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CHAPTER L.

ENTITLED SURAT AL QAF (Q).

Revealed at Makkah.

INTRODUCTION.


THE letter placed at the beginning of this chapter has been chosen as its title. The contents relate throughout to the doctrine of the resurrection and a future life. To the idolaters of Makkah the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead seemed impossible, and on this account they rejected Muhammad and his Quran. Muhammad is called an impostor. In reply to his traducers, Muhammad appeals to the power of God as seen in his works of creation and providence. He tells them that other prophets were in like manner with himself charged with forgery, but their calumniators were miserably destroyed. They are accordingly warned of the coming judgment, for which they will be ill prepared. As usual, however, all this warning and instruction is represented as coming from the mouth of God.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

There can be no doubt about the Makkan origin of this chapter. One author, Umar bin Muhammad, however, maintains that ver. 37 was revealed in answer to the blasphemous talk of the Jews at Madina (see Sale's notes), but this is certainly a mistake. The passage is connected in thought with ver. 14. As to the date of the chapter, NoŽldeke places it immediately after chap. xliv.

Principal Subjects.

The unbelievers wonder at the doctrine of the resurrection . .. 1-3
This wonder due to their unbelief . . . 4,5
God's works a proof of his power to raise the dead . . . 6-11
The Quraish warned by the fate of other nations who rejected their prophets ...12,13


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God not so exhausted by the creation that he cannot raise the dead ...14
God nearer man than his jugular vein . . . 15
Angels record all human thoughts and actions ... 16, 17
Death and judgment shall overtake all men. .. 18-20
The testimony of the two angels shall condemn the unbelievers . . . 21,22
God shall cast the wicked into hell . . . 23-25
The devils shall disclaim the idolaters in hell . . . 26-28
Hell shall be filled with the wicked . . . 29
Paradise shall receive the true believers . . . 30-34
Former generations destroyed as a warning to the people of Makkah . . .35, 36
The heavens and the earth created in six days . .. 37
Muhammad exhorted to patience with unbelievers . . . 38-43
Muhammad not sent to compel men to believe, but only to warn them . . . 44, 45

IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.

SULS.

R 1/15.

(1) Q. By the glorious Quran; (2) verily they wonder that a preacher from among themselves is come unto them ; and the unbelievers say, This is a wonderful thing; (3) after we shall be dead and become dust, shall we return to life? This is a return remote from thought. (4) Now we know what the earth consumeth of them; and with us is a book which keepeth an account thereof. (5) But they charge falsehood on the truth, after it hath come unto them: wherefore they are plunged in a confused business.

(1) Q. "Some imagine that this letter is designed to express the mountain Qaf; which several Eastern writers fancy encompasses the whole world. Others say it stands for Qadr al amr, i.e., 'The matter is decreed,' viz., the chastisemeut of the infidels. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 100-102."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

The glorious Quran. In the Arabic, Quran al Majid. This is a term commonly applied to the Quran by Muslims. It includes the idea of a complete Divine revelation - a book - and may here refer to the Luh i Mahfuz, or Preserved Table, from which the revelations delivered to Muhammad are said to have been copied.

(5) They are plunged in a confused business. "Not knowing what


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(6) Do they not look up to the heaven above them, and consider how we have raised it and adorned it; and that there are no flaws therein? (7) We have also spread forth the earth, and thrown thereon mountains firmly rooted: and we caused every beautiful kind of vegetables to spring up therein; (8) for a subject of meditation, and an admonition unto every man who turneth unto us. (9) And we send down rain as a blessing from heaven, whereby we cause gardens to spring forth, and the grain of harvest, (10) and tall palm-trees having branches laden with dates hanging one above another, (11) as a provision for man-kind; and we thereby quicken a dead country: so shall be the coming forth of the dead from their graves. (12) The people of Noah, and those who dwelt at Al Rass, and Thamud, (13) and Ad, and Pharaoh, accused the prophets of imposture before the Makkans; and also the brethren of Lot, and the inhabitants of the wood near Midian, and the people of Tubba: all these accused the apostles of imposture; wherefore the judgments which I threatened were justly inflicted on them. (14) Is our power exhausted by the first creation? Yea; they are in a perplexity, because of a new creation which is foretold them, namely, the raising of the dead.

R 2/16.

(15) We created man, and we know what his soul whispereth within him; and we are nearer unto him than

certainly to affirm of the Quran, calling it sometimes a piece of poetry, at other times a piece of sorcery, and at other times a piece of divination, &c."- Sale.

(7) Comp. chaps. xvi. 15, and xxxi. 9.

(10) Dates. "The date-tree produces three or four large clusters, which rise from the summit of the tree, and hang round. They are formed of small branches, long and flexible, from which hang the dates. These clusters will sometimes weigh as much as 120 pounds. The date is at first of a deep green; as it ripens it turns red, and it becomes blackish when it is ripe. This fruit. which is of a sugary and agreeable taste, loses much by drying."-Savary.

(12) Who dwelt at Al Rass, &c. See on chaps. xxv. 40, xi. 26-100, and notes there.

Tubba. See note on chap. xliv. 36.


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his jugular vein. (16) When the two angels deputed to take account of a man's behaviour take an account thereof, one sitting on the right hand and the other on the left, (17) he uttereth not a word but there is with him a watcher ready to note it. (18) And the agony of death shall come in truth: this, O man, is what thou soughtest to avoid. (19) And the trumpet shall sound: this will be the day which hath been threatened. (20) And every soul shall come; and therewith shall be a driver and a witness. (21) And the former shall say unto the unbeliever, Thou wast negligent heretofore of this day: but we have removed thy veil from off thee; and thy sight is become piercing this day. (22) And his companion shall say, This is what is ready with me to be attested. (23) And God shall say, Cast into hell every unbeliever, and perverse person, (24) and every one who forbade good, and every transgressor, and doubter of the faith, (25) who set up another god with the true GOD; and cast him into a grievous torment. (26) His companion shall say, O LORD,

(16, 17) "The intent of the passage is to exalt the omniscience of God, who wants not the information of the guardian angels, though he has thought fit, in his wisdom, to give them that employment; for if they are so exact as to write down every word which falls from a man's mouth, how can we hope to escape the observation of him who sees our inmost thoughts?"

"The Muhammadans have a tradition that the angel who notes a man's good actions has the command over him who notes his evil actions; and that when a man does a good action, the angel of the right hand writes it down ten times, and when he commits an ill action, the same angel says to the angel of the left hand ' Forbear setting it down for seven hours; peradventure he may pray, or may ask pardon.' "- Sale, Baidhawi.

(20) A driver and a witness, i.e., "two angels, one acting as a serjeant, to bring every person before the tribunal; and the other prepared as a witness, to testify either for or against him. Some say the former will be the guardian angel who took down his evil actions and the other angel who took down his good actions." -Sale, Baidhawi.

(26) His companion, viz., "the devil which shall be chained to him."- Sale.

See also notes on chaps. vii. 39, 180, and x. 19, &c.

I did not seduce him, &c. "This wilt be the answer of the devil, whom the wicked person will accuse as his seducer: for the devil


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I did not seduce him; but he was in a wide error. (27) God shall say, Wrangle not in my presence: since I threatened you beforehand with the torments which ye now see prepared for you. (28) The sentence is not changed with me: neither do I treat my servants unjustly.

R 3/17.

(29) On that day we will say unto hell, Art thou full? and it shall answer, Is there yet any addition? (30) And Paradise shall be brought near unto the pious; (31) and it shall be said unto them, This is what ye have been promised; unto every one who turned himself unto God, and kept his commandments; (32) who feared the Merciful in secret, and came unto him with a converted heart: (33) enter the same in peace: this is the day of eternity. (34) Therein shall they have whatever they shall desire; and there will be a, superabundant addition of bliss with us. (35) How many generations have we destroyed before the Makkans, which were more mighty than they in strength? Pass, therefore, through the regions of the earth, and see whether there be any refuge from our vengeance. (36) Verily herein is an admonition unto him who hath a heart to understand, or giveth ear, and is present with an attentive mind. (37) We created the heavens and the earth, aud whatever is between them, in six days, and no

hath no power over a man to cause him to do evil, any otherwise than by suggesting what is agreeable to his corrupt inclinations."- Sale.

Comp. chap. xiv. 26, 27.

(29) Is there yet any addition? i.e., "are there yet any more condemned to this place, or is my space to be enlarged and rendered more capacious to receive them?

"The commentators suppose hell will be quite filled at the day of judgment, according to that repeated expression in the Quran, Verily I will fill hell with you, &c."- Sale.

See chaps. xi. 119, xxxii. 13, 14. Comp. Prov. xxx. 15.

(34) See Prelim. Disc., p.154.

(37) Six days. See note on chap. vii. 55.

No weariness, &c. "This was revealed in answer to the Jews who said God rested from his work of creation on the seventh day, and reposed himself on his throne, as one fatigued."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

Better, with Rodwell, to connect with ver. 14.


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weariness affected us. (38) Wherefore patiently suffer what they say; and celebrate the praise of thy LORD before sunrise and before sunset, (39) and praise him in some part of the night: and perform the additional parts of worship. (40) And hearken unto the day whereon the crier shall call men to judgment from a near place: (41) the day whereon they shall hear the voice of the trumpet in truth: this will be the day of men's coming forth from their graves: (42) we give life, and we cause to die; and unto us shall be the return of all creatures: (43) the day whereon the earth shall suddenly cleave in sunder over them. This will be an assembly easy for us to assemble. (44) We well know what the unbelievers say; and thou art not sent to compel them forcibly to the faith. (45) Wherefore warn, by the Quran, him who feareth my threatening.

(38) What they say, what the idolaters say ill denying the resurrection.

(39) The additional parts of worship. "These are the two inclinations used after the evening prayer, which are not necessary or of precept, but voluntary and of supererogation, and may therefore he added or omitted indifferently."- Sale.

The additional parts of worship are commanded here, and therefore cannot be regarded by Muslims as indifferent. It is better to apply these words to other hours of prayer not mentioned here.

(40) A new place. "That is, from a place whence every creature may equally hear the call. This place, it is supposed, will be the mountain of the temple of Jerusalem, which some fancy to be nigher heaven than any other part of the earth ; whence Israil will sound the trumpet, and Gabriel will make the following proclamation 'O ye rotten bones, and torn flesh, and dispersed hairs, God commandeth you to be gathered together to judgment.' "- Sale, Baidhawi.

(44) Thou art not sent to compel, &c. This is the spirit of the Makkan preacher, but compare that of the prophet-general of Madina, chaps. ix. 29, 74, and xlvii. 4,5.


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