Revealed at Madina.


THE principal point of interest in this chapter is the reference to the adventure of Ayesha during the return of the Muslim army from the expedition against the Bani Mustaliq (for a full account of which see Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. pp.244-254). This event is alluded to in vers. 4, 5, 11-26, revealed to clear Ayesha of the calumnies raised against her by her enemies.

Connected with this same event is the milder law relating to adultery, which abrogates the stern requirements of chap. iv. 14. This scandal seems to have made clear the need of stricter laws to regulate the social intercourse of the Muslims, which should have for their end the preservation of good morals. These laws occupy a considerable portion of the chapter. They relate principally to proprieties in calling upon friends and neighbors, at their homes, proprieties of dress and personal adornment, and proprieties to be observed by larger children, and domestic servants, and slaves. One remarkable rule is laid down in ver. 32, which requires all marriageable women to be married if possible. Closely connected with this is the requirement that women should only appear in public when closely veiled, while at home they must remain in seclusion.

Degrading as most of these regulations to Muslim women are, none can fail to see their necessity. The low state of morality among Muslims consequent upon the system of polygamy and concubinage, sanctioned by the Quran and the example of Muhammad, and that facility of divorce which enables men to put away their wives whenever they please, renders that freedom of social intercourse among men and women prevalent in Christian countries an impossibility.


Probable Date of the Revelation.

The expedition to attack the Bani Mustaliq was successfully accomplished in the month of Shaban A.H. 5, and as Ayesha's adventure occurred on the return, near Madina, and as the revelation clearing her character was made one month afterwards, the date of this portion of the chapter (vers. 4, 5, 11-26) may be fixed with a good deal of certainty. Vers. 6io seem to have been added at a later date. Vers. 1-3, 27-34, and 57-61, which relate to the proprieties of social life, were very probably connected with, if they did not grow out of, Ayesha's affair, and may therefore be relegated to the latter part of A.H. 5. As to vers. 35-45, there is nothing to indicate their date beyond their style and a possible connection in sense with ver. 46 following. As, however, this connection is very doubtful, I think the passage probably Makkan. Vers. 46-56 and 62-64 belong to a period when Muhammad was in trouble and the zeal of his followers was lukewarm. Such a period might be found almost anywhere between Ohod and the end of the battle of the Ditch; but as ver. 62 seems clearly to point to the latter event, we may fairly say these verses belong to the latter part of A.H. 5.

Principal Subjects.

This chapter revealed from heaven . . . 1
Law relating to fornication . . . 2, 3
Punishment for defaming virtuous women . . . 4,5
Law relating to charge of adultery when made by a husband against his wife ... 6-10
Ayesha's slanderers reproved, and their punishment .. . 11-20
Believers warned against evil deeds . . . 21
The rich to forgive the poor, and bestow charity upon them... 22
False accusers of virtuous women for ever accursed.. . 23-25
Wicked men and women condemned to each other's society... 26
Manners to be observed in visiting each other's homes.. . 27-29
Pious men and women exhorted to modest demeanour.. . 30,31
Marriageable women to be married if possible . . . 32
Men-servants and maid-servants to be married when honest ...32
Unmarried Muslims exhorted to continence . . . 33
Masters to encourage slaves to purchase their freedom. .. 33
The Quran an admonition to the pious . . . 34
The similitude of God's light . . . . 35
The conduct of true believers described . . . 36-38
Infidelity likened to a desert mirage or the darkness of a stormy sea . . . 39


God praised by all his creatures . . . 40, 41
God revealed in all the, phenomena of nature . . . 42-45
Hypocrites rebuked and warned . . . 46-56
Regulations relating to personal and family privacy ... 57, 58
Exception in case of aged women, blind, lame, and sick.. . 59, 60
Muslims commanded to salute one another . . . 61
True believers exhorted to implicit obedience to the Apostle of God . . . 62, 63
The Omniscient God will judge all men . . . 64


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(1) This Sura have we sent down from heaven; and have ratified the same; and we have revealed evident signs, that ye may be warned. (2) The whore and the whoremonger shall ye scourge with a hundred stripes. And let not compassion towards them prevent you from executing the judgment of GOD, if ye believe in GOD and the last day and let some of the true believers be wit-

(1) Sura. See Introduction to chap. i.

(2) A hundred stripes. "This law is not to be understood to relate to married people who are of free condition, because adultery in such, according to the Sunnat, is to be punished by stoning (see chap.iv. 15)".

This verse certainly abrogates the law of chap. iv. 14 The law of stoning rests upon a verse of the Quran now nowhere to be found in it (see note on chap. iii. 23), and it is fair to infer that the law was abrogated with the erasure of the letter; but the Sunnat still awards it, accounting the spirit of the law to be in force. As a matter of fact, we do, not find that stoning is now generally practised among Muslims; nor does it appear to have ever been generally executed. The same is true of the law enunciated in this verse. Indeed, the state of morality in Muslim countries is so low as to make it difficult to find any one to cast the first stone or inflict the first stripe.

Let not compassion, &c., i.e., "be not moved by pity, either to forgive the offenders or to mitigate their punishment. Muhammad was for so strict and impartial an execution of the laws that he is reported to have said, 'If Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, steal, let her hand be struck off.'" - Sale, Baidhawi.

True believers . . witnesses. "That is, let the punishment be inflicted in public, and not in private, because the ignominy of it is more intolerable than the smart, and more likely to work a reformation on the offender. Some say there ought to be three persons


nesses of their punishment. (3) The whoremonger shall not marry any other than a harlot or an idolatress. And a harlot shall no man take in marriage, except a whoremonger or an idolater. And this kind of marriage is forbidden the true believers. (4) But as to those who accuse women of reputation of whoredom, and produce not four witnesses of the fact, scourge them with fourscore stripes, and receive not their testimony for ever; for such are infamous prevaricators; (5) excepting those who shall afterwards repent, and amend; for

present at the least, but others think two or even one to be 'sufficient."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(3) This is forbidden, &c. "The preceding passage was revealed on account of the meaner and more indigent Muhajjarins or refugees, who sought to marry the whores of the infidels taken captives in war for the sake of the gain which they made by prostituting themselves. Some think the prohibition was special, and regarded only the Muhajjarins before mentioned, and others we're of opinion it was general, but it is agreed to have been abrogated by the words which follow in this chapter, 'Marry the single women among you,' harlots being comprised under the appellation of single women .

"It is supposed by some that not marriage but unlawful commerce with such women is here forbidden."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

Abdul Qadir says the purport of the law is that neither a whore nor a whoremonger should be permitted to marry the pure so long as they continue their evil courses. But it is clear that the command was intended to restrain vice by making honourable marriage impossible to the criminals mentioned here.

(4) Women of reputation. "The Arabic word muhsinat properly signifies 'women of unblamable conduct;' but, to bring the chastisement after mentioned on the calumniator, it is also requisite that they be free women of ripe age having their understandings perfect, and of the Muhammadan religion. Though the word be of the feminine gender, yet men are also supposed to be comprised in this law.

"Abu Hanifa was of opinion that the slanderer ought to be scourged in public as well as the fornicator, but the generality are against him."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

The person said to be referred to here, according to Muslim, i. 886, Tirmuzi, 523, and others, was Hilal Bin Umaiya, who had accused his wife of adultery. Others say it refers to Uwainir Ibn Al Harith al Ajlani.

Four witnesses. See note on chap. iv. 14.

(5) Excepting those who repent. Muhammad was not in a position to punish all the guilty in this case, especially in the case of Abdullah Ibn Ubbai (see below on ver. 11).


unto such will GOD be gracious and merciful. (6) They who shall accuse their wives of adultery, and shall have no witnesses thereof besides themselves, the testimony which shall be required of one of them shall be, that he swear four times by GOD that he speaketh the truth; (7) and the fifth time that he imprecate the curse of GOD on him if lie be a liar. (8) And it shall avert the punishment from the wife if she swear four times by GOD that he is a liar; (9) and if the fifth time she imprecate the wrath of GOD on ,her if he speaketh the truth. (10) If it were not for the indulgence of GOD towards you, and his mercy, and that GOD is easy to be reconciled, and wise, he would immediately discover your crimes.

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(11) As to the party among you who have published the falsehood concerning Ayesha, think it not to be an evil

(6-10) These verses seem to have been inserted here at some later period, perhaps by the compilers. They break the continuity of the subject begun in ver. 4 and continued in ver. II..

He shall swear, &c. "In case both swear, the man's oath discharges him from the imputation and penalty of slander, and the woman's oath frees her from the imputation and penalty of adultery; but, though the woman do swear to her innocence, yet the marriage is actually void, or ought to be declared void by the judge, because it is not fit they should continue together after they have come to these extremities."- Sale, Baidhawi.

No provision is made for the wife to convict her husband of adultery by this swearing process in case she should bring such a charge.

Rodwell thinks Muhammad must have, been acquainted with Numb. v.11-31.

(11) The falsekood concerning Ayesha. "For the understanding of this passage it is necessary to relate the following story : - Muhammad having undertaken an expedition against the tribe of Mustaliq, in the sixth year of the Hijra, took his wife Ayesha with him to accompany him. In their return, when they were not far from Madina, the army removing by night, Ayesha, on her return, alighted from her camel and stepped aside on a private occasion, but on her return, perceiving she had dropped her necklace, which was of onyxes of Dhafar, she went back to look for it, and in the meantime her attendants, taking it for granted that she was got into her pavilion (or little tent surrounded with curtains, wherein women are carried in the East), set it again on the camel, and led it away.. When she came back to the road and saw her camel was gone, she sat down there, expecting that when she was missed some would be sent back to fetch her, and in a little time she fell asleep. Early in the morning Safwau Ibn al Muattil, who had stayed behind to rest himself,


unto you: on the contrary, it is better for you. Every man of them shall be punished according to the injustice of which he hath been guilty; and he among them who hath undertaken to aggravate the same shall suffer a grievous punishment. (12) Did not the faithful men and the faithful women, when ye heard this, judge in their own minds for the best, and say, This is a manifest falsehood? (13) Have they produced four witnesses thereof? where-

coming by and perceiving somebody asleep, went to see who it was, and knew it to be Ayesha; upon which he waked her by twice pronouncing with a low voice these words, ' We are God's, and unto him must we return.' Then Ayesha immediately covered herself with her veil, and Safwan set her on his own camel and led her after the army, which they overtook by noon as they were resting.

"This accident had like to have ruined Ayesha, whose reputation was publically called in question, as if she had been guilty of adultery with Safwan ; and Muhammad himself knew not what to think when he reflected on the circumstances of the affair, which were improved by some malicious people very much to Ayesha's dishonour; and, notwithstanding his wife's protestations of her innocence, he could not get rid of his perplexity nor stop the mouths of the censorious, till about a month afterwards, when this passage was revealed, declaring the accusation to be unjust."- Sale, Baidhawi, Abul Fida.

Better for you. "The words are directed to the Prophet, and to Abu Baqr, Ayesha, and Safwdn, the persons concerned in this false report ; since, besides the amends they might expect in the next world, God had done them the honour to clear their reputations by revealing eighteen verses expressly for that purpose." - Sale, Baidhawi.

Every man of them, &c. "The persons concerned in spreading the scandal were Abdullah Ibn Ubbai (who first raised it, and inflamed the matter to the utmost, out of hatred to Muhammad), Zaid Ibn Rifaa, Hassan Ibn Thabit, Mastah Ibn Othutha, a great-grandson of Abdul Muntallib'a, and Hamna Bint Jahash ; and every one of them received fourscore stripes pursuant to the law ordained in this chapter, except only Abdullah, who was exempted, being a man of great consideration".

And he among them, &c., viz., Abdullah Ibn Ubbai. Muir says: "Mahomet did not venture to enforce the sentence against Abdallah. It was fortunate that be refrained from doing so, for a time of trial was approaching when the alienation of this powerful citizen and his adherents might have proved fatal to his cause."- Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 251.

Brinckman remarks "that Muhammad appears to have been a respecter of persons and a contrast to John and our Lord, who seem to have reproved the 'men in power the most."- Notes on Islam, p.149.

(13) Have they produced four witnesses? The author of the Notes


fore since they have not produced the witnesses, they are surely liars in the sight of GOD. (14) Had it not been for the indulgence of GOD towards you, and his mercy, in this world and in that which is to come, verily a grievous punishment had been inflicted on you, for the calumny which ye have spread: when ye published that with your tongues, and spoke that with your mouths, of which ye had no knowledge; and esteemed it to be light, whereas it was a matter of importance in the sight of GOD.


(15) When ye beard it, did ye say, It belongeth not unto us, that we should talk of this matter: GOD forbid! this is a grievous calumny. (16) GOD warneth you that ye return not to the like crime for ever, if ye be true believers. (17) And GOD declareth unto you his signs; for GOD is knowing and wise. (18) Verily they who love that scandal be published of those who believe, shall receive a severe punishment both in this world and in the next. (19) GOD knoweth, but ye know not. (2()) Had

on the Roman Urdu Quran charges Muhammad with partiality in order to shield the fair fame of is favourite wife, inasmuch as in crimes of this character it would rarely be possible to find four witnesses, especially when they must all be men. Certainly Muhammad's argument to show Ayesha's innocence, as it stands here, is frivolous enough, and this law could hardly ever operate to convict the guilty,* but the suspicion that the law was invented for the purpose of shielding Ayesha is unfounded, because this law had already been in existence for several years (see chap. iv. 14). A much more conjecture is that the milder law for the punishment of adultery given in ver. 2, was promulgated under the fear Ayesha might yet be proved guilty of the crime charged against her. It is fair to suppose that during those thirty days of suspense, Muhammad's mind must have undergone much agony at the thought of the possibility of his favourite wife being immured alive, and of the possible effect such a proceeding might have upon Abu Baqr. If under such circumstances, he modified the law we should not be surprised. Indeed we know that, as a matter of policy, he did not execute the law relating to libel on Abdullah Ibn Ubbai, who was the chief offender; see note above on ver. II.

* Muir says: "The practical result of Mahomet's rule is that the Mahometan husband immures or secludes his wife, or watches her at every turn, and with such a system is this to be wondered at?"- Life of Mahornet, iii. 253, note.


it not been for the indulgence of GOD towards you and his mercy, and that GOD is gracious and merciful, ye had felt his vengeance.

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(21) O true believers, follow not the steps of the devil; for whosoever shall follow the steps of the devil, he will command them filthy crimes, and that which is unlawful. If it were not for the indulgence of GOD and his mercy towards you, there had not been so much as one of you cleansed from his guilt for ever; but GOD cleanseth whom he pleaseth, for GOD both heareth and knoweth. (22) Let not those among you who possess abundance of wealth and have ability swear that they will not give unto their kindred, and the poor, and those who have fled their country for the sake of GOD's true religion; but let them forgive and act with benevolence towards them. Do ye not desire that GOD should pardon you? And God is gracious and merciful. (23) Moreover, they who falsely accuse modest women, who behave in a negligent manner, and are true believers, shall be cursed in this world and in the world to come; and they shall suffer a severe punishment. (24) One day their own tongues shall bear witness against them, and their hands and their feet concerning that which they have done.. (25) On that day shall GOD render unto them their just due, and they shall know that GOD is the

(22) "This passage was revealed on account of Abu Baqr, who swore that he would not for the future bestow anything on Mastah, though he was his mother's sister's son, and a poor Muhajir or refugee, because he had joined in scandalism his daughter Ayesha. But on Muhammad's reading this verse to im, he continued Mastah's pension."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(23) Behave in a negligent manner, i.e., "who may be less careful in their conduct and more free in their behaviour, as being conscious of no ill."- Sale.

They shall suffer, &c. "Though the words be general, yet they principally regard those who should calumniate the Prophet's wives. According to a saying of Ibn Abbas, if the threats contained in the whole Quran be examined, there are none so severe as those occasioned by the false accusation of Ayesha; wherefore he thought even repentance would stand her slanderers in no stead."- Sale, Baidhawi.


evident truth. (26) The wicked women should be joined to the wicked men, and the wicked men to the wicked women; but the good women should be married to the good men, and the good men to the good women. These shall be cleared from the calumnies which slanderers speak of them; they shall obtain pardon, and an, honourable provision.

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(27) O true believers, enter not any houses, besides your own houses, until ye have asked leave, and have saluted the family thereof; this is better for you, per-adventure ye will be admonished. (28) And if ye shall find no person in the houses, yet do not enter them until leave be granted you; and if it be said unto you, Return back, do ye return back. This will be more decent for you; and GOD knoweth that which ye do. (29) It shall be no crime in you that ye enter uninhabited houses, wherein ye may meet with a convenience. GOD knoweth that which ye discover and that which ye conceal. (30) Speak unto the true believers, that they restrain their

(26) Wicked women, &c. See above on ver. 3.

These shall be cleared. "Al Baidhawi observes, on this passage, that God cleared four persons by four extraordinary testimonies; for he cleared Joseph by the testimony of a child in his mistress's family (chap. xii. 26); Moses, by means of the stone which fled away with his garments (chap. xxxiii. 69); Mary, by the testimony of her infant (chap. xix. 31); and Ayesha, by these verses of the Quran."- Sale.

(27) Until ye have asked leave. "To enter suddenly or abruptly into any man's house or apartment is reckoned a great incivility iii the East, because a person may possibly be surprise d in an indecent action or posture, or may have something discovered which he would conceal. It is said that a man came to Muhammad, and wanted to know whether he must ask leave to go in to his sister; which being answered in the affirmative, he told the Prophet that his sister had nobody else to attend upon her, and it would be troublesome to ask leave every time he went in to her. 'What I' replied Muhammad, 'wouldest thou see her naked? "' - Sale, Baidhawi.

(28) More decent i.e., "than to be importunate for admission or to wait at the door. -Sale.

(29) Uninhabited homes, i.e., "which are not the private habitation of a family, such as public inns, shops, sheds, &c."-Sate. (30) That they restrain their eyes. To illustrate the importance


eyes, and keep themselves from immodest actions; this will be more pure for them, for GOD is well acquainted with that which they do. (31) And speak unto the believing women, that they restrain their eyes and preserve their modesty, and discover not their ornaments, except what necessarily appeareth thereof; and let them throw their veils over their bosoms, and not show their ornaments, unless to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands' fathers, or their sons, or their husbands' sons, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the captives which their right hands shall possess, or unto such men as attend them, and have no need of women, or unto children who distinguish not the nakedness of women. And let them

of this rule in Muhammad's own case, see note on chap. xxxiii. 37.

(31) Discover not their ornaments. "As their clothes, jewels, and the furniture of their toilet, much less such parts of their bodies as ought not to be seen."- Sale.

Except what . . . appeareth. "Some think their outward garments are here meant, and others their hands and faces it is generally held, however, that a free woman ought not to discover even those parts, unless to the persons after excepted, or on some unavoidable occasion, as their giving evidence in public, taking advice or medicines in case of sickness, &c."- Sale.

Veils over their bosoms. "Taking care to cover their heads, necks, and breasts. "- Sale.

Husbands. "For whose sake It is that they adorn themselves, and who alone have the privilege to see their whole body."- Sale.

Sisters' sons. "These near relations are also excepted, because they cannot avoid seeing them frequently, and there is no great danger to be apprehended from them. They are allowed, therefore, to see what cannot well be concealed in so familiar an intercourse, hut no other part of their body.

"Uncles not being here particularly mentioned, it is a doubt whether they may be admitted to see their nieces. Some think they are included under the appellation of brothers, but others are of opinion that they are not comprised in this exception, and give this reason for it, viz., lest they should describe the persons of their nieces to their sons. "- Sale, Baidhawi.

Or their women. "That is, such as are of the Muhammadan religion, it being reckoned by some unlawful, or at least indecent, for a woman who is a true believer to uncover herself before one who is an infidel, because she will hardly refrain describing her to the men; but others suppose all women in general are here


not make a noise with their feet, that their ornaments which they hide may thereby be discovered. And be ye all turned unto GOD, O true believers, that ye may be happy. (32) Marry those who are single among you, and such as are honest of your men-servants and your maidservants: if they be poor, GOD will enrich them of his abundance; for GOD is bounteous and wise. (33) And let those who find not a match keep themselves from fornication until GOD shall enrich them of his abundance. And unto such of your slaves as desire a written instrument allowing them to redeem themselves on paying

excepted, for in this particular doctors differ."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

Or the captives, &c. "Slaves of either sex are included in this exemption, and, as some think, domestic servants who are not slaves, as those of a different nation. It is related that Muhammad once made a present of a man-slave to his daughter Fatima; and when he brought him to her, she had on a garment which was so scanty that she was obliged to leave either her head or her feet uncovered; and that the Prophet, seeing her in great confusion on that account, told her she need be under no concern, for that there was none present besides her father and her slave."- Sale Jalaluddin.

Such men as have no need, &c. "Or have no desire to enjoy them; such as decrepid old men and deformed or silly person; who follow people as hangers-on for their spare victuals, being too despicable to raise either a woman's passion or a man's jealousy. Whether eunuchs are comprehended under this general designation is a question among the learned."- Sale, Jalaluddin.

Let them not make a noise, &c. "By shaking the rings which the women in the East wear about their ankles, and are usually of gold or silver. The pride which the Jewish ladies of old took in making a tinkling with those ornaments of their feet is (among other things of that nature) severely reproved by the prophet Isaiah" (Isa. iii 16, 18).- Sale.

(32) Those who are single, i.e., "those who are unmarried of either sex whether they have been married before or not."- Sale.

The purport of the command is that marriageable women, single or widowed, are not to be allowed to remain unmarried. See Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco.

(33) Such of your slaves, &c. "Of either sex."- Sale.

This passage clearly encourages every Muslim to free the slaves he may possess. The slaves are either captives taken in war or those born in the household. There is no express command of the Quran wherein the slave-dealer can find any refuge for his wicked trade. Muslims are also encouraged to liberate their slaves - pre-


a certain sum write one, if ye know good in them; and give them of the riches of GOD, which he hath given you. And compel not your maid-servants to prostitute themselves, if they be willing to live chastely; that ye may seek the casual advantage of this present life; but whoever shall compel them thereto, verily GOD will be gracious and merciful unto such women after their compul-

sumably those who have become Muslims - and in this verse it is' declared to be a meritorious act to "give them of the riches of God," in order to enable them to purchase their liberty. There is' however, something to be said on the other side of this question :-(i) Slave-holding is not a sin according to the teaching of Islam. lt knows nothing of the royal law, "Love thy neighbour as thy-self." (2) Captives taken in war are lawful property for the Muslim both the example and precept of the Prophet establish this point. (3) Slave concubinage, which is everywhere allowed in the Quran (see note on chap. iv. 3), is perhaps the strongest reason why the curse of slavery will be perpetuated so long as Islam has power to act on its own principles ; (4) and, finally, while it is certainly allowed to be meritorious to free slaves, and while Muhammad set an example to his followers on this point, there is nothing in the Quran which can fairly be interpreted as teaching that slavery should be abolished in toto, as an evil inconsistent with the principles of true religion. There is, then, such inconsistency in the teaching of the Quran on the subject of slavery as to render futile any attempt at removing this evil from Muslim practice by moral suasion.

A written instrument. "Whereby the master obliges himself to set his slave at liberty, on receiving a certain sum of money, which the slave undertakes to pay."- Sale.

The slave may secure the money either by agreeing to produce so much for his master by his labour within a fixed period, or get it as alms from rich Muslims. See Tafsir-i-Abdul Qadir.

If ye know good in them. "That is, if ye have found them faithful, and have reason to believe they will perform their engagement."- Sale.

Give them of the riches, &c. "Either by bestowing something on them of your own substance, or by abating them a part of their ransom. Some suppose these words are directed not to the masters only, but to all Muslims in general; recommending it to them to assist those who have obtained their freedom and paid their ransom, either out of their own stock or by admitting them to have a share in the public alms."- Sale, Baidhawi.

Compel not, &c. "It seems Abdullah Ibn Ubbai had six women-slaves on whom he laid a certain tax, which he obliged them to earn by the prostitution of their bodies; and one of them made her complaint to Muhammad, which occasioned the revelation of this passage.


sion. (34) And now have we revealed unto you evident signs, and a history like unto some of the histories of those who have gone before you, and an admonition unto the pious.

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(35) God is the light of heaven and earth, the similitude of his light is as a niche in a wall wherein a lamp is placed, and the lamp enclosed in a case of glass; the glass appears as it were a shining star. It is lighted with the oil of a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west: it wanteth little but that the oil thereof would give light, although no fire touched it. This is light added unto light. GOD will direct unto his light whom he pleaseth. GOD propoundeth parables unto men, for GOD knoweth all things. (36) In the houses which GOD hath permitted to be raised, and that his name be commemorated therein! men celebrate his praise in the same morning and evening, (37) whom neither merchandising nor selling diverteth

God will be gracious i.e., "be will find no fault with the slave-girls thus compelled to immorality." - Tafsir-i-Raufi.

(34) A history like, &c., i.e., "the story of the false accusation of Ayesha, which resembles those of Joseph and the Virgin Mary."- Sale.

(35) God is the light. Comp. 1 John i. 5 and I Tim. vi. 16.

An olive, &c. "But of a more excellent kind. Some think the meaning to be that the tree grows neither in the eastern nor the western parts, but in the midst of the world, namely, in Syria, where the best olives grow."- Sale, Baidhawi.

Light unto light. "Or a light whose brightness is doubly increased by the circumstances above mentioned.

"The commentators explain this allegory and every particular of it with great subtlety, interpreting the light here described to be the light revealed in the Quran, or God's enlightening grace in the heart of man, and in divers other manners."- Sale.

(36) The houses. "The connection of these words is not very obvious. Some suppose they ought to be joined with the preceding words, 'Like a niche,' or 'It is lighted in the houses,' &c., and that the comparison is more strong and just by being made to the lamps in mosques, which are larger than those in private houses. Some think they are rather to be connected with the following words, 'Men praise,' &c. And others are of opinion they are an im perfect beginning of a sentence, and tbat the words, 'Praise ye God,' or the like, are to be understood. However, the houses here intended are those set a p art for divine worship, or particularly the three principal temples of Makkah, Madina, and Jerusalem."- Sale, Baidhawi.


from the remembering of GOD, and the observance of prayer and the giving of alms, fearing the day whereon men's hearts and eyes shall be troubled; (38) that GOD may recompense them according to the utmost merit of what they shall have wrought, and may add unto them of his abundance a more excellent reward, for GOD bestoweth on whom he pleaseth without measure. (39) But as to the unbelievers, their works are like the vapor in a plain, which the thirsty traveller thinketh to be water, until, when he cometh thereto, he findeth it to be nothing; but he findeth GOD with him, and he will fully pay him his account; and GOD is swift in taking an account; (40) or as the darkness in a deep sea, covered by waves riding on waves, above which are clouds, being additions of darkness one over the other; when one stretcheth forth his hand, he is far from seeing it. And unto whomsoever God shall not grant his light, he shall enjoy no light at all.

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(41) Dost thou not perceive that all creatures both in heaven and earth praise God, and the birds also extending their wings? Every one knoweth his prayer and his praise, and GOD knoweth that which they do. (42) Unto GOD belongeth the kingdom of heaven and earth, and unto GOD shall be the return at the last day. (43) Dost thou not see that GOD gently driveth forward the clouds, and

(39, 40)" These verses, in which infidelity is compared to a tempestuous sea, of which the crested waves below mingle with the lowering clouds above - a scene of impenetrable darkness and despair - are to my apprehension amongst tile grandest and most powerful in the whole Coran."- Muir in Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p.309.

The vapour in a plain. "The Arabic word Sarab signifies that false appearance which, in the Eastern countries, is often seen in sandy plains about noon, resembling a large lake of water in motion... It sometimes tempts thirsty travellers out of their way, but deceives them when they come nearer, either going forward (for it always appears at the same distance) or quite vanishing."- Sale.

He findeth God. "That is, he will not escape the notice or vengeance of God."- Sale.

(41) All creatures.... praise God. "By exhibiting the proofs of his being and attributes"- Tafsir-i-Raufi.


gathereth them together, and then layeth them on heaps? Thou also seest the rain which falleth from the midst thereof, and God sendeth down from heaven as it were mountains, wherein there is hail; he striketh therewith whom he pleaseth, and turneth the same away from whom he pleaseth: the brightness of his lightning wanteth but little of taking away the sight. (44) GOD shifteth the night and the day: verily herein is an instruction unto those who have sight. And GOD hath created every animal of water; one of them goeth on his belly, and an other of them walketh upon two feet, and another of them walketh upon four feet: GOD createth that which he pleaseth, for GOD is almighty. (45) Now have we sent down evident signs, and GOD directeth whom he pleaseth into the right way. (46) The hypocrites say, We believe in GOD and on his Apostle, and we obey them, yet a part of them turneth back after this; but these are not really believers. (47) And when they are summoned before GOD and his Apostle that he may judge between them, behold a part of them retire.


(48) But if the right had been on their side, they would have come and submitted themselves unto him. (49) Is there an infirmity in their hearts? Do they doubt? Or do they fear lest GOD and his Apostle act unjustly towards them? But themselves are the unjust doers.

(44) God hath created every animal of water. "This assertion, which has already occurred in another place (chap. xxi. 31), being not true in strictness, the commentators suppose that by water is meant seed, or else that water is mentioned only as the chief cause of the growth of animals, and a considerable and necessary constituent part of their bodies."- Sale.

(46-49) Noeldeke thinks the passage beginning with ver. 46 and ending with ver. 56 belongs to a period between Ohod and the Battle of the Ditch - a time when it went hard with Muhammad.

(49) The unjust doers. "This passage was occasioned by Bashir the hypocrite, who, having a controversy with a Jew, appealed to Qab Ibn al Ashraf, whereas the Jew appealed to Muhammad (see note, chap. iv. 58), or, as others tell us, by Mughaira Ibn Wail, who refused to submit a dispute he had with Ah to the Prophet's decision. "- Sale.


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(50) The saying of the true believers, when they are summoned before GOD and his Apostle that he may judge between them, is no other than that they say, We have heard and do obey, and these are they who shall prosper. (51) Whoever shall obey GOD and his Apostle, and shall fear GOD, and shall be devout towards him, these shall enjoy great felicity. (52) They swear by GOD, with a most solemn oath, that if thou commandest them they will go forth from their houses and possessions. Say, Swear not to a falsehood, obedience is more requisite, and GOD is well acquainted with that which ye do. (53) Say, Obey GOD and obey the Apostle; but if ye turn back, verily it is expected of him that he perform his duty, and of you that ye perform your duty, and if ye obey him ye shall be directed; but the duty of our Apostle is only public preaching. (54)GOD promiseth unto such of you as believe and do good works that he will cause them to succeed the unbelievers in the earth, as he caused those who were before you to succeed the infidels of their time, and that he will establish for them their religion which pleaseth them, and will change their fear into security. They shall worship me, and shall not associate any other with me. But whoever shall disbelieve after this, they will be the wicked doers.(55) Observe prayer and give alms and obey the Apostle, that ye may obtain mercy. (56) Think not that the unbelievers shall frustrate the designs of God on earth, and their abode hereafter shall be hell-fire; a miserable journey shall it be thither!

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(57) O true believers, let your slaves and those among you who shall not have attained the age of puberty ask

(54) Those . . . before you, &c. The allusion is to the Israelites, who dispossessed the Canaanites. Some authors regard this as a prophecy. The meaning seems to be, that as God had ill the past destroyed the infidels who persecuted his prophets, so now he would destroy the enemies of the Muslims.

(57) Let your slave; &c . . . ask leave. "Because there are certain times when it is not convenient even for a domestic or a child


leave of you, before they come into your presence, three times in the day, namely, before the morning prayer, and when you lay aside your garments at noon, and after the evening prayer. These are the three times for you to be private: it shall be no crime in you, or in them, if they go into you without asking permission after these times, while Ye are in frequent attendance, the one of you on the other. Thus GOD declareth his signs unto you; for GOD is know mg and wise. (58) And when your children attain the age of puberty, let them ask leave to come into your presence at all times, in the same manner as those who have attained that age before them ask leave. Thus GOD declareth his signs unto you; and GOD is knowing and wise. (59) As to such women as are past child-bearing, who hope

to come in to one without notice. It is said that this passage was revealed on account of Asma Bint Murthad, whose servant entered suddenly upon her at an improper time; but others say it was occasioned by Mudraj Ibn Amru, then a boy, who being sent by Muhammad to call Omar to him, went directly into the room where he was, without giving notice, and found him taking his noon's nap, and in no very decent posture; at which Omar was so ruffled that he wished God would or even their fathers and children to come in to them abruptly at such times."- Sale, Baidhawi.

"The ancient authority of the father of a family, the first which was known to man, is still preserved entire in the East. The Quran did not establish it. It only rendered it more sacred. There a father of a family still enjoys all the rights conferred on him by nature. He is the judge and high priest. His servants, his children, do not come into his presence without his permission. They are bound to go at morning, noon, and at evening to offer their services to him and receive his blessing. He decides on the disputes which arise between them, and sacrifices the victims of the Bairam (the festival of the Turks). It is there that objects capable of exciting affecting emotions may be seen. Under the same roof often reside four generations. Extreme old age, robust manhood, and tender infancy may there be seen united together by sacred and cherished ties."- Savary.

Three times in the day, i.e., "morning praysr, 'which is the time of people's rising from their beds;' noon, 'when ye take off your upper garments to sleep, which is a custom common in the East an all warm countries;' and evening prayer, 'when ye undress yourselves to prepare for bed.' Al Baidhawi adds a fourth season when permision to enter must be asked, viz., at night: but this follows of course. - Sale.

(59) See above on vers. 27-31.


not to marriage again because of their advanced age, it shall be no crime in them if they lay aside their outer garments, not showing their ornaments; but if they abstain from this, it will be better for them. GOD both heareth and knoweth. (60) It shall be no crime in the blind, nor shall it be any crime in the lame, neither shall it be any crime in the sick, or in yourselves, that ye eat in your houses, or in the houses of your fathers, or the houses of your mothers, or in the houses of your brothers, or the houses of your sisters, or the houses of your uncle on the father's side, or the houses of your aunts on the father's side, or the houses of your uncles on the mother's side, the houses of your aunts on the mother's side, or in those houses the keys whereof ye have in your possession, or in the house of your friend. It shall not be any crime in you whether ye eat together or separately. (61) And when ye enter any houses, salute one another

(60) That they eat in your houses, i.e., "where your wives or families are; or in the houses of your sons, which may be looked on as your own."This passage was designed to remove some scruples or superstitions of the Arabs in Muhammad's time, some of whom thought their eating with maimed or sick people defiled them ; others imagined they ought not to eat in the house of another, though ever so nearly related to them, or though they were intrusted with the key and care of the house in the master's absence, and might there-fore conclude it would be no offence ; and others declined eating with their friends though invited, lest they should be burthensome. The whole passage seems to be no more than a declaration that the things scrupled were perfectly innocent. However, the commentators say it is now abrogated and that it related only to the old Arabs in the infancy of Muhammadanism."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

Muir interprets this passage as simply exempting these classes from the prohibition of dining familiarly in each other's apartments (see Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p.234).

Eat together or separately. "As the tribe of Laith thought it unlawful for a man to eat alone, and some of the Ansars; if they had a guest with them, never ate but in his company, so there were others who refused to eat with any, out of a superstitious caution lest they should be defiled, or out of a hoggish greediness."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(61) Salute one another. "Literally, yourselves; that is, accord-


on the part of GOD with a blessed and a welcome salutation. Thus GOD declareth his signs unto you, that ye may understand.

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(62) Verily they only are true believers who believe in GOD and his Apostle, and when they are assembled with him on any affair, depart not until they, have obtained leave of him. Verily they who ask leave of thee are those who believe in GOD and his Apostle. When therefore they ask leave of thee to depart, on account of any business of their own, grant leave unto such of them as thou shalt think fit, and ask pardon for them of GOD; for GOD is gracious and merciful. (63) Let not the calling of the Apostle be esteemed among you, as your calling the one to the other. GOD knoweth such of you as privately withdraw themselves from the assembly, taking shelter behind, one another. But let those who withstand his command take heed lest some calamity befall them in this world, or a grievous punishment be inflicted on them in the life to come. (64) Doth not what

ing to al Baidhawi, the people of the house, to whom ye are united by the ties of blood, and by the common bond of religion. 'And if there be nobody in the house,' says Jalaluddin, 'salute yourselves, and say, Peace be on us, and on the righteous servants of God: for the angels will return your salutation. "- Sale.

(62) An affair. "As at public prayers, or a solemn feast, or at council, or on a military expedition."- Sale.

Ask pardon for them. Because such departure, though with leave and on a reasonable excuse, is a kind of failure in the exact performance of their duty, seeing they prefer their temporal affairs to the advancement of the true religion. - Sale, Baidhawi.

(63) Let not the calling of the apostles, &c. "These words are variously interpreted: for their meaning may be, either, Make not light of the Apostle's summons, as ye would of another person's of equal condition with yourselves, by not obeying it, or by departing out of, or coming into, his presence without leave first obtained ; or, Think not that when the Apostle calls upon God in prayer, it is with him, as with you, when ye prefer a petition to a superior, who sometimes grants, but as often denies your suit; or, Call not to the Apostle, as ye do to one another, that is, by name, or familiarly and with a loud voice; but make use of some honourable compellation, as, O apostle of God or O prophet of God; and speak in an humble, modest manner."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.


ever is in heaven and on earth belong unto GOD? He well knoweth what ye are about: and on a certain day they shall be assembled before him; and he shall declare unto them that which they have done; for GOD knoweth all things.

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