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Certain believing Jews and Christians commended.
Exhortation to patience and perseverance



The miser's doom

Scoffing Jews denounced-they charge Muhammad

with imposture

Meditations and prayers of the pious

God's answer to the prayers of the pious.


|| (1) A. L. M. (2) There is no GOD but GOD, the living, R . the self-subsisting: (3) he hath sent down unto thee the

(1) A. L., M. See note on chap. ii. ver. 1, and Prelim. Disc., p. 100.

(2) There is no God but God, &c. These words express one half of the Muslim creed; they are said to have been delivered on the occasion of a visit to the Prophet by certain Christians from Najrán. On being invited to join Islám, they professed their faith in Jesus the Son of God. To this Muhammad replied that they were unable to receive the true religion because of their having attributed to the Deity the human relationships of wife and son. The Christians declared their belief in the Sonship of Jesus, saying, “If God were not his father, who was?" To this Muhammad replied, that, according to their own religion, God was immortal, and yet they believed that Jesus would taste of death; that he ate and drank, slept and awoke, went and came, &c. This, he averred, could not be predicated of divinity. See Tafsir-i-Husaini in loco.

According to the Tafsir-i-Raufi, this verse contains a distinct rejection of the Christian doctrine of the Divinity of Christ as well as of the Trinity. The tradition handed down to the present generation by these commentators, and, so far as I know, by all commentators of the Qurán, confirms our interpretation of chap. ii. vers. 86, 116. Muhammad knew of no Trinity save that of God, Mary, and Jesus, and Muhammadan commentators know of no other Trinity, unless it be that of God, Jesus, and Gabriel-see Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco-probably a modern gloss of the Bible language, "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," the term Holy Spirit, as found in the Qurán, being

book of the Quran with truth, confirming that which was revealed before it; for he had formerly sent down the law, and the gospel a direction unto men; and he had also sent down the distinction between good and evil. (4) Verily those who believe not the signs of GOD shall suffer a grievous punishment; for GOD is mighty, able to revenge. (5) Surely nothing is hidden from GOD, of that which is on

always understood to refer to the Angel Gabriel: see chap. ii. 253. No Christian would object to the statement upon which we are now commenting. It is a statement clearly set forth in our Scriptures. But if this statement is intended to refute the Christian doctrine concerning the person of Christ and the Trinity, what becomes of the claims set up for the Qurán in this same verse as "confirming that which was revealed before it"? What are we to say of the inspiration of a prophet who seems to have been ignorant of the teaching of the Scriptures he professed to confirm? If he were not ignorant of these doctrines, then what becomes of his character for integrity? How he could be so ignorant of them, after personal intercourse with Christians as testified by tradition, as to attribute to them views never held by any sect however heretical, I confess myself unable to show.


(3) He had formerly sent down the law, &c. The Muslim commentators understand the reference to be to all the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, and that these were a direction" unto the Jews that they should not call Ezra the Son of God, and "a direction" to the Christians that they should not call Christ "God, the Son of God, or one of three persons of a Trinity.”—Tafsir-i-Raufi.

The distinction. The original word is Al Furqán, a word usually translated in the Persian and Urdú versions of the Qurán, “miracles." It is applied to the Qurán in the sense of the text, as the distinguisher "between good and evil," especially between the false and true in religion. This name, say the Muslims, is intended to point to the miraculous character of the Qurán. But if so, the same character must be credited to the Christian and Jewish Scriptures, for the commentators admit that what is referred to in the first part of this verse in detail is here referred to in general (Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco). The word therefore probably points to the seal of miracles which God set upon all his prophets and his word as revealed by them. In the case of the Qurán, the verses (Ayát = signs) are the miraculous seal of inspiration.

(4) Those who believe not the signs, i.e., who reject the teaching of the Qurán. If our view of the latter clause of the preceding verse be correct, allusion may be had to the teaching of former Scriptures as well.

(5) Nothing is hidden from God, &c. A distinct recognition of the omniscience of God. The commentators see in this statement a refutation of the Christian doctrine of the Divinity of Christ. The Son

earth, or in heaven: (6) it is he who formeth you in the wombs, as he pleaseth; there is no GOD but he, the mighty, the wise. (7) It is he who hath sent down unto thee the book, wherein are some verses clear to be understood, they are the foundation of the book; and others are parabolical. But they whose hearts are perverse will follow that which is parabolical therein, out of love of schism, and a desire of the interpretation thereof; yet none knoweth the interpretation thereof, except God. But they who are well

of Mary did not know everything, therefore he could not be divine. Here again we see that the Muslim conception of Christ's divinity is that his humanity was divine.

(6) He that formeth you, &c., i.e., "tall or short, male or female, black or white, deformed or perfect, beautiful or ugly, good and fortunate, or wretched and miserable."-Tafsir-i-Raufi. (7) Some verses clear, . . others are parabolical. "This passage is translated according to the exposition of al Zamakhshari and Baidhawi, which seems to be the truest.

"The contents of the Qurán are here distinguished into such passages as are to be taken in the literal sense, and such as require a figurative acceptation. The former, being plain and obvious to be understood, compose the fundamental part, or, as the original expresses it, the mother of the book, and contain the principal doctrines and precepts, agreeably to and consistently with which, those passages which are wrapt up in metaphors and delivered in enigmatical, allegorical style are always to be interpreted." See Prelim. Disc., P. 113.-Sale.

On this subject, Hughes, in his Notes on Muhammadanism, pp. 32-34, second edition, writes as follows:-"The sentences ('Ibárat) of the Qurán are either Záhir or Khafi, i.e., either obvious or hidden. "Obvious sentences are of four classes: záhir, nass, mufassar, muhkam. "Záhir those sentences the meaning of which is obvious or clear without any assistance from the context, &c.


"Hidden sentences are either khafi, mushkil, mujmal, or mutashabih," i.e., "hidden," "ambiguous," "compendious," or "intricate." We have therefore in this passage the foundation principle of Muslim exegesis. See also the Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco.

None knoweth the interpretation, &c. Sale has followed the interpretation of the Sunní or orthodox sect in this translation. The Shiah sect, however, dissents from an interpretation which makes God say that he has revealed what is not after all a revelation. They, therefore, understand this sentence as being closely connected with the one following, as the original will very well allow, and render the passage thus: "None knoweth the interpretation thereof except God AND those who are well grounded in the knowledge which


grounded in the knowledge say, We believe therein, the whole is from our LORD; and none will consider except the prudent. (8) O LORD, cause not our hearts to swerve from truth, after thou hast directed us: and give us from thee mercy, for thou art he who giveth. (9) O LORD, thou shalt surely gather mankind together, unto a day of resurrection: there is no doubt of it, for GOD will not be contrary to the promise.

|| (10) As for the infidels, their wealth shall not profit them anything, nor their children, against GOD: they shall be the fuel of hell fire. (11) According to the wont of the people of Pharaoh, and of those who went before them, they charged our signs with a lie; but GOD caught them in their wickedness, and GOD is severe in punishing. (12) Say unto those who believe not, Ye shall be overcome, and thrown together into hell; and an unhappy couch shall it be. (13) Ye have already had a miracle shown you in two armies,

say, &c. By "those who are well grounded in the knowledge," they understand the Imams of their own sect. This interpretation, however, does not avail them much, inasmuch as they are dependent on the fallible testimony of the traditionists for a knowledge of the dictum of the Imáms; and, amidst the conflict of witnesses, most men would be ready to say with the text, "None knoweth the interpretation thereof except God."

The principle enunciated in this verse should not be forgotten by Christians when called upon by Muslims to explain some of the obscure passages of the Bible or the mysteries of our religion.

(8) O Lord, &c. Muslims understand all prayers of this kind found in the Quán as introduced by the word "say." See notes in chap. i. This prayer is dictated by the third clause of the preceding verse, and is connected with that passage thus: "They who are well grounded, say . . . O Lord," &c.

(9) A day, &c. Rodwell gives the correct rendering of this passage thus: "For the day of whose coming there is not a doubt, thou wilt surely gather mankind together." So too the Urdú and Persian translations.

(11) They charged our signs with a lie. Muhammad again likens himself to Moses and other prophets, whose message had been treated with contempt by infidels like unto the Jews and Quraish of his time.

(12) Ye shall be overcome. These defiant words, addressed to the enemies of Islám, and to the Quraish in particular, were inspired by the Muslim victory at Badr, A.H. 2.

(13) Ye have already had a miracle shown you. "The sign or

which attacked each other: one army fought for GOD's true religion, but the other were infidels; they saw the faithful twice as many as themselves in their eyesight; for GOD strengthened with his help whom he pleaseth. Surely herein was an example unto men of understanding. (14)

miracle here meant was the victory by Muhammad in the second year of the Hijra over the idolatrous Makkans. . . in the valley of Badr. . . . Muhammad's forces consisted of no more than three hundred and nineteen men, but the enemy's army of near a thousand, notwithstanding which odds he put them to flight, having killed seventy of the principal Quraish" (forty-nine, see Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 107, note), "and taken as many prisoners, with the loss of only fourteen of his own men. This was the first victory obtained by the Prophet; and though it may seem no very considerable action, yet it was of great advantage to him, and the foundation of all his future power and success. For which reason it is famous in the Arabian history, and more than once vaunted in the Qurán (chap. viii. 45, 46) as an effect of the divine assistance. The miracle, it is said, consisted in three things: 1. Muhammad, by the direction of the Angel Gabriel, took a handful of gravel and threw it towards the enemy in the attack, saying, May their faces be confounded; whereupon they immediately turned their backs and fled. But though the Prophet seemingly threw the gravel himself, yet it is told in the Qurán (chap. viii. 17) that it was not he, but God, who threw it, that is to say, by the ministry of his angel. 2. The Muhammadan troops seemed to the infidels to be twice as many in number as themselves, which greatly discouraged them. And 3. God sent down to their assistance first a thousand, and afterwards three thousand angels, led by Gabriel, mounted on his horse Haizúm; and, according to the Qurán (chap. viii. 17), these celestial auxiliaries really did all the execution, though Muhammad's men imagined themselves did it, and fought stoutly at the same time."-Sale.

There is a discrepancy between the statement of this verse and that of chap. viii. 46. Here the miracle consists in the dismay wrought among the Quraish by magnifying the number of Muslims in their eyes; but there it is recorded that "when he caused them to appear unto you when ye met to be few in your eyes, and diminished your number in their eyes." In this verse the miracle consisted in encouraging the Muslims by diminishing the number of those of Makkah and in luring on the Quraish to destruction by making the number of their adversaries appear even less than it really was. The commentators reconcile these statements by making the former to succeed the latter in time. Considering the number of angels called in to assist the Muslims on this occasion, one would infer that the angelic hosts of Islám were not highly gifted in the art of war. Compare Isa. xxxvii. 36, but see below, ver. 123, note, and on chap. viii. 45, 46.

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