Page images

said unto them, Die; then he restored them to life, for God is gracious toward mankind; but the greater part of men do not give thanks. Fight for the religion of God, and know that God is he who heareth and knoweth. Who is he that will lend unto God on good usury? verily he will double it unto him manifold; for God contracteth and extendeth his hand as he pleaseth, and to him shall ye return.

Hast thou not considered the assembly of the children of Israel, after the time of Moses; when they said unto their prophet Samuel, Set a king over us, that we may fight for the religion of God? The prophet answered, If ye are enjoined to go to war, will ye be near refusing to fight? They answered, And what should ail us that we should not fight for the religion of God, seeing we are dispossessed of our habitations, and deprived of our children? But when they were enjoined to go to war, they turned back, except a few of them: and God knew the ungodly. And their prophet said unto them, Verily God hath set Talut king over you: they answered, How shall he reign over us, seeing we are more worthy of the kingdom than he, neither is he possessed of great riches? Samuel said, Verily God hath chosen him before you, and hath caused him to increase in knowledge and stature, for God giveth his kingdom unto whom he pleaseth; God is bounteous and wise. And their prophet said unto them, Verily the sign of his kingdom shall be, that the ark shall come unto you: therein shall be tranquillity from your Lord, and the relics which have been left by the family of Moses, and the family of Aaron; the angels shall bring it. Verily this shall be a sign unto you, if ye believe. And when Talut departed with his soldiers, he said, Verily God will prove you by the river: for he who drinketh thereof shall not be on my side (but he who shall not taste thereof he shall be on my side) except he who drinketh a draught out of his hand. And they drank thereof, except a few of them. And on the prophet's call they all arose, and lived several years after; but they retained the color and stench of dead corpses as long as they lived, and the clothes they wore changed as black as pitch, which qualities they transmitted to their posterity.

when they had passed the river, he and those who believed with him, they said, We have no strength to-day against Jalut and his forces. But they who considered that they should meet God at the resurrection, said, How often hath a small army discomfited a great army, by the will of God? and God is with those who patiently persevere. And when they went forth to battle against Jalut and his forces, they said, O Lord, pour on us patience, and confirm our feet, and help us against the unbelieving people. Therefore they discomfited them, by the will of God, and David slew Jalut. And God And God gave him the kingdom and wisdom, and taught him his will; and if God had not prevented men, the one by the other, verily the earth had been corrupted: but God is beneficent toward his creatures. These are the signs of God: we rehearse them unto thee with truth, and thou art surely one of those who have been sent by God.

These are the apostles; we have preferred some of them before others: some of them hath God spoken unto, and hath exalted the degree of others of them. And he gave unto Jesus the son of Mary manifest signs, and strengthened him with the holy spirit. And if God had pleased, they who came after those apostles would not have contended among themselves, after manifest signs had been shown unto them. But they fell to variance; therefore some of them believed, and some of them believed not; and if God had so pleased, they would not have contended among themselves, but God doth what he will. O true believers, give alms of that which we have bestowed on you, before the day cometh wherein there shall be no merchandizing, nor friendship, nor intercession. The infidels are unjust doers.

God! there is no God but he; the living, the self-subsisting: neither slumber nor sleep seizeth him; to him belongeth whatsoever is in heaven, and on earth. Who is he that can intercede with him, but through his good pleasure? He knoweth that which is past, and that which is to come unto them, and they shall not comprehend anything of his knowledge, but so far as he pleaseth. His throne is extended over heaven and

earth, and the preservation of both is no burden unto him. He is the high, the mighty.18

Let there be no violence in religion. Now is right direction manifestly distinguished from deceit: whoever therefore shall deny Tagut, and believe in God, he shall surely take hold on a strong handle, which shall not be broken; God is he who heareth and seeth. God is the patron of those who believe; he shall lead them out of darkness into light: but as to those who believe not, their patrons are Tagut; they shall lead them from the light into darkness; they shall be the companions of hell fire, they shall remain therein forever.

Hast thou not considered him who disputed with Abraham concerning his Lord, because God had given him the kingdom? When Abraham said, My Lord is he who giveth life, and killeth: he answered, I give life, and I kill. Abraham said, Verily God bringeth the sun from the east, now do thou bring it from the west. Whereupon the infidel was confounded; for God directeth not the ungodly people. Or hast thou not considered how he behaved who passed by a city which had been destroyed, even to her foundations? He said, How shall God quicken this city, after she hath been dead? And God caused him to die for an hundred years, and afterward raised him to life. And God said, How long hast thou tarried here? He answered, A day, or part of a day. God said, Nay, thou hast tarried here an hundred years. Now look on thy food and the drink, they are not yet corrupted; and look on thine ass: and this have we done that we might make thee a sign unto men. And look on the bones of thine ass, how we raise them, and afterward clothe them with flesh. And when this was shown unto him, he said, I know that God is able to do all things. And when Abraham said, O Lord, show me how thou wilt raise the dead; God said, Dost thou not yet believe? He answered, Yea; but I ask this

18 This paragraph contains a magnificent description of the divine majesty and providence; but it must not be supposed the translation comes up to the dignity of the original. This passage is justly admired by the Mohammedans, who recite it in their prayers; and some of them wear it about them, engraved on an agate or other precious stone.

that my heart may rest at ease. God said, take therefore four birds and divide them; then lay a part of them on every mountain; then call them, and they shall come swiftly unto thee: and know that God is mighty and wise. The similitude of those who lay out their substance for advancing the religion of God is as a grain of corn which produceth seven ears, and in every ear an hundred grains; for God giveth twofold unto whom he pleaseth: God is bounteous and wise.

They who lay out their substance for the religion of God, and afterward follow not what they have so laid out by reproaches or mischief, they shall have their reward with their Lord; upon them shall no fear come, neither shall they be grieved. A fair speech, and to forgive, is better than alms followed by mischief. God is rich and merciful.

O true believers, make not your alms of none effect by reproaching, or mischief, as he who layeth out what he hath to appear unto me to give alms, and believeth not in God and the last day. The likeness of such a one is as a flint covered with earth, on which a violent rain falleth, and leaveth it hard. They can not prosper in anything which they have gained, for God directeth not the unbelieving people. And the likeness of those who lay out their substance from a desire to please God, and for an establishment for their souls, is as a garden on a hill, on which a violent rain falleth, and it bringeth forth its fruits twofold; and if a violent rain falleth not on it, yet the dew falleth thereon: and God seeth that which ye do. Doth any of you desire to have a garden of palm-trees and vines, through which rivers flow, wherein he may have all kinds of fruits, and that he may attain to old age, and have a weak offspring? then a violent fiery wind shall strike it, so that it shall be burned. Thus God declareth his signs unto you, that ye may consider.

O true believers, bestow alms of the good things which ye have gained, and of that which we have produced for you out of the earth, and choose not the bad thereof, to give it in alms, such as ye would not accept yourselves, otherwise than by connivance and know that God is rich and worthy to be praised. The devil threateneth you with poverty, and com

mandeth you filthy covetousness; but God promiseth you pardon from himself and abundance: God is bounteous and wise. He giveth wisdom unto whom he pleaseth; and he unto whom wisdom is given hath received much good: but none will consider, except the wise of heart. And whatever alms ye shall give, or whatever vow ye shall vow, verily, God knoweth it; but the ungodly shall have none to help them. If ye make your alms to appear, it is well; but if ye conceal them and give them unto the poor, this will be better for you, and will atone for your sins and God is well informed of that which ye do. The direction of them belongeth not unto thee; but God directeth whom he pleaseth. The good that ye shall give in alms shall redound unto yourselves; and ye shall not give unless out of desire of seeing the face of God. And what good thing ye shall give in alms, it shall be repaid you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly; unto the poor who are wholly employed in fighting for the religion of God, and can not go to and fro in the earth; whom the ignorant man thinketh rich, because of their modesty: thou shalt know them by this mark, they ask not men with importunity; and what good ye shall give in alms, verily God knoweth it. They who distribute alms of their substance night and day, in private and in public, shall have their reward with the Lord; on them shall no fear come, neither shall they be grieved.

They who devour usury shall not arise from the dead, but as he ariseth whom Satan hath infected by a touch: this shall happen to them because they say, Truly selling is but as usury: and yet God hath permitted selling and forbidden usury. He therefore who, when there cometh unto him an admonition from his Lord, abstaineth from usury for the future, shall have what is past forgiven him, and his affair belongest unto God. But whoever returneth to usury, they shall be the companions of hell fire, they shall continue therein forever. God shall take his blessing from usury, and shall increase alms: for God loveth no infidel, or ungodly person. But they who believe and do that which is right, and observe the stated times of prayer, and pay their legal alms, they shall have their reward with their Lord: there shall come no fear

VOL. V.-6.

« PreviousContinue »