Page images
PDF
EPUB

R 18.

they shall find written down with them in the law and the gospel: he will command them that which is just, and will forbid them that which is evil, and will allow them as lawful the good things which were before forbidden, and will prohibit those which are bad; and he will ease them of their heavy burden, and of the yokes which were upon them. And those who believe in him, and honour him, and assist him, and follow the light, which hath been sent down with him, shall be happy.

|| (159) Say, O men, Verily I am the messenger of GOD unto you all: unto him belongeth the kingdom of heaven and earth; there is no GOD but he; he giveth life, and he causeth to die. Believe therefore in God and his apostle, the illiterate prophet, who believeth in GOD and his word; and follow him, that ye may be rightly directed. (160) Of the people of Moses there is a party who direct others with truth, and act justly according to the same. (161)

expressing their contempt for the Gentile prophet, the term Ummi meaning Gentile in the technical sense. Muhammad would readily

adopt the name, for reasons already expressed.

Written down with them in the law and the gospel, i.e., "both foretold by name and certain description."-Sale. The passages usually quoted by Muslims as referring to their Prophet are Deut. xviii. 15, xxxiii. 2; Ps. 1. 2; Isa. xxi. 7, and lxiii. 1-6; Hab. iii. 3; John i. 21, xiv. 16, xvi. 7; and Rev. vi. 4. Muhammad nowhere ventures to quote the Scripture foretelling his advent, except in chap. lxi. 6, where he certainly shows himself to be illiterate in respect to the New Testament Scriptures.

Good things... and bad. See note on chap. iii. 49, and chap.

v. 2-6.

This passage is regarded by Nöeldeke as a Madina revelation, because of the maturity of Islám here presented, and because of the reference to those who "assist" the Prophet, i.e., the Ansárs, who were not so called until after the Hijra.

(159) O men. Sale understands this to mean all mankind, but it is more natural to understand it as simply addressed to the people of Makkah. See note on chap. ii. 21.

(160) A party, viz., "Those Jews who seemed better disposed than the rest of their brethren to receive Muhammad's law, or perhaps such of them as had actually received it. Some imagine they were a Jewish nation dwelling somewhere beyond China, which Muhammad saw the night he made his journey to heaven, and who believed on him."-Sale, Baidháwi.

See also notes on chap. vi. 20.

And we divided them into twelve tribes, as into so many nations. And we spake by revelation unto Moses. when his people asked drink of him, and we said, Strike the rock with thy rod; and there gushed thereout twelve fountains, and men knew their respective drinking-place. And we caused clouds to overshadow them, and manna and quails to descend upon them, saying, Eat of the good things which we have given you for food: and they injured not us, but they injured their own souls. (162) And call to mind when it was said unto them, Dwell in this city, and eat of the provisions thereof wherever ye will, and say, Forgiveness; and enter the gate worshipping: we will pardon you your sins, and will give increase unto the well-doers. (163) But they who were ungodly among them changed the expression into another, which had not been spoken unto them. Wherefore we sent down upon them indignation from heaven, because they transgressed.

(164) And ask them concerning the city, which was situate on the sea, when they transgressed on the Sabbathday when their fish came unto them on their Sabbathday, appearing openly on the water: but on the day whereon they celebrated no Sabbath, they came not unto them. Thus did we prove them, because they were wickeddoers. (165) And when a party of them said unto the others, Why do ye warn a people whom GOD will destroy, or will punish with a grievous punishment? They answered, This

(161) See notes on chap. ii. 56 and 59. This stone, says Baidhawi, was thrown down from Paradise by Adam. Shuaib having possession of it, gave it with the rod to Moses. The Tafsir-i-Raufi says the stone lay hidden in the desert, but spoke to Moses as he passed by, saying, "Take me; I will be of use to thee."

(162, 163) See notes on chap. ii. 57, 58.

(164) The city. Ailah or Elath, on the Red Sea. See chap. ii. 64. (165) Why do ye warn, &c.? Commentators differ as to the persons asking this question, some referring it to the pious, others to the unbelievers.

An excuse. "That we have done our duty in dissuading them from their wickedness."-Sale. This seems to decide the question as to who asked the question, Why do ye warn, &c.?

NISF.

21.

Ꭱ 1

is an excuse for us unto your LORD, and peradventure they will beware. (166) But when they had forgotten the admonitions which had been given them, we delivered those who forbade them to do evil; and we inflicted on those who had transgressed a severe punishment, because they had acted wickedly. (167) And when they proudly refused to desist from what had been forbidden them, we said unto them, Be ye transformed into apes, driven away from the society of men. (168) And remember when thy LORD declared that he would surely send against the Jews until the day of resurrection some nation who should afflict them with a grievous oppression; for thy LORD is swift in punishing, and he is also ready to forgive, and merciful: (169) and we dispersed them among the nations in the earth. Some of them are upright persons, and some of them are otherwise. And we proved them with prosperity and with adversity, that they might return from their disobedience; (170) and a succession of their posterity hath succeeded after them, who have inherited the book of the law, who receive the temporal goods of this world, and say, It will surely be forgiven us: and if a temporal advantage like the former be offered them, they accept it also. Is it not the covenant of the book of the law established with them, that they should not speak of GOD aught

(166, 167). See notes on chap. ii. 64, and v. 65.

(168) See note on chap. v. 69. Comp. Deut. xxviii. 49, 50. (169) Upright... and otherwise. Comp. chap. iii. 113, 199. This passage is certainly of Madína origin, but revealed soon after the Hijra, when some of the Jews became Muslims. The unbelievers are reminded of the fate of their rebellious forefathers.

(170) Who receive, &c. "By accepting of bribes for wresting judgment, and for corrupting the copies of the Pentateuch, and by extorting of usury, &c."-Sale, Baidhawi.

Aught but truth. The lying of the Jews alluded to here, say the commentators, was their saying that their sins were all forgiven them; the sins of the night were forgiven in the day, and the sins of the day in the night. See Tafsir-i-Raufi.

They diligently read, &c. This passage also shows that the Jews in Muhammad's time were in possession of genuine copies of their Scriptures.

but the truth? Yet they diligently read that which is therein. But the enjoyment of the next life will be better for those who fear God than the wicked gains of these people: (Do ye not therefore understand?) (171) and for those who hold fast the book of the law, and are constant at prayer: for we will by no means suffer the reward of the righteous to perish. (172) And when we shook the mountain of Sinai over them, as though it had been a covering, and they imagined, that it was falling upon them; and we said, Receive the law which we have brought you with reverence; and remember that which is contained therein, that ye may take heed.

(173) And when thy LORD drew forth their posterity R 22.

from the lions of the sons of Adam, and took them to witness against themselves, saying, Am not I your LORD? They answered, Yea: we do bear witness. This was done lest ye should say at the day of resurrection, Verily we were negligent as to this matter, because we were not apprised thereof: (174) or lest ye should say, Verily our fathers were formerly guilty of idolatry, and we are their posterity who have succeeded them; wilt thou therefore destroy us for that which vain men have committed? (175) Thus do we explain our signs, that they may return from their vanities. (176) And relate unto the Jews the history of him unto whom we brought our signs, and he

(172) The mountain. See note on chap. ii. 62. This passage is based on Jewish tradition. See Rodwell in loco.

(173) Thy Lord drew forth, &c. "The commentators tell us that God stroked Adam's back, and extracted from his loins his whole posterity, which should come into the world until the resurrection, one generation after another; that these men were actually assembled together in the shape of small ants, which were endued with understanding; and that after they had, in the presence of the angels, confessed their dependence on God, they were again caused to return into the loins of their great ancestor."-Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin, Yahya.

This transaction is said to have taken place in the valley of Mumán, near Arafát; others say it took place in the plain of Dahia of India. See Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco. This passage clearly recognises the doctrine of pre-existence, as held by Origen.

(176) The history of him. "Some suppose the person here in

VOL. II.

Q

departed from them; wherefore Satan followed him, and he became one of those who were seduced. (177) And if we had pleased, we had surely raised him thereby unto wisdom; but he inclined unto the earth, and followed his own desire. Wherefore his likeness as the likeness of a dog, which, if thou drive him away, putteth forth his tongue, or, if thou let him alone, putteth forth his tongue also. This is the likeness of the people who accuse our signs of falsehood. Rehearse therefore this history unto them, that they may consider. (178) Evil is the similitude of those people who accuse our signs of falsehood, and injure their own souls. (179) Whomsoever GOD shall direct, he will be rightly directed; and whomsoever he shall lead astray, they shall perish. (180) Moreover we have created for hell many of the genii and of men; they have hearts by which they understand not, and they have eyes by which they see not, and they have ears by which they hear not. These are like the brute beasts; yea, they go more astray; these are the negligent. (181) GOD hath most excellent names; therefore call on him by the same;

tended to be a Jewish Rabbi, or one Ummaya Ibn Abu Salab, who read the Scriptures, and found thereby that God would send a prophet about that time, and was in hopes that he might be the man; but when Muhammad declared his mission, believed not on him through envy. But according to the more general opinion, it was Balam, the son of Beor, of the Canaanitish race, well acquainted with part at least of the Scripture, having even been favoured with some revelations from God, who being requested by his nation to curse Moses and the children of Israel, refused it at first, saying, How can I curse those who are protected by the angels?' But afterwards he was prevailed on by gifts; and he had no sooner done it, than he began to put out his tongue like a dog, and it hung down upon his breast."—Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin, &c. Comp. 2 Pet. ii. 5, and Jude ii.

(178) Who accuse, &c. See note on chap. iii. 185, and above on ver. 2. (179, 180) This passage clearly makes God the author of evil. He is said to create genii and men for the express purpose of filling hell with them. Comp. chap. xi. 119. But see notes on chap. iii. 145, 155. The creation of the righteous is mentioned in ver. 182.

(181) God hath . . . names. These are ninety-nine in number, and are all to be found in the Qurán. They are repeated by pious Muslims, with the aid of a rosary, as a matter of merit. They are as follows:-The Merciful, the Compassionate, the King, the Most

« PreviousContinue »