Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XIV.: ENTITLED SURAT AT IBRAHÍM (ABRAHAM). Revealed at Makkah. - The Quran, vol. 3
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CHAPTER XIV.: ENTITLED SURAT AT IBRAHÍM (ABRAHAM). Revealed at Makkah. - Mohammed, The Quran, vol. 3 
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 AT IBRAHÍM (ABRAHAM).
According to the commentators, the title of this chapter is due to the mention of the Patriarch Abraham in ver. 38. Like most of the Makkan chapters, this one relates entirely to the controversy between Muhammad and the unbelieving Quraish. In it the infidels are warned by the example of those who rejected the former prophets, and they are threatened with the direst punishment of hell, where they shall be ever dying without being permitted to die.
The purpose of Muhammad in relating the stories of the former prophets and of the destruction of their enemies is to impress the Quraish with the dreadful consequences of their rejection of him.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
All authorities agree that this chapter belongs to Makkah. The commentators, however, would make vers. 33 and 34 refer to the Quraish, who were disgraced at Badr, and thus relegate this passage to Madína. There is, however, no good reason for such an interpretation of this passage. See notes there.
Aside from the general spirit of the revelations in this chapter, we have as data for fixing their date the statements of vers. 16 and 47, which allude to the purpose of the Quraish to expel Muhammad and his followers from Makkah.
This would fix the date of the chapter very near the Hijra; with which the spirit of the Prophet’s teaching here very well agrees.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) A. L. R. This book have we sent down unto thee, that thou mayest lead men forth from darkness into light, by the permission of their Lord, into the glorious and laudable way. (2) Godis he unto whom belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth: and woe be to the infidels, because a grievous punishment waiteth them; (3) who love the present life above that which is to come, and turn men aside from the way of God, and seek to render it crooked: these are in an error far distant from the truth.(4) We have sent no apostle but with the language of his people, that he might declare their duty plainly unto them; for God causeth to err whom he pleaseth, and directeth whom he pleaseth; and he is the mighty, the wise. (5) We formerly sent Moses with our signs, and commanded him, saying, Lead forth thy people from darkness into light, and remind them of the favours of God: verily therein are signs unto every patient and grateful person. (6) And call to mind when Moses said unto his people, Remember the favour of God towards you. when he delivered you from the people of Pharaoh: they grievously oppressed you; and they slew your male children, but let your females live: therein was a great trial from your Lord.
∥ (7) And when your Lord declared by the mouth of Moses, saying, If ye be thankful, I will surely increase my favours towards you; but if ye be ungrateful, verily my punishment shall be severe. (8) And Moses said, If ye be ungrateful, and all who are in the earth likewise; verily God needeth not your thanks, though he deserveth the highest praise. (9) Hath not the history of the nations your predecessors reached you, namely, of the people of Noah, and of Ád, and of Thamúd, (10) and of those who succeeded them; whose number none knoweth except God? Their apostles came unto them with evident miracles; but they clapped their hands to their mouths out of indignation, and said, We do not believe the message with which ye pretend to be sent; and we are in a doubt concerning the religion to which ye invite us, as justly to be suspected. (11) Their apostles answered, Is there any doubt concerning God, the creator of heaven and earth? He inviteth you to the true faith, that he may forgive you part of your sins, and may respite your punishment by grantingyou space to repent, until an appointed time. (12) They answered, Ye are but men, like unto us: ye seek to turn us aside from the gods which our fathers worshipped: wherefore bring us an evident demonstration by some miracle that ye speak truth.(13) Their apostles replied unto them, We are no other than men like unto you; but God is bountiful unto such of his servants as he pleaseth: and it is not in our power to give you a miraculous demonstration of our mission, (14) unless by the permission of God; in God therefore let the faithful trust. (15) And what excuse have we to allege, that we should not put our trust in God, since he hath directed us our paths? Wherefore we will certainly suffer with patience the persecutions wherewith ye shall afflict us: in God therefore let those put their confidence who seek in whom to put their trust.
∥ (16) And those who believed not said unto their apostles, We will surely expel you out of our land; or ye shall return unto our religion. And their Lord spake unto them by revelation, saying, We will surely destroy the wicked doers; (17) and we will cause you to dwell in the earth after them. This shall be granted unto him who shall dread the appearance at my tribunal, and shall fear my threatening. (18) And they asked assistance ofGod, and every rebellious perverse person failed of success. (19) Hell lieth unseen before him, and he shall have filthy water given him to drink: (20) he shall sup it up by little and little, and he shall not easily let it pass his throat because of its nauseousness; death also shall come upon him from every quarter, yet he shall not die; and before him shall there stand prepared a grievous torment. (21) This is the likeness of those who believe not in their Lord. Their works are as ashes, which the wind violently scattereth in a stormy day: they shall not be able to obtain any solid advantage from that which they have wrought. This is an error most distant from truth. (22) Dost thou not see that God hath created the heavens and the earth in wisdom? If he please he can destroy you, and produce a new creature in your stead: (23) neither will this be difficult with God.(24) And they shall all come forth into the presence ofGodat the last day: and the weak among them shall say unto those who behaved themselves arrogantly, Verily we were your followers on earth; will ye not therefore avert from us some part of the divine vengeance? (25) They shall answer, If God had directed us aright, we had certainly directed you. It is equal unto us whether we bear our torments impatiently, or whether we endure them with patience: for we have no way to escape.
∥ (26) And Satan shall say after judgment shall have been given, Verily God promised you a promise of truth: and I also made you a promise; but I deceived you. Yet I had not any power over you to compel you;(27) but I called you only, and ye answered me: wherefore accuse not me, but accuse yourselves. I cannot assist you; neither can ye assist me. Verily I do now renounce your having associated me with God heretofore. A grievous punishment is prepared for the unjust. (28) But they who shall have believed and wrought righteousness shall be introduced into gardens, wherein rivers flow; they shall remain therein for ever by the permission of their Lord; and their salutation therein shall be, Peace! (29) Dost thou not see how God putteth forth a parable; representing a good word as a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed in the earth, and whose branches reach unto heaven; (30) which bringeth forth its fruit in all seasons, by the will of its Lord ? God propoundeth parables unto men that they may be instructed. (31) And the likeness of an evil word is as an evil tree, which is torn up from the face of the earth, and hath no stability. (32)God shall confirm them who believe, by the steadfast word of faith, both in this life and in that which is to come: but God shall lead the wicked into error; for God doth that which he pleaseth.
(33) Hast thou not considered those who have changed the grace of God to infidelity, and cause their people to descend into the house of perdition, namely, into hell? (34) They shall be thrown to burn therein; and an unhappy dwelling shall it be. (35) They also set up idols as copartners with God, that they might cause men to stray from his path. Say unto them, Enjoy the pleasures of this life for a time; but your departure hence shall be into hell-fire. Speak unto my servants who have believed, that they may be assiduous at prayer, and give alms out of that which we have bestowed on them, both privately and in public; (36) before the day cometh, wherein there shall be no buying nor selling, neither any friendship. (37) It is God who hath created the heavens and the earth; and causeth water to descend from heaven, and by means thereof produceth fruits for your sustenance: and by his command he obligeth the ships to sail in the sea for your service; and he also forceth the rivers to supply your uses: he likewise compelleth the sun and the moon, which diligently perform their courses, to serve you; and hath subjected the day and the night to your service. He giveth you of everything which ye ask him; and if ye attempt to reckon up the favours of God, ye shall not be able to compute the same. Surely man is unjust and ungrateful.
∥ (38)Remember when Abraham said, O Lord, make this land a place of security; and grant that I and my children may avoid the worship of idols; (39) for they, O Lord, have seduced a great number of men. Whoever therefore shall follow me, he shall be of me; and whosoever shall disobey me, verily thou wilt be gracious and merciful. (40) O Lord, I have caused some of my offspring to settle in an unfruitful valley, near thy holy house, O Lord, that they may be constant at prayer. Grant, therefore, that the hearts of some men may be affected with kindness toward them; and do thou bestow on them all sorts of fruits, that they may give thanks. (41) O Lord, thou knowest whatsoever we conceal, and whatsoever we publish; for nothing is hidden from God, either on earth or in heaven. Praise be unto God, who hath given me in my old age Ismaíl and Isaac; for my Lord is the hearer of supplication. (42) O Lord, grant that I may be an observer of prayer, and a part of my posterity also, O Lord, and receive my supplication. O Lord, forgive me, and my parents, and the faithful, on the day whereon an account shall be taken.
∥ (43) Think not, O Prophet, that Godis regardless of what the ungodly do. He only deferreth their punishment unto the day whereon men’s eyes shall be fixed: (44) they shall hasten forward, at the voice of the angel calling to judgment, and shall lift up their heads; they shall not be able to turn their sight from the object whereon it shall be fixed, and their hearts shall be void of sense through excessive terror. Wherefore do thou threaten men with the day whereon their punishment shall be inflicted on them, (45) and whereon those who have acted unjustly shall say, O Lord, give us respite unto a term near at hand, (46)and we will obey thy call, and we will follow thy apostles? But it shall be answered unto them, Did you not swear heretofore that no reverse should befall you? (47) yet ye dwelt in the dwellings of those who had treated their own souls unjustly; and it appeared plainly unto you how we had dealt with them; and we propounded their destruction as examples unto you. They employ their utmost subtlety to oppose the truth; but their subtlety is apparent unto God,who is able to frustrate their designs; although their subtlety were so great that the mountains might be moved thereby. (48) Think not, therefore, O prophet, that God will be contrary to his promise of assistance made unto his apostles; for Godis mighty, able to avenge. (49) The day will come when the earth shall be changed into another earth, and the heavens into other heavens; and men shall come forth from their graves to appear before the only, the mighty God. (50) And thou shalt see the wicked on that day bound together in fetters: (51) their inner garments shall be of pitch, and fire shall cover their faces; that God may reward every soul according to what it shall have deserved; for God is swift in taking an account. (52) This is a sufficient admonition unto men, that they may be warned thereby, and that they may know that there is but one God; and that those who are endued with understanding may consider.
[(1) ]A. L. R. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 100-102.
[(4) ]The language of his people. “That so they might not only perfectly and readily understand those revelations themselves, but might also be able to translate and interpret them unto others.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(5) ]Moses. See note in chap. vii. 104.
[(6) ]Your females. See note on chap. vii. 128.
[(7) ]In this and the following verses Moses is made to figure in Egypt as did Muhammad in Arabia. See notes on chaps. xi. 32, 36, and xii. 102.
[(9) ]Noah, Ad, and Thamúd. See notes on chap. vii. 60, 66, and 74.
[(10) ]Whose number. The whole number of prophets, according to Muslim tradition, is 144,000; some say 244,000. They only know the names of half a hundred!
[(11) ]Part of your sins. “That is, such of them as were committed directly against God, which are immediately cancelled by faith or embracing Islám, but not the crimes of injustice and oppression, which were committed against man; for to obtain remission of these last, besides faith, repentance and restitution, according to a man’s ability, are also necessary.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(13) ]It is not in our power, &c. Three things are noteworthy here: (1) Muhammad’s picturing the former prophets in the colours in which he figured himself (see above on ver. 7); and (2) his inability to point to any miracle actually wrought by himself. The language here ascribed to other prophets was undoubtedly his own, but see on chap. xiii. 8; (3) the facts of Scripture are contradicted.
[(16) ]We will surely expel, &c. This passage points to the persecution of Muhammad and his followers on the eve of the Hijra. This, however, was the experience of all other apostles.
[(18) ]They asked assistance. “The commentators are uncertain whether these were the prophets who begged assistance against their enemies, or the infidels who called for God’s decision between themselves and them, or both. And some suppose this verse has no connection with the preceding, but is spoken of the people of Makkah, who begged rain in a great drought with which they were afflicted at the prayer of their Prophet, but could not obtain it.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(19) ]Filthy water. “Which will issue from the bodies of the damned, mixed with purulent matter and blood.”—Sale.
[(20) ]He shall not die. Tafsír-i-Raufi, on the authority of the Aín-ul-Máaní, says the souls of the damned will stick in their throats; they will neither come out, that they may die, nor will they return into their bodies, that they may live.
[(24) ]The weak . . . shall say, &c., i.e., “the more simple and inferior people shall say to their teachers and princes, who seduced them to idolatry and confirmed them in their obstinate infidelity.”—Sale.
[(25) ]If God had directed, &c. “That is, we made the same choice for you as we did for ourselves; and had not God permitted us to fall into error, we had not seduced you.”—Sale.
[(26) ]I had not any power, &c. Here the sin of unbelievers is ascribed to their own free-will, which hardly agrees with vers. 4 and 25 above.
[(27) ]Accuse me not, &c. “Lay not the blame on my temptations, but blame your own folly in obeying and trusting to me, who had openly professed myself your irreconcilable enemy.”—Sale.
[(28) ]Peace. See note on chap. x. 10.
[(29) ]A parable. The parables of Muhammad are in very striking contrast with those of our Lord. Nothing points more decidedly to the human authorship of the Qurán than the imperfection and commonplace of its parables.
[(31) ]An evil word. See on ver. 29.
[(32) ]That which is to come. “Jaláluddín supposes the sepulchre to be here understood; in which place, when the true believers come to be examined by the two angels concerning their faith, they will answer properly and without hesitation; which the infidels will not be able to do.”—Sale.
[(33) ]Those who have changed, &c. “That is, who requite his favours with disobedience and incredulity; or whose ingratitude obliged God to deprive them of the blessings he had bestowed on them, as he did the Makkans, who, though God had placed them in the sacred territory, and given them the custody of the Kaabah, and abundant provision of all necessaries and conveniences of life, and had also honoured them by the mission of Muhammad, yet in return for all this, became obstinate unbelievers and persecuted his apostles; for which they were not only punished by a famine of seven years, but also by the loss and disgrace they sustained at Badr; so that they who had before been celebrated for their prosperity were now stripped of that, and become conspicuous only for their infidelity. If this be the drift of the passage, it could not have been revealed at Makkah, as the rest of the chapter is agreed to be; wherefore some suppose this verse and the next to have been revealed at Madína.—Sale.
[(37) ]Obligeth. “The word used here and in the following passages is sakhkhara, which signifies forcibly to press into any service.”—Sale.
[(38) ]This land, viz., Makkah and its territory. See Prelim. Disc., p. 42.
[(39) ]Thou wilt be gracious. “That is, by disposing him to repentance. But Jaláluddín supposes these words were spoken by Abraham before he knew that God would not pardon idolatry.”
[(40) ]Some of my offspring, i.e., “Ismaíl and his posterity. The Muhammadans say that Hagar, his mother, belonged to Sarah, who gave her to Abraham; and that, on her bearing him this son, Sarah became so jealous of her that she prevailed on her husband to turn them both out of doors; whereupon he sent them to the territory of Makkah, where God caused the fountain of Zamzam to spring forth for their relief, in consideration of which the Jorhamites, who were the masters of the country, permitted them to settle among them.”—Sale, Jaláluddín, &c.
[(41) ]Ismaíl and Isaac. I have taken the liberty to correct the text of Sale here, which had “Israel and Isaac,” the error having evidently crept in through the printers. Muhammad does not seem to have known of the sons of Keturah.
[(42) ]My posterity. The italics inserted in the text here, in accordance with Muslim interpretation, are certainly not wanted, as is evident by comparing ver. 38.
[(46) ]That no reverse, &c. “That is, that ye should not taste of death, but continue in this world for ever; or that ye should not after death be raised to judgment.”—Sale, Jaláluddín, Zamaḳhsharí.
[(47) ]The dwellings of those, &c., i.e., of Noah, Ád, and Thamúd, &c. See above, ver. 9.
[(49) ]Another earth, &c. “This the Muhammadans suppose will come to pass at the last day; the earth becoming white and even. or, as some will have it, of silver, and the heavens of gold.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín, &c.
[(70) ]The Lord spake by inspiration unto the bee Rodwell translates “taught the bee,” but Sale’s translation is literal, the word wahi being constantly used in the sense of inspiration, including the idea of revelation from God.