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CHAPTER LXXII.

ENTITLED SURAT AL JINN (THE GENII).

Revealed at Makkah.

INTRODUCTION.


This chapter records the conversion of certain genii., who overheard Muhammad reading the Quran while on his return from Tayif to Makkah. It is only remarkable for the position which it assigns these imaginary beings, making them along with mankind the recipients of the blessings or curses consequent upon faith or disbelief in the Quran. We have here what professes to be a divine revelation concerning the nature, character, employment, and religion of these spirits. The Quran is therefore responsible for perpetuating the superstitious belief of the Arabs regarding the genii among Muslims everywhere.

For a historical statement of the circumstances of the Prophet alluded to here, see Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. pp.203-205.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

NoŽldeke accepts a tradition which ascribes Muhammad's vision of the genii to a journey which he made to Oqatz, and accordingly places this chapter immediately after chap. xliii. We prefer here to follow Muir, who places the scene of the vision in the grove of an idol temple in the valley of Nakula, where Muhammad slept after his expulsion from Tayif. The date of the revelations would therefore be about B.H. 2.

Principal Subjects.

Certain of the genii converted to Islam by hearing the Quran... 1, 2
The folly of men and genii in ascribing offspring to God ... 3-7
Genii prying into heavenly secrets are driven away with fiery darts ... 8, 9
Different classes of genii, some Muslims and others infidels... 10-14


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Believing genii rewarded in Paradise, the unbelievers punished in bell ...15-18
The genii pressed upon Muhammad to hear the Quran... 19
Muhammad can only publish what hath been revealed to him... 20-24
The judgments of God shall overtake the unbelievers ... 25, 26
God revealeth his secrets to his apostles only... 27, 28

IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.

NISF.

R 1/11.

(1) Say, It hath been revealed unto me that a company of genii attentively heard me reading the Quran, and said, Verily we have heard an admirable discourse, (2) which directeth unto the right institution; wherefore we believe therein, and we will by no means associate any other with our LORD. (3) He (may the majesty of our LORD be exalted!) hath taken no wife, nor hath he begotten any issue. (4) Yet the foolish among us hath spoken that which is extremely false of GOD; (5) but we verily thought that neither man nor genius would by any means have uttered a lie concerning GOD. (6) And there are certain men who fly for refuge unto certain of the genii; but they their folly and transgression: (7) and they also thought, as ye thought, that GOD would not raise any one

(1) Genii. See notes on chap. xlvi. 28, 29. Consult also note 21, introduction to Lane's "Thousand and One Nights."

(3) He hath taken no wife. See note on chap. ii.116.

(4) The foolish, i.e., " Iblis, or the rebellous genii."-Sale.

(6) Certain men, &c. "For the Arabs, when they found themselves in a desert in the evening (the genii being supposed to haunt such places about that time), used to say, 'I fly for refuge to the Lord of this valley, that he may defend me from the foolish among his people."-Sale, Baidhawi.

(7) They thought . . . as ye thought. "It is uncertain which of these pronouns is to be referred to mankind aud which to the genii some expositors taking that of the third person to relate to the former, and that of the second person to the latter, and others being of the contrary opinion."-Sale.

Neither of them refer to mankind alone, but to the unbelieving men and genii; (they) thought as " ye (now believing genii) thought," &c.


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to life. (8) And we formerly attempted to pry into what was transacting in heaven; but we found the same filled with a strong guard of angels, and with flaming darts; (9) and we sat on some of the seats thereof to hear the discourse of its inhabitants; but whoever listeneth now findeth a flame laid in ambush for him, to guard the celestial confines. (10) And we know not whether evil be hereby intended against those who are in the earth, or whether their LORD intendeth to direct them aright. (11) There are some among us who are upright; and there are some among us who are otherwise: we are of different ways. (12) And we verily thought that we could by no means frustrate GOD in the earth, neither could we escape him by flight: (13) wherefore, when we had heard the direction contained, in the Quran, we believed therein. And whoever believeth in his LORD need not fear any diminution of his reward, nor any injustice. (14) There are some Muslims among us, and there are others of us who swerve from righteousness. And whoso embraceth Islam, they earnestly seek true direction; (15) but those who swerve from righteous ness shall be fuel for hell. (16) If they tread in the way of truth, we will surely water them with abundant rain, (17) that we may prove them thereby; but whoso turneth aside from the admonition of his LORD, him will he send into a severe torment. (18) Verily the places of worship are set apart unto GOD: wherefore invoke not any other therein together with GOD. (19) When the servant of GOD stood up to invoke him, it wanted little but that the genii had pressed on him in crowds, to hear him rehearse the Quran.

(8, 9) See note on chap. XV. 17.

(14) Some Muslims among us. See Prelim. Disc., p.121.

(16) We will surely water them, &c., i.e., ' we will grant them plenty of good things. Some think by these words rain is promised to the Makkans, after their seven years' drought, on their embracing Islam."- Sale.

(19) The servant of God, i.e., Muhammad. See reference to Muir's Life of Mahomet, at chap. xl. 29.


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R 2/12.

(20) Say, Verily I call upon my LORD only, and I associate no other god with him. (21) Say, Verily I am not able, of myself to procure you either hurt or a right institution. (22) Say, Verily none can protect me against GOD; (23) neither shall I find any refuge besides him. (24) I can do no more than publish what hath been revealed unto me from GOD, and his messages. And whosoever shall be disobedient unto GOD and his Apostle, for him is the fire of hell prepared: they shall remain therein for ever. (25) Until they see the vengeance with which they are threatened, they will not cease their opposition. but then shall they know who were the weaker in a protector, and the fewer in number. (26) Say, I know not whether the punishment with which ye are threatened be nigh, or whether my LORD will appoint for it a distant term. He knoweth the secrets of futurity; and he doth not communicate his secrets unto any, (27) except an apostle in whom he is well pleased: and he causeth a guard of angels to march before him and behind him; (28) that he may know that they have executed the commissions of their LORD; he comprehendeth whatever is with them; and counteth all things by number.

(21-25) how different the tone of the Prophet, weak, discouraged, and driven from Tayif, from that of the Prophet-general triumphant at Madina!

(26) See note, on chap. vii. 188.

(28) That he may, know, &c. "That is to say, either that the Prophet may know that Gabriel and the other angels, who bring down the revelation, have communicated it to him pure and free from any diabolical suggestions, or that God may know that, the Prophet has published the same to mankind."-Sale, Baidhawi.


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