IN presenting to the public the first volume of A Comprehensive Commentary on the Qur'an, I think it necessary to make a brief statement as to the reasons which have led to the publication of this work, and the object sought to be attained thereby.
The idea of preparing such a work grew out of the wants which I felt in the pursuit of my own study of the Qur'an, and in the work of a missionary among Muslims. The time required to gather up the results of the labours of various writers on Islam; the difficulty of preserving these results in a form suitable for convenient reference; and the still greater difficulty of bringing the truth thus acquired to bear on the minds of Muslims, owing to the absence of any medium whereby the proof-texts, referred to in the English works by chapter and verse, may be found in the original copies current among Muhammadans, where no such mode of reference is used; - all these suggested the great need of a work which would remove in some degree at least these obstacles to the study of the Qur'an, and thus promote a better knowledge of Islam among missionaries.
It will thus be seen that I have not laboured simply to make a book. I have endeavoured to provide for a felt
want. My object has been to gather up in a few volumes the results of the labours of those who have endeavoured to elucidate the text of the Qur'an, adding the results of my own study. It is in this sense that this work is entitled a Comprehensive Commentary. Though primarily intended for the use of those who, like myself, are engaged in missionary work among Muhammadans, it is hoped that it will render valuable service to others.
The plan adopted in the preparation of this work is as follows:-
I. To present Sale's translation' of the Qur'an in the form of the Arabic original, indicating the Sipara, Surat, Rugu of the Sipara, Ruqu of the Surat, &c., as they are in the best Oriental editions.
II. To number the verses as they are in the Roman Urdu edition of Maulvi Abdul Qadir's translation. This arrangement will be of special benefit to missionaries in India.
III. To exhibit in the notes and comments the views of the best Muslim commentators. For these I am indebted for the most part to Sale, the Tafsir-i-Raufi, the Tafsir-i-Hussaini, the Tafsir-i-Fatah-ar-Rahman, and the notes on Abdul Qadir's Urdu translation of the Qur'an. Sale's notes have been almost entirely drawn (with the aid of Maracci's work in Latin) from the standard writings of Baidhawi, the Jalalain, and Al Zamakashari. I have also culled much from some of the best European writers on Islam, a list of whose works may be found below.
IV. To the above is prefixed Sale's Preliminary Discourse, with additional notes and emendations. And the last volume will contain a complete Index, both to the text of, and the notes on, the Qur'an, which will enable the reader to acquaint himself with the teaching of the
Qur'an on any particular subject, with a very small amount of labour.
In regard to the spelling of proper names, I have invariably Romanised the original form of the words, except when quoting from living authors, in which case I have felt obliged to retain the spelling peculiar to each writer.
In order to facilitate the study of individual chapters, and to help a better understanding of the various "revelations," I have prefixed to each chapter a brief introduction, showing the circumstances under which the revelations were made, the date of their publication by Muhammad, and also giving a brief analysis of each chapter as to its teaching.
As to the matter of the notes, the reader will perceive occasional repetition. This is due in part to the repetitions of the text, and partly in order to call special attention to certain doctrines of the Qur'an, e.g., its testimony to the genuineness and credibility of the Christian Scriptures current in the days of Muhammad; the evidence it affords to its own character as a fabrication; its testimony to the imposture of the Arabian prophet, in his professing to attest the Former Scriptures, while denying almost every cardinal doctrine of the same, - in his putting into the mouth of God garbled statements as to Scripture history, prophecy, and doctrine, to suit the purposes of his prophetic pretensions,- and in his appealing to Divinity to sanction his crimes against morality and decency.
The need of emphasising facts of this kind has grown out of the attempt of certain apologists for Islam to ignore these unpleasant truths, and to exhibit to the present generation an ideal Muhammad, no less unlike the prophet of Arabia than the Muhammad of Christian bigotry and
misrepresentation. My endeavour has been to show what the Qur'an actually teaches on these subjects.
On the other hand, I have endeavoured to remove, as far as known to me, the misapprehensions, and consequent misrepresentations, of the doctrines of the Qur'an, popular among Christians, believing that every such error strengthens the prejudices of Muhammadans, and thereby aids the cause it seeks to overthrow, whilst justifying similar misrepresentation from the Muslim side. Everywhere I have endeavoured to advance the cause of truth, to show just what the Qur'an teaches, and so by stating fairly the issues of the controversy with Islam, to advance the great cause of bringing its votaries to a knowledge of Him to whom all the prophets of God pointed as the Son of God and the Saviour of sinners.
Finally, whilst I desire to express my obligations to all those, now living, whose writings I have consulted or used in the preparation of this volume, I wish specially to make thankful acknowledgment of the help afforded me by Sir William Muir, in permitting me to make use of his most valuable works on Muhammad and the Qur'an in the preparation of this work. My thanks are also due to the key. P M. Zenker, C.M.S. missionary, Agra, for much valuable assistance in gathering material from sources inaccessible to me.
Without further preface, and earnestly desiring the blessing of Him who is THE ONLY SINLESS PROPHET OF ISLAM, and the only Saviour of fallen men, I commend this volume to the reader.
LODIANA, December 31, 1881.
ABDUL QA'DIR IBN WALI ULLAH. Translation of the Qur'an, with Notes, in Urdu.
ARNOLD, JOHN MUERLEISEN, D.D. Islam: Its History, Character, and Relation to Christianity. Third edition.
BURCKHARDT, J. L. Notes on the Bedouins and Wahabys. 2 vols. 1831.
BURTON, CAPTAIN. Pilgrimage to Mecca.
BRINCKMAN, Rev. ARTHUR. Notes on Islam.
HIGGINS, GODFREY, Esq. An Apology for the Life and Character of the Celebrated Prophet of Arabia.
HUGHES, Rev. T. P. Notes on Muhammadanism. Second edition. -Also, Preface and Introduction to the Roman Urdu Qur'an. Lodiana edition.
LANE, EDWARD WILLIAM. Selections from the Qur'an.
MUIR, SIR WILLIAM, LL.D. Life of Mahomet. The Testimony borne by the Coran to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures.
NOELDEKE, TH. Origine et Compositione Surarum Qur'anicarum ipsiusque Qur'an. Geschichte des Qorans.
PALGRAVE, W. GIFFORD. Central and Eastern Arabia.
PRIDEAUX, HUMFHREY, D.D. Life of Mahomet.
RODWELL, J. M. The Koran. Second edition, 1876.
SALE, GEORGE. The Koran, with Preliminary Discourse and Notes on the Authority of Baidhawi, Jaluddin, Al Zamakhshari, &C
SMITH, R. BOSWORTH, M.A. Mohammed and Mohammedanism. Second edition.
SYED AHMAD KHAN BAHADUR. Essays on the Life of Mohammed.
The Tafsir-i-Raufi, an Urdu' Commentary on the Qur'an.
The Tafsir-i-Hussaini, a Persian Commentary on the Qur'an.
The Notes on the Roman Urdu' Qur'an. Allahabad edition, 1844.
WHEELER, TALBOYS. History of India, vol. iv., part i.
IN reading the Romanised form of Arabic proper names, the reader should pronounce-
a as u in but. a " a " far. i " i " sin. i " ee " heed. o " o " home. o " o " do. oo " oo " pool. ai " i " side.
In reading the fractional sign R1/1 R 17/1, &C, in the margin to the text of the Qur'an, understand by the figures above the line the Ruqu of the Surat or chapter, and by the figures below the line the Ruqu of the Sipara. The terms Ruba, Nisf, and Suls mark the forth, half, and three-fourths of a Sipara.
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