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CHAPTER LXI.

ENTITLED SURAT AL SAF (BATTLE-ARRAY).

Revealed at Madina.

INTRODUCTION.


THIS chapter is an exhortation to Muslims to spend their money and their lives in the defence of Islam. Its title is taken from the words of the fourth verse, "God loveth those who fight for this religion in battle-array."

The circumstances which gave rise to this exhortation were those which resulted from the disobedience and cowardice of some of the Muslims during the battle of Ohod. This he likens to the rebellion of the Israelites against Moses, probably at Kadesh Barnea. The reference to Jesus, introduced here probably by the compilers of the Quran, was intended to confirm the faith of the Muslims in this time of distress and doubt. Victory over the infidels had not been secured at Ohod, as they had anticipated, but "a speedy victory" over them would yet be secured (ver. 13), be cause Islam would yet be exalted over every other religion (ver. 9). If by "religion" we understand the Muhammadan faith, this prophecy was only true of its relation to the idolatrous religions of Arabia. It is probable, however, that Muhammad here identified his religion with the religion of God, which had always been upheld against all enemies in the past, and would therefore finally triumph over all other religions.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

From what has been said above we conclude that the probable date of this chapter is about the beginning of A.H. 4. The date of vers. 6-9 is uncertain, but, like the rest of the chapter, is Madinic, "because" says NoŽldeke," Muhammad before the Hijra could not have spoken of his religion conquering all others (ver. 9)."


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Principal Subjects.

All things in the universe praise God . . . 1
Muslims exhorted to be faithful and to fight for Islam ... 2-4
This exhortation enforced by the example of Moses ... 5
Jesus foretells Muhammad by the name Ahmad . .. 6
Jesus was rejected as a sorcerer notwithstanding his miracles... 7, 8
Islam to be exalted above every other religion . . . 9
Muslims exhorted to seek wealth by fighting for Islam... 10, 11
The rewards of those who fight for the faith . . . 12,13
Muslims exhorted to follow the example of the apostles of Jesus.. 14

IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.

R 1/9.

(1) Whatever is in heaven and in earth celebrateth the praise of GOD; for he is mighty and wise. (2) O true believers, why do ye say that which ye do not? (3) It is most odious in the sight of GOD that ye say that which ye do not.

NISF.

(4) Verily GOD loveth those who fight for his religion in battle-array, as though they were a well-compacted building. (5) Remember when Moses said unto his people, O my people, why do ye injure me; since ye know that I am the apostle of GOD sent unto you? And when they had deviated from the truth, GOD made their hearts to deviate from the right way; for GOD directeth not wicked people. (6) And when Jesus the Son of Mary said, O children of Israel, verily I am the apostle of GOD sent unto you, confirming the law which was delivered before

(2) "The commentators generally suppose these words to be directed to the Muslims, who, notwithstanding they had solemnly engaged to spend their lives and fortunes in defence of their faith, yet shamefully turned their backs at the battle of Ohod. They may, however, be applied to hypocrites of all sorts, whose actions contradict their words."-Sale.

(5) Way do ye injure me? "By your disobedience, or by maliciously aspersing me."-Sale.

See also note on chap. xxxiii. 69. May not the allusion here be to the rebellion of the Israelites at Kadesh Barnea?


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me, and bringing good tidings of an apostle who shall come after me, and whose name shall be Ahmad. And when he produced unto them evident miracles, they said, This is manifest sorcery. (7) But who is more unjust than he who forgeth a lie against GOD when he is invited unto Islam? And GOD directeth not the unjust people. (8) They seek to extinguish GOD'S light with their mouths; but GOD will perfect his light, though the infidels be averse thereto. (9) It is he who hath sent his Apostle with the direction and the religion of truth, that

(6) An apostle . . . whose name is Ahmad. "For Muhammad also bore the name of Ahmad, both names being derived from the same root, and nearly of the same signification. The Persian paraphrase, to support what is here alleged, quotes the following words of Christ, 'I go to my Father, and the Paraclete shall come' (John xvi. 7); the Muhammadan doctors unanimously teaching that by the 'Paraclete' (or, as they choose to read it, the Periclyte or Illustrious), their Prophet is intended, and no other." - Sale. (See Prelim. Disc., p. 124.)

The reply to "the Persian paraphrase" is that in John xv. 26 this Paraclete is described as "the Spirit of truth which proceedeth from the Father; he shall testify OF ME;" while in chap. xvi. 13 it is written that "when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth;" and in ver. 14 We read, "He shall glorify ME, for He shall receive of MINE and show it unto You." If in these passages we substitute "Muhammad" for "Paraclete," we shall see how impossible it is there could be any reference to him whatever.

Even granting, for the sake of argument, that, as Muslims claim, a prophet is here foretold, it does not by any means follow that Muhammad was that prophet. The only ground of the claim is the meaning of the name "Ahmad," an unusual form of Muhammad's name, which meaning can only be secured by perverting the words of Jesus (i.e., by changing Paracletos to Periclytos and omitting the clause "even the Spirit of truth"). Surely this is "perversion" (tahrif) of the Scriptures with a vengeance! (See notes on chap. iv. 44.)

Muhammad probably got the notion that he was the Paraclete from Christian perverts to Islam, who had previously been adherents to some form of the old Manichean heresy, such heretics having sought refuge from persecution by flight to Arabia.

The Urdu and Persian translations of the Quran render the words "Ismuhu Ahmadu" - "His name is Ahmad."

And when he produced . . . miracles. Rodwell and Palmer introduce this sentence with "but," and instead of "miracles" they have "proofs" and "signs."

(9) Exalt the same above every religion. See note on chap. xlviii. 28.


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he may exalt the same above every religion, although the idolaters be averse thereto.

R 2/10..

(10) O true believers, shall I show you a merchandise which will deliver you from a painful torment hereafter? (11) Believe in GOD and his Apostle; and defend GOD's true religion with your substance, and in your own persons. This will be better for you, if ye knew it. (12) He will forgive you your sins, and will introduce you into gardens through which rivers flow, and agreeable habitations in gardens of perpetual abode. This will be great felicity. (13) And ye shall obtain other things which ye desire, namely, assistance from GOD and a speedy victory. And do thou bear good tidings to the true believers. (14) O true believers, be ye the assistants of GOD; as Jesus the son of Mary said to the apostles, Who will be my assistants with respect to GOD? The apostles answered, We will be the assistants of GOD. So a part of the children of Israel believed, and a part believed not: but we strengthened those who believed, above their enemy wherefore they became victorious over them.

(14) Compare chap. iii. 51, and see note there.

A part believed not. "Either by rejecting him, or by affirming him to be God and the son of God."-Sale, Jalaluddin.


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