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THE QURÁN. - Mohammed, The Quran, vol. 4 
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 FUSSILAT (EXPLANATION).
In some manuscripts this chapter is entitled Worship or Adoration, “because,” says Sale, “the infidels are herein commanded to forsake the worship of idols and to worship God; but the thirty-second chapter bearing the same title, that which we have here prefixed is, for distinction, generally used.”
According to Hishám, 186 (Coussin de Perc, i. 375 seq.), the design of Muhammad in enunciating the revelations of this chapter was the conversion of Utba bin Rábia to Islám. This story accords well enough with the teaching of the chapter, but there is nothing in it to bar the idea of a more general application.
There is little in this chapter to distinguish it from other Makkan Suras, unless it be the vehemence with which Muhammad asserts his own prophetic claims and the inspired character of the Qurán. The Qurán is declared to be the Word of God (vers. 1-3, 41, 42), which has been revealed in the Arabic language (vers. 2 and 44) in order that the Quraish might have no good excuse for rejecting it (ver. 44). The Quraish are, however, charged with having rejected it (vers. 3 and 4); but this was not to be regarded as affording any evidence of the falsity of its claims, but rather of the contrary, inasmuch as the writings of Moses had met with similar treatment (ver. 45). The unbelievers are therefore threatened with the fate of the Ádites and of the Thamúdites (vers. 13-15), while believers are assured of protection in this life and of glorious rewards in Paradise (vers. 17 and 30-32). The folly of the worship of the idolaters is exposed by reference to the fact that God is the Creator of all things, especially of the objects of Makkan worship.
Throughout the chapter Muhammad appears as a prophet of God, yet a simple preacher of Islám, a “warner” of the people of Arabia.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
Granting that this chapter was written in order to convert Utba bin Rábia to Islám, yet, as Noëldeke points out, this gives us no certain data wherewith to fix the date of the writing of it. True, Ibn Hishám gives the narrative of this attempt at conversion immediately after that of the conversion of Hamza, yet, when we remember that, in relating the events prior to the Hijra, this writer pays little attention to exact chronological order, we cannot infer that this attempt was really made at that time; moreover, nothing certain is known as to the time of Hamza’s conversion. It therefore follows that nothing certain can be learned from tradition as to the date of this chapter.
Having regard, however, to the style and contents of the chapter, we may fix the date approximately at about b.h. 8, a time when there was offered to the Muslims a sturdy opposition at Makkah, but as yet without violence to the person of the Prophet or his followers.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) H. M. This is a revelation from the most Merciful; (2) a book the verses whereof are distinctly explained, an Arabic Qurán, for the instruction of people who understand; (3) bearing good tidings and denouncing threats; but the greater part of them turn aside, and hearken not thereto. (4) And they say, Our hearts are veiled from the doctrine to which thou invitest us; and there is a deafness in our ears, and a curtain between us and thee: wherefore act thou as thou shalt think fit; for we shall act according to our own scntiments. (5) Say, Verily I am only a man like you. It is revealed unto me that your God is one God: wherefore direct your way straight unto him; and ask pardon of him for what is past. And woe be to the idolaters; (6) who give not the appointed alms, and believe not in the life to come! (7) But as to those who believe and work righteousness, they shall receive an everlasting reward.
∥ (8) Say, Do ye indeed disbelieve in him who created the earth in two days; and do ye set up equals unto him? He is the Lord of all creatures. (9) And he placed in the earth mountains firmly rooted, rising above the same: and he blessed it; and provided therein the food of the creatures designed to be the inhabitants thereof, in four days; equally, for those who ask. (10) Then he set his mind to the creation of heaven, and it was smoke; and he said unto it, and to the earth, Come, either obediently, or against your will. They answered, We come, obedient to thy command.(11) And he formed them into seven heavens, in two days; and revealed unto every heaven its office. And we adorned the lower heaven with lights, and placed therein a guard of angels. This is the disposition of the mighty, the wise God. (12) If the Makkans withdraw from these instructions, say, I denounce unto you a sudden destruction, like the destruction of Ád and Thamúd. (13) When the apostles came unto them before them and behind them, saying, Worship God alone; they answered, If our Lord had been pleased to send messengers, he had surely sent angels; and we believe not the message with which ye are sent. (14) As to the tribe of Ád, they behaved insolently in the earth, without reason, and said, Who is more mighty than we in strength? Did they not see that God, who had created them, was more mighty than they in strength? And they knowingly rejected our signs. (15) Wherefore we sent against them a piercing wind, on days of ill luck, that we might make them taste the punishment of shame in this world: but the punishment of the life to come will be more shameful; and they shall not be protected therefrom.(16) And as to Thamúd, we directed them: but they loved blindness better than the true direction: wherefore the terrible noise of an ignominious punishment assailed them, for that which they had deserved; (17) but we delivered those who believed and feared God.
∥ (18) And warn them of the day on which the enemies of God shall be gathered together unto hell-fire, and shall march in distinct bands; (19) until, when they shall arrive thereat, their ears, and their eyes, and their skins shall bear witness against them of that which they shall have wrought. (20) And they shall say unto their skins, Wherefore do ye bear witness against us? They shall answer, God hath caused us to speak, who giveth speech unto all things: he created you the first time; and unto him are ye returned. (21) Ye did not hide yourselves while ye sinned, so that your ears, and your eyes, and your skins could not bear witness against you; but ye thought that God was ignorant of many things which ye did. (22) This was your opinion, which ye imagined of your Lord: it hath ruined you, and ye are become lost people. (23) Whether they bear their torment, hell-fire shall be their abode; or whether they beg for favour, they shall not obtain favour. (24) And we will give them the devils to be their companions; for they dressed up for them the false notions which they entertained of this present world, and of that which is to come: and the sentence justly fitteth them, which was formerly pronounced on the nations of genii and men who were before them; for they perished.
∥ (25) The unbelievers say, Hearken not unto this Qurán, but use vain discourse during the reading thereof; that ye may overcome the voice of the reader by your scoffs and laughter. (26) Wherefore we will surely cause the unbelievers to taste a grievous punishment, (27) and we will certainly reward them for the evils which they shall have wrought. (28) This shall be the reward of the enemies of God,namely, hell-fire; therein is prepared for them an everlasting abode, as a reward for that they have wittingly rejected our signs. (29) And the infidels shall say in hell, O Lord, show us the two that seduced us, of the genii and men, and we will cast them under our feet, that they may become most base and despicable.(30)As for those who say, Our LordisGod, and who behave uprightly; the angels shall descend unto them, and shall say, Fear not, neither be ye grieved; but rejoice in the hopes of Paradise which ye have been promised. (31) We are your friends in this life, and in that which is to come: therein shall ye have that which your souls shall desire, and therein shall ye obtain whatever ye shall ask for; (32) as a gift from a gracious and merciful God.
∥ (33) Who speaketh better than he who inviteth unto God, and worketh righteousness, and saith, I am a Muslim? (34) Good and evil shall not be held equal. Turn away evil with that which is better; and behold, the man between whom and thyself there was enmity shall become, as it were, thy warmest friend: (35) but none shall attain to this perfection except they who are patient; nor shall any attain thereto except he who is endued with a great happiness of temper.(36) And if a malicious suggestion be offered unto thee from Satan, have recourse unto God; for it is he who heareth and knoweth. (37) Among the signs of his power are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Worship not the sun, neither the moon: but worship God, who hath created them; if ye serve him. (38) But if they proudly disdain his service, verily the angels, who are with thy Lord, praise him night and day, and are not wearied. (39) And among his signs another is, that thou seest the land waste; but when we send down rain thereon, it is stirred and fermenteth. And he who quickeneth the earth will surely quicken the dead; for he is almighty. (40) Verily those who impiously wrong our signs are not concealed from us. Is he, therefore, better who shall be cast into hell-fire, or he who shall appear secure on the day of resurrection? Work that which ye will: he certainly beholdeth whatever ye do. (41) Verily they who believe not in the admonition of the Qurán, after it hath come unto them, shall one day be discovered. It is certainly a book of infinite value: (42) vanity shall not approach it, either from before it, or from behind it: it is a revelation from a wise God, whose praise is justly to be celebrated. (43) No other is said unto thee by the infidels of Makkah than what hath been formerly said unto the apostles before thee: verily thy Lordis inclined to forgiveness, and is also able to chastise severely. (44) If we had revealed the Qurán in a foreign language, they had surely said, Unless the signs thereof be distinctly explained, we will not receive the same: is the book written in a foreign tongue, and the person unto whom it is directed an Arabian? Answer, It is, unto those who believe, a sure guide, and a remedy for doubt and uncertainty: but unto those who believe not, it is a thickness of hearing in their ears, and it is a darkness which covereth them; these are as they who are called unto from a distant place.
Twenty Fifth Sipara.
∥ (45) We heretofore gave the book of the law unto Moses; and a dispute arose concerning the same: and if a previous decree had not proceeded from thy Lord,to respite the opposers of that revelation, verily the matter had been decided between them by the destruction of the infidels; for they were in a very great doubt as to the same. (46) He who doth right, doth it to the advantage of his own soul; and he who doth evil, doth it against the same: for thy Lordis not unjust towards his servants. (47) Unto him is reserved the knowledge of the hour of judgment: and no fruit cometh forth from the knops which involve it; neither doth any female conceive in her womb, nor is she delivered of her burden, but with his knowledge. On the day whereon he shall call them to him, saying, Where are my companions which ye ascribed unto me? they shall answer, We assure thee there is no witness of this matter among us: (48) and the idols which they called on before shall withdraw themselves from them; and they shall perceive that there will be no way to escape. (49) Man is not wearied with asking good; but if evil befall him, he despondeth and despaireth. (50) And if we cause him to taste mercy from us after affliction hath touched him, he surely saith, This is due to me on account of my deserts: I do not think the hour of judgment will ever come: and if I be brought before my Lord, I shall surely attain, with him, the most excellent condition. But we will then declare unto those who shall not have believed that which they have wrought; and we will surely cause them to taste a most severe punishment. (51) When we confer favours on man, he turneth aside, and departeth without returning thanks; but when evil toucheth him, he is frequent at prayer. (52) Say, What think ye? if the Qurán be from God, and ye believe not therein; who will lie under a greater error than he who dissenteth widely therefrom?(53) Hereafter we will show them our signs in the regions of the earth, and in themselves; until it become manifest unto them that this book is the truth. Is it not sufficient for thee that thy Lord is witness of all things? (54) Are they not in a doubt as to the meeting of their Lordat the resurrection? Doth not he encompass all things?
ENTITLED SURAT AL SHORÍ (CONSULTATION).
This chapter receives its title from what is said in ver. 36 of the believers, “Whose affairs are directed by consultation among themselves.” The five single letters at the beginning are used by some as a title of the chapter. Rodwell and Palmer call it the Chapter of Counsel. It might have been called the Chapter of Apology but for the fact that the laboured effort of the Prophet to establish his prophetic claims and to vindicate his Qurán from the accusation of forgery brought against it by his enemies is by no means limited to this chapter.
The feature of the chapter just alluded to reveals to us the main design of the author in writing it, while a careful reading of the contents will reveal the following circumstances of the Prophet at this time. (1) He was strongly opposed by his townsmen, and his prophetic pretensions were rejected, especially by the Jewish and Christian portion of his hearers. (2) Though he professed to attest the doctrines of the Bible, and declared himself a believer in all the prophets from Adam to Jesus (vers. 11-14), yet both Jews and Christians hesitated not to call him an impostor (ver. 23), insinuating that their opinion was attested by the fact that no one had ever seen him receive a revelation from God or Gabriel (vers. 50, 51). (3) Some of the people, however, had believed in him (vers. 5 and 25), while others, once believers, had become apostates (ver. 15).
Throughout the chapter Muhammad represents himself as simply a preacher, holding himself in no way responsible for the unbelievers, satisfied to vindicate his prophetic claims before the people of Makkah and “to direct them into the right way.”
Probable Date of the Revelations.
From what has been said above, it will appear that this chapter belongs to Makkah. Its date is fixed by Noëldeke somewhat later than that of the preceding chapter.
Some writers, as Baidháwi and Umr bin Muhammad, have regarded vers. 22-25 as Madínic, and Jaláluddín, as Syúti (Itqán 35), regards vers. 35-37 as also belonging to Madína. The reasons given, however, do not carry conviction, being based upon the assumption that there could be no reference to almsgiving and prayer in passages revealed before the Hijra.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) H. M. A. S. Q. Thus doth the mighty, the wise God reveal his will unto thee; and in like manner did he reveal it unto the prophets who were before thee. (2) Unto him belongeth whatever is in heaven and in earth; and he is the high, the great God.(3) It wanteth little but that the heavens be rent in sunder from above at the awfulness of his majesty: the angels celebrate the praise of their Lord, and ask pardon for those who dwell in the earth. Is not God the forgiver of sins the merciful? (4) But as to those who take other gods for their patrons, besides him, God observeth their actions: for thou art not a steward over them. (5) Thus have we revealed unto thee an Arabic Qurán, that thou mayest warn the metropolis of Makkah, and the Arabs who dwell round about it; and mayest threaten them with the day of the general assembly, of which there is no doubt: one part shall then be placed in Paradise, and another part in hell. (6) If God had pleased, he had made them all of one religion; but he leadeth whom he pleaseth into his mercy; and the unjust shall have no patron or helper. (7) Do they take other patrons, besides him? whereas God is the only true patron: he quickeneth the dead, and he is almighty.
(8) Whatever matter ye disagree about, the decision thereof appertaineth unto God. This is God my Lord: in him do I trust, and unto him do I turn me: (9) the Creator of heaven and earth: he hath given you wives of your own species, and cattle both male and female; by which means he multiplieth you: there is nothing like him; and it is he who heareth and seeth. (10) His are the keys of heaven and earth; he bestoweth provision abundantly on whom he pleaseth, and he is sparing unto whom he pleaseth; for he knoweth all things. (11) He hath ordained you the religion which he commanded Noah, and which we have revealed unto thee, O Muhammad, and which we commanded Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus: saying, Observe this religion, and be not divided therein. (12) The worship of one God, to which thou invitest them, is grievous unto the unbelievers: God will elect thereto whom he pleaseth, and will direct unto the same him who shall repent. (13)Those who lived in times past were not divided among themselves, until after that the knowledge of God’s unity had come unto them; through their own perverseness: and unless a previous decree had passed from thy Lord,to bear with them till a determined time, verily the matter had been decided between them by the destruction of the gainsayers. They who have inherited the scriptures after them are certainly in a perplexing doubt concerning the same.(14) Wherefore invite them to receive the sure faith, and be urgent with them, as thou hast been commanded; and follow not their vain desires: and say, I believe in all the scriptures which God hath sent down; and I am commanded to establish justice among you: God is our Lord and your Lord: unto us will our works be imputed, and unto you will your works be imputed: let there be no wrangling between us and you; for God will assemble us all at the last day, and unto him shall we return. (15) As to those who dispute concerning God, after obedience hath been paid him by receiving his religion, their disputing shall be vain in the sight of their Lord; and wrath shall fall on them, and they shall suffer a grievous punishment. (16) It isGod who hath sent down the scripture with truth; and the balance of true judgment: and what shall inform thee whether the hour be nigh at hand? (17) They who believe not therein wish it to be hastened by way of mockery: but they who believe dread the same, and know it to be the truth. Are not those who dispute concerning the last hour in a wide error?
∥ (18) God is bounteous unto his servants: he provideth for whom he pleaseth; and he is the strong, the mighty. (19) Whoso chooseth the tillage of the life to come, unto him will we give increase in his tillage: and whoso chooseth the tillage of this world, we will give him the fruit thereof; but he shall have no part in the life to come. (20) Have the idolaters deities which ordain them a religion which God hath not allowed? But had it not been for the decree of respiting their punishment to the day of separating the infidels from the true believers, judgment had been already given between them: for the unjust shall surely suffer a painful torment. (21) On that day thou shalt see the unjust in great terror, because of their demerits; and the penalty thereof shall fall upon them: but they who believe and do good works shall dwell in the delightful meadows of Paradise; they shall obtain whatever they shall desire, with their Lord. This is the greatest acquisition. (22) This is what God promiseth unto his servants who believe and do good works. Say, I ask not of you, for this my preaching, any reward, except the love of my relations: and whoever shall have deserved well by one good action, unto him will we add the merit of another action thereto; for Godis inclined to forgive and ready to reward. (23) Do they say Muhammad hath blasphemously forged a lie concerning God? If God pleaseth, he will seal up thy heart: and God will absolutely abolish vanity, and will establish the truth in his words; for he knoweth the innermost part of men’s breasts. (24) It is he who accepteth repentance from his servants, and forgiveth sins, and knoweth that which ye do. (25) He will incline his ear unto those who believe and work righteousness, and will add unto them above what they shall ask or deserve, of his bounty: but the unbelievers shall suffer a severe punishment. (26) If God should bestow abundance upon his servants, they would certainly behave insolently in the earth: but he sendeth down by measure unto every one that which he pleaseth; for he well knoweth and seeth the condition of his servants. (27) It is he who sendeth down the rain, after men have despaired thereof, and spreadeth abroad his mercy; and he is the patron, justly to be praised. (28) Among his signs is the creation of heaven and earth, and of the living creatures with which he hath replenished them both; and he is able to gather them together before his tribunal whenever he pleaseth.
∥ (29) Whatever misfortune befalleth you is sent unto you by God, for that which your hands have deserved; and yet he forgiveth many things: (30) ye shall not frustrate the divine vengeance in the earth; neither shall ye have any protector or helper against God. (31) Among his signs also are the ships running in the sea, like high mountains: if he pleaseth, he causeth the wind to cease, and they lie still on the back of the water: (verily herein are signs unto every patient and grateful person): (32) or he destroyeth them by shipwreck, because of that which their crews have merited; though he pardoneth many things. (33) And they who dispute against our signs shall know that there will be no way for them to escape our vengeance.
∥ (34) Whatever things are given you, they are the provision of this present life; but the reward which is with God is better, and more durable, for those who believe, and put their trust in the Lord; (35) and who avoid heinous and filthy crimes, and when they are angry, forgive; (36) and who hearken unto their Lord, and are constant at prayer, and whose affairs are directed by consultation among themselves, and who give alms out of what we have bestowed on them; (37) and who, when an injury is done them, avenge themselves, (38) (and the retaliation of evil ought to be an evil proportionate thereto): but he who forgiveth and is reconciled unto his enemy shall receive his reward from God; for he loveth not the unjust doers. (39) And whoso shall avenge himself, after he hath been injured; as to these, it is not lawful to punish them for it: (40) but it is only lawful to punish those who wrong men, and act insolently in the earth, against justice; these shall suffer a grievous punishment. (41) And whoso beareth injuries patiently and forgiveth, verily this is a necessary work.
∥ (42) Whom God shall cause to err, he shall afterwards have no protector. And thou shalt see the ungodly, (43) who shall say, when they behold the punishment prepared for them, Is there no way to return back into the world? (44) And thou shalt see them exposed unto hellfire; dejected, because of the ignominy they shall undergo: they shall look at the fire sideways and by stealth; and the true believers shall say, Verily the losers are they who have lost their own souls, and their families, on the day of resurrection: shall not the ungodly continue in eternal torment? (45) They shall have no protectors to defend them against God; and whom God shall cause to err, he shall find no way to the truth. (46) Hearken unto your Lord before the day come, which God will not keep back: ye shall have no place of refuge on that day; neither shall ye be able to deny your sins. (47) But if those to whom thou preachest turn aside from thy admonitions, verily we have not sent thee to be a guardian over them: thy duty is preaching only. When we cause man to taste mercy from us, he rejoiceth thereat; but if evil befall them, for that which their hands have formerly committed, verily man becometh ungrateful. (48) Unto Godappertaineth the kingdom of heaven and earth: he createth that which he pleaseth; (49) he giveth females unto whom he pleaseth, and he giveth males unto whom he pleaseth; or he giveth them males and females jointly: and he maketh whom he pleaseth to be childless; for he is wise and powerful. (50) It is not fit for man that God should speak unto him otherwise than by private revelation, or from behind a veil, (51) or by his sending of a messenger to reveal, by his permission, that which he pleaseth; for he is high and wise. (52) Thus have we revealed unto thee a revelation, by our command. Thou didst not understand before this what the book of the Qurán was, nor what the faith was; but we have ordained the same for a light, we will thereby direct such of our servants as we please; and thou shalt surely direct them into the right way, (53) the way of God, unto whom belongeth whatever is in heaven and in earth. Shall not all things return unto God?
ENTITLED SURAT AL ZUḲHRÁF (THE ORNAMENTS OF GOLD).
Although the faith of Christians is alluded to in this chapter, the contents seem to have been solely intended for the instruction and warning of the idolaters of Makkah. The exposure of their idolatry is clear and convincing, while the truth of the new religion is everywhere assumed. The worship of female deities, who were called by the Arabs “daughters of God,” is visited with scathing irony. “When one of them,” says the revelation, “hath the news brought of the birth of a child of that sex, which they attribute unto the Merciful as his similitude, his face becometh black, and he is oppressed with sorrow!”
The allusion made to the Christian faith, though intended to be a reply to the Quraish, who had compared the worship of their deities with the Christian worship of Jesus, yet contains a distinct denial of the divinity of the Son of Mary. The Gospel of Jesus, according to Muhammad, was “Fear God and obey me: verily God is my Lord and your Lord; wherefore worship him: this is the right way.”
The close of the chapter indicates that while Muhammad had no doubt about the triumph of God’s cause, yet he despaired of the conversion of his townsmen (vers. 39-41, 88, 89). They have ears, but they hear not. He cries out, “O Lord, verily these are people who believe not.” To which the Lord replies, “Therefore turn aside from them; and say, Peace.” They are now rejected of God and his Prophet as reprobates.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
There can be no doubt that the whole of this chapter must be referred to Makkah. The imagination of the traditionists that ver. 44 was enunciated at Jerusalem during the celebrated night-journey (Rodwell, note in loco), is refuted by the absence of any proof that such a journey was ever performed.
As to the date, aside from the general style of the contents, we have, in the last verse, a distinct allusion to a breach between Muhammad and the Quraish. That this was not the final breach, when Muhammad determined to leave Makkah and go to Madína, is evident from the absence of any allusion to persecution of the Muslims. It is probable, therefore, that the allusion here refers to Muhammad’s withdrawal with his followers to the house of Arqám to escape the taunts and threatened violence of the Quraish. This understanding of this passage would relegate this chapter to the fourth year of Muhammad’s ministry (b.h. 9), with which the style of the contents very well agrees. Noeldeke, however, places it somewhat later, about the beginning of the fifth year of Muhammad’s call.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) H. M. By the perspicuous book; (2) verily we have ordained the same an Arabic Qurán that ye may understand: (3) and it is certainly written in the original book, kept with us, being sublime and full of wisdom. (4) Shall we therefore turn away from you the admonition, and deprive you thereof, because ye are a people who transgress? (5) And how many prophets have we sent among those of old? (6) and no prophet came unto them but they laughed him to scorn: (7) wherefore we destroyed nations who were more mighty than these in strength; and the example of those who were of old hath been already set before them. (8) If thou ask them who created the heavens and the earth, they will certainly answer, The mighty, the wise God created them: (9) who hath spread the earth as a bed for you, and hath made you paths therein, that ye may be directed: (10) and who sendeth down rain from heaven by measure, whereby we quicken a dead country; (so shall ye be brought forth from your graves:) (11) and who hath created all the various species of things, and hath given you ships and cattle, whereon ye are carried; (12) that ye may sit firmly on the backs thereof, and may remember the favour of your Lord, when ye sit thereon, and may say, Praise be unto him, who hath subjected these unto our service! for we could not have mastered them by our own power: (13) and unto our Lord shall we surely return. (14) Yet have they attributed unto him some of his servants as his offspring: verily man is openly ungrateful. (15) Hath God taken daughters out of those beings which he hath created, and hath he chosen sons for you? (16)(16) But when one of them hath the news brought of the birth of a child of that sex, which they attribute unto the Merciful as his similitude, his face becometh black, and he is oppressed with sorrow.
∥ (17) Do they therefore attribute unto God female issue, which are brought up among ornaments, and are contentious without cause? (18) And do they make the angels, who are the servants of the Merciful, females? Were they present at their creation? Their testimony shall be written down, and they shall be examined concerning the same on the day of judgment. (19) And they say, If the Merciful had pleased, we had not worshipped them. They have no knowledge herein: they only utter a vain lie. (20) Have we given them a book of revelations before this; and do they keep the same in their custody? (21) But they say, Verily we found our fathers practising a religion, and we are guided in their footsteps. (22) Thus we sent no preacher before thee unto any city, but the inhabitants thereof, who lived in affluence, said, Verily we found our fathers practising a religion, and we tread in their footsteps. (23) And the preacher answered, What, although I bring you a more right religion than that which ye found your fathers to practise? And they replied, Verily we believe not that which ye are sent to preach.(24) Wherefore we took vengeance on them: and behold what hath been the end of those who accused our apostles of imposture.
∥ (25) Remember when Abraham said unto his father and his people, Verily I am clear of the gods which ye worship, (26) except him who hath created me; for he will direct me aright. (27) And he ordained this to be a constant doctrine among his posterity, that they should be turned from idolatry to the worship of the only true God. (28) Verily I have permitted these Makkans and their fathers to live in prosperity, until the truth should come unto them, and a manifest apostle; (29) but now the truth is come unto them, they say, This is a piece of sorcery, and we believe not therein. (30) And they say, Had this Qurán been sent down unto some great man of either of the two cities, we would have received it.(31) Do they distribute the mercy of they Lord? We distribute the necessary provision among them in this present life, and we raise some of them several degrees above the others, that the one of them may take the other to serve him: and the mercy of thy Lord is more valuable than the riches which they gather together. (32) If it were not that mankind would have become one sect of infidels, verily we had given unto those who believe not in the Merciful roofs of silver to their houses, and stairs of silver by which they might ascend thereto,(33) and doors ofsilver to their houses, and couches of silver for them to lean on; (34) and ornaments of gold: for all this is the provision of the present life; but the next life with thy Lordshall be for those who fear him.
∥ (35) Whoever shall withdraw from the admonition of the Merciful, we will chain a devil unto him, and he shall be his inseparable companion: (36) (and the devils shall turn them aside from the way of truth; yet they shall imagine themselves to be rightly directed;) (37) until, when he shall appear before us at the last day, he shall say unto the devil, Would to God that between me and thee there was the distance of the east from the west! (38) Oh how wretched a companion art thou! But wishes shall not avail you on this day, since ye have been unjust; for ye shall be partakers of the same punishment. (39) Canst thou, O Prophet, make the deaf to hear, or canst thou direct the blind, and him who is in a manifest error? (40) Whether we take thee away, we will surely take vengeance on them; (41) or whether we cause thee to see the punishment with which we have threatened them executed, we will certainly prevail over them. (42) Wherefore hold fast the doctrine which hath been revealed unto thee; for thou art in a right way; (43) and it is a memorial unto thee and thy people, and hereafter shall ye be examined concerning your observance thereof.(44) And ask our apostles whom we have sent before thee whether we have appointed gods for them to worship besides the Merciful.
∥ (45) We formerly sent Moses with our signs unto Pharaoh and his princes, and he said, Verily I am the apostle of the Lord of all creatures. (46) And when he came unto them with our signs, behold, they laughed him to scorn; (47) although we showed them no sign, but it was greater than the other: and we inflicted a punishment on them, that peradventure they might be converted. (48) And they said unto Moses, O magician, pray unto thy Lord for us, according to the covenant which he hath made with thee; for we will certainly be directed. (49) But when we took the plague from off them, behold, they brake their promise. (50) And Pharaoh made proclamation among his people, saying, O my people, is not the kingdom of Egypt mine, and these rivers which flow beneath me? Do ye not see? (51) Am not I better than this Moses, who is a contemptible person, (52) and can scarce express himself intelligibly? (53)(53) Have bracelets of gold, therefore, been put upon him; or do the angels attend him in orderly procession? (54) And Pharaoh persuaded his people to light behaviour; and they obeyed him: for they were a wicked people. (55) And when they had provoked us to wrath, we took vengeance on them: and we drowned them all: (56) and we made them a precedent, and an example unto others.
∥ (57) And when the son of Mary was proposed for an example, behold, thy people cried out through excess of joy thereat; (58) and they said, Are our gods better, or he? They have proposed this instance unto thee no otherwise than for an occasion of dispute; yea, they are contentious men. (59)Jesus is no other than a servant, whom we favoured with the gift of prophecy; and we appointed him for an example unto the children of Israel: (60) (if we pleased, verily we could from ourselves produce angels, to succeed you in the earth;) (61) and he shall be a sign of the approach of the last hour; wherefore doubt not thereof. And follow me: this is the right way. (62) And let not Satan cause you to turn aside: for he is your open enemy. (63) And when Jesus came with evident miracles, he said, Now am I come unto you with wisdom, and to explain unto you part of those things concerning which ye disagree; wherefore fear God and obey me. (64) Verily God is my Lord and your Lord; wherefore worship him: this is the right way. (65) And the confederated sects among them fell to variance: but woe unto those who have acted unjustly, because of the punishment of a grievous day. (66) Do the unbelievers wait for any other than the hour of judgment; that it may come upon them suddenly, while they foresee it not? (67) The intimate friends on that day shall be enemies unto one another; except the pious.
∥ (68) O my servants, there shall no fear come on you this day, neither shall ye be grieved. (69) who have believed in our signs and have been Múslims; (70) enter ye into Paradise, ye and your wives, with great joy. (71) Dishes of gold shall be carried round unto them, and cups without handles: and therein shall they enjoy whatever their souls shall desire, and whatever their eyes shall delight in: and ye shall remain therein for ever. (72) This is Paradise, which ye have inherited as a reward for that which ye have wrought. (73) Therein shall ye have fruits in abundance, of which ye shall eat. (74) But the wicked shall remain for ever in the torment of hell: (75) it shall not be made lighter unto them; and they shall despair therein. (76) We deal not unjustly with them, but they deal unjustly with their own souls.(77) And they shall call aloud, saying, O Málik, intercede for us that thy Lord would end us by annihilation. He shall answer, Verily ye shall remain here for ever. (78) We brought you the truth heretofore, but the greater part of you abhorred the truth. (79) Have the infidels fixed on a method to circumvent our Apostle? Verily we will fix on a method to circumvent them.(80) Do they imagine that we hear not their secrets and their private discourse? Yea, and our messengers who attend them write down the same.(81) Say, If the Merciful had a son, verily I would be the first of those who should worship him. (82) Far be the Lord of heaven and earth, the Lord of the throne, from that which they affirm of him! (83) Wherefore let them wade in their vanity, and divert themselves until they arrive at their day with which they have been threatened. (84) He who is God in heaven is God on earth also; and he is the wise, the knowing. (85) And blessed be he unto whom appertaineth the kingdom of heaven and earth, and of whatever is between them; with whom is the knowledge of the last hour; and before whom ye shall be assembled. (86) They whom they invoke besides him have not the privilege to intercede for others; except those who bear witness to the truth, and know the same. (87) If thou ask them who hath created them, they will surely answer, God. How therefore are they turned away to the worship of others?(88)God also heareth the saying of the Prophet, O Lord, verily these are people who believe not: (89)and he answereth, Therefore turn aside from them; and say, Peace: hereafter shall they know their folly.
ENTITLED SURAT AL DUḲHAN (SMOKE).
This is a distinctively Makkan chapter. Its title is found in ver. 9, where a visible smoke is mentioned. The subject of the preacher is the necessity of accepting Islám. The Qurán, he declares, is a revelation from the only true God. This revelation the people had rejected, especially its teaching concerning the resurrection and the judgment. They had even charged their Prophet with forgery and with being a madman. They are now warned of coming calamity of Divine vengeance, unless they immediately repent and accept Islám. This instruction is enforced by reference to the destruction of Pharaoh and his hosts, and of the people of Tubbá, for their unbelief, and for their ignominious treatment of the prophets of God. To this is added a description of the horrors of hell and the joys of Paradise. The chapter ends with a notice of the Divine condescension in giving the Arab people his Word in their own language.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
All agree that the revelations of this chapter are of Makkan origin. Some have thought, without good reason, that vers. 14 and 15 are Madínic, because of the supposition that the plague alluded to in ver. 14 refers to a famine which visited Makkah after the Hijra, and that the vengeance of ver. 15 was taken at Badr. The reference in these verses, however, is to the plague and vengeance of God to be visited upon the unbelievers in the judgment-day, and in the perdition to follow.
We learn from ver. 13 that while some of the people of Makkah charged their Prophet with forgery, others, moved by either more charitable or more contemptuous feelings, merely called him a madman. These charges, in the absence of any show of violence towards the preacher or followers of the new faith, point to an early period as the date of this chapter. Muir places it in the early part of the fourth stage, i.e., at a period extending from the sixth to the tenth years of Muhammad’s mission. Noëldeke places it in his second Makkan period, or the fifth and sixth years of Muhammad’s mission.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) H. M. By the perspicuous book of the Qurán;(2) verily we have sent down the same on a blessed night (for we had engaged so to do), (3)on the night wherein is distinctly sent down the decree of every determined thing, (4) as a command from us. Verily we have ever used to send apostles with revelations at proper intervals, (5) as a mercy from thy Lord; for it is he who heareth and knoweth: (6) the Lord of heaven and earth, and of whatever is between them; if ye are men of sure knowledge. (7) There is no God but he: he giveth life, and he causeth to die; he is your Lord, and the Lord of your forefathers. (8) Yet do they amuse themselves with doubt. (9) But observe them on the day whereon the heaven shall produce a visible smoke, (10) which shall cover mankind: this will be a tormenting plague. (11) They shall say, O Lord, take this plague from off us: verily we will become true believers. (12) How should an admonition be of avail to them in this condition; when a manifest apostle came unto them, (13) but they retired from him, saying, This man is instructed by others, or is a distracted person? (14) We will take the plague from off you, a little: but ye will certainly return to your infidelity.(15) On the day whereon we shall fiercely assault them with great power, verily we will take vengeance on them. (16) We made trial of the people of Pharaoh before them, and an honourable messenger came unto them, (17)saying, Send unto me the servants of God; verily I am a faithful messenger unto you: (18) and lift not yourselves up against God; for I come unto you with manifest power. (19) And I fly for protection unto my Lord, and your Lord, that ye stone me not. (20) If ye do not believe me, at least depart from me. (21) And when they accused him of imposture, he called upon his Lord,saying, These are a wicked people. (22) And God said unto him, March forth with my servants by night; for ye will be pursued: (23) and leave the sea divided, that the Egyptians may enter the same; for they are a host doomed to be drowned.
∥ (24) How many gardens, and fountains, (25) and fields of corn, and fair dwellings, (26) and advantages which they enjoyed, did they leave behind them! (27) Thus we dispossessed them thereof; and we gave the same for an inheritance unto another people. (28) Neither heaven nor earth wept for them; neither were they respited any longer.
∥ (29) And we delivered the children of Israel from a shameful affliction; (30) from Pharaoh; for he was haughty, and a transgressor: (31) and we chose them, knowingly, above all people; (32) and we showed them several signs, wherein was an evident trial. (33) Verily these Makkans say, (34) Assuredly our final end will be no other than our first natural death; neither shall we be raised again: (35) bring now our forefathers back to life, if ye speak truth. (36) Are they better, or the people of Tubbá, (37) and those who were before them? we destroyed them, because they wrought wickedness. (38) We have not created the heavens and the earth, and whatever is between them, by way of sport: (39) we have created them no otherwise than in truth; but the greater part of them do not understand. (40) Verily the day of separation shall be the appointed term of them all: (41) a day whereon the master and the servant shall be of no advantage to one another, neither shall they be helped; (42) excepting those on whom God shall have mercy; for he is the mighty, the merciful.
∥ (43) Verily, the fruit of the tree of az Zaqqúm (44)shall be the food of the impious; (45) as the dregs of oil shall it boil in the bellies of the damned,(46) like the boiling of the hottest water. (47)And it shall be said to the tormentors, Take him, and drag him into the midst of hell: (48) and pour on his head the torture of boiling water, (49)saying, Taste this; for thou art that mighty and honourable person. (50) Verily this is the punishment of which you doubted. (51) But the pious shall be lodged in a place of security, (52) among gardens and fountains: (53) they shall be clothed in fine silk, and in satin; and they shall sit facing one another. (54) Thus shall it be: and we will espouse them to fair damsels, having large black eyes. (55) In that place shall they call for all kinds of fruits, in full security: (56) they shall not taste death therein, after the first death; and God shall deliver from the pains of hell: (57) through the gracious bounty of thy Lord. This will be great felicity. (58) Moreover we have rendered the Qurán easy for thee, by revealing it in thine own tongue; to the end that they may be admonished; (59) wherefore do thou wait the event; for they wait to see some misfortune befall thee.
ENTITLED SURAT AL JÁSÍYAH (KNEELING).
The title of this chapter is derived from verse 27, where it is said that in the judgment every nation shall be seen kneeling before God. The general outline of the teaching of this chapter differs little from that of other chapters enunciated at Makkah. God is declared to have revealed himself to Muhammad in the Qurán. Before this he had revealed himself to men in his works of creation and providence, and to the children of Israel in the Law and the Prophets. Infidels may reject this new revelation, but they shall realise, only too late for repentance to avail, that they have committed a fatal error.
The main point of interest to the Christian is the plain recognition of the Jewish Scriptures as the Word of God, preceding in date of revelation the Qurán. Muslims are, therefore, bound to receive the Bible as the Word of God.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
Noëldeke places the date of this chapter immediately after that of chap. xli. This agrees very well with the circumstances of the Muslims revealed in this chapter. Much depends upon what is implied in the exhortation of vers. 13 and 14. If the exhortation is intended to restrain the Muslims from violent resentment of the insults poured upon them, the date assigned above may be regarded as pretty correct. If, however, the exhortation implies actual persecution of Muslims, the date must be fixed at a later day.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) H. M. The revelation of this book is from the mighty, the wise God. (2) Verily both in heaven and earth are signs of the divine power unto the true believers: (3) and in the creation of yourselves, and of the beasts which are scattered over the face of the earth are signs unto people of sound judgment; (4) and also in the vicissitude of night and day, and the rain which God sendeth down from heaven, whereby he quickeneth the earth after it hath been dead: in the change of the winds also are signs unto people of understanding. (5) These are the signs of God; we rehearse them unto thee with truth. In what revelation therefore will they believe, after they haverejectedGod and his signs? (6) Woe unto every lying and impious person; (7) who heareth the signs of God, which are read unto him, and afterwards proudly persisteth in infidelity, as though he heard them not: (denounce unto him a painful punishment:) (8) and who, when he cometh to the knowledge of any of our signs, receiveth the same with scorn. For these is prepared a shameful punishment: (9) before them lieth hell; and whatever they shall have gained shall not avail them at all, neither shall the idols which they have taken for their patrons besides God; and they shall suffer a grievous punishment. (10) This is a true direction; and for those who disbelieve the signs of their Lord,is prepared the punishment of a painful torment.
∥ (11) It isGod who hath subjected the sea unto you, that the ships may sail therein, at his command; and that ye may seek advantage unto yourselves by commerce, of his bounty; and that ye may give thanks: (12) and he obligeth whatever is in heaven and on earth to serve you; the whole being from him. Verily herein are signs unto people who consider. (13) Speak unto the true believers, that they forgive those who hope not for the days of God, that he may reward people according to what they shall have wrought. (14) Whoso doeth that which is right doth it to the advantage of his own soul; and whoso doeth evil doth it against the same: hereafter shall ye return unto your Lord. (15) We gave unto the children of Israel the book of the law, and wisdom, and prophecy; and we fed them with good things, and preferred them above all nations: (16) and we gave them plain ordinances concerning the business of religion; neither do they fall to variance, except after that knowledge had come unto them, through envy among themselves: but thy Lord will decide the controversy between them on the day of resurrection, concerning that wherein they disagree. (17) Afterwards we appointed thee, O Muhammad, to promulgate a law concerning the business of religion: wherefore follow the same, and follow not the desires of those who are ignorant. (18) Verily they shall not avail thee against God at all; the unjust are the patrons of one another; but Godis the patron of the pious. (19) This Qurán delivereth evident precepts unto mankind; and is a direction and a mercy unto people who judge aright. (20) Do the workers of iniquity imagine that we will deal with them as with those who believe and do good works, so that their life and their death shall be equal? An ill judgment do they make.
∥ (21) God hath created the heavens and the earth in truth, that he may recompense every soul according to that which it shall have wrought; and they shall not be treated unjustly. (22) What thinkest thou? He who taketh his own lust for his God, and whom God causeth knowingly to err, and whose ears and whose heart he hath sealed up, and over whose eyes he hath cast a veil; who shall direct him, after Godshall have forsaken him? Will ye therefore not be admonished? (23) They say, There is no other life, except our present life: we die, and we live; and nothing but time destroyeth us. But they have no knowledge in this matter; they only follow a vain opinion. (24) And when our evident signs are rehearsed unto them, their argument which they offer against the same is no other than that they say, Bring to life our fathers who have been dead; if ye speak truth. (25) Say, God giveth you life; and afterwards causeth you to die: hereafter will he assemble you together on the day of resurrection; there is no doubt thereof; but the greater part of men do not understand.
∥ (26) Unto Godappertaineth the kingdom of heaven and earth; and the day whereon the hour shall be fixed, on that day shall those who charge the Qurán with vanity perish. (27) And thou shalt see every nation kneeling: every nation shall be called unto its book of account; and it shall be said unto them, This day shall ye be rewarded according to that which ye have wrought. (28) This our book will speak concerning you with truth; therein have we written down whatever ye have done. (29) As to those who shall have believed and done good works, their Lord shall lead them into his mercy: this shall be manifest felicity. (30) But as to the infidels, it shall be said unto them, Were not my signs rehearsed unto you? but ye proudly rejected them, and became a wicked people! (31) And when it was said unto you, Verily the promise of Godis true: and as to the hour of judgment, there is no doubt thereof: ye answered, We know not what the hour of judgment is: we hold an uncertain opinion only; and we are not well assured of this matter. (32) But on that day the evils of that which they have wrought shall appear unto them; and that which they mocked at shall encompass them: (33) and it shall be said unto them, This day will we forget you, as ye did forget the meeting of this your day: and your abode shall be hell-fire; and ye shall have none to deliver you. (34) This shall ye suffer, because ye turned the signs of God to ridicule; and the life of the world deceived you. On this day, therefore, they shall not be taken forth from thence, neither shall they be asked any more to render themselves well-pleasing unto God. (35) Wherefore praise be unto God, the Lord of the heavens, and the Lord of the earth; the Lord of all creatures: (36) and unto him be glory in heaven and earth; for he is the mighty, the wise God.
ENTITLED SURAT AL AHQÁF (THE SANDHILLS).
In this chapter the dwelling-place of the Ádites is called al Ahqáf; hence the title. Sale says, “Al Ahqáf is the plural of haqf, and signifies sands which lie in a crooked or winding manner, whence it became the name of a territory in the province of Hadhramaut.”
Rodwell locates the sandhills at Tayif. This is in accordance with Sprenger’s theory of the Ádites, adopted by Muir in his Life of Mahomet, vol. i., Introd., p. cxxxviii. note.
The object of this chapter was to warn the people of Makkah of the impending judgments of God on account of their sin of rejecting Muhammad and the Qurán. They had charged their Prophet with being an impostor, who had forged a book which he called the Qurán. In this they were encouraged by certain Jews. On the other hand, certain other Jews, probably adherents from Madína, upheld the claims of Muhammad, declaring that the teaching of the Qurán was confirmatory of the doctrine of their own Scriptures. Thus encouraged, Muhammad answers the charges of his enemies by a solemn warning. He can now afford to be patient and calmly await the destruction of the unbelievers.
It is here specially noteworthy how Muhammad likens himself to the former prophets (vers. 20-31), putting his own message to the Quraish, with their taunting reply, into the mouths of Húd and the Ádites, yea, even into the mouths of the believing genii. But on this point see introduction to chapter xi.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
Ver. 9 of this chapter is supposed by some to be Madínic, because of the Jews being mentioned; but this reason is not valid, since the Jews mentioned here were no doubt Jews of Madína visiting Makkah, with whom Muhammad was now in close correspondence, if indeed they were not his adherents. The “witness” surely does not refer to any particular person, as Baidháwi and others suppose, when referring it to Abdullah Ibn Salám.
On similarly weak grounds, vers. 14-17, and 34, 35, have been regarded as Madínic. We may therefore safely regard the whole chapter as Makkan. Vers. 30-31 were not, however, originally in this place (see notes), but they nevertheless belong to the same period.
As to the date of the revelations, we have the mention of the discourse of Muhammad to the genii, which occurred on his return from Tayif, just before the Hijra. This agrees with the allusion to the fate of the people of al Ahqáf, who inhabited the region about Tayif, and with the attitude of Muhammad (ver. 34) toward the unbelievers, and also with the mention made of the Jews of Madína, with whom Muhammad was now in correspondence. Noëldeke places this chapter immediately after chap. vii.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) H. M. The revelation of this book is from the mighty, the wise God.(2) We have not created the heavens and the earth, and whatever is between them, otherwise than in truth and for a determined period; but the unbelievers turn away from the warning which is given them. (3) Say, What think ye? Show me what part of the earth the idols which ye invoke, besides God, have created? Or had they any share in the creation of the heavens? Bring me a book of scripture revealed before this, or some footstep of ancient knowledge, to countenance your idolatrous practices; if ye are men of veracity. (4) Who is in a wider error than he who invoketh, besides God, that which cannot return him an answer, to the day of resurrection; and idols which regard not their calling on them; (5) and which, when men shall be gathered together to judgment, will become their enemies, and will ungratefully deny their worship? (6) When our evident signs are rehearsed unto them, the unbelievers say of the truth, when it cometh unto them, This is a manifest piece of sorcery. (7) Will they say, Muhammad hath forged it? Answer, If I have forged it, verily ye shall not obtain for me any favour from God: he well knoweth the injurious language which ye utter concerning it: he is a sufficient witness between me and you; and he is gracious and merciful. (8) Say, I am not singular among the apostles; neither do I know what will be done with me or with you hereafter: I follow no other than what is revealed unto me; neither am I any more than a public warner. (9) Say, What is your opinion? If this book be from God, and ye believe not therein; and a witness of the children of Israel bear witness to its consonancy with the law, and believeth therein; and ye proudly reject the same: are ye not unjust doers? Verily God directeth not unjust people.
∥ (10) But those who believe not say of the true believers, If the doctrine of the Qurán had been good, they had not embraced the same before us. And when they are not guided thereby they say, This is an antiquated lie. (11) Whereas the Book of Moses was revealed before the Qurán, to be a guide and a mercy: and this is a book confirming the same, delivered in the Arabic tongue; to denounce threats unto those who act unjustly, and to bear good tidings unto the righteous doers. (12) As to those who say, Our LordisGod; and who behave uprightly, on them shall no fear come, neither shall they be grieved. (13) These shall be the inhabitants of Paradise, they shall remain therein for ever: in recompense for that which they have wrought. (14) We have commanded man to show kindness to his parents: his mother beareth him in her womb with pain, and bringeth him forth with pain: and the space of his being carried in her womb, and of his weaning, is thirty months; until, when he attaineth his age of strength, and attaineth the age of forty years, he saith, O Lord, excite me, by thy inspiration, that I may be grateful for their favours, wherewith thou hast favoured me and my parents; and that I may work righteousness, which may please thee: and be gracious unto me in my issue; for I am turned unto thee, and am a Muslim. (15) These are they from whom we accept the good work which they have wrought, and whose evil works we pass by; and they shall be among the inhabitants of Paradise: this is a true promise, which they are promised in this world.(16) He who saith unto his parents, Fie on you! Do ye promise me that I shall be taken forth from the grave, and restored to life; when many generations have passed away before me, and none of them have returned back? And his parents implore God’s assistance, and say to their son, Alas for thee! Believe! for the promise of Godis true. But he answereth, This is no other than silly fables of the ancients. (17) These are they whom the sentence passed on the nations which have been before them, of genii and of men, justly fitteth; they shall surely perish. (18) For every one is prepared a certain degree of happiness or misery, according to that which they shall have wrought: that God may recompense them for their works: and they shall not be treated unjustly. (19) On a certain day the unbelievers shall be exposed before the fire of hell; and it shall be said unto them, Ye received your good things in your lifetime, while ye were in the world; and ye enjoyed yourselves therein: wherefore this day ye shall be rewarded with the punishment of ignominy; for that ye behaved insolently in the earth, without justice, and for that ye transgressed.
∥ (20) Remember the brother of Ád, when he preached unto his people in al Ahqáf (and there were preachers before him and after him), saying, Worship none but God: verily I fear for you the punishment of a great day. (21) They answered, Art thou come unto us that thou mayest turn us aside from the worship of our gods? Bring on us now the punishment with which thou threatenest us, if thou art a man of veracity. (22) He said, Verily the knowledge of the time when your punishment will be inflicted is with God; and I only declare unto you that which I am sent to preach; but I see ye are an ignorant people. (23) And when they saw the preparation made for theirpunishment, namely, a cloud traversing the sky, and tending towards their valleys, they said, This is a traversing cloud, which bringeth us rain. Húd answered, Nay; it is what ye demanded to be hastened: a wind wherein is a severe vengeance: (24) it will destroy everything, at the command of its Lord. And in the morning nothing was to be seen besides their empty dwellings. Thus do we reward wicked people. (25) We had established them in the like flourishing condition wherein we have established you, O men of Makkah; and we had given them ears, and eyes, and hearts: yet neither their ears, nor their eyes, nor their hearts profited them at all, when they rejected the signs of God; but the vengeance which they mocked at fell upon them.
∥ (26) We heretofore destroyed the cities which were round about you; and we variously proposed our signs unto them, that they might repent. (27) Did those protect them whom they took for gods, besides God,and imagined to be honoured with his familiarity? Nay; they withdrew from them: yet this was their false opinion which seduced them, and the blasphemy which they had devised. (28)Remember when we caused certain of the genii to turn aside unto thee, that they might hear the Qurán; and when they were present at the reading of the same, they said to one another, Give ear: and when it was ended, they returned back unto their people, preaching what they had heard.(29) They said, Our people, verily we have heard a book read unto us, which hath been revealed since Moses, confirming the scripture which was delivered before it, and directing unto the truth and the right way. (30) Our people, obey God’s preacher; and believe in him; that he may forgive you your sins, and may deliver you from a painful punishment. (31) And whoever obeyeth not God’s preacher shall by no means frustrate God’s vengeance on earth; neither shall he have any protectors besides him. These will be in a manifest error. (32) Do they not know that God, who hath created the heavens and the earth, and was not fatigued with the creation thereof, is able to raise the dead to life? Yea, verily; for he is almighty. (33) On a certain day the unbelievers shall be exposed unto hell-fire; and it shall be said unto them, Is not this really come to pass? They shall answer, Yea, by our Lord.God shall reply, Taste, therefore, the punishment of hell, for that ye have been unbelievers. (34) Do thou, O Prophet, bear the insults of thy people with patience, as our apostles, who were endued with constancy, bear the injuries of their people; and require not their punishment to be hastened unto them. On the day whereon they shall see the punishment wherewith they have been threatened, (35) it shall seem as though they had tarried in the world but an hour of a day. This is a fair warning. Shall they perish except the people who transgress?
ENTITLED SURAT MUHAMMAD.
This chapter is also entitled War. because of the command enjoining the Muslims to fight in the cause of religion, which is certainly a more appropriate title than that of Muhammad.
Every student of Islám has observed the wondrous change which came over Muhammad and his religion at the time of the flight to Madína. Nothing could illustrate this change better than a comparison between this chapter and the one just preceding it. In chap. xlvi. we have Muhammad the warner of Makkah. There Islám is peaceable. Its Prophet is exhorted to bear the insults of the unbehevers with patience. In this chapter we have Muhammad the general of armies. Here Islám is warlike. Muslims are now required to lay aside the emblems of peace and to draw the sword. They are now enjoined to “strike off the heads” of their enemies. All must be prepared not only to spend their substance in the cause, but to fight to the death.
As yet but petty expeditions were sent forth from Madína harass the caravans of the Quraish. Yet even this required courage and self-denial. Some of the Muslims were timorous. The “hypocrites” of Madína, begrudging the cost of this warfare, and perhaps fearing the consequences of a war with Makkah, were busy dissuading the Muslims from carrying out the war policy of Muhammad. Both these parties are attacked in this chapter. Cowards and hypocrites are alike threatened with the horrors of hell; while rivers of pure water, rivers of milk, rivers of wine, rivers of clarified butter, and all kinds of fruits are set before the eyes of the faithful as the sure reward of those who fight valiantly the battles of the Lord.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
Some Muslim writers have regarded this chapter as Makkan, but the best authorities, Baidháwi, Zamaḳhshari, Jaláluddín as Syúti, &c., agree that it is Madínic. One writer, Umar bin Muhammad, Itqan 43, maintains that ver. 14 was revealed during the flight from Makkah, when Muhammad with tearful eyes looked back towards his birthplace.
Noeldeke fixes the date of this chapter at a period some time after the victory of Badr. The reason for this opinion is his interpretation of ver. 37, which, he thinks, alludes to the efforts of some of Muhammad’s people to conclude peace with the Quraish after the success of the Muslims at Badr. This date is, however, too late to account for the fear of the Muslims rebuked in this chapter. After the victory of Badr the fears of the faithful were all dispelled, so that at the battle of Ohod we find Muhammad himself obliged to assume an offensive rather than a defensive policy, owing to the impetuosity of his followers. It is better to follow Muir here, and to place the date of this chapter before the battle of Badr, say the latter part of a.h. 1. See Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. pp. 79-81.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) God will render of none effect the works of those who believe not, and who turn away men from the way of God;(2) but as to those who believe, and work righteousness, and believe the revelation which has been sent down unto Muhammad (for it is the truth from their Lord), he will expiate their evil deeds from them, and will dispose their heart aright.
∥ (3) This will he do, because those who believe not follow vanity, and because those who believe follow the truth from the Lord. Thus God propoundeth unto men their examples. (4) When ye encounter the unbelievers, strike off their heads, until ye have made a great slaughter among them; and bind them in bonds; (5) and either give them a free dismission afterwards, or exact a ransom; until the war shall have laid down its arms. This shall ye do. Verily if God pleased he could take vengeance on them without your assistance; but he commandeth you to fight his battles, that he may prove the one of you by the other. And as to those who fight in defence of God’s true religion, God will not suffer their works to perish; (6) he will guide them, and will dispose their heart aright; (7) and he will lead them into Paradise, of which he hath told them. (8) O true believers, if ye assist Godby fighting for his religion, he will assist you against your enemies; and will set your feet fast: (9) but as for the infidels, let them perish; and their works shall God render vain. (10) This shall befall them, because they have rejected with abhorrence that which God hath revealed: wherefore their works shall become of no avail. (11) Do they not travel through the earth, and see what hath been the end of those who were before them? God utterly destroyed them: and the like catastrophe awaiteth the unbelievers. (12) This shall come to pass, for that God is the patron of the true believers, and for that the infidels have no protector.
∥ (13) Verily God will introduce those who believe and do good works into gardens beneath which rivers flow: but the unbelievers indulge themselves in pleasures, and eat as beasts eat; and their abode shall be hell-fire. (14) How many cities were more mighty in strength than thy city which hath expelled thee; yet have we destroyed them, and there was none to help them? (15) Shall he therefore, who followeth the plain declaration of his Lordbe as he whose evil works have been dressed up for him by the devil, and who follow their own lusts? (16) The description of Paradise, which is promised unto the pious: therein are rivers of incorruptible water; and rivers of milk, the taste whereof changeth not; and rivers of wine, pleasant unto those who drink; (17) and rivers of clarified honey: and therein shall they have plenty of all kinds of fruits; and pardon from their Lord.Shall the man for whom these things are prepared be as he who must dwell for ever in hell-fire; and will have the boiling water given him to drink which shall burst their bowels? (18) Of the unbelievers there are some who give ear unto thee, until, when they go out from thee, they say, by way of derision unto those to whom knowledge hath been given, What hath he said now? These are they whose hearts God hath sealed up, and who follow their own lusts; (19) but as to those who are directed, God will grant them a more ample direction, and he will instruct them what to avoid. (20) Do the infidels wait for any other than the last hour, that it may come upon them suddenly? Some signs thereof are already come; and when it shall actually overtake them, how can they then receive admonition? (21) Know therefore that there is no god but God; and ask pardon for thy sin, and for the true believers, both men and women. God knoweth your busy employment in the world, and the place of your abode hereafter.
∥ (22) The true believers say, Hath not a Sura been revealed commanding war against the infidels? But when a Sura without any ambiguity is revealed, and war is mentioned therein, thou mayest see those in whose hearts is an infirmity look towards thee with the look of one whom death overshadoweth. But obedience would be more eligible for them, and to speak that which is convenient. (23) And when the command is firmly established, if they give credit unto God, it will be better for them. (24) Were ye ready, therefore, if ye had been put in authority, to commit outrages in the earth and to violate the ties of blood? (25) These are they whom God hath cursed and hath rendered deaf, and whose eyes he hath blinded. (26) Do they not therefore attentively meditate on the Qurán? Are there locks upon their hearts? (27) Verily they who turn their backs, after the true direction is made manifest unto them, Satan shall prepare their wickedness for them, and God shall bear with them for a time. (28) This shall befall them, because they say privately unto those who detest what God hath revealed, We will obey you in part of the matter. But God knoweth their secrets. (29) How therefore will it be with them when the angels shall cause them to die, and shall strike their faces and their backs? (30) This shall they suffer, because they follow that which provoketh God to wrath, and are averse to what is well-pleasing unto him: and he will render their works vain.
∥ (31) Do they in whose hearts is an infirmity imagine that God will not bring their malice to light? (32) If we pleased, we could surely show them unto thee, and thou shouldest know them by their marks; but thou shalt certainly know them by their perverse pronunciation of their words. God knoweth your actions; (33) and we will try you, until we know those among you who fight valiantly, and who persevere with constancy: and we will try the reports of your behaviour. (34) Verily those who believe not, and turn away men from the way of God, and make opposition against the Apostle, after the divine direction hath been manifested unto them, shall not hurt God at all; but he shall make their works to perish. (35) O true believers, obey God; and obey the apostle: and render not your works of no effect. (36) Verily those who believe not, and who turn away men from the way of God, and then die, being unbelievers, God will by no means forgive. (37) Faint not, therefore, neither invite your enemies to peace, while ye are the superior: for Godis with you, and will not defraud you of the merit of your works. (38) Verily this present life is only a play and a vain amusement; but if ye believe, and fear God, he will give you your rewards. He doth not require of you your whole substance; (39) if he should require the whole of you, and earnestly press you, ye would become niggardly, and it would raise your hatred against his Apostle.(40) Behold, ye are those who are invited to expend part of your substance for the support of God’s true religion; and there are some of you who are niggardly. But whoever shall be niggardly shall be niggardly towards his own soul; for God wanteth nothing, but ye are needy: and if ye turn back, he will substitute another people in your stead, who shall not be like unto you.
ENTITLED SURAT AL FATAH (VICTORY).
This chapter takes its name from the statement in the first verse. A similar statement in ver. 27 would give the same title.
This chapter is composed of two parts, written at different times. I am not certain as to the precise point of division, whether at the beginning of ver. 20 or of ver. 25: on the whole, I prefer the former. According to this plan, the first portion of the chapter consists of vers. 1-19, which relates to the victory of the Muslims over the Jews at Ḳhaibar, and to the expedition previously made to Makkah, which ended in the truce of Hudaibiyah. This truce, though a deep humiliation to the Muslims at the time, turned out to be a master-stroke of policy, and might therefore be termed a victory.
The second portion of this chapter, consisting of vers. 20-29, was added on here, perhaps, by the compilers of the Qurán, because it related also to a victory—the victory of the Muslims over the sacred city of Makkah. The reasons for this division will appear from a perusal of the notes. The chapter as a whole is well named. Arabia was not yet conquered, but the final victory of the Muslims was now so well assured as to require no prophetic vision to foretell it.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
Noëldeke assigns vers. 1-17 to a period immediately after the expedition to Hudaibiyah, in the month of Zul Q’ada, a.h. 6. The remainder of the chapter he places after the victory of the Muslims over the Jews of Ḳhaibar, in the early part of a.h. 7.
I am unable to follow Noëldeke here, for reasons expressed in the notes on the chapter. I would assign vers. 1-19 to a period immediately following the victory at Ḳhaibar, a.h. 7, a victory which restored the prestige of the Muslims, lost in a measure at Hudaibiyah, and at the same time afforded an opportunity to punish the Bedouin Arabs for their previous disloyalty. Vers. 20-29 I would assign to a period immediately following the conquest of Makkah, but preceding the battle of Hunain, a.h. 8.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) Verily we have granted thee a manifest victory, (2) that God may forgive thee thy preceding and thy subsequent sin, and may complete his favour on thee, and direct thee in the right way; (3) and that God may assist thee with a glorious assistance. (4) It is he who sendeth down secure tranquillity into the hearts of the true believers, that they may increase in faith beyond their former faith; (the hosts of heaven and earth are God’s; and God is knowing and wise): (5) that he may lead the true believers of both sexes into gardens beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein for ever; and may expiate their evil deeds from them: (this will be great felicity with God:) (6) and that he may punish the hypocritical men, and the hypocritical women, and the idolaters, and the idolatresses, who conceive an ill opinion of God. They shall experience a turn of evil fortune; and God shall be angry with them, and shall curse them, and hath prepared hell for them: an ill journey shall it be thither!
∥ (7) Unto Godbelong the hosts of heaven and earth; and God is mighty and wise. (8) Verily we have sent thee to be a witness, and a bearer of good tidings, and a denouncer of threats; (9) that ye may believe in God and his Apostle; and may assist him, and revere him, and praise him morning and evening. (10) Verily they who swear fealty unto thee, swear fealty unto God: the hand of Godis over their hands. Whoever shall violate his oath will violate the same to the hurt only of his own soul: but whoever shall perform that which he hath covenanted with God, he will surely give him a great reward.
∥ (11) The Arabs of the desert who were left behind will say unto thee, Our substance and our families employed us, so that we went not forth with thee to war; wherefore, ask pardon for us. They speak that with their tongues which is not in their hearts. Answer, Who shall be able to obtain for you anything from Godto the contrary, if he is pleased to afflict you, or is pleased to be gracious unto you? Yea, verily, God is well acquainted with that which ye do. (12) Truly ye imagined that the Apostle and the true believers would never return to their families: and this was prepared in your hearts: but ye imagined an evil imagination; and ye are a corrupt people. (13) Whoso believeth not in God and his Apostle, verily we have prepared burning fire for the unbelievers. (14) Unto Godbelongeth the kingdom of heaven and earth: he forgiveth whom he pleaseth, and he punisheth whom he pleaseth: and God is inclined to forgive, and merciful. (15) Those who were left behind will say, When ye go forth to take the spoil, Suffer us to follow you. They seek to change the word of God. Say, Ye shall by no means follow us: thus hath God said heretofore. They will reply, Nay: ye envy us a share of the booty. But they are men of small understanding. (16) Say unto the Arabs of the desert who were left behind, Ye shall be called forth against a mighty and a warlike nation; ye shall fight against them, or they shall profess Islám. If ye obey, God will give you a glorious reward: but if ye turn back, as ye turned back heretofore, he will chastise you with a grievous chastisement. (17) It shall be no crime in the blind, neither shall it be a crime in the lame, neither shall it be a crime in the sick, if they go not forth to war: and those who shall obey God and his Apostle, he shall lead them into gardens beneath which rivers flow; but whoso shall turn back, he will chastise him with a grievous chastisement.
∥ (18) Now God was well pleased with the true believers when they sware fidelity to thee under the tree; and he knew that which was in their hearts; wherefore he sent down on them tranquillity of mind, and rewarded them with a speedy victory, (19) and many spoils which they took: for God is mighty and wise. (20)God promised you many spoils which ye should take; but he gave you these by way of earnest; and he restrained the hands of men from you: that the same may be a sign unto the true believers; and that he may guide you into the right way. (21) And he also promiseth you other spoils, which ye have not yet been able to take: but now hath God encompassed them for you; and God is almighty. (22) If the unbelieving Makkans had fought against you, verily they had turned their backs; and they would not have found a patron or protector: (23) according to the ordinance of God, which hath been put in execution heretofore against opposers of the prophets; for thou shalt not find any change in the ordinance of God.(24)It was he who restrained their hands from you, and your hands from them, in the valley of Makkah; after that he had given you the victory over them: and God saw that which ye did. (25) These are they who believed not, and hindered you from visiting the holy temple, and also hindered the offering being detained, that it should not arrive at the place where it ought to be sacrificed. Had it not been that ye might have trampled on divers true believers, both men and women, whom ye know not, being promiscuously assembled with the infidels, and that a crime might therefore have lighted on you on their account, without your knowledge, he had not restrained your hands from them: but this was done that God might lead whom he pleased into his mercy. If they had been distinguished from one another, we had surely chastised such of them as believed not with a severe chastisement. (26) When the unbelievers had put in their hearts an affected preciseness, the preciseness of ignorance, and God sent down his tranquillity on his Apostle and on the true believers; and firmly fixed in them the word of piety, and they were the most worthy of the same, and the most deserving thereof: for God knoweth all things.
∥ (27) Now hath God in truth verified unto his Apostle the vision wherein he said, Ye shall surely enter the holy temple of Makkah, if God please, in full security; having your heads shaved and your hair cut: ye shall not fear: for God knoweth that which ye know not; and he hath appointed you, besides this, a speedy victory. (28)It is he who hath sent his Apostle with the direction, and the religion of truth; that he may exalt the same above every religion: and God is a sufficient witness hereof.(29) Muhammad is the Apostle of God: and those who are with him are fierce against the unbelievers, but compassionate towards one another. Thou mayest see them bowing down, prostrate, seeking a recompense from God, and his good-will. Their signs are in their faces, being marks of frequent prostration. This is their description in the Pentateuch, and their description in the Gospel: they are as seed which putteth forth its stalk and strengtheneth it, and swelleth in the ear, and riseth upon its stem; giving delight unto the sower. Such are the Muslims described to be: that the infidels may swell with indignation at them. God hath promised unto such of them as believe and do good works pardon and a great reward.
ENTITLED SURAT AL HUJRÁT (THE INNER APARTMENTS).
This chapter receives its title from words contained in the fourth verse. It might have appropriately been styled the Chapter of Rebuke, inasmuch as it is made up of a variety of passages reprehending the Muslims for various offences. The faults for which the Muslims are rebuked are, too great familiarity in addressing the Prophet, rude calling to the Prophet when in retirement, false accusation, quarrelling among themselves, scornful laughing and taunting, evil speaking and use of opprobrious names, unjust suspicions, meddling, backbiting, and hypocrisy. The circumstances under which, and the parties for whose special instruction, these exhortations were originally uttered are described in the notes.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
All authorities agree that this chapter is Madínic. Vers. 1-5, referring to the envoys of the Bani Tamím, were revealed in a.h. 9 or 10. Vers. 6-8 must be referred to about the same period. Vers. 9-13 probably refer to the Quraish, and were enunciated soon after the occupation of the sacred city in a.h. 8. The remaining verses may be referred to about the year a.h. 9.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) O true believers, anticipate not any matter in the sight of God and his Apostle: and fear God; for Godboth heareth and knoweth. (2) O true believers, raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet; neither speak loud unto him in discourse, as ye speak loud unto one another, lest your works become vain, and ye perceive it not. (3) Verily they who lower their voices in the presence of the Apostle of Godare those whose hearts God hath disposed unto piety: they shall obtain pardon and a great reward. (4)As to those who call unto thee from without the inner apartments, the greater part of them do not understand the respect due to thee. (5) If they wait with patience until thou come forth unto them, it will certainly be better for them: but Godis inclined to forgive, and merciful. (6) O true believers, if a wicked man come unto you with a tale, inquire strictly into the truth thereof; lest ye hurt people through ignorance, and afterwards repent of what ye have done; (7) and know that the Apostle of Godis among you: if he should obey you in many things, ye would certainly be guilty of a crime in leading him into a mistake. But God hath made the faith amiable unto you, and hath prepared the same in your hearts; and hath rendered infidelity, and iniquity, and disobedience hateful unto you. These are they who walk in the right way; (8) through mercy from God and grace: and Godis knowing and wise. (9) If two parties of the believers contend with one another, do ye endeavour to compose the matter between them: and if the one of them offer an insult unto the other, fight against that party which offered the insult, until they return unto the judgment of God; and if they do return, make peace between them with equity: and act with justice; for God loveth those who act justly. (10) Verily the true believers are brethren; wherefore reconcile your brethren; and fear God, that ye may obtain mercy. (11) O true believers, let not men laugh other men to scorn; who peradventure may be better than themselves: neither let women laugh other women to scorn; who may possibly be better than themselves. Neither defame one another; nor call one another by opprobrious appellations. An ill name it is to be charged with wickedness after having embraced the faith: and whoso repenteth not, they will be the unjust doers.
∥ (12) O true believers, carefully avoid entertaining a suspicion of another: for some suspicions are a crime. Inquire not too curiously into other men’s failings; neither let the one of you speak ill of another in his absence. Would any of you desire to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Surely ye would abhor it. And fear God; for Godis easy to be reconciled, and merciful. (13) O men, verily we have created you of a male and female; and we have distributed you into nations and tribes, that ye might know one another. Verily the most honourable of you, in the sight of God,is the most pious of you: and God is wise and knowing. (14) The Arabs of the desert say, We believe. Answer, Ye do by no means believe; but say, We have embraced Islám: for the faith hath not yet entered into your hearts. If ye obey God and his Apostle, he will not defraud you of any part of the merit of your works: for Godis inclined to forgive, and merciful. (15) Verily the true believers are those only who believe in God and his Apostle, and afterwards doubt not; and who employ their substance and their persons in the defence of God’s true religion: these are they who speak sincerely. (16) Say, Will ye inform God concerning your religion? But God knoweth whatever is in heaven and in earth! for Godis omniscient. (17) They upbraid thee that they have embraced Islám. Answer, Upbraid me not with your having embraced Islám: rather God upbraideth you, that he hath directed you to the faith; if ye speak sincerely. (18) Verily God knoweth the secrets of heaven and earth; and God beholdeth that which ye do.
ENTITLED SURAT AL QÁF (Q.).
The letter placed at the beginning of this chapter has been chosen as its title. The contents relate throughout to the doctrine of the resurrection and a future life. To the idolaters of Makkah the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead seemed impossible, and on this account they rejected Muhammad and his Qurán. Muhammad is called an impostor. In reply to his traducers, Muhammad appeals to the power of God as seen in his works of creation and providence. He tells them that other prophets were in like manner with himself charged with forgery, but their calumniators were miserably destroyed. They are accordingly warned of the coming judgment, for which they will be ill prepared. As usual, however, all this warning and instruction is represented as coming from the mouth of God.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
There can be no doubt about the Makkan origin of this chapter. One author, Umar bin Muhammad, however, maintains that ver. 37 was revealed in answer to the blasphemous talk of the Jews at Madína (see Sale’s notes), but this is certainly a mistake. The passage is connected in thought with ver. 14. As to the date of the chapter, Noëldeke places it immediately after chap. xliv.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) Q. By the glorious Qurán; (2) verily they wonder that a preacher from among themselves is come unto them; and the unbelievers say, This is a wonderful thing; (3) after we shall be dead and become dust, shall we return to life? This is a return remote from thought. (4) Now we know what the earth consumeth of them; and with us is a book which keepeth an account thereof.(5) But they charge falsehood on the truth, after it hath come unto them: wherefore they are plunged in a confused business. (6) Do they not look up to the heaven above them, and consider how we have raised it and adorned it; and that there are no flaws therein? (7) We have also spread forth the earth, and thrown thereon mountains firmly rooted: and we caused every beautiful kind of vegetables to spring up therein; (8) for a subject of meditation, and an admonition unto every man who turneth unto us. (9) And we send down rain as a blessing from heaven, whereby we cause gardens to spring forth, and the grain of harvest, (10) and tall palm-trees having branches laden with dates hanging one above another, (11) as a provision for mankind; and we thereby quicken a dead country: so shall be the coming forth of the dead from their graves.(12) The people of Noah, and those who dwelt at Al Rass, and Thamúd, (13) and Ád, and Pharaoh, accused the prophets of imposture before the Makkans; and also the brethren of Lot, and the inhabitants of the wood near Midian, and the people of Tubba: all these accused the apostles of imposture; wherefore the judgments which I threatened were justly inflicted on them. (14) Is our power exhausted by the first creation? Yea; they are in a perplexity, because of a new creation which is foretold them, namely, the raising of the dead.
∥ (15) We created man, and we know what his soul whispereth within him; and we are nearer unto him than his jugular vein. (16) When the two angels deputed to take account of a man’s behaviour take an account thereof, one sitting on the right hand and the other on the left, (17) he uttereth not a word but there is with him a watcher ready to note it. (18) And the agony of death shall come in truth: this, O man, is what thou soughtest to avoid. (19) And the trumpet shall sound: this will be the day which hath been threatened. (20) And every soul shall come; and therewith shall be a driver and a witness. (21) And the former shall say unto the unbeliever, Thou wast negligent heretofore of this day: but we have removed thy veil from off thee; and thy sight is become piercing this day. (22) And his companion shall say. This is what is ready with me to be attested. (23) And God shall say, Cast into hell every unbeliever, and perverse person, (24) and crery one who forbade good, and every transgressor, and doubter of the faith, (25) who set up another god with the trueGod; and cast him into a grievous torment. (26) His companion shall say, O Lord, I did not seduce him; but he was in a wide error. (27) God shall say, Wrangle not in my presence: since I threatened you beforehand with the torments which ye now see prepared for you. (28) The sentence is not changed with me: neither do I treat my servants unjustly.
∥ (29) On that day we will say unto hell, Art thou full? and it shall answer, Is there yet any addition? (30) And Paradise shall be brought near unto the pious; (31) and it shall be said unto them. This is what ye have been promised; unto every one who turned himself unto God, and kept his commandments; (32) who feared the Merciful in secret, and came unto him with a converted heart: (33) enter the same in peace: this is the day of eternity. (34) Therein shall they have whatever they shall desire: and there will be a superabundant addition of bliss with us. (35) How many generations have we destroyed before the Makkans, which were more mighty than they in strength? Pass, therefore, through the regions of the earth, and see whether there be any refuge from our vengeance. (36) Verily herein is an admonition unto him who hath a heart to understand, or giveth ear, and is present with an attentive mind.(37) We created the heavens and the earth, and whatever is between them, in six days, and no weariness affected us. (38) Wherefore patiently suffer what they say; and celebrate the praise of thy Lord before sunrise and before sunset, (39) and praise him in some part of the night: and perform the additional parts of worship. (40) And hearken unto the day whereon the crier shall call men to judgment from a near place: (41) the day whereon they shall hear the voice of the trumpet in truth: this will be the day of men’s coming forth from their graves: (42) we give life, and we cause to die; and unto us shall be the return of all creatures: (43) the day whereon the earth shall suddenly cleave in sunder over them. This will be an assembly easy for us to assemble.(44) We well know what the unbelievers say; and thou art not sent to compel them forcibly to the faith. (45) Wherefore warn, by the Qurán, him who feareth my threatening.
[(1) ]H. M. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 100-102.
[(2, 3) ]See notes on chap. xi. 2 and 3.
[(6) ]Alms. See notes on chap. ii. 42, 219, and ix. 60.
[(8) ]Two days. “The two first days of the week.”—Sale, Jaláluddín. Comp. chaps. vii. 55, x. 3, and xi. 8.
[(9) ]Mountains firmly rooted. See chaps. xv. 19, and xvi. 15 notes.
[(10) ]Smoke. “Or darkness. Al Zamaḳhsharí says this smoke proceeded from the waters under the throne of God (which throne was one of the things created before the heavens and the earth), and rose above the water; that the water being dried up, the earth was formed out of it, and the heavens out of the smoke which had mounted aloft.”—Sale.
[(11) ]Two days, viz., “On the fifth and sixth days of the week. It is said the heavens were created on Thursday, and the sun, moon, and stars on Friday; in the evening of which last day Adam was made.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(13) ]Apostles . . . before and behind. “That is, on every side, persuading and urging them continually, and by arguments drawn from past examples and the expectation of future rewards and punishments.”—Sale.
[(14) ]Ád. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 20-22, and notes on chaps. vii. 66, and xi. 50-60.
[(15) ]Days of ill luck. “It is said that this wind continued from Wednesday to Wednesday inclusive, being the latter end of the month Shawwál; and that a Wednesday is the day whereon God sends down his judgments on a wicked people.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(16) ]Thamúd. See Prelim. Disc., p. 22 seq., and notes on chap. xi. 61-68.
[(18) ]Distinct bands. Comp. chap. xxxix. 71.
[(21) ]i.e., “Ye hid your crimes from men, little thinking that your very members, from which you could not hide them, would rise up as witnesses against you.”—Sale. See note on chap. xxxvi. 65.
[(24) ]Companions. See notes on chaps. vii. 39, 180, and x. 19, &c.
[(25) ]Vain discourse. “Or loud talk.”—Sale. The practice here animadverted on is very common among modern Muslims whenever the Gospel is preached among them.
[(29) ]The two, &c, i.e., “Those of either species who drew us into sin and ruin. Some suppose that the two more particularly intended here are Iblís and Cain, the two authors of infidelity and murder.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(30) ]The angels shall descend. “Either while they are living on earth, to dispose their minds to good, to preserve them from temptations, and to comfort them; or at the hour of death, to support them in their last agony; or at their coming forth from their graves at the resurrection.”—Sale, Jaláluddín.
[(35) ]Endued with a great happiness of temper. Rodwell translates the most highly favoured.
[(36) ]See chap. cxiv.
[(37) ]Worship God. Comp. Rev. xix. 10. Passages like this illustrate the superiority of Muhammad over his countrymen as well as his power as a preacher.
[(38) ]Comp. Rev. iv. 8.
[(42) ]Either from before, &c. “That is, it shall not be prevailed against, or frustrated by any means or in any respect whatever.”—Sale.
[(44) ]See note on chap. xvi. 105.
[(45) ]Here again we see Muhammad likening himself to the former prophets. See Introd. chap. xi. The allusion probably is to the unbelief of the Israelites in the wilderness.
[(46) ]Comp. chap. xlv. 14.
[(47) ]No witness. “For they shall disclaim their idols at the resurrection.”—Sale. See above in note on ver. 29.
[(48) ]See chap. xxviii. 62-66 and 74.
[(50) ]See chap. xvii. 69.
[(53) ]We will show them our signs . . . in themselves. “By the surprising victories and conquests of Muhammad and his successors.”—Sale, Baidháwi. A better interpretation, and one in accord with the spirit of the chapter, is that the unbelievers would recognise the truth of Muhammad’s teaching in the resurrection and the judgment. See vers. 41 and 52. Many years subsequent to the date of this chapter Muhammad disclaimed the ability to foretell future events. See chap. vi. 49, and note there.
[(1) ]H. M. A. S. Q. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 100-102.
[(3) ]Angels . . . ask pardon for, &c. See note on chap. xl. 7.
[(5) ]See note on chaps. xxi. 105, and xli. 44. As yet Muhammad conceived of himself as merely the prophet of Arabia.
[(9) ]Wives of your own species. See notes on chap. xvi. 74.
[(11) ]In this passage Muhammad claims that his religion is the one true religion revealed from the beginning to all true prophets. This claim is fatal to his own prophetic pretensions; nothing is clearer than this, since Islám contradicts the whole plan of salvation revealed in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. See notes on chaps. ii. 40, 90, 100, iii. 2, iv. 44, 45, 162, v. 48-50, &c. For other similar passages, see Index under the word Qurán. See also Prelim. Disc., chap. iv.
[(13) ]They who have inherited, &c. “The modern Jews and Christians.”—Sale.
[(14) ]I believe in all the scriptures. See above under ver. 11.
[(19) ]Whoso chooseth, &c. “Labouring here to obtain a reward hereafter; for what is sown in this world will be reaped in the next.”—Sale.
[(22) ]Comp. chap. xxv. 58, 59.
[(23) ]See chaps. iii. 185, vii. 85 and 203, x. 39, and xi. 14, &c.
[(28) ]Comp. John ix. 1-3. Muhammad seems to have entertained the error of Job’s friends.
[(37-39) ]Avenge themselves. “Using the means which God has put into their hands for their own defence. This is added to complete the character here given; for valour and courage are not inconsistent with clemency, the rule being, Parcere subjectis et debellare superbos.”—Sale.
[(45) ]Whom God shall cause to err, &c. See notes on chaps. vii. 179, 180, xvi. 95, and xx. 87.
[(50, 51) ]This was said in answer to those who objected that no one ever saw Muhammad when receiving his revelations from God.
[(52) ]A revelation. “Or, as the words may also be translated, ‘Thus have we sent the Spirit Gabriel unto thee with a revelation.’ ”—Sale.
[(1) ]H. M. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 100-102.
[(2) ]See chaps. xi. 2, 3, xvi. 105, xli. 2, and notes there.
[(3) ]Original book. The Preserved Table. Prelim. Disc., p. 108.
[(5, 6) ]Comp. chaps. xxiii. 24-26, and xxv. 5-10.
[(14-17) ]See notes on chap. iv. 116, 169.
[(16) ]See chap. xvi. 60.
[(21) ]See note on chap. ii. 171.
[(24) ]See the Histories of the former prophets in chap. xi., &c.
[(29) ]See notes, chaps. x. 39, and xi. 14.
[(30) ]Some great man, i.e., “To one of the principal inhabitants of Makkah or of Tavif, such as al Walíd, Ibn al Mughaira, or Urwa Ibn Masúd the Thakífite.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(31) ]Do they distribute, &c. “By this expression the prophetic office is here particularly intended.”—Sale.
[(32-34) ]But comp. chap. xxxv. 30.
[(35) ]A devil, &c. See chap. xix. 69, 86.
[(40) ]This verse intimates that Muhammad was in doubt as to the ultimate success of his mission.
[(44) ]“That is, Ask those who profess the religions which they taught, and their learned men.”—Sale, Baidháwi, &c.
[(47) ]No sign but it was greater, &c. “Literally, than its sister. The meaning is, that the miracles were all very great and considerable, or as the French may express it, by a phrase nearly the same, les uns plus grands que les autres.”—Sale.
[(50-56) ]See notes, chap. vii. 104-136.
[(53) ]Have bracelets. &c. “Such bracelets were some of the insignia of royalty; for when the Egyptians raised a person to the dignity of a prince, they put a collar or chain of gold about his neck (Gen. xli. 42), and bracelets of gold on his wrists.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(57) ]Thy people cried out, &c. “This passage is generally supposed to have been revealed on occasion of an objection made by one Ibn al Zabári to those words in the twenty-first chapter (ver. 92) by which all in general who were worshipped as deities besides God are doomed to hell: whereupon the infidels cried out, ‘We are content that our gods should be with Jesus; for he also is worshipped as God.’ Some, however, are of opinion it might have been revealed in answer to certain idolaters, who said that the Christians, who received the Scriptures, worshipped Jesus, supposing him to be the son of God; whereas the angels were more worthy of that honour than he.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(59) ]Jesus is no other than a servant, &c. Muir says: “This was . . . the only position which, at the present advanced period of his mission, Mahomet could consistently fall back upon; and it was ever after carefully maintained Some terms of veneration in use among Christians are indeed applied to Jesus, as ‘the Word of God,’ and ‘His Spirit which he breathed into Mary’ (chap. iii. 39, iv. 16, xxi. 91, &c.) But the Divine Sonship was constantly denied.”—Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. pp. 287, 288.
[(60) ]We could . . . produce angels, &c. “As easily as we produced Jesus without a father. The intent of the words is to show how just and reasonable it is to think that the angels should bear the relation of children to men, rather than to God; they being his creatures as well as men, and equally in his power.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(61) ]A sign . . . of the last hour. “For some time before the resurrection Jesus is to descend on earth, according to the Muhammadans, near Damascus (Prelim. Disc., pp. 132-133), or, as some say, near a rock in the Holy Land named Afik, with a lance in his hand wherewith he is to kill Antichrist, whom he will encounter at Ludd, or Lydda, a small town not far from Joppa. They add that he will arrive at Jerusalem at the time of morning prayer; that he shall perform his devotions after the Muhammadan institution, and officiate instead of the Imám, who shall give place to him; that he will break down the cross and destroy the churches of the Christians, of whom he will make a general slaughter, excepting only such as shall profess Islám,” &c.—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(62) ]See note on chaps. iv. 116, and vi. 112.
[(63) ]Wisdom. “That is, with a book of revelations and an excellent system of religion.”—Sale.
[(65) ]“This may be understood either of the Jews in the time of Jesus, who opposed his doctrine, or of the Christians since, who have fallen into various opinions concerning him, some making him to be God, others the Son of God, and others one of the persons of the Trinity, &c.”—Sale, Baidháwi. I think the reference is clearly to the Christians only.
[(70) ]Your wives. Who are presumed to be true believers.
[(71-73) ]See note on chap. iii. 15.
[(77) ]O Málik. “This the Muhammadans suppose to be the name of the principal angel who has charge of hell.”—Sale. See chap. lxxiv. 30.
[(80) ]Our messengers, i.e., “the guardian angels.”—Sale. But see chap. l. 16.
[(81) ]If the Merciful had a son, &c. Comp. chap. xxxix. 6.
[(86) ]Except those who bear witness, i.e., “to the doctrine of God’s unity. The exception comprehends Jesus, Ezra, and the angels, who will be admitted as intercessors, though they have been worshipped as gods.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín. But see notes on chaps. ii. 47, 123, vi. 50, and xxxix. 45.
[(88) ]The saying Rodwell translates And one saith. Of this passage Noëldeke says a few words must have been lost here, as the words [Editor: Arabic word - see p. 30 of the facsimile PDF], even if the diacritical points are changed, cannot be satisfactorily connected with the preceding verse.
[(89) ]Say, Peace, &c. See note on chap. xxv. 64.
[(1) ]H. M. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 100-102.
[(2) ]A blessed night. “Generally supposed to be that between the twenty-third and twenty-fourth of Ramadhán. See Prelim. Disc., p. 108, and chap. xcvii. and the notes there.”—Sale.
[(3) ]“For annually on this night, as the Muhammadans are taught, all the events of the ensuing year, with respect to life and death and the other affairs of this world, are disposed and settled. Some, however, suppose that these words refer only to that particular night on which the Qurán, wherein are completely contained the Divine determinations in respect to religion and morality, was sent down; and, according to this exposition, the passage may be rendered, ‘The night whereon every determined or adjudged matter was sent down.’ ” — Sale, Baidháwi, and Jaláluddín.
[(9) ]Smoke. The commentators differ in their expositions of this passage. Some think it spoke of a smoke which seemed to fill the air during the famine which was inflicted on the Makkans in Muhammad’s time, and was so thick that, though they could hear, yet they could not see one another. But, according to a tradition of Ali, the smoke here meant is that which is to be one of the previous signs of the day of judgment, and will fill the whole space from east to west, and last for forty days. This smoke, they say, will intoxicate the infidels, and issue at their noses, ears, and posteriors, but will very little inconvenience the true believers.”—Sale, Jaláluddín.
[(13) ]This man is instructed by others, &c. See note on chap. xvi. 105.
[(14) ]The plague. “If we follow the former exposition, the words are to be understood of the ceasing of the famine upon the intercession of Muhammad, at the desire of the Quraish, and on their promise of believing on him, notwithstanding which, they fell back to their old incredulity; but if we follow the latter exposition, they are to be understood of God’s taking away the plague of the smoke, after the expiration of the forty days, at the prayer of the infidels, and on their promise of receiving the true faith, which being done, they will immediately return to their wonted obstinacy.”—Sale. See also chap. xxiii. 65, note.
[(15) ]“Some expound this of the slaughter at Badr, and others of the day of judgment.”—Sale.
[(17) ]Send unto me, &c., i.e., “Let the Israelites go with me to worship their God.”—Sale.
[(19) ]Stone me not. “Or that ye injure me not, either by word or deed.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(20) ]Depart from me. Without opposing me, or offering me any injury, which I have not deserved from you.”—Sale.
[(27) ]We gave the same, &c. See chap. xxvi. 57-59, and note on chap. vii. 137.
[(28) ]Wept. “That is, none pitied their destruction.”—Sale.
[(31) ]We chose them knowingly, i.e., “knowing that they were worthy of our choice; or notwithstanding we knew they would, in time to come, fall into idolatry, &c.”—Sale.
[(32) ]Signs. “As the dividing of the Red Sea; the cloud which shaded them; the raining on them of manna and quails, &c.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(36) ]The people of Tubbá, viz., “the Hamyárites, whose kings had the title of Tubbá (Prelim. Disc., p. 26). The commentators tell us that the Tubbá here meant was very potent, and built Samarcand, or, as others say, demolished it; and that he was a true believer, but his subjects were infidels.
[(39) ]In truth. See notes on chaps. xxi. 16, 17, and xxxviii. 26.
[(40) ]The day of separations, i.e., “the day of judgment, when the wicked shall be separated from the righteous, &c.”—Sale.
[(43) ]Az Zaqqúm. See chap. xxxvii. 60. “Jaláluddín supposes this passage to have been particularly levelled at Abu Jahl.”—Sale.
[(44-50) ]See note and references at chap. ii. 38.
[(51-57) ]See notes on chaps. iii. 15, and 196-198, and xxxvii. 39-48.
[(58) ]Thine own tongue. See note on chap. xli. 2, 3.
[(1) ]H. M. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 100-102.
[(3) ]“By the days of God, in this place, are meant the prosperous successes of his people in battle against the infidels. The passage is said to have been revealed on account of Omar, who being reviled by one of the tribes of Ghafár, was thinking to revenge himself by force. Some are of opinion that this verse is abrogated by that of War.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(16) ]See notes on chap. xliii. 63.
[(17) ]Of those who are ignorant. “That is, of the principal Quraish, who were urgent with Muhammad to return to the religion of his forefathers.”—Sale.
[(22) ]Whom God causeth knowingly to err. See note and references in chap. vii. 179, 180.
[(27) ]Every nation. “The original word, ummat, properly signifies a people who profess one and the same law or religion.”—Sale. The followers of each of the great prophets constitute an ummat.
[(1) ]H. M. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 100-102.
[(2) ]In truth. See notes on chaps. xxi. 16, 17, and xxxviii. 26.
[(3) ]The idols. This should be the gods or the angels.
[(4) ]To the day, &c., i.e., until the day of the resurrection, when they will repudiate their worshippers.
[(6) ]The truth, i.e., the Qurán.
[(8) ]I am not singular among the apostles. “That is, I do not teach a doctrine different from what the former apostles and prophets have taught, nor am I able to do what they could not, particularly to show the signs which every one shall think fit to demand.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(9) ]A witness. “This witness is generally supposed to have been the Jew Abdullah Ibn Salám, who declared that Muhammad was the prophet foretold by Moses. Some, however, suppose the witness here meant to have been Moses himself.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(10) ]If . . . the Qurán, &c. “These words were spoken, as some think, by the Jews, when Abdullah professed Islám; or, according to others, by the Quraish, because the first followers of Muhammad were for the most part poor and mean people; or else by the tribes of Amar, Ghatfán, and Asad, on the conversion of those of Juhainah, Muzainah, Aslam, and Ghifár.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(11) ]A book confirming, &c. See notes and references at chap. ii. 40.
[(14) ]Thirty months. “At the least; for if the full time of suckling an infant be two years (chap. ii. 233), or twenty-four months, there remain but six months for the space of his being carried in the womb, which is the least that can be allowed.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(16) ]Fie on you. “The words seem to be general; but it is said they were revealed particularly on occasion of Abdurrahmán, the son of Abu Baqr, who used these expressions to his father and mother before he professed Islám.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(17) ]Shall surely perish. “Unless they redeem their fault by repentance and embracing the true faith, as did Abdurrahmán.”—Sale.
[(20) ]The brother of A’d, i.e., the prophet Húd. See chap. xi. 50.
[(24) ]It will destroy everything. “Which came to pass accordingly; for this pestilential and violent wind killed all who believed not in the doctrine of Húd, without distinction of sex, age, or degree, and entirely destroyed their possessions.”—Sale. See notes to chaps. vii. 66-73, and xi. 50 seq.
[(26) ]Cities . . . round about you. “As the settlements of the Thamúdites, Midianites, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, &c.”—Sale.
[(28) ]Certain . . . genii. “These genii, according to different opinions, were of Nisibín, or of Yaman, or of Nineveh; and in number nine or seven. They heard Muhammad reading the Qurán by night, or after the morning prayer, in the valley of al Naḳhlah, during the time of his retreat to al Tayif, and believed on him.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín. Comp. chap. lxxii. 1-19.
[(29) ]Revealed since Moses. “Hence the commentators suppose those genii, before their conversion to Muhammadanism, to have been of the Jewish religion.”—Sale.
[(31) ]God’s preacher, i.e., Muhammad. See note on chap. ii. 119. Noëldeke thinks vers. 20-31 misplaced here, as they break the connection between vers. 19 and 32.
[(34) ]Bear . . . with patience. “But his biography is full of instances of Mohammed not bearing insults with patience, and having those who spoke against him killed. When at Mecca he is patient, being powerless; when at the head of an army at Medina, he kills those who oppose him with words only.”—Brinckman in Notes on Islám. This is true; but the Muslim reply is that in both cases he acted in accordance with the command of God.
[(35) ]But an hour. See chap. xxiii. 114.
[(2) ]Will expiate. See note on chap. iii. 194.
[(4) ]Unbelievers, i.e., the Makkan and other enemies of Islám.
[(5) ]Those who fight, &c. “Some copies, instead of qátilu, read qútilu, according to which latter reading it should be rendered, ‘who are slain’ or ‘suffer martyrdom,’ &c.”—Sale.
[(13) ]See note on chap. iii. 15.
[(14) ]Which hath expelled thee. Muhammad here predicts the destruction of Makkah and its idolatrous inhabitants. There should be “none to help them.” The leniency which afterward led him to spare the city and its people was dictated by circumstances which made forbearance more politic than the fulfilment of his own prophecy. See Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. iv. pp. 120-122 note.
[(16) ]Rivers of wine. The word here translated wine is ḳhamr, which all Muslims admit to be the word used specially to indicate intoxicating drinks. See notes on chaps. ii. 218, iv. 42. and v. 92.
[(18) ]Those to whom knowledge hath been given, i.e., “the more learned of Muhammad’s companions, such as Ibn Masúd and Ibn Abbás.”—Sale, Jaláluddín.
[(19) ]He will instruct them, &c. “These words may also be translated, He will reward them for their piety.”—Sale.
[(20) ]Some signs, &c. “As the mission of Muhammad, the splitting of the moon, and the smoke mentioned in the 44th chapter.”—Sale.
[(21) ]Ask pardon for thy sin, &c. “Though Muhammad here and elsewhere acknowledges himself to be a sinner, yet several Muhammadan doctors pretend he was wholly free from sin, and suppose he is here commanded to ask forgiveness, not that he wanted it, but that he might set an example to his followers: wherefore he used to say of himself, if the tradition be true, ‘I ask pardon of God an hundred times a day.’ ”—Sale.
[(22) ]These words were uttered previous to the battle of Badr, when as yet there were many timorous ones among the faithful. See Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 79.
[(23) ]This verse contains an implied threat against the timorous and hypocritical followers of Muhammad, referred to in ver. 22.
[(24) ]If ye had been put in authority. “Or, as the words may also be translated, ‘If ye had turned back.’ and apostatised from your faith.”—Sale.
[(28) ]Obey in part, i.e., “Obey in part of what ye desire of us, by staying at home and not going forth with Muhammad to war, and by private combination against him.”—Sale.
[(31) ]In whose hearts is an infirmity, “as hypocrisy, cowardice, or instability in their religion.”—Sale.
[(32) ]Perverse pronunciation of words. Either by playing upon the words of the Qurán to pervert its meaning (see chaps. ii. 57, 58, and vii. 163), or the uttering of vain excuses to escape from the duty of fighting for their religion; the meaning in this case being perverse speeches calculated to discourage others. See ver. 34.
[(40) ]He will substitute people . . . not like you, i.e., “In backwardness and aversion to the propagation of the faith. The people here designed to be put in the place of these lukewarm Muslims are generally supposed to be the Persians, there being a tradition that Muhammad, being asked what people they were, at a time when Salmán was sitting by him, clapped his hand on his thigh and said, ‘This man and his nation.’ Others, however, are of opinion the Ansárs or the angels are intended in this place.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(1) ]A manifest victory. “This victory, according to most received interpretation, was the taking of the city of Makkah. The passage is said to have been revealed on Muhammad’s return from the expedition of al Hudaibiyah, and contains a promise or prediction of this signal success, which happened not till two years after; the preterite tense being therein used, according to the prophetic style, for the future.
[(2) ]That God may forgive thee. “That is to say, that God may give thee an opportunity of deserving forgiveness by eradicating of idolatry, and exalting his true religion, and the delivering of the weak from the hands of the ungodly, &c.”—Sale.
[(5) ]Expiate their evil deeds. See note on chap. iii. 194.
[(10) ]Who swear fealthy, &c. “The original word signifies publicly to acknowledge or inaugurate a prince by swearing fidelity and obedience to him.”—Sale.
[(11) ]The Arabs of the desert, &c. “These were the tribes of Aslam, Juhainah, Muzainah, and Ghifár, who, being summoned to attend Muhammad in the expedition of al Hudaibiyah, stayed behind, and excused themselves by saying their families must suffer in their absence, and would be robbed of the little they had (for these tribes were of the poorer Arabs); whereas in reality they wanted firmness in the faith and courage to face the Quraish.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(15) ]Those . . . left behind, viz., “in the expedition of Ḳhaibar. The Prophet returned from al Hudaibiyah in Dhu’l Hajja, in the sixth year of the Hijra, and stayed at Madína the remainder of that month and the beginning of Muharram, and then set forward against the Jews of Ḳhaibar with those only who had attended him to Hudaibiyah; and having made himself master of the place, and all the castles and strongholds in that territory, took spoils to a great value, which he divided among those who were present at that expedition, and none else.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(16) ]A warlike nation. “These were Banu Hunífa, who inhabited al Yamáma, and were the followers of Musailama, Muhammad’s competitor; or any other of those tribes which apostatised from Muhammadanism; or, as others rather suppose, the Persians or the Greeks.”—Sale, Jaláluddín.
[(18) ]When they sware fidelity, &c. “Muhammad, when at al Hudaibiyah, sent Jawwás Ibn Umaiya the Ḳhudháite to acquaint the Makkans that he was come with a peaceable intention to visit the temple; but they, on some jealousy conceived, refusing to admit him, the Prophet sent Othmán Ibn Affán, whom they imprisoned, and a report ran that he was slain: whereupon Muhammad called his men about him, and they took an oath to be faithful to him, even to death; during which ceremony he sat under a tree, supposed by some to have been an Egyptian thorn, and by others a kind of lote-tree.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(20) ]God promised you many spoils, &c. “These words, which point to the rule (chap. viii. and notes there) that all the spoils, save the Prophet’s fifth, should be distributed among the Muslims, are a sufficient refutation of the statement made by Mr. Bosworth Smith (Muhammad and Muhammadanism, p. 231), that “in his capacity even of temporal ruler, Muhammad rarely gave material rewards to his followers.” The fact is, that at this stage, and ever afterwards, the chief attraction of Islám was the hope of conquest and rich booty.
[(22) ]Rodwell translates, If the infidels shall fight against you, they shall assuredly turn their backs. The Hindustání and Persian translations agree with Sale.
[(24) ]He restrained, &c. Jaláluddín says that fourscore of the infidels came privately to Muhammad’s camp at al Hudaibiyah, with an intent to surprise some of his men, but were taken and brought before the Prophet, who pardoned them and ordered them to be set at liberty; and this generous action was the occasion of the truce struck up by the Quraish with Muhammad; for thereupon they sent Suhail Ibn Ámrú and some others (and not Arwá Ibn Masúd, as is said by mistake in another place (Prelim. Disc., p. 89), for his errand was an actual defiance) to treat for peace.
[(25) ]The place where, &c. “Muhammad’s intent, in the expedition of al Hudaibiyah, being only to visit the temple of Makkah in a peaceable manner, and to offer a sacrifice in the valley of Mina, according to the established rites, he carried beasts with him for that purpose; but was not permitted by the Quraish either to enter the temple or to go to Mina.”—Sale.
[(26) ]God sent down his tranquillity, &c. “This passage was occasioned by the stiffness of Suhail and his companions in wording the treaty concluded with Muhammad; for when the Prophet ordered Ali to begin with the form, In the name of the most merciful God, they objected to it, and insisted that he should begin with this, In thy name, O God; which Muhammad submitted to, and proceeded to dictate, These are the conditions on which Muhammad, the Apostle of God, has made peace with those of Makkah; to this Suhail again objected, saying, ‘If we had acknowledged thee to be the Apostle of God, we had not given thee any opposition:’ whereupon Muhammad ordered Ali to write, as Suhail desired, These are the conditions which Muhammad, the son of Abdallah, &c. But the Muslims were so disgusted thereat, that they were on the point of breaking off the treaty, and had fallen on the Makkans, had not God appeased and calmed their minds; as it follows in the text.
[(27) ]The vision. “Or dream which Muhammad had at Madína, before he set out for al Hudaibiyah, wherein he dreamed that he and his companions entered Makkah in security, with their heads shaven and their hair cut. This dream, being imparted by the Prophet to his followers, occasioned a great deal of joy among them; and they supposed it would be fulfilled that same year: but when they saw the truce concluded, which frustrated their expectation for that time, they were deeply concerned; whereupon this passage was revealed for their consolation, confirming the vision, which was not to be fulfilled till the year after, when Muhammad performed the visitation, distinguished by the addition of al Qadá, or completion, because he then completed the visitation of the former year, when the Quraish not permitting him to enter Makkah, he was obliged to kill his victims, and to shave himself at al Hudaibiyah.”—Sale.
[(28) ]Exalt the same above every religion. Islám, being the only true religion, the religion of all the prophets, is now to be exalted, through the instrumentality of Muhammad, above every other religion. Makkah having now fallen, he considers his religion as triumphant in Arabia, and may be in the world.
[(29) ]Muhammad is the Apostle of God. The speaker being God, this form is peculiar, if Muhammad be the person addressed, unless, indeed, we regard these words as the witness-bearing of God. The passage would then read, “God is a sufficient witness hereof; for he declareth that Muhammad is the Apostle of God,” &c.
[(1) ]Anticipate not, &c. “That is, do not presume to give your own decision in any case, before ye have received the judgment of God and his Apostle.”—Sale.
[(2) ]Raise not your voices, &c. “This verse is said to have been occasioned by a dispute between Abu Baqr and Omar concerning the appointment of a governor of a certain place, in which they raised their voices so high, in presence of the Apostle, that it was thought proper to forbid such indecencies for the future.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín
[(4) ]Those who call . . . without the inner apartments. “These, they say, were Uyayna Ibn Husain and al Akrá Ibn Hábís, who, wanting to speak with Muhammad when he was sleeping at noon in his women’s apartment, had the rudeness to call out several times, ‘Muhammad, come forth to us.’ ”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(6) ]Lest ye hurt people, &c. “This passage was occasioned, it is said, by the following accident. Al Walíd Ibn Uqba being sent by Muhammad to collect the alms from the tribe of al Mustaliq, when he saw them come out to meet him in great numbers, grew apprehensive they designed him some mischief, because of past enmity between him and them in the time of ignorance, and immediately turned back, and told the Prophet they refused to pay their alms and attempted to kill him; upon which Muhammad was thinking to reduce them by force; but on sending Ḳhálid Ibn al Walíd to them, he found his former messenger had wronged them, and that they continued in their obedience.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(9) ]Two parties. “This verse is supposed to have been occasioned by a fray which happened between the tribes of al Aus and al Khazraj. Some relate that the Prophet one day riding on an ass, as he passed neat Abdullah Ibn Ubbai, the ass chanced to stale, at which Ibn Ubbai stopped his nose; and Ibn Rawáha said to him, ‘By God, the piss of his ass smells sweeter than thy musk;’ whereupon a quarrel ensued between their followers, and they came to blows, though they struck one another only with their hands and slippers, or with palm-branches.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(11) ]“It is said that this verse was revealed on account of Safía Bint Huyai, one of the Prophet’s wives, who came to her husband and complained that the women said to her, ‘O thou Jewess, the daughter of a Jew and of a Jewess;’ to which he answered, ‘Canst thou not say, Aaron is my father, and Moses is my uncle, and Muhammad is my husband?’ ”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(12) ]Would any of you desire, &c. Slander is here likened to feasting upon the corpse of a dead man.
[(14) ]The Arabs of the desert. “These were certain of the tribe of Asad, who came to Madína in a year of scarcity, and having professed Muhammadism, told the Prophet that they had brought all their goods and their families, and would not oppose him, as some other tribes had done; and this they said to obtain a part of the alms, and to upbraid him with their having embraced his religion and party.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(16) ]Will ye inform God, &c., i.e., “will ye pretend to deceive him by saying ye are true believers?”—Sale.
[(17) ]Rather God upbraideth you, &c. “The obligation being not on God’s side, but on yours, for that he has favoured you so far as to guide ye into the true faith, if ye are sincere believers.”—Sale.
[(1) ]Q. “Some imagine that this letter is designed to express the mountain Qáf, which several Eastern writers fancy encompasses the whole world. Others say it stands for Qadr al amr, i.e., ‘The matter is decreed,’ viz., the chastisement of the infidels. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 100-102.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(5) ]They are plunged in a confused business. “Not knowing what certainly to affirm of the Qurán, calling it sometimes a piece of poetry, at other times a piece of sorcery, and at other times a piece of divination, &c.”—Sale.
[(7) ]Comp. chaps. xvi. 15, and xxxi. 9.
[(10) ]Dates. “The date-tree produces three or four large clusters, which rise from the summit of the tree, and hang round. They are formed of small branches, long and flexible, from which hang the dates. These clusters will sometimes weigh as much as 120 pounds. The date is at first of a deep green; as it ripens it turns red, and it becomes blackish when it is ripe. This fruit, which is of a sugary and agreeable taste, loses much by drying.”—Savary.
[(12) ]Who dwelt at Al Rass, &c. See on chaps. xxv. 40, xi. 26-100, and notes there.
[(16, 17) ]“The intent of the passage is to exalt the omniscience of God, who wants not the information of the guardian angels, though he has thought fit, in his wisdom, to give them that employment; for if they are so exact as to write down every word which falls from a man’s mouth, how can we hope to escape the observation of him who sees our inmost thoughts?
[(20) ]A driver and a witness, i.e., “two angels, one acting as a serjeant, to bring every person before the tribunal; and the other prepared as a witness, to testify either for or against him. Some say the former will be the guardian angel who took down his evil actions, and the other angel who took down his good actions.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(26) ]His companion, viz., “the devil which shall be chained to him.”—Sale. See also notes on chaps vii. 39, 180, and x. 19, &c.
[(29) ]Is there yet any addition? i.e., “are there yet any more condemned to this place, or is my space to be enlarged and rendered more capacious to receive them?
[(34) ]See Prelim. Disc., p. 154.
[(37) ]Six days. See note on chap. vii. 55.
[(38) ]What they say, what the idolaters say in denying the resurrection.
[(39) ]The additional parts of worship. “These are the two inclinations used after the evening prayer, which are not necessary or of precept, but voluntary and of supererogation, and may therefore be added or omitted indifferently.”—Sale.
[(40) ]A new place. “That is, from a place whence every creature may equally hear the call. This place, it is supposed, will be the mountain of the temple of Jerusalem, which some fancy to be nigher heaven than any other part of the earth; whence Israíl will sound the trumpet, and Gabriel will make the following proclamation: ‘O ye rotten bones, and torn flesh, and dispersed hairs, God commandeth you to be gathered together to judgment.’ ”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(44) ]Thou art not sent to compel, &c. This is the spirit of the Makkan preacher, but compare that of the prophet-general of Madína, chaps. ix. 29, 74, and xlvii. 4, 5.