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Mohammed, The Quran, vol. 2 [1896]

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Mohammed, 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.

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About this Title:

Vol. 2 of a 4 volume edition of the Quran based upon Sale’s translation of 1734 with later commentary and notes by Wherry.

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The text is in the public domain.

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This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [i]
Edition: current; Page: [ii]


LÂO-TSZE, THE GREAT THINKER. By Major-General G. G Alexander. Crown 8vo, 6s

A companion volume to the same author’s “Life of Confucius”

SULTAN MURAD V.: The Turkish Dynastic Mystery, 1876-1895. With Six Portraits. By Djemaleddin Bey. Crown 8vo, 9s. net.

DICTIONARY AND GLOSSARY OF THE KORAN. With Copious Grammatical References and Explanations of the Text By J Penrice. 166 pp., in double column, small 4to, cloth, 1873, £1, 13s.

ARABIC-ENGLISH DICTIONARY, on a New System By H. A. Salmone 2 vols., 8vo, half calf, 1890, £1. 16s.

Vol. I. Arabic-English, xviii.-1254 pp.

Vol. II. English-Arabic Key, referring every word to the Arabic equivalent in Vol. I., 179 pp

AL-KORAN. Lithographed Arabic Text, vowel pointed, verses not numbered, according to Mussulman custom; printed in clear type on white paper, bound in full leather in Turkish style, 7s. 6d

Catalogue of Books on Arabic Language and Literature, Mohammedan Law, and Mohammedan Religion and its History 32 pp. crown 8vo. Gratis on application.


Kegan Paul, Trench Trubner, & Co. Ltd

Edition: current; Page: [iii]
together with A Complete Index to the Text, Preliminary Discourse, and Notes,
By the Rev. E. M. WHERRY, M.A.
Edition: current; Page: [iv]

The rights of translation and of reproduction are reserved.

Edition: current; Page: [v]


  • chap. III.— Entitled Sur ál Imran (The Family of Imrán) page 1
  • IV.— Entitled Surat un Nisa (Women) . . . 64
  • V.— Entitled Surat ul Máida (The Table) . . 118
  • VI.— Entitled Surat al Anám (Cattle) . . . 159
  • VII.— Entitled Surat al Aráf (The Partition Wall) 201
  • VIII.— Entitled Surat al Aufál (The Spoils) . . 248
  • IX.— Entitled Surat al Tauba (Repentance, Immunity) . . . . . . . . . 273
  • X.— Entitled Surat al Yunas (Jonah) . . . 321
  • XI.— Entitled Surat al Húd . . . . . . 342
  • XII.— Entitled Surat al Yasuf (Joseph) . . . 368
  • XIII.— Entitled Surat al Raad (Thunder) . . . 396
Edition: current; Page: [vi] Edition: current; Page: [(1)]


Revealed at Madína.


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.

Edition: current; Page: [(2)]

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.

Principal Subjects.

God one and self-existent verses 1, 2
The Qurán to be believed verses 3, 4
God omniscient verses 5, 6
Plain and obscure verses of the Qurán verses 7
The prayer of those versed in Quránic mystery verses 8, 9
The punishment of Pharaoh a warning to infidels verses 10, 12
The victory at Badr alluded to verses 13
The faithful, their character and reward verses 14-18
Islám the true religion verses 19, 20
The punishment of unbelievers eternal verses 21-25
God omnipotent and sovereign verses 26, 27
Obedience to God enjoined verses 28-34
The Virgin Mary—her conception—nurtured by Zacharias verses 35-38
John Baptist, his birth verses 39-41
Christ announced to the Virgin—his miracles—apostles, &c. verses 42-57
Muhammad’s dispute with the Christians of Najrán verses 58-65
The hypocritical Jews reproached verses 66-77
Prophets not to be worshipped verses 78-83
God’s curse on infidels verses 84-91
Almsgiving enjoined verses 92
The Jews unlawfully forbid certain meats verses 93-95
The Kaabah founded verses 96, 97
Muslims are warned against the friendship of Jews, &c. verses 98-105
The lot of infidels and believers contrasted verses 106-109
Muslims safe from the enmity of Jews and Christians verses 110-112
Certain believing Jews commended for their faith verses 113-115
Muslims not to make friends of Jews and Christians verses 116-120
The battle of Ohod alluded to verses 121, 122
Disheartened Muslims encouraged verses 123-129
Usury forbidden verses 130-136
The doom of calumniators of the apostles verses 137, 138
Islám not dependent on Muhammad for success verses 139-144
The former prophets are examples of perseverance verses 145-148
Unbelievers to be avoided verses 149-151
Certain Muslims disobedient at Ohod verses 152-154
The hypocrites rebuked verses 155-157
Muslims slain at Ohod to enter paradise verses 158, 159
Mild treatment of vacillating Muslims verses 160, 161
The spoils of war to be honestly divided verses 162-165
The faithful sifted by defeat at Ohod verses 166-169
The joy of the Ohod martyrs in paradise verses 170-172
Certain Muslims commended for faithfulness verses 173-176
The fate of unbelievers verses 177-180
The miser’s doom verses 181
Scoffing Jews denounced—they charge Muhammad with imposture verses 182-190
Meditations and prayers of the pious verses 191-195
God’s answer to the prayers of the pious verses 196-198
Certain believing Jews and Christians commended verses 199
Exhortation to patience and perseverance verses 200


R 1/9.

(1) A. L. M. (2) There is no God but God, the living, the self-subsisting: (3) he hath sent down unto thee the Edition: current; Page: [(4)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(5)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(6)] 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.

R 2/10.

∥ (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, Edition: current; Page: [(7)] 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) Edition: current; Page: [(8)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(9)] 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.

R 3/11.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(10)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(11)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(12)] 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.

R 4/12.

(31) Say, if ye love God, follow me: then God shall Edition: current; Page: [(13)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(14)] have vowed unto thee that which is in my womb, to be dedicated to thy service; accept it therefore of me; Edition: current; Page: [(15)] 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. Edition: current; Page: [(16)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(17)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(18)] 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.

R 5/13.

(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; Edition: current; Page: [(19)] 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 of God; 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 Edition: current; Page: [(20)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(21)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(22)] against him; but God devised a stratagem against them; and God is the best deviser of stratagems.

Edition: current; Page: [(23)]
suls R 6/14.

(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; Edition: current; Page: [(24)] 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.

R 7/15.

(63) Say, O ye who have received the scripture, come to a just determination between us and you; that we worship Edition: current; Page: [(25)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(26)] 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?

R 8/16

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(27)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(28)] 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?

R 9/17.

(80) And remember when God accepted the covenant of the prophets, saying, This verily is the scripture and Edition: current; Page: [(29)] 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, Edition: current; Page: [(30)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(31)] 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.

fourth sipara. R 10/1.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(32)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(33)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(34)] 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.

R 11/2.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(35)] 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 God belongeth whatever is in heaven and on earth; and to God shall all things return.

R 12/3.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(36)] 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 reward Edition: current; Page: [(37)] of 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 Edition: current; Page: [(38)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(39)] 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, Edition: current; Page: [(40)] but God was the supporter of them both; and in God let the faithful trust.

R 13/4.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(41)] 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.

R 14/5.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(42)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(43)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(44)] met it; but ye have now seen it, and ye looked on, but retreated from it.

R 15/6.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(45)] 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. Edition: current; Page: [(46)] (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.

R 16/7.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(47)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(48)] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [(49)]

(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.

R 17/8.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(50)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(51)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(52)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(53)] 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.

R 18/9.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(54)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(55)] 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 God disposed 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 God belongeth the inheritance of heaven and earth: and God is well acquainted with what ye do.

Edition: current; Page: [(56)]
R 19/10.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(57)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(58)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(59)] 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.

R 20/11.

∥ (190) And unto God belongeth 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 Edition: current; Page: [(60)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(61)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(62)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(63)] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [(64)]

Revealed at Madína.


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 Edition: current; Page: [(65)] 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.

Principal Subjects.

Man and his Creator 1
Orphans, the duty of guardians to such 2-5
The law of inheritance 6-13
The punishment of adulteresses 14, 15
Repentance enjoined 16, 17
Women’s rights 18, 19
Forbidden and lawful degrees in marriage 20-27
Gaming, rapine, and suicide forbidden 28-30
Man’s superiority over woman recognised 31-33
Reconcilement of man and wife 34
Parents, orphans, the poor, &c., to be kindly treated 35, 36
Hypocrisy in almsgiving condemned 37-41
Prayer forbidden to the drunken and polluted 42
Jewish mockers denounced 43-45
Idolatry the unpardonable sin 46-53
The rewards of faith and unbelief 54, 55
Trusts to be faithfully paid back 56
Disputes to be settled by God and his Apostle 57-68
Precautions, &c., in warring for the faith 69-74
The disobedient and cowardly reproved 75-84
Salutations to be returned 85
Treatment of hypocrites and apostates 86-90
Believers not to be slain or plundered 91-93
Believers in heathen countries to fly to Muslim lands 94-99
Special order for prayer in time of war 100-102
Exhortation to zeal for Islám 103
Fraud denounced 104-114, 133
Idolatry and Islám compared 115-125
Equity in dealing with women and orphans enjoined 126
Wives to be subject to the will of husbands 127-129
God to be feared 130-132
Muslims exhorted to steadfastness 134-138
Hypocrites to be shunned 139-143
The reward of hypocrisy and belief compared 144-151
Presumptuous and disobedient Jews destroyed 152-154
The Jews calumniate Mary and Jesus 155-158
Certain kinds of food forbidden to Jews as punishment 159, 160
Muhammad’s inspiration like that of other prophets 161-168
Christians reproved for their faith in Jesus as the Son of God and in the doctrine of the Trinity 169-174
The law of inheritance for distant relatives 175


R 1/12.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(67)] of the female sex, take in marriage of such other women as please you, two, or three, or four, and not more. But Edition: current; Page: [(68)] if ye fear that ye cannot act equitably towards so many, marry one only, or the slaves which ye shall have acquired. Edition: current; Page: [(69)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(70)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(71)] 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.

R 2/13.

(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 in Edition: current; Page: [(72)] number, 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 Edition: current; Page: [(73)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(74)] 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.

R 3/14.

(14) If any of your women be guilty of whoredom, produce four witnesses from among you against them, Edition: current; Page: [(75)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(76)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(77)] past:) for this is uncleanness, and an abomination, and an evil way.

B 4/1.

(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.

fifth sipara.

(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) Edition: current; Page: [(78)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(79)] 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.

R 5/2.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(80)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(81)] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [(82)]
R 6/3. R 7/4.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(83)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(84)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(85)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(86)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(87)] 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.

R 8/5.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(88)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(89)] 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 God both 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.

R 9/6.

(58) Hast thou not observed those who pretend they Edition: current; Page: [(90)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(91)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(92)] 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.

R 10/7.

(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, Edition: current; Page: [(93)] 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.

R 11/8.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(94)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(95)] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [(96)]

∥ (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?

R 12/9.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(97)] 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.

R 13/10.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(98)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(99)] you; therefore make a just discernment, for God is well acquainted with that which ye do.

R 14/11.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(100)] 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.

R 15/12

(100) When ye march to war in the earth, it shall be Edition: current; Page: [(101)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(102)] 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.

R 16/13.

(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 God for 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 Edition: current; Page: [(103)] 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.

R 17/14.

(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.

Edition: current; Page: [(104)]
R 18/15.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(105)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(106)] 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 God belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth; God comprehendeth all things.

Edition: current; Page: [(107)]
R 19/16.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(108)] 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 God belongeth 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 God belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth; and God is self-sufficient, and to be praised; (131) for unto God belongeth 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; God both heareth and seeth.

R 20/17.

∥ (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 Edition: current; Page: [(109)] 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, the Edition: current; Page: [(110)] following passageWhen 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.

R 21/1.

(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, Edition: current; Page: [(111)] 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.

sixth sipara

(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.

R 22/2.

(152) They who have received the scriptures will demand of thee, that thou cause a book to descend unto Edition: current; Page: [(112)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(113)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(114)] 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.

R 23/3.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(115)] 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 God belongeth 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, Edition: current; Page: [(116)] neither say of God any 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.

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∥ (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 Edition: current; Page: [(117)] 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.

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Revealed at Madína.


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 Edition: current; Page: [(119)] 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.

Principal Subjects.

Covenants are to be fulfilled 1
Lawful meats 2
Heathen pilgrims not to be molested 3
Islám completed—last revelation of the Qurán 4
Certain kinds of food, gaming, and lots forbidden 4, 5
Muslims permitted to eat the food of Jews and Christians, and to marry their women 6
The law of purifications 7
Believers reminded of the covenant of Aqabah 8
Muslims should forget old quarrels with brethren 9-11
God’s favour to Muslims 12
Disobedience of Jews and Christians exposed 13-15
Jews and Christians are exhorted to accept Islám 16-18
The divinity of Christ denied 19, 20
Jews and Christians not the children of God 21
Muhammad sent as a warner 22
Israel’s rebellion at Kadesh Barnea 23-29
The story of Cain and Abel 30-34
The sin of homicide 35, 36
The punishment of theft accompanied by apostasy 37, 38
The faithful exhorted to fight for religion 39
The punishment of infidels 40, 41
The penalty of theft 42-44
Muhammad to judge the Jews and Christians by the law, gospel, and the Qurán 45-55
Muslims forbidden to fraternise with Jews and Christians 56
Hypocrites threatened 57, 58
Believers warned and instructed 59-61
Muslims not to associate with infidels 62, 63
The Jews exhorted and warned 64, 65
The hypocrisy and unbelief of the Jews rebuked 66-69
Promises to believing Jews and Christians 70
Muhammad required to preach 71
He attests Jewish and Christian Scriptures 72
Believing Jews, Sabeans, and Christians to be saved 73
The Jews rejected and killed the prophets of God 74, 75
The doctrines of the Trinity and Christ’s Sonship rejected 76-81
Disobedient Jews cursed by their prophets 82-84
Jewish hatred and Christian friendship compared 85-88
Muslims to use lawful food. &c. 89, 90
Expiation for perjury 91
Wine and lots forbidden 92-94
Law concerning hunting and gaming during pilgrimage 95-97
Pilgrimage and its rites enjoined 98-100
The Prophet not to be pestered with questions 101, 102
Heathen Arab customs denounced 102-104
Wills to be attested by witnesses 105-107
The prophets ignorant of the characters of their followers 108
Jesus—his miracles—God’s favour to him 109, 110
The apostles of Jesus were Muslims 111
A table provided by Jesus for the apostles 112-114
Jesus did not teach his followers to worship him and his mother 115-118
The reward of the true believer 119
God is sovereign 120
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(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. Edition: current; Page: [(122)] (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 Edition: current; Page: [(123)] by necessity through hunger to eat of what we have forbidden, not designing to sin, surely God will 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(125)] 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.

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(13) God formerly accepted the covenant of the children Edition: current; Page: [(126)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(127)] 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 God to the contrary, if he pleased to destroy Christ the son of Mary, and his mother, and all those who are on the earth? Edition: current; Page: [(128)] (20) For unto God belongeth 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 God belongeth 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.

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R 4/8.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(130)] 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.

R 5/9.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(131)] 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, Edition: current; Page: [(132)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(133)] world they shall suffer a grievous punishment; (38) except those who shall repent before ye prevail against them; for know that God is inclined to forgive, and merciful.

R 6/10.

(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, Edition: current; Page: [(134)] verily God will be turned unto him, for God is 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 Edition: current; Page: [(135)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(136)] 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; Edition: current; Page: [(137)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(138)] 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?

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(139)] 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, Edition: current; Page: [(140)] 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: God is 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(141)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(142)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(143)] 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!

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(144)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(145)] 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? God is 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.

R 11/1

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(146)] 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.

Seventh sipara.

(86) And when they hear that which hath been sent down to the apostle read unto them, thou shalt see their Edition: current; Page: [(147)] 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.

R 12/2.

(89) O true believers, forbid not the good things which Edition: current; Page: [(148)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(149)] 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.

R 13/3.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(150)] 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; Edition: current; Page: [(151)] 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 God is 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.

R 14/4.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(152)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(153)] 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, Edition: current; Page: [(154)] 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.

R 15/5.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(155)] 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. Edition: current; Page: [(156)] (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 Edition: current; Page: [(157)] 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.

Ruba. R 16/6.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(158)] in them, and they have been well pleased in him. This shall be great felicity. (120) Unto God belongeth the kingdom of heaven and of earth, and of whatever therein is; and he is almighty.

Edition: current; Page: [(159)]

Revealed at Makkah.


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 Edition: current; Page: [(160)] 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.

Principal Subjects.

Praise to the Almighty and Omniscient Creator 1-3
The wilful unbelief of the Makkah infidels 4, 5
They are threatened with the divine judgment 6
The people of Makkah hopelessly unbelieving 7
Why angels were not sent to the infidels 8, 9
Those who rejected the former prophets were punished 10, 11
Why the true God should be served 12-18
God the witness between Muhammad and the infidels 19
The Jews recognise Muhammad as a prophet 20
Idolaters on the judgment-day—their condition 21-23
Scoffing idolaters rebuked and threatened 24-29
The condition of believers and unbelievers after death 30, 31
Unbelievers make God a liar 32, 33
God’s word and purposes unchangeable 33
Miracles of no avail to convince infidels 34
God will raise the dead to life 35
Why God did not grant the signs asked by unbelievers 36
Animals and birds to be brought into judgment 37
Infidels are deaf and dumb 38
Idolaters will call upon God in their distress 39, 40
Adversity and prosperity alike unmeaning to infidels 41-44
God is the only helper in trouble 45
Unbelievers, if impenitent, sure to perish 46-48
Muhammad unacquainted with the secrets of God 49
There shall be no intercessor on the judgment-day 50
The motives of professing Muslims not to be judged 51-54
Muhammad declines the proposals of idolaters 55-57
God the Omniscient and Sovereign Ruler 58-61
God the Almighty Deliverer 62-64
Muhammad charged with imposture 65
Unbelievers will certainly be punished 66
Mockers to be avoided by Muslims 67-69
The punishment of idolaters certain and dreadful 70, 71
Muslims commanded to obey God only 71-74
Abraham’s testimony against idolatry 75-84
The prophets who succeeded Abraham 85-91
The unbelieving Jews (of Madína) rebuked 92
The Qurán confirms the former Scriptures 93
The fate of those who forge Scriptures 94
Idolaters deserted by their gods on the judgment-day 95
The God of nature the true God 96-100
God has no offspring 101-103
God’s favour in sending the Qurán 104, 105
The command to retire from Makkah 106-108
Muhammad not permitted to work miracles 109
The people of Makkah given over to unbelief 110-113
Muhammad the prophet of God 114
The direction of Muslims and idolaters contrasted 114-117
Law of permitted and forbidden meats 118-121
The righteous and unbelievers compared 122
Wicked leaders of the people—conduct and punishment 122-125
The blessedness of the faithful 126, 127
God’s threatenings against unbelieving men and genii 128-130
God always warns men before punishing idolatry 131
Rewards and punishments shall be according to works 132, 133
The punishment of unbelievers certain 134
The idolaters of Makkah rebuked 135, 136
Evil customs of the Quraish exposed 137-139
The idolaters of Makkah threatened 140
The fruit of trees to be eaten 141
Controversy between the Quraish and Muhammad concerning forbidden meats referred to 142-144
The law concerning forbidden meats rehearsed 145
The Jewish law of forbidden meats 146
God will punish those who accuse the prophets of imposture 147
The idolaters of Makkah are reprobate 148, 149
Their testimony unworthy of credit 150
Forbidden things rehearsed 151-153
The Qurán attests the teaching of Moses and Jesus 154-157
The fate of the wicked on the judgment-day 158
Sectaries reproved 159
The reward of the righteous and wicked compared 160
Islám the true religion 161, 162
Muhammad’s self-consecration to God 163
The idolaters exhorted to believe in God 164, 165


R 1/7.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(163)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(164)] 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.

R 2/8

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(165)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(166)] 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.

R 3/9.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(167)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(168)] 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.

R 4/10.

(30) They are lost who reject as a falsehood the meeting of God in 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 Edition: current; Page: [(169)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(170)] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [(171)]
R 5/11.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(172)] 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?

R 6/12.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(173)] 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.

R 7/13.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(174)] 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.

R 8/14.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(175)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(176)] 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.

R 9/15.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(177)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(178)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(179)] 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.

R 10/16.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(180)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(181)] 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.

R 11/17.

(92) They make not a due estimation of God, when they say, God hath not sent down unto man anything at Edition: current; Page: [(182)] 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, God sent 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 Edition: current; Page: [(183)] 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.

R 12/18. R 13/19.

(96) (96) God causeth the grain and the date-stone to put forth: he bringeth forth the living from the dead, and he Edition: current; Page: [(184)] bringeth forth the dead from the living. This is God. 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 Edition: current; Page: [(185)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(186)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(187)] 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 14/1.

(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; Edition: current; Page: [(188)] (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 God to 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 Edition: current; Page: [(189)] 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.

R 15/2.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(190)] 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) Edition: current; Page: [(191)] 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 Lord is wise and knowing. (129) Thus do we set some of the unjust over others of them, because of that which they have deserved.

R 16/3.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(192)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(193)] 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 God when they slay them; devising a lie against him. God shall reward them for that which they falsely devise. Edition: current; Page: [(194)] (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.

Ruba R 17/4.

(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, Edition: current; Page: [(195)] 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.

R 18/5.

(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 Lord will be gracious unto him and merciful. (146) Unto the Jews did we forbid every Edition: current; Page: [(196)] 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 God belongeth 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.

Edition: current; Page: [(197)]
R 19/6.

(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, Edition: current; Page: [(198)] and a direction and mercy; that the children of Israel might believe the meeting of their Lord.

R 20/7.

∥ (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; Edition: current; Page: [(199)] 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: Edition: current; Page: [(200)] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [(201)]

Revealed at Makkah.


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 Edition: current; Page: [(202)] 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.

Principal Subjects.

Muhammad not to doubt the Qurán 1, 2
The people exhorted to believe in it 3
Many cities destroyed for their unbelief 4, 5
Prophets and their hearers on the judgment-day 6-9
The ingratitude of infidels 10
The creation of Adam 11
Satan refuses to worship Adam 11, 12
He is driven from Paradise 13
He is respited until the resurrection 14, 15
He avows his purpose to beguile man 16, 17
God threatens Satan and his victims 18, 19
The fall of Adam and Eve 20-24
They are expelled from Paradise 25, 26
Indecent customs condemned 27-29
God to be sought in prayer 30, 31
True worshippers to be decently clad 32-34
Every nation has a fixed term of life 35
The doom of those who reject the apostles of God 36-42
The blessed reward of true believers 43-45
God’s curse on the infidels 45-46
The veil of Aráf and its inhabitants 47-50
The rejecters of God’s apostles to be forgotten 51, 52
A warning against rejecting Muhammad 53, 54
The Creator and Lord of the worlds to be served 55-59
Noah rejected by his people—their fate 60-65
Húd rejected by the Ádites—their fate 66-73
Sálih rejected by the Thamúdites—their destruction 74-80
Lot rejected and the Sodomites destroyed 81-85
Shuaib rejected by the Madianites, and their doom 86-94
Unbelievers at Makkah unaffected either by adversity or prosperity 95, 96
The dreadful fate of those cities who rejected the apostles of God and charged them with imposture 97-101
They are reprobated 102, 103
Moses is sent to Pharaoh and his princes 104, 105
The miracles of the serpent and leprous hand 106-108
The magicians of Egypt called 109-115
Contest by miracles between Moses and the magicians 116-120
Several magicians converted to Moses 121-123
Pharaoh’s anger kindled against them 124-127
Pharaoh and his princes persecute Moses and his people 128
Moses exhorts his people to patient trust in God 129, 130
Adversity and prosperity alike unavailing to bring Pharaoh to repentance 131, 132
The Egyptian unbelievers plagued 133, 134
The hypocrisy of the Egyptians 135
They are destroyed in the Red Sea 136
The people of Moses triumph, and possess the eastern and western land 137
The children of Israel become idolatrous 138, 141
Moses makes Aaron his deputy, and fasts forty days 142
He desires to see the glory of God, but repents his rashness 143
God gives Moses the law on two tables 144, 145
Infidels threatened for calling their prophets impostors 146, 147
The people of Moses worship the golden calf 148
They repent their sin 149
Moses in indignation assaults Aaron 150
He prays for forgiveness for himself and Aaron 151
He calls for vengeance on the idolaters 152
God merciful to believers 153
Moses’s anger is appeased 154
He chooses seventy elders 155
Moses prays for deliverance from destruction by lightning 155, 156
The Illiterate Prophet foretold by Moses 156, 159
Some Jews rightly directed 160
The Israelites divided into twelve tribes 161
The rock smitten, and manna and quails given 161
The command to enter the city saying Hittatun, and the fate of the disobedient 162, 163
The Sabbath-breakers changed into apes 164-167
Dispersion of the Jews among the nations 168, 169
Some of their successors faithful to the law of Moses 170, 171
God shakes Mount Sinai over the Israelites 172
God’s covenant with the children of Adam 173-175
The curse of Balaam a warning to infidels 176-179
Many genii and men created for hell 180
The names of God not to be travestied 181, 182
God’s method of leading infidels to destruction 183, 184
Muhammad not possessed of a devil 185
No hope for the reprobate 186
The coming of the “last hour” sudden 187
Muhammad no seer, only a preacher 188
Adam and Eve were guilty of idolatry 189, 190
The folly of idolatry 191-198
Muhammad commanded to use moderation 199
He is to repel Satan by using the name of God 200, 201
The people of Makkah incorrigible 202
They charge Muhammad with imposture 203
The Qurán to be listened to in silence and holy meditation 204-206


R ⅛.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(205)] 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!

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(11) We created you, and afterwards formed you; Edition: current; Page: [(206)] 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) Edition: current; Page: [(207)] 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. Edition: current; Page: [(208)] (26) He said, Therein shall ye live, and therein shall ye die, and from thence shall ye be taken forth at the resurrection.

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(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; Edition: current; Page: [(209)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(210)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(211)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(212)] 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 God shall 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, Edition: current; Page: [(213)] 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!

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(214)] 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.

R 7/14.

(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! Edition: current; Page: [(215)] (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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(216)] 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.

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(66) And unto the tribe of Ád we sent their brother Húd. He said, O my people, worship God: ye have no Edition: current; Page: [(217)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(218)] 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.

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(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 God is a sign unto you: therefore dismiss her freely, that she may feed in God’s earth; and do her no hurt, lest a Edition: current; Page: [(219)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(220)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(221)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(222)] we rained a shower of stones upon them. (85) Behold therefore what was the end of the wicked.

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(86) And unto Madian we sent their brother Shuaib. He said unto them. O my people, worship God; ye have no God Edition: current; Page: [(223)] 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.

ninth sipara.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(224)] 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?

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(225)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(226)] 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. Edition: current; Page: [(227)] (108) And he drew forth his hand out of his bosom; and behold, it appeared white unto the spectators.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(228)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(229)] 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 Lord in 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(230)] 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.

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(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, Edition: current; Page: [(231)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(232)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(233)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(234)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(235)] 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?

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(148) And the people of Moses, after his departure, took a corporeal calf, made of their ornaments, which Edition: current; Page: [(236)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(237)] imagine falsehood. (153) But unto them who do evil, and afterwards repent, and believe in God, verily thy Lord will 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 Edition: current; Page: [(238)] 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.

R 20/10.

(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) Edition: current; Page: [(239)] 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.

Nisf. R 21/11.

(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, This Edition: current; Page: [(240)] is 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 God aught Edition: current; Page: [(241)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(242)] 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; Edition: current; Page: [(243)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(244)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(246)] 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 God is 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, Edition: current; Page: [(247)] 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.

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Revealed at Madína.


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 Edition: current; Page: [(249)] 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.

Principal Subjects.

Spoils belong to God and his Apostle 1
True believers and their future reward 2-4
Muslims reproved for distrusting their Prophet 5, 6
God gives the Muslims either the Quraish or their caravan 7
The victory of Badr a seal to Islám 8
Angelic aid vouchsafed to Muhammad 9
The Muslims refreshed and comforted before the battle 10, 11
The angels enjoined to comfort the faithful by destroying the infidel Quraish 12
Infidels are doomed to punishment here and hereafter 13, 14
Muslims are never to turn their backs on the infidels on pain of hell-fire 15, 16
The victory of Badr a miracle 17, 18
The Quraish are warned against further warfare with the Muslims 19
Muslims exhorted to steadfastness in faith 20, 21
Infidels compared to deaf and dumb brutes 22, 23
Believers are to submit themselves to God and his Apostle 24
They are warned against civil strife, deception, and treachery 25-28
God’s favour to true believers 29
Plots against Muhammad frustrated by God 30
The infidels liken the Qurán to fables 31
The Quraish were protected from deserved punishment by Muhammad’s presence among them 32, 33
The idolaters of Makkah rebuked and threatened 34-38
An amnesty oflered to the Quraish 39
Impenitent idolaters to be extirpated from the earth 40, 41
How the spoils of war are to be divided 42
The Muslims were led by God to fight at Badr to attest the truth of Islám 43, 44
The Muslims encouraged, and the infidels lured to destruction, by each seeing the other to be few in number 45, 46
Believers exhorted to obedience 47, 48
Believers warned against impious vainglory 49
The devil deserts the Quraish at Badr 50
The fate of hypocrites 51-53
Their doom like that of Pharaoh and his people 54-56
The worst of beasts are the infidels 57
Treachery to be met with its like 58-60
God is against the infidels 61
The Muslims excited to war against unbelievers 62
Condition of peace with unbelievers 63
The miracle of Arab union 64
God with the Prophet and the Muslims in warring for the faith 65, 66
Muslims reproved for accepting ransom for the captives taken at Badr 68-70
Captive Quraish exhorted to accept Islám, and warned against deception 71
The brotherhood of the Ansárs and Muháj Jirín 73-75
The hereditary rights of blood-relations re-established 76


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(1) They will ask thee concerning the spoils: Answer, The division of the spoils belongeth unto God and the Edition: current; Page: [(251)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(252)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(253)] 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.

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(11) When a sleep fell on you as a security from him, and he sent down upon you water from heaven, that he Edition: current; Page: [(254)] 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 God will 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, Edition: current; Page: [(255)] 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.

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(20) O true believers, obey God and his Apostle, and turn not back from him, since ye hear the admonitions of Edition: current; Page: [(256)] the 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 Edition: current; Page: [(257)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(258)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(259)] not disposed to punish them, while thou wast with them; nor was God disposed 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 Edition: current; Page: [(260)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(261)] 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.

Tenth Sipara.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(262)] 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; God both 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 Edition: current; Page: [(263)] 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.

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(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 God is 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; Edition: current; Page: [(264)] 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.

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(51) When the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts there was an infirmity, said, Their religion hath deceived these men: but whosoever confideth in God cannot be deceived; for God is 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 unto Edition: current; Page: [(265)] them, 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 God is 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 God both 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 Edition: current; Page: [(266)] them with like treatment; for God loveth not the treacherous.

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(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, but God 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 God will be thy support. It is he who hath strengthened Edition: current; Page: [(267)] 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.

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(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, Edition: current; Page: [(268)] 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 God is mighty and wise. (69) Unless a revelation had been previously delivered Edition: current; Page: [(269)] 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 God is gracious and merciful.

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(71) O Prophet, say unto the captives who are in your hands, If God shall know any good to be in your hearts, Edition: current; Page: [(270)] he will give you better than what hath been taken from you; and he will forgive you, for God is 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 God is 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 Edition: current; Page: [(271)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(272)] 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.

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Revealed at Madína.


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 Edition: current; Page: [(274)] 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 the Edition: current; Page: [(275)] return, 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.

Principal Subjects.

Four months’ immunity proclaimed to idolaters 1, 2
After four months, all idolaters to be slain, with exception of those with whom treaties have been made 3-5
Ignorant idolaters to be taught the religion of Islám, after which, if they repent, they are to be spared alive 5, 6
No new league to be made with idolaters 7
Idolaters are not to be trusted 8-10
Penitent idolaters to be regarded as brethren 11
Muslims exhorted to fight against the truce-breakers of Makkah 13-16
All but Muslims to be excluded from the sacred temples 17, 18
Abbás rebuked for his vainglory 19
The Muhájjirín assigned the first rank among Muslims—their reward 20-22
True believers to refuse friendship with nearest kin if they be infidels 23, 24
The victory of Hunain due to God’s help 25-27
Idolaters excluded from the Kaabah 28
The Jews and Christians as well as idolaters to be attacked 29
Jews and Christians reproved for applying the epithet “Son of God” to Ezra and Jesus 30
They also worship their priests and monks 31, 32
Islám superior to all other religions 33
Stingy Muslims likened to covetous monks—their punishment 34, 35
Infidels may be attacked in sacred months 36
The sacred months not to be transferred 37
Muslims exhorted to go on expedition to Tabúq by reference to God’s help to Muhammad and Abu Baqr in the cave 38-41
The lukewarm Muslims rebuked for wishing to stay at home 42
Muhammad rebuked for excusing some of these from going 43
Willingness to fight for Muhammad, a test of faith 44-46
Seditious Muslims rebuked 47-50
The sure reward of the faithful 51, 52
God refuses the offerings of infidels and hypocrites 53-55
The wealth and prosperity of infidels a sign of their reprobation 55
Half-hearted Muslims reproved 56, 57
Those who had spread libellous reports regarding Muhammad’s use of alms rebuked 58, 59
How alms should be expended 60
Grumblers and hypocrites threatened 61-69
They are warned by the example of the wicked in former ages 70
The faithful described—their rewards 71-73
Hypocrites denounced and threatened 74, 75
Prosperity of infidels a prelude to their destruction 76-79
God shall scoff at the scoffers 80
The traducers of the faithful shall never be forgiven 81
Punishment of the “stayers at home” 82-84
Muhammad forbidden to pray at the grave of unbelievers and hypocrites 85
The Prophet not to wonder at the prosperity of the wicked 86-88
Reward of those who assist the Apostle in his wars 89, 90
Hypocritical Arabs of the desert reproved 91
Who may lawfully remain at home in time of war 92, 93
Other hypocrites reproved 94-97
The Baduín, the worst of hypocrites 98, 99
Some of them true believers 100
The reward of the Ansars and Muhájjirín 101
The desert Arabs and some of the people of Madína reproved 102
The penitent confessors in Madína are pardoned 103-106
Others await God’s decision in their case 107
Denunciation against those who built a Masjid in opposition to Muhammad and his faithful ones 108-111
True believers are sold to God 112, 113
Muslims not to pray for idolatrous relatives 114
Why Abraham prayed for his idolatrous parents 115
God merciful to the faithful 116-118
The three recreant Ansars pardoned 119
The people of Madína rebuked for want of loyalty to Muhammad 120-122
Some believers excused from going to war 123
True believers to war against neighbouring infidels and hypocrisy 124
Reproof of those who doubt the revelations of God and Muhammad 125-128
The Apostle trusts in the help of God 129, 130
Ruba. R 1/7.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(278)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(279)] 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 God is 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.

Edition: current; Page: [(280)]
R 2/8.

(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. Edition: current; Page: [(281)] (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 Edition: current; Page: [(282)] the indignation of their hearts: for God will be turned unto whom he pleaseth; and God is 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.

R 3/9

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(283)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(284)] 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.

R 4/10.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(285)] 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 God is gracious and merciful. (28) O true believers, verily the idolaters are unclean; let them not therefore come near unto the holy Edition: current; Page: [(286)] 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 God is knowing and wise. (29) Fight against them who believe not in God nor the last day, and forbid not that which God and Edition: current; Page: [(287)] 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.

R 5/11.

(30) The Jews say, Ezra is the son of God; and the Edition: current; Page: [(288)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(289)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(290)] 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 month Edition: current; Page: [(291)] to 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.

R 6/12.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(292)] ye assist not the Prophet, verily God will 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 God is 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 Edition: current; Page: [(293)] destroy their own souls; for God knoweth that they are liars.

R 7/13.

(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, Edition: current; Page: [(294)] 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, Edition: current; Page: [(295)] 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.

R 8/14.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(296)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(297)] 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 God is 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 Edition: current; Page: [(298)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(299)] their hearts. Say unto them, Scoff ye; but God 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.

R 9/15.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(300)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(301)] good-will from God shall be their most excellent reward. This will be great felicity.

R 10/16.

(74) O Prophet, wage war against the unbelievers Edition: current; Page: [(302)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(303)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(304)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(305)] that they believe not in God and his Apostle; and God directeth not the ungodly people.

R 11/17.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(306)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(307)] 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.

R 12/1.

(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 God is gracious and merciful: (93) nor on those unto whom, Edition: current; Page: [(308)] 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.

Eleventh Sipara

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(309)] 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 God is 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 God both heareth and knoweth. (100) And of the Arabs of the Edition: current; Page: [(310)] 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 God is gracious and merciful.

R 13/2.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(311)] 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 God is 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 God both 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 Edition: current; Page: [(312)] 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 God is 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; Edition: current; Page: [(313)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(314)] 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 God is knowing and wise.

R 14/3.

(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. Edition: current; Page: [(315)] (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 Edition: current; Page: [(316)] was pitiful and compassionate. (116) Nor is God disposed 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 God belongeth 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 Edition: current; Page: [(317)] 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 God is easy to be reconciled and merciful.

R 15/4.

∥ (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 Edition: current; Page: [(318)] 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.

ruba. R 16/5.

(124) O true believers, wage war against such of the infidels as are near you; and let them find severity in Edition: current; Page: [(319)] 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. Edition: current; Page: [(320)] (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.

Edition: current; Page: [(321)]

Revealed at Makkah.


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.

Principal Subjects.

The Makkans charge their Prophet with sorcery because he is a man from among them 1, 2
The Creator and Ruler of the universe the only true God 3
Believers rewarded at death for good deeds 4
Unbelievers punished after death 4
God’s works are signs to all men 5, 6
Rewards and punishments of the faithful and the unbelieving 7-11
God’s purpose in prospering the wicked 12
Men pray to God in affliction, but forget Him with the return of prosperity 13
The people of Makkah warned by the example of former generations 14, 15
The Quraish desire a different Qurán—Muhammad protests his inability to alter it 16-18
Idolaters trust intercessors who can neither profit nor harm them 19
All men originally professed one religion 20
The people demand of Muhammad a sign 21
When men despise the judgments of God he threatens greater suffering 22
Unbelievers remember God in distress by land and sea, but forget Him when delivered 23, 24
Life likened to water which sustains vegetable life 25
Paradise for Muslims and hell for the infidels 26-28
Idolaters will be deserted by their gods in the judgment-day 29-31
Idolaters exhorted to worship him whom they recognise as their Creator, Preserver, and Governor 32-37
The Qurán no forgery; it confirms the former Scriptures 38
Those who charge Muhammad with imposture challenged to produce a chapter like it 39, 40
Some believe in the Qurán, others reject it 41
The unbelieving Quraish declared to be reprobate 42-47
An apostle is sent to every nation 48
Unbelievers mock at the threatenings of their prophet 49
Every nation has its fixed period of existence 50
Infidels will believe when their punishment comes upon them 51-55
God is the Author of life and death 56, 57
The Qurán an admonition and direction to the unbelievers 58, 59
Lawful food not to be prohibited 60, 61
Muhammad ever under Divine guidance 62
The blessedness of those who believe and fear God 63-65
Unbelievers cannot harm the Prophet 66-68
Those rebuked who say that God hath begotten children 69-71
Muhammad likened to Noah and other prophets 72-75
Moses and Aaron sent to Pharaoh and his princes 76
They are rejected as sorcerers and perverters of the national religion 77-82
A few of the people only believe on them 83
Moses and Aaron with the believers put their trust in God 84-86
The Israelites commanded to be constant in prayer to God 87
Moses’s prayer, that God would destroy the Egyptians, is heard 88, 89
Pharaoh and his people drowned in the sea 90
He repents and is raised out of the sea for a sign to the people 90-92
The Israelites are provided with a habitation and blessing 93
Jews and Christians appealed to in confirmation of the statements of the Qurán 94, 95
No kind of miracle will suffice to make the reprobate believe 96-98
Infidels do not believe on Muhammad because God does not permit them to do so 99-103
The people of Makkah exhorted to accept the true orthodox faith 104-107
Muhammad not responsible for the faith or unbelief of the people 108
The Prophet exhorted to be patient 109


Third Munzil. R 1/6.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(324)] 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) Edition: current; Page: [(325)] and the end of their prayer shall be, Praise be unto God, the Lord of all creatures!

R 2/7.

∥ (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. Edition: current; Page: [(326)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(327)] 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 Lord deferring 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 Lord we 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.

R ⅜

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(328)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(329)] 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.

Nisf. R 4/9.

(32) Say, Who provideth you food from heaven and Edition: current; Page: [(330)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(331)] 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.

R 5/10.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(332)] 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 shall God be 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 Edition: current; Page: [(333)] 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.

R 6/11.

(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. Edition: current; Page: [(334)] (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.

R 7/12.

∥ (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 God the 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 Edition: current; Page: [(335)] 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.

Suls. R 8/13.

(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, Edition: current; Page: [(336)] 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.

R 9/14.

(83) And there believed not any on Moses, except a generation of his people, for fear of Pharaoh and of his Edition: current; Page: [(337)] 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. Edition: current; Page: [(338)] (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.

R 10/15.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(339)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(340)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(341)] 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.

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Revealed at Makkah.


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 Edition: current; Page: [(343)]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).

Principal Subjects.

The Qurán a revelation from God 1, 2
Muhammad a warner and a preacher of goodness 3-5
Infidels cannot hide their sin from God 6
God the Creator and Preserver of all creatures 7, 8
The resurrection rejected by the infidels as sorcery 8
They scoff at threatened punishment 9
Mercy and judgment alike disregarded by infidels 10, 11
Those who persevere in good works shall be rewarded 12
The unbelievers demand a sign from heaven 13
Muhammad charged with forging the Qurán 14
He challenges the infidels to produce ten chapters like it, or to become Muslims 14, 15
The miserable fate of those who live for this present world 16, 17
Moses and the Jews attest the truth of the Qurán 18
The maligners of prophets shall be cursed 19-23
The blessed portion of believers 24
Similitudes of believers and unbelievers 25
The History of Noah:
He is sent as a public preacher 26, 27
The chiefs of his people reject him as a liar 28
Noah protests his integrity—Refuses to drive away his poor followers—Deprecates being thought a seer or an angel 29-32
His people challenge him to bring on the threatened judgment 33
Noah declares that God destroys and saves whom he pleaseth 34, 35
Noah’s people declare his message a forgery 36
God tells Noah that no more of his people will believe on him 37
He is commanded to make an ark 38
Noah builds the ark and is derided by the people 39
Embarks with his followers and one pair each of the animals 40, 41
Noah in vain entreats his unbelieving son to embark 42, 43
The waters abate and the ark rests on Al Júdi 44
Noah pleads with God for his son 45
God reproves him for his intercession for his son 46
Noah repents and asks pardon for his fault 47
He descends from the ark 48
This history a secret revealed to Muhammad 49
The History of Húd:
He is sent to call Ád from idolatry 50-52
The Ádites reject him as a liar 53
Húd protests his integrity, and declares his trust in God to save him from their plots 54-57
God delivers Húd and his followers 58
The Ádites reject their messenger and are destroyed 59, 60
The History of Sálih:
He is sent to call the Thamúdites from idolatry 61
They reject his message 62
Sálih protests his integrity, and gives them a she-camel as a sign from God 63, 64
They kill the camel, and are threatened with destruction 65
Sálih and his followers are saved from destruction 66
The Thamúdites are miserably destroyed 67, 68
The History of Abraham and Lot:
God’s messengers sent to Abraham—He entertains them 69
He is filled with fear because they refuse to eat his meat 70
The angels quiet his fears and tell him they are sent to the people of Lot 70, 71
Sarah receives the promise of Isaac and Jacob 71-73
Abraham intercedes for the people of Lot 74
The angels refuse his request 75
Lot is anxious for the safety of his angel visitors 76
The Sodomites attack his house 77-79
The angels warn Lot to leave the city and inform him of the destruction impending over his people and his wife 80
The cities are overthrown and the people killed by a shower of bricks 81, 82
The History of Shuaib:
He is sent to call the Midianites from idolatry 83
He reproaches them for dishonest weights and measures 84-86
The people reject him, refusing to leave their idols 87
Shuaib protests his integrity, and exhorts them to flee the fate of the people of Noah, Húd, Sálih, and Lot 88-90
The people threaten to stone him 91
Shuaib threatens them with Divine judgment 92-94
God destroys the infidels, but saves Shuaib and his followers 95, 96
The History of Moses:
He is sent with signs to Pharaoh and his princes 97
They reject him, and are consigned to hell-fire 98-100
Exhortation and warning drawn from the fate of these cities 101-105
The condition of the righteous and wicked in judgment 106-109
Muhammad not to doubt about the religion of the Quarish 110
The Quarish doubt the Qurán as the Jews did the Pentateuch 111
God will punish their evil deeds 112
Muhammad exhorted to be steadfast 113, 114
An exhortation to prayer 115
God just in destroying the unbelieving cities 116-118
The unbelievers predestinated to damnation 119
The whole history of the prophets related to Muhammad 120
Unbelievers threatened 121, 122
Muhammad exhorted to put his trust in God 123


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(1) A. L. R. (2) This book, the verses whereof are guarded against corruption, and are also distinctly explained, Edition: current; Page: [(346)] is a revelation from the wise, the knowing God: (3) that ye serve not any other God (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.

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Twelfth Sipara.

(7) There is no creature which creepeth on the earth but God provideth 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?

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∥ (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 Edition: current; Page: [(348)] 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, Edition: current; Page: [(349)] 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 Lord at the day of judgment, and the witnesses shall say, These are they who devised lies against their Lord. Shall not the curse of God fall 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, Edition: current; Page: [(350)] 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?

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(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 Lord at the resurrection; but I perceive that ye are Edition: current; Page: [(351)] 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.

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(37) And it was revealed unto Noah, saying, Verily none of thy people shall believe, except he who hath Edition: current; Page: [(352)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(353)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(354)] still; for my Lord is 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!

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(356)] 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.

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(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; Edition: current; Page: [(357)] 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 Lord proceedeth 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 Lord is 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) Edition: current; Page: [(358)] 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?

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(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 of God 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 God is 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 Edition: current; Page: [(359)] 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?

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(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! Edition: current; Page: [(360)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(361)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(362)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(363)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(364)] 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?

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(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 Lord inflicted, 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 Edition: current; Page: [(365)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(366)] Lord to 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 Edition: current; Page: [(367)] 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 God is 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.

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Revealed at Makkah.


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 Edition: current; Page: [(369)] 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.

Principal Subjects.

The Prophet acquainted by inspiration with the history of Joseph 1-3
Joseph tells his father of his vision of the stars 4
Jacob warns Joseph against the jealousy of his brethren 5
Jacob understands the dream to signify Joseph’s future prophetic character 6
Joseph’s story a sign of God’s providence 7
Joseph’s brethren are jealous of him and of Benjamin 8
They counsel together to kill or to expatriate him 9
One of them advises their putting him into a well 10
They beg their father to send Joseph with them 11, 12
Jacob hesitates through fear that Joseph may be devoured by a wolf 13
Joseph’s brethren, receiving their father’s consent, take him with them and put him in a well 14, 15
God sends a revelation to Joseph in the well 15
The brethren bring to Jacob the report that Joseph had been devoured by a wolf 16, 17
Jacob does not believe the story of his sons 18
Certain travellers finding Joseph carry him into bondage 19, 20
An Egyptian purchases Joseph and proposes to adopt him 21
God bestows on him wisdom and knowledge 22
The Egyptian’s wife endeavours to seduce Joseph 23
By God’s grace he was preserved from her enticements 24
She accuses Joseph of an attempt to dishonour her 25
The rent in his garment testifies Joseph’s innocence 26, 27
Potipher believes Joseph and condemns his wife 28, 29
The sin of Potipher’s wife becomes known in the city 30
The wives of other noblemen, seeing Joseph’s beauty, call him an angel 31
Potipher’s wife declares her purpose to imprison Joseph unless he yield to her solicitations 32
Joseph seeks protection from God 33
God hears his prayer and turns aside their snares 34
Joseph imprisoned notwithstanding his innocence 35
He undertakes to interpret the dreams of two of the king’s servants who were also imprisoned with him 36, 37
Joseph preaches the Divine unity to his fellow-prisoners 38, 40
He interprets the dreams of the two servants 41
Joseph asks to be remembered to the king, but is forgotten 42
The dreams of the king of Egypt 43
The king’s interpreters fail to interpret the king’s dream 44
Joseph remembers and interprets the king’s dream 45-49
The king calls Joseph out of prison 50
The women of the palace acknowledge their sin in endeavouring to entice Joseph to unlawful love 51
Joseph vindicated, yet professes his proneness to sin 52, 53
The king restores Joseph 54
Joseph made king’s treasurer at his own request 55-57
His brethren come to him, but do not recognise him 58
Joseph requires his brethren to bring to him their brother Benjamin 59-61
Their money returned in their sacks to induce their return 62
Jacob reluctantly permits Benjamin to go to Egypt with his brethren 63-66
Jacob counsels their entering the city by several gates 67
This counsel of no avail against God’s decree 68
Joseph, receiving Benjamin, makes himself known to him 69
He, by guile, brings his brethren under charge of theft 70-76
He insists on retaining Benjamin instead of a substitute 77, 79
After consultation, Benjamin’s brethren all return to Jacob but one 80-82
Jacob refuses to credit their story, yet puts his trust in God 83
Jacob grieves for Joseph, and yet tells of his hope 84-86
Jacob sends his sons to inquire after Joseph 87
Joseph makes himself known to his brethren 88-90
He pardons his brethren and sends his inner garment to his father to restore his sight 91-93
Jacob foretells the finding of Joseph, and receives his sight 94-97
He asks pardon for his wicked sons 98, 99
Joseph receives his parents unto him in Egypt 100
Jacob and his sons and wife all do obeisance to Joseph 101
Joseph praises God for his mercies and professes the Muslim faith 102
The infidels will not believe the signs of the Qurán 103-107
The Makkan idolaters invited to the true faith 108
God’s apostles in all ages have been but men 109
Unbelievers invariably punished for rejecting the messengers of God 109, 110
The Qurán no forgery, but a confirmation of the writings of former prophets 111


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(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. Edition: current; Page: [(372)] (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 Lord is 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 to Edition: current; Page: [(373)] one 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(374)] 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. Edition: current; Page: [(375)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(377)] 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;

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∥ (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 Edition: current; Page: [(378)] 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, Edition: current; Page: [(379)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(380)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(381)] to make mention of Joseph unto his lord, wherefore he remained in the prison some years.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(382)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(383)] 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.

Thirteenth Sipara.

(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 Lord is 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 Edition: current; Page: [(384)] 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.

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(58) Moreover, Joseph’s brethren came, and went in unto him; and he knew them, but they knew not him. Edition: current; Page: [(385)] (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 Edition: current; Page: [(386)] 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, Edition: current; Page: [(387)] but enter by different gates. But this precaution will be of no advantage unto you against the decree of God; 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 of God, 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 Edition: current; Page: [(388)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(389)] 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.

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(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 Edition: current; Page: [(390)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(391)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(392)] shall recover his sight; and then come unto me with all your family.

Ruba. R 11/5.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(393)] 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, Edition: current; Page: [(394)] 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.

R 12/6.

∥ (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 Edition: current; Page: [(395)] 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.

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Revealed at Makkah.


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 Edition: current; Page: [(397)] 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.

Principal Subjects.

The infidels reject the Qurán 1
God manifests himself to man in his works 2-4
The unbelievers deny the resurrection 5
Their punishment 6
Threatened judgments sure to come to pass 7
Unbelievers demand a sign 8
God is omniscient 9-12
God’s purposes are unchangeable 12
Thunder and lightning manifest God as the true object of worship 13, 14
Idolaters invoke their gods in vain 15
All nature worships the Creator 16, 17
The separation of infidels from true believers typefied in the flowing stream and the melting metal 18
True believers described 19-22
Their reward 23, 24
The end of the infidels 25
Abundance of wealth no sign of God’s favour 26
The infidels demand a sign from heaven 27
God directs true believers 28
Muhammad sent to an unbelieving people 29
Signs unavailing to make infidels true believers 30
God will punish the unbelievers 31, 32
Idolaters are reprobate 33, 34
Paradise described 35
Certain Jews acknowledge Muhammad to be a prophet 36
Muhammad exhorted to make no compromise with idolatry 36, 37
Wives and children no hindrance to the prophetic office 38
God is lord of his own book 39
Muhammad a preacher only 40
God’s judgments sure to come to pass 41
The plots of God’s enemies not hidden from him 42
God attests the claims of his Prophet 43
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R 1/7.

(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 is God 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 Lord at 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 Edition: current; Page: [(399)] 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.

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∥ (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, Edition: current; Page: [(401)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(402)] God put forth parables. Unto those who obey their Lord shall 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!

Nisf. R 3/9.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(403)] 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.

R 4/10.

(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 were Edition: current; Page: [(404)] revealed 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.

R 5/11.

∥ (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 Edition: current; Page: [(405)] 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 Edition: current; Page: [(406)] 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.

R 6/12.

(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 Edition: current; Page: [(407)] 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 by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.

Edinburgh and London


A. L. M. See note on chap. ii. ver. 1, and Prelim. Disc., p. 100.


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.

According to the Tafsír-i-Raufi, this verse contains a distinct rejection of the Christian doctrine of the Divinity of Christ as well as of the Trinity. The tradition handed down to the present generation by these commentators, and, so far as I know, by all commentators of the Qurán, confirms our interpretation of chap. ii. vers. 86, 116. Muhammad knew of no Trinity save that of God, Mary, and Jesus, and Muhammadan commentators know of no other Trinity, unless it be that of God, Jesus, and Gabriel—see Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco—probably a modern gloss of the Bible language, “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” the term Holy Spirit, as found in the Qurán, being always understood to refer to the Angel Gabriel: see chap. ii. 253. No Christian would object to the statement upon which we are now commenting. It is a statement clearly set forth in our Scriptures. But it this statement is intended to refute the Christian doctrine concerning the person of Christ and the Trinity, what becomes of the claims set up for the Qurán in this same verse as “confirming that which was revealed before it”? What are we to say of the inspiration of a prophet who seems to have been ignorant of the teaching of the Scriptures he professed to confirm? If he were not ignorant of these doctrines, then what becomes of his character for integrity? How he could be so ignorant of them, after personal intercourse with Christians as testified by tradition, as to attribute to them views never held by any sect however heretical, I confess myself unable to show.


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.

The distinction. The original word is Al Furqán, a word usually translated in the Persian and Urdú versions of the Qurán, “miracles.” It is applied to the Qurán in the sense of the text, as the distinguisher “between good and evil,” especially between the false and true in religion. This name, say the Muslims, is intended to point to the miraculous character of the Qurán. But if so, the same character must be credited to the Christian and Jewish Scriptures, for the commentators admit that what is referred to in the first part of this verse in detail is here referred to in general (Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco). The word therefore probably points to the seal of miracles which God set upon all his prophets and his word as revealed by them. In the case of the Qurán, the verses (Ayát = signs) are the miraculous seal of inspiration.


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.


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.


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.


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.

“The contents of the Qurán are here distinguished into such passages as are to be taken in the literal sense, and such as require a figurative acceptation. The former, being plain and obvious to be understood, compose the fundamental part, or, as the original expresses it, the mother of the book, and contain the principal doctrines and precepts, agreeably to and consistently with which, those passages which are wrapt up in metaphors and delivered in enigmatical, allegorical style are always to be interpreted.” See Prelim. Disc., p. 113.—Sale.

On this subject, Hughes, in his Notes on Muhammadanism, pp 32-34, second edition, writes as follows:—“The sentences (’Ibárat) of the Qurán are either Záhir or Khafí, i.e., either obvious or hidden.

“Obvious sentences are of four classes: záhir, nass, mufassar, muhkam.

“Záhir = those sentences the meaning of which is obvious or clear without any assistance from the context, &c.

“Hidden sentences are either khafi, mushkil, mujmal, or mutashabih,i.e., “hidden,” “ambiguous,” “compendious,” or “intricate.”

We have therefore in this passage the foundation principle of Muslim exegesis. See also the Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco.

None knoweth the interpretation, &c. Sale has followed the interpretation of the Sunní or orthodox sect in this translation. The Shiáh sect, however, dissents from an interpretation which makes God say that he has revealed what is not after all a revelation. They, therefore, understand this sentence as being closely connected with the one following, as the original will very well allow, and render the passage thus: “None knoweth the interpretation thereof except God and those who are well grounded in the knowledge which say, &c. By “those who are well grounded in the knowledge,” they understand the Imáms of their own sect. This interpretation, however, does not avail them much, inasmuch as they are dependent on the fallible testimony of the traditionists for a knowledge of the dictum of the Imáms; and, amidst the conflict of witnesses, most men would be ready to say with the text, “None knoweth the interpretation thereof except God.”

The principle enunciated in this verse should not be forgotten by Christians when called upon by Muslims to explain some of the obscure passages of the Bible or the mysteries of our religion.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

There is a discrepancy between the statement of this verse and that of chap. viii. 46. Here the miracle consists in the dismay wrought among the Quraish by magnifying the number of Muslims in their eyes; but there it is recorded that “when he caused them to appear unto you when ye met to be few in your eyes, and diminished your number in their eyes.” In this verse the miracle consisted in encouraging the Muslims by diminishing the number of those of Makkah and in luring on the Quraish to destruction by making the number of their adversaries appear even less than it really was. The commentators reconcile these statements by making the former to succeed the latter in time. Considering the number of angels called in to assist the Muslims on this occasion, one would infer that the angelic hosts of Islám were not highly gifted in the art of war. Compare Isa. xxxvii. 36, but see below, ver. 123, note, and on chap. viii. 45, 46.


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.

The attempt to explain these passages as figurative and symbolical of spiritual blessing, while sanctioned by the teaching of some Muslim writers, does violence to the language of the Qurán as well as to the faith of the orthodox in all ages of Islám. It is unfair to quote in evidence the dreamy statements of the Súfís or the rationalistic pleading of modern free-thinkers. These are alike regarded as infidels by the orthodox Muhammadan. There cannot be a shadow of a doubt that the heaven of Muslims is a place of sensual delights. No orthodox Muslim commentator takes any other view, “and it is impossible for any candid mind to read the Qurán and the traditions and arrive at any other conclusion on the subject.” See Hughes’s Notes on Muhammadanism, 2d ed., pp. 91-95.

God regardeth his servants who say, &c. The ground of forgiveness, as here stated, is faith in Islám and obedience to its precepts.


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.

See also below, on vers. 83, 84.

They who had received the Scriptures dissented, &c. The meaning of this passage seems to be that Jews and Christians belonged to this true religion of Islám until the revelation of the Qurán came. They were then filled with envy, and on this account dissented from the truth.

Muhammad, therefore, again attests the truth of Judaism and Christianity, and in this passage seems clearly to state that the Jews and Christians were the followers of the true religion up to the date of his prophetic claim. If so, a comparison of the religions will show how far Islám falls short of being the true religion taught by the prophets and Jesus, and also how far the charge of envy is justified.


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.


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.

They were called unto the book of God. The following is Sale’s note on this passage:—

“This passage was revealed on occasion of a dispute Muhammad had with some Jews, which is differently related by the commentators.

“Al Baidháwi says that Muhammad, going one day into a Jewish synagogue, Náim Ibn Amr and al Hárith Ibn Zaid asked him what religion he was of. To which he answering, ‘Of the religion of Abraham,’ they replied, ‘Abraham was a Jew;’ but on Muhammad’s proposing that the Pentateuch might decide the question, they would by no means agree to it.

“But Jaláluddín tells us that two persons of the Jewish religion having committed adultery, their punishment was referred to Muhammad, who gave sentence that they should be stoned, according to the law of Moses. This the Jews refused to submit to, alleging there was no such command in the Pentateuch; but on Muhammad’s appealing to the book, the said law was found therein. Whereupon the criminals were stoned, to the great mortification of the Jews.

“It is very remarkable that this law of Moses concerning the stoning of adulterers is mentioned in the New Testament [John viii. 5], (though I know some dispute the authenticity of that whole passage), but it is not now to be found either in the Hebrew or Samaritan Pentateuch, or in the Septuagint; it being only said that such shall be put to death [Lev. xx. 10]. This omission is insisted on by the Muhammadans as one instance of the corruption of the law of Moses by the Jews.

“It is also observable that there was a verse once extant in the Qurán commanding adulterers to be stoned; and the commentators say the words only are abrogated, the sense of the law still remaining in force.”

On the question of the law relating to stoning raised here, see Alford’s Greek Testament, notes on John viii. 5. Stoning was the ordinary mode of execution among the Jews (Exod. xvii. 4; Luke xx. 6; John x. 31; and Acts xiv. 5), and therefore the general statement of Lev. xx. 10 would designate this mode, unless some other mode were distinctly commanded. Besides, Deut. xxii. 21-24 very clearly appoints this as the mode of punishment. This suggests a sufficient reply to the Muslim claim referred to by Sale in the note just quoted.


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.’

That which they have falsely devised, i.e., their imagining that their sins would be lightly punished through the intercession of their fathers (Tafsír-i-Raufi).


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.


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.


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.”


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”?


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.

Family of Imrán. This expression, like the one just noted, also includes all prophets descended from Imrán, e.g., Moses, Aaron, Zacharias, John, and Jesus. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is said to have been “the daughter of the son of Imrán” (Tafsír-i-Raufi, &c.)


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.


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.

Again, the statement here, that the Virgin Mary was the “daughter of Imrán,” coupled with that of chap. xix. 29, that she was “the sister of Aaron,” certainly looks as if the Virgin Mary were confounded with the sister of Moses and Aaron. That there is in this passage a medley of Jewish and Christian traditionary fiction and Bible story, learned from hearsay, I think indisputable. I will quote briefly the views of several writers, giving both sides of the question, and leave the reader to draw his own inference:—

“From her (Mary) being called the sister of Aaron and the daughter of Amran, it has been justly concluded that Muhammad considered the Virgin Mary and Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, as identical; and no sophistry on the part of Muhammadan divines or European writers can remove this impression.”—Arnold, Islám and Christianity, p. 149.

“It is concluded by some that Mahomet confounded Mary (Maryam) with the sister of Moses. The confusion of names is the more suspicious, as it is not favoured by Christian authority of any description—the traditional names of Mary’s parents being Joachim and Anna.”

“Gerock combats this idea at some length (p. 24), showing that Imrán is never named in the Coran as the father of Moses, nor Mary (Maryam) as his sister, and that Mahomet is seen elsewhere to be well aware of the interval between Jesus and Moses The latter fact cannot, of course, be doubted; Mahomet could never have imagined that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the sister of Moses and Aaron. But it is still extremely probable that the confusion of this mis-nomenclature originated in the notions of Jewish informants, amongst whom the only notorious Mary (Maryam) was the daughter of Imrán and sister of Moses; and they could ordinarily give the name of Maryam those accompaniments; that is, they would speak of ‘Mary the daughter of Imrán.’ Mahomet adopted the phraseology (for his informants were mainly, if not solely, Jews) probably through inadvertence and without perceiving the anachronism it involved.”—Muir, Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. pp. 281, 282, note.

The following is Sale’s note on this passage, in which he combats the charge of anachronism brought by Reland, Marracci, and Prideaux; his Muslim authorities are, as usual, Baidháwi and Zamakhsharí:—

“Amrán is the name of two several persons, according to the Muhammadan tradition. One was the father of Moses and Aaron, and the other was the father of the Virgin Mary; but he is called by some Christian writers Joachim. The commentators suppose the first, or rather both of them, to be meant in this place; however, the person intended in the next passage, it is agreed, was the latter, who, besides Mary the mother of Jesus, had also a son named Aaron, and another sister named Ishá (or Elizabeth), who married Zacharias, and was the mother of John the Baptist; whence that prophet and Jesus are usually called by the Muhammadans, The two sons of the aunt, or the cousins-german.

“From the identity of names it has been generally imagined by Christian writers that the Qurán here confounds Mary the mother of Jesus with Mary or Miriam the sister of Moses and Aaron; which intolerable anachronism, if it were certain, is sufficient of itself to destroy the pretended authority of this book. But though Muhammad may be supposed to have been ignorant enough in ancient history and chronology to have committed so gross a blunder, yet I do not see how it can be made out from the words of the Qurán. For it does not follow, because two persons have the same name, and have each a father and brother who bear the same names, that they must therefore necessarily be the same person: besides, such a mistake is inconsistent with a number of other places in the Qurán, whereby it manifestly appears that Muhammad well knew and asserted that Moses preceded Jesus several ages. And the commentators accordingly fail not to tell us that there had passed about one thousand eight hundred years between Amrán the father of Moses and Amrán the father of the Virgin Mary: they also make them the sons of different persons: the first, they say, was the son of Yeshar, or Izhar (though he was really his brother), the son of Káhath, the son of Levi; and the other was the son of Mathán, whose genealogy they trace, but in a very corrupt and imperfect manner, up to David, and thence to Adam.

“It must be observed that though the Virgin Mary is called in the Qurán the sister of Aaron, yet she is nowhere called the sister of Moses; however, some Muhammadan writers have imagined that the same individual Mary, the sister of Moses, was miraculously preserved alive from his time till that of Jesus Christ, purposely to become the mother of the latter.”

To be dedicated. “The Arabic word is free, but here signifies particularly one that is free or detached from all worldly desires and occupations, and wholly devoted to God’s service.”—Sale, Jaláluddín.


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.

I have called her Mary, &c. “This expression alludes to a tradition that Abraham, when the devil tempted him to disobey God in not sacrificing his son, drove the fiend away by throwing stones at him; in memory of which, the Muhammadans, at the pilgrimage of Makkah, throw a certain number of stones at the devil, with certain ceremonies, in the valley of Miná. (See Prelim. Disc., p. 188.)

“It is not improbable that the pretended immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary is intimated in this passage; for according to a tradition of Muhammad, every person that comes into the world is touched at his birth by the devil, and therefore cries out: Mary and her son only excepted, between whom and the evil spirit God placed a veil, so that his touch did not reach them. And for this reason, they say, neither of them were guilty of any sin, like the rest of the children of Adam: which peculiar grace they obtained by virtue of this recommendation of them by Hannah to God’s protection.”—Sale, Jaláluddín, and Baidháwi.


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.


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.

This story owes its origin to Christian tradition. See Historia de Nativ. Marie et de Infan. Salv. (chap. vi.) and Protev. Jacob. (chap. viii.), quoted in Muir’s Life of Mahomet (p. 283) and in Arnold’s Islám and Christianity (pp. 150, 151).

There Zacharias called on his Lord. The prayer would seem to have been offered in the inner chamber of the Temple assigned, according to the story, to Mary. The commentators think the prayer was suggested by the miraculous supply of food furnished to Mary. Zacharias was at this time ninety-nine years old, and his wife ninety-eight (Tafsír-i-Raufi). Abdul Qádir says Zacharias prayed in secret, because, at this age, to have prayed openly for offspring would have exposed him to ridicule.

Offspring. In chap. xix. 5, “a successor,” from which Gerock would infer that Zacharias did not pray for a son, but for an heir only. But in the ninth verse of that same chapter he says, “How shall I have a son?” &c. This decides clearly in favour of that interpretation which makes offspring to mean an heir from his own body.


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.

The word which cometh from God. See notes on chap. ii. 86. The Muslim interpretation, that Jesus is here called the Word because he was conceived by the word or command of God is, to say the least, unsatisfactory.

The “witness” of John concerning the Word was very different from that of Muhammad. Is it possible that he should have learned so much of John and Jesus from tradition, and not have known more of the character of the latter, as witnessed by John and Jesus himself? In answer to this question, I venture to give the following:—(1.) Muhammad heard more than he believed. This is evident from the effort he made to refute the doctrine of the Trinity, the Sonship of Christ, and the doctrine of Christ’s death and resurrection. (2.) What he learned concerning these and other doctrines he learned from hearsay, and usually from unreliable sources. Hence the indiscriminate mixing up of statements obtained originally from the Bible and tradition—Jewish and Christian. (3.) He seems to have learned most of what he knew of Christianity, and perhaps of Judaism also, after his arrival in Madína, and consequently after his claim to be a prophet had been assumed. His most definite and extended statements regarding Bible story are found in the Madína chapters. (4.) The criterion by which he decided the true and false as to what he heard was his own prophetic claims and the character of his religion. Whatever would exalt Jesus over himself was rejected. Hence Jesus is only “the son of Mary;” he is born miraculously, but is not divine; he wrought miracles, but always by “the permission of God” (ver. 48), &c. Again, whatever was contrary to the religion he promulgated was either refuted or ignored; the character of the prophets is always moulded after his own; the character of all infidels in former ages is like that of the unbelieving Quraish and Jews of Arabia.

Making every reasonable allowance for the Arabian prophet on the score of ignorance and on the score of misrepresentations to which he was no doubt subjected, still enough remains to substantiate the charge of imposture, however displeasing this charge may be to his admirers and friends. The facts in this matter are against them. Muhammad put these statements concerning matters of history into the mouth of God, and so promulgated them as his infallible word, confirming the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments—Scriptures of whose teaching he was personally ignorant. Make out half as strong a case against any one of the inspired writers of the Bible, and who among these apologists for Islám would defend him? Truly the glory of this hero-god seems to have dazzled their eyes.

Chaste. Sale says, “The original word signifies one who refrains not only from women, but from all other worldly delights and desires.”


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.


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.

Remember thy Lord often. Zacharias’s tongue was only free to speak the praise of God.


The angels. Gabriel. Compare Luke i. 28.


Be devout, &c. This passage is also based on Christian tradition. See Rodwell’s note.

Bow down, &c. The forms of worship ascribed to Jews in the Qurán are, as here, distinctively Muslim.


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.

The casting of lots, attributed here to the Jewish priests, is the same in spirit as that forbidden in chap. ii. 218.


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.

Christ Jesus. The Messiah Jesus. He is honourable in this world as a prophet, and in the next as an intercessor. Muslims, however, only regard him as the intercessor of his own followers, i.e., of those who lived during the period intervening between the times of Jesus and Muhammad.


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.’ ”

When he is grown up. The original word (káhlan) describes a person of between thirty and fifty years of age.


Compare with Luke i. 34, &c., to see how far this comes short of attesting the former Scriptures.


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).

A bird. “Some say it was a bat (Jaláluddín), though others suppose Jesus made several birds of different sorts (Al Thálabi).

“This circumstance is also taken from the following fabulous tradition, which may be found in the spurious Gospel above mentioned. Jesus being seven years old, and at play with several children of his age, they made several figures of birds and beasts, for their diversion, of clay; and each preferring his own workmanship, Jesus told them that he would make his walk and leap; which accordingly, at his command, they did. He made also several figures of sparrows and other birds, which flew about or stood on his hands as he ordered them, and also ate and drank when he offered them meat and drink. The children telling this to their parents, were forbidden to play any more with Jesus, whom they held to be a sorcerer” (Evang. Infant.)—Sale.

By the permission of God. See note on ver. 39. The commentators, Baidháwi, &c., understand this phrase to have been added lest any one should suppose Jesus to be divine. See Sale.

What ye eat, &c. This would furnish evidence of the power of Jesus to reveal secrets. These miracles were the seal of prophecy to Jesus, as were the verses (ayát = signs) of the Qurán to the prophetic claim of Muhammad.


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.

Part of that . . . forbidden you. “Such as the eating of fish that have neither fins nor scales, the caul and fat of animals, and camels’ flesh, and to work on the Sabbath. These things, say the commentators, being arbitrary institutions in the law of Moses, were abrogated by Jesus, as several of the same kind instituted by the latter have been since abrogated by Muhammad.”—Sale, Jaláluddín.

As intimated in note on ver. 39, we here see that Muhammad’s endeavour is to make Christ appear to be a prophet like himself. The mission, character, authority, and experience of all the prophets were none other than those assumed by Muhammad for himself.


The apostles. The twelve disciples of Jesus are here likened to the companions and helpers of Muhammad.

“In Arabic al Hawáriyún, which word they derive from Hára, to be white, and suppose the apostles were so called either from the candour and sincerity of their minds, or because they were princes and wore white garments, or else because they were by trade fullers (Jaláluddín) According to which last opinion, their vocation is thus related: That as Jesus passed by the seaside, he saw some fullers at work, and accosting them, said. ‘Ye cleanse these cloths, but cleanse not your hearts;’ upon which they believed on him. But the true etymology seems to be from the Ethiopic verb Hawyra, to go; whence Hawárya signifies one that is sent, a messenger or apostle.”—Sale.

The Tafsír-i-Raufi relates a story current among Muslims as to the calling of these disciples, to the effect that Jesus, being persecuted by the Jews, fled to Egypt. On the banks of the river Nile he found some fishermen, whom he invited to accept Islám and to become his followers, which they did.


We believe on the gospel. We have followed the apostle, i.e., Jesus.


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.

“They add, that Jesus, after his crucifixion in effigy, was sent down again to the earth to comfort his mother and disciples, and acquaint them how the Jews were deceived; and was then taken up a second time into heaven.

“It is supposed by several that this story was an original invention of Muhammad’s; but they are certainly mistaken; for several sectaries held the same opinion long before his time. The Basilidians, in the very beginning of Christianity, denied that Christ himself suffered, but that Simon the Cyrenean was crucified in his place. The Cerinthians before them, and the Carpocratians next (to name no more of those who affirmed Jesus to have been a mere man), did believe the same thing; that it was not himself, but one of his followers very like him that was crucified. Photius tells us that he read a book entitled, The Journeys of the Apostles, relating the acts of Peter, John, Andrew, Thomas, and Paul; and among other things contained therein, this was one, that Christ was not crucified, but another in his stead, and that therefore he laughed at his crucifiers, or those who thought they had crucified him.

“I have in another place mentioned an apocryphal Gospel of Barnabas, a forgery originally of some nominal Christians, but interpolated since by Muhammadans, which gives this part of the history of Jesus with circumstances too curious to be omitted. It is therein related, that the moment the Jews were going to apprehend Jesus in the garden, he was snatched up into the third heaven by the ministry of four angels, Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and Uriel; that he will not die till the end of the world, and that it was Judas who was crucified in his stead, God having permitted that traitor to appear so like his master in the eyes of the Jews that they took and delivered him to Pilate; that this resemblance was so great that it deceived the Virgin Mary and the apostles themselves; but that Jesus Christ afterwards obtained leave of God to go and comfort them; that Barnabas having then asked him why the Divine Goodness had suffered the mother and disciples of so holy a prophet to believe even for one moment that he had died in so ignominious a manner, Jesus returned the following answer: ‘O Barnabas, believe me that every sin, how small soever, is punished by God with great torment, because God is offended with sin. My mother therefore and faithful disciples, having loved me with a mixture of earthly love, the just God has been pleased to punish this love with their present grief, that they might not be punished for it hereafter in the flames of hell. And as for me, though I have myself been blameless in the world, yet other men having called me God and the son of God, therefore God, that I might not be mocked by the devils at the day of judgment, has been pleased that in this world I should be mocked by men with the death of Judas, making everybody believe that I died upon the cross. And hence it is that this mocking is still to continue till the coming of Muhammad, the messenger of God, who, coming into the world, will undeceive every one who shall believe in the law of God from this mistake.’ ”


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.

These interpretations are manifestly mere attempts at evasion. But for chap. iv. 156, no Muslim would have any difficulty in accepting the plain common-sense import of this verse.

I will place those . . . above unbelievers. By unbelievers Muslims understand the Jews to be meant. This is, however, a limitation no way justified by the Qurán. The term is general, and fairly indicates all who reject the gospel of Jesus “until the judgment day.” The allusion is, therefore, to the final and constant victory of Islám, and the followers of Jesus are here regarded as true Muslims.


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.


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.

Sale gives the story of the commentators Jaláluddín and Baidháwi as follows:—“Some Christians, with their bishop, named Abu Hárith, coming to Muhammad as ambassadors from the inhabitants of Najrán, and entering into some disputes with him touching religion and the history of Jesus Christ, they agreed the next morning to abide the trial here mentioned, as a quick way of deciding which of them were in the wrong. Muhammad met them accordingly, accompanied by his daughter Fátima, his son-in-law Ali, and his two grandsons, Hasan and Husain, and desired them to wait till he had said his prayers. But when they saw him kneel down, their resolution failed them, and they durst not venture to curse him, but submitted to pay him tribute.


Ye who have received the Scriptures, i.e., Jews and Christians.

A just determination. The proposal here, though carrying great pretension of liberality and reason, really means out-and-out acceptance of Islám.

Lords. This expression has special reference to the dignity accorded by Jews and Christians to their religious guides. None are more addicted to the practice here condemned than the Muslims themselves. The worship of Walís and Pírs is of a kind with the worship of saints among certain sects of Christians.


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.

This passage implies that the Jews and Christians were in possession of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament current in his day. The same is implied in Baidháwi’s note on the next verse, quoted by Sale:—“Ye perversely dispute even concerning those things which ye find in the Law and the Gospel, whereby it appears that they were both sent down long after Abraham’s time: why then will ye offer to dispute concerning such points of Abraham’s religion of which your Scriptures say nothing, and of which ye consequently can have no knowledge?”


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.


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.

And this prophet, i.e., Muhammad. The meaning is that Muhammad, and those who believe on him, are most nearly related to Abraham.


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.


Why not believe? The signs to be believed were the incomparable verses of the Qurán. The argument of the prophet was certainly not convincing.


Clothe truth with vanity, &c. See note on chap. ii. 41.


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.


Your religion, i.e., Judaism.

That there may be given, &c. This passage is very obscure, but the idea seems to be that if the Jews are directed by God, they should bring forth verses like unto those of the Qurán.


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.

Sale thinks the person especially intended was Qáb Ibn Ashraf, a Jew, who finally became so inimical that Muhammad proscribed him and caused him to be slain.

Some commentators (Baidháwi, &c.) think the trustworthy persons referred to here are Christians and the dishonest ones Jews. This view agrees very well with the sentiments of contempt for the heathen attributed to these covenant-breakers in the latter portion of this verse.


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.


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.

This passage, too, shows beyond dispute that Muhammad regarded the Scriptures in the hands of the Jews and Christians as credible. No charge is ever brought against the Scriptures, but invariably against the interpreters.


It is not fit, &c. This verse is evidently directed against Christians, who worship Jesus.

Sale says, “This passage was revealed, say the commentators, in answer to the Christians, who insisted that Jesus had commanded them to worship him as God.”

Worshippers of me besides God. Here again we see that Muhammad’s conception of Christian theology was all wrong.


The angels. The idolaters of Makkah worshipped angels.

The prophets for your lords, e.g., the Jews worship Ezra and the Christians worship Jesus—Tafsír-i-Raufi.


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.

The prophecy alluded to here is probably the general promise of the Messiah contained in such passages as Deut. xviii. 15-18, and which constituted the spirit of prophecy. The only direct statement in the Qurán giving the very words of prophecy is found in chap. lxi. 6, where the allusion is to the Paraclete. In either case the prophet of Arabia made a serious mistake. The desperation of his followers to find the prophecres of the Bible relating to him is manifested at one time by their attempts to disprove the genuineness of the same, at another time by their endeavours to show that Deut, xviii. 15-18, John xiv. 16, 26, and xvi. 13, &c., really refer to their prophet. For a specimen of the latter the reader is referred to Essays on the Life of Mohammad by Sayd Ahmad Khan, Bahadur, C.S.I.


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.


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.

Whosoever . . . any other religion. Islám is here contemplated by the prophet as equivalent, or rather as identical with, the true religion of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. Were Islám so identified with the one true religion of God, then all might assent to the statement of the text; but as a matter of fact there never was any such recognition of Judaism or Christianity in practice among Muslims. They have never been the preservers of the Scriptures herein attested as the Word of God; and any man preferring either religion to Islám is thereby stigmatised as an infidel.


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.


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.


Alms. See notes on chap. ii. 42, and Prelim. Disc., p. 172.


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.

“This exposition seems to be taken from the children of Israel’s not eating of the sinew on the hollow of the thigh, because the angel with whom Jacob wrestled at Peniel touched the hollow of his thigh in the sinew that shrank (Gen. xxxii. 32).”

Bring hither the Pentateuch and read it. This is a clear acknowledgment that the Pentateuch, which the Qurán attests as the Word of God, was in the possession of the Jews in the time of Muhammad. Yet, while the Prophet was ever ready to challenge Jews and Christians to bring their Scriptures that he might therewith prove to them his apostleship, it is a remarkable fact that he never permitted his own followers to read or hear those Scriptures. The Mishqát-ul-Masábih (Book i. chap. vi. part 2, Matthews’ translation, vol. i. p. 53) contains the following tradition, on the authority of Jábir:—“Jábir said, Verily Omar Ibn-al-Ḳhattáb brought a copy of the Pentateuch to the Prophet, and said, ‘This is a copy of the Pentateuch.’ Muhammad was silent, and Omar was very near reading part of it, and the face of the Prophet changed; when Abu Baqr said: ‘Your mother weeps for you. Do you not look on the Prophet’s face?’ Then Omar looked and said, ‘God protect me from the anger of God and his Prophet. I am satisfied with this, that God is my cherisher, and Islám my religion, and Muhammad my prophet.’ Then Muhammad said, ‘If Moses were alive and found my prophecy, he would follow me.’ ”

Matthews gives another tradition of similar import in vol. i. p. 50. A remarkable tradition, on the authority of Abu Huráirah, states that the Jews and Christians had translated the Scriptures from the Hebrew, for the benefit of “the people of Islám.” It is as follows:—“Abu Huráirah said there were people of the book who read the Bible in Hebrew and translated it into Arabic for the people of Islám. And the Prophet said, ‘Do not consider them liars or tellers of truth; but say to them. We believe in God and that which is sent to us, and what was sent to Moses and Jesus.’ ”—Mishqát-ul-Masábih, book i. chap. vi. part 1.

From these traditions it is quite clear that Muhammad was not sincere in his claim that the former Scriptures testified concerning his apostleship. Had he been sincere, how very easy it would have been to confirm the faith of his own disciples as well as to convince all sincere Jews and Christians that he was the prophet of God foretold by Moses and Jesus! Instead of this, however, he forbade his disciples investigating this matter for themselves, even in his presence; and when Jews and Christians declared what was written in their Scriptures, he charged them with dishonesty in translation. Controversy from the Jewish or Christian standpoint was, therefore, quite out of the question.


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.


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.


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.”

The place of Abraham. See note on chap. ii. 125; also Rodwell in loco.

Those who are able. “According to an exposition of this passage attributed to Muhammad, he is supposed to be able to perform the pilgrimage who can supply himself with provisions for the journey and a beast to ride upon. Al Sháfa’í has decided that those who have money enough, if they cannot go themselves, must hire some other to go in their room. Málik Ibn Ans thinks he is to be reckoned able who is strong and healthy, and can bear the fatigue of the journey on foot, if he has no beast to ride, and can also earn his living by the way. But Abu Hanífah is of opinion that both money sufficient and health of body are requisite to make the pilgrimage a duty.”—Sale, Baidháwi.


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).


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.

The incident here related shows the powerful influence Muhammad had acquired over these fiery young men. Spirits aroused to a frenzy of excitement are calmed in a moment by the presence of the prophet and the voice of the oracle giving expression to the words of this verse.


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.


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.

Since ye were enemies. The tribes of Aus and Ḳhazraj are here reminded of what Islám had done for them.


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.


They who are divided, i.e., Jews and Christians. Nevertheless Muslims are as thoroughly divided in matters of religion as ever Christians were.


Faces . . . white . . . and black. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 149, 150.


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.


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.

There are believers. “As Abdullah Ibn Salám and his companions, and those of the tribes of al Aus and al Ḳhazraj, who had embraced Muhammadanism.”—Sale.


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.


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.”


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.

Night-season. Night devotions, especially those performed between midnight and morning, are regarded as peculiarly meritorious. See Mishqát ul Masábíh, book iv. chap. xxxvi.


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.


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.


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.

Their haired. See the suspicious fears of Muhammad illustrated by his treatment of the Bam Nadhír in Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. pp. 209. 210.


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.

Ye believe in all the Scriptures. This is no doubt what Muhammad intended they should do, but in the sense of simply acknowledging them to be the Word of God, and not in the sense that they should read them or hear them read (see note on ver. 93). This is the practice of Muslims still, showing how well they understand their prophet. They profess to accept the Pentateuch, Psalms, and Gospels as the Word of God, but the moment these are produced and made to testify against Islám, they declare they have been corrupted. All arguments are set aside by the claim that whatever is in accord with Islám is true, and whatever is not in accord therewith is either false, or, if true, abrogated.


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.

Muir gives a wonderfully vivid description of the crisis through which Muhammad was called to pass after the defeat at Ohod. “The scoffs and taunts of infidels and Jews well-nigh overthrew the faith of the Muslims. ‘How can Mahomet pretend now,’ they asked, ‘to be anything more than an aspirant to the kingly office? No true claimant of the prophetic dignity hath ever been beaten in the field, or suffered loss in his own person and that of his followers, as he hath.’ Under these circumstances it required all the address of Mahomet to avert the dangerous imputation, sustain the credit of his cause, and reanimate his followers. This he did mainly by means of that portion of the Qurán which appears in the latter half of the third Sura.”—Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 189.

Students of the Qurán will not fail to notice here that every device of the Prophet to encourage his crestfallen people is clothed in the garb of inspiration. Every exhortation to steadfastness in the cause of Islám, every rebuke for unfaithfulness, every plaudit bestowed upon the brave, is presented as coming from the mouth of God.


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.

Muir expresses the belief that “the two companies” were the refugees and citizens. The flight was caused by their losing heart in the midst of the battle (Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 191, note).


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.


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.


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.

“The angels who assisted the Muhammadans at Badr rode, say the commentators, on black and white horses, and had on their heads white and yellow sashes, the ends of which hung down between their shoulders.”—Sale, Baidháwi.


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.

The commentators tell a story to the effect that when at the battle of Badr seventy Quraish fell into the hands of the Muslims as prisoners, Muhammad advised their summary execution, but the Muslims preferred to let them go on condition of a ransom price being paid. Muhammad yielded, but at the same time foretold that seventy Muslims would lose their lives in lieu of the seventy ransomed infidels. This prophecy was fulfilled in the defeat of Ohod.

This story was invented in order to cover up the disgrace of the ignominious defeat of the Muslims. This defeat was due to the disobedience of the followers of Muhammad (see note on ver. 122). This fact the prophet keeps in the background. The interests of Islám require that the Muslims should rather be encouraged than rebuked. They are therefore exhorted to trust God, and to look for certain victory in the future.


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.


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.


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.


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.


“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.

Forgive men. “The best kind of forgiveness is to pardon those who have injured you”—Tafsír-i-Raufi.


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.


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).


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.


See note, chap. ii. 2.


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.


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.

We cause these days. &c. The idea here is that God, by this reverse, intended to sift the true from the false among the number of those who professed themselves Muslims, and, so far as the slain were concerned, he desired to have them be martyrs. Thus comfort is bestowed upon the faithful, both for the disgrace of defeat and the loss of relatives in battle.


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.


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.

But retreated. The succeeding context justifies these words as necessary to fill in the ellipsis.


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.

Arnold holds (on the authority of an ancient writer, Al Kindy) that Muhammad had prophesied that he would rise from the dead within three days. He thinks this prophecy—carefully suppressed by Muslim writers, however—alone accounts for the conduct of Omar at Muhammad’s death, and that this alone explains why “Muhammad’s body was buried unwashed. without the burial linen, but with the red scarf around his waist which he had worn during his last illness” (Islám and Christianity, p. 351, note). Were the statement of Al Kindy well founded, we could still accept this verse as genuine, for it does not deny the possibility of Muhammad’s rising from the dead, but only implies that he would die. But, granting that Muhammad ever did prophesy his resurrection after three days, and that, according to the story of Al Kindy, the Muslims had waited three days for his resuscitation, how would the invention of this verse or the repetition of it if genuine—a verse which does not give a shadow of a hope of a resurrection in three days—account for the sudden acquiescence of the Muslims in the view of Abu Baqr that he was dead, and acquiesce at the same time in his conduct in having during these very three days assumed the authority of the caliphate? The fact is, that Omar was not looking for the resurrection of Muhammad, but he could not believe him dead; and, as Muir clearly points out, the power of these words to persuade the people “was solely due to their being at once recognised as a part of the Coran(Life of Mahomet, vol. i. Introd., p. xx., and vol. iv. p. 284, notes).

Will not hurt God, i.e., the cause of Islám will prosper in spite of the defection of unbelievers. Sale says, “It was reported in the battle of Ohod that Muhammad was slam: whereupon the idolaters cried out to his followers, ‘Since your prophet is slain, return to your ancient religion, and to your friends; if Muhammad had been a prophet he had not been slain.’ ”


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.

See also Prelim. Disc., p. 164.

The book. Rodwell tells us that the Rabbins teach a similar doctrine; see his note in loco. The Tafsír-i-Raufi says that this verse was revealed to incite the Muslims to acts of daring. Since the hour of death is fixed for every man, every one is immortal until that hour arrive.

Whoso chooseth. These words seem clearly to recognise the free agency of men, and the statement is the more remarkable, coming as it does immediately after another which clearly teaches the absolute predestination of all things. The meaning of the whole passage is, I think, that the hour of death is fixed. Whether in the battlefield or in the quiet of domestic surroundings, each man must die at the appointed hour. Those, therefore, who choose ease and freedom from danger in this life will be permitted to secure them, though they will not thereby avert death for a moment beyond the time written in the book, while those who choose martyrdom will yet live out their appointed time, and receive the martyr’s reward beside. It would be very easy to raise an objection to the Qurán on the ground of contradiction between the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will; but we consider this difficult ground for a Christian to take, for while there is a strong element of fatalism permeating Islám, it is no easy task to fasten that doctrine upon the Qurán without laying Christianity open to a counter charge from the Muslim side.


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.”


Forgive us our offences. This verse clearly disproves the popular doctrine that the prophets were sinless.


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.


“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.

Turn back on your heels, i.e., to relapse into idolatry.


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.

Associated with God. This formula, oft-repeated, expresses the Muslim idea of idolatry. It correctly describes it as bestowing upon the creature the worship belonging solely to the Creator.

No power should be translated no authority.


When ye destroyed them, &c., i.e., in the beginning of the battle at Ohod.

Were rebellious. “That is, till the bowmen, who were placed behind to prevent their being surrounded, seeing the enemy fly, quitted their post, contrary to Muhammad’s express orders, and dispersed themselves to seize the plunder; whereupon Khálid Ibn al Walíd perceiving their disorder, fell on their rear with the horse which he commanded, and turned the fortune of the day. It is related that though Abdullah Ibn Jubair, their captain, did all he could to make them keep their ranks, he had not ten that stayed with him out of the whole fifty.”—Sale, Baidháwi.

What ye desired, i.e., victory and spoils. This is a very characteristic confession, pointing to the motive that really inspired the courage of the Muslims. And yet throughout this discourse the prophet offers the rewards of piety to all who fought in the way of God, and declares that those who lost their lives received the crown of martyrdom. The purpose to plunder and destroy their enemies is sanctified by executing it in “the way of the Lord,” and in obedience to the command of the prophet. How far this permission to plunder comes short of confirming the former Scriptures may be seen by comparing therewith the regulations made by Moses, Joshua, and Samuel to check this disposition of all invaders (Num. xxxi., Josh. vi. and vii., and 1 Sam. xv.)


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.

The faithful = Muslims. Their conduct had been very unfaithful, but they were now pardoned—not because they had repented, for they were murmuring, and almost ready to apostatise, but because it was now politic to show clemency rather than severity. See ver. 160.


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.

Rodwell’s translation is much more graphic: When ye came up theheight, and took no heed of any one, while the prophet in your rear was calling to the fight.

Therefore God rewarded, &c., i.e., “God punished your avarice and disobedience by suffering you to be beaten by your enemies, and to be discouraged by the report of your prophet’s death, that ye might be inured to patience under adverse fortune, and not repine at any loss or disappointment for the future.”—Sale.


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.

We had not been slain. The meaning is that they considered God to be against them because they had not secured any gain in the battle. Theytherefore said to themselves or one to another, “If God had assisted us according to his promise;” or, as others interpret the words, “If we had taken the advice of Abdullah Ibn Ubai Sulúl, and had kept within the town of Madína, our companions had not lost their lives.”—Sale, Jaláluddín.

Answer, if ye had been in your houses. See note on ver. 145. The teaching of this verse is decidedly fatalistic, and, taking it by itself, the only conclusion one could logically draw would be that Muhammad was a fatalist. But there are many passages asserting the freedom of the will. We regard Muhammad as having been strongly inclined to fatalism, owing to the emphasis which i.e. laid upon the doctrine of God’s absolute sovereignty. But being a man, his own consciousness of freedom asserted itself, and so he was saved from that “belief in an absolute predestination, which turns men into mere puppets, and all human life into a grim game of chess, wherein men are the pieces, moved by the invisible hand of but a single player, and which is now so general in Muhammadan countries” (R. B. Smith’s Muhammad and Muhammadanism, pp. 191, 192.) And yet, while believing Muhammad much less a fatalist than his disciples, whose wild fanaticism is described so eloquently by Gibbon, yet we can by no means go the length of saying with Mr. Smith, that “there is little doubt that Muhammad himself, if the alternative had been clearly presented to him, would have had more in common with Pelagius than with Augustine, with Arminius than with Calvin.” Muhammad was not a “consistent fatalist”—no man ever was. Yet, notwithstanding his having “made prayer one of the four practical duties enjoined upon the faithful,” and his constant use of language freely asserting the freedom of the will, there is such a multitude of passages in the Qurán which clearly make God the author of sin (chap. vii. 155, 179, 180; xv. 39-43; xvi. 95; xvii. 14-16, &c.). so many which assert the doctrine of absolute predestination, and all this so constantly confirmed by tradition, that the conclusion is irresistibly forced upon us that Muhammad is responsible for the fatalism of Islám.


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.”


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.


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.

Let it be observed that all these mild words and expressions of forgiveness are set forth as coming from the mouth of God, and yet the same Divinity commends the mildness of the Prophet! Surely there is more of the politician than of the prophet here.


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.”

The Tafsír-i-Raufi says the passage was occasioned by certain of the companions desiring a larger share of the booty than their weaker brethren. God here signifies that all are to be treated alike, and that partiality in the division of booty would be dishonest. This passage is regarded as vindicating the prophet from every charge of dishonesty.

He who defraudeth shall bring, &c. “According to a tradition of Muhammad, whoever cheateth another will, on the day of judgment, carry his fraudulent purchase publicly on his neck.”—Sale.


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.


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.

Purify them, i.e., from idolatry and evil customs, such as infanticide, &c.

And wisdom. Baidháwi understands this expression to refer to the Sunnat, or Book of Traditions.


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.

God is almighty, i.e., he could not suffer defeat, wherefore your reverse has been a punishment for your disobedience.


That he mightknow the ungodly. See note on ver. 142.

If we had known, &c. “That is, if we had conceived the least hope of success when ye marched out of Madína to encounter the infidels, and had not known that ye went rather to certain destruction than to battle, we had gone with you. But this Muhammad here tells them was only a feigned excuse; the true reason of their staying behind being their want of faith and firmness in their religion.”—Sale, Baidháwi.

Rodwell translates this phrase, Had we known how to fight. This agrees with the various translations in Persian and Urdú. The meaning is, that the hypocrites feigned not to have known the Muslims were going out to fight. To this Muhammad replies in the remainder of the verse by telling them plainly that they lied.


This verse gives the reason for the charge against the hypocrites in the previous verse. They are judged out of their own mouths.

Keep back death. See notes on vers. 145 and 155.


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.


Those who, coming after them, i.e., who are yet destined to suffer martyrdom.


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

Muir, in his Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 222, refers this passage to Muhammad’s advance against Abu Sufián as far as Badr. The first story of the commentators given by Sale seems to be borne out by the statement, “They who hearkened unto God and his apostle after a wound had befallen them.” The following verse applies better to the second story. It is possible that two distinct revelations have been here blended together by the compilersof the Qurán.


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.

Muir says Muhammad went forth with a force of 1500 men (Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 221).


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.


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.


Who . . . hasten unto infidelity, i.e., the hypocrites of Madína, who professing themselves Muslims, talked like infidels (Abdul Qádir).


See note on chap. ii. 211.


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.

A hidden secret. The author of the notes on the Roman Urdú Qurán thinks that Muhammad here disclaims all knowledge of the “hidden” things revealed to the chosen apostles of God. But the Tafsír-i-Raufi says the very reverse is the meaning of this passage. Muhammad here numbers himself among the chosen apostles, to whom God is pleased to make known the “hidden secrets” of his purpose. God does not, however, reveal secret things to hypocrites.

Believe . . . in God and his apostles. The use of the plural here shows that the revelations of God’s hidden purposes made to apostles other than Muhammad were to be accepted by the Muslims. There were then genuine and credible scriptures, containing these revelations, in the hands of the contemporaries of Muhammad.


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.


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.

Thy slaughter . . . of the prophets. See note on ver. 112.


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).

“The Arabian Jews seem to have drawn a general consequence from some particular instances of this miracle in the Old Testament (Lev. ix. 24, &c.), and the Jews at this day say that first the fire which fell from heaven on the altar of the tabernacle (Lev. ix. 24), after the consecration of Aaron and his sons, and afterwards that which descended on the altar of Solomon’s Temple at the dedication of that structure (2 Chron. vii. 1), was fed and constantly maintained there by the priests, both day and night, without being suffered once to go out, till it was extinguished, as some think, in the reign of Manasses (Talmud Zebachim, chap. vi.), but, according to the more received opinion, when the Temple was destroyed by the Chaldeans. Several Christians have given credit to this assertion of the Jews, with what reason I shall not here inquire: and the Jews, in consequence of this notion, might probably expect that a prophet who came to restore God’s true religion should rekindle for them this heavenly fire, which they have not been favoured with since the Babylonish captivity.”—Sale.

There are a number of passages showing how Muhammad was challenged to work miracles in attestation of his prophetic claim, e.g., chap. ii. 118, 119, vi. 34-36 and 109-111, x. 21, xvii. 92-95, xx. 134, &c. In every one of these passages the reply of Muhammad clearly indicates that he did not claim the power to work miracles. This matter is very clearly set forth in Prideaux’s Life of Mahomet, 8th edition, p. 25, to which the reader is referred. I would also refer the reader to R. Bosworth Smith’s Muhammad and Muhammadanism, 2d edition, pp. 185-191.

Why therefore have ye slain them, i.e., the former prophets wrought miracles and ye slew them; wherefore should I gratify your desire and cause fire to come down from heaven; would ye believe? Sale says, “Among these the commentators reckon Zacharias and John the Baptist!”


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.


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.

Shall be admitted into paradise, i.e., at the resurrection. For the state of the dead between death and the resurrection, see Prelim. Disc., pp. 127-138.


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.


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.

Let it again be observed that the charge of corruption is not laid upon the volume of Scriptures extant in the days of Muhammad, but against the living interpreters of those Scriptures.

Woful is the price. “Whoever concealeth the knowledge which God has given him,” says Muhammad, “God shall put on him a bridle of fire on the day of resurrection.”—Sale.


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.


This verse belongs to the Makkan revelations. Comp. chap. ii. 165.


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.

This passage describes the character of those mentioned in the previous verse.


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.

And expiate. The word used here is kaffara, which is the cognate of the Hebrew כָכַּר, to cover, to expiate. While, however, the language suggests atonement by sacrifice (and the idea was not foreign to Muhammad’s mind, for he offered sacrifices himself), yet in his teaching he everywhere as studiously denied the doctrine of salvation by atonement as he did the doctrine of the divinity of Christ. And yet he had the daring to appeal to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures as bearing witness to his prophetic pretensions, and to claim for his Qurán the excellency that it attested the doctrines of all the prophets.

It cannot be claimed for Muhammad that he was ignorant of Jewish belief and practice in respect to atoning sacrifices, for during his first year’s residence at Madína “Mahomet kept the great day of atonement, with its sacrifices of victims, in conformity with the practice of the Jews; and had he continued on a friendly footing with them, he would probably have maintained this rite.”—Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 51. According to this author, Muhammad abandoned this Jewish rite in the second year of the Hijra, owing to his failure to win the Jews over to his cause. He then offered sacrifices himself. The following is the story of this transaction:—“After a service resembling that on the breaking of the fast, two fatted sucking kids with budding horns were placed before the prophet. Seizing a knife, he sacrificed one with his own hand, saying, ‘O Lord! I sacrifice this for my whole people; all those that bear testimony to thy unity and to my mission.’ Then he called for the other, and slaying it likewise, said, ‘O Lord! this is for Mahomet, and for the family of Mahomet.’ Of the latter kid both he and his family partook, and what was over he gave to the poor. The double sacrifice seems in its main features to have been founded on the practice of the Jewish priest at the Feast of the Atonement, when he sacrificed ‘first for his own sins, and then for the people’s’ (Heb. vii. 27). This ceremony was repeated by Mahomet every year of his residence at Medina, and it was kept up there after his decease.”—Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. pp. 52, 53.

In answer to the question why Muhammad should have ignored the doctrine of salvation by atonement, there is available no definite reply. It was, however, probably due to a variety of reasons. First, such a doctrine would contradict Muhammad’s idea of a sovereign God. Such being the case, his conformity to Jewish and Arab practice was simply a matter of policy. Or again, we may well believe that the opposition by the Jews estranged him from everything distinctively Jewish. To accept the doctrine of the divinity of Christ would not only have seemed to militate against his idea of God’s unity, but also would logically have led to a rejection of his prophetic claim. In like manner, the adoption of the doctrine of atoning sacrifices as necessary to salvation would not only have contradicted Muhammad’s notion of God’s sovereignty, but would logically have led to his adopting Judaism or Christianity as his religion, either of which conclusions would have rendered him unpopular with the Arabs, who, since the break with the Jews, had been constituted his chosen people. Either of these reasons would satisfactorily account for the fact that the doctrine of atonement as necessary to salvation is wanting in the teaching of Muhammad. When, however, he represents his own doctrine as that of all former prophets, and when, in all his allusions to the teaching of these prophets, he uniformly ignores the doctrine of salvation by atonement, we cannot but believe he did so deliberately. This is the rock upon which the cause of Islám falls, only to be dashed in pieces. The signal failure of the Qurán to attest this central doctrine of both the Old and New Testament Scriptures proves the Qurán, on its own testimony, to be a forgery, and Muhammad to be an impostor.


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.

The one of you, &c., i.e., the one is born of the other. Rodwell translates “the one of you is the issue of the other.” The teaching of the passage is that all, whether male or female, will be rewarded according to their works. Women are not by any means excluded from the blessings of Islám, and they have formed by no means the least devoted followers of Muhammad.

Verily I will expiate, &c. The word used here for expiate is the same as that used in ver. 194 (see note there). The idea attached to it here is that of removal.

Gardens watered by rivers. The imagery of paradise is coloured by Arab ideas of beauty and pleasure. Heaven is likened to a beautiful oasis carpeted in green, with its sparkling fountains, limpid streams, shady trees, and delicious fruits. On the question as to whether these earthly surroundings are to be understood in a literal or figurative sense, see note on ver. 15.


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).


See notes on ver. 196.

For what is with God, &c. This passage, vers. 196-198, is said to have been revealed to comfort the Muslims, who, being in poverty and want, were surrounded by prosperous enemies.


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.

See also verse 113, and note there.

God is swift, &c. See chap. ii. 201.


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.


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.

From them two, &c. The unity of the human race is here distinctly declared. All men are of “one blood.”

And respect women. The word translated women (in the Arabic, wombs) is the object of the verb fear. Palmer translates, “Fear God, in whose name ye beg of one another, and the wombs.” Sale, however, expresses the meaning by inserting the word respect.


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.


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.

The connection of this verse with the preceding is undoubted, and that connection is close. How the explanation of the commentators would remove the fear of acting unjustly with orphans of the female sex, I cannot see. Surely marrying two, or three, or four other women would hardly produce a moral change in a man who feared he could not act justly in the matter of a sacred trust. I therefore venture to suggest that Muhammad here advises his followers to marry their orphan wards, and so, by fixing upon them a lawful dowry and exalting them to the position of lawful wives, avoid the evil of committing a breach of trust or an act of immorality. This view seems to me to be required by the preceding context. The word other, inserted by Sale and others before women, is not required. The Muslim may marry of women such as are pleasing to him, two, three, or four, whether his orphan wards or not.

Two, or three, or four. Literally, two and two, three and three, and four and four. The meaning is, that each might have two, or three, or four lawful wives. See Prelim. Disc., p. 206. Muhammad did not bind himself by this law. See chap. xxxiii. 49.

The statement of Mír Aulád Ali, professor of Oriental languages at Trimty College, Dublin, “that Muhammad had not enjoined polygamy,” but only permitted it, quoted by Mr. R. Bosworth Smith (Mohammed and Mohammedanism, p. 144, note), is hardly borne out by this passage. Nor is such a statement borne out by the example of the Prophet. Nor is Mr. Smith’s plea, that this permission may be placed in the same catagory as slavery not forbidden in the Bible, at all justified by the facts. Slavery is contrary to the whole spirit of the Bible, while polygamy is in accord with the whole spirit of the Qurán. Even the heaven of Islám is to witness the perpetuation of almost unlimited polygamy (see chaps. lv. and lvi.) The attempt to apologise for the polygamy of Islám, when made by Europeans, indicates either prejudice or a want of information on the part of the writer; when made by a few “enlightened Orientals,” it indicates their desire to cover up what they, by an English education and by mingling in Christian society, have learned to be thoroughly ashamed of.

One only, or the slaves. Were the requirements of this rule strictly observed, there would be no polygamy in practice, for the simple reason that the impartial treatment of two or more wives is with man an impossibility. Muhammad did not fulfil this his own precept, as his marked preference, now for the Coptic Mary and again for the sprightly Ayesha, clearly shows.

But whilst polygamy would be impracticable, the floodgates of vice would be, and now are, opened wide by the permission to add to the one wife any number of slave girls. Those who quote this passage to show that Muhammad restricted polygamy and that monogamy is entirely in accord with Muhammadanism, fail to quote the words, “or the slaves which ye shall have acquired.” The whole force of the restriction is evaporated by these words. There is absolutely no restriction in this direction. The number of concubines may be as great as any Osmánli could desire, and yet it receives the sanction of the Qurán.

Instead, therefore, of any “strong moral sentiment” being aroused by these laws, by which Muhammad “has succeeded, down to this very day, and to a greater extent than has ever been the case elsewhere, in freeing Muhammadan countries from those professional outcasts who live by their own misery,”* the very reverse is true. No countries under heaven present such a cesspool of seething corruption and sensuality as those ruled over by the Muslims. To be sure, the form under which it appears is different, but the fact, no man acquainted with the state of things in Muslim harems, can honestly deny. The distrust which Muslims show towards their own wives and daughters testifies to the low state of morality among them. “It is the Moslim theory that women can never, in any time, place, or circumstances, be trusted; they must be watched, veiled, suspected, secluded.” “In these days, when so much has been written about the high ethical tone of Islám, we shall speak plainly on this subject, unpleasant though it is. We would reiterate the position already taken, that polygamy has not diminished licentiousness among the Mohammedans. The sin of Sodom is so common among them as to make them in many places objects of dread to their neighbours. The burning denunciations of the Apostle Paul in the first chapter of Romans, vers. 24 and 27, are applicable to tens of thousands in Mohammedan lands to-day.” “In the city of Hamath, in Northern Syria, the Christian population, even to this day, are afraid to allow their boys from ten to fourteen years of age to appear in the streets after sunset, lest they be carried off by the Moslems as victims of the horrible practice of Sodomy. Mohammadan pashas surround themselves with fair-faced boys, nominally scribes and pages, when in reality their object is of entirely another character.” This, and much more, is told by Dr Henry H. Jessup in his book entitled The Mohammedan Missionary Problem, pp. 46-48.

In India the case may not be as bad as it is in Turkey, but I think we can fairly agree with the Rev. J. Vaughan, who says:—“However the phenomenon may be accounted for, we, after mixing with Hindoos and Mussulmans for nineteen years back, have no hesitation in saying that the latter are, as a whole, some degrees lower in the social and moral scale than the former.” Nor have we any hesitation in saying that the law here recorded, permitting as many as four lawful wives and any number of slave women besides, with whom even the form of a marriage is in no way necessary to legalise cohabitation, is responsible in large measure for this state of things. It is one of the darkest of the many spots which mar the pages of the Qurán.

Or the slaves. It is not even necessary that a Muslim have even one lawful wife. Should he feel it difficult to be impartial toward many wives, he may take his slave girls, whom he may treat as he please, and so avoid the responsibility of providing a dowry for even one wife!

Give women their dowry. The lawful and required amount of dowry is ten dirhams, but it may be fixed at any amount to which the contracting parties agree. See chap. ii. 229. note.

If they voluntarily remit, &c. A woman may legally insist upon the payment of the “lawful dowry,” or that agreed upon by contract, in case she be divorced, unless she voluntarily remits it in part or altogether. In every case of dispute such remission must be proved by competent witnesses or by legal documents.


R. B. Smith’s Mohammed and Mohammedanism, p. 242.


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.


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.

The age of marriage. “Or age of maturity, which is generally reckoned to be fifteen; a decision supported by a tradition of their prophet; though Abu Hanífah thinks eighteen the proper age.”—Sale, Baidháwi.

Waste it not . . . hastily, i.e., when ye see them growing up rapidly to years of discretion, do not hasten to expend the orphan’s inheritance, seeing it is soon to pass from your hands.”—Tafsír-i-Raufi.

What shall be reasonable. “That is, no more than what shall make sufficient recompense for the trouble of their education.”—Sale, Baidháwi.

Call witnesses, to prevent future dispute and trouble.


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.

Complaints were first made against this old Arab custom by Omm Kuha, in consequence of which this passage was revealed.—Tafsír-i-Raufi.

The importance of this reform cannot be overrated. Previous to this, women and helpless children might be disinherited by the adult male heirs, and thus be reduced to absolute penury, for no fault but that of being widows and orphans.


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.


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.

No doubt Muhammad had learned the substance of this revelation by his own experience as an orphan. Certainly the anxiety he exhibited to alleviate the sad condition of such is most praiseworthy. His terrible curses against the oppressors of such (see next verse) evince the earnestness of his purpose to reform this abuse.


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.

See also Prelim. Disc., p. 212.

Above two, or only two (Tafsír-i-Raufi). The two-third share of the property must be shared equally by the daughters being the sole heirs.

One, she shall have the half. “And the remaining third part, or the remaining moiety of the estate, which is not here expressly disposed of, if the deceased leaves behind him no son, nor a father, goes to the public treasury. It must be observed that Mr. Selden is certainly mistaken when, in explaining this passage of the Qurán, he says, that where there is a son and an only daughter, each of them will have a moiety: for the daughter can have a moiety but in one case only, that is, where there is no son; for if there be a son, she can have but a third, according to the above-mentioned rule.”—Sale.

If he have a child = a son. It is implied that the parents would receive the same were the child a daughter. But of the remaining two-thirds, while the son would get the whole, a daughter would only get three-sixths or one-half of the whole estate. See note above.

His mother . . . the third, i.e., half as much as her husband (the father), a man being entitled to the share of two women.

In the case where there are brethren, the mother receives a sixth only. The remainder to be divided between his brethren and his father, if living. The father would receive a sixth of the whole, the remaining two-thirds of the estate being divided equally between the brothers. If he have sisters as well as brothers, we would infer from the following verse that they would share equally with the brothers.

The legacies. Those given for charitable purposes. According to Muhammadan law in India, a man cannot, by a will, devote more than one-third of his property in charity.

Your parents or your children. The meaning seems to be that parents and children are equally near related to the deceased. From this the inference is drawn that the brothers of the deceased can only be regarded as lawful heirs in case the father be deceased also. When living, the parents are the sole heirs, except where there be children. See Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco.


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.

Where there is no issue, the part remaining after the husband’s or wife’s share has been paid goes to more distant relatives or to the public treasury.

A distant relation. “For this may happen by contract, or on some other special occasion.”—Sale.

The words in Arabic indicate a man who has neither parents nor children, and must therefore bequeath his property to more distant relatives.

Each of them. “Here, and in the next case, the brother and sister are made equal sharers, which is an exception to the general rule of giving a male twice as much as a female; and the reason is said to be, because of the smallness of the portions, which deserve not such exactness of distribution; for in other cases the rule holds between brother and sister, as well as other relations.”—Sale.

The case of parents receiving each a sixth when there is a child is also an exception. See note, ver. 10.

Without prejudice to the heirs, i.e., the distant relatives mentioned above. Abdul Qádir, commenting on this passage, says: “This relates to the inheritance of brothers and sisters, who have no claims so long as there be father or son alive. Should there be neither father nor son, then the brothers and sisters become heirs. There are three classes of these:—First, brothers and sisters by the same wife; secondly, by different wives; and thirdly, by different fathers. The inheritance belonging to these three classes is as follows:—If there be a single heir, he or she will receive a sixth part of the property; if more than one, then one-third of the property will be divided among them, no distinction being made between men and women. The first and second classes mentioned above rank as members of the deceased person’s family when there is left to him neither father nor son. First the brothers by the same mother are heirs. If there be none such, then the brothers by a different mother. It is only in case there be no heirs of these classes that those of class third become heirs.

“This passage also declares that bequests for charitable purposes have the precedence, provided no injustice be done to the heirs. This may take place in two ways: either by deceased’s having bequeathed in charity more than one-third of his property—he may not give in charity more than one-third of his property; or injustice may be done the heirs by willing to some one of the heirs more than his lawful share, through partiality. Such increased bequest, beyond a third of the property, or partial bestowal of property beyond the legal share, can only become legal by the consent of the heirs at the time of bequest.

“These five classes of heirs (children, parents, widower, widow, and brothers and sisters) all have fixed portions or fractional parts of the inheritance. Besides these, there are other heirs, called Usbah (distant relations), who have not portions. If there be no heirs having portions, then the usbah receive the whole property. But if there be both heirs with portions and usbah, then the latter receive what remains after the former have had their portions. An usbah must be a male, not a female, nor even a male connected on the mother’s side only (i.e., having no relationship by blood with the father’s side: These are of four degrees: First, son and grandson; second, father and grandfather (on father’s side); third, brothers and nephews (on father’s side); fourth, uncle (father’s elder brother), his son, and his grandson (these all rank alike). If there be several persons having claims, that one has the precedence who is nearest related to the deceased, e.g., a son has the precedence of a grandson, a brother of a nephew, the brother of a step-brother, &c.

“Finally, among the children and brothers and sisters of the deceased, women have a portion, but among the usbah they have no claim. Should there be no heir of the kind already enumerated, then the ziwilrihm or relations by the ‘female’ (literally, woman) side, and who have no portion, become heirs, e.g., a daughter’s son, a maternal grandfather, a sister’s son, a mother’s brother, a maternal aunt, a father’s sister, and their children, reckoned as in the case of the usbah.


Whoredom. Either fornication or adultery.

Imprison in apartments, i.e., they were to be built into a wall, and be left there until they were dead.

Or God afford, &c. “Their punishment in the beginning of Muhammadanism was to be immured till they died, but afterwards this cruel doom was mitigated, and they might avoid it by undergoing the punishment ordained in its stead by the Sunnat, according to which the maidens are to be scourged with a hundred stripes, and to be banished for a full year, and the married women to be stoned.”—Sale, Jaláluddín.

See also note, chap. iii. 23.


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.

Punish them both. “The original is, Do them some hurt or damage, by which some understand that they are only to reproach them in public, or strike them on the head with their slippers (a great indignity in the East), though some imagine they may be scourged.”—Sale, Baidhàwi, Jalàluddín.

The Tafsír-i-Raufi declares the punishment is to be inflicted with the tongue, by reproaches and admonitions; at most, they are to be smitten with the hand. Surely the partiality shown in the award of punishment to the sexes sufficiently indicates the slavish position of Muslim women. This law of Islám falls far short of attesting the former Scriptures.

(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.”

This view of this passage is not borne out by the last clause, “nor unto those who die in unbelief.” The passage, therefore, probably refers to hypocritical professors of Islám.


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.

This passage was occasioned, says the Tafsír-i-Raufi, by the wife of Abu Qáis, one of the companions, complaining to Muhammad against a son, who wished to treat her in accordance with the old custom.

Not hinder them. The allusion is to those who would hinder their father’s widows from marrying others, in order to retain the property in the family. Some, however, think the allusion to be to those who maltreated their wives, in order to make them relinquish the dowry fixed upon them at marriage. The language will very well bear this interpretation. Hindering would then mean imprisonment in some part of the house.

Unless they have been guilty, i.e., of disobedience or shameless conduct. This passage carefully guardsthe right of a husband to punish his wife for whatever he may fancy a fault in her.

A wife for another wife. See notes on chap. ii. 229.

A talent. A large dowry.

Will ye take it by slandering her? i.e., by giving out a false report of infidelity, in order to escape the necessity of forfeiting the dowry. See chap. ii. 229, note.


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.


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).


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.

Marriage, in the Muslim sense, is not required in the case of those who are held as slaves. Sale has used the word marry rather freely in his italicised phrases. It is not marriage that is here forbidden, but certain women, marriage being predicated only where, according to Muhammadan law, the ceremony is required.


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.

Any other arrangement. The amount of dowry may be increased or diminished at any time subsequent to marriage by the consent of the parties. A wife may remit the whole amount.


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.

Such . . . as are true believers. This is not the only passage antagonistic to Mr. R. Bosworth Smith’s statements (Muhammad and Muhammadanism, p. 243) that Muhammad “laid down the principle that the captive who embraced Islám should be ipso facto free.”

The Qurán provides not only for enslaving conquered infidels, thus justifying the cruellest war ever waged by Arab slave-traders in the heart of Africa, but it provides for their retention even when converted, and, although masters are forbidden to maltreat them, yet they are enjoined to sell them in case they are displeased with them. See Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. iv. p. 239. “As regards female slaves.” says the same author (vol. iii. p. 305) “under the thraldom of Mahometan masters, it is difficult to conceive more signal degradation of the human species; they are treated as an inferior class of beings. Equally restricted as if they had entered the marriage state, they are expressly excluded from any title to conjugal rights. They are purely at the disposal of their proprietors.” Here the learned author is compelled to stop, being unable to say more without offence to morality, adding, that “the reader must believe at second-hand that the whole system is vile and revolting.”

That system of slavery prevalent among the so-called Christian nations was utterly opposed to the clearest precepts of the Bible, and cannot be fairly compared with the system of slavery sanctioned by the Qurán, even granting the claim that the rigour of the latter is less than that of the former. The abolition of slavery by Christian nations was the natural result of obedience to the teaching of the Bible, applying in practice the doctrine of man’s common brotherhood, and the duty of loving our neighbour as ourselves. The abolition of slavery in Muslim states would be equivalent to the abrogation of a large part of the teaching of the Qurán. As a matter of fact, Muslim states never did anything voluntarily towards abolishing slavery, and we may safely predict that they never will. The social interest in slave women is too great, and too firmly rooted in the Qurán to permit it.

One from the other. “Being alike descended from Adam, and of the same faith.”—Sale, Baidháwi.

Such as are modest, &c.—These crimes would cause them to forfeit their dowry.

Half the punishment.—“The reason of this is because they are not presumed to have had so good education. A slave, therefore, in such a case, is to have fifty stripes, and to be banished for half a year; but she shall not be stoned, because it is a punishment which cannot be inflicted by halves.”—Sale, Baidháwi.

Who feareth to sin. Not merely by marrying free women when unable to support them or pay the dowry, but also by remaining unmarried.—Tafsír-i-Raufi.

If ye abstain, &c. “Because he could not marry a free woman and a slave” (Abdul Qádir), i.e., no free woman would consent to be co-wife with a slave, but he could easily divorce the slave wife, and so avoid the difficulty.

The Tafsír-i-Raufi says the reason why abstaining from marrying slaves is here recommended is because of the “stain of slavery which would belong to the children.”


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.”


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.

According to the Tafsír-i-Raufi, the allusion is to the Jews.


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.

God created man weak. This sentence indicates a low conception of morals, not to say of God’s holiness. Man’s immorality is excused on the ground that God made him liable to sins of incontinency. This doctrine plainly makes God the author of sin.


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.

Unless there be merchandising. The merchant’s calling receives the imprimatur of the Qurán. The faithful are encouraged to unite together for purposes of trade.

Neither slay yourselves. This is understood to forbid suicide, which the heathen were in the habit of committing in honour of the idols (Tafsír-i-Raufi); or it may be understood in a spiritual sense, as an exhortation to avoid all sin. The words may be translated slay not your souls (see Sale). Abdul Qádir understands the command to be not to slay one another.


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.


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.

Muhammad’s teaching must lead his followers to carelessness in regard to all sins except those regarded as kabíra. As a matter of fact, this is true. Lying, deception, anger, lust, &c., are all numbered among the smaller and lighter offences. All such sins will be forgiven if men only keep clear of the great sins. Such passages exhibit to the Christian the sad fact that Muhammad had no true conception of the nature of sin. Great sins and small sins alike spring from an evil heart. But Muhammad seems not to have ascribed any moral character to simple states of the heart; the sins here described are the doing of what is forbidden. The Christian regards all such sin as rebellion against God, but Muhammad conceived of only a portion of these as great, which, if forgiven, would predicate the forgiveness of the smaller crimes also.


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.

What they shall have gained, i.e., “What is gained by men in their warring for the faith and in other good works; by women, in their chaste behaviour, and in submission to the will of their husbands.”—Tafsír-i-Raufi in loco.


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.

Abdul Qádir says this law had relation to the circumstances which grew out of the “brotherhood” established by Muhammad soon after his arrival in Madína, whereby “each of the refugees selected one of the citizens as his brother. The bond was of the closest description, and involved not only a peculiar devotion to each other’s interests in the persons thus associated, but in case of the death it superseded the claims of blood, the ‘brother’ becoming exclusive heir to all the property of the deceased.”—Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 17.

The custom was abolished after the lapse of eighteen months. It has, therefore, no present application to Muslims.


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.

Careful to preserve their husband’s property and their own chastity.—Sale, Baidháwi.

Those whose perverseness, &c. Recreant wives are to be punished in three degrees: (1) They are to be rebuked, (2) if they remain rebellious, they are to be assigned separate apartments, and so be banished from the bed; and (3) they are to be beaten, but not so as to cause any permanent injury.—Abdul Qádir.

Seek not an occasion. Muslims are here warned not to use the authority here granted to the men to beat their wives as a means of tyrannising over them and of abusing them, being reminded that “God is high and great” above them. The difference between the home-life of the Christian and that of the Muslim cannot be more clearly indicated than by a comparison of this verse with Gen. ii. 24, Eph. v. 28, and 1 Pet. iii. 7.


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.


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.


That which God . . . hath given them, i.e., “wealth, knowledge, or any other talent whereby they may help their neighbour.”—Sale.


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.

God will not wrong, &c., i.e., “either by diminishing the recompense due to his good actions, or too severely punishing his sins. On the contrary, he will reward the former in the next life far above their deserts. The Arabic word dharra, which is translated an ant, signifies a very small sort of that insect, and is used to denote a thing that is exceeding small, as a mite.”—Sale.


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.


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.

See note on chap. ii. 218.

When polluted. Ordinarily ceremonial purity can only be had by performing ablutions in water. This verse provides for those who are so situated as to be unable to secure water. See Prelim. Disc., p. 167.


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.


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.]

“The passages in which ‘dislocation’ or ‘perversion’ is imputed are these: Sura ii. 75, v. 14, v. 47, iv. 43 The latter verse . . . well illustrates the meaning of tahríf, ordinarily but incorrectly translated interpolation; it signifies the perversion of a word or passage, by using it in a double or erroneous sense, or with a wrong contextual reference. The words Raina, &c., in the verse quoted (chap. ii. 103), are examples given by Mahomet himself. So with the passages of their Scriptures which the Jews wrested from their proper signification, as expressed in S. ii. 75, ‘they perverted them after they understood them.

“Next comes S. iii. 77. ‘They twist their tongues in (reading) the Book, that ye may think it is out of the Book, though it is not out of the Book; and they say it is from God, and it is not from God.’ Twisting their tongues is the same expression as in the verse above quoted, S. iv. 43. They read out passages which they pretended were from the Book, but were not (so Mahomet alleged); it was a deception of their tongues, not any corruption of their MSS.

“So also S. ii. 78. Here reference is evidently made to the ignorant Jews who copied out legends, traditions, or glosses from rabbinical books, and brought them forward as possessed of divine authority. Even if a more serious meaning were admitted, viz., that the same unscrupulous Jews copied out passages from the writings of their rabbins, &c., and brought them forward, pretending they were actual extracts from Scripture, the charge would indeed be one of fraud, but not by any means of corrupting the MSS. of the Old Testament.

“These are, I believe, the main passages alleged to contain evidence of corruption or interpolation, and even if they were capable of a more serious construction, which I believe them not to be, they must be construed in accordance with the general tenor of the Coran; and the very numerous passages, contemporary and subsequent, in which ‘the Book,’ as current in the neighbourhood and elsewhere, is spoken of as a genuine and authoritative record as containing the rule of faith and practice to be followed by Jews and Christians respectively, and as a divine record, belief in which is earnestly enjoined on the Moslems also. Assuredly such would not have been the language of Mahomet had he regarded either the Jewish or the Christian Scriptures as in any degree interpolated.

“The similitude of an ass laden with books, employed by Mahomet to describe the Jews in reference to their Scriptures (S. lxii. 5), exactly illustrates the point of his charge against them: they had indeed a precious charge in their possession, but they were ignorant of its value and use.”

See notes on chap. ii. 75-78, and chap. iii. 77.

Look upon us. “The original word is Râina, which, being a term of reproach in Hebrew, Muhammad forbade their using to him.”—Sale.

And regard us. “In Arabic undhurna, which, having no ill or equivocal meaning, he ordered them to use instead of the former.”—Sale.

Sale understands the “perverting of words” charged upon the Jews in this verse to be illustrated here. See also note on chap. ii. 103.


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.

Those who transgressed. See note on chap. ii. 64.


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.

To whom he pleaseth, i.e., to those who repent before death and accept of Islám. These he forgives not on the ground of their good works, nor on account of any atonement, but because he pleaseth.


Those who justify,i.e., the Christians and Jews, who called themselves the children of God, and his beloved people.”—Sale, Jaláluddín, Baidháwi.

A hair, literally a fibre in the cleft of a date-stone.


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.


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.

False gods and idols. This is better translated Jibt and Tághút, reference being had to certain idols bearing these names See chap. ii. 256, note.

The story of the commentators, given by Sale, alleging that the Jews actually worshipped idols at Makkah, is most likely a fabrication.


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.


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.

The family of Abraham, i.e., the children of Israel. Reference is to the Jews before their apostasy in rejecting Jesus. Compare with preceding verse. See note in chap. iii. 33


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.


To be broiled, &c. See note, chap. ii. 38.


Who believe and do, &c. See notes, chap. ii. 25 and 223, and chap. iii. 15, 31, and 196.


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.

If this account of this revelation be correct, it is certainly out of place here, sandwiched in between passages of an earlier date. We think the reference is general, and that the passage is a sort of introduction to what follows. Note that the sentiment of this verse is expressive of high moral principle.


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.

The doctrine that Muhammad was “free from sin in what he ordered to be done, and in what he prohibited, in all his words and acts,” for otherwise obedience to him would not be obedience to God, is based upon this verse among others (see The Faith of Islám, p. 12). But if so, the Aulai al Amri, or those in authority, must also be regarded as sinless and infallible!

The effort to establish the inspiration of the Ahadís or traditions of Islám on grounds like this requires not only inspired Imáms but also inspired Ráwis. But all admit that the latter were uninspired, wherefore the science of Muslim tradition is one of the most difficult as well as unsatisfactory departments of Muslim learning.


Those who pretend. The hypocrites.

Before Tághút. “That is, before the tribunals of infidels. This passage was occasioned by the following remarkable accident. A certain Jew having a dispute with a wicked Muhammadan, the latter appealed to the judgment of Qáb Ibn al Ashraf, the principal Jew, and the former to Muhammad. But at length they agreed to refer the matter to the Prophet singly, who giving it in favour of the Jew, the Muhammadan refused to acquiesce in his sentence, but would needs have it re-heard by Omar, afterwards Khalífah. When they came to him, the Jew told him that Muhammad had already decided the affair in his favour, but that the other would not submit to his determination; and the Muhammadan confessing this to be true, Omar bid them stay a little, and fetching his sword, struck off the obstinare Muslim’s head, saying aloud, ‘This is the reward of him who refuseth to submit to the judgment of God and his Apostle.’ And from this action Omar had the surname of al Farúk, which alludes both to his separating that knave’s head from his body, and to his distinguishing between truth and falsehood. The name of Tághút, therefore, in this place, seems to be given to Qáb Ibn al Ashraf.”—Sale, Baidháwi, Abdul Qádir.

This story does not fit in well with the passage it is intended to illustrate, and is probably tagged on here by the commentators, who seem to feel that every allusion of the Qurán must be historically explained. The passage simply refers to the disaffected citizens of Madína, some of whom pretended to be favourable to Muhammad’s cause when it was in their interest to do so (see ver. 60), and at other times showed too plainly their liking for the national idolatry, as is intimated in the next verse.


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.


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.


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.

See chap. ii. 53.


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.


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.

The passage beginning here and ending with verse 83 has for its object the incitement of the Muslims to fight for Islám. By counsel, by reproaches, by taunts, by threats, by exhortation, and by promises the Muslims are urged to fight for the religion of God.


Who tarrieth. The reference is to the hypocrites of Madína, particularly Ibn Ubáí and his companions (Tafsír-i-Raufi).


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.


See notes on chap. ii. 190-195, and chap. iii. 157 and 170.


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.

Bring us forth from this city. The city referred to here is Makkah. Muhammad pictures to his followers the forlorn condition of their brethren there as a motive to fight against the infidel Quraish. Weak helpless men, women, and children are crying to God for help and deliverance. Muhammad well knew how to fire the martial spirit of his countrymen.

“This petition, the commentators say, was heard. For God afforded several of them an opportunity and means of escaping, and delivered the rest at the taking of Makkah by Muhammad, who left Utáb Ibn Usaid governor of the city; and under his care and protection those who had suffered for their religion became the most considerable men in the place.”—Sale.


The religion of Tághút. See note, chap. ii. 256.


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.


Wherever ye be, &c. See notes on chap. iii. 155.


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.

The passage is, however, contradictory of chap. vii. 179, 180; xv. 39-43; xvi. 95; xvii. 14-16, &c.

God . . . is witness. The allusion is probably to the verses (ayát) of the Qurán as being self-evidently miraculous. The ordinary testimony of God to his prophecy, viz., prophecy and miracles, was wanting. Of course this statement is only applicable to the Qurán. Tradition has provided an abundant supply of both.


See note on ver. 67.


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.

In this verse Muhammad sets up the claim that the Qurán is from God because it is free from contradictions. But notwithstanding his own convenient doctrine of abrogation (note in chap. ii. 105), he has left sufficient ground upon which to refute his prophetic pretensions on the basis of this his own claim. Compare chap. ii. 256 with chap. iv. 88; chap. v. 73 with ver. 76 of the same chapter; chap. ii. 61 with chap. iii. 84, &c. In addition to this, there is the more important as well as more palpable contradiction between the doctrine of the Qurán and that of the former Scriptures, though the former distinctly professes to confirm the latter. See notes on chap. ii. 90; chap. iii. 2, 31, 39, and 94, &c.


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.

Ye had followed the devil. “That is, if God had not sent his Apostle with the Qurán to instruct you in your duty, ye had continued in idolatry and been doomed to destruction, except only those who, by God’s favour and their superior understanding, should have true notions of the divinity; such, for example, as Zaid Ibn Amru Ibn Nufail and Waraqa Ibn Naufal, who left idols and acknowledged but one God before the mission of Muhammad.”—Sale, Baidháwi.


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.

Perhaps God will restrain. This is said to have been fulfilled in the return of Abu Sufián, who had started on the second expedition to Badr. The character of this prophecy, if such were intended, is made sufficiently clear by reference to note on chap. iii. 175.


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.


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.

The salutation in Arabic is As salámo álaikum, and the reply should be wa álaikomussalám o rahmat ulláh, or if the address be As salám álaikum o rahmat ulláh, the reply should add wa barakátoh. This salutation is used only in addressing a Muslim. If addressed to a Muslim, he may only reply as above directed when he recognises in the speaker a Muslim. The use of it is, therefore, equivalent to a profession of Islám. It is the watchword of the Muslim.


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.

Whom God hath led astray, i.e., by eternally decreeing his course of evil, or by a righteous reprobation.


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.

No covenant of friendship was to be entered into with these, except in the case of those who became refugees, and of whose sincerity there could be no doubt. Should they afterwards apostatise, they were to be slain. This law was inexorably executed in all Muslim countries for over twelve hundred years. Death is still the penalty that may be legally inflicted on every convert from Islám to Christianity in every country not yet under Christian domination.


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.


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.

The history of Muslim wars with the Bani Quraidha and the Jews of Ḳhaibar illustrate how faithfully the fierce injunction of this verse was carried out.


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.

A believer from slavery, i.e., a slave who has professed Islám. The hope of freedom must have been a strong inducement to unbelieving slaves to profess the religion of their masters.

A fine, “which is to be distributed according to the law of inheritance given in the beginning of this chapter.”—Sale, Baidháwi. When, however, the deceased believer’s people are unbelievers, no fine is to be paid. The legal fine as the price of blood is one hundred camels, as follows:—Twenty males one year old, twenty females of one year, twenty of two years, twenty of three years, and twenty of four years old. If the slain person be a woman, the fine is half this sum. In the case of a slave, the price must be paid to the master. If the fine be paid in coin, then the blood price is one thousand dinars gold, or ten thousand dirhams in silver. Half this sum to be paid for a woman.

But if he be of a people in confederacy, &c. The same rule as to fine was applied to the case of a person slain, who, though not a Muslim, yet belonged to a tribe or nation with whom a treaty of peace had been formed.


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.


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.

With God is much spoil. The motive here was certainly suited to Arab minds: Don’t rob and murder Muslims for the sake of spoil, for God will give you the opportunity of spoiling many infidels. Muhammad did not scruple to pander to the worst passions of human nature in order to advance his political ends. Let it be remembered, however, this language does not purport to be Muhammad’s, but that of the only true God! See our note in Prelim. Disc., p. 118.


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.

The Makkan preacher declared that force was not to be used in religion, but the Madína politician promises the highest honours to those who spend life and property in warring for the faith. The prophet has now become a soldier and a general of armies. Like Jeroboam, Muhammad, having built his altars in Bethel and Dan, no longer hesitates to make any use of the holy name and religion of Jehovah which would seem to advance his political aspirations.


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.

The angels who slew these Muslims were of the three thousand who assisted the faithful (chap. iii. 13, note), but the angels who examined them were Munkir and Nakír, “two fierce-looking black angels with blue eyes, who visit every man in his grave and examine him with regard to his faith in God and Muhammmad.”—Sell’s Faith of Islám, p. 145.


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.

The purpose of this law is evident from the circumstances of the Prophet at the time of its enunciation. He needed the help of the faithful. All must therefore fly to Madína for refuge. When there, all must fight “in the way of God.”


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.

God will be obliged. Rodwell’s translation is better, “His reward from God is sure.”

(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.

We should like to know how the apologists for Muhammad would reconcile this practical use of inspiration to political ends with their dictum that he can no longer be regarded as an impostor.


Standing, sitting, &c. See note on chap. iii. 192.


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.


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.


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.


Who deceive one another. The friends of Tíma, who were importunate in their demands for favour to the Muslims.

A deceiver or unjust. “Al Baidháwi, as an instance of the divine justice, adds, that Tíma, after the fact above mentioned, fled to Makkah and returned to idolatry; and there, undermining the wall of a house in order to commit a robbery, the wall fell in upon him and crushed him to death.”—Sale.

Many other stories of a like nature have been related by the commentators. See Tafsír-i-Raufi under ver. 14.


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.

This verse and 108-114 refer to the case of Tíma and his associates. The whole passage shows how much superior the morality of Muhammad was to that of his Arab followers. Did he learn it from his Jewish converts?


Who . . . asketh pardon. See note on chap. ii. 199.


A part of them. The friends of Tíma alluded to above.


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.


God will not pardon, &c. See note on ver. 46.


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.

And only invoke rebellious Satan, i.e., when they pray to the idols. Muhammad everywhere recognises the personality of Satan as a being possessed of mighty power for evil, and he seems to have had a strong conviction of his own exposure to his influences. See chap. vi. 67, 112, xvi. 100, xix. 86, xx. 53, 54, cxiv. 1-6, &c.

Muir accounts for Muhammad’s apostasy and his belief in his inspiration, in part at least, by reference to direct Satanic influence (see his Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. chap. iii.) This theory, while scouted by Muslims and apologists for Islám, is decidedly the most satisfactory of any yet enunciated, and to a believer in the Word of God there should be no difficulty in accepting it. It accounts for the sincere efforts at reform inaugurated at Makkah when Muhammad seemed to be really a preacher of righteousness. It accounts for his fall, and for all the deception and iniquity practised by him in later years under the garb of religion, and by what he presumed to be divine right. It accounts for his deliberate imposture, while fancying himself directed by God, for it is not impossible for Satan to have, so to speak, reflected back upon the mind of Muhammad the devices of his own heart, and so by a revelation not only confirm his own views, but also lead him to fancy his every thought to be born of inspiration, so that he came practically to identify himself with God, though really identified with Satan! I think that something like this is absolutely necessary to account for Muhammad’s having, even in giving military orders, &c. (see vers. 100, 101), invariably spoken in the person as well as in the name of God.

I am aware of the reply of Mr. R. Bosworth Smith (in his Mohammed and Mohammedanism, p. 116, note), that “if the Spirit of Evil did suggest the idea to Mohammed, he never so completely outwitted himself, since friend and foe must alike admit that it was Mohammed’s firm belief in supernatural guidance that lay at the root of all he achieved.” But this is exactly what the Lying Spirit of false prophecy desires. Did Ahab’s prophet think that he spoke by the dictum of a lying spirit when he withstood the prophet of God before the kings of Israel and Judah?

Again, as to Muhammad’s achievements, we think Satan has no reason to believe he overstepped the matter in the accomplishment of these. What better achievement could he devise than the establishment of a religion which would destroy the souls of men by denying the atoning blood which alone can destroy his power? Idolatry is certainly his strong tower, but when monotheism can be made to serve the same end, his fortress is rendered doubly strong.


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.

A part cut off, “or a part destined or predetermined to be seduced by me.”—Sale.


Cut off the ears. This was an ancient Arab custom, whereby they marked the animals devoted to their idols.

They shall change God’s creature, i.e., they shall devote their property to the service of Satan by offering it to idols (Abdul Qádir). Baidháwi thinks the allusion is to the mutilation and disfigurement of the human body, e.g., marking their bodies with figures, by pricking and dying them with wood or indigo, sharpening their teeth by filing, by unnatural amours. &c. See Sale’s note.


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.

“Those who have received the Scriptures” must refer to false professors of the religion revealed in their Scriptures, else the passage contradicts the claim of the Qurán that Islám is the religion of the former Scriptures.


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.


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.”

God took Abraham for his friend. Compare 2 Kings xx. 7, Isa. xli. 8, and James ii. 23. “Muhammadans usually call that patriarch, as the Scripture also does. Khalíl Ullah, the friend of God, and simply al Khalíl; and they tell the following story:—That Abraham in a time of dearth sent to a friend of his in Egypt for a supply of corn; but the friend denied him, saying in his excuse, that though there was a famine in their country also, yet had it been for Abraham’s own family, he would have sent what he desired, but he knew he wanted it only to entertain his guests and give away to the poor, according to his usual hospitality. The servants whom Abraham had sent on this message, being ashamed to return empty, to conceal the matter from their neighbours, filled their sacks with the fine white sand, which in the East pretty much resembles meal. Abraham being informed by his servants, on their return, of their ill success, the concern he was under threw him into a sleep; and in the meantime Sarah, knowing nothing of what had happened, opening one of the sacks, found good flour in it and immediately set about making of bread. Abraham awaking and smelling the new bread, asked her whence she had the flour. ‘Why,’ says she, ‘from your friend in Egypt.’ ‘Nay,’ replied the patriarch, ‘it must have come from no other than my friend God Almighty.’ ”—Sale, Baidháwi, Jaláluddín, Yahya.


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.

God instructeth you, i.e., as in the earlier portion of the chapter.

Neither will ye marry them. “Or the words may be rendered in the affirmative, and whom ye desire to marry. For the pagan Arabs used to wrong their female orphans in both instances; obliging them to marry against their inclinations, if they were beautiful or rich; or else not suffering them to marry at all, that they might keep what belonged to them.”—Sale, Baidháwi.

Rodwell translates, “And whom ye refuse to marry.” See also note on ver. 3.

Weak infants. See notes on vers. 6 and 8.


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.

This verse, then, encourages wives to be reconciled to their husbands, by remitting some portion of their dower, or by granting them other wives, and thereby assuming the unenviable place of co-wife. On the other hand, it encourages the husbands to practise this kind of domestic oppression: “It shall be no crime in them if they agree” in this manner.

Souls are naturally inclined to covetousness. This is said to refer to Sauda, one of Muhammad’s wives, who besought him to marry her, that she might be amongst his wives at the resurrection! It would seem, however, rather to be intended to justify the covetousness of husbands referred to above.


Carry yourselves equally. See note on ver. 3.

Like one in suspense, “or like one that neither has a husband, nor is divorced, and at liberty to marry elsewhere.”—Sale.


God will satisfy them. They will have peace, or God will bless them with a better match.


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.

God is self-sufficient, i.e., needing the service of no creature.


Illustrative of God’s sovereign power and self-sufficiency.


Observe justice when ye bear witness. The duty of truthfulness in witness-bearing is clearly inculcated here.


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.

Abdul Qádir applies the passage to hypocritical professors of Islám. All such will die and suffer the penalty of infidelity.

The passage also teaches the reprobation of such hypocrites. They shall be given over to destruction, for they shall neither be pardoned nor directed.


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.

Sit not with them. Muslims are not allowed even to listen to the adverse criticisms of unbelievers, lest they should become like them. These scoffers were no doubt Jews, whose arguments were to the Muslims unanswerable. Anything like a fair investigation would have been disastrous to the cause of Islám. Ignorant bigotry has ever been its strongest defence.


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!


He will deceive them. This is a good illustration of the play upon words frequently met with in the Qurán. See chap. iii. 53.


The lowest bottom of hell fire. See Prelim. Disc., p. 148.


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.


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.


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).


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.

Show us God visibly. See notes on chap. ii. 54 and 62; comp. Exod. xxiv. 9, 10, and 11.

A storm of fire, &c. There is no truth in this statement, which is here given as so much inspired history. See note, chap. iii. 39.

They took the calf. Note on chap. ii. 50.


We lifted the mountain, &c. See note on chap. ii. 62 and 64.


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.


A grievous calumny. “By accusing her of fornication.”—Sale.

They slew him not. See notes on chap. iii. 53 and 54.

Who disagreed. “For some maintained that he was justly and really crucified; some insisted that it was not Jesus who suffered, but another who resembled him in the face, pretending the other parts of his body, by their unlikeness, plainly discovered the imposition; some said he was taken up into heaven; and others, that his manhood only suffered, and that his godhead ascended into heaven.”—Sale, Baidháwi.

They did not really kill him. But the former Scriptures teach the contrary. The death of Christ was foretold to take place at the first advent (Dan. ix. 24). Jesus himself, according to the gospel, often foretold his death, and afterwards refers to it as past; the same Scriptures testify to his death as an accomplished fact, and all gospel preaching for eighteen centuries has been based upon it. The historians, Jewish, Heathen, and Christian, attest the fact. In short, there is no fact of either history or revelation so certainly established as that which is here contradicted. This one passage is sufficient to refute Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet of God. And the Qurán, instead of attesting the former Scriptures, is found to attest a fiction of Christian heresy.


And there shall not be one of those, &c. “This passage is expoun