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O THOU wrapped up, arise to prayer, and continue therein during the night, except a small part; that is to say, during one half thereof: or do thou lessen the same a little or add thereto. And repeat the Korân with a distinct and sonorous voice: for we will lay on thee a weighty word." Verily the rising by night is more efficacious for steadfast continuance in devotion, and more conducive to decent pronunciation:** for in the day-time thou hast long employment. And commemorate the name of thy LORD; and separate thyself unto him, renouncing worldly vanities. He is the LORD of the east, and of the west; there is no GOD but he. Wherefore take him for thy patron: and patiently suffer the contumelies which the

Some will have the last verse, beginning at these words, Verily thy Lord knoweth, &c., to have been revealed at Medina.

When this revelation was brought to Mohammed, he was wrapped up in his garments, being affrighted at the appearance of Gabriel; or, as some say, he lay sleeping unconcernedly, or, according to others, praying, wrapped up in one part of a large mantle, or rug, with the other part of which Ayesha had covered herself to sleep.❜

This epithet of wrapped up, and another of the same import given to Mohammed in the next chapter, have been imagined, by several learned men,s pretty plainly to intimate his being subject to the falling sickness; a malady generally attributed to him by the Christians, but mentioned by no Mohammedan writer. Though such an inference may be made, yet I think it scarcely probable, much less necessary,1

For a half is such, with respect to the whole. Or, as the sentence may be rendered, Pray half the night, within a small matter, &c. Some expound these words as an exception to nights in general; according to whom the sense will be Spend one half of every night in prayer, except some few nights in the year.?

Set apart either less than half the night, as one-third for example, or more, as two-thirds. Or the meaning may be, Either take a small matter from a lesser part of the night than one-half, e. g. from one-third, and so reduce it to a fourth; or add to such lesser part, and make it a full half.3

Viz., the precepts contained in the Korân; which are heavy and difficult to those who are obliged to observe them, and especially to the prophet, whose care it was to see that his people observed them also.

▾ Or, The person who riseth by night; or the hours or particularly the first hours of the night, &c.

"At the beginning of the night, we have more strength of conception, and more facility of expression."-Savary.

For the night-time is most proper for meditation and prayer, and also for reading God's word distinctly and with attention; by reason of the absence of every noise and object which may distract the mind.

Marracci, having mentioned this natural explication of the Mohammedan commentators, because he finds one word in the verse which may be taken in a sense tending that way, says the whole may with greater exactness be expounded of the fitness of the night season for amorous diversions and discourse; and he paraphrases it in Latin thus: Certe in principio noctis majus robur et vim habet homo ad fœminas premendas et subagitandas, et ad clarioribus verbis amores suos propalandos. A most effectual way this, to turn a book into ridicule !

7 Al Zamakh., al Beidâwi. 8 Hotting. Hist. Alc. p. 763. Vide Gagnier, not. ad Abulf. vit. Life of Moh. p. 16, and the authors there cited. racens, vol. 1, p. 300, &c. Al Beidâwi.

Marracc. in Alc. p. 759.

Orient. lib. 1, c. 3.
Moham. p. 9.

Marracc. in

See Prideaux,
1 See Ockley's Hist. of the Sa-
Idem, Jallalo'ddin.


infidels utter against thee; and depart from them with a decent departure. And let me alone with those who charge the Koran with falsehood, who enjoy the blessings of this life; and bear with them for a while: verily with us are heavy fetters, and a burning fire, and food ready to choke him who swalloweth it, and painful torment. On a certain day the earth shall be shaken, and the mountains also, and the mountains shall become a heap of sand poured forth.* Verily we have sent unto you an apostle, to bear witness against you; as we sent an apostle unto Pharaoh; but Pharaoh was disobedient unto the apostle; wherefore we chastised him with a heavy chastisement. How, therefore, will ye escape, if ye believe not, the day which shall make children become grey-headed through terror? The heaven shall be rent in sunder thereby: the promise thereof shall surely be performed. Verily this is an admonition; and whoever is willing to be admonished will take the way unto his LORD. Thy LORD knoweth that thou continuest in prayer and meditation sometimes near two third parts of the night and sometimes one half thereof, and at other times one third part thereof; and a part of thy companions, who are with thee, do the same. But GOD measureth the night and the day; he knoweth that ye cannot exactly compute the same: wherefore he turneth favourably unto you. Read, therefore, so much of the Korân as may be easy unto you. He knoweth that there will be some infirm among you; and others travel through the earth, that they may obtain a competency of the bounty of GOD; and others fight in the defence of God's faith. Read, therefore, so much of

the same as may be easy. And observe the stated times of prayer, and pay the legal alms; and lend unto God an acceptable loan;t for whatever good ye send before your souls, ye shall find the same with GOD. This will be better, and will merit a greater reward. And ask GOD forgiveness; for GOD is ready to forgive and merciful.

As thorns and thistles, the fruit of the infernal tree al Zakkûm, and the corruption flowing from the bodies of the damned.

"The earth shall one day be shaken, and the mountains, crumbled to dust, shall be the sport of the winds."-Savary.

By making the matter easy to you, and dispensing with your scrupulous counting of the hours of the night which ye are directed to spend in reading and praying: for some of the Moslems, not knowing how the time passed, used to watch the whole night, standing and walking about till their legs and feet swelled in a sad manner. The commentators add, that this precept of dedicating a part of the night to devotion is abrogated by the institution of the five hours of prayer."

"Form with the Lord a glorious covenant."-Savary.

i. e. The good which ye shall do in your life-time will be much more meritorious in the sight of God than what ye shall defer till death, and order by will.'

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O THOU Covered," arise and preach, and magnify thy LORD. cleanse thy garments: and fly every abomination: and be not liberal in hopes to receive more in return: and patiently wait for thy LORD. When the trumpet shall sound, verily that day shall be a day of distress and uneasiness unto the unbelievers. Let me alone with him whom I have created,d on whom I have bestowed abundant riches, and children dwelling in his presence, and for whom I have disposed affairs in a smooth and easy manner, and who desireth that I will yet add other blessings unto him. By no means: because he is an adversary to our signs. I will afflict him with grievous calamities: for he hath devised and prepared contumelious expressions to ridicule the Koran. May he be cursed: how maliciously hath he prepared the same! And again, may he be cursed: how maliciously hath he prepared the same! Then he looked, and frowned, and put on an austere countenance: then he turned back, and was elated with pride; and he said, this is no other than a piece of magic, borrowed from others these are only the words of a man. I will cast him to be burned in hell. And what shall make thee to understand what hell is ? It leaveth not any thing unconsumed, neither doth it suffer any thing to

It is related, from Mohammed's own mouth, that being on mount Harâ, and hearing himself called, he looked on each hand, and saw nobody, but looking upwards he saw the angel Gabriel on a throne, between heaven and earth: at which sight being much terrified, he returned to his wife Khadîja, and bid her cover him up; and that then the angel descended, and addressed him in the words of the text. From hence some think this chapter to have been the first which was revealed; but the more received opinion is that it was the 96th. Others say that the prophet, having been reviled by certain of the Koreish, was sitting in a melancholy and pensive posture, wrapped up in his mantle, when Gabriel accosted him and some say he was sleeping. See the second note to the preceding chapter.


It is generally supposed that Mohammed is here commanded more especially to warn his near relations, the Koreish; as he is expressly ordered to do in a subsequent revelation,8

By the word abomination the commentators generally agree idolatry to be principally intended.

The person here meant is generally supposed to have been al Walid Ebn al Mogheira, a principal man among the Koreish.

Being well provided for, and not obliged to go abroad to seek their livings, as most others of the Meccans were.1

By facilitating his advancement to power and dignity: which were so considerable that he was surnamed Rihâna Koreish, i. e. The sweet odour of the Koreish, and al Wahîd, i. e. The only one, or The incomparable.

On the revelation of this passage it is said that Walid's prosperity began to decay, and continued daily so to do to the time of his death.3

Or, as the words may be strictly rendered, I will drive him up the crag of a mountain; which some understand of a mountain of fire, agreeably to a tradition of their prophet, importing that al Walid will be condemned to ascend this mountain, and then to be cast down from thence, alternately for ever; and that he will be seventy years in climbing up, and as many in falling down.

See chap. 26, p. 307, and the Prelim. Disc. sect. ii. 31. Beidawi, Jallalo'ddin. 1 Al Beidâwi, 2 Idem.

• Al Zamakh, al

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4 Idem.

escape it scorcheth men's flesh: over the same are nineteen angels appointed. We have appointed none but angels to preside over hell fire:1 and we have expressed the number of them only for an occasion of discord to the unbelievers; that they to whom the scriptures have been given may be certain of the veracity of this book, and the true believers may increase in faith; and that those to whom the scriptures have been given, and the true believers, may not doubt hereafter; and that those in whose hearts there is an infirmity, and the unbelievers, may say, What mystery doth GOD intend by this number? Thus doth GOD cause to err whom he pleaseth; aud he directeth whom he pleaseth. None knoweth the armies of thy LORD besides him; and this is no other than a memento unto mankind. Assuredly. By the moon, and the night when it retreateth, and the morning when it reddeneth, I swear that this is one of the most terrible calamities, giving warning unto men, as well as unto him among you who desireth to go forward, as unto him who chooseth to remain behind.* Every soul is given in pledge for that which it shall have wrought: except the companions of the right hand ;P who shall dwell in gardens, and shall ask one another questions concerning the wicked, and shall also ask the wicked themselves, saying, What hath brought you into hell? They shall answer, We were not of those who were constant at prayer, neither did we feed the poor; and we waded in vain disputes with the fallacious reasoners; and we denied the day of judgment, until death overtook us: and the intercession of the interceders shall not avail them. What aileth them, therefore, that they turn aside from the admonition of the Korân, as though they were timorous asses flying from a lion? But every man among them desireth that he may have expanded scrolls delivered to him from God. By no means. They fear not the life to come. By no means: verily this is a sufficient warning. Whoso is willing to be warned, him shall it warn: but they shall not be warned, unless GOD shall please. He is worthy to be feared; and he is inclined to forgiveness.

1 The reason of which is said to be, that they might be of a different nature and species from those who are to be tormented, lest they should have a fellow feeling of, and compassionate their sufferings; or else, because of their great strength, and severity of temper.

Or, For a trial of them: because they might say this was a particular borrowed by Mohammed of the Jews.

And especially the Jews: this being conformable to what is contained in their books.6

mi. e. All his creatures; or particularly the number and strength of the guards of hell.

n The antecedent seems to be hell.

"I swear by the moon, by the night when she foldeth her veils, by the dawn when it advanceth, encompassed by light, that hell is a tremendous abyss; that it threateneth the human race; that it warneth him who walketh in the right path, and him who retraceth his footsteps."-Savary.

See chap. 52, p. 425.

Pi. e. The blessed:7 who shall redeem themselves by their good works. Some say these are the angels; and others, such as die infants.8

a Literally, That which is certain.

For the infidels told Mohammed that they would never obey him as a prophet. till he brought each man a writing from heaven to this effect, viz. From God to such a one: Follow Mohammed."

8 Al Beidâwi.


• Idem.


7 Sce chap. 56, p. 435, note ".

8 Al






VERILY I swear by the day of resurrection; and I swear by the soul which accuseth itself:t doth man think that we will not gather his bones together? Yea: we are able to put together the smallest bones of his fingers. But man chooseth to be wicked, for the time which is before him.* He asketh, When will the day of resurrection be? But when the sight shall be dazzled, and the moon shall be eclipsed, and the sun and the moon shall be in conjunction;" on that day man shall say, Where is a place of refuge? By no means; there shall be no place to fly unto. With thy LoRD shall be the sure mansion of rest on that day: on that day shall a man be told that which he hath done first and last. Yea; a man shall be an evidence against himself: and though he offer his excuses, they shall not be received. Move not thy tongue, O Mohammed, in repeating the revelations brought thee by Gabriel, before he shall have finished the same, that thou mayest quickly commit them to memory: for the collecting the Korân in thy mind, and the teaching thee the true reading thereof, are incumbent on us. But when we shall have read the same unto thee by the tongue of the angel, do thou follow the reading thereof: and afterwards it shall be our part to explain it unto thee. By no means shalt thou be thus hasty for the future. But ye love that which hasteneth away, and neglect the life Some countenances on that day shall be bright, looking towards their LORD; and some countenances, on that day, shall be dismal : they shall think that a crushing calamity shall be brought upon them. Assuredly. When a man's soul shall come up to his throat, in his last agony, and the standers by shall say, Who bringeth a charm to recover him? and shall think it to be his departure out of this world; and one leg shall be joined with the other leg :" on that day unto thy LORD shall he be driven. For • Or, I will not swear. See chap. 56, p. 437, note 4. (Savary prefers this reading.)

to come.


Being conscious of having offended, and of failing of perfection, notwithstanding its endeavours to do its duty: or, the pious soul which shall blame others at the last day, for having been remiss in their devotions, &c. Some understand the words of the soul of Adam, in particular, who is continually blaming himself for having lost paradise by his disobedience.1

"But he denieth the evidence which striketh his sight."-Savary.

"Rising both in the west; which conjunction is no contradiction to what is mentioned just before, of the moon's being eclipsed; because those words are not to be understood of a regular eclipse, but metaphorically, of the moon's losing her light, at the last day, in a preternatural manner. Some think the meaning rather to be, that the sun and the moon shall be joined in the loss of their light.3

▾ Or the good which he hath done, and that which he hath left undone, &c.

* i. e. The fleeting pleasures of this life. The words intimate the natural hastiness and impatience of man, who takes up with a present enjoyment, though short, and bitter in its consequences, rather than wait for real happiness in futurity.

yi. e. And when he shall stretch forth his legs together; as is usual with dying persons. The words may also be translated, and when one affliction shall be joined with another affliction.

1Al Beidâwi.

17, p. 228.

See the Prelim. Disc. p. 57.

* Al Beidâwi.

4 See chap

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