Revealed at Madina.


THIS chapter takes its name from the confederated tribes, which, at the instigation of the exiled Bani Nadhir, attacked Madina, and were repulsed at the memorable battle of the Ditch.

A portion of the chapter deals with the conduct of the disaffected inhabitants of Madina at the time of the siege, and the subsequent destruction of the Bani Qainuqaa. The principal interest of the chapter surrounds those passages relating to Muhammad's marriage with the divorced wife of his adopted son, Zaid Ibn Harith. The question of the character of these revelations is discussed in the notes. Suffice it to say here, that in all the range of the Quran there is no chapter affording such decisive evidence of Muhammad's imposture as this one does, and nowhere does the sensuality and carnal jealousy of the Arabian prophet receive such a clear exposure.

Probable Date of the Revelation.

According to NoŽldeke, the passages relating to the battle of the Ditch, the conduct of the disaffected, and the destruction of the Qainuqaa (vers.9-29), certainly belong to A.H. 5. Those referring to Muhammad's marriage with Zainab (vers. 1-5 and 35-40), and those which relate to the guests who stayed too long at Zainab's wedding (vers. 53-58), belong to about the same, though a somewhat later, date, yet to a time previous to the war with the Bani Mustaliq, as is evident from the part played by Zainab in the affair of Ayesha (see introduction to chap. xxiv.) To about the same date may be referred vers. 6-8; vers. 30-34 relating to a disagreement between Muhammad and his wives, probably due to the introduction of Zainab into the harem; and vers. 49-51, which give permission to Muhammad to


marry slaves, he having taken to himself Raihana after the defeat and slaughter of the Bani Qainuqaa. The remaining verses (41-48,52, and 69-73), excepting vers. 52 and 59, perhaps belong to the same period as does the greater part of the chapter. Ver. 52, however, must be referred to a period later than A.H. 7, when Muhammad's harem was completed by his marriage with Maimuna (see Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iv. p.89). Ver. 59 also must be placed as late as A.H. 8, if not later, inasmuch as Muhammad's daughter, Umm Kulthum, died at this time, leaving Fatima alone, who would be spoken of in the singular number, whereas here the plural is used. It therefore appears that, excepting these two verses, the whole chapter may be referred to the year A.H. 5.

Principal Subjects.

Muhammad to obey God rather than the unbelievers .. . 1-3
Adopted sons not to be regarded as real sons by Muslims .. . 4, 5
Muhammad's wives the mothers of the faithful . . . 6
The covenant of the prophets with God. . . . 7, 8
God's favour to the Muslims at the Ditch . . . 9-11
The disaffected people of Madina rebuked . . . 12-15
None can flee from God's anger . . . 16, 17
The treachery of the hypocrites of Madina exposed .. . 18-20
Muhammad an example to the faithful . . . 21
Patient endurance of the believers at the Ditch . . . 22-24
The triumph at the Ditch attributed to God's favour .. . 25
Reference to the slaughter of the Bani Qainuqaa . . .26, 27
Muhammad's wives rebuked . . . . 28, 29
Muhammad's wives, if incontinent, to be doubly punished, but if faithful, to be doubly rewarded . . . 30, 31
They are exhorted to modest behaviour and piety. . .32-34
Blessings promised to faithful men and women . . . 35
Revelations touching the Zainab scandal . . . 36-40
The blessedness of true believers . . . 41-43
Muhammad a witness and preacher of good tidings . . .44-47
The law of divorce modified . . . 48
Special privileges of Muhammad in respect to women... 49-51
Muhammad limited in respect to wives . . . 52
Conduct to be observed by believers at the Prophet's house . ..53-55
God and the angels bless Muhammad, who should be treated with respect by believers.. .56
The curse of those who offend Muhammad or the Muslims ...57, 58
Command respecting the veiling of Muslim women ... 59
Threatened punishment of Madina hypocrites . .. 60-62


Men know not the hour of judgment . . . 63
Awful fate of infidels . . . 64-68
Believers exhorted to respectful treatment of their Prophet ... 69-71
The responsibilities of the faithful. . .72,73


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(1) O Prophet, fear GOD, and obey not the unbelievers and the hypocrites: verily GOD is knowing and wise. (2) But follow that which is revealed unto thee from thy LORD; for GOD is well acquainted with that which ye do; (3) and put thy trust in GOD; for GOD is a sufficient protector. (4) GOD hath not given a man two hearts within him; neither hath he made your wives (some of whom ye divorce, regarding them thereafter as your mothers) your true mothers; nor hath he made your adopted sons your true sons. This is your saying in your mouths: but GOD

(1) Obey not, &c. " It is related that Abu Sufian, Akramah Ibn Abi Jahl, and Abul A'war al Salami, having an amicable interview with Muhammad, at which were present also Abdullah Ibn Ubbai, Muattib Ibn Kushair, and Jadd Ibn Qais, they proposed to the Prophet that if he would leave off preaching against the worship of their gods and acknowledge them to be mediators, they would give him and his Lord no further disturbance; upon which these words were revealed."- Sale, Baidhawi.

This story looks very like an invention of the commentators to explain the passage. A more probable interpretation is, that these words counsel the Prophet not to be guided by the opinions of infidels in the matter of Zainab, mentioned farther on.

(4) "This passage was revealed to abolish two customs among the old Arabs. The first was their manner of divorcing their wives when they had no mind to let them go out of the house or to marry again; and this the husband did by saying to the woman, 'Thou art henceforward to me as the back of my mother;' after which words pronounced he abstained from her bed, and regarded her in all respects as his mother, and she became related to all his kindred in the same degree as if she had been really so. The other custom was the holding their adopted sons to be as nearly related to them as their natural sons, so that the same impediments of marriage arose from that supposed relation in the prohibited degrees as it would have done in the case of a genuine son. The latter Muhammad had a peculiar reason to abolish, viz. his marrying the divorced


speaketh the truth; and he directeth the right way. (5) Call such as are adopted the sons of their natural fathers: this will be more just in the sight of GOD. And if ye know not their fathers, let them be as your brethren in religion, and your companions: and it shall be no crime in you that ye err in this matter; but that shall be criminal which your hearts purposely design; for GOD is gracious and merciful. (6) The Prophet is nigher unto the true believers than their own souls; and his wives are

wife of his freedman Zaid, who was also his adopted son; of which more will be said by and by. By the declaration which introduces this passage, that God has not given a man two hearts, is meant that a man cannot have the same affection for supposed parents and adopted children as for those who are really so. They tell us the Arabs used to say of a prudent and acute person that he had two hearts; whence one Abu Mamir, or, as others write, Jamil Ibn Asad al Fihri, was surnamed Dhul qalbain, or the man with two hearts."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

One would think this argument effective against polygamy.

(5) That ye err, i.e., if ye err in the manner of addressing adopted sons through ignorance or mistake.

(6) The Prophet is nigher, &c. "Commanding them nothing but what is for their interest and advantage, and being more solicitous for their present and future happiness even than themselves; for which reason he ought to be dear to them, and deserves their utmost love and respect. In some copies these words are added, 'And he is a father unto them;' every prophet being the spiritual father of his people, who are therefore brethren. It is said that this passage was revealed on some of Muhammad's followers telling him, when he summoned them to attend him in the expedition of Tabuq, that they would ask leave of their fathers and mothers."- Sale, Baidhawi.

The object of these words is the same as that of the next clause, viz., to prevent any one from marrying any of the Prophet's wives, which piece of legislation no doubt increased his influence over his wives not a little.

His wives are their mothers. "Though the spiritual relation between Muhammad and his people, declared in the preceding words, created no impediment to prevent his taking to wife such women among them as he thought fit; yet the commentators are of opinion that they are here forbidden to marry any of his wives."- Sale, Baidhawi.

Nothing could better illustrate the selfishness of Muhammad than this. The manifest purpose of this revelation was to prevent any of his wives ever marrying again. Let it not be forgotten that this is all represented as coming from God. We should like to see bow the apologists would reconcile this, and a good deal more of the same


their mothers. Those who are related by consanguinity are nigher of kin the one of them unto the others, according to the book of GOD, than the other true believers, and the Muhajjirun: unless that ye do what is fitting and reasonable to your relations in general. This is written in the book of God. (7) Remember when we accepted their covenant from the prophets, and from thee, O Muhammad, and from Noah, and Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus the son of Mary, (8) and received from them a firm covenant; that God may examine the speakers of truth concerning their veracity: and he hath prepared a painful torment for the unbelievers.

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(9) O true believers, remember the favour of GOD towards you, when armies of infidels came against you,

kind in this chapter, with their theory of Muhammad's sincerity and honesty as a prophet.

Muhajjirun. "These words, which also occur, excepting the latter part of the sentence, in the eighth chapter, abrogate that law concerning inheritances published in the same chapter (ver. 73), whereby the Muhajjirun and Ansars were to be the heirs of one another, exclusive of their nearer relations who were infidels."- Sale.

The book of God. "The Preserved Table, the Quran, or Pentateuch."

Here it means the Quran.

(7) Their covenant. "Jalaluddin supposes this covenant was made when Adam's posterity were drawn forth from his loins, and appeared before God like small ants (chap. vii. 173); but Marracci conjectures that the covenant here meant was the same which the Talmudists pretend all the prophets entered into with God on Mount Sinai, where they were all assembled in person with Moses (chap. iii. 80)." -Sale.

(8) A firm covenant. "Whereby they undertook to execute their several commissions, and promised to preach the religion commanded them by God."- Sale.

Examine... their veracity i.e., "that he may at the day of judgment demand of the prophets in what manner they executed their several commissions, and how they were received by their people; or; as the words may also imply, that he may examine those who believed on them concerning their belief, and reward them accordingly." - Sale.

(9) When armies came against you. "These were the forces of the Quraish and the tribe of Ghatfan confederated with the Jews of al Nadhir and Quraidha, who besieged Madina to the number of twelve thousand men, in the expedition called the war of the Ditch."- Sale.


and we sent against them a wind, and hosts of angels which ye saw not: and GOD beheld that which ye did, (10) when they came against you from above you, and from below you, and when your sight became troubled, and your hearts came even to your throats for fear, and ye imagined of God various imaginations. (11) There were the faithful tried, and made to tremble with a violent trembling. (12) And when the hypocrites, and those in whose heart was an infirmity, said, GOD and his Apostle have made you no other than a fallacious promise. (13) And when a party of them said, O inhabitants of Yathrib,

A wind and host of angels. "On the enemies' approach, Muhammad, by the advice of Salman the Persian, ordered a deep ditch or entrenchment to he dug round Madina, for the security of the city, and went out to defend it with three thousand men. Both sides remained in their camps near a month, without any other acts of hostility than shooting of arrows and slinging of stones; till, in a winter's night, God sent a piercing cold east wind, which benumbed - the limbs of the confederates, blew the dust in their faces, extinguished their fires, overturned their tents, and put their horses in disorder, the angels at the same time crying, 'Allah akbar!' round about their camp; whereupon Tulaiha lhn Khuwailid the Asadite said aloud, 'Muhammad is going to attack you with enchantments, wherefore provide for your safety by flight ;' and accordingly the Quraish first, and afterwards the Ghatfanites, broke up the siege and returned home; which retreat was also not a little owing to the dissensions among the confederate forces, the raising and fomenting whereof the Muhammadans also ascribe to God. It is r elated that when Muhammad heard that his enemies had retired, he said, 'I have obtained success by means of the east wind; Ad perished by the west wind.' "- Sale, Baidhawi, Abu Fida.

(10) From above . . . and ... below. "The Ghatfanites pitched on the east side of the town, on the higher part of the valley, and the Quraish on the west side, on the lower part of the valley."- Sale, Baidhdwi, &c.

Various imaginations. "The sincere and those who were more firm of heart fearing they should not be able to stand the trial, and the weaker-hearted and hypocrites thinking themselves delivered up to slaughter and destruction."- Sale.

(12) A fallacious promise. "The person who uttered these words, it is said, was Muattib Ibn Kushair, who told his fellows that Muhammad had promised them the spoils of the Persians and the Greeks, whereas now not one of them dared to stir out of their intrenchment."- Sale, Baidhawi.

So also on ver. I..

(13) A party. "Aus Ibn Qaidhi and his adherents."- Sale. The


there is no place of security for you here; wherefore return home. And a part of them asked leave of the Prophet to depart, saying, Verily our houses are defenceless and exposed to the enemy: but they were not defenceless; and their intention was no other than to fly. (14) If the city had been entered upon them by the enemy from the parts adjacent, and they had been asked to desert the true believers and to fight against them, they had surely consented thereto; but they had not, in such case, remained in the same, but a little while. (15) They had before made a covenant with GOD that they would not turn their backs; and the performance of their covenant with GOD shall be examined into hereafter. (16) Say, Flight shall not profit you, if ye fly from death or from slaughter; and if it would, yet shall ye not enjoy this world but a little. (17) Say, Who is he who shall defend you against GOD, if he is pleased to bring evil on you, or is pleased to show mercy towards you? They shall find none to patronise or protect them besides GOD. (18) GOD already knoweth those among you who hinder others from following his Apostle, and who say unto their brethren, Come hither unto us; and who come not to battle, except a little; (19) being covetous towards you: but when fear

Tafsir-i-Raufi has it, "Aus Ibn Qabti Abu Arabah, and Ibn Ubbai."

Yathrib. "This was the ancient and proper name of Madina, or of the territory on which it stands. Some suppose the town was so named from its founder Yathrib, the son of Kabiya, the son of Mahlayal, the son of Aram the son of Sem, the son of Noah; though others tell us it was built by the Amalekites."- Sale.

(14) In the same, i.e., "in the city, or in their apostasy and rebellion, because the Muslims would surely succeed at last."- Sale.

(15) "The persons meant here were Banu, Harith, &c., who having behaved very ill and run away on a certain occasion, promised they would do so no more."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(16) Flight shall not profit you &c. See notes on chap. iii. 145, 155.

(18) Except a little. "Either coming to the army in small numbers, or staying with them but a little while and then returning on some feigned excuse, or behaving ill in time of action. Some expositors take these words to be part of the speech of the hypo-


cometh on them, thou seest them look unto thee for assistance, their eyes rolling about like the eyes of him who fainteth by reason of the agonies of death: yet when their fear is past they inveigh against you with sharp tongues; being covetous of the best and most valuable part of the spoils. These believe not sincerely; wherefore GOD hath rendered their works of no avail; and this is easy with GOD. (20) They imagined that the confederates would not depart and raise the siege; and if the confederates should come another time, they would wish to live in the deserts among the Arabs who dwell in tents, and there to inquire after news concerning you; and although they were with you this time, yet they fought not, except a little.

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(21) Ye have in the Apostle of GOD an excellent example, unto him who hopeth in GOD and the last day, and remembereth GOD frequently. (22) When the true believers saw the confederates, they said, This is what GOD and his Apostle have foretold us; and God and his Apostle have spoken the truth: and it only increased their faith and resignation. (23) Of the true believers some

crites, reflecting on Muhammad's companions for lying idle in the trenches, and not attacking the enemy. " - Sale.

(19) Covetous towards you, i.e., "sparing of their assistance either in person or with their purse, or being greedy after the booty."- Sale.

(20) They would wish to live in the desert, "that they might be absent, and not obliged to go to war."- Sale.

To inquire after news, &c., i.e., in order to take advantage of any success that might accrue to the Muslims to come out, and by declaring themselves on your side, claim a share of the booty.

(21) An excellent example, viz., "of firmness in time of danger, of confidence in the divine assistance, and of piety by fervent prayer for the same."- Sale.

(22) This is what God . . . foretold, viz., "that we must not expect to enter Paradise without undergoing some trials and tribulations (chap. xxix. 2). There is a tradition that Muhammad actually foretold this expedition of confederates some time before, and the success of it."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(23) Some . . . performed, &c. "By standing firm with the Prophet, and strenuously opposing the enemies of the true religion, according to their engagement."- Sale.


men justly performed what they had promised unto GOD; and some of them have finished their course, and some of them wait the same advantage; and they changed not their promise by deviating therefrom in the least; (24) that GOD may reward the just performers of their of their covenant for their fidelity, and may punish the hypocritical, if he pleaseth, or may be turned unto them; for GOD is ready to forgive, and merciful. (25) GOD hath driven back the infidels in their wrath: they obtained no advantage; and GOD was a sufficient protector unto the faithful in battle; for GOD is strong and mighty. (26) And he hath caused such of those who have received the Scriptures as assisted the confederates to come down out of their fortresses, and

Some . have finished, &c. "Or, as the words may be translated, have fulfilled their vow, or paid their debt to nature, by falling martyrs in battle; as did Hamza, Muhammad's uncle, Musab Ibn Omair, and Aus Ibn al Nadr, who were slain at the battle of Ohod. The martyrs at the war of the Ditch were six, including Saad Ibn Muadh, who died of his wound about a month after."- Sale, Baidhawi.

Some . . wait. "As Othman and Talha"- Sale, Baidhawi.

(26) Those who have received the Scriptures &c. "These were the Jews of the tribe of Quraidha, who, though they were in league with Muhammad, had, at the incessant persuasion of Qaab Ibn Asad, a principal man among them, perfidiously gone over to his enemies in this war of the Ditch, and were severely punished for it. For the next morning, after the confederate forces had decamped, Muhammad and his men returned to Madina, and laying down their arms, began to refresh themselves after their fatigue; upon which Gabriel came to the Prophet and asked him whether he had suffered his people to lay down their arms when the angels had not laid down theirs; and ordering him to go immediately against the Quraidhites, assuring him that himself would lead the way. Muhammad, in obedience to the divine command, having caused public proclamation to be made that every one should pray that afternoon for success against the sons of Quraidha, set forward upon the expedition without loss of time; and being arrived at the fortress of the Quraidhites, besieged them for twenty-five days, at the end of which those people, being in great terror and distress, capitulated and at length, not daring to trust to Muhammad's mercy, surrendered at the discretion of Saad Ibn Muadh, hoping that he being the prince of the tribe of Aus, their old friends and confederates, would have some regard for them. But they were deceived; for Saad, being greatly incensed at their breach of faith, had begged of God that he might not die of the wound he had received at the Ditch till


he cast into their hearts terror and dismay: a part of them ye slew, and a part ye made captives; (27) and God hath caused you to inherit their land, and their houses, and their wealth, and a land on which ye have not trodden; for GOD is almighty.

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(28) O Prophet, say unto thy wives, If ye seek this present life and the pomp thereof, come, I will make a

he saw vengeance taken on the Quraidhites, and therefore adjudged that the men should be put to the sword, the women and children made slaves, and their goods divided among the Muslims; which sentence Muhammad had no sooner heard than he cried out 'that Saad had pronounced the sentence of God;' and the same was accordingly executed, the number of men who were slain amounting to six hundred, or, as others say, to seven hundred, or very near, among whom were Huyai Ibn Akhtab a great enemy of Muhammad's, and Qaab Ibn Asad, who had been the chief occasion of the revolt of their tribe: and soon after Saad, who had given judgment against them, died, his wound, which had been skinned over, opening again."- Sale, Baidhawi, Abul Fida.

He cast . . . terror. "This was the work of Gabriel, who, according to his promise, went before the army of Muslims. It is said that Muhammad, a little before he came to the settlement of the Quraidhites, asking some of his men whether anybody had passed them, they answered that Duliya Ibn Khalifa the Qalbite had just passed by them, mounted on a white mule with housings of satin: to which he replied, 'That person was the Angel Gabriel, who is sent to the sons of Quraidha to shake their castles, and to strike their hearts with fear and consternation.'"- Sale, Ibn Ishaq.

(27) Their wealth. "Their immovable possessions Muhammad gave to the Muhajjirun, saying that the Ansars were in their own houses, but that the others were destitute of habitations. The movables were divided among his followers, but he remitted the fifth part, which was usual to be taken in other cases (chap. viii. 2)."- Sale.

A land on which ye have not trodden. "By which some suppose Persia and Greece are meant; others, Khaibar; and others, whatever lands the Muslims may conquer till the day of judgment."- Sale.

(28) Say unto thy wives. "This passage was revealed on Muhammad's wives asking for more sumptuous clothes and an additional allowance for their expenses: and he had no sooner received it than he gave them their option, either to continue with him or to be divorced, beginning with Ayesha, who chose God and his Apostle, and the rest followed her example; upon which the Prophet thanked them, and the following words were revealed, viz., 'It shall not be lawful for thee to take other women to wife hereafter,' &c. From hence some have concluded that a wife who has her option


handsome provision for you, and I will dismiss you with an honourable dismission; (29) but if ye seek GOD and his Apostle, and the life to come, verily GOD hath prepared for such of you as work righteousness a great reward. (30) O wives of the Prophet, whosoever of you shall commit a manifest wickedness, the punishment thereof shall be doubled unto her twofold, and this is easy with GOD:


(31) But whosoever of you shall be obedient unto GOD and his Apostle, and shall do that which is right, we will give her her reward twice, and we have prepared for her an honourable provision in Paradise. (32) O wives of the Prophet, ye are not as other women: if ye fear God, be not too complaisant in speech, lest he should covet in whose heart is a disease of incontinence; but speak the speech which is convenient (33) And sit still in your houses; and set not out yourselves with the ostentation of the former time of ignorance; and observe the ap-

given her, and chooses to stay with her husband, shall not be divorced; though others are of a contrary opinion."- Sale.

(30) A manifest wickedness. The original word usually indicates incontinence.

The punishment shall be doubled. "For the crime would be more enormous and unpardonable in them, because of their superior condition and the grace which they have received from God; whence it is that the punishment of a free person is ordained to be double that of a slave (chap. iv. 24); and prophets are more severely reprimanded for their faults than other men."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(31) We will give her her reward twice. "Once for her obedience, and a, second time for her conjugal affection to the Prophet and handsome behaviour to him."- Sale.

(32) The veil of revelation is too thin to conceal the jealousy of the Prophet. After his experience in the case of Zainab, he had some reason to fear lest he might be unable to secure for his wives the treatment due to the mothers of the faithful. See above on ver. 6.

(33) Times of ignorance. "That is, in the old time of idolatry. Some suppose the times before the Flood or the time of Abraham to be here intended, when women adorned themselves with all their finery, and went abroad into the streets to show themselves to the men."- Sale, Baidhawi.

A perfect purification. "The pronouns of the second person in this part of the passage being of the masculine gender, the Shiites pretend the sentence has no connection with the foregoing or the


pointed times of prayer and give alms, and obey GOD and his Apostle; for GOD desireth only to remove from you the abomination of vanity, since ye are the household of the Prophet, and to purify you by a perfect purification. (34) And remember that which is read in your houses of the signs of GOD and of the wisdom revealed in the Quran; for GOD is clear-sighted, and well acquainted with your actions.

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(35) Verily the Muslims of either sex, and the true believers of either sex, and the devout men and the devout women, and the men of veracity and the women of veracity, and the patient men and the patient women, and the humble men and the humble women, and the alms-givers of either sex, and the men who fast and the women who fast, and the chaste men and the chaste women, and those of either sex who remember GOD frequently; for them hath GOD prepared forgiveness and a great reward. (36) It is not fit for a true believer of either sex, when

following words, and will have it that by the household of the Prophet are particularly meant Fatima and Ali, and their two Sons Hasan and Husain, to whom these words are directed." - Sale, Baidhawi.

(36) "This verse was revealed on account of Zainab (or Zenobia), the daughter of Jahash, and wife of Zaid, Muhammad's freedman, whom the Prophet sought in marriage, but received a repulse from the lady and her brother Abdullah, they being at first averse to the match, for which they are here reprehended. The mother of Zainab, it is said, was Amina, the daughter of Abdulmutallib, and aunt to Muhammad." - Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

Mr. Bosworth Sinith (Mohammed and Mohammedanism, p. 145), in his endeavour to remove "the deepest stain on Muhammad's memory, the production of a Sura in which he legalises in God's name his marriage with Zainab," says, "The production of this Sura, whatever else it proves about Muhammad, seems to me to prove not his conscious insincerity, but the reverse; he had already attained his end, why then blazon his shame, if shame he felt it to be? Why forge the name of God?"

The reply to this is, first, that although this revelation was made after "he had already attained his end," yet in order to the attainment of that end he pretended to have received a divine command to marry Zainab, whereupon he said to Ayesha, "Who will go and congratulate Zainab, and say that the Lord hath joined her to me in marriage?" (see Muir iii. 229). And, secondly, that the very pur-


GOD and his Apostle have decreed a thing, that they should have the liberty of choosing a different matter of their own: and whoever is disobedient unto GOD and his Apostle, surely erreth with a manifest error. (37) And remember when thou saidst to him unto whom GOD had been gracious, and on whom thou also hadst conferred favours,

pose of this revelation was to save himself from what had already become a public scandal. To do this he did not hesitate to produce a Sura in which he represents God as legalising his marriage.

(37) Him unto whom God had been gracious, viz., "Zaid Ibn Harith, on whom God had bestowed the grace early to become a Muslim."- Sale.

On whom thou also hadst conferred favours. "Zaid was of the tribe of Qaib, a branch of the Khudhaites descended from Himya; the son of Saba, and being taken in his childhood by a party of freebooters, was bought by Muhammad, or, as others say, by his wife Khadijah, before she married him. Some years after, Harith hearing where his son was, took a journey to Makkah, and offered a considerable sum for his ransom; whereupon Muhammad said, 'Let Zaid come thither, and if he chooses to go with you, take him without ransom; but if it be his choice to stay with me, why should I not keep him?' And Zaid being come, declared that he would stay with his master, who treated him as if he were his only son. Muhammad no sooner heard this, but he took Zaid by the hand and led him to the black stone of the Kaabah where he publicly adopted him for his son and constituted him his heir, with which the father acquiesced, and returned home well satisfied. From this time Zaid was called the son of Muhammad, till the publication of Islam, after which the Prophet gave him to wife Zainaib."- Sale, Jannabi.

And thou didst conceal that in thy mind, &c. " Namely, thy affection to Zainab. The whole intrigue is artfully enough unfolded in this passage. The story is as follows:-

"Some years after his marriage Muhammad going to Zaid's house on some affair, and not finding him at home, accidentally cast his eyes on Zainab, who was then in a dress which discovered her beauty to advantage, and was so smitten at the sight that he could not for-bear crying out, 'God be praised, who turneth the hearts of men as he pleaseth!' This Zainab failed not to acquaint her husband with on his return home; whereupon Zaid, after mature reflection, thought he could do no less than part with his wife ill favour of his benefactor, and therefore resolved to divorce her, and acquainted Muhammad with his resolution; but lie, apprehending the scandal it might raise, offered to dissuade him from it, and endeavoured to stifle the flames which inwardly consumed him; but at length his love for her being authorised by this revelation, he acquiesced, and after the term of her divorce was expired, married her in the latter end of the fifth year of the Hijra."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jannabi.

When Zaid. "It is observed that this is the only person, of all


Keep thy wife to thyself, and fear GOD: and thou didst conceal that in thy mind which GOD had determined to discover, and didst fear men; whereas it was more just that thou shouldest fear GOD. But when Zaid had determined the matter concerning her, and had resolved to divorce her, we joined her in marriage unto thee, lest a crime should be charged on the true believers, in marrying the wives of their adopted sons, when they have determined the matter concerning them; and the command of GOD is to be performed. (38) No crime is to be charged on the Prophet as to what GOD hath allowed him, comformable to

Muhammad's companions, whose name is mentioned in the Quran." - Sale.

We joined her &c. "Whence Zainab used to vaunt herself above the Prophet's other wives, saying that God had made the match between Muhammad and herself, whereas their matches were made by their relations."- Sale.

Lest a crime, &c. "For this feigned relation, as has been observed, created an impediment of marriage among the old Arabs within the prohibited degrees, in the same manner as if it had been real; and therefore Muhammad's marrying Zainab, who had been his adopted son's wife, occasioned great scandal among his followers, which was much heightened by the Jews and hypocrites; but the custom is here declared unreasonable, and abolished for the future." - Sale.

Thus was "the scandal of the marriage" says Muir, "removed by this extraordinary revelation, and Zaid was thenceforward called, not 'the son of Mahomet,' as heretofore, but by his proper name, Zaid the son of Harith.' Our only matter of wonder is, that the revelations of Mahomet continued after this to be regarded by his people as inspired communications from the Almighty, when they were so palpably formed to secure his own objects, and to pander even to his evil desires. We hear of no doubts or questionings; and we can only attribute the confiding and credulous spirit of his followers to the absolute ascendancy of his powerful mind over all who came within its influence."- Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 231.

We have a parallel to this story in the history of Mormonism, and especially in the story of the promulgation of the command permitting polygamy. This story, of the truth of which there can be no doubt, should for ever silence the sanctimonious whining of the apologists over the charge of imposture so constantly, ana yet so truly, made against the Arabian Prophet. Even Seyad Amir Ali, whilst misrepresenting the whole matter in order to shield Muhammad's morality, carefully ignores the question of his inspiration here (see his Life of Mohammed, pp.231, 232). The simple question to be answered here is, Did Muhammad receive the message


the ordinance of GOD with regard to those who preceded him (for the command of GOD is a determinate decree), (39) who brought the messages of GOD, and feared him), and feared none besides GOD: and GOD is a sufficient accountant. (40) Muhammad is not the father of any man among you; but the Apostle of GOD and the seal of the prophets: and GOD knoweth all things.

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(41) O true believers, remember GOD with a frequent remembrance, and celebrate his praise morining and evening. (42) It is he who is gracious unto you, and his angels intercede for you, that he may lead you forth from darkness into light and he is merciful towards the true believers.

recorded in vers. 36-40 from God by the mouth of Gabriel, to oblige him to perform an act which he was unwilling to perform before, or did he resort to a pious fraud to accomplish an end he knew not how otherwise to secure? One can understand how a Muhammadan may vindicate the sincerity of his Prophet by insisting on the inspiration of his Quran, but it is impossible to understand how Christian writers, who deny this inspiration, can so blind themselves as to be unable to see the insincere and fraud of this whole transaction.

Mr. Bosworth Smith ( Mohammed and Mohammedanism, p.136, note) expresses a hope that "calumny or misconception has been at work in the story of Zainab." But we respectfully submit that the apologies made by such Muslims as Mir Aulad Ali and Amir Ali, to which he has given credit, exhibit at every point the appearance of special pleading. Take up any of the commentaries, and it will be seen that the whole of the scandal, as represented by Christian writers like Prideaux, Muir, and Arnold, is based upon clear statements of the following facts - (1.) That Muhammad's passion for Zainab was due to his seeing her person in undress; (2.) that Zaid's divorcing his wife was in consequence of what he had learned of this adventure from his wife; and (3.) that this revelation was given for the express object of making the way clear for the Prophet to marry Zainab. This much is not only conceded by the commentators, who justify it on the ground of a divine command, but is abundantly evident from the text of the Quran itself. We grant that Zainab's part in this transaction may have been that of a shrewd woman appealing to the known weakness of Muhammad to secure her liberty from Zaid; and this theory goes far to account for Zaid's conduct at this time and ever after; but surely this is no ground upon which to excuse a man claiming to. be a prophet, much less does it give any appearance of sincerity to the revelations now under consideration. Zaid's subsequent devotion to Muhammad is sufficiently explained by the blindness of fanaticism which refused to believe anything against Muhammad, the now fully constituted vice- gerent of God. See Muir's remark on this point, quoted above.


(43) Their salutation on the day whereon they shall meet him shall be, Peace and he hath prepared for them an honourable recompense. (44) O Prophet, verily we have sent thee to be a witness, and a bearer of good tidings, and a denouncer of threats, (45) and an inviter unto GOD, through his good pleasure, and a shining light. (46) Bear good tidings therefore unto the true believers, that they shall receive great abundance from GOD. (47) And obey not the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and mind not their evil treatment, but trust in God; and GOD is a sufficient protector. (48) O true believers, when ye marry women who are believers, and afterwards put them away before ye have touched them, there is no term prescribed you to fulfil towards them after their divorce; but make them a present, and dismiss them freely with an honourable dismission. (49) O Prophet, we have allowed thee thy wives unto whom thou hast given their dower, and also the slaves which thy right hand possesseth, of the booty which GOD hath granted thee; and the daughters of thy uncle,

(40) No term prescribed. "That is, ye are not obliged to keep them any certain time before ye dismiss them, as ye are those with whom the marriage has been consummated. See chap. v.237."- Sale.

Make them a present, i.e., "if no dower has been assigned them for if a dower has been assigned, the husband is obliged, according to the Sunnat, to give the woman half the dower agreed on besides a present. This is still to be understood of women with whom the marriage has not been consummated."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jannabi.

See also notes on chap. ii. 237.

(49) Slaves . . . of the booty. "It is said, therefore,that the women slaves which he should buy are not included in this grant."- Sale.

Daughters of thy uncle . . . who have fled, &c. "But not the others. It is related of Omm Hani, the daughter of Abu Talib, that she should say, 'The Apostle of God courted me for his wife; but I excused myself to him, and he accepted of my excuse : afterwards this verse was revealed; but he was not thereby allowed to marry me, because I fled not with him.'

"It may be observed that Dr. Prideaux is much mistaken when he asserts that Muhammad in this chapter brings in God him from the law in the fourth chapter (ver. 21) whereby the Muslims are forbidden to marry within certain degrees, and giving him an especial privilege to take to wife the daughter of his brother, or


and the daughters of thy aunts, both on thy father's side and on thy mother's side, who have fled with thee from Makkah, and any other believing woman, if she give herself unto the Prophet, in case the Prophet desireth to take her to wife. This is a peculiar privilege granted unto thee above the rest of the true believers. (50) We know what we have ordained them concerning their wives, and the slaves which their right hands possess: lest it should be deemed a Crime in thee to make use of the privilege granted thee; for GOD is gracious and merciful.

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(51) Thou mayest postpone the turn of such of thy wives as thou shalt please, in being called to thy bed; and

the daughter of his sister (Prideaux's Life of Mahomet, p. 116).- Sale.

I cannot agree with Sale here. It seems to me undeniable that Muhammad is here specially permitted to marry the daughters of his uncles and aunts, who would be called his sisters by all Muslims, and who are plainly included under that term in chap. iv. 21. The tradition of Omm Hani, given by Sale himself, shows that cousins were originally included among the forbidden degrees of the Muslim marriage law, which is found only in chap. iv. This being so, it will be seen that the scandal arising from Muhammad's marriage with Zainab related not only to his marrying the wife of an adopted son, but also to his marrying within forbidden degrees (see note on ver. 36 above). The modification of that law here for the special benefit of the Prophet is of a piece with that which allows him an unlimited number of wives.

Any other believing woman, if she give herself, &c. "Without demanding any dower. According to a tradition of Ibn Abbas, the Prophet, however, married no woman without assigning her a dower. The commentators are not agreed who was the woman particularly meant in this passage; but they name four who are supposed to have thus given themselves to the Prophet, viz., Maimuna Bint al Harith, Zanaib Bint Khuzaima, Ghuzia Bint Jabir, surnamed Omm Shuraiq (which three he actually married), and Khaula Bint Hakim, whom, as it seems, he rejected. "- Sale.

A peculiar privilege &c. "For no Muslim can legally marry above four wives, whether free women or slaves; whereas Muhammad is, by the preceding passage, left at liberty to take as many as he p leased, though with some restrictions."- Sale.

Comp. ver. 6, with notes thereon.

(51) "By this passage some further privileges were granted to Muhammad; for whereas other men are obliged to carry themselves equally towards their wives (chap. iv. 3 and 128), in case they had more than one, particularly as to the duties of the marriage bed, to which each has a right to be called in her turn (which right was


thou mayest take unto thee her whom thou shalt please, and her whom thou shalt desire of those whom thou shalt have before rejected: and it shall be no crime in thee. This will be more easy, that they may be entirely content, and may not be grieved, but may be well pleased with what thou shalt give every of them: GOD knoweth whatever is in your hearts; and GOD is knowing and gracious. (52) It shall not be lawful for thee to take other women to wife here-

acknowledged in the most early ages, Gen. xxx. 14, &c.), and cannot again take a wife whom they have divorced the third time, till she has been married to another and divorced by him (chap. ii. 230), the Prophet was left absolutely at liberty to deal with them in these and other respects as he thought fit."-Sale. And yet we are to believe that Muhammad was "not a sensualist or a volutuary in the ordinary meaning of that term" (Bosworth Smith's Mohammed and Mohammedanism, p.135). One would like to see what definition this writer would put upon these words. If they do not a p ply to Muhammad "in the ordinary meaning," it would be difficult to fix them upon any one of his followers at the present day.

(52) "The commentators differ as to the express meaning of these words. Some think Muhammad was thereby forbidden to take any more wives than nine, which number he then had, and is supposed to have been his stint, as four was that of other men ; some imagine that after this prohibition, though any of the wives he then had should die or be divorced, yet he could not marry another in her room; some think he was only forbidden from this time forward to marry any other woman than one of the four sorts mentioned in the preceding passage; and others are of opinion that this verse is abrogated by the two preceding verses, or one of them, and was revealed before them, though it be read after them."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

The latter interpretation is by far the best, being supported by the best Muslim authority. The first two interpretations, noted by Sale, are set aside by the fact that Muhammad had more than nine wives, some of whom he must have married after this date. See note on ver. 49.

Nor to exchange, &c. "By divorcing her and marrying another. Al Zamakhshari tells us that some are of opinion this prohibition is to be understood of a particular kind of exchange used among the idolatrous Arabs, whereby two men made a mutual exchange of their wives without any other formality."- Sale.

This interpretation of Zamakhshari is very unlikely. The allusion is to divorcing and marrying again, and shows that Muhammad broke his promise by the promulgation of the command of vers. 49, 50.

Except the slaves, &c. There was to be no limitation in this direction. See notes on chap. iv. 3.


after, nor exchange any of thy wives for them, although their beauty possess: and God observeth all things. (53) O true believers, enter not the houses of the Prophet, unless it be permitted you to eat meat with him, without waiting his convenient time; but when ye are invited, then enter. And when ye shall have eaten, disperse yourselves, and stay not to enter into familiar discourse; for this incommodeth the Prophet. He is ashamed to bid you depart; but God is not ashamed of the truth. And when you ask of the Prophet's wives what ye may have occasion for, ask it of them from behind a curtain. This will be more pure for your hearts and their hearts. Neither is it fit for you to give any uneasiness to the Apostle of GOD, or to marry his wives after him for ever: for this would be a grievous thing in the sight of GOD (54) Whether ye divulge a thing or conceal it, verily GOD knoweth all things. (55) It shall be no crime in them, as to their fathers, or their

(53) Enter not the houses, &c. See notes on chap. xxiv. 30.

Stay not, &c. Muhammad had experience of his own in the case of Zainab to warn him against permitting any strangers to hold familiar discourse within the precincts of his harem.

Behind a curtain. "That is, let there be a curtain drawn between you, or let them be veiled, while ye talk with them. As the design of the former precept was to prevent the impertinence of troublesome visitors, the design of this was to guard against too near an intercourse or familiarity between his wives and his followers, and was occasioned, it is said, by the hand of one of his companions accidentally touching that of Ayesha, which gave the Prophet some uneasiness."- Sale, Baidhawi.

To marry his wives, &c., i.e., "either such as he shall divorce in his lifetime, or his widows after his death. This was another privilege peculiar to the Prop het.

"It is related that in the Khalifat of Omar, Ashath Ibn Qais married the woman whom Muhammad bad dismissed without consummating his marriage with her; upon which the Khalifah at first was thinking to stone her; but afterwards changed his mind, on its being represented to him that this prohibition related only to such women to whom the Prophet had gone in."- Sale, Baidhawi.

See Sale's second note, quoted under ver. 49.

The veil of prophecy is too thin here to hide the jealousy of the Prophet.

(55) See note on chap. xxiv. 31.


sons, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves which their right hands possess, if they speak to them unveiled: and fear ye GOD; for GOD is witness of all things. (56) Verily GOD and his angels bless the Prophet. O true believers, do ye also bless him, and salute him with a respectful salutation. (57) As to those who offend GOD and his Apostle, GOD shall curse them in this world and in the next; and he hath prepared for them a shameful punishment. (58) And they who shall injure the true believers of either sex, without their deserving it, shall surely bear the guilt of calumny and a manifest injustice.

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(59) O Prophet, speak unto thy wives, and thy daughters, and the wives of the true believers, that they cast their outer garments over them when they walk abroad; this will be more proper, that they may be known to be matrons of reputation, and may not be affronted by un-seemly words or actions. GOD is gracious and merciful. (60) Verily, if the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is an infirmity, and they who raise disturbances in Madina, do not desist, we will surely stir thee up against them, to chastise them: henceforth they shall not be suf-

Fear ye God. "The words are directed to the Prophet's wives. - Sale.

(56) Salute him, &c. "Hence the Muhammadans seldom mention his name without adding, 'On whom be the blessing of God and peace!' or the like words."- Sale.

(57) This verse was sufficient to silence any risings of anger in the heart of Zaid, or of the followers of Muhammad generally, in respect to the marriage of Zainab, especially when we consider that the Apostle had now the power to verify the threatenings of God's "curse in this world." See below, on vers. 60-62.

(58) "This verse was revealed, according to some, on occasion of certain hypocrites who had slandered Ali; or, according to others, on occasion of those who falsely accused Ayesha (chap. xxiv. II, seq.), &c." - Sale.

(59) Outer garments. "The original word properly signifies the large wrappers, usually of white linen, with which the women in the East cover themselves from head to foot when they go abroad."- Sale.

(60-62) This fierce threat is directed against the hypocrites and disaffected citizens of Madina, and is in strong contrast with the meekness displayed at Makkah.


fered to dwell near thee therein, except for a little time, (61) and being accursed; wherever they are found they shall be taken, and killed with a general slaughter.


(62) According to the sentence of GOD concerning those who have been before; and thou shalt not find any change in the sentence of GOD. (63) Men will ask thee concerning the approach of the last hour; answer, Verily the knowledge thereof is with GOD alone; and he will not inform thee: peradventure the hour is nigh at hand. (64) Verily GOD hath cursed the infidels, and hath prepared for them a fierce fire, (65) wherein they shall remain for ever: they shall find no patron or defender. (66) On the day whereon their faces shall be rolled in hell-fire, they shall say, O that we had obeyed GOD, and had obeyed his Apostle! (67) And they shall say, O LORD, verily we have obeyed our lords and our great men, and they have seduced us from the right way. (68) O LORD, give them the double of our punishment, and curse them with a heavy curse!

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(69) O true believers, be not as those who injured Moses; but GOD cleared him from the scandal which they had spoken concerning him; and he was of great consideration in the sight of GOD. (70) O true believers, fear

(62) The sentence of God, &c. The commentators say that Moses an other prophets had received similar authority to punish the unbelievers.- Tafsir-i-Raufi.

(63-68) Compare chap. xxv. 11-15.

(69) Those who injured Moses. "The commentators are not agreed what this injury was. Some say that Moses using to wash himself apart, certain malicious people gave out that he had a rupture (or, say others, that he was a leper or an hermaphrodite), and for that reason was ashamed to wash with them; but God cleared him from this aspersion by causing the stone on which he had laid his clothes while he washed to run away with them into the camp, whither Moses followed it naked; and by that means the Israelites, in the midst of whom he was gotten ere be was aware, plainly perceived the falsehood of the report. Others suppose Qarun's accusation of Moses is here intended (chap. xxviii 76) or else the suspicion of Aaron's murder, which was cast on Moses because he was with him when he died on Mount Hor; of which latter he was justified by the angels bringing his body and exposing it to public view, or, say some, by the testimony of Aaron himself, who was raised to life for that purpose.


GOD, and speak words well directed, (71) that God may correct your words for you, and may forgive you your sins: and whoever shall obey GOD and his Apostle shall enjoy great felicity. (72) We proposed the faith unto the heavens, and the earth, and the mountains; and they refused to undertake the same, and were afraid thereof; but man undertook it: verily he was unjust to himself, and foolish; (73) that GOD may punish the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women, and the idolaters and the idolatresses; and that GOD may be turned unto the true believers, both men and women: for GOD is gracious and merciful.

"The passage is said to have been occasioned by reflections which were cast on Muhammad on his dividing certain spoils; and that when they came to his ear, he said, 'God be merciful unto my brother Moses: he was wronged more than this, and bore it with patience.' "- Sale, Baidhawi, Bokhari.

He was of great consideration &c. "Some copies for inda read abda, according to which the words should be translated, 'And he was an illustrious servant of God.'"- Sale.

(72) Man undertook it. "By faith is here understood entire obedience to the law of God, which is represented to be of so high concern (no less than eternal happiness or misery depending on the observance or neglect thereof), and so difficult in the performance, that if God should propose the same on the conditions annexed to the vaster parts of the creation, and they had understanding to comprehend the offer, they would decline it, and not dare to take on them a duty, the failing wherein must be attended with so terrible a consequence; and yet man is said to have undertaken it, notwithstanding his weakness and the infirmities of his nature. Some imagine this proposal is not hypothetical, but was actually made to the heavens, earth, and mountains, which at their first creation were endued with reason, and that God told them he had made a law, and had created Paradise for the recompense of such as were obedient to it, and hell for the punishment of the disobedient; to which they answered they were content to be obliged to perform the services for which they were created, but would not undertake to fulfil the divine law on those conditions, and therefore desired neither reward nor punishment. They add that when Adam was created, the same offer was made to him, and he accepted it. The commentators have other explications of this passage, which it would be too prolix to transcribe." - Sale, Jalaluddin, Baidhawi.

The explanation of the commentators is simply an inference from the text.

Unjust. . . and foolish. "Unjust to himself in not fulfilling his engagements and obeying the law he had accepted, and foolish in not considering the consequence of his disobedience and neglect."- Sale.

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