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ber; 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. And when he caused them to appear unto you, when ye met, to be few in your eyes;b 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. O true believers, when ye meet a party of the infidels, stand firm, and remember GOD frequently, that ye may prosper: 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. And be not as those who went out of their houses in an insolent manner, and to appear with ostentation unto men,d and turned aside from the way of GOD; for GOD comprehendeth that which they do. And remember when Satan prepared their works for them, and said, No man shall prevail against you to-day; 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. When the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts there was an z With which vision Mohammed acquainted his companions for their encouragement. Whether ye should attack the enemy or flee.

b It is said that Ebn Masúd asked the man who was next him, whether he did not see them to be about seventy; to which he replied that he took them to be a hundred.


This seeming contradictory to a passage in the third chapter, where it is said that the Moslems appeared to the infidels to be twice their own number, the commentators reconcile the matter, by telling us that just before the battle began, the prophet's party seemed fewer than they really were, to draw the enemy to an engagement; but that so soon as the armies were fully engaged, they appeared superior, to terrify and dismay their adversaries. It is related that Abu Jahl at first thought them so inconsiderable a handful, that he said one camel would be as much as they could all eat."

d These were the Meccans, who, marching to the assistance of the caravan, and being come as far as Johfa, were there met by a messenger from Abu Sofian, to acquaint them that he thought himself out of danger, and therefore they might return home; upon which Abu Jahl, to give the greater opinion of the courage of himself and his comrades, and of their readiness to assist their friends, swore that they would not return till they had been at Bedr, and had there drunk wine, and entertained those who should be present, and diverted themselves with singingwomen. The event of which bravado was very fatal, several of the principal Koreish, and Abu Jahl in particular, losing their lives in the expedition.

By inciting them to oppose the prophet.

Some understand this passage figuratively, of the private instigation of the devil, and of the defeating of his designs and the hopes with which he had inspired the idolaters. But others take the whole literally, and tell us that when the Koreish, on their march, bethought themselves of the enmity between them and the tribe of Kenâna, who were masters of the country about Bedr, that consideration would have prevailed on them to return, had not the devil appeared in the likeness of Soraka Ebn Malec, a principal person of that tribe, and promised them that they should not be molested, and that himself would go with them. But when they came to join battle, and the devil saw the angels descending to the assistance of the Moslems, he retired; and al Hareth Ebn Hesham, who had him then by the hand, asking him whither he was going, and if he intended to betray them at such a juncture, he answered in the words of this passage, I am clear of you all, for I see that which ye see not; meaning the celestial succours. They say further, that when the Koreish, on their return, laid the blame of their overthrow on Soraka, he swore that he did not so much as know of their march till he heard they were routed: and afterwards, when they embraced Mohammedism, they were satisfied it was the devil? 3 Al Beidâwi. 4 Page 36. Al Beidâwi, Jallalo'ddin, Yahya. • Al Beidâwi. 7 Idem. Jallalo'ddin.

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infirmity, said, Their religion hath deceived these men: but whosoever confideth in God cannot be deceived; for GOD is mighty and wise. And if thou didst behold when the angels cause the unbelievers to die: they strike their faces and their backs, and say unto them, Taste ye the pain of burning: this shall ye suffer for that which your hands have sent before you ;1 and because GOD is not unjust towards his servants. 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. 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. 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. Verily, the worst cattle in the sight of GOD are those who are obstinate infidels, and will not believe. As to those who enter into a league with thee, and afterwards violate their league at every convenient opportunity, and fear not God; if thou take them in war, disperse, by making them an example, those who shall come after them, that they may be warned; or, if thou apprehend treachery from any people, throw back their league unto them with like treatment; for GoD loveth not the treacherous. And think not1 that the unbelievers have escaped God's vengeance, for they shall not weaken the power of God. 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 religion of GOD, it shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly. 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. But if they seek to deceive thee, verily GOD will be thy support. It is he who hath strengthened thee with his help, and with that of the faithful; and hath united their hearts. If thou hadst expended whatever riches are in the earth, thou couldst not have united their hearts," but GOD united them; for he is mighty and wise.


In tempting them to so great a piece of folly, as to attack so large a body of men with such a handful.

This passage is generally understood of the angels who slew the infidels at Bedr, and who fought (as the commentators pretend) with iron maces, which shot forth flames of fire at every stroke. Some, however, imagine that the words hint, at least, at the examination of the sepulchre, which the Mohammedans believe every man must undergo after death, and will be very terrible to the unbelievers."

See chap. 2. p. 13. note.

As did the tribe of Koreidha.1

1 Some copies read it in the third person, Let not the unbelievers think, &c. Viz., those who made their escape from Bedr.

"Because of the inveterate enmity which reigned among many of the Arab tribes;

8 Al Beidawi, Jallalo'ddin.

1 See before, p. 141, and chap. 33.

See the Prelim. Disc. sect. iv. p. 54, &c.

O prophet, GOD is thy support, and such of the true believers who followeth thee. 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. 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. It hath not been granted unto any prophet, that he should possess captives, until he hath made a great slaughter of the infidels in the earth. Ye seek the accidental goods of this world, but God regardeth the life to come; and GOD is mighty and wise. Unless a revelation had been previously delivered from GOD, verily a severe punishment had been inflicted on you, for the ransom which ye took from the captives at Bedr. Eat therefore of what ye have acquired, that which is lawful and good; for GOD is gracious and merciful. O prophet, say unto the captives who are in your hands, If God shall know any good to be in your hearts, he will give you better than what hath been

and therefore this reconciliation is reckoned by the commentators as no inconsiderable miracle, and a strong proof of their prophet's mission.

This passage, as some say, was revealed in a plain called al Beidâ, between Mecca and Medina, during the expedition of Bedr; and, as others, in the sixth year of the prophet's mission, on the occasion of Omar's embracing Mohammedism. P See Lev. xxvi. 8; Josh. xxiii. 10.

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a Because severity ought to be used where circumstances require it, though clemency be more preferable where it may be exercised with safety. While the Mohammedans therefore were weak, and their religion in its infancy, God's pleasure was that the opposers of it should be cut off, as is particularly directed in this chapter. For which reason they are here upbraided with their preferring the lucre of the ransom to their duty.

That is, had not the ransom been, in strictness, lawful for you to accept, by God's having in general terms allowed you the spoil and the captives, ye had been severely punished.

Among the seventy prisoners whom the Moslems took in this battle were al Abbâs, one of Mohammed's uncles, and Okail the son of Abu Tâleb and brother of Ali: when they were brought before Mohammed, he asking the advice of his companions what should be done with them, Abu Becr was for releasing them on their paying ransom, saying, that they were near relations to the prophet, and God might possibly forgive them on their repentance; but Omar was for striking off their heads, as professed patrons of infidelity. Mohammed did not approve of the latter advice, but observed that Abu Beer resembled Abraham, who interceded for offenders, and that Omar was like Noah, who prayed for the utter extirpation of the wicked antediluvians; and thereupon it was agreed to accept a ransom from them and their fellow-captives. Soon after which, Omar, going into the prophet's tent, found him and Abu Becr weeping, and asking them the reason of their tears, Mohammed acquainted him that this verse had been revealed condemning their ill-timed lenity towards their prisoners, and that they had narrowly escaped the divine vengeance for it, adding, that if God had not passed the matter over, they had certainly been destroyed to a man, excepting only Omar, and Saad Ebn Moadh, a person of as great severity, and who was also for putting the prisoners to death. Yet did not this crime go absolutely unpunished neither; for in the battle of Ohod the Moslems lost seventy men, equal to the number of prisoners taken at Bedr; which was so ordered by God, as a retaliation or atonement for the same.

i. e. Of the ransom which ye have received of your prisoners. For it seems, on this rebuke, they had some scruple of conscience whether they might convert it to their own use or not.

See before, p. 141, and chap. 33.

See chap 3, p. 51. 1 Al Beidâwi.

taken from you; and he will forgive you, for GOD is gracious and merciful. But if they seek to deceive thee," verily they have deceived GOD; where fore he hath given thee power over them: and GOD is knowing and wise. Moreover, they who have believed, and have fled their country, and employed their substance and their persons in fighting for the religion of GOD, and they who have given the prophet a refuge among them, and have assisted him, these shall be deemed the one nearest of kin to the other.* But they who have believed, but have not fled their country, shall have no right of kindred at all with you, until they also fly. Yet if they ask assistance of you on account of religion, it belongeth unto you to give them assistance; except against a people between whom and yourselves there shall be a league subsisting: and GOD seeth that which ye do. 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. 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. And they who have believed since, and have fled their country, and have fought with you, these also are of you. And those who are related by consanguinity shall be deemed the nearest of kin to each other, preferably to strangers according to the book of GOD; GOD knoweth all things.

That is, If ye repent and believe, God will make you abundant retribution for the ransom ye have now paid. It is said that this passage was revealed on the particular account of al Abbas, who being obliged by Mohammed, though his uncle, to ransom both himself and his two nephews, Okail, and Nawfal Ebn al Hareth, complained that he should be reduced to beg alms of the Koreish as long as he lived. Whereupon Mohammed asked him what was become of the gold which he delivered to Omm al Fadl when he left Mecca, telling her that he knew not what might befall him in the expedition, and therefore, if he lost his life, she might keep it herself for the use of her and her children? Al Abbâs demanded who told him this; to which Mohammed replied, that God had revealed it to him. And upon this al Abbas immediately professed Islamism, declaring that none could know of that affair except God, because he gave her the money at midnight. Some years after, al Abbâs reflecting on this passage, confessed it to be fulfilled; for he was then not only possessed of a large substance, but had the custody of the well Zemzem, which, he said, he preferred to all the riches of Mecca.5

By not paying the ransom agreed on.

"The believers, who have abandoned their families to defend the cause of God with their substance and their lives, shall share the spoil with those who have given assistance and an asylum to the prophet."-Savary.

And shall consequently inherit one another's substance, preferably to their relations by blood. And this, they say, was practised for some time, the Mohâjerûn and Ansars being judged heirs to one another, exclusive of the deceased's other kindred, till this passage was abrogated by the following: Those who are related by blood shall be deemed the nearest of kin to each other.

Al Beidâwi. Vide D'Herbel. Bibl. Orient. Art. Abbas.




A DECLARATION of immunity from GOD and his apostle, unto the idolaters, with whom ye have entered into league. Go to and fro in the earth securely four months; and know that ye shall not weaken GOD, and that GOD will disgrace the unbelievers. And a declaration from GOD and his apostle unto the people, on the day of the greater pilgrimage," that GOD

The reason why the chapter had this title appears from the last verse. Some, however, give it other titles, and particularly that of Repentance, which is mentioned immediately after.

It is observable that this chapter alone has not the auspicatory 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 Mohammed (who died soon after he had received this chapter) having given no direction where it should be placed, nor for the prexing 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.1

It is agreed that this chapter was the last which was revealed; and the only one, as Mohammed declared, which was revealed entire and at once, except the hundred and tenth.

Some will have the last two verses to have been revealed at Mecca.

b Some understand this sentence of the immunity or security therein granted to the infidels, for the space of four months; but others think that the words properly signify, that Mohammed is here declared by God to be absolutely free and discharged from all truce or league with them, after the expiration of that time:2 and this last seems to be the truest interpretation.

Mohammed's thus renouncing all league with those who would not receive him as the apostle of God, or submit to become tributary, was the consequence of the great power to which he was now arrived. But the pretext he made use of was the treachery he had met with among the Jewish and idolatrous Arabs; scarce any keeping faith with him, except Banu Damra, Banu Kenâna, and a few others.3

These months were Shawâl, Dhu'lkaada, Dhu'lhajja, and Moharram; the chapter being revealed in Shawâl. Yet others compute them from the tenth of Dhu'lhajja, when the chapter was published at Mecca, and consequently make them expire on the tenth of the former Rabî.1

d Viz., the tenth of Dhu'lhajja, when they slay the victims at Mina; which day is their great feast, and completes the ceremonies of the pilgrimage, Some suppose the adjective greater is added here to distinguish the pilgrimage made at the appointed time, from lesser pilgrimages, as they may be called, or visitations of the Caaba, which may be performed at any time of the year; or else because the con course at the pilgrimage this year was greater than ordinary, both Moslems and idolaters being present at it.

The promulgation of this chapter was committed by Mohammed to Ali, who rode for that purpose on the prophet's slit-eared camel from Medina to Mecca; and on

1 Al Beidâwi, Jallalo'ddin, Yahya, &c. Al Zamakhsh., Jallalo'ddin.

Al Beiâdwi.

3 Idem. 4 Idem,

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