1

THE QURAN.

CHAPTER III.

ENTITLED SURAT AL IMRAN (THE FAMILY OF IMRAN)

Revealed at Madina.

INTRODUCTION.

THIS chapter contains a variety of passages belonging to different periods. The revelations are, however, all of Madina origin, excepting verses 26 and 27, which seem to be the remnant of a lost Makkan Suras to matter, the chapter may be divided into two portions. The first, extending to verse 120, relates to various matters of instruction and warning, suited to the circumstances of the Muslims during the period of prosperity intervening between the victory at Badr and the defeat at Ohod. The remainder of the chapter was intended to counteract the evils consequent upon the misfortunes of the Muslims at Ohod.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

Verses 1-25, 28-57, 66-94, and 98-120, belong to the period intervening between Ramadhan of A.H. 2 (Badr) and Shawwal of A.H. 3 (Ohod).

Verses 26 and 27 are Makkan, but their date cannot be ascertained. Verses 58-65 allude to the visit of the Christians of Najran to Madina in A.H. 9. They probably belong to that year.

Verses 95-97, referring to the rites of pilgrimage as fully established, must be referred to the later years of Muhammad's life, say A.H. 10.


2

The remaining verses, 121-200, belong to a period immediately succeeding the battle of Ohod, and must therefore be referred to the latter part of A.H. 3 or the beginning of A.H. 4.

Principal Subjects.

God one and self-existent ... verses 1, 2
The Quran to be believed ... 3, 4
God omniscient ... 5,6
Plain and obscure verses of the Quran ... 7
The prayer of those versed in Quranic mystery ... 8, 9
The punishment of Pharaoh a warning to infidels ... 10, 12
The victory at Badr alluded to ... 13
The faithful, their character and reward ... 14-18
Islam the true religion ... 19, 20
The punishment of unbelievers eternal ... 21-25
God omnipotent and sovereign ... 26, 27
Obedience to God enjoined ... 28-34
The Virgin Mary-her conception-nurtured by Zacharias ... 35-38
John Baptist, his birth ... 39-40
Christ anuounced to the Virgin-his miracles-apostles, &c. ... 42-57
Muhammad's dispute with the Christians of Najran ... 58-65
The hypocritical Jews reproached ... 66-77
Prophets not to be worshipped ... 78-83
God's curse on infidels ... 84-91
Almsgiving enjoined ... 92
The Jews unlawfully forbid certain meats ... 93-95
The Kaabah founded ... 96,97
Muslims are warned against the friendship of Jews, &c. ... 98-105
The lot of infidels and believers contrasted ... 106-109
Muslims safe from the enmity of Jews and Christians ... 111-112
Certain believing Jews commended for their faith ... 113-115
Muslims not to make friends of Jews and Christians ... 116-120
The battle of Ohod alluded to ... 121, 122
Disheartened Muslims encouraged ... 123-129
Usury forbidden ... 130-136
The doom of calumniators of the apostles ... 137, 138
Islam not dependent on Muhammad for success ... 139-144
The former prophets are examples of perseverance ... 145-148
Unbelievers to be avoided ... 149-151
Certain Muslims disobedient at Ohod ... 152-154


3

The hypocrites rebuked ... 155-157
Muslims slain at Ohod to enter paradise ... 158, 159
Mild treatment of vacillating Muslims ... 160, 161
The spoils of war to be honestly divided ... 162-165
The faithful sifted by defeat at Ohod ... 166-169
The joy of the Ohod martyrs in paradise ... 170-172
Certain Muslims commended for faithfulness ... 173-176
The fate of unbelievers ... 177-180
The miser's doom ... 181
Scoffing Jews denounced - they charge Muhammad with imposture ... 182-190
Meditations and prayers of the pious ... 191-195
God's answer to the prayers of the pious ... 196-198
Certain believing Jews and Christians commended ... 199
Exhortation to patience and perseverance ... 200


IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.

R 1/9

(1) A. L. M. (2) There is no GOD but GOD, the living, the self-subsisting: (3) he hath sent down unto thee the

(1) A.L.M. See note on chap. ii. ver. 1, and Prelim. Disc., p. 100.

(2) There is no God but God, &c. These words express one half of the Muslim creed; they are said to have been delivered on the occasion of a visit to the Prophet by certain Christians from Najran. On being invited to join Islam, they professed their faith in Jesus the Son of God. To this Muhammad replied that they were unable to receive the true religion because of their having attributed to the Deity the human relationships of wife and son. The Christians declared their belief in the Sonship of Jesus, saying, "If God were not his father, who was?" To this Muhammad replied, that, according to their own religion, God was immortal, and yet they believed that Jesus would taste of death; that he ate and drank, slept and awoke, went and came, &c. This, he averred, could not be predicated of divinity. See Tafsir-i-Husaini in loco.

According to the Tafsir-i-Raufi, this verse contains a distinct rejection of the Christian doctrine of the Divinity of Christ as well as of the Trinity. The tradition handed down to the present generation by these commentators, and, so far as I know, by all commentators of the Quran confirms our interpretation of chap. ii. vers. 86, 116. Muhammad knew of no Trinity save that of God, Mary. and Jesus, and Muhammadan commentators know of no other Trinity, unless it be that of God, Jesus, and Gabriel- see Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco - probably a modern gloss of the Bible language, "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," the term Holy Spirit, as found in the Quran, being


4

book of the Quran with truth, confirming that which was revealed before it; for he had formerly sent down the law, and the gospel a direction unto men; and he had also sent down the distinction between good and evil. (4) Verily those who believe not the signs of GOD shall suffer a grievous punishment; for GOD is mighty, able to revenge. (5) Surely nothing is hidden from GOD, of that which is on

always understood to refer to the Angel Gabriel: see chap. ii. 253. No Christian would object to the statement upon which we are now commenting. It is a statement clearly set forth in our Scriptures. But if this statement is intended to refute the Christian doctrine concerning the person of Christ and the Trinity, what becomes of the claims set up for the Quran in this same verse as "confirming that which was revealed before it"? What are we to say of the inspiration of a prophet who seems to have been ignorant of the teaching of the Scriptures he professed to confirm? If he were not ignorant of these doctrines, then what becomes of his character for integrity? How he could be so ignorant of them, after personal intercourse with Christians as testified by tradition, as to attribute to them views never held by any sect however heretical, I confess myself unable to show.

(3) He had formerly sent down the law, &c. The Muslim commentators understand the reference to be to all the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, and that these were "a direction" unto the Jews that they should not call Ezra the Son of God, and "a direction" to the Christians that they should not call Christ "God, the Son of God, or one of three persons of a Trinity." - Tafsir-i-Raufi.

The distinction. The original word is Al Furqan, a word usually translated in the Persian and Urdu versions of the Quran, "miracles." It is applied to the Quran in the sense of the text, as the distinguisher "between good and evil," especially between the false and true in religion. This name, say the Muslims, is intended to point to the miraculous character of the Quran. But if so, the same character must be credited to the Christian and Jewish Scriptures, for the commentators admit that what is referred to in the first part of this verse in detail is here referred to im general (Tafsir.i-Raufi in loco). The word therefore probably points to the seal of miracles which God set upon all his prophets and his word as revealed by them. In the case of the Quran, the verses (Ayat = signs) are the miraculous seal of inspiration.

(4) Those who believe not the signs, i.e., who reject the teaching of the Quran. If our view of the latter clause of the preceding verse be correct, allusion may be had to the teaching of former Scriptures as well.

(5) Nothing is hidden from God, &c. A distinct recognition of the omniscience of God. The commentators see in this statement a refutation of the Christian doctrine of the Divinity of Christ. The Son


5

earth, or in heaven: (6) it is he who formeth you in the wombs, as he pleaseth; there is no GOD but he, the mighty, the wise. (7) It is he who hath sent down unto thee the book, wherein are some verses clear to be understood, they are the foundation of the book; and others are parabolical. But they whose hearts are perverse will follow that which is parabolical therein, out of love of schism, and a desire of the interpretation thereof; yet none knoweth the interpretation thereof except God. Bnt they who are well

of Mary did not know everything, therefore he could not be divine. Here again we see that the Muslim conception of Christ's divinity is that his humanity was divine.

(6) He that formeth you, &c., i.e., "tall or short, male or female, black or white, deformed or perfect, beautiful or ugly, good and fortunate, or wretched and miserable." - Tafsir-i-Raufi.

(7) Some verses clear . . . others are parabolical. "This passage is translated according to the exposition of al Zamakhshari and Baidhawi, which seems to be the truest.

"The contents of the Quran are here distinguished into such passages as are to be taken in the literal sense, and such as require a figurative acceptation. The former, being plain and obvious to be understood, compose the fundamental part, or, as the original ex presses it, the mother of the book, and contain the principal doctrines and precepts, agreeably to and consistently with which, those passages which are wrapt up in metaphors and delivered in enigmatical, allegorical style are always to be interpreted." See Prelim. Disc.,p. 113. - Sale.

On this subject, Hughes, in his Notes on Muhammadanism, pp. 32-34, second edition, writes as follows - "The sentences ('Ibarat) of the Quran are either Zahir or Khafi, i.e. ,either obvious or hidden.

"Obvious sentences are of four classes zahir, nass, mufassar, muhkam.

"Zahir = those sentences the meaning of which is obvious or clear without my assistance from the context, &c.

"Hidden sentences are either khafi, mushkil, mujmal, or mutashabih," i.e., " hidden," "ambiguous," "compendious," or "intricate."

We have therefore in this passage the foundation principle of Muslim exegesis. See also the Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco.

None knoweth the interpretation &c. Sale has followed the interpretation of the Sunni or orthodox sect in this translation. The Shiah sect, however, dissents from an interpretation which makes God say that he has revealed what is not after all a revelation. They, therefore, understand this sentence as being closely connected with the one following, as the original will very well allow and render the passage thus : "None knoweth the interpretation thereof except God AND those who are well grounded in the knowledge which


6

grounded in the knowledge say, We believe therein, the whole is from our LORD; and none will consider except the prudent. (8) 0 LORD, cause not our hearts to swerve from truth, after thou hast directed us: and give us from thee mercy, for thou art he who giveth. (9) 0 LORD, thou shalt surely gather mankind together, unto a day of resurrection: there is no doubt of it, for GOD will not be contrary to the promise.

R 2/10

(10) As for the infidels, their wealth shall not profit them anything, nor their children, against GOD: they shall be the fuel of hell fire. (11) According to the wont of the people of Pharaoh, and of those who went before them, they charged our signs with a lie; but GOD caught them in their wickedness, and GOD is severe in punishing. (12) Say unto those who believe not, Ye shall be overcome, and thrown together into hell; and an unhappy couch shall it be. (13)Ye have already had a miracle shown you in two armies,

say, &c. By "those who are well grounded in the knowledge," they understand the Imams of their own sect. This interpretation, however, does not avail them much, inasmuch as they are dependent on the fallible testimony of the traditionists for a knowledge of the dictum of the Imams ; and, amidst the conflict of witnesses, most men would be ready to say with the text, "None knoweth the interpretation thereof except God."

The principle enunciated in this verse should not be forgotten by Christians when called upon by Muslims to examine some of the obscure passages of the Bible or the mysteries of our religion.

(8) 0 Lord, &c. Muslims understand all prayers of this kind found in the Quran as introduced by the word "say." See notes in chap. I. This prayer is dictated by the third clause of the preceding verse, and is connected with that passage thus "They who are well grounded, say ... O Lord," &c.

(9) A day, &c. Rodwell gives the correct rendering of this passage thus: "For the day of whose coming there is not a doubt, thou wilt surely gather mankind together." So too the Urdu' and Persian translations.

(11) They charged our signs with a lie. Muhammad again likens himself to Moses and other prophets, whose message had been treated with contempt by infidels like unto the Jews and Quraish of his time.

(12) Ye shall be overcome. These defiant words, addressed to the enemies of Islam, and to the Quraish in particular, were inspired by the Muslim victory at Badr, A.H. 2.

(13) Ye have already had a miracle shown you. "The sign or


7

which attacked each other: one army fought for GOD'S true religion, but the other were infidels; they saw the faithful twice as many as themselves in their eyesight; for GOD strengthened with his help whom he pleaseth. Surely herein was an example unto men of understanding. (14)

miracle here meant was the victory by Muhammad in the second year of the Hijra over the idolatrous Makkans . . . in the valley of Badr. . . Muhammad's forces consisted of no more than three hundred and nineteen men, but the enemy's army of near a thousand, notwithstanding which odds he put them to flight, having killed seventy of the principal Quraish"(forty-nine see Muir's Life of Mahomet vol. iii. p.107, note), "and taken as many prisoners with the loss of only fourteen of his own men. This was the first victory obtained by the Prophet; and though it may seem no very considerable action, yet it was of great advantage to him, and the foundation of all his future power and success. For which reason it is famous in the Arabian history, and more than once vaunted in the Quran (chap. viii. 45, 46) as an effect of the divine assistance. The miracle, it is said, consisted in three things: I. Muhammad, by the direction of the Angel Gabriel, took a handful of gravel and threw it towards the enemy in the attack, saying, May their faces be confounded; where upon they immediately turned their backs and fled. But though the Prophet seemingly threw the gravel himself, yet it is told in the Quran (chap. viii. 17) that it was not he but God, who threw it, that is to say, by the ministry of his angel. 2. The Muhammadan troops seemed to the infidels to be twice as many in number as themselves, which greatly discouraged them. And 3. God sent down to their assistance first a thousand, and afterwards three thousand angels, led by Gabriel, mounted on his horse Haizum; and, according to the Quran (chap. viii. 17), these celestial auxiliaries really did all the execution, though Muhammad's men imagined themselves did it, and fought stoutly at the same time."- Sale.

There is a discrepancy between the statement of this verse and that of chap. viii. 46. Here the miracle consists in the dismay wrought among the Quraish by magnifying the number of Muslims in their eyes; but there it is recorded that "when he caused them to appear unto you when ye met to be few in your eyes, and diminished your number in their eyes." In this verse the miracle consisted in encouraging the Muslims by diminishing the number of those of Makkah and in luring on the Quraish to destruction by making the number of their adversaries appear even less than it really was. The commentators reconcile these statements by making the former to succeed the latter in time. Considering the number of angels called in to assist the Muslims on this occasion, one would infer that the angelic hosts of Islam were not highly gifted in the art of war. Compare Isa. xxxvii. 36, but see below, ver. 123, note, and on chap. viii. 45, 46.


8

The love and eager desire of wives, and children, and sums heaped up of gold and silver, and excellent horses, and cattle and land, is prepared for men: this is the provision of the present life; but unto GOD shall be the most excellent return. (15) Say, Shall I declare unto you better things than this? For those who are devout are prepared with their LORD gardens through which rivers flow; therein shall they continue for ever: and they shall enjoy wives free from impurity, and the favour of GOD; for GOD regardeth his servants, (16) who say, O LORD, we do sincerely believe; forgive us therefore our sins, and deliver us from the pain of hell fire: (17) the patient, and the lovers of truth, and the devout, and the almsgivers, and those who ask pardon early in the morning. (18) GOD hath borne witness that there is no GOD but he; and the angels, and those who are endowed with wisdom, profess the same; who executeth righteousness; there is no GOD but he; the mighty, the wise.

NISF

(19) Verily the true religion in the sight of GOD is

(15) Shall I declare unto you better things than this? This verse, taken in connection with the preceding, clearly shows that the joys of the Muslim heaven are carnal. "The provision of the present life," viz., women, gold and silver, horses, cattle, and land, were such is could alone gratify the "eager desire" of an Arab in this life. All these are to be infinitely multiplied amid the pavilions and gardens of paradise. See also notes on chap. ii. 25.

The attempt to explain these passages as figurative and symbolical of spiritual blessing, while sanctioned by the teaching of some Muslim writers, does violence to the language of the Quran as well as to the faith of the orthodox in all ages of Islam. It is unfair to quote in evidence the dreamy statements of the Sufis or the rationalistic pleading of modern free-thinkers. These are alike regarded as infidels by the orthodox Muhammadan. There cannot be a shadow of a doubt that the heaven of Muslims is a place of sensual delights. No orthodox Muslim commentator takes any other view, "and it is impossible for any candid mind to read the Quran and the traditions and arrive at any other conclusion on the subject." See Hughes's Notes on Muhammadanism, 2d ed., pp. 91-95.

God regardeth his servants who say &c. The ground of forgiveness, as here stated, is faith in Islam and obedience to its precepts.

(19) The true religion ... is Islam. "The proper name of the Muhammadan religion, which signifies the resigning or devoting one's self entirely to God and his service. This they say is the religion


9

Islam: and they who had received the scriptures dissented not therefrom, until after the knowledge of God's unity had come unto them, out of envy among themselves; but whosoever believeth not in the signs of GOD, verily GOD will be swift in bringing him to account. (20) If they dispute with thee, say, I have resigned myself unto GOD, and he who followeth me doth the same; and say unto them who have received the scriptures, and to the ignorant, Do ye profess the religion of Islam? now if they embrace Islam, they are surely directed; but if they turn their backs, verily unto thee belongeth preaching only; for GOD regardeth his servants.

R 3/11

(21) And unto those who believe not in the signs of GOD, and slay the prophets without a cause, and put those men to death who teach justice; denounce unto them a painful punishment. (22) These are they whose works perish in this world, and in that which is to come; and they shall have none to help them (23) Hast thou hot observed those unto whom part of the scripture was

which all the prophets were sent to teach, being founded on the unity of God." - Sale, Jalaluddin.

See also below, on vers. 83-84.

They who had received the Scriptures dissented, &c. The meaning of this passage seems to be that Jews and Christians belonged to this true religion of Islam until the revelation of the Quran came. They were then filled with envy, and on this account dissented from the truth.

Muhammad, therefore, again attests the truth of Judaism and Christianity, and in this passage seems clearly to state that the Jews and Christians were the followers of the true religion up to the date of his prophetic claim. If so, a comparison of the religions will show how far Islam falls short of being the true religion taught by the prophets and Jesus, and also how far the charge of envy is justified.

(20) Do ye profess Islam? See Rodwell's note on this passage. The mission of Muhammad thus far was that of a preacher only. Although the enemies of Islam were threatened, the policy of Muhammed was as yet purely defensive.

(21, 22) The Jews are referred to in these verses. The intensity of the opposition is very marked.

(23) Part of the Scripture, i.e., the Scriptures given to the Jews. This verse shows clearly that these Jews possessed copies of the Scriptures attested as the word of God by the Quran. Some com-


10

given? They were called unto the book of GOD, that it might judge between them; then some of them turned their backs, and retired afar off. (24) This they did because they said, the fire of hell shall by no means touch

mentators regard the word nasiban = part, as designating only a portion of the Pentateuch, but "the book of God" in the following sentence is evidently the equivalent of "part of the Scriptures here and that undoubtedly refers to the volume of the Jewish Scriptures.

They were called unto the book of God. The following is Sale's note on this passage: -

"This passage was revealed on occasion of a dispute Muhammad had with some Jews which is differently related by the commentators.

Al-Baidhawi says that Muhammad going one day into a Jewish synagogue, Naim Ibn Amr and al Harith Ibn Zaid asked him what religion he was of. To which he answering, 'Of the religion of Abraham,' they replied, 'Abraham was a Jew;' but on Muhammad's proposing that the Pentateuch might decide the question, they would by no means agree to it.

But Jalaluddin tells us that two persons of the Jewish religion having committed adultery, their punishment was referred to Muhammad, who give sentence that they should be stoned, according to the law of Moses. This the Jews refused to submit to, alleging there was no such command in the Pentateuch; but on Muhammad's appealing to the book, the said law was found therein. Whereupon the criminals were stoned, to the great mortification of the Jews.

It is very remarkab1e that this law of Moses concerning the stoning of adulterers is mentioned in the New Testament [John viii. 5], (though I know some dispute the authenticity of that whole passage), but it is not now to be found either in the Hebrew or Samaritan Pentateuch, or in the Septuagint; it being only said that such shall be put to death [Lev. xx. 10]. This omission is insisted on by the Muhammadans as one instance of the corruption (if the law of Moses by the Jews."

It is also observable that there was a verse once extant in the Quran commanding adulterers to be stoned; and the commentators say the words only are abrogated, the sense of the law still remaining in force.

On the question of the law relating to stoning raised here, see Alford's Greek Testament, notes on John viii. 5. Stoning was the ordinary mode of execution among the Jews (Exod. xvii. 4 ; Luke xx. 6; John x.31; and Acts xiv. 5), and therefore the general statement of Lev. XX. 10 would designate this mode, unless some other mode were distinctly commanded. Besides, Deut. xxii. 21-24 very clearly appoints this as the mode of punishment. This suggests a sufficient reply to the Muslim claim referred to by Sale in the note just quoted.


11

us, but for a certain number of days; and that which they had falsely devised hath deceived them in their religion. (25) How then will it be with them, when we shall rather them together at the day of judgment, of which there is no doubt; and every soul shall be paid that which it hath gained, neither shall they be treated unjustly? (26) Say, O GOD, who possessest the kingdom; thou givest the kingdom unto whom thou wilt, and thou takest away the kingdom from whom thou wilt: thou exaltest whom thou wilt, and thou humblest whom thou wilt: in thy hand is good, for thou art almighty. (27) Thou makest the night to succeed the day: thou bringest forth the living out of the dead, and thou bringest forth the dead out of the living; and providest food for whom thou wilt without measure. (28) Let not the faithful take the infidels for their protectors, rather than the faithful: he who doth this shall not be protected of GOD at all; unless ye fear any

(24) A certain number of days. The number, according to the commentators, is forty or seven or four. It is worth noting the fact that this claim ascribed here to the presumption of the Jews is precisely the claim of all Muhammadans who believe that all believes in God and Muhammad will certainly reach the joys of paradise. Some may have to undergo purgatorial sufferings, but only for "a certain number of days."

That which they have falsely devised, i.e., their imaginnig that their sins would be lightly punished through the intercession of their fathers (Tufsir-i-Raufi).

(25) How then will it be, &c. Sale gives a tradition on the authority of Baidhawi, "that the first banner of the infidels that shall be set up on the day of judgment will be that of the Jews, and that God will first reproach them with their wickedness over the heads of those who are present, and then order them to hell."

(26, 27) Rodwell regards these verses as misplaced here. They are probably the fragment of some Makkan chapter.

(28) Unless ye fear any danger from them. There shall be no friendship between Muslims and unbelievers, unless fear of the enmity of the infidels should make it necessary. Here we find a divine sanction to that duplicity so prevalent among Muslims. Taken in connection with the preceding context, this passage would seem to sanction apparent estrangement from Islam, provided expediency should demand it. Under such circumstances a Muslim may appear to be more friendly towards the unbelievers than he is towards his co-religionists.


12

danger from them: but GOD warneth ye to beware of himself: for unto GOD must ye return. (29) Say, Whether ye conceal that which is in your breasts, or whether ye declare it, GOD knoweth it; for he knoweth whatever is in heaven, and whatever is on earth: GOD is almighty. (30) On the last day every soul shall find the good which it hath wrought, present; and the evil which it hath wrought it shall wish that between itself and that were a wide distance: but GOD warneth you to be ware of himself; for GOD is gracious unto his servants.

(31) Say, if ye love GOD, follow me: then God shall

(29) Whether ye conceal, &c., i.e., God knows the faith of your hearts. If, therefore, you should find it necessary to dissemble so as apparently to deny the faith, be of good cheer-God knows your heart-faith - "God knowest whatever is in heaven, whatever is ih earth."

(31) Say, if ye love God follow me. Passages inculcating the duty of love to God are of rare occurrence in the Quran. Here it is made the ground or reason of acceptance with God and of the pardon of sin. In other places salvation is made to depend on faith and good works (chap. ii. 3-5.37, 38; chap. iii. 194 ; chap. iv. 55,121-123, &c.), on repentance (chap. ii. 161; chap. xxv. 69-76, &c.), on pilgrimage and warring for the faith (chap. ii. 217; chap. iii. 196; chap. lxi. 12, &c.), on almsgiving (chap. ii. 271-274), on the grace of God (chap. xxxvii. 39, 55), &c. Everywhere the plan of salvation by atonement, as clearly taught in the Christian Scriptures is ignored. It is in reference to this fact that missionaries have been led to make the statement, controverted by Mr. Bosworth Smith ("Muhammad and Muhammadanism,." 2d ed. p.332), that "even the religious creed of Muhammadanism is further removed from the truth than is that of the heathen." We think there can be scarcely any doubt as to the truth of this statement. All heathen forms of religion have relics of truth bound up in their doctrines and rites, handed down, probably, by tradition from ancient times, which afford to the Christian evangelist some kind of common ground in his endeavour to lead them to accept Christ as their substitute, and to believe in him as their Saviour, because he alone satisfies the conditions of their own religion and the cravings of their souls for a Divine Helper. But Muhammadanism strikes at this most important doctrine - this very heart of Christianity. It sweeps away almost every vestige of Bible truth as to the way of pardon. It tills the mind of its votaries with complacent pride and self-satisfaction. It destroys the last workings of a guilty conscience. In short, it imports all the evils of that form of Judaism against which our Lord hurled his "woes," saying, among other things, "Ye compass sea and land to make one prose-


13

love you, and forgive you your sins; for GOD is gracious and merciful. (32) Say, Obey GOD, and his apostle; but if ye go back, verily GOD loveth not the unbelievers. (33) GOD hath surely chosen Adam, and Noah, and the family of Abraham, and the family of Imran above the rest of the world; (34) a race descending the one from the other: GOD is he who heareth and knoweth. (35) Remember when the wife of Imran said, LORD, verily I

lyte; and when he is made, ye make him twofold more a child of hell than yourselves." Does Mr. Smith deny the justice of this declaration of our Lord? If not, does he infer that our Lord himself thought "polytheism better than monotheism and idolatry than a sublime spiritualism"?

(33) The family of Abraham. This expression, say the commentators, includes a number of prophets descended from Abraham, including Muhammad. It probably is intended to include all the prophets from Abraham to Moses. See Tafsir-i-Raufi and Abdul Qadir.

Family of Imran. This expression, like the one just noted, also includes all prophets descended from Imran, e.g., Moses, Aaron, Zacharias, John, and Jesus. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is said to have been "the daughter of the son of Imran" (Tafsir-i-Raufi, &c.)

(34) A race descending the one from the other. This seems to show that Muhammad regarded the prophets as either lineally descended one from another, or that they were successors to each other in office, both of which ideas are incorrect.

(35) When the wife of Imran said, &c. According to the commentators her name was Anna or Hannah. In the Apocryphal Gospels the parents of Mary are called Joachim and Anna. The name was probably derived from Christian tradition (see Arnold, Islam and Christianity, p. 150), but the "wife of Imran" in this verse looks very like the wife of Elkanah in I Sam. i. II. All the stories related by the commentators confirm this impression.

Again, the statement here, that the Virgin Mary was the "daughter of Imran," coupled with that of chap. Xix. 29, that she was "the sister of Aaron, certainly looks as if the Virgin Mary were confounded with the sister of Moses and Aaron. That there is in this passage a medley of Jewish and Christian traditionary fiction and Bible story, learned from hearsay, I think indisputable. I will quote briefly the views of several writers, giving both sides of the question, and leave the reader to draw his own inference

"From her (Mary) being called the sister of Aaron and the daughter of Aaron, it has been justly concluded that Muhammad considered the Virgin Mary and Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, as identical; and no sophistry on the part of Muhammadan


14

have vowed unto thee that which is in my womb, to be dedicated to thy service; accept it therefore of me;

divines or European writers can remove this impression." - Arnold, Islam and Christianity, p.149

"It is concluded by some that Mahomet confounded Mary (Maryam) with the sister of Moses. The confusion of names is the more suspicious, as it is not favoured by Christian authority of any description-the traditional names of Mary's parents being Joachim and Anna."

"Gerock combats this idea at some length (p.24), showing that Imran is never named in the Coran as the father of Moses, nor Mary (Maryam) as his sister, and that Mahomet is seen else-where to be well aware of the interval between Jesus and Moses. The latter fact cannot of course, be doubted; Mahomet could never have imagined that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the sister of Moses and Aaron. But it is still extremely probable that the confusion of this mis-nomenclature originated in the notions of Jewish informants, amongst whom the only notorious Mary (Maryam) was the daughter of Imran and sister of Moses; and they could ordinarily give the name of Maryam those accompaniments; that is, they would speak of ' Mary the daughter of Imran.' Mahomet adopted the phraseology (for his informants were mainly, if not solely, Jews) probably through inadvertence and without perceiving the anachronism it involved."-Muir, Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. pp.281, 282, note.

The following is Sale's note on this passage, in which he combats the charge of anachronism brought by Reland, Marracci, and Prideaux; his Muslim authorities are, as usual, Baidhawi and Zamakhshari: -

"Amran is the name of two several persons, according to the Muhammadan tradition. One was the father of Moses and Aaron, and the other the father of the Virgin Mary ; but he is called by some Christian writers Joachim. The commentators suppose the first, or rather both of them, to be meant in this place ; however, the person intended in the next passage, it is agreed, was the latter, who, besides Mary the mother of Jesus had also a son named Aaron, and another sister named Isha (or Elizabeth), who married Zacharias, and was the mother of John the Baptist; whence that prophet and Jesus are usually called by the Muhammadans, The two sons of the aunt, or the cousins- german. "From the identity of names it has been generally imagined by Christian writers that the Quran here confounds Mary the mother of Jesus with Mary or Miriam the sister of Moses and Aaron which intolerable anachronism, if it were certain, is sufficient of itself to destroy the pretended authority of this book. But though Muhammad may be supposed to have been ignorant enough in ancient history and chronology to have committed so gross a blunder, yet I do not see how it can be made out from the words of the Quran. For it does not follow, because two persons have the same name, and have each a father and brother who bear the


15

for thou art he who heareth and knoweth. (36) And when she was delivered of it, she said, LORD, verily I have brought forth a female (and GOD well knew what she had brought forth), and a male is not as a female.

same names, that they must therefore necessarily be the same person besides, such a mistake is inconsistent with a number of other places in the Quran, whereby it manifestly appears that Muhammad well knew and asserted that Moses preceded Jesus several ages. And the commentators accordingly fail not to tell us that there had passed about one thousand eight hundred years between Amran the father of Moses and Amran the lather of the Virgin Mary : they also make them the sons of different persons the first, they say, was the son of Yeshar, or Izhar (though he was really his brother), the son of Kahath, the son of Levi; and the other was the son of Mathan), whose genealogy they trace, but in a very corrupt and imperfect manner, up to David, and thence to Adam

"It must be observed that though the Virgin Mary is called in the Quran the sister of Aaron, yet she is nowhere called the sister of Moses; however, some Muhammadan writers have imagined that the same individual Mary, the sister of Moses, was miraculously preserved alive from his time till that of Jesus Christ, purposely to be come the mother of the latter."

To be dedicated. "The Arabic word is free, but here signifies particularly one that is free or detached from all worldly desires and occupations, and wholly devoted to God's service." - Sale, Jalaluddin

(36) I have brought forth a female. Hannah prayed for a son (i Sam. i. II; see note on ver. 35). The birth of a female seemed to be a disappointment, as such would not be suitable for the service of the Temple. For extracts from the spurious Gospels containing the traditions which are here incorporated in the Quran, see Arnold's Islam and Christianity (pp. 150-151) and Muir's Life of Mahomet (vol. ii. pp. 282, 283). These both draw from the Christologie des Koran, by Gerock, 1839, pp.30-47.

I have called her Mary, &c. "This expression alludes to a tradition that Abraham, when the devil tempted him to disobey God in not sacrificing his son, drove the fiend away by throwing stones at him; in memory of which, the Muhammadans, at the pilgrimage of Makkah, throw a certain number of stones at the devil, with certain ceremonies, in the valley of Mina (See Prelim. Disc., p. 188.)

"It is not unprobable that the pretended immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary is intimated in this passage; for according to a tradition of Muhammad, every person that comes into the world is touched at his birth by the devil, and therefore cries out and her son only excepted, between whom and the evil spirit God placed a veil, so that is ouch did not reach them. And for this reason, they say, neither of them were guilty of any sin, unlike the rest of the children of Adam which peculiar grace they obtained


16

I have called her MARY; and I commend her to thy protection, and also her issue ; against Satan driven away with stones. (37) Therefore the LORD accepted her with a gracious acceptance, and caused her to bear an excellent offspring. (38) And Zacharias took care of the child; whenever Zacharias went into the chamber to her, he found provisions with her: and he said, O Mary whence hadst thou this? she answered, This is from GOD: for GOD provideth for whom he pleaseth without measure. There Zacharias called on his LORD, and said, LORD, give me from thee a good offspring, for thou art the hearer of prayer. (39) And the angels called to him, while

by virtue of this recommendation of them by Hannah to God's protection."- Sale, Jalaluddin, and Baidhawi.

(37) The Lord accepted her, i.e., though a female, she was received into the Temple as one dedicated to God. Zacharias became her guardian and cared for her.

(38) He found provisions with her. "The commentators say that none went unto Mary's apartment but Zacharias himself, and that he locked seven doors upon her; yet he found she had always winter fruits in summer and summer fruits in winter."- Sale.

This story owes its origin to Christian tradition. See Historia de Nativ. Marie et de Infan. Salv. (chap. vi.) and Protev. Jacob. (chap. viii.), quoted in Muir's Life of Mahomet (p. 283) and in Arnold's Islam and Christianity (pp. 150, 151).

There Zacharias called on his Lord. The prayer would seem to have been offered in the inner chamber of the Temple assigned, according to the story, to Mary. The commentators think the prayer was suggested by the miraculous supply of food furnished to Mary. Zacharias was at this time ninety-nine years old, and his wife ninety-eight (Tafsir-i-Raufi). Abdul Qadir says Zacharias prayed in secret, because, at this age, to have prayed openly for offspring would have exposed him to ridicule.

Offspring. In chap. xix. 5, "a successor," from which Gerock would infer that Zacharias did not pray fur a son, but for an heir only. But in the ninth verse of that same chapter he says," How shall I have a son?" &c. This decided clearly in favour of that interpretation which makes offspring to mean an heir from his own body.

(39) The angels. In chap. xix. 17 it is said that a "spirit" (Gabriel) came to Mary. The commentators interpret "angels" to be equivalent to "spirit," and understand Gabriel to be meant. They account discrepancies of this sort as of little moment.

The word which cometh from God. See notes on chap. ii. 86. The Muslim interpretation, that Jesus is here called the WORD because


17

he stood praying in the chamber, saying, Verily GOD promiseth thee a son named John, who shall bear witness to the Word which cometh from GOD; an honourable person, chaste, and one of the righteous prophets. (40) He

he was conceived by the word or command of God is, to say the least, unsatisfactory.

The "witness" of John concerning the WORD was very different from that of Muhammad. Is it possible that he should have learned so much of John and Jesus from tradition, and not have known more of the character of the latter, as witnessed by John and Jesus himself? In answer to this question, I venture to give the following:

(1.) Muhammad heard more than he believed. This is evident from the effort he made to refute the doctrine of the Trinity, the Sonship of Christ and the doctrine of Christ's death and resurrection. (2.) What he learned concerning these and other doctrines he learned from hearsay, and usually from unreliable sources. Hence the indiscriminate mixing up of statements obtained originally from the Bible and tradition-Jewish and Christian. (3.) He seems to have learned most of what he knew of Christianity, and perhaps of Judaism also, after his arrival in Madina, and consequently after his claim to be a prophet had been assumed. His most definite and extended statements regarding Bible story are found in the Madina chapters. (4.) The criterion by which he decided the true and false as to what he heard was his own prophetic claims and the character of his religion. Whatever would exalt Jesus over himself was rejected. Hence Jesus is only "the son of Mary;" he is born miraculously, but is not divine; he wrought miracles, but always by "the permission of God" (ver. 48),&c. Again, whatever was contrary to the religion he promulgated was either refuted or ignored ; the character of the prophets is always moulded after his own; the character of all infidels in former ages is like that of the unbelieving Quraish and Jews of Arabia.

Making every reasonable allowance for the Arabian prophet on the score of ignorance and on the score of misrepresentations to which he was no doubt subjected, still enough remains to substantiate the charge of imposture, however displeasing this charge may be to his admirers and friends. The facts in this matter are against them. Muhammad put these statements concerning matters of history into the mouth of God, and so promulgated them as his infallible word, confirming the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments - Scriptures of whose teaching he was personally ignorant. Make out half as strong a case against any one of the inspired writers of the Bible, and who among these apologists for Islam would defend him? Truly the glory of this hero-god seems to have dazzled their eyes.

Chaste. Sale says, "The original word signifies one who refrains not only from women, but from all other worldly delights and desires.

(40) How shall I have a son? See note on ver. 38. Sale states, on


18

answered, LORD, how shall I have a son, when old age hath overtaken me, and my wife is barren? The angel said, So GOD doth that which he pleaseth. (41) Zacharias answered, LORD, give me a sign. The angel said, Thy sign shall be, that thou shalt speak unto no man for three days, otherwise than by gesture: remember thy LORD often, and praise him evening and morning.

R 5/13

(42) And when the angels said, O Mary, verily GOD hath chosen thee, and hath purified thee, and hath chosen thee above all the women of the world: (43) O Mary, be devout towards thy LORD, and worship, and bow down with those who bow down. (44) This is a secret history: we reveal it unto thee, although thou wast not present with them when they threw in their rods to cast lots which of them should have the education of Mary;

the authority of Jalaluddin, that the wife of Zacharias was eighty-nine.

(41) Thy sign shall be, &c. This statement disagrees with that of Luke in two particulars- (1) In duration of Zacharias's dumbness; and (2) in regarding this dumbness as merely a sign given in answer to prayer and in no way a punishment for unbelief. The "three days," say the commentators, began with John's being conceived in his mother's womb.

Remember thy Lord often. Zacharias's tongue was only free to speak the praise of God.

(42) The angels. Gabriel. Compare Luke i. 28.

(43) Be devout, &c. This passage is also based on Christian tradition. See Rodwell's note.

Bow down &c. The forms of worship ascribed to Jews in the Quran are, as here, distinctively Muslim.

(44) When they threw in their rods. "When Mary was first brought to the Temple, the priests, because she was the daughter of one of their chiefs, disputed among themselves who should have the education of her. Zacharias insisted that he ought to be preferred because he had married her aunt; but the others not consenting that it should be so, they agreed to decide the matter by casting of lots; whereupon twenty-seven of them went to the river Jordan, and threw in their rods (or arrows without beads or feathers, such as the Arabs used for the same purpose), on which they had written some passages of the law, but they all sunk except that of Zacharias, which floated on the water; and he had thereupon the care of the child committed to him."- Sale, Jalaluadin.

The casting of lots attributed here to the Jewish priests, is the same in spirit as that forbidden in chap. ii. 218.


19

neither wast thou with them when they strove among themselves. (45) When the angels said: O Mary, verily GOD sendeth thee good tidings, that thou shalt bear the Word proceeding from himself; (46) his name shall be CHRIST JESUS the son of Mary, honourable in this world and in the world to come, and one of those, who approach near to the presence of GOD; and he shall speak unto men in the cradle, and when he is grown up; and he shall be one of the righteous: (47) she answered, LORD, how shall I have a son, since a man hath not touched me? the angel said, So GOD createth that which he pleaseth: when he decideth a thing, he only saith unto it, Be, and it is: (48) GOD shall teach him the scripture, and wisdom, and the law, and the gospel; and shall appoint him his

(45) The son of Mary. See note on ver. 39. The phrase "Jesus son of Mary," had become so stereotyped in Muhammad's mind, that he here puts it in the mouth of the angels when addressing Mary herself.

Christ Jesus. The Messiah Jesus. He is honourable in this world as a prophet, and in the next as an intercessor. Muslims, however, only regard him as the intercessor of his own fol1owers i.e., of those who lived during the period intervening between the times of Jesus and Muhammad.

(46) He shall speak . . . in the cradle. For his words see chap. xix. 28-34. The commentators tell many stories to illustrate this text In regard to these Sale says:- "These seem all to have been taken from some fabulous traditions of the Eastern Christians, one of which is preserved to us in the spurious Gospel of the Infancy of Christ, where we read that Jesus spoke while yet in the cradle, - and said to his mother, 'Verily I am Jesus the Son of God, the Word which thou hast brought forth, as the Angel Gabriel did declare unto thee; and my Father hath sent me to save the world.'"

When he is grown up. The original word (kahlan) describes a person of between thirty and fifty years of age.

(47) Compare with Luke i.34, &c., to see how far this comes short of attesting the former Scriptures.

(48) Scripture. . . wisdom. . . law. . . gospel. The last two expressions describe more clearly the meaning of the first two. Jesus is said to have acquired a perfect knowledge of the law without any course of human instruction (Abdul Qadir).

A bird. "Some say it was a bat (Jalaluddin), though others suppose Jesus made several birds of different sorts (Al Thalabi).
"This circumstance is also taken from the following fabulous tradition, which may be found in the spurious Gospel above men-


20

apostle to the children of Israel; and he shall say, Verily I come unto you with a sign from your LORD; for I will make before you, of clay, as it were the figure of a bird; then I will breathe thereon, and it shall become a bird, by the permission of GOD; and I will heal him that hath been blind from his birth; and the leper: and I will raise the dead by the permission of GOD: and I will prophesy unto you what ye eat, and what ye lay up for store in your houses. Verily herein will be a sign unto you, if ye believe. And (49) I come to confirm the law which was revealed before me, and to allow unto you as lawful part of that which hath been forbidden you: and I come unto you with a sign from your LORD; therefore fear GOD, and obey me. (50) Verily GOD is my LORD, and your LORD; therefore serve him. This is

tioned. Jesus being seven years old, and at play with several children of his age, they made several figures of birds and beasts, for their diversion, of clay ; and each preferring his own workmanship, Jesus told them that he would make his walk and leap; which accordingly, at his command, they did. He made also several figures of sparrows and other birds, which flew about or stood on his hands as he ordered them, and also ate and drank when he offered them meat and drink. The children telling this to their parents, were forbidden to play any more with Jesus, whom they held to be a sorcerer" (Evang. Infant.)-Sale.

By the permission of God. See note on ver. 39. The commentators, Baidhawi, &c., understand this phrase to have been added lest any one should suppose Jesus to be divine. See Sale.

What ye eat, &c. This would furnish evidence of the power of Jesus to reveal secrets. These miracles were the seal of prophecy to Jesus, as were the verses (ayat = signs) of the Quran to the prophetic claim of Muhammad.

(49) To confirm the law, i.e., Jesus attested the genuineness and credibility of the Jewish Scriptures. The language implies the presence of these Scriptures in the time of Jesus, as does similar language imply that the Christian Scriptures were present in the days of Muhammad.

Part of that ... forbidden you. "Such as the eating of fish that have neither fins nor scales, the caul and fat of animals, and camels' flesh, and to work on the Sabbath. These things, say the commentators, being arbitrary institutions in the law of Moses, were abrogated by Jesus, as several of the same kind instituted by the latter have been since abrogated by Muhammad"-Sale, Jalaluddin.


21

the right way. (51) But when Jesus perceived their unbelief, he said, Who will be my helpers towards GOD? The apostles answered, We will be the helpers of GOD; we believe in GOD, and do thou bear witness that we are true believers. (52) O LORD, we believe in that which thou hast sent down, and we have followed thy apostle; write us down therefore with those who bear witness of him. (53) And the Jews devised a stratagem

As intimated in note on ver. 39, we here see that Muhammad's endeavour is to make Christ appear to be a prophet like himself. The mission, character, authority, and experience of all the prophets were none other than those assumed by Muhammad for himself.

(51) The apostles. The twelve disciples of Jesus are here likened to the companions and helpers of Muhammad.

"In Arabic al Hawariyum which word they derive from Hara, to be white, and suppose the apostles were so called either from the candour and sincerity of their minds, or because they were princes and wore white garments, or else because they were by trade fullers (Jalaluddin) According to which last opinion, their vocation is thus related : That as Jesus passed by the seaside, he saw some fullers at work, and accosting them, said, 'Ye cleanse these cloths, but cleanse not your hearts ;' upon which they believed oh him. But the true etymology seems to be from the Ethiopic verb Hawyra, to go whence Hawarya signifies one that is sent, a messenger or apostle." - Sale.

The Tafsir-i-Raufi relates a story current among Muslims as to the calling of these disciples, to the effect that Jesus, being persecuted by the Jews, fled to Egypt. On the banks of the river Nile he found some fishermen, whom he invited to accept Islam and to become his followers, which they did.

(52) We believe on the gospel. We have followed the apostle, i.e., Jesus.

(53) Stratagem. This is better translated by Rodwell, plot. The plotting of the Jews was to kill Jesus; God plotted for his delivery. Sale remarks on this as follows: - "This stratagem of God's was the taking of Jesus up into heaven, and stamping his likeness on another person, who was apprehended and crucified in his stead. For it is the constant doctrine of the Muhammadans that it was not Jesus himself who underwent that ignominious death, but somebody else in his shape and resemblance (chap. iv. 156, 157). The person crucified some will have to be a spy that was sent to entrap him; others that it was one Titian, who by the direction of Judas entered in at a window of the house where Jesus was, to kill him; and others that it was Judas himself who agreed with the rulers of the Jews to betray him for thirty pieces of silver, and led those who were sent to take him.

"They add, that Jesus, after his crucifixion in effigy, was sent


22

against him; but GOD devised a stratagem against them; and GOD is the best deviser of stratagems.

down again to the earth to comfort his mother and disciples, and acquaint them how the Jews were deceived; and was then taken up a second time into heaven.

"It is supposed by several that this story was an original invention of Muhammad's; but they are certainly mistaken; for several sectaries held the same opinion long before his time. The Basilidians, in the very beginning of Christianity, denied that Christ himself suffered, but that Simon the Cyrenean was crucified in his place. The Cerinthians before them, and the Carpocratians next (to name no more of those who affirmed Jesus to have been a mere man), did believe the same thing that it was not himself but one of his followers very like him that was crucified. Photius tells us that he read a book entitled, The Journeys of the Apostles, relating the acts of Peter, John Andrew Thomas and Paul; and among other things contained therein this was one, that Christ was not crucified, but another in his stead, and that therefore he laughed at his crucifiers, or those who thought they had crucified him.

"I have in another place mentioned an apocryphal Gospel of Barnabas, a forgery originally of some nominal Christians, but interpolated since by Muhammadans, which gives this part of the history of Jesus with circumstances too curious to be omitted. It is therein related that the moment the Jews were going to apprehend Jesus in the garden, he was snatched up into the third heaven by the ministry of four angels, Gabriel Michael, Raphael, and Uriel that he will not die till the end of the world, and that it was Judas who was crucified in his stead, God having permitted that traitor to appear so like his master in the eyes of the Jews that they took and delivered him to Pilate; that this resemblance was so great that it deceived the Virgin Mary and the apostles themselves; but that Jesus Christ afterwards obtained leave of God to go and comfort them; that Barnabas having then asked him why the Divine Goodness had suffered the mother and disciples of so holy a prophet to believe even for one moment that he had died in so ignominious a manner, Jesus returned the following answer: 'O Barnabas, believe me that every sin, how small soever, is punished by God with great torment, because God is offended with sin. My mother therefore and faithful disciples, having loved me with a mixture of earthly love, the just God has been pleased to punish this love with their present grief; that they might not be punished for it hereafter in the flames of hell. And as for me, though I have myself been blameless in the world, yet other men having called me God and the son of God, therefore God, that I might not be mocked by the devils at the day of judgment, has been pleased that in this world I should be mocked by men with the death of Judas, making everybody believe that I died upon the cross. And hence it is that this mocking is still to continue till the coming of Muhammad, the messenger of God, who, coming into the world, will undeceive every one who shall believe in the law of God from this mistake.'"


23

SULS.

R 6/14

(54) When GOD said, O Jesus, verily I will cause thee to die, and I will take thee up unto me, and I will deliver thee from the unbelievers; and I will place those who follow thee above the unbelievers, until the day of resurrection: then unto me shall ye return, and I will judge between you of that concerning which ye disagree. (55) Moreover, as for the infidels, I will punish them with a grievous punishment in this world, arid in that which is to come; and there shall be none to help them. (56) But they who believe, and do that which is right, he shall give them their reward: for GOD loveth not the wicked doers. (57) These signs and this prudent admonition do we rehearse unto thee. (58) Verily the likeness of Jesus in the sight of GOD is as the likeness of Adam; he created him out of the dust, and then said unto him, Be; and he was. (59) This is the truth from thy LORD;

(54) I will cause thee to die, &c. These words are a source of great difficulty to the commentators, as they seem clearly to contradict the statement of chap. iv. 156. All Muslims agree that Jesus was taken up to heaven. This verse, however taken as a chronological statement of events, would mike it necessary to believe he had died before he "was taken up" into heaven. The same is true of chap. v.117. To evade this, some deny the chronological arrangement demanded by the copulative and. Others admit the order, and either claim that Jesus did die a natural death-remaining under its power for three hours - or explain the death spoken of here in a figurative manner, regarding it as a promise that God would cause him "to die a spiritual death to all worldly desires." (See notes by Rodwell and Sale in loco.) Others refer the passage to the time when Jesus will come to destroy Dajjal; when, say the commentators, Jesus will die and be buried in the empty tomb prepared for him at Madina, and afterwards arise at the judgment day.

These interpretations are manifestly mere attempts at evasion. But for chap. iv. 156, no Muslim would have any difficulty in accepting the plain common-sense import of this verse.

I will place those .. above unbelievers. By unbelievers Muslims understand the Jews to be meant. This is, however, a limitation no way justified by the Quran. The term is general, and fairly indicates all who reject the gospel of Jesus "until the judgment day." The allusion is, therefore, to the final and constant victory of Islam, and the followers of Jesus are here regarded as true Muslims.

(58) The likenss: of Jesus, &c., i.e., both were brought into being miraculously, neither having a human father. "Jalaluddin says the resemblance consists in this-both were created by the word of


24

be not therefore one of those who doubt; (60) and whoever shall dispute with thee concerning him, after the knowledge which hath been given thee, say unto them, Come, let us call together our sons and your sons and our wives and your wives, and ourselves and yourselves; then let us make imprecations, and lay the curse of GOD on those who lie. (61) Verily this is a true history: and there is no GOD but GOD; and GOD is most mighty and wise. (62) If they turn back, GOD well knoweth the evil-doers.

R 7/15

(63) Say, O ye who have received the scripture, come to a just determination between us and you; that we wor-

God (compare the verses in I Cor. xv.) Adam made from the dust, Christ took flesh from the Virgin; Adam sinned, Christ sinned not; Adam a man, Christ a spirit proceeding from God, according to Muhammad." - Brinckman in Notes on Islam.

(60) Come let us call together our sons &c. This passage refers to a visit paid to Muhammad at Madina by Abu Harith, bishop of Najran, with other Christians, who came to make a treaty of peace with the prophet of Arabia, now rapidly growing in political power. A controversy having arisen between them and Muhammad, the latter proposed to settle it in the strange manner proposed in the text. The Christians very consistently declined the test proposed. The spirit of the two religious is well illustrated by the conduct of Muhammad and Jesus under similar circumstances. See also notes of Rodwell in loco, and of Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. pp. 302, 303.

Sale gives the story of the commentators Jalaluddin and Baidhawi as follows:- "Some Christians, with their bishop, named Abu Harith, coming to Muhammad as ambassadors from the inhabitants of Najran and entering into some disputes with him touching religion and the history of Jesus Christ, they agreed the next morning to abide the trial here mentioned, as a quick way of deciding which of them were in the wrong. Muhammad met them accordingly, accompanied by his daughter Fatima, his son-in-law Ali, and his two grandsons, Hasan and Husain, and desired them to wait till he had said his prayers. But when they saw him kneel down, their resolution failed them, and they durst not venture to curse him, but submitted to pay him tribute.

(63) Ye who have received the Scriptures, i.e., Jews and Christians. A just determination. The proposal here, though carrying great pretension of liberality and reason, really means out-and-out acceptance of Islam.

Lords. This expression has special reference to the dignity accorded by Jews and Christians to their religious guides. None are


25

ship not any except GOD, and associate no creature with him; and that the one of us take not the other for lords, beside GOD. But if they turn back, say, Bear witness that we are true believers. (64) O ye to whom the scriptures have been given, why do ye dispute concerning Abraham, since the Law and the Gospel were not sent down until after him? (65) Do ye not therefore understand? Behold ye are they who dispute concerning that which ye have some knowledge in; why therefore do you dispute concerning that which ye have no knowledge of? GOD knoweth, but ye know not. (66) Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian; but he was of the true religion, one resigned unto God, and was not of the number of the idolaters. (67) Verily the men who are the nearest of kin

more addicted to the practice here condemned than the Muslims themselves. The worship of Walis and Pirs is of a kind with the worship of saints among certain sects of Christians.

(64) Why do ye dispute? The commentators say both Jews and Christians claimed that Abraham belonged to their religion; Muhammad here decides that he belongs to neither. He, however, thereby contradicts his oft-repeated claim that every new revelation confirmed that which had preceded it; that the prophets belonged to a common "race" or class (ver. 34, and note); and that all true believers in every dispensation were true Muslims, professing the "religion of Abraham the orthodox." See also notes on chap. ii. 135-140.

This passage implies that the Jews and Christians were in possession of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament current in his day. The same is implied in Baidhawi's note on the next verse, quoted by Sale: -" Ye perversely dispute even concerning those things which ye find in the Law and the Gospel, whereby it appears that they were both sent down long after Abraham's time: why then will ye offer to dispute concerning such points of Abraham's religion of which your Scriptures say nothing, and of which ye consequently can have no knowledge?"

(66) See notes on chap. ii. 135-140. It would seem that Muhammad was ignorant of the national relationship existing between Abraham and the Jews The term Jew was probably understood by him in an ecclesiastical sense only. Yet this is the teaching of God and his prophet! See also Rodwell's note on chap. xvi. 121.

(67) Nearest of kin. The relationship here spoken of is not necessarily one of kindred; the words of kin do not belong to the original Arabic. The nearness spoken of here should rather refer to nearness in point of religious faith and practice. See vers 64-66, and Tafasir-i-Raufi in loco.


26

unto Abraham are they who follow him: and this prophet, and they who believed on him: GOD is the patron of the faithful. (68) Some of those who have received the scriptures desire to seduce you; but they seduce themselves only, and they perceive it not. (69) O ye who have received the scriptures, why do ye not believe in the signs of GOD, since ye are witnesses of them?

R 8/16

(70) O ye who have received the scriptures, why do you clothe truth with vanity, and knowingly hide the truth? (71) And some of those to whom the scriptures were given say, Believe in that which hath been sent down unto those who believe, in the beginning of the day; and deny it in the end thereof; that they may go back from their faith; (72) and believe him only who followeth your religion. Say, Verily the true direction is the direc-

And this prophet i.e. Muhammad. The meaning is that Muhammad, and those who believe on him, are most nearly related to Abraham.

(68) Some . . . desire to seduce you. Sale, on the authority of Baidhawi, refers this passage to the time when certain Jews endeavoured to pervert Hudhaifa, Amir, and Muadh to their religion. So too Tafsir-i-Raufi.

(69) Why not believe? The signs to be believed were the incomparable verses of the Quran. The argument of the prophet was certainly not convincing.

(70) Clothe truth with vanity, &c. See note on chap. ii. 41.

(71) Deny it in the end thereof. "The commentators, to explain this passage, say that Qab Ibn al Ashraf and Malik Ibn al Saif (two Jews of Madina) advised their companions, when the Qibla was changed (chap. ii. 142), to make as if they believed it was done by the divine direction, and to pray towards the Kaabah in the morning but that in the evening they should pray as formerly towards the Temple of Jerusalem, that Muhammad's fo1lowers, imagining that the Jews were better judges of this matter than themselves, might imitate their example. But others say these were certain Jewish priests of Khaibar, who directed some of their people to pretend in the morning that they had embraced Muhammadanism, but in the close of the day to say that they had looked into their books of Scripture and consulted their Rabbins, and could not find that Muhammad was the person described and intended in the law; by which trick they hoped to raise doubts in the minds of the Muhammadans."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(72) Your religion, i.e., Judaism.

That there may be given, &c. This passage is very obscure, but the idea seems to be that if the Jews are directed by God, they should bring forth verses like unto those of the Quran.


27

tion of GOD, that there may be given unto some other a revelation like unto what hath been given unto you. Will they dispute with you before your Lord? Say, Surely excellence is in the hand of GOD, be giveth it unto whom be pleaseth; GOD is bounteous and wise: (73) be will confer peculiar mercy on whom he pleaseth; for GOD is endued with great beneficence. (74) There is of those who have received the scriptures, unto whom if thou trust a talent he will restore it unto thee; and there is also of them, unto whom if thou trust a dinar, he will not restore it unto thee, unless thou stand over him continually with great urgency. This they do, because they say, We are not obliged to observe justice with the heathen: but they utter a lie against GOD, knowingly. (75) Yea, whoso keepeth his covenant, and feareth God, GOD surely loveth those who fear him. (76) But they who make merchandise of GOD'S covenant, and of their oaths, for a small price, shall have no portion in the next life, neither shall GOD speak to them or regard them on the day of resurection, nor shall lie cleanse them; but they shall suffer a grievous punishment. (77) And there are certainly some of them who read the scriptures perversely, that ye may think

(74) A talent . . . a dinar. As usual, the commentators have a story to illustrate the text. A Jew, by name Abdullah Ibn Salam, having borrowed twelve hundred ounces of gold from a Quraishite, paid it back punctually at the time appointed. Another Jew, Phineas Ibn Azura, borrowed a dinar, and afterwards denied having received it! The followers of the Arabian prophet must have been very simpleminded indeed to make this revelation necessary.

Sale thinks the person especially intended was Qab Ibn Ashraf, a Jew, who finally became so inimical that Muhammad proscribed him and caused him to be slain.

Some commentators (Baidhawi, &c.) think the trustworthy persons referred to here are Christians and the dishonest ones Jews. This view agrees very well with the sentiments of contempt for the heathen attributed to these covenant-breakers in the latter portion of this verse.

(75) Whoso keepeth his covenant, &c. Muslims showing the spirit attributed to Jews in the preceding verse cannot quote this precept of Muhammad in justification of their conduct.

(77) Some . . . read the Scriptures perversely. The charge here is


28

what they read to be really in the scriptures, yet it is not in the scripture; and they say, This is from GOD; but it is not from GOD: and they speak that which is false concerning GOD, against their own knowledge. (78) It is not fit for a man that GOD should give him a book of revelations, and wisdom, and prophecy; and then he should say unto men, Be ye worshippers of me, besides GOD; but he ought to say, Be ye perfect in knowledge and in works, since ye know the scriptures, and exercise yourselves therein. (79) GOD hath not commanded you to take the angels and the prophets for your lords: Will he command you to become infidels after ye have been true believers?

R 9/17

(80) And remember when GOD accepted the covenant of the prophets, saying, This verily is the scripture and

that Jews and Christians misrepresent the teaching of their own Scriptures. The author of the notes on the Roman Urdu' Quran thinks this passage and others like it show the eagerness of Muhammad to find a sanction for his prophetic claims in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. When, however, the Jews frankly told him what their Scriptures taught, he charged them with wicked concealment of the prophecies concerning himself. It is possible that Muhammad was himself the victim of misrepresentation on this subject by interested parties.

This passage, too, shows beyond dispute that Muhammad regarded the Scriptures in the hands of the Jews and Christians as credible. No charge is ever brought against the Scriptures, but invariably against the interpreters.

(78) It is not fit &c. This verse is evidently directed against Christians, who worship Jesus.

Sale says, "This passage was revealed, say the commentators, in answer to the Christians, who insisted that Jesus had commanded them to worship him as God."

Worshippers of me besides God. Here again we see that Muhammad's conception of Christian theology was all wrong.

(79) The angels. The idolaters of Makkah worshipped angels.

The prophets for your lords, e.g., the Jews worship Ezra and the Christians worship Jesus. - Tafsir-i-Raufi.

(80) The covenant of the prophets. "Some commentators interpret this of the children of Israel themselves, of whose race the prophets were. But others say the souls of all the prophets, even of those who were not then born, were present on Mount Sinai when God gave the law to Moses, and that they entered into the covenant here mentioned with him. A story borrowed by Muhammad from the


29

the wisdom which I have given you: hereafter shall an apostle come unto you, confirming the truth of that scripture which is with you; ye shall surely believe in him, and ye shall assist him. GOD said, Are ye firmly resolved, and do ye accept my covenant on this condition? They answered, We are firmly resolved: God said, Be ye therefore witnesses; and I also bear witness with you: (81) and whosoever turneth back after this, they are surely the transgressors. (82) Do they therefore seek any other religion but GOD'S? since to him is resigned whosoever is in heaven or on earth, voluntarily or of force: and to him shall they return. (83) Say, We believe in GOD,

Talmudists, and therefore most probably his true meaning in this place."-Sale.

The prophecy alluded to here is probably the general promise of the Messiah contained in such passages as Deut. xviii 15-18, and which consituted the spirit of prophecy. The only direct statement in the Quran giving the very words of prophecy is found in chap. lxi. 6, where the allusion is to the Paraclete. In either case the prophet of Arabia made a serious mistake. The desperation of his followers to find the prophecies of the Bible relating to him is manifested at one time by their attempts to disprove the genuineness of the same, at another time by their endeavours to show that Deut. xviii. 15-18, John xiv. 16, 26, and xvi. 13, &c., really refer to their prophet. For a specimen of the latter the reader is referred to Essays on the Life of Mohammad by Sayd Mimad Khan, Bahadur, C.S.I.

(82) Resigned ... voluntarily or of force. The idea of converting men by force is here said to have belonged to the covenant of Sinai. The verse, however, conveys a threat against unbelieving Arabs.

(83) This verse very well illustrates the kind of attestation borne to the former Scriptures and to the prophetic character of the prophets by whom they were revealed. An array of names and a general statement declaring their truly prophetic character is given, but everywhere their doctrine is ignored or rejected when conceived of as in conflict with the Quran and the Arabian prophet. Now, Muhammad must be regarded as either making a statement of fact as to the oneness of his faith with that of the persons he mentions, or he was ignorant of what he here states as a fact. In either case he seems to me fairly chargeable with imposture. For even if he were ignorant of what he pretends to know, his pretence is a deception, and no reasonable apology can be offered for his putting a statement of this character in the mouth of God. How, then, Mr. Smith (Muhammad and Muhamadanism, p.25) can so positively assert the impossibility of any longer regarding Muhammad as an impostor.


30

and that which hath been sent down unto us, and that which was sent down unto Abraham and Ismail, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which was delivered to Moses, and Jesus, and the prophets from their LORD; we make no distinction between any of them; and to him are we resigned. (84) Whoever followeth any other religion than Islam, it shall not be accepted of him: and in the next life he shall be of those who perish. (85) How shall GOD direct men who have become infidels after they had believed, and borne witness that the apostle was true, and manifest declarations of the divine will had come unto them? for GOD directeth not the ungodly people. (86) Their reward shall be, that on them shall fall the curse of GOD, and of angles, and of all mankind: (87) they shall remain under the same for ever; their torment shall not be mitigated, neither shall they be regarded; (88) except those who repent after this and amend; for GOD is gracious and merciful. (89) Moreover they who become infidels after they have believed, and yet increase in infidelity, their repentance shall in nowise be accepted, and they are those who go astray. (90) Verily they who

I can only understand by supposing him to be blinded to the faults of his hero by the glory of his own ideal. See also notes on chap. ii, 61.

Whosoever ... any other religion. Islam is here contemplated by the prophet as equivalent, or rather as identical with, the true religion of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. Were Islam so identified with the one true religion of God, then all might assent to the statement of the text; but as a matter of fact there never was any such recognition of Judaism or Christianity in practice among Muslims. They have never been the preservers of the Scriptures herein attested as the Word of God; and any man preferring either religion to Islam is thereby stigmatised as an infidel.

(65-89) How shall God direct . . . infidels, &c. This passage seems to teach that apostasy from Islam can never be repented of. Such a person is a reprobate. See Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco. God is merciful to forgive those who repent in time, but for those who "yet increase in infidelity," i.e., go on in an obstinate course of apostasy, there is no forgiveness.

(90) For his ransom. The punishment of infidels is eternal and without remedy. The idea of a ransom for a sinner is recognised


31

believe not, and die in their unbelief, the world full of gold shall in nowise be accepted from any of them, even though he should give it for his ransom; they shall suffer a grievous punishment, (91) and they shall have none to help them.

FOURTH SIPARA. R 10/1

(92) Ye will never attain unto righteousness until ye give in alms of that which ye love: and whatever ye give, GOD knoweth it. (93) All food was permitted unto

here only to be rejected. Yet this passage obscurely recognises the ininite value of the soul.

(92) Alms. See notes on chap. ii. 42, and Prelim. Disc., p.172.

(93) Except what Israel forbade, &c. Sale says: - "This passage was revealed on the Jews reproaching Muhammad and his followers with their eating of the flesh and milk of camels (Lev. xi. 4, Deut. xiv.), which they said was forbidden Abraham whose religion Muhammad pretended to follow. In answer to which he tells them, that God ordained no distinction of meats before he gave the law to Moses, though Jacob voluntarily abstained from the flesh and milk of camels; which some commentators say was in consequence of a vow, made by that patriarch when afflicted with the sciatica, that if he were cured he would eat no more of that meat which he liked best, and that was camel's flesh; but others (Baidhawi, Jalaluddin) suppose he abstained from it by the advice of physicians only.

"This exposition seems to be taken from the children of Israel's not eating of the sinew on the hollow of the thigh, because the angel with whom Jacob wrestled at Peniel touched the hollow of his thigh in the sinew that shrank (Gen. xxxii. 32)."

Bring hither the Pentateuch and read it. This is a clear acknowledgment that the Pentateuch, which the Quran attests as the Word of God, was in the possession of the Jews in the time of Muhammad. Yet, while the Prophet was ever ready to challenge Jews and Christians to bring their Scriptures that he might therewith prove to them his apostleship, it is a remarkable fact that he never permitted his own followers to read or hear those Scriptures. The Mishqat-ul-Masabih (Book i. chap. vi. part 2, Matthews translation, vol. i. p.53) contains the following tradition, on the authority of JABIR:- "Jabir said, Verily OMAR IBN-AL-KHATTAB brought a copy of the Pentateuch to the Prophet, and said, 'This is a copy of the Pentateuch.' Muhammad was silent, and Omar was very near reading part of it, and the face of the Prophet changed; when Abu Baqr said: 'Your mother weeps for you. Do you not look on the Prophet's face?' Then Omar looked and said, 'God protect me from the anger of God and his Prophet. I am satisfied with this, that God is my cherisher, and Islam my religion, and Muhammad my prophet.' Then Muhammad said, 'If Moses were alive and found my prophecy, he would follow me.'"


32

the children of Israel, except what Israel forbade unto himself before the Pentateuch was sent down. Say unto the Jews, Bring hither the Pentateuch and read it if ye speak truth. (94) Whoever therefore contriveth a lie against GOD after this, they will be evil-doers. (95) Say, GOD is true: follow ye therefore the religion of Abraham the orthodox; for he was no idolater. (96) Verily the first house appointed unto men to worship in was that which was in Bakkah; blessed, and a direction to all creatures.(97) Therein are manifest signs: the place where Abraham

Matthews gives another tradition of similar import in vol. i. p.50. A remarkable tradition, on the authority of ABU HURAIRAH, states that the Jews and Christians had translated the Scriptures from the Hebrew for the benefit of "the people of Islam." It is as follows "Abu Hurirah said there were people of the book who read the Bible in Hebrew and translated it into Arabic for the people of Islam. And the Prophet said, 'Do not consider them liars or tellers of truth ; but say to them, We believe in God and that which is sent to us, and what was sent to Moses and Jesus.'"- Mishqat-ul-Masabih, book i. chap. vi. part I.

From these traditions it is quite clear that Muhammad was not sincere in his claim that the former Scriptures testified concerning his apostleship. Had be been sincere, how very easy it would have been to confirm the faith of his own disciples as well as to convince all sincere Jews and Christians that he was the prophet of God foretold by Moses and Jesus! Instead of this, however, he forbade his disciples investigating this matter for themselves, even in his presence; and when Jews and Christians declared what was written in their Scriptures, he charged them with dishonesty in translation. Controversy from the Jewish or Christian standpoint was, therefore, quite out of the question.

(95) Abraham the orthodox. In Arabic, Hanif. There seems to have been a sect of deistic Arabs before Muhammad declared himself a prophet, who called themselves by this title, and claimed to he the followers of the religion of Abraham. Sprenger gives the names of four of these, viz., Waraqa, Othman, Obaid, and Zaid (R.B. Smith's Muhammad and Muhammadanism, pp.108,109). This is one of Sprenger's arguments to prove that Muhammadanism existed prior to Muhammad, as the Reformation existed prior to Luther.

(96) The first house ... in Bakkah, i.e., Makkah. Baidhawi says m and b are frequently interchanged (Sale in loco). The first house was the Kaabah. See notes or chap. ii. 125, 142-146.

(97) Manifest signs. "Such as the stone wherein they show the print of Abraham's feet, and the inviolable security of the place, immediately mentioned; that the birds light not on the roof of the


33

stood; and whoever entereth therein shall be safe. And it is a duty towards GOD incumbent on those who are able to go thither to visit this house; but whosoever disbelieveth, verily GOD needeth not the service of any creature. (98) Say, O ye who have received the scriptures, why do ye not believe in the signs of GOD? (99) Say, O ye who have received the scriptures, why do ye keep back from the way of GOD him who believeth? Ye seek to make it crooked and yet are witnesses that it is the right: but GOD will not be unmindful of what ye do. (100) O true believers, if ye obey some of those who have received the scripture, they will render you infidels after ye have believed; (101) and how can ye be infidels, when

Kaabah, and wild beasts put off their fierceness there; that none who came against it in a hostile manner ever prospered, as appeared particularly in the unfortunate expedition of Abraha al Ashram (chap. cv.); and other fables of the same stamp which the Muhammadans are taught to believe."

The place of Abraham. See note on chap. ii. 125; also Rodwell in loco.

Those who are able. "According to an exposition of this passage attributed to Muhammad, he is supposed to be able to perform the pilgrimage who can supply himself with provisions for the journey and a beast to ride upon. Al Shafa'i has decided that those who have money enough, if they cannot go themselves must hire some other to go in their room. Malik Ibn Ans thinks he is to be reckoned able who is strong and healthy, and can bear the fatigue of the journey on foot, if he has no beast to ride, and can also earn his living by the way. But Abu Hanifah is of of opinion that both money sufficient and health of body are requisite to make the pilgrimage a duty."-Sale, Baidhawi.

(99) Him who believeth. The person alluded to here is said to be 'Amar or Sarhan, whom the Jews endeavoured to pervert from the way of Islam (Tafsir-i-Raufi).

(100-109) If ye obey, &c. "This passage was revealed on occasion of a quarrel excited between the tribes of al Aus and al Khnzraj by one Shas Ibn Qais, a Jew, who, passing by some of both tribes as they were sitting discoursing familiarly together, and being inwardly vexed at the friendship and harmony which reigned among them on their embracing Muhammadanism, whereas they had been for 120 years before most inveterate and mortal enemies, though descendants of two brothers, in order to set them at variance sent a young man to sit down by them, directing him to relate the story of the battle of Buath (a place near Madina), wherein, after a bloody fight, al Aus had the better of al Khazraj, and to repeat some verses


34

the signs of GOD are read unto you, and his apostle is among you? But he who cleaveth firmly unto GOD is already directed in the right way.

R 11/2.

(102) O believers, fear GOD with his true fear; and die not unless ye also be true believers. (103) And cleave all of you unto the covenant of GOD, and depart not from it, and remember the favour of GOD towards you: since ye were enemies, and he reconciled your hearts, and ye became companions and brethren by his favour: and ye were on the brink of a pit of fire, and he delivered you thence. Thus GOD declareth unto you his signs that ye may be directed. (104) Let there be people among you who invite to the best religion; and command

on that subject. The young man executed his orders whereupon those of each tribe began to magnify themselves, and to reflect on and irritate the other, till at length they called to arms, and great numbers getting together on each side, a dangerous battle had ensued if Muhammad had not stepped in and reconciled them by representing to them how much they would be to blame if they returned to paganism and revived those animosities which Islam had composed, and telling them that what had happened was a trick of the devil to disturb their present tranquillity." - Sale. Baidhawi, Tafsir-i-Raufi.

The incident here related shows the powerful influence Muhammad had acquired over these fiery young men. Spirits aroused to a frenzy of excitement are calmed in a moment by the presence of the prophet and the voice of the oracle giving expression to the words, of this verse.

(102) Fear God with his true fear. The Tafsir-i-Raufi says most commentators regard this verse as abrogated, on the ground that it is impossible for man to fear God as he ought to be feared. It is more likely that the passage was addressed to certain adherents of the tribes of Aus and Khazraj at Madina; these are here exhorted to remain steadfast in the faith even unto death.

(103) And cleave ... unto the covenant. In Arabic, hold fast by the cord of God. The allusion may be either to the Quran sometimes called by Muhammad Habl Allih al matan, i.e., the sure cord of God (Sale, on authority of Baidhawi), or to Islam, as the means of salvation.

Since ye were enemies. The tribes of Aus and Khazraj are here reminded of what Islam had done for them.

(104) A people who invite, &c. Abdul Qadir thinks this verse required that a body of men should be kept for religious warfare (Jihad), which should extirpate all heresy, as well as propagate the true faith. This view certainly accords with the spirit of Islam. The sword is its strong argument, and the end of all controversy.


35

that which is just, and forbid that which is evil; and they shall be happy. (105) And be not as they who are divided, and disagree in matters of religion, after manifest proofs have been brought unto them: they shall suffer a great torment. (106) On the day of resurrection some faces shall become white, and other faces shall become black. And unto them whose faces shall became black God will say, Have you returned unto your unbelief after ye had believed? therefore taste the punishment for that ye have been unbelievers: (107) but they whose faces shall become white shall be in the mercy of GOD, therein shall they remain for ever. (108) These are the signs of GOD: we recite them unto thee with truth. GOD will not deal unjustly with his creatures. (109) And to GOD belongeth whatever is in heaven and on earth; and to GOD shall all things return.

R 12/3.

(110) Ye are the best nation that hath been raised up unto mankind: ye command that which is just, and ye forbid that which is unjust, and ye believe in GOD. And if they who have received the scriptures had believed, it had surely been the better for them: there are believers

(105) They who are divided, i.e., Jews and Christians. Nevertheless Muslims are as thoroughly divided in matters of religion as ever Christians were.

(106) Faces... white.. and black. See Prelim. Disc., pp.149,150.

(109) This verse ends the passage said to have been revealed on the occasion of the threatened outbreak between the tribes of Aus and Khazraj. See note on ver. 101.

(110) Ye are the best nation. The Muslims are now regarded as the chosen people of God. The word ummat is here translated "nation," and by Rodwell "folk." It is, however, used to describe the followers of the prophets, e.g., the ummat of Moses (Jews), the ummat of Jesus (Christians), the ummat of Muhammad (Muslims). This statement is hardly reconcilable with the claim that the ummat of every true prophet belongs to Islam. The comparison is probably drawn between the Jews, Christians, and Muslims of Muhammad's day. It must be observed that the reason given for their superiority is not very convincing, and the high claim set up here for Muslim integrity is not borne out by historical evidence.

There are believers. "As Abdullah Ibn Salam and his companions, and those of the tribes of al Aus and al Khazraj, who had embraced Muhamrnadanism."- Sale.


36

among them, but the greater part of them are transgressors. (111) They shall not hurt you, unless with a slight hurt; and if they fight against you, they shall turn their backs to you; and they shall not be helped. (112) They are smitten with vileness wheresoever they are found; unless they obtain security by entering into a treaty with GOD and a treaty with men: and they draw on themselves indignation from GOD, and they are afflicted with poverty. This they suffer because they disbelieved the signs of GOD and slew the prophets unjustly; this, because they were rebellious and transgressed. (113) Yet they are not all alike: there are of those who have received the scriptures, upright people; they meditate on the signs of GOD in the night season, and worship; (114) they believe in GOD, and the last day; and command that which is just, and forbid that which is unjust, and zealously strive to excel in good works; these are of the righteous. (115) And ye shall not be denied the reward

(111) They shall not be helped. "This verse, al Baidhawi says, is one of those whose meaning is mysterious, and relates to something future; intimating the low condition to which the Jewish tribes of Quraidha, Nadir Bani Qainuqda, and those who dwelt at Khaibar were afterwards reduced by Muhammad." - Sale.

(112) They are smitten. The past tense used for the future, meaning that they shall certainly be smitten, &c. The passage indicates the change of policy in respect to the Jews of Madina and the vicinity. They are now to submit to be plundered and exiled as the Nadhir, or be slaughtered as the Bani Quraidha, as the only alternative to their accepting Islam. The fate of these tribes at the hands of Muhammad sadly illustrates Matt. xxvii. 25. It is remarkable that the reason given here for the punishment of the Jews accords with the denunciations of the Bible, and this notwithstanding the selfish and cruel designs of the Arabian prophet "They slew the prophets, ... were rebellious and transgressed."

(113) They are not all alike. Some had become Muslims. These meditate on the "signs of God," i.e., the Quran. Whether any were good or bad, just or unjust, depended now upon their being Muslims or unbelievers. Compare our Lord's words Matt. vii. 22, 23.

Night-season. Night devotions, especially those performed between midnight and morning, are regarded as peculiarly meritorious. See Mishqat ul Masabih, book iv. chap. xxxvi.

(115) And ye shall not be denied, &c. Rodwell also translates "ye shall not be denied," &c. Sale says, "Some copies have a different


37

of the good which ye do; for GOD knoweth the pious. (116) As for the unbelievers, their wealth shall not profit them at all neither their children, against GOD: they shall be the companions of hell fire; they shall continue therein for ever. (117) The likeness of that which they lay out in this present life is as a wind wherein there is a scorching cold: it falleth on the standing corn of those men who have injured their own souls, and destroyeth it. And GOD dealeth not unjustly with them; but they injure their own souls. (118) O true believers, contract not an intimate friendship with any besides yourselves; they will not fail to corrupt you. They wish for that which may cause you to perish: their hatred hath already appeared

reading," viz. they shall not be denied. This reading, in the third person instead of the second, is that of all Arabic copies I have seen. The reading of the text is contrary to the analogy of the previous context. 1 think, therefore, the reading of Fluegel, though doubt-less sanctioned by good authority, is in error. A careful collation of any considerable number of ancient MSS. would no doubt bring to light many such various readings.

(117) Savary translates, "Their alias are like unto an icy wind, which bloweth on the fields of the perverse and destroyeth their productions." The idea seems to be, that while the alms (good, ver. 115) of the faithful will bring back a certain reward, those of the unbelievers will be as a drain on their wealth a blight on their crops. Good works without faith in Islam are of no avail.

(118) Contract not ... friendship, &c. Muhammad was exceedingly jealous of counter-influences. Such friendships were sure to result in apostasy from Islam. The sentiment of chap. v.104 seems to be the reverse of this. There he says, "He who erreth shall not hurt you while you are directed." The consistency of these statements is to be found in the circumstances of the new religion. Before the political power of the Prophet was secured, it was his policy to preserve his people from the contaminating influences of the unbelievers. They were to be avoided, no friendships were to be formed with them. In argument no reply was to be made beyond a declaration of adherence to Islam. Afterwards, however, when the power of the Muslims was supreme, they could afford to defy opposition. Success had rendered the chances of apostasy from Islam almost nil. The erring ones had therefore little power to injure. Yet, with all the power of Islam, it has been, and is still, the most intolerant of all religions.

Their hatred. See the suspicious fears of Muhammad illustrated by his treatment of the Bani Nadhir in Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol.iii. pp.209, 210.


38

from out of their mouths; but what their breasts conceal is yet more inveterate. We have already shown you signs of their ill-will towards you, if ye understand. (119) Behold, ye love them, and they do not love you: ye believe in all the scriptures, and when they meet you, they say, We believe; but when they assemble privately together, they bite their fingers' ends out of wrath against you. Say unto them, Die in your wrath: verily God knoweth the innermost part of your breasts. (120) If good happen unto you, it grieveth them; and if evil befall you, they rejoice at it. But if ye be patient and fear God, their subtlety shall not hurt you at all; for GOD comprehendeth whatever they do. (121) Call to mind when thou wentest forth early Lom thy family, that thou

(119) Ye love them. The spirit of the prophet's love is shown in the last clause of this verse- "Die in your wrath!" The evident purpose of the exhortation here is to eradicate every vestige of natural affection for unbelieving friends and neighbours from the hearts of his followers. Nothing was too heartless or cruel for Muhammad to counsel or perform, provided his interest or his revenge could thereby be satisfied-to wit, the assassination of Asma Abu Afaq, and Kab Ibn Ashraf, the exile of the Jewish tribes of Nadhir and Qainuqaa, and the inhumane slaughter of eight hundred prisoners of the Bani Quraidha, and many other instances of a similar nature.

Ye believe in all the Scriptures. This is no doubt what Muhammad intended they should do, but in the sense of simply acknowledging them to be the Word of God, and not in the sense that they should read them or hear them read (see note on ver. 93). This is the practice of Muslims still, showing how well they understand their prophet. They profess to accept the Pentateuch, Psalms, and Gospels as the Word of God, but the moment these are produced and made to testify against Islam, they declare they have been corrupted. All arguments are set aside by the claim that whatever is in accord with Islam is true, and whatever is not in accord therewith is either false, or, if true, abrogated.

(121) When thou wentest forth, &c. "This was at the battle of Ohod, a mountain about four miles to the north of Madina. The Quraish, to revenge their loss at Badr (ver. 13, note), the next year, being the third of the Hijra, got together an army of 3000 men, among whom there were 200 horse and 700 armed with coats of mail. These forces marched under the conduct of Abu Sufian and sat down at Dhu'l Hulaifa, a village about six miles from Madina. Muhammad, being much inferior to his enemies in numbers at first determined to keep himself without the town, and receive them there; but afterwards, the advice of some of his companions prevailing, he


39

mightest prepare the faithful a camp for war; and GOD heard and knew it; (122) when two companies of you were anxiously thoughtful, so that ye became faint-hearted,

marched out against them at the head of 1000 men (some say he had 1050 men, others but 900), of whom 100 were armed with coats of mail, but he had no more than one horse, besides his own, in his whole army. With these forces he formed a camp in a village near Ohod which mountain he contrived to have on his back and the better to secure his men from being surrounded, he placed fifty archers in the rear with strict orders not to quit their post. When they came to engage, Muhammad had the better at first, but afterwards, by the fault of his archers, who left their ranks for the sake of the plunder, and suffered the enemy's horse to encompass the Muhammadans and attack them in the rear, he lost the day, and was very near losing his life, being struck down by a shower of stones, and wounded in the face with two arrows, on pulling out of which his two foreteeth dropped out. Of the Muslims seventy men were slain, and among them Hamza, the uncle of Muhammad and of the infidels twenty-two. To excuse the ill success of this battle and to raise the drooping courage of his followers is Muhammad's drift in the remaining part of this chapter." - Sale.

Muir gives a wonderfully vivid description of the crisis through which Muhammad was called to pass after the defeat at Ohod. "The scoffs and taunts of infidels and Jews well-nigh overthrew the faith of the Muslims. ‘How can Mahomet pretend now,’ they asked, ‘to be anything more than an aspirant to the kingly office? No true claimant of the prophetic dignity hath ever been beaten in the field, or suffered loss in his own person and that of his followers, as he hath.’ Under these circumstances it required all the address of Mahomet to avert the dangerous imputation, sustain the credit of his cause, and reanimate his followers. This he did mainly by means of that portion of the Quran which appears in the latter half of the third Sura." - Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 189.

Students of the Quran will not fail to notice here that every device of the Prophet to encourage his crestfallen people is clothed in the garb of inspiration. Every exhortation to steadfastness in the cause of Islam, every rebuke for unfaithfulness, every plaudit bestowed upon the brave, is presented as coming from the mouth of God.

(122) Two companies. "These were some of the families of Bani Salma of the tribe of al Khazraj, and Bani ul Harith of the tribe of al Aus, who composed the two wings of Muhammad's army. Some ill impression had been made on them by Abdullah ibn Ubai Sulul, then an infidel, who having drawn off 300 men, told them that they were going to certain death, and advised them to return back with him; but he could prevail on but a few, the others being kept firm by the divine influence, as the following words intimate." - Sale, Baidhawi.

Muir expresses the belief that "the two companies" were the


40

but GOD was the supporter of them both; and in GOD let the faithful trust.

R 13/4

(123) And GOD had already given you the victory at Badr when ye were inferior in number; therefore fear GOD, that ye may be thankful. (124) When thou saidst unto the faithful, is it not enough for you that your LORD should assist you with three thousand angels sent down from heaven? (125) Verily if ye persevere and fear God, and your enemies come upon you suddenly, your LORD will assist you with five thousand angels, distinguished by their horses and attire.

RUBA

(126) And this GOD designed only as good tidings for

refugees and citizens. The flight was caused by their losing heart in the midst of the battle (Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 191).

(123) Victory at Badr. See note on ver. 113. The word translated victory here means help. The angels, say the commentators, did not do the fighting, but rendered miraculous assistance by warding off the blows of the enemy and by appearing to them in human form, thus working dismay in their ranks by multiplying the number of Muslims in their sight.

(l24) Three thousand angels. Muhammadan tradition gives numerous instances of similar interference of angels on behalf of the Muslims. See references at p. lxiv., Muir's Life of Mahomet vol i., Introduction.

(l25) Angels, distinguished. The word musawwamina is the same as that translated excellent horses in ver. 14. The primary reference is to horses distinguished by white feet and a streak of white on the face, a sigh of special excellence in horses. The passage may therefore mean that the angels rode on horses distinguished by the marks of excellence.

"The angels who assisted the Muhammadans at Badr rode, say the commentators, on black and white horses, and had on their heads white and yellow sashes, the ends of which hung down between their shoulders." - Sale, Baidhawi.

(126) Good tidings. Muhammad very adroitly argues that the question of victory or defeat does not rest with the Muslims. It is God's war against the infidels, and he cannot be defeated. If Muslims suffer defeat, it is for their discipline, to teach them to trust God and his prophet.

The commentators tell a story to the effect that when at the battle of Badr seventy Quraish fell into the hands of the Muslims as prisoners, Muhammad advised their summary execution but the Muslims preferred to let them go on condition of a ransom price being paid. Muhammad yielded but at the same time foretold that seventy Muslims would lose their lives in lieu of the seventy ransomed infidels. This prophecy was fulfilled in the defeat of Ohod.


41

you, that your hearts might rest secure; for victory is from GOD alone, the mighty, the wise. (127) That he should cut off the uttermost part of the unbelievers, or cast them down, or that they should be overthrown and unsuccessful, is nothing to thee. (128) It is no business of thine; whether God be turned unto them, or whether he punish them; they are surely unjust doers. (129) To GOD belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth; he spareth whom he pleaseth, and he punisheth whom he pleaseth; for GOD is merciful.

R 14/5

(130) O true believers, devour not usury, doubling it twofold, but fear GOD, that ye may prosper: (131) and fear the fire which is prepared for the unbelievers; (132) and obey GOD and his apostle, that ye may obtain mercy. (133) And run with emulation to obtain remission from your LORD, and paradise, whose breadth equalleth the

This story was invented ilk order to cover up the disgrace of the ignominious defeat of the Muslims. This defeat was due to the disobedience of the followers of Muhammad (see note on ver. 122). This fact the prophet keeps in the background. The interests of Islam require that the Muslims should rather be encouraged than rebuked. They are therefore exhorted to trust God, and to look for certain victory in the future.

(127) This verse should be connected with the one preceding, and should depend upon the words "And this God designed." To connect it with the following verse, as Sale does, destroys the main point of the exhortation, which promises certain victory over the unbelievers.

(128) They are surely unjust doers. "This passage was revealed when Muhammad received the wounds above mentioned at the battle of Ohod, and cried out, 'How shall that people prosper who have stained their prophet's face with blood, while he called them to their Lord?' The person who wounded him was Otha the son of Abbu Wakkas."- Sale, Baidawi.

(129) He spareth. In original he pardoneth. He is merciful. The original would better be rendered He is forgiving, kind. Every exhortation of the Prophet ends with a doxology of this sort, the sentiment being in accord with the character of the revelation preceding.

(130) Devour not usury. See note on chap. ii. 275. Abdul Qadir conjectures that the subject of usury is here spoken or because of the previous mention of cowardice, which is usually produced by habits of extortion. The passage seems to be misplaced, the sentiment having no perceptible connection with that of ver. 129, which is closely connected with ver. 139.


42

heavens and the earth, which is prepared for the godly; (134) who give alms in prosperity and adversity; who bridle their anger and forgive men; for GOD loveth the beneficent. (135) And who, after they have committed a crime, or dealt unjustly with their own souls, remember GOD, and ask pardon for their sins (for who forgiveth sins except GOD?), and persevere not in what they have done knowingly; (136) their reward shall be pardon from their LORD, and gardens wherein rivers flow; they shall remain therein forever: and how excellent is the reward of those who labour! (137) There have already been before you examples of punishment of infidels, therefore go through the earth, and behold what hath been the end of those who accuse God's apostles of imposture. (138) This book

(134) It is related of Hasan the son of Ali, that a slave having once thrown a dish on him boiling hot as he sat at table, and fearing his master's resentment, fell on his knees and repeated these words, Paradise is for those who bridle their anger:' Hasan answered 'I am not angry.' The slave proceeded - 'and for those who forgive men.' I forgive you,' said Hasan. The slave, however, finished the verse adding, 'for God loveth the beneficent.' 'Since it is so' replied Hasan, 'I give you your liberty, and four hundred pieces of silver.' A noble instance of moderation and generosity.'- Sale, Tafsir-i-Raufi.

Forgive men. "The best kind of forgiveness is to pardon those who have injured you."- Tufsir-i-Raufi.

(135) What they have done knowingly, i.e., the pious do not sin deliberately. The duty of repentance for known sin is here clearly enjoined, and the test of true repentance is also given.

(136) Their reward. This statement contradicts the teaching of the former Scriptures. However sincere repentance, its reward cannot be pardon. Repentance can affect the conduct of the future, but it has no power to atone for the crimes of the past (see note on ver. 31).

(137) Those who accuse of imposture. This passage gives another illustration of the constant and strained effort of Muhammad to refute the charge of imposture. In reply to his accusers, he says others were accused of like imposture, and the end of their accusers was dreadful. But the author of the notes on the Roman Urdu' Quran points out the fact that no true prophet ever showed the anxiety of Muhmmad to establish his claim to the prophetic office. We may therefore fairly conclude that Muhammad's imposture was not, in the first instance at least, unconscious.

(138) See note, chap. ii. 2.


43

is a declaration unto men, and a direction and an admonition to the pious. (139) And be not dismayed, neither be ye grieved; for ye shall be superior to the unbelievers if ye believe. (140) If a wound hath happened unto you in war, a like wound hath already happened unto the unbelieving people: and we cause these days of different success interchangeably to succeed each other among men; that GOD may know those who believe, and may have martyrs from among you: (GOD loveth not the workers of iniquity;) (141) and that GOD might prove those who believe, and destroy the infidels. (142) Did ye imagine that ye should enter paradise, when as yet GOD knew not those among you who fought strenuously in his cause, nor knew those who persevered with patience? (143) Moreover ye did sometimes wish for death before that ye

(139) The thread of discourse dropped at ver. 129 is here taken up again. This verse reveals something of the demoralization of Muhammad's followers after the defeat of Ohod and he uses every effort to inspire courage for a new conflict. Muhammad's high moral courage, strong will and capability as a are well illustrated here.

(140) A like wound, i e., at Badr, where forty-nine of the Quraish were killed and an equal number wounded. Muslim accounts say seventy were killed and seventy wounded. Muir says, "The number seventy has originated in the supposition of a correspondence between the fault of Mahomet in taking (and not slaying) the prisoners of Badr and the retributive reverse at Ohod; hence it is assumed that seventy Meccans were taken prisoners at Badr." Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p.107, note.

We cause these days, &c. The idea here is that God, by this reverse, intended to sift the true from the false among the number of those who professed themselves Muslims, and, so far as the slain were concerned, he desired to have them be martyrs. Thus comfort is bestowed upon the faithful, both for the disgrace of defeat and the loss of relatives in battle.

(142) God knew not. This is translated by Rodwell, God had take, knowledge. So also Abdul Qadir and others. This is certainly the meaning of the original. Those who catch at the form of the words (notes on Roman Urdu Quran) to raise an objection lay themselves open to a charge of cavilling. The same cavil could be raised against Gen. xxii. 12.

(143) Ye did...wish for death. "Several of Muhammad's followers who were not present at Badr wished for an opportunity of obtaining, in another action, the like honour as those hail gained


44

met it; but ye have now seen it, and ye looked on, but retreated from it.

R 15/6

(144) Muhammad is no more than an apostle; the other apostles have already deceased before him: if he die, therefore, or be slain, will ye turn back on your heels? but he who turneth back on his heels will not hurt GOD at all; and GOD will surely reward the thankful. (145) No soul can

who fell martyrs in that battle, yet were discouraged on seeing the superior numbers of the idolaters in the expedition of Ohod On which occasion this passage was revealed " - Sale, Baidhawi.

But retreated. The succeeding context justifies these words as necessary to fill in the ellipsis.

(144) "Muhammad is no more than an apostle. In this passage Muhammad declares himself mortal, and these words were repeated by Abu Baqr at the death of Muhammad to convince Omar and other Muslims that their prophet was actually dead.

Arnold holds (on the authority of an ancient writer, Al Kindy) that Muhammad had prophesied that he would rise from the dead within three days. He thinks this prophecy - carefully suppressed by Muslim writers, however - alone accounts for the conduct of Omar at Muhammad's death, and that this alone explains why " Muhammad's body was buried unwashed, without the burial linen but with the red scarf around his waist which he had wont during his last illness" (Islam and Christianity, p. 351, note). Were the statement of Al Kindy well founded, we could still accept this verse as genuine, for it does not deny the possibility of Muhammad's rising from the dead but only implies that he would die. But, granting that Muhammad ever did prophesy his resurrection after three days, and that, according to the story of Al Kindy, the Muslims had waited three days for his resuscitation, how would the invention of this verse or the repetition of it if genuine - a verse which does not give a shadow of a hope of a resurrection in three days -account for the sudden acquiescence of the Muslims in the view of Abu Baqr that he was dead, and acquiesce at the same time in his conduct in having during these very three days assumed the authority of the caliphate? The fact is, that Omar was not looking for the resurrection of Muhammad, but he could not believe him dead; and, as Muir clearly points out, the power of these words to persuade the people "was solely due to their being at once recognised as a part of the Coran" (Life of Mahomet, vol. i. Introd., p. xx., and vol. iv. p. 284, notes).

Will not hurt God, i.e., the cause of Islam will prosper in spite of the defection of unbelievers. Sale says, "It was reported in the battle of Ohod that Muhammad was slain: whereupon the idolaters cried out to his followers, 'Since your Prophet is slain, return to your ancient religion, and to your friends; if Muhammad had been a prophet he had not been slain."'

(145) No soul can die, &c. "Muhammad, the more effectually to


45

die unless by the permission of GOD, according to what is written in the book containing the determinations of things. And whoso chooseth the reward of this world, we will give him thereof: but whoso chooseth the reward of the world to come, we will give him thereof: and we will surely reward the thankful. (146) How many prophets have encountered those who had many myriads of troops: and yet they desponded not in their mind for what had befallen them in fighting for the religion of GOD; and were not weakened, neither behaved themselves in an abject manner? GOD loveth those who persevere patiently.

still the murmurs of his party on their defeat, represents to them that the time of every man's death is decreed and predetermined by God and that those who fell in the battle could not have avoided their fate had they stayed at home whereas they had now obtained the glorious advantage of dying martyrs for the faith." - Sale.

See also Prelim. Disc., p.164.

The book. Rodwell tells us that the Rabbins teach a similar doctrine; see his note in loco. The Tafsir-i-Raufi says that this verse was revealed to incite the Muslims to acts of daring. Since the hour of death is fixed for every man, every one is immortal until that hour arrive.

Whoso chooseth. These words seem clearly to recognise the free agency of men, and the statement is the more remarkable, coming as it does immediately after another which clearly teaches the absolute predestination of all things. The meaning of the whole passage is, I think, that the hour of death is fixed. Whether in the battlefield or in the quiet of domestic surroundings, each man must die at the appointed hour. Those, therefore, who choose ease and freedom from danger in this life wilt be permitted to secure them, though they will not thereby avert death for a moment beyond the time written in the book, while those who choose martyrdom will yet live out their appointed time, and receive the martyr's reward beside. It would be very easy to raise an objection to the Quran on the ground of contradiction between the doctrine of God's sovereignty and man's free will; but we consider this difficult ground for a Christian to take, for while there is a strong element of fatalism permeating Islam, it is no easy task to fasten that doctrine upon the Quran without laying Christianity open to a counter charge from the Muslim side.

(146) How many of the prophets. Muhammad again likens himself, even in his misfortune, to the former prophets; many of them had reverses in fighting for the religion of God. Why should he then behave himself in an abject manner? The plain inference from this passage is that in Muhammad's mind many of the prophets were warriors like himself; "fighting for the religion of God."


46

(147) And their speech was no other than what they said, Our LORD forgive us our offences, and our transgressions in our business; and confirm our feet, and help us against the unbelieving people. (148) And GOD gave them the reward of this world, and a glorious reward in the life to come; for GOD loveth the well-doers.

R 16/7

(149) O ye who believe, if you obey the infidels, they will cause you to turn back on your heels, and ye will be turned back and perish: (150) but GOD is your LORD; and he is the best helper. (151) We will surely cast a dread into the hearts of the unbelievers, because they have associated with GOD that concerning which he sent them down no power: their dwelling shall be the fire of hell: and the receptacle of the wicked shall be miserable. (152) GOD

(147) Forgive us our offences. This verse clearly disproves the popular doctrine that the prophets were sinless.

(148) The reward of this world, i.e., victory over the infidels (Tafsir-i-Raufi). The marked difference between the teaching of the Quran and the Bible as to the condition of the people of the Lord in this world is worthy of note. The Quran everywhere teaches that though they had trials similar to those endured by Muhamuhad and the Muslims of Makka and Madina, yet in the end they were manifestly triumphant over the infidels in this world. The Christian need not be told that this is very far from the teaching of the Bible. Final triumph is certain, but it may be wrought out on the cross or amidst the faggots and instruments of persecution and death.

(149) "This passage was occasioned by the endeavours of the Quraish to seduce the Muhammadans to their old idolatry as they fled in the battle of Ohod." - Sale.

Turn back on your heels, i.e., to relapse into idolatry.

(151) We will surely cast a dread, &c. "To this Muhammad attributed the sudden retreat of Abu Sufian and his troops, without making any farther advantage of their success, only giving Muhammad a challenge to meet them next year at Badr, which he accepted. Others say that as they were on their march home, they repented that they had not utterly extirpated the Muhammadans, and began to think of going back to Madina for that purpose, but were prevented by a sudden consteruation or panic fear, which fell on them from God."- Sale, Baidhawi.

Associated with God. This formula, oft-repeated, expresses the Muslim idea of idolatry. It correctly describes it as bestowing upon the creature the worship belonging solely to the Creator.

No power should be translated no authority.

(152) When ye destroyed them, &c., i.e., in the beginning of the battle at Ohod.


47

had already made good unto you his promise, when ye destroyed them by his permission, until ye became faint-hearted, and disputed concerning the command of the apostle and were rebelluous after God had shown you what ye desired. (153) Some of you chose this present world, and others of you chose the world to come. Then he turned you to flight from before them, that he might make trial of you: (but he hath now pardoned you: for GOD is endued with beneficence towards the faithful;) (154) when ye went up as ye fled, and looked not back on any: while the apostle called you, in the uttermost

Were rebellious. "That is, till the bowmen, who were placed behind to prevent their being surrounded seeing the enemy fly, quitted their post, contrary to Muhammad's express orders, and dispersed themselves to seize the plunder; whereupon Khalid Ibn al Walid perceiving their disorder, fell on their rear with the horse which he commanded, and turned the fortune of the day. It is related that though Abdullah Ibn Jubair, their captain, did all he could to make them keep their ranks, he had not tell that stayed with him out of the whole fifty."- Sale, Baidhawi.

What ye desired, i.e., victory and spoils. This is a very characteristic confession, pointing to the motive that really inspired the courage of the Muslims. And yet throughout this discourse the prophet offers the rewards of piety to all who fought in the way of God, and declares that those who lost their lives received the crown of martyrdom. The purpose to plunder and destroy their enemies is sanctified by executing it in "the way of the Lord," and in obedience to the command of the prophet. How far this permission to plunder comes short of confirming the former Scriptures may be seen by comparing therewith the regulations made by Moses, Joshua, and Samuel to check this disposition of all invaders (Num. xxxi., Josh. vi. and vii., and I Sam. xv.)

(153) Some ... and others, i.e., some sought the spoil in disobedience to the command of Muhammad, others stood firm at the post of duty. See note on ver. 152.

The faithful = Muslims. Their conduct had been very unfaithful, but they were now pardoned - not because they had repented, for they were murmuring, and almost ready to apostatise, but because it was now politic to show clemency rather than severity. See ver. 160.

(154) While the apostle called, "Crying aloud, Come hither to me, O servants of God! I am the apostle of God; he who returneth back shall enter paradise. But notwithstanding all his endeavours to rally his men, he could not get above thirty of them about him." - Sale.

Rodwell's translation is much more graphic: When ye came up the


48

part of you. Therefore God rewarded you with affliction on affliction, that ye be not grieved hereafter for the spoils which ye fail of, nor for that which befalleth you, for GOD is well acquainted with whatever ye do. (155) Then he sent down upon you after affliction security; a soft sleep which fell on some part of you; but other part were troubled by their own souls; falsely thinking of GOD, a foolish imagination, saying, Will anything of the matter happen unto us? Say, Verily, the matter belongeth wholly unto GOD. They concealed in their minds what they declared not unto thee; saying, If anything of the matter had happened unto us, we had not been slain here. If ye had been in your houses verily they would have gone forth to fight, whose slaughter was decreed, to the places where they died, and this came came to pass that GOD might try what was in your breasts, and might discern what was in your hearts; for GOD knoweth the innermost parts of the breasts of men.

height, and took no heed of any one, while the prophet in your rear was calling to the fight.

Therefore God rewarded, &c., i.e., "God punished your avarice and disobedience by suffering you to be beaten by your enemies, and to be discouraged by the report of your prophet's death, that ye might be inured to patience under adverse fortune, and not repine at any loss or disappointment for the future."- Sale.

(155) He sent down . . . security. After the battle of Obod the Muslims fell asleep. Some slept soundly and were refreshed. others were excited, indulging in wild imaginations, supposing themselves to be on the verge of destruction. So the commentators generally.

We had not been slain. The meaning is that they considered God to be against them because they had not secured any gain in the battle. They therefore said to themselves or one to another, "If God had assisted us according to his promise;" or, as others interpret the words, "If we had taken the advice of Abdullah Ibn Ubai Sulul, and had kept within the town of Madina, our companions had not lost their lives."- Sale, Jalaluddin.

Answer, if ye had been in your houses. See note on ver. 145. The teaching of this verse is decidedly fatalistic, and, taking it by itself the only conclusion one could logically draw would be that Muhammad was a fatalist. But there are many passages asserting the freedom of the will. We regard Muhammad as having been strongly inclined to fatalism, owing to the emphasis which he laid upon the doctrine of God's absolute sovereignty. But being a man, his own


49

NISF.

(156) Verily they among you who turned their backs on the day whereon the two armies met each other at Ohod, Satan caused them to slip for some crime which they had committed: but now hath God forgiven them; for GOD is gracious and merciful.

R 17/8

(157) O true believers, be not as they who believed not, and said of their brethren when they had journeyed in the land or had been at war, If they had been with us, those had not died, nor had these been slain: whereas what befell them was so ordained that GOD might take it matter of sighing in their hearts. GOD giveth life and causeth to die: and GOD seeth that which ye do. (158) Moreover if ye be slain, or die in defence of the religion

consciousness of freedom asserted itself, and so he was saved from that "belief in an absolute predestination, which turns men into mere puppets, and all human life into a grim game of chess, wherein men are the pieces, moved by the invisible hand of but a single player, and which is now so general in Muhammadan countries" (R.B. Smith's Muhammad and Muhammadanism, pp. 191, 192.) And yet, while believing Muhammad much less a fatalist than his disciples, whose wild fanaticism is described so eloquently by Gibbon, yet we can by no means go the length of saying with Mr. Smith, that "there is little doubt that Muhammad himself; if the alternative had been clearly presented to him, would have had more in common with Pelagius than with Augustine, with Ariumius than with Calvin." Muhammad was not a "consistent fatalist" - no man ever was. Yet, notwithstanding his having "made prayer one of the four practical duties enjoined upon the faithful," and his constant use of language freely asserting the freedom of the will there is such a multitude of passages in the Quran which clearly make God the author of sin (chap. vii. 155, 179, 180; xv 39-43; xvi. 95; xvii. 14-16, &c.), so many which assert the doctrine of ahsolute predestination, and all this so constantly confirmed by tradition, that the conclusion is irresistibly forced upon us that Muhammad is responsible for the fatalism of Islam.

(156) Satan caused them to slip, i.e., by tempting them to disobedience. For some crime, - "For their covetousness in quitting their post to seize the plunder."

(157) Who believed not, i.e., the hypocrites of Madina who declined to fight at Ohod. Had journeyed, with a view to merchandise, or been at war for the cause of religion (Tafsir-i-Raufi). The sentiment of this and the two following verses is like that of vers 139-143 ; the hour of death is fixed for every man in the eternal decree of God, and those who die fighting for Islam shall he pardoned and accepted of God, and be made partakers of the joys of paradise.


50

of GOD; verily pardon from GOD, and mercy, is better than what they heap together of worldly riches. (159) And if ye die or be slain, verily unto GOD shall ye be gathered. (160) And as to the mercy granted unto the disobedient from GOD, thou, O Muhammad, hast been mild towards them; but if thou hadst been severe and hard-hearted, they had surely separated themselves from about thee. Therefore forgive them, and ask pardon for them: and consult them in the affair of war; and after thou hast deliberated, trust in GOD; for GOD loveth those who trust in him. (161) If GOD help you, hone shall conquer you; but if he desert you, who is it that will help you after him? Therefore in GOD let the faithful trust. (162) It is not the part of a prophet to defraud for he who

(160) If thou hadst been severe, &c. The policy of Muhammad in dealing with his followers is here distinctly announced. They had certainly merited severe punishment. But there were powerful adversaries in Madina who would have taken advantage of any attempt to enforce punishment of a severe nature. Besides, no slight stock to the new faith had been felt owing to the defeat, and it became a matter of the utmost importance to establish that faith. Hence the mild words, and the forgiveness so freely bestowed.

Let it be observed that all these mild words and expressions of forgiveness are set forth as coming from the mouth of God, and yet the same Divinity commends the mildness of the Prophet! Surely there is more of the politician than of the prophet here.

(162) It is not the part of a prophet to defraud. Sale says, on the authority of Baidhawi and Jalaluddin that "this passage was revealed, as some say, on the division of the spoil at Badr, when some of the soldiers suspected Muhammad of having privately taken a scarlet carpet, made all of silk and very rich, which was missing. Others suppose the archers, who occasioned the loss of the battle of Ohod, left their station because they imagined Muhammad would not give them their share of the plunder; because, as it is related, he once sent out a party as an advanced guard, and in the meantime attacking the enemy, took some spoils which he divided among those who were with him in the action, and gave nothing to the party that was absent on duty."

The Tafsir-i-Raufi says the passage was occasioned by certain of the companions desiring a larger share of the booty than their weaker brethren. God here signifies that all are to be treated alike, and that partiality in the division of booty would be dishonest. This passage is regarded as vindicating the prophet from every charge of dishonesty.


51

defraudeth shall bring with him what he hath defrauded any one of, on the day of the resurrection. Then shall every soul be paid what he hath gained; and they shall not be treated unjustly. (163) Shall he therefore who followeth that which is well-pleasing unto GOD be as he who bringeth on himself wrath from GOD, and whose receptacle is hell? an evil journey shall it be thither. (164) There shall be degrees of rewards and punishments with GOD, for GOD seeth what they do. (165) Now hath GOD been gracious unto the believers when he raised up among them an apostle of their own nation, who should recite his signs unto them, and purify them, and teach them the book of the Quran and wisdom: whereas they were before in manifest error. (166) After a misfortune had befallen you at Ohod (ye had already obtained two equal advantages), do ye say, Whence

He who defraudeth shall bring, &c. "According to a tradition of Muhammad, whoever cheateth another will, on the day of judgment, carry his fraudulent purchase publicly on his neck." - Sale.

(164) There shall be degrees, &c. This explains the purport of ver. 163. God will reward his servants in accordance with their works. The brave companions (note, ver. 162) need not be troubled by an equal division of the booty. God will reward for "God seeth what ye do." As indicated by Sale in his translation, this principle applies to punishments as well as to rewards.

(165) An apostle of their own nation. Sale, on the authority of Baidhawi, says some manuscripts have min anfaihim instead of min anfusihim, whence it would read, An apostle of the noblest among them, meaning the Quraish, of which tribe Muhammad was descended. I have not been able to find any copy of the Quran containing this reading. It is not likely that the spirit of Muhammad's inspiration would have made, at this time, any such invidious distinction between the tribes of Arabia, especially when as yet the Quraish were the mortal enemies of Muhammad. The expression is better understood as having reference to the Arabs in general.

Purify them, i.e., from idolatry and evil customs, such as infanticide, &c.

And wisdom. Baidhawi understands this expression to refer to the Sunnat, or Book of Traditions.

(166) Two equal advantages. "In the battle of Badr, where he slew seventy of the enemy equaling the number of those who lost their lives at Ohod, and also took as many prisoners. "- Sale. See notes on vers. 13 and 152.


52

cometh this? Answer, This is from yourselves: for GOD is almighty. (167) And what happened unto you, on the day whereon the two armies met, was certainly by the permission of GOD; (168) and that he might know the ungodly. It was said unto them, Come, fight for the religion of GOD, or drive back the enemy: they answered, If we had known ye went out to fight, we had certainly followed you. They were on that day nearer unto unbelief than they were to faith; they spake with their mouths what was not in their hearts: but GOD perfectly knew what they concealed; (169) who said of their brethren, while themselves stayed at home, If they had obeyed us, they had not been slain. Say, Then keep back death from yourselves, if ye say truth. (170) Thou shalt in nowise reckon those who have been slain at Ohod, in the cause of GOD, dead; nay, they are sustained alive

God is almighty, i.e., he could not suffer defeat, wherefore your reverse his been a punishment for your disobedience.

(168) That we might know the ungodly. See note on ver. 142.

If we had knowledge, &c. "That is, if we had conceived the least hope of success when ye marched out of Madina to encounter the infidels, and had not known that ye went rather to certain destruction than to battle, we had gone with you. But this Muhammad here tells them was only a feigned excuse; the true reason of their staying behind being their want of faith and firmness in their religion."- Sale, Baidhawi

Rodwell translates this phrase, Had we known how to to fight. This agrees with the various translations in Persian and Urdu. The meaning is, that the hypocrites feigned not to have known the Muslims were going out to fight. To this Muhammad replies in the remainder of the verse by telling them plainly that they lied.

(169) This verse gives the reason for the charge against the hypocrites in the previous verse. They are judged out of their own mouths.

Keep back death. See notes on vers. 145 and 155.

(170) Thou shalt in nowise reckon, &c. See note on chap. ii. 155.The crown of martyrdom was easily won. Even those slain because of their disobedience and covetousness (vers. 3,122, 152, and 153, &c.) are now to be regarded as "alive with their God," and "rejoicing for what God of his favour hath granted them" (next verse). There is here a striking contrast between the teaching of the Quran and the Word of God. It is the contrast between a counterfeit and the genuine article.


53

with their LORD, (171) rejoicing for what GOD of his favour hath granted them; and being glad for those who, coming after them have not as yet overtaken them because there shall no fear come on them neither shall they be grieved. (172) They are filled with joy for the favour which they have received from GOD and his bounty; and for that GOD suffereth not the reward of the faithful to perish.

R 18/9

(173) They who hearkened unto GOD and his apostle, after a wound had befallen them at Ohod, such of them as do good works, and fear God, shall have a great reward; (174) unto whom certain men said, Verily the men of Makkah have already gathered forces against you, be ye therefore afraid of them: but this increased their faith, and they

(171) Those who, coming after them, i.e., who are yet destined to suffer martyrdom.

(173) They who hearkened. "The commentators differ a little as to the occasion of this passage. When news was brought to Muhammad, after the battle of Ohod, that the enemy, repenting of their retreat, were returning towards Madina, he called about him those who had stood by him in the battle, and marched out to meet the enemy as far as Humara al Asad, about eight miles from that town, notwithstanding that several of his men were so ill of their wounds that they were forced to be carried; but a panic fear having seized the army of the Quraish, they changed their resolution, and continued their march home; of which Muhammad having received intelligence, he also went back to Madina: and according to some commentators the Quran here approves the faith and courage of those who attended the prophet on this occasion. Others say the persons intended in this passage were those who went with Muhammad the next year to meet Abu Sufian and the Quraish, according to their challenge, at Badr, where they waited some time for the enemy, and then returned home; for the Quraish, though they set out from Makka, yet never came so far as the place of appointment, their hearts failing them on their march; which Muhammad attributed to thieir being struck with a terror from God. This expedition the Arabian histories call the second or lesser expedition of Badr." - Sale, Baidhawi.

Muir, in his Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 222, refers this passage to Muhammad's advance against Abu Sufian as far as Badr. The first story of the commentators given by Sale seems to be borne out by the statement, "They who hearkened unto God and his apostle after a wound had befallen them." The following verse applies better to the second story. It is possible that two distinct revelations have been here blended together by the compilers of the Quran.

(174) Be ye afraid of them. "The persons who thus endeavoured


54

said, GOD is our support, and the most excellent patron. (175) Wherefore they returned with favour from GOD, and advantage: no evil befell them: and they followed what was well-pleasing unto GOD: for GOD is endowed with great liberality. (176) Verily that devil would cause you to fear his friends: but be ye not afraid of them: but fear me, if ye be true believers. (177) They shall not grieve thee who emulously hasten unto infidelity; for they shall never hurt GOD at all. GOD will not give them a part in the next life, and they shall suffer a great punishment. (178) Surely those who purchase infidelity with faith shall by no means hurt GOD at all, but they shall suffer a grievous punishment. (179) And let not the unbelievers think, because we grant them lives long and prosperous, that it is better for their souls: we grant them

to discourage the Muhammadans were, according to one tradition, some of the tribe of Abd Qais, who going to Madina, were bribed by Abu Sufian with a camel's load of dried raisins; and according to mother tradition, it was Nuaim Ibn Masud al Ashjai, who was also bribed with a she-camel ten mouths gone with young (a valuable present in Arabia). This Nuaim, they say, finding Muhammad and his men preparing for the expedition, told them that Abu Sufian, to spare them the pains of coming so far as Badr, would seek them in their own houses, and that none of them could possibly escape otherwise than by timely flight. Upon which Muhammad, seeing his followers a little dispirited, swore that he would go himself though not one of them went with him. And accordingly he set out with seventy horsemen, every one of them crying out Hashna Allah, i.e., God is our support." - Sale, Baidhawi.

Muir says Muhammad went forth with a force of 1500 men (Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 221).

(175) And advantage. They had taken with them mecrhandise, and had held a fair at Badr for several days, disposing of their goods to great advantage. So Baidhawi, see Sale. From this fact Muir conjectures that Muhammad had knowledge of the change of purpose among the Quraish before he set out so boldly for Badr. See Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p.221, note.

(176) That devil. This probably refers to Abu Sufian. Some refer it to Nuaim, an emissary of the Quraish sent to Madina to excite fear among the Muslims. See note above on 174.

(177) Who. . hasten unto infidelity, i.e., the hypocrites of Madina, who professing themselves Muslims, talked like infidels (Abdul Qadir).

(179) See note on chap. ii. 211.


55

long and prosperous lives only that their iniquity may be increased; and they shall suffer an ignominious punishment. (180) GOD is not disposed to leave the faithful in the condition which ye are now in, until he sever the wicked from the good; nor is GOD disposed to make you acquainted with what is a hidden secret, but GOD chooseth such of his apostles as he pleaseth, to reveal his mind unto: believe therefore in GOD and his apostles; and if ye believe and fear God, ye shall receive a great reward. (181) And let not those who are covetous of what GOD of his bounty hath granted them imagine that their avarice is better for them: nay, rather it is worse for them. That which they have covetously reserved shall be bound as a collar about their neck on the day of the resurrection: unto GOD belongeth the inheritance of heaven and earth: and GOD is well acquainted with what ye do.

(180) God is not disposed, &c., i.e., he will not suffer the good and sincere among you to continue indiscriminately mixed with the wicked and hypocritical.

A hidden secret. The author of the notes on the Roman Urdu Quran thinks that Muhammad here disclaims all knowledge of the "hidden" things revealed to the chosen apostles of God. But the Tafsir-i-Raufi says the very reverse is the meaning of this passage. Muhammad here numbers himself among the chosen apostles, to whom God is pleased to make known the "hidden secrets" of his purpose. God does not, however, reveal secret things to hypocrites.

Believe . . . in God and his apostles. The use of the plural here shows that the revelations of God's hidded purposes made to apostles other than Muhammad were to be accepted by the Muslims. There were then genuine and credible scriptures, containing these revelations, in the hands of the contemporaries of Muhammad.

(181) Those who are covetous. The following tradition is given on the authority of Abu Hurairah: - "To whosoever God gives wealth, and he does not perform the charity due from it, his wealth will he made into the shape of a serpent on the day of resurrection, which shall not have any hair up on its head; and this is a sign of its poison and long life, and it has two black spots upon its eyes, and it will be twisted round his neck like a chain on the day of resurrection; then the serpent will seize the man's jawbone, and will say, 'I am thy wealth the charity for which thou didst not give; and I am thy treasure, from which thou didst not separate any alms.'" - Mishqat-al-Masabih, book vi, chap. i. Pt. I.


56

(182) GOD hath already heard the saying of those who said, Verily GOD is poor, and we are rich: we will surely write down what they have said, and the slaughter which they have made of the prophets without a cause; and we will say unto them, Taste ye the pain of burning. (183) This shall they suffer for the evil which their hands have sent before them, and because GOD is not unjust towards mankind; (184) who also say, Surely GOD hath commanded us, that we should not give credit to any apostle, until one should come unto us with a sacrifice, which should be consumed by fire. Say, Apostles have already come unto you

(182) Verily God is poor. "It is related that Muhammad writing to the Jews of the tribe of Qainuqaa to invite them to Islam, and exhorting them, among other things, in the words of the Quran, (chap. ii. 245), to lend unto God on good usury, Phineas Ibn Azura, on hearing that expression said 'Surely God is poor, since they ask to borrow for him.' Whereupon Abu Baqr, who was the bearer of that letter, struck him on the face and told him that if it had not been for the truce between them, he would have struck off his head; and on Phineas's complaining to Muhammad of Abu Baqr's ill usage, this passage was revealed." Sale, Baidhawi.

The slaughter . . . of the prophets. See note on ver. 112.

(184) A sacrifice ... consumed by fire. "The Jews, say the commentators, insisted that it was a peculiar proof of the mission of all the prophets sent to them that they could, by their prayers bring down fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice, and therefore they expected Muhammad should do the like. And some Muhammadan doctors agree that God appointed this miracle as the test of all their prophets except only Jesus and Muhammad (Jalaluddin) though others say any other miracle was a proof full as sufficient as the bringing down fire from heaven (Baidhawi).

"The Arabian Jews seem to have drawn a general consequence from some particular instances of this miracle in the Old Testament (Lev. ix. 24, &c.) and the Jews at this day say that first the fire which fell from heaven on the altar of the tabernacle (Lev. ix. 24), after the consecration of Aaron and his sons, and afterwards that which descended on the altar of Solomon's Temple at the dedication of that structure (2 Chron. vii. 1), was fed and constantly maintained there by the priests, both day and night, without being suffered once to go out, till it was extinguished, as some think, in the reign of Manasses (Talmud Zebachim, chap. vi.), but, according to the more received opinion, when the Temple was destroyed by the Chaldeans. Several Christians have given credit to this assertion of the Jews, with what reason I shall not here inquire: and the Jews, in consequence of this notion might probably expect that a prophet who came to restore God's true religion should rekindle for them this


57

before me, with plain proofs, and with the miracle which ye mention: why therefore have ye slain them, if ye speak truth? (185) If they accuse thee of imposture, the apostles before thee have also been accounted impostors, who brought evident demonstrations, and the scriptures, and the book which enlighteneth the understanding. (186) Every soul shall taste of death, and ye shall have your reward on the

heavenly fire, which they have not been favoured with since the Babylonish captivity." - Sale.

There are a number of passages showing how Muhammad was challenged to work miracles in attestation of his prophetic claim, e.g., chap. ii. 118, 119, vi. 34-36 and 109-111, x. 21, xvii. 92-5, xx. 134, &c. In every one of these passages the reply of Muhammad clearly indicates that he did not claim the power to work miracles. This matter is very clearly set forth in Prideaux's Life of Mahomet, 8th edition, p.25, to which the reader is referred. I would also refer the reader to R. Bosworth Smith's Muhammad and Muhammadanism, 2d edition, pp.185-191.

Why therefore have ye slain them, i.e., the former prophets wrought miracles and ye slew them; wherefore should I gratify your desire and cause fire to come down from heaven; would ye believe? Sale says, "Among these the commentators reckon Zacharias and John the Baptist!"

(185) If they accuse thee of imposture. This passage, following closely upon the apology of Muhammad for not giving the usual signs of apostleship demanded by the Jews and others, seems to give the ground of this accusation; i.e., Muhammad's imposture was evident, because he refused to perform miracles which would prove that he had been sent from God. Muhammad's reply to this charge is not in accordance with facts - "The apostles before thee have been accounted impostors." It is not true that all apostles were regarded as impostors. Certainly, such as were so accused were enabled to work such miracles as proved even to their enemies that "there was a prophet of God in Israel," I Kings xviii. 36, &c. Such "evident demonstrations" were expected of Muhammad, but never given. Even his own followers have been driven to invent a multitude of stories detailing the miracles wrought by their prophet. These have been recorded in their traditions. The following are samples of the miracles thus invented: - "A camel weeps, and is calmed at the touch of Muhammad; the hair grows upon a boy's head when the prophet lays his hand upon it; a horse is cured from stumbling; the eye of a soldier is healed and made better than the other; he marked his sheep on the ear, and the species retain the mark to this day, &c." - Arnold's Islam and Christianity, p.352. See Mishqat-ul-Masabih, Urdu edition, vol. iv. pp.571-623.

(186) Every soul shall taste of death. Some Muslims understand this as applying to all created things. At the first sound of the last


58

day of resurrection; and he who shall be far removed from hell fire, and shall be admitted into paradise, shall be happy; but the present life is only a deceitful provision. (187) Ye shall surely be proved in your possessions and in your persons; and ye shall bear from those unto whom the scripture was delivered before you, and from the idolaters much hurt; but if ye be patient and fear God, this is a matter that is absolutely determined. (188) And when GOD accepted the covenant of those to whom the book of the law was given, saying, Ye shall surely publish it unto mankind, ye shall not hide it: yet they threw it behind their backs, and sold it for a small price: but woeful is the price for which they have sold it. (189) Think not that they who rejoice at what they have done, and expect to

trump all angels will (lie, including Israfil, who will blow the trumpet. God will then raise Israfil, who will again sound the trump, and all the dead will rise to judgment.

Shall be admitted into paradise, i.e., at the resurrection. For the state of the dead between death and the resurrection, see Prelim. Disc., pp. 127-138.

(187) Proved in your possession; &c. The Tafsir-i-Raufi refers this passage to the loss of property at the flight from Makkah, and the loss of life in the wars for the faith. It seems to me, however the passage better applies to the temporary ascendancy of the Jews and hypocrites of Midina alter the battle of Ohod.

(188) Ye shall surely publish it, i.e., the prophecies concerning Muhammad contained in the Pentateuch. The claim set up here is virtually this, that the great burden of prophecy was the advent of Muhammad, just as Christians regard the spirit to be the testimony of God to Jesus as the Christ. It would appear from this passage that Muhammad, consciously or unconsciously, - being deceived by designing converts from Judaism,- had conceived that the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the Coming One related to him. Accordingly, those Jewish Rabbies who denied the existence of any prophecies relating to him are here stigmatised as having sold themselves to the work of perverting their Scriptures so as to oppose him.

Let it again be observed that the charge of corruption is not laid upon the volume of Scriptures extant in the days of Muhammad, but against the living interpreters of those Scriptures.

Woeful is the price. "Whoever concealeth the knowledge which God has given him," says Muhammad "God shall put on him a bridle of fire on the day of resurrection."- Sale.

(189) They who rejoice, &c., i.e., who think they have done a com-


59

be praised for what they have not done; think not, O prophet, that they shall escape from punishment, for they shall suffer a painful punishment.

R 20/11

(190) And unto GOD belongeth the kingdom of heaven and earth: GOD is almighty. (191) Now in the creation of heaven and earth, and the vicissitude of night and day, are signs unto those who are endued with understanding; (192) who remember GOD standing, and sitting, and lying on their sides; and meditate on the creation of heaven and earth, saying, O LORD, thou hast not created this in vain; far be it from thee: therefore deliver us from the torment of hell fire: (193) O LORD, surely whom thou shalt throw into the fire, thou wilt also cover with shame: nor shall the ungodly have any to help them. (194) O LORD, we have heard a preacher inviting us to the faith and saying, Believe in your LORD: and we believed. O LORD, forgive us therefore our sins, and expiate our evil

mendable deed in concealing and perverting the testimonies in the Pentateuch concerning Muhammad, and in disobeying God's commands to the contrary. "It is said that Muhammad once asking some Jews concerning a passage in their law, they gave him an answer very different from the truth, and were mightily pleased that they had, as they thought, deceived him. Others, however, think this passage relates to some pretended Muhammadans who rejoiced in their hypocrisy and expected to be commended for their wickedness."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(191) This verse belongs to the Makkan revelations. Comp. chap. ii. 165.

(192) Who remember God standing, &c., viz., "at all times and in all postures. Al Baidhawi mentions a saying of Muhammad to one Imran Ibn Husain, to this purpose: 'Pray standing, if thou art able; if not, sitting; and if thou canst not sit up, then as thou liest along.' Al Shafa'i directs that the sick should pray lying on their right side." - Sale.

This passage describes the character of those mentioned in the previous verse.

(194) A preacher. This is the name which Muhammad constantly assumed at Makkah. See chap. vii. 2, chap. xiii. 29, 40, chap. xvi. 84, &c. Nought but the political power acquired at Madina changed the preacher into a soldier.

And expiate. The word used here is kaffara, which is the cognate of the Hebrew to cover, to expiate. While, however, the language suggests atonement by sacrifice (and the idea was not


60

deeds from us, and make us to die with the righteous. (195) 0 LoRD, give us also the reward which thou hast promised by thy apostles; and cover us not with shame

foreign to Muhammad's mind, for he offered sacrifices himself), yet in his teaching he everywhere as studiously denied the doctrine of salvation by atonement as he did the doctrine of the divinity of Christ. And yet he had the daring to appeal to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures as bearing witness to his prophetic pretensions, and to claim for his Quran the excellency that it attested the doctrines of all the prophets.

It cannot be claimed for Muhammad that he was ignorant of Jewish belief and practice in respect to atoning sacrifices, for during his first year's residence at Madina "Mahomet kept the great day of atonement, with its sacrifices of victims, in couformity with the practice of the Jews; and had he continued on a friendly footing with them, he would probably have maintained this rite." - Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 51. According to this author, Muhammad abandoned this Jewish rite in the second year of the Hijra, owing to his failure to win the Jews over to his cause. He then offered sacrifices himself. The following is the story of this transaction:- "After a service resembling that on the breaking of the fast, two fatted sucking kids with budding horns were placed before the prophet. Seizing a knife, he sacrificed one with his own hand, saying, 'O Lord! I sacrifice this for my whole people; all those that bear testimony to thy unity and to my mission.' Then he called for the other, and slaying it likewise, said, 'O Lord! this is for Mahomet, and for the family of Mahomet.' Of the latter kid both he and his family partook, and what was over he gave to the poor. The double sacrifice seems in its main features to have been founded on the practice of the Jewish priest at the Feast of the Atonement, when he sacrificed first for his own sins, and then for the people's' (Heb. vii. 27). This ceremony was repeated by Mahomet every year of his residence at Medina, and it was kept up there after his decease." - Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. pp.52,53.

In answer to the question why Muhammad should have ignored the doctrine of salvation by atonement, there is available no definite reply. It was, however, probably due to a variety of reasons. First, such a doctrine would contradict Muhammad's idea of a sovereign God. Such being the case, his conformity to Jewish and Arab practice was simply a matter of policy. Or again, we may well believe that the opposition by the Jews estranged him from everything distinctively Jewish. To accept the doctrine of the divinity of Christ would not only have seemed to militate against his idea of God's unity, but also would logically have led to a rejection of his prophetic claim. In like manner, the addition of the doctrine of atoning sacrifices as necessary to salvation would not only have contradicted Muhammad's notion of God's sovereignty, but would logically have led to his adopting Judaism or Christianity as his


61

on the day of resurrection: for thou art contrary to the promise.

SULS.

(196) Their Lord therefore answered them, saying, I will not suffer the work of him among you who worketh to be lost, whether he be male or female: the one of you is from the other. They therefore who have left their country, and have been turned out of their houses, and have suffered for my sake, and have been slain in battle; verily I will expiate their evil deeds from them, and I will surely bring them into gardens watered by rivers; a reward from God; and with God is the most excellent

religion, either of which conclusions would have rendered him unpopular with the Arabs, who since the break with the Jews, had been constituted his chosen people. Either of these reasons would satisfactorily account for the fact that the doctrine of atonement as necessary to salvation is wanting in the teaching of Muhammad. When, however, he represents his own doctrine as that of all former prophets, and when, in all his allusions to the teaching of these prophets, he uniformly ignores the doctrine of salvation by atonement, we cannot but believe he did so deliberately. This is the rock upon which the cause of Islam falls, only to be dashed in pieces. The signal failure of the Quran to attest this central doctrine of both the Old and New Testament Scriptures proves the Quran, on its own testimony, to be a forgery, and Muhammad to be an imposter.

Male or female. "These words were added, as some relate on Omm Salma, one of the prophet's wives, telling him that she had observed God, often made mention of the men who fled their country for the sake of their faith, but took no notive of the women." - Sale, Baidhawi.

The one of you, &c., i.e., the one is born of the other. Rodwell translates "the one of you is the issue of the other." The teaching of the passage is that all, whether male or female, will be rewarded according to their works. Women are not by any means excluded form the blessings of Islam, and they have formed by no means the least devoted followers of Muhammad.

Verily I will expiate, &c. The word used here for expiate is the same as that used in ver. 194 (see note there). The idea attached to it here is that of removal.

Gardens watered by rivers. The imagery of paradise is colored by Arab ideas of beauty and pleasure. Heaven is likened to a beautiful oasis carpeted in green, with its sparkling fountains, limpid streams, shady trees, and delicious fruits. On the question as to whether these earthly surroundings are to be understood in a literal or figurative sense, see note of ver. 15.


62

reward. (197) Let not the prosperous dealing of the unbelievers in the land deceive thee; it is but a slender provision; and then their receptacle shall be hell; an unhappy couch shall it be. (198) But they who fear the LORD shall have gardens through which rivers flow; they shall continue therein for ever: this is the gift of GOD; for what is with GOD shall be better for the righteous than short-lived worldly prosperity. (199) There are some of those who have received the scriptures who believe in GOD, and that which hath been sent down unto you, and that which hath been sent down to them, submitting themselves unto GOD; they sell not the signs of GOD for a small price: these shall have their reward with their

(197) An unhappy couch. This expression, used so frequently in the Quran to describe the torment of hell is probably used in contrast with the carnal and sensual delights of the Muslim heaven. There "they shall repose themselves on most delicate beds, adorned with gold and precious stones, under the shadow of the trees of paradise, which shall continually yield them all manner of delicious fruits; and there they shall enjoy most beautiful women, pure and clean, having black eyes, &c." But here, the couch shall be in the midst of fire, and be surrounded by smoke as with a coverlid, with nothing to eat "but the fruit of the tree Zaqun, which should be in their bellies like burning pitch," and nothing to drink "but boiling and stinking water," nor should they breathe the ought but "exceeding hot winds," &c. (Prideaux, Life of Mahomet, p.22).

(198) See notes on ver. 196.

For what is with God, &c. This passage, vers. 196-198, is said to have been revealed to comfort the Muslims, who, being in poverty and want, were surrounded by prosperous enemies.

(199) Some ... who believe. "The persons here meant some will have to be Abdullah Ibn Salam and his companions; others suppose they were forty Arabs of Najran, or thirty-two Ethiopians, or else eight Greeks, who were converted from Christianity to Muhammadanism; and others say this passage was revealed in the ninth year of the Hijra, when Muhammad, on Gabriel's bringing him the news of the death of Ashamah, king of Ethiopia, who had embraced the Muhammadan religion some years before, prayed for the soul of the departed, at which some of his hypocritical followers were displeased, and wondered that he should pray for a Christian proselyte whom he had never seen."- Sale, Jalaluddin, Baidhawi.

See also verse 113, and note there.


63

LORD; for GOD is swift in taking an account. (200) O true believers, be patient and strive to excel in patience, and be constant-minded and fear GOD, that ye may be happy.

God is swift, &c. See chap. ii. 201.

(200) Be patient, i.e., in fighting for religion. This is the conclusion of the exhortation to the disheartened followers of Muhammad, beginning with ver. 121.


Table of Contents
Answering Islam Home Page