Revealed at Makkah.


THIS chapter, which takes its title from the proclamation contained in ver. 28, is made up of a number of revelations enunciated at Makkah and Madina. A few writers, says NoŽldeke, regard the whole chapter as Madinic; whereas, on the other hand, Muir seems to regard the whole as belonging to Makkah. It is difficult, indeed, to speak with much confidence in regard to the time and place of some of the passages, but there are a few, about which there can be little doubt, which may serve the purpose of landmarks; e.g., vers. 25-43, compared with chap. ii. 196-200, iii. 97, and v.95-97, none of which are Makkan, and none of which can be reckoned of earlier date than A.H. 5 or 6, must be referred to Madina. The same is true of vers. 59, 60, where reference is made to the Muhajjarin, and to "those who have been killed " in battle (NoŽldeke), or "who were afterwards slain" (Rodwell). Again, the animus of the revelations in vers. 44-58 and vers. 68-79 clearly points to Makkah. This is especially true of ver. 50, where Muhammad is styled a preacher, and of ver. 73, where the violent opposition of the unbelievers is mentioned.

As to the matter of the revelations, the chief points of interest are- (1.) The obstinate and violent conduct of the Quraish and others at Makkah, contrasted with the calm self-confidence of Muhammad, due to the treaty made with the people of Madina and his contemplated retirement from Makkah. The conversion of the Quraish now being considered hopeless, the Muslims are no longer to dispute with them. God will cause Islam to triumph, no matter how violent the efforts of the infidels (vers. 14, 15, 72-73). The faithful are encouraged by the hope of joy in Paradise. No matter how strait-


-ened their circumstances here, they will yet wear silken garments and be adorned with jewels of gold and pearls (ver. 23). (2.) The command to perform the pilgrimage to Makka. It is difficult to fix the occasion of this command. The effort, manifest throughout vers. 25-43, to distinguish between what was lawful and unlawful or idolatrous in the Arab rites, would point out this to be one of the earliest revelations on this subject. To this also points the directions in reference to forbidden meats. On the contrary, the fact that the idols were still in the temple at Makkah precludes reference to the last great pilgrimage of Muhammad. Now, knowing as we do, that after the Hijra Muhammad patronised the Jews, in the hope of gaining them over to his cause, it is certain that he did not then patronise a national Arab custom so idolatrous in its character as the pilgrimage. But having been disappointed in this hope, and discovering their perfidy, he cast the Jews aside altogether, about A.H. 4. After this we find him again courting Arab favour by exalting the religion of Abraham the orthodox, who built the Kaabah, and who, with Ismail, dwelt in the holy place. It is, therefore, most natural to regard this command as emanating some time previous to the lesser pilgrimage, which was undertaken in A.H. 6.

(3.) The lapse of Muhammad, alluded to in vers. 53-55. NoŽldeke, while admitting that these verses evidently indicate a temptation which Muhammad underwent in the matter of making a concession to idolaters, yet thinks the language is too late for the incident related in the note on ver. 53 below. So far as I am aware, however, all Muslim authorities are against him. For a full account of this matter the reader is referred to Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. pp. 149-159.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

The Makkan revelations of this chapter are contained in vers. 1-24, 44-58, 61-67, 69-76, and may be referred to the last Makkan period, shortly before the Hijra. Those contained in vers. 25-43,59, 60, and 66, belong to Madina. Of these, vers. 25-43 were revealed about A.H. 6. Vers. 40-43, the first, giving permission to wage open war with enemies, must be placed before the battle of Badr. Vers. 59 and 6o belong after Badr, as they speak of persons slain in battle. Ver. 66, beginning in the same way as ver. 36, is referred to the same date.

Principal Subjects.

The dreadful character of the judgment-day . . . 1, 2
Nudhar Ibn al Harith rebuked for his infidelity . . . 3, 4


Proofs of the doctrine of the resurrection ... 5-7
Abu Jahl's obstinate infidelity and its punishment ... 8-10
Hypocrites exposed and rebuked. . . 11-13
God will reward the righteous . . . . 14
God will cause Muhammad and the Quran to triumph ... 15, 16
God will judge between the followers of conflicting faiths ... 17
All creatures praise God . . . 18
The awful fate of unbelievers contrasted with the joy of believers . . . 19-24
Profaners of the Kaabah will be punished . . . 25, 26
God appointed the site of the Kaabah an abode for Abraham ...27
The pilgrimage to Makkah instituted for Muslims ... 28-32
Rites to be observed by the pilgrims . . . 32-35
Sacrifices appointed for the professors of every religion ... 36
The humble believer encouraged . . . 37
The sacrifices at Madina symbolical of obedience to God ... 38, 39
War against infidels permitted when in self-defence .. . 40 - 43
All God's prophets have been accused of imposture .. . 44, 45
Infidels blind to God's judgments on the ungodly .. . 46, 47
Though God is forbearing he will punish unbelievers ...48, 49
Muhammad a public preacher . . . 50
Reward and punishment of believers and infidels . . .51, 52
All prophets have been subject to Satanic deception .. . 53-55
The unbelievers incorrigible, but God will judge between them and the righteous . . . 56-58
Blessed condition of the Muhajjarin and martyrs .. . 59, 60
Revenge of personal injuries permitted . .. 61
God the Creator and Preserver of all things. . .. 62-67
Professors of other religions not to dispute with Muhammad ...68
How Muhammad should treat those who dispute with him... 69, 70
The Omniscient God has decreed all things . . . 71
Idolaters ilave no proof from God for their idolatry ... 72
Unbelievers (Quraish) ready to use violence towards the Muslims . . . 73
The Makkan idols unable to keep the flies off themselves ... 74
Idolaters have a low estimate of the power of God . .. 75
God chooses messengers from among men and angels . . .76
God knoweth all things, and all shall return to him . .. 77
True believers exhorted to worship God and to fight in defence of his religion . . . 78, 79
Muslims exhorted to be steadfast in the faith of their father Abraham . . .. 79



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(1) O MEN of Makkah, fear your LORD. Verily the shook of the last hour will be a terrible thing. (2) On the day whereon ye shall see it, every woman who giveth suck shall forget the infant which she suckleth, and every female that is with young shall cast her burden; and thou shalt see men seemingly drunk, yet they shall not be really drunk: but the punishment of GOD will be severe. (3) There is a man who disputeth concerning GOD without knowledge, and followeth every rebellious devil: (4) against whom it is written, that whoever shall take him for his patron, he shall surely seduce him, and shall lead him into the torment of hell. (5) O men, if ye be in doubt concerning the resurrection, consider that we first created you of the dust of the ground; afterwards of seed; afterwards of a little coagulated blood; afterwards of a piece of flesh, perfectly formed in part, and in part imperfectly formed; that we might make our power manifest unto you: and we caused that which we please to rest in the wombs, until the appointed time of delivery. Then we bring you forth infants; and afterwards we permit you to attain your age of full strength: and one of you dieth in his youth, and another of you is postponed to a decrepit age, so that he forgetteth whatever he knew. Thou seest the earth sometimes dried up and barren; but when we send down rain thereon, it is put in motion and swelleth, and produceth every kind of luxuriant vegetables. (6)

(1) The shook ... terrible. "The earthquake which, some say, is to happen a little before the sun rises from the west, one sign of the near approach of the judgment."-Sale. See Prelim Disc., p.131.

(2) See Prelim. Disc., p.135.

(3) A man who disputeth. "This passage was revealed on account of al Nudhar Ibn al Harith, who maintained that the angels were the daughters of God, and that the Quran was a fardel of old fables, and denied the resurrection."- Sale, Baidhawi. Others say the person referred to was Abu Jahl. See Rodwell, in loco.

(4-7) Compare with chap. xcvii., where see notes. The argument is that the God who has created us can as easily raise the dead.


This showeth that GOD is the truth, and that he raiseth the dead to life, and that he is almighty; (7) and that the hour of judgment will surely come (there is no doubt thereof), and that GOD will raise again those who are in the graves. (8) There is a man who disputeth concerning GOD without either knowledge, or a direction, or an enlightening book; (9) proudly turning his side, that he may seduce men from the way of GOD. Ignominy shall attend him in this world; and on the day of resurrection we will make him taste the torment of burning, when it shall be said unto him, (10) This thou sufferest because of. that which thy hands have formerly committed: for GOD is not unjust towards mankind.

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(11) There are some men who serve GOD in a wavering manner, standing, as it were, on the verge of the true relegion. If good befall one of them, he resteth satisfied therein, but if any tribulation befall him, he turneth him≠self round, with the loss both of this world and of the life

(8) A man. "The person here meant, it is said, was Abu Jahl, a principal man among the Quraish, and a most inveterate enemy of Muhammad and his religion. His true name was Amru Ibn Hasham, of the family of Makhzum; and he was surnamed Abu al Hakim, i.e., the father of wisdom, which was afterwards changed into Abu Jahl, or the father of folly. He was slain in the battle of Badr"(see chap. viii. 49, note).- Sale.

An enlightening book. This term is applied to the revelations given by God to his prophets.

(10) That which thy hands, &c. See note on chap. ii. 94.

(11) The verge. "This expression alludes to one who being posted in the skirts of an army, if he sees the victory inclining to is own side stands his ground, but if the enemy is likely to prevail takes to his heels.

"The passage, they say, was revealed on account of certain Arabs of the desert who came to Madina, and having professed Muhammadism, were well enough pleased with it so long as their affairs prospered, but if they met with any adversity we re sure to lay the blame on their new religion. A tradition of Abu Sayid mentions another accident as the occasion of this passage, viz., that a certain Jew embraced Islam, but afterwards taking a dislike to it on account of some misfortunes which had befallen him, went to Muhammad and desired he might renounce it and be freed from the obligations of it; but the prophet told him that no such thing was allowed in his religion"- Sale, Baidhawi.


to come. This is manifest perdition. (12) He will call upon that besides GOD which can neither hurt him nor profit him. This is an error remote from truth. (13) He will invoke him who will sooner be of hurt to his worshipper than of advantage. Such is surely a miserable patron and a miserable companion. (14) But GOD will introduce those who shall believe and do righteous works into gardens through which rivers flow; for GOD doth that which he pleaseth. (15) Whoso thinketh that GOD will not assist his apostle in this world and in the world to come, let him strain a rope towards heaven, then let him put an end to his life, and see whether his devices can render that ineffectual for which he was angry. (16) Thus do we send down the Quran, being evident signs; for GOD directeth whom he pleaseth. (17) As to the true believers, and those who Judaise, and the Sabians, and the Christians, and the Magians, and the idolaters, verily GOD shall judge between them on the day of resurrection, for GOD is witness of all things. (18) Dost thou not perceive that all creatures both in heaven and on earth adore GOD, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and the beasts, and many men? but many are worthy of chastisement, and whomsoever GOD shall render despicable there shall be none to honour; for GOD doth that which he pleaseth. (19) These are two opposite parties who dispute concerning their LORD. And they

(12) Neither hurt . . nor profit. A contemptuous term always applied in the Quran to idols, the deities which they represented being regarded as purely imaginary.

Remote. Sale adds from truth but the idea would be better expressed by the word egregious. Rodwel1 translates it far-gone.

(15) Let him strain a rope, &c. "Or, 'Let him tie a rope to the roof of his house and hang himself;' that is, let him carry his anger and resentment to ever so great a height, even to be driven to the most desperate extremities, and see whether with all his endeavours he will be able to intercept the divine assistance."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(17) See notes on chap. ii. 61 and v.73.

(18) Adore God. "Confessing his power and obeying his supreme command."- Sale.

(19) Two parties, viz., "the true believers and the infidels. The


who believe not shall have garments of fire fitted unto them, boiling water shall be poured on their heads, (20) their bowels shall be dissolved thereby, and also their skins, (21) and they shall be beaten with maces of iron. (22) So often as they shall endeavour to get out of hell because of the anguish of their torments they shall be dragged back into the same, and their tormentors shall say unto them, Taste ye the pain of burning.

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(23) GOD will introduce those who shall believe and act righteously into gardens through which rivers flow; they shall be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and pearls, and their vestures therein shall be silk. (24) They are directed unto a good saying, and are directed into the honourable way. (25) But they who shall disbelieve and obstruct the way of GOD and hinder men from visiting the holy temple of Makkah, which we have appointed for a

passage is said to have been revealed on occasion of a dispute between the Jews and the Muhammadans, the former insisting that they were in greater favour with God, their prophet and revelations being prior to those of the latter; and these replying that they were more in God's favor, for that they believed not only in Moses but also in Muhammad, and in all the Scriptures without exception, whereas the Jews rejected Muhammad, though they knew him to be a prophet, out of envy."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(20-22) See note on chap. ii. 38.

(23) See notes on chaps. ii. 25 and iii. 15, 196, 197.

Silk. What is lawful in heaven is forbidden to Muslims on earth.

(24) A good saying, viz., "the profession of God's unity, or these words which they shall use at their entrance into Paradise, 'Praise be unto God, who hath fulfilled his promise unto us.'"-Sale, Baidhawi.

(25) The holy temple . . . appointed . . . unto all men. Mr. Bosworth Smith (Mohammed and Mohammedanism, p.164) expresses the opinion that the pilgrimage is "in theory and in reality" as alien to Muhammadanism as it is to Christianity. He claims it to have been "a concession, and an inconsistent concession, to natural weakness, rather than as a part of the inner belief of the Prophet, who so emphatically said There is no piety in turning your faces towards the east or west, but he is pious who believeth in God,"' But, as already pointed out by Dr. Badger, the Hajj is solemnly enjoined in the Quran ; not only so, but by a multitude of traditions also. See the Miahqat ul Masabih, book xi. If we add to this the example of the Prophet in performing the greater pilgrimage, with all the show of solemnity possible, shortly before his death, there


place of worship unto all men, the inhabitant thereof and the stranger have an equal right to visit it; (26) and whosoever shall seek impiously to profane it we will cause him to taste a grievous torment.

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(27) Call to mind when we gave the site of the house of the Kaabah for an abode unto Abraham, saying, Do not associate anything with me, and cleanse my house for those who compass it, and who stand up, and who bow down to worship. (28) And proclaim unto the people a solemn pilgrimage; let them come unto thee on foot, and

cannot remain a shadow of a doubt that the Hajj is in reality a very important element of the religion of Muhammad, which is Muhammadanism. Without doubt the Hajj, with its converted heathen customs, is inconsistent with Muhammad's teaching in the earlier years of his prophetic career, but such inconsistency belongs to the whole animus of the Prophet. It was due not to any wish to gratify the natural weaknesses of his followers by a concession, but it was due to changed circumstances and an entire change of policy. This ancient custom was sanctified as a political measure, a compromise with Arabian custom, with a view to strengthen the new religion and bind together the newly constructed Arabian empire. Yet it will not do to regard it in the same light as Christian pilgrimage, which is inconsistent with the teaching of our Lord, for the Hajj appeals for its sanction not only to the teaching of Muhammad, as already remarked, but claims to be one of the five principal duties of every true Muslim, as attested by the example of Muhammad himself. No Muslim can hope for a place in Paradise if he refuse to fulfil the requirements of Islam in respect to pilgrimage.

(27) We gave the site, i.e., "for a place of religious worship, showing him the spot where he stood, and also the model of the old building, which had been taken up to heaven at the Flood."- Sale.

See Prelim. Disc., p.182, and notes on chaps. ii. 190-200 and iii. 96,97.

It is probable that the ceremonies of walking around the Kaabah were originally connected with Arab star-worship, and symbolised the motions of the planets. See Sharastani, quoted by Rodwell in loco .

Proclaim . . . a solemn pilgrimage. It is related that Abraham, in obedience to this command, went up to Mount Abu Qubis, near Makkah, and cried from thence, 'O men, perform the pilgrimage to the house of your Lord,' and that God caused those who were then in the loins of their fathers and the wombs of their mothers, from east to west, and who, he knew beforehand, would perform the pilgrimage, to hear his voice. Some say, however, that these words were directed to Muhammad, commanding him to proclaim the pilgrimage of valediction, according to which exposition the passage must have been revealed at Madina."- Sale, Baidhawi.


on every lean camel, arriving from every distant road, (29) that they may be witnesses of the advantages which accrue to them from the visiting this holy place, and may commemorate the name of GOD on the appointed days, in gratitude for the brute cattle which he hath bestowed on them. (30) Wherefore eat thereof, and feed the needy and the poor. (31) Afterwards let them put an end to the neglect of their persons, and let them pay their vows

"Before the time of Muhammad the Arabians went in pilgrimage to Makkah. They went there to celebrate the memory of Abraham and of Ismail. This was only a custom. Muhammad consecrated it by religious ceremonies, and enjoined it by a precept. Under religious motives he hid political views. He wished that Makkah should become a point of union for all the Muhammadans; that they should resort there to exchange the gold and the productions of their own countries for the aromatics of Arabia Felix. The great caravans which travel every year from Persia, Damascus, Morocco, and Cairo unite at Makkah. During the time of the pilgrimage an immense commerce is carried on in that city and at Jidda, which is the port of it."- Savary.

Muir (Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p.268) thinks this passage (vers. 27-39) contains a laboured defence of what to the Jews appeared to be an innovation in the reformed faith. This is probable, but for this reason it is a mistake to place the passage among the Makkan revelations, as he does. It is much more natural to regard the command and the controversy following it as Madinic.

(28) Lean camel. "Lean and famished from the long journey. - Muir's Life of Mahomet, p. 268.

(29) The advantage, viz., "the temporal advantage made by the great trade driven at Makkah during the pilgrimage, and the spiritual advantage of having performed so meritorious a work."- Sale.

See note on chap. ii. 198.

Appointed days, viz., "the ten first days of Dhu'1 Haija, or the tenth day of the same month, on which they slay the sacrifices, and the three following days."- Sale, Jalaluddin.

(30) Feed the needy, i.e., with the flesh of the animals offered in sacrifice. See Prelim. Disc., p. 188.

(31) Put an end to the neglect, &c. "by shaving their heads and other parts of their bodies, and cutting their beards and nails in the valley of Mina, which the pilgrims are not allowed to do from the time they become Muhrims, and have solemnly dedicated themselves to the performance of the pilgrimage, till they have finished the ceremonies and slain their victims."- Sale.

See chaps. ii. 196 and v.95-97.

Vows. "By doing the good works which they have vowed to do in their pilgrimage. Some understand the words only of the performance of the requisite ceremonies."- Sale.


and compass the ancient house. (32) This let them do. And whoever shall regard the sacred ordinances of God this will be better for him in the sight of his LORD. All sorts of cattle are allowed you to eat, except what hath been read unto you in former passages of the Quran to be forbidden. But depart from the abomination of idols, and avoid speaking that which is false; (33) being orthodox in respect to GOD, associating no other god with him; for whoever associateth any other with GOD is like that which falleth from heaven, and which the birds snatch away, or the wind bloweth to a far-distant place. (34) This is so. And whoso maketh valuable offenings unto GOD verily they proceed from the piety of men's hearts. (35) Ye receive various advantages from the cattle designed for sacrifices, until a determined time for slaying them: then the place of sacrificing them is at the ancient house.

Compass the ancient house, i.e., "the Kaabah, which the Muhammadans pretend was the first edifice built and appointed for the worship of God. The going round this chapel is a principal ceremony of the pilgrimage, and is often repeated; but the last time of their doing it, when they take their farewell of the temple, seems to be more particularly meant in this place."- Sale.

See notes on chap. ii. 125, 142-146, and Prelim. Disc., p 182 seq.

(32) Whosoever shall regard, &c. "By observing what he has commanded and avoiding what he has forbidden; or, as the words also signify, 'Whoever shall honour what God hath sanctified,' or commanded not to be profaned as the temple and territory of Makkah and the sacred months, &c."- Sale.

That which is false. " Either by asserting wrong and impious things of the Deity, or by bearing false witness against your neighbors."- Sale.

(33) Whosoever associateth . . . is like, &c. "Because he who falls into idolatry sinketh from the height of faith into the depth of infidelity, has his thoughts distracted by wicked lusts, and is hurried by the devil into the most absurd errors."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(34) Valuable offerings. " By choosing a well-favoured and costly victim in honour of him to whom it is destined. They say Muhammad once offered a hundred fat camels and among theta one which had belonged to Abu Jahl, having in kis nose a ring of gold and that Omar offered a noble camel or which he had been bid three hundred dinars.

"The original may also be translated generally,' Whoso regardeth the rites of the pilgrimage,' &c. But the victims seem to be more particularly intended in this place."- Sale, Baidhawi.


(36) Unto the professors of every religion have we appointed certain rites, that they may commemorate the name of GOD on slaying the brute cattle which he hath provided for them. Your GOD is one GOD, wherefore resign yourselves wholly unto him. And do thou bear good tidings unto those who humble themselves, (37) whose hearts, when mention is made of GOD, are struck with fear; and unto those who patiently endure that which befalleth them, and who duly perform their prayers and give alms out of what we have bestowed on them. (38) The camels slain for sacrifice have we appointed for you as symbols of your obedience unto GOD; ye also receive other advantages from them. Wherefore commemorate the name of God over them when ye slay them, standing on their feet disposed in right order; and when

(36) Every religion. "Jalaluddin understands this passage in a restrained sense of the former nations who were true believers, to whom God appointed a sacrifice, and a fixed place and proper ceremonies for the offering of it."-Sale.

Certain rites, i.e., sacrificial rites. This statement is true, but the meaning of those rites has been totally ignored in the Quran, and this fact affords one of the principal arguments against its claim to have attested the doctrine and plan of salvation by atonement exhibited in the former scriptures.

(38) Standing on their feet, &c. "That is, as some expound the word, standing on three feet, having one of their fore feet tied up, which is the manner of tying camels to prevent their moving from the place. Some copies instead of sawaffa read sawaffina, from the verb safana, which properly signifies the posture of a horse when he stands on three feet, the edge of the fourth only touching the ground."- Sale.

Rodwell translates "as they stand in a row."

On the subject of the wonderful purity of the text of the Quran, suggested by the slight difference of reading noted by Sale, Muir says: "This almost incredible purity of text, in a book so widely scattered over the world, and continually copied by people of different tongues and lands, is, without doubt, owing mainly to Othman's recension and the official enforcement of his one edition. To countenance a various reading was an offence against the state, and punished as such. An instance may be found in Weil's History of the Caliphs, vol. ii. p. 676. Yet the various readings for which the learned Ahul Hasan was persecuted appear to have been very innocent and harmless to the government. We need not wonder that, when such means were resorted to, a perfect uniformity of text has


they are fallen down dead eat of them, and give to eat thereof both unto him who is content with what is given him, without asking, and unto him who asketh. Thus have we given you dominion over them, that ye might return us thanks. (39) Their flesh is not accepted of GOD, neither their blood, but your piety is accepted of him. Thus have we given you dominion over them, that ye might magnify GOD, for the revelations whereby he hath directed you. And bear good tidings unto the righteous, (40) that GOD will repel the ill designs of the infidels from the true believers, for GOD loveth not every perfidious unbeliever.

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(41) Permission is granted unto those who take arms against the unbelievers, for that they have been unjustly persecuted by them (and GOD is certainly able to assist them): (42) who have been turned out of their habitations iujuriously, and for no other reason than because they say, Our LORD is GOD. And if GOD did not

been maintained. To compare (as the Moslems are fond of doing) their pure text with the various readings of our Scriptures, is to compare things between the history and essential points of which there is no analogy."- Life of Mahomet, Introd., vol. i. p.15.

Unto him who is content, &c. "Or, as the words may also be rendered 'Unto him who asketh in a modest and humble manner, and unto him who wanteth but dareth not ask' "-Sale.

(39) Neither their blood, but your piety is accepted of him. Thus we see how carefully the vicarious element in sacrifice is eliminated by the Quran. It is possible, however that Muhammad wished by these words to guard his followers from the superstitious rites of the Pagan Arabs. Nevertheless he proves himself to have been either ignorant of, or an unbeliever in the doctrine of an atonement, underlying these very superstitions practices, thereby contradicting the teaching of the former prophets. See also note on chap. ii. 82.

(41) Sale says : "This was the first passage of the Quran which allowed Muhammad and his followers to defend themselves against their enemies by force, and was revealed a little before the flight to Madina; till which time the Prophet had exhorted his Muslims to suffer the injuries offered them with patience, which is also commanded in above seventy different places of the Quran." (Prelim. Disc., p.83 seg.)It is much more reasonable to suppose with Muir (Life of Mahomet vol. iii. p.78, note), that this command emanated from Madina, A.H. 1 or 2. NoŽldeke also relegates this command to Madina.


repel the violence of some men by others, verily monasteries, and churches, and synagogues, and the temples of the Muslims, wherein the name of GOD is frequently commemorated, would be utterly demolished. And GOD will certainly assist him who shall be on his side: for GOD is strong and mighty.


(43) And he will assist those who, if we establish them in the earth, will observe prayer, and give alms, and command that which is just, and forbid that which is unjust. And unto GOD shall be the end of all things. (44) If they accuse thee, O Muhammad, of imposture; consider that, before them, the people of Noah, and the tribes of Ad and Thamud, (45) and the people of Abraham, and the people of Lot, and the inhabitants of Madian, accused their prophets of imposture: and Moses was also charged with falsehood. And I granted a long respite unto the unbelievers: but afterwards I chastised them; and how different was the change I made in their condition! (46) How many cities have we destroyed, which were ungodly, and which are now fallen to ruin on their roofs? And how many wells have been abandoned, and lofty castles? (47) Do they not therefore journey through the land? And have they not hearts to understand with, or ears to hear with? Surely as to these things their eyes are not

(42) If God did not repel, &c. "That is, the public exercise of any religion, whether true or false, is supported only by force, and therefore, as Muhammad would argue, the true religion must be established by the same means."- Sale.

See note on chap. ii. p.191.

(44, 45) If they accuse thee . . . of imposture. See note on chap. iii. p.185.

(46) And how many wells, &c. "That is, how man spots in the deserts, which were formerly inhabited, are now abandoned? a neglected well being the proper sign of such a deserted dwelling in those parts as ruins are of a demolished town.

"Some imagine that this passage intends more particularly a well at the foot of a certain hill in the province of Hadramaut, and a castle built on the top of the same hill, both belonging to the people of Handha Ibn Safwan, a remnant of the Thamudites, who, having killed their prophet, were utterly destroyed by God, and their dwelling abandoned."-Sale, Baidhawi


blind, but the hearts are blind which are in their breasts. (48) They will urge thee to hasten the threatened punishment; but GOD will not fail to perform what he had threatened: and verily one day with thy LORD is as a thousand years of those which ye compute. (49) Unto how many cities have I granted respite, though they were wicked? Yet afterwards I chastised them and unto me shall they come to be judged at the last day.

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(50) Say, O men, verily I am only a public preacher unto you. (51) And they who believe and do good works shall obtain forgiveness and an honourable provision. (52) But those who endeavour to make our signs of none effect shall be the inhabitants of hell. (53) We have sent no apostle or prophet before thee, but, when he read, Satan suggested some error in his reading.

(48) Comp.2 Pet. iii. 8. This thought was borrowed from the Jews. See Rodwell on chap. xxiii. 4.

(50) Only a preacher. See note on chap. ii. 119.

(53) Satan suggested some error, &c. "The occasion of the passage is thus Muhammad one day reading the 53d chapter of the Quran when he came to this verse,' What think ye of Al Lat, and Al Uzza, and of Minah, the other third goddess?' the devil put the following words into his mouth, which he pronounced through inadvertence, or as some tell us, because he was then half-asleep, viz., 'These are the most high and beauteous damsels whose intercession is to be hoped for.' The Quraish, who were sitting near Muhammad, greatly rejoiced at what they had heard, and when had finished the chapter, joined with him and his followers in making their adoration : but the Prophet being acquainted by the Angel Gabriel with the reason of their compliance, and with what he had uttered, was deeply concerned at his mistake, till this verse was revealed for his consolation.

We are told, however, by Al Baidhawi that the in ore intelligent and accurate persons reject the aforesaid story, and the verb here translated read signifying also to wish for anything, they interpret the passage of the suggestions of the devil to debauch the affections of these holy persons, or to employ their minds in vain wishes and desires."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin, Yahya.

See also note on chap. xvi. 100.

There is no good ground for rejecting this story. Pious Muslims reject it only because of the scandal that their Prophet should have fallen into the great sin of making a compromise with idolatry. Muir tells us (Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p.153) that even Muhammadan orthodox writers admit "the scandal of the narrative has


But GOD shall make void that which Satan hath suggested: then shall GOD confirm his signs; for GOD is knowing and wise. (54) But this he permitteth, that he may make that which Satan hath suggested a temptation unto those in whose hearts there is all infirmity, and whose hearts are hardened (for the ungodly are certainly in a wide disagreement from the truth): (55) and that they on whom knowledge hath been bestowed may know that this book is the truth from thy LORD, and may believe therein; and that their hearts may acquiesce in the same: for GOD is surely the director of those who believe, into the right way. (56) But the infidels will not cease to doubt concerning it, until the hour of judgment cometh suddenly upon them; or until the punishment of a grievous day overtake them. (57) On that day the kingdom

been the cause of its rejection." He then goes on to say, "The author of the biography Mawahib Alladoniya shows, in opposition to the assertion that the story is heretical, that it rests on unexceptionable tradition, and that the opposing authorities are groundless, being founded only on the suspicion that the facts are unlikely." Again he says: "It is hardly possible to conceive how the tale, if not founded on truth, could ever have been invented. The stubborn fact remains, and is by all admitted, that the first refugees did return about this time from Abyssinia, and that they returned in consequence of a rumour that Mecca was converted. To this fact the narratives of Wackidi and Tabari afford the only intelligible clue." See Springer's note in the Calcutta Asiatic Journal, 1850, No. ii.

Many of the commentators, however, admit that these words, "These are the most high and beauteous damsels," &c, were proclaimed in the hearing of the idolaters, but they were spoken by the devil after the words, "What think ye of al Lat," &c., had been pronounced by Muhammad. According to this explanation, Muhammad did not hear these words of Satan, and was only made aware of what had occurred when spoken to by Gabriel. See Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco. This explanation serves only to confirm our belief in the scandal. Does this incident in the history of Muhammad's prophetic career indicate nothing of conscious imposture? Did he resort to this compromise in the hope of gaining over his townsmen? And when he saw his mistake, did he not consciously ascribe to Satan what he had said himself I and, finally, how could he honestly say that all other apostles and prophets had been subject to like Satanic deception?

(56) A grievous day. "Or, a day which maketh childless; by


shall be GOD'S: he shall judge between them. And they who shall have believed, and shall have wrought righteousness, shall be in gardens of pleasure; (58) but they who shall have disbelieved, and shall have charged our signs with falsehood, those shall suffer a shameful purnshment.

R 8/15.

(59) And as to those who shall have fled their country for the sake of GOD'S true religion, and afterwards shall have been slain, or shall have died; on them will GOD bestow an excellent provision; and GOD is the best provider. (60) He will surely introduce them with an introduction with which they shall be well pleased; for GOD is knowing and gracious. (61) This is so. Whoever shall take a vengeance equal to the injury which hath been done him, and shall afterwards be unjustly treated, verily GOD will assist him : for GOD is merciful

which some great misfortune in war is expressed, as the overthrow the infidels received at Badr. Some suppose the resurrection is here intended."- Sale.

(59) Shall have been slain. The translation should be "Those who have been killed." The original is "Allazina qutilu." Rodwell translates "who were slain."

(61) Whosoever shall take a vengeance, &c. "And shall not take a more severe revenge than the fact deserves."- Sale.

Be unjustly treated. "By the aggressor's seeking to revenge himself again of the person injured, by offering him some further violence.

"The passage seems to relate to the vengeance which the Muslims should take of the infidels for their unjust persecution of them." Sale.

Syed Ameer Ali (Life of Mohammed p. 190) apologises for precepts like this by telling us that "in Islam is joined a lofty idealism with the most rationalistic practicality. It did not ignore human nature; it never entangled itself in the tortuous pathways which lie outside the domains of the actual and the real. Its object, like that of other systems, was the elevation of humanity towards the absolute ideal of perfection; but it attained, or tries to attain, this object by grasping the truth that the nature of man is, in this existence, imperfect."

How far Islam is able to elevate the human race has been well described as follows by Professor Monier Williams in an article on Muhammadanism in the Contemporary Review:-" It is admitted, of course, that Islam, in the early stages of its career was the very soul of progress, and that only in later times have senility and feebleness


and ready to forgive. (62) This shall be done, for that GOD causeth the night to succeed the day, and he causeth the day to succeed the night; and for that GOD both heareth and seeth. (63) This, because GOD is truth, and because what they invoke besides him is vanity; and for that GOD is the high, the mighty. (64) Dost thou not see that GOD sendeth down water from heaven and the earth becometh green? for GOD is gracious and wise. (65) Unto him belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth: and GOD is self-sufficient, worthy to be praised.

R 9/16.

(66) Dost thou not see that GOD hath subjected whatever is in the earth to your service, and also the ships which sail in the sea, by his command? And he withholdeth the heaven that it fall not on the earth,

crept over its vital forces It is true, too, that Islam still makes converts by thousands among ignorant and uncivilised tribes, and by so doing elevates them far above the pagan level. The point to be noted is that, having raised them to this higher platform, it there leaves them. There is a finality and a want of elasticity about Muhammadanism which precludes its expanding beyond a certain fixed line of demarcation. Having once reached this line, it appears to lapse backwards, - to tend again towards mental and moral slavery, - to contract within narrower and narrower circles of bigotry and exclusiveness. Whereas the Christian's course is ever onwards; his movements ever free,---he is ever tending towards wider reaches of comprehensiveness, tolerance, and charity. His Master has not tied his hands or fettered his feet by rigorous and unbending laws. He is ever advancing towards a higher life, towards higher conditions of being, where he may find infinite scope for the infinite development of all that is most pure, noble, and spiritual in his nature. And, most certainly, he can never consent to take a single retrograde step towards the beggarly elements of Judaism and worse than Mosaic yoke of bondage. He can never consent to any semblance of a compromise with a system which has not yet purge a itself from the taint of sexual license, concubinage, and slavery, and still uses force in the propagation of its own creed. He can have no fellowship with a religion which, however reverently it may speak of Christ, regards the doctrine of his association with God the Father as a blasphemous fable? and the facts of his crucifixion and resurrection as dangerous deceits. He can have no sympathy with a creed which at the best offers to its adherents a Paradise more material, more earthly, more carnal, than that from which their first parents were expelled."

(66) That it fall not on the earth. "Which it will do at the last day." - Sale.


unless by his permission: for GOD is gracious unto man kind and merciful. (67) It is he who hath given you life, and will, hereafter cause you to die; afterwards he will again raise you to life, at the resurrection: but man is surely ungrateful. (68) Unto the professors of every religion have we appointed certain rites, which they observe. Let them not therefore dispute with thee Concerning this matter; but invite them unto thy LORD: for thou followest the right direction. (69) But if they enter into debate with thee, answer, GOD well knoweth that which ye do: (70) GOD will judge between you on the day of resurrection, concerning that wherein ye now disagree. (71) Dost thou not know that GOD knoweth whatever is in heaven and on earth? Verily this is written in the book of his decrees: this is easy with GOD.(72) They worship, besides God, that concerning which he hath sent down no convincing proof, and concerning which they have no knowledge: but the unjust doers shall have none to assist them. (73) And when our evident signs are rehearsed unto them, thou mayest perceive, in the countenances of the unbelievers, a disdain thereof: it wanteth little but that they rush with violence on those who rehearse our signs unto them. Say, Shall I declare unto you a worse thing than this? The fire of hell, which GOD hath threatened unto those who believe not, is worse; and an unhappy journey shall it be thither.

R 10/17.

(74) O men, a parable is propounded unto you; wherefore hearken unto it. Verily the idols, which ye invoke besides GOD can never create a single fly, although

(74) "The commentators say that the Arabs used to anoint the images of their gods with some odoriferous composition, and with honey, which the flies ate, though the doors of the temple were care-fully shut, getting in at the windows or crevices."

Perhaps Muhammad took this argument from the Jews, who pretend that the Temple of Jerusalem, and the sacrifices there offered to the true God, were never annoyed by flies; whereas swarms of those insects infested the heathen temples, being drawn thither by the steam of the sacrifices."- Sale.


they were all assembled for that purpose: and if the fly snatch anything from them, they cannot recover the same from it. Weak is the petitioner and the petitioned. (75) They judge not of GOD according to his due estimation: for GOD is powerful and mighty. (76) GOD chooseth messengers from among the angels and from among men: for GOD is he who heareth and seeth. (77) He knoweth that which is before them, and that which is behind them: and unto GOD shall all things return. (78) O true believers, bow down, and prostrate yourselves, and worship your LORD; and work righteousness, that ye may be happy: (79) and fight in defence of GOD'S true religion, as it behoveth you to fight for the same. He hath chosen you, and hath not imposed on you any difficulty in the religion which he hath giveth you, the religion of your father Abraham: he hath named you Muslims heretofore, and in this book; that our apostle may be a witness against you at the day of judgment, and that ye may be witnesses against the rest of mankind. Wherefore be ye constant at prayer, and give alms: and adhere firmly unto GOD. He is your master; and he is the best master and the best protector.

(76) The angels. "Who are the bearers of the divine revelations to the prophets, but ought not to be the objects of worship."- Sale.

(79) Fight in defence, &c. See notes on chap. ii. 190-193, and iii. 170.

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