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CHAPTER LV.

ENTITLED SURAT AL RAHMAN (THE MERCIFUL).

Revealed at Makkah.

INTRODUCTION.


THIS chapter, as indicated by the name given to God in the first verse, from which it receives its title, is a psalm of praise to Allah for his manifold mercies to mankind. This revelation of God is exhibited in his works of creation and providence, but especially in his bountiful provision for the happiness of Muslims amid the gardens and by the cooling fountains and rivers of Paradise.

Among Muslims this is one of the most popular chapters in the Quran. This is no doubt due partly to its sensual description of Paradise and partly to the "fixed alternating versicle throughout, quaintly addressed in the dual number both to men and genii. To suit the rhyme the objects are introduced in pairs, excepting the damsels, whose number may not thus be limited" (Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p. 142). This arrangement gives the reading of the chapter in the Arabic language a certain musical ring which is very charming to the ear of an Oriental. In form it resembles Psalm xxxvii., of which, as has been conjectured by Marracci, it is an imitation.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

There can be but one judgment as to the locality in which this chapter originated. "Its fanciful character," says NoŽldeke, "shows it to be a later Makkan production." Some Muslim writers hold that the whole chapter is Madinic, or that at least ver. 29 is so; but this opinion is rejected by the better class of commentators. As to the date, the style and contents alike point to the end of the first period, i.e., of the fourth year of the Call.


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Principal Subjects.

God taught the Quran to Muhammad...1
God the creator of all things . . . 2-15
God controlleth the seas and all that is therein . . . 16-25
God ever liveth, though all else decay and die... 26-30
God will certainly judge both men and genii . . . 31-40
God will consign the wicked to hell-fire .. . 41-45
The joys of Paradise described . . . 46-78

IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.

R 1/11.

(1) The Merciful hath taught his servant the Quran. (2) He created man; (3) he hath taught him distinct speech. (4) The sun and the moon run their courses according to a certain rule: (5) and the vegetables which creep on the ground, and the trees submit to his disposition. (6) He also raised the heaven; and he appointed the balance, (7) that ye should not transgress in respect to the balance: (8) wherefore observe a just weight, and diminish not the balance. (9) And the earth hath he prepared for living creatures: (10) therein are various fruits, and palm-trees bearing sheaths of flowers; (11) and grain having chaff, and leaves. (12) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny?

NISF.

(13) He created man of dried clay like an earthen vessel: (14) but he created the genii of fire clear from smoke. (15) Which, therefore, of your Lords's benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (16) He is the LORD of the

(1) See chap. liii. 6, note.

(6) The balance. "Or justice and equity in mutual dealings."- Sale.

(12) "The words are directed to the two species of rational creatures, men and genii, the verb and the pronoun being in the dual number.

"This verb is intercalated, or repeated by way of burden, through-out the whole chapter no less than thirty-one times, which was done, as Marracci guesses, in imitation of David."- Sale. (Comp. Ps. xxxvii.)

(13-14) See notes on chaps. ii. 30, and vii. 12.

(16) East . . . west. " The original words are both in the dual


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east, (17) and the LORD of the west. (18) Which, therefore of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (19) He hath let loose the two seas, that they meet each another: (20) between them is placed a bar which they cannot pass. (21) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (22) From them are taken forth unions and lesser pearls. (23) Which, therefore, of your LORD's benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (24) His also are the ships, carrying their sails aloft in the sea like mountains. (25) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (26) Every creature which liveth on the earth is subject to decay: (27) but the glorious and honourable countenance of thy LORD shall remain for ever. (28) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny?

R 2/12.

(29) Unto him do all creatures which are in heaven and earth make petition: every day is he employed in some new work. (30) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (31) We will surely attend to judge you, O men and genii, at the last day. (32) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (33) O ye collective body of genii and men, if ye be able to pass out of the confines of heaven and earth, pass forth: ye shall not pass forth but by absolute power. (33) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (35) A flame of fire without smoke,

number, and signify the different points of the horizon at which the sun rises and sets at the summer and winter solstice."- Sale.

See note on chap. xxxvii. 5.

(19) The two seas. "Of salt and fresh water (chap. xxv. 55), or the Persian and Mediterranean seas. "- Sale, Baidhawi.

(29) Some new work. "In executing those things which he hath decreed from eternity, by giving life and death, raising one and abasing another, hearing prayers and granting petitions, &c."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(33) To pass out, &c. " To fly from the power and to avoid the decree of God."-Sale.

(35) A smoke without flame. "Or, as the word also signifies, molten brass, which shall be poured on the heads of the damned."-Sale.


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and a smoke without flame shall be sent down upon you, and ye shall not be able to defend yourselves therefrom. (36) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (37) And when the heaven shall be rent in sunder, and shall become red as a rose, and shall melt like ointment. (38) (Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny?) (39) On that day neither man nor genius shall be asked concerning his Sin. (40) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (41) The wicked shall be known by their marks, and they shall be taken by the forelocks and Uie feet and shall be cast into hell. (42) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (43) This is hell, which the wicked deny as a falsehood: (44) they shall pass to and fro between the same and hot boiling water. (45) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny?

R 3/13.

(46) But for him who dreadeth the tribunal of his LORD are prepared two gardens: (47) (Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny?) (48) planted with shady trees. (49) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (50) In each of them shall be two fountains flowing. (51) Which, there-fore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny?

(37) A rose, &c. "Or 'shall appear like red leather,' according to a different signification of the original word."- Sale.

(39) Neither man nor genius, &c. "For their crimes will be known by their different marks, as it follows in the text. 'This,' says al Baidhawi, 'is to be understood of the time when they shall be raised to life, and shall be led towards the tribunal; for when they come to trial, they will then undergo an examination, as is declared in several p laces of the Quran.' "-Sale.

(41) See Prelim. Disc., p. 141.

(44) To and fro, &c. "For the only respite they shall have from the flames of hell will be when they are suffered to go to drink this scalding liquor."- Sale. See chap. xxxvii. 62-65.

(46) Two gardens, i.e., "one distinct Paradise br men, and another for genii, or, as some imagine, two gardens for each person ; one as a reward due to his works, and the other as a free and superabundant gift, &c."- Sale.


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(52) In each of them shall there be of every fruit two kinds. (53) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (54) They shall repose on couches, the linings whereof shall be of thick silk interwoven with gold: and the fruit of the two gardens shall be near at hand together: (55) Which therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (56) Therein shall receive them beauteous damsels, refraining their eyes from beholding any besides their spouses: whom no man shall have deflowered before them, neither any genius: (57) (Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny?) (58) Having complexions like rubies aud pearls. (59) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (60) Shall the reward of good works be any other good? (61) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (62) And besides these there shall be two other gardens: (63) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (64) Of a dark green. (65) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (66) In each of them shall be two fountains pouring forth plenty of water. (67) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (68) In each of them shall be fruits, and

(59) Fruit two kinds. " Some being known, and like the fruits of the earth; and others of new and unknown species, or fruits both green and ripe."-Sale.

(54) Fruit . . . near at hand. " So that a man may reach them as he sits or lies down."- Sale.

(56-58) See note on chap. iii. 15. " This" says Muir, "is the reward of the highest class of believers. Another set of gardens and females is immediately after described for the common faithful." Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p.142.

(62) Two other gardens. "For the inferior classes of the inhabitauts of Paradise."'-Sale. See note on vers. 56-58, above.

(64) Of a dark green. " From hence, says al Baidhawi, it may be inferred that these gardens will chiefly produce herbs or the inferior sorts of vegetables ; whereas the former will be planted chiefly with fruit-trees. The following part of this description also falls short of that of the other gardens, prepared for the superior classes."- Sale.

(65-76) See note on chap. ii. 25, and Rodwell in loco.


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palm-trees, and pomegranates. (69) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (70) Therein shall be agreeable and beauteous damsels: (71) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (72) Having fine black eyes, and kept in pavilions from public view: (73) Which, therefore, of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (74) Whom no man shall have deflowered before their destined spouses, nor any genius. (75) Which, therefore, of your LORD's benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (76) Therein shall they delight themselves, lying on green cushions and beautiful carpets. (77) Which therefore of your LORD'S benefits will ye ungratefully deny? (78) Blessed be the name of thy LORD, possessed of glory and honor!


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