Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XXXI.: ENTITLED SURAT LUQMÁN (LOKMAN). Revealed at Makkah. - The Quran, vol. 3
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CHAPTER XXXI.: ENTITLED SURAT LUQMÁN (LOKMAN). 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 LUQMÁN (LOKMAN).
Some account of Luqmán, from whom this chapter is named, is given by Sale under ver. 11. It is probable that Muhammad introduced this personage, who was regarded as a sage of special notoriety by the Arabs of his day, representing him as a true believer, in order to gain credit for his new religion. A similar case was noticed in chap. xviii. 82 seq., where Alexander the Great is introduced as a true Muslim.
In regard to Luqmán’s discourses, it is worthy of note that they correspond almost to the letter with many of Muhammad’s own discourses found in other chapters of the Qurán. This, however, is in accord with his habit of making the sayings of the prophets of olden time to appear as the facsimiles of his own. (See introduction to chap. xxvi.)
Vers. 13 and 14 are evidently misplaced, as Weil has pointed out, and should be placed immediately after ver. 18. Noëldeke thinks something is wanting before ver. 15, as innahá requires a substantive to which it must refer.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
Ver. 3 is thought by some authors, as Baidháwi, Jaláluddín, and Syúti, to be Madínic, because of the supposed mention of the law of alms, but the mention of that subject is too general to warrant that conclusion.
Vers. 31, 32, have been supposed by some authors, as Baidháwi and Zamaḳhshari, to refer to the Jews, and for this reason they are referred to Madína; but this interpretation is not well founded, and even if so, the inference would by no means be just.
The whole chapter may then be regarded as belonging to Makkah. It may be fixed at about the beginning of the third stage of Muhammad’s mission.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) A. L. M. These are the signs of the wise book, (2) a direction and a mercy unto the righteous, (3) who observe the appointed times of prayer, and give alms, and have firm assurance in the life to come: (4) these are directed by their Lord, and they shall prosper. (5) There is a man who purchaseth a ludicrous story, that he may seduce men from the way of God, without knowledge, and may laugh the same to scorn: these shall suffer a shameful punishment. (6) And when our signs are rehearsed unto him he disdainfully turneth his back as though he heard them not, as though there were a deafness in his ears: wherefore denounce unto him a grievous punishment. (7) But they who shall believe and work righteousness shall enjoy gardens of pleasure; (8) they shall continue therein for ever: this is the certain promise of God, and he is the mighty, the wise. (9) He hath created the heavens without visible pillars to sustain them, and thrown on the earth mountains firmly rooted, lest it should move with you; and he hath replenished the same with all kinds of beasts; and we send down rain from heaven, and cause every kind of noble vegetable to spring forth therein. (10) This is the creation of God; show me now what they have created, who are worshipped besides him? verily the ungodly are in a manifest error. (11) We heretofore bestowed wisdom on Luqmán, and commanded him, saying, Be thou thankful unto God, for whoever is thankful shall be thankful to the advantage of his own soul; and if any shall be unthankful, verily God is self-sufficient and worthy to be praised. (12) And remember when Luqmán said unto his son, as he admonished him, O my son, give not a partner unto God, for polytheism is a great impiety. (13) We have commanded man concerning his parents (his mother carrieth him in her womb with weakness and faintness, and he is weaned in two years), saying, Be grateful unto me and to thy parents. Unto me shall all come to be judged.
∥ (14)(14) But if thy parents endeavour to prevail on thee to associate with me that concerning which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not; bear them company in this world in what shall be reasonable, but follow the way of him who sincerely turneth unto me. Hereafter unto me shall ye return, and then will I declare unto you that which ye have done. (15) O my son, verily every matter, whether good or bad, though it be of the weight of a grain of mustard-seed, and be hidden in a rock, or in the heavens, or in the earth, God will bring the same to light; for Godis clear-sighted and knowing. (16) O my son, be constant at prayer, and command that which is just, and forbid that which is evil, and be patient under the afflictions which shall befall thee, for this is a duty absolutely incumbent on all men. (17) Distort not thy face out of contempt to men, neither walk in the earth with insolence, for God loveth no arrogant, vainglorious person. (18) And be moderate in thy pace, and lower thy voice, for the most ungrateful of all voices surely is the voice of asses.
∥ (19) Do ye not see that God hath subjected whatever is in heaven and on earth to your service, and hath abundantly poured on you his favours, both outwardly and inwardly? There are some who dispute concerning God without knowledge, and without a direction, and without an enlightening book. (20) And when it is said unto them, Follow that which God hath revealed, they answer, Nay, we will follow that which we found our fathers to practise. What, though the devil invite them to the torment of hell? (21) Whosoever resigneth himself unto God, being a worker of righteousness, taketh hold on a strong handle, and unto Godbelongeth the issue of all things. (22) But whoever shall be an unbeliever, let not his unbelief grieve thee; unto us shall they return, then will we declare unto them that which they have done; for God knoweth the innermost parts of the breasts of men. (23) We will suffer them to enjoy this world for a little while, afterwards we will drive them to a severe punishment. (24) If thou ask them who hath created the heavens and the earth, they will surely answer God. Say, God be praised! but the greater part of them do not understand. (25) Unto Godbelongeth whatever is in heaven and earth, for Godis the self-sufficient, the praiseworthy. (26) If whatever trees are in the earth were pens, and he should after that swell the sea into seven seas of ink, the words of God would not be exhausted; for Godis mighty and wise. (27) Your creation and your resuscitation are but as the creation and resuscitation of one soul; verily Godboth heareth and seeth. (28) Dost thou not see that God causeth the night to succeed the day, and causeth the day to succeed the night, and compelleth the sun and the moon to serve you? Each of those luminaries hasteneth in its course to a determined period; and Godis well acquainted with that which ye do. (29) This is declared concerning the divine knowledge and power, for that God is the true Being, and for that whatever ye invoke besides him is vanity, and for that God is the high, the great God.
∥ (30) Dost thou not see that the ships run in the sea, through the favour of God, that he may show you of his signs? Verily herein are signs unto every patient, grateful person. (31) When waves cover them like overshadowing clouds, they call upon God, exhibiting the pure religion unto him; but when he bringeth them safe to land, there is of them who halteth between the true faith and idolatry. Howbeit, none rejecteth our signs, except every perfidious, ungrateful person. (32) O men, fear your Lord, and dread the day whereon a father shall not make satisfaction for his son, neither shall a son make satisfaction for his father at all: (33) the promise of God is assuredly true. Let not this present life, therefore, deceive you; neither let the deceiver deceive you concerning God.(34) Verily the knowledge of the hour of judgment is with God; and he causeth the rain to descend at his own appointed time; and he knoweth what is in the wombs of females. No soul knoweth what it shall gain on the morrow; neither doth any soul know in what land it shall die; but Godis knowing and fully acquainted with all things.
[(1) ]A. L. M. See Prelim. Disc., p. 101, and note on chap. ii. 1.
[(3) ]See note on chap. ii. 42.
[(5) ]A man who purchaseth a ludicrous story, &c., i.e., “vain and silly fables. The passage was revealed, it is said, on occasion of al Nudhár Ibn al Hárith, who having brought from Persia the romance of Rustam and Isfandiyár, the two heroes of that country, recited it in the assemblies of the Quraish, highly extolling the power and splendour of the ancient Persian kings, and preferring their stories to those of Ád and Thamúd, David and Solomon, and the rest which are told in the Qurán. Some say that al Nudhár bought singing-girls, and carried them to those who were inclined to become Muslims, to divert them from their purpose by songs and tales.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(9) ]Mountains firmly rooted. See note on chap. xvi. 15.
[(11) ]Luqmán. “The Arab writers say that Luqmán was the son of Baúrá, who was the son or grandson of a sister or aunt of Job, and that he lived several centuries, and to the time of David, with whom he was conversant in Palestine. According to the description they give of his person, he must have been deformed enough, for they say he was of a black complexion (whence some call him an Ethiopian), with thick lips and splay feet; but in return he received from God wisdom and eloquence in a great degree, which some pretend were given him in a vision, on his making choice of wisdom preferably to the gift of prophecy, either of which were offered him. The generanty of the Muhammadans, therefore, hold him to have been no prophet, but only a wise man. As to his condition, they say he was a slave, but obtained his liberty on the following occasion: His master having one day given him a bitter melon to eat, he paid him such exact obedience as to eat it all, at which his master being surprised, asked him how he could eat so nauseous a fruit. To which he replied, it was no wonder that he should for once accept a bitter fruit from the same hand from which he had received so many favours. The commentators mention several quick repartees of Luqmán, which, together with the circumstances above mentioned, agree so well with what Maximus Pianudes has written of Æsop, that from thence, and from the fables attributed to Luqmán by the Orientals, the latter has been generally thought to have been no other than the Æsop of the Greeks. However that be (for I think the matter will bear a dispute). I am of opinion that Planudes borrowed great part of his life of Æsop from the traditions he met with in the East concerning Luqmán, concluding them to have been the same person, because they were both slaves, and supposed to be the writers of those fables which go under their respective names, and bear a great resemblance to one another, for it has long since been observed by learned men that the greater part of that monk’s performance is an absurd romance, and supported by no evidence of the ancient writers.”—Sale, Baidháwi, &c.
[(12) ]Luqmán said to his son. “Whom some name Anám (which comes pretty near the Ennus of Planudes), some Asákam, and others Mathán.”—Sale.
[(13, 14) ]“These two verses are no part of Luqmán’s advice to his son, but are inserted by way of parenthesis, as very pertment and proper to be repeated here, to show the heinousness of idolatry; they are to be read (excepting some additions) in the twenty-ninth chapter (ver. 7; see also note there).”—Sale.
[(14) ]What shall be reasonable. “That is, show them all deference and obedience so far as may be consistent with thy duty towards God.”—Sale.
[(18) ]The voice of asses. “To the braying of which animal the Arabs liken a loud and disagreeable voice.”—Sale.
[(19) ]A direction and . . . enlightening book, i.e., an inspired book like the Qurán.
[(24) ]Compare chap. xxix. 61-63.
[(26) ]“This passage is said to have been revealed in answer to the Jews, who insisted that all knowledge was contained in the law”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(27) ]One soul. “God being able to produce a million of worlds by the single word kun, i.e., ‘be,’ and to raise the dead in general by the single word kum, i.e., ‘arise.’ ”—Sale.
[(29) ]True Being. This verse indicates the object for which the statements of vers. 25-28 and other similar statements in the Makkan chapters are made. It is to prove the being and attributes of the true God, especially his attributes of power and goodness, against both of which the idolaters had sinned.
[(30, 31) ]These verses illustrate the way in which the idolaters ignore God’s goodness and power as illustrated in their own deliverances from danger in answer to prayer.
[(32) ]This verse may be connected with vers. 13 and 14; or the meaning may simply be that in the judgment-day there shall be no intercessor. See notes on chap. ii. 47, 123, and vi. 50.
[(33) ]The deceiver, i.e., the devil.
[(34) ]“In this passage five things are enumerated which are known to God alone, viz, the time of the day of judgment; the time of rain; what is forming in the womb, as whether it be male or female, &c.; what shall happen on the morrow; and where any person shall die. These the Arabs, according to a tradition of their Prophet, call ‘the five keys of secret knowledge.’ The passage, it is said, was occasioned by al Hárith Ibn Ámru, who propounded questions of this nature to Muhammad. As to the last particular al Baidháwi relates the following story:—The angel of death passing once by Solomon in a visible shape, and looking at one who was sitting with him, the man asked who he was, and upon Solomon’s acquainting him that it was the angel of death, said. ‘He seems to want me; wherefore order the wind to carry me from hence into India:’ which being accordingly done, the angel said to Solomon, ‘I looked so earnestly at the man out of wonder; because I was commanded to take his soul in India, and found him with thee in Palestine.’ ”—Sale.