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CHAPTER LXXI.

ENTITLED SURAT NUH (NOAH).

Revealed at Makkah.

INTRODUCTION.


THIS chapter records the prophetic experience of Noah, and is therefore rightly named. The Noah of these revelations, however, is no other than the Muhammad of Makkah. The words ascribed to him are those constantly used by Muhammad. This Noah was a warner; so was Muhammad. His people rejected him, refused to leave the worship of their idols, Wadd, Suwa, Yaghuth, Yauk, and Nasr, and plotted against him. The Quraish rejected Muhammad, refused to leave Wadd, Suwa, Yaghuth, Yauk, and Nasr, and devised a dangerous plot against their prophet. We leave the reader to make his own inferences from the facts thus stated, referring him for further instances of a like character to chapter xi. Surely a counterfeit of prophecy like this must have been inspired by a spirit different from that which moved holy men of old.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

On the assumption that the circumstances of Noah detailed in this chapter were the circumstances of Muhammad at the time of writing it, we hive to seek a date for it when (i) Muhammad was rejected by the Quraish as a body (vers. 5, 6, and 20), (2) when the Quraish had devised a dangerous plot against him (ver. 21), and (3) when they had taken steps to defend the national idols (vers. 22-24). We think such a combination of circumstances were present to Muhammad about the time when Abu Talib frustrated the evil designs of the Quraish who plotted to slay him. This would give us B.H. 7 as about the date of this chapter. NoŽldeke places it early in his second period, which would be about the fifth year of the Call. This is hardly consistent with his conjecture that this chapter is a fragment of a longer Sura.


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Principal Subjects.

Noah sent as a warner; his message to his people .. . 1-4
Noah's people refuse to believe him, notwithstanding every effort .. .5-20
The people of Noah plot against him and are destroyed... 21-26
Noah prays for the destruction of the infidels, and for the pardon of his parents and the true believers . . . 27-29

IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.

R 1/9.

(1) Verily we sent Noah unto his people, saying, Warn thy people before a grievous punishment overtake them. (2) Noah said, O my people, verily I am a public warner unto you; (3) wherefore serve GOD, and fear him, and obey me: (4) he will forgive you part of your sins; and will grant you respite until a determined time: for GOD'S determined time, when it cometh, shall not be deferred; if ye were men of understanding, ye would, know this. (5) He said, LORD, verily I have called my people night and day; but my calling only increaseth their aversion: (6) and whensoever I call them to the true faith, that thou mayest forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears, and cover themselves with their garments, and persist in their infidelity, and proudly disdain my counsel. (7) Moreover, I invited them openly, (8) and I spake to them again in public; and I also secretly admonished them in private; (9) and I said, Beg pardon of your LORD; for he is inclined to forgive: (10) and he will cause the heaven to pour down rain plentifully upon you, (11) and will give you increase of wealth and of children; and he

(1) Noah. See notes on the story of Noah recorded in chap. xi. 2649. See how Noah is here said to use in his discourses the very words of Muhammad's discourses to the Quraish.

(4) He will forgive part of your sins, i.e., "your past sins, which are done away by the profession of the true faith."-Sale.

(11) Wealth and children. "It is said that after Noah had for a long time preached to them in vain, God shut up the heaven for forty years, and rendered their women barren."-Sale, Baidhawi.


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will provide you gardens, and furnish you with rivers. (12) What aileth you, that ye hope not for benevolence in God, (13) since he hath created you variously? (14) Do ye not see how GOD bath created the seven heavens, one above another; (15) and bath placed the moon therein for a light, and hath appointed the sun for a taper? (16) GOD bath also produced and caused you to spring forth from the earth: (17) hereafter he will cause you to return into the same; and he will again take you thence, by bringing you forth from your graves.

R 2/10.

(18) And GOD bath spread the earth as a carpet for you, (19) that ye may walk therein through spacious paths. (20) Noah said, LORD, verily they are disobedient unto me; and they follow him whose riches and children do no other than increase his perdition. (21) And they devised a dangerous plot against Noah: (22) and the chief men said to the others, Ye shall by no means leave your gods; neither shall ye forsake Wadd, nor Suwa, (23) nor Yaghuth, and Yauk, and Nasr. (24) And they seduced many (for you shalt only increase error in the wicked) (25) because of their sins they were drowned, and cast into the fire of hell; (26) and they found none to protect them against GOD. (27) And Noah said, LORD, leave not

(12) What aileth you, &, i.e., "that God will accept and amply reward those who serve him? For some suppose Noah's people made him this answer, 'If what we now follow be the truth, we ought not to forsake it; but if it be false, how will God accept or be favourable unto us, who have rebelled against him?'"- Sale, Baidhawi.

(13) He hath created you variously. "That is, as the commentators expound it, by various steps or changes from the original matter, till ye became perfect men.' -Sale.

See notes on chaps. xxii. 5, and xxiii. 14, &c.

(23) "These were five idols worshipped by the Antediluvians, and afterwards by the ancient Arabs. See the Prelim. Disc. p.40.",- Sale.

This explanation of the Muslim authors cannot shield their Prophet from the anachronism into which he has fallen here. The people of Noah were too much like the Quraish in Muhammad's mind to have had any other gods than those of Makkah.

(27, 28) "They say Noah preferred not this prayer for the destruct-


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any families of the unbelievers on the earth: (28) for if thou leave them, they will seduce thy servants, and will beget none but a wicked and unbelieving offspring. (29) LORD, forgive me and my parents, and every one who shall enter my house, being a true believer, and the true believers of both sexes; and add unto the unjust doers nothing but destruction.

tion of his people till after he had tried them for nine hundred and fifty years, and found them incorrigible reprobates."-Sale.

See also notes on chap. liv. 10.

(29) Forgive me and my parents. "His father, Lamech, and his mother, whose name was Shamkha, the daughter of Enoch, being true believers."- Sale.

Muhammad was not permitted to pray for his mother. See note on chap. ix. 114. Observe that Noah is also here represented as a sinner needing pardon. This passage, therefore, also refutes the Muslim conceit as to the sinlessness of the prophets. See note on chap. ii. 253.

My house. "The commentators are uncertain whether Noah's dwelling-house be here meant, or the temple he had built for the worship of God, or the ark."- Sale.

This passage illustrates the efficiency of Muhammad's intercession on the judgment-day. For true believers he will pray though for them his intercession is not needed, and for the infidels he may only ask their condemnation.


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