142 The CORÂN

stoning for adultery was not imperative according to the Mosaic Law"; or, such as gave another interpretation to passages of the Old Testament which had been appropriated. by Mahomet's adherents as bearing out his claims to be the Prophet that should arise. Therefore Mahomet cursed them for writing out that which was simply human in its origin, and then producing it as if it was possessed of divine authority.

Thus Adul Câder, the Urdoo translator, in his commentary on the verse:—"These are they who, after their own desire, put things together, and write them out for the common people, and then ascribe them to God or the prophet."

يهه وه لوك هين جو عوام كو أنكي خوشي موافق باتين جور كر لكهه ديتى هين اور نسبت كرتى هين طرف خداكى يا رسول كى

Baidhâwi thus explains the passage:—"And perhaps there is meant that which the Jews wrote out of commentaries (or interpretations) about the punishment of the adulteress."— 1 ولعله أراد به ما كتبوه من التأويلات الزانية

Viewed thus, the allusion clearly is to the improper

1 Baidhâwi here alludes to the difference of opinion between Mahomet and the Jews of Medîna, regarding the punishment for adultery:—Mahomet alleging that according to the Mosaic dispensation the punishment was stoning, while the Jews held that their law did not require stoning for adultery. It may possibly have been to some rabbinical commentary on the subject, of which the Jews produced a copy alleging it to be an authoritative and divine decision of the question, that Mahomet refers in this passage.


authority, either habitually, or casually in the present instance, held by the Jewish opponents of Mahomet to attach to the opinions and commentaries of their doctors. There is nothing that can be fairly held to imply any tampering with, or interpolation of, the manuscripts of the Scriptures. The Jews have in all ages been as noted for the scrupulous, and even superstitious, care with which they have preserved the exact text of their sacred books, as the Mahometans themselves for their care of the Corân. Their character in this respect is not affected, nor does it appear that Mahomet intended to impugn it, by the very different accusation that they brought forward the interpretations of their doctors, or rabbinical traditions, or extracts copied from these, and alleged for them an authority equal to that of the Scriptures. That the Jews attached an undue weight, as they have from the earliest times, to the uninspired dicta of their, rabbins, does not imply any defect of veneration, or any want of care, for the inspired Scriptures themselves.

It is, therefore, a gratuitous assumption that, because the Jews made copies of what were merely human compositions, and then produced them before Mahomet as having a divine authority, they in any way tampered with the sacred Scripture. Had they gone even further, and having written out fabricated passages, fraudulently pretended in argument that they were extracts from the Pentateuch (though such a construction of the text is not the natural one), it would not even then have amounted to such a charge ; it would not by any means have implied that they altered or interpolated their copies of the Scripture. The