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WHEN the heaven shall be rent in sunder, and shall obey its LORD, and shall be capable thereof; and when the earth shall be stretched out, and shall cast forth that which is therein," and shall remain empty, and shall obey its LORD, and shall be capable thereof: O man, verily labouring thou labourest to meet thy LORD, and thou shalt meet him. And he who shall have his book given into his right hand shall be called to an easy account, and shall turn unto his family with joy: but he who shall have his book given him behind his back shall invoke destruction to fall upon him, and he shall be sent into hell to be burned; because he rejoiced insolently amidst his family on earth. Verily he thought he should never return unto God: yea verily, But his LORD beheld him. Wherefore I swear" by the redness of the sky after sun-set, and by the night, and the animals which it driveth together,* and by the moon when she is in the full; ye shall surely be transferred successively from state to state. What aileth them, therefore, that they believe not the resurrection; and that, when the Korân is read unto them, they worship not?" Yea: the unbelievers accuse the same of imposture: but GOD well knoweth the malice which they keep hidden in their breasts. Wherefore denounce unto them a grievous punishment, except those who believe and do good works: for them is prepared a never failing-reward.

There are some who take this chapter to have been revealed at Medina.

▾ Like a skin: every mountain and hill being levelled.

As the treasures hidden in its bowels, and the bodies which lie in their graves. * Or, And thou shalt meet thy labour, whether thy works be good, or whether they be evil.

i. e. His relations or friends, who are true believers; or rather, to his wives and servants, of the damsels and youths of paradise, who wait to receive him.10

That is, into his left hand; for the wicked will have that hand bound behind their back, and their right hand to their neck.

• Or, I will not swear. See chap. 56, p. 437, note 4. (Savary adopts this reading.) "By the night, and that which it enfoldeth in its shades."-Savary.

bi. e. From the state of the living, to that of the dead; and from the state of the dead, to a new state of life in another world.

• Ór, humble not themselves.

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By the heaven adorned with signs;d by the promised day of judgment; by the witness, and the witnessed; cursed were the contrivers of the pit, of fire supplied with fuel; when they sat round the same, and were witnesses of what they did against the true believers ;* and they afflicted them for no other reason, but because they believed in the mighty, the glorious GOD, unto whom belongeth the kingdom of heaven and earth: and GOD is witness of all things. Verily for those who persecute the true believers of either sex, and afterwards repent not, is prepared the torment of hell; and they shall suffer the pain of But for those who believe, and do that which is right, are destined gardens beneath which rivers flow: this shall be great felicity. Verily the vengeance of thy LORD is severe. He createth, and he restoreth to life: he is inclined to forgive, and gracious; the possessor of the glorious throne, who effecteth that which he pleaseth. Hath not the story of the host of Pharaoh1 and

a The original word properly signifies, towers, which some interpret of real towers,1 wherein it is supposed the angels keep guard; and others, of the stars of the first magnitude: but the generality of expositors understand thereby the twelve signs of the zodiac, wherein the planets make their several stations.

• The meaning of these words is very uncertain, and the explications of the commentators consequently vary. One thinks the witness to be Mohammed, and that which is borne witness of to be the resurrection, or the professors of the Mohammedan faith; or else that these latter are the witness, and the professors of every other religion those who will be witnessed against by them. Another supposes the witness to be the guardian angel, and his charge the person witnessed against. Another expounds the words of the day of Arafat, the 9th Dhu'lhajja, and of the day of slaying the victims, which is the day following; or else of Friday, the day of the weekly assembling of the Mohammedans at their mosques, and of the people who are assembled on those days, &c.*

Literally, the lords of the pit. These were the ministers of the persecution raised by Dhu Nowâs, king of Yaman, who was of the Jewish religion, against the inhabitants of Najrân: for they having embraced Christianity (at that time the true religion, by the confession of Mohammed himself), the bigoted tyrant commanded all those who would not renounce their faith to be cast into a pit, or trench filled with fire, and there burnt to ashes. Others, however, tell the story with different circumstances.

"By the signs which are in the heavens, by the promised day, by the witness and the day of witnessing, the dwellers of the cavern have perished. They kept up there a guilty fire: while that they were seated around it, they devised plots against the believers.”—Savary.

Or, as some choose to understand the words, And shall be witnesses against themselves at the day of judgment, of their unjust treatment of the true believers.

Which pain, it is said, the persecutors of the Christian martyrs above mentioned felt in this life; the fire bursting forth upon them from the pit, and consuming them."

"Those who have burned the believers of both sexes, and who have not repented thereof, shall be plunged into the flames of hell.”—Savary. 1 See chap. 7, p. 127.

1 Yahya.
See chap. 15, p. 210, and chap. 72, p. 467.
Beidâwi, Yahya.
Iidem. Iidem. Vido Poc. Spec.
Arab. part 1. c. 10; and Prid. Life of Mohammed, p. 61.
Orient. Art. Abou Navas. 7 The day of resurrection.

3 Jallalo'ddin, at

p. 62. Ecchellens, Hist. Vide D'Herbel. Bibl 9 Al Beidâwi, Yahya.

of Thamud reached thee? Yet the unbelievers cease not to accuse the divine revelations of falsehood: but GOD encompasseth them behind, that they cannot escape. Verily that which they reject is a glorious Korân; the original whereof is written in a table kept in heaven.1





By the heaven, and that which appeareth by night: but what shall cause thee to understand what that which appeareth by night is? it is the star of piercing brightness: every soul hath a garden set over it. Let a man consider, therefore, of what he is created. He is created of seed poured forth, issuing from the loins, and the breast bones." Verily God is able to restore him to life, the day whereon all secret thoughts and actions shall be examined into; and he shall have no power to defend himself, nor any protector. By the heaven which returneth the rain; and by the earth which openeth:to let forth vegetables and springs: verily this is a discourse distinguishing good from evil; and it is not composed with lightness. Verily the infidels are laying a plot to frustrate my designs: but I will lay a plot for their ruin. Wherefore, O prophet, bear with the unbelievers: let them alone a while.




PRAISE the name of thy LORD, the most high; who hath created, and completely formed his creatures: and who determineth them to various

See chap. 7, p. 123.

And preserved from the least change or corruption. See the Prelim. Disc. sect. 3, p. 46, and sect. 4, p. 71.

Some take the words to signify any bright star without restriction; but others think some particular star or stars to be thereby intended; which one supposes to be the morning star, (peculiarly called al Tarek, or the appearing by night :) another Saturn, (that planet being by the Arabs surnamed al Thakeb, or the piercing, as it was by the Greeks, Phanon, or the shining;) and the third, the Pleiades.

"By the heaven, and the nocturnal star: who shall depict unto thee this star,

the fires of which are penetrating?"-Savary.

i. e. From the loins of the man, and the breast bones of the woman.9

• Or, as some expound it, Which performeth its periodic motion, returning to the point from whence it began the same. The words seem designed to express the alternate returns of the different seasons of the year.

Some take the first word of this chapter, viz. Praise, for its title.

"The believer who shall read the chapter, intitled the most High, shall receive

9 Al Beidâwi, Yahya.


ends, and directeth them to attain the same: ** and who produceth the pasture for cattle, and afterwards rendereth the same dry stubble of a dusky hue. We will enable thee to rehearse our revelations; and thou shalt not forget any part thereof, except what God shall please; for he knoweth that which is manifest, and that which is hidden. And we will facilitate unto thee the most easy way." Wherefore admonish thy people, if thy admonition shall be profitable unto them. Whoso feareth God, he will be admonished but the most wretched unbeliever will turn away therefrom; who shall be cast to be broiled in the greater fire of hell, wherein he shall not die, neither shall he live. Now hath he attained felicity, who is purified by faith, and who remembereth the name of his LORD, and prayeth. But ye prefer this present life: yet the life to come is better, and more durable. Verily this is written in the ancient books, the books of Abraham and Moses.




HATH the news of the overwhelming day of judgment reached thee? The countenances of some, on that day, shall be cast down; labouring and toiling:*+ they shall be cast into scorching fire to be broiled: they shall be given to drink of a boiling fountain: they shall have no food, but of dry thorns and thistles; which shall not fatten, neither shall they satisfy hunger. But the countenances of others, on that day, shall be joyful; well pleased with their past endeavour: they shall be placed in a lofty garden, wherein thou shalt hear no vain discourse: therein shall be a running fountain: ten celestial gifts for every letter which is contained in the books sent from heaven, to Abraham, Moses, and Mohammed. So say the Mohammedan theologians."— Savary.

a Determining their various species, properties, ways of life, &c.1

Guiding the rational by their reason and also by revelation, and the irrational by instinct, &c.

"He hath created and perfected his works. Eternal wisdom presideth over his decrees."-Savary.

See chap. 75, p. 473.

i. e. Except such revelations as God shall think fit to abrogate, and blot out of thy memory. See chap. 2, p. 14, and chap. 75, p. 473.

To retain the revelations communicated to thee by Gabriel: or, as some understand the words, We will dispose thee to the profession and strict observance of the most easy religion, that is, of Islâm.

This is a name, or epithet, of the last day; because it will suddenly overwhelm all creatures with fear and astonishment. It is also a name, or epithet, of hell fire. i. e. Dragging their chains, and labouring through hell fire, as camels labour through mud, &c. Or, Employing und fatiguing themselves in what shall not avail them.3

"Hath any one depicted unto thee the gloomy veil? Those of whom the countenance shall be covered by it shall be like unto hirelings exhausted by fatigue.”— Savary.

Such as the camels eat when green and tender. Some take the original word al Dari for the name of a thorny tree. (Savary is of this opinion.)

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therein shall be raised beds, and goblets placed before them, and cushions laid in order, and carpets ready spread. Do they not consider the camels,* how they are created; and the heaven, how it is raised; and the mountains, how they are fixed; and the earth how it is extended? Wherefore warn thy people; for thou art a warner only: thou art not impowered to act with authority over them. But whoever shall turn back,a and disbelieve, GOD shall punish him with the greater punishment of the life to come. Verily unto us shall they return: then shall it be our part to bring them

to account.




By the day-break, and ten nights; by that which is double, and that which is single; d* and by the night when it cometh on: is there not in this an oath formed with understanding? Hast thou not considered how thy LORD dealt with Ad, the people of Irem, adorned with lofty buildings,

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These animals are of such use, or rather necessity, in the east, that the creation of a species so wonderfully adapted to those countries is a very proper instance, to an Arabian, of the power and wisdom of God.

Some, however, think the clouds, (which the original word ibl also signifies,) are here intended; the heaven being mentioned immediately after.

Or, Except him who shall turn back, and be an infidel: and God shall also punish him, &c. By which exception some suppose that power is here given to Mohammed to chastise obstinate infidels and apostates.

Some are of opinion this chapter was revealed at Medina.

That is, The ten nights of Dhu'lhajja, or the tenth of that month, (whence some understand the day-break mentioned just before, of the morning of that day, or of the preceding;) or the nights of the 10th of Moharram; or as others rather think, the 10th, 11th, and 12th of Dhu'lhajja. All which are days peculiarly sacred among the Mohammedans.

d These words are variously interpreted. Some understand thereby all things in general; some, all created beings, (which are said to have been created by pairs, or of two kinds,) and the creator, who is single: some of the primum mobile, and the other orbs; some, of the constellations, and the planets; some, of the nights before mentioned, taken either together or singly; and some, of the day of slaying the victims, (the 10th of Dhu'lhajja,) and of the day of Arafat, which is the day before, &c. 5

"By the union and the separation."-Savary.

Irem was the name of the territory or city of the Adites, and of the garden mentioned in the next note; which were so called from Irem, or Aram, the grandfather of Ad, their progenitor. Some think Aram himself to be here meant, and his name to be added to signify the ancient Adites, his immediate descendants, and to distinguish them from the latter tribe of that name: but the adjective and relative joined to the word are, in the original, of the feminine gender, which seems to contradict this opinion.


Or pillars. Some imagine these words are used to express the great size and strength of the old Adites; 7 and then they should be translated, who were of enor mous stature. But the more exact commentators take the passage to relate to the sumptuous palace and delightful gardens built and made by Sheddâd the son of Ad. For they say Ad left two sons, Sheddâd and Sheddîd, who reigned jointly after his decease, and extended their power over the greater part of the world: but Sheddid dying, his brother became sole monarch; who, having heard of the celestial paradise, made a garden, in imitation thereof, in the deserts of Aden, and called it Irem, after the name of his great-grandfather: when it was finished, he set out, with a great attendance, to • Al Zamakh. 8

4 See chap. 51, p. 424. See the Prelim. Disc. p. 5.

• Al Beidâwi, Jallalo'ddin. 7 lidem.

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