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who heapeth up riches,

He thinketh that his
He shall surely be cast

WOE unto every slanderer and backbiter: and prepareth the same for the time to come! riches will render him immortal. By no means. into Al Hotama." And who shall cause thee to understand what Al Hotama is? It is the kindled fire of God; which shall mount above the hearts of those who shall be cast therein. Verily it shall be as an arched vault above them on columns of vast extent.




HAST thou not seen how thy Lord dealt with the masters of the elephant ?" Did he not make their treacherous design an occasion of This passage is said to have been revealed against al Akhnas Ebn Shoreik, or al Walid Ebn al Mogheira, or Omeyya Ebn Khalf, who were all guilty of slandering others, and especially the prophet.3

Al Hotama is one of the names of hell, or the name of one of its apartments ;* which is so called because it will break in pieces whatever shall be thrown into it. And therefore shall not be extinguished by any."

This chapter relates to the following piece of history, which is famous among the Arabs. Abraha Ebn al Sabâh, surnamed al Ashram, i.e. the slit-nosed, king or viceroy of Yaman, who was an Ethiopian, and of the Christian religion, having built a magnificent church at Sanaa, with a design to draw the Arabs to go in pilgrimage thither, instead of visiting the temple of Mecca, the Koreish, observing the devotion and concourse of the pilgrims at the Caaba began considerably to diminish, sent one Nofail, as he is named by some, of the tribe of Kenanâh, who, getting into the aforesaid church by night, defiled the altar and walls thereof with his excrements. At this profanation Abraha being highly incensed, vowed the destruction of the Caaba, and accordingly set out against Mecca at the head of a considerable army, wherein were several elephants, which he had obtained of the king of Ethiopia, their number being, as some say, thirteen, though others mention but one. The Meccans, at the approach of so considerable a host, retired to the neighbouring mountains, being unable to defend their city or temple; but God himself undertook the protection of both. For when Abraha drew near to Mecca, and would have entered it, the elephant on which he rode, which was a very large one, and named Mahmûd, refused to advance any nigher to the town, but knelt down whenever they endeavoured to force him that way, though he would rise and march briskly enough if they turned him towards any other quarter: and while matters were in this posture, on a sudden a large flock of birds, like swallows, came flying from the sea coast, every one of which carried three stones, one in each foot, and one in its bill; and these stones they threw down upon the heads of Abraha's men, certainly killing every one they struck. Then God sent a flood, which swept the dead bodies, and some of those who had not been struck with the stones, into the sea: the rest fled towards Yaman, but perished by the way; none of them reaching Sanaa, except only Abraha himself, who died soon after his arrival there, being struck with a sort See Prelim. Disc. sect. iv. p. 65.

Al Zamakh., al Beidâwi, Jallalo'ddin. Al Beidawi.

See the Prelim. Disc, pp. 7, 8.

drawing them into error;* and send against them flocks of birds, which cast down upon them stones of baked clay; and render them like the leaves of corn eaten by cattle?+

of plague or putrefaction, so that his body opened, and his limbs rotted off by piecemeal. It is said that one of Abraha's army, named Abu Yacsûm, escaped over the Red Sea into Ethiopia, and going directly to the king, told him the tragical story; and upon that prince's asking him what sort of birds they were, that had occasioned such a destruction, the man pointed to one of them, which had followed him all the way, and was at that time hovering directly over his head, when immediately the bird let fall the stone, and struck him dead at the king's feet.7

This remarkable defeat of Abraha happened in the very year Mohammed was born, and as this chapter was revealed before the Hejra, and within fifty-four years, at least, after it came to pass, when several persons, who could have detected the lie, had Mohammed forged this story out of his own head, were alive, it seems as if there was really something extraordinary in the matter, which might, by adding some circumstances, have been worked up into a miracle to his hands. Marracci judges the whole to be either a fable, or else a feat of some evil spirits, of which he gives a parallel instance, as he thinks, in the strange defeat of Brennus, when he was marching to attack the temple of Apollo at Delphi. Dr. Prideaux directly charges Mohammed with coining this miracle, notwithstanding he might have been so easily disproved, and supposes, without any foundation, that this chapter might not have been published till Othman's edition of the Korân,1 which was many years after, when all might be dead who could remember any thing of the above-mentioned war. But Mohammed had no occasion to coin such a miracle himself, to gain the temple of Mecca any greater veneration: the Meccans were but too superstitiously fond of it, and obliged him, against his inclinations and original design, to make it the chief place of his new-invented worship. I cannot, however, but observe Dr. Prideaux's partiality on this occasion, compared with the favourable reception he gives to the story of the miraculous overthrow of Brennus and his army, which he concludes in the following words: "Thus was GOD pleased in a very extraordinary manner to execute his vengeance upon those sacrilegious wretches for the sake of religion in general, how false and idolatrous soever that particular religion was, for which that temple at Delphos was erected."3 If it be answered, that the Gauls believed the religion, to the devotions of which that temple was consecrated, to be true, (though that be not certain,) and therefore it was an impiety in them to offer violence to it, whereas Abraha acknowledged not the holiness of the Caaba, or the worship there practised; I reply, That the doctor, on occasion of Cambyses being killed by a wound he accidentally received in the same part of the body where he had before mortally wounded the Apis, or bull worshipped by the Egyptians, whose religion and worship that prince most certainly believed to be false and superstitious, makes the same reflection: "The Egyptians," says he, "reckoned this as an especial judgment from heaven upon him for that fact, and perchance they were not much out in it for it seldom happening in an affront given to any mode of worship, how erroneous soever it may be, but that religion is in general wounded hereby, there are many instances in history, wherein God hath very signally punished the profanations of religion in the worst of times, and under the worst modes of heathen idolatry." "Did he not turn their perfidiousness to their own ruin ?"-Savary.

▾ These stones were of the same kind with those by which the Sodomites were destroyed, and were no bigger than vetches, though they fell with such force as to pierce the helmet and the man through, passing out at his fundament. It is said also that on each stone was written the name of him who was to be slain by it. +"The perfidious were rendered like the leaves of the harvest which hath been reaped."-Savary.

Al Zamakh., al Beidawi, Jallalo'ddin, Abulf. Hist. Gen. &c. See Prid. Life of Moh. p. 61, &c., and D'Herbel, Bibl. Orient. Art. Abrahah. 8 Refut. in Alcor. p. 823. See Prid. Connection, part II. book 1, p. 25, and the authors there quoted. 1 See the Prelim. Disc. sect. iii. Prid. Life of Moh. vp. 63, 64. Prid. Connection in the place above cited. chap. 11, p. 184.

* Ibid. part I. book 3, p. 173.





FOR the uniting of the tribe of Koreish;" their uniting in sending forth the caravan of merchants and purveyors in winter and summer ;* let them serve the LORD of this house; who supplieth them with food against hunger, and hath rendered them secure from fear."

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WHAT thinkest thou of him who denieth the future judgment as a falsehood? It is he who pusheth away the orphan;" and stirreth not up

Some connect these words with the following, and suppose the natural order to be, Let them serve the Lord of this house, for the uniting, &c. Others connect them with the preceding chapter, and take the meaning to be, that God had so destroyed the army of Abraha for the uniting of the Koreish, &c. And this last opinion is confirmed by one copy, mentioned by al Beidawi, wherein this and the preceding make but one chapter. It may not be amiss to observe, that the tribe of Koreish, the most noble among all the Arabians, and of which was Mohammed himself, were the posterity of Fehr, surnamed Koreish, the son of Malec, the son of al Nadr, who was descended in a right line from Ismael. Some writers say that al Nadr bore the surname of Koreish, but the more received opinion is, that it was his grandson Fehr, who was so called because of his intrepid boldness, the word being a diminutive of Karsh, which is the name of a sea-monster, very strong and daring; though there be other reasons given for its imposition.

It was Hashem, the great grandfather of Mohammed, who first appointed the two yearly caravans, here mentioned; 7 one of which set out in the winter for Yaman, and the other in summer for Syria.8

"It importeth the safety of commerce during the winter and the summer." -Savary.

By means of the aforesaid caravans of purveyors; or, who supplied them with food in time of famine, which those of Mecca had suffered.

By delivering them from Abraha and his troops; or, by making the territory of Mecca a place of security.

"God, saith Zamakhshari, will blot out the sins of the believer who shall read this chapter, provided that he have been punctual in obeying the precept of alms.^ -Savary.

The person here intended, according to some, was Abu Jahl, who turned away an orphan, to whom he was guardian, and who came to him naked, and asked for some relief out of his own money. Some say it was Abu Sofiân, who having killed a camel, when an orphan begged a piece of the flesh, beat him away with his staff; and others think it was al Walîd Ebn al Mogheira, &c.

7 See the Prelim.

• Iidem.

•Vide Gagnier, Vie de Mohammed, tom. 1, pp. 44, 46. Disc. p. 3. Al Zamakh., Jallalo'ddin, al Beidâwi.

others to feed the poor. Woe be unto those who pray, and who are negligent at their prayer; who play the hypocrites, and deny necessaries to the needy.*




VERILY we have given thee al Cawthar.d Wherefore pray unto thy LORD, and slay the victims. Verily he who hateth thee shall be childless.'†

The original word al Maûn properly signifies utensils, or whatever is of necessary use, as a hatchet, a pot, a dish, and a needle, to which some add a bucket and a hand mill; or, according to a tradition of Ayesha, fire, water, and salt; and this signification it bore in the time of ignorance; but since the establishment of the Mohammedan religion, the word has been used to denote alms, either legal, or voluntary; which seems to be the true meaning in this place.

"Hast thou remarked the unbeliever who denieth the day of judgment? It is he who devoureth the substance of the orphan. He thinketh not of feeding the poor. Woe to the hypocrites. They pray negligently, and only from ostentation. They refuse to stretch out a succouring hand unto their fellow-creatures.”—Savary. • There are some, however, who think it to have been revealed at Medina. This word signifies abundance, especially of good, and thence the gift of wisdom and prophecy, the Korân, the office of intercessor, &c. Or it may imply abundance of children, followers, and the like. It is generally, however, expounded of a river in paradise of that name, whence the water is derived into Mohammed's pond, of which the blessed are to drink before their adınission into that place. According to a tradition of the prophet's, this river, wherein his Lord promised him abundant good, is sweeter than honey, whiter than milk, cooler than snow, and smoother than cream; its banks are of chrysolites, and the vessels to drink thereout of silver; and those who drink of it shall never thirst."

Euthymius Zigabenus, instead of Cauthar, reading Canthur, supposes the word to have the same signification in Arabic as in Greek, and translates the two first verses of the chapter thus: 'Ημεῖς δεδώκαμέν σοι τὸν κάνθαρον, καὶ ἔυξαι πρὸς τὸν κύριόν σου, nal o pákor, We have given thee the beetle; wherefore pray unto thy Lord, and slay it; and then he cries out, O wonderful and magnificent sacrifice, worthy of the legislator!

Which are to be sacrificed, at the pilgrimage, in the valley of Mina. Al Beidawi explains the words thus: Pray with fervency and intense devotion, not out of hypocrisy and slay the fatted camels and oxen, and distribute the flesh among the poor: for he says this chapter is the counterpart of the preceding, exhorting to those virtues which are opposite to the vices there condemned.

These words were revealed against al As Ebn Wayel, who, on the death of AI Kasem, Mohammed's son, called that prophet Abtar, which signifies one who has no children, or posterity."

"He who hateth thee shall perish."

1 See the Prelim. Disc. sect. 4, p. 68.

'In Panoplia dogmat. inter Sylburgii Saracenic. P. 29.

Al Beidâwi, Jallalo'ddin, &c. • Jallalo'ddin.




SAY: O unbelievers, I will not worship that which ye worship; nor will ye worship that which I worship. Neither do I worship that which ye worship; neither do ye worship that which I worship. Ye have your religion, and I my religion.




WHEN the assistance of GOD shall come, and the victory; and thou shalt see the people enter into the religion of GOD by troops:1 celebrate the praise of thy LORD, and ask pardon of him; for he is inclined to forgive.

It is said that certain of the Koreish once proposed to Mohammed, that if he would worship their gods for a year, they would worship his God for the same space of time; upon which this chapter was revealed."

(This chapter is one of those which the Mohammedans repeat daily as a prayer.) -Savary.

i. e. When God shall cause thee to prevail over thy enemies, and thou shalt take the city of Mecca.

1 Which happened in the ninth year of the Hejra, when, Mohammed having made himself master of Mecca, and obliged the Koreish to submit to him, the rest of the Arabs came into him in great numbers, and professed Islâm."

* Most of the commentators agree this chapter to have been revealed before the taking of Mecca, and suppose it gave Mohammed warning of his death; for they say that when he read it al Abbâs wept, and being asked by the prophet what was the reason of his weeping, answered, Because it biddeth thee to prepare for death; to which Mohammed replied, It is as thou sayest. And hence, adds Jallalo'ddin, after the revelation of this chapter, the prophet was more frequent in praising and asking pardon of God; because he thereby knew that his end approached: for Mecca was taken in the eighth year of the Hejra, and he died in the beginning of the tenth.

Jallalo'ddin, Al Beidâwi. • See the Prelim. Disc. sect. ii. p. 39. 7 Al Beidawi.

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