Page images
PDF
EPUB

(3) And a decla

that GOD will disgrace the unbelievers. ration from GOD and his Apostle unto the people, on the day of the greater pilgrimage, that GOD is clear of the idolaters, and his Apostle also. Wherefore if ye repent, this will be better for you; but if ye turn back, know that ye shall not weaken GOD: and denounce unto those who believe not a painful punishment. (4) Except such of the idolaters with whom ye shall have entered into a

when the proclamation of this revelation was made, reckon the months to be Dhul Hajja, Muharram, Safar and Rabi-ul-auwal. The latter seems to be the sounder opinion.

(3) The greater pilgrimage., viz., “The tenth of Dhu'l Hajja, when they slay the victims at Mina, which day is their great feast, and completes the ceremonies of the pilgrimage. Some suppose the adjective greater is added here to distinguish the pilgrimage made at the appointed time from lesser pilgrimages, as they may be called, or visitations of the Kaabah, which may be performed at any time of the year; or else because the concourse at the pilgrimage this year was greater than ordinary, both Muslims and idolaters being present at it.

"The promulgation of this chapter was committed by Muhammad to Ali, who rode for that purpose on the Prophet's slit-eared camel from Madina to Makkah; and on the day above mentioned, standing up before the whole assembly at al Aqabah, told them that he was the messenger of the Apostle of God unto them. Whereupon they asking him what was his errand, he read twenty or thirty verses of the chapter to them, and then said, 'I am commanded to acquaint you with four things: 1. That no idolater is to come near the temple of Makkah after this year; 2. That no man presume to compass the Kaabah naked for the future (see chap. vii. 27-34). 3. That none but true believers shall enter Paradise; and 4. That public faith is to be kept.'"-Sale, Baidhawi.

"There seems a kind of contradiction between the first verse, in which all treaties are cast aside, and the subsequent verse and intimation by Ali that treaties would be respected. Perhaps it was meant that, notwithstanding any treaty, idolaters would be prevented from coming to the pilgrimage, though the treaty would be in other respects observed. Or it may mean that, although Mahomet had permission given him in the first verse to cast aside treaties with idolaters, yet he nevertheless voluntarily engaged to respect those treaties which had been faithfully kept. The latter interpretation is not so suitable as the other to the style of the Coran.”—Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iv. p. 210, note.

(4) Except such. The exception is in respect to the painful punishment denounced against the unbelievers in the previous verse. So long as the idolaters with whom treaties of peace had already been made

league, and who afterwards shall not fail you in any instance, nor assist any other against you. Wherefore perform the covenant which ye shall have made with them, until their time shall be elapsed; for GOD loveth those who fear him. (5) And when the months wherein ye are not allowed to attack them shall be past, kill the idolaters wheresoever ye shall find them, and take them prisoners, and besiege them, and lay wait for them in every convenient place. But if they shall repent, and observe the appointed times of prayer and pay the legal alms, dismiss them freely; for GOD is gracious and merciful. (6) And if any of the idolaters shall demand protection of thee, grant him protection, that he may hear the word of GOD, and afterwards let him reach the place of his security. This shalt thou do, because they are people which know not the excellency of the religion thou preachest.

The

should remain faithful to their treaty engagements, they should be exempt from the punishment described in the following verse. spirit of the passage seems clearly to be opposed to that of the first verse. It is probable that several revelations relating to idolaters, and delivered at different times, have been woven together by the compilers of the Qurán. If this view be correct, the first verse was promulgated at a later period than what follows, and we have here an illustration of how the spirit of inspiration subserved the political interests of the Prophet.

(5) Kill the idolaters. Compare this passage with chap. iv. 88, 89. Wherever ye shall find them. "Either within or without the sacred territory."-Sale. This passage, with what follows, is said to abrogate chap. ii. 216.

If they shall repent, &c., i.e., if they shall embrace Islám, not only formally but heartily. They must perform the duties of Islám. Hence," says Abdul Qadir, "Abu Baqr slew those who declined to give legal alms, as he did the idolaters."

(6) That he may hear the word of God. The plain meaning of this passage, according to the Tafsir-i-Raufi, is that the ignorant were to be made acquainted with the claims of Islám, and if then they accepted it, they were to be allowed to proceed to their homes in peace; if not, they were to be slain. Sale's paraphrase here seems to me to mistake the purport of the general order to slay all impenitent idolaters, excepting those with whom treaties had been made, and who had observed their treaty obligations. He says, "You shall give him a safe-conduct, that he may return home again securely, in case he shall not think fit to embrace Muhammadanism.'

R &

|| (7) How shall the idolaters be admitted into a league with GOD and with his Apostle, except those with whom ye entered into a league at the holy temple? So long as they behave with fidelity towards you, do ye also behave with fidelity towards them; for GOD loveth those who fear him. (8) How can they be admitted into a league with you, since, if they prevail against you, they will not regard in you either consanguinity or faith? They will please you with their mouths, but their hearts will be averse from you; for the greater part of them are wicked doers. (9) They sell the signs of GOD for a small price, and obstruct his way; it is certainly evil which they do. (10) They regard not in a believer either consanguinity or faith; and these are the transgressors. (11) Yet if they repent and observe the appointed times of prayer, and give alms, they shall be deemed your brethren in religion. We distinctly propound our signs unto people who understand.

(7) Those with whom ye entered into a league, i.e., the Bani Dhamra and Bani Kinána, mentioned in note to ver. I.

(8) How? This ambiguous interrogative is variously understood. In addition to what is inserted in the text we find the following: "How can they ?"-Rodwell. "How shall we not smite the infidels?"-Abdul Qadir. "How can there be peace ?”—Fatah-arRahmán. The Persian translation agrees with Sale.

If they prevail. The allusion seems to be clearly to Arab unbelievers. If so, this portion of the chapter must be referred to an earlier date than that claimed for it by some of the commentators. The spirit of the following verse, especially the charge against the unbelievers, that they "sell the signs of God for a small price," points to the Quraish of Makkah in particular, with whom are perhaps associated the disaffected inhabitants of Madína, as especially intended here. With this view agrees the tradition concerning the hypocrisy of Jallás, given in Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 3o,

note.

(9) Compare chap. ii. 175, 176, and see notes there.

(11) If they repent and observe, &c. This passage clearly asserts the necessity of piety in religion as an evidence of true repentance. The piety required, however, is simply the outward observance of the rites of Islam. The contrast between Islám and Christianity on this point is very marked, and needs only to be emphasised to reveal the difference between the counterfeit and the true. The ring of a genuine coin is unmistakable.

(12) But if they violate their oaths after their league, and revile your religion, oppose the leaders of infidelity (for there is no trust in them), that they may desist from their treachery. (13) Will ye not fight against people who have violated their oaths, and conspired to expel the Apostle of God; and who of their own accord assaulted you for the first time? Will ye fear them? But it is more just that ye should fear GOD, if ye are true believers. (14) Attack them, therefore; GOD shall punish them by your hands, and will cover them with shame, and will give you the victory over them; and he will heal the breasts of the people who believe, (15) and will take away

(12) Oppose the leaders. Rodwell translates, "Do battle with the ringleaders." This accords with the Persian and Urdú translations. Muslims are now to take active measures for the suppression of infidelity.

(13) Will ye not fight, &c. Sale, on the authority of Baidhawi, paraphrases thus: "As did the Quraish in assisting the tribe of Baqr against those of Khudháah (see Prelim. Disc., p. 93), and laying a design to ruin Muhammad without any just provocation; and, as several of the Jewish tribes did, by aiding the enemy and endeavouring to oblige the Prophet to leave Madína as he had been obliged to leave Makkah."

It seems more natural to regard the people here referred to as the inhabitants of Makkah in particular. This is the view of the Tafsiri-Raufi. The passage, then, belongs to a period preceding the capture of Makkah, and was intended to stir up the faithful to make war upon the Quraish, who had violated the treaty made at Hudaibiya. This view accounts for the allusion to the perfidy of those who regard neither religion nor consanguinity in ver. 8.

(14) By your hands. This passage seems to teach that Muslim crusade against idolatry was commanded by God as a sovereign act of judgment, just as Moses was commanded to destroy the Canaanites. The Muslim, therefore, uses the same arguments in defence of the former that we do in respect of the conduct of Joshua and the Israelites. See note on chap. ii. 191.

Will heal the breasts, &c. Sale, on the authority of Baidhawi, says the allusion is to "those of Khudháah; or, as others say, certain families of Yaman and Saba, who went to Makkah, and there professed Muhammadanism, but were very injuriously treated by the inhabitants; whereupon they complained to Muhammad, who bid them take comfort, for that joy was approaching."

It seems to me more natural to refer the healing to those Muslim who were reluctant to fight against their own kindred at Makkah. This is the class specially exhorted (in vers. 23, 24) to drown all filial and fraternal affection in zeal for God and his Apostle. Love

·R $

the indignation of their hearts: for GOD will be turned unto whom he pleaseth; and GOD is knowing and wise. (16) Did ye imagine that ye should be abandoned, whereas GOD did not yet know those among you who fought for his religion, and took not any besides GOD, and his Apostle, and the faithful for their friends? GOD is well acquainted with that which ye do.

(17) It is not fitting that the idolaters should visit the temples of GOD, being witnesses against their own souls of their infidelity. The works of these men are vain, and they shall remain in hell-fire for ever. (18) But he only shall visit the temples of GOD who believeth in

for Islám is to be supreme; natural affection may wound the heart, but God "will heal the breasts of the people who believe."

(15) Indignation of their hearts. The meaning of this verse depends on ver. 14. According to the view of the commentators, it would be that God, by avenging the faithful upon their persecutors, would satisfy their desire for revenge. My own interpretation of that verse requires this to mean that by healing the breasts of the faithful, their indignation at the idea of warring against friends and relations during even the sacred months would be removed amidst the glories of the victory of Islám. This I think to be the better interpretation.

For God will be turned unto whom he pleaseth. The Tafsir-i-Raufi regards this as a prophecy foretelling the conversion of Abu Sufián, Akrama Bin Abu Jahl, &c. The passage, however, points to those who, having been reluctant to fight against their relatives, had become reconciled to the views of the Prophet, which fact is here regarded as a sign of the Divine favour.

(16) God did not yet know. Rodwell translates, "As if God did not yet know." The Tafsir-i-Raufi paraphrases, "Since God has not yet made known." The passage seems to mean that the sincerity of those who claimed to be Muslims could only be known by a trial of their faith, and that the present defection of some was no reason for supposing that all had been abandoned of God.

God is well acquainted, &c., i.e., he knows who are his true followers and who are hypocrites.

(17) The temples of God. Literally, the masjids of God. Idolaters are here refused admittance to the mosque as well as to the sacred Kaabah at Makkah, a requirement carefully observed in all Muslim communities.

(18) He only shall visit, &c. "These words are to warn the believers from having too great a confidence in their own merits, and

« PreviousContinue »