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shall boil, and almost burst for fury.* So often as a company of them shall be thrown therein, the keepers thereof shall ask them, saying, Did not a warner come unto you? They shall answer, Yea, a warner came unto us: but we accused him of imposture, and said, GOD hath not revealed any thing; ye are in no other than a great error: and they shall say, If we had hearkened, or had rightly considered, we should not have been among the inhabitants of burning fire: and they shall confess their sins; but far be the inhabitants of burning fire from obtaining mercy! Verily they who fear their LORD in secret shall receive pardon and a great reward. Either conceal your discourse, or make it public; he knoweth the innermost parts of your breasts: shall not he know all things who hath created them; since he is the sagacious, the knowing? It is he who hath levelled the earth for you: therefore walk through the regions thereof, and eat of his provision; unto him shall be the resurrection. Are ye secure that he who dwelleth in heaven will not cause the earth to swallow you up and behold, it shall shake. Or are you secure that he who dwelleth in heaven will not send against you an impetuous whirlwind, driving the sands to overwhelm you? then shall ye know how important my warning was. Those also who were before you disbelieved; and how grievous was my displeasure! Do they not behold the birds above them, extending and drawing back their wings? None sustaineth them, except the Merciful; for he regardeth all things. Or who is he that will be as an army unto you, to defend you against the Merciful? Verily the unbelievers are in no other than a mistake. Or who is he that will give you food, if he withholdeth his provision? yet they persist in perverseness, and flying from the truth. Is he, therefore, who goeth grovelling upon his face, better directed than he who walketh upright in a straight way?k Say, It is he who hath given you being, and endued you with hearing, and sight, and understanding; yet how little gratitude have ye!† Say, It is he who hath sown you in the earth, and unto him shall ye be gathered together. They say, When shall this menace be put in execution, if ye speak truth? Answer, The knowledge of this matter is with GOD alone: for I am only a public warner. But when they shall see the same nigh at hand, the countenance of the infidels shall grow sad: and it shall be said unto them, This is what ye have been demanding. Say, What think ye? Whether GOD destroy me and those who are with me, or have mercy on us; who will protect the unbelievers from a painful punishment? Say, He is the Merciful; in him do we believe, and in him do we put our trust. Ye shall hereafter know who is in a manifest error. Say, what think ye? If your water be in the morning swallowed up by the earth, who will give you clear and running water?

"They shall hear the cries of despair. The fire shall but burn with greater fury. Could they be destroyed, its fury would destroy them."-Savary. *This comparison is applied by the expositors to the infidel and the true believer. "How few are there who thank him for these benefits!"-Savary.




N.' By the pen, and what they write," thou, O Mohammed, through the grace of thy LORD, art not distracted.* Verily there is prepared for thee an everlasting reward: for thou art of a noble disposition."+ Thou shalt see, and the infidels shall see, which of you are bereaved of your senses. Verily thy LORD well knoweth him who wandereth from his path; and he well knoweth those who are rightly directed: wherefore obey not those who charge thee with imposture. They desire that thou shouldest be easy with them, and they will be easy with thee. But obey not any who is a common swearer, a despicable fellow, a defamer, going about with slander, who forbiddeth that which is good, who is also a transgressor, a wicked person, cruel, and besides this, of spurious birth:P although he be possessed of wealth and many children: when our signs are rehearsed unto him, he saith, They are fables of the ancients. We will stigmatize him on the nose. Verily we have tried the Meccans, as we formerly tried the

This letter is sometimes made the title of the chapter, but its meaning is confessedly uncertain. They who suppose it stands for the word Nûn are not agreed as to its signification in this place; for it is not only the name of the letter N in Arabic, but signifies also an inkhorn, and a fish: some are of opinion the former signification is the most proper here, as consonant to what is immediately mentioned of the pen, and writing, and, considering that the blood of certain fish is good ink, not inconsistent with the latter signification; which is, however, preferred by others, saying that either the whole species of fish in general is thereby intended, or the fish which swallowed Jonas (who is mentioned in this chapter), or else that vast one called Behemoth, fancied to support the earth, in particular. Those who acquiesce in none of the foregoing explications have invented others of their own, and imagine this character stands for the table of God's decrees, or one of the rivers in paradise, &c.1

Some understand these words generally, and others of the pen with which God's decrees are written on the preserved table, and of the angels who register the same.

"I swear by the pen, and that which the angels write, it is not Satan, it is Heaven which inspireth thee."—Savary.

In that thou hast borne with so much patience and resignation the wrongs and insults of thy people, which have been greater than those offered to any apostle before thee.

"Thou professest the sublime religion."-Savary.

i. e. If thou wilt let them alone in their idolatry and other wicked practices, they will cease to revile and persecute thee.

a The person at whom this passage was particularly levelled, is generally sup posed to have been Mohammed's inveterate enemy, al Walid Ebn al Mogheira, whom, to complete his character, he calls bastard, because al Mogheira did not own him for his son till he was eighteen years of age. Some, however, think it was al Akhnas Ebn Shoraik, who was really of the tribe of Thakîf, though reputed to be of that of Zahra.*

"We will imprint a fiery mark upon his nose."-Savary.

P Which being the most conspicuous part of the face, a mark set thereon is attended with the utmost ignominy. It is said that this prophetical menace was actually made good, al Walid having his nose slit by a sword, at the battle of Bedr, the mark of which wound he carried with him to his grave."

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By afflicting them with a grievous famine. See chap. 23, p. 284.

1 Al Zamakh., al Beidâwi, Yahya.

1 Iidem.

• lidem.

• Al Beidâwi.

* Idem, Jallalo'ddin.

owners of the garden;** when they swore that they would gather the fruit thereoft in the morning, and added not the exception if it please God: wherefore a surrounding destruction from thy LORD encompassed it, while they slept; and in the morning it became like a garden whose fruits had been gathered." And they called the one to the other as they rose in the morning, saying, Go out early to your plantation, if ye intend to gather the fruit thereof: so they went on, whispering to one another, No poor man shall enter the garden upon you, this day. And they went forth early, with a determined purpose.† And when they saw the garden blasted and destroyed, they said, We have certainly mistaken our way: but when they found it to be their own garden, they cried, Verily we are not permitted to reap the fruit thereof. The worthier of them said, Did I not say unto you, Will ye not give praise unto God? They answered, Praise be unto our LORD! Verily we have been unjust doers. And they began to blame one another, and they said, Woe be unto us! verily we have been transgressors: peradventure our LORD will give us in exchange a better garden than this: and we earnestly beseech our LORD to pardon us. Thus is the chastisement of this life: but the chastisement of the next shall be more grievous; if they had known it, they would have taken heed. Verily for the pious are prepared, with their LORD, gardens of delight. Shall we deal with the Moslems, as with the wicked? What aileth you that ye judge thus? Have ye a book from heaven, wherein ye read that ye are therein promised that which ye shall choose? Or have ye received oaths which shall be binding upon us to the day of resurrection, that ye shall enjoy what ye imagine? Ask them, which of them will be the voucher of this. Or have they companions" who will vouch for them? Let them produce their companions, therefore, if they speak truth. On a certain day the leg

This garden was a plantation of palm-trees, about two parasangs from Sanaa, belonging to a certain charitable man, who, when he gathered his dates, used to give public notice to the poor, and to leave them such of the fruit as the knife missed, or was blown down by the wind, or fell beside the cloth spread under the tree to receive it: after death, his sons, who were then become masters of the garden, apprehending they should come to want if they followed their father's example, agreed to gather the fruit early in the morning, when the poor could have no notice of the matter: but when they came to execute their purpose, they found, to their great grief and surprise, that their plantation had been destroyed in the night."

* "We have punished the Meccans, like unto the owners of the garden.”—Savary. Literally, that they would cut it; the manner of gathering dates being to cut the clusters off with a knife. Marracci supposes they intended to cut down the trees, and destroy the plantation: which, as he observes, renders the story ridiculous and absurd.

"Or, as the original may also be rendered, like a dark night; it being burnt up and black.

"Already they reckoned upon an assured harvest.”—Savary.

* The same expression is used, chap. 56, p. 437.

For one advised this expedition, another approved of it, a third gave consent by his silence, but the fourth was absolutely against it.7

This passage was revealed in answer to the infidels, who said, If we shall be raised again, as Mohammed and his followers imagine, they will not excel us; but we shall certainly be in a better condition than they in the next world, as we are in this.8 Or, as some interpret the word, idols; which can make their condition in the next life equal to that of the Moslems?

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shall be made bare ;* and they shall be called upon to worship, but they shall not be able. Their looks shall be cast down: ignominy shall attend them for that they were invited to the worship of God, while they were in safety, but would not hear. Let me alone, therefore, with him who accuseth this new revelation of imposture. We will lead them gradually to destruction, by ways which they know not :d and I will bear with them for a long time; for my stratagem is effectual.† Dost thou ask them any reward for thy preaching? But they are laden with debts. Are the secrets of futurity with them; and do they transcribe the same from the table of God's decrees? Wherefore patiently wait the judgment of thy LORD: and be not like him who was swallowed by the fish ; when he cried unto God, being inwardly vexed. Had not grace from his LORD reached him, he had surely been cast forth on the naked shore, covered with shame but his LORD chose him, and made him one of the righteous. It wanteth little but that the unbelievers strike thee down with their malicious looks, when they hear the admonition of the Korân; and they say, He is certainly distracted: but it is no other than an admonition unto all creatures.




THE infallible! What is the infallible? And what shall cause thee to understand what the infallible is ?§ The tribes of Thamud and Ad denied as a falsehood the day which shall strike men's hearts with terror. But Thamud were destroyed by a terrible noise: and Ad were destroyed by a

"The wicked shall one day be unmasked."-Savary.

b This expression is used to signify a grievous and terrible calamity: thus they say, War has made bare the leg, when they would express the fury and rage of battle. Because the time of acceptance shall be past. Al Beidâwi is uncertain whether the words respect the day of judgment, or the article of death: but Jallalo'ddin supposes them to relate to the former, and adds that the infidels shall not be able to perform the act of adoration, because their backs shall become stiff and inflexible. i. e. By granting them long life and prosperity in this world; which will deceive them to their ruin.


If I prolong their days, it is but a snare which I spread for them."-Savary. See chap. 52, p. 425.

Know they the mysteries of nature? Nevertheless, they write!"-Savary. That is, Be not impatient and pettish, as Jonas was. See chap. 21, p. 271. The original word al Hâkkat is one of the names or epithets of the day of judgment. As the root from which it is derived signifies not only to be or come to pass of necessity, but also to verify, some rather think that day to be so called because it will verify, and show the truth of what men doubt of in this life; viz. the resurrection of the dead, their being brought to account, and the consequent rewards and punishments 1

§"The inevitable day! How terrible will be that day! who can depict it unto thee?"-Savary.

▲ Arab, al Kariât, or the striking; which is another name or epithet of the last day.

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roaring and furious wind; which God caused to assail them for seven nights and eight days successively; thou mightest have seen people during the same, lying prostrate, as though they had been the roots of hollow palmtrees; and couldest thou have seen any of them remaining?* Pharaoh also, and those who were before him, and the cities which were overthrown,k were guilty of sin; and they severally were disobedient to the apostle of their LORD; wherefore he chastised them with an abundant chastisement. When the water of the deluge arose, we carried you in the ark which swam thereon; that we might make the same a memorial unto you, and the retaining ear might retain it. And when one blast shall sound the trumpet, and the earth shall be moved from its place, and the mountains also, and shall be dashed in pieces at one stroke: on that day the inevitable hour of judgment shall suddenly come; and the heavens shall cleave in sunder, and shall fall in pieces, on that day: and the angels shall be on the sides thereof;1‡ and eight shall bear the throne of thy LORD above them, on that day." On that day ye shall be presented before the judgment seat of God; and none of your secret actions shall be hidden. And he who shall have his book delivered into his right hand shall say, Take ye, read this my book; verily I thought that I should be brought to this my account: he shall lead a pleasing life, in a lofty garden, the fruits whereof shall be near to gather. Eat and drink with easy digestion; because of the good works which ye sent before you, in the days which are past.§ But he who shall have his book delivered into his left hand shall say, O that I had not received this book; and that I had not known what this my account was! O that death had made an end of me! My riches have not profited me; and my power is passed from me. And God shall say to the keepers of hell, Take him, and bind him, and cast him into hell to be burned: then put him into a chain of the length of seventy cubits:" because he believed not in the great GOD; and was not solicitous to feed the poor: wherefore this day he shall have no friend here; nor any food, but the filthy corruption flowing from the bodies of the damned, which none shall eat but the sinners. I swearo by that which ye see, and that which ye see not, that this is the discourse of an honourable apostle, and not the discourse of a poet: how little do ye

See chap. 54, p. 430.

"The guilty were overthrown on the earth, like unto uprooted palm trees. The scourge spared not one of them."-Savary.

Viz. Sodom and Gomorrah. See chap. 9, p. 157, note!

"Let it be a memorial unto the earth; let your hearts preserve the remembrance of it."-Savary.

These words seem to intimate the death of the angels, at the demolition of their habitation: beside the ruins whereof they shall lie like dead bodies.

"An angel shall guard the entrance thereof.”—Savary.

The number of those who bear it at present being generally supposed to be but four; to whom four more will be added at the last day, for the grandeur of the occasion.'

§ "Satiate thyself with the pleasures which are offered unto thee. They are the reward of the good which thou hast done upon earth."-Savary.

ni. e. Wrap him round with it, so that he may not be able to stir.

• Or, I will not swear. See chap. 56, p. 437, note 4. (This is the reading adopted by Savary.)

Al Beidâwi, Jallalo'ddin.

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