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hath been the end of those who have preceded them? But the dwelling of the next life shall surely be better for those who fear God. Will they not therefore understand? (110) Their predecessors were borne with for a time, until, when our apostles despaired of their conversion, and they thought that they were liars, our help came unto them, and we delivered whom we pleased; but our vengeance was not turned away from the wicked people. (111) Verily in the histories of the prophets and their people there is an instructive example unto those who are endued with understanding. The Qurán is not a new invented fiction, but a confirmation of those scriptures which have been revealed before it, and a distinct explication of everything necessary in respect either to faith or practice, and a direction and mercy unto people who believe.

deserts; because the former are more knowing and compassionate, and the latter more ignorant and hard-hearted."--Sale, Baidháwi.

(111) The Quran . . . a confirmation, &c. This passage certainly attests the former Scriptures then extant as credible, and claims to explain more clearly than there revealed the meaning of them. Surely this one chapter proves not only how untrue this statement is, but how false that other that "the Qurán is not a new invented fiction."



Revealed at Makkah,


THE name of this chapter occurs in ver. 14. All of the best authorities agree that this chapter originated at Makkah. Most of the Muslim commentators make vers. 14, 29-31, to allude to events which occurred at Madína late in the life of the Prophet, and a few writers, says Noeldeke, have thought the whole chapter should be referred to Madína. However, the interpretations given by these commentators are based entirely upon the words of these passages, and, in the absence of better evidence, must be regarded as widely mistaken.

The internal evidence of the chapter is decidedly in favour of referring the origin of the whole to Makkah, excepting perhaps ver. 41.

The contents of the chapter relate entirely to Muhammad's disputes with the infidel Quraish. A remarkable feature of it is its many apologies for Muhammad's failure to perform the miracles demanded by the unbelievers. On this account the author of the Notes on the Roman Urdu Qurán remarks that "this chapter should have been entitled the Chapter of Apologies."

Probable date of the Revelations.

We have already shown that this chapter, excepting ver. 41, must be referred to Makkah. As to the date of composition, the earlier verses of the chapter might be assigned to almost any period in the career of the Makkan preacher; but the latter part of the chapter must be referred to the latter part of his ministry at Makkah. This is evident from the allusion to the "adversity" of the Makkans in ver. 31, the belief of certain Jews in ver. 36, and the obstinate un

belief and opposition of the Quraish in vers. 30 and 42. If we take the allusion in vers. 36 and 37 to be to the lapse of Muhammad in his temporary compromise with idolatry about six years before the Hijra, and if we refer the statements of ver. 42 to the persecutions which arose on Muhammad's recovery from the lapse, and which culminated in the ban against the Háshimites, this portion of the chapter may be referred to the period intervening between the years 6 and 4 B.H.

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|| (1) A. L. M. R. These are the signs of the book of the Qurán; and that which hath been sent down unto thee from thy LORD is the truth; but the greater part of men will not believe. (2) It is GOD who hath raised the heavens without visible pillars; and then ascended his throne, and compelled the sun and the moon to perform their services: every of the heavenly bodies runneth an appointed course. He ordereth all things. He showeth his signs distinctly, that ye may be assured ye must meet your LORD at the last day. (3) It is he who hath stretched forth the earth, and placed therein steadfast mountains and rivers; and hath ordained therein of every fruit two different kinds. He causeth the night to cover the day. Herein are certain signs upon people who consider. (4) And in the earth are tracts of land of different natures, though bordering on each other; and also vineyards, and seeds, and palm-trees springing several from the same root, and singly from distinct roots. They are watered with the same water, yet we render some of them more excellent than others to eat. Herein are surely signs upon people who understand. (5) If thou dost wonder at the infidels denying the resurrection, surely wonderful is their saying, After we shall have been reduced to dust, shall we be restored in a new creature? (6) These are they who believe not in

(1) "The meaning of these letters is unknown. Of several conjectural explications which are given of them, the following is one : I am the most wise and knowing God.'”—Sale.

The truth. See note on chap. iii. 3.

(2) The popular Arab notions as to astronomy are represented here. The Creator of the heavens, with the luminaries thereof, is the true God. His works testify of his eternal power and god head. (3) To different kinds, e.g., "sweet and sour, black and white, small and large."-Sale, Jaláluudín.

The original word is zaujain, meaning pairs.

(4) Tracts of land, &c. "Some being fruitful and others barren, some plain and other mountainous, &c."-Sale, Jalúluddín.

their LORD; these shall have collars on their necks, and these shall be the inhabitants of hell-fire: therein shall they abide for ever. (7) They will ask of thee to hasten. evil rather than good: although there have already been examples of the divine vengeance before them. Thy LORD is surely endued with indulgence towards men, notwithstanding their iniquity; but thy LORD is also severe in punishing. (8) The infidels say, Unless a sign be sent down unto him from his LORD, we will not believe. Thou art commissioned to be a preacher only, and not a worker of miracles; and unto every people hath a director been appointed.

(6) Collars. "The collar' here mentioned is an engine something like a pillory, but light enough for the criminal to walk about with. Besides the hole to fix it on the neck, there is another for one of the hands, which is thereby fastened to the neck. And in this manner the Muhammadans suppose the reprobates will appear at the day of judgment. Some understand this passage figuratively, of the infidels being bound in the chains of error and obstinacy."Sale, Baidhawi.

See also chap. v. 69, and note there.

(7) To hasten evil. "Provoking and daring thee to call down the Divine vengeance on them for their impenitency."-Sale. Rather daring Muhammad to bring down the wrath threatened against them for rejecting his prophetic claims.

(8) It is a fair inference from this verse that Muhammad wrought no miracles, not only because they were asked for, but because he here disclaims being a worker of miracles. "Thou art a preacher only."

The explanation of the commentators (see Tafsir-i-Hussaini) that God gave his prophets miracles suited to the age in which they lived, e.g., to Moses it was given to excel in jugglery, to Jesus to excel in the curing art, &c., is very puerile indeed, and predicates excessive ignorance as to the nature of the miracles wrought by these prophets. The author of the Notes on the Roman Urdu Qurán may well ask what the plagues of Egypt had to do with jugglery, or what Christ's walking on the waves, or his raising the dead, or his feeding the five thousand, had to do with the art of medicine; or what evidence is there that the age of Muhammad was marked by anything peculiar in the style or beauty of its literary productions, that the beauty and style of the Quran should be regarded as a miracle peculiarly suited to that time? The fact is, the passage before us clearly proves that the miracle of the Quran was never recognised by any of Muhammad's contemporaries outside the pale of Islám.

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