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the ungodly are in the pangs of death, and the angels reach out their hands, saying, Cast forth your souls; this day shall ye receive an ignominious punishment for that which ye have falsely spoken concerning GOD; and because ye have proudly rejected his signs. (95) And now are ye come unto us alone, as we created you at first, and ye have left that which we had bestowed on you behind your backs; neither do we see with you your intercessors, whom ye thought to have been partners with God among you now is the relation between you cut off, and what ye imagined hath deceived you.

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kind of clay,' &c. (chap. xxiii. 12-14), cried out, by way of admiration, Blessed be God the best Creator!' and being ordered by Muhammad to write these words down also as part of the inspired passage, began to think himself as great a prophet as his master. Whereupon he took upon himself to corrupt and alter the Qurán according to his own fancy, and at length apostatising, was one of the ten who were proscribed at the taking of Makkah (Prelim. Disc., p. 93), and narrowly escaped with life on his recantation, by the interposition of Othmán Ibn Affán, whose foster-brother he was."Sale, Baidhawi.

I will produce a revelation like, &c. Muhammad's claim was that the Quran was the word of God because it was inimitable, and over and over the challenge was given to Bring a chapter like unto it. See chap. ii. 23, x. 39, and chap. xvii. 90. Here, by assuming the Quran to be the word of God, he declares the very attempt to meet his challenge the most wicked of acts, whereas his opponents only claimed to be able to write a revelation equal to that of the writing of Muhammad in literary merit, thus meeting the challenge. This passage clearly indicates that Muhammad's contemporaries did not regard the Qurán as inimitable.

This passage also belongs to the list of verses quoted to prove Muhammad's sincerity in believing in his own inspiration; but see note on ver. 48.

The angels See notes on ver. 60.

(95) Alone, i.e., "without your wealth, your children, or your friends, which ye so much depended on in your lifetime."- Sale. Your intercessors. Idols and false gods.

(96-102) This passage sets forth God as the all-wise, powerful, and merciful Creator, everywhere manifesting himself in nature, and therefore worthy of the worship and honour which was bestowed by the idolaters upon the mere creature. It is one of the most elevated and beautiful passages in this chapter. We learn from it the

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bringeth forth the dead from the living. This is GOD. Why therefore are ye turned away from him? (97) He causeth the morning to appear; and hath ordained the night for rest, and the sun and the moon for computing of time. This is the disposition of the mighty, the wise God. (98) It is he who hath ordained the stars for you, that ye may be directed thereby in the darkness of the land and of the sea. We have clearly shown forth our signs unto people who understand. (99) It is he who hath produced you from one soul; and hath provided for you a sure receptacle and a repository. We have clearly shown forth our signs unto people who are wise. (100) It is he who sendeth down water from heaven, and we have thereby produced the springing buds of all things, and have thereout produced the green thing, from which we produce the grain growing in rows, and palm-trees from whose branches proceed clusters of dates hanging close together; and gardens of grapes, and olives, and pomegranates, both like and unlike to one another. Look on their fruits when they bear fruit, and their growing to maturity. Verily herein are signs unto people who believe. (101) Yet they have set up the genii as partners with GOD, although he created them: and they have falsely attributed unto him sons and daughters, without knowledge. Praise be unto him, and

power which the preacher of Makkah exerted in opposition to the idolatry of his countrymen-the power of truth against falsehood.

(96) The living from the dead, &c. Compare with chap. iii. 27. He bringeth forth life from the seed or the egg.

(98) The land. Literally, of the wilderness or desert, in traversing which the stars serve the Arab in the same way as they do the mariner. They worshipped the stars, but forgot the God who made them.

(99) One soul. Adam. The unity of the human race is here recognised.

Receptacle and repository. "Namely, in the loins of your fathers. and the wombs of your mothers."-Sale, Baidhawi.

(101) The genii. "This signifies properly the genus of rational invisible beings, whether angels, devils, or that intermediate species usually called genii. Some of the commentators, therefore, in this place, understand the angels whom the pagan Arabs worshipped;

far be that from him which they attribute unto him! He Ꭱ 18 is the maker of heaven and earth: how should he have issue since he hath no consort? he hath created all things, and he is omniscient. (102) This is GOD your LORD; there is no God but he, the creator of all things; therefore serve him: for he taketh care of all things. (103) The sight comprehendeth him not, but he comprehendeth the sight; he is the gracious, the wise. (104) Now have evident demonstrations come unto you from your LORD; whoso seeth them the advantage thereof will redound to his own soul and whoso is wilfully blind, the consequence will be to himself. I am not a keeper over you. (105) Thus do we variously explain our signs, that they may say, Thou hast studied diligently, and that we may declare them unto people of understanding. (106) Follow that which hath been revealed unto thee from thy LORD; there

and others the devils, either because they became their servants by adoring idols at their instigation, or else because, according to the Magian system, they looked on the devil as a sort of creator, making him the author and principle of all evil, and God the author of good only."-Sale, Baidhawi.

The genii of Islám are a distinct class of beings-some good, but generally evil. Some of them were converted to Islám. See notes on chap. xlvi. 28, and chap. lxxii.

Sons and daughters. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 38 and 70.

(102) How should he have issue, &c. This passage was directed against the Makkah idolaters, but is commonly quoted against the doctrine of the sonship of Christ. See note, chap. ii. 116.

(103) The sight comprehendeth him not, &c. Literally, the eyes cannot find him, and he findeth the eyes. So the Urdu and Persian translations.

(104) Evident demonstrations. Not only the testimony to God in his own works, alluded to above, but also the signs of the Quran.

(105) Thou hast studied diligently. "That is, thou hast been instructed by the Jews and Christians in these matters, and only retailest to us what thou hast learned of them. For this the infidels objected to Muhammad, thinking it impossible for him to discourse on subjects of so high a nature, and in so clear and pertinent a manner, without being well versed in the doctrines and sacred writings of those people."-Sale.

The passage seems to us rather to predicate the superiority of the teaching of the Quran over the thoughts and popular beliefs of the Arabs. Certainly the next verse, which must be read in connection with this, points to the idolaters alone.

is no GOD but he retire therefore from the idolaters. (107) If GOD had so pleased, they had not been guilty of idolatry. We have not appointed thee a keeper over them; neither art thou a guardian over them. (108) Revile not the idols which they invoke besides GOD, lest they maliciously revile GOD, without knowledge. Thus have we prepared for every nation their works: hereafter unto. GOD shall they return, and he shall declare unto them. that which they have done. (109) They have sworn by GOD, by the most solemn oath, that if a sign came unto them, they would certainly believe therein: Say, Verily signs are in the power of GOD alone; and he permitteth

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(107) A keeper. a guardian. A similar expression occurs in ver. 104. The purport of the saying is that God has chosen some and rejected others, and that he had not sent the Prophet to be a keeper or guardian to any of those who had been given over to reprobation. These would not believe, having been blinded and hardened. See vers. 110-113 below.

(108) Revile not the idols. The Quraish had declared that unless the Muslims should cease reviling their idols they would revile the name of God.-Tafsir-i-Raufi. The passage belongs to the period when Muhammad finally broke with the Quraish, having come to look upon them as rejected of God. He requires his followers to separate from them (ver. 106), and here they are commanded to abstain from aggressive action, seeing nothing would come of it but that the name of God would be reviled. The attitude of the Muslims towards them was to be one of passive defiance and conscious superiority. This passage is regarded as now abrogated. Certainly it never has been acted upon by the Muhammadans since the rise of Muslim power in the world.

(109) Signs are in the power of God alone. "In this passage Muhammad endeavours to excuse his inability of working a miracle, as had been demanded of him; declaring that God did not think fit to comply with their desires; and that if he had so thought fit, yet it had been in vain, because if they were not convinced by the Qurán, they would not be convinced by the greatest miracle."-Sale.

Sale compares this statement of Muhammad with that of Jesus in Luke xvi. 31. But surely there is no comparison. Jesus did not simply rely upon the testimony of Moses, though in his case that might have been sufficient. But Muhammad, instead of resting his claim upon the testimony of inspired writings already received by the Quraish, bases it upon his own Quran. The Quraish, and probably also the Jews, demanded a miracle-a single miracle-and swear most solemnly they will believe his claim if only he will give them one sign of his apostleship; but Muhammad, confessing him

you not to understand, that when they come, they will not believe. (110) And we will turn aside their hearts and their sight from the truth, as they believed not therein the first time; and we will leave them to wander in their

error.

(111) And though we had sent down angels unto EIGHTH

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them, and the dead had spoken unto them, and we had R 14.

gathered together before them all things in one view; they would not have believed, unless GOD had so pleased: but the greater part of them know it not. (112) Thus have we appointed unto every prophet an enemy; the devils of men, and of genii: who privately suggest the one to the other specious discourses to deceive; but if thy LORD pleased, they would not have done it. Therefore leave them, and that which they have falsely imagined;

self unable to work even this one miracle, falls back upon the inimitable Quran and the doctrine of reprobation. What could be clearer than the fact that Muhammad, at least up to this date, wrought no miracle? It would seem that Muhaminad was brought under pressure by the demand of his own disciples that he should show the unbelievers a sign. But his only reply is that God "permitted you not to understand, that when they come they will not believe." He leads his followers to expect signs in the future, but such signs will not avail for the salvation of the infidels. See the next two verses. Rodwell's translation is here in error. The allusion is not to past unbelief, but to the future. The verbs are all in the Aorist tense.

(111) Though we had sent down angels, &c. "For the Makkans required that Muhammad should either show them an angel descending from heaven in their sight, or raise their dead fathers, that they might discourse with them, or prevail on God and his angels to appear to them in a body."-Sule.

So the commentators; but the interpretation is probably inferred from the text. The Tafsir-i-Raufi relates that the infidels had demanded that the mountain Safa should be changed into gold. Muhammad prayed for power to work this miracle, but was dissuaded from the undertaking by Gabriel, who warned him that were such a miracle wrought and any remain in unbelief, they would be instantly destroyed. Such are the devices of Muslims to explain away passages of the Qurán at variance with their teaching, and the teaching of the traditions, on the subject of Muhammad's power to work miracles.

(112) An enemy; the devils, &c. The enemy of the prophets referred to here is not Satan, but a demon (the original is Sháyátín, devils). These are the devils of men and the genii. Some think that

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