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CHAPTER LXXXI.

ENTITLED SURAT AL TAKWIR (THE FOLDING UP).

Revealed at Makkah.

INTRODUCTION.

THE title of this chapter is taken from the first verse. The only matter worthy of notice here is the allusion it makes to the vision of Gabriel which Muhammad claimed he had in Mount Hira. This vision is here referred to as a Divine attestation to his apostleship. NoŽldeke thinks this vision to have been "a night vision," and, from vers. 15-18, he concludes "the revelation took place toward the end of the night, when the light of the stars was waning and the dawn about to break."

Probable Date of the Revelations.

What is said in this chapter of Muhammad's vision is so like the statement of chapter liii. as to suggest that the date is probably the same. The style and language agrees very well with this opinion.

Principal Subjects.

The terrible signs of the judgment-day . . . . 1-14
Oaths that the Quran is the word of God, and that Muhammad is neither a madman nor deluded by the devil . .. 15-25
The Quran an admonition to all men . . .26-29

IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.

R 1/6.

(1) When the sun shall be folded up; (2) and when the stars shall fall; (3) and when the mountains shall be

(1) Folded up. "As a garment that is to be laid by."-Sale.


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made to pass away; (4) and when the camels ten months gone with young shall be neglected; (5) and when the wild beasts shall be gathered together; (6) and when the seas shall boil ; (7) and when the souls shall be joined again to their bodies: (8) and when the girl who hath been buried alive shall be asked (9) for what crime she was put to death; (10) and when the books shall be laid open; (11) and when the heaven shall be removed; (12) and when hell shall burn fiercely; (13) and when Paradise shall be brought near; (14) every soul shall know what it bath wrought. (15) Verily I swear by the stars which are retrograde, (16) which move swiftly, and which hide themselves; (17) and by the night, when it cometh on; (18) and by the morning, when it appeareth; (19) that these are the words of an honourable messenger, (20) endued with strength, of established dignity in the sight of the possessor of the throne, (21) obeyed by the angels under his authority, and faithful: (22) and your companion Muhammad is not distracted. (23) He had already seen him in the clear horizon : (24) and he suspected not the

(4-6) See Prelim. Disc., p. 135.

(8) Buried alive "For it was customary among the ancient Arabs to bury their daughters alive as soon as they were born, for fear they should be impoverished by providing for them, or should suffer disgrace on their account."-Sale.

See also note on chap. xvi. 60.

(11) The heaven. . . removed. "Or plucked away from its place, as 'the skin is plucked off' from a camel which is flaying, for that is the proper signification of the verb here used. Marracci fancies the passage alludes to that in the Psalms (Ps. civ. 2), where, according to the versions of the Septuagint and the Vulgate, God is said to have ' stretched out the heaven like a skin."-Sale.

(16) Which hide, &c. "Some understand hereby the stars in general, but the more exact commentators, five of the planets, viz., the two which accompany the sun and the three superior planets, which have both a retrograde and a direct motion, and hide themselves in the rays of the sun, or when they set."- Sale.

(19) An honourable messenger. " Gabriel." -Sale.

(20) Endued with strength. See note on chap. liii. 6.

(23) See notes on chap. liii. 7-11.

(24) And he suspected not. "Some copies, by a change of one letter only, instead of dhaninin read daninin, and then the words


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secrets revealed unto him. (25) Neither are these the words of an accursed devil. (26) Whither, therefore, are you going? (27) This is no other than an admonition unto all creatures; (28) unto him among you who shall be willing to walk uprightly; (29) but ye shall not will, unless GOD willeth, the LORD of all creatures.

should be rendered, 'He is not tenacious of, or grudges not to communicate to you, 'the secret revelations' which he has received." - Sale.

(25) An accursed devil. "Who has overheard by stealth the discourse of the angels. The verse is an answer to a calumny of the infidels, who said the Quran was only a piece of divination or magic; for the Arabs suppose the soothsayer or magician receives his intelligence from those evil spirits who are continually listening to learn what they can from the inhabitants of heaven."-Sale.

See notes on chap. xv. 17, 18.


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