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O PROPHET, when ye divorce women, put them away at their appointed term; and compute the term exactly: and fear GOD, your LORD. Oblige them not to go out of their apartments, neither let them go out, until the term be expired, unless they be guilty of manifest uncleanness. These are the statutes of GOD: and whoever transgresseth the statutes of GOD assuredly injureth his own soul. Thou knowest not whether GOD will bring something new to pass,* which may reconcile them after this. And when they shall have fulfilled their term, either retain them with kindness, or part from them honourably: and take witnesses from among you, men of integrity; and give your testimony as in the presence of GOD. This admonition is given unto him who believeth in GOD and the last day and whoso feareth GOD, unto him will he grant a happy issue out of all his afflictions, and he will bestow on him an ample provision from whence he expecteth it not: and whoso trusteth in God, he will be his sufficient support; for God will surely attain his purpose. Now hath GOD appointed unto every thing a determined period. As to such of your wives as shall despair having their courses, by reason of their age; if ye be in doubt thereof, let their term be three months: and let the same be the term of those who have not yet had their courses. But as to those who are pregnant, their term shall be, until they be delivered of their burden. And whoso feareth GOD, unto him will he make his command easy. This is the command of GOD, which he hath sent down unto you. And whoso feareth GOD, he will expiate his evil deeds from him, and will increase his reward. Suffer the women whom ye divorce to dwell in some part of the houses wherein ye dwell; according to the room and conveniences of the habitations which ye possess: and make them not uneasy, that ye may reduce them to straits. And if they be with child, expend on them

• That is, when they shall have had their courses thrice, after the time of their divorce, if they prove not to be with child; or, if they prove with child, when they shall have been delivered. Al Beidâwi supposes husbands are hereby commanded to divorce their wives while they are clean; and says that the passage was revealed on account of Ebn Omar, who divorced his wife when she had her courses upon her, and was therefore obliged to take her again.-(When a Mohammedan has sworn that he will divorce his wife, he ceases to have intercourse with her. As soon as she hears of the oath, she covers herself with a veil, retires to her apartment, and ceases to let her husband see her. When the four months allowed for reconciliation are expired, all ties are dissolved, the wife recovers her liberty, and receives at her departure the dowry which was fixed by the marriage contract. The daughters go with the mother, the sons remain with the father.-Savary.)

"Thou knowest not what are the designs of God with respect to the future.”— Savary.

His will shall infallibly be executed. He has assigned to each cause a certain effect."-Savary. See chap 2, p. 27.

See chap. 2, p. 27.

what shall be needful, until they be delivered of their burden. And if they suckle their children for you, give them their hire ;9 and consult among yourselves, according to what shall be just and reasonable. And if ye be put to a difficulty herein, and another woman shall suckle the child for him, let him who hath plenty expend proportionably in the maintenance of the mother and the nurse, out of his plenty: and let him whose income is scanty expend in proportion out of that which God hath given him. GOD obligeth no man to more than he hath given him ability to perform: GOD will cause ease to succeed hardship.* How many cities have turned aside from the command of their LORD and his apostles! Wherefore we brought them to a severe account; and we chastised them with a grievous chastisement: and they tasted the evil consequence of their business; and the end of their business was perdition. God hath prepared for them a severe punishment: wherefore fear GOD, O ye who are endued with understanding. True believers, now hath GOD sent down unto you an admonition, an apostle who may rehearse unto you the perspicuous signs of GOD; that he may bring forth those who believe and do good works, from darkness into light. And whoso believeth in GOD, and doth that which is right, him will he lead into gardens beneath which rivers flow, to remain therein for ever: now hath God made an excellent provision for him. It is GOD who hath created seven heavens, and as many different stories of the earth :† the divine command descendeth between them; that ye may know that GoD is omnipotent, and that GOD comprehendeth all things by his knowledge.




O PROPHET, Why holdest thou that to be prohibited which God hath allowed thee, seeking to please thy wives; since GOD is inclined to forgive, and

a Which ought at least to be sufficient to maintain and clothe them during the time of suckling. See chap. 2, p. 28.

"He will cause competence to succeed unto poverty."-Savary.

It is God who hath created the seven heavens, and the seven earths: he causeth them to obey his voice, to the end that ye may know that his power is boundless, and that the universe is filled with his wisdom.”—Savary.

(According to Zamakhshari, God created seven heavens and seven earths, at the distance of five hundred days' journey from each other. The whole of them are inhabited. The Supreme Being governs this universe."-Savary.)

Penetrating and pervading them all, with absolute efficacy.

There are some who suppose this passage to have been occasioned by Mohammed's protesting never to eat honey any more, because, having once eaten some in the apartment of Hafsa, or of Zeinab, three other of his wives, namely, Ayesha, Sawda, and Safia all told him they smelt he had been eating of the juice which distils from certain shrubs in those parts, and resembles honey in taste and consistence, but is of a very strong savour, and which the prophet had a great aversion to.3

♪ Al Zamakn., al Beidâwi.

merciful? GOD hath allowed you the dissolution of your oaths: and GOD is your master; and he is knowing and wise. When the prophet entrusted as a secret unto one of his wives a certain accident; and when she disclosed the same, and God made it known unto him; he acquainted her with part of what she had done, and forbore to upbraid her with the other part thereof.* And when he had acquainted her therewith, she said, Who hath discovered this unto thee? He answered, The knowing, the sagacious God hath disBut the more received opinion is, that the chapter was revealed on the following occasion. Mohammed having lain with a slave of his, named Mary, of Coptic extract (who had been sent him as a present by al Mokawkas, governor of Egypt), on the day which was due to Ayesha, or to Hafsa, and, as some say, on Hafsa's own bed, while she was absent; and this coming to Hafsa's knowledge, she took it extremely ill, and reproached her husband so sharply, that, to pacify her, he promised, with an oath, never to touch the maid again: and to free him from the obligation of this promise was the design of the chapter.


I cannot here avoid observing, as a learned writer has done before me, that Dr. Prideaux has strangely misrepresented this passage. For having given the story of the prophet's amour with his maid Mary, a little embellished, he proceeds to tell us, that in this chapter Mohammed brings in God allowing him, and all his Moslems, to lie with their maids when they will, notwithstanding their wives; (whereas the words relate to the prophet only, who wanted not any new permission for that purpose, because it was a privilege already granted him, though to none else:) and then, to show what ground he had for his assertion, adds, that the first words of the chapter are, O prophet, why dost thou forbid what God hath allowed thee, that thou mayest please thy wives? God hath granted unto you to lie with your maid-servants. Which last words are not to be found here, or elsewhere in the Korân, and contain an allowance of what is expressly forbidden therein :1 though the doctor has thence taken occasion to make some reflections which might as well have been spared. I shall say nothing to aggravate the matter; but leave the reader to imagine what this reverend divine would have said of a Mohammedan, if he had caught him tripping in the like manner.

Having digressed so far, I will adventure to add a word or two, in order to account for one circumstance which Dr. Prideaux relates concerning Mohammed's concubine Mary; viz., that after her master's death, no account was had of her or the son which she had born him, but both were sent away into Egypt, and no mention made of either ever after among them; and then he supposes (for he seldom is at a loss for a supposition,) that Ayesha, out of the hatred which she bore her, procured of her father, who succeeded the impostor in the government, to have her thus disposed of But it being certain, by the general consent of all the eastern writers, that Mary continued in Arabia till her death, which happened at Medina, about five years after that of her master, and was buried in the usual burying-place there, called al Bakí, and that her son died before his father, it has been asked, whence the doctor had this? I answer, That I guess he had it partly from Abu'lfaragius, according to the printed edition of whose work, the Mary we are speaking of is said to have been sent with her sister Shirin (not with her son) to Alexandria by al Mokawkas: though I make no doubt but we ought in that passage to read min, from, instead of ila, to; (notwithstanding the manuscript copies of this author used by Dr. Pocock, the editor, and also a very fair one in my own possession, agree in the latter reading;) and that the sentence ought to run thus, quam (viz. Mariam) unà cum sorore Shirina ab Alexandria miserat al Mokawkas.

By having appointed an expiation for that purpose: 5 or, as the words may be translated, God hath allowed you to use an exception in your oaths, that is, to add the words if it please God; in which case a man is excused from guilt if he perform not his oath. The passage, though directed to all the Moslems in general, seems to be particularly designed for quieting the prophet's conscience in regard to the oath above mentioned; but al Beidâwi approves not this opinion, because such an oath was to be looked upon as an inconsiderate one, and required no expiation. "At first he mildly admonished her, and then he declared unto her the whole of that which she had divulged.”—Savary.

Al Zamakh., al Beidâwi, Jallalo'ddin, Yahya. Vit. Moh. p. 150. 8 See chap. 33, p. 347, 348.

1 See chap. 17, p. Moh. p. 114.

chap. 5, p. 93.

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7 Gagnier, not. ad Abulf. Prid. Life of Moh. P. 113.

230; chap. 4, p. 63; and chap. 24, p. 287, &c. 2 Prid. Life of
Gagnier, ubi supra.
Abu'lfarag. Hist. Dyn. p. 165. See

6 Al Beidâwi.


covered it unto me." If ye both be turned unto God (for your hearts have swerved) it is well: but if ye join against him, verily GoD is his patron; and Gabriel, and the good man among the faithful, and the angels also are his assistants.** If he divorce you, his LORD can easily give him in exchange other wives better than you, women resigned unto God, true believers, devout, penitent, obedient, given to fasting, both such as have been known by other men, and virgins. O true believers, save your souls, and those of your families, from the fire whose fuel is men and stones, over which are set angels fierce and terrible; who disobey not GOD in what he hath commanded them, but perform what they are commanded. O unbelievers, excuse not yourselves this day; ye shall surely be rewarded for what ye have done. O true believers, turn unto GoD with a sincere repentance peradventure your LORD will do away from you your evil deeds, and will admit you into gardens, through which rivers flow; on the day whereon GOD will not put to shame the prophet, or those who believe with him: their light shall run before them, and on their right hands," and they shall say, LORD make our light perfect, and forgive us: for thou art almighty. O prophet, attack the infidels with arms, and the hypocrites with arguments; and treat them with severity: their abode shall be hell, and an ill journey shall it be thither. GOD propoundeth as a similitude unto the unbelievers, the wife of Noah, and the wife of Lot: they were under two of our righteous servants, and they deceived them both:b wherefore their husbands were of no advantage unto them at all, in the sight of GOD: and it shall be said unto them, at the last day, Enter ye into

"When Mohammed found that Hafsa knew of his having injured her, or Ayesha, by lying with his concubine Mary on the day due to one of them, he desired her to keep the affair secret, promising, at the same time, that he would not meddle with Mary any more; and foretold her, as a piece of news which might soothe her vanity, that Abu Beer and Omar should succeed him in the government of his people. Hafsa, however, could not conceal this from Ayesha, with whom she lived in strict friendship, but acquainted her with the whole matter: whereupon the prophet, perceiving, probably by Ayesha's behaviour, that his secret had been discovered, upbraided Hafsa with her betraying him, telling her that God had revealed it to him; and not only divorced her, but separated him from all his other wives for a whole month, which time he spent in the apartment of Mary. In a short time, notwithstanding, he took Hafsa again, by the direction, as he gave out, of the angel Gabriel, who commended her for her frequent fasting and other exercises of religion, assuring him likewise that she should be one of his wives in paradise.7

"If ye are rebellious unto the prophet, his protectors are the Lord, Gabriel, and the true believers, and the angels will avenge him."-Savary.

This sentence is directed to Hafsa and Ayesha, the pronouns and verbs of the second person being in the dual number.

See chap. 74; and the Prelim. Disc. sect. iv. p. 66.

These words will be spoken to the infidels at the last day.

See chap. 57, p. 439.

b Who were both unbelieving women, but deceived their respective husbands by their hypocrisy. Noah's wife, named Waila, endeavoured to persuade the people her husband was distracted; and Lot's wife, whose name was Wâhela, (though some writers give this name to the other, and that of Waila to the latter,) was in confederacy with the men of Sodom, and used to give them notice when any strangers came to lodge with him, by a sign of smoke by day, and of fire by night.8

For they both met with a disastrous end in this world, and will be doomed to eternal misery in the next. In like manner, as Mohammed would insinuate, the 7 Al Beidâwi, al Zamakh., &c. 8 Jallalo'ddin, al Zamakh. 9 See chap. 11. p. 179 and 183.

hell fire, with those who enter therein. GOD also propoundeth as a similitude unto those who believe, the wife of Pharaoh ;d when she said, LORD, build me a house with thee in paradise; and deliver me from Pharaoh and his doings, and deliver me from the unjust people: and Mary the daughter of Imran; who preserved her chastity, and into whose womb we breathed of our spirit,** and who believed in the words of her LORD, and his scriptures, and was a devout and obedient person.




[*XXIX.] BLESSED be he in whose hand is the kingdom, for he is almighty! Who hath created death and life, that he might prove you, which of you is most righteous in his actions: and he is mighty, and ready to forgive. Who hath created seven heavens, one above another; thou canst not see in a creature of the most Merciful any unfitness or disproportion. Lift up thine eyes again to heaven, and look whether thou seest any flaw: then take two other views; and thy sight shall return unto thee dull and fatigued. Moreover we have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps, and have appointed them to be darted at the devils, for whom we have prepared the torment of burning fire; and for those who believe not in their LORD is also prepared the torment of hell; an ill journey shall it be thither. When they shall be thrown thereinto, they shall hear it bray like an ass; and it infidels of his time had no reason to expect any mitigation of their punishment, on account of their relation to himself and the rest of the true believers.

a Viz. Asia the daughter of Mozâhem. The commentators relate, that because she believed in Moses, her husband cruelly tormented her, fastening her hands and feet to four stakes, and laying a large millstone on her breast; her face, at the same time, being exposed to the scorching beams of the sun: these pains, however, were alleviated by the angels shading her with their wings, and the view of the mansion prepared for her in paradise, which was exhibited to her on her pronouncing the prayer in the text: at length God received her soul; or, as some say, she was taken up alive into paradise, where she eats and drinks.10

See chap. 19, p. 249, &c.

"Who preserved her virginity. Gabriel transmitted unto her the breath of the Lord."-Savary.

On occasion of the honourable mention here made of these two extraordinary women, the commentators introduce a saying of their prophet, That among men there had been many perfect, but no more than four of the other sex had attained perfection; to wit, Asia the wife of Pharaoh, Mary the daughter of Imrân, Khadijah the daughter of Khowailed (the prophet's first wife), and Fâtema the daughter of Mohammed.

It is also entitled by some The Saving, or The Delivering, because, say they, it will save him who reads it from the torture of the sepulchre.

"Blessed is he who holdeth the reins of the universe, and whose power hath no bounds."-Savary.

See chap. 15, p. 210. 1 See chap. 31, p. 337.

10 Jallalo'ddin, al Zamakh.

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