Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER VII.: ENTITLED SURAT AL ARÁF (THE PARTITION WALL). Revealed at Makkah. - The Quran, vol. 2
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CHAPTER VII.: ENTITLED SURAT AL ARÁF (THE PARTITION WALL). 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 ARÁF (THE PARTITION WALL).
This chapter owes its title to the reference to the partition wall between heaven and hell in ver. 4, which is called al Aráf. It may be said to contain Muhammad’s vindication of his prophetic claims. Accordingly, it abounds with stories of the experiences of former prophets, and of the judgments that overtook those who refused to accept their doctrine and the signs of their prophetic authority. Even the most careless reader can hardly fail to see that all these prophets are facsimiles of Muhammad himself. Their character and authority, their message and accompanying claims to inspiration, the incredulity and hardness of heart shown by the tribes to whom they were sent, the consequent rejection of the prophets, and the threatenings of the sudden and dreadful judgments of God upon unbelievers, all these correspond to the experience of Muhammad; and the inference suggested by each story is that the rejection of the Prophet of Makkah would bring with it judgments on the Quraish similar to and dreadful as those which befell those tribes who rejected the former prophets.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
The allusion to a famine in ver. 95 (compare chap. x. 22, 23, and xxiii. 77-79), and a subsequent period of prosperity in ver. 96, together with the tone of the whole chapter, point to a period immediately preceding the Hijra as the date to which it should be assigned.
The only passages to be excepted are vers. 158-160, and 164-171. The former of these passages evidently belongs to Madína, as appears: (1) From the title, Illiterate Prophet, or Gentile Prophet, as contrasted with the prophets of Judaism and Christianity. This contrast points to Madína rather than to Makkah. (2.) From the expression the law and the gospel, which, as Nöeldeke points out, never occurs in other than Madína revelations. (3.) From the words and assist him, which certainly refer to the Ansárs or helpers of Madína; and (4.) From the fact that this passage breaks the thread of discourse at ver. 157, which is taken up again at ver. 161. This passage was probably added by Muhammad himself at Madína.
Most commentators agree. also, in referring vers. 164-171 to Madína. Nöeldeke, however, differs from them, and regards it as belonging to Makkah. When, however, it is remembered that Muhammad’s custom in the Qurán is to give the most detailed accounts of Jewish history and tradition in the earliest chapters containing such narratives, afterward alluding to the same stories with more or less brevity, it must be granted that this passage belongs to Madína, inasmuch as the substance of it is given at length in the early Madína chapters.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) A. L. M. S. (2) A book hath been sent down unto thee: and therefore let there be no doubt in thy breast concerning it; that thou mayest preach the same, and that it may be an admonition unto the faithful. (3) Follow that which hath been sent down unto you from your Lord: and follow no guides besides him: how little will ye be warned! (4) How many cities have we destroyed; which our vengeance overtook by night, or while they were reposing themselves at noon-day! (5) And their supplication, when our punishment came upon them, was no other than that they said, Verily we have been unjust. (6) We will surely call those to an account unto whom a prophet hath been sent; and we will also call those to account who have been sent unto them. (7) And we will declare their actions unto them with knowledge; for we are not absent from them.(8) The weighing of men’s actions on that day shall be just; and they whose balances laden with their good works shall be heavy, are those who shall be happy; (9) but they whose balances shall be light, are those who have lost their souls, because they injured our signs. (10) And now have we placed you on the earth, and have provided you food therein; but how little are ye thankful!
∥ (11) We created you, and afterwards formed you; and then said unto the angels, Worship Adam; and they all worshipped him, except Iblís, who was not one of those who worshipped. (12)God said unto him, What hindered thee from worshipping Adam, since I had commanded thee? He answered, I am more excellent than he: thou hast created me of fire, and hast created him of clay. (13) God said, Get thee down therefore from paradise; for it is not fit that thou behave thyself proudly therein: get thee hence; thou shalt be one of the contemptible. (14) He answered, Give me respite until the day of resurrection. (15)God said, Verily thou shalt be one of those who are respited. (16) The devil said, Because thou hast depraved me, I will lay wait for men in thy strait way; (17) then will I come upon them from before, and from behind, and from their right hands, and from their left; and thou shalt not find the greater part of them thankful. (18)God said unto him, Get thee hence, despised, and driven far away: (19) verily whoever of them shall follow thee, I will surely fill hell with you all.
∥ (20) But as for thee, O Adam, dwell thou and thy wife in paradise; and eat of the fruit thereof wherever ye will; but approach not this tree, lest ye become of the number of the unjust. (21) And Satan suggested to them both, that he would discover unto them their nakedness, which was hidden from them; and he said, Your Lord hath not forbidden you this tree for any other reason but lest ye should become angels, or lest ye become immortal. (22) And he sware unto them, saying, Verily, I am one of those who counsel you aright. (23) And he caused them to fall through deceit. And when they had tasted of the tree, their nakedness appeared unto them; and they began to join together the leaves of paradise, to cover themselves. And their Lord called to them, saying, Did I not forbid you this tree: and did I not say unto you, Verily Satan is your declared enemy? (24) They answered, O Lord, we have dealt unjustly with our own souls; and if thou forgive us not, and be not merciful unto us, we shall surely be of those who perish. (25)God said, Get ye down, the one of you an enemy unto the other; and ye shall have a dwelling-place upon the earth, and a provision for a season. (26) He said, Therein shall ye live, and therein shall ye die, and from thence shall ye be taken forth at the resurrection.
∥ (27) O children of Adam, we have sent down unto you apparel, to conceal your nakedness, and fair garments; but the clothing of piety is better. This is one of the signs of God; that peradventure ye may consider. (28) O children of Adam, let not Satan seduce you, as he expelled your parents out of paradise, by stripping them of their clothing, that he might show them their nakedness: verily he seeth you, both he and his companions, whereas ye see not them.—We have appointed the devils to be patrons of those who believe not: (29)(29) and when they commit a filthy action, they say, We found our fathers practising the same; and God hath commanded us to do it. Say, Verily God commandeth not filthy actions. Do ye speak concerning God that which ye know not? (30)(30) Say, My Lord hath commanded me to observe justice; therefore set your faces to pray at every place of worship, and call upon him, approving unto him the sincerity of your religion. As he produced you at first, so unto him shall ye return. (31) A part of mankind hath he directed; and a part hath been justly led into error, because they have taken the devils for their patrons besides God, and imagine they are rightly directed. (32)(32) O children of Adam, take your decent apparel at every place of worship, and eat and drink, but be not guilty of excess; for he loveth not those who are guilty of excess.
∥ (33)(33) Say, Who hath forbidden the decent apparel of God, which he hath produced for his servants, and the good things which he hath provided for food? Say, these things are for those who believe, in this present life, but peculiarly on the day of resurrection. Thus do we distinctly explain our signs unto people who understand. (34)(34) Say, Verily my Lord hath forbidden filthy actions, both that which is discovered thereof, and that which is concealed, and also iniquity and unjust violence; and hath forbidden you to associate with God that concerning which he hath sent you down no authority, or to speak of God that which ye know not. (35) Unto every nation there is a prefixed term; therefore when their term is expired, they shall not have respite for an hour, neither shall they be anticipated. (36) O children of Adam, verily apostles from among you shall come unto you, who shall expound my signs unto you: whosoever therefore shall fear God and amend, there shall come no fear on them, neither shall they be grieved. (37) But they who shall accuse our signs of falsehood, and shall proudly reject them, they shall be the companions of hell-fire; they shall remain therein for ever. (38)(38) And who is more unjust than he who deviseth a lie concerning God, or accuseth his signs of imposture? Unto these shall be given their portion of worldly happiness, according to what is written in the book of God’s decrees, until our messengers come unto them, and shall cause them to die; saying, Where are the idols which ye called upon besides God? They shall answer, They have disappeared from us. And they shall bear witness against themselves that they were unbelievers. (39)God shall say unto them at the resurrection, Enter ye with the nations which have preceded you, of genii and of men, into hell-fire; so often as one nation shall enter, it shall curse its sister, until they shall all have successively entered therein. The latter of them shall say of the former of them: O Lord, these have seduced us, therefore inflict on them a double punishment of the fire of hell. God shall answer, It shall be doubled unto all: but ye know it not: (40) and the former of them shall say unto the latter of them, Ye have not therefore any favour above us; taste the punishment for that which ye have gained.
∥ (41) Verily they who shall charge our signs with falsehood, and shall proudly reject them, the gates of heaven shall not be opened unto them, neither shall they enter into paradise, until a camel pass through the eye of a needle, and thus will we reward the wicked doers. (42) Their couch shall be in hell, and over them shall be coverings of fire; and thus will we reward the unjust. (43) But they who believe, and do that which is right (we will not load any soul but according to its ability), they shall be the companions of Paradise; they shall remain therein for ever. (44) And we will remove all grudges from their minds; rivers shall run at their feet, and they shall say, Praised be God, who hath directed us into this felicity! For we should not have been rightly directed if God had not directed us; now are we convinced by demonstration that the apostles of our Lord came unto us with truth. And it shall be proclaimed unto them, This is Paradise, whereof ye are made heirs as a reward for that which ye have wrought. (45) And the inhabitants of Paradise shall call out to the inhabitants of hell-fire, saying, Now have we found that which our Lord promised us to be true: have ye also found that which your Lord promised you to be true? They shall answer, Yea. And a crier shall proclaim between them, The curse of Godshall be on the wicked; (46) who turn men aside from the way of God, and seek to render it crooked, and who deny the life to come. (47) And between the blessed and the damned there shall be a veil; and men shall stand on Al Aráf who shall know every one of them by their marks; and shall call unto the inhabitants of paradise, saying, Peace be upon you: yet they shall not enter therein, although they earnestly desire it. (48) And when they shall turn their eyes towards the companions of hell-fire, they say, O Lord, place us not with the ungodly people!
∥ (49) And those who stand on Al Aráf shall call unto certain men, whom they shall know by their marks, and shall say, What hath your gathering of riches availed you, and that you were puffed up with pride? (50) Are these the men on whom you swear that God would not bestow mercy? Enter ye into Paradise; there shall come no fear on you, neither shall ye be grieved. (51) And the inhabitants of hell-fire shall call unto the inhabitants of Paradise, saying, Pour upon us some water, or of those refreshments which God hath bestowed on you. They shall answer, Verily God hath forbidden them unto the unbelievers, (52)(52) who made a laughing-stock and a sport of their religion, and whom the life of the world hath deceived: therefore this day will we forget them, as they did forget the meeting of this day, and for that they denied our signs to be from God.(53)(53) And now have we brought unto those of Makkah a book of divine revelations: we have explained it with knowledge; a direction and mercy unto people who shall believe. (54) Do they wait for any other than the interpretation thereof? On the day whereon the interpretation thereof shall come, they who had forgotten the same before shall say, Now are we convinced by demonstration that the messengers of our Lord came unto us with truth: shall we therefore have any intercessors, who will intercede for us? or shall we be sent back into the world, that we may do other works than what we did in our lifetime? But now have they lost their souls; and that which they impiously imagined hath fled from them.
∥ (55) Verily, your Lord is God, who created the heavens and the earth in six days; and then ascended his throne: he causeth the night to cover the day; it succeedeth the same swiftly: he also created the sun, and the moon, and the stars, which are absolutely subject unto his command. Is not the whole creation and the empire thereof his? Blessed be God, the Lord of all creatures! (56) Call unto your Lord humbly and in secret; for he loveth not those who transgress. (57) And act not corruptly in the earth after its reformation; and call upon him with fear and desire: for the mercy of God is near unto the righteous. (58) It is he who sendeth the winds, spread abroad before his mercy, until they bring a cloud heavy with rain, which we drive into a dead country; and we cause water to descend thereon, by which we cause all sorts of fruits to spring forth. Thus will we bring forth the dead from their graves; that peradventure ye may consider. (59) From a good country shall its fruit spring forth abundantly, by the permission of its Lord; but from the land which is bad it shall not spring forth otherwise than scarcely. Thus do we explain the signs of divine providence unto people who are thankful.
∥ (60) We formerly sent Noah unto his people: and he said, O my people, worship God: ye have no other God than him. Verily I fear for you the punishment of the great day. (61) The chiefs of his people answered him, We surely perceive thee to be in a manifest error. (62) He replied, O my people, there is no error in me; but I am a messenger from the Lord of all creatures. (63) I bring unto you the messages of my Lord; and I counsel you aright; for I know from God, that which ye know not. (64) Do ye wonder that an admonition hath come unto you from your Lord by a man from among you, to warn you, that ye may take heed to yourselves, and that peradventure ye may obtain mercy? (65) And they accused him of imposture: but we delivered him and those who were with him in the ark, and we drowned those who charged our signs with falsehood; for they were a blind people.
∥ (66) And unto the tribe of Ád we sent their brother Húd. He said, O my people, worship God: ye have no other God than him; will ye not fear him? (67) The chiefs of those among his people who believed not answered, Verily we perceive that thou art guided by folly; and we certainly esteem thee to be one of the liars. (68) He replied, O my people, I am not guided by folly; but I am a messenger unto you from the Lord of all creatures. (69) I bring unto you the messages of my Lord; and I am a faithful counsellor unto you. (70) Do ye wonder that an admonition hath come unto you from your Lord by a man from among you, that he may warn you? Call to mind how he hath appointed you successors unto the people of Noah, and hath added unto you in stature largely. Remember the benefits of God, that ye may prosper. (71) They said, Art thou come unto us, that we should worship God alone, and leave the deities which our fathers worshipped? Now bring down that judgment upon us with which thou threatenest us, if thou speakest truth. Húd answered, Now shall there suddenly fall upon you from your Lord vengeance and indignation. (72) Will ye dispute with me concerning the names which ye have named and your fathers, as to which God hath not revealed unto you any authority? (73) Do ye wait therefore, and I will be one of those who wait with you. And we delivered him, and them who believed with him, by our mercy; and we cut off the uttermost part of those who charged our signs with falsehood, and were not believers.
∥ (74) And unto the tribe of Thamúd we sent their brother Sálih. He said, O my people, worship God: ye have no God besides him. Now hath a manifest proof come unto you from your Lord. This she-camel of Godis a sign unto you: therefore dismiss her freely, that she may feed in God’s earth; and do her no hurt, lest a painful punishment seize you. (75) And call to mind how he hath appointed you successors unto the tribe of Ád, and hath given you a habitation on earth; ye build yourselves castles on the plains thereof, and cut out the mountains into houses. Remember therefore the benefits of God, and commit not violence in the earth, acting corruptly. (76) The chiefs among his people who were puffed up with pride, said unto those who were esteemed weak, namely, unto those who believed among them, Do ye know that Sálih hath been sent from his Lord? They answered, We do surely believe in that wherewith he hath been sent. (77) Those who were elated with pride replied, Verily we believe not in that wherein ye believe. (78) And they cut off the feet of the camel, and insolently transgressed the command of their Lord, and said, O Sálih, cause that to come upon us which thou hast threatened us, if thou art one of those who have been sent by God.(79) Whereupon a terrible noise from heaven assailed them; and in the morning they were found in their dwellings prostrate on their breasts and dead.(80) And Sâlih departed from them, and said, O my people, now have I delivered unto you the message of my Lord, and I advised you well, but ye love not those who advise you well. (81) And remember Lot, when he said unto his people, Do ye commit a wickedness wherein no creature hath sent you an example? (82) Do ye approach lustfully unto men, leaving the women? Certainly ye are people who transgress all modesty.(83) But the answer of his people was no other than that they said the one to the other, Expel them your city; for they are men who preserve themselves pure from the crimes which ye commit.(84) Therefore we delivered him and his family, except his wife; she was one of those who stayed behind: and we rained a shower of stones upon them. (85) Behold therefore what was the end of the wicked.
(86) And unto Madian we sent their brother Shuaib. He said unto them. O my people, worship God; ye have no God besides him. Now hath an evident demonstration come unto you from your Lord. Therefore give full measure and just weight, and diminish not unto men aught of their matters: neither act corruptly in the earth after its reformation. This will be better for you, if ye believe. (87) And beset not every way, threatening the passenger, and turning aside from the path of God him who believeth in him, and seeking to make it crooked. And remember, when ye were few and God multiplied you: and behold what hath been the end of those who acted corruptly. (88) And if part of you believe in that wherewith I am sent, and part believe not, wait patiently until God judge between us; for he is the best judge.
∥ (89) The chiefs of his people, who were elated with pride, answered, We will surely cast thee, O Shuaib, and those who believe with thee, out of our city: or else thou shalt certainly return unto our religion. He said, What! though we be averse thereto? (90) We shall surely imagine a lie against God if we return unto your religion, after that God hath delivered us from the same: and we have no reason to return unto it, unless God our Lord shall please to abandon us. Our Lord comprehendeth everything by his knowledge. In God do we put our trust. O Lord, do thou judge between us and our nation with truth; for thou art the best judge. (91) And the chiefs of his people who believed not said, If ye follow Shuaib, ye shall surely perish. (92) Therefore a storm from heaven assailed them, and in the morning they were found in their dwellings dead and prostrate. (93) They who accused Shuaib of imposture became as though they had never dwelt therein; they who accused Shuaib of imposture perished themselves. (94) And he departed from them, and said, O my people, now have I performed unto you the messages of my Lord; and I advised you aright: but why should I be grieved for an unbelieving people?
∥ (95) We have never sent any prophet unto a city but we afflicted the inhabitants thereof with calamity and adversity, that they might humble themselves. (96) Then we gave them in exchange good in lieu of evil, until they abounded, and said, Adversity and prosperity formerly happened unto our fathers as unto us. Therefore we took vengeance on them suddenly, and they perceived it not beforehand.(97) But if the inhabitants of those cities had believed and feared God, we would surely have opened to them blessings both from heaven and earth. But they charged our apostles with falsehood, wherefore we took vengeance on them for that which they had been guilty of. (98) Were the inhabitants therefore of those cities secure that our punishment should not fall on them by night while they slept? (99) Or were the inhabitants of those cities secure that our punishment should not fall on them by day while they sported? (100) Were they therefore secure from the stratagem of God? But none will think himself secure from the stratagem of God except the people who perish.
∥ (101) And hath it not manifestly appeared unto those who have inherited the earth after the former inhabitants thereof, that if we please we can afflict them for their sins? But we will seal up their hearts, and they shall not hearken. (102) We will relate unto thee some stories of these cities. Their apostles had come unto them with evident miracles, but they were not disposed to believe in that which they had before gainsaid. Thus will God seal up the hearts of the unbelievers. (103) And we found not in the greater part of them any observance of their covenant; but we found the greater part of them wicked doers. (104) Then we sent after the above-named apostles Moses with our signs unto Pharaoh and his princes, who treated them unjustly; but behold what was the end of the corrupt doers? (105) And Moses said, O Pharaoh, verily I am an apostle sent from the Lord of all creatures. (106) It is just that I should not speak of God other than the truth. Now am I come unto you with an evident sign from your Lord: send therefore the children of Israel away with me. Pharaoh answered, If thou comest with a sign, produce it, if thou speakest truth. (107) Wherefore he cast down his rod; and behold, it became a visible serpent. (108) And he drew forth his hand out of his bosom; and behold, it appeared white unto the spectators.
∥ (109) The chiefs of the people of Pharaoh said, This man is certainly an expert magician: (110) he seeketh to dispossess you of your land. What therefore do ye direct? (111) They answered, Put off him and his brother by fair promises for some time, and in the mean while send unto the cities persons, (112) who may assemble and bring unto thee every expert magician. (113) So the magicians came unto Pharaoh; (114) and they said, Shall we surely receive a reward if we do overcome? (115) He answered, Yea; and ye shall certainly be of those who approach near unto my throne. (116) They said, O Moses, either do thou cast down thy rod first, or we will cast down ours. Moses answered, Do ye cast down your rods first.(117) And when they had cast them down, they enchanted the eyes of the men who were present, and terrified them; and they performed a great enchantment. (118) And we spake by revelation unto Moses, saying, Throw down thy rod. And behold, it swallowed up the rods which they had caused falsely to appear changed into serpents. (119) Wherefore the truth was confirmed, and that which they had wrought vanished. (120) And Pharaoh and his magicians were overcome there, and were rendered contemptible. (121) And the magicians prostrated themselves, worshipping; (122) and they said, We believe in the Lord of all creatures, (123) the Lord of Moses and Aaron. (124) Pharaoh said, Have ye believed on him before I have given you permission? Verily this is a plot which ye have contrived in the city, that ye might cast forth from thence the inhabitants thereof. But ye shall surely know that I am your master;(125)for I will cause your hands and your feet to be cut off on the opposite sides, then I will cause you all to be crucified. (126) The magicians answered, We shall certainly return unto our Lordin the next life;(127) for thou takest vengeance on us only because we have believed in the signs of our Lord when they have come unto us. O Lord, pour on us patience, and cause us to die Muslims.
∥ (128) And the chiefs of Pharaoh’s people said, Wilt thou let Moses and his people go, that they may act corruptly in the earth, and leave thee and thy gods? Pharaoh answered, We will cause their male children to be slain, and we will suffer their females to live; and by that means we shall prevail over them. (129) Moses said unto his people, Ask assistance of God and suffer patiently: for the earth is God’s; he giveth it for an inheritance unto such of his servants as he pleaseth; and the prosperous end shall be unto those who fear him.(130) They answered, We have been afflicted by having our male children slain before thou camest unto us, and also since thou hast come unto us. Moses said, Peradventure it may happen that our Lord will destroy your enemy, and will cause you to succeed him in the earth, that he may see how ye will act therein.
∥ (131) And we formerly punished the people of Pharaoh with dearth and scarcity of fruits, that they might be warned. (132) Yet when good happened unto them, they said, This is owing unto us; but if evil befell them, they attributed the same to the ill-luck of Moses, and those who were with him. Was not their ill-luck with God? But most of them knew it not. (133) And they said unto Moses, Whatever sign thou show unto us, to enchant us therewith, we will not believe on thee. (134) Wherefore we sent upon them a flood, and locusts, and lice, and frogs and blood; distinct miracles: but they behaved proudly, and became a wicked people. (135) And when the plague fell on them, they said, O Moses, entreat thy Lord for us, according to that which he hath covenanted with thee; verily if thou take the plague from off us, we will surely believe thee, and we will let the children of Israel go with thee. But when he had taken the plague from off them until the term which God had granted them was expired, behold they broke their promise. (136) Wherefore we took vengeance on them, and drowned them in the Red Sea; because they charged our signs with falsehood, and neglected them. (137) And we caused the people who had been rendered weak to inherit the eastern parts of the earth and the western parts thereof, which we blessed with fertility; and the gracious word of thy Lord was fulfilled on the children of Israel, for that they had endured with patience: and we destroyed the structures which Pharaoh and his people had made, and that which they had erected.
∥ (138) And we caused the children of Israel to pass through the sea, and they came unto a people who gave themselves up to the worship of their idols, and they said, O Moses, make us a god, in like manner as these people have gods. Moses answered, Verily ye are an ignorant people: (139) for the religion which these follow will be destroyed, and that which they do is vain. (140) He said, Shall I seek for you any other god than God, since he hath preferred you to the rest of the world? (141) And remember when we delivered you from the people of Pharaoh, who grievously oppressed you; they slew your male children, and let your females live: therein was a great trial from your Lord.
∥ (142) And we appointed unto Moses a fast of thirty nights before we gave him the law, and we completed them by adding of ten more; and the stated time of his Lord was fulfilled in forty nights. And Moses said unto his brother Aaron, Be thou my deputy among my people during my absence; and behave uprightly, and follow not the way of the corrupt doers. (143) And when Moses came at our appointed time, and his Lord spake unto him, he said, O Lord, show me thy glory, that I may behold thee. God answereth, Thou shalt in no wise behold me; but look towards the mountain, and if it stand firm in its place, then thou shalt see me. But when his Lord appeared with glory in the mount, he reduced it to dust. And Moses fell down in a swoon. And when he came to himself he said, Praise be unto thee! I turn unto thee with repentance, and I am the first of true believers. (144)God said unto him, O Moses, I have chosen thee above all men, by honouring thee with my commissions, and by my speaking unto thee: receive therefore that which I have brought thee, and be one of those who give thanks. (145) And we wrote for him on the tables an admonition concerning every matter, and a decision in every case, and said, Receive this with reverence; and command thy people that they live according to the most excellent precepts thereof. I will show you the dwelling of the wicked. (146) I will turn aside from my signs those who behave themselves proudly in the earth, without justice: and although they see every sign, yet they shall not believe therein; and although they see the way of righteousness, yet they shall not take that way; but if they see the way of error, they shall take that way. (147) This shall come to pass because they accuse our signs of imposture, and neglect the same. But as for them who deny the truth of our signs and the meeting of the life to come, their works shall be vain: shall they be rewarded otherwise than according to what they shall have wrought?
∥ (148) And the people of Moses, after his departure, took a corporeal calf, made of their ornaments, which lowed. Did they not see that it spake not unto them, neither directed them in the way? yet they took it for their god, and acted wickedly. (149) But when they repented with sorrow, and saw that they had gone astray, they said, Verily if our Lord have not mercy upon us, and forgive us not, we shall certainly become of the number of those who perish. (150) And when Moses returned unto his people, full of wrath and indignation, he said, An evil thing is it that ye have committed after my departure; have ye hastened the command of your Lord? And he threw down the tables, and took his brother by the hair of the head, and dragged him unto him. And Aaron said unto him, Son of my mother, verily the people prevailed against me, and it wanted little but they had slain me: make not my enemies therefore to rejoice over me, neither place me with the wicked people. (151)Moses said, O Lord, forgive me and my brother, and receive us into thy mercy; for thou art the most merciful of those who exercise mercy.
∥ (152) Verily as for them who took the calf for their god, indignation shall overtake them from their Lord, and ignominy in this life: thus will we reward those who imagine falsehood. (153) But unto them who do evil, and afterwards repent, and believe in God, verily thy Lordwill thereafter be clement and merciful. (154) And when the anger of Moses was appeased, he took the tables; and in what was written thereon was a direction and mercy unto those who feared their Lord.(155) And Moses chose out of his people seventy men, to go up with him to the mountain at the time appointed by us: and when a storm of thunder and lightning had taken them away, he said, O Lord, if thou hadst pleased, thou hadst destroyed them before, and me also; wilt thou destroy us for that which the foolish men among us have committed? This is only thy trial; thou wilt thereby lead into error whom thou pleasest, and thou wilt direct whom thou pleasest. Thou art our protector, therefore forgive us, and be merciful unto us; for thou art the best of those who forgive. (156) And write down for us good in this world, and in the life to come; for unto thee are we directed. God answered, I will inflict my punishment on whom I please; and my mercy extendeth over all things; and I will write down good unto those who shall fear me, (157) and give alms, and who shall believe in our signs; (158) who shall follow the apostle, the illiterate prophet, whom they shall find written down with them in the law and the gospel: he will command them that which is just, and will forbid them that which is evil, and will allow them as lawful the good things which were before forbidden, and will prohibit those which are bad; and he will ease them of their heavy burden, and of the yokes which were upon them. And those who believe in him, and honour him, and assist him, and follow the light, which hath been sent down with him, shall be happy.
∥ (159) Say, O men, Verily I am the messenger of God unto you all: unto him belongeth the kingdom of heaven and earth; there is no God but he; he giveth life, and he causeth to die. Believe therefore in God and his apostle, the illiterate prophet, who believeth in God and his word; and follow him, that ye may be rightly directed. (160) Of the people of Moses there is a party who direct others with truth, and act justly according to the same. (161) And we divided them into twelve tribes, as into so many nations. And we spake by revelation unto Moses when his people asked drink of him, and we said, Strike the rock with thy rod; and there gushed thereout twelve fountains, and men knew their respective drinking-place. And we caused clouds to overshadow them, and manna and quails to descend upon them, saying, Eat of the good things which we have given you for food: and they injured not us, but they injured their own souls. (162) And call to mind when it was said unto them, Dwell in this city, and eat of the provisions thereof wherever ye will, and say, Forgiveness; and enter the gate worshipping: we will pardon you your sins, and will give increase unto the well-doers. (163) But they who were ungodly among them changed the expression into another, which had not been spoken unto them. Wherefore we sent down upon them indignation from heaven, because they transgressed.
(164) And ask them concerning the city, which was situate on the sea, when they transgressed on the Sabbathday: when their fish came unto them on their Sabbathday, appearing openly on the water: but on the day whereon they celebrated no Sabbath, they came not unto them. Thus did we prove them, because they were wickeddoers. (165) And when a party of them said unto the others, Why do ye warn a people whom God will destroy, or will punish with a grievous punishment? They answered, Thisis an excuse for us unto your Lord, and peradventure they will beware. (166) But when they had forgotten the admonitions which had been given them, we delivered those who forbade them to do evil; and we inflicted on those who had transgressed a severe punishment, because they had acted wickedly. (167) And when they proudly refused to desist from what had been forbidden them, we said unto them, Be ye transformed into apes, driven away from the society of men. (168) And remember when thy Lord declared that he would surely send against the Jews until the day of resurrection some nation who should afflict them with a grievous oppression; for thy Lord is swift in punishing, and he is also ready to forgive, and merciful: (169) and we dispersed them among the nations in the earth. Some of them are upright persons, and some of them are otherwise. And we proved them with prosperity and with adversity, that they might return from their disobedience;(170) and a succession of their posterity hath succeeded after them, who have inherited the book of the law, who receive the temporal goods of this world, and say, It will surely be forgiven us: and if a temporal advantage like the former be offered them, they accept it also. Is it not the covenant of the book of the law established with them, that they should not speak of Godaught but the truth? Yet they diligently read that which is therein. But the enjoyment of the next life will be better for those who fear God than the wicked gains of these people: (Do ye not therefore understand?) (171) and for those who hold fast the book of the law, and are constant at prayer: for we will by no means suffer the reward of the righteous to perish. (172) And when we shook the mountain of Sinai over them, as though it had been a covering, and they imagined, that it was falling upon them; and we said, Receive the law which we have brought you with reverence; and remember that which is contained therein, that ye may take heed.
(173) And when thy Lord drew forth their posterity from the lions of the sons of Adam, and took them to witness against themselves, saying, Am not I your Lord? They answered, Yea: we do bear witness. This was done lest ye should say at the day of resurrection, Verily we were negligent as to this matter, because we were not apprised thereof: (174) or lest ye should say, Verily our fathers were formerly guilty of idolatry, and we are their posterity who have succeeded them; wilt thou therefore destroy us for that which vain men have committed? (175) Thus do we explain our signs, that they may return from their vanities.(176) And relate unto the Jews the history of him unto whom we brought our signs, and he departed from them; wherefore Satan followed him, and he became one of those who were seduced. (177) And if we had pleased, we had surely raised him thereby unto wisdom; but he inclined unto the earth, and followed his own desire. Wherefore his likeness as the likeness of a dog, which, if thou drive him away, putteth forth his tongue, or, if thou let him alone, putteth forth his tongue also. This is the likeness of the people who accuse our signs of falsehood. Rehearse therefore this history unto them, that they may consider. (178) Evil is the similitude of those people who accuse our signs of falsehood, and injure their own souls. (179) Whomsoever God shall direct, he will be rightly directed; and whomsoever he shall lead astray, they shall perish. (180) Moreover we have created for hell many of the genii and of men; they have hearts by which they understand not, and they have eyes by which they see not, and they have ears by which they hear not. These are like the brute beasts; yea, they go more astray; these are the negligent. (181)God hath most excellent names; therefore call on him by the same; and withdraw from those who use his name perversely: they shall be rewarded for that which they shall have wrought. (182) And of those whom we have created there are a people who direct others with truth, and act justly according thereto.
∥ (183) But those who devise lies against our signs, we will suffer them to fall gradually into ruin, by a method which they knew not: (184) and I will grant them to enjoy a long and prosperous life; for my stratagem is effectual. (185) Do they not consider that there is no devil in their companion? He is no other than a public preacher. Or do they not contemplate the kingdom of heaven and earth, and the things which God hath created; and consider that peradventure it may be that their end draweth nigh? And in what new declaration will they believe, after this? (186) He whom God shall cause to err shall have no director; and he shall leave them in their impiety, wandering in confusion. (187) They will ask thee concerning the last hour, at what time its coming is fixed? Answer, Verily the knowledge thereof is with my Lord; none shall declare the fixed time thereof, except he. The expectation thereof is grievous in heaven and on earth: it shall come upon you no otherwise than suddenly. They will ask thee, as though thou wast well acquainted therewith. Answer, Verily the knowledge thereof is with God alone: but the greater part of men know it not. (188) Say, I am able neither to procure advantage unto myself, nor to avert mischief from me, but as God pleaseth. If I knew the secrets of God, I should surely enjoy abundance of good, neither should evil befall me. Verily I am no other than a denouncer of threats, and a messenger of good tidings unto people who believe.
∥ (189) It is he who hath created you from one person, and out of him produced his wife, that he might dwell with her: and when he had known her, she carried a light burden for a time, wherefore she walked easily therewith. But when it became more heavy, she called upon God their Lord,saying, If thou give us a child rightly shaped, we will surely be thankful. (190) Yet when he had given them a child rightly shaped, they attributed companions unto him, for that which he had given them. But far be that from God which they associated with him! (191) Will they associate with him false gods which create nothing, but are themselves created; (192) and can neither give them assistance, nor help themselves? (193) And if ye invite them to the true direction, they will not follow you: it will be equal unto you whether ye invite them, or whether ye hold your peace. (194) Verily the false deities whom ye invoke besides God are servants like unto you. Call therefore upon them, and let them give you an answer, if ye speak truth. (195) Have they feet, to walk with? Or have they hands, to lay hold with? Or have they eyes, to see with? Or have they ears, to hear with? Say, Call upon your companions, and then lay a snare for me, and defer it not; (196) for Godis my protector, who sent down the book of the Qurán; and he protecteth the righteous. (197) But they whom ye invoke besides him cannot assist you, neither do they help themselves; (198) and if ye call on them to direct you, they will not hear. Thou seest them look towards thee, but they see not. (199) Use indulgence, and command that which is just, and withdraw far from the ignorant. (200) And if an evil suggestion from Satan be suggested unto thee, to divert thee from thy duty, have recourse unto God: for he heareth and knoweth. (201) Verily they who fear God, when a temptation from Satan assaileth them, remember the divine commands, and behold, they clearly see the danger of sin and the wiles of the devil.(202) But as for the brethren of the devils, they shall continue them in error, and afterwards they shall not preserve themselves therefrom.(203) And when thou bringest not a verse of the Qurán unto them, they say, Hast thou not put it together? Answer, I follow that only which is revealed unto me from my Lord. This book containeth evident proofs from your Lord, and is a direction and mercy unto people who believe. (204) And when the Qurán is read attend thereto, and keep silence, that ye may obtain mercy. (205) And meditate on thy Lord in thine own mind, with humility and fear, and without loud speaking, evening and morning; and be not one of the negligent. (206) Moreover the angels who are with my Lord do not proudly disdain his service, but they celebrate his praise and worship him.
[(1) ]See note on chap. ii. 1. Some conjecture that these letters represent the sentence Amara li Muhammad sándiq, “thus spake to me Muhammad the truthful.” See Rodwell’s note in loco.
[(2) ]Let there be no doubt. See note on chap. ii. 2. Arnold’s remark on this passage is worthy of careful consideration:—“The author of the Koran betrays precisely the disquietude and suspicion which invariably indicate fraud, and never exist in guileless, honest, and truthful minds.”—Islám and Christianity, p. 316. And yet this constant and persistent assertion of honesty and truthfulness is regarded by many as certain evidence of his sincerity.
[(4) ]Cities destroyed . . . by night, as in the case “of Sodom and Gomorrah, to whom Lot was sent.” Or . . . noon-day, “as happened to the Midianites, to whom Shuaib preached.”—Sale, Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(5) ]Verily we have been unjust. They will make this confession, thinking thereby to secure deliverance, not knowing that the time of repentance and confession has gone by.—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(6) ]The prophets will testify for or against the people to whom they have been sent, and the people will witness to the faithfulness of the prophets.—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(8) ]The weighing, &c. See Prelim. Disc., p. 144.
[(9) ]Because they injured our signs. The one great object of Muhammad in picturing the terrors of the judgment-day was to frighten his townsmen into accepting his prophetic claims. The one great reason for a soul’s being lost will be that it rejected the prophetic claims of Muhammad.
[(11) ]Created and . . . formed you. The creation probably has reference to the souls of mankind, all of which were created before Adam was formed, the forming having special reference to the preparation of bodies for the souls. But see also chap. vi. 99 and notes there.
[(12) ]Thou hast created me of fire. The idea that angels are created of fire may have been obtained from Jewish sources. See Arnold’s learned note in Islám and Christianity, p. 101.
[(15) ]One of the respited. “As the time till which the devil is reprieved is not particularly expressed, the commentators suppose his request was not wholly granted; but agree that he shall die, as well as other creatures, at the second sound of the trumpet.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(17) ]Then will I come upon them, &c., i.e., “I will attack them on every side that I shall be able. The other two ways, viz., from above and from under their feet, are omitted, say the commentators, to show that the devil’s power is limited.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(18) ]Despised and driven away. See note, chap. iv. 117. Rodwell translates it, a scorned and banished one.
[(20) ]See notes on chap. ii. 35.
[(21) ]Lest ye become immortal. Muhammad did not distinguish between the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. According to this passage, Adam and Eve should have been rendered immortal by eating the forbidden fruit. Compare chap. xx. 118 and 119.
[(22) ]He sware. The Tafsír-i-Raufi comments thus:—Adam, may the peace of God be on him! thought no one could perjure himself, and thus was deceived by Satan.
[(23) ]The tree. See chap. ii. 35, note.
[(24) ]They answered, &c. Compare Gen. iii. 10-13 to see how the former Scriptures are attested here.
[(25) ]See notes on chap. ii. 37. Compare Gen. iii. 15.
[(27) ]Apparel. “Not only proper materials, but also ingenuity of mind and dexterity of hand to make use of them.”—Sale.
[(28-34) ]Let not Satan seduce you, &c. “This passage was revealed to reprove an immodest custom of the pagan Arabs, who used to encompass the Kaabah naked, because clothes, they said, were the signs of their disobedience to God. The Sunnat orders that when a man goes to prayers he should put on his better apparel, out of respect to the divine majesty before whom he is to appear. But as the Muhammadans think it indecent, on the one hand, to come into God’s presence in a slovenly manner; so they imagine, on the other, that they ought not to appear before him in habits too rich or sumptuous, and particularly in clothes adorned with gold or silver, lest they should seem proud.”—Sale, Jaláluddín, Baidháwi.
[(29) ]Muhammad declares them to be under the beguiling influence of Satan, who had by deception exposed the shame of Adam and Eve. Seeing, then, that their progenitor himself had been deceived by Satan, the authority of their forefathers could not be relied on for the establishment of filthy customs contrary to the nature of a pure God: “God commandest not filthy actions.”
[(30) ]My Lord hath commanded me to observe justice, should be translated, My Lord hath commanded aright, i.e., in the Qurán.
[(32) ]Decent apparel. See general note by Sale on ver. 28.
[(33) ]But peculiarly, &c. “Because then the wicked, who also partook of the blessings of this life, will have no share in the enjoyments of the next.”—Sale.
[(34) ]Filthy actions, &c. See notes above.
[(35) ]Every nation. Literally every following, whether of a true or false prophet.
[(36-38) ]See notes on chap. vi. 48, 60, and iii. 185.
[(38) ]Where are the idols. See note on chap. vi. 23.
[(39) ]Genii and men. See below on ver. 180
[(41) ]They who shall charge, &c. See notes on iii. 185, and vi. 48. The gates shall not be opened, &c. “That is, when their souls shall, after death, ascend to heaven, they shall not be admitted, but shall be thrown down into the dungeon under the seventh earth.”—Sale, Jaláluddín. See also Prelim. Disc., p. 129.
[(42) ]See note on chap. iii. 197.
[(43) ]We will not load any soul, &c. See chap. iv. 27, and notes there.
[(44) ]Will remove all grudges, &c. “So that, whatever differences or animosities there had been between them in their lifetime, they shall now be forgotten, and give place to sincere love and amity. This Ali is said to have hoped would prove true to himself and his inveterate enemies, Othmán, Talha, and Al Zubair.”—Sale, Baidháwi. See also note on iii. 15.
[(47) ]A veil, or a wall, which is designated Al Aráf. See Prelim. Disc., p. 152.
[(49) ]Certain men. “The chiefs and ringleaders of the infidels” (Sale, Baidháwi), e.g., Walíd Bin Mugháira, Abu Jahl, and Áas Bin Waíl.—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(50) ]Are these the men, &c. The poorer believers, e.g., Bilál and Amár, &c., some of whom had been slaves.
[(51-54) ]Compare this passage with the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke xvi. 19-26).
[(52) ]See notes on chap. vi. 69.
[(53) ]A book, i.e., the Qurán, spoken of here as a complete volume. Assuming the pre-existence of the Qurán, as Muslims do, there could be no ground for the charge of imposture referred to in the Prelim. Disc., p. 96. But regarding Muhammad as its author, as his European apologists, in common with ourselves, do, we think there is in this language very good reason for believing that author to have been an impostor. There can be no reasonable doubt that the meaning which Muhammad intended to attach to this expression is that a book was sent down to him from heaven through the medium of the Angel Gabriel, as the Taurát or Pentateuch had been sent down to Moses, which, though revealed to his disciples piecemeal, was nevertheless a complete volume. Indeed, it may fairly be doubted whether this expression ever is used in the Qurán to designate a portion of the Qurán, except in the sense that it is a part of a whole already existing.
[(55) ]Six days. Compare Gen. i. 14-19, and Exod. xx. 11. Some understand the creation days to be each one thousand solar years in length.—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(56) ]Humbly and in secret, i.e., “not behaving themselves arrogantly while they pray, or praying with an obstreperous voice, or a multitude of words and vain repetitions.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(57) ]Act not corruptly, by strite, and blasphemy, and idolatry, after its reformation, i.e., “after God hath sent his prophets and revealed his laws for the reformation and amendment of mankind.”—Sale.
[(58) ]A dead country. This refers probably to those parts of the desert which depend upon the rain alone for productive power.
[(60) ]Noah. “Noah the son of Lamech, according to the Muhammadan writers, was one of the six principal prophets, though he had no written revelations delivered to him, and the first who appeared after his great-grandfather Idris or Enoch. They also say he was by trade a carpenter, which they infer from his building the ark, and that the year of his mission was the fiftieth, or, as others say, the fortieth of his age.”—Sale.
[(64) ]By a man. “For said they, If God had pleased, he would have sent an angel, and not a man; since we never heard of such an instance in the times of our fathers.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(65) ]Those . . . in the ark. “That is, those who believed on him, and entered into that vessel with him. Though there be a tradition among the Muhammadans, said to have been received from the Prophet himself, and conformable to the Scripture, that eight persons, and no more, were saved in the ark, yet some of them report the number variously. One says they were but six, another ten, another twelve, another seventy-eight, and another fourscore, half men and half women, and that one of them was the elder Jorham, the preserver, as some pretend, of the Arabian language.”—Sale, Zamaḳhsharí, Jaláluddín.
[(66) ]Ád. “Ád was an ancient and potent tribe of Arabs, and zealous idolaters. They chiefly worshipped four deities, Sákia, Háfidha, Rázika, and Sálima; the first, as they imagined, supplying them with rain, the second preserving them from all dangers abroad, the third providing food for their sustenance, and the fourth restoring them to health when afflicted with sickness, according to the signification of the several names.”—Sale. See also the Prelim. Disc., p. 20.
[(70) ]Successors unto the people of Noah. “Dwelling in the habitations of the antediluvians, who preceded them not many centuries, or having the chief sway in the earth after them; for the kingdom of Shidád, the son of Ád, is said to have extended from the sands of Alaj to the trees of Omán.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(71) ]Bring down that judgment. This was just what the infidel Quraish said to Muhammad. See chap. vi. 56.
[(72) ]The names. The idols, whose names are given in note on ver. 66.
[(73) ]We cut off, &c. The following note by Sale contains a specimen of the kind of history to be met with on the pages of any Muslim commentary on the Qurán:—
[(74) ]Thamúd. An ancient tribe of Arabs. See Prelim. Disc., p.22.
[(75) ]Cut out . . . houses. See Prelim. Disc., p. 23.
[(76) ]Who were esteemed weak. This passage undoubtedly expresses the social position of the Muslims when this passage was revealed. As yet they were few in number, mostly poor, and held in contempt by their townsmen.
[(78) ]They cut off the feet of the camel, &c. “This extraordinary camel frighting the other cattle from their pasture, a certain rich woman named Onaiza Omm Ganím, having four daughters, dressed them out, and offered one Kidár his choice of them if he would kill the camel. Whereupon he chose one, and with the assistance of eight other men hamstrung and killed the dam, and pursuing the young one, which fled to the mountain, killed that also and divided his flesh among them. Others tell the story somewhat differently, adding Sadaqa Bint al Mukhtár as a joint conspiratress with Onaiza, and pretending that the young one was not killed; for they say that having fled to a certain mountain named Kára, he there cried three times, and Sálih bade them catch him if they could, for then there might be hopes of their avoiding the divine vengeance; but this they were not able to do, the rock opening after he had cried, and receiving him within it.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(79) ]A terrible noise. “Like violent and repeated claps of thunder, which some say was no other than the voice of the Angel Gabriel, and which rent their hearts. It is said that after they had killed the camel, Sálih told them that on the morrow their faces should become yellow, the next day red, and the third day black, and that on the fourth God’s vengeance should light on them; and that the first three signs happening accordingly, they sought to put him to death, but God delivered him by sending him into Palestine.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(80) ]The message. This message was probably delivered at the parting of Sálih from the people, though some think it was delivered after the calamity.
[(81) ]Lot. “The commentators say, conformably to the Scripture, that Lot was the son of Haran, the son of Azar or Terah, and consequently Abraham’s nephew, who brought him with him from Chaldea into Palestine, where they say he was sent by God to reclaim the inhabitants of Sodom and the other neighbouring cities which were overthrown with it from the unnatural vice to which they were addicted.”—Sale.
[(83) ]Expel them, viz., “Lot and those who believe on him.”—Sale. The Tafsír-i-Raufi says, Expel Lot and his sons and those who believe on him. The statement of the Qurán clearly implies that some of the Sodomites, besides Lot and his daughters, mentioned in chap. xi. 77, 78, escaped from the destruction which fell on the remainder.
[(84) ]She . . . stayed. Commentators are not agreed whether she remained in the city or went forth some distance with Lot. See Sale’s note, given in chap. xi. 80. The language of both these passages certainly favours the view of those who believe she remained in the city.
[(85) ]A shower. In chap. xi. 81 it is distinctly said this shower was of “stones of baked clay.” This whole passage, as well as the parallel passages in chaps. xi. 76-82; xv. 58-77; xxvi. 160-174; xxvii. 55-59, &c., contradicts the statements of Gen. xix. in many particulars. Surely the taunts of those referred to in ver. 203 of this chapter were well directed. Granting the ignorance of Muhammad in respect to the sacred stories he attempts to narrate here,—of which ignorance we have abundant illustration in this chapter,—still the fact remains that Muhammad, receiving his information from parties themselves ill-informed, recorded the result in the Qurán, declaring that he received it directly from heaven through the Angel Gabriel.
[(86) ]Madian. “Or Midian, was a city of Híjáz, and the habitation of a tribe of the same name, the descendants of Midian, the son of Abraham by Keturah (Gen. xxv. 2), who afterwards coalesced with the Ishmaelites, as it seems; Moses naming the same merchants who sold Joseph to Potiphar in one place Ishmaelites, and in another Midianites. (Comp. Gen. xxxxix. 1, and xxxvii. 36.) This city was situated on the Red Sea, south-east of Mount Sinai, and is doubtless the same with the Modiana of Ptolemy; what was remaining of it in Muhammad’s time was soon after demolished in the succeeding wars, and it remains desolate to this day. The people of the country pretend to show the well whence Moses watered Jethro’s flocks.”—Sale.
[(87) ]Beset not every way, &c. “Robbing on the highway, it seems, was another crying sin, frequent among these people. But some of the commentators interpret this passage figuratively of their besetting the way of truth, and threatening those who gave ear to the remonstrances of Shuaíb.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(88) ]Wait patiently, &c. This is no doubt what Muhammad himself taught his hearers at Makkah. It would appear that, unable to work miracles, he either hoped for the power to do so (see notes on chap. vi. 109-111), or he trusted that something would turn up to favour his cause in the future.
[(89) ]We will surely cast thee . . . out of our city. Rodwell relates a Jewish tradition of similar import regarding Jethro. See Koran, p. 117 note. This passage seems to point to the time when the Quraísh proscribed Muhammad and his followers and sympathisers, and compelled them to retire to “the Sheb of Abu Tálib,” about five or six years before the Hijra.
[(91) ]A storm “like that which destroyed the Thamúdites.”—Sale. Some translate the word earthquake. See Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(93) ]The fate of the Quraísh is here prefigured. See notes on chap. iii. 185, and notes above on vers. 2, 60, 66, and 74.
[(94) ]Why should I be grieved, &c. Comp. Matt. xxiii. 37, and Luke xix. 41, 42; xxiii. 34.
[(95) ]See note on chap. vi. 131. There is here, in all probability, allusion to some calamity which had befallen the city of Makkah. Some say it was a famine.
[(97-100) ]Those cities, i.e., those described above as inhabited by the people of Moab, Húd, Sálih, Lot, and Shuaib, whose dreadful fate is set forth as a warning to those who refuse to believe on Muhammad. The great crime of these people was that they charged their prophets with being impostors. Was not Muhammad conscious of his own imposture? See note on ver. 2.
[(101) ]Those who have inherited the earth, &c., i.e., the Quráish, who are here warned of the judgments in store for them on account of their unbelief, unless they repent.
[(102, 103) ]These verses give a sort of summary of what has gone before, and would have been more appropriately placed before ver. 60.
[(104) ]We sent . . . Moses. The Qurán everywhere presents Moses as the apostle of the Egyptians as well as of the Israelites. He is sent to them to warn them against idolatry, and to urge them to the worship of the true God. The children of Israel who believe on him are therefore his followers—are true Muslims. See parallel passages in chaps. x. 76-93, and xl. 24-49.
[(107) ]A visible serpent. “The Arab writers tell enormous fables of this serpent or dragon. For they say that he was hairy, and of so prodigious a size, that when he opened his mouth, his jaws were fourscore cubits asunder, and when he laid his lower jaw on the ground, his upper reached to the top of the palace; that Pharaoh seeing this monster make towards him, fled from it, and was so terribly frightened that he befouled himself; and that the whole assembly also betaking themselves to their heels, no less than twenty-five thousand of them lost their lives in the press. They add that Pharaoh upon this adjured Moses by God who had sent him to take away the serpent, and promised he would believe on him and let the Israelites go; but when Moses had done what he requested, he relapsed, and grew as hardened as before.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(108) ]He drew forth his hand, &c. The Bible nowhere says this miracle was performed before Pharaoh. There seems to have been Jewish tradition to which Muhammad was indebted for his knowledge on this point (see Rodwell’s note in loco). Sale thinks we may fairly infer from Exod. iv. 8, 9, that both signs were shown to Pharaoh.
[(109) ]The chiefs of the people. These chiefs, who symbolise the Arab chiefs of Makkah, are represented as equally guilty with Pharaoh. They continually mock at the miracles or signs of Moses and Aaron, and stir up Pharaoh to rebellion against God.
[(110) ]What . . . do ye direct? This is a question addressed by Pharaoh to his counsellors.
[(113) ]Magicians. “The Arabian writers name several of these magicians, besides their chief priest Simeon, viz., Sadúr and Ghadúr, Jaath and Musfa, Warán and Zamán, each of whom came attended with their disciples, amounting in all to several thousands.”—Sale.
[(117) ]They enchanted the eyes. “They provided themselves with a great number of thick ropes and long pieces of wood, which they contrived by some means to move, and make them twist themselves one over the other; and so imposed on the beholders, who at a distance took them to be true serpents.”—Sale, Baudháwi.
[(118) ]Behold, it swallowed up, &c. “The expositors add, that when this serpent had swallowed up all the rods and cords, he made directly towards the assembly, and put them into so great a terror that they fled, and a considerable number were killed in the crowd: then Moses took it up, and it became a rod in his hand as before. Whereupon the magicians declared that it could be no enchantment, because in such case their rods and cords would not have disappeared.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(120) ]Were rendered contemptible. Rodwell translates drew back humiliated, which agrees with the Urdú and Persian translations, which have it they returned disgraced.
[(121) ]The magicians prostrated, &c. “It seems probable that all the magicians were not converted by this miracle, for some writers introduce Sadúr and Ghadúr only acknowledging Moses’s miracle to be wrought by the power of God. These two, they say, were brothers, and the sons of a famous magician, then dead; but on their being sent for to court on this occasion, their mother persuaded them to go to their father’s tomb to ask his advice. Being come to the tomb, the father answered their call, and when they had acquainted him with the affair, he told them that they should inform themselves whether the rod of which they spoke became a serpent while its masters slept, or only when they were awake; for, said he, enchantments have no effect while the enchanter is asleep, and therefore, if it be otherwise in this case, you may be assured that they act by a divine power. These two magicians then, arriving at the capital of Egypt, on inquiry found to their great astonishment that when Moses and Aaron went to rest their rod became a serpent, and guarded them while they slept. And this was the first step towards their conversion.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(124) ]Permission. Abdul Qádir says Pharaoh professed to be a god, and caused images of himself to be worshipped by the people.
[(125) ]On the punishments said here to have been threatened by Pharaoh, see chap. v. 37, 38, 42-44. There is undoubtedly an anachronism in this passage.
[(127) ]Cause us to die Muslims. “Some think these converted magicians were executed accordingly; but others deny it, and say that the king was not able to put them to death; insisting on these words of the Qurán (chap. xxviii. 35), You two, and they who follow you, shall overcome.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(128) ]Leave thee and thy gods. “Some of the commentators, from certain impious expressions of this prince recorded in the Qurán (chap. xxvi. 28; xxviii. 38), whereby he sets up himself as the only god of his subjects, suppose that he was the object of their worship, and therefore instead of álihataká, thy gods, read iláhataka, thy worship.”
[(129) ]The earth is God’s. The Tafsír-i-Raufi says that Moses here predicts that the children of Israel should possess the land of Egypt. See below on ver. 137.
[(130) ]Your enemy, i.e., Pharaoh.
[(131) ]Death and famine. The allusion is to the seven years’ famine under the Pharaoh who domiciled the children of Israel in Egypt. This Pharaoh is here identified with the Pharaoh of Quránic celebrity! This famine was inflicted as a warning, which, being unheeded, was followed by the plagues of ver. 134.
[(132) ]Unto them. The context proves beyond doubt that the persons referred to here are the Egyptians, but the murmurings described belong to Israel in the desert.
[(133) ]We will not believe on thee. Muhammad undoubtedly thought that Moses was sent to the Egyptians to call them to repentance, as well as to deliver Israel from the hand of Pharaoh. He thoughtof him as a prophet of Egypt, as he thought of himself as the prophet of Arabia. Moses is here rejected, and the Egyptians refuse to become Muslims. The children of Israel, and all who believe in Moses, he regards in the light of his own followers seeking an asylum from persecution in Abyssinia, and perhaps Madína.
[(134) ]A flood. Arnold thinks the allusion must be to the deluge, inasmuch as the drowning in the Red Sea occurred after the plagues (Islám and Christianity, p. 140). But the story of Noah, given in this chapter, vers. 60-65, shows that Muhammad did not mean the deluge in speaking of a flood here. We must therefore regard this statement as either an addition to the Jewish story or as referring to the drowning in the Red Sea. Historical accuracy is not one of the virtues of the oracle of Islám, as this chapter abundantly illustrates. Muslim commentators, as Baidháwi, &c., understand a deluge to be meant, and describe it as given in the following from Sale’s notes on this passage:—“This inundation, they say, was occasioned by unusual rains, which continued eight days together, and the overflowing of the Nile; and not only covered their lands, but came into their houses, and rose as high as their backs and necks; but the children of Israel had no rain in their quarters. As there is no mention of any such miraculous inundation in the Mosaic writings, some have imagined this plague to have been either a postilence or the smallpox, or some other epidemical distemper. For the word tufán, which is used in this place, and is generally rendered a deluge, may also signify any other universal destruction or mortality.”
[(135) ]Plague, i.e., any one of the plagues already mentioned.
[(136) ]Drowned them. See notes on chap. x. 90-92, and xx. 79-81.
[(137) ]We caused . . . to inherit. The commentators say the reference is to Syria. If so, eastern parts and western refer most probably to the lands on the eastern and western sides of the Jordan. The passage in connection with what follows, however, raises the suspicion that Muhammad here intended us to understand that God gave the Israelites the victory over Pharaoh, and so made them masters of the country on both sides of the Red Sea. See also chap. xvii. 106.
[(138) ]A people. “These people some will have to be of the tribe of Amalek, whom Moses was commanded to destroy, and others of the tribe of Lakhm. Their idols, it is said, were images of oxen, which gave the first hint to the making of the golden calf.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(142) ]Thirty nights. “The commentators say that God, having promised Moses to give him the law, directed him to prepare himself for the high favour of speaking with God in person by a fast of thirty days, and that Moses accordingly fasted the whole month of Dhu’l Qaada; but not liking the savour of his breath, he rubbed his teeth with a dentifrice, upon which the angels told him that his breath before had the odour of musk (see Prelim. Disc., p. 176), but that his rubbing his teeth had taken it away. Wherefore God ordered him to fast ten days more, which he did; and these were the first ten days of the succeeding month, Dhu’l Hajja. Others, however, suppose that Moses was commanded to fast and pray thirty days only, and that during the other ten God discoursed with him.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(143) ]His Lord spake. “Without the mediation of any other, and face to face, as he speaks to the angels.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(144) ]Receive . . . that which, &c. The Tauret written on tables of stone. Sale says:—“The Muhammadans have a tradition that Moses asked to see God on the day of Arafát, and that he received the law on the day they slay the victims at the pilgrimage of Makkah, which days are the ninth and tenth of Dhu’l Hajja.”
[(145) ]The tables. “These tables, according to some, were seven in number, and according to others ten. Nor are the commentators agreed whether they were cut out of a kind of lote-tree in Paradise called al Sidra, or whether they were chrysolites, emeralds, rubies, or common stone. But they say that they were each ten or twelve cubits long; for they suppose that not only the ten commandments but the whole law was written thereon: and some add that the letters were cut quite through the tables, so that they might be read on both sides, which is a fable of the Jews.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(146, 147) ]See notes above on vers. 97-100.
[(148) ]A corporeal calf. Rodwell renders the word here translated “corporeal,” ruddy like gold. The Persian and Urdu translations agree with Sale. See also note on chap. ii. 50.
[(149) ]When they repented. This statement makes the repentance of the Israelites to have taken place during the absence of Moses.
[(150) ]He threw down the tables, “which were all broken, and taken up to heaven, except one only; and this, they say, contained the threats and judicial ordinances, and was afterwards put into the ark.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(151) ]Forgive me and my brother. Forgive me for treating my elder brother with such disrespect, or for breaking the tables, and forgive my brother for whatever fault he committed in connection with the worship of the calf.—Tafsír-i-Raufi. This passage disproves the claim of modern Muslims that all the prophets were sinless.
[(152) ]See notes on chap. ii. 53.
[(154) ]He took the tables, i.e., “the fragments of what was left,” say the commentators. The passage plainly says the tables, meaning the whole, though broken in pieces. See note above on ver. 150.
[(155) ]See notes on chap. ii. 54, and chap. iv. 152. In chap. iv. this sin and its punishment is made to precede the worship of the calf and its judgment.
[(158) ]The illiterate prophet. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 73, 74.
[(159) ]O men. Sale understands this to mean all mankind, but it is more natural to understand it as simply addressed to the people of Makkah. See note on chap. ii. 21.
[(160) ]A party, viz., “Those Jews who seemed better disposed than the rest of their brethren to receive Muhammad’s law, or perhaps such of them as had actually received it. Some imagine they were a Jewish nation dwelling somewhere beyond China, which Muhammad saw the night he made his journey to heaven, and who believed on him.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(161) ]See notes on chap. ii. 56 and 59. This stone, says Baidháwi, was thrown down from Paradise by Adam. Shuaib having possession of it, gave it with the rod to Moses. The Tafsír-i-Raufi says the stone lay hidden in the desert, but spoke to Moses as he passed by, saying, “Take me; I will be of use to thee.”
[(162, 163) ]See notes on chap. ii. 57, 58.
[(164) ]The city. Ailah or Elath, on the Red Sea. See chap. ii. 64.
[(165) ]Why do ye warn, &c.? Commentators differ as to the persons asking this question, some referring it to the pious, others to the unbelievers.
[(166, 167) ]See notes on chap. ii. 64, and v. 65.
[(168) ]See note on chap. v. 69. Comp. Deut. xxviii. 49, 50.
[(170) ]Who receive, &c. “By accepting of bribes for wresting judgment, and for corrupting the copies of the Pentateuch, and by extorting of usury, &c.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(172) ]The mountain. See note on chap. ii. 62. This passage is based on Jewish tradition. See Rodwell in loco.
[(173) ]Thy Lord drew forth, &c. “The commentators tell us that God stroked Adam’s back, and extracted from his loins his whole posterity, which should come into the world until the resurrection, one generation after another; that these men were actually assembled together in the shape of small ants, which were endued with understanding; and that after they had, in the presence of the angels, confessed their dependence on God, they were again caused to return into the loins of their great ancestor.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín, Yahya.
[(176) ]The history of him. “Some suppose the person here intended to be a Jewish Rabbi, or one Ummaya Ibn Abu Salab, who read the Scriptures, and found thereby that God would send a prophet about that time, and was in hopes that he might be the man; out when Muhammad declared his mission, believed not on him through envy. But according to the more general opinion, it was Balam, the son of Beor, of the Canaanitish race, well acquainted with part at least of the Scripture, having even been favoured with some revelations from God, who being requested by his nation to curse Moses and the children of Israel, refused it at first, saying, ‘How can I curse those who are protected by the angels?’ But afterwards he was prevailed on by gifts; and he had no sooner done it, than he began to put out his tongue like a dog, and it hung down upon his breast.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín, &c. Comp. 2 Pet. ii. 5, and Jude ii.
[(178) ]Who accuse, &c. See note on chap. iii. 185, and above on ver. 2.
[(179, 180) ]This passage clearly makes God the author of evil. He is said to create genii and men for the express purpose of filling hell with them. Comp. chap. xi. 119. But see notes on chap. iii. 145, 155. The creation of the righteous is mentioned in ver. 182.
[(181) ]God hath . . . names. These are ninety-nine in number, and are all to be found in the Qurán. They are repeated by pious Muslims, with the aid of a rosary, as a matter of merit. They are as follows:—The Merciful, the Compassionate, the King, the Most Holy, the Tranquil, the Faithful, the Protector, the Victorious, the Mighty, the Self-Exalted, the Creator, the Maker, the Former, the Forgiver, the Wrathful, the Giver, the Cherisher, the Conqueror, the Knower, the Seizer, the Expander, the Depresser, the Exalter, the Strengthener, the Disgracer, the Hearer, the Seer, the Ruler, the Just, the Benignant, the Informer, the Great, the Pardoner, the Rewarder, the High, the Great, the Rememberer, the Powerful, the Satisfier, the Glorious, the Kind, the Guardian, the Answerer, the All-embracing, the Wise, the All-loving, the Glorious, the Provider, the Strong, the Firm, the Friend, the Praiseworthy, the Beginner, the Reckoner, the Restorer, the Life-giver, the Destroyer, the Living, the Self-subsisting, the Finder, the Glorious, the Unique, the Eternal, the Powerful, the Prevailing, the Leader, the Finisher, the First, the Eternal, the Everlasting, the Innermost, the Revealer, the Governor, the Pure, the Propitious, the Remitter, the Avenger, the Merciful, the King of the Kingdom, the Lord of Glory and Honour, the Equitable, the Assembler, the Rich, the Enricher, the Pos-essor, the Prohibitor, the Afflicter, the Benefactor, the Light, the Guide, the Creator, the Observer, the Inheritor, the Director, the Patient, the Mild.—See Macbride’s Muhammadan Religion Explained, pp. 121-123, and Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco.
[(183) ]We will suffer them to fall, &c. “By flattering them with prosperity in this life, and permitting them to sin in an uninterrupted security, till they find themselves unexpectedly ruined.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(185) ]Their companion, viz., “In Muhammad, whom they gave out to be possessed when he went up to Mount Safá, and from thence called to the several families of each respective tribe, in order to warn them of God’s vengeance if they continued in their idolatry.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(186) ]See note on vers. 179 and 180.
[(187) ]Grievous in heaven, i.e., to angels as well as to men, genii, &c.
[(188) ]This verse goes against those who attribute to Muhammad the gift of foretelling future events. Much more does it refute the assertions of those who say that Muhammad will intercede for his people on the judgment-day, tradition to the contrary notwithstanding, for no genuine tradition can contradict the uniform teaching of the Qurán. See note on chap. ii. 47, 123, and 254, and vi. 49.
[(189) ]One person. This certainly refers to Adam. The story given by Sale below is an invention of the commentators to escape from the conclusion that Adam and Eve became idolaters.
[(190) ]They attributed companions unto him. “For the explaining of this whole passage the commentators tell the following story. They say that when Eve was big with her first child, the devil came to her and asked her whether she knew what she carried within her, and which way she should be delivered of it; suggesting that possibly it might be a beast. She, being unable to give an answer to this question, went in a fright to Adam, and acquainted him with the matter, who not knowing what to think of it, grew sad and pensive. Whereupon the devil appeared to her again (or, as others say, to Adam), and pretended that he by his prayers would obtain of God that she might be safely delivered of a son in Adam’s likeness, provided they would promise to name him Abdul Hárith, or the servant of al Hárith (which was the devil’s name among the angels), instead of Abdullah, or the servant of God, as Adam had designed. This proposal was agreed to, and accordingly, when the child was born, they gave it that name, upon which it immediately died. And with this Adam and Eve are here taxed as an act of idolatry. The story looks like a rabbinical fiction, and seems to have no other foundation than Cain’s being called by Moses Obed-adámah, that is, a tiller of the ground, which might be translated into Arabic by Abdul Hárith.
[(194) ]The false deities . . . are servants. The sun, moon, and stars are here alluded to.
[(195) ]Comp. Isa. xliv. 8-21, and Ps. cxv. 3-8.
[(199) ]Use indulgence; “or, as the words may also be translated, Take the superabundant overplus, meaning that Muhammad should accept such voluntary alms from the people as they could spare. But the passage, if taken in this sense, was abrogated by the precept of legal alms, which was given at Madína.”—Sale.
[(200) ]See notes on chaps. iv. 116, and vi. 112.
[(202) ]The brethren. Those under the influence of devils.
[(203) ]Hast thou not put it together? i.e., “Hast thou not yet contrived what to say; or canst thou obtain no revelation from God?”—Sale.
[(204) ]Keep silence. The occasion on which this verse was revealed was as follows:—A young Muslim, standing behind the Prophet, kept repeating in a loud voice the passages of the Qurán which were being read, thus creating confusion in the service. The passage enjoins silence on the part of all Muslims during prayers, except the Imám or leader.
[(205) ]Evening and morning. The five times for prayer probably had not yet been fixed. The commentators say these are the most important seasons of prayer.
[(206) ]Worship him. This is one of the fifteen places in the Qurán where the reader must, according to some, prostrate himself in reading; according to others, this prostration is meritorious, though not required.