140 The CORÂN

A continuation of the previous verse. "What God hath revealed to you, that is, made manifest to you in the Pentateuch regarding the description of Mahomet," بما فتح الله عليكم بما بين لكم في التوراة من نعت محمد Baidhawi: so also Jelalooddeen. Rather, "Why do ye acquaint them with any passages from the Old Testament, which they may turn against you in their arguments for Islam?" One party of the Jews is represented as upbraiding the other, for making known to Mahomet and his followers passages of their Scriptures, which the latter might use to the disadvantage of the Jews.

LXXI.—SURA II., v. 78.

سورة البقرة

وَمِنْهُمْ أُمِّيُّونَ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ الْكِتَابَ إِلاَّ أَمَانِيَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلاَّ يَظُنُّونَ

And amongst them are ignorant persons, who know not the Book, but only foolish stories; these follow nought but their own imaginations.

Still the same verse continued. A second class of the opponents of Mahomet and of Islam are here described:—ignorant Jews; viz., men who had no real knowledge of their Scriptures. They knew merely rabbinical interpretations and stories, and foolish traditions. The arguments of such people were of no weight.

LXXII.—SURA II., v. 79.

سورة البقرة

فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَابَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَـذَا مِنْ عِندِ اللّهِ لِيَشْتَرُواْ بِهِ ثَمَناً قَلِيلاً فَوَيْلٌ لَّهُم مِّمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَّهُمْ مِّمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ

Wherefore, woe unto those that write the Book (or the Writing) with their hands, and then say,—This is from God; that they may sell it for a small price. Woe unto them for that which their hands have written, and woe unto them for that which they gain!

A further continuation of the same passage.

The preceding context refers to ignorant persons who were acquainted only with rabbinical glosses or foolish traditions. It would seem to be the same persons who are here referred to as having written out such glosses or traditions, and then brought them to Mahomet as possessed of divine authority, saying perhaps that they were just as binding as the Scriptures themselves.

Al kitâb means literally "the writing," and not necessarily the Jewish Scriptures. It may, however, be here taken as signifying "the Book"; viz., that which these ignorant Jews wished to be taken for the Scripture,—or as similar in authority with it.

The text, then, describes a class of ignorant Jews who opposed Mahomet; namely, those who wrote out passages probably from their traditions, glosses, or rabbinical books, and brought them forward as authoritative and divine;—such glosses for instance as "that