Revealed at Makkah.


THIS chapter seems to be a sort of philippic denunciatory of the conduct of those unbelievers at Makkah who charged him with being an impostor. The words "Woe be on that day unto those who accused the prophets of imposture,' are repeated as a kind of refrain, and occur no less than ten times in the course of the chapter. It is the Prophet's cry of "Woe! woe !" to the unbelievers of Makkah. May not this characteristic have given rise to the opinion expressed by Jalaluddin al Syuti, that this chapter was revealed while Muhammad and Abu Baqr were hidden in the cave during the. flight from Makkah to Madina?

Probable Date of the Revelations.

The general style and language of this chapter prove it to be of early Makkan origin. Muhammad appears as a "'warner" crying "Woe! woe!" to the idolaters who have rejected him as an impostor. Ver. 39 would seem to indicate that this opposition was more than passive, and now ready to take an active form. These circumstances justify the date assigned by NoŽldeke and also by Muir, which is about the fourth year of the ministry.

Principal Subjects.

Oath by the messengers of God that the judgment-day is inevitable ...1-7
Woe on that day to those who accuse Muhammad of imposture... 8-15
In former times infidels were destroyed for accusing their prophets of imposture ...16-19


God the Creator of all things, therefore woe to those who accuse his messengers of imposture ... 20-28
The woe of those who have been cast into hell for calling their prophets impostors ... 29-40
The joy of those who did not call their prophets impostors... 41-44
The infidel Quraish soon to be overtaken by the woes of the judgment-day . . .45-50


R 1/21.

(1) By the angels which are sent by God, following one another in a continual series; (2) and those which move swiftly with a rapid motion; (3) and by those which disperse his commands, by divulging them through the earth; (4) and by those which separate truth from falsehood, by distinguishing the same; (5) and by those which communicate the divine admonitions, (6) to excuse or to threaten (7) verily that which ye are promised is inevitable. (8) When the stars, therefore, shall be put out, (9) and when the heaven shall be cloven in sunder, (10) and when the mountains shall be winnowed, (11) and when the apostles shall have a time assigned to them to appear and bear testimony against their respective people; (12) to that a day shall that appointment be deferred! (13) to the day of separation: (14) and what shall cause thee to understand what the day of separation is? (15) On that day, woe be unto them who accused the prophets of

(1-6) "Some understand the whole passage of the verses of the Quran, which continued to be sent down, parcel after parcel, during the space of several years, and which rescind (for so the verb asafa may also be translated) and abolish all former dispensations, divulging and making known the ways of salvation, distinguishing truth from falsehood, and communicating admonition, &c. Some interpret the first three verses of the winds, sent in a continual succession, blowing with a violent gust, and dispersing rain over the earth; and others give different explications."- Sale.

(7) That which ye are promised. "The day of judgment."- Sale.

(15) Woe. ., unto them who accused. . . of imposture. See introduction to chap. xi. This sentence occurs ten times in this chapter,


imposture! (16) Have we not destroyed the obstinate unbelievers of old? (17) We will also cause those of the latter times to follow them. (18) Thus do we deal with the wicked. (19) Woe be, on that day, unto, them who accused the prophets of imposture! (20) Have we not created you of a contemptible drop of seed, (21) which we placed in a sure repository, (22) until the fixed term of delivery? (23) And we were able to do this: for we are most powerful. (24) On that day, woe be unto those who accused the prophets of imposture! (25) Have we not made the earth to contain (26) the living and the dead, (27) and placed therein stable and lofty mountains, and given you fresh water to drink? (28) Woe be, on that day, unto those who accused the prophets of imposture! (29) It shall be said unto them, Go ye to the punishment which ye denied as a falsehood: (30) go ye into the shadow of the smoke of hell, which shall ascend in three columns, (31) and shall not shade you from the heat, neither shall it be of service against the flame; (32) but it shall cast forth sparks as big as towers, (33) resembling yellow camels in colour. (34) Woe be, on that day, unto those who accused the prophets of imposture! (35) This shall be a day whereon they shall not speak to any purpose; (36) neither shall they be permitted to excuse themselves. (37) Woe be, on that day, unto those who accused the prophets of imposture! (38) This shall be the day of separation: we will assemble both you aud your predecessors. (39) Wherefore, if ye have any cunning stratagem, employ stratagems against me. (40) Woe be, on that day, unto those who accused the prophets of

illustrating the intensity of the Prophet's feelings. The charge of forgery is no modern invention of the Christian opponents of Islam. See note on chap. vi. 48.

(33) Yellow camels. "Being of a fiery colour. Others, however, suppose these sparks will be of a dusky hue, like that of black camels, which always inclines a little to the yellow; the word translated yellow signifying sometimes black. Some copies, by the variation of a vowel, have cables instead of camels."- Sale. 210

imposture! (41) But the pious shall dwell amidst shades and fountains, (42) and fruits of the kinds which they shall desire: (43) and it shall be said unto them, Eat and drink with easy digestion, in recompense for that which ye have wrought; (44) for thus do we reward the righteous doers. (45) Woe be, on that day, unto those who accused the prophets of imposture! (46) Eat, O unbelievers, and enjoy the pleasures of this life for a little while: verily ye are wicked men. (47) Woe be, on that day, unto those who accused the prophets of imposture! (48) And when it is said unto them, Bow down; they do not bow down. (49) Woe be, on that day, unto those who accused the prophets of imposture! (50) In what new revelation will they believe, after this?

(48) When it is said, &c. These words are said by some to have reference to the Thaqifites, who during the last years of the Prophet declared their willingness to accept Islam provided they were exempted from the duty of prayer. For this opinion no good reason can be given, as the passage refers in general to all unbelievers.

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