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ing another, and being marked from thy LORD; and they are not far distant from those who act unjustly.b And unto Madian we sent their brother Shoaib :' 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. 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. 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. I am no guardian over you. They answered, O Shoaib, do thy prayers enjoin thee, that we should leave the gods which our fathers worshipped; or that we should not do what we please with our substance. Thou only, it seems, art the wise person, and fit to direct. 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. 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 Hud, or the people of Saleh : neither was the people of Lot far distant from you." * Ask pardon, therefore, of your LORD; and be turned unto him: for my LORD is merciful and loving. They answered, O Shoaib, 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. Shoaib said, O my people, is my family more worthy in your opinion than GOD? and do ye cast him behind

That is, as some suppose, streaked with white and red, or having some other peculiar mark to distinguish them from ordinary stones. But the common opinion is, that each stone had the name of the person who was to be killed by it, written thereon. The army of Araha al Ashram was also destroyed by the same kind of


This is a kind of threat to other wicked persons, and particularly to the infidels of Mecca, who deserved and might justly apprehend the same punishment. Sce chap. 7, p. 125, &c.

That is, enjoying plenty of all things; and therefore having the less occasion to defraud one another, and being the more strongly bound to be thankful and obedient unto God.

For this liberty, they imagined, was taken from them, by his prohibition of false weights and measures, or to diminish or adulterate their coin.

m For Sodom and Gomorrah were situate not a great way from you, and their destruction happened not many ages ago; neither did they deserve it, on account of their obstinacy and wickedness, much more than yourselves.

"O my people, let not your falling off from the faith bring down upon you the Scourges which have caused to perish the people of Noah, of Hud, and of Saleh, and the inhabitants of Sodom, whose chastisement was so recently inflicted."— Savary.

"The Arabic word daff, weak, signifying also, in the Hamyaritic dialect, blind, some suppose that Shoaib was so, and that the Midianites objected that to him, as a defect which disqualified him for the prophetic office.

i. e. For the respect we bear to thy family and relations: whom we honour as being of our religion, and not for any apprehension we have of their power to assist you against us. The original word here translated family, signifies any number from three to seven or ten, but not more.1

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you with neglect? Verily my LORD comprehendeth that which ye do. O my people, do ye work according to your condition; I will surely work according to my duty." And ye shall certainly know on whom will be inflicted a punishment which shall cover him with shame, and who is a liar. Wait, therefore, the event; for I also will wait it with you. Wherefore, when our decree came to be executed, we delivered Shoaib 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, as though they had never dwelt therein. Was not Madian removed from off the earth, as Thamud had been removed? And we formerly sent Moses with our signs, and manifest power unto Pharaoh and his princes;9 but they followed the command of Pharaoh; although the command of Pharaoh did not direct them aright. 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. 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. 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. 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. And thus was the punishment of thy LORD inflicted, when he punished the cities which were unjust; for his punishment is grievous and severe. Verily herein is a sign unto him who feareth the punishment of the last day: that shall be a day, whereon all men shall be assembled, and that shall be a day whereon witness shall be borne; we defer it not, but to a determined time. 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. And they who shall be miserable shall be thrown into hell fire ; there shall they wail and bemoan themselves: they shall remain therein so long as the heavens and the earth shall endure;t except what thy LORD shall please to remit of their sentence;" for thy LORD effecteth that which

> See chap. 6, p. 112, note m.

See chap. 7, p. 127, &c.


Literally, mown down; the sentence presenting the different images of corn standing, and cut down, which is also often used by the sacred writers.

The two words in the original signify, properly, the vehement drawing in and expiration of one's breath, which is usual to persons in great pain and anguish; and particularly the reciprocation of the voice of an ass, when he brays.

This is not to be strictly understood, as if either the punishment of the damned should have an end, or the heavens and the earth should endure for ever; the expression being only used by way of image or comparison, which needs not agree in every point with the thing signified. Some, however, think the future heavens and earth, into which the present shall be changed, are here meant."

See the Prelim. Disc. sect. iv. pp. 66, 67.

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he pleaseth. 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. 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. 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 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 Koran. But unto every one of them will thy LORD render the reward of their works; for he well knoweth that which they do. 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. 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. Pray regularly morning and evening; and in the former part of the night," for good works drive away evils. This is an admonition unto those who consider: wherefore persevere with patience; for GOD suffereth not the reward of the righteous to perish. Were such of the generations before you, endued with understanding and virtue, who forbad the acting corruptly in the earth, any more than a few only of those whom we delivered? But they who were unjust followed the delights which they enjoyed in this world, and were wicked doers: and thy LORD was not of such a disposition as to destroy the cities unjustly," while the inhabitants behaved themselves uprightly. 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. 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 warning unto the true believers. Say unto those who believe not, Act ye according to your condition; we surely will act according to our duty:" and

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Literally, in the two extremities of the day.

That is, after sunset, and before supper; when the Mohammedans say their fourth prayer, called by them Salât al moghreb, or the evening prayer.

Making it their sole business to please their luxurious desires and appetites, and placing their whole felicity therein.

Al Beidâwi says, that this passage gives the reason why the nations were destroyed of old; viz. for their violence and injustice, their following their own lusts, and for their idolatry and unbelief.

Or, as the commentator just named explains it, for their idolatry only, when they observed justice in other respects.

• See chap. 6, p. 112, note ".

Al Beidawi

wait the issue; for we certainly wait it also. 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.




AL R. These are the signs of the perspicuous book; which we have sent down in the Arabic tongue, that, peradventure, ye might understand. We relate unto thee a most excellent history, by revealing unto thee this Korân,d whereas thou wast before one of the negligent. When Joseph said unto his father, O my father, verily. I saw in my dream eleven stars, g and the sun and the moon; I saw them make obeisance unto me: 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: and thus, according to thy dream, shall thy LORD choose thee, and teach thee the interpretation of dark sayings,1 and he shall accomplish his favour upon thee and upon the family of Jacob, as he hath formerly accomplished it upon thy

▷ The Koreish, thinking to puzzle Mohammed, 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, containing the story of that patriarch. It is said, however, to have been rejected by two Mohammedan sects, branches of the Khârejites, called the Ajâredites and Maimûnians, as apocryphal and spurious.

The Mohammedan, says al Beidâwi, who shall read this chapter, or teach it to his friends or servants, shall have an easy death, and strength of mind sufficient to envy no one."-Savary.

See the Prelim. Disc. p. 42, &c.

Or this particular chapter. For the word Korân, as has been elsewhere observed, properly signifying no more than a reading, or lecture, is often used to denote, not only the whole volume, but any distinct chapter or section of it.

ie. So far from being acquainted with the story, that it never so much as entered into thy thoughts: a certain argument, says al Beidâwi, that it must have been revealed to him from heaven.

Who was Jacob, the son of Isaac, and the son of Abraham."

The commentators give us the names of these stars (which I think it needless to trouble the reader with), as Mohammed repeated them, at the request of a Jew, who thought to entrap him by the question.7

For they say, Jacob, judging that Joseph's dream portended his advancement above the rest of the family, justly apprehended his brethren's envy might tempt them to do him some mischief.

That is, of dreams; or, as others suppose, of the profound passages of scripture, and all difficulties respecting either religion or justice.

Al Beidâwi.

Al Zamakhshari.

Prelim. Disc. sect. iii. p. 40.

Al Beidawi, &c.

? Idem,

fathers Abraham and Isaac; for thy LORD is knowing and wise. Surely in the history of Joseph and his brethren there are signs of God's providence to the inquisitive; when they said to one another, Joseph and his brotherk are dearer to our father than we, who are the greater number: our father certainly maketh a wrong judgment.* 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. 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. They said unto Jacob, O father, why dost thou not intrust Joseph with us, since we are sincere wellwishers unto him? Send him with us tomorrow, into the field, that he may divert himself, and sport," and we will be his guardians. Jacob answered, It grieveth me that ye take him away; and I fear lest the wolf devour him," while ye are negligent of him. They said, surely if the wolf devour him, when there are so many of us,* we shall be weak indeed. 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

* Viz., Benjamin; his brother by the same mother.

"Joseph and Benjamin enjoy all the tenderness of Jacob; yet we are more deserving than they. He commits a flagrant injustice against us."-Savary.

1 Or, he will settle his love wholly upon you, and ye will have no rival in his favour. m This person, as some say, was Judah, the most prudent and noble-minded of them all; or, according to others, Reuben, whom the Mohammedan writers call Rubîl. And both these opinions are supported by the account of Moses, who tells us that Reuben advised them not to kill Joseph, but to throw him into a pit, privately intending to release him; and that afterwards Judah, in Reuben's absence, persuaded them not to let him die in a pit, but to sell him to the Ishmaelites.10

"Some copies read, in the first person plural, that we may divert ourselves, &c. • The reason why Jacob feared this beast in particular, as the commentators say, was either because the land was full of wolves; or else because Jacob had dreamed he saw Joseph devoured by one of those creatures.1

"Should he be attacked by a wild beast, we are numerous, and we will die in his defence."-Savary.

Pi. e. It will be an instance of extreme weakness and folly in us, and we shall be iustly blamed for his loss.

This well, say some, was a certain well near Jerusalem, or not far from the river Jordan; but others call it the well of Egypt, or Midian. The commentators tell us, that when the sons of Jacob had gotten Joseph with them in the field, they began to abuse and to beat him so unmercifully, that they had killed him, had not Judah, on his crying out for help, insisted on the promise they had made not to kill him, but to cast him into the well. Whereupon they let him down a little way; but as he held by the sides of the well, they bound him, and took off his inner garment, designing to stain it with blood, to deceive their father. Joseph begged hard to have his garment returned him, but to no purpose; his brothers telling him with a sneer, that the eleven stars, and the sun and the moon, might clothe him and keep him company. When they had let him fall thence to the bottom; and there being water in the well (though the scripture says the contrary), he was obliged to get upon a stone, on which he stood weeping, the angel Gabriel came to him with the revelation mentioned immediately.2

Joseph being then but seventeen years old, Al Beidâwi observes that herein he resembled John the Baptist and Jesus, who were also favoured with the divine com. munication very early. The commentators pretend that Gabriel also clothed him in the well with a garment of silk of paradise. For they say that when Abraham was thrown into the fire by Nimrod, he was stripped; and that Gabriel brought

Al Beidâwi, Al Zamakhshari.

Gen. xxxvii. 21, 22. 1 Al Beidâwi, Jallalo'ddin, Al Zamakhshari. 9 Iidem.

10 Ibid. v. 26, 27. See chap. 21.

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