Revealed at Makkh.


THE object for which this chapter was written seems to have been to rebuke and warn the Quraish of Makkah on account of their obstinate unbelief in the Quran They had boldly declared it to be a forgery, and had challenged Muhammad to hurry on the judgments of God he had threatened against their unbelief.

In reply to this accusation, Muhammad reasserts the inspired character of his revelations, and denounces the impiety of his towns-people, assuring them that God who created them would bring them out of their graves and have them before him, and pass condemnation upon them. He tells them they will then repent, but all in vain. The declaration of God must be fulfilled, "Verily I win fill hell with genii and men together!" There they shall abide for ever; and so often as they shall endeavour to escape, they shall be dragged back again into torments.

The chapter ends with words indicating the mutual defiance of Muhammad and his people.

The Probable Date of the Revelations.

The interpretation which would make ver. 16 refer to the poor emigrants at Madina, and vers. 18-21 to an incident at the battle of Badr, being erroneous, the whole chapter must be regarded as Makkan. Guided by the style and spirit of the contents, the date may be fixed approximately at about the middle of the third stage of Muhammad's ministry. If; however, the temporal punishment alluded to in ver. 21 be the great famine, as suggested in note there, the date would be much later.


Principal Subjects.

The Quran is without doubt inspired revelation ... I
Muhammad did not forge the Quran . . . 2
The heavens and earth created in six days . . . 3
God will judge all men after the resurrection . . . 4
The Omniscient God the Creator of mankind . . . 5-8
Yet man, the creature, denies the resurrection . . . 9, 10
Unbelievers shall be brought before God . . . 11
They shall repent too late to avail for pardon . . . 12
Hell must be filled with genii and men . . . 13,14
The reward of true believers . . . 15-19
The punishment of unbelievers here and hereafter .. . 20, 21
To reject God's signs a great sin . . . 22
The Pentateuch given to Moses . . . 23
Teachers chosen from among the Israelites to direct them in the way of God . . .24
God will settle their disputes in the Judgment-day . .. 25
The people of Makkah warned by the fate of their predecessors . . .26
The resurrection typified in nature, but infidels do not understand . . .27
The infidels urge Muhammad to hasten the judgment-day ... 28-30


(1) A. L. M. The revelation of this book, there is no doubt thereof, is from the LORD of all creatures. (2) Will they say, Muhammad hath forged it? Nay, it is the truth from thy LORD, that thou mayest preach to a people unto whom no preacher hath come before thee; peradventure they will be directed. (3) It is GOD who hath created the heavens and the earth, and whatever is between them, in six days; and then ascended his throne.

(1) A.L.M. See Prelim. Disc., p.101, and note on chap. ii. I.

There is no doubt. See note on chap. ii. 2.

(2) Muhammad hath forged it. See chap. xi. 36, and xxv. 5, 6.

Unto whom no preacher hath come before thee. See note on chap. xxviii. 46.

(3) Six days. See notes on chaps. vii. 55, x. 3, xl. 8, and xxv. 60.


Ye have no patron or intercessor besides him. Will ye not therefore consider? (4) He governeth all things from heaven even to the earth: hereafter shall they return unto him, on the day whose length shall be a thousand years, of those which ye compute. (5) This is he who knoweth the future and the present; the mighty, the merciful. (6) It is he who hath made everything which he hath created exceeding good; and first created man of clay, (7) and afterwards made his posterity of an extract of despicable water; (8) and then formed him into proper shape, and breathed of his spirit into him; and hath given you the senses of hearing and seeing and hearts to understand. How small thanks do ye return? (9) And they say, When we shall lie hidden in the earth, shall we be

No patron or intercessor besides him. See notes on chaps. ii. 47, 123, 254, and vi. 50.

(4) A thousand years. "As to the reconciliation of this passage with another (chap. lxx. 4), which seems contradictory, see the Prelim. Disc., p.137.

"Some, however, do not interpret the passage before us of the resurrection, but suppose that the words here describe the making and executing of the decrees of God, which are sent down from heaven to earth, and are returned (or ascend, as the verb properly signifies) back to him, after they have been put in execution; and present themselves, as it were so executed, to his knowledge, in the space of a day with God, but with man, of a thousand years. Others imagine this space to be the time which the angels who carry the divine decrees and bring them back executed take in descending and reascending, because the distance from heaven to earth is a journey of five hundred years: and others fancy that the angels bring down at once decrees for a thousand years to come, which being expired, they return back for fresh orders, &c."- Sale, Baidhawi.

All these explanations have been made to avoid the contradiction alluded to above. The expressions "return to him " and "the day" are too definitely fixed to admit of any reference except to the day of judgment. The sentiment of the following verses also limits the meaning in the same way.

(7) Despicable water. See note on chap. xxiv. 44.

(8) Breathed his spirit into him. If the spirit referred to here does not mean Gabriel, it may fairly be asked why the commentators should insist on understanding Gabriel to be alluded to in the passages which speak of Mary's conception by the Holy Spirit. See notes on chap. ii. 86, iii. 39, and iv. 169.


raised thence a new creature? (10) Yea, they deny the meeting of their LORD at the resurrection. (11) Say, The angel of death, who is set over you, shall cause you to die: then shall ye be brought back unto your LORD.

R 2/15.

(12) If thou couldest see when the wicked shall bow down their heads before their LORD, saying, O LORD, we have seen and have heard: suffer us therefore to return into the world, and we will work that which is right; since we are now certain of the truth of what hath been preached to us, thou wouldest see an amazing sight. (13). If we had pleased, we had certainly given unto every soul its direction; but the word which hath proceeded from me must necessarily be fulfilled when I said, Verily I will fill hell with genii and men altogether. (14) Taste therefore the torment prepared for you, because ye have forgotten the coming of this your day: we also have forgotten you; taste therefore the punishment of eternal duration for that which ye have wrought. (15) Verily they only believe in our signs who, when they are warned thereby, fall down adoring and celebrate the praise of their LORD, and are not elated with pride; (16) their sides are raised from their beds, calling on their LORD with fear and with hope; and they distribute alms out of what we have bestowed on them. (17) No soul knoweth the complete satisfaction which is secretly pre

(11) The angel of death. See Prelim. Disc., p.120.

(13) I will fill hell &c. See note on chap. xi. 119, also vii. 180.

(14) Taste therefore, &c. See note on chaps. ii. 38, and iv. 54.

Eternal duration. This for infidels only. Modern Muslims believe that those Muslims who merit hell-fire will be delivered again after enduring the punishment of their sin; but this doctrine receives no more support from the Quran than does the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory receive from the Bible.

(17) No soul, &c. "Not even an angel of those who approach nearest God's throne, nor any prophet who hath been sent by him." - Sale, Baidhawi.

This is one of a very few passages of the Quran relied on by Muslims of advanced thought (Syed Amir Ali, Life of Mahomet, p.279) to prove that the heaven of Islam does not afford simply material and carnal joys. But this passage predicates nothing on


pared for them, as a reward for that which they have wrought. (18) Shall he, therefore, who is a true believer be as he who is an impious transgressor? They shall not be held equal. (10) As to those who believe and do that which is right, they shall have garden of perpetual abode, an ample recompense for that which they shall have wrought; (20) but as for those who impiously transgress, their abode shall be hell-fire; so often as they shall endeavour to get thereout, they shall be dragged back into the same, and it shall be said unto them, Taste ye the torment of hell-fire, which ye rejected as a falsehood. (21) And we will cause them to taste the nearer punishment of this world, besides the more grievous punishment of the next; peradventure they will repent.


R 3/16.

(22) Who is more unjust than he who is warned by the signs of his LORD, and then turneth aside from the same? We will surely take vengeance on the wicked. (23) We heretofore delivered the book of the law unto Moses; wherefore be not thou in doubt as to the revelation thereof: and we ordained the same to be a direction

this subject whatever, while the Quran is full of descriptions of the gardens, rivers, black-eyed maidens, &c., of Paradise. See note on chap. iii.15.

Satisfaction. "Literally, 'The joy of the eyes.' The commentators fail not, on occasion of this passage, to produce that saying of their Prophet, which was originally none of his own':-' God saith, I have prepared for my righteous servants what eye hath not seen, nor hath ear heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man to conceive.' "- Sale.

The very expression "the joy of the eyes" proves that this passage describes material and not spiritual joys, as the clever apologist just referred to would have us to infer. Further, these very joys are described below in ver. 19.

(21) The nearer punishment. Of war or imprisonment, or famine (Tafsir-i-Raufi). The allusion is probably to the famine which visited Makkah during the eleventh or twelfth year of Muhammad's ministry. See chaps. vii. 95, x.22-24, and xxiii. 77, and notes there.

(23) Book. See chap. vi. 93.

Be not in doubt as to the revelation, "or, as some interpret it, 'of the revelation of the Quran to thyself';' since the delivery of the law to Moses proves that the revelation of the Quran to thee is not the


unto the children of Israel; (24) and we appointed teachers from among them, who should direct the people at our command, when they had persevered with patience, and had firmly believed in our signs. (25) Verily thy LORD will judge between them on the day of resurrection concerning that wherein they have disagreed. (26) Is it not known unto them how many generations we have destroyed before them, through whose dwellings they walk? Verily herein are signs: will they not therefore hearken? (27) Do they not see that we drive rain unto a land bare of grass and parched up, and thereby produce corn, of which their cattle eat, and themselves also? Will they not therefore regard? (28) The infidels say to the true believers, When will this decision be made between us, if ye speak truth? (29) Answer, On the day of that decision, the faith of those who shall have disbelieved shall not avail them; neither shall they be respited any longer. (30) Wherefore avoid them and expect the issue: verily they expect to obtain some advantage over thee. first instance of the kind. Others think the words should be translated thus 'Be thou not in doubt as to thy meeting of that prophet;' supposing that the interview between Moses and Muhammad in the sixth heaven, when the latter took his night journey thither, is here intended (Prelim. Disc., p. 80)."- Sale.

NoŽldeke understands the word translated here revelation, but which should be translated meeting, as in Sale's note, to have the same meaning as it has in ver. 10. He, however, is probably mistaken in supposing the clause does not belong here; for, understood as a parenthesis, the clause would refer to the doctrine of the resurrection taught in ver. 10 and understood in all that intervenes between that verse and the one under consideration, the meaning being that this doctrine is confirmed by the book of Moses.

(26) Througt whose dwellings they walk. "The Makkans frequently passing by the place where the Adites, Thamudites, Midianites, Sodomites, &c., once dwelt."- Sale.

(28) This decision. "That is, on the day of judgment ; though some suppose the day here intended to be that of the victory at Bad; or else that of the taking of Makkah, when several of those who had been proscribed were put to death without remission (Prelim. Disc, p. 92)." - Sale.

(30) Avoid them, and expect the issue; i.e., await God's judgment on the infidels, as they expect your downfall.

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