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therefore be directed for ever. Thy LORD is gracious, endued with mercy; if he would have punished them for that which they have committed, he would doubtless have hastened their punishment: but a threat hath been denounced against them, and they shall find no refuge, besides him. And those former cities did we destroy, when they acted unjustly; and we gave them previous warning of their destruction. And remember when Moses said unto his servant Joshua the son of Nun, I will not cease to go forward until I come to the place where the two seas meet; or I will travel for a long space of time." But when they were arrived at the meeting of the two seas, they forgot their fish, which they had taken with them;" and the fish took its way freely in the sea. And when they had passed beyond that place, Moses said unto his servant, Bring us our dinner; for now are we fatigued with this our journey. His servant answered, Dost thou know what has befallen me? When we took up our lodging at the rock, verily I forgot the fish: and none made me to forget it, except Satan, that I should not remind thee of it. And the fish took its way into the sea, in a wonderful manner. Moses said, This is what we sought after. And they both went back, returning by the way they came. And coming to the rock, they found one of our servants, unto whom we had granted mercy from us, and whom we had taught wisdom from before us. And Moses said unto him, Shall I follow thee, that thou mayest teach me part

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a Viz., of their calamity at Bedr (for the Koreish are the infidels here intended), or their punishment at the resurrection.7

That is, the towns of the Adites, Thamudites, Sodomites, &c.

The original word properly signifies the space of eighty years and upwards. To explain this long passage the commentators tell the following story. They say that Moses once preaching to the people, they admired his knowledge and eloquence so much that they asked him whether he knew any man in the world who was wiser than himself; to which he answered in the negative: whereupon God, in a revelation, having reprehended him for his vanity (though some pretend that Moses asked God the question of his own accord), acquainted him that his servant al Khedr was more knowing than he; and, at Moses's request, told him that he might find that person at a certain rock, where the two seas met; directing him to take a fish with him in a basket, and that where he missed the fish, that was the place. Accordingly, Moses set out, with his servant Joshua, in search of al Khedr; which expedition is here described.8

Viz., those of Persia and Greece. Some fancy that the meeting of Moses and al Khedr is here intended, as of two seas of knowledge."

"Moses forgot to inquire concerning it, and Joshua forgot to tell him when he missed it. It is said that when they came to the rock, Moses falling asleep, the fish, which was roasted, leaped out of the basket into the sea; some add, that Joshua making the ablution at the fountain of life (of which immediately), some of the water happened to be sprinkled on the fish, which immediately restored it to life.1

The word here translated freely, signifying also a pipe or arched canal for conveyance of water, some have imagined that the water of the sea was miraculously kept from touching the body of the fish, which passed through it as under an arch.

This person, according to the general opinion, was the prophet al Khedr; whom the Mohammedans usually confound with Phineas, Elias, and St. George, saying that his soul passed by a metempsychosis successively through all three. Some however say his true name was Balya Ebn Malcân, and that he lived in the time of Afridûn, one of the ancient kings of Persia, and that he preceded Dhu'lkarnein, and lived to the time of Moses. They suppose al Khedr, having found out the

7 Al Beidâwi. 1 lidem.

8 Idem, Al Zamakhshari, al Bokhari, in Sonna, &c.
? lidem.


of that which thou hast been taught, for a direction unto me? He answered, Verily, thou canst not bear with me: for how canst thou patiently suffer those things, the knowledge whereof thou dost not comprehend? Moses replied, Thou shalt find me patient, if GOD please; neither will I be disobedient unto thee in any thing. He said, if thou follow me, therefore, ask me not concerning any thing, until I shall declare the meaning thereof unto thee. So they both went on by the sea-shore, until they went up into a ship; and he made a hole therein. And Moses said unto him, Hast thou made a hole therein, that thou mightest drown those who are on board? now hast thou done a strange thing. He answered, Did I not tell thee that thou couldst not bear with me? Moses said, Rebuke me not, because I did forget; and impose not on me a difficulty in what I am commanded. Wherefore they left the ship and proceeded, until they met with a youth; and he slew him." Moses said, hast thou slain an innocent person, without his having killed another? now hast thou committed an unjust action. [* XVI.] He answered, Did I not tell thee that thou couldest not bear with me? Moses said, If I ask thee concerning any thing hereafter, suffer me not to accompany thee: now hast thou received an excuse from me. They went forwards, therefore, until they came to the inhabitants of a certain city ;" and they asked food of the inhabitants thereof: but they refused to receive them. And they found therein a wall, which was ready to fall down; and he set it upright. Whereupon Moses said unto him, If thou wouldest, thou mightest doubtless have received a reward for it. He answered, This shall be a separation between me and thee; but I will first declare unto thee the signification of that which thou couldest not bear with patience. The vessel belonged to certain poor men, who did their business in the sea: and I was minded to render it unserviceable, because there was a kingd behind them, who took every sound ship by force. As to the youth, his parents were true believers; and we feared, lest he, being an unbeliever, should oblige them to suffer his perverseness and ingratitude : wherefore we desired that their LORD might give them a more righteous fountain of life, and drank thereof, became immortal; and that he had therefore this name from his flourishing and continual youth.3


Part of these fictions they took from the Jews, some of whom also fancy Phineas was Elias.

> For al Khedr took an axe, and knocked out two of her planks.

By twisting his neck round, or dashing his head against a wall, or else by throwing him down and cutting his throat."

This city was Antioch; or, as some rather think, Obollah, near Basra, or else Bâjirwân in Armenia.7

By only stroking it with his hand; though others say he threw it down and rebuilt it.

"Here we separate, replied the servant of the Lord; but before I depart I will show to thee the meaning of these actions concerning which thou couldest not keep silence."-Savary.

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They were ten brothers, five of whom were past their labour by reason of their age.9

Named Jaland Ebn Karkar, or Minwâr Ebn Jaland al Azdi,1 who reigned in Oman. See Poc. Spec. p. 42.

Iidem. Vide D'Herbelot, Bibl. Orient. Art. Khedher, Septemcastrens. de Turcar. Moribus. Busbeq. Epist. 1, p. 93, &c. Hotting. Hist. Orient. p. 58, &c. 99, &c. 292, &c. 4 R. Levi Ben Gerson in Append. lib. 1, Reg. 1, 27. Al Beidâwi. • Idem, 7 Idem. 8 Idem. • Idem. 1 Idem.

child in exchange for him, and one more affectionate towards them. And the wall belonged to two orphan youths in the city, and under it was a treasure hidden which belonged to them; and their father was a righteous man: and thy LORD was pleased that they should attain their full age, and take forth their treasure, through the mercy of thy LORD, and I did not what thou hast seen, of mine own will, but by God's direction. This is the interpretation of that which thou couldest not bear with patience. The Jews will ask thee concerning Dhu'lkarnein. Answer, I will rehearse unto you an account of him. We made him powerful in the earth, and we gave him means to accomplish every thing he pleased. And he followed his way, until he came to the place where the sun setteth; and he found it to set in a spring of black mud; and he found near the same a certain people.*i And we said, O Dhu'lkarnein, either punish this people, or use gentleness towards them. He answered, Whosoever of them shall commit injustice, we will surely punish him in this world; afterwards shall he return unto his LORD, and he shall punish him with a severe punishment. But whosoever believeth, and doth that which is right, shall receive the most excellent reward, and we will give him in command that which is easy. Then he continued his way, until he came to the place where the sun riseth; and he found it to rise on certain people, unto whom we had not It is said that they had afterwards a daughter, who was the wife and the mother of a prophet; and that her son converted a whole nation."

The names were Asram and Sarim.3

Or, the two-horned. The generality of the commentators suppose the person here meant to be Alexander the Great, or, as they call him, Iscander al Rûmi, king of Persia and Greece; but there are very different opinions as to the reason of this surname. Some think it was given him because he was king of the East and of the West, or because he had made expeditions to both those extreme parts of the earth; or else because he had two horns on his diadem, or two curls of hair, like horns, on his forehead; or, which is most probable, by reason of his great valour. Several modern writers rather suppose the surname was occasioned by his being represented in his coins and statues with horns, as the son of Jupiter Ammon; or else by his being compared by the prophet Daniel to a he-goat; though he is there represented with but one horn."

There are some good writers, however, who believe the prince intended in this passage of the Koran was not Alexander the Grecian, but another great conqueror who bore the same name and surname, and was much more ancient than he, being contemporary with Abraham, and one of the kings of Persia of the first race; or, as others suppose, a king of Yaman, named Asaab Ebn al Râyesh."

They all agree he was a true believer, but whether he was a prophet or no is a disputed point.

That is, it seemed so to him, when he came to the ocean, and saw nothing but


An unbelieving nation, who were clothed in the skins of wild beasts, and lived upon what the sea cast on shore."

"He saw the sun disappear in a fiery sea. These countries were inhabited by infidels."-Savary.

* For God gave Dhu'lkarnein his choice, either to destroy them for their infidelity, or to instruct them in the true faith; or, according to others, either to put them to the sword, or to take them captives: but the words which follow confirm the former interpretation, by which it appears he chose to invite them to the true religion, and to punish only the disobedient and incredulous.


i. e. That part of the habitable world on which the sun first rises.

Al Beidawi. • Idem. * Idem, Zamakhshari, Jallalo'ddin, Yahya. Scaliger, de Emend. temp. L'Empereur, not. in Jachiad. Dan. viii. 5. Gol. in Alfrag. p. 58, Schickard. Tarikh Reg. Pers. p. 73. 7 See Dan. viii. • Abulfeda, Khondemir, Tarikh Montakhah, &c. Vide D'Herbel. Bibl. Orient. Art. Escander. • Ex trad. Ebn Abbas. Vide Poc. Spec. p. 58. 1 Al Beidâwi, Jallalo'ddin. lidem.

given any thing wherewith to shelter themselves therefrom." Thus it was; and we comprehended with our knowledge the forces which were with him.* And he prosecuted his journey from south to north, until he came between the two mountains;" beneath which he found certain people, who could scarce understand what was said. And they said, O Dhu'lkarnein, verily Gog and Magog waste the land; shall we therefore pay thee tribute, on condition that thou build a rampart between us and them? He answered, The power wherewith my Lord has strengthened me is better than your tribute: but assist me strenuously, and I will set a strong wall between you and them. Bring me iron in large pieces, until it fill up the space between the two sides of these mountains. And he said to the workmen, Blow with your bellows, until it make the iron red hot as fire. And he said further, Bring me molten brass, that I may pour upon it. Wherefore, when this wall was finished, Gog and Magog could not scale it, neither could they dig through it. And Dhu'lkarnein said, This is a mercy from my LORD: but when the prediction of my LORD shall come to be fulfilled," he shall reduce the wall to dust; and the prediction of my LORD is true. On that day we will suffer some of them to press tumultuously like waves on others; and the trumpet shall be sounded, and we will gather them in a body together. And we will set hell on that day before the unbelievers; whose eyes have been veiled from my remembrance, and


Who had neither clothes nor houses, their country not bearing any buildings, but dwelt in holes under ground, into which they retreated from the heat of the sun. Jallalo'ddin says they were the Zenj, a black nation lying south-west of Ethiopia. They seem to be the Troglodytes of the ancients.

This narrative is true. We know all those who were with Alexander."— Savary.

Between which Dhu'lkarnein built the famous rampart, mentioned immediately, against the irruptions of Gog and Magog. These mountains are situate in Armenia and Adherbijân, or, according to others, much more northwards, on the confines of Turkestan. The relation of a journey taken to this rampart, by one who was sent on purpose to view it by the Khalif al Wathec, may be seen in D'Herbelot.

By reason of the strangeness of their speech and their slowness of apprehension; wherefore they were obliged to make use of an interpreter.

The Arabs call them Yajûi and Majûj, and say they are two nations or tribes descended from Japhet the son of Noah, or, as others write, Gog are a tribe of the Turks, and Magog of those of Gilân, the Geli and Gelæ of Ptolemy and Strabo.8

It is said these barbarous people made their irruptions into the neighbouring countries in the spring, and destroyed and carried off the fruits of the earth; and some pretend they were man-eaters."

The commentators say the wall was built in this manner. They dug till they found water, and having laid the foundation of stone and melted brass, they built the superstructure of large pieces of iron, between which they laid wood and coals, till they equalled the height of the mountains; and then setting fire to the combustibles, by the help of large bellows, they made the iron red hot, and over it poured melted brass, which filling up the vacancies between the pieces of iron, rendered the whole work as firm as a rock. Some tell us that the whole was built of stones joined by cramps of iron, on which they poured melted brass to fasten them.1 That is, when the time shall come for Gog and Magog to break forth from their confinement; which shall happen some time before the resurrection."

These words represent either the violent irruption of Gog and Magog, or the tumultuous assembly of all creatures, men, genii, and brutes, at the resurrection.3

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who could not hear my words. Do the unbelievers think that I will not punish them, for that they take my servants for their protectors besides me? Verily we have prepared hell for the abode of the infidels. Say, Shall we declare unto you those whose works are vain, whose endeavour in the present life hath been wrongly directed, and who think they do the work which is right? These are they who believe not in the signs of their LORD, or that they shall be assembled before him: wherefore their works are vain, and we will not allow them any weight on the day of resurrection. This shall be their reward, namely, hell; for that they have disbelieved, and have held my signs and apostles in derision. But as for those who believe and do good works, they shall have the gardens of paradise for their abode ; they shall remain therein for ever; they shall wish for no change therein. Say, If the sea were ink to write the words of my LORD, verily the sea would fail, before the words of my LORD would fail ;* although we added another sea like unto it as a farther supply. Say, Verily I am only a man as ye are. It is revealed unto me that your God is one only GOD : let him therefore who hopeth to meet his LORD work a righteous work; and lat him not make any other to partake in the worship of his LORD.




C. H. Y. A. S. A commemoration of the mercy of thy LORD towards his servant Zacharias. When he called upon his LORD, invoking him in secret, and said, O LORD, verily my bones are weakened, and my head is become white with hoariness, and I have never been unsuccessful in my prayers to thee, O LORD. But now I fear my nephews, who are to succeed after me, for my wife is barren: wherefore, give me a successor of my own body from before thee; who may be my heir, and may be an heir of the family of Jacob; and grant, O LORD, that he may be acceptable unto thee. And the angel answered him, O Zacharias, verily we bring thee

"Before all his marvels had been celebrated."-Savary.

* Several circumstances relating to the Virgin Mary being mentioned in this chapter, her name was pitched upon for the title. ("Peace be with her.”—Savary.) " Except the verse of Adoration.

See the Prelim. Disc. sect. iii. p. 42. ("K. H. I. A. S."-Savary.) * See chap. 3, p. 40, &c.

These were his brother's sons, who were very wicked men, and Zacharias was apprehensive, lest, after his death, instead of confirming the people in the true religion, they should seduce them to idolatry. And some commentators imagine that he made this prayer in private, lest his nephews should overhear him.

* Viz., in holiness and knowledge; or in the government and superintendence of the Israelites. There are some who suppose it is not the patriarch who is here meant, but another Jacob, the brother of Zacharias, or of Imrân Ebn Mâthán, of the race of Solomon."

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