Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XXI.: ENTITLED SURAT UL AMBAYA (THE PROPHETS). Revealed at Makkah. - The Quran, vol. 3
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CHAPTER XXI.: ENTITLED SURAT UL AMBAYA (THE PROPHETS). 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 UL AMBAYA (THE PROPHETS).
The circumstances of the Muslims at the time this chapter was written have, as usual, determined the style and matter of the “revelations.” The Quraish, aided by the Jews, were now active in their resistance to the reformer at Makkah. They scoffed at his revelations, stigmatising them as “a confused heap of dreams,” the offspring of sorcery; Muhammad was denounced as “a forger,” and his boasted “incomparable verses were regarded as the ordinary productions of a “poet” (ver. 5).
It is not unreasonable to infer from the character of the persecution of the prophets in former ages described in this chapter, that the Quraish had already threatened Muhammad with violent measures, and were now quite ready to carry their threats into execution (comp. ver. 37 with vers. 66-68). The principal point in the stories of the prophets given here is that the blessing of God rests on the prophets, and that he delivers them out of the hands of their enemies, or avenges their death with dire judgments on their persecutors (see note on vers. 10-15).
The case of Abraham, however, is given with considerable detail. This is one of the prophets with whom Muhammad frequently compared himself in the Qurán. If (with Muir, see note on ver. 18) we regard Muhammad and the Muslims as now exposed to that persecution of the Quraish which resulted in their flight to Madína, and keeping in mind that at this period Muhammad had determined to retire to Madína as soon as the way should be open, we may make the following comparison,—a comparison we believe to have been present in Muhammad’s mind at that time—a comparison between Abraham and Muhammad:—
This chapter is also interesting as illustrating how much of Scripture knowledge Muhammad had already acquired, and how he now moulds it to suit his purpose, and how he presents it as a revelation from God, and as a proof of its own inspiration because agreeing, as he declared, with the former Scriptures. No stronger proof of the charge brought against him by the Quraish and the Jews that he was “a forger” could be produced,—his forgery “to be palliated only by the miserable apology of a pious end” (see Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p. 189).
Probable Date of the Revelations.
From what has already been said, we conclude that this chapter belongs to the latter part of the third stage or ninth year of Muhammad’s mission at Makkah. Jaláluddín as Syúti (Itqán, 34) thinks ver. 7 to be of Madína origin.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) The time of giving up their account draweth nigh unto the people of Makkah, while they are sunk in negligence, turning aside from the consideration thereof. (2) No admonition cometh unto them from their Lord, being lately revealed in the Qurán, but when they hear it, they turn it to sport: (3) their hearts are taken up with delights. And they who act unjustly discourse privately together, saying, Is this Muhammad any more than a man like yourselves? Will ye therefore come to hear a piece of sorcery, when ye plainly perceive it to be so? (4) Say, My Lord knoweth whatever is spoken in heaven and on earth: it is he who heareth and knoweth. (5) But they say, The Qurán is a confused heap of dreams: nay, he hath forged it; nay, he is a poet: let him come unto us therefore with some miracle, in like manner as the former prophets were sent. (6) None of the cities which we have destroyed believed the miracles which they saw performed before them: will these therefore believe, if they see a miracle?(7) We sent none as our apostles before them, other than men, unto whom we revealed our will. Ask those who are acquainted with the Scripture, if ye know not this. (8) We gave them not a body which could be supported without their eating food; neither were they immortal. (9) But we made good our promise unto them: wherefore we delivered them, and those whom we pleased; but we destroyed the exorbitant transgressors. (10) Now have we sent down unto you, O Quraish, the book of the Qurán, wherein there is honourable mention of you: will ye not therefore understand?
∥ (11) And how many cities have we overthrown, which were ungodly; and caused other nations to rise up after them? (12) And when they felt our severe vengeance, behold, they fled swiftly from those cities.(13)And the angels said scoffingly unto them, Do not fly; but return to that wherein ye delighted, and to your habitations; peradventure ye will be asked. (14)(14) They answered, Alas for us! verily we have been unjust. (15) And this their lamentation ceased not until we had rendered them like corn which is mown down and utterly extinct. (16) We created not the heavens and the earth, and that which is between them, by way of sport. (17) If we had pleased to take diversion, verily we had taken it with that which beseemeth us; if we had resolved to have done this. (18) But we will oppose truth to vanity, and it shall confound the same; and behold, it shall vanish away. Woe be unto you, for that which ye impiously utter concerning God! (19) since whoever is in heaven and on earth is subject unto him; and the angels who are in his presence do not insolently disdain his service, neither are they tired therewith. (20) They praise him night and day; they faint not. (21) Have they taken gods from the earth? Shall they raise the dead to life? (22) If there were either in heaven or on earth gods beside God, verily both would be corrupted. But far be that which they utter from God, the Lord of the throne! (23) No account shall be demanded of him for what he shall do; but an account shall be demanded of them. (24) Have they taken other gods besides him! Say, Produce your proof thereof. This is the admonition of those who are contemporary with me, and the admonition of those who have been before me, but the greater part of them know not the truth, and turn aside from the same. (25) We have sent no apostle before thee, but we revealed unto him that there is no God beside myself; wherefore serve me. (26) They say, The Merciful hath begotten issue, and the angels are his daughters.God forbid! They are his honoured servants; (27) they prevent him not in anything which they say, and they execute his command. (28) He knoweth that which is before them, and that which is behind them; they shall not intercede for any,(29) except for whom it shall please him; and they tremble for fear of him. (30) Whoever of them shall say, I am a god beside him; that angel will we reward with hell: for so will we reward the unjust.
∥ (31) Do not the unbelievers therefore know that the heavens and the earth were solid, and we clave the same in sunder, and made every living thing of water? Will they not therefore believe? (32) And we placed stable mountains on the earth, lest it should move with them; and we made broad passages between them for paths, that they might be directed in their journeys: (33) and we made the heaven a roof well supported. Yet they turn aside from the signs thereof, not considering that they are the workmanship of God. (34) It is he who hath created the night, and the day, and the sun, and the moon; all the celestial bodies move swiftly, each in its respective orb. (35) We have not granted unto any man before thee eternal permanency in this world; if thou die, therefore, will they be immortal? (36) Every soul shall taste of death: and we will prove you with evil and with good, for a trial of you; and unto us shall ye return. (37) When the unbelievers see thee, they receive thee only with scoffing, saying, Is this he who mentioneth your gods with contempt? Yet themselves believe not what is mentioned to them of the Merciful. (38) Man is created of precipitation. Hereafter will I show you my signs, so that ye shall not wish them to be hastened. (39) They say, When will this threat be accomplished, if ye speak truth? (40) If they who believe not knew that the time will surely come when they shall not be able to drive back the fire of hell from their faces, nor from their backs, neither shall they be helped, they would not hasten it. (41) But the day of vengeance shall come upon them suddenly, and shall strike them with astonishment: they shall not be able to avert it, neither shall they be respited. (42)Other apostles have been mocked before thee; but the punishment which they scoffed at fell upon such of them as mocked.
∥ (43) Say unto the scoffers, Who shall save you by night and by day from the Merciful? Yet they utterly neglect the remembrance of their Lord. (44) Have they gods who will defend them, besides us? They are not able to help themselves; neither shall they be assisted against us by their companions. (45) But we have permitted these men and their fathers to enjoy worldly prosperity so long as life was continued unto them. Do they not perceive that we come unto the land of the unbelievers, and straiten the borders thereof? Shall they therefore be the conquerors? (46) Say, I only preach unto you the revelation of God: but the deaf will not hear thy call, whenever they are preached unto. (47) Yet if the least breath of the punishment of thy Lord touch them, they will surely say, Alas for us! verily we have been unjust. (48) We will appoint just balances for the day of resurrection; neither shall any soul be injured at all: although the merit or guilt of an action be of the weight of a grain of mustard-seed only, we will produce it publicly; and there will be sufficient accountants with us. (49) We formerly gave unto Moses and Aaron the law, being a distinction between good and evil, and a light and admonition unto the pious; (50) who fear their Lord in secret, and who dread the hour of judgment. (51) And this book also is a blessed admonition, which we have sent down from heaven: will ye therefore deny it?
∥ (52) And we gave unto Abraham his direction heretofore, and we knew him to be worthy of the revelations wherewith he was favoured.(53)Remember when he said unto his father and his people, What are these images, to which ye are so entirely devoted? (54) They answered. We found our fathers worshipping them. (55) He said, Verily both ye and your fathers have been in a manifest error. (56) They said, Dost thou seriously tell us the truth, or art thou one who jestest with us? (57) He replied, Verily your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth; it is he who hath created them: and I am one of those who bear witness thereof. (58) By God, I will surely devise a plot against your idols, after ye shall have retired from them, and shall have turned your backs. (59) And in the people’s absence he went into the temple where the idols stood, and he brake them all in pieces, except the biggest of them, that they might lay the blame upon that. (60) And when they were returned, and saw the havoc which had been made, they said, Who hath done this to our gods? He is certainly an impious person. (61) And certain of them answered, We heard a young man speak reproachfully of them: he is named Abraham. (62) They said, Bring him therefore before the people, that they may bear witness against him. (63) And when he was brought before the assembly, they said unto him, Hast thou done this unto our gods, O Abraham? (64) He answered, Nay, that biggest of them hath done it: but ask them, if they can speak. (65) And they returned unto themselves, and said the one to the other, Verily ye are the impious persons.(66) Afterwards they relapsed into their former obstinacy, and said, Verily thou knowest that these speak not.
∥ (67) Abraham answered, Do ye therefore worship, besides God, that which cannot profit you at all, neither can it hurt you? Fie on you: and upon that which ye worship besides God! Do ye not understand? (68) They said, Burn him, and avenge your gods: if ye do this it will be well. And when Abraham was cast into the burning pile,(69) we said, O fire, be thou cold, and a preservation unto Abraham. (70) And they sought to lay a plot against him; but we caused them to be the sufferers. (71) And we delivered him and Lot, bybringing them into the land wherein we have blessed all creatures. (72) And we bestowed on him Isaac and Jacob, as an additional gift; and we made all of them righteous persons. (73) We also made them models of religion, that they might direct others by our command: and we inspired into them the doing of good works, and the observance of prayer, and the giving of alms; and they served us. (74) And unto Lot we gave wisdom and knowledge, and we delivered him out of the city which committed filthy crimes, for they were a wicked and insolent people.
∥ (75) And we led him into our mercy, for he was an upright person. (76) And remember Noah, when he called for destruction on his people, before the prophets above mentioned: and we heard him, and delivered him and his family from a great strait; (77) and we protected him from the people who accused our signs of falsehood; for they were a wicked people, wherefore we drowned them all. (78) And remember David and Solomon, when they pronounced judgment concerning a field, when the sheep of certain people had fed therein by night, having no shepherd; and we were witnesses of their judgment; (79) and we gave the understanding thereof unto Solomon. And on all of them we bestowed wisdom and knowledge. And we compelled the mountains to praise us, with David; and the birds also: and we did this.(80) And we taught him the art of making coats of mail for you, that they may defend you in your wars; will ye therefore be thankful? (81) And unto Solomon we subjected a strong wind; it ran at his command to the land whereon we had bestowed our blessing; and we knew all things. (82) And we also subjected unto his command divers of the devils, who might dive to get pearls for him, and perform other work besides this; and we watched over them. (83) And remember Job, when he cried unto his Lord,saying, Verily evil hath afflicted me, but thou art the most merciful of those who show mercy. (84) Wherefore we heard him, and relieved him from the evil which was upon him; and we restored unto him his family, and as many more with them, through our mercy, and for an admonition unto those who serve God.(85) And remember Ismaíl, and Idrís, and Dhu’lkifl. All these were patient persons; (86) wherefore we led them into our mercy, for they were righteous doers. (87) And remember Dhu’lnún, when he departed in wrath, and thought that we could not exercise our power over him. And he cried out in the darkness, saying, There is no God besides thee: praise be unto thee! Verily I have been one of the unjust. (88) Wherefore we heard him, and delivered him from affliction; for so do we deliver the true believers. (89) And remember Zacharias, when he called upon his Lord,saying, O Lord, leave me not childless; yet thou art the best heir. (90) Wherefore we heard him, and we gave him John; and we rendered his wife fit for bearing a child unto him. These strove to excel in good works, and called upon us with love and with fear, and humbled themselves before us. (91) and remember her who preserved her virginity, and into whom we breathed of our spirit, ordaining her and her son for a sign unto all creatures. (92) Verily this your religion is one religion, and I am your Lord; wherefore serve me. (93) But the Jews and Christians have made schisms in the affair of their religion among themselves; but all of them shall appear before us.
∥ (94) Whosoever shall do good works, being a true believer, there shall be no denial of the reward due to his endeavours, and we will surely write it down unto him. (95) An inviolable prohibition is laid on every city which we shall have destroyed; for that they shall not return any more into the world,(96) until Gog and Magog shall have a passage opened for them, and they shall hasten from every high hill, (97) and the certain promise shall draw near to be fulfilled: and behold, the eyes of the infidels shall be fixed with astonishment, and they shall say, Alas for us! we were formerly regardless of this day; yea, we were wicked doers. (98) Verily both ye, O men of Makkah, and the idols which ye worship besides God,shall be cast as fuel into hell-fire: ye shall go down into the same. (99) If these were really gods, they would not go down into the same: and all of them shall remain therein for ever. (100) In that place shall they groan for anguish; and they shall not hear aught therein. (101)As for those unto whom the most excellent reward of Paradise hath been predestinated by us, they shall be transported far off from the same; (102) they shall not hear the least sound thereof: and they shall continue for ever in the felicity which their souls desire. (103) The greatest terror shall not trouble them; and the angels shall meet them to congratulate them, saying, This is your day which ye were promised. (104) On that day we will roll up the heavens, as the angel al Sijíl rolleth up the book whereinevery man’s actions are recorded. As we made the first creature out of nothing, so we will also reproduce it at the resurrection. This is a promise which it lieth on us to fulfil: we will surely perform it.(105) And now have we written in the Psalms, after the promulgation of the law, that my servants the righteous shall inherit the earth. (106) Verily in this book are contained sufficient means of salvation unto people who serve God. (107) We have not sent thee, O Muhammad, but as a mercy unto all creatures. (108) Say, No other hath been revealed unto me than that your God is one God:will ye therefore be resigned unto him?(109) But if they turn their backs to the confession of God’s unity, say, I proclaim war against you all equally: but I know not whether that which ye are threatened with be nigh, or whether it be far distant. (110) Verily God knoweth the discourse which is spoken in public; and he also knoweth that which ye hold in private. (111) I know not but peradventure the respite granted you is for a trial of you; and that ye may enjoy the prosperity of this world for a time. (112) Say, Lord, judge between me and my adversaries with truth. Our Lord is the Merciful; whose assistance is to be implored against the blasphemies and calumnies which ye utter.
[(5) ]A confused heap of dreams. Pious Muslims say that “the infidels could not understand the Prophet. Blinded by unbelief, the revelations appeared to them now like the ravings of a madman, and again like the wild fancies of a poet.” It is to be feared that unbelievers in Islám, reading the earlier Makkan chapters, still hold most of them to be “a confused heap of dreams” However this may be, it is plain that passages like the one under consideration prove indisputably that the miracles of the incomparable verses of the Qurán were no signs to Muhammad’s contemporaries. See notes on chap. ii. 23, vi. 24, x. 38, and xvii. 90.
[(6) ]None . . . believed. This was the reason given by Muhammad, in answer to the demand of the Makkans as expressed in the preceding verse, for not working miracles as did the “former prophets.” We may certainly infer from this, and other verses of a like character, that Muhammad wrought no miracles; his sole claim was that the Qurán was itself a miracle, and this sign was rejected by the Quraish, as well as by the Jews and Christians. See also notes on chap. ii. 118, 119, iii. 184, and references there.
[(7) ]Ask those . . . acquainted with the Scripture. These words imply that the Jews and Christians were in possession of their own Scriptures at this time. The claim is also set up here that the teaching of the Qurán is in strict accordance with that of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament.
[(10-15) ]The Tafsír-i-Raufi refers these verses to the case of a certain city of Yaman called Hazúra, to which a prophet was sent. The people did not believe, but slew him. God in his vengeance sent Nebuchadnezzar to destroy the city, at whose approach the inhabitants fled. A voice from heaven cried, “The prophet is avenged upon you!” the angels also laughed them to scorn, saying, “Do not fly,” &c. Sale gives the same story with a little variation. This story sounds like a traditionary account of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. The text, however, probably refers to the destruction of Ad, Thamúd, &c.; see chap. xi. 50-68, and Prelim. Disc., pp. 20-23.
[(14) ]Peradventure ye will be asked, i.e., #x201c;concerning the present posture of affairs, by way of consultation; or that ye may be examined as to your deeds, that ye may receive the reward thereof.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(16) ]Not . . . in sport. “But for the manifestation of our power and wisdom to people of understanding, that they may seriously consider the wonders of the creation, and direct their actions to the attainment of future happiness, neglecting the vain pomp and fleeting pleasures of this world”—Sale.
[(17) ]Diversion . . . which beseemeth us, viz., “we had sought our pleasure in our own perfections, or in the spiritual beings which are in our immediate presence, and not in raising of material buildings with painted roofs and fine floors, which is the diversion of man.
[(18) ]We will oppose truth to vanity. Rodwell translates, “Nay, we will hurl the truth at falsehood.” Muir (Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p. 225) understands these words to express the assurance of ultimate success, notwithstanding the persecutions of the Quraish. “The Lord had given to all his apostles of old the victory, and he would give the same to Mahomet.”
[(22) ]Both would be corrupted. “That is, the whole creation would necessarily fall into confusion and be overturned by the competition of such mighty antagonists.”—Sale.
[(24) ]The admonition of those . . . before me, i.e., “this is the constant doctrine of all the sacred books; not only of the Qurán, but of those which were revealed in former ages, all of them bearing witness to the great and fundamental truth of the unity of God.”—Sale.
[(26) ]The Merciful hath begotten. “This passage was revealed on account of the Khuzáites, who held the angels to be the daughters of God.”—Sale.
[(27) ]They prevent him not, &c., i.e., “they presume not to say anything until he hath spoken it, behaving as servants who know their duty.”—Sale.
[(29) ]Except for whom it shall please him. Comp. chap. xix. 90, and chap. xx. 108. It would appear that Muhammad admitted that there would be angelic intercessors on the judgment day, just as there will be human intercessors. On the subject of intercession in general see notes on chaps. ii. 47, vi. 50. and xx. 108.
[(31) ]We clave the same in sunder. “That is, they were one continued mass of matter, till we separated them, and divided the heaven into seven heavens, and the earth into as many stories; and distinguished the various orbs of the one, and the different climates of the other, &c. Or, as some choose to translate the words, ‘The heavens and the earth were shut up, and we opened the same;’ their meaning being, that the heavens did not rain, nor the earth produce vegetables, till God interposed his power.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(32) ]See note on chap. xvi. 15.
[(35) ]If thou die, &c. Sale says, “This passage was revealed whenthe infidels said, ‘We expect to see Muhammad die like the rest of mankind.’ ”
[(36) ]Every soul shall taste death. See note on chap. iii. 186. Comp. Matt. xvi. 28; Heb. ii. 9.
[(37) ]Yet themselves believe not, &c. “Denying his unity, or rejecting his apostles and the scriptures which were given for their instruction, and particularly the Qurán.”—Sale.
[(38) ]Precipitation. “Being hasty and inconsiderate. It is said this passage was revealed on account of al Nadhar Ibn al Hárith, when he desired Muhammad to hasten the divine vengeance with which he threatened the unbelievers.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(42) ]“These words were for the comfort of the Prophet when scoffed at by the unbelievers of Makkah.”—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(45) ]We come unto the land . . . and straiten the borders. Rodwell regards this as an appeal to the rapid progress of Islám in proof of the truth of Islám. I can see nothing in the text to substantiate this position. Surely the progress of Islám up to this point had not been sufficient to justify such a claim. The allusion is rather to the straitening of divine judgments.
[(48) ]See note on chap. vii. 8.
[(49) ]A distinction. In the original furgán. See note on chap. ii. 52, and Prelim. Disc., p. 97.
[(52) ]We gave unto Abraham his direction, viz., “the ten books of divine revelations which were given him.” See Prelim. Disc., p. 122.
[(53) ]See notes on chap. vi. 75, and chap. xix. 43-50.
[(59) ]Except the biggest, &c. “Abraham took his opportunity to do this while the Chaldeans were abroad in the fields celebrating a great festival; and some say he hid himself in the temple: and when he had accomplished his design, that he might the more evidently convince them of their folly in worshipping them, he hung the axe with which he had hewn and broken down the images on the neck of the chief idol, named by some writers Baal, as if he had been the author of all the mischief. For this story, which, though it be false, is not ill invented, Muhammad stands indebted to the Jews, who tell it with a little variation: for they say Abraham performed this exploit in his father’s shop, during his absence; that Terah, on his return, demanding the occasion of the disorder, his son told him that the idols had quarrelled and fallen together by the ears about an offering of fine flour, which had been brought them by an old woman; and that the father, finding he could not insist on the impossibility of what Abraham pretended without confessing the impotence of his gods, fell into a violent passion, and carried him to Nimrod, that he might be exemplarily punished for his insolence.” (See Schals. Hakob, 2: Maimon de Idol, chap. i.)—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(65) ]Returned unto themselves. They saw their folly.
[(66) ]Relapsed into their former obstinacy; literally, they were turned down upon their heads.
[(68) ]Burn him, &c. “Perceiving they could not prevail against Abraham by dint of argument, says Al Baidháwi, they had recourse to persecution and torments. The same commentator tells us the person who gave this counsel was a Persian Kurd named Hayyún, and that the earth opened and swallowed him up alive; some, however, say it was Andeshán, a Magian priest; and others, that it was Nimrod himself.”—Sale, on authority of D’Herbel., Bibl. Orient., art. Dhokak, et Schultens, Indic. Geogr. in Vit. Saladini, voce Curdi.
[(69) ]We said, O fire, &c. “The commentators relate that, by Nimrod’s order, a large space was enclosed at Kuthá, and filled with a vast quantity of wood, which being set on fire, burned so fiercely that none dared to venture near it: then they bound Abraham, and putting him into an engine (which some suppose to have been of the devil’s invention), shot him into the midst of the fire, from which he was preserved by the Angel Gabriel, who was sent to his assistance; the fire burning only the cords with which he was bound (Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.)
[(70) ]We caused them to be sufferers. “Some tell us that Nimrod, on seeing this miraculous deliverance from his palace, cried out that he would make an offering to the God of Abraham; and that he accordingly sacrificed four thousand kine (Baidháwi). But, if he ever relented, he soon relapsed into his former infidelity; for he built a tower that he might ascend to heaven to see Abraham’s God; which being overthrown, still persisting in his design, he would be carried to heaven in a chest borne by four monstrous birds; but after wandering for some time through the air, he fell down on a mountain with such a force that he made it shake, whereto (as some fancy) a passage in the Qurán (chap. xiv. 47) alludes, which may be translated, ‘although their contrivances be such as to make the mountains tremble.’
[(71) ]The land, &c. Palestine.
[(73) ]Models of religion. See note on chap. ii. 124.
[(74) ]Insolent people. See chap. vii. 81-83, and notes there.
[(76) ]Noah . . . called, &c. See note on chap. viii. 69.
[(77) ]Accused our signs of falsehood. The circumstances of these former prophets are here, as elsewhere, represented as like unto those of Muhammad in Makkah. See chap. iii. 137, 138, and 185.
[(79) ]We give the understanding thereof unto Solomon. “Some sheep, in their shepherd’s absence, having broken into another man’s field (or vineyard, say others) by night, and eaten up the corn, a dispute arose thereupon; and the cause being brought before David and Solomon, the former said that the owner of the land should take the sheep in compensation of the damage which he had sustained; but Solomon, who was then but eleven years old, was of opinion that it would be more just for the owner of the field to take only the profit of the sheep, viz., their milk, lambs, and wool, till the shepherd should, by his own labour and at his own expense, put the field into as good condition as when the sheep entered it; after which the sheep might be returned to their master. And this judgment of Solomon was approved by David himself as better than his own.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(80) ]We taught him, &c. “Men, before his inventing them, used to arm themselves with broad plates of metal. Lest this fable should want something of the marvellous, one writer tells us that the iron which David used became soft in his hands like wax” (Táríkh. Muntakhab; vide D’Herbel., p. 284).—Sale.
[(81) ]A strong wind. “Which transported his throne with prodigious swiftness. Some say this wind was violent or gentle, just as Solomon pleased.”—Sale.
[(82) ]Devils. Comp. chap. xxxvii. 36.
[(83) ]Remember Job. “The Muhammadan writers tell us that Job was of the race of Esau, and was blessed with a numerous family and abundant riches, but that God proved him, by taking away all that he had, even his children, who were killed by the fall of a house; notwithstanding which he continued to serve God, and to return him thanks as usual; that he was then struck with a filthy disease, his body being full of worms, and so offensive, that as he lay on the dunghill, none could bear to come near him; that his wife, however (whom some call Rahmat, the daughter of Ephraim, the son of Joseph, and others, Makhir, the daughter of Manasses) attended him with great patience, supporting him with what she earned by her labour; but that the devil appeared to her one day, after having reminded her of her past prosperity, promised her that if she would worship him, he would restore all they had lost; whereupon she asked her husband’s consent, who was so angry at the proposal, that he swore, if he recovered, to give his wife a hundred stripes; that Job having pronounced the prayer recorded in this passage, God sent Gabriel, who, taking him by the hand, raised him up; and at the same time a fountain sprang up at his feet, of which having drank, the worms fell off his body, and washing therein, he recovered his former health and beauty; that God then restored all to him double, his wife also becoming young and handsome again, and bearing him twenty-six sons; and that Job, to satisfy his oath, was directed by God to strike her one blow with a palm-branch having a hundred leaves. Some, to express the great riches that were bestowed on Job after his sufferings, say he had two threshing-floors, one for wheat and the other for barley, and that God sent two clouds which rained gold on the one, and silver on the other, till they ran over. The traditions differ as to the continuance of Job’s calamities; one will have it to be eighteen years, another thirteen, another three, and another exactly seven years, seven months, and seven hours.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín, &c.
[(85) ]Idrís. See note on chap. xix. 57.
[(87) ]Dhu’lnún. Jonas, so called “because he was swallowed by the fish.”—Sale. See chap. x. 98.
[(88) ]From affliction. Compare chap. xxxvii. 139-147.
[(89) ]Zacharias. See chap. iii. 38, 39, and xix. 1.
[(91) ]Her who preserved her virginity, namely, the Virgin Mary.—Sale. Comp. lxvi. 12. This verse affords decisive proof that Muhammad believed in the immaculate conception of Jesus. Syed Ahmad and his followers are clearly guilty of rejecting the testimony of the Qurán on this subject. See his commentary on Qurán, chap. xix.
[(92) ]One religion. “Being the same which was professed by all the prophets, and holy men and women, without any fundamental difference or variation.”—Sale.
[(96) ]Until Gog and Magog, &c., i.e., “until the resurrection; one sign of the approach whereof will be an irruption of those barbarians.”—Sale.
[(100) ]They shall not hear aught therein. “Because of their astonishment and the insupportable torments they shall endure; or, as others expound the words, They shall not hear therein anything which may give them the least comfort.”—Sale.
[(101) ]Far off from the same. “One Ibn al Zabári objected to the preceding words, Both ye and that which ye worship besides God shall be cast into hell, because, being general, they asserted an absolute falsehood, some of the objects of idolatrous worship being so far from any danger of damnation, that they were in the highest favour with God, as Jesus, Ezra, and the angels: wherefore this passage was revealed, excepting those who were predestined to salvation.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(104) ]Sijíl. “Whose office it is to write down the actions of every man’s life, which, at his death, he rolls up as completed. Some pretend one of Muhammad’s scribes is here meant; and others take the word Sijíl, or, as it is also written, Sijjíl, for an appellative, signifying a book or written scroll, and accordingly render the passage, as a written scroll is rolled up.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(105) ]See Psalm xxxvii. 29. Rodwell points out that this is the only Scripture text quoted in the Qurán.
[(109) ]I proclaim war, &c. “Or, I have publicly declared unto you what I was commanded.”—Sale. This last is the best translation. Rodwell translates, I have warned you all alike.