Revealed at Makkah.


THE earlier portion of this chapter is occupied with the doctrine of future rewards and punishments, and closely resembles the first part of chap. li. The violence of the opposition of the Quraish to this doctrine illustrated by the vehemence of the oaths by which that doctrine is asserted. Unbelievers are assured that the fires of hell shall overtake them; but, on the other hand, believers are encouraged by a description of the sensual delights of Paradise. This marks the introduction of the houris or black-eyed maidens of Paradise into the descriptions of the heaven of Islam.

The latter part of this chapter reveals to us a more active opposition of the Quraish. They no longer simply deny the doctrine of his Quran, but declare him to be an impostor and plot his destruction (ver. 42). Muhammad, however, is undisturbed. Believing the eye of God to be upon him (ver. 48), he calmly waits, trusting in God for deliverance.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

NoŽldeke, in his chronological list of suras, places this chapter immediately after chap. li. He, however, maintains that vers. 21 and 29 seq. are of later date, because the use of certain expressions, e.g., and point clearly to the later style of Muhammad. Muir places the whole Sura in the early part of his fourth stage, i.e., at a period extending from the sixth to the tenth year of Muhammad's ministry.


Principal Subjects.

Oaths by various objects that the judgment-day will come ... 1-8
The terrors of the un believers in that day . . . 9-16
The bliss of Paradise described . . . 17-28
Muhammad not a soothsayer, madman, poet, or impostor ... 29-34
Unbelievers reproved for their ignorance and idolatry... 35-47
Plots of the enemies of Muhammad exposed . . . 42, 43
Muhammad to leave the idolaters to their fate . . . 44-47
Muhammad exhorted to praise and trust the Lord . .. 48, 49


R 1/3.

(1) By the mountain of Sinai; (2) and by the book (3) written in an expanded scroll; (4) and by the visited house; (5) and by the elevated roof of heaven, (6) and by the swelling ocean; (7) verily the punishment of thy LORD will surely descend; (8) there shall be none to withhold it. (9) On that day the heaven shall be shaken and shall reel, (10) and the mountains shall walk and pass away. (11) And on that day woe be unto those who accused God's apostles of imposture; (12) who amused themselves in wading in vain disputes! (13) On that day shall they be driven and thrust into the fire of hell; (14) and it shall be said unto them, This is the fire which ye denied as a fiction. (15) Is this a magic illusion? Or do ye not see? (16) Enter the same to be scorched: whether ye bear your torments patiently or impatiently, it will be equal unto you: ye shall surely receive the reward of that

(3) An expanded scroll. "The book here intended, according to different opinions, is either the book or register wherein every man's actions are recorded; or the preserved table containing God's decrees or the book of the law, which was written by God, Moses hearing the creaking of the pen; or else the Quran."- Sale, Baidhawi, Zamakhshari.

(4) The. . . house, i.e., "the Kaabah, so much visited by pilgrims; or, as some rather think, the original model of that house in heaven, called al Durah, which is visited and compassed by the angels, as the other is by men."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(11) See note on chap. iii. 185.


which ye have wrought. (17) But the pious shall dwell amidst gardens and pleasures, (18) delighting themselves in what their LORD shall have given them and their LORD shall deliver them from the pains of hell. (19) And it shall be said unto them, Eat and drink with easy digestion, because of that which ye have wrought; (20) leaning on couches disposed in order: and we will espouse them unto virgins having large black eyes. (21) And unto those who believe, and whose offspring follow them in the faith, we will join their offspring in Paradise; and we will not diminish unto them aught of the merit of their works. (Every man is given in pledge for that which he shall have wrought.) (22) And we will give them fruits in abundance, and flesh of the kinds which they shall desire. (23) They shall present unto one another therein a cup of wine, wherein there shall be no vain discourse, nor any incitement unto wickedness. (24) And youths appointed to attend them shall go round them, beautiful as pearls hidden in their shell. (25) And they shall approach unto one another, and shall ask mutual questions. (26) And they shall say, Verily we were heretofore, amidst our family, in great dread with regard to our state after death; (27) but GOD hath been gracious unto us, and hath delivered us from the pain of burning fire: (28) for we called on him heretofore; and lie is the beneficent, the merciful.

R 2/4.

(29) Wherefore do thou, O Prophet, admonish thy people. Thou art not, by the grace of thy LORD a sooth-

(17-25) See note on chap. iii. 15.

(20) Virgins having large black eyes. "This is the earliest mention of the huries or black-eyed girls of Paradise, so famous in the Mahometan system, and which other creeds have singled out as the distinguishing feature of Islam. They were not thought of, at least not introduced into the revelation, till four or five years after Mahomet had assumed the office of prophet."- Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. pp.141, 142, note.

(21) Every man, &c., i.e., every man is pledged unto God for his behaviour; and if he does well, he redeems his pledge; but if evil, he forfeits it."- Sale.


sayer or a madman. (30) Do they say, He is a poet; we wait, concerning him, some adverse turn of fortune? (31) Say, Wait ye my ruin: verily I wait, with you, the time of your destruction. (32) Do their mature understandings bid them say this; or are they people who perversely transgress? (33) Do they say, He hath forged the Quran? Verily they believe not. (34) Let them produce a discourse like unto it, if they speak truth. (35) Were they created by nothing; or were they creators of themselves? (36) Did they create the heavens and the earth? Verily they are not firmly persuaded that God hath created them. (37) Are the stores of thy LORD in their hands? Are they the supreme dispensers of all things? (38) Have they a ladder whereby they may ascend to heaven, and hear the discourses of the angels? Let one, therefore, who hath heard them produce an evident proof thereof (39) Hath God daughters, and have ye sons? (40) Dost thou ask them a reward for thy preaching? but they are laden with debts. (41) Are the secrets of futurity with them; and do they transcribe the same from the tables of God's degrees? (42) Do they seek to lay a plot against thee? But the unbelievers are they who shall be circumvented. (43) Have they any god besides GOD? Far be GOD exalted above the idols which they associate with him! (44) If they should see a fragment of the heaven falling down upon them, they would say, It is only a thick cloud. (45) Wherefore leave

(30) See chap. xxi. 5.

(33) See notes on chaps. xi. 14, and xvi. 105.

(36) They are not . . . persuaded, &c. "For though they confess this with their tongues, yet they deny it by their averseness to render him his due worship."-Sale.

(38) Have they a ladder, &c. Compare chap. vi. 34, where this taunt is raised against Muhammad by the Quraish.

(39) See notes on chap. xvi. 59-61.

(42) See chap. viii. 30.

(44) A thick cloud. "This was one of the judgments which the idolatrous Makkans defied Muhammad to bring down upon them; and yet, says the text, if they should see a part of the heaven falling


them until they arrive at their day, wherein they shall swoon for fear: (46) a day in which their subtle contrivances shall not avail them at all, neither shall they be protected. (47) And those who act unjustly shall surely suffer another punishment besides this: but the greater part of them do not understand. (48) And wait thou patiently the judgment of thy LORD concerning them; for thou art in our eye: and celebrate the praise of thy LORD when thou risest up; (49) and praise him in the night-season, and when the stars begin to disappear.

on them, they would not believe it till they were crushed to death by it."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(45) Their day, &c. "At the first sound of the trumpet."-Sale.

See Prelim. Disc., p. 135.

(47) Another punishment. "That is, besides the punishment to which they shall be doomed at the day of judgment, they shall be previously chastised by calamities in this life, as the slaughter at Badr and the seven years' famine, and also after their death by the examination of the sepulcher."- Sale Baidhawi.

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