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They are warned against civil strife, deception, and trea

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God's favour to true believers

Plots against Muhammad frustrated by God

The infidels liken the Qurán to fables

The Quraish were protected from deserved punishment by

Muhammad's presence among them

The idolaters of Makkah rebuked and threatened

An amnesty offered to the Quraish

Impenitent idolaters to be extirpated from the earth

How the spoils of war are to be divided

The Muslims were led by God to fight at Badr to attest the
truth of Islám


25-28 29



32, 33



40, 41


43, 44

The Muslims encouraged, and the infidels lured to destruc-
tion, by each seeing the other to be few in number


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God with the Prophet and the Muslims in warring for the





Muslims reproved for accepting ransom for the captives
taken at Badr


Captive Quraish exhorted to accept Islám, and warned

against deception.

The brotherhood of the Ansárs and Muháj Jirín

The hereditary rights of blood-relations re-established





|| (1) THEY will ask thee concerning the spoils: Answer, The division of the spoils belongeth unto GOD and the

(1) The spoils, taken at the battle of Badr. "It consisted of 115 camels, 14 horses, a large store of leather (beds and rugs), and much equipage and armour."-Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 111.

Apostle. Therefore fear GOD, and compose the matter amicably among you: and obey GOD and his Apostle, if ye are true believers. (2) Verily the true believers are those whose hearts fear when GOD is mentioned, and whose faith increaseth when his signs are rehearsed unto them, and who trust in their LORD; (3) who observe the stated times of prayer, and give alms out of that which we have bestowed on them. (4) These are really believers: they shall have superior degrees of felicity with their LORD, and forgiveness, and an honourable provision. (5) As thy LORD brought thee forth from thy house with truth, and

The division, &c. Rodwell translates this passage correctly-The spoils are God's and the Apostle's. The ellipsis understood by Sale, however, points to the cause for this revelation. It was due to a dispute between those who pursued the Quraish at Badr and those who remained behind to guard the Prophet and the camp as to the division of the spoils. Muhammad silences both parties by telling them the victory was due to neither, but to God, and therefore the spoil was God's and his Apostle's, and that they must await the divine command as to its disposal.—Idem, p. 112.

"It is related that Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas, one of the companions, whose brother Omair was slain in this battle, having killed Said Ibn al Ás, took his sword, and carrying it to Muhammad, desired that he might be permitted to keep it; but the Prophet told him that it was not his to give away, and ordered him to lay it with the other spoils. At this repulse and the loss of his brother Saad was greatly disturbed; but in a very little while this chapter was revealed, and thereupon Muhammad gave him the sword, saying, 'You asked this sword of me when I had no power to dispose of it, but now I have received authority from God to distribute the spoils, you may take it.""-Sale, Baidhawi.

(2-4) See notes on chap. ii. 3-5.

(5) As thy Lord, &c., i.e., from Madína. "The particle as having nothing in the following words to answer it, al Baidhawi supposes the connection to be, that the division of the spoils belonged to the Prophet, notwithstanding his followers were averse to it, as they had been averse to the expedition itself."-Sale.

Rodwell supplies the word Remember, and translates, Remember how thy Lord, &c. The Urdú translations agree with Sale.

Part... were averse. This passage refers to the following circumstances:-Muhammad having received information of the approach of a caravan of the Quraish under Abu Sufián, went forth with his followers to plunder it. But Abu Sufián being apprised of the Muslim expedition, gave them the slip by turning aside and pursuing his journey by another way. Succours had been called for from Makkah, and 950 armed men, mounted on camels and horses,

part of the believers were averse to thy directions: (6) they disputed with thee concerning the truth, after it had been made known unto them; no otherwise than as if they had been led forth to death, and had seen it with their eyes. (7) And call to mind when GOD promised you one of the two parties, that it should be delivered unto you, and ye desired that the party which was not furnished with arms should be delivered unto you: but GOD purposed to make known the truth in his words, and to cut off the uttermost part of the unbelievers; (8) that he might verify the truth, and destroy falsehood, although

had answered the summons, and notwithstanding the safety of the caravan, they determined to advance and punish the Muslims. Muhammad and his people advanced with the expectation of an easy victory and abundant spoil, but learned to their chagrin of Abu Sufián's escape and the near approach of the succours. The question now arose among the disappointed followers whether they should pursue the caravan or follow Muhammad to the battle. By the aid of revelation and the interposition of Abu Baqr, Omar, and others, the disobedient were induced to submit to Muhammad's orders to attack the succours, which resulted in the celebrated battle of Badr. See Sale's note in loco, and Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. chap. xii. (6) After it had been made known. Muhammad pretended to have received a promise from Gabriel that he should have either the caravan or victory over the succours. Victory was therefore assumed beforehand, but the smallness of their number made them afraid.

(7) One of the two parties. "That is, either the caravan or the succours from Makkah. Father Marracci, mistaking al 'air and al nafír, which are appellatives, and signify the caravan and the troop or body of succours, for proper names, has thence coined two families of the Quraish never heard of before, which he calls Airenses and Naphirenses (Marracci in Alc., p. 297)."-Sale.

Ye desired, that the caravan, guarded by only forty armed men, should be attacked.

But God proposed, &c. "As if he had said, Your view was only to gain the spoils of the caravan and to avoid danger; but God designed to exalt his true religion by extirpating its adversaries."Sale, Baidhawi.

(8) That he might verify the truth. The victory of the Muslims is here declared to be evident proof of the divine mission of Muhammad and the truth of his religion. This claim gave ground to much doubt among the faithful and to scoffs and jeers among unbelievers after the defeat at Ohod. See notes on chap. iii. 121, and verses following.

the wicked were averse thereto. (9) When ye asked assistance of your LORD, and he answered you, Verily I will assist you with a thousand angels, following one another in order. (10) And this GOD designed only as good tidings for you, and that your hearts might thereby rest secure for victory is from GOD alone; and GOD is mighty and wise.

¦¦ (11) When a sleep fell on you as a security from him, R and he sent down upon you water from heaven, that he

(9) Assistance from your Lord. "When Muhammad's men saw they could not avoid fighting, they recommended themselves to God's protection; and their Prophet prayed with great earnestness, crying out, O God, fulfil that which thou hast promised me: Ó God, if this party be cut off, thou wilt be no more worshipped on earth.' And he continued to repeat these words till his cloak fell from off his back."-Sule, and the Tafsir-i-Raufi.

A thousand angels. See notes on chap. iii. 13, and 123-125. In chap. iii. 127, the number of angels is given at 3000. The commentators reconcile the discrepancy by saying that at first 1000 angels appeared, "which," says Sale, were afterwards reinforced with 3000 more. Wherefore some copies, instead of a thousand, read thousands, in the plural.”


(10) See notes on chap. iii. 126.

(11) Water from heaven. The following is Baidháwi's comment as given by Sale:


"The spot where Muhammad's little army lay was a dry and deep sand, into which their feet sank as they walked, the enemy having the command of the water; and that having fallen asleep, the greater part of them were disturbed with dreams, wherein the devil suggested to them that they could never expect God's assistance in the battle, since they were cut off from the water, and besides suffering the inconveniency of thirst, must be obliged to pray without washing, though they imagined themselves to be the favourites of God, and that they had his Apostle among them. But in the night rain fell so plentifully, that it formed a little brook, and not only supplied them with water for all their uses, but made the sand between them and the infidel army firm enough to bear them; whereupon the diabolical suggestions ceased."

Muir, however, assures us, on the authority of the K. Wáqkídi, that the Muslims had secured "the sole command of the water" previous to the fall of rain and the night's comfortable rest. Most likely the rain was interpreted by the ever-sagacious Prophet as a sign of victory granted from heaven, inasmuch as three blessings had resulted therefrom already-(1) sound sleep, (2) water for ceremonial purification instead of sand, and (3) the sand was made solid, and so their feet were established."

might thereby purify you, and take from you the abomination of Satan, and that he might confirm your hearts, and establish your feet thereby. (12) Also when thy LORD spake unto the angels, saying, Verily I am with you; wherefore confirm those who believe. I will cast a dread into the hearts of the unbelievers. Therefore strike off their heads, and strike off all the ends of their fingers. (13) This shall they suffer, because they have resisted GOD and his Apostle : and whosoever shall oppose GOD and his Apostle, verily GOD will be severe in punishing him. (14) This shall be your punishment; taste it therefore: and the infidels shall also suffer the torment of hell-fire. (15) O true believers, when ye meet the unbelievers marching in great numbers against you, turn not your backs unto them: (16) for whoso shall turn his back unto them in that day, unless he turneth aside to fight, or retreateth to another party of the faithful,

(12) Thy Lord spake. According to Rodwell, the address to the angels ends at "unbelievers," making the following words, "therefore strike," &c., an exhortation to the Muslims. The Tafsir-i-Raufi and Abdul Qadir understand these words also to have been addressed to the angels. "The angels did not know," says the Tafsir-i-Raufi, "where to strike a fatal blow;" hence the words, "strike off their heads"-literally smite their necks-and the allusion to the ends of their fingers is understood to include all the members of the body.

Sale understands the exhortation to be addressed to the Muslims. He says "This is the punishment expressly assigned the enemies of the Muhammadan religion, though the Muslims did not inflict it on the prisoners they took at Badr, for which they are reprehended in this chapter." The spirit of the passage is certainly very different from that of chap. ii. 256.

(13) God will be severe. The punishment will be severe if taken prisoner in the world, and afterwards in the final destruction of the soul.-Tafsir-i-Raufi.

(14, 15) The revelation is here plainly made Muhammad's vehicle for a military harangue. Was Muhammad sincere in uttering such exhortations as the very words of God? Muslims claim complete inspiration for them, and accept Muhammad's claim to have been simply the mouthpiece of Divinity. Are the apologists for Islám ready to do the same? If not, the only fair inference they can draw is that he was an impostor. Self-deception cannot be pleaded here. There is every sign of intelligent, deliberate policy. He desires to incite his followers to bold, desperate warfare. They have come to believe him to be inspired, and he never scruples to impose on their credulity for the accomplishment of his ambitious purposes.

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