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termined by God for their punishment. Wherefore, do thon, O Mohammed, patiently bear that which they say; and celebrate the praise of thy LORD before the rising of the sun, and before the setting thereof, and praise him in the hours of the night, and in the extremities of the day, that thou mayest be well-pleased with the prospect of receiving favour from God. And cast not thine eyes on that which we have granted divers of the unbelievers to enjoy, namely, the splendour of this present life, that we may prove them thereby; for the provision of thy LoRDd is better, and more permanent. Command thy family to observe prayer; and do thou persevere therein. We require not of thee that thou labour to gain necessary provisions for thyself and family: we will provide for thee; for the prosperous issue shall attend on piety. The unbelievers say, Unless he come unto us with a sign from his LORD, we will not believe on him. Hath not a plain declaration come unto them, of that which is contained in the former volumes of scripture, by the revelation of the Koran? If we had destroyed them by a judgment before the same had been revealed, they would have said, at the resurrection, O LORD, how could we believe since thou didst not send unto us an apostle, that we might follow thy signs, before we were humbled and covered with shame? Say, Each of us wait the issue: wait, therefore; for ye shall surely know hereafter who have been the followers of the even way, and who hath been rightly directed.




[*XVII.] The time of giving up their account draweth nigh unto the people of Mecca; while they are sunk in negligence, turning aside from the consideration thereof. No admonition cometh unto them from their LORD,

bi. e. Evening and morning; which times are repeated as the principal hours of prayer. But some suppose these words intend the prayer of noon; the first half of the day ending, and the second half beginning, at that time.7

That is, Do not envy or covet their pomp and prosperity in this world.

a Viz., the reward laid up for thee in the next life or the gift of prophecy, and the revelations with which God has favoured thee.

• It is said, that when Mohammed's family were in any strait or affliction, he used to order them to go to prayers, and to repeat this verse."

"The unbelievers have said, We will not believe on him, unless he work miracles. Have they not heard the history of the nations which came before them?" -Savary.

The chapter bears this title, because some particulars relating to several of the ancient prophets are here recited.

Savary adds, after the word prophets, "Peace be with them."

(He who shall read this chapter, says Zamakhshari, shall be favourably judged on the day of resurrection. The prophets who are mentioned in the Koran shall stretch out their hands to him, and salute him.”—Savary.

Al Beidâwi, Jallalo'ddin.

See chap. 15, p. 213.

• Al Beidawi.

being lately revealed in the Korân, but when they hear it, they turn it to sport: their hearts are taken up with delights. And they who act unjustly discourse privately together, saying, Is this Mohammed any more than a man like yourselves? Will ye therefore come to hear a piece of sorcery, when ye plainly perceive it to be so ?* Say, my LORD knoweth whatever is spoken in heaven and on earth: it is he who heareth and knoweth. But they say, The Korân is a confused heap of dreams: nay, he hath forged it ; nay, he is a poet: let him come unto us therefore with some miracle, in like manner as the former prophets were sent. None of the cities which we have destroyed believed the miracles which they saw performed before them: will these therefore believe, if they see a miracle? We sent none as our apostles before them, other than men, unto whom we revealed our will. Ask those who are acquainted with the scripture, if ye know not this. We gave them not a body which could be supported without their eating food; neither were they immortal. But we made good our promise unto them: wherefore we delivered them, and those whom we pleased; but we destroyed the exorbitant transgressors. Now have we sent down unto you, 0 Koreish, the book of the Korân; wherein there is honourable mention o. you: will ye not therefore understand? And how many cities have we overthrown, which were ungodly; and caused other nations to rise up after them? And when they felt our severe vengeance, behold, they fled swiftly from those cities. And the angels said scoffingly unto them, Do not fly; but return to that wherein ye delighted, and to your habitations; peradventure ye will be asked.+5 They answered, Alas for us! verily, we have been unjust. And this their lamentation ceased not, until we had rendered them like corn which is mowen down and utterly extinct. We created not the heavens and the earth, and that which is between them, by way of sport.' If we had pleased to take diversion, verily, we had taken it with that which beseemeth us ;* if we had resolved to have done this. But we will oppose truth to vanity, and it shall confound the same; and behold, it

"Will you listen unto an impostor? You will know him soon."-Savary. i. e. Concerning the present posture of affairs, by way of consultation: or, that ye may be examined as to your deeds, that ye may receive the reward thereof.i

"Whither fly you? the angels will exclaim. Return to enjoy your pleasures. Return to the abode in which you dwelt. You are about to be questioned."-Savary. It is related that a prophet was sent to the inhabitants of certain towns in Yaman, but instead of hearkening to his remonstrances, they killed him: upon which God delivered them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, who put them to the sword; a voice at the same time crying from heaven, Vengeance for the blood of the prophets! Upon which they repented, and used the words of this passage.

But for the manifestation of our power and wisdom to people of understanding, that they may seriously consider the wonders of the creation, and direct their actions to the attainment of future happiness, neglecting the vain pomp and fleeting pleasures of this world.

"If we had formed the universe for a sport, we should have been the first objects of mockery."-Savary.

Viz., we had songht our pleasure in our own perfections; or, in the spiritual beings which are in our immediate presence; and not in raising of material buildings, with painted roofs, and fine floors, which is the diversion of man.

Soine think the original word, translated diversion, signifies in this place a wife, or a child; and that the passage is particularly levelled against the Christians.?

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bhall vanish away. Woe be unto you, for that which ye impiously utter concerning God! since whoever is in heaven and on earth is subject unto him; and the angels who are in his presence do not insolently disdain his service, neither are they tired therewith. They praise him night and day; they faint not. Have they taken gods from the earth? Shall they raise the dead to life? If there were either in heaven or on earth gods besides GOD, verily, both would be corrupted.' But far be that which they utter from GOD, the LORD of the throne! No account shall be demanded of him for what he shall do; but an account shall be demanded of them. Have they taken other gods besides him?* Say, produce your proof thereof. This is the admonition of those who are contemporary with me, and the admonition of those who have been before me," but the greater part of them know not the truth, and turn aside from the same. We have sent no apostle before thee, but we revealed unto him that there is no god beside myself, wherefore serve me. They say, the Merciful hath begotten issue; and the angels are his daughters."+ God forbid! They are his honoured servants, they prevent him not in any thing which they say ;° and they execute his command. He knoweth that which is before them, and that which is behind them, they shall not intercede for any, except for whom it shall please him; and they tremble for fear of him. Whoever of them shall say, I am a god besides him; that angel will we reward with hell: for so will we reward the unjust. Do not the unbelievers therefore know, that the heavens and the earth were solid, and we clave the same in sunder; and made every living thing of water? Will they not therefore believe? And we placed stable mountains on the earth, lest it should move with them; and we made broad passages between them for paths, that they might be directed in their journeys: and we made the heaven a roof well supported. Yet they turn aside from the signs thereof, not considering that they are the workmanship of God. It is he who hath created the night, and the day, and the sun, and the moon ; all the celestial bodies

That is, the whole creation would necessarily fall into confusion and be overturned, by the competition of such mighty antagonists.

* "Do the angels worship any other divinities than God? Produce your proof." -Savary.

mi. e. This is the constant doctrine of all the sacred books; not only of the Korân, but of those which were revealed in former ages; all of them bearing witness to the great and fundamental truth of the unity of God.

This passage was revealed on account of the Khozâites, who held the angels to be the daughters of God.

"The unbelievers have said, God has had a son by intercourse with the angels. Far from him be this blasphemy! The angels are his honoured servants."- Savary. i. e. They presume not to say any thing, until he hath spoken it; behaving as servants who know their duty.

P That is, they were one continued mass of matter, till we separated them, and divided the heaven into seven heavens, and the earth into as many stories; and distinguished the various orbs of the one, and the different climates of the other, &c. Or, as some choose to translate the words, The heavens and the earth were shut up, and we opened the same: their meaning being, that the heavens did not rain, nor the earth produce vegetables, till God interposed his power.

"That we caused the rain to descend, which giveth life to all the plants."— Savary. See chap. 16, p. 215.

'Al Beidâwi, Jallalo'ddin.

move swiftly, each in its respective orb. We have not granted unto any man before thee eternal permanency in this world; if thou die, therefore, will they be immortal?" Every soul shall taste of death: and we will prove you with evil, and with good, for a trial of you; and unto us shall ye return. When the unbelievers see thee, they receive thee only with scoffing, saying, Is this he who mentioneth your gods with contempt ? Yet themselves believe not what is mentioned to them of the Merciful.s * Man is created of precipitation. Hereafter will I show you my signs, so that ye shall not wish them to be hastened. They say, When will this threat be accomplished, if ye speak truth? If they who believe not knew that the time will surely come, when they shall not be able to drive back the fire of hell from their faces, nor from their backs, neither shall they be helped, they would not hasten it. But the day of vengeance shall come upon them suddenly, and shall strike them with astonishment: they shall not be able to avert it, neither shall they be respited. Other apostles have been mocked before thee; but the punishment which they scoffed at fell upon such of them as mocked. Say unto the scoffers, Who shall save you by night and by day from the Merciful? Yet they utterly neglect the remembrance of their LORD. Have they gods who will defend them, besides us? They are not able to help themselves; neither shall they be assisted against us by their companions. But we have permitted these men and their fathers to enjoy worldly prosperity, so long as life was continued unto them. Do they not perceive that we come unto the land of the unbelievers, and straiten the borders thereof? Shall they therefore be the conquerors? Say, I only preach unto you the revelation of God: but the deaf will not hear thy call, whenever they are preached unto. Yet if the least breath of the punishment of thy LORD touch them, they will surely say, Alas for us! verily we have been unjust. We will appoint just balances for the day of resurrection; neither shall any soul be injured at all: although the merit or guilt of an action be of the weight of a grain of mustard-seed only, we will produce it publicly; and there will be sufficient accountants with us. We formerly gave unto Moses and Aaron the law, being a distinction" between good and evil, and a light and admonition unto the pious; who fear their LORD in secret, and who dread the hour of judgment. And this book also is a blessed admonition, which we have sent down from heaven: will ye therefore deny it? and we gave unto Abraham his direction heretofore, and we knew him to be worthy of the revelations wherewith he was favoured.

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This passage was revealed when the infidels said, We expect to see Mohammed die, like the rest of mankind.

Denying his unity; or rejecting his apostles and the scriptures which were given for their instruction, and particularly the Korân.

"And they dare to insult the Merciful!"-Savary.

Being hasty and inconsiderate. It is said this passage was revealed on account of al Nodar Ébn al Hareth, when he desired Mohammed to hasten the divine vengeance with which he threatened the unbelievers."

Arab, al Forkân. See the Prelim. Disc. sect. iii. p. 40.

Viz., the ten books of divine revelations which were given him."

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Remember when he said unto his father, and his people, What are these images, to which ye are so entirely devoted? They answered, We found our fathers worshipping them. He said, Verily both ye and your fathers have been in a manifest error. They said, Dost thou seriously tell us the truth, or art thou one who jestest with us? He replied, Verily your LORD is the LORD of the heavens and the earth; it is he who hath created them : and I am one of those who bear witness thereof. By GOD, I will surely devise a plot against your idols, after ye shall have retired from them, and shall have turned your backs. And in the people's absence he went into the temple where the idols stood, and he brake them all in pieces, except the biggest of them; that they might lay the blame upon that. And when they were returned, and saw the havoc which had been made, they said, Who hath done this to our gods? He is certainly an impious person. And certain of them answered, We heard a young man speak reproachfully of them: he is named Abraham. They said, Bring him therefore before the people, that they may bear witness against him. And when he was brought before the assembly, they said unto him, Hast thou done this unto our gods, O Abraham? He answered, Nay, that biggest of them hath done it: but ask them, if they can speak. And they returned unto themselves, and said the one to the other, Verily ye are the impious persons. Afterwards they relapsed into their former obstinacy, and said, Verily thou knowest that these speak not. Abraham answered, Do ye therefore worship, besides GOD, that which cannot profit you at all, neither can it hurt you? Fie on you: and upon that which ye worship besides God! Do ye not understand? They said, Burn him, and avenge your gods: if ye do this it will be well. And when Abraham was cast into



See chap. 6, p. 105, &c., chap. 19, p. 251, and chap. 2, p. 31.

Abraham took his opportunity to do this while the Chaldeans were abroad in the fields, celebrating a great festival; and some say he hid himself in the temple: and when he had accomplished his design, that he might the more evidently convince them of their folly in worshipping them, he hung the axe, with which he had hewn and broken down the images, on the neck of the chief idol, named by some writers Baal, as if he had been the author of all the mischief. For this story, which, though it be false, is not ill invented, Mohammed stands indebted to the Jews, who tell it with a little variation: for they say Abraham performed this exploit in his father's shop, during his absence; that Terah, on his return, demanding the occasion of the disorder, his son told him that the idols had quarrelled and fallen together by the ears about an offering of fine flour, which had been brought them by an old woman; and that the father, finding he could not insist on the impossibility of what Abraham pretended, without confessing the impotence of his gods, fell into a violent passion, and carried him to Nimrod, that he might be exemplarily punished for his insolence.® That is, they became sensible of their folly.

"Having awoke to a sense of their error, they exclaimed, We were unjust."Savary.


b Literally, They were turned down upon their heads.

Perceiving they could not prevail against Abraham by dint of argument, says al Beidâwi, they had recourse to persecution and torments. The same commentator tells us the person who gave this counsel was a Persian Curd, named Heyyûn, and that the earth opened and swallowed him up alive: some, however, say it was Andeshân, a Magian priest; and others, that it was Nimrod himself.

See the Prelim. Disc. sect. iv. p. 52. 7 Al Beidawi, Jallalo'ddin, &c. Vide Hyde de Rel. vet. Pers. c. 2. 8 R. Gedal. in Shalshel. hakkab. p. 8. Vide MaiYad hazzaka, c. 1, de idol. 1 Vide D'Herbel. Bibl. Orient. Art. Dhokak. et Schultens, Indic. Geogr. in Vit. Saladini, voce Curdi. * Vide D'Herbel. p. 115.


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