died before he “was taken up” into heaven. The same is true of chap. v. 117. To evade this, some deny the chronological arrangement demanded by the copulative and. Others admit the order, and either claim that Jesus did die a natural death—remaining under its power for three hours—or explain the death spoken of here in a figurative manner, regarding it as a promise that God would cause him “to die a spiritual death to all worldly desires.” (See notes by Rodwell and Sale in loco.) Others reter the passage to the time when Jesus will come to destroy Dajjál; when, say the commentators, Jesus will die and be buried in the empty tomb prepared for him at Madína, and afterwards arise at the judgment day.
[(58) ]The likeness of Jesus, &c., i.e., both were brought into being miraculously, neither having a human father. “Jaláluddín says the resemblance consists in this—both were created by the word of God (compare the verses in 1 Cor. xv.) Adam made from the dust, Christ took flesh from the Virgin; Adam sinned, Christ sinned not; Adam a man, Christ a spirit proceeding from God, according to Muhammad.”—Brinckman in Notes on Islám.
[(60) ]Come let us call together our sons, &c. This passage refers to a visit paid to Muhammad at Madína by Abu Hárith, bishop of Najrán, with other Christians, who came to make a treaty of peace with the prophet of Arabia, now rapidly growing in political power. A controversy having arisen between them and Muhammad, the latter proposed to settle it in the strange manner proposed in the text. The Christians very consistently declined the test proposed. The spirit of the two religions is well illustrated by the conduct of Muhammad and Jesus under similar circumstances. See also notes of Rodwell in loco, and of Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. pp. 302, 303.
[(63) ]Ye who have received the Scriptures, i.e., Jews and Christians.
[(64) ]Why do ye dispute? The commentators say both Jews and Christians claimed that Abraham belonged to their religion; Muhammad here decides that he belongs to neither. He, however, thereby contradicts his oft-repeated claim that every new revelation confirmed that which had preceded it; that the prophets belonged to a common “race” or class (ver. 34, and note); and that all true believers in every dispensation were true Muslims, professing the “religion of Abraham the orthodox.” See also notes on chap. ii. 135-140.
[(66) ]See notes on chap. ii. 135-140. It would seem that Muhammad was ignorant of the national relationship existing between Abraham and the Jews. The term Jew was probably understood by him in an ecclesiastical sense only. Yet this is the teaching of God and his prophet! See also Rodwell’s note on chap. xvi. 121.
[(67) ]Nearest of kin. The relationship here spoken of is not necessarily one of kindred; the words of kin do not belong to the original Arabic. The nearness spoken of here should rather refer to nearness in point of religious faith and practice. See vers. 64-66, and Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco.
[(68) ]Some . . . desire to seduce you. Sale, on the authority of Baidháwi, refers this passage to the time when certain Jews endeavoured to pervert Hudhaifa, Amár, and Muádh to their religion. So too Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(69) ]Why not believe? The signs to be believed were the incomparable verses of the Qurán. The argument of the prophet was certainly not convincing.
[(70) ]Clothe truth with vanity, &c. See note on chap. ii. 41.
[(71) ]Deny it in the end thereof. “The commentators, to explain this passage, say that Qáb Ibn al Ashraf and Málík Ibn al Saif (two Jews of Madína) advised their companions, when the Qibla was changed (chap. ii. 142), to make as if they believed it was done by the divine direction, and to pray towards the Kaabah in the morning, but that in the evening they should pray as formerly towards the Temple of Jerusalem, that Muhammad’s followers, imagining that the Jews were better judges of this matter than themselves, might imitate their example. But others say these were certain Jewish priests of Ḳhaibar, who directed some of their people to pretend in the morning that they had embraced Muhammadanism, but in the close of the day to say that they had looked into their books of Scripture and consulted their Rabbins, and could not find that Muhammad was the person described and intended in the law; by which trick they hoped to raise doubts in the minds of the Muhammadans.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(72) ]Your religion, i.e., Judaism.
[(74) ]A talent . . . a dinár. As usual, the commentators have a story to illustrate the text. A Jew, by name Abdullah Ibn Salám, having borrowed twelve hundred ounces of gold from a Quraishite, paid it back punctually at the time appointed. Another Jew, Phineas Ibn Azúra, borrowed a dinâr, and afterwards denied having received it! The followers of the Arabian prophet must have been very simple-minded indeed to make this revelation necessary.
[(75) ]Whoso keepeth his covenant, &c. Muslims showing the spirit attributed to Jews in the preceding verse cannot quote this precept of Muhammad in justification of their conduct.
[(77) ]Some . . . read the Scriptures perversely. The charge here is that Jews and Christians misrepresent the teaching of their own Scriptures. The author of the notes on the Roman Urdú Qurán thinks this passage and others like it show the eagerness of Muhammad to find a sanction for his prophetic claims in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. When, however, the Jews frankly told him what their Scriptures taught, he charged them with wicked concealment of the prophecies concerning himself. It is possible that Muhammad was himself the victim of misrepresentation on this subject by interested parties.
[(78) ]It is not fit, &c. This verse is evidently directed against Christians, who worship Jesus.
[(79) ]The angels. The idolaters of Makkah worshipped angels.
[(80) ]The covenant of the prophets. “Some commentators interpret this of the children of Israel themselves, of whose race the prophets were. But others say the souls of all the prophets, even of those who were not then born, were present on Mount Sinai when God gave the law to Moses, and that they entered into the covenant here mentioned with him. A story borrowed by Muhammad from the Talmudists, and therefore most probably his true meaning in this place.”—Sale.
[(82) ]Resigned . . . voluntarily or of force. The idea of converting men by force is here said to have belonged to the covenant of Sinai. The verse, however, conveys a threat against unbelieving Arabs.
[(83) ]This verse very well illustrates the kind of attestation borne to the former Scriptures and to the prophetic character of the prophets by whom they were revealed. An array of names and a general statement declaring their truly prophetic character is given, but every where their doctrine is ignored or rejected when conceived of as in conflict with the Qurán and the Arabian prophet. Now, Muhammad must be regarded as either making a statement of fact as to the oneness of his faith with that of the persons he mentions, or he was ignorant of what he here states as a fact. In either case he seems to me fairly chargeable with imposture. For even if he were ignorant of what he pretends to know, his pretence is a deception, and no reasonable apology can be offered for his putting a statement of this character in the mouth of God. How, then, Mr. Smith (Muhammad and Muhammadanism, p. 25) can so positively assert the impossibility of any longer regarding Muhammad as an impostor. I can only understand by supposing him to be blinded to the faults of his hero by the glory of his own ideal. See also notes on chap. ii. 61.
[(85-89) ]How shall God direct . . . infidels, &c. This passage seems to teach that apostasy from Islám can never be repented of. Such a person is a reprobate. See Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco. God is merciful to forgive those who repent in time, but for those who “yet increase in infidelity,” i.e., go on in an obstinate course of apostasy, there is no forgiveness.
[(90) ]For his ransom. The punishment of infidels is eternal and without remedy. The idea of a ransom for a sinner is recognised here only to be rejected. Yet this passage obscurely recognises the infinite value of the soul.
[(92) ]Alms. See notes on chap. ii. 42, and Prelim. Disc., p. 172.
[(93) ]Except what Israel forbade, &c. Sale says:—“This passage was revealed on the Jews reproaching Muhammad and his followers with their eating of the flesh and milk of camels (Lev. xi. 4, Deut. xiv.), which they said was forbidden Abraham, whose religion Muhammad pretended to follow. In answer to which he tells them, that God ordained no distinction of meats before he gave the law to Moses, though Jacob voluntarily abstained from the flesh and milk of camels; which some commentators say was in consequence of a vow, made by that patriarch when afflicted with the sciatica, that if he were cured he would eat no more of that meat which he liked best, and that was camel’s flesh; but others (Baidháwi, Jaláluddín) suppose he abstained from it by the advice of physicians only.
[(95) ]Abraham the orthodox. In Arabic, Haníf. There seems to have been a sect of deistic Arabs before Muhammad declared himself a prophet, who called themselves by this title, and claimed to be the followers of the religion of Abraham. Sprenger gives the names of four of these, viz., Waraqa, Othmán, Obaid, and Zaid (R. B. Smith’s Muhammad and Muhammadanism, pp. 108, 109). This is one of Sprenger’s arguments to prove that Muhammadanism existed prior to Muhammad, as the Reformation existed prior to Luther.
[(96) ]The first house . . . in Bakkah, i.e., Makkah. Baidháwi says m and b are frequently interchanged (Sale in loco). The first house was the Kaabah. See notes on chap. ii. 125, 142-146.
[(97) ]Manifest signs. “Such as the stone wherein they show the print of Abraham’s feet, and the inviolable security of the place, immediately mentioned; that the birds light not on the roof of the Kaabah, and wild beasts put off their fierceness there; that none who came against it in a hostile manner ever prospered, as appeared particularly in the unfortunate expedition of Abraha al Ashram (chap. cv.); and other fables of the same stamp which the Muhammadans are taught to believe.”
[(99) ]Him who believeth. The person alluded to here is said to be ’Amár or Sarhán, whom the Jews endeavoured to pervert from the way of Islám (Tafsír-i-Raufi).
[ (100-109)]If ye obey, &c. “This passage was revealed on occasion of a quarrel excited between the tribes of al Aus and al Ḳhazraj by one Shás Ibn Qais, a Jew, who, passing by some of both tribes as they were sitting discoursing familiarly together, and being inwardly vexed at the friendship and harmony which reigned among them on their embracing Muhammadanism, whereas they had been for 120 years before most inveterate and mortal enemies, though descendants of two brothers, in order to set them at variance sent a young man to sit down by them, directing him to relate the story of the battle of Buáth (a place near Madína), wherein, after a bloody fight, al Aus had the better of al Ḳhazraj, and to repeat some verses on that subject. The young man executed his orders; whereupon those of each tribe began to magnify themselves, and to reflect on and irritate the other, till at length they called to arms, and great numbers getting together on each side, a dangerous battle had ensued if Muhammad had not stepped in and reconciled them by representing to them how much they would be to blame if they returned to paganism and revived those animosities which Islám had composed, and telling them that what had happened was a trick of the devil to disturb their present tranquillity.”—Sale. Baidháwi, Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(102) ]Fear God with his true fear. The Tafsír-i-Raufi says most commentators regard this verse as abrogated, on the ground that it is impossible for man to fear God as he ought to be feared. It is more likely that the passage was addressed to certain adherents of the tribes of Aus and Ḳhazraj at Madína; these are here exhorted to remain steadfast in the faith even unto death.
[(103) ]And cleave . . . unto the covenant. In Arabic, Hold fast by the cord of God. The allusion may be either to the Qurán, sometimes called by Muhammad Habl Allíh al matán, i.e., the sure cord of God (Sale, on authority of Baidháwi), or to Islám, as the means of salvation.
[(104) ]A people who invite, &c. Abdul Qádir thinks this verse required that a body of men should be kept for religious warfare (Jihád), which should extirpate all heresy, as well as propagate the true faith. This view certainly accords with the spirit of Islám. The sword is its strong argument, and the end of all controversy.
[(105) ]They who are divided, i.e., Jews and Christians. Nevertheless Muslims are as thoroughly divided in matters of religion as ever Christians were.
[(106) ]Faces . . . white . . . and black. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 149, 150.
[(109) ]This verse ends the passage said to have been revealed on the occasion of the threatened outbreak between the tribes of Aus and Ḳhazraj. See note on ver. 101.
[(110) ]Ye are the best nation. The Muslims are now regarded as the chosen people of God. The word ummat is here translated “nation,” and by Rodwell “folk.” It is, however, used to describe the followers of the prophets, e.g., the ummat of Moses (Jews), the ummat of Jesus (Christians), the ummat of Muhammad (Muslims). This statement is hardly reconcilable with the claim that the ummat of every true prophet belongs to Islám. The comparison is probably drawn between the Jews, Christians, and Muslims of Muhammad’s day. It must be observed that the reason given for their superiority is not very convincing, and the high claim set up here for Muslim integrity is not borne out by historical evidence.
[(111) ]They shall not be helped. “This verse, al Baidháwi says, is one of those whose meaning is mysterious, and relates to something future; intimating the low condition to which the Jewish tribes of Quraidha, Nadir, Bani Qáinuqáa, and those who dwelt at Ḳhaibar, were afterwards reduced by Muhammad.”—Sale.
[(112) ]They are smitten. The past tense used for the future, meaning that they shall certainly be smitten, &c. The passage indicates the change of policy in respect to the Jews of Madína and the vicinity. They are now to submit to be plundered and exiled as the Bani Nadhír, or be slaughtered as the Bani Quraidha, as the only alternative to their accepting Islám. The fate of these tribes at the hands of Muhammad sadly illustrates Matt. xxvii. 25. It is remarkable that the reason given here for the punishment of the Jews accords with the denunciations of the Bible, and this notwithstanding the selfish and cruel designs of the Arabian prophet. “They slew the prophets, . . . were rebellious and transgressed.”
[(113) ]They are not all alike. Some had become Muslims. These meditate on the “signs of God,” i.e., the Qurán. Whether any were good or bad, just or unjust, depended now upon their being Muslims or unbelievers. Compare our Lord’s words, Matt. vii. 22, 23.
[(115) ]And ye shall not be denied, &c. Rodwell also translates “ye shall not be denied,” &c. Sale says, “Some copies have a different reading,” viz., they shall not be denied. This reading, in the third person instead of the second, is that of all Arabic copies I have seen. The reading of the text is contrary to the analogy of the previous context. I think, therefore, the reading of Fluegel, though doubtless sanctioned by good authority, is in error. A careful collation of any considerable number of ancient MSS. would no doubt bring to light many such various readings.
[(117) ]Savary translates, “Their alms are like unto an icy wind, which bloweth on the fields of the perverse and destroyeth their productions.” The idea seems to be, that while the alms (good, ver. 115) of the faithful will bring back a certain reward, those of the unbelievers will be as a drain on their wealth, a blight on their crops. Good works without faith in Islám are of no avail.
[(118) ]Contract not . . . friendship, &c. Muhammad was exceedingly jealous of counter-influences. Such friendships were sure to result in apostasy from Islám. The sentiment of chap. v. 104 seems to be the reverse of this. There he says, “He who erreth shall not hurt you while you are directed.” The consistency of these statements is to be found in the circumstances of the new religion. Before the political power of the Prophet was secured, it was his policy to preserve his people from the contaminating influences of the unbelievers. They were to be avoided, no friendships were to be formed with them. In argument no reply was to be made beyond a declaration of adherence to Islám. Afterwards, however, when the power of the Muslims was supreme, they could afford to defy opposition. Success had rendered the chances of apostasy from Islám almost nil. The erring ones had therefore little power to injure. Yet, with all the power of Islám, it has been, and is still, the most intolerant of all religions.
[(119) ]Ye love them. The spirit of the prophet’s love is shown in the last clause of this verse—“Die in your wrath!” The evident purpose of the exhortation here is to eradicate every vestige of natural affection for unbelieving friends and neighbours from the hearts of his followers. Nothing was too heartless or cruel for Muhammad to counsel or perform, provided his interest or his revenge could thereby be satisfied—to wit, the assassination of Asma, Abu Afaq, and Káb Ibn Ashraf, the exile of the Jewish tribes of Nadhír and Qamuqáa, and the inhuman slaughterof eight hundred prisoners of the Bani Quraidha, and many other instances of a similar nature.
[(121) ]When thou wentest forth, &c. “This was at the battle of Ohod, a mountain about four miles to the north of Madína. The Quraish, to revenge their loss at Badr (ver. 13, note), the next year, being the third of the Hijra, got together an army of 3000 men, among whom there were 200 horse and 700 armed with coats of mail. These forces marched under the conduct of Abu Sufián and sat down at Dhu’l Hulaifa, a village about six miles from Madína. Muhammad, being much inferior to his enemies in numbers, at first determined to keep himself within the town, and receive them there; but afterwards, the advice of some of his companions prevailing, he marched out against them at the head of 1000 men (some say he had 1050 men, others but 900). of whom 100 were armed with coats of mail, but he had no more than one horse, besides his own, in his whole army. With these forces he formed a camp in a village near Ohod, which mountain he contrived to have on his back; and the better to secure his men from being surrounded, he placed fifty archers in the rear, with strict orders not to quit their post. When they came to engage, Muhammad had the better at first, but afterwards, by the fault of his archers, who left their ranks for the sake of the plunder, and suffered the enemy’s horse to encompass the Muhammadans and attack them in the rear, he lost the day, and was very near losing his life, being struck down by a shower of stones, and wounded in the face with two arrows, on pulling out of which his two foreteeth dropped out. Of the Muslims seventy men were slain, and among them Hamza, the uncle of Muhammad, and of the infidels twenty-two. To excuse the ill success of this battle and to raise the drooping courage of his followers is Muhammad’s drift in the remaining part of this chapter.”—Sale.
[(122) ]Two companies. “These were some of the families of Baní Salma of the tribe of al Ḳhazraj, and Bani ul Hárith of the tribe of al Aus, who composed the two wings of Muhammad’s army. Some ill impression had been made on them by Abdullah Ìbn Ubai Sulúl, then an infidel, who having drawn off 300 men, told them that they were going to certain death, and advised them to return back with him; but he could prevail on but a few, the others being kept firm by the divine influence, as the following words intimate.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(123) ]Victory at Badr. See note on ver. 113. The word translated victory here means help. The angels, say the commentators, did not do the fighting, but rendered miraculous assistance by warding off the blows of the enemy and by appearing to them in human form, thus working dismay in their ranks by multiplying the number of Muslims in their sight.
[(124) ]Three thousand angels. Muhammadan tradition gives numerous instances of similar interference of angels on behalf of the Muslims. See references at p. lxiv., Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. i., Introduction.
[(125) ]Angels, distinguished. The word musawwamína is the same as that translated excellent horses in ver. 14. The primary reference is to horses distinguished by white feet and a streak of white on the face, a sign of special excellence in horses. The passage may therefore mean that the angels rode on horses distinguished by the marks of excellence.
[(126) ]Good tidings. Muhammad very adroitly argues that the question of victory or defeat does not rest with the Muslims. It is God’s war against the infidels, and he cannot be defeated. If Muslims suffer defeat, it is for their discipline, to teach them to trust God and his prophet.
[(127) ]This verse should be connected with the one preceding, and should depend upon the words “And this God designed.” To connect it with the following verse, as Sale does, destroys the main point of the exhortation, which promises certain victory over the unbelievers.
[(128) ]They are surely unjust doers. “This passage was revealed when Muhammad received the wounds above mentioned at the battle of Ohod, and cried out, ‘How shall that people prosper who have stained their prophet’s face with blood, while he called them to their Lord?’ The person who wounded him was Otha the son of Abbu Wakkás.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(129) ]He spareth. In original he pardoneth. He is merciful. The original would better be rendered He is forgiving, kind. Every exhortation of the Prophet ends with a doxology of this sort, the sentiment being in accord with the character of the revelation preceding.
[(130) ]Devour not usury. See note on chap. ii. 275. Abdul Qádir conjectures that the subject of usury is here spoken of because of the previous mention of cowardice, which is usually produced by habits of extortion. The passage seems to be misplaced, the sentiment having no perceptible connection with that of ver. 129, which is closely connected with ver. 139.
[(134) ]“It is related of Hasan the son of Ali, that a slave having once thrown a dish on him boiling hot as he sat at table, and fearing his master’s resentment, fell on his knees and repeated these words, ‘Paradise is for those who bridle their anger:’ Hasan answered, ‘I am not angry.’ The slave proceeded—‘and for those who forgive men.’ ‘I forgive you,’ said Hasan. The slave, however, finished the verse, adding, ‘for God loveth the beneficent.’ ‘Since it is so,’ replied Hasan, ‘I give you your liberty, and four hundred pieces of silver.’ A noble instance of moderation and generosity.”—Sale, Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(135) ]What they have done knowingly, i.e., the pious do not sin deliberately. The duty of repentance for known sin is here clearly enjoined, and the test of true repentance is also given.
[(136) ]Their reward. This statement contradicts the teaching of the former Scriptures. However sincere repentance, its reward cannot be pardon. Repentance can affect the conduct of the future, but it has no power to atone for the crimes of the past (see note on ver. 31).
[(137) ]Those who accuse of imposture. This passage gives another illustration of the constant and strained effort of Muhammad to refute the charge of imposture. In reply to his accusers, he says others were accused of like imposture, and the end of their accusers was dreadful. But the author of the notes on the Roman Urdú Qurán points out the fact that no true prophet ever showed the anxiety of Muhammad to establish his claim to the prophetic office We may therefore fairly conclude that Muhammad’s imposture was not, in the first instance at least, unconscious.
[(138) ]See note, chap. ii. 2.
[(139) ]The thread of discourse dropped at ver. 129 is here taken no again. This verse reveals something of the demoralization of Muhammad’s followers after the defeat of Ohod, and he uses every effort to inspire courage for a new conflict. Muhammad’s high moral courage, strong will, and capability as a leader are well illu-trated here.
[(140) ]A like wound, i.e., at Badr, where forty-nine of the Quraish were killed and an equal number wounded. Muslim accounts say seventy were killed and seventy wounded. Muir says, “The number seventy has originated in the supposition of a correspondence between the fault of Mahomet in taking (and not slaying) the prisoners of Badr and the retributive reverse at Ohod; hence it is assumed that seventy Meccans were taken prisoners at Badr.”—Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 107, note.
[(142) ]God knew not. This is translated by Rodwell, God had taken knowledge. So also Abdul Qádir and others. This is certainly the meaning of the original. Those who catch at the form of the words (notes on Roman Urdú Qurán) to raise an objection lay themselves open to a charge of cavilling. The same cavil could be raised against Gen. xxii. 12.
[(143) ]Ye did . . . wish for death. “Several of Muhammad’s followers who were not present at Badr wished for an opportunity of obtaining, in another action, the like honour as those had gained who fell martyrs in that battle, yet were discouraged on seeing the superior numbers of the idolaters in the expedition of Ohod. On which occasion this passage was revealed.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(144) ]Muhammad is no more than an apostle. In this passage Muhammad declares himself mortal, and these words were repeated by Abu Baqr at the death of Muhammad to convince Omar and other Muslims that their prophet was actually dead.
[(145) ]No soul can die, &c. “Muhammad, the more effectually to still the murmurs of his party on their defeat, represents to them that the time of every man’s death is decreed and predetermined by God, and that those who fell in the battle could not have avoided their fate had they stayed at home; whereas they had now obtained the glorious advantage of dying martyrs for the faith.”—Sale.
[(146) ]How many of the prophets. Muhammad again likens himself, even in his misfortune, to the former prophets; many of them had reverses in fighting for the religion of God. Why should he then behave himself in an abject manner? The plain inference from this passage is that in Muhammad’s mind many of the prophets were warriors like himself, “fighting for the religion of God.”
[(147) ]Forgive us our offences. This verse clearly disproves the popular doctrine that the prophets were sinless.
[(148) ]The reward of this world, i.e., victory over the infidels (Tafsír-i-Raufi). The marked difference between the teaching of the Qurán and the Bible as to the condition of the people of the Lord in this world is worthy of note. The Qurán everywhere teaches that though they had trials similar to those endured by Muhammad and the Muslims of Makkah and Madína, yet in the end they were manifestly triumphant over the infidels in this world. The Christian need not be told that this is very far from the teaching of the Bible. Final triumph is certain, but it may be wrought out on the cross or amidst the faggots and instruments of persecution and death.
[(149) ]“This passage was occasioned by the endeavours of the Quraish to seduce the Muhammadans to their old idolatry as they fled in the battle of Ohod.”—Sale.
[(151) ]We will surely cast a dread, &c. “To this Muhammad attributed the sudden retreat of Abu Sufián and his troops, without making any farther advantage of their success, only giving Muhammad a challenge to meet them next year at Badr, which he accepted. Others say that as they were on their march home, they repented that they had not utterly extirpated the Muhammadans, and began to think of going back to Madína for that purpose, but were prevented by a sudden consternation or panic fear, which fell on them from God.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(152) ]When ye destroyed them, &c., i.e., in the beginning of the battle at Ohod.
[(153) ]Some . . . and others, i.e., some sought the spoil in disobedience to the command of Muhammad, others stood firm at the post of duty. See note on ver. 152.
[(154) ]While the apostle called, “Crying aloud, Come hither to me, O servants of God! I am the apostle of God; he who returneth back shall enter paradise. But notwithstanding all his endeavours to rally his men, he could not get above thirty of them about him.”—Sale.
[(155) ]He sent down . . . security. After the battle of Ohod the Muslims fell asleep. Some slept soundly and were refreshed, others were excited, indulging in wild imaginations, supposing themselves to be on the verge of destruction. So the commentators generally.
[(156) ]Satan caused them to slip, i.e., by tempting them to disobedience. For some crime, &c.—“For their covetousness in quitting their post to seize the plunder.”
[(157) ]Who believed not, i.e., the hypocrites of Madína who declined to fight at Ohod. Had journeyed, with a view to merchandise, or been at war for the cause of religion (Tafsír-i-Raufi). The sentiment of this and the two following verses is like that of vers. 139-143; the hour of death is fixed for every man in the eternal decree of God, and those who die fighting for Islám shall be pardoned and accepted of God, and be made partakers of the joys of paradise.
[(160) ]If thou hadst been severe, &c. The policy of Muhammad in dealing with his followers is here distinctly announced. They had certainly merited severe punishment. But there were powerful adversaries in Madína who would have taken advantage of any attempt to enforce punishment of a severe nature. Besides, no slight shock to the new faith had been felt owing to the defeat, and it became a matter of the utmost importance to establish that faith. Hence the mild words, and the forgiveness so freely bestowed.
[(162) ]It is not the part of a prophet to defraud. Sale says, on the authority of Baidháwi and Jaláluddín, that “this passage was revealed, as some say, on the division of the spoil at Badr, when some of the soldiers suspected Muhammad of having privately taken a scarlet carpet, made all of silk and very rich, which was missing. Others suppose the archers, who occasioned the loss of the battle of Ohod, left their station because they imagined Muhammad would not give them their share of the plunder; because, as it is related, he once sent out a party as an advanced guard, and in the meantime attacking the enemy, took some spoils which he divided among those who were with him in the action, and gave nothing to the party that was absent on duty.”
[(164) ]There shall be degrees, &c. This explains the purport of ver. 163 God will reward his servants in accordance with their works. The brave companions (note, ver. 162) need not be troubled by an equal division of the booty. God will reward, for “God seeth what ye do” As indicated by Sale in his translation, this principle applies to punishments as well as to rewards.
[(165) ]An apostle of their own nation. Sale, on the authority of Baidháwi, says some manuscripts have min anfaihim instead of min anfusihim, whence it would read, An apostle of the noblest among them, meaning the Quraish, of which tribe Muhammad was descended. I have not been able to find any copy of the Qurán containing this reading. It is not likely that the spirit of Muhammad’s inspiration would have made, at this time, any such invidious distinction between the tribes of Arabia, especially when as yet the Quraish were the mortal enemies of Muhammad. The expression is better understood as having reference to the Arabs in general.
[(166) ]Two equal advantages. “In the battle of Badr, where he slew seventy of the enemy equalling the number of those who lost their lives at Ohod, and also took as many prisoners.”—Sale. See notes on vers. 13 and 152.
[(168) ]That he mightknow the ungodly. See note on ver. 142.
[(169) ]This verse gives the reason for the charge against the hypocrites in the previous verse. They are judged out of their own mouths.
[(170) ]Thou shalt in nowise reckon, &c. See note on chap. ii. 155. The crown of martyrdom was easily won. Even those slain because of their disobedience and covetousness (vers. 3, 122, 152, and 153, &c.) are now to be regarded as “alive with their God,” and “rejoicing for what God of his favour hath granted them” (next verse). There is here a striking contrast between the teaching of the Qurán and the Word of God. It is the contrast between a counterfeit and the genuine article.
[(171) ]Those who, coming after them, i.e., who are yet destined to suffer martyrdom.
[(173) ]They who hearkened. “The commentators differ a little as to the occasion of this passage. When news was brought to Muhammad, after the battle of Ohod, that the enemy, repenting of then retreat, were returning towards Madína, he called about him those who had stood by him in the battle, and marched out to meet the enemy as far as Humará al Asad, about eight miles from that town, notwithstanding that several of his men were so ill of their wounds that they were forced to be carried; but a panic fear having seized the army of the Quraish, they changed their resolution, and continued their march home; of which Muhammad having received intelligence, he also went back to Madína: and according to some commentators the Qurán here approves the faith and courage of those who attended the prophet on this occasion. Others say the persons intended in this passage were those who went with Muhammad the next year to meet Abu Sufián and the Quraish, according to their challenge, at Badr, where they waited some time for the enemy, and then returned home; for the Quraish, though they set out from Makkah, yet never came so far as the place of appointment, their hearts failing them on their march; which Muhammad attributed to their being struck with a terror from God. This expedition the Arabian histories call the second or lesser expedition of Badr.”—Sale, Baidháwi
[(174) ]Be ye afraid of them. “The persons who thus endeavoured to discourage the Muhammadans were, according to one tradition, some of the tribe of Abd Qais, who going to Madína, were bribed by Abu Sufián with a camel’s load of dried raisins; and according to another tradition, it was Nuaim Ibn Masúd al Ashjai, who was also bribed with a she-camel ten months gone with young (a valuable present in Arabia). This Nuaim, they say, finding Muhammad and his men preparing for the expedition, told them that Abu Sufián, to spare them the pains of coming so far as Badr, would seek them in their own houses, and that none of them could possibly escape otherwise than by timely flight. Upon which Muhammad, seeing hisfollowers a little dispirited, swore that he would go himself, though not one of them went with him. And accordingly he set out with seventy horsemen, every one of them crying out Hashna Alláh, i.e., God is our support.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(175) ]And advantage. They had taken with them merchandise, and had held a fair at Badr for several days, disposing of their goods to great advantage. So Baidháwi, see Sale. From this fact Muir conjectures that Muhammad had knowledge of the change of purpose among the Quraish before he set out so boldly for Badr. See Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 221, note.
[(176) ]That devil. This probably refers to Abu Sufián. Some refer it to Nuaim, an emissary of the Quraish sent to Madína to excite fear among the Muslims. See note above on 174.
[(177) ]Who . . . hasten unto infidelity, i.e., the hypocrites of Madína, who professing themselves Muslims, talked like infidels (Abdul Qádir).
[(179) ]See note on chap. ii. 211.
[(180) ]God is not disposed, &c., i.e., he will not suffer the good and sincere among you to continue indiscriminately mixed with the wicked and hypocritical.
[(181) ]Those who are covetous. The following tradition is given on the authority of Abu Hurairah:—“To whosoever God gives wealth, and he does not perform the charity due from it, his wealth will be made into the shape of a serpent on the day of resurrection, which shall not have any hair upon its head; and this is a sign of its poison and long life, and it has two black spots upon its eyes, and it will be twisted round his neck like a chain on the day of resurrection; then the serpent will seize the man’s jawbone, and will say, ‘I am thy wealth, the charity for which thou didst not give; and I am thy treasure, from which thou didst not separate any alms.’ ”—Mishqát-al-Masábih, book vi. chap. i. pt. 1.
[(182) ]Verily God is poor. “It is related that Muhammad, writing to the Jews of the tribe of Qainuqáa to invite them to Islám, and exhorting them, among other things, in the words of the Qurán, (chap. ii 245), to lend unto God on good usury. Phineas Ibn Azúra, on hearing that expression, said, ‘Surely God is poor, since they ask to borrow for him.’ Whereupon Abu Baqr, who was the bearer of that letter, struck him on the face, and told him that if it had not been for the truce between them, he would have struck off his head; and on Phineas’s complaining to Muhammad of Abu Baqr’s ill usage, this passage was revealed.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(184) ]A sacrifice . . . consumed by fire. “The Jews, say the commentators, insisted that it was a peculiar proof of the mission of all the prophets sent to them that they could, by their prayers, bring down fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice, and therefore they expected Muhammad should do the like. And some Muhammadan doctors agree that God appointed this miracle as the test of all their prophets, except only Jesus and Muhammad (Jaláluddín): though others say any other miracle was a proof full as sufficient as the bringing down fire from heaven (Baidháwi).
[(185) ]If they accuse thee of imposture. This passage, following closely upon the apology of Muhammad for not giving the usual signs of apostleship demanded by the Jews and others, seems to give the ground of this accusation; i.e., Muhammad’s imposture was evident, because he refused to perform miracles which would prove that he had been sent from God. Muhammad’s reply to this charge is not in accordance with facts—“The apostles before thee have been accounted impostors.” It is not true that all apostles were regarded as impostors. Certainly, such as were so accused were enabled to work such miracles as proved even to their enemies that “there was a prophet of God in Israel,” 1 Kings xviii. 36, &c. Such “evident demonstrations” were expected of Muhammad, but never given. Even his own followers have been driven to invent a multitude of stories detailing the miracles wrought by their prophet. These have been recorded in their traditions. The following are samples of the miracles thus invented:—“A camel weeps, and is calmed at the touch of Muhammad; the hair grows upon a boy’s head when the prophet lays his hand upon it; a horse is cured from stumbling; the eye of a soldier is healed and made better than the other; he marked his sheep on the car, and the species retain the mark to this day, &c.”—Arnold’s Islám and Christianity, p. 352. See Mishqát-ul-Masábih, Urdú edition, vol. iv. pp. 571-623.
[(186) ]Every soul shall taste of death. Some Muslims understand this as applying to all created things. At the first sound of the last trump all angels will die, including Isráfíl, who will blow the trumpet. God will then raise Isráfíl, who will again sound the trump, and all the dead will rise tojudgment.
[(187) ]Proved in your possessions, &c. The Tafsír-i-Raufi refers this passage to the loss of property at the flight from Makkah, and the loss of life in the wars for the faith. It seems to me, however, the passage better applies to the temporary ascendancy of the Jews and hypocrites of Madína after the battle of Ohod.
[(188) ]Ye shall surely publish it, i.e., the prophecies concerning Muhammad contained in the Pentateuch. The claim set up here is virtually this, that the great burden of prophecy was the advent of Muhammad, just as Christians regard the spirit of prophecy to be the testimony of God to Jesus as the Christ. It would appear from this passage that Muhammad, consciously or unconsciously,—being deceived by designing converts from Judaism,—had conceived that the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the Coming One related to him. Accordingly, those Jewish Rabbies who denied the existence of any prophecies relating to him are here stigmatised as having sold themselves to the work of perverting their Scriptures so as to oppose him.
[(189) ]They who rejoice, &c., i.e., who think they have done a commendable deed in concealing and perverting the testimonies in the Pentateuch concerning Muhammad, and in disobeying God’s commands to the contrary. “It is said that Muhammad once asking some Jews concerning a passage in their law, they gave him an answer very different from the truth, and were mightily pleased that they had, as they thought, deceived him. Others, however, think this passage relates to some pretended Muhammadans who rejoiced in their hypocrisy and expected to be commended for their wickedness.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(191) ]This verse belongs to the Makkan revelations. Comp. chap. ii. 165.
[(192) ]Who remember God standing, &c., viz., “at all times and in all postures. Al Baidháwi mentions a saying of Muhammad to one Imrán Ibn Husain, to this purpose: ‘Pray standing, if thou art able; if not, sitting; and if thou canst not sit up, then as thou liest along.’ Al Sháfa’i directs that the sick should pray lying on their right side.”—Sale.
[(194) ]A preacher. This is the name which Muhammad constantly assumed at Makkah. See chap. vii. 2, chap. xiii. 29, 40, chap. xvi. 84, &c. Nought but the political power acquired at Madína changed the preacher into a soldier.
[(196) ]Male or female. “These words were added, as some relate, on Omm Salma, one of the prophet’s wives, telling him that she had observed God often made mention of the men who fled their country for the sake of their faith, but took no notice of the women.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(197) ]An unhappy couch. This expression, used so frequently in the Qurán to describe the torment of hell, is probably used in contrast with the carnal and sensual delights of the Muslim heaven. There “they shall repose themselves on most delicate beds, adorned with gold and precious stones, under the shadow of the trees of paradise, which shall continually yield them all manner of delicious fruits; and there they shall enjoy most beautiful women, pure and clean, having black eyes, &c.” But here, the couch shall be in the midst of fire, and be surrounded by smoke as with a coverlid, with nothing to eat “but the fruit of the tree Zaqún, which should be in their bellies like burning pitch,” and nothing to drink “but boiling and stinking water,” nor should they breathe ought but “exceeding hot winds,” &c. (Prideaux, Life of Mahomet, p. 22).
[(198) ]See notes on ver. 196.
[(199) ]Some . . . who believe. “The persons here meant some will have to be Abdullah Ibn Salám and his companions; others suppose they were forty Arabs of Najrán, or thirty-two Ethiopians, or else eight Greeks, who were converted from Christianity to Muhammadanism; and others say this passage was revealed in the ninth year of the Hijra, when Muhammad, on Gabriel’s bringing him the news of the death of Ashámah, king of Ethiopia, who had embraced the Muhammadan religion some years before, prayed for the soul of the departed, at which some of his hypocritical followers were displeased, and wondered that he should pray for a Christian proselyte whom he had never seen.”—Sale, Jaláluddín. Baidháwi.
[(200) ]Be patient, i.e., in fighting for religion. This is the conclusion of the exhortation to the disheartened followers of Muhammad, beginning with ver. 121.
[(58) ]Those who pretend. The hypocrites.