Page images



given the scriptures, rejoice at what hath been revealed unto thee. there are some of the confederates who deny part thereof. Say unto them, Verily I am commanded to worship GoD alone; and to give him no companion: upon him do I call, and unto him shall I return. To this purpose have we sent down the Korân 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. 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: GOD shall abolish and shall confirm what he pleaseth. With him is the original of the book. 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. Do they not see that we come into their land, and straiten the borders thereof, by the conquest of the true believers? When God judgeth, there is none to reverse his judgment: and he will be swift in taking an account. 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. 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.




AL. R. This book have we sent down unto thee, that thou mayest lead men forth from darkness into light, by the permission of their LORD, into • Viz., the first proselytes to Mohammedism from Judaism and Christianity; or the Jews and Christians in general, who were pleased to find the Korân so consonant to their own scriptures.

That is, such of them as had entered into a confederacy to oppose Mohammed; as did Caab Ebn al Ashraf, and the Jews who followed him, and al Seyid al Najrâni, al Akib, and several other Christians; who denied such parts of the Korân as contradicted their corrupt doctrines and traditions."

As we have on thee. This passage was revealed in answer to the reproaches which were cast on Mohammed on account of the great number of his wives. For the Jews said, That if he was a true prophet, his care and attention would be employed about something else than women and the getting of children. It may be observed that it is a maxim of the Jews, that nothing is more repugnant to prophecy than carnality.7

Literally, the mother of the book; by which is meant, the preserved table, from which all the written revelations which have been from time to time published to mankind, according to the several dispensations, are transcripts.

The persons intended in this passage, it is said, were the Jewish doctors.s

* Mention is made of this patriarch towards the end of the chapter. (After the patriarch's name, Savary's translation adds, "Peace be with him.")

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

See chap. 3, p. 58.
More Nev. part 2, c. 36, &c.

& Idem.

Jallalo'ddin, Yahya.

7 Vido Maimon.

8 Al Beidâwi.

the glorious and laudable way. God is he unto whom belongeth whatsoeveis in heaven and on earth: and woe be to the infidels, because a grievous punishment waiteth them; who love the present life above that which is to come, and turn men aside from the way of GOD, and seek to render it crooked: these are in an error far distant from the truth. We have sent no apostle but with the language of his people, that he might declare their duty plainly unto them; for GOD causeth to err whom he pleaseth, and directeth whom he pleaseth; and he is the mighty, the wise. We formerly sent Moses with our signs, and commanded him saying, Lead forth thy people from darkness into light, and remind them of the favours of GOD:" verily therein are signs unto every patient and grateful person. And call to mind when Moses said unto his people, Remember the favour of GOD towards you, when he delivered you from the people of Pharaoh: they grievously oppressed you; and they slew your male children, but let your females live therein was a great trial from your LORD.* And when your LORD declared by the mouth of Moses, saying, If ye be thankful, I will surely increase my favours towards you; but if ye be ungrateful, verily my punishment shall be severe. And Moses said, If ye be ungrateful, and all who are in the earth likewise; verily GOD needeth not your thanks, though he deserveth the highest praise. Hath not the history of the nations your predecessors reached you; namely, of the people of Noah, and of Ad, and of Thamud," and of those who succeeded them; whose number none knoweth except GOD? Their apostles came unto them with evident miracles; but they clapped their hands to their mouths out of indignation and said, We do not believe the message with which ye pretend to be sent ; and we are in a doubt concerning the religion to which ye invite us, as justly to be suspected. Their apostles answered, Is there any doubt concerning GOD, the creator of heaven and earth? He inviteth you to the true faith that he may forgive you part of your sins, and may respite your punishment, by granting you space to repent, until an appointed time. They answered, Ye are but men, like unto us: ye seek to turn us aside from the gods which our fathers worshipped: wherefore bring us an evident demonstration by some miracle, that ye speak truth. Their apostles replied unto them, We are no other than men like unto you; but God is bountiful unto such of his servants as he pleaseth: and it is not in our power to give

That so they might not only perfectly and readily understand those revelations themselves, but might also be able to translate and interpret them unto others."

[ocr errors]

Literally the days of God; which may also be translated, the battles of God (the Arabs using the word day to signify a remarkable engagement, as the Italians do giornata, and the French journée), or his wonderful acts manifested in the various

success of former nations in their wars.1

See chap. 7, p. 129, &c.

"Your deliverance is a magnificent proof of the divine goodness."—Savary. See chap. 7, p. 122, &c.

That is, such of them as were committed directly against God, which are immediately cancelled by faith, or embracing Islâm; but not the crimes of injustice, and oppression, which were committed against man: for to obtain remission of these last, besides faith, repentance and restitution, according to a man's ability, are also


[merged small][ocr errors]

you a miraculous demonstration of our mission, unless by the permission of GOD; in GOD therefore let the faithful trust. And what excuse have we to allege, that we should not put our trust in GoD; since he hath directed us our paths? Wherefore we will certainly suffer with patience the persecution wherewith ye shall afflict us: in GOD therefore let those put their confidence who seek in whom to put their trust. And those who believed not said unto their apostles, we will surely expel you out of our land; or ye shall return unto our religion. And their LORD spake unto them by revelation, saying, We will surely destroy the wicked doers; and we will cause you to dwell in the earth, after them. This shall be granted unto him who shall dread the appearance at my tribunal, and shall fear my threatening. And they asked assistance of God," and every rebellious perverse person failed of success. Hell lieth unseen before him, and he shall have filthy water given him to drink: he shall sup it up by little and little, and he shall not easily let it pass his throat because of its nauseousness; death also shall come upon him from every quarter, yet he shall not die; and before him shall there stand prepared a grievous torment. This is the likeness of those who believe not in their LORD. Their works are as ashes, which the wind violently scattereth in a stormy day: they shall not be able to obtain any solid advantage from that which they have wrought. This is an error most distant from truth. Dost thou not see that God hath created the heavens and the earth in wisdom? If he please he can destroy you, and produce a new creature in your stead: neither will this be difficult with GOD. And they shall all come forth into the presence of GOD at the last day: and the weak among them shall say unto those who behaved themselves arrogantly,** Verily we were your followers on earth; will ye not therefore avert from us some part of the divine vengeance? They shall answer, If GOD had directed us aright, we had certainly directed you." It is equal unto us whether we bear our torments impatiently, or whether we endure them with patience: for we have no way to escape. And Satan shall say, after judgment shall have been given, Verily GOD promised you a promise of truth: and I also made you a promise; but I deceived you. Yet I had not any power over you to compel you; but I called vou only, and ye answered me: wherefore accuse not me, but accuse

The commentators are uncertain whether these were the prophets, who begged assistance against their enemies; or the infidels, who called for God's decision between themselves and them; or both. And some suppose this verse has no connexion with the preceding, but is spoken of the people of Mecca, who begged rain in a great drought with which they were afflicted at the prayer of their prophet, but could not

obtain it.3

Which will issue from the bodies of the damned, mixed with purulent matter and blood.

i. e. The more simple and inferior people shall say to their teachers and princes who seduced them to idolatry, and confirmed them in their obstinate infidelity. "All men shall appear before God. The idolaters will say to their leaders, We followed you, cannot you mitigate our punishment."-Savary.

That is, We made the same choice for you as we did for ourselves; and had not God permitted us to fall into error, we had not seduced you.

• Al Beidawi.

[ocr errors]

Verily I do
A grievous

yourselves. I cannot assist you; neither can ye assist me. now renounce your having associated me with God heretofore. punishment is prepared for the unjust. But they who shall have believed and wrought righteousness shall be introduced into gardens, wherein rivers flow; they shall remain therein for ever, by the permission of their LORD; and their salutation therein shall be, Peace! Dost thou not see how GOD putteth forth a parable; representing a good word, as a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed in the earth, and whose branches reach unto heaven; which bringeth forth its fruit in all seasons, by the will of its LORD? GOD propoundeth parables unto men, that they may be instructed. And the likeness of an evil word is as an evil tree; which is torn up from the face of the earth,* and hath no stability. God shall confirm them who believe, by the steadfast word of faith, both in this life and in that which is to come:" but God shall lead the wicked into error; for GOD doth that which he pleaseth. Hast thou not considered those who have changed the grace of GOD to infidelity, and cause their people to descend into the house of perdition, namely, into hell? They shall be thrown to burn therein; and an unhappy dwelling shall it be. They also set up idols as co-partners with GOD, that they might cause men to stray from his path. Say unto them, Enjoy the pleasures of this life for a time; but your departure hence shall be into hell fire. Speak unto my servants who have believed, that they be assiduous at prayer, and give alms out of that which we have bestowed on them, both privately and in public; before the day cometh, wherein there shall be no buying nor selling, neither any friendship. It is God who hath created the heavens and the earth; and causeth water to descend from heaven, and by means thereof produceth fruits for your sustenance: and by

Lay not the blame on my temptations, but blame your own folly in obeying and trusting to me, who had openly professed myself your irreconcileable enemy.

* Or I do now declare myself clear of your having obeyed me, preferably to God, and worshipped idols at my instigation. Or the words may be translated, I believed not heretofore in that Being with whom ye did associate me; intimating his first disobedience in refusing to worship Adam at God's command.1

7 See chap. 10, p. 166.

"He compareth the doctrine of the unbelievers to a worthless tree, the roots of which run on the surface of the ground, and which hath no stability."-Savary.

What is particularly intended in this passage by the good word, and the evil word, the expositors differ. But the first seems to mean the profession of God's unity, the inviting others to the true religion, or the Korân itself; and the latter, the acknowledging a plurality of gods, the seducing of others to idolatry, or the obstinate opposition of God's prophets."

Jallalo'ddin supposes the sepulchre to be here understood; in which place, when the true believers come to be examined by the two angels concerning their faith, they will answer properly and without hesitation; which the infidels will not be able to do."

That is, who requite his favours with disobedience and incredulity. Or, whose ingratitude obliged God to deprive them of the blessings he had bestowed on them; as he did the Meccans, who though God had placed them in the sacred territory, and given them the custody of the Caaba, and abundant provision of all necessaries and conveniences of life, and had also honoured them by the mission of Mohammed, yet in return for all this, became obstinate unbelievers, and persecuted his apostles; for which they were not only punished by a famine of seven years, but also by the loss and disgrace they sustained at Bedr; so that they who had before been celebrated for their prosperity were now stripped of that, and become conspicuous only for their infidelity. If this be the drift of the passage, it could not have been

4 Al Beidâwi

Al Beidawi.

Idem, Jallalo'ddin.

See the Prelim. Disc. sect. iv. p. 55.


his command he obligeth the ships to sail in the sea for your service; and he also forceth the rivers to supply your uses: he likewise compelleth the sun and the moon, which diligently perform their courses, to serve you; and hath subjected the day and the night to your service. He giveth yon of every thing which ye ask him; and if ye attempt to reckon up the favours of God, ye shall not be able to compute the same. Surely man is unjust and ungrateful. Remember when Abraham said, O LORD, make this landd a place of security; and grant that I and my children may avoid the worship of idols; for they, O LORD, have seduced a great number of men. Whoever therefore shall follow me, he shall be of me: and whosoever shall disobey me, verily thou wilt be gracious and merciful. O LORD, I have caused some of my offspring to settle in an unfruitful valley, near thy holy house, O LORD, that they may be constant at prayer. Grant, therefore, that the hearts of some men may be affected with kindness toward them; and do thou bestow on them all sorts of fruits,' that they may give thanks. O LORD, thou knowest whatsoever we conceal, and whatsoever we publish; for nothing is hidden from GOD, either on earth or in heaven. Praise be unto GOD, who hath given me, in my old age, Israel and Isaac: for my LORD is the hearer of supplication. O LORD, grant that I may be an observer of prayer, and a part of my posterity also, O LORD, and receive my supplication. O LORD, forgive me, and my parents,' and the faithful, on the day whereon an account shall be taken. Think not, O prophet, that GOD is regardless of what the ungodly do. deferreth their punishment unto the day whereon men's eyes shall be fixed:


He only

revealed at Mecca, as the rest of the chapter is agreed to be; wherefore some suppose this verse and the next to have been revealed at Medina.

• The word used here, and in the following passages, is sakhkhara, which signifies forcibly to press into any service.8

d Viz., the territory of Mecca. See the Prelim. Disc. sect. iv.

This prayer, it seems, was not heard as to all his posterity, particularly as to the descendants of Ismael; though some pretend that these latter did not worship images, but only paid a superstitious veneration to certain stones, which they set up and compassed, as representations of the Caaba.1

That is, by disposing him to repentance. But Jallalo'ddin supposes these words were spoken by Abraham before he knew that God would not pardon idolatry.

i. e. Ismael and his posterity. The Mohammedans say that Hagar, his mother, belonged to Sarah, who gave her to Abraham; and that, on her bearing him this son, Sarah became so jealous of her, that she prevailed on her husband to turn them both out of doors; whereupon he sent them to the territory of Mecca, where God caused the fountain of Zemzem to spring forth for their relief, in consideration of which the Jorhamites, who were the masters of the country, permitted them to settle among them.”

Had he said the hearts of men, absolutely, the Persians and the Romans would also have treated them as friends; and both the Jews and Christians would have made their pilgrimages to Mecca.3

1 This part of the prayer was granted; Mecca being so plentifully supplied, that the fruits of spring, summer, and autumn, are to be found there at one and the same time.

For he knew by revelation that some of them would be infidels.

Abraham put up this petition to God, before he knew that his parents were the enemies of God. Some suppose his mother was a true believer, and therefore read it in the singular, and my father. Others fancy, that by his parents the patriarch

bere means Adam and Eve.

8 See chap. 2, p. 19, note. 1 Al Beidâwi. See the Prelim. Disc. sect. i. p. 14, 15. See chap. 9, p. 163.

• Idem.

Idem, Jallalo'ddin.

Jallalo'ddin, Al Beidâwi, &c.

4 Iidem.

« PreviousContinue »