Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER VI.: ENTITLED SURAT AL ANÁM (CATTLE). Revealed at Makkah. - The Quran, vol. 2
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CHAPTER VI.: ENTITLED SURAT AL ANÁM (CATTLE). Revealed at Makkah. - 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 AL ANÁM (CATTLE).
This chapter owes its title to the frequent mention of certain cattle in connection with the idolatrous rites of the people of Makkah. It relates to the controversy of Muhammad with the inhabitants of his native city during the period immediately preceding his flight to Madína. This is evident from the tone of the revelations. Everywhere the Quraish are spoken of as hopelessly infidel, as given over to unbelief, abandoned of God, and doomed to perdition. Having rejected the signs of the Qurán, they will not hear though an angel were to speak audibly to them, though a written book were to descend to them from heaven, or though the Prophet were to ascend into the heavens or delve into the earth to bring them a sign to their own liking.
Other passages contain commands addressed to the Prophet to withdraw from the idolaters and to have no fellowship with them. From all this it is clear that Muhammad had matured his plan of leaving Makkah and of retiring to Madína.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
From what has been said above, and relying especially upon the command of ver. 106, to retire from the idolaters, which all authorities agree in referring to the Hijra, we may fairly conclude that most of the revelations of this chapter were rehearsed in public for the first time during the year immediately preceding that event. There are, however, a few verses which belong to the number of Madína revelations. These are vers. 92-94 and 151-153. Noëldeke thinks the latter three are referred to Madína without good reason. The requirements of ver. 152 certainly fit in best with the circumstances of Islám after the Hijra. Their date may be considered as doubtful. This is, in our opinion, true also of vers. 118-121, 145, 146, and 159-165. The command to abstain from certain kinds of meat is said, on the authority of tradition, to have been delivered after the Night Journey, and might therefore have been delivered before the Hijra. But the requirements of the law of permitted and forbidden meats are so certainly an imitation of the Jewish law on the same subject, as to lead us to think that all passages referring to this law of Islám belong to Madína though found in chapters belonging to Makkah. As Muir has already pointed out, the habit was formed soon after the Hijra “of throwing into a former Sura newly-revealed passages connected with its subject.”* Wherefore many passages like these, relating to rites borrowed from the Jews, may belong to Madína, though recited in a Makkan chapter.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1)Praise be unto God, who hath created the heavens and the earth, and hath ordained the darkness and the light: nevertheless they who believe not in the Lord equalise other gods with him.(2) It is he who hath created you of clay, and then decreed the term of your lives; and the prefixed term is with him: yet do ye doubt thereof.(3) He is God in heaven and in earth; he knoweth what ye keep secret and what ye publish, and knoweth what ye deserve. (4) There came not unto them any sign of the signs of their Lord, but they retired from the same; (5) and they have gainsaid the truth after that it hath come unto them; but a message shall come unto them concerning that which they have mocked at. (6) Do they not consider how many generations we have destroyed before them? We had established them in the earth in a manner wherein we have not established you; we sent the heaven to rain abundantly upon them, and we gave them rivers which flowed under their feet: yet we destroyed them in their sins, and raised up other generations after them. (7) Although we had caused to descend unto thee a book written on paper, and they had handled it with their hands, the unbelievers had surely said, This is no other than manifest sorcery. (8) They said, Unless an angel be sent down unto him, we will not believe. But if we had sent down an angel, verily the matter had been decreed, and they should not have been borne with, by having time granted them to repent.(9) And if we had appointed an angel for our messenger, we should have sent him in the form of a man, and have clothed him before them, as they are clothed. (10)Other apostles have been laughed to scorn before thee, but the judgment which they made a jest of encompassed those who laughed them to scorn.
∥ (11) Say, Go through the earth, and behold what hath been the end of those who accused our prophets of imposture. (12) Say, Unto whom belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and earth? Say, Unto God; he hath prescribed unto himself mercy. He will surely gather you together on the day of resurrection; there is no doubt of it. They who destroy their own souls are those who will not believe. (13) Unto him is owing whatsoever happeneth by night or by day; it is he who heareth and knoweth. (14) Say, Shall I take any other protector than God, the creator of heaven and earth, who feedeth all and is not fed by any? Say, Verily I am commanded to be the first who professeth Islám, and it was said unto me, Thou shalt by no means be one of the idolaters. (15) Say, Verily I fear, if I should rebel against my Lord, the punishment of the great day: (16) from whomsoever it shall be averted on that day, God will have been merciful unto him; this will be manifest salvation. (17) If God afflict thee with any hurt, there is none who can take it off from thee except himself; but if he cause good to befall thee, he is almighty; (18) he is the supreme Lord over his servants, and he is wise and knowing. (19) Say, What thing is the strongest in bearing testimony? Say, God;he is witness between me and you. And this Qurán was revealed unto me that I should admonish you thereby, and also those unto whom it shall reach. Do ye really profess that there are other gods together with God? Say, I do not profess this. Say, Verily he is one God; and I am guitless of what ye associate with him.(20) They unto whom we have given the scripture know our apostle, even as they know their own children; but they who destroy their own souls will not believe.
∥ (21) Who is more unjust than he who inventeth a lie against God, or chargeth his signs with imposture? Surely the unjust shall not prosper. (22) And on the day of resurrection we will assemble them all; then will we say unto those who associated others with God, Where are your companions, whom ye imagined to be those of God? But they shall have no other excuse than that they shall say, By God our Lord, we have not been idolaters. (23) Behold, how they lie against themselves, and what they have blasphemously imagined to be the companion of God flieth from them. (24) There is of them who hearkeneth unto thee when thou readest the Qurán; but we have cast veils over their hearts, that they should not understand it, and a deafness in their ears: and though they should see all kinds of signs, they will not believe therein; and their infidelity will arrive to that height that they will even come unto thee to dispute with thee. The unbelievers will say, This is nothing but silly fables of ancient times.(25) And they will forbid others from believing therein and will retire afar off from it; but they will destroy their own souls only, and they are not sensible thereof. (26) If thou didst see when they shall be set over the fire of hell! and they shall say, Would to God we might be sent back into the world; we would not charge the signs of our Lord with imposture, and we would become true believers: (27) nay, but that is become manifest unto them, which they formerly concealed; and though they should be sent back into the world, they would surely return to that which was forbidden them; and they are surely liars. (28) And they said, There is no other life than our present life; neither shall we be raised again. But if thou couldest see when they shall be set before their Lord! (29) He shall say unto them, Is not this in truth come to pass? They shall answer, Yea, by our Lord.God shall say, Taste therefore the punishment due unto you, for that ye have disbelieved.
∥ (30) They are lost who reject as a falsehood the meeting of Godin the next life, until the hour cometh suddenly upon them. Then will they say, Alas! for that we have behaved ourselves negligently in our lifetime; and they shall carry their burdens on their backs; will it not be evil which they shall be loaden with? (31) This present life is no other than a play and a vain amusement; but surely the future mansion shall be better for those who fear God: will they not therefore understand? (32) Now we know that what they speak grieveth thee: yet they do not accuse thee of falsehood; but the ungodly contradict the signs of God.(33) And apostles before thee have been accounted liars: but they patiently bore their being accounted liars, and their being vexed, until our help came unto them: for there is none who can change the words of God: and thou hast received some information concerning those who have been formerly sent from him.
∥ (34) If their aversion to thy admonitions be grievous unto thee, if thou canst seek out a den whereby thou mayest penetrate into the inward parts of the earth, or a ladder by which thou mayest ascend into heaven, that thou mayest show them a sign, do so, but thy search will be fruitless; for if God pleased he would bring them all to the true direction: be not therefore one of the ignorant. (35) He will give a favourable answer unto those only who shall hearken with attention: and God will raise the dead; then unto him shall they return. (36) The infidels say, Unless some sign be sent down unto him from his Lord,we will not believe: answer, Verily God is able to send down a sign: but the greater part of them know it not. (37) There is no kind of beast on earth, nor fowl which flieth with its wings, but the same is a people like unto you: we have not omitted anything in the book of our decrees: then unto their Lord shall they return. (38) They who accuse our signs of falsehood are deaf and dumb, walking in darkness: God will lead into error whom he pleaseth, and whom he pleaseth he will put in the right way? (39) Say, What think ye? if the punishment of God come upon you, or the hour of the resurrection come upon you, will ye call upon any other than God, if ye speak truth? (40) Yea, him shall ye call upon, and he shall free you from that which ye shall ask him to deliver you from, if he pleaseth; and ye shall forget that which ye associated with him.
∥ (41) We have already sent messengers unto sundry nations before thee, and we afflicted them with trouble and adversity that they might humble themselves: (42) yet when the affliction which we sent came upon them, they did not humble themselves; but their hearts became hardened, and Satan prepared for them that which they committed. (43) And when they had forgotten that concerning which they had been admonished, we opened unto them the gates of all things; until, while they were rejoicing for that which had been given them, we suddenly laid hold on them, and behold, they were seized with despair: (44) and the utmost part of the people which had acted wickedly was cut off: praise be unto God, the Lord of all creatures! (45) Say, What think ye? if God should take away your hearing and your sight, and should seal up your hearts; what god besides God will restore them unto you? (46) See how variously we show forth the signs of God’s unity; yet do they turn aside from them. Say unto them, What think ye? if the punishment of God come upon you suddenly or in open view, will any perish except the ungodly people? (47) We send not our messengers otherwise than bearing good tidings and denouncing threats. Whoso therefore shall believe and amend, on them shall no fear come, neither shall they be grieved: (48) but whoso shall accuse our signs of falsehood, a punishment shall fall on them, because they have done wickedly. (49) Say, I say not unto you, The treasures of God are in my power: neither do I say, I know the secrets of God: neither do I say unto you, Verily I am an angel: I follow only that which is revealed unto me. Say, Shall the blind and the seeing be held equal? do ye not therefore consider?
∥ (50) Preach it unto those who fear that they shall be assembled before their Lord: they shall have no patron nor intercessor except him; that peradventure they may take heed to themselves. (51) Drive not away those who call upon their Lord morning and evening, desiring to see his face: it belongeth not unto thee to pass any judgment on them, nor doth it belong unto them to pass any judgment on thee: therefore if thou drive them away, thou wilt become one of the unjust. (52) Thus have we proved some part of them by other part, that they may say, Are these the people among us unto whom God hath been gracious? Doth not God most truly know those who are thankful? (53) And when they who believe in our signs shall come unto thee, say, Peace be upon you. Your Lord hath prescribed unto himself mercy; so whoever among you worketh evil through ignorance, and afterwards repenteth and amendeth, unto him will he surely be gracious and merciful. (54) Thus have we distinctly propounded our signs, that the path of the wicked might be made known.
∥ (55) Say, Verily I am forbidden to worship the false deities which ye invoke besides God. Say, I will not follow your desires; for then should I err, neither should I be one of those who are rightly directed. (56) Say, I behave according to the plain declaration, which I have received from my Lord; but ye have forged lies concerning him. That which ye desire should be hastened is not in my power; judgment belongeth only unto God; he will determine the truth; and he is the best discerner. (57) Say, If what ye desire should be hastened were in my power, the matter had been determined between me and you: but God well knoweth the unjust. (58) With him are the keys of the secret things; none knoweth them besides himself: he knoweth that which is on the dry land and in the sea: there falleth no leaf but he knoweth it; neither is there a single grain in the dark parts of the earth, neither a green thing, nor a dry thing, but it is written in the perspicuous book. (59) It is he who causeth you to sleep by night, and knoweth what ye merit by day; he also awaketh you therein, that the prefixed term of your lives may be fulfilled; then unto him shall ye return, and he shall declare unto you that which ye have wrought.
∥ (60) He is supreme over his servants, and sendeth the guardian angels to watch over you, until, when death overtaketh one of you, our messengers cause him to die: and they will not neglect our commands.(61) Afterwards shall they return unto God, their true Lord: doth not judgment belong unto him? He is the most quick in taking an account. (62) Say, Who delivereth you from the darkness of the land and of the sea, when ye call upon him humbly and in private, saying, Verily if thou deliver us from these dangers, we will surely be thankful? (63) Say, God delivereth you from them, and from every grief of mind; yet afterwards ye give him companions. (64) Say, He is able to send on you a punishment from above you, or from under your feet, or to engage you in dissension, and to make some of you taste the violence of others. Observe how variously we show forth our signs, that peradventure they may understand. (65) This people hath accused the revelation which thou hast brought of falsehood, although it be the truth. Say, I am not a guardian over you: (66) every prophecy hath its fixed time of accomplishment; and he will hereafter know it.(67) When thou seest those who are engaged in cavilling at or ridiculing our signs, depart from them until they be engaged in some other discourse: and if Satan cause thee to forget this precept, do not sit with the ungodly people after recollection. (68) They who fear God are not at all accountable for them, but their duty is to remember, that they may take heed to themselves. (69) Abandon those who make their religion a sport and a jest, and whom the present life hath deceived; and admonish them by the Qurán, that a soul becometh liable to destruction for that which it committeth; it shall have no patron nor intercessor besides God: (70) and if it could pay the utmost price of redemption, it would not be accepted from it.
∥ (71) They who are delivered over to perdition for that which they have committed shall have boiling water to drink, and shall suffer a grievous punishment, because they have disbelieved. Say, shall we call upon that, besides God, which can neither profit us nor hurt us? and shall we turn back on our heels, after that God hath directed us, like him whom the devils hath infatuated, wandering amazedly in the earth, and yet having companions who call him into the true direction, saying, Come unto us? Say, The direction of God is the true direction: we are commanded to resign ourselves unto the Lord of all creatures; (72) and it is also commanded us, saying, Observe the stated times of prayer, and fear him; for it is he before whom ye shall be assembled. (73) It is he who hath created the heavens and the earth in truth; and whenever he saith unto a thing, Be, it is. (74) His word is the truth; and his will be the kingdom on the day whereon the trumpet shall be sounded: he knoweth whatever is secret, and whatever is public; he is the wise, the knowing.
∥ (75)Call to mind when Abraham said unto his father, Ázar, Dost thou take images for gods? Verily I perceive that thou and thy people are in a manifest error. (76) And thus did we show unto Abraham the kingdom of heaven and earth, that he might become one of those who firmly believe. (77) And when the night overshadowed him, he saw a star, and he said, This is my Lord; but when it set, he said, I like not gods which set. (78) And when he saw the moon rising, he said, This is my Lord; but when he saw it set, he said, Verily if my Lord direct me not, I shall become one of the people who go astray. (79) And when he saw the sun rising, he said, This is my Lord, this is the greatest; but when it set, he said, O my people, verily I am clear of that which ye associate with God:(80) I direct my face unto him who hath created the heavens and the earth; I am orthodox, and am not one of the idolaters. (81) And his people disputed with him: and he said, Will ye dispute with me concerning God? since he hath now directed me, and I fear not that which ye associate with him, unless that my Lord willeth a thing; for my Lord comprehendeth all things by his knowledge: will ye not therefore consider? (82) And how should I fear that which ye associate with God, since ye fear not to have associated with God that concerning which he hath sent down unto you no authority? which therefore of the two parties is the more safe, if ye understand aright?(83) They who believe, and clothe not their faith with injustice, they shall enjoy security, and they are rightly directed.
∥ (84) And this is our argument wherewith we furnished Abraham that he might make use of it against his people: we exalt unto degrees of wisdom and knowledge whom we please; for thy Lord is wise and knowing. (85) And we gave unto them Isaac and Jacob; we directed them both: and Noah had we before directed, and of his posterity David and Solomon; and Job, and Joseph, and Moses, and Aaron: thus do we reward the righteous; (86) and Zacharias, and John, and Jesus, and Elias; all of them were upright men: (87) and Ismael, and Elisha, and Jonas, and Lot; all these have we favoured above the rest of the world; (88) and also divers of their fathers, and their issue, and their brethren; and we chose them, and directed them into the right way. (89) This is the direction of God; he directeth thereby such of his servants as he pleaseth; but if they had been guilty of idolatry, that which they wrought would have become utterly fruitless unto them. (90) Those were the persons unto whom we gave the scripture, and wisdom, and prophecy; but if these believe not therein, we will commit the care of them to a people who shall not disbelieve the same. (91) Those were the persons whom God hath directed, therefore follow their direction. Say unto the inhabitants of Makkah, I ask of you no recompense for preaching the Qurán; it is no other than an admonition unto all creatures.
∥ (92) They make not a due estimation of God, when they say, God hath not sent down unto man anything at all: Say, who sent down the book which Moses brought, a light and a direction unto men; which ye transcribe on papers, whereof ye publish some part, and great part whereof ye conceal? and ye have been taught by Muhammad what ye knew not, neither your fathers. Say, Godsent it down: then leave them to amuse themselves with their vain discourse. (93) This book which we have sent down is blessed; confirming that which was revealed before it; and is delivered unto thee that thou mayest preach it unto the metropolis of Makkah and to those who are round about it. And they who believe in the next life will believe therein, and they will diligently observe their times of prayer. (94) Who is more wicked than he who forgeth a lie concerning God? or saith, This was revealed unto me; when nothing had been revealed unto him? and who saith, I will produce a revelation like unto that which God hath sent down? If thou didst see when the ungodly are in the pangs of death, and the angels reach out their hands, saying, Cast forth your souls; this day shall ye receive an ignominious punishment for that which ye have falsely spoken concerning God; and because ye have proudly rejected his signs. (95) And now are ye come unto us alone, as we created you at first, and ye have left that which we had bestowed on you behind your backs; neither do we see with you your intercessors, whom ye thought to have been partners with God among you: now is the relation between you cut off, and what ye imagined hath deceived you.
∥ (96)(96)God causeth the grain and the date-stone to put forth: he bringeth forth the living from the dead, and he bringeth forth the dead from the living. This isGod. Why therefore are ye turned away from him?(97) He causeth the morning to appear; and hath ordained the night for rest, and the sun and the moon for computing of time. This is the disposition of the mighty, the wise God.(98)(98) It is he who hath ordained the stars for you, that ye may be directed thereby in the darkness of the land and of the sea. We have clearly shown forth our signs unto people who understand. (99)(99) It is he who hath produced you from one soul; and hath provided for you a sure receptacle and a repository. We have clearly shown forth our signs unto people who are wise. (100) It is he who sendeth down water from heaven, and we have thereby produced the springing buds of all things, and have thereout produced the green thing, from which we produce the grain growing in rows, and palm-trees from whose branches proceed clusters of dates hanging close together; and gardens of grapes, and olives, and pomegranates, both like and unlike to one another. Look on their fruits when they bear fruit, and their growing to maturity. Verily herein are signs unto people who believe. (101)(101)Yet they have set up the genii as partners with God, although he created them: and they have falsely attributed unto him sons and daughters, without knowledge. Praise be unto him, and far be that from him which they attribute unto him! He is the maker of heaven and earth: how should he have issue since he hath no consort? he hath created all things, and he is omniscient. (102)(102) This is God your Lord; there is no God but he, the creator of all things; therefore serve him: for he taketh care of all things. (103) The sight comprehendeth him not, but he comprehendeth the sight; he is the gracious, the wise. (104) Now have evident demonstrations come unto you from your Lord; whoso seeth them the advantage thereof will redound to his own soul: and whoso is wilfully blind, the consequence will be to himself. I am not a keeper over you. (105) Thus do we variously explain our signs, that they may say, Thou hast studied diligently, and that we may declare them unto people of understanding. (106) Follow that which hath been revealed unto thee from thy Lord; there is no God but he: retire therefore from the idolaters. (107) If God had so pleased, they had not been guilty of idolatry. We have not appointed thee a keeper over them; neither art thou a guardian over them. (108) Revile not the idols which they invoke besides God, lest they maliciously revile God, without knowledge. Thus have we prepared for every nation their works: hereafter unto God shall they return, and he shall declare unto them that which they have done. (109) They have sworn by God, by the most solemn oath, that if a sign came unto them, they would certainly believe therein: Say, Verily signs are in the power of God alone; and he permitteth you not to understand, that when they come, they will not believe. (110) And we will turn aside their hearts and their sight from the truth, as they believed not therein the first time; and we will leave them to wander in their error.
Eighth Sipara. R .
∥ (111) And though we had sent down angels unto them, and the dead had spoken unto them, and we had gathered together before them all things in one view; they would not have believed, unless God had so pleased: but the greater part of them know it not. (112) Thus have we appointed unto every prophet an enemy; the devils of men, and of genii: who privately suggest the one to the other specious discourses to deceive; but if thy Lord pleased, they would not have done it. Therefore leave them, and that which they have falsely imagined; (113) and let the hearts of those be inclined thereto who believe not in the life to come: and let them please themselves therein, and let them gain that which they are gaining. (114) Shall I seek after any other judge besides Godto judge between us? It is he who hath sent down unto you the book of the Qurán distinguishing between good and evil; and they to whom we gave the scripture know that it is sent down from thy Lord, with truth. Be not therefore one of those who doubt thereof.(115) The words of thy Lord are perfect, in truth and justice; there is none who can change his words: he both heareth and knoweth. (116) But if thou obey the greater part of them who are in the earth, they will lead thee aside from the path of God: they follow an uncertain opinion only, and speak nothing but lies; (117) verily thy Lord well knoweth those who go astray from his path, and well knoweth those who are rightly directed. (118) Eat of that whereon the name of God hath been commemorated, if ye believe in his signs; (119) and why do ye not eat of that whereon the name of God hath been commemorated? since he hath plainly declared unto you what he hath forbidden you; except that which ye be compelled to eat of by necessity: many lead others into error, because of their appetites, being void of knowledge; but thy Lord well knoweth who are the transgressors. (120) Leave both the outside of iniquity and the inside thereof: for they who commit iniquity shall receive the reward of that which they shall have gained. (121)(121) Eat not therefore of that whereon the name of God hath not been commemorated; for this is certainly wickedness: but the devils will suggest unto their friends, that they dispute with you concerning this precept; but if ye obey them, ye are surely idolaters.
∥ (122) Shall he who hath been dead, and whom we have restored unto life and unto whom we have ordained a light, whereby he may walk among men, be as he whose similitude is in darkness, from whence he shall not come forth? Thus was that which the infidels are doing prepared for them. (123) And thus have we placed in every city chief leaders of the wicked men thereof, that they may act deceitfully therein; but they shall act deceitfully against their own souls only; and they know it not. (124) And when a sign cometh unto them, they say, We will by no means believe until a revelation be brought unto us, like unto that which hath been delivered unto the messengers of God.God best knoweth whom he will appoint for his messenger. Vileness in the sight of God shall fall upon those who deal wickedly, and a grievous punishment, for that they have dealt deceitfully. (125) And whomsoever God shall please to direct, he will open his breast to receive the faith of Islám: but whomsoever he shall please to lead into error, he will render his breast straight and narrow, as though he were climbing up to heaven. Thus doth God inflict a terrible punishment on those who believe not. (126) This is the right way of thy Lord. Now have we plainly declared our signs unto those people who will consider. (127) They shall have a dwelling of peace with their Lord, and he shall be their patron, because of that which they have wrought. (128)Think on the day whereon God shall gather them all together, and shall say, O company of genii, ye have been much concerned with mankind; and their friends from among mankind shall say, O Lord, the one of us hath received advantage from the other, and we are arrived at our limited term which thou hast appointed us. God will say, Hell fire shall be your habitation, therein shall ye remain forever; unless as God shall please to mitigate your pains, for thy Lordis wise and knowing. (129) Thus do we set some of the unjust over others of them, because of that which they have deserved.
∥ (130) O company of genii and men, did not messengers from among yourselves come unto you, rehearsing my signs unto you, and forewarning you of the meeting of this your day? They shall answer, We bear witness against ourselves: the present life deceived them: and they shall bear witness against themselves that they were unbelievers. (131) This hath been the method of God’s dealings with his creatures, because thy Lord would not destroy the cities in their iniquity, while their inhabitants were careless. (132) Every one shall have degrees of recompense of that which they shall do; (133) for thy Lord is not regardless of that which they do, and thy Lord is self-sufficient and endued with mercy. If he pleaseth he can destroy you, and cause such as he pleaseth to succeed you, in like manner as he produced you from the posterity of other people. (134) Verily that which is threatened you, shall surely come to pass; neither shall ye cause it to fail. (135) Say unto those of Makkah, O my people, act according to your power; verily I will act according to my duty: and hereafter shall ye know whose will be the reward of paradise. The ungodly shall not prosper. (136)Those of Makkah set apart unto God a portion of that which he hath produced of the fruits of the earth, and of cattle; and say, This belongeth unto God (according to their imagination), and this unto our companions. And that which is destined for their companions cometh not unto God; yet that which is set apart unto God cometh unto their companions. How ill do they judge! (137) In like manner have their companions induced many of the idolaters to slay their children, that they might bring them to perdition, and that they might render their religion obscure and confused unto them. But if God had pleased, they had not done this: therefore leave them and that which they falsely imagine. (138) They also say, These cattle and fruits of the earth are sacred; none shall eat thereof but who we please (according to their imagination); and there are cattle whose backs are forbidden to be rode on, or laden with burdens; and there are cattle on which they commemorate not the name of Godwhen they slay them; devising a lie against him. God shall reward them for that which they falsely devise. (139) And they say, That which is in the bellies of these cattle is allowed to our males to eat, and is forbidden to our wives: but if it prove abortive, then they are both partakers thereof. God shall give them the reward of their attributing these things to him: he is knowing and wise. (140) They are utterly lost who have slain their children foolishly, without knowledge; and have forbidden that which God hath given them for food, devising a lie against God. They have erred, and were not rightly directed.
∥ (141) He it is who produceth gardens of vines, both those which are supported on trails of wood, and those which are not supported, and palm-trees, and the corn affording various food, and olives, and pomegranates, alike and unlike unto one another. Eat of their fruit when they bear fruit, and pay the due thereof on the day whereon ye shall gather it; but be not profuse, for God loveth not those who are too profuse. (142) And God hath given you some cattle fit for bearing of burdens, and some fit for slaughter only. Eat of what God hath given you for food; and follow not the steps of Satan, for he is your declared enemy. (143) Four pair of cattle hath God given you; of sheep one pair, and of goats one pair. Say unto them, Hath God forbidden the two males, of sheep and of goats, or the two females; or that which the wombs of the two females contain? Tell me with certainty, if ye speak truth. (144) And of camels hath God given you one pair, and of oxen one pair. Say, hath he forbidden the two males of these, or the two females; or that which the wombs of the two females contain? Were ye present when God commanded you this? And who is more unjust than he who deviseth a lie against God, that he may seduce men without understanding? Verily God directed not unjust people.
∥ (145) Say, I find not in that which hath been revealed unto me anything forbidden unto the eater, that he eat it not, except it be that which dieth of itself, or blood poured forth, or swine’s flesh; for this is an abomination: or that which is profane, having been slain in the name of some other than of God. But whoso shall be compelled by necessity to eat of these things, not lusting, nor wilfully transgressing, verily thy Lordwill be gracious unto him and merciful. (146) Unto the Jews did we forbid every beast having an undivided hoof; and of bullocks and sheep, we forbade them the fat of both; except that which should be on their backs, or their inwards, or which should be intermixed with the bone. This have we rewarded them with, because of their iniquity; and we are surely speakers of truth. (147) If they accuse thee of imposture, say, Your Lord is endued with extensive mercy; but his severity shall not be averted from wicked people. (148) The idolaters will say, If God had pleased, we had not been guilty of idolatry, neither our fathers; and pretend that we have not forbidden them anything. Thus did they who were before them accuse the prophets of imposture, until they tasted our severe punishment. Say, Is there with you any certain knowledge of what ye allege, that ye may produce it unto us? Ye follow only a false imagination; and ye utter only lies. (149) Say, therefore, Unto Godbelongeth the most evident demonstration; for if he had pleased, he had directed you all. (150) Say, Produce your witnesses, who can bear testimony that God hath forbidden this. But if they bear testimony of this, do not thou bear testimony with them, nor do thou follow the desires of those who accuse our signs of falsehood, and who believe not in the life to come, and equalise idols with their Lord.
∥ (151) Say, Come; I will rehearse that which your Lord hath forbidden you; that is to say, that ye be not guilty of idolatry, and that ye show kindness to your parents, and that ye murder not your children for fear lest ye be reduced to poverty; we will provide for you and them; and draw not near unto heinous crimes, neither openly nor in secret; and slay not the soul which God hath forbidden you to slay, unless for a just cause. This hath he enjoined you that ye may understand. (152) And meddle not with the substance of the orphan, otherwise than for the improving thereof, until he attain his age of strength: and use a full measure, and a just balance. We will not impose a task on any soul beyond its ability. And when ye pronounce judgment observe justice, although it be for or against one who is near of kin, and fulfil the covenant of God. This hath God commanded you, that ye may be admonished; (153) and that ye may know that this is my right way: therefore follow it, and follow not the path of others, lest ye be scattered from the path of God. This hath he commanded you, that ye may take heed. (154) We gave also unto Moses the book of the law; a perfect rule unto him who should do right, and a determination concerning all things needful, and a direction and mercy; that the children of Israel might believe the meeting of their Lord.
∥ (155) And this book which we have now sent down is blessed; therefore follow it, and fear God that ye may obtain mercy: (156) lest ye should say, The scriptures were only sent down unto two people before us; and we neglected to peruse them with attention: (157) or lest ye should say, If a book of divine revelations had been sent down unto us, we should surely have been better directed than they. And now hath a manifest declaration come unto you from your Lord, and a direction and mercy: and who is more unjust than he who deviseth lies against the signs of God, and turneth aside from them? We will reward those who turn aside from our signs with a grievous punishment, because they have turned aside. (158) Do they wait for any other than that the angels should come unto them, to part their souls from heir bodies, or that thy Lord should come to punish them; or that some of the signs of thy Lord should come to pass, showing the day of judgment to be at hand? On the day whereon some of thy Lord’s signs shall come to pass, its faith shall not profit a soul which believed not before, or wrought not good in its faith. Say, Wait ye for this day; we surely do wait for it.(159) They who make a division in their religion and become sectaries, have thou nothing to do with them; their affair belongeth only unto God. Hereafter shall he declare unto them that which they have done. (160) He who shall appear with good works shall receive a tenfold recompense for the same; but he who shall appear with evil works shall receive only an equal punishment for the same; and they shall not be treated unjustly. (161) Say, Verily my Lord hath directed me into a right way, (162) a true religion, the sect of Abraham the orthodox; and he was no idolater. (163) Say, Verily my prayers, and my worship, and my life, and my death are dedicated unto God, the Lord of all creatures: he hath no companion. This have I been commanded: I am the first Muslim. (164) Say, Shall I desire any other Lord besides God? since he is the Lord of all things; and no soul shall acquire any merits or demerits but for itself; and no burdened soul shall bear the burden of another. Moreover, unto your Lord shall ye return; and he shall declare unto you that concerning which ye now dispute. (165) It is he who hath appointed you to succeed your predecessors in the earth, and hath raised some of you above others by various degrees of worldly advantages, that he might prove you by that which he hath bestowed on you. Thy Lord is swift in punishing; and he is also gracious and merciful.
[* ]Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p. 268, note.
[(1) ]Darkness and the light. Literally, darknesses and the light, from which form some commentators infer that by darknesses is intended the many false religions, and by light the one true faith of Islám. These make God to be the author of evil as well as good. See the Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco.
[(2) ]The term, &c. “By the last term some understand the time of the resurrection. Others think that by the first term is intended the space between creation and death, and by the latter that between death and the resurrection.”—Sale.
[(3) ]He knoweth, &c. The omniscience of God is here very forcibly expressed. The speaker is, according to Muslim faith, God, and the passage should be introduced by Say (see note on chap. i.) These words are addressed to the unbelievers mentioned in ver. 1.
[(5) ]A message shall come. Coming destruction, either in this world or the world to come, is here suggested. Some refer it to the final success of Islám, which is here predicted.
[(6) ]Many generations. Sale thinks the ancient tribes of Ád and Thámúd are here referred to. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 20-22.
[(7) ]A book written on paper. The Qurán being repeated piecemeal to the people, according to the circumstances or necessities of the Prophet, it was very natural they should regard the whole as the composition of Muhammad himself. The Tafsír-i-Raufi relates that three chiefs of the Quraishcame to Muhammad saying they would not believe him to be a prophet, or his Qurán to be from God, unless four angels were to descend from heaven with a written book and testify to his apostleship. It was then that this passage was revealed. This story, however, does not fit on to the passage well, and must be regarded as an invention of the commentators, the chief incidents being suggested by the passage itself. It is, however, sufficiently clear that the Quraish did not see anything sufficiently miraculous in the style of the Qurán to convince them of its heavenly origin.
[(8) ]Unless an angel. Muhammad claimed to have received the Qurán from Gabriel. This is probably the angel referred to here, the Quraish having claimed the right to see the angel-visitor of their townsman before believing in his prophetic pretensions.
[(9) ]The form of a man. Had the angels appeared to the Quraish, they would have appeared as men, therefore there would have been nothing more convincing in the appearance of the heavenly messengers than in that of a human being who was a prophet. Sale observes that Gabriel always appeared to Muhammad in human form, because even a prophet could not bear the sight of an angel in his proper form.
[(10) ]Other apostles . . . laughed to scorn. This illustrates the kind of argument used by Muhammad at Makkah. He was a prophet of God because he said so, the inimitable Qurán being witness. The very fact that unbelievers scoffed at him and his message was an additional argument, for so were all prophets treated. Not a word is said of miracles, for there were none. Nor is there any allusion to the testimony of former prophets as applying to him, all such passages belonging to the Madína chapters. How very different all this from the conduct of the true prophets!
[(11) ]Go through the earth, &c. See note on chap. iii. 137.
[(12) ]He hath prescribed unto himself mercy. Literally, he hath written upon his being mercy. He delights in mercy, and when unbelievers are condemned and punished, it is owing to their having destroyed themselves. It is plain that with passages like this before them, Muhammadans may fairly claim that they do not deny the freedom of the human will while holding to the absolute sovereignty of God. But see note on chap. iii. 155.
[(14) ]The first. “That is, the first of my nation.”—Sale.
[(19) ]What is . . . strongest . . . in testimony. “This passage was revealed when the Quraish told Muhammad that they had asked the Jews and Christians concerning him, who assured them they found no mention or description of him in their books of Scripture. “Therefore,” said they, “who bear witness to thee that thou art the apostle of God?”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(20) ]They unto whom we have given the Scriptures, &c., i.e., the Jews at Makkah. Muir thinks the Jews were at this time inclined to respect the prophetic claims of Muhammad (Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p. 184). See also note on chap. ii. 147.
[(21) ]A lie against God. “Saying the angels are the daughters of God, and intercessors for us with him,” &c.—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(22) ]Your companions, i.e., “your idols and false gods.”—Sale.
[(23) ]Flieth from them. “Their imaginary deities prove to be nothing, and disappear like vain phantoms and chimeras.”—Sale.
[(24) ]Silly fables. This no doubt referred to the numerous stories, learned from Jewish, Arab, and Magian tradition, with which the Qurán abounds. Such statements serve to show that there was nothing in the style or matter of the Qurán to impress the people with its miraculous character. Sale says, on the authority of Baidháwi, that the persons referred to in this verse were Abu Sufián, Walíd, Nudhár, Utbá, Abu Jahl, and their comrades. These having listened to Muhammad repeating the Qurán, Nudhár was asked what he said. He replied with an oath that he knew not, only that he moved his tongue and told a parcel of foolish stories, as he had done to them.
[(25) ]They will forbid, &c. They will neither accept of Islám themselves, nor permit others to do so. Some refer the passage to Abu Tálib, Muhammad’s uncle and protector, who, though forbidding the enemies of his nephew from injuring him, yet declined to accept Islám. See Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(27) ]Become manifest, i.e, “their hypocrisy and vile actions; nor does their promise proceed from any sincere intention of amendment, but from the anguish and misery of their condition.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(28) ]No other life, &c. The ideas of the future life attributed to the Quraish here were such as are still prevalent among idolaters. As Paul’s doctrine of the resurrection and judgment was foolishness to the Greeks, so was the same doctrine regarded by the idolaters of Makkah. The astonishment of these unbelievers at the resurrection day is very graphically set forth in what follows.
[(30) ]The hour. “The last day is here called the hour, as it is in Scripture (1 John v. 25, &c.); and thepreceding expression of meeting God on that day is also agreeable to the same (1 Thess. iv. 17).”—Sale.
[(31) ]The future mansion shall be better, because there remain for the faithful other delights which shall never fail.—Tafsír-i-Raufi. Compare chap. ii. 25.
[(32) ]Not . . . thee . . . but . . . God. “That is, it is not thou but God whom they injure by their impious gainsaying of what has been revealed to thee. It is said that Abu Jahl once told Muhammad that they did not accuse him of falsehood, because he was known to be a man of veracity, but only they did not believe the revelations which he brought them: which occasioned this passage.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(33) ]Apostles before thee, &c. See note on chap. iii. 185.
[(34) ]A den . . . or a ladder. The Quraish had demanded a sign, and Muhammad, according to the commentators, was anxious to gratify their wish, in the hope they would believe. But he is here reproved by the declaration that these unbelievers would not believe even were they to witness the very miracles they demanded of him, and by the assurance that they were infidels only because God had not been pleased to bring them into the true way. The passage is one among many proof texts to show that Muhammad did not work miracles.
[(35) ]Those only who shall hearken. The Tafsír-i-Raufi says the infidels are as the dead: they cannot hear. Hence God will not hearthem. And yet, though dead, God will raise them to life, and they shall hear, but then it will be too late to avail them for good.
[(36) ]But . . . know not that such a sign would probably result in their destruction; for it is the command of God that if any one, having demanded a sign, refuse to believe, he shall be utterly destroyed.—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(37) ]A people like unto you. “Being created and preserved by the same omnipotence and providence as ye are.”—Sale. They will also be brought into judgment. See Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco and Prelim. Disc., p. 146.
[(38) ]See note on chap. iii. 185.
[(39, 40) ]See notes above on vers. 22-27.
[(41-44) ]We afflicted them. The effect of which was to harden them, implying that the prosperity of the Quraish indicated God’s mercy. And yet, when God, willing to show kindness to other nations, opened unto them the gates of all things by prospering them in worldly things, as he now was prospering the people of Makkah, and they continued unmindful of both judgments and mercies, sudden destruction came upon them. The allusion here is to the dealing of God with the children of Israel. The reading of the passage suggests Prov. i. 24-33; Isa. lxvi. 3, 4, &c.
[(46) ]See how variously, &c. “Laying them before you in different views, and making use of arguments and motives drawn from various considerations.”—Sale.
[(48) ]Whoso shall accuse our signs, &c. This phrase has occurred no less than five times before in this chapter, vers. 11, 21, 26, 32, and 38. This illustrates Muhammad’s anxiety to remove this stigma from himself. Strange to say, this persistency of Muhammad in asserting his claim to be a true prophet is regarded by some writers as conclusive proof that he was not an impostor. But surely, granting the false assumption to have been once made, there could be no other course open to him, excepting retraction and disgrace. Besides, impostors have never been noted for anything more than for their audacity and impudent self-assertion, e.g., Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet. The false prophet of Islám and rival of Muhammad, Musailama, persisted in his claim to the very last—yea, died in defence of his claim.
[(49) ]I say not unto you, &c. In ver. 34 Muhammad was denied the power of working miracles. Here he declares himself unacquainted with the “secrets of God,” literally hidden things, by which he confesses that he does not possess the gift of prophecy. How different the claim of Jesus! John viii. 38, 42; x. 15, 30, 37, &c.
[(50) ]No patron nor intercessor. This passage is directly contradictory to the doctrine of Muslims, that Muhammad will intercede for his followers on the judgment-day. See notes on chap. ii. 47, 123, and 254.
[(51) ]Drive not away, &c. “These words were occasioned when the Quraish desired Muhammad not to admit the poor or more inferior people, such as Ammár, Suhaib, Ḳhubbáb, and Salmán, into his company, pretending that then they would come and discourse with him; but he refusing to turn away any believers, they insisted at least that he should order them to rise up and withdraw when they came, which he agreed to do. Others say that the chief men of Makkah expelled all the poor out of their city, bidding them go to Muhammad, which they did, and offered to embrace his religion; but he made some difficulty to receive them, suspecting their motive to be necessity, and not real conviction, whereupon this passage was revealed.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(52) ]Proved some part . . . by other part. “That is to say, the noble by those of mean extraction, and the rich by the poor, in that God chose to call the latter to the faith by the former.”—Sale, Baidháwi, &c.
[(53) ]Say, Peace be upon you. See chap. iv. 85, note.
[(55) ]This verse suggests the thought that Muhammad may have been tempted to make a compromise with the idolatry of the Kaabah. May he not have been urged to do so by some of his friends? Or the passage may belong to a period subsequent to the temporary lapse of the prophet, referred to in chap. xxii. 53 and 54.
[(56) ]That which ye desire, &c. “This passage is an answer to the audacious defiances of the infidels, who bade Muhammad, if he were a true prophet, to call for a shower of stones from heaven, or some other sudden and miraculous punishment, to destroy them.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(57) ]The matter had been determined by the judgment of God upon your impiety, and the bestowal of the punishment which ye have challenged.—Tafsír-i-Raufi. The fierce reply intended, according to Baidháwi’s interpretation, is premature. That spirit was not yet manifested.
[(58) ]The perspicuous book. The Preserved Table, or Luh-i-Mahfúz. See note on ver. 37. This verse, with the three following it, very graphically sets forth the omniscience and omnipresence of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe. Compare with Job xxxviii. 1-14; Ps. l. 10-12, and Ps. cxxxix. 1-16.
[(59) ]Causeth you to sleep. Literally taketh up your souls, sleep being regarded as the sister of Death
[(60) ]Guardian angels. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 118-120.
[(61) ]He is quick. See Prelim. Disc., p. 137.
[(62) ]The darkness. The word is in the plural number, and means dangers or distresses. See also note on ver. 1.
[(63) ]Afterwards ye gave him companions. In distress they called on God, and so recognised him as the only Preserver; but in prosperity they turned away from him to their idols.
[(64) ]A punishment from above. “That is, by storms from heaven, as he destroyed the unbelieving people of Noah and of Lot, and the army of Abráhá, the lord of the elephant.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(66) ]Every prophecy hath its fixed time. The word translated prophecy means news, thing, word, and the passage means that everything has a fixed time for its accomplishment; that is, there is a time for those who oppose the messengers of God and who blaspheme to receive their just punishment.
[(67) ]Depart from them. The infidels having begun to mock the Muslims whenever they found them repeating the Qurán in their company, the order was given to withdraw from them whenever they should begin to laugh or jest.—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(68) ]Not at all accountable. “And therefore need not be troubled at the indecent and impious talk of the infidels, provided they take care not to be infected by them. When the preceding passage was revealed, the Muslims told their prophet that if they were obliged to rise up whenever the idolaters spoke irreverently of the Qurán, they could never sit quietly in the temple nor perform their devotions there; whereupon these words were added.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(69) ]A sport and a jest, i.e., by worshipping idols, consecrating sacred animals, as Bahaira, Sáhiba, &c.—Tafsír-i-Raufi. See a similar passage in chap. v. 62.
[(71) ]Boiling water. See chap. ii. 38, note.
[(72) ]The stated times of prayer. See note on chap. ii. 38.
[(74) ]The trumpet, &c. See Prelim. Disc., p. 135.
[(75) ]Ázar. “This is the name which the Muhammadans give to Abraham’s father, named in Scripture Terah. However, some of their writers pretend that Ázar was the son of Terah, and D’Herbelot says that the Arabs always distinguish them in their genealogies as different persons; but that because Abraham was the son of Terah according to Moses, it is therefore supposed (by European writers) that Terah is the same with the Ázar of the Arabs. How true this observation may be in relation to some authors, I cannot say, but I am sure it cannot be true of all; for several Arab and Turkish writers (Baidháwi, Yahya, &c.) expressly make Ázar and Terah the same person. Ázar, in ancient times, was the name of the planet Mars, and the month of March was so called by the most ancient Persians; for the word originally signifying fire (as it still does), it was therefore given by them and the Chaldeans to that planet, which partaking, as was supposed, of a fiery nature, was acknowledged by the Chaldeans and Assyrians as a god or planetary deity, whom in old times they worshipped under the form of a pillar: whence Ázar became a name among the nobility, who esteemed it honourable to be denominated from their gods, and is found in the composition of several Babylonish names. For these reasons a learned author supposes Ázar to have been the heathen name of Terah, and that the other was given him on his conversion (Hyde de Rel. Vet. Persar.) Al Baidháwi confirms this conjecture, saying that Ázar was the name of the idol which he worshipped. It may be observed that Abraham’s father is also called Zarah in the Talmud, and Athar by Eusebius.”—Sale.
[(76) ]Abraham. The story of Abraham as told in the writings of the Muslims is embellished by much that is of a miraculous character. The king, Nimrod, having had a dream of a wonderful child being born who should destroy his idols, commanded all the male children to be slain. The mother of Abraham, without exhibiting the usual signs of pregnancy, brought forth her son in a cave outside of Babylon, and hiding him there, informed her husband that she had had a child, but that he was dead and buried. The next day she repaired to the cave and found her son sucking his thumbs, and to her surprise she discovered that milk flowed from one thumb and honey from the other. In fifteen months Abraham had grown from childhood to the size and maturity of a boy of fifteen years. His mother then informed her husband of her deception, and took him to the cave to see his son. Ázar was delighted, and immediately determined to present him to the king, which he could do with safety, seeing he would appear to have been born many years before the cruel edict went forth. The child, however, soon began to show his reverence for the true God and his contempt for idolatry. One day he asked his mother, “Who is your protector?” She replied, “Your father.” Said he, “Who is my father’s protector?” to which his mother replied, “Nimrod.” “And who is Nimrod’s protector?” said Abraham. His mother, being affrighted, said, “Stop now; you must not ask such questions; it is dangerous to do so.” And so the story goes. See Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco.
[(77-84) ]This is my Lord, &c. “Since Abraham’s parents were idolaters, it seems to be a necessary consequence that himself was one also in his younger years; the Scripture not obscurely intimates as much (Josh. xxiv. 2, 14); and the Jews themselves acknowledge it (Joseph. Ant., lib. i. c. 7). At what age he came to the knowledge of the true God and left idolatry, opinions are various. Some Jewish writers tell us he was then but three years old, and the Muhammadans likewise suppose him very young, and that he asked his father and mother several shrewd questions when a child. Others, however, allow him to have been a middle-aged man at that time. Maimonides, in particular, and R. Abraham Zacuth think him to have been forty years old, which age is also mentioned in the Qurán. But the general opinion of the Muhammadans is, that he was about fifteen or sixteen. As the religion wherein Abraham was educated was the Sabian, which consisted chiefly in the worship of the heavenly bodies (Prelim. Disc., sect. i.), he is introduced examining their nature and properties, to see whether they had a right to the worship which was paid them or not; and the first which he observed was the planet Venus, or, as others (Baidháwi) will have it, Jupiter. This method of Abraham’s attaining to the knowledge of the Supreme Creator of all things is conformable to what Josephus writes, viz., that he drew his notions from the changes which he had observed in the earth and the sea, and in the sun and the moon, and the rest of the celestial bodies; concluding that they were subject to the command of a superior power, to whom alone all honour and thanks are due. The story itself is certainly taken from the Talmud. Some of the commentators, however, suppose this reasoning of Abraham with himself was not the first means of his conversion, but that he used it only by way of argument to convince the idolaters among whom he then lived.”—Sale.
[(85) ]The order in which Muhammad has here recited the names of the “prophets” indicates his ignorance of history, and clearly shows that he did not have access to the written Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. Of twenty-five prophets mentioned in the Qurán, eighteen are named here.
[(86) ]Zacharias, like Aaron in the preceding verse and Ismaíl in the one following, is numbered among the prophets, contrary to the teaching of the Bible. It is rather remarkable that Ismaíl is placed at the end of the catalogue of the successors of Abraham. This is probably due to the change of attitude towards the Jews, which took place after the Hijra, from which time it became the policy of Muhammad to exalt Ismaíl, in order to please the Arabs. Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, is probably confounded with the prophet of the same name.
[(87) ]Elisha, i.e., the son of Shaphat, whom the commentators say was the son of Aḳhtúb.—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(88) ]Their fathers, &c. This verse strengthens the statement under ver. 85. Muhammad had forgotten the names of other prophets of whom he had heard, and accordingly the spirit of his inspiration makes this very general statement. See also note on chap. iii. 34.
[(89) ]Guilty of idolatry. See note on chap. iv. 46.
[(90) ]If these believe not. Baidháwi makes these words to refer to the Quraish. They, however, agree with the teaching of the Bible in regard to the Jews, to whom they may very well refer. See Rodwell’s translation. This passage may be quoted to show that the Scriptures of the former prophets were extant in Muhammad’s day, and that they were not only genuine, but that Jewish unbelief was incapable of corrupting them. They would be committed to the care of another people.
[(91) ]An admonition unto all creatures, i.e., the direction given to all the prophets, and now declared by Muhammad to be the teaching of God for all men. We see here the theory of a universal Islám already present in Muhammad’s mind. See chap. ii. 193.
[(92) ]They make not a due estimation of God. “That is, they know him not truly, nor have just notions of his goodness and mercy towards man. The persons here meant, according to some commentators, are the Jews, and according to others the idolaters (Baidháwi).
[(93) ]This book . . . confirming, &c. See note on chap. ii. 90.
[(94) ]This was revealed unto me, &c. “Falsely pretending to have received revelations from him, as did Musailama, al Aswad, al Ansi, and others, or doing as did Abdullah Ibn Saad Ibn Abi Sarah, who for some time was the Prophet’s amanuensis, and when these words were dictated to him as revealed, viz., ‘We created man of a purer kind of clay,’ &c. (chap. xxiii. 12-14), cried out, by way of admiration, ‘Blessed be God the best Creator!’ and being ordered by Muhammad to write these words down also as part of the inspired passage, began to think himself as great a prophet as his master. Whereupon he took upon himself to corrupt and alter the Qurán according to his own fancy, and at length apostatising, was one of the ten who were proscribed at the taking of Makkah (Prelim. Disc., p. 93), and narrowly escaped with life on his recantation, by the interposition of Othmán Ibn Affán, whose foster-brother he was.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(95) ]Alone, i.e., “without your wealth, your children, or your friends, which ye so much depended on in your lifetime.”—Sale.
[(96-102) ]This passage sets forth God as the all-wise, powerful, and merciful Creator, everywhere manifesting himself in nature, and therefore worthy of the worship and honour which was bestowed by the idolaters upon the mere creature. It is one of the most elevated and beautiful passages in this chapter. We learn from it the power which the preacher of Makkah exerted in opposition to the idolatry of his countrymen—the power of truth against falsehood.
[(96) ]The living from the dead, &c. Compare with chap. iii. 27. He bringeth forth life from the seed or the egg.
[(98) ]The land. Literally, of the wilderness or desert, in traversing which the stars serve the Arab in the same way as they do the mariner. They worshipped the stars, but forgot the God who made them.
[(99) ]One soul. Adam. The unity of the human race is here recognised.
[(101) ]The genii. “This signifies properly the genus of rational invisible beings, whether angels, devils, or that intermediate species usually called genii. Some of the commentators, therefore, in this place, understand the angels whom the pagan Arabs worshipped; and others the devils, either because they became their servants by adoring idols at their instigation, or else because, according to the Magian system, they looked on the devil as a sort of creator, making him the author and principle of all evil, and God the author of good only.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(102) ]How should he have issue, &c. This passage was directed against the Makkah idolaters, but is commonly quoted against the doctrine of the sonship of Christ. See note, chap. n. 116.
[(103) ]The sight comprehendeth him not, &c. Literally, the eyes cannot find him, and he findeth the eyes. So the Urdu and Persian translations.
[(104) ]Evident demonstrations. Not only the testimony to God in his own works, alluded to above, but also the signs of the Qurán.
[(105) ]Thou hast studied diligently. “That is, thou hast been instructed by the Jews and Christians in these matters, and only retailest to us what thou hast learned of them. For this the infidels objected to Muhammad, thinking it impossible for him to discourse on subjects of so high a nature, and in so clear and pertinent a manner, without being well versed in the doctrines and sacred writings of those people.”—Sale.
[(107) ]A keeper . . . a guardian. A similar expression occurs in ver. 104. The purport of the saying is that God has chosen some and rejected others, and that he had not sent the Prophet to be a keeper or guardian to any of those who had been given over to reprobation. These would not believe, having been blinded and hardened. See vers. 110-113 below.
[(108) ]Revile not the idols. The Quraish had declared that unless the Muslims should cease reviling their idols they would revile the name of God.—Tafsír-i-Raufi. The passage belongs to the period when Muhammad finally broke with the Quraish, having come to look upon them as rejected of God. He requires his followers to separate from them (ver. 106), and here they are commanded to abstain from aggressive action, seeing nothing would come of it but that the name of God would be reviled. The attitude of the Muslims towards them was to be one of passive defiance and conscious superiority. This passage is regarded as now abrogated. Certainly it never has been acted upon by the Muhammadans since the rise of Muslim power in the world.
[(109) ]Signs are in the power of God alone. “In this passage Muhammad endeavours to excuse his inability of working a miracle, as had been demanded of him; declaring that God did not think fit to comply with their desires; and that it he had so thought fit, yet it had been in vain, because if they were not convinced by the Qurán, they would not be convinced by the greatest miracle.”—Sale.
[(111) ]Though we had sent down angels, &c. “For the Makkans required that Muhammad should either show them an angel descending from heaven in their sight, or raise their dead fathers, that they might discourse with them, or prevail on God and his angels to appear to them in a body.”—Sale.
[(112) ]An enemy; the devils, &c. The enemy of the prophets referred to here is not Satan, but a demon (the original is Sháyátín, devils). These are the devils of men and the genii. Some think that the infidels are referred to under this appellation. But it seems far more reasonable to suppose the allusion to be to evil spirits. The meaning, then, is that every prophet is beset by an evil spirit, whose evil suggestions must be distinguished from those of the Angel Gabriel The word translated privately suggest is the same which is translated revelation (wahí). We know that Muhammad did on one occasion confess to having been deceived by a revelation of the devil. See notes on chap. liii. 19, 20.
[(113) ]Let the hearts . . . be inclined thereto, i.e., their idolatry and obstinate unbelief are due to the influence of devils, wherefore withdraw from them and permit them to be subject to these influences, and so allow them to obtain the reward of their evil-doing.
[(114) ]The book distinguishing. See notes on chap. iii. 3. This is all the miracle required by those who believe.
[(115) ]None who can change his words. “Some interpret this of the immutability of God’s decree, and the certainty of his threats and promises, others, of his particular promise to preserve the Qurán from any such alterations or corruptions as they imagine to have happened to the Pentateuch and the Gospel (Prelim. Disc., sect. iv.), and others, of the unalterable duration of the Muhammadan law, which they hold is to last till the end of the world, there being no other prophet, law, or dispensation to be expected after it.”
[(116) ]An opinion only, “imagining that the true religion was that which their idolatrous ancestors professed.”—Sale.
[(118-121) ]See notes on chap. ii. 174, and chap. v. 4-6. The Tafsír-i-Raufi gives the opinion of some commentators that the flesh of animals which have died without being slaughtered is here specially referred to. The heathen Arabs had endeavoured to persuade some of the Muslims to eat of such flesh, on the ground that if what was slaughtered by man was allowable for food, much more that which was killed by God! The reply of the Prophet is that nothing but necessity would make such flesh lawful for food. Rodwell thinks these verses should follow ver. 153; but such misplacement of passages is very common.
[(121) ]Devils will suggest. See note on ver. 112.
[(122) ]Sale says the persons alluded to in this verse “were Hamza, Muhammad’s uncle, and Abu Jahl; others, instead of Hamza, name Omar or Ammár.” But there is no need of giving the passage any more special reference than that there is infinite difference between a believer and an infidel.
[(123) ]Leaders of the wicked, as Pharaoh, Nimrod, and others (Abdul Qádir). Others refer the passage to the influential leaders of the opposition to Muhammad in tribes other than the Quraish.
[(124) ]A sign, i.e., a verse of the Qurán.
[(125) ]Whomsoever God shall please to direct. This verse makes a man’s salvation to depend solely on the will of God. Muslims are such because God has opened their hearts to Islám, and the infidels are lost because God has rendered them as incapable of believing as they are of ascending up to heaven He leads them into error in order to inflict upon them a terrible punishment
[(128) ]A company of genii. See vers. 101 and 112, with notes.
[(130) ]Messengers from among yourselves. “It is the Muhammadan belief that apostles were sent by God for the conversion both of genii and of men; being generally of human race (as Muhammad, in particular, who pretended to have a commission to preach to both kinds); according to this passage, it seems there must have been prophets of the race of genii also, though their mission be a secret to us.”—Sale.
[(131) ]Would not destroy, &c. These cities are evidently the same mentioned in ver. 123. The doctrine taught here is that God sends a messenger to every people to warn and instruct them in his way, which, according to the Qurán, is Islám. He could not justly punish them, says the Tafsír-i-Raufi, unless he should first send them a prophet.
[(132) ]Degrees of recompense. The rewards of the wicked, as well as of the righteous, shall be in proportion to their light and privilege. This principle of justice seems to be clearly enunciated here.
[(133) ]Self-sufficient, literally one rich or wealthy, needing not the help of others.
[(135) ]Verily I will act. “That is, ye may proceed in your rebellion against God and your malice towards me, and be confirmed in your infidelity; but I will persevere to bear your insults with patience, and to publish those revelations which God has commanded me.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(136) ]This belongeth unto God, &c. The commentators say the idolaters divided the produce of their fields and flocks into two parts, one for God and one for the idols, or rather inferior deities, called here and throughout this passage companions. Should the portion of God prove greater at the time of harvest, they changed the portions, giving the largest portion to the gods, saying that the Almighty God was not in need of so much as the poorer gods.
[(137) ]To slay their children. “Either by that inhuman custom, which prevailed among those of Kindah and some other tribes, of burying their daughters alive so soon as they were born, if they apprehended they could not maintain them; or else by offering them to their idols, at the instigation of those who had the custody of their temples.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(138) ]Who we please. “That is, those who serve our idols, and are of the male sex; for the women were not allowed to eat of them.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(139) ]That which, &c. “That is, the fœtus or embryos of the Bahaíra and the Sáiba (chap. v. 102) which shall be brought forth alive.”—Sale.
[(140) ]See note on ver. 137.
[(141) ]Supported . . . and not supported, or cultivated fruit-trees and vines, and those which grow wild.
[(142) ]Follow not the steps of Satan, i.e., by observing the idolatrous customs referred to above.
[(143, 144) ]Four pair. Alluding to the four classes of sacred animals. See chap. v. 102, and note.
[(145) ]See note on ver. 118. There is no contradiction of chap. v. 2-6, as Brinckman and others suppose. This includes all kinds of flesh specified there.
[(146) ]Except that . . . on their backs. This passage contradicts the teaching of the Mosaic law. Compare Levit. iii. 9-11 and 17, with vii. 23-25.
[(148) ]The idolaters will say, &c. Yet this is just what the Qurán teaches in the next verse! The same doctrine is taught in vers. 125 and 137 of this chapter. See notes there. The idolaters justified their idolatry on this ground.
[(150) ]If they bear testimony, &c. In the beginning of this verse the Quraish are challenged to bring testimony to prove that God had forbidden the flesh of the sacred animals, Bahaira, Sáiba, &c. Here Muhammad is told not to believe the testimony even if produced in answer to the challenge! One would think a challenge under such circumstances was scarcely worth putting forth.
[(151) ]See notes on ver. 137. Sale says, “This and the two following verses Jaláluddín supposes to have been revealed at Madína.” The requirements certainly belong to a date later than the Hijra.
[(152) ]The substance of the orphan. See notes on chap. iv. 2-5.
[(154) ]Rodwell thinks the abruptness with which this passage is introduced predicates a lost passage preceding this. It, however, simply illustrates the crudeness of the work wrought by the compilers of the Qurán.
[(156) ]And we neglected to peruse them. Abdul Qádir translates, “and we did not know to read and to teach them:” or, as Muir translates, “but we are unable to read in their language” (Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p. 68, note). Muir conjectures that Muhammad was led to make the prophetic claim by thoughts suggested by the objections of his townsmen in language like the following:—“It is well for Jews and Christians to follow the purer faith thou speakest of. They, we know, have had prophets bringing them a message of the will of God Let us be content with the light our Maker hath given unto us, and remain as we are. If a prophet had been sent unto us, we should no doubt have followed his directions, and been equally devout and spiritual in our worship as the Jews and Christians.” See whole discussion given at reference already quoted.
[(157) ]Better directed than they. “Because of the acuteness of our wit, the clearness of our understanding, and our facility of learning sciences, as appears from our excelling in history, poetry, and oratory, notwithstanding we are illiterate people.”—Sale, Baidháwi. A nice bit of Arab conceit.
[(158) ]Signs of thy Lord. “Al Baidháwi, from a tradition of Muhammad, says that ten signs will precede the last day, viz., the smoke, the beast of the earth, an eclipse in the east, another in the west, and a third in the peninsula of Arabia, the appearance of Antichrist, the sun’s rising in the west, the eruption of Gog and Magog, the descent of Jesus on earth, and fire shall break forth from Aden.”—Sale. See also Prelim. Disc., sect. iv. p. 62.
[(159) ]Sectaries. “That is, who believe in part of it and disbelieve other parts of it, or who form schisms therein. Muhammad is reported to have declared that the Jews were divided into seventy-one sects, and the Christians into seventy-two; and that his own followers would be split into seventy-three sects; and that all of them would be damned except only one of each.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(162) ]The sect of Abraham the orthodox. See note on chap. iii. 95, and chap. iv. 124.
[(163) ]Verily my prayers, &c. This entire consecration of self to the true God is what Muhammad here declares to be the religion of Islám.
[(164) ]No burdened soul, &c. “This was revealed in answer to the preceding instances of the idolaters, who offered to take the crime upon themselves if Muhammad would conform to their worship.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(165) ]Appointed you to succeed. The original word is ḳhalífah, which is applied to the successors of Muhammad.