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and a direction and mercy; that the children of Israel might believe the meeting of their LORD.

|| (155) And this book which we have now sent down is blessed; therefore follow it, and fear God that ye may obtain mercy: (156) lest ye should say, The scriptures were only sent down unto two people before us; and we neglected to peruse them with attention: (157) or lest ye should say, If a book of divine revelations had been sent down unto us, we should surely have been better directed than they. And now hath a manifest declaration come unto you from your LORD, and a direction and mercy and who is more unjust than he who deviseth lies against the signs of GOD, and turneth aside from them? We will reward those who turn aside from our signs with a grievous punishment, because they have turned aside. (158) Do they wait for any other than that the angels should come unto them, to part their souls from their bodies, or that thy LORD should come to punish them;

the Quran, which denies the cardinal doctrine of salvation by sacri-
fice and atoning blood. Yet in the following verses the assertion is
made that the teaching of the Qurán and of "the Scriptures
sent down unto the people before”—that is, to the Jews and Chris-
tians-is the same.

(156) And we neglected to peruse them. Abdul Qadir translates, "and we did not know to read and to teach them;" or, as Muir translates, "but we are unable to read in their language" (Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p. 68, note). Muir conjectures that Muhammad was led to make the prophetic claim by thoughts suggested by the objections of his townsmen in language like the following:-"It is well for Jews and Christians to follow the purer faith thou speakest of. They, we know, have had prophets bringing them a message of the will of God. Let us be content with the light our Maker hath given unto us, and remain as we are. If a prophet had been sent unto us, we should no doubt have followed his directions, and been equally devout and spiritual in our worship as the Jews and Christians." See whole discussion given at reference already quoted.

(157) Better directed than they. "Because of the acuteness of our wit, the clearness of our understanding, and our facility of learning sciences, as appears from our excelling in history, poetry, and oratory, notwithstanding we are illiterate people."-Sale, Baidháwi. A nice bit of Arab conceit.

Now hath a manifest declaration, &c. The prophetic claim is here again set up. See notes on vers. 19 and 48.

or that some of the signs of thy LORD should come to pass, showing the day of judgment to be at hand? On the day whereon some of thy LORD'S signs shall come to pass, its faith shall not profit a soul which believed not before, or wrought not good in its faith. Say, Wait ye for this day; we surely do wait for it. (159) They who make a division in their religion and become sectaries, have thou nothing to do with them; their affair belongeth only unto GOD. Hereafter shall he declare unto them that which they have done. (160) He who shall appear with good works shall receive a tenfold recompense for the same; but he who shall appear with evil works shall receive only an equal punishment for the same; and they shall not be treated unjustly. (161) Say, Verily my LORD hath directed me into a right way, (162) a true religion, the sect of Abraham the orthodox; and he was no idolater. (163) Say, Verily my prayers, and my worship, and my life, and my death are dedicated unto GOD, the LORD of all crea

(158) Signs of thy Lord. "Al Baidhawi, from a tradition of Muhammad, says that ten signs will precede the last day, viz., the smoke, the beast of the earth, an eclipse in the east, another in the west, and a third in the peninsula of Arabia, the appearance of Antichrist, the sun's rising in the west, the eruption of Gog and Magog, the descent of Jesus on earth, and fire shall break forth from Aden." -Sale. See also Prelim. Disc., sect. iv. p. 62.

Its faith shall not profit, &c. "For faith in the next life will be of no advantage to those who have not believed in this; nor yet faith in this life without good works."-Sale.

(159) Sectaries. "That is, who believe in part of it and disbelieve other parts of it, or who form schisms therein. Muhammad is reported to have declared that the Jews were divided into seventy-one sects, and the Christians into seventy-two; and that his own followers would be split into seventy-three sects; and that all of them would be damned except only one of each."-Sale, Baidhawi.

As there were no sectaries among the Muslims at this time, it is quite certain that the purport of this passage is that Muhammad should avoid the Jews and Christians; and if so, this verse must be referred to Madína rather than to Makkah. Commentators, who interpret the passage thus, say it has been abrogated by the command to fight against infidels. See Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco.

(162) The sect of Abraham the orthodox. See note on chap. iii. 95, and chap. iv. 124.

(163) Verily my prayers, &c. This entire consecration of self to

tures: he hath no companion. This have I been commanded: I am the first Muslim. (164) Say, Shall I desire any other LORD besides GOD? since he is the LORD of all things; and no soul shall acquire any merits or demerits but for itself; and no burdened soul shall bear the burden of another. Moreover, unto your LORD shall ye return; and he shall declare unto you that concerning which ye now dispute. (165) It is he who hath appointed you to succeed your predecessors in the earth, and hath raised some of you above others by various degrees of worldly advantages, that he might prove you by that which he hath bestowed on you. Thy LORD is swift in punishing; and he is also gracious and merciful.

the true God is what Muhammad here declares to be the religion of Islám.

I am the first Muslim. See note on ver. 14.

(164) No burdened soul, &c. "This was revealed in answer to the preceding instances of the idolaters, who offered to take the crime upon themselves if Muhammad would conform to their worship."Sale, Buidhawi.

That no sinner shall bear the sin of another is true; but Muhammad went further, denying that the burden of the sinner could be borne by any one. See note on chap. iii. 194.

(165) Appointed you to succeed. The original word is khalifah, which is applied to the successors of Muhammad.

The meaning, according to the Tafsir-i-Raufi, is either that the Quraish were appointed the successors of various peoples in Arabia, or that the Muslims are appointed the successors of the Arab idolaters. The latter seems to be the true meaning. If so, this portion of the chapter may belong to the Madína revelations.



Revealed at Makkah.


THIS chapter owes its title to the reference to the partition wall between heaven and hell in ver. 4, which is called al Aráf. It may be said to contain Muhammad's vindication of his prophetic claims. Accordingly, it abounds with stories of the experiences of former prophets, and of the judgments that overtook those who refused to accept their doctrine and the signs of their prophetic authority. Even the most careless reader can hardly fail to see that all these prophets are facsimiles of Muhammad himself. Their character and authority, their message and accompanying claims to inspiration, the incredulity and hardness of heart shown by the tribes to whom they were sent, the consequent rejection of the prophets, and the threatenings of the sudden and dreadful judgments of God upon unbelievers, all these correspond to the experience of Muhammad; and the inference suggested by each story is that the rejection of the Prophet of Makkah would bring with it judgments on the Quraish similar to and dreadful as those which befell those tribes who rejected the former prophets.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

The allusion to a famine in ver. 95 (compare chap. x. 22, 23, and xxiii. 77-79), and a subsequent period of prosperity in ver. 96, together with the tone of the whole chapter, point to a period immediately preceding the Hijra as the date to which it should be assigned.

The only passages to be excepted are vers. 158-160, and 164–171. The former of these passages evidently belongs to Madína, as appears (1) From the title, Illiterate Prophet, or Gentile Prophet, as

contrasted with the prophets of Judaism and Christianity. This contrast points to Madina rather than to Makkah. (2.) From the expression the law and the gospel, which, as Nöeldeke points out, never occurs in other than Madina revelations. (3.) From the words and assist him, which certainly refer to the Ansárs or helpers of Madína; and (4.) From the fact that this passage breaks the thread of discourse at ver. 157, which is taken up again at ver. 161. This passage was probably added by Muhammad himself at Madína.

Most commentators agree, also, in referring vers. 164-171 to Madína. Nöeldeke, however, differs from them, and regards it as belonging to Makkah. When, however, it is remembered that Muhammad's custom in the Qurán is to give the most detailed accounts of Jewish history and tradition in the earliest chapters containing such narratives, afterward alluding to the same stories with more or less brevity, it must be granted that this passage belongs to Madina, inasmuch as the substance of it is given at length in the early Madína chapters.

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