The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
Mohammed, The Quran, vol. 2 
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.
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
Table of Contents
THE QURÁN.[Back to Table of Contents]
ENTITLED SURAT ÁL IMRÁN (THE FAMILY OF IMRÁN).
This chapter contains a variety of passages belonging to different periods. The revelations are, however, all of Madína origin, excepting verses 26 and 27, which seem to be the remnant of a lost Makkan Sura.
As to matter, the chapter may be divided into two portions. The first, extending to verse 120, relates to various matters of instruction and warning, suited to the circumstances of the Muslims during the period of prosperity intervening between the victory at Badr and the defeat at Ohod. The remainder of the chapter was intended to counteract the evils consequent upon the misfortunes of the Muslims at Ohod.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
Verses 1-25, 28-57, 66-94, and 98-120, belong to the period intervening between Ramadhán of a.h. 2 (Badr) and Shawwál of a.h. 3 (Ohod).
Verses 26 and 27 are Makkan, but their date cannot be ascertained. Verses 58-65 allude to the visit of the Christians of Najrán to Madína in a.h. 9. They probably belong to that year.
Verses 95-97, referring to the rites of pilgrimage as fully established, must be referred to the later years of Muhammad’s life, say a.h. 10.
The remaining verses, 121-200, belong to a period immediately succeeding the battle of Ohod, and must therefore be referred to the latter part of a.h. 3 or the beginning of a.h. 4.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) A. L. M. (2) There is no God but God, the living, the self-subsisting: (3) he hath sent down unto thee the book of the Qurán with truth, confirming that which was revealed before it; for he had formerly sent down the law, and the gospel a direction unto men; and he had also sent down the distinction between good and evil.(4) Verily those who believe not the signs of God shall suffer a grievous punishment; for God is mighty, able to revenge. (5) Surely nothing is hidden from God,of that which is on earth, or in heaven: (6) it is he who formeth you in the wombs, as he pleaseth; there is no God but he, the mighty, the wise. (7) It is he who hath sent down unto thee the book, wherein are some verses clear to be understood, they are the foundation of the book; and others are parabolical. But they whose hearts are perverse will follow that which is parabolical therein, out of love of schism, and a desire of the interpretation thereof; yet none knoweth the interpretation thereof, except God. But they who are well grounded in the knowledge say, We believe therein, the whole is from our Lord; and none will consider except the prudent. (8) O Lord, cause not our hearts to swerve from truth, after thou hast directed us: and give us from thee mercy, for thou art he who giveth. (9) O Lord, thou shalt surely gather mankind together, unto a day of resurrection: there is no doubt of it, for God will not be contrary to the promise.
∥ (10) As for the infidels, their wealth shall not profit them anything, nor their children, against God: they shall be the fuel of hell fire. (11) According to the wont of the people of Pharaoh, and of those who went before them, they charged our signs with a lie; but God caught them in their wickedness, and God is severe in punishing. (12) Say unto those who believe not, Ye shall be overcome, and thrown together into hell: and an unhappy couch shall it be.(13) Ye have already had a miracle shown you in two armies, which attacked each other: one army fought for God’s true religion, but the other were infidels; they saw the faithful twice as many as themselves in their eyesight; for God strengthened with his help whom he pleaseth. Surely herein was an example unto men of understanding. (14) The love and eager desire of wives, and children, and sums heaped up of gold and silver, and excellent horses, and cattle, and land, is prepared for men: this is the provision of the present life; but unto God shall be the most excellent return. (15) Say, Shall I declare unto you better things than this? For those who are devout are prepared with their Lord gardens through which rivers flow; therein shall they continue for ever: and they shall enjoy wives free from impurity, and the favour of God; for God regardeth his servants, (16) who say, O Lord, we do sincerely believe; forgive us therefore our sins, and deliver us from the pain of hell fire: (17) the patient, and the lovers of truth, and the devout, and the almsgivers, and those who ask pardon early in the morning. (18) God hath borne witness that there is no God but he; and the angels and those who are endowed with wisdom, profess the same; who executeth righteousness; there is no God but he; the mighty, the wise.
∥ (19) Verily the true religion in the sight of God is Islám: and they who had received the scriptures dissented not therefrom, until after the knowledge of God’s unity had come unto them, out of envy among themselves; but whosoever believeth not in the signs of God, verily God will be swift in bringing him to account. (20) If they dispute with thee, say, I have resigned myself unto God, and he who followeth me doth the same; and say unto them who have received the scriptures, and to the ignorant, Do ye profess the religion of Islám? now if they embrace Islám, they are surely directed; but if they turn their backs, verily unto thee belongeth preaching only; for God regardeth his servants.
∥ (21) And unto those who believe not in the signs of God, and slay the prophets without a cause, and put those men to death who teach justice; denounce unto them a painful punishment. (22) These are they whose works perish in this world, and in that which is to come; and they shall have none to help them. (23) Hast thou not observed those unto whom part of the scripture was given? They were called unto the book of God, that it might judge between them; then some of them turned their backs, and retired afar off. (24) This they did because they said, the fire of hell shall by no means touch us, but for a certain number of days; and that which they had falsely devised hath deceived them in their religion. (25) How then will it be with them, when we shall gather them together at the day of judgment, of which there is no doubt; and every soul shall be paid that which it hath gained, neither shall they be treated unjustly? (26) Say, O God, who possessest the kingdom; thou givest the kingdom unto whom thou wilt, and thou takest away the kingdom from whom thou wilt: thou exaltest whom thou wilt, and thou humblest whom thou wilt: in thy hand is good, for thou art almighty. (27) Thou makest the night to succeed the day: thou bringest forth the living out of the dead, and thou bringest forth the dead out of the living; and providest food for whom thou wilt without measure. (28) Let not the faithful take the infidels for their protectors, rather than the faithful: he who doth this shall not be protected of God at all; unless ye fear any danger from them: but God warneth ye to beware of himself: for unto God must ye return. (29) Say, Whether ye conceal that which is in your breasts, or whether ye declare it, God knoweth it; for he knoweth whatever is in heaven, and whatever is on earth: God is almighty. (30) On the last day every soul shall find the good which it hath wrought, present; and the evil which it hath wrought, it shall wish that between itself and that were a wide distance: but God warneth you to beware of himself; for God is gracious unto his servants.
∥ (31) Say, if ye love God, follow me: then God shall love you, and forgive you your sins; for God is gracious and merciful. (32) Say, Obey God, and his apostle; but if ye go back, verily God loveth not the unbelievers. (33)God hath surely chosen Adam, and Noah, and the family of Abraham, and the family of Imrán above the rest of the world; (34) a race descending the one from the other: God is he who heareth and knoweth. (35)Remember when the wife of Imrán said, Lord, verily I have vowed unto thee that which is in my womb, to be dedicated to thy service; accept it therefore of me; for thou art he who heareth and knoweth. (36) And when she was delivered of it, she said, Lord, verily I have brought forth a female (and God well knew what she had brought forth), and a male is not as a female. I have called her Mary; and I commend her to thy protection, and also her issue; against Satan driven away with stones. (37) Therefore the Lord accepted her with a gracious acceptance, and caused her to bear an excellent offspring. (38) And Zacharias took care of the child; whenever Zacharias went into the chamber to her, he found provisions with her: and he said, O Mary whence hadst thou this? she answered, This is from God: for God provideth for whom he pleaseth without measure. There Zacharias called on his Lord,and said, Lord, give me from thee a good offspring, for thou art the hearer of prayer. (39) And the angels called to him, while he stood praying in the chamber, saying, Verily God promiseth thee a son named John, who shall bear witness to the Word which cometh from God; an honourable person, chaste, and one of the righteous prophets. (40) He answered, Lord, how shall I have a son, when old age hath overtaken me, and my wife is barren? The angel said, So God doth that which he pleaseth. (41)Zacharias answered, Lord, give me a sign. The angel said, Thy sign shall be, that thou shalt speak unto no man for three days, otherwise than by gesture: remember thy Lord often, and praise him evening and morning.
∥ (42) And when the angels said, O Mary, verily God hath chosen thee, and hath purified thee, and hath chosen thee above all the women of the world: (43) O Mary, be devout towards thy Lord, and worship, and bow down with those who bow down. (44) This is a secret history: we reveal it unto thee, although thou wast not present with them when they threw in their rods to cast lots which of them should have the education of Mary; neither wast thou with them when they strove among themselves. (45) When the angels said: O Mary, verily God sendeth thee good tidings, that thou shalt bear the Word proceeding from himself; (46) his name shall be Christ Jesus the son of Mary, honourable in this world and in the world to come, and one of those who approach near to the presence ofGod; and he shall speak unto men in the cradle, and when he is grown up; and he shall be one of the righteous: (47) she answered, Lord, how shall I have a son, since a man hath not touched me? the angel said, So God createth that which he pleaseth: when he decreeth a thing, he only saith unto it, Be, and it is: (48)God shall teach him the scripture, and wisdom, and the law, and the gospel; and shall appoint him his apostle to the children of Israel; and he shall say, Verily I come unto you with a sign from your Lord; for I will make before you, of clay, as it were the figure of a bird; then I will breathe thereon, and it shall become a bird, by the permission of God; and I will heal him that hath been blind from his birth; and the leper: and I will raise the dead by the permission of God: and I will prophesy unto you what ye eat, and what ye lay up for store in your houses. Verily herein will be a sign unto you, if ye believe. And (49)I come to confirm the law which was revealed before me, and to allow unto you as lawful part of that which hath been forbidden you: and I come unto you with a sign from your Lord; therefore fear God, and obey me. (50) Verily God is my Lord, and your Lord; therefore serve him. This is the right way. (51) But when Jesus perceived their unbelief, he said, Who will be my helpers towards God? The apostles answered, We will be the helpers of God; we believe in God, and do thou bear witness that we are true believers. (52) O Lord, we believe in that which thou hast sent down, and we have followed thy apostle; write us down therefore with those who bear witness of him.(53) And the Jews devised a stratagem against him; but God devised a stratagem against them; and God is the best deviser of stratagems.
∥ (54) When God said, O Jesus, verily I will cause thee to die, and I will take thee up unto me, and I will deliver thee from the unbelievers; and I will place those who follow thee above the unbelievers, until the day of resurrection: then unto me shall ye return, and I will judge between you of that concerning which ye disagree. (55) Moreover, as for the infidels, I will punish them with a grievous punishment in this world, and in that which is to come; and there shall be none to help them. (56) But they who believe, and do that which is right, he shall give them their reward: for God loveth not the wicked doers. (57) These signs and this prudent admonition do we rehearse unto thee. (58) Verily the likeness of Jesus in the sight of God is as the likeness of Adam; he created him out of the dust, and then said unto him, Be; and he was. (59) This is the truth from thy Lord;be not therefore one of those who doubt;(60)and whoever shall dispute with thee concerning him, after the knowledge which hath been given thee, say unto them, Come, let us call together our sons and your sons and our wives and your wives, and ourselves and yourselves; then let us make imprecations, and lay the curse of God on those who lie. (61) Verily this is a true history: and there is no God but God; and God is most mighty and wise. (62) If they turn back, God well knoweth the evil-doers.
∥ (63) Say, O ye who have received the scripture, come to a just determination between us and you; that we worship not any except God, and associate no creature with him; and that the one of us take not the other for lords, beside God. But if they turn back, say, Bear witness that we are true believers. (64) O ye to whom the scriptures have been given, why do ye dispute concerning Abraham, since the Law and the Gospel were not sent down until after him? (65) Do ye not therefore understand? Behold ye are they who dispute concerning that which ye have some knowledge in; why therefore do you dispute concerning that which ye have no knowledge of? God knoweth, but ye know not. (66) Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian; but he was of the true religion, one resigned unto God, and was not of the number of the idolaters. (67) Verily the men who are the nearest of kin unto Abraham are they who follow him: and this prophet, and they who believed on him:God is the patron of the faithful. (68) Some of those who have received the scriptures desire to seduce you; but they seduce themselves only, and they perceive it not. (69) O ye who have received the scriptures, why do ye not believe in the signs of God, since ye are witnesses of them?
∥ (70) O ye who have received the scriptures, why do you clothe truth with vanity, and knowingly hide the truth? (71) And some of those to whom the scriptures were given say, Believe in that which hath been sent down unto those who believe, in the beginning of the day; and deny it in the end thereof; that they may go back from their faith;(72) and believe him only who followeth your religion. Say, Verily the true direction is the direction of God, that there may be given unto some other a revelation like unto what hath been given unto you. Will they dispute with you before your Lord? Say, Surely excellence is in the hand of God, he giveth it unto whom he pleaseth; God is bounteous and wise: (73) he will confer peculiar mercy on whom he pleaseth; for God is endued with great beneficence. (74) There is of those who have received the scriptures, unto whom if thou trust a talent he will restore it unto thee; and there is also of them, unto whom if thou trust a dinár, he will not restore it unto thee, unless thou stand over him continually with great urgency. This they do, because they say, We are not obliged to observe justice with the heathen: but they utter a lie against God, knowingly. (75) Yea, whoso keepeth his covenant, and feareth God,God surely loveth those who fear him. (76) But they who make merchandise of God’s covenant, and of their oaths, for a small price, shall have no portion in the next life, neither shall God speak to them or regard them on the day of resurrection, nor shall he cleanse them; but they shall suffer a grievous punishment. (77) And there are certainly some of them who read the scriptures perversely, that ye may think what they read to be really in the scriptures, yet it is not in the scripture; and they say, This is from God; but it is not from God: and they speak that which is false concerning God, against their own knowledge. (78) It is not fit for a man that God should give him a book of revelations, and wisdom, and prophecy; and then he should say unto men, Be ye worshippers of me, besides God; but he ought to say, Be ye perfect in knowledge and in works, since ye know the scriptures, and exercise yourselves therein. (79)God hath not commanded you to take the angels and the prophets for your lords: Will he command you to become infidels after ye have been true believers?
∥ (80) And remember when God accepted the covenant of the prophets, saying, This verily is the scripture and the wisdom which I have given you: hereafter shall an apostle come unto you, confirming the truth of that scripture which is with you; ye shall surely believe in him, and ye shall assist him. God said, Are ye firmly resolved, and do ye accept my covenant on this condition? They answered, We are firmly resolved: God said, Be ye therefore witnesses; and I also bear witness with you: (81) and whosoever turneth back after this, they are surely the transgressors. (82) Do they therefore seek any other religion but God’s? since to him is resigned whosoever is in heaven or on earth, voluntarily or of force: and to him shall they return. (83) Say, We believe in God, and that which hath been sent down unto us, and that which was sent down unto Abraham, and Ismaíl, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which was delivered to Moses, and Jesus, and the prophets from their Lord; we make no distinction between any of them; and to him are we resigned. (84) Whoever followeth any other religion than Islám, it shall not be accepted of him: and in the next life he shall be of those who perish. (85) How shall God direct men who have become infidels after they had believed, and borne witness that the apostle was true, and manifest declarations of the divine will had come unto them? for God directeth not the ungodly people. (86) Their reward shall be, that on them shall fall the curse of God, and of angels, and of all mankind: (87) they shall remain under the same for ever; their torment shall not be mitigated, neither shall they be regarded; (88) except those who repent after this and amend; for God is gracious and merciful. (89) Moreover they who become infidels after they have believed, and yet increase in infidelity, their repentance shall in nowise be accepted, and they are those who go astray. (90) Verily they who believe not, and die in their unbelief, the world full of gold shall in nowise be accepted from any of them, even though he should give it for his ransom; they shall suffer a grievous punishment, (91) and they shall have none to help them.
∥ (92) Ye will never attain unto righteousness until ye give in alms of that which ye love: and whatever ye give, God knoweth it. (93) All food was permitted unto the children of Israel, except what Israel forbade unto himself before the Pentateuch was sent down. Say unto the Jews, Bring hither the Pentateuch and read it, if ye speak truth. (94) Whoever therefore contriveth a lie against God after this, they will be evil-doers. (95) Say, God is true: follow ye therefore the religion of Abraham the orthodox; for he was no idolater. (96) Verily the first house appointed unto men to worship in was that which was in Bakkah; blessed, and a direction to all creatures. (97) Therein are manifest signs: the place where Abraham stood; and whoever entereth therein shall be safe. And it is a duty towards God,incumbent on those who are able to go thither, to visit this house; but whosoever disbelieveth, verily God needeth not the service of any creature. (98) Say, O ye who have received the scriptures, why do ye not believe in the signs of God? (99) Say, O ye who have received the scriptures, why do ye keep back from the way of God him who believeth? Ye seek to make it crooked, and yet are witnesses that it is the right: but God will not be unmindful of what ye do. (100) O true believers, if ye obey some of those who have received the scripture, they will render you infidels, after ye have believed; (101) and how can ye be infidels, when the signs of God are read unto you, and his apostle is among you? But he who cleaveth firmly unto God is already directed in the right way.
∥ (102)(102) O believers, fear God with his true fear; and die not unless ye also be true believers. (103)(103) And cleave all of you unto the covenant of God, and depart not from it, and remember the favour of God towards you: since ye were enemies, and he reconciled your hearts, and ye became companions and brethren by his favour: and ye were on the brink of a pit of fire, and he delivered you thence. Thus God declareth unto you his signs, that ye may be directed. (104)(104) Let there be people among you who invite to the best religion; and command that which is just, and forbid that which is evil; and they shall be happy. (105)(105) And be not as they who are divided, and disagree in matters of religion, after manifest proofs have been brought unto them: they shall suffer a great torment. (106)(106) On the day of resurrection some faces shall become white, and other faces shall become black. And unto them whose faces shall become black God will say, Have you returned unto your unbelief after ye had believed? therefore taste the punishment for that ye have been unbelievers: (107) but they whose faces shall become white shall be in the mercy of God, therein shall they remain for ever. (108) These are the signs of God: we recite them unto thee with truth. God will not deal unjustly with his creatures. (109)(109) And to Godbelongeth whatever is in heaven and on earth; and to God shall all things return.
∥ (110) Ye are the best nation that hath been raised up unto mankind: ye command that which is just, and ye forbid that which is unjust, and ye believe in God. And if they who have received the scriptures had believed, it had surely been the better for them: there are believers among them, but the greater part of them are transgressors. (111) They shall not hurt you, unless with a slight hurt; and if they fight against you, they shall turn their backs to you; and they shall not be helped. (112) They are smitten with vileness wheresoever they are found; unless they obtain security by entering into a treaty with God, and a treaty with men: and they draw on themselves indignation from God, and they are afflicted with poverty. This they suffer because they disbelieved the signs of God and slew the prophets unjustly; this, because they were rebellious and transgressed. (113)Yet they are not all alike: there are of those who have received the scriptures, upright people; they meditate on the signs of God in the night season, and worship; (114) they believe in God, and the last day; and command that which is just, and forbid that which is unjust, and zealously strive to excel in good works; these are of the righteous. (115) And ye shall not be denied the rewardof the good which ye do; for God knoweth the pious. (116) As for the unbelievers, their wealth shall not profit them at all, neither their children, against God: they shall be the companions of hell fire; they shall continue therein for ever. (117) The likeness of that which they lay out in this present life is as a wind wherein there is a scorching cold: it falleth on the standing corn of those men who have injured their own souls, and destroyeth it. And God dealeth not unjustly with them; but they injure their own souls. (118) O true believers, contract not an intimate friendship with any besides yourselves; they will not fail to corrupt you. They wish for that which may cause you to perish: their hatred hath already appeared from out of their mouths; but what their breasts conceal is yet more inveterate. We have already shown you signs of their ill-will towards you, if ye understand. (119) Behold, ye love them, and they do not love you: ye believe in all the scriptures, and when they meet you, they say, We believe; but when they assemble privately together, they bite their fingers’ ends out of wrath against you. Say unto them, Die in your wrath: verily God knoweth the innermost part of your breasts. (120) If good happen unto you, it grieveth them; and if evil befall you, they rejoice at it. But if ye be patient and fear God, their subtlety shall not hurt you at all; for God comprehendeth whatever they do. (121)Call to mind when thou wentest forth early from thy family, that thou mightest prepare the faithful a camp for war; and God heard and knew it;(122) when two companies of you were anxiously thoughtful, so that ye became faint-hearted, but God was the supporter of them both; and in God let the faithful trust.
∥ (123) And God had already given you the victory at Badr, when ye were inferior in number; therefore fear God, that ye may be thankful. (124) When thou saidst unto the faithful, Is it not enough for you that your Lord should assist you with three thousand angels sent down from heaven?(125) Verily if ye persevere and fear God, and your enemies come upon you suddenly, your Lord will assist you with five thousand angels, distinguished by their horses and attire.
∥ (126) And this God designed only as good tidings for you, that your hearts might rest secure; for victory is from God alone, the mighty, the wise. (127) That he should cut off the uttermost part of the unbelievers, or cast them down, or that they should be overthrown and unsuccessful, is nothing to thee.(128) It is no business of thine; whether God be turned unto them, or whether he punish them; they are surely unjust doers. (129) To God belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth; he spareth whom he pleaseth, and he punisheth whom he pleaseth; for God is merciful.
∥ (130) O true believers, devour not usury, doubling it twofold, but fear God, that ye may prosper: (131) and fear the fire which is prepared for the unbelievers; (132) and obey God and his apostle, that ye may obtain mercy. (133) And run with emulation to obtain remission from your Lord, and paradise, whose breadth equalleth the heavens and the earth, which is prepared for the godly; (134) who give alms in prosperity and adversity; who bridle their anger and forgive men; for God loveth the beneficent. (135) And who, after they have committed a crime, or dealt unjustly with their own souls, remember God, and ask pardon for their sins (for who forgiveth sins except God?), and persevere not in what they have done knowingly; (136) their reward shall be pardon from their Lord, and gardens wherein rivers flow; they shall remain therein forever: and how excellent is the reward of those who labour! (137) There have already been before you examples of punishment of infidels, therefore go through the earth, and behold what hath been the end of those who accuse God’s apostles of imposture. (138) This book is a declaration unto men, and a direction and an admonition to the pious. (139) And be not dismayed, neither be ye grieved; for ye shall be superior to the unbelievers if ye believe. (140) If a wound hath happened unto you in war, a like wound hath already happened unto the unbelieving people: and we cause these days of different success interchangeably to succeed each other among men; that God may know those who believe, and may have martyrs from among you: (God loveth not the workers of iniquity;) (141) and that God might prove those who believe, and destroy the infidels. (142) Did ye imagine that ye should enter paradise, when as yet God knew not those among you who fought strenuously in his cause, nor knew those who persevered with patience? (143) Moreover ye did sometimes wish for death before that ye met it; but ye have now seen it, and ye looked on, but retreated from it.
∥ (144) Muhammad is no more than an apostle; the other apostles have already deceased before him: if he die, therefore, or be slain, will ye turn back on your heels? but he who turneth back on his heels will not hurt God at all; and God will surely reward the thankful. (145) No soul can die unless by the permission of God, according to what is written in the book containing the determinations of things. And whoso chooseth the reward of this world, we will give him thereof: but whoso chooseth the reward of the world to come, we will give him thereof: and we will surely reward the thankful. (146) How many prophets have encountered those who had many myriads of troops: and yet they desponded not in their mind for what had befallen them in fighting for the religion of God; and were not weakened, neither behaved themselves in an abject manner? God loveth those who persevere patiently. (147) And their speech was no other than what they said, Our Lord forgive us our offences, and our transgressions in our business; and confirm our feet, and help us against the unbelieving people. (148) And God gave them the reward of this world, and a glorious reward in the life to come; for God loveth the well-doers.
∥ (149) O ye who believe, if you obey the infidels, they will cause you to turn back on your heels, and ye will be turned back and perish: (150) but God is your Lord; and he is the best helper. (151) We will surely cast a dread into the hearts of the unbelievers, because they have associated with God that concerning which he sent them down no power: their dwelling shall be the fire of hell: and the receptacle of the wicked shall be miserable. (152)God had already made good unto you his promise, when ye destroyed them by his permission, until ye became fainthearted, and disputed concerning the command of the apostle, and were rebellious; after God had shown you what ye desired. (153) Some of you chose this present world, and others of you chose the world to come. Then he turned you to flight from before them, that he might make trial of you: (but he hath now pardoned you: for God is endued with beneficence towards the faithful;) (154) when ye went up as ye fled, and looked not back on any: while the apostle called you, in the uttermost part of you. Therefore God rewarded you with affliction on affliction, that ye be not grieved hereafter for the spoils which ye fail of, nor for that which befalleth you, for God is well acquainted with whatever ye do. (155) Then he sent down upon you after affliction security: a soft sleep which fell on some part of you; but other part were troubled by their own souls; falsely thinking of God, a foolish imagination, saying, Will anything of the matter happen unto us? Say, Verily, the matter belongeth wholly unto God. They concealed in their minds what they declared not unto thee; saying, If anything of the matter had happened unto us, we had not been slain here. Answer, If ye had been in your houses, verily they would have gone forth to fight, whose slaughter was decreed, to the places where they died, and this came to pass that God might try what was in your breasts, and might discern what was in your hearts; for God knoweth the innermost parts of the breasts of men.
∥ (156) Verily they among you who turned their backs on the day whereon the two armies met each other at Ohod, Satan caused them to slip for some crime which they had committed: but now hath God forgiven them; for God is gracious and merciful.
∥ (157) O true believers, be not as they who believed not, and said of their brethren when they had journeyed in the land or had been at war, If they had been with us, those had not died, nor had these been slain: whereas what befell them was so ordained that God might take it matter of sighing in their hearts. God giveth life and causeth to die: and God seeth that which ye do. (158) Moreover if ye be slain, or die in defence of the religion of God; verily pardon from God, and mercy, is better than what they heap together of worldly riches. (159) And if ye die or be slain, verily unto God shall ye be gathered. (160) And as to the mercy granted unto the disobedient from God, thou, O Muhammad, hast been mild towards them; but if thou hadst been severe and hardhearted, they had surely separated themselves from about thee. Therefore forgive them, and ask pardon for them: and consult them in the affair of war; and after thou hast deliberated, trust in God; for God loveth those who trust in him. (161) If God help you, none shall conquer you; but if he desert you, who is it that will help you after him? Therefore in God let the faithful trust. (162) It is not the part of a prophet to defraud, for he who defraudeth shall bring with him what he hath defrauded any one of, on the day of the resurrection. Then shall every soul be paid what he hath gained; and they shall not be treated unjustly. (163) Shall he therefore who followeth that which is well-pleasing unto God be as he who bringeth on himself wrath from God, and whose receptacle is hell? an evil journey shall it be thither.(164) There shall be degrees of rewards and punishments with God, for God seeth what they do. (165) Now hath God been gracious unto the believers when he raised up among them an apostle of their own nation, who should recite his signs unto them, and purify them, and teach them the book of the Qurán and wisdom: whereas they were before in manifest error. (166) After a misfortune had befallen you at Ohod (ye had already obtained two equal advantages), do ye say, Whence cometh this? Answer, This is from yourselves: for God is almighty. (167) And what happened unto you, on the day whereon the two armies met, was certainly by the permission of God;(168) and that he might know the ungodly. It was said unto them, Come, fight for the religion of God, or drive back the enemy: they answered, If we had known ye went out to fight, we had certainly followed you. They were on that day nearer unto unbelief than they were to faith; they spake with their mouths what was not in their hearts: but God perfectly knew what they concealed; (169) who said of their brethren, while themselves stayed at home, If they had obeyed us, they had not been slain. Say, Then keep back death from yourselves, if ye say truth. (170) Thou shalt in nowise reckon those who have been slain at Ohod, in the cause of God, dead; nay, they are sustained alive with their Lord,(171) rejoicing for what God of his favour hath granted them; and being glad for those who, coming after them, have not as yet overtaken them; because there shall no fear come on them, neither shall they be grieved. (172) They are filled with joy for the favour which they have received from God and his bounty; and for that God suffereth not the reward of the faithful to perish.
∥ (173) They who hearkened unto God and his apostle, after a wound had befallen them at Ohod, such of them as do good works, and fear God, shall have a great reward; (174) unto whom certain men said, Verily the men of Makkah have already gathered forces against you, be ye therefore afraid of them: but this increased their faith, and they said, God is our support, and the most excellent patron. (175) Wherefore they returned with favour from God, and advantage: no evil befell them: and they followed what was well-pleasing unto God: for God is endowed with great liberality. (176) Verily that devil would cause you to fear his friends: but be ye not afraid of them: but fear me, if ye be true believers. (177) They shall not grieve thee who emulously hasten unto infidelity; for they shall never hurt God at all. God will not give them a part in the next life, and they shall suffer a great punishment. (178) Surely those who purchase infidelity with faith shall by no means hurt God at all, but they shall suffer a grievous punishment. (179) And let not the unbelievers think, because we grant them lives long and prosperous, that it is better for their souls: we grant them long and prosperous lives only that their iniquity may be increased; and they shall suffer an ignominious punishment. (180)God is not disposed to leave the faithful in the condition which ye are now in, until he sever the wicked from the good; nor is Goddisposed to make you acquainted with what is a hidden secret, but God chooseth such of his apostles as he pleaseth, to reveal his mind unto: believe therefore in God and his apostles; and if ye believe and fear God, ye shall receive a great reward. (181) And let not those who are covetous of what God of his bounty hath granted them imagine that their avarice is better for them: nay, rather it is worse for them. That which they have covetously reserved shall be bound as a collar about their neck on the day of the resurrection: unto Godbelongeth the inheritance of heaven and earth: and God is well acquainted with what ye do.
∥ (182)God hath already heard the saying of those who said, Verily God is poor, and we are rich: we will surely write down what they have said, and the slaughter which they have made of the prophets without a cause; and we will say unto them, Taste ye the pain of burning. (183) This shall they suffer for the evil which their hands have sent before them, and because God is not unjust towards mankind; (184) who also say, Surely God hath commanded us, that we should not give credit to any apostle, until one should come unto us with a sacrifice, which should be consumed by fire. Say, Apostles have already come unto you before me, with plain proofs, and with the miracle which ye mention: why therefore have ye slain them, if ye speak truth? (185) If they accuse thee of imposture, the apostles before thee have also been accounted impostors, who brought evident demonstrations, and the scriptures, and the book which enlighteneth the understanding.(186) Every soul shall taste of death, and ye shall have your reward on the day of resurrection; and he who shall be far removed from hell fire, and shall be admitted into paradise, shall be happy; but the present life is only a deceitful provision. (187) Ye shall surely be proved in your possessions, and in your persons; and ye shall bear from those unto whom the scripture was delivered before you, and from the idolaters, much hurt; but if ye be patient and fear God, this is a matter that is absolutely determined. (188) And when God accepted the covenant of those to whom the book of the law was given, saying, Ye shall surely publish it unto mankind, ye shall not hide it: yet they threw it behind their backs, and sold it for a small price: but woful is the price for which they have sold it.(189) Think not that they who rejoice at what they have done, and expect to be praised for what they have not done; think not, O prophet, that they shall escape from punishment, for they shall suffer a painful punishment.
∥ (190) And unto Godbelongeth the kingdom of heaven and earth: God is almighty. (191) Now in the creation of heaven and earth, and the vicissitude of night and day, are signs unto those who are endued with understanding; (192) who remember God standing, and sitting, and lying on their sides; and meditate on the creation of heaven and earth, saying, O Lord, thou hast not created this in vain; far be it from thee: therefore deliver us from the torment of hell fire: (193) O Lord, surely whom thou shalt throw into the fire, thou wilt also cover with shame: nor shall the ungodly have any to help them. (194) O Lord, we have heard a preacher inviting us to the faith and saying, Believe in your Lord: and we believed. O Lord, forgive us therefore our sins, and expiate our evil deeds from us, and make us to die with the righteous. (195) O Lord, give us also the reward which thou hast promised by thy apostles; and cover us not with shame on the day of resurrection: for thou art not contrary to the promise.
∥ (196) Their Lord therefore answered them, saying, I will not suffer the work of him among you who worketh to be lost, whether he be male or female: the one of you is from the other. They therefore who have left their country, and have been turned out of their houses, and have suffered for my sake, and have been slain in battle; verily I will expiate their evil deeds from them, and I will surely bring them into gardens watered by rivers; a reward from God; and with God is the most excellent reward. (197) Let not the prosperous dealing of the unbelievers in the land deceive thee; it is but a slender provision; and then their receptacle shall be hell; an unhappy couch shall it be.(198) But they who fear the Lord shall have gardens through which rivers flow; they shall continue therein for ever: this is the gift of God; for what is with God shall be better for the righteous than short-lived worldly prosperity.(199) There are some of those who have received the scriptures who believe in God, and that which hath been sent down unto you, and that which hath been sent down to them, submitting themselves unto God; they sell not the signs of God for a small price: these shall have their reward with their Lord; for God is swift in taking an account. (200) O true believers, be patient and strive to excel in patience, and be constant-minded, and fear God, that ye may be happy.[Back to Table of Contents]
ENTITLED SURAT UN NISA (WOMEN).
This chapter contains revelations suited to the circumstances of the Muslim community at Madína and the interests of the new religion after the defeat of Ohod. Questions relating to inheritance, the treatment of widows and orphans, forbidden degrees, &c., naturally arose. These questions find an answer here. Besides these, there are numerous passages containing exhortations to fight for the faith of Islám, together with denunciations against the Jews and the disaffected tribes of Madína and its vicinity. The various expeditions sent against these during the year following the battle at Ohod called for certain regulations, which are the subject of a portion of this chapter. And, finally, the Christians are referred to in the latter part of the chapter, where they are reproved, partly under cover of the Jews, for their faith in the crucifixion and death of Jesus, and their belief in the doctrine of the Trinity and the Sonship of Christ.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
Nearly all the stories told by the commentators to illustrate this chapter point to a period following the battle of Ohod, the expulsion of the Bani Nadhír, and the expedition against the tribes of the Bani Ghatafán at Dzát al Riqá. It follows, therefore, that the revelations of this chapter belong in general to a period extending from the beginning of a.h. 4 to the middle or latter part of a.h. 5. The following passages may, however, belong to a different period, viz., ver. 42, which probably belongs to a.h. 3, and vers. 104-114 and 134, which may belong to a date later than a.h. 5, but earlier than the subjugation of Makkah (see note on ver. 186).
Vers. 115-125 and 130-132 probably belong to the number of the early Madína revelations. Noeldeke inclines to place them among the later Makkan revelations, because the Jews are referred to in a friendly spirit. But this circumstance would rather point to Madína, where, during the first year of the Hijra, Muhammad courted the favour of the Jews. Still, the form of address, “O men” (ver. 132), points to Makkah. The question may therefore still be regarded as open, though we think the evidence, thus far, to be in favour of the early part of a.h. 1.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1)O men, fear your Lord, who hath created you out of one man, and out of him created his wife, and from them two hath multiplied many men and women: and fear God by whom ye beseech one another; and respect women who have borne you, for God is watching over you. (2) And give the orphans when they come to age their substance; and render them not in exchange bad for good: and devour not their substance, by adding it to your own substance; for this is a great sin. (3) And if ye fear that ye shall not act with equity towards orphans of the female sex, take in marriage of such other women as please you, two, or three, or four, and not more. But if ye fear that ye cannot act equitably towards so many, marry one only, or the slaves which ye shall have acquired. This will be easier, that ye swerve not from righteousness. And give women their dowry freely; but if they voluntarily remit unto you any part if it, enjoy it with satisfaction and advantage. (4) And give not unto those who are weak of understanding the substance which God hath appointed you to preserve for them; but maintain them thereout, and clothe them, and speak kindly unto them. (5) And examine the orphans until they attain the age of marriage: but if ye perceive they are able to manage their affairs well, deliver their substance unto them; and waste it not extravagantly or hastily, because they grow up. Let him who is rich abstain entirely from the orphans’ estates; and let him who is poor take thereof according to what shall be reasonable. And when ye deliver their substance unto them, call witnesses thereof in their presence: God taketh sufficient account of your actions.(6) Men ought to have a part of what their parents and kindred leave behind them when they die: and women also ought to have a part of what their parents and kindred leave, whether it be little, or whether it be much; a determinate part is due to them.(7) And when they who are of kin are present at the dividing of what is left, and also the orphans and the poor, distribute unto them some part thereof; and if the estate be too small, at least speak comfortably unto them. (8) And let those fear to abuse orphans, who if they leave behind them a weak offspring, are solicitous for them; let them therefore fear God, and speak that which is convenient. (9) Surely they who devour the possessions of orphans unjustly shall swallow down nothing but fire into their bellies, and shall broil in raging flames.
∥ (10)God hath thus commanded you concerning your children. A male shall have as much as the share of two females; but if they be females only, and above two innumber, they shall have two third parts of what the deceased shall leave; and if there be but one, she shall have the half. And the parents of the deceased shall have each of them a sixth part of what he shall leave, if he have a child; but if he have no child, and his parents be his heirs, then his mother shall have the third part. And if he have brethren, his mother shall have a sixth part, after the legacies which he shall bequeath and his debts be paid. Ye know not whether your parents or your children be of greater use unto you. This is an ordinance from God, and God is knowing and wise. (11) Moreover, ye may claim half of what your wives shall leave, if they have no issue; but if they have issue, then ye shall have the fourth part of what they shall leave, after the legacies which they shall bequeath and the debts be paid. They also shall have the fourth part of what ye shall leave, in case ye have no issue; but if ye have issue, then they shall have the eighth part of what ye shall leave, after the legacies which ye shall bequeath, and your debts be paid. And if a man or woman’s substance be inherited by a distant relation, and he or she have a brother or sister; each of them two shall have a sixth part of the estate. But if there be more than this number, they shall be equal sharers in a third part, after payment of the legacies which shall be bequeathed and the debts, without prejudice to the heirs. This is an ordinance from God, and God is knowing and gracious. (12) These are the statutes of God. And whoso obeyeth God and his apostle, God shall lead him into gardens wherein rivers flow, they shall continue therein for ever; and this shall be great happiness. (13) But whoso disobeyeth God and his apostle, and transgresseth his statutes, God shall cast him into hell fire; he shall remain therein for ever, and he shall suffer a shameful punishment.
∥ (14) If any of your women be guilty of whoredom, produce four witnesses from among you against them, and if they bear witness against them, imprison them in separate apartments until death release them, or God affordeth them a way to escape.(15) And if two of you commit the like wickedness, punish them both: but if they repent and amend, let them both alone; for God is easy to be reconciled and merciful. (16) Verily repentance will be accepted with God from those who do evil ignorantly, and then repent speedily; unto them will God be turned: for God is knowing and wise. (17) But no repentance shall be accepted from those who do evil until the time when death presenteth itself unto one of them, and he saith, Verily I repent now; nor unto those who die unbelievers; for them have we prepared a grievous punishment. (18) O true believers, it is not lawful for you to be heirs of women against their will, nor to hinder them from marrying others, that ye may take away part of what ye have given them in dowry; unless they have been guilty of a manifest crime: but converse kindly with them And if ye hate them, it may happen that ye may hate a thing wherein God hath placed much good. If ye be desirous to exchange a wife for another wife, and ye have already given one of them a talent, take not away anything therefrom: will ye take it by slandering her, and doing her manifest injustice? (19) And how can ye take it, since the one of you hath gone in unto the other, and they have received from you a firm covenant? (20) Marry not women whom your fathers have had to wife; (except what is already past:) for this is uncleanness, and an abomination, and an evil way.
∥ (21) Ye are forbidden to marry your mothers, and your daughters, and your sisters, and your aunts both on the father’s and on the mother’s side, and your brothers’ daughters, and your sisters’ daughters, and your mothers who have given you suck, and your foster-sisters, and your wives’ mothers, and your daughters-in-law which are under your tuition, born of your wives unto whom ye have gone in, (but if ye have not gone in unto them, it shall be no sin in you to marry them,) and the wives of your sons who proceed out of your loins; and ye are also forbidden to take to wife two sisters, except what is already past: for God is gracious and merciful.
∥ (22)Ye are also forbidden to take to wife free women who are married, except those women whom your right hands shall possess as slaves. This is ordained you from God. Whatever is beside this is allowed you; that ye may with your substance provide wives for yourselves, acting that which is right, and avoiding whoredom. (23) And for the advantage which ye receive from them, give them their reward, according to what is ordained: but it shall be no crime in you to make any other agreement among yourselves, after the ordinance shall be complied with; for God is knowing and wise. (24) Whoso among you hath not means sufficient that he may marry free women, who are believers, let him marry with such of your maid-servants whom your right hands possess, as are true believers; for God well knoweth your faith. Ye are the one from the other: therefore marry them with the consent of their masters; and give them their dower according to justice; such as are modest, not guilty of whoredom, nor entertaining lovers. And when they are married, if they be guilty of adultery, they shall suffer half the punishment which is appointed for the free women. This is allowed unto him among you who feareth to sin by marrying free women; but if ye abstain from marrying slaves, it will be better for you; God is gracious and merciful.
∥ (25)God is willing to declare these things unto you, and to direct you according to the ordinances of those who have gone before you, and to be merciful unto you. God is knowing and wise. (26)God desireth to be gracious unto you; but they who follow their lusts, desire that ye should turn aside from the truth with great deviation. (27)God is minded to make his religion light unto you; for man was created weak. (28) O true believers, consume not your wealth among yourselves in vanity, unless there be merchandising among you by mutual consent: neither slay yourselves; for God is merciful towards you: (29) and whoever doth this maliciously and wickedly, he will surely cast him to be broiled in hell fire; and this is easy with God.(30) If ye turn aside from the grievous sins of those which ye are forbidden to commit, we will cleanse you from your smaller faults, and will introduce you into paradise with an honourable entry. (31) Covet not that which God hath bestowed on some of you preferably to others. Unto the men shall be given a portion of what they shall have gained, and unto the women shall be given a portion of what they shall have gained: therefore ask God of his bounty; for God is omniscient. (32) We have appointed unto every one kindred, to inherit part of what their parents and relations shall leave at their deaths. And unto those with whom your right hands have made an alliance, give their part of the inheritance; for God is witness of all things.
∥ (33) Men shall have the pre-eminence above women, because of those advantages wherein God hath caused the one of them to excel the other, and for that which they expend of their substance in maintaining their wives. The honest women are obedient, careful in the absence of their husbands, for that God preserveth them, by committing them to the care and protection of the men. But those whose perverseness ye shall be apprehensive of, rebuke; and remove them into separate apartments, and chastise them. But if they shall be obedient unto you, seek not an occasion of quarrel against them: for God is high and great. (34) And if ye fear a breach between the husband and wife, send a judge out of his family, and a judge out of her family: if they shall desire a reconciliation, God will cause them to agree; for God is knowing and wise. (35) Serve God, and associate no creature with him; and show kindness unto parents, and relations, and orphans, and the poor, and your neighbour who is of kin to you, and also your neighbour who is a stranger, and to your familiar companion, and the traveller, and the captives whom your right hands shall possess; for God loveth not the proud or vainglorious, (36) who are covetous, and recommend covetousness unto men, and conceal that which God of his bounty hath given them; (we have prepared a shameful punishment for the unbelievers;) (37) and who bestow their wealth in charity to be observed of men, and believe not in God, nor in the last day; and whoever hath Satan for a companion, an evil companion hath he!(38) And what harm would befall them if they should believe in God and the last day, and give alms out of that which God hath bestowed on them? since God knoweth them who do this.(39) Verily God will not wrong any one even the weight of an ant: and if it be a good action, he will double it, and will recompense it in his sight with a great reward. (40) How will it be with the unbelievers when we shall bring a witness out of each nation against itself, and shall bring thee, O Muhammad, a witness against these people? (41) In that day they who have not believed, and have rebelled against the apostle of God, shall wish the earth was levelled with them; and they shall not be able to hide any matter from God.
∥ (42) O true believers, come not to prayers when ye are drunk, until ye understand what ye say; nor when ye are polluted by emission of seed, unless ye be travelling on the road, until ye wash yourselves. But if ye be sick, or on a journey, or any of you come from easing nature, or have touched women, and find no water; take fine clean sand and rub your faces and your hands therewith; for God is merciful and inclined to forgive. (43) Hast thou not observed those unto whom part of the Scripture was delivered? they sell error, and desire that ye may wander from the right way; but God well knoweth your enemies. God is a sufficient patron, and God is a sufficient helper. (44) Of the Jews there are some who pervert words from their places, and say, We have heard, and have disobeyed; and do thou hear without understanding our meaning, and look upon us: perplexing with their tongues, and reviling the true religion. But if they had said, We have heard and do obey, and do thou hear and regard us; certainly it were better for them, and more right. But God hath cursed them by reason of their infidelity; therefore a few of them only shall believe. (45) O ye to whom the scriptures have been given, believe in the revelation which ye have sent down, confirming that which is with you, before we deface your countenances, and render them as the back parts thereof, or curse them, as we cursed those who transgressed on the Sabbath-day, and the command of God was fulfilled. (46) Surely God will not pardon the giving him an equal, but will pardon any other sin except that to whom he pleaseth; and whoso giveth a companion unto God hath devised a great wickedness. (47) Hast thou not observed those who justify themselves? But God justifieth whomsoever he pleaseth, nor shall they be wronged a hair. (48) Behold, how they imagine a lie against God; and therein is iniquity sufficiently manifest.
∥ (49) Hast thou not considered those to whom part of the scripture hath been given? They believe in false gods and idols, and say of those who believe not, These are more rightly directed in the way of truth than they who believe on Muhammad. (50) Those are the men whom God hath cursed; and unto him whom God shall curse thou shalt surely find no helper. (51) Shall they have a part of the kingdom, since even then they would not bestow the smallest matter on men? (52) Do they envy other men that which God of his bounty hath given them? We formerly gave unto the family of Abraham a book of revelations and wisdom; and we gave them a great kingdom. (53) There is of them who believeth on him; and there is of them who turneth aside from him; but the raging fire of hell is a sufficient punishment.(54) Verily those who disbelieve our signs, we will surely cast to be broiled in hell fire; so often as their skins shall be well burned, we will give them other skins in exchange, that they may taste the sharper torment; for God is mighty and wise.
∥ (55) But those who believe and do that which is right, we will bring into gardens watered by rivers, therein shall they remain forever, and there shall they enjoy wives free from all impurity; and we will lead them into perpetual shades. (56) Moreover God commandeth you to restore what ye are trusted with to the owners; and when ye judge between men, that ye judge according to equity: and surely an excellent virtue it is to which God exhorteth you; for Godboth heareth and seeth. (57) O true believers, obey God and obey the apostle, and those who are in authority among you; and if ye differ in anything, refer it unto God and the apostle, if ye believe in God and the last day: this is better, and a fairer method of determination.
∥ (58) Hast thou not observed those who pretend they believe in what hath been revealed unto thee, and what hath been revealed before thee? They desire to go to judgment before Tághút, although they have been commanded not to believe in him; and Satan desireth to seduce them into a wide error. (59) And when it is said unto them, Come unto the book which God hath sent down, and to the apostle; thou seest the ungodly turn aside from thee with great aversion. (60) But how will they behave when a misfortune shall befall them, for that which their hands have sent before them? Then will they come unto thee, and swear by God,saying, If we intended any other than to do good, and to reconcile the parties. (61) God knoweth what is in the hearts of these men; therefore let them alone, and admonish them, and speak unto them a word which may affect their souls. (62) We have not sent any apostle, but that he might be obeyed by the permission of God; but if they, after they have injured their own souls, come unto thee and ask pardon of God, and the apostle ask pardon for them, they shall surely find God easy to be reconciled and merciful. (63) And by thy Lord they will not perfectly believe until they make thee judge of their controversies; and shall not afterwards find in their own minds any hardship in what thou shalt determine, but shall acquiesce therein with entire submission. (64) And if we had commanded them, saying, Slay yourselves, or depart from your houses; they would not have done it except a few of them. (65) And if they had done what they were admonished, it would certainly have been better for them, and more efficacious for confirming their faith; and we should then have surely given them in our sight an exceeding great reward, (66) and we should have directed them in the right way. (67) Whoever obeyeth God and the apostle, they shall be with those unto whom God hath been gracious, of the prophets, and the sincere, and the martyrs, and the righteous; and these are the most excellent company. (68) This is bounty from God; and God is sufficiently knowing.
∥ (69) O true believers, take your necessary precaution against your enemies, and either go forth to war in separate parties, or go forth all together, in a body.(70) There is of you who tarrieth behind; and if a misfortune befall you, he saith, Verily God hath been gracious unto me, that I was not present with them: (71) but if success attend you from God, he will say (as if there was no friendship between you and him), Would to God I had been with them, for I should have acquired great merit. (72) Let them therefore fight for the religion of God, who part with the present life in exchange for that which is to come; for whosoever fighteth for the religion of God, whether he be slain or be victorious, we will surely give him a great reward. (73) And what ails you, that ye fight not for God’s true religion, and in defence of the weak among men, women, and children, who say, O Lord, bring us forth from this city, whose inhabitants are wicked; grant us from before thee a protector, and grant us from before thee a defender. (74) They who believe fight for the religion of God; but they who believe not fight for the religion of Tághút. Fight therefore against the friends of Satan, for the stratagem of Satan is weak.
∥ (75) Hast thou not observed those unto whom it was said, Withhold your hands from war, and be constant at prayers, and pay the legal alms? But when war is commanded them, behold a part of them fear men as they should fear God, or with a great fear, and say, O Lord, wherefore hast thou commanded us to go to war, and hast not suffered us to wait our approaching end? (76) Say unto them, The provision of this life is but small; but the future shall be better for him who feareth God; and ye shall not be in the least injured at the day of judgment.(77) Wheresoever ye be, death will overtake you, although ye be in lofty towers. If good befall them, they say, This is from God; but if evil befall them, they say, This is from thee, O Muhammad: say, All is from God; and what aileth these people, that they are so far from understanding what is said unto them?(78) Whatever good befalleth thee, O man, it is from God; and whatever evil befalleth thee, it is from thyself. We have sent thee an apostle unto men, and God is a sufficient witness thereof.(79) Whoever obeyeth the apostle, obeyeth God; and whoever turneth back, we have not sent thee to be a keeper over them. (80) They say, Obedience: yet when they go forth from thee, part of them meditate by night a matter different from what thou speakest; but God shall write down what they meditate by night: therefore let them alone, and trust in God, for God is a sufficient protector. (81) Do they not attentively consider the Qurán? if it had been from any besides God, they would certainly have found therein many contradictions. (82) When any news cometh unto them, either of security or fear, they immediately divulge it; but if they told it to the apostle and to those who are in authority among them, such of them would understand the truth of the matter, as inform themselves thereof from the apostle and his chiefs. And if the favour of God and his mercy had not been upon you, ye had followed the devil, except a few of you.(83) Fight therefore for the religion of God, and oblige not any to what is difficult, except thyself; however, excite the faithful to war, perhaps God will restrain the courage of the unbelievers; for God is stronger than they, and more able to punish. (84) He who intercedeth between men with a good intercession shall have a portion thereof; and he who intercedeth with an evil intercession shall have a portion thereof; for God overlooketh all things. (85) When ye are saluted with a salutation, salute the person with a better salutation, or at least return the same; for God taketh an account of all things.
∥ (86) God! there is no God but he; he will surely gather you together on the day of resurrection; there is no doubt of it: and who is more true than God in what he saith?
∥ (87) Why are ye divided concerning the ungodly into two parties; since God hath overturned them for what they have committed? Will ye direct him whom God hath led astray; since for him whom God shall lead astray, thou shalt find no true path? (88) They desire that ye should become infidels, as they are infidels, and that ye should be equally wicked with themselves. Therefore take not friends from among them, until they fly their country for the religion of God; and if they turn back from the faith, take them, and kill them wherever ye find them; and take no friend from among them, nor any helper, (89) except those who go unto a people who are in alliance with you, or those who come unto you, their hearts forbidding them either to fight against you, or to fight against their own people. And if God pleased he would have permitted them to have prevailed against you, and they would have fought against you. But if they depart from you, and fight not against you, and offer you peace, God doth not allow you to take or kill them. (90) Ye shall find others who are desirous to enter into confidence with you, and at the same time to preserve a confidence with their own people; so often as they return to sedition, they shall be subverted therein; and if they depart not from you, and offer you peace, and restrain their hands from warring against you, take them and kill them wheresoever ye find them; over these have we granted you a manifest power.
∥ (91) It is not lawful for a believer to kill a believer, unless it happen by mistake; and whoso killeth a believer by mistake, the penalty shall be the freeing of a believer from slavery, and a fine to be paid to the family of the deceased, unless they remit it as alms: and if the slain person be of a people at enmity with you, and be a true believer, the penalty shall be the freeing of a believer; but if he be of a people in confederacy with you, a fine to be paid to his family, and the freeing of a believer. And he who findeth not wherewith to do this shall fast two months consecutively as a penance enjoined from God; and God is knowing and wise. (92) But whoso killeth a believer designedly, his reward shall be hell; he shall remain therein forever; and God shall be angry with him, and shall curse him, and shall prepare for him a great punishment. (93) O true believers, when ye are on a march in defence of the true religion, justly discern such as ye shall happen to meet, and say not unto him who saluteth you, thou art not a true believer; seeking the accidental goods of the present life; for with God is much spoil. Such have ye formerly been; but God hath been gracious unto you; therefore make a just discernment, for God is well acquainted with that which ye do.
∥ (94) Those believers who sit still at home, not having any hurt, and those who employ their fortunes and their persons for the religion of God, shall not be held equal. God hath prepared those who employ their fortunes and their persons in that cause to a degree of honour above those who sit at home; God hath indeed promised every one paradise, but God hath preferred those who fight for the faith before those who sit still, by adding unto them a great reward, (95) by degrees of honour conferred on them from him, and by granting them forgiveness and mercy; for God is indulgent and merciful. (96) Moreover unto those whom the angels put to death, having injured their own souls, the angels said, Of what religion were ye? they answered, We were weak in the earth. The angels replied, Was not God’s earth wide enough, that ye might fly therein to a place of refuge? Therefore their habitation shall be hell; and an evil journey shall it be thither:(97) except the weak among men, and women, and children, who were not able to find means, and were not directed in the way; (98) these peradventure God will pardon, for God is ready to forgive, and gracious. (99) Whosoever flieth from his country for the sake of God’s true religion, shall find in the earth many forced to do the same, and plenty of provisions. And whoever departeth from his house, and flieth unto God and his apostle, if death overtake him in the way,God will be obliged to reward him, for God is gracious and merciful.
∥ (100) When ye march to war in the earth, it shall be no crime in you if ye shorten your prayers, in case ye fear the infidels may attack you; for the infidels are your open enemy. (101) But when thou, O Prophet, shalt be among them, and shalt pray with them, let a party of them arise to prayer with thee, and let them take their arms; and when they shall have worshipped, let them stand behind you, and let another party come that hath not prayed, and let them pray with thee, and let them be cautious and take their arms. The unbelievers would that ye should neglect your arms and your baggage while ye pray, that they might turn upon you at once. It shall be no crime in you, if ye be incommoded by rain or be sick, that ye lay down your arms; but take your necessary precaution: God hath prepared for the unbelievers an ignominious punishment. (102) And when ye shall have ended your prayer, remember God, standing, and sitting, and lying on your sides. But when ye are secure from danger, complete your prayers: for prayer is commanded the faithful, and appointed to be said at the stated times. (103) Be not negligent in seeking out the unbelieving people, though ye suffer some inconvenience; for they also shall suffer as ye suffer, and ye hope for a reward from God which they cannot hope for; and God is knowing and wise.
∥ (104) We have sent down unto thee the book of the Qurán with truth, that thou mayest judge between men through that wisdom which God showeth thee therein; and be not an advocate for the fraudulent; (105) but ask pardon of Godfor thy wrong intention, since God is indulgent and merciful. (106) Dispute not for those who deceive one another, for God loveth not him who is a deceiver or unjust. (107)Such conceal themselves from men, but they conceal not themselves from God; for he is with them when they imagine by night a saying which pleaseth him not, and God comprehendeth what they do. (108) Behold, ye are they who have disputed for them in this present life; but who shall dispute with God for them on the day of resurrection, or who will become their patron? (109) Yet he who doth evil or injureth his own soul, and afterwards asketh pardon of God, shall find God gracious and merciful. (110) Whoso committeth wickedness, committeth it against his own soul: God is knowing and wise. (111) And whoso committeth a sin or iniquity, and afterwards layeth it on the innocent, he shall surely bear the guilt of calumny and manifest injustice.
∥ (112) If the indulgence and mercy of God had not been upon thee, surely a part of them had studied to seduce thee; but they shall seduce themselves only, and shall not hurt thee at all. God hath sent down unto thee the book of the Qurán and wisdom, and hath taught thee that which thou knewest not; for the favour of God hath been great towards thee.
∥ (113) There is no good in the multitude of their private discourses, unless in the discourse of him who recommendeth alms, or that which is right, or agreement amongst men: whoever doth this out of a desire to please God, we will surely give him a great reward. (114) But whoso separateth himself from the apostle, after true direction hath been manifested unto him, and followeth any other way than that of the true believers, we will cause him to obtain that to which he is inclined, and will cast him to be burned in hell; and an unhappy journey shall it be thither.
∥ (115) Verily God will not pardon the giving him a companion, but he will pardon any crime besides that, unto whom he pleaseth: and he who giveth a companion unto God is surely led aside into a wide mistake; (116) the infidels invoke beside him only female deities, and only invoke rebellious Satan. (117)God cursed him; and he said, Verily I will take of thy servants a part cut off from the rest,(118) and I will seduce them, and will insinuate vain desires into them, and I will command them, and they shall cut off the ears of cattle; and I will command them, and they shall change God’s creature. But whoever taketh Satan for his patron, besides God, shall surely perish with a manifest destruction. (119) He maketh them promises, and insinuateth into them vain desires: yet Satan maketh them only deceitful promises. (120) The receptacle of these shall be hell; they shall find no refuge from it. (121) But they who believe and do good works we will surely lead them into gardens, through which rivers flow; they shall continue therein for ever, according to the true promise of God; and who is more true than God in what he saith? (122) It shall not be according to your desires, nor according to the desires of those who have received the scriptures. Whoso doth evil shall be rewarded for it; and shall not find any patron or helper beside God;(123) but whoso doth good works, whether he be male or female, and is a true believer, they shall be admitted into paradise, and shall not in the least be unjustly dealt with. (124) Who is better in point of religion than he who resigneth himself unto God, and is a worker of righteousness, and followeth the law of Abraham the orthodox? since God took Abraham for his friend; (125) and to Godbelongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth; God comprehendeth all things.
∥ (126) They will consult thee concerning women; Answer, God instructeth you concerning them, and that which is read unto you in the book of the Qurán concerning female orphans, to whom ye give not that which is ordained them, neither will ye marry them, and concerning weak infants, and that ye observe justice towards orphans: whatever good ye do, God knoweth it. (127) If a woman fear ill usage, or aversion from her husband, it shall be no crime in them if they agree the matter amicably between themselves; for a reconciliation is better than a separation. Men’s souls are naturally inclined to covetousness: but if ye be kind towards women, and fear to wrong them,God is well acquainted with what ye do. (128) Ye can by no means carry yourselves equally between women in all respects, although ye study to do it; therefore turn not from a wife with all manner of aversion, nor leave her like one in suspense: if ye agree, and fear to abuse your wives,God is gracious and merciful; (129) but if they separate, God will satisfy them both of his abundance; for God is extensive and wise, (130) and unto Godbelongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth. We have already commanded those unto whom the scriptures were given before you, and we command you also, saying, Fear God; but if ye disbelieve, unto Godbelongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth; and God is self-sufficient, and to be praised; (131) for unto Godbelongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth, and God is a sufficient protector. (132) If he pleaseth he will take you away, O men, and will produce others in your stead; for God is able to do this. Whoso desireth the reward of this world, verily with God is the reward of this world, and also of that which is to come; Godboth heareth and seeth.
∥ (133) O true believers, observe justice when ye bear witness before God, although it be against yourselves, or your parents, or relations; whether the party be rich, or whether he be poor; for God is more worthy than them both; therefore follow not your own lust in bearing testimony so that ye swerve from justice. And whether ye wrest your evidence or decline giving it,God is well acquainted with that which ye do. (134) O true believers, believe in God and his apostle, and the book which he hath caused to descend unto his apostle, and the book which he hath formerly sent down. And whosoever believeth not in God, and his angels, and his scriptures, and his apostles, and the last day, he surely erreth in a wide mistake. (136) Moreover they who believed, and afterwards became infidels, and then believed again, and after that disbelieved, and increased in infidelity, God will by no means forgive them, nor direct them into the right way. (137) Declare unto the ungodly that they shall suffer a painful punishment. (138) They who take the unbelievers for their protectors, besides the faithful, do they seek for power with them? since all power belongeth unto God.(139) And he hath already revealed unto you, in the book of the Qurán, thefollowing passage—When ye shall hear the signs of God, they shall not be believed, but they shall be laughed to scorn. Therefore sit not with them who believe not, until they engage in different discourse; for if ye do, ye will certainly become like unto them. God will surely gather the ungodly and the unbelievers together in hell. (140) They who wait to observe what befalleth you, if victory be granted you from God, say, Were we not with you? But if any advantage happen to the infidels, they say unto them, Were we not superior to you, and have we not defended you against the believers? God shall judge between you on the day of resurrection: and God will not grant the unbelievers means to prevail over the faithful.
∥ (141) The hypocrites act deceitfully with God, but he will deceive them; and when they stand up to pray, they stand carelessly, affecting to be seen of men, and remember not God, unless a little, (142) wavering between faith and infidelity, and adhering neither unto these nor unto those: and for him whom God shall lead astray thou shalt find no true path. (143) O true believers, take not the unbelievers for your protectors besides the faithful. Will ye furnish God with an evident argument of impiety against you? (144) Moreover the hypocrites shall be in the lowest bottom of hell fire, and thou shalt not find any to help them thence. (145) But they who repent and amend, and adhere firmly unto God, and approve the sincerity of their religion to God, they shall be numbered with the faithful; and God will surely give the faithful a great reward. (146) And how should God go about to punish you, if ye be thankful and believe? for God is grateful and wise.
∥ (147)God loveth not the speaking ill of any one in public, unless he who is injured call for assistance; and God heareth and knoweth: (148) whether ye publish a good action, or conceal it, or forgive evil, verily God is gracious and powerful. (149) They who believe not in God and his apostles, and would make a distinction between God and his apostles, and say, We believe in some of the prophets and reject others of them, and seek to take a middle way in this matter;(150) these are really unbelievers: and we have prepared for the unbelievers an ignominious punishment. (151) But they who believe in God and his apostles, and make no distinction between any of them, unto those will ye surely give their reward; and God is gracious and merciful.
∥ (152) They who have received the scriptures will demand of thee, that thou cause a book to descend unto them from heaven: they formerly asked of Moses a greater thing than this; for they said, Show us God visibly. Wherefore a storm of fire from heaven destroyed them, because of their iniquity. Then they took the calf for their God, after that evident proofs of the divine unity had come unto them: but we forgave them that, and gave Moses a manifest power to punish them.(153) And we lifted the mountain of Sinai over them when we exacted from them their covenant; and said unto them, Enter the gate of the city worshipping. We also said unto them, Transgress not on the Sabbath-day. And we received from them a firm covenant, that they would observe these things.(154) Therefore for that they have made void their covenant, and have not believed in the signs of God, and have slain the prophets unjustly, and have said, Our hearts are circumcised; (but God hath sealed them up, because of their unbelief; therefore they shall not believe, except a few of them:) (155) and for that they have not believed in Jesus, and have spoken against Mary a grievous calumny; (156) and have said, Verily we have slain Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the apostle of God; yet they slew him not, neither crucified him, but he was represented by one in his likeness; and verily they who disagreed concerning him were in a doubt as to this matter, and had no sure knowledge thereof, but followed only an uncertain opinion. They did not really kill him; (157) but God took him up unto himself: and God is mighty and wise. (158) And there shall not be one of those who have received the scriptures who shall not believe in him before his death; and on the day of resurrection he shall be a witness against them. (159) Because of the iniquity of those who Judaise, we have forbidden them good things, which had been formerly allowed them; and because they shut out many from the way of God, (160) and have taken usury, which was forbidden them by the law, and devoured men’s substance vainly: we have prepared for such of them as are unbelievers a painful punishment. (161) But those among them who are well grounded in knowledge, and the faithful, who believe in that which hath been sent down unto thee, and that which hath been sent down unto the prophets before thee, and who observe the stated times of prayer, and give alms, and believe in God and the last day, unto these will we give a great reward.
∥ (162) Verily we have revealed our will unto thee, as we have revealed it unto Noah and the prophets who succeeded him; and as we revealed it unto Abraham, and Ismáíl, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and unto Jesus, and Job, and Jonas, and Aaron, and Solomon; and we have given thee the Qurán as we gave the psalms unto David: (163)some apostles have we sent, whom we have formerly mentioned unto thee; and other apostles have we sent, whom we have not mentioned unto thee; and God spake unto Moses, discoursing with him; (164) apostles declaring good tidings and denouncing threats, lest men should have an argument of excuse against God, after the apostles had been sent unto them:God is mighty and wise. (165)God is witness of that revelation which he hath sent down unto thee; he sent it down with his special knowledge; the angels also are witnesses thereof; but God is a sufficient witness. (166) They who believe not, and turn aside others from the way of God, have erred in a wide mistake. (167) Verily those who believe not and act unjustly, God will by no means forgive, neither will he direct them into any other way than the way of hell; they shall remain therein forever; and this is easy with God.(168) O men, now is the apostle come unto you, with truth from your Lord; believe, therefore; it will be better for you. But if ye disbelieve, verily unto Godbelongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth; and God is knowing and wise. (169) O ye who have received the scriptures, exceed not the just bounds in your religion, neither say of Godany other than the truth. Verily Christ Jesus the son of Mary is the apostle of God, and his Word, which he conveyed into Mary, and a spirit proceeding from him. Believe therefore in God and his apostles, and say not, There are three Gods; forbear this; it will be better for you. God is but one God. Far be it from him that he should have a son; unto him belongeth whatever is in heaven and on earth; and God is a sufficient protector.
∥ (170) Christ doth not proudly disdain to be a servant unto God; neither the angels who approach near to his presence: and whoso disdaineth his service and is puffed up with pride, God will gather them all to himself on the last day. (171) Unto those who believe and do that which is right he shall give their rewards, and shall superabundantly add unto them of his liberality: but those who are disdainful and proud, he will punish with a grievous punishment; (172) and they shall not find any to protect or to help them, besides God.(173) O men, now is an evident proof come unto you from your Lord, and we have sent down unto you manifest light. (174) They who believe in God and firmly adhere to him, he will lead them into mercy from him, and abundance; and he will direct them in the right way to himself. (175) They will consult thee for thy decision in certain cases; say unto them,God giveth you these determinations concerning the more remote degrees of kindred. If a man die without issue, and have a sister, she shall have the half of what he shall leave: and he shall be heir to her, in case she have no issue. But if there be two sisters, they shall have between them two third parts of what he shall leave; and if there be several, both brothers and sisters, a male shall have as much as the portion of two females. God declareth unto you these precepts, lest ye err: and God knoweth all things.[Back to Table of Contents]
ENTITLED SURAT UL MÁIDA (THE TABLE).
Although, as is usual with all the long chapters of the Qurán, this chapter refers to a variety of matters of a general and miscellaneous character, e.g., rules respecting purification, laws concerning lawful and unlawful food, yet there are four points which attract the special notice of the reader. These are (1) the extended reference to the rites of the pilgrimage to Makkah; (2) the fierce hatred of the Prophet towards the Jews and his denunciations against them; (3) the laboured effort to refute the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and the Sonship of Christ; and (4) the repeated warning given to Muslims not to make friends of either Jews or Christians. Wherefore both the historic references of this chapter as well as the animus of the revelation point to a period late in the life of Muhammad as that to which it belongs—a period when successful warfare had made the Prophet indifferent alike to Jewish hatred and Christian friendship.
The statement of ver. 4, “This day have I perfected your religion for you,” &c., has led some writers to regard this chapter as the last of the chapters of the Qurán, taken in their chronological order. Muslim authorities agree that this verse and a few others at the beginning of this chapter fairly claim the last place on the list of revelations. However, excepting this short section, there is nothing in this chapter to lead us to believe it to be chronologically the last in the Qurán. Nöeldeke and Muir both agree in placing chap. ix. at the end of the chronological list of Suras, the former, however, admitting that there are some verses in this chapter which fairly claim posteriority to all others in the Qurán. He refers especially to ver. 4, which he thinks was revealed when Muhammad, with perhaps a presentiment of death being near, could say that all his enemies had lost their courage and that his religion was completed. It is for this reason he places it last in his historico-critical observations.
The revelations of this chapter are therefore of Madína origin.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
Following Nöeldeke for the most part, the dates within which the revelations of this chapter were made are as follows:—
Vers. 1-11 belong to a.h. 10. The date of ver. 12 cannot be ascertained with certainty. Vers. 13 and 14 may be placed almost anywhere between a.h. 2 and 7, the probability being that they belong nearer to the latter than to the former date. Vers. 45-55, though referred by most Muslim writers to a period prior to the massacre of the Baní Quraidha, should nevertheless be placed later, i.e., prior to the expedition against the Jews of Khaibar in a.h. 7.
Vers. 56-63, according to Muslim authorities, belong to the latter part of a.h. 3 or the early part of a.h. 4.
Of vers. 64-88, the most that can be said is that they belong to a period between a.h. 4 and 8, after many wars with the Jews, and before the final outbreak with the Christians. Vers. 89-104 belong to a.h. 4-6. The date of the remaining verses is uncertain, but may be fixed approximately at a.h. 5-8.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1)O true believers, perform your contracts. (2) Ye are allowed to eat the brute cattle, other than what ye are commanded to abstain from; except the game which ye are allowed at other times, but not while ye are on pilgrimage to Makkah;God ordaineth that which he pleaseth. (3) O true believers, violate not the holy rites of God, nor the sacred month, nor the offering, nor the ornaments hung thereon, nor those who are travelling to the holy house, seeking favour from their Lord, and to please him. But when ye shall have finished your pilgrimage, then hunt. And let not the malice of some, in that they hindered you from entering the sacred temple, provoke you to transgress, by taking revenge on them in the sacred months. Assist one another according to justice and piety, but assist not one another in injustice and malice: therefore fear God; for God is severe in punishing. (4) Ye are forbidden to eat that which dieth of itself, and blood, and swine’s flesh, and that on which the name of any besides God hath been invocated; and that which hath been strangled, or killed by a blow, or by a fall, or by the horns of another beast, and that which hath been eaten by a wild beast, except what ye shall kill yourselves; and that which hath been sacrificed unto idols. It is likewise unlawful for you to make division by casting lots with arrows. This is an impiety. On this day woe be unto those who have apostatised from their religion; therefore fear not them, but fear me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, and have completed my mercy upon you; and I have chosen for you Islám, to be your religion. But whosoever shall be driven by necessity through hunger to eat of what we have forbidden, not designing to sin, surely Godwill be indulgent and merciful unto him.(5) They will ask thee what is allowed them as lawful to eat. Answer, Such things as are good are allowed you; and what ye shall teach animals of prey to catch, training them up for hunting after the manner of dogs, and teaching them according to the skill which God hath taught you. Eat therefore of that which they shall catch for you; and commemorate the name of God thereon; and fear God, for God is swift in taking an account. (6) This day are ye allowed to eat such things as are good, and the food of those to whom the scriptures were given is also allowed as lawful unto you; and your food is allowed as lawful unto them. And ye are also allowed to marry free women that are believers, and also free women of those who have received the scriptures before you, when ye shall have assigned them their dower, living chastely with them, neither committing fornication, nor taking them for concubines. Whoever shall renounce the faith, his work shall be vain, and in the next life he shall be of those who perish.
∥ (7) O true believers, when ye prepare yourselves to pray, wash your faces, and your hands unto the elbows; and rub your heads, and your feet unto the ankles; and if ye be polluted by having lain with a woman, wash yourselves all over. But if ye be sick, or on a journey, or any of you cometh from the privy, or if ye have touched women, and ye find no water, take fine clean sand, and rub your faces and your hands therewith: God would not put a difficulty upon you; but he desireth to purify you, and to complete his favour upon you, that ye may give thanks. (8) Remember the favour of God towards you, and his covenant which he hath made with you, when ye said, We have heard, and will obey. Therefore fear God, for God knoweth the innermost parts of the breasts of men.(9) O true believers, observe justice when ye appear as witnesses before God, and let not hatred towards any induce you to do wrong: but act justly; this will approach nearer unto piety; and fear God, for God is fully acquainted with what ye do. (10) God hath promised unto those who believe and do that which is right that they shall receive pardon and a great reward. (11) But they who believe not and accuse our signs of falsehood, they shall be the companions of hell. (12) O true believers, remember God’s favour towards you, when certain men designed to stretch forth their hands against you, but he restrained their hands from hurting you; therefore fear God and in God let the faithful trust.
∥ (13)God formerly accepted the covenant of the children of Israel, and we appointed out of them twelve leaders; and God said, Verily I am with you: if ye observe prayer, and give alms, and believe in my apostles, and assist them, and lend unto God on good usury, I will surely expiate your evil deeds from you, and I will lead you into gardens wherein rivers flow: but he among you who disbelieveth after this, erreth from the straight path. (14) Wherefore because they have broken their covenant, we have cursed them, and hardened their hearts; they dislocate the words of the Pentateuch from their places, and have forgotten part of what they were admonished; and thou wilt not cease to discover deceitful practices among them, except a few of them. But forgive them, and pardon them, for God loveth the beneficent. (15) And from those who say, We are Christians, we have received their covenant; but they have forgotten part of what they were admonished; wherefore we have raised up enmity and hatred among them, till the day of resurrection; and God will then surely declare unto them what they have been doing. (16) O ye who have received the scriptures, now is our apostle come unto you, to make manifest unto you many things which ye concealed in the scriptures, and to pass over many things.(17) Now is light and a perspicuous book of revelations come unto you from God. (18) Thereby will God direct him who shall follow his good pleasure into the paths of peace; and shall lead them out of darkness into light by his will, and shall direct them in the right way. (19) They are infidels who say, Verily God is Christ the son of Mary. Say unto them, And who could obtain anything from Godto the contrary, if he pleased to destroy Christ the son of Mary, and his mother, and all those who are on the earth? (20) For unto Godbelongeth the kingdom of heaven and earth, and whatsoever is contained between them; he createth what he pleaseth, and God is almighty. (21) The Jews and the Christians say, We are the children of God and his beloved. Answer, Why therefore doth he punish you for your sins? Nay, but ye are men, of those whom he hath created. He forgiveth whom he pleaseth, and punisheth whom he pleaseth; and unto Godbelongeth the kingdom of heaven and earth, and of what is contained between them both; and unto him shall all things return. (22) O ye who have received the scriptures, now is our apostle come unto you, declaring unto you the true religion, during the cessation of apostles, lest ye should say, There came unto us no bearer of good tidings, nor any warner: but now is a bearer of good tidings and a warner come unto you; for God is almighty.
∥ (23)Call to mind when Moses said unto his people, O my people, remember the favour of God towards you, since he hath appointed prophets among you, and constituted you kings, and bestowed on you what he hath given to no other nation in the world. (24) O my people, enter the holy land, which God hath decreed you, and turn not your backs, lest ye be subverted and perish. (25) They answered, O Moses, verily there are a gigantic people in the land; and we will by no means enter it, until they depart thence; but if they depart thence, then will we enter therein.(26) And two men of those who feared God, unto whom God had been gracious, said, Enter ye upon them suddenly by the gate of the city; and when ye shall have entered the same, ye shall surely be victorious: therefore trust in God, if ye are true believers. (27) They replied, O Moses, we will never enter the land while they remain therein: go therefore thou and thy Lord and fight; for we will sit here. (28) Moses said, O Lord, surely I am not master of any except myself and my brother; therefore make a distinction between us and the ungodly people. (29)God answered, Verily, the land shall be forbidden them forty years; during which time they shall wander like men astonished on the earth; therefore be not thou solicitous for the ungodly people.
∥ (30) Relate unto them also the history of the two sons of Adam, with truth. When they offered their offering, and it was accepted from one of them, and was not accepted from the other, Cain said to his brother, I will certainly kill thee. Abel answered, God only accepteth the offering of the pious;
∥ (31) If thou stretchest forth thy hand against me, to slay me, I will not stretch forth my hand against thee, to slay thee; for I fear God, the Lord of all creatures. (32) I choose that thou shouldest bear my iniquity and thine own iniquity; and that thou become a companion of hell fire; for that is the reward of the unjust. (33) But his soul suffered him to slay his brother, and he slew him; wherefore he became of the number of those who perish. (34) And God sent a raven, which scratched the earth, to show him how he should hide the shame of his brother, and he said, Woe is me! am I unable to be like this raven, that I may hide my brother’s shame? and he became one of those who repent. (35) Wherefore we commanded the children of Israel, that he who slayeth a soul, without having slain a soul, or comitted wickedness in the earth, shall be as if he had slain all mankind: but he who saveth a soul alive, shall be as if he had saved the lives of all mankind. (36) Our apostles formerly came unto them, with evident miracles; then were many of them after this transgressors on the earth. (37) But the recompense of those who fight against God and his apostle, and study to act corruptly in the earth, shall be, that they shall be slain, or crucified, or have their hands and their feet cut off on the opposite sides, or be banished the land. This shall be their disgrace in this world, and in the next world they shall suffer a grievous punishment; (38) except those who shall repent before ye prevail against them; for know that Godis inclined to forgive, and merciful.
∥ (39) O true believers, fear God, and earnestly desire a near conjunction with him, and fight for his religion, that ye may be happy. (40) Moreover they who believe not, although they had whatever is in the earth, and as much more withal, that they might therewith redeem themselves from punishment on the day of resurrection; it shall not be accepted from them, but they shall suffer a painful punishment. (41) They shall desire to go forth from the fire, but they shall not go forth from it, and their punishment shall be permanent. (42) If a man or a woman steal, cut off their hands, in retribution for that which they have committed; this is an exemplary punishment appointed by God; and God is mighty and wise. (43) But whoever shall repent after his iniquity and amend, verily God will be turned unto him, for Godis inclined to forgive, and merciful. (44) Dost thou not know that the kingdom of heaven and earth is God’s? He punisheth whom he pleaseth, and he pardoneth whom he pleaseth; for God is almighty. (45) O apostle, let not them grieve thee who hasten to infidelity, either of those who say, We believe, with their mouths, but whose hearts believe not; or of the Jews, who hearken to a lie, and hearken to other people; who come unto thee: they pervert the words of the law from their true places, and say, If this be brought unto you, receive it; but if it be not brought unto you, beware of receiving aught else; and in behalf of him whom God shall resolve to seduce, thou shalt not prevail with God at all. They whose hearts God shall not please to cleanse shall suffer shame in this world, and a grievous punishment in the next: who hearken to a lie, and eat that which is forbidden. (46) But if they come unto thee for judgment, either judge between them, or leave them; and if thou leave them, they shall not hurt thee at all. But if thou undertake to judge, judge between them with equity; for God loveth those who observe justice. (47) And how will they submit to thy decision, since they have the law, containing the judgment of God? Then will they turn their backs, after this; but those are not true believers.
∥ (48) We have surely sent down the law, containing direction and light: thereby did the prophets, who professed the true religion, judge those who judaised; and the doctors and priests also judged by the book of God, which had been committed to their custody; and they were witnesses thereof. Therefore fear not men, but fear me; neither sell my signs for a small price. And whoso judgeth not according to what God hath revealed, they are infidels. (49) We have therein commanded them, that they should give life for life, and eye for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, and tooth for tooth; and that wounds should also be punished by retaliation: but whoever should remit it as alms, it should be accepted as an atonement for him. And whoso judgeth not according to what God hath revealed, they are unjust. (50) We also caused Jesus the son of Mary to follow the footsteps of the prophets, confirming the law which was sent down before him; and we gave him the gospel, containing direction and light; confirming also the light which was given before it, and a direction and admonition unto those who fear God: (51) that they who have received the gospel might judge according to what God hath revealed therein: and whoso judgeth not according to what God hath revealed, they are transgressors. (52) We have also sent down unto thee the book of the Qurán with truth, confirming that scripture which was revealed before it; and preserving the same safe from corruption. Judge therefore between them according to that which God hath revealed; and follow not their desires by swerving from the truth which hath come unto thee. Unto every one of you have we given a law and an open path; (53) and if God had pleased, he had surely made you one people; but he hath thought fit to give you different laws, that he might try you in that which he hath given you respectively. Therefore strive to excel each other in good works: unto God shall ye all return, and then will he declare unto you that concerning which ye have disagreed. (54) Wherefore do thou, O prophet, judge between them according to that which God hath revealed, and follow not their desires; but beware of them, lest they cause thee to err from part of those precepts which God hath sent down unto thee; and if they turn back, know that God is pleased to punish them for some of their crimes; for a great number of men are transgressors (55) Do they therefore desire the judgment of the time of ignorance? but who is better than God, to judge between people who reason aright?
∥ (56) O true believers, take not the Jews or Christians for your friends; they are friends the one to the other; but whoso among you taketh them for his friends, he is surely one of them: verily God directeth not unjust people. (57) Thou shalt see those in whose hearts there is an infirmity, to hasten unto them, saying, We fear lest some adversity befall us; but it is easy for God to give victory, or a command from him, that they may repent of that which they concealed in their minds. (58) And they who believe will say, Are these the men who have sworn by God, with a most firm oath, that they surely held with you? their works are become vain, and they are of those who perish. (59) O true believers, whoever of you apostatiseth from his religion, God will certainly bring other people to supply his place, whom he will love, and who will love him; who shall be humble towards the believers, but severe to the unbelievers; they shall fight for the religion of God, and shall not fear the obloquy of the detractor. This is the bounty of God; he bestoweth it on whom he pleaseth: Godis extensive and wise. (60) Verily your protector is God, and his apostle, and those who believe, who observe the stated times of prayer, and give alms, and who bow down to worship. (61) And whoso taketh God, and his apostle, and the believers for his friends, they are the party of God,and they shall be victorious.
∥ (62) O true believers, take not such of those to whom the scriptures were delivered before you, or of the infidels, for your friends, who make a laughing-stock and a jest of your religion; but fear God, if ye be true believers; (63) nor those who, when ye call to prayer, make a laughing-stock and a jest of it; this they do because they are people who do not understand. (64) Say, O ye who have received the scriptures, do ye reject us for any other reason than because we believe in God, and that revelation which hath been sent down unto us, and that which was formerly sent down, and for that the greater part of you are transgressors? (65) Say, Shall I denounce unto you a worse thing than this, as to the reward which ye are to expect with God? He whom God hath cursed, and with whom he hath been angry, having changed some of them into apes and swine, and who worship Taghut, they are in the worse condition, and err more widely from the straightness of the path. (66) When they came unto you, they said, We believe: yet they entered into your company with infidelity, and went forth from you with the same; but God well knew what they concealed. (67) Thou shalt see many of them hastening unto iniquity and malice, and to eat things forbidden; and woe unto them for what they have done. (68) Unless their doctors and priests forbid them uttering wickedness and eating things forbidden, woe unto them for what they shall have committed. (69) The Jews say, The hand of God is tied up. Their hands shall be tied up, and they shall be cursed for that which they have said. Nay, his hands are both stretched forth; he bestoweth as he pleaseth: that which hath been sent down unto thee from thy Lord shall increase the transgression and infidelity of many of them; and we have put enmity and hatred between them, until the day of resurrection. So often as they shall kindle a fire for war God shall extinguish it; and they shall set their minds to act corruptly in the earth, but God loveth not the corrupt doers. (70) Moreover, if they who have received the scriptures believe and fear God, we will surely expiate their sins from them, and we will lead them into gardens of pleasure; and if they observe the law, and the gospel, and the other scriptures which have been sent down unto them from their Lord, they shall surely eat of good things both from above them and from under their feet. Among them there are people who act uprightly; but how evil is that which many of them do work!
∥ (71) O apostle, publish the whole of that which hath been sent down unto thee from thy Lord; for if thou do not, thou dost not in effect publish any part thereof: and God will defend thee against wicked men; for God directeth not the unbelieving people. (72) Say, O ye who have received the scriptures, ye are not grounded on anything, until ye observe the law and the gospel and that which hath been sent down unto you from your Lord. That which hath been sent down unto thee from thy Lord will surely increase the transgression and infidelity of many of them: but be not thou solicitous for the unbelieving people. (73) Verily, they who believe, and those who Judaise, and the Sabians, and the Christians, whoever of them believeth in God and the last day, and doth that which is right, there shall come no fear on them, neither shall they be grieved. (74) We formerly accepted the covenant of the children of Israel, and sent apostles unto them. So often as an apostle came unto them with that which their souls desired not, they accused some of them of imposture, and some of them they killed: (75) And they imagined that there should be no punishment for those crimes, and they became blind, and deaf. Then was God turned unto them; afterwards many of them again became blind and deaf; but God saw what they did. (76) They are surely infidels who say, Verily God is Christ the Son of Mary; since Christ said, O children of Israel, serve God, my Lord and your Lord. Whoever shall give a companion unto God, God shall exclude him from paradise, and his habitation shall be hell fire; and the ungodly shall have none to help them. (77) They are certainly infidels who say, God is the third of three; for there is no God besides one God; and if they refrain not from what they say, a painful torment shall surely be inflicted on such of them as are unbelievers. (78) Will they not therefore be turned unto God and ask pardon of him, since God is gracious and merciful? (79) Christ the son of Mary is no more than an apostle; other apostles have preceded him; and his mother was a woman of veracity: they both ate food. Behold, how we declare unto them the signs of God’s unity; and then behold how they turn aside from the truth. (80) Say unto them, Will ye worship, besides God, that which can cause you neither harm nor profit? Godis he who heareth and seeth. (81) Say, O ye who have received the scriptures, exceed not the just bounds in your religion by speaking beside the truth; neither follow the desires of people who have heretofore erred, and who have seduced many, and have gone astray from the straight path.
∥ (82) Those among the children of Israel who believed not were cursed by the tongue of David, and of Jesus the son of Mary. This befell them because they were rebellious and transgressed: they forbade not one another the wickedness which they committed; and woe unto them for what they committed. (83) Thou shalt see many of them take for their friends those who believe not. Woe unto them for what their souls have sent before them, for that God is incensed against them, and they shall remain in torment for ever. (84) But if they had believe in God and the prophet, and that which hath been revealed unto him, they had not taken them for their friends; but many of them are evil-doers. (85) Thou shalt surely find the most violent of all men in enmity against the true believers to be the Jews and the idolaters; and thou shalt surely find those among them to be the most inclinable to entertain friendship for the true believers who say, We are Christians. This cometh to pass because there are priests and monks among them, and because they are not elated with pride.
∥ (86) And when they hear that which hath been sent down to the apostle read unto them, thou shalt see their eyes overflow with tears because of the truth which they perceive therein, saying, O Lord, we believe; write us down therefore with those who bear witness to the truth. (87) And what should hinder us from believing in God and the truth which hath come unto us, and from earnestly desiring that our Lord would introduce us into paradise with the righteous people? (88) Therefore hath God rewarded them, for what they have said, with gardens through which rivers flow; they shall continue therein forever; and this is the reward of the righteous. But they who believe not, and accuse our signs of falsehood, they shall be the companions of hell.
∥ (89) O true believers, forbid not the good things which God hath allowed you; but transgress not, for God loveth not the transgressors. (90) And eat of what God hath given you for food, that which is lawful and good: and fear God, in whom ye believe. (91)God will not punish you for an inconsiderate word in your oaths; but he will punish you for what ye solemnly swear with deliberation. And the expiation of such an oath shall be the feeding of ten poor men with such moderate food as ye feed your own families withal; or to clothe them; or to free the neck of a true believer from captivity: but he who shall not find wherewith to perform one of these three things shall fast three days. This is the expiation of your oaths, when ye swear inadvertently. Therefore keep your oaths. Thus God declareth unto you his signs, that ye may give thanks. (92) O true believers, surely wine, and lots, and images, and divining arrows are an abomination of the work of Satan; therefore avoid them that ye may prosper. (93) Satan seeketh to sow dissension and hatred among you by means of wine and lots, and to divert you from remembering God and from prayer: will ye not therefore abstain from them? Obey God and obey the apostle, and take heed to yourselves: but if ye turn back, know that the duty of our apostle is only to preach publicly. (94) In those who believe and do good works, it is no sin that they have tasted wine or gaming before they were forbidden; if they fear God, and believe, and do good works, and shall for the future fear God, and believe, and shall persevere to fear him and to do good; for God loveth those who do good.
∥ (95) O true believers, God will surely prove you in offering you plenty of game, which ye may take with your hands or your lances, that God may know who feareth him in secret; but whoever transgresseth after this shall suffer a grievous punishment. (96) O true believers, kill no game while ye are on pilgrimage; whosoever among you shall kill any designedly shall restore the like of what he shall have killed in domestic animals, according to the determination of two just persons among you, to be brought as an offering to the Kaabah; or in atonement thereof shall feed the poor; or instead thereof shall fast, that he may taste the heinousness of his deed. God hath forgiven what is past, but whoever returneth to transgress,God will take vengeance on him; for God is mighty and able to avenge. (97) It is lawful for you to fish in the sea, and to eat what ye shall catch, as a provision for you and for those who travel; but it is unlawful for you to hunt by land while ye are performing the rights of pilgrimage; therefore fear God, before whom ye shall be assembled at the last day.(98)God hath appointed the Kaabah, the holy house, an establishment for mankind; and hath ordained the sacred month, and the offering, and the ornaments hung thereon. This hath he done that ye might know that God knoweth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth, and that God is omniscient. Know that God is severe in punishing, and that Godis also ready to forgive, and merciful. (99) The duty of our apostle is to preach only; and God knoweth that which ye discover, and that which ye conceal. (100) Say, Evil and good shall not be equally esteemed of, though the abundance of evil pleaseth thee; therefore fear God, O ye of understanding, that ye may be happy.
∥ (101) O true believers, inquire not concerning things which, if they be declared unto you, may give you pain; but if ye ask concerning them when the Qurán is sent down, they will be declared unto you: God pardoneth you as to these matters; for God is ready to forgive, and gracious. (102) People who have been before you formerly inquired concerning them; and afterwards disbelieved therein. God hath not ordained anything concerning Bahaira, nor Sáiba, nor Wasíla, nor Hámi; but the unbelievers have invented a lie against God: and the greater part of them do not understand. (103) And when it was said unto them, Come unto that which God hath revealed, and to the apostle; they answered, That religion which we found our fathers to follow is sufficient for us. What, though their fathers knew nothing and were not rightly directed? (104) O true believers, take care of your souls! He who erreth shall not hurt you while ye are rightly directed: unto God shall ye all return, and he will tell you that which ye have done. (105) O true believers, let witnesses be taken between you, when death approaches any of you, at the time of making the testament; let there be two witnesses, just men, from among you; or two others of a different tribe or faith from yourselves, if ye be journeying in the earth, and the accident of death befall you. Ye shall shut them both up after the afternoon prayer, and they shall swear by God, if ye doubt them, and they shall say, We will not sell our evidence for a bribe, although the person concerned be one who is related to us, neither will we conceal the testimony of God, for then should we certainly be of the number of the wicked. (106) But if it appear that both have been guilty of iniquity, two others shall stand up in their place, of those who have convicted them of falsehood, the two nearest in blood, and they shall swear by God,saying, Verily our testimony is more true than the testimony of these two, neither have we prevaricated; for then should we become of the number of the unjust. (107) This will be easier, that men may give testimony according to the plain intention thereof, or fear lest a different oath be given, after their oath. Therefore fear God and hearken; for God directeth not the unjust people.
∥ (108) On a certain day shall God assemble the apostles, and shall say unto them, What answer was returned you when ye preached unto the people to whom ye were sent? They shall answer, We have no knowledge, but thou art the knower of secrets. (109) When God shall say, O Jesus son of Mary, remember my favour towards thee, and towards thy mother; when I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, that thou shouldst speak unto men in the cradle, and when thou wast grown up; (110) and when I taught thee the scripture, and wisdom, and the law, and the gospel: and when thou didst create of clay as it were the figure of a bird by my permission, and didst breathe thereon, and it became a bird, by my permission, and thou didst heal one blind from his birth, and the leper, by my permission; and when thou didst bring forth the dead from their graves by my permission; and when I withheld the children of Israel from killing thee, when thou hadst come unto them with evident miracles, and such of them as believed not said, This is nothing but manifest sorcery. (111) And when I commanded the apostles of Jesus, saying, Believe in me and in my messenger; they answered, We do believe; and do thou bear witness that we are resigned unto thee.(112)Remember when the apostles said, O Jesus son of Mary, is thy Lord able to cause a table to descend unto us from heaven? He answered, Fear God, if ye be true believers. (113) They said, We desire to eat thereof, and that our hearts may rest at ease, and that we may know that thou hast told us the truth, and that we may be witnesses thereof. (114) Jesus the son of Mary said, O God our Lord, cause a table to descend unto us from heaven, that the day of its descent may become a festival day unto us, unto the first of us, and unto the last of us, and a sign from thee; and do thou provide food for us, for thou art the best provider. (115) God said, Verily I will cause it to descend unto you; but whoever among you shall disbelieve hereafter, I will surely punish him with a punishment wherewith I will not punish any other creature.
∥ (116) And when God shall say unto Jesus at the last day, O Jesus son of Mary, hast thou said unto men, Take me and my mother for two gods beside God? he shall answer, Praise be unto thee! it is not for me to say that which I ought not; if I had said so, thou wouldst surely have known it: thou knowest what is in me, but I know not what is in thee; for thou art the knower of secrets. (117) I have not spoken to them any other than what thou didst command me, namely, Worship God, my Lord and your Lord: and I was a witness of their actions while I stayed among them; but since thou hast taken me to thyself, thou hast been the watcher over them; for thou art witness of all things. (118) If thou punish them, they are surely thy servants; and if thou forgive them, thou art mighty and wise. (119) God will say, This day shall their veracity be of advantage unto those who speak truth; they shall have gardens wherein rivers flow, they shall remain therein forever: God hath been well pleased in them, and they have been well pleased in him. This shall be great felicity. (120) Unto Godbelongeth the kingdom of heaven and of earth, and of whatever therein is; and he is almighty.[Back to Table of Contents]
ENTITLED SURAT AL ANÁM (CATTLE).
This chapter owes its title to the frequent mention of certain cattle in connection with the idolatrous rites of the people of Makkah. It relates to the controversy of Muhammad with the inhabitants of his native city during the period immediately preceding his flight to Madína. This is evident from the tone of the revelations. Everywhere the Quraish are spoken of as hopelessly infidel, as given over to unbelief, abandoned of God, and doomed to perdition. Having rejected the signs of the Qurán, they will not hear though an angel were to speak audibly to them, though a written book were to descend to them from heaven, or though the Prophet were to ascend into the heavens or delve into the earth to bring them a sign to their own liking.
Other passages contain commands addressed to the Prophet to withdraw from the idolaters and to have no fellowship with them. From all this it is clear that Muhammad had matured his plan of leaving Makkah and of retiring to Madína.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
From what has been said above, and relying especially upon the command of ver. 106, to retire from the idolaters, which all authorities agree in referring to the Hijra, we may fairly conclude that most of the revelations of this chapter were rehearsed in public for the first time during the year immediately preceding that event. There are, however, a few verses which belong to the number of Madína revelations. These are vers. 92-94 and 151-153. Noëldeke thinks the latter three are referred to Madína without good reason. The requirements of ver. 152 certainly fit in best with the circumstances of Islám after the Hijra. Their date may be considered as doubtful. This is, in our opinion, true also of vers. 118-121, 145, 146, and 159-165. The command to abstain from certain kinds of meat is said, on the authority of tradition, to have been delivered after the Night Journey, and might therefore have been delivered before the Hijra. But the requirements of the law of permitted and forbidden meats are so certainly an imitation of the Jewish law on the same subject, as to lead us to think that all passages referring to this law of Islám belong to Madína though found in chapters belonging to Makkah. As Muir has already pointed out, the habit was formed soon after the Hijra “of throwing into a former Sura newly-revealed passages connected with its subject.”* Wherefore many passages like these, relating to rites borrowed from the Jews, may belong to Madína, though recited in a Makkan chapter.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1)Praise be unto God, who hath created the heavens and the earth, and hath ordained the darkness and the light: nevertheless they who believe not in the Lord equalise other gods with him.(2) It is he who hath created you of clay, and then decreed the term of your lives; and the prefixed term is with him: yet do ye doubt thereof.(3) He is God in heaven and in earth; he knoweth what ye keep secret and what ye publish, and knoweth what ye deserve. (4) There came not unto them any sign of the signs of their Lord, but they retired from the same; (5) and they have gainsaid the truth after that it hath come unto them; but a message shall come unto them concerning that which they have mocked at. (6) Do they not consider how many generations we have destroyed before them? We had established them in the earth in a manner wherein we have not established you; we sent the heaven to rain abundantly upon them, and we gave them rivers which flowed under their feet: yet we destroyed them in their sins, and raised up other generations after them. (7) Although we had caused to descend unto thee a book written on paper, and they had handled it with their hands, the unbelievers had surely said, This is no other than manifest sorcery. (8) They said, Unless an angel be sent down unto him, we will not believe. But if we had sent down an angel, verily the matter had been decreed, and they should not have been borne with, by having time granted them to repent.(9) And if we had appointed an angel for our messenger, we should have sent him in the form of a man, and have clothed him before them, as they are clothed. (10)Other apostles have been laughed to scorn before thee, but the judgment which they made a jest of encompassed those who laughed them to scorn.
∥ (11) Say, Go through the earth, and behold what hath been the end of those who accused our prophets of imposture. (12) Say, Unto whom belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and earth? Say, Unto God; he hath prescribed unto himself mercy. He will surely gather you together on the day of resurrection; there is no doubt of it. They who destroy their own souls are those who will not believe. (13) Unto him is owing whatsoever happeneth by night or by day; it is he who heareth and knoweth. (14) Say, Shall I take any other protector than God, the creator of heaven and earth, who feedeth all and is not fed by any? Say, Verily I am commanded to be the first who professeth Islám, and it was said unto me, Thou shalt by no means be one of the idolaters. (15) Say, Verily I fear, if I should rebel against my Lord, the punishment of the great day: (16) from whomsoever it shall be averted on that day, God will have been merciful unto him; this will be manifest salvation. (17) If God afflict thee with any hurt, there is none who can take it off from thee except himself; but if he cause good to befall thee, he is almighty; (18) he is the supreme Lord over his servants, and he is wise and knowing. (19) Say, What thing is the strongest in bearing testimony? Say, God;he is witness between me and you. And this Qurán was revealed unto me that I should admonish you thereby, and also those unto whom it shall reach. Do ye really profess that there are other gods together with God? Say, I do not profess this. Say, Verily he is one God; and I am guitless of what ye associate with him.(20) They unto whom we have given the scripture know our apostle, even as they know their own children; but they who destroy their own souls will not believe.
∥ (21) Who is more unjust than he who inventeth a lie against God, or chargeth his signs with imposture? Surely the unjust shall not prosper. (22) And on the day of resurrection we will assemble them all; then will we say unto those who associated others with God, Where are your companions, whom ye imagined to be those of God? But they shall have no other excuse than that they shall say, By God our Lord, we have not been idolaters. (23) Behold, how they lie against themselves, and what they have blasphemously imagined to be the companion of God flieth from them. (24) There is of them who hearkeneth unto thee when thou readest the Qurán; but we have cast veils over their hearts, that they should not understand it, and a deafness in their ears: and though they should see all kinds of signs, they will not believe therein; and their infidelity will arrive to that height that they will even come unto thee to dispute with thee. The unbelievers will say, This is nothing but silly fables of ancient times.(25) And they will forbid others from believing therein and will retire afar off from it; but they will destroy their own souls only, and they are not sensible thereof. (26) If thou didst see when they shall be set over the fire of hell! and they shall say, Would to God we might be sent back into the world; we would not charge the signs of our Lord with imposture, and we would become true believers: (27) nay, but that is become manifest unto them, which they formerly concealed; and though they should be sent back into the world, they would surely return to that which was forbidden them; and they are surely liars. (28) And they said, There is no other life than our present life; neither shall we be raised again. But if thou couldest see when they shall be set before their Lord! (29) He shall say unto them, Is not this in truth come to pass? They shall answer, Yea, by our Lord.God shall say, Taste therefore the punishment due unto you, for that ye have disbelieved.
∥ (30) They are lost who reject as a falsehood the meeting of Godin the next life, until the hour cometh suddenly upon them. Then will they say, Alas! for that we have behaved ourselves negligently in our lifetime; and they shall carry their burdens on their backs; will it not be evil which they shall be loaden with? (31) This present life is no other than a play and a vain amusement; but surely the future mansion shall be better for those who fear God: will they not therefore understand? (32) Now we know that what they speak grieveth thee: yet they do not accuse thee of falsehood; but the ungodly contradict the signs of God.(33) And apostles before thee have been accounted liars: but they patiently bore their being accounted liars, and their being vexed, until our help came unto them: for there is none who can change the words of God: and thou hast received some information concerning those who have been formerly sent from him.
∥ (34) If their aversion to thy admonitions be grievous unto thee, if thou canst seek out a den whereby thou mayest penetrate into the inward parts of the earth, or a ladder by which thou mayest ascend into heaven, that thou mayest show them a sign, do so, but thy search will be fruitless; for if God pleased he would bring them all to the true direction: be not therefore one of the ignorant. (35) He will give a favourable answer unto those only who shall hearken with attention: and God will raise the dead; then unto him shall they return. (36) The infidels say, Unless some sign be sent down unto him from his Lord,we will not believe: answer, Verily God is able to send down a sign: but the greater part of them know it not. (37) There is no kind of beast on earth, nor fowl which flieth with its wings, but the same is a people like unto you: we have not omitted anything in the book of our decrees: then unto their Lord shall they return. (38) They who accuse our signs of falsehood are deaf and dumb, walking in darkness: God will lead into error whom he pleaseth, and whom he pleaseth he will put in the right way? (39) Say, What think ye? if the punishment of God come upon you, or the hour of the resurrection come upon you, will ye call upon any other than God, if ye speak truth? (40) Yea, him shall ye call upon, and he shall free you from that which ye shall ask him to deliver you from, if he pleaseth; and ye shall forget that which ye associated with him.
∥ (41) We have already sent messengers unto sundry nations before thee, and we afflicted them with trouble and adversity that they might humble themselves: (42) yet when the affliction which we sent came upon them, they did not humble themselves; but their hearts became hardened, and Satan prepared for them that which they committed. (43) And when they had forgotten that concerning which they had been admonished, we opened unto them the gates of all things; until, while they were rejoicing for that which had been given them, we suddenly laid hold on them, and behold, they were seized with despair: (44) and the utmost part of the people which had acted wickedly was cut off: praise be unto God, the Lord of all creatures! (45) Say, What think ye? if God should take away your hearing and your sight, and should seal up your hearts; what god besides God will restore them unto you? (46) See how variously we show forth the signs of God’s unity; yet do they turn aside from them. Say unto them, What think ye? if the punishment of God come upon you suddenly or in open view, will any perish except the ungodly people? (47) We send not our messengers otherwise than bearing good tidings and denouncing threats. Whoso therefore shall believe and amend, on them shall no fear come, neither shall they be grieved: (48) but whoso shall accuse our signs of falsehood, a punishment shall fall on them, because they have done wickedly. (49) Say, I say not unto you, The treasures of God are in my power: neither do I say, I know the secrets of God: neither do I say unto you, Verily I am an angel: I follow only that which is revealed unto me. Say, Shall the blind and the seeing be held equal? do ye not therefore consider?
∥ (50) Preach it unto those who fear that they shall be assembled before their Lord: they shall have no patron nor intercessor except him; that peradventure they may take heed to themselves. (51) Drive not away those who call upon their Lord morning and evening, desiring to see his face: it belongeth not unto thee to pass any judgment on them, nor doth it belong unto them to pass any judgment on thee: therefore if thou drive them away, thou wilt become one of the unjust. (52) Thus have we proved some part of them by other part, that they may say, Are these the people among us unto whom God hath been gracious? Doth not God most truly know those who are thankful? (53) And when they who believe in our signs shall come unto thee, say, Peace be upon you. Your Lord hath prescribed unto himself mercy; so whoever among you worketh evil through ignorance, and afterwards repenteth and amendeth, unto him will he surely be gracious and merciful. (54) Thus have we distinctly propounded our signs, that the path of the wicked might be made known.
∥ (55) Say, Verily I am forbidden to worship the false deities which ye invoke besides God. Say, I will not follow your desires; for then should I err, neither should I be one of those who are rightly directed. (56) Say, I behave according to the plain declaration, which I have received from my Lord; but ye have forged lies concerning him. That which ye desire should be hastened is not in my power; judgment belongeth only unto God; he will determine the truth; and he is the best discerner. (57) Say, If what ye desire should be hastened were in my power, the matter had been determined between me and you: but God well knoweth the unjust. (58) With him are the keys of the secret things; none knoweth them besides himself: he knoweth that which is on the dry land and in the sea: there falleth no leaf but he knoweth it; neither is there a single grain in the dark parts of the earth, neither a green thing, nor a dry thing, but it is written in the perspicuous book. (59) It is he who causeth you to sleep by night, and knoweth what ye merit by day; he also awaketh you therein, that the prefixed term of your lives may be fulfilled; then unto him shall ye return, and he shall declare unto you that which ye have wrought.
∥ (60) He is supreme over his servants, and sendeth the guardian angels to watch over you, until, when death overtaketh one of you, our messengers cause him to die: and they will not neglect our commands.(61) Afterwards shall they return unto God, their true Lord: doth not judgment belong unto him? He is the most quick in taking an account. (62) Say, Who delivereth you from the darkness of the land and of the sea, when ye call upon him humbly and in private, saying, Verily if thou deliver us from these dangers, we will surely be thankful? (63) Say, God delivereth you from them, and from every grief of mind; yet afterwards ye give him companions. (64) Say, He is able to send on you a punishment from above you, or from under your feet, or to engage you in dissension, and to make some of you taste the violence of others. Observe how variously we show forth our signs, that peradventure they may understand. (65) This people hath accused the revelation which thou hast brought of falsehood, although it be the truth. Say, I am not a guardian over you: (66) every prophecy hath its fixed time of accomplishment; and he will hereafter know it.(67) When thou seest those who are engaged in cavilling at or ridiculing our signs, depart from them until they be engaged in some other discourse: and if Satan cause thee to forget this precept, do not sit with the ungodly people after recollection. (68) They who fear God are not at all accountable for them, but their duty is to remember, that they may take heed to themselves. (69) Abandon those who make their religion a sport and a jest, and whom the present life hath deceived; and admonish them by the Qurán, that a soul becometh liable to destruction for that which it committeth; it shall have no patron nor intercessor besides God: (70) and if it could pay the utmost price of redemption, it would not be accepted from it.
∥ (71) They who are delivered over to perdition for that which they have committed shall have boiling water to drink, and shall suffer a grievous punishment, because they have disbelieved. Say, shall we call upon that, besides God, which can neither profit us nor hurt us? and shall we turn back on our heels, after that God hath directed us, like him whom the devils hath infatuated, wandering amazedly in the earth, and yet having companions who call him into the true direction, saying, Come unto us? Say, The direction of God is the true direction: we are commanded to resign ourselves unto the Lord of all creatures; (72) and it is also commanded us, saying, Observe the stated times of prayer, and fear him; for it is he before whom ye shall be assembled. (73) It is he who hath created the heavens and the earth in truth; and whenever he saith unto a thing, Be, it is. (74) His word is the truth; and his will be the kingdom on the day whereon the trumpet shall be sounded: he knoweth whatever is secret, and whatever is public; he is the wise, the knowing.
∥ (75)Call to mind when Abraham said unto his father, Ázar, Dost thou take images for gods? Verily I perceive that thou and thy people are in a manifest error. (76) And thus did we show unto Abraham the kingdom of heaven and earth, that he might become one of those who firmly believe. (77) And when the night overshadowed him, he saw a star, and he said, This is my Lord; but when it set, he said, I like not gods which set. (78) And when he saw the moon rising, he said, This is my Lord; but when he saw it set, he said, Verily if my Lord direct me not, I shall become one of the people who go astray. (79) And when he saw the sun rising, he said, This is my Lord, this is the greatest; but when it set, he said, O my people, verily I am clear of that which ye associate with God:(80) I direct my face unto him who hath created the heavens and the earth; I am orthodox, and am not one of the idolaters. (81) And his people disputed with him: and he said, Will ye dispute with me concerning God? since he hath now directed me, and I fear not that which ye associate with him, unless that my Lord willeth a thing; for my Lord comprehendeth all things by his knowledge: will ye not therefore consider? (82) And how should I fear that which ye associate with God, since ye fear not to have associated with God that concerning which he hath sent down unto you no authority? which therefore of the two parties is the more safe, if ye understand aright?(83) They who believe, and clothe not their faith with injustice, they shall enjoy security, and they are rightly directed.
∥ (84) And this is our argument wherewith we furnished Abraham that he might make use of it against his people: we exalt unto degrees of wisdom and knowledge whom we please; for thy Lord is wise and knowing. (85) And we gave unto them Isaac and Jacob; we directed them both: and Noah had we before directed, and of his posterity David and Solomon; and Job, and Joseph, and Moses, and Aaron: thus do we reward the righteous; (86) and Zacharias, and John, and Jesus, and Elias; all of them were upright men: (87) and Ismael, and Elisha, and Jonas, and Lot; all these have we favoured above the rest of the world; (88) and also divers of their fathers, and their issue, and their brethren; and we chose them, and directed them into the right way. (89) This is the direction of God; he directeth thereby such of his servants as he pleaseth; but if they had been guilty of idolatry, that which they wrought would have become utterly fruitless unto them. (90) Those were the persons unto whom we gave the scripture, and wisdom, and prophecy; but if these believe not therein, we will commit the care of them to a people who shall not disbelieve the same. (91) Those were the persons whom God hath directed, therefore follow their direction. Say unto the inhabitants of Makkah, I ask of you no recompense for preaching the Qurán; it is no other than an admonition unto all creatures.
∥ (92) They make not a due estimation of God, when they say, God hath not sent down unto man anything at all: Say, who sent down the book which Moses brought, a light and a direction unto men; which ye transcribe on papers, whereof ye publish some part, and great part whereof ye conceal? and ye have been taught by Muhammad what ye knew not, neither your fathers. Say, Godsent it down: then leave them to amuse themselves with their vain discourse. (93) This book which we have sent down is blessed; confirming that which was revealed before it; and is delivered unto thee that thou mayest preach it unto the metropolis of Makkah and to those who are round about it. And they who believe in the next life will believe therein, and they will diligently observe their times of prayer. (94) Who is more wicked than he who forgeth a lie concerning God? or saith, This was revealed unto me; when nothing had been revealed unto him? and who saith, I will produce a revelation like unto that which God hath sent down? If thou didst see when the ungodly are in the pangs of death, and the angels reach out their hands, saying, Cast forth your souls; this day shall ye receive an ignominious punishment for that which ye have falsely spoken concerning God; and because ye have proudly rejected his signs. (95) And now are ye come unto us alone, as we created you at first, and ye have left that which we had bestowed on you behind your backs; neither do we see with you your intercessors, whom ye thought to have been partners with God among you: now is the relation between you cut off, and what ye imagined hath deceived you.
∥ (96)(96)God causeth the grain and the date-stone to put forth: he bringeth forth the living from the dead, and he bringeth forth the dead from the living. This isGod. Why therefore are ye turned away from him?(97) He causeth the morning to appear; and hath ordained the night for rest, and the sun and the moon for computing of time. This is the disposition of the mighty, the wise God.(98)(98) It is he who hath ordained the stars for you, that ye may be directed thereby in the darkness of the land and of the sea. We have clearly shown forth our signs unto people who understand. (99)(99) It is he who hath produced you from one soul; and hath provided for you a sure receptacle and a repository. We have clearly shown forth our signs unto people who are wise. (100) It is he who sendeth down water from heaven, and we have thereby produced the springing buds of all things, and have thereout produced the green thing, from which we produce the grain growing in rows, and palm-trees from whose branches proceed clusters of dates hanging close together; and gardens of grapes, and olives, and pomegranates, both like and unlike to one another. Look on their fruits when they bear fruit, and their growing to maturity. Verily herein are signs unto people who believe. (101)(101)Yet they have set up the genii as partners with God, although he created them: and they have falsely attributed unto him sons and daughters, without knowledge. Praise be unto him, and far be that from him which they attribute unto him! He is the maker of heaven and earth: how should he have issue since he hath no consort? he hath created all things, and he is omniscient. (102)(102) This is God your Lord; there is no God but he, the creator of all things; therefore serve him: for he taketh care of all things. (103) The sight comprehendeth him not, but he comprehendeth the sight; he is the gracious, the wise. (104) Now have evident demonstrations come unto you from your Lord; whoso seeth them the advantage thereof will redound to his own soul: and whoso is wilfully blind, the consequence will be to himself. I am not a keeper over you. (105) Thus do we variously explain our signs, that they may say, Thou hast studied diligently, and that we may declare them unto people of understanding. (106) Follow that which hath been revealed unto thee from thy Lord; there is no God but he: retire therefore from the idolaters. (107) If God had so pleased, they had not been guilty of idolatry. We have not appointed thee a keeper over them; neither art thou a guardian over them. (108) Revile not the idols which they invoke besides God, lest they maliciously revile God, without knowledge. Thus have we prepared for every nation their works: hereafter unto God shall they return, and he shall declare unto them that which they have done. (109) They have sworn by God, by the most solemn oath, that if a sign came unto them, they would certainly believe therein: Say, Verily signs are in the power of God alone; and he permitteth you not to understand, that when they come, they will not believe. (110) And we will turn aside their hearts and their sight from the truth, as they believed not therein the first time; and we will leave them to wander in their error.
Eighth Sipara. R .
∥ (111) And though we had sent down angels unto them, and the dead had spoken unto them, and we had gathered together before them all things in one view; they would not have believed, unless God had so pleased: but the greater part of them know it not. (112) Thus have we appointed unto every prophet an enemy; the devils of men, and of genii: who privately suggest the one to the other specious discourses to deceive; but if thy Lord pleased, they would not have done it. Therefore leave them, and that which they have falsely imagined; (113) and let the hearts of those be inclined thereto who believe not in the life to come: and let them please themselves therein, and let them gain that which they are gaining. (114) Shall I seek after any other judge besides Godto judge between us? It is he who hath sent down unto you the book of the Qurán distinguishing between good and evil; and they to whom we gave the scripture know that it is sent down from thy Lord, with truth. Be not therefore one of those who doubt thereof.(115) The words of thy Lord are perfect, in truth and justice; there is none who can change his words: he both heareth and knoweth. (116) But if thou obey the greater part of them who are in the earth, they will lead thee aside from the path of God: they follow an uncertain opinion only, and speak nothing but lies; (117) verily thy Lord well knoweth those who go astray from his path, and well knoweth those who are rightly directed. (118) Eat of that whereon the name of God hath been commemorated, if ye believe in his signs; (119) and why do ye not eat of that whereon the name of God hath been commemorated? since he hath plainly declared unto you what he hath forbidden you; except that which ye be compelled to eat of by necessity: many lead others into error, because of their appetites, being void of knowledge; but thy Lord well knoweth who are the transgressors. (120) Leave both the outside of iniquity and the inside thereof: for they who commit iniquity shall receive the reward of that which they shall have gained. (121)(121) Eat not therefore of that whereon the name of God hath not been commemorated; for this is certainly wickedness: but the devils will suggest unto their friends, that they dispute with you concerning this precept; but if ye obey them, ye are surely idolaters.
∥ (122) Shall he who hath been dead, and whom we have restored unto life and unto whom we have ordained a light, whereby he may walk among men, be as he whose similitude is in darkness, from whence he shall not come forth? Thus was that which the infidels are doing prepared for them. (123) And thus have we placed in every city chief leaders of the wicked men thereof, that they may act deceitfully therein; but they shall act deceitfully against their own souls only; and they know it not. (124) And when a sign cometh unto them, they say, We will by no means believe until a revelation be brought unto us, like unto that which hath been delivered unto the messengers of God.God best knoweth whom he will appoint for his messenger. Vileness in the sight of God shall fall upon those who deal wickedly, and a grievous punishment, for that they have dealt deceitfully. (125) And whomsoever God shall please to direct, he will open his breast to receive the faith of Islám: but whomsoever he shall please to lead into error, he will render his breast straight and narrow, as though he were climbing up to heaven. Thus doth God inflict a terrible punishment on those who believe not. (126) This is the right way of thy Lord. Now have we plainly declared our signs unto those people who will consider. (127) They shall have a dwelling of peace with their Lord, and he shall be their patron, because of that which they have wrought. (128)Think on the day whereon God shall gather them all together, and shall say, O company of genii, ye have been much concerned with mankind; and their friends from among mankind shall say, O Lord, the one of us hath received advantage from the other, and we are arrived at our limited term which thou hast appointed us. God will say, Hell fire shall be your habitation, therein shall ye remain forever; unless as God shall please to mitigate your pains, for thy Lordis wise and knowing. (129) Thus do we set some of the unjust over others of them, because of that which they have deserved.
∥ (130) O company of genii and men, did not messengers from among yourselves come unto you, rehearsing my signs unto you, and forewarning you of the meeting of this your day? They shall answer, We bear witness against ourselves: the present life deceived them: and they shall bear witness against themselves that they were unbelievers. (131) This hath been the method of God’s dealings with his creatures, because thy Lord would not destroy the cities in their iniquity, while their inhabitants were careless. (132) Every one shall have degrees of recompense of that which they shall do; (133) for thy Lord is not regardless of that which they do, and thy Lord is self-sufficient and endued with mercy. If he pleaseth he can destroy you, and cause such as he pleaseth to succeed you, in like manner as he produced you from the posterity of other people. (134) Verily that which is threatened you, shall surely come to pass; neither shall ye cause it to fail. (135) Say unto those of Makkah, O my people, act according to your power; verily I will act according to my duty: and hereafter shall ye know whose will be the reward of paradise. The ungodly shall not prosper. (136)Those of Makkah set apart unto God a portion of that which he hath produced of the fruits of the earth, and of cattle; and say, This belongeth unto God (according to their imagination), and this unto our companions. And that which is destined for their companions cometh not unto God; yet that which is set apart unto God cometh unto their companions. How ill do they judge! (137) In like manner have their companions induced many of the idolaters to slay their children, that they might bring them to perdition, and that they might render their religion obscure and confused unto them. But if God had pleased, they had not done this: therefore leave them and that which they falsely imagine. (138) They also say, These cattle and fruits of the earth are sacred; none shall eat thereof but who we please (according to their imagination); and there are cattle whose backs are forbidden to be rode on, or laden with burdens; and there are cattle on which they commemorate not the name of Godwhen they slay them; devising a lie against him. God shall reward them for that which they falsely devise. (139) And they say, That which is in the bellies of these cattle is allowed to our males to eat, and is forbidden to our wives: but if it prove abortive, then they are both partakers thereof. God shall give them the reward of their attributing these things to him: he is knowing and wise. (140) They are utterly lost who have slain their children foolishly, without knowledge; and have forbidden that which God hath given them for food, devising a lie against God. They have erred, and were not rightly directed.
∥ (141) He it is who produceth gardens of vines, both those which are supported on trails of wood, and those which are not supported, and palm-trees, and the corn affording various food, and olives, and pomegranates, alike and unlike unto one another. Eat of their fruit when they bear fruit, and pay the due thereof on the day whereon ye shall gather it; but be not profuse, for God loveth not those who are too profuse. (142) And God hath given you some cattle fit for bearing of burdens, and some fit for slaughter only. Eat of what God hath given you for food; and follow not the steps of Satan, for he is your declared enemy. (143) Four pair of cattle hath God given you; of sheep one pair, and of goats one pair. Say unto them, Hath God forbidden the two males, of sheep and of goats, or the two females; or that which the wombs of the two females contain? Tell me with certainty, if ye speak truth. (144) And of camels hath God given you one pair, and of oxen one pair. Say, hath he forbidden the two males of these, or the two females; or that which the wombs of the two females contain? Were ye present when God commanded you this? And who is more unjust than he who deviseth a lie against God, that he may seduce men without understanding? Verily God directed not unjust people.
∥ (145) Say, I find not in that which hath been revealed unto me anything forbidden unto the eater, that he eat it not, except it be that which dieth of itself, or blood poured forth, or swine’s flesh; for this is an abomination: or that which is profane, having been slain in the name of some other than of God. But whoso shall be compelled by necessity to eat of these things, not lusting, nor wilfully transgressing, verily thy Lordwill be gracious unto him and merciful. (146) Unto the Jews did we forbid every beast having an undivided hoof; and of bullocks and sheep, we forbade them the fat of both; except that which should be on their backs, or their inwards, or which should be intermixed with the bone. This have we rewarded them with, because of their iniquity; and we are surely speakers of truth. (147) If they accuse thee of imposture, say, Your Lord is endued with extensive mercy; but his severity shall not be averted from wicked people. (148) The idolaters will say, If God had pleased, we had not been guilty of idolatry, neither our fathers; and pretend that we have not forbidden them anything. Thus did they who were before them accuse the prophets of imposture, until they tasted our severe punishment. Say, Is there with you any certain knowledge of what ye allege, that ye may produce it unto us? Ye follow only a false imagination; and ye utter only lies. (149) Say, therefore, Unto Godbelongeth the most evident demonstration; for if he had pleased, he had directed you all. (150) Say, Produce your witnesses, who can bear testimony that God hath forbidden this. But if they bear testimony of this, do not thou bear testimony with them, nor do thou follow the desires of those who accuse our signs of falsehood, and who believe not in the life to come, and equalise idols with their Lord.
∥ (151) Say, Come; I will rehearse that which your Lord hath forbidden you; that is to say, that ye be not guilty of idolatry, and that ye show kindness to your parents, and that ye murder not your children for fear lest ye be reduced to poverty; we will provide for you and them; and draw not near unto heinous crimes, neither openly nor in secret; and slay not the soul which God hath forbidden you to slay, unless for a just cause. This hath he enjoined you that ye may understand. (152) And meddle not with the substance of the orphan, otherwise than for the improving thereof, until he attain his age of strength: and use a full measure, and a just balance. We will not impose a task on any soul beyond its ability. And when ye pronounce judgment observe justice, although it be for or against one who is near of kin, and fulfil the covenant of God. This hath God commanded you, that ye may be admonished; (153) and that ye may know that this is my right way: therefore follow it, and follow not the path of others, lest ye be scattered from the path of God. This hath he commanded you, that ye may take heed. (154) We gave also unto Moses the book of the law; a perfect rule unto him who should do right, and a determination concerning all things needful, and a direction and mercy; that the children of Israel might believe the meeting of their Lord.
∥ (155) And this book which we have now sent down is blessed; therefore follow it, and fear God that ye may obtain mercy: (156) lest ye should say, The scriptures were only sent down unto two people before us; and we neglected to peruse them with attention: (157) or lest ye should say, If a book of divine revelations had been sent down unto us, we should surely have been better directed than they. And now hath a manifest declaration come unto you from your Lord, and a direction and mercy: and who is more unjust than he who deviseth lies against the signs of God, and turneth aside from them? We will reward those who turn aside from our signs with a grievous punishment, because they have turned aside. (158) Do they wait for any other than that the angels should come unto them, to part their souls from heir bodies, or that thy Lord should come to punish them; or that some of the signs of thy Lord should come to pass, showing the day of judgment to be at hand? On the day whereon some of thy Lord’s signs shall come to pass, its faith shall not profit a soul which believed not before, or wrought not good in its faith. Say, Wait ye for this day; we surely do wait for it.(159) They who make a division in their religion and become sectaries, have thou nothing to do with them; their affair belongeth only unto God. Hereafter shall he declare unto them that which they have done. (160) He who shall appear with good works shall receive a tenfold recompense for the same; but he who shall appear with evil works shall receive only an equal punishment for the same; and they shall not be treated unjustly. (161) Say, Verily my Lord hath directed me into a right way, (162) a true religion, the sect of Abraham the orthodox; and he was no idolater. (163) Say, Verily my prayers, and my worship, and my life, and my death are dedicated unto God, the Lord of all creatures: he hath no companion. This have I been commanded: I am the first Muslim. (164) Say, Shall I desire any other Lord besides God? since he is the Lord of all things; and no soul shall acquire any merits or demerits but for itself; and no burdened soul shall bear the burden of another. Moreover, unto your Lord shall ye return; and he shall declare unto you that concerning which ye now dispute. (165) It is he who hath appointed you to succeed your predecessors in the earth, and hath raised some of you above others by various degrees of worldly advantages, that he might prove you by that which he hath bestowed on you. Thy Lord is swift in punishing; and he is also gracious and merciful.[Back to Table of Contents]
ENTITLED SURAT AL ARÁF (THE PARTITION WALL).
This chapter owes its title to the reference to the partition wall between heaven and hell in ver. 4, which is called al Aráf. It may be said to contain Muhammad’s vindication of his prophetic claims. Accordingly, it abounds with stories of the experiences of former prophets, and of the judgments that overtook those who refused to accept their doctrine and the signs of their prophetic authority. Even the most careless reader can hardly fail to see that all these prophets are facsimiles of Muhammad himself. Their character and authority, their message and accompanying claims to inspiration, the incredulity and hardness of heart shown by the tribes to whom they were sent, the consequent rejection of the prophets, and the threatenings of the sudden and dreadful judgments of God upon unbelievers, all these correspond to the experience of Muhammad; and the inference suggested by each story is that the rejection of the Prophet of Makkah would bring with it judgments on the Quraish similar to and dreadful as those which befell those tribes who rejected the former prophets.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
The allusion to a famine in ver. 95 (compare chap. x. 22, 23, and xxiii. 77-79), and a subsequent period of prosperity in ver. 96, together with the tone of the whole chapter, point to a period immediately preceding the Hijra as the date to which it should be assigned.
The only passages to be excepted are vers. 158-160, and 164-171. The former of these passages evidently belongs to Madína, as appears: (1) From the title, Illiterate Prophet, or Gentile Prophet, as contrasted with the prophets of Judaism and Christianity. This contrast points to Madína rather than to Makkah. (2.) From the expression the law and the gospel, which, as Nöeldeke points out, never occurs in other than Madína revelations. (3.) From the words and assist him, which certainly refer to the Ansárs or helpers of Madína; and (4.) From the fact that this passage breaks the thread of discourse at ver. 157, which is taken up again at ver. 161. This passage was probably added by Muhammad himself at Madína.
Most commentators agree. also, in referring vers. 164-171 to Madína. Nöeldeke, however, differs from them, and regards it as belonging to Makkah. When, however, it is remembered that Muhammad’s custom in the Qurán is to give the most detailed accounts of Jewish history and tradition in the earliest chapters containing such narratives, afterward alluding to the same stories with more or less brevity, it must be granted that this passage belongs to Madína, inasmuch as the substance of it is given at length in the early Madína chapters.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) A. L. M. S. (2) A book hath been sent down unto thee: and therefore let there be no doubt in thy breast concerning it; that thou mayest preach the same, and that it may be an admonition unto the faithful. (3) Follow that which hath been sent down unto you from your Lord: and follow no guides besides him: how little will ye be warned! (4) How many cities have we destroyed; which our vengeance overtook by night, or while they were reposing themselves at noon-day! (5) And their supplication, when our punishment came upon them, was no other than that they said, Verily we have been unjust. (6) We will surely call those to an account unto whom a prophet hath been sent; and we will also call those to account who have been sent unto them. (7) And we will declare their actions unto them with knowledge; for we are not absent from them.(8) The weighing of men’s actions on that day shall be just; and they whose balances laden with their good works shall be heavy, are those who shall be happy; (9) but they whose balances shall be light, are those who have lost their souls, because they injured our signs. (10) And now have we placed you on the earth, and have provided you food therein; but how little are ye thankful!
∥ (11) We created you, and afterwards formed you; and then said unto the angels, Worship Adam; and they all worshipped him, except Iblís, who was not one of those who worshipped. (12)God said unto him, What hindered thee from worshipping Adam, since I had commanded thee? He answered, I am more excellent than he: thou hast created me of fire, and hast created him of clay. (13) God said, Get thee down therefore from paradise; for it is not fit that thou behave thyself proudly therein: get thee hence; thou shalt be one of the contemptible. (14) He answered, Give me respite until the day of resurrection. (15)God said, Verily thou shalt be one of those who are respited. (16) The devil said, Because thou hast depraved me, I will lay wait for men in thy strait way; (17) then will I come upon them from before, and from behind, and from their right hands, and from their left; and thou shalt not find the greater part of them thankful. (18)God said unto him, Get thee hence, despised, and driven far away: (19) verily whoever of them shall follow thee, I will surely fill hell with you all.
∥ (20) But as for thee, O Adam, dwell thou and thy wife in paradise; and eat of the fruit thereof wherever ye will; but approach not this tree, lest ye become of the number of the unjust. (21) And Satan suggested to them both, that he would discover unto them their nakedness, which was hidden from them; and he said, Your Lord hath not forbidden you this tree for any other reason but lest ye should become angels, or lest ye become immortal. (22) And he sware unto them, saying, Verily, I am one of those who counsel you aright. (23) And he caused them to fall through deceit. And when they had tasted of the tree, their nakedness appeared unto them; and they began to join together the leaves of paradise, to cover themselves. And their Lord called to them, saying, Did I not forbid you this tree: and did I not say unto you, Verily Satan is your declared enemy? (24) They answered, O Lord, we have dealt unjustly with our own souls; and if thou forgive us not, and be not merciful unto us, we shall surely be of those who perish. (25)God said, Get ye down, the one of you an enemy unto the other; and ye shall have a dwelling-place upon the earth, and a provision for a season. (26) He said, Therein shall ye live, and therein shall ye die, and from thence shall ye be taken forth at the resurrection.
∥ (27) O children of Adam, we have sent down unto you apparel, to conceal your nakedness, and fair garments; but the clothing of piety is better. This is one of the signs of God; that peradventure ye may consider. (28) O children of Adam, let not Satan seduce you, as he expelled your parents out of paradise, by stripping them of their clothing, that he might show them their nakedness: verily he seeth you, both he and his companions, whereas ye see not them.—We have appointed the devils to be patrons of those who believe not: (29)(29) and when they commit a filthy action, they say, We found our fathers practising the same; and God hath commanded us to do it. Say, Verily God commandeth not filthy actions. Do ye speak concerning God that which ye know not? (30)(30) Say, My Lord hath commanded me to observe justice; therefore set your faces to pray at every place of worship, and call upon him, approving unto him the sincerity of your religion. As he produced you at first, so unto him shall ye return. (31) A part of mankind hath he directed; and a part hath been justly led into error, because they have taken the devils for their patrons besides God, and imagine they are rightly directed. (32)(32) O children of Adam, take your decent apparel at every place of worship, and eat and drink, but be not guilty of excess; for he loveth not those who are guilty of excess.
∥ (33)(33) Say, Who hath forbidden the decent apparel of God, which he hath produced for his servants, and the good things which he hath provided for food? Say, these things are for those who believe, in this present life, but peculiarly on the day of resurrection. Thus do we distinctly explain our signs unto people who understand. (34)(34) Say, Verily my Lord hath forbidden filthy actions, both that which is discovered thereof, and that which is concealed, and also iniquity and unjust violence; and hath forbidden you to associate with God that concerning which he hath sent you down no authority, or to speak of God that which ye know not. (35) Unto every nation there is a prefixed term; therefore when their term is expired, they shall not have respite for an hour, neither shall they be anticipated. (36) O children of Adam, verily apostles from among you shall come unto you, who shall expound my signs unto you: whosoever therefore shall fear God and amend, there shall come no fear on them, neither shall they be grieved. (37) But they who shall accuse our signs of falsehood, and shall proudly reject them, they shall be the companions of hell-fire; they shall remain therein for ever. (38)(38) And who is more unjust than he who deviseth a lie concerning God, or accuseth his signs of imposture? Unto these shall be given their portion of worldly happiness, according to what is written in the book of God’s decrees, until our messengers come unto them, and shall cause them to die; saying, Where are the idols which ye called upon besides God? They shall answer, They have disappeared from us. And they shall bear witness against themselves that they were unbelievers. (39)God shall say unto them at the resurrection, Enter ye with the nations which have preceded you, of genii and of men, into hell-fire; so often as one nation shall enter, it shall curse its sister, until they shall all have successively entered therein. The latter of them shall say of the former of them: O Lord, these have seduced us, therefore inflict on them a double punishment of the fire of hell. God shall answer, It shall be doubled unto all: but ye know it not: (40) and the former of them shall say unto the latter of them, Ye have not therefore any favour above us; taste the punishment for that which ye have gained.
∥ (41) Verily they who shall charge our signs with falsehood, and shall proudly reject them, the gates of heaven shall not be opened unto them, neither shall they enter into paradise, until a camel pass through the eye of a needle, and thus will we reward the wicked doers. (42) Their couch shall be in hell, and over them shall be coverings of fire; and thus will we reward the unjust. (43) But they who believe, and do that which is right (we will not load any soul but according to its ability), they shall be the companions of Paradise; they shall remain therein for ever. (44) And we will remove all grudges from their minds; rivers shall run at their feet, and they shall say, Praised be God, who hath directed us into this felicity! For we should not have been rightly directed if God had not directed us; now are we convinced by demonstration that the apostles of our Lord came unto us with truth. And it shall be proclaimed unto them, This is Paradise, whereof ye are made heirs as a reward for that which ye have wrought. (45) And the inhabitants of Paradise shall call out to the inhabitants of hell-fire, saying, Now have we found that which our Lord promised us to be true: have ye also found that which your Lord promised you to be true? They shall answer, Yea. And a crier shall proclaim between them, The curse of Godshall be on the wicked; (46) who turn men aside from the way of God, and seek to render it crooked, and who deny the life to come. (47) And between the blessed and the damned there shall be a veil; and men shall stand on Al Aráf who shall know every one of them by their marks; and shall call unto the inhabitants of paradise, saying, Peace be upon you: yet they shall not enter therein, although they earnestly desire it. (48) And when they shall turn their eyes towards the companions of hell-fire, they say, O Lord, place us not with the ungodly people!
∥ (49) And those who stand on Al Aráf shall call unto certain men, whom they shall know by their marks, and shall say, What hath your gathering of riches availed you, and that you were puffed up with pride? (50) Are these the men on whom you swear that God would not bestow mercy? Enter ye into Paradise; there shall come no fear on you, neither shall ye be grieved. (51) And the inhabitants of hell-fire shall call unto the inhabitants of Paradise, saying, Pour upon us some water, or of those refreshments which God hath bestowed on you. They shall answer, Verily God hath forbidden them unto the unbelievers, (52)(52) who made a laughing-stock and a sport of their religion, and whom the life of the world hath deceived: therefore this day will we forget them, as they did forget the meeting of this day, and for that they denied our signs to be from God.(53)(53) And now have we brought unto those of Makkah a book of divine revelations: we have explained it with knowledge; a direction and mercy unto people who shall believe. (54) Do they wait for any other than the interpretation thereof? On the day whereon the interpretation thereof shall come, they who had forgotten the same before shall say, Now are we convinced by demonstration that the messengers of our Lord came unto us with truth: shall we therefore have any intercessors, who will intercede for us? or shall we be sent back into the world, that we may do other works than what we did in our lifetime? But now have they lost their souls; and that which they impiously imagined hath fled from them.
∥ (55) Verily, your Lord is God, who created the heavens and the earth in six days; and then ascended his throne: he causeth the night to cover the day; it succeedeth the same swiftly: he also created the sun, and the moon, and the stars, which are absolutely subject unto his command. Is not the whole creation and the empire thereof his? Blessed be God, the Lord of all creatures! (56) Call unto your Lord humbly and in secret; for he loveth not those who transgress. (57) And act not corruptly in the earth after its reformation; and call upon him with fear and desire: for the mercy of God is near unto the righteous. (58) It is he who sendeth the winds, spread abroad before his mercy, until they bring a cloud heavy with rain, which we drive into a dead country; and we cause water to descend thereon, by which we cause all sorts of fruits to spring forth. Thus will we bring forth the dead from their graves; that peradventure ye may consider. (59) From a good country shall its fruit spring forth abundantly, by the permission of its Lord; but from the land which is bad it shall not spring forth otherwise than scarcely. Thus do we explain the signs of divine providence unto people who are thankful.
∥ (60) We formerly sent Noah unto his people: and he said, O my people, worship God: ye have no other God than him. Verily I fear for you the punishment of the great day. (61) The chiefs of his people answered him, We surely perceive thee to be in a manifest error. (62) He replied, O my people, there is no error in me; but I am a messenger from the Lord of all creatures. (63) I bring unto you the messages of my Lord; and I counsel you aright; for I know from God, that which ye know not. (64) Do ye wonder that an admonition hath come unto you from your Lord by a man from among you, to warn you, that ye may take heed to yourselves, and that peradventure ye may obtain mercy? (65) And they accused him of imposture: but we delivered him and those who were with him in the ark, and we drowned those who charged our signs with falsehood; for they were a blind people.
∥ (66) And unto the tribe of Ád we sent their brother Húd. He said, O my people, worship God: ye have no other God than him; will ye not fear him? (67) The chiefs of those among his people who believed not answered, Verily we perceive that thou art guided by folly; and we certainly esteem thee to be one of the liars. (68) He replied, O my people, I am not guided by folly; but I am a messenger unto you from the Lord of all creatures. (69) I bring unto you the messages of my Lord; and I am a faithful counsellor unto you. (70) Do ye wonder that an admonition hath come unto you from your Lord by a man from among you, that he may warn you? Call to mind how he hath appointed you successors unto the people of Noah, and hath added unto you in stature largely. Remember the benefits of God, that ye may prosper. (71) They said, Art thou come unto us, that we should worship God alone, and leave the deities which our fathers worshipped? Now bring down that judgment upon us with which thou threatenest us, if thou speakest truth. Húd answered, Now shall there suddenly fall upon you from your Lord vengeance and indignation. (72) Will ye dispute with me concerning the names which ye have named and your fathers, as to which God hath not revealed unto you any authority? (73) Do ye wait therefore, and I will be one of those who wait with you. And we delivered him, and them who believed with him, by our mercy; and we cut off the uttermost part of those who charged our signs with falsehood, and were not believers.
∥ (74) And unto the tribe of Thamúd we sent their brother Sálih. He said, O my people, worship God: ye have no God besides him. Now hath a manifest proof come unto you from your Lord. This she-camel of Godis a sign unto you: therefore dismiss her freely, that she may feed in God’s earth; and do her no hurt, lest a painful punishment seize you. (75) And call to mind how he hath appointed you successors unto the tribe of Ád, and hath given you a habitation on earth; ye build yourselves castles on the plains thereof, and cut out the mountains into houses. Remember therefore the benefits of God, and commit not violence in the earth, acting corruptly. (76) The chiefs among his people who were puffed up with pride, said unto those who were esteemed weak, namely, unto those who believed among them, Do ye know that Sálih hath been sent from his Lord? They answered, We do surely believe in that wherewith he hath been sent. (77) Those who were elated with pride replied, Verily we believe not in that wherein ye believe. (78) And they cut off the feet of the camel, and insolently transgressed the command of their Lord, and said, O Sálih, cause that to come upon us which thou hast threatened us, if thou art one of those who have been sent by God.(79) Whereupon a terrible noise from heaven assailed them; and in the morning they were found in their dwellings prostrate on their breasts and dead.(80) And Sâlih departed from them, and said, O my people, now have I delivered unto you the message of my Lord, and I advised you well, but ye love not those who advise you well. (81) And remember Lot, when he said unto his people, Do ye commit a wickedness wherein no creature hath sent you an example? (82) Do ye approach lustfully unto men, leaving the women? Certainly ye are people who transgress all modesty.(83) But the answer of his people was no other than that they said the one to the other, Expel them your city; for they are men who preserve themselves pure from the crimes which ye commit.(84) Therefore we delivered him and his family, except his wife; she was one of those who stayed behind: and we rained a shower of stones upon them. (85) Behold therefore what was the end of the wicked.
(86) And unto Madian we sent their brother Shuaib. He said unto them. O my people, worship God; ye have no God besides him. Now hath an evident demonstration come unto you from your Lord. Therefore give full measure and just weight, and diminish not unto men aught of their matters: neither act corruptly in the earth after its reformation. This will be better for you, if ye believe. (87) And beset not every way, threatening the passenger, and turning aside from the path of God him who believeth in him, and seeking to make it crooked. And remember, when ye were few and God multiplied you: and behold what hath been the end of those who acted corruptly. (88) And if part of you believe in that wherewith I am sent, and part believe not, wait patiently until God judge between us; for he is the best judge.
∥ (89) The chiefs of his people, who were elated with pride, answered, We will surely cast thee, O Shuaib, and those who believe with thee, out of our city: or else thou shalt certainly return unto our religion. He said, What! though we be averse thereto? (90) We shall surely imagine a lie against God if we return unto your religion, after that God hath delivered us from the same: and we have no reason to return unto it, unless God our Lord shall please to abandon us. Our Lord comprehendeth everything by his knowledge. In God do we put our trust. O Lord, do thou judge between us and our nation with truth; for thou art the best judge. (91) And the chiefs of his people who believed not said, If ye follow Shuaib, ye shall surely perish. (92) Therefore a storm from heaven assailed them, and in the morning they were found in their dwellings dead and prostrate. (93) They who accused Shuaib of imposture became as though they had never dwelt therein; they who accused Shuaib of imposture perished themselves. (94) And he departed from them, and said, O my people, now have I performed unto you the messages of my Lord; and I advised you aright: but why should I be grieved for an unbelieving people?
∥ (95) We have never sent any prophet unto a city but we afflicted the inhabitants thereof with calamity and adversity, that they might humble themselves. (96) Then we gave them in exchange good in lieu of evil, until they abounded, and said, Adversity and prosperity formerly happened unto our fathers as unto us. Therefore we took vengeance on them suddenly, and they perceived it not beforehand.(97) But if the inhabitants of those cities had believed and feared God, we would surely have opened to them blessings both from heaven and earth. But they charged our apostles with falsehood, wherefore we took vengeance on them for that which they had been guilty of. (98) Were the inhabitants therefore of those cities secure that our punishment should not fall on them by night while they slept? (99) Or were the inhabitants of those cities secure that our punishment should not fall on them by day while they sported? (100) Were they therefore secure from the stratagem of God? But none will think himself secure from the stratagem of God except the people who perish.
∥ (101) And hath it not manifestly appeared unto those who have inherited the earth after the former inhabitants thereof, that if we please we can afflict them for their sins? But we will seal up their hearts, and they shall not hearken. (102) We will relate unto thee some stories of these cities. Their apostles had come unto them with evident miracles, but they were not disposed to believe in that which they had before gainsaid. Thus will God seal up the hearts of the unbelievers. (103) And we found not in the greater part of them any observance of their covenant; but we found the greater part of them wicked doers. (104) Then we sent after the above-named apostles Moses with our signs unto Pharaoh and his princes, who treated them unjustly; but behold what was the end of the corrupt doers? (105) And Moses said, O Pharaoh, verily I am an apostle sent from the Lord of all creatures. (106) It is just that I should not speak of God other than the truth. Now am I come unto you with an evident sign from your Lord: send therefore the children of Israel away with me. Pharaoh answered, If thou comest with a sign, produce it, if thou speakest truth. (107) Wherefore he cast down his rod; and behold, it became a visible serpent. (108) And he drew forth his hand out of his bosom; and behold, it appeared white unto the spectators.
∥ (109) The chiefs of the people of Pharaoh said, This man is certainly an expert magician: (110) he seeketh to dispossess you of your land. What therefore do ye direct? (111) They answered, Put off him and his brother by fair promises for some time, and in the mean while send unto the cities persons, (112) who may assemble and bring unto thee every expert magician. (113) So the magicians came unto Pharaoh; (114) and they said, Shall we surely receive a reward if we do overcome? (115) He answered, Yea; and ye shall certainly be of those who approach near unto my throne. (116) They said, O Moses, either do thou cast down thy rod first, or we will cast down ours. Moses answered, Do ye cast down your rods first.(117) And when they had cast them down, they enchanted the eyes of the men who were present, and terrified them; and they performed a great enchantment. (118) And we spake by revelation unto Moses, saying, Throw down thy rod. And behold, it swallowed up the rods which they had caused falsely to appear changed into serpents. (119) Wherefore the truth was confirmed, and that which they had wrought vanished. (120) And Pharaoh and his magicians were overcome there, and were rendered contemptible. (121) And the magicians prostrated themselves, worshipping; (122) and they said, We believe in the Lord of all creatures, (123) the Lord of Moses and Aaron. (124) Pharaoh said, Have ye believed on him before I have given you permission? Verily this is a plot which ye have contrived in the city, that ye might cast forth from thence the inhabitants thereof. But ye shall surely know that I am your master;(125)for I will cause your hands and your feet to be cut off on the opposite sides, then I will cause you all to be crucified. (126) The magicians answered, We shall certainly return unto our Lordin the next life;(127) for thou takest vengeance on us only because we have believed in the signs of our Lord when they have come unto us. O Lord, pour on us patience, and cause us to die Muslims.
∥ (128) And the chiefs of Pharaoh’s people said, Wilt thou let Moses and his people go, that they may act corruptly in the earth, and leave thee and thy gods? Pharaoh answered, We will cause their male children to be slain, and we will suffer their females to live; and by that means we shall prevail over them. (129) Moses said unto his people, Ask assistance of God and suffer patiently: for the earth is God’s; he giveth it for an inheritance unto such of his servants as he pleaseth; and the prosperous end shall be unto those who fear him.(130) They answered, We have been afflicted by having our male children slain before thou camest unto us, and also since thou hast come unto us. Moses said, Peradventure it may happen that our Lord will destroy your enemy, and will cause you to succeed him in the earth, that he may see how ye will act therein.
∥ (131) And we formerly punished the people of Pharaoh with dearth and scarcity of fruits, that they might be warned. (132) Yet when good happened unto them, they said, This is owing unto us; but if evil befell them, they attributed the same to the ill-luck of Moses, and those who were with him. Was not their ill-luck with God? But most of them knew it not. (133) And they said unto Moses, Whatever sign thou show unto us, to enchant us therewith, we will not believe on thee. (134) Wherefore we sent upon them a flood, and locusts, and lice, and frogs and blood; distinct miracles: but they behaved proudly, and became a wicked people. (135) And when the plague fell on them, they said, O Moses, entreat thy Lord for us, according to that which he hath covenanted with thee; verily if thou take the plague from off us, we will surely believe thee, and we will let the children of Israel go with thee. But when he had taken the plague from off them until the term which God had granted them was expired, behold they broke their promise. (136) Wherefore we took vengeance on them, and drowned them in the Red Sea; because they charged our signs with falsehood, and neglected them. (137) And we caused the people who had been rendered weak to inherit the eastern parts of the earth and the western parts thereof, which we blessed with fertility; and the gracious word of thy Lord was fulfilled on the children of Israel, for that they had endured with patience: and we destroyed the structures which Pharaoh and his people had made, and that which they had erected.
∥ (138) And we caused the children of Israel to pass through the sea, and they came unto a people who gave themselves up to the worship of their idols, and they said, O Moses, make us a god, in like manner as these people have gods. Moses answered, Verily ye are an ignorant people: (139) for the religion which these follow will be destroyed, and that which they do is vain. (140) He said, Shall I seek for you any other god than God, since he hath preferred you to the rest of the world? (141) And remember when we delivered you from the people of Pharaoh, who grievously oppressed you; they slew your male children, and let your females live: therein was a great trial from your Lord.
∥ (142) And we appointed unto Moses a fast of thirty nights before we gave him the law, and we completed them by adding of ten more; and the stated time of his Lord was fulfilled in forty nights. And Moses said unto his brother Aaron, Be thou my deputy among my people during my absence; and behave uprightly, and follow not the way of the corrupt doers. (143) And when Moses came at our appointed time, and his Lord spake unto him, he said, O Lord, show me thy glory, that I may behold thee. God answereth, Thou shalt in no wise behold me; but look towards the mountain, and if it stand firm in its place, then thou shalt see me. But when his Lord appeared with glory in the mount, he reduced it to dust. And Moses fell down in a swoon. And when he came to himself he said, Praise be unto thee! I turn unto thee with repentance, and I am the first of true believers. (144)God said unto him, O Moses, I have chosen thee above all men, by honouring thee with my commissions, and by my speaking unto thee: receive therefore that which I have brought thee, and be one of those who give thanks. (145) And we wrote for him on the tables an admonition concerning every matter, and a decision in every case, and said, Receive this with reverence; and command thy people that they live according to the most excellent precepts thereof. I will show you the dwelling of the wicked. (146) I will turn aside from my signs those who behave themselves proudly in the earth, without justice: and although they see every sign, yet they shall not believe therein; and although they see the way of righteousness, yet they shall not take that way; but if they see the way of error, they shall take that way. (147) This shall come to pass because they accuse our signs of imposture, and neglect the same. But as for them who deny the truth of our signs and the meeting of the life to come, their works shall be vain: shall they be rewarded otherwise than according to what they shall have wrought?
∥ (148) And the people of Moses, after his departure, took a corporeal calf, made of their ornaments, which lowed. Did they not see that it spake not unto them, neither directed them in the way? yet they took it for their god, and acted wickedly. (149) But when they repented with sorrow, and saw that they had gone astray, they said, Verily if our Lord have not mercy upon us, and forgive us not, we shall certainly become of the number of those who perish. (150) And when Moses returned unto his people, full of wrath and indignation, he said, An evil thing is it that ye have committed after my departure; have ye hastened the command of your Lord? And he threw down the tables, and took his brother by the hair of the head, and dragged him unto him. And Aaron said unto him, Son of my mother, verily the people prevailed against me, and it wanted little but they had slain me: make not my enemies therefore to rejoice over me, neither place me with the wicked people. (151)Moses said, O Lord, forgive me and my brother, and receive us into thy mercy; for thou art the most merciful of those who exercise mercy.
∥ (152) Verily as for them who took the calf for their god, indignation shall overtake them from their Lord, and ignominy in this life: thus will we reward those who imagine falsehood. (153) But unto them who do evil, and afterwards repent, and believe in God, verily thy Lordwill thereafter be clement and merciful. (154) And when the anger of Moses was appeased, he took the tables; and in what was written thereon was a direction and mercy unto those who feared their Lord.(155) And Moses chose out of his people seventy men, to go up with him to the mountain at the time appointed by us: and when a storm of thunder and lightning had taken them away, he said, O Lord, if thou hadst pleased, thou hadst destroyed them before, and me also; wilt thou destroy us for that which the foolish men among us have committed? This is only thy trial; thou wilt thereby lead into error whom thou pleasest, and thou wilt direct whom thou pleasest. Thou art our protector, therefore forgive us, and be merciful unto us; for thou art the best of those who forgive. (156) And write down for us good in this world, and in the life to come; for unto thee are we directed. God answered, I will inflict my punishment on whom I please; and my mercy extendeth over all things; and I will write down good unto those who shall fear me, (157) and give alms, and who shall believe in our signs; (158) who shall follow the apostle, the illiterate prophet, whom they shall find written down with them in the law and the gospel: he will command them that which is just, and will forbid them that which is evil, and will allow them as lawful the good things which were before forbidden, and will prohibit those which are bad; and he will ease them of their heavy burden, and of the yokes which were upon them. And those who believe in him, and honour him, and assist him, and follow the light, which hath been sent down with him, shall be happy.
∥ (159) Say, O men, Verily I am the messenger of God unto you all: unto him belongeth the kingdom of heaven and earth; there is no God but he; he giveth life, and he causeth to die. Believe therefore in God and his apostle, the illiterate prophet, who believeth in God and his word; and follow him, that ye may be rightly directed. (160) Of the people of Moses there is a party who direct others with truth, and act justly according to the same. (161) And we divided them into twelve tribes, as into so many nations. And we spake by revelation unto Moses when his people asked drink of him, and we said, Strike the rock with thy rod; and there gushed thereout twelve fountains, and men knew their respective drinking-place. And we caused clouds to overshadow them, and manna and quails to descend upon them, saying, Eat of the good things which we have given you for food: and they injured not us, but they injured their own souls. (162) And call to mind when it was said unto them, Dwell in this city, and eat of the provisions thereof wherever ye will, and say, Forgiveness; and enter the gate worshipping: we will pardon you your sins, and will give increase unto the well-doers. (163) But they who were ungodly among them changed the expression into another, which had not been spoken unto them. Wherefore we sent down upon them indignation from heaven, because they transgressed.
(164) And ask them concerning the city, which was situate on the sea, when they transgressed on the Sabbathday: when their fish came unto them on their Sabbathday, appearing openly on the water: but on the day whereon they celebrated no Sabbath, they came not unto them. Thus did we prove them, because they were wickeddoers. (165) And when a party of them said unto the others, Why do ye warn a people whom God will destroy, or will punish with a grievous punishment? They answered, Thisis an excuse for us unto your Lord, and peradventure they will beware. (166) But when they had forgotten the admonitions which had been given them, we delivered those who forbade them to do evil; and we inflicted on those who had transgressed a severe punishment, because they had acted wickedly. (167) And when they proudly refused to desist from what had been forbidden them, we said unto them, Be ye transformed into apes, driven away from the society of men. (168) And remember when thy Lord declared that he would surely send against the Jews until the day of resurrection some nation who should afflict them with a grievous oppression; for thy Lord is swift in punishing, and he is also ready to forgive, and merciful: (169) and we dispersed them among the nations in the earth. Some of them are upright persons, and some of them are otherwise. And we proved them with prosperity and with adversity, that they might return from their disobedience;(170) and a succession of their posterity hath succeeded after them, who have inherited the book of the law, who receive the temporal goods of this world, and say, It will surely be forgiven us: and if a temporal advantage like the former be offered them, they accept it also. Is it not the covenant of the book of the law established with them, that they should not speak of Godaught but the truth? Yet they diligently read that which is therein. But the enjoyment of the next life will be better for those who fear God than the wicked gains of these people: (Do ye not therefore understand?) (171) and for those who hold fast the book of the law, and are constant at prayer: for we will by no means suffer the reward of the righteous to perish. (172) And when we shook the mountain of Sinai over them, as though it had been a covering, and they imagined, that it was falling upon them; and we said, Receive the law which we have brought you with reverence; and remember that which is contained therein, that ye may take heed.
(173) And when thy Lord drew forth their posterity from the lions of the sons of Adam, and took them to witness against themselves, saying, Am not I your Lord? They answered, Yea: we do bear witness. This was done lest ye should say at the day of resurrection, Verily we were negligent as to this matter, because we were not apprised thereof: (174) or lest ye should say, Verily our fathers were formerly guilty of idolatry, and we are their posterity who have succeeded them; wilt thou therefore destroy us for that which vain men have committed? (175) Thus do we explain our signs, that they may return from their vanities.(176) And relate unto the Jews the history of him unto whom we brought our signs, and he departed from them; wherefore Satan followed him, and he became one of those who were seduced. (177) And if we had pleased, we had surely raised him thereby unto wisdom; but he inclined unto the earth, and followed his own desire. Wherefore his likeness as the likeness of a dog, which, if thou drive him away, putteth forth his tongue, or, if thou let him alone, putteth forth his tongue also. This is the likeness of the people who accuse our signs of falsehood. Rehearse therefore this history unto them, that they may consider. (178) Evil is the similitude of those people who accuse our signs of falsehood, and injure their own souls. (179) Whomsoever God shall direct, he will be rightly directed; and whomsoever he shall lead astray, they shall perish. (180) Moreover we have created for hell many of the genii and of men; they have hearts by which they understand not, and they have eyes by which they see not, and they have ears by which they hear not. These are like the brute beasts; yea, they go more astray; these are the negligent. (181)God hath most excellent names; therefore call on him by the same; and withdraw from those who use his name perversely: they shall be rewarded for that which they shall have wrought. (182) And of those whom we have created there are a people who direct others with truth, and act justly according thereto.
∥ (183) But those who devise lies against our signs, we will suffer them to fall gradually into ruin, by a method which they knew not: (184) and I will grant them to enjoy a long and prosperous life; for my stratagem is effectual. (185) Do they not consider that there is no devil in their companion? He is no other than a public preacher. Or do they not contemplate the kingdom of heaven and earth, and the things which God hath created; and consider that peradventure it may be that their end draweth nigh? And in what new declaration will they believe, after this? (186) He whom God shall cause to err shall have no director; and he shall leave them in their impiety, wandering in confusion. (187) They will ask thee concerning the last hour, at what time its coming is fixed? Answer, Verily the knowledge thereof is with my Lord; none shall declare the fixed time thereof, except he. The expectation thereof is grievous in heaven and on earth: it shall come upon you no otherwise than suddenly. They will ask thee, as though thou wast well acquainted therewith. Answer, Verily the knowledge thereof is with God alone: but the greater part of men know it not. (188) Say, I am able neither to procure advantage unto myself, nor to avert mischief from me, but as God pleaseth. If I knew the secrets of God, I should surely enjoy abundance of good, neither should evil befall me. Verily I am no other than a denouncer of threats, and a messenger of good tidings unto people who believe.
∥ (189) It is he who hath created you from one person, and out of him produced his wife, that he might dwell with her: and when he had known her, she carried a light burden for a time, wherefore she walked easily therewith. But when it became more heavy, she called upon God their Lord,saying, If thou give us a child rightly shaped, we will surely be thankful. (190) Yet when he had given them a child rightly shaped, they attributed companions unto him, for that which he had given them. But far be that from God which they associated with him! (191) Will they associate with him false gods which create nothing, but are themselves created; (192) and can neither give them assistance, nor help themselves? (193) And if ye invite them to the true direction, they will not follow you: it will be equal unto you whether ye invite them, or whether ye hold your peace. (194) Verily the false deities whom ye invoke besides God are servants like unto you. Call therefore upon them, and let them give you an answer, if ye speak truth. (195) Have they feet, to walk with? Or have they hands, to lay hold with? Or have they eyes, to see with? Or have they ears, to hear with? Say, Call upon your companions, and then lay a snare for me, and defer it not; (196) for Godis my protector, who sent down the book of the Qurán; and he protecteth the righteous. (197) But they whom ye invoke besides him cannot assist you, neither do they help themselves; (198) and if ye call on them to direct you, they will not hear. Thou seest them look towards thee, but they see not. (199) Use indulgence, and command that which is just, and withdraw far from the ignorant. (200) And if an evil suggestion from Satan be suggested unto thee, to divert thee from thy duty, have recourse unto God: for he heareth and knoweth. (201) Verily they who fear God, when a temptation from Satan assaileth them, remember the divine commands, and behold, they clearly see the danger of sin and the wiles of the devil.(202) But as for the brethren of the devils, they shall continue them in error, and afterwards they shall not preserve themselves therefrom.(203) And when thou bringest not a verse of the Qurán unto them, they say, Hast thou not put it together? Answer, I follow that only which is revealed unto me from my Lord. This book containeth evident proofs from your Lord, and is a direction and mercy unto people who believe. (204) And when the Qurán is read attend thereto, and keep silence, that ye may obtain mercy. (205) And meditate on thy Lord in thine own mind, with humility and fear, and without loud speaking, evening and morning; and be not one of the negligent. (206) Moreover the angels who are with my Lord do not proudly disdain his service, but they celebrate his praise and worship him.[Back to Table of Contents]
ENTITLED SURAT AL ANFÁL (THE SPOILS).
The title of this Sura was taken from the question of the first verse concerning spoils. The chapter, however, has but little to do with this subject, almost the whole of it being taken up with a description of the miraculous character of the battle of Badr, with allusions to events immediately preceding or following it, by which the faithful are confirmed in their confidence in God and Muhammad. Islám is declared to have now received the seal of God to its truth, and consequently all who hereafter may oppose it will merit shame and destruction both in this world and in the world to come.
The confident and often defiant tone, perceptible in this chapter, may be accounted for by the circumstances under which it was written. Muhammad had been successful beyond expectation, and the sometimes despondent Muslims were now exulting over those from whom they had so lately fled in fear. Muhammad, ever ready to use his opportunities, declares this victory to be decisive proof of the divine favour. God had brought it all about that he “might accomplish the thing which was decreed to be done; that he who perisheth hereafter may perish after demonstrative evidence, and that he who liveth may live by the same evidence.”
Accordingly the infidels are denounced in no measured terms. Even the proud Quraish are addressed in a patronising manner, and are offered an amnesty on condition of their ceasing to oppose. The hypocrites and hitherto disaffected inhabitants of Madína are reproved and warned, while the duplicity of the Jews is threatened.
There is, however, the anticipation of future trouble. It required no more than the sagacity of a politician to foretell it. The Muslims are therefore urged to prepare for the holy war, and to fight with that assurance which enables one man to face ten of his adversaries. God would be on their side, and the infidels would only rush on to certain destruction.
Nothing could be in stronger contrast than the spirit of this chapter compared with the latter part of chapter iii., written just after the Muslim defeat at Ohod. Such a comparison should make it clear to Muslims that the revelation of the Qurán, instead of being copied from the Preserved Table under the throne of God, was copied from the heart-table of Muhammad himself.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
It is certain that the greater part of this chapter was written immediately after the battle of Badr in a.h. 2. Indeed there is no part of it which may not be referred to this period excepting vers. 73-75, which must be assigned to the earlier months of a.h. 1. Sale mentions the fact that some authorities would place vers. 30-36 among the Makkan revelations, but the evidence seems to me to be against them. This passage might, however, belong to an earlier period than a.h. 2, inasmuch as it relates to the flight from Makkah. Yet the victory of Badr would naturally recall to Muhammad’s mind the circumstances of his flight, and thus lead to their mention here.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1)They will ask thee concerning the spoils: Answer, The division of the spoils belongeth unto God and the Apostle. Therefore fear God, and compose the matter amicably among you: and obey God and his Apostle, if ye are true believers. (2) Verily the true believers are those whose hearts fear when God is mentioned, and whose faith increaseth when his signs are rehearsed unto them, and who trust in their Lord;(3) who observe the stated times of prayer, and give alms out of that which we have bestowed on them. (4) These are really believers: they shall have superior degrees of felicity with their Lord, and forgiveness, and an honourable provision. (5) As thy Lord brought thee forth from thy house with truth, and part of the believers were averse to thy directions:(6) they disputed with thee concerning the truth, after it had been made known unto them; no otherwise than as if they had been led forth to death, and had seen it with their eyes.(7) And call to mind when God promised you one of the two parties, that it should be delivered unto you, and ye desired that the party which was not furnished with arms should be delivered unto you: but God purposed to make known the truth in his words, and to cut off the uttermost part of the unbelievers; (8) that he might verify the truth, and destroy falsehood, although the wicked were averse thereto.(9) When ye asked assistance of your Lord, and he answered you, Verily I will assist you with a thousand angels, following one another in order.(10) And this God designed only as good tidings for you, and that your hearts might thereby rest secure: for victory is from God alone; and God is mighty and wise.
∥ (11) When a sleep fell on you as a security from him, and he sent down upon you water from heaven, that he might thereby purify you, and take from you the abomination of Satan, and that he might confirm your hearts, and establish your feet thereby. (12)Also when thy Lord spake unto the angels, saying, Verily I am with you; wherefore confirm those who believe. I will cast a dread into the hearts of the unbelievers. Therefore strike off their heads, and strike off all the ends of their fingers.(13) This shall they suffer, because they have resisted God and his Apostle: and whosoever shall oppose God and his Apostle, verily Godwill be severe in punishing him.(14) This shall be your punishment; taste it therefore: and the infidels shall also suffer the torment of hell-fire. (15) O true believers, when ye meet the unbelievers marching in great numbers against you, turn not your backs unto them: (16) for whoso shall turn his back unto them in that day, unless he turneth aside to fight, or retreateth to another party of the faithful, shall draw on himself the indignation of God, and his abode shall be in hell; an ill journey shall it be thither!(17) And ye slew not those who were slain at Badr yourselves, but God slew them. Neither didst thou, O Muhammad, cast the gravel into their eyes, when thou didst seem to cast it; but God cast it, that he might prove the true believers by a gracious trial from himself, for God heareth and knoweth. (18) This was done that God might also weaken the crafty devices of the unbelievers. (19) If ye desire a decision of the matter between us, now hath a decision come unto you: and if ye desist from opposing the Apostle, it will be better for you. But if ye return to attack him, we will also return to his assistance; and your forces shall not be of advantage unto you at all, although they be numerous: for God is with the faithful.
∥ (20) O true believers, obey God and his Apostle, and turn not back from him, since ye hear the admonitions ofthe Qurán. (21) And be not as those who say, We hear, when they do not hear. (22) Verily the worst sort of beasts in the sight of God are the deaf and the dumb, who understand not. (23) If God had known any good in them, he would certainly have caused them to hear: and if he had caused them to hear, they would surely have turned back and have retired afar off. (24) O true believers, answer God and his Apostle when he inviteth you unto that which giveth you life; and know that God goeth between a man and his heart, and that before him ye shall be assembled. (25) Beware of sedition; it will not affect those who are ungodly among you particularly, but all of you in general; and know that God is severe in punishing. (26) And remember when ye were few and reputed weak in the land, ye feared lest men should snatch you away; but God provided you a place of refuge, and he strengthened you with his assistance, and bestowed on you good things, that ye might give thanks. (27) O true believers, deceive not God and his apostle; neither violate your faith against your own knowledge. (28) And know that your wealth and your children are a temptation unto you; and that with God is a great reward.
∥ (29) O true believers, if ye fear God, he will grant you a distinction, and will expiate your sins from you, and will forgive you; for God is endued with great liberality. (30) And call to mind when the unbelievers plotted against thee, that they might either detain thee in bonds, or put to death, or expel thee the city; and they plotted against thee: but God laid a plot against them; and God is the best layer of plots. (31) And when our signs are repeated unto them, they say, We have heard; if we pleased we could certainly pronounce a composition like unto this: this is nothing but fables of the ancients. (32) And when they said, O God, if this be the truth from thee, rain down stones upon us from heaven, or inflict on us some other grievous punishment. (33) But God was not disposed to punish them, while thou wast with them; nor was Goddisposed to punish them when they asked pardon. (34) But they have nothing to offer in excuse why God should not punish them, since they hindered the believers from visiting the holy temple, although they are not the guardians thereof. The guardians thereof are those only who fear God; but the greater part of them know it not. (35) And their prayer at the house of God is no other than whistling and clapping of the hands. Taste therefore the punishment, for that ye have been unbelievers. (36) They who believe not expend their wealth to obstruct the way of God: they shall expend it, but afterwards it shall become matter of sighing and regret unto them, and at length they shall be overcome; (37) and the unbelievers shall be gathered together into hell; (38) that God may distinguish the wicked from the good, and may throw the wicked one upon the other, and may gather them all in a heap, and cast them into hell. These are they who shall perish.
∥ (39) Say unto the unbelievers, that if they desist from opposing thee, what is already past shall be forgiven them; but if they return to attack thee, the exemplary punishment of the former opposers of the prophets is already past, and the like shall be inflicted on them.(40) Therefore fight against them until there be no opposition in favour of idolatry, and the religion be wholly God’s. If they desist, verily God seeth that which they do; (41) but if they turn back, know that God is your patron; he is the best patron, and the best helper.
∥ (42) And know that whenever ye gain any spoils, a fifth part thereof belongeth unto God, and to the Apostle, and his kindred, and the orphans, and the poor, and the traveller; if ye believe in God, and that which we have sent down unto our servant on the day of distinction, on the day whereon the two armies met: and God is almighty. (43) When ye were encamped on the hithermost side of the valley, and they were encamped on the farther side, and the caravan was below you; and if ye had mutually appointed to come to a battle, ye would certainly have declined the appointment; but ye were brought to an engagement without any previous appointment, that God might accomplish the thing which was decreed to be done; (44) that he who perisheth hereafter may perish after demonstrative evidence, and that he who liveth may live by the same evidence; Godboth heareth and knoweth. (45) When thy Lord caused the enemy to appear unto thee in thy sleep few in number; and if he had caused them to appear numerous unto thee, ye would have been disheartened, and would have disputed concerning the matter: but God preserved you from this; for he knoweth the innermost parts of the breasts of men.(46) And when he caused them to appear unto you when ye met to be few in your eyes, and diminished your numbers in their eyes; that God might accomplish the thing which was decreed to be done; and unto God shall all things return.
∥ (47) O true believers, when ye meet a party of the infidels, stand firm, and remember God frequently, that ye may prosper: (48) and obey God and his Apostle, and be not refractory, lest ye be discouraged, and your success depart from you; but persevere with patience, for Godis with those who persevere. (49) And be not as those who went out of their houses in an insolent manner, and to appear with ostentation unto men, and turned aside from the way of God; for God comprehendeth that which they do. (50) And remember when Satan prepared their works for them, and said, No man shall prevail against you today; and I will surely be near to assist you. But when the two armies appeared in sight of each other, he turned back on his heels, and said, Verily I am clear of you: I certainly see that which ye see not; I fear God, for God is severe in punishing.
∥ (51) When the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts there was an infirmity, said, Their religion hath deceived these men: but whosoever confideth in Godcannot be deceived; for Godis mighty and wise. (52) And if thou didst behold when the angels caused the unbelievers to die: they strike their faces and their backs, and say untothem, Taste ye the pain of burning: (53) this shall ye suffer for that which your hands have set before you, and because God is not unjust towards his servants. (54)These have acted according to the wont of the people of Pharaoh, and of those before them, who disbelieved in the signs of God: therefore God took them away in their iniquity; for Godis mighty and severe in punishing. (55) This hath come to pass because God changeth not his grace, wherewith he hath favoured any people, until they change that which is in their souls; and for that Godboth heareth and seeth. (56) According to the wont of the people of Pharaoh, and of those before them, who charged the signs of their Lord with imposture, have they acted: wherefore we destroyed them in their sins, and we drowned the people of Pharaoh; for they were all unjust persons. (57) Verily the worst cattle in the sight of God are those who are obstinate infidels, and will not believe. (58) As to those who enter into a league with thee, and afterwards violate their league at every convenient opportunity, and fear not God;(59) if thou take them in war, disperse, by making them an example, those who shall come after them, that they may be warned; (60) or if thou apprehend treachery from any people, throw back their league unto them with like treatment; for God loveth not the treacherous.
(61) And think not that the unbelievers have escaped God’s vengeance, for they shall not weaken the power of God.(62) Therefore prepare against them what force ye are able, and troops of horse, whereby ye may strike a terror into the enemy of God, and your enemy, and into other infidels besides them, whom ye know not, butGod knoweth them. And whatsoever ye shall expend in the defence of the religion of God, it shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly. (63) And if they incline unto peace, do thou also incline thereto; and put thy confidence in God, for it is he who heareth and knoweth. (64) But if they seek to deceive thee, verily Godwill be thy support. It is he who hath strengthened thee with his help, and with that of the faithful, and hath united their hearts. If thou hadst expended whatever riches are in the earth, thou couldst not have united their hearts, but God united them; for he is mighty and wise.
∥ (65) O Prophet, God is thy support, and such of the true believers who followeth thee. (66) O Prophet, stir up the faithful to war: if twenty of you persevere with constancy, they shall overcome two hundred, and if there be one hundred of you, they shall overcome a thousand of those who believe not; because they are a people which do not understand. (67) Now hath God eased you, for he knew that ye were weak. If there be an hundred of you who persevere with constancy, they shall overcome two hundred; and if there be a thousand of you, they shall overcome two thousand, by the permission of God; for God is with those who persevere. (68) It hath not been granted unto any prophet that he should possess captives, until he hath made a great slaughter of the infidels in the earth. Ye seek the accidental goods of this world, but God regardeth the life to come; and Godis mighty and wise. (69) Unless a revelation had been previously delivered from God, verily a severe punishment had been inflicted on you for the ransom which ye took from the captives at Badr.(70) Eat therefore of what ye have acquired, that which is lawful and good; for Godis gracious and merciful.
∥ (71) O Prophet, say unto the captives who are in your hands, If God shall know any good to be in your hearts, he will give you better than what hath been taken from you; and he will forgive you, for Godis gracious and merciful. (72) But if they seek to deceive thee, verily they have deceived God; wherefore he hath given thee power over them: and Godis knowing and wise. (73) Moreover, they who have believed, and have fled their country, and employed their substance and their persons in fighting for the religion of God, and they who have given the Prophet a refuge among them, and have assisted him, these shall be deemed the one nearest of kin to the other. But they who have believed, but have not fled their country, shall have no right of kindred at all with you, until they also fly. Yet if they ask assistance of you on account of religion, it belongeth unto you to give them assistance; except against a people between whom and yourselves there shall be a league subsisting: and God seeth that which ye do. (74) And as to the infidels, let them be deemed of kin the one to the other. Unless ye do this, there will be a sedition in the earth, and grievous corruption. (75) But as for them who have believed, and left their country, and have fought for God’s true religion, and who have allowed the Prophet a retreat among them, and have assisted him, these are really believers; they shall receive mercy and an honourable provision. (76) And they who have believed since, and have fled their country, and have fought with you, these also are of you. And those who are related by consanguinity shall be deemed the nearest of kin to each other preferably to strangers according to the book of God: God knoweth all things.[Back to Table of Contents]
ENTITLED SURAT AL TAUBA (REPENTANCE, IMMUNITY).
Of the many titles given to this chapter, those of Immunity and Repentance are most commonly known. The former title is based on the first verse, the latter on the third verse, or, perhaps better still, upon the spirit of the whole chapter, which is a call to repentance to a multitude of disaffected and lukewarm Muslims and Arabs who declined to accompany Muhammad in his expedition to Tabúq. Sale says:—“It is observable that this chapter alone has not the auspiciatory form, In the name of the most merciful God, prefixed to it; the reason of which omission, as some think, was, because these words imply a concession of security, which is utterly taken away by this chapter after a fixed time; wherefore some have called it the chapter of Punishment; others say that Muhammad (who died soon after he had received this chapter), having given no direction where it should be placed, nor for the prefixing the Bismillah to it, as had been done to the other chapters, and the argument of this chapter bearing a near resemblance to that of the preceding, his companions differed about it, some saying that both chapters were but one, and together made the seventh of the seven long ones, and others that they were two distinct chapters; whereupon, to accommodate the dispute, they left a space between them, but did not interpose the distinction of the Bismillah.
“It is agreed that this chapter was the last which was revealed, and the only one, as Muhammad declared, which was revealed entire and at once, except the one hundred and tenth.
“Some will have the two last verses to have been revealed at Makkah.”
The statement that this chapter was the last revealed is based upon the testimony of tradition, but the internal evidence fixes the date of most of the revelations within the ninth year of the Hijra. With this also Muslim tradition agrees. It would therefore appear that during one whole year no revelation was vouchsated to Muhammad, which is contrary to other traditions, which assign portions of chapters ii., v., &c., to the time of the farewell pilgrimage in the end of a.h. 10.
The statement that this whole chapter was revealed at one time is also unfounded, as will be seen by reference to the date of the revelations given below.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
Following Noeldeke for the most part, vers. 1-12 belong to the latter part of a.h. 9. when Muhammad sent Ali to Makkah to notify to the tribes assembled there that henceforth the Holy Temple would be closed against idolaters. Vers. 13-16, however, belong to an earlier period, viz., a.h. 8, when Muhammad planned his expedition for the capture of Makkah. To these may be added vers. 17-24, which, however, mark the time when Muhammed first thought of conquering his native city. Some would place vers. 23 and 24 among the revelations enunciated previous to the expedition to Tabúq in a.h. 9.
Vers. 25-27 mention the victory at Hunain (Shawál, a.h. 8), and belong to the period immediately following the siege of Tayif, i.e., Dzu’l Qáada, a.h. 8.
Ver. 28 seems to be connected with vers. 1-12, and therefore belongs to the latter part of a.h. 9.
Vers. 29-128 refer to the events connected with the expedition to Tabúq, which occurred in Rajab of a.h. 9. They were not, however, all enunciated at one time, but partly before the expedition, partly on the march, and partly after the return.
Vers. 29-35 may be referred to the time of arrival at Tabúq, when the Christian prince, John of Aylah, tendered his submission to Muhammad, paying tribute (Jazya).
Vers. 36 and 37, referring to the abolition of the intercalary year and the fixing the time of the pilgrimage in accordance with the changes of the lunar year, must be assigned to the Dzu’l Hajja of a.h. 10.
The remaining verses Noeldeke distributes as follows:—Previous to the expedition, vers. 38-41 (of which, according to Ibn Hishám, 924, ver. 41 is the oldest of the whole Sura), and 49-73. On the march, vers. 42-48 and 82-97 (of which ver. 85, if it refers to the death of Abdullah Ibn Ubbai, must have been added later on). After thereturn, vers. 74-81 and 98-113, of which vers. 108-111 were enunciated just before the entry into Madína.
Vers. 114-117, if they refer to the visit of Muhammad to the tomb of his mother, Amína Bint Wahb, as many authorities state, must be referred to the latter part of a.h. 6. But if they refer to the death of Abdullah Ibn Ubbai, they belong to a period about two months later than the return from Tabúq. This latter seems to be founded on the best authority.
Vers. 118 and 119 were enunciated about fifty days after the return from Tabúq (see note on ver. 119). The remaining verses, excepting 129 and 130, which are probably of Makkan origin, belong to the time immediately after the return from Tabûq.
∥ (1)A declaration of immunity from God and his Apostle unto the idolaters with whom ye have entered into league. (2) Go to and fro in the earth securely four months; and know that ye shall not weaken God, and that God will disgrace the unbelievers. (3) And a declaration from God and his Apostle unto the people, on the day of the greater pilgrimage, that God is clear of the idolaters, and his Apostle also. Wherefore if ye repent, this will be better for you; but if ye turn back, know that ye shall not weaken God: and denounce unto those who believe not a painful punishment. (4) Except such of the idolaters with whom ye shall have entered into a league, and who afterwards shall not fail you in any instance, nor assist any other against you. Wherefore perform the covenant which ye shall have made with them, until their time shall be elapsed; for God loveth those who fear him.(5) And when the months wherein ye are not allowed to attack them shall be past, kill the idolaters wheresoever ye shall find them, and take them prisoners, and besiege them, and lay wait for them in every convenient place. But if they shall repent, and observe the appointed times of prayer and pay the legal alms, dismiss them freely; for Godis gracious and merciful. (6) And if any of the idolaters shall demand protection of thee, grant him protection, that he may hear the word of God, and afterwards let him reach the place of his security. This shalt thou do, because they are people which know not the excellency of the religion thou preachest.
∥ (7) How shall the idolaters be admitted into a league with God and with his Apostle, except those with whom ye entered into a league at the holy temple? So long as they behave with fidelity towards you, do ye also behave with fidelity towards them; for God loveth those who fear him.(8) How can they be admitted into a league with you, since, if they prevail against you, they will not regard in you either consanguinity or faith? They will please you with their mouths, but their hearts will be averse from you; for the greater part of them are wicked doers. (9) They sell the signs of God for a small price, and obstruct his way; it is certainly evil which they do. (10) They regard not in a believer either consanguinity or faith; and these are the transgressors. (11) Yet if they repent and observe the appointed times of prayer, and give alms, they shall be deemed your brethren in religion. We distinctly propound our signs unto people who understand. (12) But if they violate their oaths after their league, and revile your religion, oppose the leaders of infidelity (for there is no trust in them), that they may desist from their treachery.(13) Will ye not fight against people who have violated their oaths, and conspired to expel the Apostle of God; and who of their own accord assaulted you for the first time? Will ye fear them? But it is more just that ye should fear God, if ye are true believers. (14) Attack them, therefore;God shall punish them by your hands, and will cover them with shame, and will give you the victory over them: and he will heal the breasts of the people who believe, (15) and will take away the indignation of their hearts: for God will be turned unto whom he pleaseth; and Godis knowing and wise. (16) Did ye imagine that ye should be abandoned, whereas God did not yet know those among you who fought for his religion, and took not any besides God, and his Apostle, and the faithful for their friends? God is well acquainted with that which ye do.
∥ (17) It is not fitting that the idolaters should visit the temples of God, being witnesses against their own souls of their infidelity. The works of these men are vain, and they shall remain in hell-fire for ever. (18) But he only shall visit the temples of God who believeth in God and the last day, and is constant at prayer, and payeth the legal alms, and feareth God alone. These perhaps may become of the number of those who are rightly directed. (19) Do ye reckon the giving drink to the pilgrims and the visiting of the holy temple to be actions as meritorious as those performed by him who believeth in God and the last day, and fighteth for the religion of God? They shall not be held equal with God; for God directeth not the unrighteous people. (20) They who have believed, and fled their country, and employed their substance and their persons in the defence of God’s true religion, shall be in the highest degree of honour with God; and these are they who shall be happy. (21) Their Lord sendeth them good tidings of mercy from him, and goodwill, and of gardens wherein they shall enjoy lasting pleasure: (22) they shall continue therein for ever; for with God is a great reward. (23) O true believers, take not your fathers or your brethren for friends, if they love infidelity above faith; and whosoever among you shall take them for his friends, they will be unjust doers. (24) Say, If your fathers, and your sons, and your brethren, and your wives, and your relations, and your substance which ye have acquired, and your merchandise which ye apprehend may not be sold off, and your dwellings wherein ye delight, be more dear unto you than God, and his Apostle, and the advancement of his religion; wait until God shall send his command, for God directeth not the ungodly people.
(25) Now hath God assisted you in many engagements, and particularly at the battle of Hunain, when ye pleased yourselves in your multitude, but it was no manner of advantage unto you, and the earth became too strait for you, notwithstanding it was spacious; then did ye retreat and turn your backs. (26) Afterwards God sent down his security upon his Apostle and upon the faithful, and sent down troops of angels, which ye saw not; and he punished those who disbelieved; and this was the reward of the unbelievers. (27) Nevertheless God will hereafter be turned unto whom he pleaseth; for Godis gracious and merciful. (28) O true believers, verily the idolaters are unclean; let them not therefore come near unto the holy temple after this year. And if ye fear want, by the cutting off trade and communication with them,God will enrich you of his abundance, if he pleaseth; for Godis knowing and wise. (29) Fight against them who believe not in God nor the last day, and forbid not that which God and his Apostle have forbidden, and profess not the true religion, of those unto whom the scriptures have been delivered, until they pay tribute by right of subjection, and they be reduced low.
∥ (30) The Jews say, Ezra is the son of God; and the Christians say, Christ is the Son of God. This is their saying in their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who were unbelievers in former times. May God resist them. How are they infatuated! (31) They take their priests and their monks for their lords, besides God, and Christ the son of Mary; although they are commanded to worship one God only: there is no God but he; far be that from him which they associate with him!(32) They seek to extinguish the light of God with their mouths; but God willeth no other than to perfect his light, although the infidels be averse thereto.
(33) It is he who hath sent his Apostle with the direction and true religion, that he may cause it to appear superior to every other religion, although the idolaters be averse thereto.(34) O true believers, verily many of the priests and monks devour the substance of God in vanity, and obstruct the way of God. But unto those who treasure sure up gold and silver, and employ it not for the advancement of God’s true religion, denounce a grievous punishment. (35) On the day of judgment their treasures shall be intensely heated in the fire of hell, and their foreheads, and their sides, and their backs shall be stigmatised therewith; and their tormentors shall say, This is what ye have treasured up for your souls; taste therefore that which ye have treasured up. (36) Moreover, the complete number of months with God is twelve months, which were ordained in the book of God on the day whereon he created the heavens and the earth: of these, four are sacred. This is the right religion; therefore deal not unjustly with yourselves therein. But attack the idolaters in all the months, as they attack you in all; and know that God is with those who fear him.(37) Verily the transferring of a sacred monthto another month is an additional infidelity. The unbelievers are led into an error thereby: they allow a month to be violated one year, and declare it sacred another year, that they may agree in the number of months which God hath commanded to be kept sacred; and they allow that which God hath forbidden. The evil of their actions hath been prepared for them; for God directeth not the unbelieving people.
∥ (38) O true believers, what ailed you, that when it was said unto you, Go forth to fight for the religion of God, ye inclined heavily towards the earth? Do ye prefer the present life to that which is to come? But the provision of this life, in respect of that which is to come, is but slender. (39) Unless ye go forth when ye are summoned to war, God will punish you with a grievous punishment; and he will place another people in your stead, and ye shall not hurt him at all; for God is almighty. (40) If ye assist not the Prophet, verily Godwill assist him, as he assisted him formerly, when the unbelievers drove him out of Makkah, the second of two when they were both in the cave: when he said unto his companion, Be not grieved, for God is with us. And God sent down his security upon him, and strengthened him with armies of angels, whom ye saw not. And he made the word of those who believed not to be abased, and the word of God was exalted; for Godis mighty and wise. (41) Go forth to battle, both light and heavy, and employ your substance and your persons for the advancement of God’s religion. This will be better for you, if ye know it. (42) If it had been a near advantage, and a moderate journey, they had surely followed thee; but the way seemed tedious unto them: and yet they will swear by God,saying, If we had been able, we had surely gone forth with you. They destroy their own souls; for God knoweth that they are liars.
∥ (43)God forgive thee! why didst thou give them leave to stay at home, until they who speak the truth, when they excuse themselves, had become manifested unto thee, and thou hadst known the liars? (44) They who believe in God and the last day will not ask leave of thee to be excused from employing their substance and their persons for the advancement of God’s true religion; and God knoweth those who fear him.(45) Verily they only will ask leave of thee to stay behind who believe not in God and the last day, and whose hearts doubt concerning the faith; wherefore they are tossed to and fro in their doubting. (46) If they had been willing to go forth with thee, they had certainly prepared for that purpose a provision of arms and necessaries: but God was averse to their going forth; wherefore he rendered them slothful, and it was said unto them, Sit ye still with those who sit still. (47) If they had gone forth with you, they had only been a burden unto you, and had run to and fro between you, stirring you up to sedition; and there would have been some among you who would have given ear unto them: and God knoweth the wicked. (48) They formerly sought to raise a sedition, and they disturbed thy affairs, until the truth came, and the decree of God was made manifest; although they were adverse thereto. (49) There is of them who saith unto thee, Give me leave to stay behind, and expose me not to temptation. Have they not fallen into temptation at home? But hell will surely encompass the unbelievers. (50) If good happen unto thee, it grieveth them: but if a misfortune befall thee, they say. We ordered our business before, and they turn their backs, and rejoice at thy mishap.(51) Say, Nothing shall befall us but what God hath decreed for us; he is our patron, and on God let the faithful trust. (52) Say, Do ye expect any other should befall us than one of the two most excellent things, either victory or martyrdom? But we expect concerning you that God inflict a punishment on you, either from himself or by our hands. Wait, therefore, to see what will be the end of both; for we will wait for you. (53) Say, Expend your money in pious uses, either voluntarily or by constraint, it shall not be accepted of you, because ye are wicked people. (54) And nothing hindereth their contributions from being accepted of them, but that they believe not in God and his Apostle, and perform not the duty of prayer otherwise than sluggishly, and expend not their money for God’s service otherwise than unwillingly.
∥ (55) Let not therefore their riches or their children cause thee to marvel. Verily God intendeth only to punish them by these things in this world, and that their souls may depart while they are unbelievers. (56) They swear by God that they are of you; yet they are not of you, but are people who stand in fear. (57) If they find a place of refuge, or caves, or a retreating hole, they surely turn towards the same, and in a headstrong manner haste thereto.(58) There is of them also who spreadeth ill reports of thee, in relation to thy distribution of the alms: yet if they receive part thereof they are well pleased; but if they receive not a part thereof, behold they are angry. (59) But if they had been pleased with that which God and his Apostle had given them, and had said, God is our support; God will give unto us of his abundance, and his Prophet also; verily unto God do we make our supplications: it would have been more decent.(60) Alms are to be distributed only unto the poor and the needy, and those who are employed in collecting and distributing the same, and unto those whose hearts are reconciled, and for the redemption of captives, and unto those who are in debt and insolvent, and for the advancement of God’s religion, and unto the traveller. This is an ordinance from God; and Godis knowing and wise. (61) There are some of them who injure the Prophet, and say, He is an ear. Answer, He is an ear of good unto you; he believeth in God, and giveth credit to the faithful, (62) and is a mercy unto such of you who believe. But they who injure the Apostle of God shall suffer a painful punishment. (63) They swear unto you by God, that they may please you; but it is more just that they should please God and his Apostle, if they are true believers. (64) Do they not know that he who opposeth God and his Apostle shall without doubt be punished with the fire of hell, and shall remain therein for ever? This will be great ignominy. (65) The hypocrites are apprehensive lest a Sura should be revealed concerning them, to declare unto them that which is in their hearts. Say unto them, Scoff ye; butGod will surely bring to light that which ye fear should be discovered.
∥ (66) And if thou ask them the reason of this scoffing, they say, Verily we were only engaged in discourse, and jesting among ourselves. Say, Do ye scoff at God and his signs, and at his Apostle? (67) Offer not an excuse: now are ye become infidels, after your faith. If we forgive a part of you, we will punish a part, for that they have been wicked doers.
∥ (68) Hypocritical men and women are the one of them of the other: they command that which is evil, and forbid that which is just, and shut their hands from giving alms. They have forgotten God, wherefore he hath forgotten them: verily the hypocrites are those who act wickedly. (69)God denounceth unto the hypocrites, both men and women, and to the unbelievers, the fire of hell; they shall remain therein for ever: this will be their sufficient reward;God hath cursed them, and they shall endure a lasting torment. (70) As they who have been before you, so are ye. They were superior to you in strength, and had more abundance of wealth and of children, and they enjoyed their portion in this world; and ye also enjoy your portion here, as they who have preceded you enjoyed their portion. And ye engage yourselves in vain discourses, like unto those wherein they engaged themselves. The works of these are vain both in this world and in that which is to come; and these are they who perish. (71) Have they not been acquainted with the history of those who have been before them? of the people of Noah, and of Ád, and of Thamúd, and of the people of Abraham, and of the inhabitants of Madian, and of the cities which were overthrown. Their apostles came unto them with evident demonstrations, and God was not disposed to treat them unjustly; but they dealt unjustly with their own souls. (72) And the faithful men and the faithful women are friends one to another: they command that which is just, and they forbid that which is evil; and they are constant at prayer, and pay their appointed alms; and they obey God and his Apostle: unto these will God be merciful; for he is mighty and wise. (73)God promiseth unto the true believers, both men and women, gardens through which rivers flow, wherein they shall remain for ever; and delicious dwellings in the gardens of perpetual abode: but good-will from Godshall be their most excellent reward. This will be great felicity.
∥ (74) O Prophet, wage war against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be severe unto them; for their dwelling shall be hell: an unhappy journey shall it be thither!(75) They swear by God that they said not what they are charged with: yet they spake the word of infidelity, and became unbelievers after they had embraced Islám. And they designed that which they could not effect; and they did not disapprove the design for any other reason than because God and his Apostle had enriched them of his bounty. If they repent, it will be better for them; but if they relapse, God will punish them with a grievous torment in this world and in the next; and they shall have no portion on earth, nor any protector. (76) There are some of them who made a covenant with God,saying, Verily if he give us of his abundance, we will give alms, and become righteous people. (77) Yet when they had given unto him of his abundance, they became covetous thereof, and turned back, and retired afar off. (78) Wherefore he hath caused hypocrisy to succeed in their hearts, until the day whereon they shall meet him; for that they failed to perform unto God that which they had promised him, and for that they prevaricated. (79) Do they not know that God knoweth whatever they conceal, and their private discourses; and that God is the knower of secrets? (80) They who traduce such of the believers as are liberal in giving alms beyond what they are obliged, and those who find nothing to give but what they gain by their industry, and therefore scoff at them: God shall scoff at them, and they shall suffer a grievous punishment. (81) Ask forgiveness for them, or do not ask forgiveness for them; it will be equal. If thou ask forgiveness for them seventy times, God will by no means forgive them. This is the divine pleasure, for that they believe not in God and his Apostle; and God directeth not the ungodly people.
∥ (82) They who were left at home in the expedition of Tabúq were glad of their staying behind the Apostle of God, and were unwilling to employ their substance and their persons for the advancement of God’s true religion; and they said, Go not forth in the heat. Say, The fire of hell will be hotter; if they understood this. (83) Wherefore let them laugh little and weep much, as a reward for that which they have done. (84) If God bring thee back unto some of them, and they ask thee leave to go forth to war with thee, say, Ye shall not go forth with me for the future, neither shall ye fight an enemy with me; ye were pleased with sitting at home the first time; sit ye at home therefore with those who stay behind. (85) Neither do thou ever pray over any of them who shall die, neither stand at his grave, for that they believed not in God and his Apostle, and die in their wickedness. (86) Let not their riches or their children cause thee to marvel: for God intendeth only to punish them therewith in this world, and that their souls may depart while they are infidels. (87) When a Sura is sent down, wherein it is said, Believe in God, and go forth to war with his Apostle; those who are in plentiful circumstances among them ask leave of thee to stay behind, and say, Suffer us to be of the number of those who sit at home. (88) They are well pleased to be with those who stay behind, and their hearts are sealed up; wherefore they do not understand. (89) But the Apostle, and those who have believed with him, expose their fortunes and their lives for God’s service; they shall enjoy the good things of either life, and they shall be happy. (90)God hath prepared for them gardens through which rivers flow; they shall remain therein for ever. This will be great felicity.
∥ (91) And certain Arabs of the desert came to excuse themselves, praying that they might be permitted to stay behind; and they sat at home who had renounced God and his Apostle. But a painful punishment shall be inflicted on such of them as believe not. (92) In those who are weak, or are afflicted with sickness, or in those who find not wherewith to contribute to the war, it shall be no crime if they stay at home, provided they behave themselves faithfully towards God and his Apostle. There is no room to lay blame on the righteous; for Godis gracious and merciful: (93) nor on those unto whom, when they came unto thee requesting that thou wouldest supply them with necessaries for travelling, thou didst answer, I find not wherewith to supply you, returned, their eyes shedding tears for grief that they found not wherewith to contribute to the expedition. (94) But there is reason to blame those who ask leave of thee to sit at home, when they are rich. They are pleased to be with those who stay behind, and God hath sealed up their hearts, wherefore they do not understand.
∥ (95) They will excuse themselves unto you when ye are returned unto them. Say, Excuse not yourselves; we will by no means believe you: God hath acquainted us with your behaviour; and God will observe his actions, and his Apostle also: and hereafter shall ye be brought before him who knoweth that which is hidden and that which is manifest, and he will declare unto you that which ye have done. (96) They will swear unto you by God, when ye are returned unto them, that ye may let them alone. Let them alone, therefore, for they are an abomination, and their dwelling shall be hell, a reward for that which they have deserved. (97) They will swear unto you, that ye may be well pleased with them; but if ye be well pleased with them, verily God will not be well pleased with people who prevaricate. (98) The Arabs of the desert are more obstinate in their unbelief and hypocrisy, and it is easier for them to be ignorant of the ordinances of that which God hath sent down unto his Apostle; and Godis knowing and wise. (99) Of the Arabs of the desert there is who reckoneth that which he expendeth for the service of God to be as tribute, and waiteth that some change of fortune may befall you. A change for evil shall happen unto them; for Godboth heareth and knoweth. (100) And of the Arabs of the desert there is who believeth in God and in the last day, and esteemeth that which he layeth out for the service of God to be the means of bringing him near unto God and the prayers of the Apostle. Is it not unto them the means of a near approach? God shall lead them into his mercy; for Godis gracious and merciful.
∥ (101)As for the leaders and the first of the Muhájjirín and the Ansárs, and those who have followed them in well-doing, God is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased in him: and he hath prepared for them gardens watered by rivers; they shall remain therein for ever. This shall be great felicity. (102) And of the Arabs of the desert who dwell round about you, there are hypocritical persons; and of the inhabitants of Madína there are some who are obstinate in hypocrisy. Thou knowest them not, O Prophet, but we know them: we will surely punish them twice; afterwards shall they be sent to a grievous torment. (103) And others have acknowledged their crimes. They have mixed a good action with another which is bad: peradventure God will be turned unto them; for Godis gracious and merciful. (104) Take alms of their substance, that thou mayest cleanse them and purify them thereby; and pray for them, for thy prayers shall be a security of mind unto them; and Godboth heareth and knoweth. (105) Do they not know that God accepteth repentance from his servants and accepteth alms, and that God is easy to be reconciled and merciful? (106) Say unto them, Work as ye will; but God will behold your work, and his Apostle also, and the true believers; and ye shall be brought before him who knoweth that which is kept secret, and that which is made public; and he will declare unto you whatever ye have done. (107) And there are others who wait with suspense the decree of God, whether he will punish them, or whether he will be turned unto them; but Godis knowing and wise. (108)There are some who have built a temple to hurt the faithful, and to propagate infidelity, and to foment division among the true believers, and for a lurking-place for him who hath fought against God and his Apostle in time past; and they swear, saying, Verily, we intended no other than to do for the best; but God is witness that they do certainly lie. (109) Stand not up to pray therein for ever. There is a temple founded on piety, from the first day of its building. It is more just that thou stand up to pray therein: therein are men who love to be purified, for God loveth the clean. (110) Whether therefore is he better who hath founded his building on the fear of God and his good-will, or he who hath founded his building on the brink of a bank of earth which is washed away by waters, so that it falleth with him into the fire of hell? God directeth not the ungodly people. (111) Their building which they have built will not cease to be an occasion of doubting in their hearts, until their hearts be cut in pieces; and Godis knowing and wise.
∥ (112) Verily God hath purchased of the true believers their souls and their substance, promising them the enjoyment of Paradise on condition that they fight for the cause of God: whether they slay or be slain, the promise for the same is assuredly due by the law, and the gospel, and the Qurán; and who performeth his contract more faithfully than God? Rejoice therefore in the contract which ye have made. This shall be great happiness. (113) The penitent, and those who serve God and praise him, and who fast, and bow down, and worship, and who command that which is just and forbid that which is evil, and keep the ordinances of God,shall likewise be rewarded with Paradise: wherefore bear good tidings unto the faithful. (114) It is not allowed unto the Prophet, nor those who are true believers, that they pray for idolaters, although they be of kin, after it is become known unto them that they are inhabitants of hell. (115) Neither did Abraham ask forgiveness for his father, otherwise than in pursuance of a promise which he had promised unto him; but when it became known unto him that he was an enemy unto God, he declared himself clear of him. Verily Abraham was pitiful and compassionate. (116) Nor is Goddisposed to lead people into error after that he hath directed them, until that which they ought to avoid is become known unto them; for God knoweth all things. (117) Verily unto Godbelongeth the kingdom of heaven and of earth; he giveth life and he causeth to die; and ye have no patron or helper besides God.(118)God is reconciled unto the Prophet, and unto the Muhájjirín and the Ansárs, who followed him in the hour of distress, after that it had wanted little but that the hearts of a part of them had swerved from their duty: afterwards was he turned unto them, for he was compassionate and merciful towards them. (119) And he is also reconciled unto the three who were left behind, so that the earth became too strait for them, notwithstanding its spaciousness, and their souls became straitened within them, and they considered that there was no refuge from God, otherwise than by having recourse unto him. Then was he turned unto them that they might repent, for Godis easy to be reconciled and merciful.
∥ (120) O true believers, fear God and be with the sincere. (121) There was no reason why the inhabitants of Madína, and the Arabs of the desert who dwell around them, should stay behind the Apostle of God, or should prefer themselves before him. This is unreasonable, because they are not distressed either by thirst, or labour, or hunger, for the defence of God’s true religion; neither do they stir a step which may irritate the unbelievers; neither do they receive from the enemy any damage, but a good work is written down unto them for the same; for God suffereth not the reward of the righteous to perish. (122) And they contribute not any sum either small or great, nor do they pass a valley; but it is written down unto them that God may reward them with a recompense exceeding that which they have wrought. (123) The believers are not obliged to go forth to war altogether: if a part of every band of them go not forth, it is that they may diligently instruct themselves in their religion, and may admonish their people when they return unto them, that they may take heed to themselves.
∥ (124) O true believers, wage war against such of the infidels as are near you; and let them find severity in you: and know that God is with those who fear him.(125) Whenever a Sura is sent down, there are some of them who say, Which of you hath this caused to increase in faith? It will increase the faith of those who believe, and they shall rejoice: (126) but unto those in whose hearts there is an infirmity it will add further doubt unto their present doubt; and they shall die in their infidelity. (127) Do they not see that they are tried every year once or twice? yet they repent not, neither are they warned. (128) And whenever a Sura is sent down, they look at one another, saying, Doth any one see you? then do they turn aside. God shall turn aside their hearts from the truth; because they are a people who do not understand. (129) Now hath an apostle come unto you of our own nation, an excellent person: it is grievous unto him that ye commit wickedness; he is careful over you, and compassionate and merciful towards the believers. (130) If they turn back, say, God is my support; there is no God but he. On him do I trust; and he is the Lord of the magnificent throne.[Back to Table of Contents]
ENTITLED SURAT AL YUNAS (JONAH).
This chapter is so called on account of the mention of the Prophet Jonah in ver. 98. It is undoubtedly of Makkan origin. There are some, however, who would assign vers. 41 and 94, or vers. 94-97, or 41-109, or even the whole Sura, to Madína. The only ground for such an opinion seems to be the reference made to the Jews in various parts of the chapter, which Jews are supposed to be of Madína. But, granting that the Jews referred to belonged to Madína, it does not follow that the chapter belongs to Madína, for history proves that for some time previous to the Hijra, Muhammad had intercourse with many of the people of Madína, some of whom were no doubt Jews. A tradition tells of Jews going to Makkah to question the Prophet, which, though in great measure apocryphal, must have had some foundation in fact. However this may be, Muhammad’s familiarity with Jewish history and tradition shows that he had Jews among his friends and acquaintance. Certainly the matter of this chapter, as well as the style and animus of discourse, points to Makkah.
Date of the Revelations.
Little can be said as to the date of the revelations. The allusion to the famine in ver. 22 points to a period not far removed from the Hijra; and if what has been said of Muhammad’s intercourse with the Jews of Madína be well founded, that fact points to the same period.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1)Al. R. These are the signs of the wise book. (2) Is it a strange thing unto the men of Makkah, that we have revealed our will unto a man from among them, saying, Denounce threats unto men if they believe not; and bear good tidings unto those who believe, that on the merit of their sincerity they have an interest with their Lord? The unbelievers say, This is manifest sorcery. (3) Verily your Lord is God, who hath created the heavens and the earth in six days; and then ascended his throne, to take on himself the government of all things. There is no intercessor, but by his permission. This is God, your Lord; therefore serve him. Will ye not consider? (4) Unto him shall ye all return according to the certain promise of God; for he produceth a creature and then causeth it to return again: that he may reward those who believe and do that which is right, with equity. But as for the unbelievers, they shall drink boiling water, and they shall suffer a grievous punishment for that they have disbelieved. (5) It is he who hath ordained the sun to shine by day, and the moon for a light by night; and had appointed her stations, that ye might know the number of years, and the computation of time.God hath not created this, but with truth. He explaineth his signs unto people who understand. (6) Moreover in the vicissitudes of night and day, and whatever God hath created in heaven and earth, are surely signs unto men who fear him.(7) Verily they who hope not to meet us at the last day, and delight in this present life, and rest securely in the same, and who are negligent of our signs: (8) their dwelling shall be hell-fire, for that which they have deserved. (9) But as to those who believe, and work righteousness, their Lord will direct them because of their faith; they shall have rivers flowing through gardens of pleasure. (10) Their prayer therein shall be Praise be unto thee, O God! and their salutation therein shall be Peace! (11) and the end of their prayer shall be, Praise be unto God, the Lord of all creatures!
∥ (12) If God should cause evil to hasten unto men, according to their desire of hastening good, verily their end had been decreed. Wherefore we suffer those we hope not to meet us at the resurrection to wander amazedly in their error. (13) When evil befalleth a man, he prayeth unto us lying on his side, or sitting, or standing; but when we deliver him from his affliction, he continueth his former course of life, as though he had not called upon us to defend him against the evil which had befallen him. Thus was that which the transgressors committed prepared for them. (14) We have formerly destroyed the generations who were before you, O men of Makkah, when they had acted unjustly, and our apostles had come unto them with evident miracles and they would not believe. Thus do we reward the wicked people. (15) Afterwards did we cause you to succeed them in the earth, that we might see how ye would act. (16) When our evident signs are recited unto them, they who hope not to meet us at the resurrection, say, Bring a different Qurán from this; or make some change therein. Answer, It is not fit for me that I should change it at my pleasure: I follow that only which is revealed unto me. Verily I fear, if I should be disobedient unto my Lord, the punishment of the great day. (17) Say, if God had so pleased, I had not read it unto you, neither had I taught you the same. I have already dwelt among you to the age of forty years, before I received it. Do ye not therefore understand? (18) And who is more unjust than he who deviseth a lie against God, or accuseth his signs of falsehood? Surely the wicked shall not prosper. (19) They worship besides God that which can neither hurt them or profit them, and they say, These are our intercessors with God. Answer, Will ye tell God that which he knoweth not, neither in heaven nor in earth? Praise be unto him! and far be that from him which they associate with him!(20) Men were professors of one religion only, but they dissented therefrom; and if a decree had not previously issued from thy Lorddeferring their punishment, verily the matter had been decided between them, concerning which they disagreed. (21) They say, Unless a sign be sent down unto him from his Lordwe will not believe. Answer, Verily that which is hidden is known only unto God: wait, therefore, the pleasure of God; and I also will wait with you.
∥ (22) And when we caused the men of Makkah to taste mercy, after an affliction which had befallen them, behold, they devised a stratagem against our signs. Say unto them,God is more swift in executing a stratagem than ye. Verily our messengers write down that which ye deceitfully devise. (23) It is he who hath given you conveniences for travelling by land and by sea; so that ye be in ships, which sail with them, with a favourable wind, and they rejoice therein. And when a tempestuous wind overtaketh them, and waves come upon them from every side, and they think themselves encompassed with inevitable dangers, they call upon God, exhibiting the pure religion unto him, and saying, Verily if thou deliver us from this peril, we will be of those who give thanks. (24) But when he hath delivered them, behold, they behave themselves insolently in the earth, without justice. O men, verily the violence which ye commit against your own souls is for the enjoyment of this present life only; afterwards unto us shall ye return, and we will declare unto you that which ye have done. (25) Verily the likeness of this present life is no other than as water, which we send down from heaven, and wherewith the productions of the earth are mixed, of which men eat, and cattle also, until the earth receive its vesture, and be adorned with various plants: the inhabitants thereof imagine that they have power over the same; but our command cometh unto it by night or by day, and we render it as though it had been mowen, as though it had not yesterday abounded with fruits. Thus do we explain our signs unto people who consider. (26)God inviteth unto the dwelling of peace, and directeth whom he pleaseth into the right way. (27) They who do right shall receive a most excellent reward, and a superabundant addition; neither blackness nor shame shall cover their faces. These shall be the inhabitants of Paradise; they shall continue therein for ever.(28) But they who commit evil shall receive the reward of evil, equal thereunto, and they shall be covered with shame (for they shall have no protector against God); as though their faces were covered with the profound darkness of the night. These shall be the inhabitants of hell-fire: they shall remain therein for ever.(29) On the day of the resurrection we will gather them altogether; then will we say unto the idolaters, Get ye to your place, ye and your companions: and we will separate them from one another; and their companions will say unto them, Ye do not worship us; (30) and God is a sufficient witness between us and you; neither did we mind your worshipping of us.(31) There shall every soul experience that which it shall have sent before it; and they shall be brought before God their true Lord; and the false deities which they vainly imagined shall disappear from before them.
∥ (32) Say, Who provideth you food from heaven and earth? or who hath the absolute power over the hearing and the sight? and who bringeth forth the living from the dead, and bringeth forth the dead from the living? and who governeth all things? They will surely answer, God. Say, Will ye not therefore fear him?(33) This is therefore God your true Lord: and what remaineth there after truth except error? How therefore are ye turned aside from the truth?(34) Thus is the word of thy Lord verified upon them who do wickedly; that they believe not. (35) Say, Is there any of your companions who produceth a creature, and then causeth it to return unto himself? Say, God produceth a creature, and then causeth it to return unto himself. How therefore are ye turned aside from his worship?(36) Say, Is there any of your companions who directeth unto the truth? Say, God directeth unto the truth. Whether is he, therefore, who directeth unto the truth more worthy to be followed, or he who directeth not, unless he be directed? What aileth you therefore, that ye judge as ye do? (37) And the greater part of them follow an uncertain opinion only; but a mere opinion attaineth not unto any truth. Verily God knoweth that which they do. (38) This Qurán could not have been composed by any except God; but it is a confirmation of that which was revealed before it, and an explanation of the scripture; there is no doubt thereof; sent down from the Lord of all creatures. (39) Will they say, Muhammad hath forged it? Answer, Bring therefore a chapter like unto it; and call whom you may to your assistance, besides God, if ye speak truth. (40) But they have charged that with falsehood, the knowledge whereof they do not comprehend, neither hath the interpretation thereof come unto them. In the same manner did those who were before them accuse their prophets of imposture; but behold, what was the end of the unjust! (41) There are some of them who believe therein; and there are some of them who believe not therein: and thy Lord well knoweth the corrupt doers.
∥ (42) If they accuse thee of imposture, say, I have my work and ye have your work; ye shall be clear of that which I do, and I will be clear of that which ye do. (43) There are some of them who hearken unto thee; but wilt thou make the deaf to hear, although they do not understand? (44) And there are some of them who look at thee; but wilt thou direct the blind, although they see not? (45) Verily God will not deal unjustly with men in any respect: but men deal unjustly with their own souls. (46) On a certain day he will gather them together, as though they had not tarried above an hour of a day; they shall know one another. Then shall they perish who have denied the meeting of God; and were not rightly directed. (47) Whether we cause thee to see a part of the punishment wherewith we have threatened them, or whether we cause thee to die before thou see it; unto us shall they return: then shallGodbe witness of that which they do. (48) Unto every nation hath an apostle been sent; and when their apostle came, the matter was decided between them with equity; and they were not treated unjustly. (49) The unbelievers say, When will this threatening be made good, if ye speak truth? (50) Answer, I am able neither to procure advantage unto myself, nor to avert mischief from me, but as God pleaseth. Unto every nation is fixed term decreed; when their term therefore is expired, they shall not have respite for an hour, neither shall their punishment be anticipated. (51) Say, Tell me, if the punishment of God overtake you by night or by day, what part thereof will the ungodly wish to be hastened? (52) When it falleth on you, do ye then believe it? Now do ye believe, and wish it far from you, when as ye formerly desired it should be hastened? (53) Then shall it be said unto the wicked, Taste the punishment of eternity; would ye receive other than the reward of that which ye have wrought? (54) They will desire to know of thee whether this be true. Answer, Yea, by my Lord, it is certainly true; neither shall ye weaken God’s power so as to escape it.
∥ (55) Verily, if every soul which hath acted wickedly had whatever is on the earth, it would willingly redeem itself therewith at the last day. Yet they will conceal their repentance, after they shall have seen the punishment; and the matter shall be decided between them with equity, and they shall not be unjustly treated. (56) Doth not whatsoever is in heaven and on earth belong unto God? Is not the promise of God true? But the greater part of them know it not. (57) He giveth life, and he causeth to die; and unto him shall ye all return. (58) O men, now hath an admonition come unto you from your Lord, and a remedy for the doubts which are in your breasts; and a direction and mercy unto the true believers. (59) Say, Through the grace of God and his mercy; therein therefore let them rejoice; this will be better than what they heap together of worldly riches.(60) Say, Tell me, of that which God hath sent down unto you for food, have ye declared part to be lawful, and other part to be unlawful? Say, Hath God permitted you to make this distinction? or do ye devise a lie concerning God? (61) But what will be the opinion of those who devise a lie concerning God on the day of the resurrection? Verily God is endued with beneficence towards mankind; but the greater part of them do not give thanks.
∥ (62) Thou shalt be engaged in no business, neither shalt thou be employed in meditating on any passage of the Qurán: nor shall ye do any action, but we will be witnesses over you, when ye are employed therein. Nor is so much as the weight of an ant hidden from thy Lord in earth or in heaven: neither is there anything lesser than that, or greater, but it is written in the Perspicuous Book. (63) Are not the friends of Godthe persons on whom no fear shall come, and who shall not be grieved? (64) They who believe and fear God,(65) shall receive good tidings in this life and in that which is to come. There is no change in the words of God. This shall be great felicity. (66) Let not their discourse grieve thee; for all might belongeth unto God: he both heareth and knoweth. (67) Is not whoever dwelleth in heaven and on earth subject unto God? What therefore do they follow who invoke idols besides God? They follow nothing but a vain opinion; and they only utter lies. (68) It is he who hath ordained the night for you, that you may take your rest therein, and the clear day for labour: verily herein are signs unto people who hearken. (69) They say, God hath begotten children: God forbid! He is self-sufficient. Unto him belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth: ye have no demonstrative proof of this. Do ye speak of God that which ye know not? (70) Say, Verily, they who imagine a lie concerning God shall not prosper. (71)They may enjoy a provision in this world; but afterwards unto us shall they return, and we will then cause them to taste a grievous punishment, for that they were unbelievers.
∥ (72) Rehearse unto them the history of Noah, when he said unto his people, O my people, if my standing forth among you, and my warning you of the signs of God, be grievous unto you, in God do I put my trust. Therefore lay your design against me, and assemble your false gods; but let not your design be carried on by you in the dark: then come forth against me, and delay not. (73) And if ye turn aside from my admonitions, I ask not any reward of you for the same; I expect my reward from God alone, and I am commanded to be one of those who are resigned unto him. (74) But they accused him of imposture, wherefore we delivered him, and those who were with him in the ark, and we caused them to survive the flood, but we drowned those who charged our signs with falsehood. Behold, therefore, what was the end of those who were warned by Noah.(75) Then did we send, after him, apostles unto their respective people, and they came unto them with evident demonstrations: yet they were not disposed to believe in that which they had before rejected as false. Thus do we seal up the hearts of the transgressors. (76) Then did we send, after them, Moses and Aaron unto Pharaoh and his princes with our signs: but they behaved proudly, and were a wicked people. (77) And when the truth from us had come unto them, they said, Verily this is manifest sorcery. (78) Moses said unto them, Do ye speak this of the truth, after it hath come unto you? Is this sorcery? but sorcerers shall not prosper. (79) They said, Art thou come unto us to turn us aside from that religion which we found our fathers practise, and that ye two may have the command in the land? But we do not believe you. (80) And Pharaoh said, Bring unto me every expert magician. And when the magicians were come, Moses said unto them, Cast down that which ye are about to cast down. (81) And when they had cast down their rods and cords, Moses said unto them, The enchantment which ye have performed shall God surely render vain; for God prospereth not the work of the wicked doers; (82) and God will verify the truth of his words, although the wicked be adverse thereto.
∥ (83) And there believed not any on Moses, except a generation of his people, for fear of Pharaoh and of his princes, lest he should afflict them. And Pharaoh was lifted up with pride in the earth, and was surely one of the transgressors. (84) And Moses said, O my people, if ye believe in God, put your trust in him, if ye be resigned to his will. (85) They answered, We put our trust in God: O Lord, suffer us not to be afflicted by unjust people; (86) but deliver us, through thy mercy, from the unbelieving people. (87) And we spake by inspiration unto Moses and his brother, saying, Provide habitations for your people in Egypt, and make your houses a place of worship, and be constant at prayer; and bear good news unto the true believers. (88) And Moses said, O Lord, verily thou hast given unto Pharaoh and his people pompous ornaments and riches in this present life, O Lord, that they may be seduced from thy way: O Lord, bring their riches to nought, and harden their hearts; that they may not believe, until they see their grievous punishment. (89) God said, Your petition is heard; be ye upright, therefore, and follow not the way of those who are ignorant. (90) And we caused the children of Israel to pass through the sea: and Pharaoh and his army followed them in a violent and hostile manner; until, when he was drowning, he said, I believe that there is no God but he on whom the children of Israel believe; and I am one of the resigned. (91) Now dost thou believe, when thou hast been hitherto rebellious, and one of the wicked doers? (92) This day will we raise thy body from the bottom of the sea, that thou mayest be a sign unto those who shall be after thee; and verily a great number of men are negligent of our signs.
∥ (93) And we prepared for the children of Israel an established dwelling in the land of Canaan, and we provided good things for their sustenance; and they differed not in point of religion until knowledge had come unto them; verily thy Lord will judge between them on the day of resurrection concerning that wherein they disagreed. (94) If thou art in doubt concerning any part of that which we have set down unto thee, ask them who have read the book of the law before thee. Now hath the truth come unto thee from thy Lord; be not therefore one of those who doubt; (95) neither be thou one of those who charge the signs of God with falsehood, lest thou become one of those who perish. (96) Verily those against whom the word of thy Lord is decreed shall not believe, (97) although there come unto them every kind of miracle, until they see the grievous punishment prepared for them.(98) And if it were not so, some city, among the many which have been destroyed, would have believed; and the faith of its inhabitants would have been of advantage unto them; but none of them believed, before the execution of their sentence, except the people of Jonas. When they believed, we delivered them from the punishment of shame in this world, and suffered them to enjoy their lives and possessions for a time. (99) But if thy Lord had pleased, verily all who are in the earth would have believed in general. Wilt thou therefore forcibly compel men to be true believers? (100) No soul can believe but by the permission of God; and he shall pour out his indignation on those who will not understand. (101) Say, Consider whatever is in heaven and on earth: but signs are of no avail, neither preachers unto people who will not believe. (102) Do they therefore expect any other than some terrible judgment, like unto the judgments which have fallen on those who have gone before them? Say, Wait ye the issue; and I also will wait with you; (103) then will we deliver our apostles and those who believe. Thus is it a justice due from us that we should deliver the true believers.
∥ (104) Say, O men of Makkah, if ye be in doubt concerning my religion, verily I worship not the idols which ye worship, besides God; but I worship God, who will cause you to die: and I am commanded to be one of the true believers. (105) And it was said unto me, Set thy face towards the true religion, and be orthodox; and by no means be one of those who attribute companions unto God;(106) neither invoke, besides God, that which can neither profit thee nor hurt thee: for if thou do, thou wilt then certainly become one of the unjust. (107) If God afflict thee with hurt, there is none who can relieve thee from it except he; and if he willeth thee any good, there is none who can keep back his bounty: he will confer it on such of his servants as he pleaseth; and he is gracious and merciful. (108) Say, O men, now hath the truth come unto you from your Lord. He therefore who shall be directed, will be directed to the advantage of his own soul; but he who shall err, will err only against the same. I am no guardian over you. (109) Do thou, O Prophet, follow that which is revealed unto thee: and persevere with patience until God shall judge; for he is the best judge.[Back to Table of Contents]
ENTITLED SURAT AL HÚD.
I have not been able to find any better reason for the name of this chapter than that given by Sale: that the story of that prophet is repeated in it.
There is much in this chapter of a like character with the seventh chapter. Its several parts are closely connected together, and present what may be called an elaborate vindication of Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet. The Quraish had rejected him as an impostor, and had styled his Qurán a forgery. Accordingly he falls back upon the example of former prophets, and threatens the infidels with that Divine wrath which had invariably destroyed the unbelievers who had rejected his predecessors in this holy office.
In respect to the histories of the prophets given in this chapter, there is one feature worthy of very special attention, as it bears directly on the question of Muhammad’s sincerity and honesty as a religious teacher: it is the Muhammadan colouring of the history of these prophets. They were all, like Muhammad, sent to reclaim their people from idolatry. Like him, they were all rejected by the great majority of the people, only a few poor, despised persons professing faith in their prophet’s message. Like him, they were all charged with imposture, and their messages were characterised as forgeries. This conduct was invariably followed by Divine retribution, the prophets and their followers being miraculously delivered from wicked hands.
The whole chapter marks a period of sharp and bitter opposition on the part of Muhammad’s townsmen. It is probable that this fact, as well as the sharp epileptic paroxysms with which these revelations are said to have been accompanied, caused Muhammad to designate “Húd and its Sisters” as the “Terrific Suras.” “The ‘Sisters’ are variously given as Suras xi., xxi., lvi., lxix., lxxvii., lxxviii., lxxxi., and ci.; all Meccan, and some of them very early Suras.”—Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p. 88.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
As to the date of composition, little can be said that is satisfactory beyond the fact that it belongs to a period of Muhammad’s prophetic career at Makkah when the opposition of the Quraish was very fierce. A part of the chapter would seem to indicate the period immediately preceding the Ban of the Húshimites, say b.h. 4 (see note on ver. 91), but the greater part must be referred to a period succeeding that event (see notes on vers. 37 and 55).
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) A. L. R. (2)This book, the verses whereof are guarded against corruption, and are also distinctly explained, is a revelation from the wise, the knowing God:(3) that ye serve not any otherGod (verily I am a denouncer of threats, and a bearer of good tidings unto you from him); (4) and that ye ask pardon of your Lord, and then be turned unto him. He will cause you to enjoy a plentiful provision, until a prefixed time; and unto every one that hath merit by good works will he give his abundant reward. But if ye turn back, verily I fear for you the punishment of the great day: (5) unto God shall ye return; and he is almighty. (6) Do they not double the folds of their breasts, that they may conceal their designs from him? When they cover themselves with their garments, doth not he know that which they conceal and that which they discover? For he knoweth the innermost parts of the breasts of men.
∥ (7) There is no creature which creepeth on the earth but Godprovideth its food; and he knoweth the place of its retreat, and where it is laid up. The whole is written in the perspicuous book of his decrees.(8) It is he who hath created the heavens and the earth in six days (but his throne was above the waters before the creation thereof), that he might prove you, and see which of you would excel in works. If thou say, Ye shall surely be raised again after death; the unbelievers will say, This is nothing but manifest sorcery. (9) And verily if we defer their punishment unto a determined season, they will say, What hindereth it from falling on us? Will it not come upon them on a day, wherein there shall be none to avert it from them; and that which they scoffed at shall encompass them?
∥ (10) Verily, if we cause man to taste mercy from us, and afterwards take it away from him, he will surely become desperate and ungrateful. (11) And if we cause him to taste favour after an affliction had befallen him, he will surely say, The evils which I suffered are passed from me, and he will become joyful and insolent; (12) except those who persevere with patience and do that which is right; they shall receive pardon and a great reward. (13) Peradventure thou wilt omit to publish part of that which hath been revealed unto thee, and thy breast will become straitened, lest they say, Unless a treasure be sent down unto him, or an angel come with him, to bear witness unto him, we will not believe. Verily thou art a preacher only; and God is the governor of all things. (14) Will they say, He hath forged the Qurán? Answer, Bring therefore ten chapters like unto it, forged by yourselves; and call on whomsoever ye may to assist you, except God, if ye speak truth. (15) But if they whom ye call to your assistance hear you not; know that this book hath been revealed by the knowledge of God only, and that there is no God but he. Will ye therefore become Muslims? (16) Whoso chooseth the present life and the pomp thereof, unto them will we give the recompense of their works therein, and the same shall not be diminished unto them. (17) These are they for whom no other reward is prepared in the next life except the fire of hell: that which they have done in this life shall perish, and that which they have wrought shall be vain. (18) Shall he therefore be compared with them who followeth the evident declaration of his Lord, and whom a witness from him attendeth, preceded by the book of Moses, which was revealed for a guide, and out of mercy to mankind? These believe in the Qurán; but whosoever of the confederate infidels believeth not therein, is threatened the fire of hell, which threat shall certainly be executed: be not therefore in a doubt concerning it; for it is the truth from thy Lord: but the greater part of men will not believe. (19) Who is more unjust than he who imagineth a lie concerning God? They shall be set before the Lordat the day of judgment, and the witnesses shall say, These are they who devised lies against their Lord. Shall not the curse of Godfall on the unjust; (20) who turn men aside from the way of God, and seek to render it crooked, and who believe not in the life to come? (21) These were not able to prevail against God on earth, so as to escape punishment; neither had they any protectors besides God: their punishment shall be doubled unto them. They could not hear, neither did they see. (22) These are they who have lost their souls; and the idols which they falsely imagined have abandoned them. (23) There is no doubt but they shall be most miserable in the world to come. (24) But as for those who believe and do good works, and humble themselves before their Lord, they shall be the inhabitants of Paradise; they shall remain therein for ever.(25) The similitude of the two parties is as the blind and the deaf, and as he who seeth and heareth: shall they be compared as equal? Will ye not therefore consider?
∥ (26) We formerly sent Noah unto his people; and he said, Verily I am a public preacher unto you; (27) that ye worship God alone; verily I fear for you the punishment of the terrible day. (28) But the chiefs of the people, who believed not, answered, We see thee to be no other than a man, like unto us; and we do not see that any follow thee, except those who are the most abject among us, who have believed on thee by a rash judgment; neither do we perceive any excellence in you above us: but we esteem you to be liars. (29)Noah said, O my people, tell me; if I have received an evident declaration from my Lord, and he hath bestowed on me mercy from himself, which is hidden from you, do we compel you to receive the same, in case ye be averse thereto? (30) O my people, I ask not of you riches, for my preaching unto you: my reward is with God alone. I will not drive away those who have believed: verily they shall meet their Lordat the resurrection; but I perceive that ye are ignorant men. (31) O my people, who shall assist me against God, if I drive them away? Will ye not therefore consider? (32) I say not unto you, The treasures of God are in my power; neither do I say, I know the secrets of God: neither do I say, Verily I am an angel; neither do I say of those whom your eyes do contemn, God will by no means bestow good on them: (God best knoweth that which is in their souls;) for then should I certainly be one of the unjust. (33) They answered, O Noah, thou hast already disputed with us, and hast multiplied disputes with us; now therefore do thou bring that punishment upon us wherewith thou hast threatened us, if thou speakest truth. (34) Noah said, Verily God alone shall bring it upon you, if he pleaseth; and ye shall not prevail against him, so as to escape the same.(35) Neither shall my counsel profit you, although I endeavour to counsel you aright, if God shall please to lead you into error. He is your Lord, and unto him shall ye return. (36) Will the Makkans say, Muhammad hath forged the Qurán? Answer, If I have forged it, on me be my guilt; and let me be clear of that which ye are guilty of.
∥ (37) And it was revealed unto Noah, saying, Verily none of thy people shall believe, except he who hath already believed; be not therefore grieved for that which they are doing. (38) But make an ark in our presence, according to the form and dimensions which we have revealed unto thee; and speak not unto me in behalf of those who have acted unjustly, for they are doomed to be drowned. (39) And he built the ark; and so often as a company of his people passed by him they derided him; but he said, Though ye scoff at us now, we will scoff at you hereafter as ye scoff at us;(40) and ye shall surely know on whom a punishment shall be inflicted, which shall cover him with shame, and on whom a lasting punishment shall fall. Thus were they employed until our sentence was put in execution and the oven poured forth water. And we said unto Noah, Carry into the ark of every species of animals one pair; and thy family (except him on whom a previous sentence of destruction hath passed), and those who believe. But there believed not with him except a few. (41) And Noah said, Embark thereon, in the name of God, while it moveth forward and while it standeth still; for my Lordis gracious and merciful. (42) And the ark swam with them between waves like mountains; and Noah called unto his son, who was separated from him, saying, Embark with us, my son, and stay not with the unbelievers. (43) He answered, I will get on a mountain, which will secure me from the water. Noah replied, There is no security this day from the decree of God, except for him on whom he shall have mercy. And a wave passed between them, and he became one of those who were drowned. (44) And it was said, O earth, swallow up thy waters, and thou, O heaven, withhold thy rain. And immediately the water abated, and the decree was fulfilled, and the ark rested on the mountain Al Júdi; and it was said, Away with the ungodly people!
∥ (45) And Noah called upon his Lord, and said, O Lord, verily my son is of my family, and thy promise is true, for thou art the most just of those who exercise judgment. (46)God answered, O Noah, verily he is not of thy family; this intercession of thine for him is not a righteous work. Ask not of me therefore that wherein thou hast no knowledge; I admonish thee that thou become not one of the ignorant. (47)Noah said, O Lord, I have recourse unto thee for the assistance of thy grace, that I ask not of thee that wherein I have no knowledge; and unless thou forgive me and be merciful unto me, I shall be one of those who perish. (48) It was said unto him, O Noah, come down from the ark, with peace from us, and blessings upon thee, and upon a part of those who are with thee; but as for a part of them, we will suffer them to enjoy the provision of this world, and afterwards shall a grievous punishment from us be inflicted on them in the life to come.(49) This is a secret history which we reveal unto thee; thou didst not know it, neither did thy people before this. Wherefore persevere with patience, for the prosperous issue shall attend the pious.
∥ (50) And unto the tribe of Ád we sent their brother Húd. He said, O my people, worship God; ye have no God besides him; ye only imagine falsehood in setting up idols and intercessors of your own making. (51) O my people, I ask not of you for this my preaching any recompense; my recompense do I expect from him only who hath created me. Will ye not therefore understand? (52) O my people, ask pardon of your Lord, and be turned unto him; he will send the heaven to pour forth rain plentifully upon you, and he will increase your strength by giving unto you further strength; therefore turn not aside to commit evil. (53) They answered, O Húd, thou hast brought us no proof of what thou sayest; therefore we will not leave our gods for thy saying, neither do we believe thee. (54) We say no other than that some of our gods have afflicted thee with evil. He replied, Verily I call God to witness, and do ye also bear witness that I am clear of that which ye associate with God besides him. (55) Do ye all therefore join to devise a plot against me, and tarry not; (56) for I put my confidence in God, my Lord and your Lord. There is no beast but he holdeth it by its forelock; verily my Lordproceedeth in the right way. (57) But if ye turn back, I have already declared unto you that with which I was sent unto you; and my Lord shall substitute another nation in your stead, and ye shall not hurt him at all, for my Lordis guardian over all things. (58) And when our sentence came to be put in execution, we delivered Húd and those who had believed with him through our mercy; and we delivered them from a grievous punishment. (59) And this tribe of Ád wittingly rejected the signs of their Lord, and were disobedient unto his messengers, and they followed the command of every rebellious perverse person. (60) Wherefore they were followed in this world by a curse, and they shall be followed by the same on the day of resurrection. Did not Ád disbelieve in their Lord? Was it not said, Away with Ád, the people of Húd?
∥ (61) And unto the tribe of Thamúd we sent their brother Sálih. He said unto them, O my people, worship God; ye have no God besides him. It is he who hath produced you out of the earth, and hath given you an habitation therein. Ask pardon of him, therefore, and be turned unto him; for my Lord is near and ready to answer. (62) They answered, O Sálih, thou wast a person on whom we placed our hopes before this. Dost thou forbid us to worship that which our fathers worshipped? But we are certainly in doubt concerning the religion to which thou dost invite us, as justly to be suspected. (63) Sálih said, O my people, tell me; if I have received an evident declaration from my Lord, and he hath bestowed on me mercy from himself; who will protect me from the vengeance ofGod if I be disobedient unto him? For ye shall not add unto me other than loss. (64) And he said, O my people, this she-camel of Godis a sign unto you; therefore dismiss her freely, that she may feed in God’s earth, and do her no harm, lest a swift punishment seize you. (65) Yet they killed her; and Sálih said, Enjoy yourselves in your dwellings for three days, after which ye shall be destroyed. This is an infallible prediction. (66) And when our decree came to be executed, we delivered Sálih and those who believed with him, through our mercy, from the disgrace of that day; for thy Lord is the strong, the mighty God. (67) But a terrible noise from heaven assailed those who had acted unjustly; and in the morning they were found in their houses lying dead and prostrate, (68) as though they had never dwelt therein. Did not Thamúd disbelieve in their Lord? Was not Thamúd cast far away?
∥ (69) Our messengers also came formerly unto Abraham with good tidings: they said, Peace be upon thee. And he answered, And on you be peace! And he tarried not, but brought a roasted calf. (70) And when he saw that their hands did not touch the meat, he misliked them, and entertained a fear of them. But they said, Fear not; for we are sent unto the people of Lot. (71) And his wife Sarah was standing by, and she laughed; and we promised her Isaac, and after Isaac, Jacob. (72) She said, Alas! shall I bear a son, who am old; this my husband also being advanced in years? Verily this would be a wonderful thing. (73)The angels answered, Dost thou wonder at the effect of the command of God? The mercy of God and his blessings be upon you, the family of the house: for he is praiseworthy, and to be glorified. (74) And when his apprehension had departed from Abraham, and the good tidings of Isaac’s birth had come unto him, he disputed with us concerning the people of Lot; for Abraham was a pitiful, compassionate, and devout person. (75) The angels said unto him, O Abraham, abstain from this; for now is the command of thy Lord come to put their sentence in execution, and an inevitable punishment is ready to fall upon them. (76) And when our messengers came unto Lot, he was troubled for them, and his arm was straightened concerning them; and he said, This is a grievous day. (77) And his people came unto him, rushing upon him, and they had formerly been guilty of wickedness. Lot said unto them, O my people, these my daughters are more lawful for you: therefore fear God, and put me not to shame by wronging my guests. Is there not a man of prudence among you? (78) They answered, Thou knowest that we have no need of thy daughters; and thou well knowest what we would have. (79) He said, If I had strength sufficient to oppose you, or I could have recourse unto a powerful support, I would certainly do it.(80)The angels said, O Lot, verily we are the messengers of thy Lord; they shall by no means come in unto thee. Go forth, therefore, with thy family, in some part of the night, and let not any of you turn back; but as for thy wife, that shall happen unto her which shall happen unto them. Verily the prediction of their punishment shall be fulfilled in the morning: is not the morning near? (81) And when our command came, we turned those cities upside down, and we rained upon them stones of baked clay, one following another, (82) and being marked from thy Lord; and they are not far distant from those who act unjustly.
∥ (83) And unto Madian we sent their brother Shuaib: he said, O my people, worship God: ye have no God but him: and diminish not measure and weight. Verily I see you to be in a happy condition; but I fear for you the punishment of the day which will encompass the ungodly. (84) O my people, give full measure and just weight; and diminish not unto men aught of their matters; neither commit injustice in the earth, acting corruptly. (85) The residue which shall remain unto you as the gift of God,after ye shall have done justice to others, will be better for you than wealth gotten by fraud, if ye be true believers. (86) I am no guardian over you. (87) They answered, O Shuaib, do thy prayers enjoin thee that we should leave the gods which our fathers worshipped, or that we should not do what we please with our substance? Thou only, it seems, art the wise person, and fit to direct. (88) He said, O my people, tell me: if I have received an evident declaration from my Lord, and he hath bestowed on me an excellent provision, and I will not consent unto you in that which I forbid you; do I seek any other than your reformation, to the utmost of my power? My support is from God alone: on him do I trust, and unto him do I turn me. (89) O my people, let not your opposing of me draw on you a vengeance like unto that which fell on the people of Noah, or the people of Húd, or the people of Sálih: neither was the people of Lot far distant from you. (90) Ask pardon, therefore, of your Lord; and be turned unto him: for my Lord is merciful and loving. (91) They answered, O Shuaib, we understand not much of what thou sayest, and we see thee to be a man of no power among us: if it had not been for the sake of thy family, we had surely stoned thee, neither couldst thou have prevailed against us. (92) Shuaib said, O my people, is my family more worthy in your opinion than God? and do ye cast him behind you with neglect? Verily my Lord comprehendeth that which ye do. (93) O my people, do ye work according to your condition; I will surely work according to my duty. And ye shall certainly know on whom will be inflicted a punishment which shall cover him with shame, and who is a liar. (94) Wait, therefore, the event; for I also will wait it with you. (95) Wherefore, when our decree came to be executed, we delivered Shuaib and those who believed with him, through our mercy; and a terrible noise from heaven assailed those who had acted unjustly; and in the morning they were found in their houses lying dead and prostrate, (96) as though they had never dwelt therein. Was not Madian removed from off the earth, as Thamúd had been removed?
∥ (97) And we formerly sent Moses with our signs and manifest power unto Pharaoh and his princes; (98) but they followed the command of Pharaoh, although the command of Pharaoh did not direct them aright. (99)Pharaoh shall precede his on the day of resurrection, and he shall lead them into hell-fire; an unhappy way shall it be which they shall be led. (100) They were followed in this life by a curse, and on the day of resurrection miserable shall be the gift which shall be given them.(101) This is a part of the histories of the cities, which we rehearse unto thee. Of them there are some standing, and others which are utterly demolished. (102) And we treated them not unjustly, but they dealt unjustly with their own souls; and their gods which they invoked, besides God, were of no advantage unto them at all when the decree of thy Lord came to be executed on them, neither were they any other than a detriment unto them. (103) And thus was the punishment of my Lordinflicted, when he punished the cities which were unjust; for his punishment is grievous and severe. (104) Verily herein is a sign unto him who feareth the punishment of the last day: that shall be a day, whereon all men shall be assembled, and that shall be a day whereon witness shall be borne; (105) we defer it not, but to a determined time. (106) When that day shall come, no soul shall speak to excuse itself or to intercede for another but by the permission of God. Of them, one shall be miserable and another shall be happy. (107) And they who shall be miserable shall be thrown into hell-fire; (108) there shall they wail and bemoan themselves: they shall remain therein so long as the heavens and the earth shall endure, except what thy Lord shall please to remit of their sentence; for thy Lord effecteth that which he pleaseth. (109) But they who shall be happy shall be admitted into Paradise; they shall remain therein so long as the heavens and the earth endure: besides what thy Lord shall please to add unto their bliss; a bounty which shall not be interrupted. (110) Be not therefore in doubt concerning that which these men worship: they worship no other than what their fathers worshipped before them; and we will surely give them their full portion, not in the least diminished.
∥ (111) We formerly gave unto Moses the book of the law, and disputes arose among his people concerning it: and unless a previous decree had proceeded from thy Lordto bear with them during this life, the matter had been surely decided between them. And thy people are also jealous and in doubt concerning the Qurán. (112) But unto every one of them will thy Lord render the reward of their works; for he well knoweth that which they do. (113) Be thou steadfast, therefore, as thou hast been commanded; and let him also be steadfast who shall be converted with thee; and transgress not, for he seeth that which ye do. (114) And incline not unto those who act unjustly, lest the fire of hell touch you: for ye have no protectors except God; neither shall ye be assisted against him.(115) Pray regularly morning and evening; and in the former part of the night, for good works drive away evil. This is an admonition unto those who consider: (116) wherefore persevere with patience; for God suffereth not the reward of the righteous to perish. (117) Were such of the generations before you endued with understanding and virtue who forbade the acting corruptly in the earth, any more than a few only of those whom we delivered; but they who were unjust followed the delights which they enjoyed in this world, and were wicked doers: (118) and thy Lord was not of such a disposition as to destroy the cities unjustly, while their inhabitants behaved themselves uprightly. (119) And if thy Lord pleased, he would have made all men of one religion; but they shall not cease to differ among themselves, unless those on whom thy Lord shall have mercy: and unto this hath he created them; for the word of thy Lord shall be fulfilled when he said, Verily I will fill hell altogether with genii and men. (120) The whole which we have related of the histories of our apostles do we relate unto thee, that we may confirm thy heart thereby; and herein is the truth come unto thee, and an admonition and a warning unto the true believers. (121) Say unto those who believe not, Act ye according to your condition; we surely will act according to our duty: (122) and wait the issue; for we certainly wait it also.(123) Unto Godis known that which is secret in heaven and earth; and unto him shall the whole matter be referred. Therefore worship him and put thy trust in him; for thy Lord is not regardless of that which ye do.[Back to Table of Contents]
ENTITLED SURAT AL YUSUF (JOSEPH).
This chapter purports to give an inspired account of the life of the patriarch Joseph. It differs from every other chapter of the Qurán, in that it deals with only one subject. Baidháwi, says Sale, tells us that it was occasioned in the following manner:—
“The Quraish, thinking to puzzle Muhammad, at the instigation and by the direction of certain Jewish Rabbins, demanded of him how Jacob’s family happened to go down into Egypt, and that he would relate to them the history of Joseph, with all its circumstances;” whereupon he pretended to have received this chapter from heaven.
Jaláluddín-us-Syutí, in his Itqán, says this chapter was given by Muhammad to those Madinese converted at Makkah before the Hijra. Weil conjectures that it was especially prepared with reference to the Hijra. This conjecture has, however, but little in its favour. Certain it is that the chapter belongs to Makkah. Much intercourse with the Jews at Madína would have improved the general historical character of the record.
The story related here bears every mark of having been received at second hand from persons themselves ignorant of the history of Joseph, except as recounted from hearsay among ignorant people. Muhammad’s informants had probably learned the story from popular Jewish tradition, which seems to have been garbled and improved upon by the Prophet himself. Certainly no part of the Qurán more clearly reveals the hand of the forger. The whole chapter is a miserable travesty of the Mosaic account of Joseph. In almost every instance the facts of the original story are misrepresented, misplaced, and garbled, while the additions are often wanting the poor authority of the Rabbins. Nevertheless, this story is not only related as coming from God, but also as attesting the Divine character of the Qurán. It is significant that this chapter was rejected by the Ajáredites and Maimúnians as apocryphal and spurious.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
There are those (as Jaláluddín-us-Sayutí) who would assign vers. 1-3 to Madína, but the generally received opinion, as stated above, is that the whole chapter belongs to Makkah. The spirit shown in vers. 105, 110, towards the unbelieving Quraish, along with the general character of the chapter, based as it is upon information drawn from Jewish sources, point to the years immediately preceding the Hijra as the period to which it belongs. Muir, in his Chronological List of Suras, places it just before chap. xi. See Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. Appendix.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) A. L. R. (2) These are the signs of the perspicuous book, which we have sent down in the Arabic tongue, that, peradventure, ye might understand. (3) We relate unto thee a most excellent history, by revealing unto thee this Qurán, whereas thou wast before one of the negligent. (4) When Joseph said unto his father, O my father, verily I saw in my dream eleven stars, and the sun and the moon; I saw them make obeisance unto me: (5)Jacob said, O my child, tell not thy vision to thy brethren, lest they devise some plot against thee; for the devil is a professed enemy unto man; (6) and thus, according to thy dream, shall thy Lord choose thee, and teach thee the interpretation of dark sayings, and he shall accomplish his favour upon thee and upon the family of Jacob, as he hath formerly accomplished it upon thy fathers Abraham and Isaac; for thy Lordis knowing and wise. (7) Surely in the history of Joseph and his brethren there are signs of God’s providence to the inquisitive; (8) when they said toone another, Joseph and his brother are dearer to our father than we, who are the greater number: our father certainly maketh a wrong judgment. (9)Wherefore slay Joseph, or drive him into some distant or desert part of the earth, and the face of your father shall be cleared towards you; and ye shall afterwards be people of integrity. (10) One of them spoke and said: Slay not Joseph, but throw him to the bottom of the well; and some travellers will take him up, if ye do this. (11) They said unto Jacob, O father, why dost thou not intrust Joseph with us, since we are sincere well-wishers unto him? (12) Send him with us to-morrow into the field, that he may divert himself and sport, and we will be his guardians.
∥ (13)Jacob answered, It grieveth me that ye take him away; and I fear lest the wolf devour him while ye are negligent of him. (14) They said, Surely if the wolf devour him, when there are so many of us, we shall be weak indeed. (15) And when they had carried him with them, and agreed to set him at the bottom of the well, they executed their design: and we sent a revelation unto him, saying, Thou shalt hereafter declare this their action unto them; and they shall not perceive thee to be Joseph. (16) And they came to their father at even, weeping, (17)and said, Father, we went and ran races with one another, and we left Joseph with our baggage, and the wolf hath devoured him; but thou wilt not believe us although we speak the truth. (18) And they produced his inner garment stained with false blood. Jacob answered, Nay, but ye yourselves have contrived the thing for your own sakes: however patience is most becoming, and God’s assistance is to be implored to enable me to support the misfortune which ye relate. (19) And certain travellers came, and sent one to draw water for them; and he let down his bucket, and said, Good news! this is a youth. And they concealed him, that they might sell him as a piece of merchandise; but God knew that which they did. (20) And they sold him for a mean price, for a few pence, and valued him lightly.
∥ (21) And the Egyptian who bought him said to his wife, Use him honourably; peradventure he may be serviceable to us, or we may adopt him for our son. Thus did we prepare an establishment for Joseph in the earth, and we taught him the interpretation of dark sayings; for God is well able to effect his purpose, but the greater part of men do not understand. (22) And when he had attained his age of strength, we bestowed on him wisdom and knowledge; for thus do we recompense the righteous. (23) And she in whose house he was desired him to lie with her; and she shut the doors and said, Come hither. He answered, God forbid! verily my lord hath made my dwelling with him easy; and the ungrateful shall not prosper. (24) But she resolved within herself to enjoy him, and he would have resolved to enjoy her, had he not seen the evident demonstration of his Lord. So we turned away evil and filthiness from him, because he was one of our sincere servants. (25) And they ran to get one before the other to the door, and she rent his inner garment behind. And they met her lord at the door. She said, What shall be the reward of him who seeketh to commit evil in thy family but imprisonment and a painful punishment? (26) And Joseph said, She asked me to lie with her. And a witness of her family bore witness, saying, If his garment be rent before, she speaketh truth, and he is a liar;
∥ (27) But if his garment be rent behind, she lieth, and he is a speaker of truth. (28) And when her husband saw that his garment was torn behind, he said, This is a cunning contrivance of your sex; for surely your cunning is great. (29) O Joseph, take no further notice of this affair: and thou, O woman, ask pardon for thy crime, for thou art a guilty person. (30) And certain women said publicly in the city, The nobleman’s wife asked her servant to lie with her; he hath inflamed her breast with his love; and we perceive her to be in manifest error. (31) And when she heard of their subtle behaviour, she sent unto them and prepared a banquet for them, and she gave to each of them a knife; and she said unto Joseph, Come forth unto them. And when they saw him they praised him greatly, and they cut their own hands, and said, O God! this is not a mortal: he is no other than an angel, deserving the highest respect. (32) And his mistress said, This is he for whose sake ye blamed me; I asked him to lie with me, but he constantly refused. But if he do not perform that which I command him, he shall surely be cast into prison, and he shall be made one of the contemptible. (33)Joseph said, O Lord, a prison is more eligible unto me than the crime to which they invite me; but unless thou turn aside their snares from me, I shall youthfully incline unto them, and I shall become one of the foolish. (34) Wherefore his Lord heard him, and turned aside their snare from him, for he both heareth and knoweth. (35) And it seemed good unto them, even after they had seen the signs of innocency, to imprison him for a time.
∥ (36) And there entered into the prison with him two of the king’s servants. One of them said, It seemed to me in my dream that I pressed wine out of grapes. And the other said, It seemed unto me in my dream that I carried bread on my head, whereof the birds did eat. Declare unto us the interpretation of our dreams, for we perceive that thou art a beneficent person. (37)Joseph answered, No food wherewith ye may be nourished shall come unto you, but I will declare unto you the interpretation thereof before it come unto you. This knowledge is a part of that which my Lord hath taught me; for I have left the religion of people who believe not in God, and who deny the life to come, (38) and I follow the religion of my fathers, Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. It is not lawful for us to associate anything with God. This knowledge of the divine unity hath been given us of the bounty of God towards us and towards mankind; but the greater part of men are not thankful. (39) O my fellow-prisoners, are sundry lords better or the only true and mighty God? (40) Ye worship not, besides him other than the names which ye have named, ye and your fathers, concerning which God hath sent down no authoritative proof: yet judgment belongeth unto God alone, who hath commanded that ye worship none besides him. This is the right religion; but the greater part of men know it not. (41) O my fellow-prisoners, verily the one of you shall serve wine unto his lord as formerly; but the other shall be crucified, and the birds shall eat from off his head. The matter is decreed concerning which ye seek to be informed. (42) And Joseph said unto him whom he judged to be the person who should escape of the two, Remember me in the presence of thy lord. But the devil caused him to forget to make mention of Joseph unto his lord, wherefore he remained in the prison some years.
∥ (43) And the king of Egypt said, Verily, I saw in my dream seven fat kine, which seven lean kine devoured, and seven green ears of corn, and other seven withered ears. O nobles, expound my vision unto me, if ye be able to interpret a vision. (44) They answered, They are confused dreams, neither are we skilled in the interpretation of such kind of dreams. (45) And Joseph’s fellow-prisoner who had been delivered, said (for he remembered Joseph after a certain space of time), I will declare unto you the interpretation thereof; wherefore let me go unto the person who will interpret it unto me. (46) And he went to the prison, and said, O Joseph, thou man of veracity, teach us the interpretation of seven fat kine, which seven lean kine devoured; and of seven green ears of corn, and other seven withered ears, which the king saw in his dream; that I may return unto the men who have sent me, that peradventure they may understand the same.(47)Joseph answered, Ye shall sow seven years as usual; and the corn which ye shall reap do ye leave in its ear, except a little whereof ye may eat. (48) Then shall there come after this seven grievous years of famine, which shall consume what ye shall have laid up as a provision for the same, except a little which ye shall have kept. (49) Then shall there come after this a year wherein men shall have plenty of rain, and wherein they shall press wine and oil.
∥ (50) And when the chief butler had reported this, the king said, Bring him unto me. And when the messenger came unto Joseph, he said, Return unto thy lord, and ask of him what was the intent of the women who cut their hands; for my Lord well knoweth the snare which they laid for me.(51)And when the women were assembled before the king, he said unto them, What was your design when ye solicited Joseph to unlawful love? They answered, God be praised! we know not any ill of him. The nobleman’s wife said, Now is the truth become manifest: I solicited him to lie with me; and he is one of those who speak truth. (52)And when Joseph was acquainted therewith he said, This discovery hath been made that my lord might know that I was not unfaithful unto him in his absence, and that God directeth not the plot of the deceivers.
∥ (53) Neither do I absolutely justify myself: since every soul is prone unto evil, except those on whom my Lord shall show mercy; for my Lordis gracious and merciful. (54) And the king said, Bring him unto me: I will take him into my own peculiar service. And when Joseph was brought unto the king, and he had discoursed with him, he said, Thou art this day firmly established with us, and shalt be intrusted with our affairs.(55)Joseph answered, Set me over the storehouses of the land; for I will be a skilful keeper thereof. (56) Thus did we establish Joseph in the land, that he might provide himself a dwelling therein where he pleased. We bestow our mercy on whom we please, and we suffer not the reward of the righteous to perish; (57) and certainly the reward of the next life is better for those who believe and fear God.
∥ (58) Moreover, Joseph’s brethren came, and went in unto him; and he knew them, but they knew not him. (59) And when he had furnished them with their provisions, he said, Bring unto me your brother, the son of your father; do ye not see that I give full measure, and that I am the most hospitable receiver of guests? (60) But if ye bring him not unto me, there shall be no corn measured unto you from me, neither shall ye approach my presence. (61) They answered, We will endeavour to obtain him of his father, and we will certainly perform what thou requirest. And (62)Joseph said to his servants, Put their money which they have paid for their corn into their sacks, that they may perceive it when they shall be returned to their family, peradventure they will come back unto us. (63) And when they were returned unto their father they said, O father, it is forbidden to measure out corn unto us any more unless we carry our brother Benjamin with us: wherefore send our brother with us and we shall have corn measured unto us; and we will certainly guard him from any mischance. (64) Jacob answered, Shall I trust him with you with any better success than I trusted your brother Joseph with you heretofore? But God is the best guardian, and he is the most merciful of those that show mercy. (65) And when they opened their provision, they found their money had been returned unto them; and they said, O father, what do we desire further? this our money hath been returned unto us; we will therefore return, and provide corn for our family; we will take care of our brother; and we shall receive a camel’s burden more than we did the last time. This is a small quantity. (66)Jacob said, I will by no means send him with you, until ye give me a solemn promise, and swear by God that ye will certainly bring him back unto me, unless ye be encompassed by some inevitable impediment. And when they had given him their solemn promise, he said, God is witness of what we say. (67) And he said, My sons, enter not into the city by one and the same gate, but enter by different gates. But this precaution will be of no advantage unto you against the decree ofGod; for judgment belongeth unto God alone: in him do I put my trust, and in him let those confide who seek in whom to put their trust. (68) And when they entered the city, as their father had commanded them, it was of no advantage unto them against the decree ofGod,and the same served only to satisfy the desire of Jacob’s soul, which he had charged them to perform: for he was endued with knowledge of that which we had taught him; but the greater part of men do not understand.
∥ (69) And when they entered into the presence of Joseph, he received his brother Benjamin as his guest, and said, Verily I am thy brother, be not therefore afflicted for that which they have committed against us.(70) And when he had furnished them with their provisions, he put his cup in his brother Benjamin’s sack. Then a crier cried after them, saying, O company of travellers, ye are surely thieves. (71) They said (and turned back unto them), What is it that ye miss? (72) They answered, We miss the prince’s cup; and unto him who shall produce it shall be given a camel’s load of corn, and I will be surety for the same. (73)Joseph’s brethren replied, By God, ye do well know that we come not to act corruptly in the land, neither are we thieves. (74) The Egyptians said, What shall be the reward of him who shall appear to have stolen the cup, if ye be found liars? (75)Joseph’s brethren answered, As to the reward of him in whose sack it shall be found, let him become a bondman in satisfaction of the same: thus do we reward the unjust who are guilty of theft.(76) Then he began by their sacks, before he searched the sack of his brother; and he drew out the cup from his brother’s sack. Thus did we furnish Joseph with a stratagem. It was not lawful for him to take his brother for a bondman by the law of the king of Egypt, had not God pleased to allow it, according to the offer of his brethren. We exalt to degrees of knowledge and honour whom we please; and there is one who is knowing above all those who are endued with knowledge. (77)His brethren said, If Benjamin be guilty of theft, his brother Joseph hath been also guilty of theft heretofore. But Joseph concealed these things in his mind, and did not discover them unto them: and he said within himself, Ye are in a worse condition than us two; and God best knoweth what ye discourse about. (78) They said unto Joseph, Noble lord, verily this lad hath an aged father; wherefore take one of us in his stead; for we perceive that thou art a beneficent person. (79) Joseph answered, God forbid that we should take any other than him with whom we found our goods; for then should we certainly be unjust.
∥ (80) And when they despaired of obtaining Benjamin, they retired to confer privately together. And the elder of them said, Do ye not know that your father hath received a solemn promise from you, in the name of God, and how perfidiously ye behaved heretofore towards Joseph? Wherefore I will by no means depart the land of Egypt until my father give me leave to return unto him, or God maketh known his will to me; for he is the best judge. (81) Return ye to your father and say, O father, verily thy son hath committed theft; we bear witness of no more than what we know, and we could not guard against what we did not foresee: (82) and do thou inquire in the city where we have been, and of the company of merchants with whom we are arrived, and thou wilt find that we speak the truth. (83)And when they were returned, and had spoken thus to their father, he said, Nay, but rather ye yourselves have contrived the thing for your own sakes, but patience is most proper for me; peradventure God will restore them all unto me; for he is knowing and wise. (84) And he turned from them and said, Oh how I am grieved for Joseph! And his eyes become white with mourning, he being oppressed with deep sorrow. (85)His sons said, By God, thou wilt not cease to remember Joseph until thou be brought to death’s door, or thou be actually destroyed by excessive affliction.(86) He answered, I only represent my grief, which I am not able to contain, and my sorrow unto God; but I know by revelation from God that which ye know not. (87) O my sons, go and make inquiry after Joseph and his brother; and despair not of the mercy of God; for none despaireth of God’s mercy except the unbelieving people. (88)Wherefore Joseph’s brethren returned into Egypt; and when they came into his presence they said, Noble lord, the famine is felt by us and our family, and we are come with a small sum of money; yet give unto us full measure, and bestow corn upon us as alms, for God rewardeth the almsgivers. (89)Joseph said unto them, Do ye know what ye did unto Joseph and his brother, when ye were ignorant of the consequences thereof?(90) They answered, Art thou really Joseph? He replied, I am Joseph, and this is my brother. Now hath God been gracious unto us. For whoso feareth God and persevereth with patience shall at length find relief, since God will not suffer the reward of the righteous to perish. (91) They said, By God, now hath God chosen thee above us, and we have surely been sinners. (92) Joseph answered, Let there be no reproach cast on you this day. God forgiveth you, for he is the most merciful of those who show mercy. (93) Depart ye with this my inner garment, and throw it on my father’s face, and he shall recover his sight; and then come unto me with all your family.
∥ (94) And when the company of travellers was departed from Egypt on their journey towards Canaan, their father said unto those who were about him, Verily I perceive the smell of Joseph, although ye think that I dote. (95) They answered, By God thou art in thy old mistake. (96) But when the messenger of good tidings was come with Joseph’s inner garment, he threw it over his face, and he recovered his eyesight. (97) And Jacob said, Did I not tell you that I knew from God that which ye knew not? (98) They answered, O father, ask pardon of our sins for us, for we have surely been sinners. (99) He replied, I will surely ask pardon for you of my Lord, for he is gracious and merciful. (100) And when Jacob and his family arrived in Egypt, and were introduced unto Joseph, he received his parents unto him, and said, Enter ye into Egypt, by God’s favour, in full security. (101) And he raised his parents to the seat of state, and they, together with his brethren, fell down and did obeisance unto him. And he said, O my father, this is the interpretation of my vision which I saw heretofore; now hath my Lord rendered it true. And he hath surely been gracious unto me, since he took me forth from the prison, and hath brought you hither from the desert, after that the devil had sown discord between me and my brethren; for my Lord is gracious unto whom he pleaseth, and he is the knowing, the wise God.(102) O Lord, thou hast given me a part of the kingdom, and hast taught me the interpretation of dark sayings. The Creator of heaven and earth! thou art my protector in this world, and in that which is to come; make me to die a Muslim, and join me with the righteous. (103) This is a secret history which we reveal unto thee, O Muhammad, although thou wast not present with the brethren of Joseph when they concerted their design and contrived a plot against him. But the greater part of men, although they carnestly desire it, will not believe. (104) Thou shalt not demand of them any reward for thy publishing the Qurán; it is no other than an admonition unto all creatures.
∥ (105) And how many signs soever there be of the being, unity, and providence of God in the heavens and the earth, they will pass by them, and will retire afar off from them. (106) And the greater part of them believe not in God, without being also guilty of idolatry. (107) Do they not believe that some overwhelming affliction shall fall on them as a punishment from God, or that the hour of judgment shall overtake them suddenly, when they consider not its approach? (108) Say unto those of Makkah, This is my way; I invite you unto God by an evident demonstration, both I and he who followeth me; and praise be unto God, I am not an idolater. (109) We sent not any apostles before thee, except men, unto whom we revealed our will, and whom we chose out of those who dwelt in cities. Will they not go through the earth, and see what hath been the end of those who have preceded them? But the dwelling of the next life shall surely be better for those who fear God. Will they not therefore understand? (110) Their predecessors were borne with for a time, until, when our apostles despaired of their conversion, and they thought that they were liars, our help came unto them, and we delivered whom we pleased; but our vengeance was not turned away from the wicked people. (111) Verily in the histories of the prophets and their people there is an instructive example unto those who are endued with understanding. The Qurán is not a new invented fiction, but a confirmation of those scriptures which have been revealed before it, and a distinct explication of everything necessary in respect either to faith or practice, and a direction and mercy unto people who believe.[Back to Table of Contents]
ENTITLED SURAT AL RAAD (THUNDER).
The name of this chapter occurs in ver. 14. All of the best authorities agree that this chapter originated at Makkah. Most of the Muslim commentators make vers. 14, 29-31, to allude to events which occurred at Madína late in the life of the Prophet, and a few writers, says Noeldeke, have thought the whole chapter should be referred to Madína. However, the interpretations given by these commentators are based entirely upon the words of these passages, and, in the absence of better evidence, must be regarded as widely mistaken.
The internal evidence of the chapter is decidedly in favour of referring the origin of the whole to Makkah, excepting perhaps ver. 41.
The contents of the chapter relate entirely to Muhammad’s disputes with the infidel Quraish. A remarkable feature of it is its many apologies for Muhammad’s failure to perform the miracles demanded by the unbelievers. On this account the author of the Notes on the Roman Urdu Qurán remarks that “this chapter should have been entitled the Chapter of Apologies.”
Probable date of the Revelations.
We have already shown that this chapter, excepting ver. 41, must be referred to Makkah. As to the date of composition, the earlier verses of the chapter might be assigned to almost any period in the career of the Makkan preacher; but the latter part of the chapter must be referred to the latter part of his ministry at Makkah. This is evident from the allusion to the “adversity” of the Makkans in ver. 31, the belief of certain Jews in ver. 36, and the obstinate unbelief and opposition of the Quraish in vers. 30 and 42. If we take the allusion in vers. 36 and 37 to be to the lapse of Muhammad in his temporary compromise with idolatry about six years before the Hijra, and if we refer the statements of ver. 42 to the persecutions which arose on Muhammad’s recovery from the lapse, and which culminated in the ban against the Háshimites, this portion of the chapter may be referred to the period intervening between the years 6 and 4 b.h.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) A. L. M. R. These are the signs of the book of the Qurán; and that which hath been sent down unto thee from thy Lord is the truth; but the greater part of men will not believe. (2)It isGod who hath raised the heavens without visible pillars; and then ascended his throne, and compelled the sun and the moon to perform their services: every of the heavenly bodies runneth an appointed course. He ordereth all things. He showeth his signs distinctly, that ye may be assured ye must meet your Lordat the last day.(3)It is he who hath stretched forth the earth, and placed therein steadfast mountains and rivers; and hath ordained therein of every fruit two different kinds. He causeth the night to cover the day. Herein are certain signs upon people who consider. (4) And in the earth are tracts of land of different natures, though bordering on each other; and also vineyards, and seeds, and palm-trees springing several from the same root, and singly from distinct roots. They are watered with the same water, yet we render some of them more excellent than others to eat. Herein are surely signs upon people who understand. (5) If thou dost wonder at the infidels denying the resurrection, surely wonderful is their saying, After we shall have been reduced to dust, shall we be restored in a new creature? (6) These are they who believe not in their Lord; these shall have collars on their necks, and these shall be the inhabitants of hell-fire: therein shall they abide for ever. (7) They will ask of thee to hasten evil rather than good: although there have already been examples of the divine vengeance before them. Thy Lord is surely endued with indulgence towards men, notwithstanding their iniquity; but thy Lord is also severe in punishing. (8) The infidels say, Unless a sign be sent down unto him from his Lord,we will not believe. Thou art commissioned to be a preacher only, and not a worker of miracles; and unto every people hath a director been appointed.
∥ (9) God knoweth what every female beareth in her womb, and what the wombs want or exceed of their due time or number of young. With him is everything regulated according to a determined measure. (10) He knoweth that which is hidden and that which is revealed. He is the great, the most high. (11) He among you who concealeth his words, and he who proclaimeth them in public; he also who seeketh to hide himself in the night, and he who goeth forth openly in the day, is equal in respect to the knowledge of God.(12) Each of them hath angels mutually succeeding each other, before him and behind him; they watch him by the command of God. Verily God will not change his grace which is in men until they change the disposition in their souls by sin. When God willeth evil on a people there shall be none to avert it, neither shall they have any protector beside him. (13)It is he who causeth the lightning to appear unto you, to strike fear, and to raise hope, and who formeth the pregnant clouds. (14) The thunder celebrateth his praise, and the angels also, for fear of him. He sendeth his thunderbolts, and striketh therewith whom he pleaseth, while they dispute concerning God; for he is mighty in power. (15) It is he who ought of right to be invoked; and the idols which they invoke besides him, shall not hear them at all, otherwise than as he is heard who stretcheth forth his hands to the water that it may ascend to his mouth when it cannot ascend thither: the supplication of the unbelievers is utterly erroneous. (16) Whatsoever is in heaven and on earth worshippeth God, voluntarily or of force; and their shadows also, morning and evening. (17) Say, Who is the Lord of heaven and earth? Answer, God. Say, Have ye, therefore, taken unto yourselves protectors beside him, who are unable either to help or to defend themselves from hurt? Say, Shall the blind and the seeing be esteemed equal? or shall darkness and light be accounted the same? or have they attributed companions unto God, who have created as he hath created, so that their creation bear any resemblance unto his? Say, God is the creator of all things; he is the one, the victorious God.(18) He causeth water to descend from heaven, and the brooks flow according to their respective measure, and the floods bear the floating froth: and from the metals which they melt in the fire, seeking to cast ornaments or vessels for use, there ariseth a scum like unto it. Thus God setteth forth truth and vanity. But the scum is thrown off, and that which is useful to mankind remaineth on the earth. Thus doth God put forth parables. Unto those who obey their Lordshall be given the most excellent reward; but those who obey him not, although they were possessed of whatever is in the whole earth and as much more, they would give it all for their ransom. These will be brought to a terrible account: their abode shall be hell; an unhappy couch shall it be!
∥ (19) Shall he, therefore, who knoweth that what hath been sent down unto thee from thy Lord is truth be rewarded as he who is blind? The prudent only will consider; (20) who fulfil the covenant of God, and break not their contract; (21)(21) and who join that which God hath commanded to be joined, and who fear their Lord, and dread an ill account; (22) and who persevere out of a sincere desire to please their Lord, and observe the stated times of prayer, and give alms out of what we have bestowed on them, in secret and openly, and who turn away evil with good: the reward of these shall be paradise, (23) gardens of eternal abode, which they shall enter, and also whoever shall have acted uprightly, of their fathers, and their wives, and their posterity: and the angels shall go in unto them by every gate, (24)saying, Peace be upon you, because ye have endured with patience: how excellent a reward is paradise! (25) But as for those who violate the covenant of God after the establishment thereof, and who cut in sunder that which God hath commanded to be joined, and act corruptly in the earth, on them shall a curse fall, and they shall have a miserable dwelling in hell. (26) God giveth provision in abundance unto whom he pleaseth, and is sparing unto whom he pleaseth. Those of Makkah rejoice in the present life, although the present life, in respect of the future, is but a precarious provision.
∥ (27) The infidels say, Unless a sign be sent down unto him from his Lord,we will not believe. Answer, Verily, God will lead into error whom he pleaseth, and will direct unto himself him who repenteth, (28)and those who believe, and whose hearts rest securely in the meditation of God; shall not men’s hearts rest securely in the meditation of God? They who believe and do that which is right shall enjoy blessedness and partake of a happy resurrection. (29) Thus have we sent thee to a nation which other nations have preceded unto whom prophets have likewise been sent, that thou mayest rehearse unto them that which we have revealed unto thee, even while they believe not in the merciful God. Say unto them, He is my Lord; there is no God but he: in him do I trust, and unto him must I return. (30) Though a Qurán wererevealed by which mountains should be removed, or the earth cleaved in sunder, or the dead be caused to speak, it would be in vain. But the matter belongeth wholly unto God. Do not, therefore, the believers know, that if God pleased, he would certainly direct all men? (31) Adversity shall not cease to afflict the unbelievers for that which they have committed, or to sit down near their habitations, until God’s promise come; for God is not contrary to the promise.
∥ (32) Apostles before thee have been laughed to scorn; and I permitted the infidels to enjoy a long and happy life; but afterwards I punished them; and how severe was the punishment which I inflicted on them!(33) Who is it, therefore, that standeth over every soul, to observe that which it committeth? They attribute companions unto God. Say, Name them: will ye declare unto him that which he knoweth not in the earth? or will ye name them in outward speech only? But the deceitful procedure of the infidels was prepared for them, and they are turned aside from the right path; for he whom God shall cause to err shall have no director. (34) They shall suffer a punishment in this life, but the punishment of the next shall be more grievous; and there shall be none to protect them against God. (35) This is the description of paradise which is promised to the pious. It is watered by rivers; its food is perpetual, and its shade also: this shall be the reward of those who fear God. But the reward of the infidels shall be hell-fire. (36) Those to whom we have given the scriptures, rejoice at what hath been revealed unto thee. Yet there are some of the confederates who deny part thereof. Say unto them, Verily I am commanded to worship God alone; and to him give no companion: upon him do I call, and unto him shall I return. (37) To this purpose have we sent down the Qurán, a rule of judgment, in the Arabic language. And verily, if thou follow their desires, after the knowledge which hath been given thee, there shall be none to defend or protect thee against God.
∥ (38) We have formerly sent apostles before thee, and bestowed on them wives and children; and no apostle had the power to come with a sign, unless by the permission of God. Every age hath its book of revelation.(39)God shall abolish and shall confirm what he pleaseth. With him is the original of the book. (40) Moreover, whether we cause thee to see any part of that punishment wherewith we have threatened them, or whether we cause thee to die before it be inflicted on them, verily unto thee belongeth preaching only, but unto us inquisition. (41) Do they not see that we come into their land, and straiten the borders thereof by the conquests of the true believers? When God judgeth, there is none to reverse his judgment; and he will be swift in taking an account. (42) Their predecessors formerly devised subtle plots against their prophets, but God is master of every subtle device. He knoweth that which every soul deserveth; and the infidels shall surely know whose will be the reward of Paradise. (43) The unbelievers will say, Thou art not sent of God. Answer, God is a sufficient witness between me and you, and he who understandeth the scriptures.
end of vol. ii.
Printed byBallantyne, Hanson & Co.
Edinburgh and London
[(1) ]A. L. M. See note on chap. ii. ver. 1, and Prelim. Disc., p. 100.
[(2) ]There is no God but God, &c. These words express one half of the Muslim creed; they are said to have been delivered on the occasion of a visit to the Prophet by certain Christians from Najrán. On being invited to join Islám, they professed their faith in Jesus the Son of God. To this Muhammad replied that they were unable to receive the true religion because of their having attributed to the Deity the human relationships of wife and son. The Christians declared their belief in the Sonship of Jesus, saying, “If God were not his father, who was?” To this Muhammad replied, that, according to their own religion, God was immortal, and yet they believed that Jesus would taste of death; that he ate and drank, slept and awoke, went and came, &c. This, he averred, could not be predicated of divinity. See Tafsír-i-Husainí in loco.
[(3) ]He had formerly sent down the law, &c. The Muslim commentators understand the reference to be to all the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, and that these were “a direction” unto the Jews that they should not call Ezra the Son of God, and “a direction” to the Christians that they should not call Christ “God, the Son of God, or one of three persons of a Trinity.”—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(4) ]Those who believe not the signs, i.e., who reject the teaching of the Qurán. If our view of the latter clause of the preceding verse be correct, allusion may be had to the teaching of former Scriptures as well.
[(5) ]Nothing is hidden from God, &c. A distinct recognition of the omniscience of God. The commentators see in this statement a refutation of the Christian doctrine of the Divinity of Christ. The Son of Mary did not know everything, therefore he could not be divine. Here again we see that the Muslim conception of Christ’s divinity is that his humanity was divine.
[(6) ]He that formeth you, &c., i.e., “tall or short, male or female, black or white, deformed or perfect, beautiful or ugly, good and fortunate, or wretched and miserable.”—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(7) ]Some verses clear, . . . others are parabolical. “This passage is translated according to the exposition of al Zamakhsharí and Baidháwi, which seems to be the truest.
[(8) ]O Lord, &c. Muslims understand all prayers of this kind found in the Qurán as introduced by the word “say.” See notes in chap. i. This prayer is dictated by the third clause of the preceding verse, and is connected with that passage thus: “They who are well grounded, say . . . O Lord,” &c.
[(9) ]A day, &c. Rodwell gives the correct rendering of this passage thus: “For the day of whose coming there is not a doubt, thou wilt surely gather mankind together.” So too the Urdú and Persian translations.
[(11) ]They charged our signs with a lie. Muhammad again likens himself to Moses and other prophets, whose message had been treated with contempt by infidels like unto the Jews and Quraish of his time.
[(12) ]Ye shall be overcome. These defiant words, addressed to the enemies of Islám, and to the Quraish in particular, were inspired by the Muslim victory at Badr, a.h. 2.
[(13) ]Ye have already had a miracle shown you. “The sign or miracle here meant was the victory by Muhammad in the second year of the Hijra over the idolatrous Makkans . . . in the valley of Badr. . . . Muhammad’s forces consisted of no more than three hundred and nineteen men, but the enemy’s army of near a thousand, notwithstanding which odds he put them to flight, having killed seventy of the principal Quraish” (forty-nine, see Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 107, note), “and taken as many prisoners, with the loss of only fourteen of his own men. This was the first victory obtained by the Prophet; and though it may seem no very considerable action, yet it was of great advantage to him, and the foundation of all his future power and success. For which reason it is famous in the Arabian history, and more than once vaunted in the Qurán (chap. viii. 45, 46) as an effect of the divine assistance. The miracle, it is said, consisted in three things: 1. Muhammad, by the direction of the Angel Gabriel, took a handful of gravel and threw it towards the enemy in the attack, saying, May their faces be confounded; whereupon they immediately turned their backs and fled. But though the Prophet seemingly threw the gravel himself, yet it is told in the Qurán (chap. viii. 17) that it was not he, but God, who threw it, that is to say, by the ministry of his angel. 2. The Muhammadan troops seemed to the infidels to be twice as many in number as themselves, which greatly discouraged them. And 3. God sent down to their assistance first a thousand, and afterwards three thousand angels, led by Gabriel, mounted on his horse Haizúm; and, according to the Qurán (chap. viii. 17), these celestial auxiliaries really did all the execution, though Muhammad’s men imagined themselves did it, and fought stoutly at the same time.”—Sale.
[(15) ]Shall I declare unto you better things than this? This verse, taken in connection with the preceding, clearly shows that the joys of the Muslim heaven are carnal. “The provision of the present life,” viz., women, gold and silver, horses, cattle, and land, were such as could alone gratify the “eager desire” of an Arab in this life. All these are to be infinitely multiplied amid the pavilions and gardens of paradise. See also notes on chap. ii. 25.
[(19) ]The true religion . . . is Islám. “The proper name of the Muhammadan religion, which signifies the resigning or devoting one’s self entirely to God and his service. This they say is the religion which all the prophets were sent to teach, being founded on the unity of God.”—Sale, Jaláluddín.
[(20) ]Do ye profess Islám? See Rodwell’s note on this passage. The mission of Muhammad thus far was that of a preacher only. Although the enemies of Islám were threatened, the policy of Muhammed was as yet purely defensive.
[(21, 22) ]The Jews are referred to in these verses. The intensity of the opposition is very marked.
[(23) ]Part of the Scripture, i.e., the Scriptures given to the Jews. This verse shows clearly that these Jews possessed copies of the Scriptures attested as the word of God by the Qurán. Some commentators regard the word nasíban = part, as designating only a portion of the Pentateuch, but “the book of God” in the following sentence is evidently the equivalent of “part of the Scriptures” here, and that undoubtedly refers to the volume of the Jewish Scriptures.
[(24) ]A certain number of days. The number, according to the commentators, is forty or seven or four. It is worth noting the fact that this claim ascribed here to the presumption of the Jews is precisely the claim of all Muhammadans who believe that all believers in God and Muhammad will certainly reach the joys of paradise. Some may have to undergo purgatorial sufferings, but only for “a certain number of days.’
[(25) ]How then will it be, &c. Sale gives a tradition on the authority of Baidháwi, “that the first banner of the infidels that shall be set up on the day of judgment will be that of the Jews, and that God will first reproach them with their wickedness over the heads of those who are present, and then order them to hell.”
[(26, 27) ]Rodwell regards these verses as misplaced here. They are probably the fragment of some Makkan chapter.
[(28) ]Unless ye fear any danger from them. There shall be no friendship between Muslims and unbelievers, unless fear of the enmity of the infidels should make it necessary. Here we find a divine sanction to that duplicity so prevalent among Muslims. Taken in connection with the preceding context, this passage would seem to sanction apparent estrangement from Islám, provided expediency should demand it. Under such circumstances a Muslim may appear to be more friendly towards the unbelievers than he is towards his co-religionists.
[(29) ]Whether ye conceal, &c., i.e., God knows the faith of your hearts. If, therefore, you should find it necessary to dissemble so as apparently to deny the faith, be of good cheer—God knows your heart-faith—“God knowest whatever is in heaven, whatever is in earth.”
[(31) ]Say, if ye love God, follow me. Passages inculcating the duty of love to God are of rare occurrence in the Qurán. Here it is made the ground or reason of acceptance with God and of the pardon of sin. In other places salvation is made to depend on faith and good works (chap. ii. 3-5, 37, 38; chap. iii. 194; chap. iv. 55, 121-123, &c.), on repentance (chap. ii. 161; chap. xxv. 69-76, &c.), on pilgrimage and warring for the faith (chap. ii. 217; chap. iii. 196; chap. lxi. 12, &c.), on almsgiving (chap. ii. 271-274), on the grace of God (chap. xxxvii. 39, 55), &c. Everywhere the plan of salvation by atonement, as clearly taught in the Christian Scriptures, is ignored. It is in reference to this fact that missionaries have been led to make the statement, controverted by Mr. Bosworth Smith (“Muhammad and Muhammadanism,” 2d ed. p. 332), that “even the religious creed of Muhammadanism is further removed from the truth than is that of the heathen.” We think there can be scarcely any doubt as to the truth of this statement. All heathen forms of religion have relics of truth bound up in their doctrines and rites, handed down, probably, by tradition from ancient times, which afford to the Christian evangelist some kind of common ground in his endeavour to lead them to accept Christ as their substitute, and to believe in him as their Saviour, because he alone satisfies the conditions of their own religion and the cravings of their souls for a Divine Helper. But Muhammadanism strikes at this most important doctrine—this very heart of Christianity. It sweeps away almost every vestige of Bible truth as to the way of pardon. It fills the mind of its votaries with complacent pride and self-satisfaction. It destroys the last workings of a guilty conscience. In short, it imports all the evils of that form of Judaism against which our Lord hurled his “woes,” saying, among other things, “Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him twofold more a child of hell than yourselves.” Does Mr. Smith deny the justice of this declaration of our Lord? If not, does he infer that our Lord himself thought “polytheism better than monotheism, and idolatry than a sublime spiritualism”?
[(33) ]The family of Abraham. This expression, say the commentators, includes a number of prophets descended from Abraham, including Muhammad. It probably is intended to include all the prophets from Abraham to Moses. See Tafsír-i-Raufi and Abdul Qádir.
[(34) ]A race descending the one from the other. This seems to show that Muhammad regarded the prophets as either lineally descended one from another, or that they were successors to each other in office, both of which ideas are incorrect.
[(35) ]When the wife of Imrán said, &c. According to the commentators her name was Anna or Hannah. In the Apocryphal Gospels the parents of Mary are called Joachim and Anna. The name was probably derived from Christian tradition (see Arnold, Islám and Christianity, p. 150), but the “wife of Imrán” in this verse looks very like the wife of Elkanah in 1 Sam. i. 11. All the stories related by the commentators confirm this impression.
[(36) ]I have brought forth a female. Hannah prayed for a son (1 Sam. i. 11; see note on ver. 35). The birth of a female seemed to be a disappointment, as such would not be suitable for the service of the Temple. For extracts from the spuriousGospels containing the traditions which are here incorporated in the Qurán, see Arnold’s Islám and Christianity (pp. 150-155) and Muir’s Life of Mahomet (vol. ii. pp. 282, 283). These both draw from the Christologie des Koran, by Gerock, 1839, pp. 30-47.
[(37) ]The Lord accepted her, i.e., though a female, she was received into the Temple as one dedicated to God. Zacharias became her guardian and cared for her.
[(38) ]He found provisions with her. “The commentators say that none went into Mary’s apartment but Zacharias himself, and that he locked seven doors upon her; yet he found she had always winter fruits in summer and summer fruits in winter.”—Sale.
[(39) ]The angels. In chap. xix. 17 it is said that a “spirit” (Gabriel) came to Mary. The commentators interpret “angels” to be equivalent to “spirit,” and understand Gabriel to be meant. They account discrepancies of this sort as of little moment.
[(40) ]How shall I have a son? See note on ver. 38. Sale states, on the authority of Jaláluddín, that the wife of Zacharias was eighty-nine.
[(41) ]Thy sign shall be, &c. This statement disagrees with that of Luke in two particulars—(1) In duration of Zacharias’s dumbness; and (2) in regarding this dumbness as merely a sign given in answer to prayer, and in no way a punishment for unbelief. The “three days,” say the commentators, began with John’s being conceived in his mother’s womb.
[(42) ]The angels. Gabriel. Compare Luke i. 28.
[(43) ]Be devout, &c. This passage is also based on Christian tradition. See Rodwell’s note.
[(44) ]When they threw in their rods. “When Mary was first brought to the Temple, the priests, because she was the daughter of one of their chiefs, disputed among themselves who should have the education of her. Zacharias insisted that he ought to be preferred because he had married her aunt; but the others not consenting that it should be so, they agreed to decide the matter by casting of lots; whereupon twenty-seven of them went to the river Jordan, and threw in their rods (or arrows without heads or feathers, such as the Arabs used for the same purpose), on which they had written some passages of the law, but they all sunk except that of Zacharias, which floated on the water; and he had thereupon the care of the child committed to him.”—Sale, Jaláluddín.
[(45) ]The son of Mary. See note on ver. 39. The phrase “Jesus, son of Mary,” had become so stereotyped in Muhammad’s mind, that he here puts it in the mouth of the angels when addressing Mary herself.
[(46) ]He shall speak . . . in the cradle. For his words see chap. xix. 28-34. The commentators tell many stories to illustrate this text. In regard to these Sale says:—“These seem all to have been taken from some fabulous traditions of the Eastern Christians, one of which is preserved to us in the spurious Gospel of the Infancy of Christ, where we read that Jesus spoke while yet in the cradle, and said to his mother, ‘Verily I am Jesus the Son of God, the Word which thou hast brought forth, as the Angel Gabriel did declare unto thee; and my Father hath sent me to save the world.’ ”
[(47) ]Compare with Luke i. 34, &c., to see how far this comes short of attesting the former Scriptures.
[(48) ]Scripture . . . wisdom . . . law . . . gospel. The last two expressions describe more clearly the meaning of the first two. Jesus is said to have acquired a perfect knowledge of the law without any course of human instruction (Abdul Qádir).
[(49) ]To confirm the law, i.e., Jesus attested the genuineness and credibility of the Jewish Scriptures. The language implies the presence of these Scriptures in the time of Jesus, as does similar language imply that the Christian Scriptures were present in the days of Muhammad.
[(51) ]The apostles. The twelve disciples of Jesus are here likened to the companions and helpers of Muhammad.
[(52) ]We believe on the gospel. We have followed the apostle, i.e., Jesus.
[(53) ]Stratagem. This is better translated by Rodwell, plot. The plotting of the Jews was to kill Jesus; God plotted for his delivery. Sale remarks on this as follows:—“This stratagem of God’s was the taking of Jesus up into heaven, and stamping his likeness on another person, who was apprehended and crucitied in his stead. For it is the constant doctrine of the Muhammadans that it was not Jesus himself who underwent that ignominious death, but somebody else in his shape and resemblance (chap. iv. 156, 157). The person crucified some will have to be a spy that was sent to entrap him; others that it was one Titian, who by the direction of Judas entered in at a window of the house where Jesus was, to kill him; and others that it was Judas himself, who agreed with the rulers of the Jews to betray him for thirty pieces of silver, and led those who were sent to take him.
[(54) ]I will cause thee to die, &c. These words are a source of great difficulty to the commentators, as they seem clearly to contradict the statement of chap iv. 156. All Muslims agree that Jesus was taken up to heaven. This verse, however, taken as a chronological statement of events, would make it necessary to believe he had died before he “was taken up” into heaven. The same is true of chap. v. 117. To evade this, some deny the chronological arrangement demanded by the copulative and. Others admit the order, and either claim that Jesus did die a natural death—remaining under its power for three hours—or explain the death spoken of here in a figurative manner, regarding it as a promise that God would cause him “to die a spiritual death to all worldly desires.” (See notes by Rodwell and Sale in loco.) Others reter the passage to the time when Jesus will come to destroy Dajjál; when, say the commentators, Jesus will die and be buried in the empty tomb prepared for him at Madína, and afterwards arise at the judgment day.
[(58) ]The likeness of Jesus, &c., i.e., both were brought into being miraculously, neither having a human father. “Jaláluddín says the resemblance consists in this—both were created by the word of God (compare the verses in 1 Cor. xv.) Adam made from the dust, Christ took flesh from the Virgin; Adam sinned, Christ sinned not; Adam a man, Christ a spirit proceeding from God, according to Muhammad.”—Brinckman in Notes on Islám.
[(60) ]Come let us call together our sons, &c. This passage refers to a visit paid to Muhammad at Madína by Abu Hárith, bishop of Najrán, with other Christians, who came to make a treaty of peace with the prophet of Arabia, now rapidly growing in political power. A controversy having arisen between them and Muhammad, the latter proposed to settle it in the strange manner proposed in the text. The Christians very consistently declined the test proposed. The spirit of the two religions is well illustrated by the conduct of Muhammad and Jesus under similar circumstances. See also notes of Rodwell in loco, and of Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. pp. 302, 303.
[(63) ]Ye who have received the Scriptures, i.e., Jews and Christians.
[(64) ]Why do ye dispute? The commentators say both Jews and Christians claimed that Abraham belonged to their religion; Muhammad here decides that he belongs to neither. He, however, thereby contradicts his oft-repeated claim that every new revelation confirmed that which had preceded it; that the prophets belonged to a common “race” or class (ver. 34, and note); and that all true believers in every dispensation were true Muslims, professing the “religion of Abraham the orthodox.” See also notes on chap. ii. 135-140.
[(66) ]See notes on chap. ii. 135-140. It would seem that Muhammad was ignorant of the national relationship existing between Abraham and the Jews. The term Jew was probably understood by him in an ecclesiastical sense only. Yet this is the teaching of God and his prophet! See also Rodwell’s note on chap. xvi. 121.
[(67) ]Nearest of kin. The relationship here spoken of is not necessarily one of kindred; the words of kin do not belong to the original Arabic. The nearness spoken of here should rather refer to nearness in point of religious faith and practice. See vers. 64-66, and Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco.
[(68) ]Some . . . desire to seduce you. Sale, on the authority of Baidháwi, refers this passage to the time when certain Jews endeavoured to pervert Hudhaifa, Amár, and Muádh to their religion. So too Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(69) ]Why not believe? The signs to be believed were the incomparable verses of the Qurán. The argument of the prophet was certainly not convincing.
[(70) ]Clothe truth with vanity, &c. See note on chap. ii. 41.
[(71) ]Deny it in the end thereof. “The commentators, to explain this passage, say that Qáb Ibn al Ashraf and Málík Ibn al Saif (two Jews of Madína) advised their companions, when the Qibla was changed (chap. ii. 142), to make as if they believed it was done by the divine direction, and to pray towards the Kaabah in the morning, but that in the evening they should pray as formerly towards the Temple of Jerusalem, that Muhammad’s followers, imagining that the Jews were better judges of this matter than themselves, might imitate their example. But others say these were certain Jewish priests of Ḳhaibar, who directed some of their people to pretend in the morning that they had embraced Muhammadanism, but in the close of the day to say that they had looked into their books of Scripture and consulted their Rabbins, and could not find that Muhammad was the person described and intended in the law; by which trick they hoped to raise doubts in the minds of the Muhammadans.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(72) ]Your religion, i.e., Judaism.
[(74) ]A talent . . . a dinár. As usual, the commentators have a story to illustrate the text. A Jew, by name Abdullah Ibn Salám, having borrowed twelve hundred ounces of gold from a Quraishite, paid it back punctually at the time appointed. Another Jew, Phineas Ibn Azúra, borrowed a dinâr, and afterwards denied having received it! The followers of the Arabian prophet must have been very simple-minded indeed to make this revelation necessary.
[(75) ]Whoso keepeth his covenant, &c. Muslims showing the spirit attributed to Jews in the preceding verse cannot quote this precept of Muhammad in justification of their conduct.
[(77) ]Some . . . read the Scriptures perversely. The charge here is that Jews and Christians misrepresent the teaching of their own Scriptures. The author of the notes on the Roman Urdú Qurán thinks this passage and others like it show the eagerness of Muhammad to find a sanction for his prophetic claims in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. When, however, the Jews frankly told him what their Scriptures taught, he charged them with wicked concealment of the prophecies concerning himself. It is possible that Muhammad was himself the victim of misrepresentation on this subject by interested parties.
[(78) ]It is not fit, &c. This verse is evidently directed against Christians, who worship Jesus.
[(79) ]The angels. The idolaters of Makkah worshipped angels.
[(80) ]The covenant of the prophets. “Some commentators interpret this of the children of Israel themselves, of whose race the prophets were. But others say the souls of all the prophets, even of those who were not then born, were present on Mount Sinai when God gave the law to Moses, and that they entered into the covenant here mentioned with him. A story borrowed by Muhammad from the Talmudists, and therefore most probably his true meaning in this place.”—Sale.
[(82) ]Resigned . . . voluntarily or of force. The idea of converting men by force is here said to have belonged to the covenant of Sinai. The verse, however, conveys a threat against unbelieving Arabs.
[(83) ]This verse very well illustrates the kind of attestation borne to the former Scriptures and to the prophetic character of the prophets by whom they were revealed. An array of names and a general statement declaring their truly prophetic character is given, but every where their doctrine is ignored or rejected when conceived of as in conflict with the Qurán and the Arabian prophet. Now, Muhammad must be regarded as either making a statement of fact as to the oneness of his faith with that of the persons he mentions, or he was ignorant of what he here states as a fact. In either case he seems to me fairly chargeable with imposture. For even if he were ignorant of what he pretends to know, his pretence is a deception, and no reasonable apology can be offered for his putting a statement of this character in the mouth of God. How, then, Mr. Smith (Muhammad and Muhammadanism, p. 25) can so positively assert the impossibility of any longer regarding Muhammad as an impostor. I can only understand by supposing him to be blinded to the faults of his hero by the glory of his own ideal. See also notes on chap. ii. 61.
[(85-89) ]How shall God direct . . . infidels, &c. This passage seems to teach that apostasy from Islám can never be repented of. Such a person is a reprobate. See Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco. God is merciful to forgive those who repent in time, but for those who “yet increase in infidelity,” i.e., go on in an obstinate course of apostasy, there is no forgiveness.
[(90) ]For his ransom. The punishment of infidels is eternal and without remedy. The idea of a ransom for a sinner is recognised here only to be rejected. Yet this passage obscurely recognises the infinite value of the soul.
[(92) ]Alms. See notes on chap. ii. 42, and Prelim. Disc., p. 172.
[(93) ]Except what Israel forbade, &c. Sale says:—“This passage was revealed on the Jews reproaching Muhammad and his followers with their eating of the flesh and milk of camels (Lev. xi. 4, Deut. xiv.), which they said was forbidden Abraham, whose religion Muhammad pretended to follow. In answer to which he tells them, that God ordained no distinction of meats before he gave the law to Moses, though Jacob voluntarily abstained from the flesh and milk of camels; which some commentators say was in consequence of a vow, made by that patriarch when afflicted with the sciatica, that if he were cured he would eat no more of that meat which he liked best, and that was camel’s flesh; but others (Baidháwi, Jaláluddín) suppose he abstained from it by the advice of physicians only.
[(95) ]Abraham the orthodox. In Arabic, Haníf. There seems to have been a sect of deistic Arabs before Muhammad declared himself a prophet, who called themselves by this title, and claimed to be the followers of the religion of Abraham. Sprenger gives the names of four of these, viz., Waraqa, Othmán, Obaid, and Zaid (R. B. Smith’s Muhammad and Muhammadanism, pp. 108, 109). This is one of Sprenger’s arguments to prove that Muhammadanism existed prior to Muhammad, as the Reformation existed prior to Luther.
[(96) ]The first house . . . in Bakkah, i.e., Makkah. Baidháwi says m and b are frequently interchanged (Sale in loco). The first house was the Kaabah. See notes on chap. ii. 125, 142-146.
[(97) ]Manifest signs. “Such as the stone wherein they show the print of Abraham’s feet, and the inviolable security of the place, immediately mentioned; that the birds light not on the roof of the Kaabah, and wild beasts put off their fierceness there; that none who came against it in a hostile manner ever prospered, as appeared particularly in the unfortunate expedition of Abraha al Ashram (chap. cv.); and other fables of the same stamp which the Muhammadans are taught to believe.”
[(99) ]Him who believeth. The person alluded to here is said to be ’Amár or Sarhán, whom the Jews endeavoured to pervert from the way of Islám (Tafsír-i-Raufi).
[ (100-109)]If ye obey, &c. “This passage was revealed on occasion of a quarrel excited between the tribes of al Aus and al Ḳhazraj by one Shás Ibn Qais, a Jew, who, passing by some of both tribes as they were sitting discoursing familiarly together, and being inwardly vexed at the friendship and harmony which reigned among them on their embracing Muhammadanism, whereas they had been for 120 years before most inveterate and mortal enemies, though descendants of two brothers, in order to set them at variance sent a young man to sit down by them, directing him to relate the story of the battle of Buáth (a place near Madína), wherein, after a bloody fight, al Aus had the better of al Ḳhazraj, and to repeat some verses on that subject. The young man executed his orders; whereupon those of each tribe began to magnify themselves, and to reflect on and irritate the other, till at length they called to arms, and great numbers getting together on each side, a dangerous battle had ensued if Muhammad had not stepped in and reconciled them by representing to them how much they would be to blame if they returned to paganism and revived those animosities which Islám had composed, and telling them that what had happened was a trick of the devil to disturb their present tranquillity.”—Sale. Baidháwi, Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(102) ]Fear God with his true fear. The Tafsír-i-Raufi says most commentators regard this verse as abrogated, on the ground that it is impossible for man to fear God as he ought to be feared. It is more likely that the passage was addressed to certain adherents of the tribes of Aus and Ḳhazraj at Madína; these are here exhorted to remain steadfast in the faith even unto death.
[(103) ]And cleave . . . unto the covenant. In Arabic, Hold fast by the cord of God. The allusion may be either to the Qurán, sometimes called by Muhammad Habl Allíh al matán, i.e., the sure cord of God (Sale, on authority of Baidháwi), or to Islám, as the means of salvation.
[(104) ]A people who invite, &c. Abdul Qádir thinks this verse required that a body of men should be kept for religious warfare (Jihád), which should extirpate all heresy, as well as propagate the true faith. This view certainly accords with the spirit of Islám. The sword is its strong argument, and the end of all controversy.
[(105) ]They who are divided, i.e., Jews and Christians. Nevertheless Muslims are as thoroughly divided in matters of religion as ever Christians were.
[(106) ]Faces . . . white . . . and black. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 149, 150.
[(109) ]This verse ends the passage said to have been revealed on the occasion of the threatened outbreak between the tribes of Aus and Ḳhazraj. See note on ver. 101.
[(110) ]Ye are the best nation. The Muslims are now regarded as the chosen people of God. The word ummat is here translated “nation,” and by Rodwell “folk.” It is, however, used to describe the followers of the prophets, e.g., the ummat of Moses (Jews), the ummat of Jesus (Christians), the ummat of Muhammad (Muslims). This statement is hardly reconcilable with the claim that the ummat of every true prophet belongs to Islám. The comparison is probably drawn between the Jews, Christians, and Muslims of Muhammad’s day. It must be observed that the reason given for their superiority is not very convincing, and the high claim set up here for Muslim integrity is not borne out by historical evidence.
[(111) ]They shall not be helped. “This verse, al Baidháwi says, is one of those whose meaning is mysterious, and relates to something future; intimating the low condition to which the Jewish tribes of Quraidha, Nadir, Bani Qáinuqáa, and those who dwelt at Ḳhaibar, were afterwards reduced by Muhammad.”—Sale.
[(112) ]They are smitten. The past tense used for the future, meaning that they shall certainly be smitten, &c. The passage indicates the change of policy in respect to the Jews of Madína and the vicinity. They are now to submit to be plundered and exiled as the Bani Nadhír, or be slaughtered as the Bani Quraidha, as the only alternative to their accepting Islám. The fate of these tribes at the hands of Muhammad sadly illustrates Matt. xxvii. 25. It is remarkable that the reason given here for the punishment of the Jews accords with the denunciations of the Bible, and this notwithstanding the selfish and cruel designs of the Arabian prophet. “They slew the prophets, . . . were rebellious and transgressed.”
[(113) ]They are not all alike. Some had become Muslims. These meditate on the “signs of God,” i.e., the Qurán. Whether any were good or bad, just or unjust, depended now upon their being Muslims or unbelievers. Compare our Lord’s words, Matt. vii. 22, 23.
[(115) ]And ye shall not be denied, &c. Rodwell also translates “ye shall not be denied,” &c. Sale says, “Some copies have a different reading,” viz., they shall not be denied. This reading, in the third person instead of the second, is that of all Arabic copies I have seen. The reading of the text is contrary to the analogy of the previous context. I think, therefore, the reading of Fluegel, though doubtless sanctioned by good authority, is in error. A careful collation of any considerable number of ancient MSS. would no doubt bring to light many such various readings.
[(117) ]Savary translates, “Their alms are like unto an icy wind, which bloweth on the fields of the perverse and destroyeth their productions.” The idea seems to be, that while the alms (good, ver. 115) of the faithful will bring back a certain reward, those of the unbelievers will be as a drain on their wealth, a blight on their crops. Good works without faith in Islám are of no avail.
[(118) ]Contract not . . . friendship, &c. Muhammad was exceedingly jealous of counter-influences. Such friendships were sure to result in apostasy from Islám. The sentiment of chap. v. 104 seems to be the reverse of this. There he says, “He who erreth shall not hurt you while you are directed.” The consistency of these statements is to be found in the circumstances of the new religion. Before the political power of the Prophet was secured, it was his policy to preserve his people from the contaminating influences of the unbelievers. They were to be avoided, no friendships were to be formed with them. In argument no reply was to be made beyond a declaration of adherence to Islám. Afterwards, however, when the power of the Muslims was supreme, they could afford to defy opposition. Success had rendered the chances of apostasy from Islám almost nil. The erring ones had therefore little power to injure. Yet, with all the power of Islám, it has been, and is still, the most intolerant of all religions.
[(119) ]Ye love them. The spirit of the prophet’s love is shown in the last clause of this verse—“Die in your wrath!” The evident purpose of the exhortation here is to eradicate every vestige of natural affection for unbelieving friends and neighbours from the hearts of his followers. Nothing was too heartless or cruel for Muhammad to counsel or perform, provided his interest or his revenge could thereby be satisfied—to wit, the assassination of Asma, Abu Afaq, and Káb Ibn Ashraf, the exile of the Jewish tribes of Nadhír and Qamuqáa, and the inhuman slaughterof eight hundred prisoners of the Bani Quraidha, and many other instances of a similar nature.
[(121) ]When thou wentest forth, &c. “This was at the battle of Ohod, a mountain about four miles to the north of Madína. The Quraish, to revenge their loss at Badr (ver. 13, note), the next year, being the third of the Hijra, got together an army of 3000 men, among whom there were 200 horse and 700 armed with coats of mail. These forces marched under the conduct of Abu Sufián and sat down at Dhu’l Hulaifa, a village about six miles from Madína. Muhammad, being much inferior to his enemies in numbers, at first determined to keep himself within the town, and receive them there; but afterwards, the advice of some of his companions prevailing, he marched out against them at the head of 1000 men (some say he had 1050 men, others but 900). of whom 100 were armed with coats of mail, but he had no more than one horse, besides his own, in his whole army. With these forces he formed a camp in a village near Ohod, which mountain he contrived to have on his back; and the better to secure his men from being surrounded, he placed fifty archers in the rear, with strict orders not to quit their post. When they came to engage, Muhammad had the better at first, but afterwards, by the fault of his archers, who left their ranks for the sake of the plunder, and suffered the enemy’s horse to encompass the Muhammadans and attack them in the rear, he lost the day, and was very near losing his life, being struck down by a shower of stones, and wounded in the face with two arrows, on pulling out of which his two foreteeth dropped out. Of the Muslims seventy men were slain, and among them Hamza, the uncle of Muhammad, and of the infidels twenty-two. To excuse the ill success of this battle and to raise the drooping courage of his followers is Muhammad’s drift in the remaining part of this chapter.”—Sale.
[(122) ]Two companies. “These were some of the families of Baní Salma of the tribe of al Ḳhazraj, and Bani ul Hárith of the tribe of al Aus, who composed the two wings of Muhammad’s army. Some ill impression had been made on them by Abdullah Ìbn Ubai Sulúl, then an infidel, who having drawn off 300 men, told them that they were going to certain death, and advised them to return back with him; but he could prevail on but a few, the others being kept firm by the divine influence, as the following words intimate.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(123) ]Victory at Badr. See note on ver. 113. The word translated victory here means help. The angels, say the commentators, did not do the fighting, but rendered miraculous assistance by warding off the blows of the enemy and by appearing to them in human form, thus working dismay in their ranks by multiplying the number of Muslims in their sight.
[(124) ]Three thousand angels. Muhammadan tradition gives numerous instances of similar interference of angels on behalf of the Muslims. See references at p. lxiv., Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. i., Introduction.
[(125) ]Angels, distinguished. The word musawwamína is the same as that translated excellent horses in ver. 14. The primary reference is to horses distinguished by white feet and a streak of white on the face, a sign of special excellence in horses. The passage may therefore mean that the angels rode on horses distinguished by the marks of excellence.
[(126) ]Good tidings. Muhammad very adroitly argues that the question of victory or defeat does not rest with the Muslims. It is God’s war against the infidels, and he cannot be defeated. If Muslims suffer defeat, it is for their discipline, to teach them to trust God and his prophet.
[(127) ]This verse should be connected with the one preceding, and should depend upon the words “And this God designed.” To connect it with the following verse, as Sale does, destroys the main point of the exhortation, which promises certain victory over the unbelievers.
[(128) ]They are surely unjust doers. “This passage was revealed when Muhammad received the wounds above mentioned at the battle of Ohod, and cried out, ‘How shall that people prosper who have stained their prophet’s face with blood, while he called them to their Lord?’ The person who wounded him was Otha the son of Abbu Wakkás.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(129) ]He spareth. In original he pardoneth. He is merciful. The original would better be rendered He is forgiving, kind. Every exhortation of the Prophet ends with a doxology of this sort, the sentiment being in accord with the character of the revelation preceding.
[(130) ]Devour not usury. See note on chap. ii. 275. Abdul Qádir conjectures that the subject of usury is here spoken of because of the previous mention of cowardice, which is usually produced by habits of extortion. The passage seems to be misplaced, the sentiment having no perceptible connection with that of ver. 129, which is closely connected with ver. 139.
[(134) ]“It is related of Hasan the son of Ali, that a slave having once thrown a dish on him boiling hot as he sat at table, and fearing his master’s resentment, fell on his knees and repeated these words, ‘Paradise is for those who bridle their anger:’ Hasan answered, ‘I am not angry.’ The slave proceeded—‘and for those who forgive men.’ ‘I forgive you,’ said Hasan. The slave, however, finished the verse, adding, ‘for God loveth the beneficent.’ ‘Since it is so,’ replied Hasan, ‘I give you your liberty, and four hundred pieces of silver.’ A noble instance of moderation and generosity.”—Sale, Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(135) ]What they have done knowingly, i.e., the pious do not sin deliberately. The duty of repentance for known sin is here clearly enjoined, and the test of true repentance is also given.
[(136) ]Their reward. This statement contradicts the teaching of the former Scriptures. However sincere repentance, its reward cannot be pardon. Repentance can affect the conduct of the future, but it has no power to atone for the crimes of the past (see note on ver. 31).
[(137) ]Those who accuse of imposture. This passage gives another illustration of the constant and strained effort of Muhammad to refute the charge of imposture. In reply to his accusers, he says others were accused of like imposture, and the end of their accusers was dreadful. But the author of the notes on the Roman Urdú Qurán points out the fact that no true prophet ever showed the anxiety of Muhammad to establish his claim to the prophetic office We may therefore fairly conclude that Muhammad’s imposture was not, in the first instance at least, unconscious.
[(138) ]See note, chap. ii. 2.
[(139) ]The thread of discourse dropped at ver. 129 is here taken no again. This verse reveals something of the demoralization of Muhammad’s followers after the defeat of Ohod, and he uses every effort to inspire courage for a new conflict. Muhammad’s high moral courage, strong will, and capability as a leader are well illu-trated here.
[(140) ]A like wound, i.e., at Badr, where forty-nine of the Quraish were killed and an equal number wounded. Muslim accounts say seventy were killed and seventy wounded. Muir says, “The number seventy has originated in the supposition of a correspondence between the fault of Mahomet in taking (and not slaying) the prisoners of Badr and the retributive reverse at Ohod; hence it is assumed that seventy Meccans were taken prisoners at Badr.”—Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 107, note.
[(142) ]God knew not. This is translated by Rodwell, God had taken knowledge. So also Abdul Qádir and others. This is certainly the meaning of the original. Those who catch at the form of the words (notes on Roman Urdú Qurán) to raise an objection lay themselves open to a charge of cavilling. The same cavil could be raised against Gen. xxii. 12.
[(143) ]Ye did . . . wish for death. “Several of Muhammad’s followers who were not present at Badr wished for an opportunity of obtaining, in another action, the like honour as those had gained who fell martyrs in that battle, yet were discouraged on seeing the superior numbers of the idolaters in the expedition of Ohod. On which occasion this passage was revealed.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(144) ]Muhammad is no more than an apostle. In this passage Muhammad declares himself mortal, and these words were repeated by Abu Baqr at the death of Muhammad to convince Omar and other Muslims that their prophet was actually dead.
[(145) ]No soul can die, &c. “Muhammad, the more effectually to still the murmurs of his party on their defeat, represents to them that the time of every man’s death is decreed and predetermined by God, and that those who fell in the battle could not have avoided their fate had they stayed at home; whereas they had now obtained the glorious advantage of dying martyrs for the faith.”—Sale.
[(146) ]How many of the prophets. Muhammad again likens himself, even in his misfortune, to the former prophets; many of them had reverses in fighting for the religion of God. Why should he then behave himself in an abject manner? The plain inference from this passage is that in Muhammad’s mind many of the prophets were warriors like himself, “fighting for the religion of God.”
[(147) ]Forgive us our offences. This verse clearly disproves the popular doctrine that the prophets were sinless.
[(148) ]The reward of this world, i.e., victory over the infidels (Tafsír-i-Raufi). The marked difference between the teaching of the Qurán and the Bible as to the condition of the people of the Lord in this world is worthy of note. The Qurán everywhere teaches that though they had trials similar to those endured by Muhammad and the Muslims of Makkah and Madína, yet in the end they were manifestly triumphant over the infidels in this world. The Christian need not be told that this is very far from the teaching of the Bible. Final triumph is certain, but it may be wrought out on the cross or amidst the faggots and instruments of persecution and death.
[(149) ]“This passage was occasioned by the endeavours of the Quraish to seduce the Muhammadans to their old idolatry as they fled in the battle of Ohod.”—Sale.
[(151) ]We will surely cast a dread, &c. “To this Muhammad attributed the sudden retreat of Abu Sufián and his troops, without making any farther advantage of their success, only giving Muhammad a challenge to meet them next year at Badr, which he accepted. Others say that as they were on their march home, they repented that they had not utterly extirpated the Muhammadans, and began to think of going back to Madína for that purpose, but were prevented by a sudden consternation or panic fear, which fell on them from God.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(152) ]When ye destroyed them, &c., i.e., in the beginning of the battle at Ohod.
[(153) ]Some . . . and others, i.e., some sought the spoil in disobedience to the command of Muhammad, others stood firm at the post of duty. See note on ver. 152.
[(154) ]While the apostle called, “Crying aloud, Come hither to me, O servants of God! I am the apostle of God; he who returneth back shall enter paradise. But notwithstanding all his endeavours to rally his men, he could not get above thirty of them about him.”—Sale.
[(155) ]He sent down . . . security. After the battle of Ohod the Muslims fell asleep. Some slept soundly and were refreshed, others were excited, indulging in wild imaginations, supposing themselves to be on the verge of destruction. So the commentators generally.
[(156) ]Satan caused them to slip, i.e., by tempting them to disobedience. For some crime, &c.—“For their covetousness in quitting their post to seize the plunder.”
[(157) ]Who believed not, i.e., the hypocrites of Madína who declined to fight at Ohod. Had journeyed, with a view to merchandise, or been at war for the cause of religion (Tafsír-i-Raufi). The sentiment of this and the two following verses is like that of vers. 139-143; the hour of death is fixed for every man in the eternal decree of God, and those who die fighting for Islám shall be pardoned and accepted of God, and be made partakers of the joys of paradise.
[(160) ]If thou hadst been severe, &c. The policy of Muhammad in dealing with his followers is here distinctly announced. They had certainly merited severe punishment. But there were powerful adversaries in Madína who would have taken advantage of any attempt to enforce punishment of a severe nature. Besides, no slight shock to the new faith had been felt owing to the defeat, and it became a matter of the utmost importance to establish that faith. Hence the mild words, and the forgiveness so freely bestowed.
[(162) ]It is not the part of a prophet to defraud. Sale says, on the authority of Baidháwi and Jaláluddín, that “this passage was revealed, as some say, on the division of the spoil at Badr, when some of the soldiers suspected Muhammad of having privately taken a scarlet carpet, made all of silk and very rich, which was missing. Others suppose the archers, who occasioned the loss of the battle of Ohod, left their station because they imagined Muhammad would not give them their share of the plunder; because, as it is related, he once sent out a party as an advanced guard, and in the meantime attacking the enemy, took some spoils which he divided among those who were with him in the action, and gave nothing to the party that was absent on duty.”
[(164) ]There shall be degrees, &c. This explains the purport of ver. 163 God will reward his servants in accordance with their works. The brave companions (note, ver. 162) need not be troubled by an equal division of the booty. God will reward, for “God seeth what ye do” As indicated by Sale in his translation, this principle applies to punishments as well as to rewards.
[(165) ]An apostle of their own nation. Sale, on the authority of Baidháwi, says some manuscripts have min anfaihim instead of min anfusihim, whence it would read, An apostle of the noblest among them, meaning the Quraish, of which tribe Muhammad was descended. I have not been able to find any copy of the Qurán containing this reading. It is not likely that the spirit of Muhammad’s inspiration would have made, at this time, any such invidious distinction between the tribes of Arabia, especially when as yet the Quraish were the mortal enemies of Muhammad. The expression is better understood as having reference to the Arabs in general.
[(166) ]Two equal advantages. “In the battle of Badr, where he slew seventy of the enemy equalling the number of those who lost their lives at Ohod, and also took as many prisoners.”—Sale. See notes on vers. 13 and 152.
[(168) ]That he mightknow the ungodly. See note on ver. 142.
[(169) ]This verse gives the reason for the charge against the hypocrites in the previous verse. They are judged out of their own mouths.
[(170) ]Thou shalt in nowise reckon, &c. See note on chap. ii. 155. The crown of martyrdom was easily won. Even those slain because of their disobedience and covetousness (vers. 3, 122, 152, and 153, &c.) are now to be regarded as “alive with their God,” and “rejoicing for what God of his favour hath granted them” (next verse). There is here a striking contrast between the teaching of the Qurán and the Word of God. It is the contrast between a counterfeit and the genuine article.
[(171) ]Those who, coming after them, i.e., who are yet destined to suffer martyrdom.
[(173) ]They who hearkened. “The commentators differ a little as to the occasion of this passage. When news was brought to Muhammad, after the battle of Ohod, that the enemy, repenting of then retreat, were returning towards Madína, he called about him those who had stood by him in the battle, and marched out to meet the enemy as far as Humará al Asad, about eight miles from that town, notwithstanding that several of his men were so ill of their wounds that they were forced to be carried; but a panic fear having seized the army of the Quraish, they changed their resolution, and continued their march home; of which Muhammad having received intelligence, he also went back to Madína: and according to some commentators the Qurán here approves the faith and courage of those who attended the prophet on this occasion. Others say the persons intended in this passage were those who went with Muhammad the next year to meet Abu Sufián and the Quraish, according to their challenge, at Badr, where they waited some time for the enemy, and then returned home; for the Quraish, though they set out from Makkah, yet never came so far as the place of appointment, their hearts failing them on their march; which Muhammad attributed to their being struck with a terror from God. This expedition the Arabian histories call the second or lesser expedition of Badr.”—Sale, Baidháwi
[(174) ]Be ye afraid of them. “The persons who thus endeavoured to discourage the Muhammadans were, according to one tradition, some of the tribe of Abd Qais, who going to Madína, were bribed by Abu Sufián with a camel’s load of dried raisins; and according to another tradition, it was Nuaim Ibn Masúd al Ashjai, who was also bribed with a she-camel ten months gone with young (a valuable present in Arabia). This Nuaim, they say, finding Muhammad and his men preparing for the expedition, told them that Abu Sufián, to spare them the pains of coming so far as Badr, would seek them in their own houses, and that none of them could possibly escape otherwise than by timely flight. Upon which Muhammad, seeing hisfollowers a little dispirited, swore that he would go himself, though not one of them went with him. And accordingly he set out with seventy horsemen, every one of them crying out Hashna Alláh, i.e., God is our support.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(175) ]And advantage. They had taken with them merchandise, and had held a fair at Badr for several days, disposing of their goods to great advantage. So Baidháwi, see Sale. From this fact Muir conjectures that Muhammad had knowledge of the change of purpose among the Quraish before he set out so boldly for Badr. See Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 221, note.
[(176) ]That devil. This probably refers to Abu Sufián. Some refer it to Nuaim, an emissary of the Quraish sent to Madína to excite fear among the Muslims. See note above on 174.
[(177) ]Who . . . hasten unto infidelity, i.e., the hypocrites of Madína, who professing themselves Muslims, talked like infidels (Abdul Qádir).
[(179) ]See note on chap. ii. 211.
[(180) ]God is not disposed, &c., i.e., he will not suffer the good and sincere among you to continue indiscriminately mixed with the wicked and hypocritical.
[(181) ]Those who are covetous. The following tradition is given on the authority of Abu Hurairah:—“To whosoever God gives wealth, and he does not perform the charity due from it, his wealth will be made into the shape of a serpent on the day of resurrection, which shall not have any hair upon its head; and this is a sign of its poison and long life, and it has two black spots upon its eyes, and it will be twisted round his neck like a chain on the day of resurrection; then the serpent will seize the man’s jawbone, and will say, ‘I am thy wealth, the charity for which thou didst not give; and I am thy treasure, from which thou didst not separate any alms.’ ”—Mishqát-al-Masábih, book vi. chap. i. pt. 1.
[(182) ]Verily God is poor. “It is related that Muhammad, writing to the Jews of the tribe of Qainuqáa to invite them to Islám, and exhorting them, among other things, in the words of the Qurán, (chap. ii 245), to lend unto God on good usury. Phineas Ibn Azúra, on hearing that expression, said, ‘Surely God is poor, since they ask to borrow for him.’ Whereupon Abu Baqr, who was the bearer of that letter, struck him on the face, and told him that if it had not been for the truce between them, he would have struck off his head; and on Phineas’s complaining to Muhammad of Abu Baqr’s ill usage, this passage was revealed.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(184) ]A sacrifice . . . consumed by fire. “The Jews, say the commentators, insisted that it was a peculiar proof of the mission of all the prophets sent to them that they could, by their prayers, bring down fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice, and therefore they expected Muhammad should do the like. And some Muhammadan doctors agree that God appointed this miracle as the test of all their prophets, except only Jesus and Muhammad (Jaláluddín): though others say any other miracle was a proof full as sufficient as the bringing down fire from heaven (Baidháwi).
[(185) ]If they accuse thee of imposture. This passage, following closely upon the apology of Muhammad for not giving the usual signs of apostleship demanded by the Jews and others, seems to give the ground of this accusation; i.e., Muhammad’s imposture was evident, because he refused to perform miracles which would prove that he had been sent from God. Muhammad’s reply to this charge is not in accordance with facts—“The apostles before thee have been accounted impostors.” It is not true that all apostles were regarded as impostors. Certainly, such as were so accused were enabled to work such miracles as proved even to their enemies that “there was a prophet of God in Israel,” 1 Kings xviii. 36, &c. Such “evident demonstrations” were expected of Muhammad, but never given. Even his own followers have been driven to invent a multitude of stories detailing the miracles wrought by their prophet. These have been recorded in their traditions. The following are samples of the miracles thus invented:—“A camel weeps, and is calmed at the touch of Muhammad; the hair grows upon a boy’s head when the prophet lays his hand upon it; a horse is cured from stumbling; the eye of a soldier is healed and made better than the other; he marked his sheep on the car, and the species retain the mark to this day, &c.”—Arnold’s Islám and Christianity, p. 352. See Mishqát-ul-Masábih, Urdú edition, vol. iv. pp. 571-623.
[(186) ]Every soul shall taste of death. Some Muslims understand this as applying to all created things. At the first sound of the last trump all angels will die, including Isráfíl, who will blow the trumpet. God will then raise Isráfíl, who will again sound the trump, and all the dead will rise tojudgment.
[(187) ]Proved in your possessions, &c. The Tafsír-i-Raufi refers this passage to the loss of property at the flight from Makkah, and the loss of life in the wars for the faith. It seems to me, however, the passage better applies to the temporary ascendancy of the Jews and hypocrites of Madína after the battle of Ohod.
[(188) ]Ye shall surely publish it, i.e., the prophecies concerning Muhammad contained in the Pentateuch. The claim set up here is virtually this, that the great burden of prophecy was the advent of Muhammad, just as Christians regard the spirit of prophecy to be the testimony of God to Jesus as the Christ. It would appear from this passage that Muhammad, consciously or unconsciously,—being deceived by designing converts from Judaism,—had conceived that the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the Coming One related to him. Accordingly, those Jewish Rabbies who denied the existence of any prophecies relating to him are here stigmatised as having sold themselves to the work of perverting their Scriptures so as to oppose him.
[(189) ]They who rejoice, &c., i.e., who think they have done a commendable deed in concealing and perverting the testimonies in the Pentateuch concerning Muhammad, and in disobeying God’s commands to the contrary. “It is said that Muhammad once asking some Jews concerning a passage in their law, they gave him an answer very different from the truth, and were mightily pleased that they had, as they thought, deceived him. Others, however, think this passage relates to some pretended Muhammadans who rejoiced in their hypocrisy and expected to be commended for their wickedness.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(191) ]This verse belongs to the Makkan revelations. Comp. chap. ii. 165.
[(192) ]Who remember God standing, &c., viz., “at all times and in all postures. Al Baidháwi mentions a saying of Muhammad to one Imrán Ibn Husain, to this purpose: ‘Pray standing, if thou art able; if not, sitting; and if thou canst not sit up, then as thou liest along.’ Al Sháfa’i directs that the sick should pray lying on their right side.”—Sale.
[(194) ]A preacher. This is the name which Muhammad constantly assumed at Makkah. See chap. vii. 2, chap. xiii. 29, 40, chap. xvi. 84, &c. Nought but the political power acquired at Madína changed the preacher into a soldier.
[(196) ]Male or female. “These words were added, as some relate, on Omm Salma, one of the prophet’s wives, telling him that she had observed God often made mention of the men who fled their country for the sake of their faith, but took no notice of the women.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(197) ]An unhappy couch. This expression, used so frequently in the Qurán to describe the torment of hell, is probably used in contrast with the carnal and sensual delights of the Muslim heaven. There “they shall repose themselves on most delicate beds, adorned with gold and precious stones, under the shadow of the trees of paradise, which shall continually yield them all manner of delicious fruits; and there they shall enjoy most beautiful women, pure and clean, having black eyes, &c.” But here, the couch shall be in the midst of fire, and be surrounded by smoke as with a coverlid, with nothing to eat “but the fruit of the tree Zaqún, which should be in their bellies like burning pitch,” and nothing to drink “but boiling and stinking water,” nor should they breathe ought but “exceeding hot winds,” &c. (Prideaux, Life of Mahomet, p. 22).
[(198) ]See notes on ver. 196.
[(199) ]Some . . . who believe. “The persons here meant some will have to be Abdullah Ibn Salám and his companions; others suppose they were forty Arabs of Najrán, or thirty-two Ethiopians, or else eight Greeks, who were converted from Christianity to Muhammadanism; and others say this passage was revealed in the ninth year of the Hijra, when Muhammad, on Gabriel’s bringing him the news of the death of Ashámah, king of Ethiopia, who had embraced the Muhammadan religion some years before, prayed for the soul of the departed, at which some of his hypocritical followers were displeased, and wondered that he should pray for a Christian proselyte whom he had never seen.”—Sale, Jaláluddín. Baidháwi.
[(200) ]Be patient, i.e., in fighting for religion. This is the conclusion of the exhortation to the disheartened followers of Muhammad, beginning with ver. 121.
[(1) ]O men, &c. This chapter is entitled women because it contains, for the most part, laws and precepts relating to them. The men are specially addressed, but the instruction is intended for both men and women. They are addressed in the original, “O ye people.”
[(2) ]Give the orphans, &c. These orphans were the children of those who lost their lives in the wars for the cause of Islám. Not only the children but their property was intrusted to those who agreed to become guardians. These orphans were defrauded in various ways. Sometimes their property was appropriated by the guardians; others “exchanged bad for good,” e.g., by turning the good goats or camels of the orphan ward along with their own herds, and then selecting the bad ones as the orphan’s share. This law was instituted by Muhammad to prevent this kind of abuse.
[(3) ]If ye fear that ye cannot act equitably. &c. “The commentators understand this passage differently. The true meaning seems to be as it is here translated; Muhammad advising his followers that if they found they should wrong the female orphans under their care, either by marrying them against their inclinations, for the sake of their riches or beauty, or by not using or maintaining them so well as they ought, by reason of their having already several wives, they should rather choose to marry other women, to avoid all occasion of sin. Others say that when this passage was revealed, many of the Arabians, fearing trouble and temptation, refused to take upon them the charge of orphans, and yet multiplied wives to a great excess, and used them ill; or, as others write, gave themselves up to fornication; which occasioned the passage. And according to these, its meaning must be either that if they feared they could not act justly towards orphans, they had as great reason to apprehend they could not deal equitably with so many wives, and therefore are commanded to marry but a certain number; or else, that since fornication was a crime as well as wronging of orphans, they ought to avoid that also, by marrying according to their abilities.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(4) ]Those of weak understanding, i.e., idiots or persons of weak intellects, whose property is to be administered so as to provide for their necessities. Their treatment must also be kindly. Here is the Muslim lunatic asylum.
[(5) ]Examine the orphans. If males, see to their intellect and capacity to care for themselves; if females, examine them as to their ability to perform household duties.
[(6) ]Women also ought to have a part, &c. “This law was given to abolish a custom of the pagan Arabs, who suffered not women or children to have any part of their husband’s or father’s inheritance, on pretence that they only should inherit who were able to go to war.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(7) ]And speak comfortably. The supposed ellipsis, filled in here by Sale, has not any real existence. See the same expression in ver. 4. The idea is that, in any case, some portion of the estate should be cheerfully given to the poor—they were to be treated kindly, notwithstanding that their presence would necessitate the parting with some portion of the property about to be divided. This verse is abrogated by ver. 11 of this chapter. See Preface, R. Urdú Qurán, Lodiana edition, p. xx.
[(8) ]Let those fear. There is in this verse a threat of retributive justice against those who would deal unjustly with the helpless orphan. Their own children might be dealt with in a similar manner.
[(10) ]A male . . . two females. “This is the general rule to be followed in the distribution of the estate of the deceased, as may be observed in the following cases.”—Sale.
[(11) ]Fourth part . . . eighth part. The principle that one man is equal to two women is preserved here. There being issue to deceased wives, they inherit the remainder of the property according to the law of ver. 10. So, too, in regard to what remains after a wife’s eighth has been paid her.
[(14) ]Whoredom. Either fornication or adultery.
[(15) ]Two of you. “The commentators are not agreed whether the text speaks of fornication or sodomy. Al Zamaḳhsharí, and from him, al Baidháwi, supposes the former is here meant; but Jaláluddín is of opinion that the crime intended in this passage must be committed between two men, and not between a man and a woman; not only because the pronouns are in the masculine gender, but because both are ordered to suffer the same slight punishment, and are both allowed the same repentance and indulgence; and especially for that a different and much severer punishment is appointed for the women in the preceding words. Abul Qásim Hibatullah takes simple fornication to be the crime intended, and that this passage is abrogated by that of the 24th chapter, where the man and the woman who shall be guilty of fornication are ordered to be scourged with a hundred stripes each.”—Sale.
[(16, 17) ]Repentance. The Muhammadans understand this verse to refer to the infidels, who may be forgiven on the ground of repentance, provided it be done before death, i.e., as I understand it, if they repent sincerely. For Muslims there is always full and free pardon when they repent, or even say, “I seek forgiveness, O Lord.”
[(18) ]Heirs of women. “It was customary among the pagan Arabs, when a man died, for one of his relations to claim a right to his widow, which he asserted by throwing his garment over her; and then he either married herhimself, if he thought fit, on assigning her the same dower that her former husband had done, or kept her dower and married her to another, or else refused to let her marry unless she redeemed herself by quitting what she might claim of her husband’s goods. This unjust custom is abolished by this passage.”—Sale.
[(20) ]Women whom your fathers have had. The pre-Islámite religion of Arabia not only allowed such marriages, but made such women a lawful part of the son’s inheritance. See Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p. 52. The reform of Muhammad had respect to the future only. What was “already past” was allowed to remain unchanged.
[(21) ]Ye are forbidden to marry, &c. It is quite certain that these prohibited degrees were adapted from the Jewish law. Compare Lev. xviii. 6-18. Muhammad did not consider himself bound by this law (see chap. xxxiii. 49, 50).
[(22) ]Free women, except, &c. “According to this passage, it is not lawful to marry a free woman that is already married, be she a Muhammadan or not, unless she be legally parted from her husband by divorce; but it is lawful to marry those who are slaves or taken in war, after they shall have gone through the proper purifications, though their husbands be living. Yet, according to the decision of Abu Hanífah, it is not lawful to marry such whose husbands shall be taken or be in actual slavery with them.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(23) ]Their reward, i.e., their dowry, which is everywhere in the Qurán spoken of in this fashion. The allusion is very suggestive of the character of the marriage bond. The power of the bond of that pure and holy love which unites the Christian wife to her husband is unknown to Islám. If ever found in a Muslim household, it is there, not because of Islám, but in spite of it.
[(24) ]Whoso . . . hath not means, i.e., he who is too poor to support a wife, who is free, and therefore does not possess slave girls of his own, may marry slave women with the consent of their masters. In this case the dowry is fixed by the master.—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(25) ]The ordinances, &c. The claim here made is that these laws concerning marriage are in accord with the teaching of the former prophets. I think we have here a declaration clearly indicating the source from which Muhammad drew his inspiration on this point. He does not, however, scruple to represent this new law as coming from God and place himself in the position of a disciple learning for the first time that this new revelation is in accord “with the ordinances of those who have gone before.”
[(26) ]They who follow their lusts. “Some commentators suppose that these words have a particular regard to the Magians, who formerly were frequently guilty of incestuous marriages, their prophet Zerdusht having allowed them to take their mothers and sisters to wife; and also to the Jews, who likewise might marry within some of the degrees here prohibited.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(27) ]God is minded, &c. The spirit of this verse, as well as the opinions of the commentators, clearly shows that the legislation in the preceding verses was intended to remove the temptation to fornication and adultery by facilitating marriage and concubinage.
[(28) ]Consume not your wealth, &c., i.e., “employ it not in things prohibited by God, such as usury, extortion, rapine, gaming, and the like.”—Sale.
[(29) ]And whosoever doeth this. This statement best agrees with Abdul Qádir’s interpretation, and therefore teaches that those who maliciously slay their brethren in the faith are doomed to hell fire.
[(30) ]If ye turn aside, &c. Sins are divided by this and other passages into two classes, kabíra and saghíra, or great and small. The commentators differ as to which are great. Some say they are seven: idolatry, murder, false charge of adultery against virtuous women, wasting the substance of orphans, usury, desertion in time of a religious war, and disobedience to parents (Sale in loco). Others enumerate seventeen (see Hughes’s Notes, p. 139). Still others say there are as many as seven hundred great sins. The majority regard only those sins as kabíra which are described in the Qurán as meriting hell fire, the chief of all great sins being idolatry, or the associating of any thing with God so as to express or imply a participation in the attributes of God.
[(31) ]Covet not, &c. “Such as honour, power, riches, and other worldly advantages. Some, however, understand this of the distribution of inheritances according to the preceding determinations, whereby some have a larger share than others.”—Sale.
[(32) ]Those with whom . . . an alliance. “A precept conformable to an old custom of the Arabs, that where persons mutually entered into a strict friendship or confederacy, the surviving friend should have a sixth part of the deceased’s estate. But this was afterwards abrogated, according to Jaláluddín and al Zamakhsharí, at least as to intidels. The passage may likewise be understood of a private contract, whereby the survivor is to inherit a certain part of the substance of him that dies first.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(33) ]Men shall have the pre-eminence. The ground of the pre-eminence of man over woman is here said to be man’s natural superiority over woman. Women are an inferior class of human beings. “The advantages wherein God hath caused the one of them to excel the other” are said by the commentators to be “superior understanding and strength, and the other privileges of the male sex,” e.g., ruling in church and state, warring for the faith, and receiving double portions of the estates of deceased ancestors (see Sale in loco). Men are the lords of the women, and women become the virtual slaves of the men. The holy, happy estate of Eve in Eden can never be even approximately secured for her daughters under Islám.
[(34) ]If ye fear a breach, &c. This arrangement was intended to prevent divorce. The verse is closely connected with the one preceding. When beating should prove unsuccessful, arbitration might be resorted to, each party being represented by a friend.
[(35) ]Serve God . . . and show kindness, &c. This passage gives the sum of the decalogue for a Muslim: God to be served—his unity to be preserved intact—relatives and neighbours, &c., to be kindly treated. It must be remembered that a Muslim’s friend or neighbour is a Muslim. They are expressly forbidden to have friendships with Jews, Christians, or unbelievers. See chap. v. 56.
[(36) ]That which God . . . hath given them, i.e., “wealth, knowledge, or any other talent whereby they may help their neighbour.”—Sale.
[(37) ]To be observed of men. The duty of giving alms from a high motive is here enjoined. One is reminded of Matt. vi. 1-4. Abdul Qádir says: The miser who refuses to give in charity, and the man who gives to make a show of giving, are equally hateful in the sight of God.
[(38, 39) ]These verses teach the truth that no man is a loser by performing his duty toward God and man.
[(40) ]A witness out of each nation. This verse seems to clearly teach the doctrine that God sends a prophet to every distinct nation, and that Muhammad was sent to the Arabs. If so, this passage shows that Muhammad’s idea of a universal Islám, though logically connected with the teaching of the Makkan Suras, yet only took a practical form at Madína, after military and political triumphs had cleared the way to foreign conquest. See also chap. ii. 143.
[(42) ]Come not to prayers when ye are drunk. “It is related, that before the prohibition of wine, Abd’ur-Rahmán Ibn Auf made an entertainment, to which he invited several of the Apostle’s companions; and after they had ate and drunk plentifully, the hour of evening prayer being come, one of the company rose up to pray, but being overcome with liquor, made a shameful blunder in reciting a passage of the Qurán; whereupon, to prevent the danger of any such indecency for the future, this passage was revealed.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(43) ]Those unto whom part, &c. The Jews. They are said to sell error because they misrepresented the teachings of their sacred books from sordid motives.
[(44) ]Who pervert words from their places. On the general subject of the corruption charged by Muslims against the Christians and Jews, much has already been said. I cannot, however, omit a somewhat lengthy quotation from Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. pp. 249 and 295, which affords a decided answer to this unfounded imputation of Muslims. The learned author says: “I pass over the passages in which the Jews are accused of ‘hiding the signs of God,’ or ‘selling them for a small price.’ For the meaning is evidently that the Jews merely refused to bring forward those texts which Mahomet believed to contain evidence in his favour. The renegade Jews applied the prophecies of the Messiah to Mahomet; the staunch Jews denied such application, and herein lay the whole dispute. There is no imputation or hint that any passages were removed from the sacred record. The Jews ‘concealed the testimony of God’ simply because they declined to bring it forward. The expression ‘to sell a thing for a small price’ is metaphorical, and signifies abandoning a duty for a worldly and sordid motive; it is used also of the disaffected citizens of Madína. [It might far more truly have been applied to the renegade Jews who purchased their safety and prosperity by pandering their evidence to Muhammad’s ambition.]
[(45) ]Confirming that, &c. This claim, so oft repeated, surely predicates the genuineness of the Scriptures in the hands of Jews and Christians at that time.
[(46) ]God will not pardon, &c., i.e., idolatry, which includes the ascribing of divine attributes to a creature as well as idol-worship, is the unpardonable sin of Islám. It is unpardonable, however, only to those who, having received Islám or a knowledge of Islám, persist in this sin.
[(47) ]Those who justify, “i.e., the Christians and Jews, who called themselves the children of God, and his beloved people.”—Sale, Jaláluddín, Baidháwi.
[(48) ]A lie against God. The lie here seems to be their regarding themselves as the children of God. As applied to the Jews, compare John viii. 39-44.
[(49) ]They believe. The commentators say this passage refers to certain Jews, who fraternised with the Makkan idolaters in their opposition to Muhammad. Modern Muslims, who join hands with idolaters in opposition to Christianity, receive no encouragement from passages like this.
[(51) ]Shall they have a part of the kingdom? The reference is to Messiah’s kingdom, in which the Jews would be restored to their former grandeur.
[(52) ]That which God hath given them, viz., “the spiritual gifts of prophecy and divine revelations, and the temporal blessings of victory and success bestowed on Muhammad and his followers.”—Sale.
[(53) ]Who believe on him. Sale refers the him to Muhammad, but manifestly primary allusion is to Abraham. The inference is that those who reject the religion of Muhammad also reject the religion of Abraham the Orthodox.
[(54) ]To be broiled, &c. See note, chap. ii. 38.
[(55) ]Who believe and do, &c. See notes, chap. ii. 25 and 223, and chap. iii. 15, 31, and 196.
[(56) ]God commandeth you, &c. “This passage, it is said, was revealed on the day of the taking of Makkah, the primary design of it being to direct Muhammad to return the keys of the Kaabah to Othmán Ibn Talha Ibn Abdul Dár, who had then the honour to be keeper of that holy place, and not to deliver them to his uncle al Abbás, who having already the custody of the well Zamzam, would fain have had also that of the Kaabah. The Prophet obeying the divine order, Othmán was so affected with the justice of the action, notwithstanding he had at first refused him entrance, that he immediately embraced Muhammadanism; whereupon the guardianship of the Kaabah was confirmed to this Othmán and his heirs for ever.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(57) ]Those who are in authority. This passage teaches the duty of submission to kings and judges, so long as their decisions are in accord with the teaching of God and his Apostle (Abdul Qádir), i.e., so long as they are in accord with the Qurán and the traditions.
[(58) ]Those who pretend. The hypocrites.
[(60) ]If we intended. “For this was the excuse of the friends of the Muhammadan whom Omar slew, when they came to demand satisfaction for his blood.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(62) ]Obeyed by the permission of God. The claim of Muhammad is that he should be implicitly obeyed. All controversies were to be decided by him, and all his decisions were to be “acquiesced in with entire submission.” See next verse. There is a remarkable similarity between this claim of Muhammad and that of the Pope of Rome. He holds the keys of heaven and hell, and pardon is dependent upon his intercesion. He is their rightful judge, and his judgment is infallible. Muhammad seems to arrogate to himself a similar position in this passage.
[(64) ]If we had commanded, &c. “Some understand these words of their venturing their lives in a religious expedition; and others, of their undergoing the same punishments which the Israelites did for their idolatry in worshipping the golden calf.”—Sale.
[(67) ]Whosoever obeyeth God and his Apostle. Whilst it is true that rebellion against the messengers of God is rebellion against God, yet there is a vast difference between the teaching of the true messengers of God and that of Muhammad on this point. This habit of associating himself with God, and so making implicit obedience to him necessary to salvation, is not the least of the many blasphemies of Muhammad. Repudiating the divinity of our Lord, Muhammad here claims almost all our Lord claimed by virtue of his divine nature.
[(69) ]Necessary precaution. This verse illustrates how that every dispatch from the orderly-room, so to speak, finds a place in the Qurán. This result is probably due to the faith of the Muslims that every word spoken by their Prophet was a revelation. Hence the inspired character of the traditions. These are, so far as they represent his teaching, fragmentary revelations.
[(70) ]Who tarrieth. The reference is to the hypocrites of Madína, particularly Ibn Ubáí and his companions (Tafsír-i-Raufi).
[(71) ]As if . . . not friendship, i.e., “as one who attendeth not to the public but his own private interest. Or else these may be the words of the hypocritical Muhammadan himself, insinuating that he stayed not behind the rest of the army by his own fault, but was left by Muhammad, who chose to let the others share in his good fortune preferably to him.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(72) ]See notes on chap. ii. 190-195, and chap. iii. 157 and 170.
[(73) ]And what ails you, &c., viz., “those believers who stayed behind at Makkah, being detained there either forcibly by the idolaters or for want of means to fly for refuge to Madína. Al Baidháwi observes that children are mentioned here to show the inhumanity of the Quraish, who persecuted even that tender age.”—Sale.
[(74) ]The religion of Tághút. See note, chap. ii. 256.
[(75) ]Those unto whom. Those Muslims who were ready enough to observe the ordinary duties of Islám, but who disliked to fight. It is possible such were more averse to fighting against their relatives and neighbours than to the fear of death attributed to them here.
[(77) ]Wherever ye be, &c. See notes on chap. iii. 155.
[(78) ]Evil . . . is from thyself. “These words are not to be understood as contradictory to the preceding, that all proceeds from God, since the evil which befalls mankind, though ordered by God, is yet the consequence of their own wicked actions.’—Sale.
[(79) ]See note on ver. 67.
[(81) ]Do they not attentively consider the Qurán? The belief that the Qurán was possessed in book form by many of the Muslims receives confirmation from this statement.
[(82) ]Any news. This passage was occasioned thus: Muhammad sent a certain person to a neighbouring tribe to collect the legal alms. On the near approach of this messenger the people came forth to receive him, but he, supposing them to have come out to kill him, fled into Madína and spread the report of the disaffection of the tribe.—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(83) ]Oblige not, &c. “It is said this passage was revealed when the Muhammadans refused to follow their Prophet to the lesser expedition of Badr, so that he was obliged to set out with no more than seventy (chap. iii. ver. 174). Some copies vary in this place, and instead of lá tukallafu, in the second person singular, read lá nukallafu, in the first person plural, ‘We do not oblige,’ &c. The meaning being, that the Prophet only was under an indispensable necessity of obeying God’s commands, however difficult, but others might choose, though at their peril.”—Sale.
[(84) ]God overlooketh all things, i.e., God sees all things, even the secret motives which inspire your efforts at reconciliation, whether they be good or bad, and will therefore certainly reward accordingly.
[(85) ]A better salutation. “By adding something further. As when one salutes another by this form, ‘Peace be unto thee,’ he ought not only to return the salutation, but to add, ‘and the mercy of God and his blessing.’ ”—Sale.
[(87) ]Two parties. “This passage was revealed, according to some, when certain of Muhammad’s followers, pretending not to like Madína, desired leave to go elsewhere, and having obtained it, went farther and farther, till they joined the idolaters; or, as others say, on occasion of some deseiters at the battle of Ohod, concerning whom the Muslims were divided in opinion whether they should be slain as infidels or not.”—Sale.
[(88) ]They desire, &c. “The people here meant, say some, were the tribe of Khuzáah, or, according to others, the Aslamians, whose chief, named Hilál Ibn Uwaimar, agreed with Muhammad, when he set out against Makkah, to stand neuter; or, as others rather think, Banu Baqr Ibn Zaid.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(89) ]Except those, &c., i.e., “the Bani Mudlaj, who had agreed to remain neutral between Muhammad and the Quraish.”—Tafsír-i-Raufi. The importance of this treaty is indicated in the latter part of this verse.
[(90) ]Ye shall find others. “The persons hinted at here were the tribes of Asad and Ghatfán, or, as some say, Banu Abdaldár, who came to Madína and pretended to embrace Muhammadanism, that they might be trusted by the Muslims, but when they returned, fell back to their old idolatry.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(91) ]Unless by mistake. “That is, by accident and without design. This passage was revealed to decide the case of Ayásh Ibn Abi Rábia, the brother by the mother’s side of Abu Jahl, who, meeting Haráth Ibn Zaid on the road, and not knowing that he had embraced Muhammadanism, slew him.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(92) ]This verse was intended to abolish the blood feuds so prevalent among the Arabs, and no doubt it ministered to the welding together of the various factions under the banner of Islám. How many millions of Muslims have been consigned to hell by this law since the death of Muhammad the annals of Islám abundantly declare. The punishment is, say the commentators, purgatorial, and the Muslim will eventually be restored to paradise, for, according to the Qurán, no true Muslim can be for ever lost. This view of the matter is, however, contradicted by this very passage, which says the murderer “shall remain therein for ever,”—the same language used in speaking of the fate of infidels.
[(93) ]Say not . . . thou art not a true believer. The desire for plunder, which Muhammad had stirred up, had become so insatiable, that even Muslims were slain on the pretence that they were infidels, in order that they might be lawfully plundered. See Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 307.
[(94) ]Not having any hurt, i.e., “not being disabled from going to war by sickness or other just impediment. It is said that when this passage was first revealed there was no such exception therein, which occasioned Ibn Umm Maqtúm, on his hearing it repeated, to object, ‘And what though I be blind?’ Whereupon Muhammad, falling into a kind of trance, which was succeeded by strong agitations, pretended he had received the divine direction to add these words to the text.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(96) ]Whom the angels put to death. “These were certain inhabitants of Makkah, who held with the hare and ran with the hounds, for though they embraced Muhammadanism, yet they would not leave that city to join the Prophet, as the rest of the Muslims did, but, on the contrary, went out with the idolaters, and were therefore slain with them at the battle of Badr.”—Sale, Jaláluddín.
[(97) ]Except the weak, &c. None were excused from the duty of flight (Hijrat) excepting those who were unable to perform it. Muslims still recognise the duty of flight from the Dár al Harb to the Dár al Islám. This duty is so imperative that even a doubt is thrown upon the case of the “weak,” &c. in the next verse.
[(99) ]If death overtake him. “This passage was revealed, says al Baidháwi, on account of Jundub Ibn Dhamra. This person being sick, was, in his flight, carried by his sons on a couch, and before he arrived at Madína, perceiving his end approached, he clapped his right hand on his left, and solemnly plighting his faith to God and his Apostle, died.”—Sale.
[(100 and 101) ]The service here sanctioned was called “The Service of Danger.” It was introduced during the return of Muhammad and his army from Dzát al Rica, where they had captured many women. The following passage from Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 224, relating to this service, well expresses the character of the revelations of this period (a. h. 5). He says: “I quote the revelation which sanctioned this practice, less for its own interest, than to illustrate the tendency of the Coran now to become the vehicle of military commands. In the Coran, victories are announced, success promised, actions recounted, failure is explained, bravery applauded, cowardice or disobedience chided, military or political movements are directed; and all this as an immediate communication from the Deity. The following verses resemble in part what one might expect to find in the ‘General Orders’ of some Puritan leader or commander of a crusade in the Holy Land.” Here he quotes the verses under comment.
[(102) ]Standing, sitting, &c. See note on chap. iii. 192.
[(103) ]Sale, on the authority of Baidháwi, says. “This verse was revealed on the occasion of the unwillingness of Muhammad’s men to accompany him in the lesser expedition of Badr.” The Tafsír-i-Raufi refers it to the pursuit of Abu Sufián after the battle of Ohod. The “seeking out the unbelieving people” was not to save, but to destroy them.
[(104) ]Be not an advocate for the fraudulent. “Tíma Abu Ubairak, of the sons of Dhafar, one of Muhammad’s companions, stole a coat of mail from his neighbour, Kitáda Ibn al Numán, in a bag of meal, and hid it at a Jew’s, named Zaid Ibn al Samín. Tíma being suspected, the coat of mail was demanded of him, but he denying he knew anything of it, they followed the track of the meal, which had run through a hole in the bag, to the Jew’s house, and there seized it, accusing him of the theft; but he producing witnesses of his own religion that he had it of Tíma, the sons of Dhafar came to Muhammad, and desired him to defend his companion’s reputation and condemn the Jew; which he having some thoughts of doing, this passage was revealed, reprehending him for his rash intention, and commanding him to judge, not according to his own prejudice and opinion, but according to the merit of the case.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín, Yahya.
[(105) ]Ask pardon, i.e., for the purpose, entertained for a while, of acquitting the Muslim and of unjustly condemning the Jew. This passage affords an unanswerable argument against those modern Muslims who claim that Muhammad was sinless.
[(106) ]Who deceive one another. The friends of Tíma, who were importunate in their demands for favour to the Muslims.
[(107) ]A saying which pleaseth him not, i.e., “When they secretly contrive means, by false evidence or otherwise, to lay their crime on innocent persons.”—Sale.
[(109) ]Who . . . asketh pardon. See note on chap. ii. 199.
[(112) ]A part of them. The friends of Tíma alluded to above.
[(114) ]We will cause him to obtain, &c. This refers to all deceivers and dishonest persons represented by Tíma (ver. 106). This passage has probably suggested the numerous stories of the commentators related to illustrate it.
[(115) ]God will not pardon, &c. See note on ver. 46.
[(116) ]Only female deities. “Namely, Al Lát, al Uzza and Mínát, the idols of the Makkans; or the angels whom they called the daughters of God.”—Sale. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 39-43. The Tafsír-i-Raufi and the Tafsír-i-Hussaini tell us that the idols at Makkah were made in the form of women, and that the goddesses thus represented were called the daughters of God.
[(117) ]God cursed him, or God curse him. The usual idiom would require we cursed him. The word say introduced, however, makes all consistent. See chap. i., note on ver. 2.
[(118) ]Cut off the ears. This was an ancient Arab custom, whereby they marked the animals devoted to their idols.
[(122) ]Nor according to the desires, &c. “That is, the promises of God are not to be gained by acting after your own fancies, nor yet after the fancies of the Jews or Christians, but by obeying the commands of God. This passage, they say, was revealed on a dispute which arose between those of the three religions, each preferring his own and condemning the others. Some, however, suppose the persons here spoken to in the second person were not the Muhammadans, but the idolaters.”—Sale, Baidháwi, &c.
[(123) ]Male or female. This passage clearly disproves the opinion of those who imagine that women are excluded from the paradise of Islám. See also notes on chap. iii. 196, chap. ix. 73, and chap. xlviii. 5. The ground of salvation given here is good works, which works are, however, such as Islám requires.
[(124) ]He who resigneth himself, i.e., a Muslim, one who submits himself to the divine will. Such are said to be the followers of “the law of Abraham the Orthodox.”
[(126) ]They will consult thee concerning women, i.e., “as to the share they are to have in the distribution of the inheritances of their deceased relations; for it seems that the Arabs were not satisfied with Muhammad’s decision on this point against the old customs.”—Sale.
[(127) ]If a woman fear, &c. The Tafsír-i-Raufi says this verse was occasioned by a man’s having sought an excuse for divorcing his wife. His wife, however, having a number of children, besought him not to do so, saying he might take to himself as many wives as he chose.
[(128) ]Carry yourselves equally. See note on ver. 3.
[(129) ]God will satisfy them. They will have peace, or God will bless them with a better match.
[(130) ]We have already commanded, &c. This seems to indicate that these laws, thus instituted, are in accord with the laws of the Bible. If so, the Qurán again comes far short of confirming the former Scriptures.
[(132) ]Illustrative of God’s sovereign power and self-sufficiency.
[(134) ]Observe justice when ye bear witness. The duty of truthfulness in witness-bearing is clearly inculcated here.
[(136) ]Who . . . increased in infidelity. “These were the Jews, who first believed in Moses, and afterwards fell into idolatry by worshipping the golden calf; and though they repented of that, yet in after ages rejected the prophets who were sent to them, and particularly Jesus the son of Mary, and now filled up the measure of their unbelief by rejecting of Muhammad.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(139) ]He hath already revealed. This passage expresses the substance of what is contained in chap. vi. If any particular verse is indicated, it is probably chap. vi. 10.
[(140) ]They who wait. The hypocrites who played fast and loose with the Muslims and their enemies. When the former were victorious, as at Badr, these desired to share the booty, on pretence of having been in sympathy with the victors. When, however, the latter gained the day, as at Ohod, the hypocrites could show how the victory was due to their withdrawing from the Muslims!
[(141) ]He will deceive them. This is a good illustration of the play upon words frequently met with in the Qurán. See chap. iii. 53.
[(144) ]The lowest bottom of hell fire. See Prelim. Disc., p. 148.
[(146) ]God is grateful. The idea that God is placed under some sort of obligation to true Muslims is certainly suggested by the language of this verse, but the meaning is that he acts towards believers as if he were grateful. The passage may be quoted to illustrate the use of the word repent in Gen. vi. 6.
[(147) ]Unless he who is injured. The words call for assistance are incorrectly supplied. The phrase gives an exception to the rule that evil-speaking is displeasing to God. The oppressed may speak evil of their oppressors. See Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco.
[(150) ]These are really unbelievers. The reference is to the Jews, who said, “We believe in Moses and Ezra, but we reject Jesus and Muhammad” (Tafsír-i-Raufi).
[(152) ]That thou cause a book to descend, i.e., “the Jews, who demanded of Muhammad, as a proof of his mission, that they might see a book of revelations descend to him from heaven, or that he would produce one written in a celestial character, like the two tables of Moses.”—Sale.
[(153) ]We lifted the mountain, &c. See note on chap. ii. 62 and 64.
[(154) ]For that. “There being nothing in the following words of this sentence to answer to the casual for that, Jaláluddín supposes something to be understood to complete the sense, as, therefore we have cursed them, or the like.”—Sale.
[(156) ]A grievous calumny. “By accusing her of fornication.”—Sale.
[(158) ]And there shall not be one of those, &c. “This passage is expounded two ways:—
[(159) ]We have forbidden them good things. See notes on chap. iii. 93
[(161) ]Those . . . who are well grounded. Such as Abdullah Ibn Salám (Tafsír-i-Raufi). It seems that those were well grounded in the faith who accepted Islám. Infidelity and incorrigible stupidity went hand in hand in rejecting the claims of Muhammad.
[(162) ]We have revealed our will unto thee, &c. This jumble of names, presented without any respect to chronology, is probably due to Muhammad’s receiving his information second-hand and piecemeal through Jewish informants. Yet Muhammad claims to have been inspired, as were all the prophets. He also asserts that his inspiration was of precisely the same character as that of all the persons here enumerated, i.e., they received the message directly from Gabriel, by direct communication and audible voice, the tinkling sound of bells in his ears, &c., which Muslims call Wahi and Ilhám (see Sell’s Faith of Islám, p. 37, and Hughes’s Notes on Muhammadanism, p. 47).
[(163) ]God spake unto Moses. This Muslims understand to be the highest form of wahi (revelation), or inspiration, as the word is incorrectly translated. In this respect, say they, Moses resembled Muhammad. Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco.
[(165) ]God is witness. The occasion of this revelation was the infidelity of certain Jews, who being asked to testify to his prophecy before certain Quraish chiefs, declared that they did not recognise him as a prophet (Tafsír-i-Raufi). The witness of God is in the incomparable language and style of the Qurán; the witness or angels has reference to the testimony of Gabriel. See the plural form used for the singular, chap. iii. 39, note.
[(166) ]Turned aside others, i.e., the chiefs of the Quraish, who were turned aside by the answer of the Jews referred to in the note on the preceding verse.
[(168) ]With truth from your Lord. A new assertion of his prophetic claim. See notes on vers. 116, 156, and 162.
[(169) ]Exceed not the just bounds, i.e., “either by rejecting or contemning Jesus, as the Jews do; or raising him to an equality with God, as do the Christians.”—Sale, Baidháwí.
[(173) ]Manifest light, i.e., the teaching of the Qurán.
[(175) ]See notes on vers. 10 and 11.
[(1) ]Perform your contracts. The command is general, and is introductory to the matters following.
[(2) ]Ye are allowed, &c. See below, on vers. 4-6; also chap. ii. 174. The only flesh forbidden in the Qurán, if properly slain, is that of the swine; but tradition and custom decide many animals unfit for food. Wild animals, otherwise lawful, are forbidden during the pilgrimage.
[(3) ]Holy rites, i.e., the rites connected with pilgrimage to Makkah. This passage relates to the heathen pilgrims and their offerings, tolerated for a short time after the capture of Makkah.
[(4) ]Ye are forbidden, &c. See notes on chap. ii. 174.
[(5) ]Commemorate the name of God thereon. Sale says, “Either when ye let go the hound, hawk, or other animal after the game, or when ye kill it.” The rule is to say Bismillah alláho Akbar, or simply Bismillah, when the dog or hawk is let go.
[(6) ]The food of those to whom the Scriptures, &c. This one passage is sufficient to refute the position of those Muslims in India who regard Christians as infidels, and forbid their co-religionists to eat and drink with them.
[(7) ]He desireth to purify you. This verse, as well as the chapter on purifications in the Mishqát ul Masábih, abundantly show that this external purity is all Islám knows of holiness. The word holy conveys no other idea to a Muslim’s mind.
[(8) ]We have heard. Sale says, “These words are the form used at the inauguration of a prince; and Muhammad here intends the oath of fidelity which his followers had taken to him at Al Aqabah.” (See Prelim Disc., p. 81.)
[(9) ]Let not hatred, &c. According to the Tafsír-i-Raufi this passage has reference to those who, having once persecuted the Muslims, afterwards embraced Islám. Muslims are here exhorted to forgive all such injuries.
[(11) ]They . . . who accuse our signs, &c. This is another passage showing (1) that the charge of imposture was made in Muhammad’s lifetime; (2) that the language and style of the Qurán was not so striking as to convince Muhammad’s contemporaries that they were inimitable; and (3) that Muhammad’s only argument in reply was his usual threat.
[(12) ]He restrained their hands. “The commentators tell several stories as the occasion of this passage. One says that Muhammad and some of his followers being at Usfán (a place not far from Makkah, in the way to Madína), and performing their noon devotions, a company of idolaters who were in view repented they had not taken that opportunity of attacking them, and therefore waited till the hour of evening prayer, intending to fall upon them then; but God defeated their design by revealing the verse of Fear. Another relates that the Prophet going to the tribe of Quraidha (who were Jews) to levy a fine for the blood of two Muslims who had been killed by mistake by Ámru Ibn Ummaya al Dhimri, they desired him to sit down and eat with them, and they would pay the fine: Muhammad complying with their request, while he was sitting they laid a design against his life, one Ámru Ibn Jásh undertaking to throw a millstone upon him; but God withheld his hand, and Gabriel immediately descended to acquaint the Prophet with their treachery, upon which he rose up and went his way. A third story is, that Muhammad having hung up his arms on a tree under which he was resting himself, and his companions being dispersed some distance from him, an Arab of the desert came up to him and drew his sword, saying, ‘Who hindereth me from killing thee?’ to which Muhammad answered, ‘God;’ and Gabriel beating the sword out of the Arab’s hand, Muhammad took it up, and asked him the same question, ‘Who hinders me from killing thee?’ the Arab replied, ‘Nobody,’ and immediately professed Muhammadanism. Abulfida tells the same story, with some variation of circumstances.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(13) ]Twelve leaders. The following is the Muslim account of these twelve leaders as given by Sale on the authority of Baidháwi:—
[(14) ]They dislocate the words. See note on chap. iv. 44.
[(15) ]Forgotten part, i.e., the prophecies of the gospel concerning Muhammad as the Paraclete (Tafsír-i-Raufi).
[(16) ]Which ye concealed, e.g., “the verse of stoning adulterers (chap. iii. 23), the description of Muhammad, and Christ’s prophecy of him by the name of Ahmed” (chap. lxi. 6).—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(17) ]Now is light . . . come unto you, i.e., the light of prophecy, which resided in Muhammad and all the predecessors of Muhammad up to Adam. This light was the first creation of God, and through this light all the works of God were made manifest (Tafsír-i-Raufi). Muhammadan mystics have little difficulty in persuading themselves in this way that Muhammad and the Qurán are divine in the sense that they are the light of God, manifesting him as the light of the sun reveals to us the orb of day with all its retinue of worlds.
[(19) ]The infidels. Christians are here called by the same name as that which is applied to idolaters, because their clear confession of the divine nature and attributes of Christ declares them to be guilty of this unpardonable sin of Islám. In almost all the earlier chapters of the Qurán, Christians are spoken of as “the people of the book,” and the status assigned to them is far above that of either Jews or idolaters. In the latter revelations the Nazarines are, as here, plainly called idolaters. This inconsistency may be explained either by supposing Muhammad to have been ignorant of Christianity until a late period of his life, or by presuming that he chose to ignore them when he could, and to patronise where he could not ignore, until his pretensions as a prophet and his power as a politician had been established. We think the last to be most in accord with probability, and as being most easily reconciled with traditions which accredit Muhammad with a knowledge of Christianity even before he claimed to be a prophet, and which even declare his wife Ḳhadíjah to have been a Christian.
[(21) ]Why . . . doth he punish you? Compare with Heb. xii. 5-8. This verse shows that Muhammad, while using the phraseology of Christians, did not understand its import. A son of God seemed to him to certainly express the idea of a divine nature, hence he says, “Nav. but ye are men,” &c.
[(22) ]The cessation of the apostles. “The Arabic word al fatra signifies the intermediate space of time between two prophets, during which no new revelation or dispensation was given; as the interval between Moses and Jesus, and between Jesus and Muhammad, at the expiration of which last Muhammad pretended to be sent.”—Sale.
[(23) ]Kings. There is almost certainly an anachronism here; but Muslims regard the words as a prophecy of Moses concerning kings to come, or they understand by the expression that God had “made them kings or masters of themselves by delivering them from Egyptian bondage” (Sale).
[(24) ]Holy land. This expression, like the language of the previous verse, was received from the vocabulary of contemporary Jews or Christians. But it is here put in the mouth of Moses.
[(25) ]Gigantic people. See note on ver. 13.
[(26) ]Two men. Caleb and Joshua.
[(28) ]Except myself and my brother. Moses would seem to have forgotten Caleb and Joshua. The author of the Tafsír-i-Raufi conjectures that it is Aaron who is called Lord in ver. 27; but this theory is contrary to the dignity bestowed on Moses every where in the Qurán.
[(29) ]They shall wander. “The commentators pretend that the Israelites, while they thus wandered in the desert, were kept within the compass of about eighteen (or, as some say, twenty-seven) miles; and that though they travelled from morning to night, yet they constantly found themselves the next day at the place from whence they set out.”—Sale.
[(30) ]Relate with . . . truth. See note on chap. ii. 145.
[(31) ]I will not stretch forth my hand, &c. Baidháwi says Abel was much stronger than Cain, and that he could easily have prevailed against him if he had chosen to fight.
[(32) ]A companion of hell fire. This fierce revengeful spirit comports well with the character of the Arabian Prophet, but comes far short of the truth when applied to the brother of Cain.
[(33) ]He slew him. The commentators say he did not know how to kill his brother until the devil, appearing in human form, killed in his sight a bird by laying its head on one stone and smiting it with another. Cain then went at night-time to his brother, who was sleeping with his head pillowed on a stone, and striking him on the head with a stone, slew him (Tafsír-i-Raufi).
[(34) ]A raven . . . to show him, &c. The Jewish tradition, which makes Adam to be indebted to a raven for his knowledge as to how to dispose of the body of his murdered son, is here so distorted as actually to make God to sympathise with the murderer in his anxiety to conceal the corpse of his victim.
[(35) ]Without having slain a soul. From this the inference is drawn that a murderer may be slain without crime (Abdul Qádir).
[(37) ]The recompense, &c. A party of eight Bedouin Arabs, having professed Islám at Madína, was appointed to guard the camels of Muhammad sent to graze at Ayr, near Madína. The Bedouins drove off the camels and wounded some herdsmen who had gone in pursuit, killing one in a barbarous manner. Muhammad, having been informed of this transaction, sent twenty horsemen in pursuit, who captured the robbers, recovering all the camels but one. In punishment Muhammad ordered the arms and legs of the eight men to be cut off, their eyes to be put out, and their trunks to be impaled until life was extinct. This horrible barbarity seems to have appeared excessive, and accordingly this verse was revealed. (See Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. iv. pp. 19 and 20.) The barbarities herein sanctioned are still practised in every Muhammadan country. As to the infliction of these punishments, Sale, on the authority of Baidháwi and others, says, “The lawyers are not agreed. But the commentators suppose that they who commit murder only are to be put to death in the ordinary way; those who murder and rob too, to be crucified; those who rob without committing murder, to have their right hand and their left foot cut off; and they who assault persons and put them in fear, to be banished. It is also a doubt whether they who are crucified shall be crucified alive, or be first put to death, or whether they shall hang on the cross till they die.”
[(38) ]Except those who shall repent. If the offenders be unbelievers, and previous to their being forcibly seized they profess Islám, they are to be forgiven; even stolen property may not be taken from them. If they be Muslims, they are to be pardoned; stolen property being returned and the price of blood being paid in case murder have been committed. See the Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco.
[(39) ]A near conjunction. The original word means a helper or a means of accomplishing anything. The meaning here is that believers should seek the means of near approach to God, which means, say the commentators, is obedience to his commandments.
[(42) ]Cut off their hands. “But this punishment, according to the Sunnat, is not to be inflicted unless the value of the thing stolen amount to four dinars, or about forty shillings. For the first offence the criminal is to lose his right hand, which is to be cut off at the wrist; for the second offence, his left foot, at the ankle; for the third, his left hand; for the fourth, his right foot; and if he continue to offend, he shall be scourged at the discretion of the judge.” Sale, Jaláluddín.
[(43) ]But whoever shall repent. “That is, God will not punish him for it hereafter; but his repentance does not supersede the execution of the law here, nor excuse him from making restitution. Yet, according to al Shafa’i, he shall not be punished if the party wronged forgive him before he be carried before a magistrate.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(45) ]See notes on chap. iv. 43-50. The passage is directed against apostates, hypocrites, and Jews.
[(46) ]Or leave them, i.e., “take thy choice whether thou wilt determine their differences or not. Hence al Sháfa’i was of opinion that a judge was not obliged to decide causes between Jews or Christians; though if one or both of them be tributaries, or under the protection of the Muhammadans, they are obliged, this verse not regarding them. Abu Hanífa, however, thought that the magistrates were obliged to judge all cases which were submitted to them.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(47) ]They have the law. See note on chap. iv. 44. Sale says that “in the following passage Muhammad endeavours to answer the objections of the Jews and Christians, who insisted that they ought to be judged, the former by the law of Moses, and the latter by the gospel. He allows that the law was the proper rule of judging till the coming of Jesus Christ, after which the gospel was the rule; but pretends that both are set aside by the revelation of the Qurán, which is so far from being contradictory to either of the former, that it is more full and explicit; declaring several points which had been stifled or corrupted therein, and requiring a vigorous execution of the precepts in both, which had been too remissly observed, or rather neglected, by the latter professors of those religions.”
[(48) ]The true religion, i.e., Islám, the one true religion of all ages of the world. See note on chap. ii. 136.
[(49) ]Compare with Exod. xxi. 23-27. Muhammad could not have had the Scriptures before him, else he would have quoted more fully.
[(50) ]Confirming also the law. The testimony to the law is the gospel of Jesus, and the testimony confirming both is the Qurán. See v. 52. Portions may be abrogated, and so cease to be of binding force to whom they are so abrogated, but all remains true. The eternal truths of God as to his own nature and attributes, his moral law, historical fact, &c.,cannot be abrogated (see chap. ii. 105 note), and therefore the Qurán again points the way to its own refutation.
[(52) ]See notes on chaps. ii. 75-78; iii. 77; iv. 44.
[(53) ]One people, i.e., “He had given you the same laws, which should have continued in force through all ages, without being abolished or changed by new dispensations; or he could have forced you all to embrace the Muhammadan religion.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(54) ]Beware of these. “It is related that certain of the Jewish priests came to Muhammad with a design to entrap him; and having first represented to him that if they acknowledged him for a prophet, the rest of the Jews would certainly follow their example, made this proposal—that if he would give judgment for them in a controversy of moment which they pretended to have with their own people, and which was agreed to be referred to his decision, they would believe him; but this Muhammad absolutely refused to comply with.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(56) ]Take not Jews and Christians for your friends. See note on chap. iii. 118. The statement that Jews and Christians “are friends one of another” is another slip of the pen that recorded the history of the Qurán. The spirit of hatred and contempt inculcated here is entirely inconsistent with the teaching of ver. 53. Yet this is the spirit of Islám as it now is. Religious toleration in Muhammadan countries is the toleration of contempt.
[(57) ]We fear, &c. “These were the words of Ibn Ubbai, who, when Obádah Ibn al Sámat publicly renounced the friendship of the infidels, and professed that he took God and his Apostle for his patrons, said that he was a man apprehensive of the fickleness of fortune, and therefore would not throw off his old friends, who might be of service to him hereafter.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(59) ]Whoever of you apostatiseth, &c. “This is one of those accidents which it is pretended were foretold by the Qurán long before they came to pass. For in the latter days of Muhammad, and after his death, considerable numbers of the Arabs quitted his religion and returned to Paganism, Judaism, or Christianity. Al Baidháwi reckons them up in the following order:—1. Three companies of Banu Mudlaj, seduced by Dhu’lhamár al Aswad al Ansí, who set up for a prophet in Yaman, and grew very powerful there. 2. Banu Hunaifah, who followed the famous false prophet Musailama. 3. Banu Assad, who acknowledged Tulaiha Ibn Ḳhuwailad, another pretender to divine revelation, for their prophet. All these fell off in Muhammad’s lifetime. The following, except only the last, apostatised in the reign of Abu Baqr. 4. Certain of the tribe of Fizárah, headed by Uyaima Ibn Husáin. 5. Some of the tribe of Ghatfán, whose leader was Qurrah Ibn Salmah. 6. Banu Sulaím, who followed al Fahjáah Ibn Abd Yalíl. 7. Banu Yarbú, whose captain was Málik Ibn Nuwairah Ibn Qais. 8. Part of the tribe of Tamín, the proselytes of Sajáj the daughter of al Mundhár, who gave herself out for a prophetess. 9. The tribe of Kindah, led by al Asháth Ibn Qais. 10. Banu Baqr Ibn al Wayil in the province of Bahrain, headed by al Hutam Ibn Zaid. And 11. Some of the tribes of Ghassán, who, with their prince Jabálah Ibn al Ayshám, renounced Muhammadanism in the time of Omar, and returned to their former profession of Christianity.
[(60) ]Stated times of prayer, &c. See note, chap. ii. 42.
[(62) ]Who makes . . . a jest of your religion, i.e., certain Jews who mocked the Muslims when at prayer (Tafsír-i-Raufi). Baidháwi gives the following story as translated by Sale:—“These words were added on occasion of a certain Christian who, hearing the Muadhdhin, or crier, in calling to prayers, repeat this part of the usual form, ‘I profess that Muhammad is the apostle of God,’ said aloud, ‘May God burn the liar;’ but a few nights after his own house was accidentally set on fire by a servant, and himself and his family perished in the flames.”
[(64) ]The Jews and Christians are here again told that a profession of Islám is consistent with their own Scriptures. The passage belongs to a period before Muhammad had broken with Jews and Christians.
[(65) ]Having changed . . . them into apes. See note on chap. ii. 64.
[(67) ]Things forbidden. See notes on ver. 4.
[(69) ]The hand of God is tied up. “That is, he is become niggardly and close-fisted. These were the words of Phineas, Ibn Azúra (another indecent expression of whom, almost to the same purpose, is mentioned elsewhere), when the Jews were much impoverished by a dearth which the commentators will have to be a judgment on them for their rejecting of Muhammad; and the other Jews who heard him, instead of reproving him, expressed their approbation of what he had said.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(70) ]We will surely expiate their sins. The word translated expiate is the same as that used above (ver. 49) and in chap. iii. 194 (see notes). The meaning attached to it here is simply that of removal or taking away.
[(71) ]Publish the whole, &c. “That is, if they do not complete the publication of all thy revelations without exception, thou dost not answer the end for which they were revealed; because the concealing of any part renders the system of religion which God has thought fit to publish to mankind by thy ministry lame and imperfect.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(72) ]This verse, by implication, condemns the practices of every Muslim. See notes on vers. 69 and 70. The purpose of the revelation was, however, to persuade the Jews and Christians to embrace Islám. To quote this passage in proof of Muhammad’s sincerity is therefore really a begging of the question. Can his apologists show us a single passage requiring Arab or Gentile Muslims to believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament in addition to the Qurán, as necessary to salvation? So far as I know, such requirement is purely, but, as we admit, justly, inferential, nevertheless there is no reason to believe Muhammad intended any such inference to be drawn. His great object was to maintain his prophetic claim, and if possible to win over to his side the Jews, Christians, and Sabians. In his anxiety to accomplish this, he made statements, like that of the passage under consideration, which implied more than he intended to teach. Certainly the universal faith of Muslims for thirteen centuries shows what Muhammad’s real teaching was. None such have ever felt bound to believe the doctrines of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, except in the sense that all such are conserved by the Qurán and to be found in it. The statement, twice repeated, that “that which hath been sent down unto thee from thy Lord will surely increase the transgression and infidelity of many of them,” creates in the mind of the thoughtful reader a conviction that Muhammad knew something at least of the irreconcilable differences between the doctrines of the Qurán and those of the Bible, and that therefore the Jews and Christians would not believe in him or his Qurán.
[(73) ]See note on chap. ii. 61.
[(74) ]They accused . . . of imposture. Chap. iii. 185, note.
[(75) ]Because blind and deaf. “Shutting their eyes and ears against conviction and the remonstrances of the law, as when they worshipped the calf.”—Sale.
[(76) ]See notes on ver. 19 above. The teaching of Jesus, according to this verse, was identical with that of Muhammad.
[(77) ]God . . . the third of three. See notes on chap. iv. 169. The Tafsír-i-Raufi says the Marcusians believed in the Trinity of God, Mary, and Jesus, but in this the communicator is mistaken.
[(79) ]Compare chap. iii. 39.
[(81) ]Exceed not, &c. See chap. iv. note 169.
[(82) ]Cursed . . . by Jesus. See note, chap. ii. 64. The curse said to have been pronounced by Jesus against the Jews probably has reference to his prophetic denunciations and warnings in general, especially his prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the fall of the Jewish nationality. The woes of this passage may have been suggested by the woes of our Lord against the Scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites.
[(83) ]What their souls have sent before them. See chap. ii. 94.
[(85) ]This revelation must be relegated to a period earlier than is usually assigned to the verses of this chapter. The bitter enmity attributed to the Jews points to a period succeeding a.h. 3, while the friendly feeling shown towards Christians points to a time preceding a.h. 8, for in a.h. 9 Muhammad contemptuously cast aside both Jews and Christians. The mention of “the Jews and the idolaters” together may refer to a period near to the end of a.h. 4 or the beginning of a.h. 5, when the Jews, owing to the expulsion of the Bani Nadhír, began to show their readiness to help the Quraish against the common enemy.
[(86) ]When they hear, &c. The following stories, invented by the Muslims to illustrate this passage, are related by Sale on the authority of Baidháwi and Abulfida:—“The persons directly intended in this passage were either Asháma, king of Ethiopia, and several bishops and priests, who, being assembled for that purpose, heard Jaafar Ibn Abi Tálib, who fled to that country in the first flight, read the 29th and 30th, and afterwards the 18th and 19th chapters of the Qurán; on hearing of which the king and the rest of the company burst into tears and confessed what was delivered therein to be conformable to truth; that prince himself, in particular, becoming a proselyte to Muhammadanism: or else thirty, or as others say seventy, persons sent ambassadors to Muhammad by the same king of Ethiopia, to whom the prophet himself read the 36th chapter, entitled Y.S. Whereupon they began to weep, saying. ‘How like is this to that which was revealed unto Jesus!’ and immediately professed themselves Muslims.”
[(89) ]Forbid not the good things. “These words were revealed when certain of Muhammad’s companions agreed to oblige themselves to continual fasting and watching, and to abstain from women, eating flesh, sleeping on beds, and other lawful enjoyments of life, in imitation of some self-denying Christians; but this the Prophet disapproved, declaring that he would have no monks in his religion.”—Sale, Jaláluddín.
[(91) ]An inconsiderate word. See note on chap. ii. 225. Perjury, according to the Imáms Ázim and Sháfa’i, is swearing deliberately to that which is at the time thought to be false by the person swearing. They therefore classify all thoughtless oaths used in conversation or mistakes made under oath under the head of “inconsiderate words.” The passage so understood contradicts the doctrine of Jesus.
[(92) ]See notes on chap. ii. 218 and chap. iv. 42.
[(93) ]Satan seeketh to sow dissension, &c. We here learn the real reason for prohibiting the practices of gambling and drinking—a reason, utilitarian though it be, yet sufficient. This law of Islám, considered by itself, reflects great glory on Muhammad and his religion; yet, regarded as a part of the whole system of Islám, it appears to great disadvantage. It is seen to be a purely political measure, based on no solid groundwork of moral principle, and inconsistent with much that is permitted by Islám. The same principle of utility would have led to the distinct prohibition of all intoxicating drugs and of polygamy.
[(94) ]If they fear, &c. “The commentators endeavour to excuse the tautology of this passage by supposing the threefold repetition of fearing and believing refers either to the three parts of time, past, present, and future, or to the threefold duty of man, towards God, himself, and his neighbour, &c.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(95) ]God will prove you. “This temptation or trial was at al Hudaibiya, where Muhammad’s men, who had attended him thither with an intent to perform a pilgrimage to the Kaabah, and had initiated themselves with the usual rights, were surrounded by so great a number of birds and beasts, that they impeded their march; from which unusual accident some of them concluded that God had allowed them to be taken; but this passage was to convince them of the contrary.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(96) ]On pilgrimage, i.e., while ye are muhrims. Muhrims are those Muslims who have put on the ihrám or peculiar dress donned on entering the sacred precincts of Makkah to indicate that they are now on the way to the sacred Kaabah. The law forbidding hunting was established in accordance with the peaceful character of the sacred places within the boundaries called Haram. Certain hurtful animals might be killed, but this was also in accord with the law which permitted Muslims to fight infidels within the sacred months, provided they did so in self-defence. See chap. ii. 210.
[(97) ]Lawful . . . to fish. This law has reference to pilgrimage, though of general application. The commentators understand fish found in all bodies of water, whether fountains, rivulets, rivers, or ponds, and lakes, as well as the sea. They differ in applying the law to amphibious creatures.
[(98) ]The Kaabah. See notes on chap. ii. 125 and 189.
[(99) ]The duty of our apostle. See note on ver. 93.
[(101) ]Inquire not, &c. “The Arabs continually teasing their Prophet with questions, which probably he was not always prepared to answer, they are here ordered to wait till God should think fit to declare his pleasure by some farther revelation: and to abate their curiosity, they are told, at the same time, that very likely the answers would not be agreeable to their inclinations. Al Baidháwi says, that when the pilgrimage was first commanded, Suráka Ibn Málik asked Muhammad whether they were obliged to perform it every year. To this question the Prophet at first turned a deaf ear; but being asked it a second and a third time, he at last said, ‘No; but if I had said yes, it would have become a duty, and if it were a duty, ye would not be able to perform it; therefore give me no trouble as to things wherein I give you none:’ whereupon this passage was revealed.”—Sale.
[(102) ]Bahaira . . . Hámi. “These were the names given by the pagan Arabs to certain camels or sheep which were turned loose to feed, and exempted from common services in some particular cases, having their ears slit, or some other mark that they might be known; and this they did in honour of their gods (Prelim. Disc., p. 199). Which superstitions are here declared to be no ordinances of God, but the inventions of foolish men.”—Sale.
[(103) ]That religion, &c. This is a very common reply on the part of idolaters even in these days. But for the sword of Islám the Arabs would no doubt have remained in the religion of their fathers for many years after the death of the Makkan preacher.
[(104) ]See note on chap. iii. 118.
[(105) ]Let witnesses be taken, &c. Sale gives the following story, on the authority of Baidháwi, as the occasion of the revelations in this and the following verse:—“The occasion of the preceding passage is said to have been this. Tamín al Dári and Áddi Ibn Yazíd, both Christians, took a journey into Syria to trade, in company with Budhail, the freedman of Ámru Ibn al Aas, who was a Muslim. When they came to Damascus, Budhail fell sick and died, having first wrote down a list of his effects on a piece of paper, which he hid in his baggage, without acquainting his companions with it, and desired them only to deliver what he had to his friends of the tribe of Sahm. The survivors, however, searching among his goods, found a vessel of silver of considerable weight and inlaid with gold, which they concealed, and on their return delivered the rest to the deceased’s relations, who, finding the list of Budhail’s writing, demanded the vessel of silver of them, but they denied it; and the affair being brought before Muhammad, these words, viz., O true believers, take witnesses, &c., were revealed, and he ordered them to be sworn at the pulpit in the mosque, just as afternoon prayer was over, and on their making oath that they knew nothing of the plate demanded, dismissed them. But afterwards, the vessel being found in their hands, the Sahmites, suspecting it was Budhail’s, charged them with it, and they confessed it was his, but insisted that they had bought it of him, and that they had not produced it because they had no proof of the bargain. Upon this they went again before Muhammad, to whom these words, And if it appear, &c., were revealed; and thereupon Ámru Ibn al Aas and al Mutallib Ibn Abi Rafáa, both of the tribe of Sahm, stood up, and were sworn against them; and judgment was given accordingly.”
[(107) ]This verse shows the purpose for which the law of witnesses was given, viz., to deter from corrupt practices by the knowledge that a solemn oath might be called for, and that even perjured persons might be confronted by the oaths of the witnesses and thereby be condemned. Two witnesses were necessary. Compare with Deut. xix. 15.
[(108) ]On a certain day, i.e., on the judgment-day.
[(109) ]The Holy Spirit. See note on chap. ii. 86.
[(110) ]The gospel. Muslims believe the New Testament Scriptures (Injíl) were sent down to Jesus just as the Qurán was given to Muhammad. Christ is here represented as having been taught of God as Muhammad was. Muhammad is the type of all apostles.
[(111) ]Apostles. In Arabic Al hawáriín, a word descriptive of the chosen followers of Jesus It does not convey any idea of apostleship in the ordinary sense of the word. If derived from the Ethiopic hawyra (Rodwell), the etymological meaning would indicate one sent; but if derived from hur, it would mean friends or helpers, and so correspond with the idea of the Ansár, or helpers of Muhammad.
[(112) ]A table. This word supplies the title of this chapter. It is thought to allude to the Table of the Lord or Christ’s Last Supper. It might as well allude to the miracles of loaves and fishes given in Matt. xiv. and xv. A similar inquiry is attributed to the children of Israel, Ps. lxxviii. 19. The passage is far from being confirmatory of the former Scriptures, if the following opinions of the commentators indicate anything of what Muhammad believed on this subject:—“This miracle is thus related by the commentators. Jesus having, at the request of his followers, asked it of God, a red table immediately descended in their sight between two clouds, and was set before them: whereupon he rose up, and having made the ablution, praved, and then took off the cloth which covered the table, saying, “In the name of God, the best provider of food.” What the provisions were with which this table was furnished is a matter wherein the expositors are not agreed. One will have them to be nine cakes of bread and nine fishes; another, bread and flesh; another, all sorts of food except flesh; another, all sorts of food except bread and flesh; another, all except bread and fish; another, one fish, which had the taste of all manner of food; and another, fruits of Paradise; but the most received tradition is, that when the table was uncovered, there appeared a fish ready dressed, without scales or prickly fins, dropping with fat, having salt placed at its head, and vinegar at its tail, and round it all sorts of herbs except leeks, and five loaves of bread, on one of which there were olives, on the second honey, on the third butter, on the fourth cheese, and on the fifth dried flesh. They add, that Jesus, at the request of the apostles, showed them another miracle, by restoring the fish to life, and causing its scales and fins to return to it; at which the standers-by being affrighted, he caused it to become as it was before: that one thousand three hundred men and women, all afflicted with bodily infirmities or poverty, ate of these provisions, and were satisfied, the fish remaining whole as it was at first; that then the table flew up to heaven in the sight of all; and that all who had partaken of this food were delivered from their infirmities and misfortunes; and that it continued to descend for forty days together at dinner-time, and stood on the ground till the sun declined, and was then taken up into the clouds. Some of the Muhammadan writers are of opinion that this table did not really descend, but that it was only a parable; but most think the words of the Qurán are plain to the contrary. A further tradition is, that several men were changed into swine for disbelieving this miracle and attributing it to magic art; or, as others pretend, for stealing some of the victuals from off it. Several other fabulous circumstances are also told, which are scarce worth transcribing.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Thalábi.
[(114) ]A festival day. This expression seems to point to the Eucharist as the subject of this passage. It may, however, rather refer to the love-feasts of the early Christians, which were observed every Sunday.
[(116) ]Two gods beside God. See notes on chap. iv. 169, and v. 77. Muir says, “So far as I can judge from the Coran, Mahomet’s knowledge of Christianity was derived from the Orthodox party, who styled Mary ‘Mother of God.’ He may have heard of the Nestorian heresy, and it is possibly referred to among the ‘sects’ into which Jews and Christians are said in the Coran to be divided; but, had he ever obtained a closer acquaintance with the Nestorian doctrine, at least in the earlier part of his career, it would (according to the analogy of his practice with respect to other subjects) have been more definitely mentioned in his revelation. The truth, however, is, that Mahomet’s acquaintance with Christianity was at the best singularly dim and meagre.”—Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p. 19, note.
[(117) ]My Lord and your Lord. The strained effort of Muhammad to refute the doctrine of Christ’s divinity is here manifest. See note on ver. 110.
[(120) ]Thus the Qurán ends as it begins, with a declaration of the sovereignty of God—the cardinal doctrine of Islám.
[* ]Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p. 268, note.
[(1) ]Darkness and the light. Literally, darknesses and the light, from which form some commentators infer that by darknesses is intended the many false religions, and by light the one true faith of Islám. These make God to be the author of evil as well as good. See the Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco.
[(2) ]The term, &c. “By the last term some understand the time of the resurrection. Others think that by the first term is intended the space between creation and death, and by the latter that between death and the resurrection.”—Sale.
[(3) ]He knoweth, &c. The omniscience of God is here very forcibly expressed. The speaker is, according to Muslim faith, God, and the passage should be introduced by Say (see note on chap. i.) These words are addressed to the unbelievers mentioned in ver. 1.
[(5) ]A message shall come. Coming destruction, either in this world or the world to come, is here suggested. Some refer it to the final success of Islám, which is here predicted.
[(6) ]Many generations. Sale thinks the ancient tribes of Ád and Thámúd are here referred to. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 20-22.
[(7) ]A book written on paper. The Qurán being repeated piecemeal to the people, according to the circumstances or necessities of the Prophet, it was very natural they should regard the whole as the composition of Muhammad himself. The Tafsír-i-Raufi relates that three chiefs of the Quraishcame to Muhammad saying they would not believe him to be a prophet, or his Qurán to be from God, unless four angels were to descend from heaven with a written book and testify to his apostleship. It was then that this passage was revealed. This story, however, does not fit on to the passage well, and must be regarded as an invention of the commentators, the chief incidents being suggested by the passage itself. It is, however, sufficiently clear that the Quraish did not see anything sufficiently miraculous in the style of the Qurán to convince them of its heavenly origin.
[(8) ]Unless an angel. Muhammad claimed to have received the Qurán from Gabriel. This is probably the angel referred to here, the Quraish having claimed the right to see the angel-visitor of their townsman before believing in his prophetic pretensions.
[(9) ]The form of a man. Had the angels appeared to the Quraish, they would have appeared as men, therefore there would have been nothing more convincing in the appearance of the heavenly messengers than in that of a human being who was a prophet. Sale observes that Gabriel always appeared to Muhammad in human form, because even a prophet could not bear the sight of an angel in his proper form.
[(10) ]Other apostles . . . laughed to scorn. This illustrates the kind of argument used by Muhammad at Makkah. He was a prophet of God because he said so, the inimitable Qurán being witness. The very fact that unbelievers scoffed at him and his message was an additional argument, for so were all prophets treated. Not a word is said of miracles, for there were none. Nor is there any allusion to the testimony of former prophets as applying to him, all such passages belonging to the Madína chapters. How very different all this from the conduct of the true prophets!
[(11) ]Go through the earth, &c. See note on chap. iii. 137.
[(12) ]He hath prescribed unto himself mercy. Literally, he hath written upon his being mercy. He delights in mercy, and when unbelievers are condemned and punished, it is owing to their having destroyed themselves. It is plain that with passages like this before them, Muhammadans may fairly claim that they do not deny the freedom of the human will while holding to the absolute sovereignty of God. But see note on chap. iii. 155.
[(14) ]The first. “That is, the first of my nation.”—Sale.
[(19) ]What is . . . strongest . . . in testimony. “This passage was revealed when the Quraish told Muhammad that they had asked the Jews and Christians concerning him, who assured them they found no mention or description of him in their books of Scripture. “Therefore,” said they, “who bear witness to thee that thou art the apostle of God?”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(20) ]They unto whom we have given the Scriptures, &c., i.e., the Jews at Makkah. Muir thinks the Jews were at this time inclined to respect the prophetic claims of Muhammad (Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p. 184). See also note on chap. ii. 147.
[(21) ]A lie against God. “Saying the angels are the daughters of God, and intercessors for us with him,” &c.—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(22) ]Your companions, i.e., “your idols and false gods.”—Sale.
[(23) ]Flieth from them. “Their imaginary deities prove to be nothing, and disappear like vain phantoms and chimeras.”—Sale.
[(24) ]Silly fables. This no doubt referred to the numerous stories, learned from Jewish, Arab, and Magian tradition, with which the Qurán abounds. Such statements serve to show that there was nothing in the style or matter of the Qurán to impress the people with its miraculous character. Sale says, on the authority of Baidháwi, that the persons referred to in this verse were Abu Sufián, Walíd, Nudhár, Utbá, Abu Jahl, and their comrades. These having listened to Muhammad repeating the Qurán, Nudhár was asked what he said. He replied with an oath that he knew not, only that he moved his tongue and told a parcel of foolish stories, as he had done to them.
[(25) ]They will forbid, &c. They will neither accept of Islám themselves, nor permit others to do so. Some refer the passage to Abu Tálib, Muhammad’s uncle and protector, who, though forbidding the enemies of his nephew from injuring him, yet declined to accept Islám. See Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(27) ]Become manifest, i.e, “their hypocrisy and vile actions; nor does their promise proceed from any sincere intention of amendment, but from the anguish and misery of their condition.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(28) ]No other life, &c. The ideas of the future life attributed to the Quraish here were such as are still prevalent among idolaters. As Paul’s doctrine of the resurrection and judgment was foolishness to the Greeks, so was the same doctrine regarded by the idolaters of Makkah. The astonishment of these unbelievers at the resurrection day is very graphically set forth in what follows.
[(30) ]The hour. “The last day is here called the hour, as it is in Scripture (1 John v. 25, &c.); and thepreceding expression of meeting God on that day is also agreeable to the same (1 Thess. iv. 17).”—Sale.
[(31) ]The future mansion shall be better, because there remain for the faithful other delights which shall never fail.—Tafsír-i-Raufi. Compare chap. ii. 25.
[(32) ]Not . . . thee . . . but . . . God. “That is, it is not thou but God whom they injure by their impious gainsaying of what has been revealed to thee. It is said that Abu Jahl once told Muhammad that they did not accuse him of falsehood, because he was known to be a man of veracity, but only they did not believe the revelations which he brought them: which occasioned this passage.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(33) ]Apostles before thee, &c. See note on chap. iii. 185.
[(34) ]A den . . . or a ladder. The Quraish had demanded a sign, and Muhammad, according to the commentators, was anxious to gratify their wish, in the hope they would believe. But he is here reproved by the declaration that these unbelievers would not believe even were they to witness the very miracles they demanded of him, and by the assurance that they were infidels only because God had not been pleased to bring them into the true way. The passage is one among many proof texts to show that Muhammad did not work miracles.
[(35) ]Those only who shall hearken. The Tafsír-i-Raufi says the infidels are as the dead: they cannot hear. Hence God will not hearthem. And yet, though dead, God will raise them to life, and they shall hear, but then it will be too late to avail them for good.
[(36) ]But . . . know not that such a sign would probably result in their destruction; for it is the command of God that if any one, having demanded a sign, refuse to believe, he shall be utterly destroyed.—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(37) ]A people like unto you. “Being created and preserved by the same omnipotence and providence as ye are.”—Sale. They will also be brought into judgment. See Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco and Prelim. Disc., p. 146.
[(38) ]See note on chap. iii. 185.
[(39, 40) ]See notes above on vers. 22-27.
[(41-44) ]We afflicted them. The effect of which was to harden them, implying that the prosperity of the Quraish indicated God’s mercy. And yet, when God, willing to show kindness to other nations, opened unto them the gates of all things by prospering them in worldly things, as he now was prospering the people of Makkah, and they continued unmindful of both judgments and mercies, sudden destruction came upon them. The allusion here is to the dealing of God with the children of Israel. The reading of the passage suggests Prov. i. 24-33; Isa. lxvi. 3, 4, &c.
[(46) ]See how variously, &c. “Laying them before you in different views, and making use of arguments and motives drawn from various considerations.”—Sale.
[(48) ]Whoso shall accuse our signs, &c. This phrase has occurred no less than five times before in this chapter, vers. 11, 21, 26, 32, and 38. This illustrates Muhammad’s anxiety to remove this stigma from himself. Strange to say, this persistency of Muhammad in asserting his claim to be a true prophet is regarded by some writers as conclusive proof that he was not an impostor. But surely, granting the false assumption to have been once made, there could be no other course open to him, excepting retraction and disgrace. Besides, impostors have never been noted for anything more than for their audacity and impudent self-assertion, e.g., Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet. The false prophet of Islám and rival of Muhammad, Musailama, persisted in his claim to the very last—yea, died in defence of his claim.
[(49) ]I say not unto you, &c. In ver. 34 Muhammad was denied the power of working miracles. Here he declares himself unacquainted with the “secrets of God,” literally hidden things, by which he confesses that he does not possess the gift of prophecy. How different the claim of Jesus! John viii. 38, 42; x. 15, 30, 37, &c.
[(50) ]No patron nor intercessor. This passage is directly contradictory to the doctrine of Muslims, that Muhammad will intercede for his followers on the judgment-day. See notes on chap. ii. 47, 123, and 254.
[(51) ]Drive not away, &c. “These words were occasioned when the Quraish desired Muhammad not to admit the poor or more inferior people, such as Ammár, Suhaib, Ḳhubbáb, and Salmán, into his company, pretending that then they would come and discourse with him; but he refusing to turn away any believers, they insisted at least that he should order them to rise up and withdraw when they came, which he agreed to do. Others say that the chief men of Makkah expelled all the poor out of their city, bidding them go to Muhammad, which they did, and offered to embrace his religion; but he made some difficulty to receive them, suspecting their motive to be necessity, and not real conviction, whereupon this passage was revealed.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(52) ]Proved some part . . . by other part. “That is to say, the noble by those of mean extraction, and the rich by the poor, in that God chose to call the latter to the faith by the former.”—Sale, Baidháwi, &c.
[(53) ]Say, Peace be upon you. See chap. iv. 85, note.
[(55) ]This verse suggests the thought that Muhammad may have been tempted to make a compromise with the idolatry of the Kaabah. May he not have been urged to do so by some of his friends? Or the passage may belong to a period subsequent to the temporary lapse of the prophet, referred to in chap. xxii. 53 and 54.
[(56) ]That which ye desire, &c. “This passage is an answer to the audacious defiances of the infidels, who bade Muhammad, if he were a true prophet, to call for a shower of stones from heaven, or some other sudden and miraculous punishment, to destroy them.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(57) ]The matter had been determined by the judgment of God upon your impiety, and the bestowal of the punishment which ye have challenged.—Tafsír-i-Raufi. The fierce reply intended, according to Baidháwi’s interpretation, is premature. That spirit was not yet manifested.
[(58) ]The perspicuous book. The Preserved Table, or Luh-i-Mahfúz. See note on ver. 37. This verse, with the three following it, very graphically sets forth the omniscience and omnipresence of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe. Compare with Job xxxviii. 1-14; Ps. l. 10-12, and Ps. cxxxix. 1-16.
[(59) ]Causeth you to sleep. Literally taketh up your souls, sleep being regarded as the sister of Death
[(60) ]Guardian angels. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 118-120.
[(61) ]He is quick. See Prelim. Disc., p. 137.
[(62) ]The darkness. The word is in the plural number, and means dangers or distresses. See also note on ver. 1.
[(63) ]Afterwards ye gave him companions. In distress they called on God, and so recognised him as the only Preserver; but in prosperity they turned away from him to their idols.
[(64) ]A punishment from above. “That is, by storms from heaven, as he destroyed the unbelieving people of Noah and of Lot, and the army of Abráhá, the lord of the elephant.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(66) ]Every prophecy hath its fixed time. The word translated prophecy means news, thing, word, and the passage means that everything has a fixed time for its accomplishment; that is, there is a time for those who oppose the messengers of God and who blaspheme to receive their just punishment.
[(67) ]Depart from them. The infidels having begun to mock the Muslims whenever they found them repeating the Qurán in their company, the order was given to withdraw from them whenever they should begin to laugh or jest.—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(68) ]Not at all accountable. “And therefore need not be troubled at the indecent and impious talk of the infidels, provided they take care not to be infected by them. When the preceding passage was revealed, the Muslims told their prophet that if they were obliged to rise up whenever the idolaters spoke irreverently of the Qurán, they could never sit quietly in the temple nor perform their devotions there; whereupon these words were added.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín.
[(69) ]A sport and a jest, i.e., by worshipping idols, consecrating sacred animals, as Bahaira, Sáhiba, &c.—Tafsír-i-Raufi. See a similar passage in chap. v. 62.
[(71) ]Boiling water. See chap. ii. 38, note.
[(72) ]The stated times of prayer. See note on chap. ii. 38.
[(74) ]The trumpet, &c. See Prelim. Disc., p. 135.
[(75) ]Ázar. “This is the name which the Muhammadans give to Abraham’s father, named in Scripture Terah. However, some of their writers pretend that Ázar was the son of Terah, and D’Herbelot says that the Arabs always distinguish them in their genealogies as different persons; but that because Abraham was the son of Terah according to Moses, it is therefore supposed (by European writers) that Terah is the same with the Ázar of the Arabs. How true this observation may be in relation to some authors, I cannot say, but I am sure it cannot be true of all; for several Arab and Turkish writers (Baidháwi, Yahya, &c.) expressly make Ázar and Terah the same person. Ázar, in ancient times, was the name of the planet Mars, and the month of March was so called by the most ancient Persians; for the word originally signifying fire (as it still does), it was therefore given by them and the Chaldeans to that planet, which partaking, as was supposed, of a fiery nature, was acknowledged by the Chaldeans and Assyrians as a god or planetary deity, whom in old times they worshipped under the form of a pillar: whence Ázar became a name among the nobility, who esteemed it honourable to be denominated from their gods, and is found in the composition of several Babylonish names. For these reasons a learned author supposes Ázar to have been the heathen name of Terah, and that the other was given him on his conversion (Hyde de Rel. Vet. Persar.) Al Baidháwi confirms this conjecture, saying that Ázar was the name of the idol which he worshipped. It may be observed that Abraham’s father is also called Zarah in the Talmud, and Athar by Eusebius.”—Sale.
[(76) ]Abraham. The story of Abraham as told in the writings of the Muslims is embellished by much that is of a miraculous character. The king, Nimrod, having had a dream of a wonderful child being born who should destroy his idols, commanded all the male children to be slain. The mother of Abraham, without exhibiting the usual signs of pregnancy, brought forth her son in a cave outside of Babylon, and hiding him there, informed her husband that she had had a child, but that he was dead and buried. The next day she repaired to the cave and found her son sucking his thumbs, and to her surprise she discovered that milk flowed from one thumb and honey from the other. In fifteen months Abraham had grown from childhood to the size and maturity of a boy of fifteen years. His mother then informed her husband of her deception, and took him to the cave to see his son. Ázar was delighted, and immediately determined to present him to the king, which he could do with safety, seeing he would appear to have been born many years before the cruel edict went forth. The child, however, soon began to show his reverence for the true God and his contempt for idolatry. One day he asked his mother, “Who is your protector?” She replied, “Your father.” Said he, “Who is my father’s protector?” to which his mother replied, “Nimrod.” “And who is Nimrod’s protector?” said Abraham. His mother, being affrighted, said, “Stop now; you must not ask such questions; it is dangerous to do so.” And so the story goes. See Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco.
[(77-84) ]This is my Lord, &c. “Since Abraham’s parents were idolaters, it seems to be a necessary consequence that himself was one also in his younger years; the Scripture not obscurely intimates as much (Josh. xxiv. 2, 14); and the Jews themselves acknowledge it (Joseph. Ant., lib. i. c. 7). At what age he came to the knowledge of the true God and left idolatry, opinions are various. Some Jewish writers tell us he was then but three years old, and the Muhammadans likewise suppose him very young, and that he asked his father and mother several shrewd questions when a child. Others, however, allow him to have been a middle-aged man at that time. Maimonides, in particular, and R. Abraham Zacuth think him to have been forty years old, which age is also mentioned in the Qurán. But the general opinion of the Muhammadans is, that he was about fifteen or sixteen. As the religion wherein Abraham was educated was the Sabian, which consisted chiefly in the worship of the heavenly bodies (Prelim. Disc., sect. i.), he is introduced examining their nature and properties, to see whether they had a right to the worship which was paid them or not; and the first which he observed was the planet Venus, or, as others (Baidháwi) will have it, Jupiter. This method of Abraham’s attaining to the knowledge of the Supreme Creator of all things is conformable to what Josephus writes, viz., that he drew his notions from the changes which he had observed in the earth and the sea, and in the sun and the moon, and the rest of the celestial bodies; concluding that they were subject to the command of a superior power, to whom alone all honour and thanks are due. The story itself is certainly taken from the Talmud. Some of the commentators, however, suppose this reasoning of Abraham with himself was not the first means of his conversion, but that he used it only by way of argument to convince the idolaters among whom he then lived.”—Sale.
[(85) ]The order in which Muhammad has here recited the names of the “prophets” indicates his ignorance of history, and clearly shows that he did not have access to the written Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. Of twenty-five prophets mentioned in the Qurán, eighteen are named here.
[(86) ]Zacharias, like Aaron in the preceding verse and Ismaíl in the one following, is numbered among the prophets, contrary to the teaching of the Bible. It is rather remarkable that Ismaíl is placed at the end of the catalogue of the successors of Abraham. This is probably due to the change of attitude towards the Jews, which took place after the Hijra, from which time it became the policy of Muhammad to exalt Ismaíl, in order to please the Arabs. Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, is probably confounded with the prophet of the same name.
[(87) ]Elisha, i.e., the son of Shaphat, whom the commentators say was the son of Aḳhtúb.—Tafsír-i-Raufi.
[(88) ]Their fathers, &c. This verse strengthens the statement under ver. 85. Muhammad had forgotten the names of other prophets of whom he had heard, and accordingly the spirit of his inspiration makes this very general statement. See also note on chap. iii. 34.
[(89) ]Guilty of idolatry. See note on chap. iv. 46.
[(90) ]If these believe not. Baidháwi makes these words to refer to the Quraish. They, however, agree with the teaching of the Bible in regard to the Jews, to whom they may very well refer. See Rodwell’s translation. This passage may be quoted to show that the Scriptures of the former prophets were extant in Muhammad’s day, and that they were not only genuine, but that Jewish unb