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CHAPTER LI.

ENTITLED SURAT AL ZARIYAT (THE DISPERSING).

Revealed at Makkah.

INTRODUCTION.


As in nearly all the earlier chapters of the Quran, this one begins with a number of oaths, wherewith God, swearing by various natural objects, attests the truth of his Prophet's message. In this chapter the occasion of these vehement oaths was the rejection of the doctrine of a final judgment by the people of Makkah.

It is generally agreed that the latter portion of this chapter, consisting of vers. 24-60, was added on by the compilers of the Quran, or during its recension under Othman. The subject of discourse being similar, it was perhaps thought to belong to what precedes. While, however, it is true that the subject is the same, yet the circumstances under which it was enunciated were very different. In the first section the unbelievers simply reject the Prophet as an impostor and his message as incredible, but in this they threaten violent treatment (ver. 59), and the Prophet is in consequence told to withdraw from them (ver. 54).

Probable Date of the Revelations.

NoŽldeke places this chapter near the end of his first period, i.e., about the fourth year of Muhammad's mission.

This date will do very well for the first portion of the chapter, but vers. 24-60 must be assigned a much later date. Muir places it near the end of the fourth stage of Muhammad's ministry, when the ban against the Hashamites had interfered with his public preaching.

The date of this portion would therefore be about B.H. 6.


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Principal Subjects.

Numerous oaths that the judgment will come ... 1-6
Oaths and curses relating to unbelievers . . . 7-11
Doom of infidels and reward of true believers . .. 12-16
The piety and charity of Muslims . .. 17-19
God reveals himself in his work of providence .. . 20-22
Muhammad swears by the Lord that the Quran is true... 23
The story of Abraham's entertaining angels . .. 24-30
Story of the destruction of Sodom . . . 31-37
Pharaoh, Ad, Thamud and the people of Noah destroyed for rejecting their prophets as impostors . . . 38-46
God reveals himself to men in his works of creation . .. 47-49
Makkans warned to leave their idols and to fly to God ... 50, 51
Every apostle of God called a magician or madman ... 52,53
Muhammad to withdraw from idolaters and yet to admonish them for the sake of true believers . . .54, 55
Men and genii created to serve God . . . 56, 58
Woe to unbelievers who injure the apostles of God ... 59, 60


IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.

R 1/18.

(1) By the winds dispersing and scattering the dust; (2) and by the clouds bearing a load of rain; (3) by the ships running swiftly in the sea; (4) and by the angels who distribute things necessary for the support of all creatures; (5) verily that wherewith ye are threatened is certainly true; (6) and the last judgment will surely come. (7) By the heaven furnished with paths; (8) ye widely differ ill what ye say. (9) He will be turned

(1-4) The particles being in the feminine, Sale gives an alternate rendering as follows, "By the women who bring forth or scatter children, and by the women bearing a burden in their wombs (or the winds bearing the clouds); by the winds passing swiftly in the air (or the stars moving swiftly in their courses), and by the winds which distribute the rain, &c?"

(7) Paths. "The paths or orbs of the stars, or the streaks which appear in the sky like paths, being thin and extended clouds." - Sale.

(8) Ye widely differ. "Concerning Muhammad or the Quran, or


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aside from the faith who shall be turned aside by the divine decree. (10) Cursed be the liars, (11) who wade in deep waters of ignorance, neglecting their salvation. (12) They ask, When will the day of judgment come? (13) On that day shall they be burned in hell-fire; (14) and it shall be said unto them, Taste your punishment; this is what ye demanded to be hastened. (15) But the pious shall dwell among gardens and fountains, (16) receiving that which their LORD shall give them; because they were righteous doers before this day. (17) They slept but a small part of the night; (18) and early in the morning they asked pardon of God; (19) and a due portion of their wealth was given unto him who asked, and unto him who was forbidden by shame to ask. (20) There are signs of the divine power and goodness in the earth, unto men of sound understanding; (21) and also in your own selves: will ye not therefore consider? (22) Your sustenance is in the heaven; and also that which ye are promised. (23) Wherefore by the LORD of heaven and earth I swear that this is certainly the truth; according to what ye yourselves speak.

R 2/1.

(24) Hath not the story of Abraham's honoured guests come to thy knowledge? (25) When they went in unto him, and said, Peace: he answered, Peace; saying within himself, These are unknown people. (26) And he went privately unto his family, and brought a fatted calf. (27) And he set it before them, and when he saw they touched it

the resurrection and the day of judgment, speaking variously and inconsistently of them."- Sale.

(17) A small part. "Spending the greater part in prayer and religious meditation."-Sale.

(22) "That is, your food cometh from above, whence proceedeth the change of seasons and rain; and your future reward is also there, that is to say, in Paradise, which is situate above the seven heavens." - Sale.

(23) According to what ye yourselvee speak. "That is, without any doubt or reserved meaning, as ye affirm a truth unto one another." -Sale.

(24) See chaps. xi. 69, and xv. 51, and notes there.


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not, he said, Do ye not eat? (28) And he began to entertain a fear of them. They said, Fear not: and they declared unto him the promise of a wise youth. (29) And his wife drew near with exclamation, and she smote her face, and said, I am an old woman and barren. (30) The angels answered, Thus saith the LORD: verily he is the wise, the knowing.

TWENTY-SEVENTH SIPARA.

(31) And Abraham said unto them, What is your errand therefore O messengers of God? (32) They answered, Verily we are sent unto a wicked people, (33) that we may send down upon them stones of baked clay, (34) marked from thy LORD, for the destruction of transgressors. (35) And we brought forth the true believers who were in the city; (36) but we found not therein more than one family of Muslims. (37) And we overthrew the same, and left a sign therein unto those who dread the severe chastisement of God. (38) In Moses also was a sign, when we sent him unto Pharaoh with manifest power. (39) But he turned back with his princes, saying, This man is a sorcerer or a madman. (40) Wherefore we took him and his forces and cast them in to the sea; and he was one worthy of reprehension. (41) And in the tribe of Ad also was a sign, when we sent against them a destroying wind ; (42) it touched not aught whereon it came, but it rendered the same as a thing rotten, and reduced to dust. (43) In Thamud likewise was a sign, when it was said unto them, Enjoy yourselves for a time. (44) But they insolently transgressed the command of their LORD: wherefore a terrible noise from heaven assailed them while they looked on; (45) and they were not able to stand on their feet,

(28) Fear not. " Some add, that, to remove Abraham's fear, Gabriel, who was one of these strangers, touche the calf with his wing, and it immediately rose up and walked to its dam; upon which Abraham knew them to be the messengers of God. "-Sale, Baidhawi.

(33) See note on chap. xi. 81.

(38-46) See notes on chaps. xii. 104-136, and xi. 26-60.


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neither did they save themselves from destruction. (46) And the people of Noah did we destroy before these; for they were a people who enormously transgressed.

R 3/2.

(47) We have built the heaven with might; and we have given it a large extent; (48) and we have stretched forth the earth beneath; and how evenly have we spread the same! (49) And of everything have we created two kinds, that peradventure ye may consider. (50) Fly, therefore, unto GOD: verily I am a public warner unto you from him. (51) And set not up another god with the true GOD: verily I am a public warner unto you from him. (52) In like manner there came no apostle unto their predecessors but they said, This man is a magician or a madman. (53) Have they bequeathed this behaviour successively the one to the other? Yea; they are a people who enormously transgress. (54) Wherefore withdraw from them; and thou shalt not be blameworthy in so doing. (55) Yet continue to admonish; for admonition profiteth the true believers. (56) I have not created genii and men for any other end than that they should serve me. (57) I require not any sustenance from them neither will I that they feed me. (58) Verily GOD is he who provideth for all creatures; possessed of mighty power. (59) Unto those who shall injure our Apostle shall be given a portion like unto the portion of those who behaved like them in times past; and they shall not wish the same to be hastened. (60) Woe, therefore, to the unbelievers, because of their day with which they are threatened!

(49) Two kinds. "As, for example, male and female, the heaven and the earth, the sun aud the moon, light and darkness, plains and mountains, winter and summer, sweet and bitter, &c."- Sale.

(52) Comp. chap. xxii. 44, 45.

(54) Withdraw from them. This instruction points to Muhammad's flight to Madina.

(56) Compare with chap. xi. 119.

(57) That they feed me. Alluding to the food offerings presented to the idols.


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