Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER LXXXV.: ENTITLED SURAT AL BURÚJ (THE CELESTIAL SIGNS). Revealed at Makkah. - The Quran, vol. 4
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CHAPTER LXXXV.: ENTITLED SURAT AL BURÚJ (THE CELESTIAL SIGNS). Revealed at Makkah. - 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 BURÚJ (THE CELESTIAL SIGNS).
The first seven verses of this chapter are generally supposed to refer to the persecution of the Christians in Najrán by the cruel king Dhú Nawás. Geiger, however, and after him Noëldeke, adopts the opinion of al Bogháwi that the three men in the furnace (Dan. iii.) are here alluded to.
Vers. 8 and 11, says Noeldeke, “have probably been added later on by Muhammad himself, as they differ from the other verses, with which they are otherwise connected, by reason of a greater length, a more diffuse style, and a somewhat modified rhyme.” The term múminát (female believers) does not occur in any but the latest chapters of the Qurán.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
The chapter, excepting perhaps vers. 8-11, is of Makkan origin. Noëldeke assigns it to the earlier half of his first period.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) By the heaven adorned with signs; (2) by the promised day of judgment;(3) by the witness and the witnessed; (4) cursed were the contrivers of the pit, (5) of fire supplied with fuel; (6) when they sat around the same, (7) and were witnesses of what they did against the true believers, (8) and they afflicted them for no other reason but because they believed in the mighty, the glorious God, (9) unto whom belongeth the kingdom of heaven and earth; and Godis witness of all things. (10) Verily for those who persecute the true believers of either sex, and afterwards repent not, is prepared the torment of hell; and they shall suffer the pain of burning. (11) But for those who believe, and do that which is right, are destined gardens beneath which rivers flow: this shall be great felicity. (12) Verily the vengeance of thy Lordis severe. (13) He createth, and he restoreth to life: (14) he is inclined to forgive, and gracious; (15) the possessor of the glorious throne, (16) who effecteth that which he pleaseth. (17) Hath not the story of the hosts (18) of Pharaoh and of Thamúd reached thee? (19) Yet the unbelievers cease not to accuse the divine revelations of falsehood; (20) but God encompasseth them behind, that they cannot escape. (21) Verily that which they reject is a glorious Qurán; (22)the original whereof is written in a table kept in heaven.
[(1) ]Signs. “The original word properly signifies ‘towers, which some interpret of real towers, wherein it is supposed the angels keep guard; and others, of the stars of the first magnitude: but the generality of expositors understand thereby the twelve signs of the zodiac, wherein the planets make their several stations.”—Sale.
[(3) ]“The meaning of these words is very uncertain, and the explications of the commentators consequently vary. One thinks ‘the witness’ to be Muhammad, and ‘that which is borne witness of’ to be ‘the resurrection’ or ‘the professors of the Muhammadan faith;’ or else that these latter are ‘the witness,’ and the professors of every other religion those who will be ‘witnessed against’ by them. Another supposes ‘the witness’ to be the ‘guardian angel,’ and his charge the person ‘witnessed against.’ Another expounds the words of the day of Arafát, the 9th of Dhul Hajja, and of the day of slaying the victims, which is the day following, or else of Friday, the day of the weekly assembling of the Muhammadans at their mosques, and of the people who are assembled on those days.”—Sale, Jaláluddín, Baidháwi, Yahya.
[(4) ]Contrivers of the pit. “Literally, ‘the lords of the pit.’ These were the ministers of the persecution raised by Dhú Nawás, king of Yaman, who was of the Jewish religion, against the inhabitants of Najrán; for they having embraced Christianity (at that time the true religion, by the confession of Muhammad himself), the bigoted tyrant commanded all those who would not renounce their faith to be cast into a pit or trench filled with fire, and there burnt to ashes. Others, however, tell the story with different circumstances.”—Sale.
[(6) ]And were witnesses, &c. Or, as some choose to understand the words, ‘And shall be witnesses against themselves at the day of judgment, of their unjust treatment of the true believers.”—Sale.
[(10) ]The pain of burning. “Which pain, it is said, the persecutors of the ‘Christian’ martyrs above mentioned felt in this life; the fire bursting forth upon them from the pit, and consuming them.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(17, 18) ]See notes on chaps. vii. 104-136, and xi. 61-68.
[(22) ]A table kept. “And preserved from the least change or corruption. See the Prelim. Disc., p. 108.”—Sale.