237

CHAPTER LXXXVII.

ENTITLED SURAT AL ALA (THE MOST HIGH).

Revealed at Makkah.

INTRODUCTION.


IN some editions the title of this chapter is " Praise." The matter of these revelations is considered to be so precious as to vouchsafe to every reader ten celestial blessings for every letter in the books of Abraham, Moses, and Muhammad!

'This chapter professes especially to encourage the Prophet, promising him help to rehearse and remember the revelations, except such portions as it 'night please God to suppress. Thus early do we find mention of the very convenient law of abrogation. This fact, together with the statement in the last verse that the Quran is attested by the Scriptures of Abraham and Moses, arouses the suspicion that vers. 7 and 18, 19, have been inserted at a later period; but if so, the additions were made by Muhammad himself.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

Some Muslim writers, comparing vers. I and 15, and inferring that the five daily prayers are here alluded to, have concluded this chapter to be Madinic. Ver. 6, referring to Muhammad's purpose to preach the Quran publicly, together with the style and language of the chapter, shows it to be early Makkan. This can hardly apply to vers. 7, 18, and 19, for reasons given above. NoŽldeke places the chapter immediately after chapter lxviii. in his chronological list of Suras.

Principal Subjects.

God, the Most High, praised for his works ... 1-5
God promises to help Muhammad to proclaim the Quran ... 6-9
The God-fearing only shall be admonished ... 10,11
The wicked shall be punished, but the righteous shall be blessed ... 12-15
Men choose the present life rather than the life to come ...16, 17
The books of Abraham and Moses attest the Quran ... 18, 19


238

IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.

R 1/12.

(1) Praise the name of thy LORD, the Most High, (2) who hath created (3) and completely formed his creatures, and who determineth them to various ends, and directeth them to attain the same; (4) and who produceth the pasture for cattle, (5) and afterwards rendereth the same dry stubble of a dusky hue. (6) We will enable thee to rehearse our revelations; and thou shalt not forget any part thereof, (7) except what GOD shall please; for he knoweth that which is manifest and that which is hidden. (8) And we will facilitate unto thee the most easy way. (9) Wherefore admonish thy people, if thy admonition shall be profitable unto them. (10) Whoso feareth God, he will be admonished: (11) but the most wretched unbeliever will turn away therefrom; (12) who shall be cast to be broiled in the greater fire of hell, (13) wherein he shall not die, neither shall he live. (14) Now hath he attained felicity, who is purified by faith, (15) and who remembereth the name of his LORD, and prayeth. (16) But ye prefer this present life; (17) yet the life to come is better, and more durable. (18) Verily, this is written in the ancient books, (19) the books of Abraham and Moses.

(3) Who determineth, &c. "Determining their various species, properties, ways of life," &c.- Sale, Baidhawi.

And directeth. "Guiding the rational by their reason and also by revelation, and the irrational by instinct, &c."-Sale, Baidhawi.

(6) See note on chap. lxxv. 16-19.

(7) Except what God shall please, i.e., " except such revelations as God shall think fit to abrogate and blot out of thy memory."-Sale. See also notes on chap. ii. 105.

(8) The most easy way. "To retain the revelations communicated to thee by Gabriel; or, as some understand the words, 'We will dispose thee to the profession and strict observance of the most easy religion, that is, of Islam.' "-Sale.

(12) See note on chap. ii. 38.

(19) Compare chap. iv. 52,53.


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