Part 7 out of 14
When we cause men to taste mercy they rejoice in it; but if, for
which their hands have aforetime wrought, evil befall them, they
See they not that God bestoweth full supplies on whom He
and giveth sparingly to whom He pleaseth? Signs truly are there
herein to those who believe.
To him who is of kin to thee give his due, and to the poor and to
the wayfarer: this will be best for those who seek the face of God;
and with them it shall be well.
Whatever ye put out at usury to increase it with the substance of
others shall have no increase from God:10 but whatever ye shall
give in alms, as seeking the face of God, shall be doubled to you.
It is God who created you then fed you then will cause you to
die then will make you alive. Is there any of your
companion-gods who can do aught of these things? Praise be to
Him! and far be He exalted above the gods they join with Him.
Destruction hath appeared by land and by sea on account of what
men's hands have wrought, that it might make them taste
somewhat of the fruit of their doings, that haply they might turn to
SAY: Journey through the land, and see what hath been the end of
those who were before you! The greater part of them joined other
gods with God.
Set thy face then towards the right faith, ere the day come which
none can hinder God from bringing on.11 On that day shall they be
parted in twain:
Unbelievers on whom shall be their unbelief; and they who have
wrought righteousness, and prepared for themselves couches of
That of his bounty He may reward those who have believed and
wrought righteousness; for the unbelievers He loveth not.
And one of his signs is that He sendeth the winds with glad tidings
of rain, both that He may cause you to taste his mercy, and that
ships may sail at his command, that out of his bounties ye may
seek wealth, and that haply ye may render thanks.
We have sent apostles before thee to their peoples, and they
presented themselves to them with clear proofs of their mission;
and while it behoved us to succour the faithful, we took vengeance
on the guilty.
It is God who sendeth the winds and uplifteth the clouds, and, as
He pleaseth, spreadeth them on high, and breaketh them up; and
thou mayest see the rain issuing from their midst; and when He
poureth it down on such of his servants as He pleaseth, lo! they
are filled with joy,
Even they who before it was sent down to them, were in mute
Look then at the traces of God's mercy how after its death he
quickeneth the earth! This same God will surely quicken the dead,
for to all things His might is equal.
Yet should we send a blast, and should they see their harvest turn
yellow, they would afterwards shew themselves ungrateful.
Thou canst not make the dead to hear, neither canst thou make the
deaf to hear the call, when they withdraw and turn their backs:
Neither canst thou guide the blind out of their error: in sooth,
none shalt thou make to hear, save him who shall believe in our
signs: for they are resigned to our will (Muslims).
It is God who hath created you in weakness, then after weakness
hath given you strength: then after strength, weakness and grey
hairs: He createth what He will; and He is the Wise, the Powerful.
And on the day whereon the Hour shall arrive, the wicked will
That not above an hour have they waited: Even so did they utter
lies on earth:
But they to whom knowledge and faith have been given will say,
"Ye have waited, in accordance with the book of God, till the day
of Resurrection: for this is the day of the Resurrection but ye
knew it not."
On that day their plea shall not avail the wicked, neither shall they
again be bidden to seek acceptance with God.
And now have we set before men, in this Koran, every kind of
parable: yet if thou bring them a single verse of it, the infidels will
surely say, "Ye are only utterers of vain things."
It is thus that God hath sealed up the hearts of those who are
devoid of knowledge.
But do thou, Muhammad, bear with patience, for true is the
promise of God; and let not those who have no firm belief, unsettle
1 See Sura lxviii. 1, p. 32.
2 By the Persians; probably in Palestine in the 6th year before the
Hejira, under Khosrou Parviz. (Ann. 615. See Gibbon's Decline
and Fall, ch. xlvi.) The sympathies of Muhammad would naturally
be enlisted on the side of the Christians rather than on that of the
idolatrous fire-worshippers, with whom Islam had nothing in
3 This alludes to the defeat of the Persians by Heraclius, ann. 625.
The Muhammadans appeal to this passage as a clear proof of the
inspiration of their prophet. But it should be borne in mind that the
vowel points of the consonants of the Arabic word for defeated in
verse 1, not being originally written, and depending entirely on the
speaker or reader, would make the prophecy true in either event,
according as the verb received an active or passive sense in
pronunciation. The whole passage was probably constructed with
the view of its proving true in any event.
4 Comp. Psalm xc. 30, in the Arabic version.
5 The Talmudists apply the description of God of the sender of the
rain to the divine command which shall cause the dead to arise.
6 Lit. from yourselves, i.e. either from the side of Adam or of
human, and of no other kind of being. Beidh.
7 By worshipping idols conjointly with God.
8 Lit. as a Hanyf. See note on the preceding Sura, 121, p. 209.
9 Peculiar to and distinctive of themselves. Muhammad had a just
appreciation of that narrowness of mind which is the
characteristic of sectarians in every age, who seize upon some one
point of truth, through inability to grasp the whole in its due
proportions and bearing, and glory in it, as if the fragment were
10 Comp. Ps. xv. 5.
11 Lit. which none can put back from God.
SURA XI. HOUD [LXXV.]
MECCA. 123 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
ELIF. LAM. RA.1 A book whose verses are stablished in wisdom
and then set forth with clearness from the Wise, the All-informed
That ye worship none other than God Verily I come to you from
Him charged with warnings, announcements;
And that ye seek pardon of your Lord, and then be turned unto
Him! Goodly enjoyments will He give you to enjoy until a destined
time, and His favours will He bestow on every one who deserves
his favours.2 But if ye turn away, then verily I fear for you the
chastisement of the great day.
Unto God shall ye return, and over all things is he Potent.
Do they not doubly fold up their breasts, that they may hide
themselves from Him?
But when they enshroud themselves in their garments, doth He not
know alike what they conceal and what they shew?
For He knoweth the very inmost of their breast.
There is no moving thing on earth whose nourishment dependeth
not on God; he knoweth its haunts and final resting place: all is in
the clear Book.
And He it is who hath made the Heavens and the Earth in six days:
His throne had stood ere this upon the waters,3 that He might
make proof which of you4 would excel in works.
And if thou say, "After death ye shall surely be raised again," the
infidels will certainly exclaim, "This is nothing but pure sorcery."
And if we defer their chastisement to some definite time, they will
exclaim, "What keepeth it back?" What! will it not come upon
them on a day when there shall be none to avert it from them? And
that at which they scoffed shall enclose them in on every side.
And if we cause man to taste our mercy, and then deprive him of
verily, he is despairing, ungrateful.
And if after trouble hath befallen him we cause him to taste our
favour, he will surely exclaim, "The evils are passed away from
me." Verily, he is joyous, boastful.
Except those who endure with patience and do the things that are
right: these doth pardon await and a great reward.
Perhaps thou wilt suppress a part of what hath been revealed to
thee, and wilt be distress at heart lest they say, "If a treasure be
not sent down to him, or an angel come with him. " But thou art
only a warner, and God hath all things in his charge.
If they shall say, "The Koran is his own device," SAY: Then bring
ten Suras like it5 of your devising, and call whom ye can to your
aid beside God, if ye are men of truth.
But if they answer you not, then know that it hath been sent down
to you in the wisdom of God only, and that there is no God but He.
Are ye then Muslims?
Those who choose this present life and its braveries, we will
recompense for their works therein: they shall have nothing less
therein than their deserts.
These are they for whom there is nothing in the next world but the
Fire: all that they have wrought in this life shall come to nought,
and vain shall be all their doings.
20 With such can they be compared who rest upon clear proofs
from their Lord? to whom a witness from him reciteth the Koran,
and who is preceded by the Book of Moses, a guide and mercy?
These have faith in it: but the partisans of idolatry, who believe
not in it, are menaced with the fire! Have thou no doubts about
that Book, for it is the very truth from thy Lord. But most men will
Who is guilty of a greater injustice than he who inventeth a lie
concerning God? They shall be set before their Lord, and the
witnesses shall say, "These are they who made their Lord a liar."
Shall not the malison of God be on these unjust doers,
Who pervert others from the way of God, and seek to make it
crooked, and believe not in a life to come? God's power on earth
they shall not weaken; and beside God they have no protector!
Doubled shall be their punishment! They were not able to hearken,
and they could not see.
These are they who have lost their own souls, and the deities of
their own devising have vanished from them:
There is no doubt but that in the next world they shall be the lost
But they who shall have believed and done the things that are
right, and humbled them before their Lord, shall be the inmates of
Paradise; therein shall they abide for ever.
These two sorts of persons resemble the blind and deaf, and the
seeing and hearing: shall these be compared as alike? Ah! do ye
We sent Noah of old unto his people: "Verily I come to you a plain
That ye worship none but God. Verily I fear for you the
punishment of a grievous day."
Then said the chiefs of his people who believed not, "We see in
thee but a man like ourselves; and we see not who have followed
thee except our meanest ones of hasty judgment, nor see we any
excellence in you above ourselves: nay, we deem you liars."
He said: "O my people! how think you? If I am upon a clear
revelation from my Lord, who hath bestowed on me mercy from
Himself to which ye are blind, can we force it on you, if ye are
averse from it?
And, O my people! I ask you not for riches: my reward is of God
alone: and I will not drive away those who believe that they shall
meet their Lord: but I see that ye are an ignorant people.
And, O my people! were I to drive them away, who shall help me
against God? Will ye not therefore consider?
And I tell you not that with me are the treasures of God: nor do I
say, 'I know the things unseen;' nor do I say, 'I am an angel;' nor
do I say of those whom you eye with scorn, No good thing will
bestow on them: God best knoweth what is in their minds for then
should I be one of those who act unjustly."
They said: "O Noah! already hast thou disputed with us, and
multiplied disputes with us: Bring then upon us what thou hast
threatened, if thou be of those who speak truth."
He said, "God will bring it on you at His sole pleasure, and it is
not you who can weaken him;
Nor, if God desire to mislead you, shall my counsel profit you,
though I fain would counsel you aright. He is your Lord, and unto
Him shall ye be brought back.
Do they say, "This Koran is of his own devising?" Say: On me be
my own guilt, if I have devised it, but I am clear of that whereof ye
And it was revealed unto Noah. Verily, none of thy people shall
believe, save they who have believed already; therefore be not
thou grieved at their doings.
But build the Ark under our eye and after our revelation: and
plead not with me for the evil doers, for they are to be drowned.
So he built the Ark; and whenever the chiefs of his people passed
by they laughed him to scorn:6 said he, "Though ye laugh at us,
we truly shall laugh at you, even as ye laugh at us; and in the end
ye shall know
On whom a punishment shall come that shall shame him, and on
whom shall light a lasting punishment."
Thus was it until our sentence came to pass, and the earth's
surface7 boiled up. We said, "Carry into it one pair of every kind,
and thy family, except him on whom sentence hath before been
passed, and those who have believed." But there believed not with
him except a few.
And he said, "Embark ye therein. In the name of God be its course
and its riding at anchor! Truly my Lord is right Gracious,
And the Ark moved on with them amid waves like mountains: and
Noah called to his son for he was apart "Embark with us, O my
child! and be not with the unbelievers."
He said, "I will betake me to a mountain that shall secure me from
the water." He said, "None shall be secure this day from the
decree of God, save him on whom He shall have mercy." And a
wave passed between them, and he was among the drowned.
And it was said, "O Earth! swallow up thy water;" and "cease, O
Heaven!" And the water abated, and the decree was fulfilled, and
the Ark rested upon Al-Djoudi;8 and it was said, "Avaunt! ye tribe
of the wicked!"
And Noah called on his Lord and said, "O Lord! verily my son is of
my family: and thy promise is true, and thou art the most just of
He said, "O Noah! verily, he is not of thy family: in this thou actest
not aright.9 Ask not of me that whereof thou knowest nought: I
warn thee that thou become not of the ignorant.
He said, "To thee verily, O my Lord, do I repair lest I ask that of
thee wherein I have no knowledge: unless thou forgive me and be
merciful to me I shall be one of the lost.
It was said to him, "O Noah! debark with peace from Us, and with
blessings on thee and on peoples to be born from those who are
with thee; but as for other and unbelieving peoples, we will give
them their good things in this world, but hereafter shall a grievous
punishment light on them from us.
This is one of the secret Histories: we reveal it unto thee: neither
thou nor thy people knew it ere this: be patient thou: verily, there
is a prosperous issue to the God-fearing.
And unto Ad we sent their Brother HOUD. He said, "O my people,
worship God. You have no God beside Him. Ye only devise a lie.
O my people! I ask of you no recompense for this: my recompense
is with Him only who hath made me. Will ye not then understand?
O my people! ask pardon of your Lord; then be turned unto Him:
He will send down the heavens upon you with copious rains:
And with strength on strength will He increase you: only turn not
back with deeds of evil."
They said, "O Houd, thou hast not brought us proofs of thy
mission: we will not abandon our gods at thy word, and we believe
We can only say that some of our gods have smitten thee with
evil." Said he, "Now take I God to witness, and do ye also witness,
that I am clear of your joining other gods
To God. Conspire then against me all of you, and delay me not.
For I trust in God, my Lord and yours. No single beast is there
which he holdeth not by its forelock. Right, truly, is the way in
which my Lord goeth.
But if ye turn back, I have already declared to you my message.
And my Lord will put another people in your place, nor shall ye at
all hurt Him; verily, my Lord keepeth watch over all things."
And when our doom came to be inflicted, we rescued Houd and
those who had like faith with Him, by our special mercy: we
rescued them from the rigorous chastisement.
These men of Ad gainsaid the signs of their Lord, and rebelled
against his messengers, and followed the bidding of every proud
Followed therefore were they in this world by a curse; and in the
day of the Resurrection it shall be said to them, "What! Did not Ad
disbelieve their Lord?" Was not Ad, the people of Houd, cast far
And unto Themoud we sent their Brother Saleh:10 "O my people!
said he, worship God: you have no other god than Him. He hath
raised you up out of the earth, and hath given you to dwell therein.
Ask pardon of him then, and be turned unto him; for thy Lord is
nigh, ready to answer."
They said, "O Saleh! our hopes were fixed on thee till now:11
forbiddest thou us to worship what our fathers worshipped? Truly
we misdoubt the faith to which thou callest us, as suspicious."
He said, "O my people! what think ye? If I have a revelation from
my Lord to support me, and if He hath shewed his mercy on me,
who could protect me from God if I rebel against him? Ye would
only confer on me increase of ruin.
O my people! this is the she-Camel of God, and a sign unto you.
Let her go at large and feed in God's earth, and do her no harm,
lest a speedy punishment overtake you."
Yet they hamstrung her: then said he, "Yet three days more enjoy
yourselves in your dwellings: this menace will not prove untrue."
And when our sentence came to pass, we rescued Saleh and those
who had a like faith with him, by our mercy, from ignominy on
day. Verily, thy Lord is the Strong, the Mighty!
And a violent tempest overtook the wicked, and they were found in
the morning porstrate in their dwellings,
As though they had never abode in them. What! Did not Themoud
disbelieve his Lord? Was not Themoud utterly cast off?
And our messengers came formerly to Abraham with glad tidings.
"Peace," said they. He said, "Peace," and he tarried not, but
brought a roasted calf.
And when he saw that their hands touched it not,12 he misliked
them, and grew fearful of them. They said, "Fear not, for we are
sent to the people of Lot."
His wife was standing by and laughed;13 and we announced Isaac
to her; and after Isacc, Jacob.
She said, "Ah, woe is me! shall I bear a son when I am old, and
when this my husband is an old man? This truly would be a
They said, "Marvellest thou at the command of God? God's mercy
and blessing be upon you, O people of this house; praise and glory
are His due!"
And when Abraham's fear had passed away, and these glad tidings
had reached him, he pleaded with us for the people of Lot. Verily,
Abraham was right kind, pitiful, relenting.
"O Abraham! desist from this; for already hath the command of
thy God gone forth; as for them, a punishment not to be averted is
coming on them."
And when our messengers came to Lot, he was grieved for them;
and he was too weak to protect them,14 and he said, "This is a day
And his people came rushing on towards him, for aforetime had
they wrought this wickedness. He said, "O my people! these my
daughters will be purer for you: fear God, and put me not to
shame in my guests. Is there no rightminded man among you?"
They said, "Thou knowest now that we need not thy daughters; and
thou well knowest what we require."
He said, "Would that I had strength to resist you, or that I could
find refuge with some powerful chieftain."15
The Angels said, "O Lot! verily, we are the messengers of thy
Lord: they shall not touch thee: depart with thy family in the dead
of night, and let not one of you turn back: as for thy wife, on her
shall light what shall light on them. Verily, that with which they
are threatened is for the morning. Is not the morning near?"
And when our decree came to be executed we turned those cities
upside down, and we rained down upon them blocks of claystone
one after another, marked16 by thy Lord himself. Nor are they far
distant from the wicked Meccans.
And we sent to Madian17 their brother Shoaib. He said, "O my
people! worship God: no other God have you than He: give not
short weight and measure: I see indeed that ye revel in good
things; but I fear for you the punishment of the all-encompassing
O my people! give weight and measure with fairness; purloin not
other men's goods; and perpetrate not injustice on the earth with
A residue,18 the gift of God, will be best for you if ye are
But I am not a guardian over you."
They said to him, "O Shoaib! is it thy prayers which enjoin that we
should leave what our fathers worshipped, or that we should not
do with our substance as pleaseth us? Thou forsooth art the mild,
the right director!"
He said, "O my people! How think ye? If I have a clear revelation
from my Lord, and if from Himself He hath supplied me with
goodly supplies, and if I will not follow you in that which I myself
forbid you, do I seek aught but your amendment so far as in me
lieth? My sole help is in God. In Him do I trust, and to Him do I
O my people! let not your opposition to me draw down upon you
the like of that which befel the people of Noah, or the people of
Houd, or the people of Saleh: and the abodes of the people of Lot
are not far distant from you!
Seek pardon of your Lord and be turned unto Him: verily, my Lord
is Merciful, Loving.
They said, "O Shoaib! we understand not much of what thou
sayest, and we clearly see that thou art powerless among us: were
it not for thy family we would have surely stoned thee, nor
thou have prevailed against us."
He said, "O my people! think ye more highly of my family than of
God? Cast ye Him behind your back, with neglect? Verily, my
Lord is round about your actions.
And, O my people! act with what power ye can for my hurt: I
will act: and ye shall know
On whom shall light a punishment that shall disgrace him, and
who is the liar. Await ye; verily I will await with you."
And when our decree came to pass, we delivered Shoaib and his
companions in faith, by our mercy: And a violent tempest overtook
the wicked, and in the morning they were found prostrate in their
As if they had never dwelt in them. Was not Madian swept off
as Themoud had been swept off?
Of old sent we Moses with our signs and with incontestable power
to Pharaoh, and to his nobles who followed the behests of
Pharaoh, and, unrighteous were Pharaoh's behests.
He shall head his people on the day of the Resurrection and cause
them to descend into the fire: and wretched the descent by which
they shall descend!
They were followed by a curse in this world; and in the day of the
Resurrection, wretched the gift that shall be given them!
Such, the histories of the cities which we relate to thee. Some of
them are standing, others mown down:
We dealt not unfairly by them, but they dealt not fairly by
themselves: and their gods on whom they called beside God
availed them not at all when thy Lord's behest came to pass. They
did but increase their ruin.
Such was thy Lord's grasp19 when he laid that grasp on the cities
that had been wicked. Verily his grasp is afflictive, terrible!
Herein truly is a sign for him who feareth the punishment of the
latter day. That shall be a day unto which mankind shall be
gathered together; that shall be a day witnessed by all creatures.
Nor do we delay it, but until a time appointed.
When that day shall come no one shall speak a word but by His
leave, and some shall be miserable and others blessed.
And as for those who shall be consigned to misery their place the
Fire! therein shall they sigh and bemoan them
Therein shall they abide while the Heavens and the Earth shall
last, unless thy Lord shall will it otherwise; verily thy Lord doth
what He chooseth.
And as for the blessed ones their place the Garden! therein shall
they abide while the Heavens and the Earth endure, with whatever
imperishable boon thy Lord may please to add.
Have thou no doubts therefore concerning that which they
worship: they worship but what their fathers worshipped before
them: we will surely assign them their portion with nothing
Of old gave we Moses the Book, and they fell to variance about it.
If a decree of respite had not gone forth from thy Lord, there had
surely been a decision between them. Thy people also are in
suspicious doubts about the Koran.
And truly thy Lord will repay every one according to their works!
for He is well aware of what they do.
Go straight on then as thou hast been commanded, and he also
who hath turned to God with thee, and let him transgress no more.
He beholdeth what ye do.
Lean not on the evil doers lest the Fire lay hold on you. Ye have no
protector, save God, and ye shall not be helped against Him.
And observe prayer at early morning, at the close of the day, and
at the approach of night; for the good deeds drive away the evil
deeds. This is a warning for those who reflect:
And persevere steadfastly, for verily God will not suffer the reward
of the righteous to perish.
Were the generations before you, endued with virtue, and who
forbad corrupt doings on the earth, more than a few of those whom
we delivered? but the evil doers followed their selfish pleasures,
and became transgressors.
And thy Lord was not one who would destroy those cities unjustly,
when its inhabitants were righteous.
Had thy Lord pleased he would have made mankind of one
religion: but those only to whom thy Lord hath granted his mercy
will cease to differ. And unto this hath He created them; for the
word of thy Lord shall be fulfilled, "I will wholly fill hell with
Djinn and men."
And all that we have related to thee of the histories of these
Apostles, is to confirm thy heart thereby. By these hath the truth
reached thee, and a monition and warning to those who believe.
But say to those who believe not, "Act as ye may and can: we will
act our part: and wait ye; we verily will wait."
To God belong the secret things of the Heavens and of the Earth:
all things return to him: worship him then and put thy trust in
Him: thy Lord is not regardless of your doings.20
1 See Sura lxviii. p. 32.
2 Or, will bestow his grace on every gracious one, or will bestow
his abundance on every one who hath abundance (of merit). The
difficulty of rendering this passage arises from the word fadhl,
which means merit as applied to man, favour as applied to God.
3 That is, before the Creation. Precisely the same statement occurs
in Raschi on Gen. i. 2, also in the modern catechism. Tsenah
ur'enak b'noth Tsion, authoritatively put forth by the Polish and
German Talmudist Rabbins. "At the first creation of Heaven and
Earth the throne of glory of the Blessed God stood in the air
above the waters." Comp. Ps. civ. 3.
4 Men, heaven, and earth. Comp. Tr. Aboth, v. Mischna 1.
5 Comp. verse 37 and Sura [xci.] ii. 21. It should be observed that
the challenge in these passages is not to produce a book which
shall equal the Koran in point of poetry or rhetoric, but in the
importance of its subject-matter with reference to the Divine
Unity, the future retribution, etc. Upon these topics Muhammad
well knew that he had preoccupied the ground. And we may infer
from the fragments of the Revelations of Musailima and Sajド
(Hisam. 946; Attabビi (ed. Kosegarten) i. 134, 136, 152; Tab.
Agハi, 339), which are mere imitations of the Koran, that he felt
this to be the case.
6 "They laughed and jeered at him in their words." Midr.
Tanchuma. "The passage Job xii. 5, refers to the righteous Noah
who taught them and spake to them words severe as flames: but
they scorned him, and said, 'Old man! for what purpose is this
ark?"' Sanhedr. 108. Comp. Midr. Rabbah on Gen. 30, and 33 on
Eccl. ix. 14.
7 Or, oven: according to others, reservoir. Geiger thinks that the
expression the oven boiled up may be a figurative mode of
expressing the Rabbinic idea that "the generation of the Deluge
were punished by hot water." Rosch. Haschanah, 16, 2; Sanhedr.
108. Comp. Weil's Legenden, p. 44.
8 The Montes Gordy i, perhaps.
9 According to another reading: He hath done amiss. The origin of
this story is probably Gen. ix. 20-25.
10 A Prophet, so far as we know, of Muhammad's own invention,
unless Muir's conjecture be admitted that he was a Christian or
Jewish missionary whose adventures and persecution were recast
into this form. The name may have been suggested by,
upon whose piety the Midrasch enlarges.
11 That is, we had intended to make thee our chief. Beidh.
12 Thus, in contradiction to Gen. xviii. 8, the Rabbins; comp. Tr.
Baba Mezia, fol. 86, "They made as though they ate."
13 Or, menstrua passa est, in token of the possibility of her
bearing a child.
14 Lit. his arm was straitened concerning them.
15 Lit. column.
16 With the name, it is said, of the person each should strike.
17 See Sura [lvi.] xxvi. 176.
18 That is, after giving fair measure.
19 Seizure, for punishment. Hence, the punishment itself.
20 In the later period of his life Muhammad attributed his gray
hairs to the effect produced upon him by this Sura and its
"Sisters." While Abu Bekr and Omar sat in the mosque at Medina,
Muhammad suddenly came upon them from the door of one of his
wives' houses. And Abu Bekr said, "Ah! thou for whom I would
sacrifice father and mother, white hairs are hastening upon thee!"
And the Prophet raised up his beard with his hand and gazed at it;
and Abu Bekr's eyes filled with tears. "Yes," said Muhammad,
"H謀 and its sisters have hastened my white hairs." "And what,"
asked Abu Bekr, "are its sisters?" "The Inevitable (Sura lvi.) and
the Blow (Sura ci.)." Kitッ al Wackidi, p. 84, ap. Muir.
SURA XIV. ABRAHAM, ON WHOM BE PEACE [LXXVI.]
MECCA. 52 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
ELIF. LAM. RA. This Book have we sent down to thee that by
Lord's permission thou mayest bring men out of darkness into
light, into the path of the Mighty, the Glorious
Of God; to whom belongeth whatever is in the Heavens and
whatever is on the Earth: and woe! for their terrible punishment,
to the infidels,
Who love the life that now is, above that which is to come, and
mislead from the way of God, and seek to make it crooked. These
are in a far-gone error.
And in order that He might speak plainly to them, we have not sent
any Apostle, save with the speech of his own people; but God
misleadeth whom He will, and whom He will he guideth: and He is
the Mighty, the Wise.
Of old did we send Moses with our signs: and said to him, "Bring
forth thy people from the darkness into the light, and remind them
of the days of God." Verily, in this are signs for every patient,
When Moses said to his people, "Remember the kindness of God
you, when he rescued you from the family of Pharaoh who laid on
you a cruel affliction, slaughtering your male children, and
suffering only your females to live." In this was a sore trial from
And when your Lord caused it to be heard that, "If we render
thanks then will I surely increase you more and more: but if ye be
thankless. Verily, right terrible my chastisement."
And Moses said, "If ye and all who are on the Earth be thankless,
yet truly God is passing Rich, and worthy of all praise."
Hath not the story reached you of those who were before you, the
people of Noah, and Ad, and Themoud,
And of those who lived after them? None knoweth them but God.
When their prophets came to them with proofs of their mission,
they put their hands on their mouths and said, "In sooth, we
believe not your message; and in sooth, of that to which you bid
us, we are in doubt, as of a thing suspicious."
Their prophets said: "Is there any doubt concerning God, maker
of the Heavens and of the Earth, who calleth you that He may
pardon your sins, and respite you until an appointed time?"
They said, "Ye are but men like us: fain would ye turn us from our
fathers' worship. Bring us therefore some clear proof."
Their Apostles said to them, "We are indeed but men like you. But
God bestoweth favours on such of his servants as he pleaseth, and
it is not in our power to bring you any special proof,
But by the leave of God. In God therefore let the faithful trust.
And why should we not put our trust in God, since He hath already
guided us in our ways. We will certainly bear with constancy the
harm you would do to us. In God let the trustful trust."
And they who believed not said to their Apostles, "Forth from our
land will we surely drive you, or, to our religion shall ye return."
Then their Lord revealed to them, "We will certainly destroy the
And we shall certainly cause you to dwell in the land after them.
This for him who dreadeth the appearance at my judgment-seat
and who dreadeth my menace!"
Then sought they help from God, and every proud rebellious one
Hell is before him: and of tainted water shall he be made to drink:
He shall sup it and scarce swallow it for loathing; and Death shall
assail him on every side, but he shall not die: and before him shall
be seen a grievous torment.
A likeness of those who believe not in their Lord. Their works are
like ashes which the wind scattereth on a stormy day: no
advantage shall they gain from their works. This is the far-gone
Seest thou not that in truth1 hath God created the Heavens and the
Earth? Were such his pleasure He could make you pass away, and
cause a new creation to arise.
And this would not be hard for God.
All mankind shall come forth before God; and the weak shall say
to the men of might, "Verily, we were your followers: will ye not
then relieve us of some part of the vengeance of God?"
They shall say, "If God had guided us, we surely had guided you.
It is now all one whether we be impatient, or endure with patience.
We have no escape."
And after doom hath been given, Satan shall say, "Verily, God
promised you a promise of truth: I, too, made you a promise, but I
deceived you. Yet I had no power over you:
But I only called you and ye answered me. Blame not me then, but
blame yourselves: I cannot aid you, neither can ye aid me. I never
believed that I was His equal with whom ye joined me."2 As for
evil doers, a grievous torment doth await them.
But they who shall have believed and done the things that be right,
shall be brought into gardens beneath which the rivers flow:
therein shall they abide for ever by the permission of their Lord:
their greeting therein shall be "Peace."
Seest thou not to what God likeneth a good word?3 To a good tree:
its root firmly fixed, and its branches in the Heaven:
Yielding its fruit in all seasons by the will of its Lord. God setteth
forth these similitudes to men that haply they may reflect.
And an evil word is like an evil tree torn up from the face of the
earth, and without strength to stand.
Those who believe shall God stablish by his steadfast word both in
this life and in that which is to come: but the wicked shall He
cause to err: God doth his pleasure.
Hast thou not beholden those who repay the goodness of God with
infidelity, and sink their people into the abode of perdition
Hell? Therein shall they be burned; and wretched the dwelling!
They set up compeers with God in order to mislead man from his
way. SAY: Enjoy your pleasures yet awhile, but assuredly, your
going hence shall be into the fire.
Speak to my servants who have believed, that they observe prayer,
and give alms of that with which we have supplied them, both
privately and openly, ere the day come when there shall be neither
traffic nor friendship.
It is God who hath created the Heavens and the Earth, and sendeth
down water from the Heaven, and so bringeth forth the fruits for
your food: And He hath subjected to you the ships, so that by His
command, they pass through the sea; and He hath subjected the
rivers to you: and He hath subjected to you the sun and the moon
in their constant courses: and He hath subjected the day and the
night to you: of everything which ye ask Him, giveth He to you;
and if ye would reckon up the favours of God, ye cannot count
them! Surely man is unjust, ungrateful!
ABRAHAM said, "O Lord make this land secure, and turn aside
me and my children from serving idols:
For many men, O my Lord, have they led astray. But whosoever
shall follow me, he truly shall be of me; and whosoever shall
disobey me. Thou truly art Gracious, Merciful.
O our Lord! verily I have settled some of my offspring in an
unfruitful valley, nigh to thy holy house;4 O our Lord, that they
may strictly observe prayer! Make thou therefore the hearts of men
to yearn toward them, and supply them with fruits that they may be
O our Lord! thou truly knowest what we hide and what we bring to
light; nought on earth or in heaven is hidden from God. Praise be
to God who hath given me, in my old age, Ismael and Isaac! My
Lord is the hearer of prayer.
Lord! grant that I and my posterity may observe prayer. O our
Lord! and grant this my petition. O our Lord! forgive me and my
parents and the faithful, on the day wherein account shall be
Think thou not that God is regardless of the deeds of the wicked.
He only respiteth them to the day on which all eyes shall stare up
They hasten forward in fear; their heads upraised in supplication;
their looks riveted; and their hearts a blank. Warn men therefore
of the day when the punishment shall overtake them,
And when the evil doers shall say, "O our Lord! respite us yet a
To thy call will we make answer; thine Apostles will we follow."
"Did ye not once swear that no change should befal you?
Yet ye dwelt in the dwellings of those6 who were the authors of
their undoing7 and it was made plain to you how we had dealt with
them; and we held them up to you as examples. They plotted their
plots: but God could master their plots, even though their plots
had been so powerful as to move the mountains."
Think not then that God will fail his promise to his Apostles: aye!
God is mighty, and Vengeance is His.
On the day when the Earth shall be changed into another Earth,
and the Heavens also, men shall come forth unto God, the Only,
And thou shalt see the wicked on that day linked together in
Their garments of pitch, and fire shall enwrap their faces that
God may reward every soul as it deserveth; verily God is prompt
This is a message for mankind, that they may thereby be warned:
and that they may know that there is but one God; and that men of
understanding may ponder it.
1 See Sura [lxxxiv.] x. 5.
2 Lit. I truly renounce your having associated me (with God)
3 The preaching and the profession of Islam. Comp. Ps. i. 3, 4.
4 The Caaba.
5 Lit. to a term near at hand.
6 Of the anciently destroyed cities of Themoud, Ad, etc.
7 Lit. were unjust to their own souls.
SURA XII. JOSEPH, PEACE BE ON HIM [LXXVII.]
MECCA. III Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
ELIF. LAM. RA.1 These are signs of the clear Book.
An Arabic Koran have we sent it down, that ye might understand
In revealing to thee this Koran,2 one of the most beautiful of
narratives will we narrate to thee, of which thou hast hitherto been
When Joseph said to his Father, "O my Father! verily I beheld
eleven stars and the sun and the moon beheld them make
obeisance to me!"3
He said, "O my son! tell not thy vision to thy brethren, lest they
plot a plot against thee: for Satan is the manifest foe of man.
It is thus that thy Lord shall choose thee and will teach thee the
interpretation of dark saying, and will perfect his favours on thee
and on the family of Jacob, as of old he perfected it on thy fathers
Abraham and Isaac; verily thy Lord is Knowing, Wise!"
1 See Sura lxviii. p. 32. In no other Sura beside this is one subject
treated of throughout. It was recited to the first eight of the Ansars
who were converted, and clearly proves that Muhammad must
have been in confidential intercourse with learned Jews.
2 The word Koran is here used in the same sense as Sura.
3 Muhammad was either unaware of the previous dream
mentioned, Gen. xxxvii. 7, or passes it by in silence.
Now in JOSEPH and his brethren are signs for the enquirers;4
When they said, "Surely better loved by our Father, than we, who
are more in number, is Joseph and his brother; verily, our father
hath clearly erred.
Slay ye Joseph! or drive him to some other land, and on you alone
shall your father's face be set! and after this, ye shall live as
One of them said, "Slay not Joseph, but cast him down to the
bottom of the well: if ye do so, some wayfarers will take him up."
They said, "O our Father! why dost thou not entrust us with
Joseph? indeed we mean him well.
Send him with us to-morrow that he may enjoy himself and sport:
we will surely keep him safely."
He said, "Verily, your taking him away will grieve me; and I fear
lest while ye are heedless of him the wolf devour him."
They said, "Surely if the wolf devour him, and we so many, we
must in that case be weak indeed."5
And when they went away with him they agreed to place him at
bottom of the well. And We revealed to him, "Thou wilt yet tell
them of this their deed, when they shall not know thee."
And they came at nightfall to their father weeping.
They said, "O our Father! of a truth, we went to run races, and we
left Joseph with our clothes, and the wolf devoured him: but thou
wilt not believe us even though we speak the truth."
And they brought his shirt with false blood upon it. He said, "Nay,
but yourselves have managed this affair.6 But patience is seemly:
and the help of God is to be implored that I may bear what you tell
And wayfarers came and sent their drawer of water,7 and he let
down his bucket. "Good news!" 8 said he, "This is a youth!" And
they kept his case secret, to make merchandise of him. But God
knew what they did.
4 The captious and unbelieving Koreisch.
5 Wir mussten denn zuerst das Leben einb《sen. Wahl. Ullm.
6 Lit. your minds have made a thing seem pleasant to you.
7 According to Gen. xxxvii. 24, the well or pit had "no water in it.
8 Some take the Arabic Boshra as the proper name of the person
who accompanied the drawer of water.
And they sold him for a paltry price for some dirhems counted
down, and at no high rate did they value him.
And he who bought him an Egyptian said to his wife, "Treat
him hospitably; haply he may be useful to us, or we may adopt him
as a son." Thus did we settle Joseph in the land, and we instructed
him in the interpretation of dark sayings, for God is equal to his
purpose; but most men know it not.
And when he had reached his age of strength we bestowed on him
judgment and knowledge; for thus do we recompense the well
And she in whose house he was conceived a passion for him, and
she shut the doors and said, "Come hither." He said, "God keep
me! Verily, my lord hath given me a good home: and the injurious
shall not prosper."
But she longed for him; and he had longed for her had he not seen
a token from his lord.9 Thus we averted evil and defilement from
him, for he was one of our sincere servants.
And they both made for the door, and she rent his shirt behind;
and at the door they met her lord. "What," said she, "shall be the
recompense of him who would do evil to thy family, but a
or a sore punishment?"
He said, "She solicited me to evil." And a witness out of her own
family11 witnessed: "If his shirt be rent in front she speaketh truth,
and he is a liar:
But if his shirt be rent behind, she lieth and he is true."
And when his lord saw his shirt torn behind, he said, "This is one
of your devices! verily your devices are great!
Joseph! leave this affair. And thou, O wife, ask pardon for thy
crime, for thou hast sinned."
And in the city, the women said, "The wife of the Prince hath
solicited her servant: he hath fired her with his love: but we
clearly see her manifest error."
And when she heard of their cabal, she sent to them and got ready
a banquet for them, and gave each one of them a knife, and said,
"Joseph shew thyself to them." And when they saw him they were
amazed at him, and cut their hands,12 and said, "God keep us!
This is no man! This is no other than a noble angel!"
9 The apparition of his father, who said, "Hereafter shall the
names of thy brethren, engraven on precious stones, shine on the
breast of the High Priest. Shall thine be blotted out?" Tr. Sotah,
fol. 36. Comp. Weil, Legenden, p. 109, n.
10 Lit. that he be imprisoned.
11 An infant in the cradle. Sepher Hadjascher, as below on v. 31.
She said, "This is he about whom ye blamed me. I wished him to
yield to my desires, but he stood firm. But if he obey not my
command, he shall surely be cast into prison, and become one of
He said, "O my Lord! I prefer the prison to compliance with their
bidding: but unless thou turn away their snares from me, I shall
play the youth with them, and become one of the unwise."
And his Lord heard him and turned aside their snares from him:
for he is the Hearer, the Knower.
Yet resolved they, even after they had seen the signs of his
innocence, to imprison him for a time.
And there came into the prison with him two youths. Said one of
them, "Methought in my dream that I was pressing grapes." And
the other said, "I dreamed that I was carrying bread on my head,
of which the birds did eat. Declare to us the interpretation of this,
for we see thou art a virtuous person."
He said, "There shall not come to you in a dream any food
wherewith ye shall be fed, but I will acquaint you with its
interpretation ere it come to pass to you. This is a part of that
which my Lord hath taught me: for I have abandoned the
religion13 of those who believe not in God and who deny the life
And I follow the religion of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac and
Jacob. We may not associate aught with God. This is of God's
bounty towards us and towards mankind: but the greater part of
mankind are not thankful.
O my two fellow prisoners! are sundry lords best, or God, the One,
Ye worship beside him mere names which ye have named, ye and
your fathers, for which God hath not sent down any warranty.
Judgment belongeth to God alone. He hath bidden you worship
none but Him. This is the right faith: but most men know it not.
O my two fellow prisoners! as to one of you, he will serve wine
unto his Lord: but as to the other, he will be crucified and the
birds shall eat from off his head. The matter is decreed concerning
which ye enquire."
12 Instead of their food, through surprise at his beauty. Seph.
Hadj. in Midr. Jalkut. See also Midr. Abkhir, ib. ch. 146.
13 It is curious to observe how Muhammad, in this and the
following verse, puts his own doctrine and convictions into the
mouth of Joseph.
And he said unto him who he judged would be set at large,
"Remember me with thy lord." But Satan caused him to forget the
remembrance of his Lord,14 so he remained some years in prison.
And the King said, "Verily, I saw in a dream seven fat kine which
seven lean devoured; and seven green ears and other withered. O
nobles, teach me my vision, if a vision ye are able to expound."
They said, "They are confused dreams, nor know we aught of the
unravelling of dreams."
And he of the twain who had been set at large, said, "I will tell you
the interpretation; let me go for it."
"Joseph, man of truth! teach us of the seven fat kine which seven
lean devoured, and of the seven green ears, and other withered,
that I may return to the men, and that they may be informed."
He said, "Ye shall sow seven years as is your wont, and the corn
which ye reap leave ye in its ear, except a little of which ye shall
Then after that shall come seven grievous years which shall eat
what ye have stored for them, except a little which ye shall have
Then shall come after this a year, in which men shall have rain,
and in which they shall press the grape."
And the King said, "Bring him to me."15 And when the messenger
came to Joseph he said, "Go back to thy lord, and ask him what
meant the women who cut their hands, for my lord well knoweth
the snare they laid."
Then said the Prince to the women, "What was your purpose when
ye solicited Joseph?" They said, "God keep us! we know not any
ill of him." The wife of the Prince said, "Now doth the truth
appear. It was I who would have led him into unlawful love, and
he is one of the truthful."
"By this" (said Joseph) "may my lord know that I did not in his
absence play him false, and that God guideth not the machinations
14 Satan induced Joseph to place his confidence in man, rather
than in God alone, in punishment of which sin the imprisonment
was continued. Thus Midr. Rabba. Gen. Par. 89. Midr. Jalkut, ib.
15 In Gen. xli. 14, Joseph is released from prison before the
interpretation of the dreams. But the Koran makes him decline to
quit it till his character is cleared.
Yet I hold not myself clear, for the heart is prone to evil, save
theirs on whom my Lord hath mercy; for gracious is my Lord,
And the King said, "Bring him to me: I will take him for my
special service." And when he had spoken with him he said,
"From this day shalt thou be with us, invested with place and
He said, "Set me over the granaries of the land,16 I will be their
Thus did we stablish Joseph in the land that he might house
himself therein at pleasure. We bestow our favours on whom we
will, and suffer not the reward of the righteous to perish.
And truly the recompense of the life to come is better, for those
who have believed and feared God.
And Joseph's brethren came and went in to him and he knew them,
but they recognised him not.
And when he had provided them with their provision, he said,
"Bring me your brother from your father. See ye not that I fill the
measure, and am the best of hosts?
But if ye bring him not to me, then no measure of corn shall there
be for you from me, nor shall ye come near me."
They said, "We will ask him of his father, and we will surely do
Said he to his servants, "Put their money into their camel-packs,
that they may perceive it when they have returned to their family:
haply they will come back to us."
And when they returned to their father, they said, "O, our father!
corn is withholden from us: send, therefore, our brother with us
and we shall have our measure; and all care of him will we take."
He said, "Shall I entrust you with him otherwise than as I before
entrusted you with his brother? But God is the best guardian, and
of those who shew compassion He is the most compassionate."
And when they opened their goods they found their money had
been returned to them. They said, "O, our father, what more can
we desire? Here is our money returned to us; we will provide corn
for our families, and will take care of our brother, and shall
receive a camel's burden more of corn. This is an easy quantity."17
16 According to Gen. xli. 39, Pharaoh of his own accord sets
Joseph over his house and land.
17 For the king to bestow.
He said, "I will not send him with you but on your oath before God
that ye will, indeed, bring him back to me, unless hindrances
encompass you." And when they had given him their pledge, he
said, "God is witness of what we say."
And he said, "O, my sons! Enter not by one gate, but enter by
different gates.18 Yet can I not help you against aught decreed by
God: judgment belongeth to God alone. In Him put I my trust, and
in Him let the trusting trust."
And when they entered as their father had bidden them, it did not
avert from them anything decreed of God; but it only served to
satisfy a desire in the soul of Jacob which he had charged them to
perform; for he was possessed of knowledge which we had taught
him; but most men have not that knowledge.
And when they came in to Joseph, he took his brother to him. He
said, "Verily, I am thy brother. Be not thou grieved for what they
And when he had provided them with their provisions, he placed
his drinking cup in his brother's camel-pack. Then a crier cried
after them, "O travellers! ye are surely thieves."
They turned back to them and said, "What is that ye miss?"
"We miss," said they, "the prince's cup. For him who shall restore
it, a camel's load of corn! I pledge myself for it."
They said, "By God! ye know certainly that we came not to do
wrong20 in the land and we have not been thieves."
"What," said the Egyptians, "shall be the recompense of him who
hath stolen it, if ye be found liars?"
They said, "That he in whose camel-pack it shall be found be
given up to you in satisfaction for it. Thus recompense we the
And Joseph began with their sacks, before the sack of his brother,
and then from the sack of his brother he drew it out. This
stratagem did we suggest to Joseph. By the King's law he had no
power to seize his brother, had not God pleased. We uplift into
grades of wisdom whom we will. And there is one knowing above
every one else endued with knowledge.
18 Thus we read in Mid. Rab. on Gen. Par. 91, "Jacob said to
them, Enter ye not all by one gate." See also Midr. Jalkut, ch. 148.
19 Thus also, in the Sepher Hadjaschar, Joseph first discovers
himself to Benjamin, in opposition to Gen. xlv. 1.
20 Comp. Gen. xlii. 9.
They said, "If he steal, a brother of his hath stolen heretofore."21
But Joseph kept his secret, and did not discover it to them. Said he,
aside, "Ye are in the worse condition. And God well knoweth what
They said, "O Prince! Verily he hath a very aged father; in his
stead, therefore, take one of us, for we see that thou art a generous
He said, "God forbid that we should take but him with whom our
property was found, for then should we act unjustly."
And when they despaired of Benjamin, they went apart for
counsel. The eldest of them said, "Know ye not how that your
father hath taken a pledge from you before God, and how formerly
ye failed in duty with regard to Joseph? I will not quit the land till
my father give me leave, or God decide for me; for of those who
decide is He the best.
Return ye to your father and say, 'O our father! Verily, thy son
hath stolen: we bear witness only of what we know: we could not
guard against the unforeseen.
Enquire for thyself in the city where we have been, and of the
caravan with which we have arrived; and we are surely speakers
of the truth.'
He said, "Nay, ye have arranged all this among yourselves: But
patience is seemly: God, may be, will bring them back to me
together; for he is the Knowing, the Wise."
And he turned away from them and said, "Oh! how I am grieved
for Joseph!" and his eyes became white with grief, for he bore a
They said, "By God thou wilt only cease to think of Joseph when
thou art at the point of death, or dead."
He said, "I only plead my grief and my sorrow to God: but I know
from God what ye know not:22
Go, my sons, and seek tidings of Joseph and his brother, and
despair not of God's mercy, for none but the unbelieving despair
of the mercy of God."
And when they came in to Joseph, they said, "O Prince, distress
hath reached us and our family, and little is the money that we
have brought. But give us full measure, and bestow it as alms, for
God will recompense the almsgivers."
21 Joseph is said by the Muhammadan commentators to have
stolen an idol of gold belonging to his mother's father, which he
broke, that he might not worship it. But this comment, as well as
the text of the Koran, is probably based upon some such tradition
as that of Midr. Rabba, Par. 92, "He is a thief and the son of a
thief" (Comp. Gen. xxxi. 19) spoken of Benjamin.
22 That is, that Joseph was still alive. Thus Midr. Tanchumah on
Gen. xlii. 1.
He said, "Know ye what ye did to Joseph and his brother in your
They said, "Canst thou indeed be Joseph?" He said, "I am
Joseph, and this is my brother. Now hath God been gracious to us.
For whoso feareth God and endureth. God verily will not suffer
the reward of the righteous to perish!"
They said, "By God! now hath God chosen thee above us, and we
have indeed been sinners!"
He said, "No blame be on you this day. God will forgive you, for
He is the most merciful of those who shew mercy.
Go ye with this my shirt and throw it on my father's face, and he
shall recover his sight: and bring me all your family."
And when the caravan was departed, their father said, "I surely
perceive the smell of Joseph:23 think ye that I dote?"
They said, "By God, it is thy old mistake."
And when the bearer of good tidings came, he cast it on his face,
and Jacob's eyesight returned."
Then he said, "Did I not tell you that I knew from God what ye
They said, "Our father, ask pardon for our crimes for us, for we
have indeed been sinners."
He said, "I will ask your pardon of my Lord, for he is Gracious,
And when they came into Joseph he took his parents 24 to him,
said, "Enter ye Egypt, if God will, secure."
And he raised his parents to the seat of state, and they fell down
bowing themselves unto him. Then said he, "O my father, this is
the meaning of my dream of old. My Lord hath now made it true,
and he hath surely been gracious to me, since he took me forth
from the prison, and hath brought you up out of the desert, after
that Satan had stirred up strife between me and my brethren; for
my Lord is gracious to whom He will; for He is the Knowing, the
23 Comp. Gen. xxvii. 27.
24 Joseph's mother had long been dead. See Gen. xxxv. 19. But the
object of Muhammad was probably to bring the event into strict
accordance with the prediction of the dream. Gen. xxxvii. 10.
Some, however, suppose that Bilhah is here meant, and her
appearance before Joseph is also asserted to be the fulfilment of
the dream by some of the Rabbins. Comp. Raschi on Gen. xxxvii.
O my Lord, thou hast given me dominion, and hast taught me to
expound dark sayings. Marker of the Heavens and of the Earth!
My guardian art thou in this world and in the next! Cause thou me
to die a Muslim, and join me with the just."
This is one of the secret histories25 which we reveal unto thee.
Thou wast not present with Joseph's brethren when they conceived
their design and laid their plot: but the greater part of men,
though thou long for it, will not believe.
Thou shalt not ask of them any recompense for this message. It is
simply an instruction for all mankind.
And many as are the signs in the Heavens and on the Earth, yet
they will pass them by, and turn aside from them:
And most of them believe not in God, without also joining other
deities with Him.
What! Are they sure that the overwhelming chastisement of God
shall not come upon them, or that that Hour shall not come upon
them suddenly, while they are unaware?
SAY: This is my way: resting on a clear proof, I call you to God, I
and whoso followeth me: and glory be to God! I am not one of
those who add other deities to Him.
Never before thee have we sent any but men, chosen out of the
people of the cities, to whom we made revelations. Will they not
journey through the land, and see what hath been the end of those
who were before them? But the mansions of the next life shall be
better for those who fear God. Will they not then comprehend?
When at last the Apostles lost all hope, and deemed that they were
reckoned as liars, our aid reached them, and we delivered whom
we would; but our vengeance was not averted from the wicked.
Certainly in their histories is an example for men of
understanding. This is no new tale of fiction, but a confirmation of
previous scriptures, and an explanation of all things, and guidance
and mercy to those who believe.
25 Lit. This is of the announcements of the things unseen (by thee,
Muhammad). Compare the manner in which the story of the
Creation and of Moses in the mount is introduced. Sura xxxviii.
70; xxviii. 45. Mr. Muir thinks that Muhammad must at this
period, while recasting and working up these materials, have
entered upon a course of wilful dissimulation and deceit (although
the end would justify to him the means employed) in claiming
inspiration for them.
SURA XL. THE BELIEVER [LXXVIII.]
MECCA. 85 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
HA. MIM. The Revelation (sending down) of the Book is from
God the Almighty, the All-knowing, 1
Forgiver of sin, and receiver of penitence, vehement in
Long-suffering! There is no God but He: to Him shall be the final
None but infidels gainsay the signs of God: but let not their
prosperity in the land deceive thee.
The people of Noah, and the confederates after them, have brought
the charge of imposture before these Meccans: each nation
schemed against their apostle to lay violent hold on him, and
disputed with vain words to refute the truth. Therefore did I lay
violent hold on them; and how great was my chastisement!
Thus is it that thy Lord's sentence, that inmates shall they be of the
fire, was accomplished upon the infidels.
They who bear the throne2 and they who encircle it, celebrate the
praise of their Lord and believe in Him, and implore forgiveness
for the believers: "O our Lord! thou embracest all things in
mercy and knowledge; forgive, therefore, those who turn to thee
and follow thy path; keep them from the pains of hell:
O our Lord! and bring them into the Gardens of Eden which thou
hast promised to them, and to the righteous ones of their fathers
and their wives and their children; for thou art the All-mighty, the
And keep them from evil: for on him hast thou mercy whom on
that day thou shalt keep from evil;" and this will be the great
But to the infidels shall a voice cry, "Surely the hatred of God is
more grievous than your hatred of yourselves, when ye were called
to the faith, and remained unbelievers."
They shall say, "Twice, O our Lord, hast thou given us death, and
twice hast thou given us life:3 and we acknowledge our sins: is
there no way to escape?"
"This hath befallen you, for that when One God was proclaimed to
you, ye believed not: but when partners had been united with him,
ye believed: But judgment belongeth unto God, the High, the
It is He who sheweth you his signs, and sendeth down supplies to
you from Heaven: but none will receive warning save he who
turneth to God.
Call then on God, offering him a pure worship, though the infidels
Of exalted grade, of the throne possessed, He sendeth forth the
Spirit at His own behest on whomsoever of His servants He
pleaseth, that He may warn of the day of meeting,
The day when they shall come forth from their graves, when
nought that concerneth them shall be hidden from God. With
whom shall be the power supreme on that day? With God, the One,
On that day shall every soul be recompensed as it hath deserved:
no injustice on that day! Verily, God will be swift to reckon.
Warn them, then, of the approaching day, when men's hearts shall
rise up, choking them, into their throats.
The evil-doers shall have no friend or intercessor who shall
God knoweth the deceitful of eye, and what men's breasts
And everything will God decide with truth: But nothing shall those
gods whom men call on beside him, decide. Verily, God! the
Hearer, the Beholder, He!
Have they never journeyed in this land, and seen what hath been
the end of those who flourished before them? Mightier were they
in strength than these Meccans, and their traces remain in the land:
Yet God took them in their sins, and there was none to defend
them against God.
This, because their apostles had come to them with proofs of their
mission, and they believed not: so God took them in hand; for He
is mighty, vehement in punishing.
Moreover we had sent Moses of old with our signs and with clear
To Pharaoh, and Haman, and Karun:4 and they said, "Sorcerer,
And when he came to them from our presence with the truth, they
said, "Slay the sons of those who believe as he doth, and save their
females alive;" but the stratagem of the unbelievers issued only in
And Pharaoh said, "Let me alone, that I may kill Moses; and let
him call upon his Lord: I fear lest he change your religion, or cause
disorder to shew itself in the land."
And Moses said, "I take refuge with my Lord and your Lord from
every proud one who believeth not in the day of reckoning."
And a man of the family of Pharaoh, who was a BELIEVER,5 but
hid his faith, said, "Will ye slay a man because he saith my Lord is
God, when he hath already come to you with proofs of his mission
from your Lord? and if he be a liar, on him will be his lie:6 but if
he be a man of truth, part at least of what he threateneth will fall
upon you. Truly God guideth not him who is a transgressor, a liar.
O my people! this day is the kingdom yours, the eminent of the
earth! but who shall defend us from the vengeance of God if it
come on us?" Pharaoh said, "I would have you see only what I see;
and in a right way only will I guide you."
Then said he who believed, "O my people! truly I fear for you the
like of the day of the allies,7
The like of the state of the people of Noah and Ad and Themoud,
And of those who came after them; yet God willeth not injustice to
And, O my people! I indeed fear for you the day of mutual
The day when ye shall be turned back from the Judgment into hell.
No protector shall ye have then against God. And he whom God
shall mislead no guide shall there be for him.
Moreover, Joseph had come to you before with clear tokens, but ye
ceased not to doubt of the message with which he came to you,
until when he died, ye said, 'God will by no means raise up an
apostle after him.' " Thus God misleadeth him who is the
transgressor, the doubter.
They who gainsay the signs of God without authority having come
to them, are greatly hated by God and by those who believe. Thus
God sealeth up every proud, contumacious heart.
And Pharaoh said, "O Haman,8 Build for me a tower that I may
reach the avenues,
The avenues of the heavens, and may mount to the God of Moses,
for I verily deem him a liar."
And thus the evil of his doings was made fair-seeming to Pharaoh,
and he turned away from the path of truth; but the artifice of
Pharaoh ended only in his ruin.
And he who believed said, "O my people! follow me: into the right
way will I guide you.
O my people! this present life is only a passing joy, but the life to
come is the mansion that abideth.
Whose shall have wrought evil shall not be recompensed but with
its like; but whoso shall have done the things that are right,
whether male or female, and is a believer these shall enter
paradise: good things unreckoned shall they enjoy therein.
And, O my people! how is it that I bid you to salvation, but that ye
bid me to the fire?
Ye invite me to deny God, and to join with him gods of whom I
know nothing; but I invite you to the Mighty, the Forgiving.
No doubt is there that they to whom ye invite me are not to be
invoked either in this world or in the world to come: and that unto
God is our return, and that the transgressors shall be the inmates of
Then shall ye remember what I am saying unto you: and to God
commit I my case: Verily, God beholdeth his servants."
So God preserved him from the evils which they had planned, and
the woe of the punishment encompassed the people of Pharaoh.
It is the fire to which they shall be exposed morning and evening,
and on the day when "the Hour" shall arrive "Bring in the people
of Pharaoh into the severest punishment." 50 And when they shall
wrangle together in the fire, the weak shall say to those who had
borne themselves so proudly, "It is you we followed: will ye
therefore relieve us from aught of the fire?"
And those proud ones shall say, "Verily we are all in it; for now
hath God judged between his servants."
And they who are in the fire shall say to the keepers of Hell,
"Implore your Lord that he would give us ease but for one day
from this torment."
They shall say, "Came not your apostles to you with the tokens?"
They shall say, "Yes." They shall say, "Cry ye then aloud for
help:" but the cry of the unbelievers shall be only in vain.
Assuredly, in this present life will we succour our apostles and
those who shall have believed, and on the day when the witnesses
shall stand forth;
A day whereon the plea of the evil doers shall not avail them; but
theirs shall be a curse, and theirs the woe of the abode in Hell.
And of old gave we Moses the guidance, and we made the children
of Israel the heritors of the Book, a guidance and warning to men
endued with understanding.
Therefore be steadfast thou and patient; for true is the promise of
God: and seek pardon for thy fault,9 and celebrate the praise of thy
Lord at evening and at morning.
As to those who cavil at the signs of God without authority having
reached them, nought is there but pride in their breasts: but they
shall not succeed. Fly thou for refuge then to God, for He is the
Hearer, the Beholder.
Greater surely than the creation of man is the creation of the
heavens and of the earth: but most men know it not.
Moreover, the blind and the seeing, and the evil doer and they
who believe and do the things that are right, shall not be deemed
equal. How few ponder this!
Aye, "the Hour" will surely come: there is no doubt of it: but most
men believe it not.
And your Lord saith, "Call upon me I will hearken unto you: but
they who turn in disdain from my service shall enter Hell with
It is God who hath ordained the night for your rest, and the day to
give you light: verily God is rich in bounties to men: but most men
render not the tribute of thanks.
This is God your Lord, Creator of all things: no god is there but
He: why then do ye turn away from Him?
Yet thus are they turned aside who gainsay the signs of God.
It is God who hath given you the earth as a sure foundation, and
over it built up the Heaven, and formed you, and made your forms
beautiful, and feedeth you with good things. This is God your
Lord. Blessed then be God the Lord of the Worlds!
He is the Living One. No God is there but He. Call then upon Him
and offer Him a pure worship. Praise be to God the Lord of the
SAY: Verily I am forbidden to worship what ye call on beside
God, after that the clear tokens have come to me from my Lord,
and I am bidden to surrender myself to the Lord of the Worlds.
He it is who created you of the dust, then of the germs of life, then
of thick blood, then brought you forth infants: then he letteth you
reach your full strength, and then become old men (but some of
you die first), and reach the ordained term. And this that haply ye
It is He who giveth life and death; and when He decreeth a thing,
He only saith of it, "Be," and it is.
Seest thou not those who cavil at the signs of God? how are they
They who treat "the Book," and the message with which we have
sent our Sent Ones, as a lie, shall know the truth hereafter,
When the collars shall be on their necks and the chains to drag
them into Hell: then in the fire shall they be burned.
Then shall it be said to them, "Where are they whom ye made the
objects of joint worship with God?" They shall say, "They have
vanished away from us. Yea, it was nought on which we called
heretofore." Thus God leadeth the unbelievers astray.
"This for you, because of your unrighteous insolence and
immoderate joys on earth.
Enter ye the portals of Hell to abide therein for ever. And,
wretched the abode of the haughty ones!"
Therefore be thou steadfast in patience: for the promise of God is
truth: and whether we shall make thee see part of the woes with
which we threatened them, or whether we cause thee first to die,
unto us shall they be brought back.
And we have already sent apostles before thee: of some we have
told thee, and of others we have told thee nothing:10 but no apostle
had the power to work a miracle unless by the leave of God. But
when God's behest cometh, everything will be decided with truth:
and then they perish who treated it as a vain thing.
It is God who hath given you the cattle that on some of them ye
may ride, and of some may eat:
(Other advantages too do ye derive from them) and that by them
ye may effect the projects ye cherish in your breasts; for on them,
and on ships are ye borne:
And He sheweth you His signs: which, then, of the signs of God
will ye deny?
Have they not journeyed in this land, and seen what hath been the
end of those who flourished before them? More were they than
these in number and mightier in strength, and greater are the traces
of their power remaining in the land:11 yet their labours availed
And when their apostles had come to them with the tokens of their
mission, they exulted in what they possessed of knowledge; but
that retribution at which they scoffed, encompassed them.
And when they beheld our vengeance they said, "We believe in
God alone, and we disbelieve in the deities we once associated
But their faith, after they had witnessed our vengeance, profited
them not. Such the procedure of God with regard to his servants
who flourished of old. And then the unbelievers perished.
1 See Sura 1xviii. 1, p. 32.
2 The Cherubic beings of Scripture are said to be above the throne
of God (Is. vi. 1), beneath it (Ezek. x.); and the mystical beasts in
the Revelations are said to be in the midst of the throne and round
3 Probably the union of life and death in the womb, and the
subsequent life followed by death.
4 See Sura [lxxix.] xxviii. 76.
5 Thus Sura [lxxix.] xxviii 20, and Sura [lx.] xxxvi. 19, we have a
similar character introduced into the narrative.
6 Comp. Acts v. 38, 39.
7 These tribes no doubt constantly formed temporary alliances.
Muhammad implies that they were confederate against their
8 Haman, the favourite of Ahasuerus and the enemy of the Jews, is
thus made the vizier of Pharaoh. The Rabbins make this vizier to
have been Korah, Jethro, or Balaam. Midr. Jalkut on Ex. ch. 1,
Sect. 162 168; and Tr. Solah, fol. 11. See Sura [lxxix.] xxviii. 5.
9 Thy remissness in propagating Islam. Beidh.
10 It is possible that Muhammad, conscious of his ignorance of
Jewish history, intends in this verse to screen himself from the
charge of passing over the histories of many of their prophets.
11 The wealth of Mecca, although it still numbered about 12,000
inhabitants (as well as of Arabia generally), had much declined at
the time of Muhammad, owing mainly to the navigation of the Red
Sea, under the Roman dominion over Egypt, which of course
impoverished the tribes situated on the line of the old mercantile
route southward. Mecca, however, was still to a certain extent
prosperous. Comp. Sura [lxi.] xliii. 28.
SURA XXVIII. THE STORY [LXXIX.]
MECCA. 88 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
TA. SIN. MIM.1 These are the signs of the lucid Book.
We will recite to thee portions of the History of Moses and
Pharaoh with truth, for the teaching of the faithful.
Now Pharaoh lifted himself up in the earth, and divided his people
into parties: one portion of them he brought low He slew their
male children, and let their females only live; for he was one of
those who wrought disorders.
And we were minded to shew favour to those who were brought
low in the land, and to make them spiritual chiefs,2 and to make
them Pharaoh's heirs,
And to stablish them in the land;3 and to make Pharaoh and
and their hosts, the eye-witnesses of what they dreaded from them.
And we said by revelation to the mother of Moses, "Give him
suck; and if thou fearest for him, launch him on the sea; and fear
not, neither fret; for we will restore him to thee, and make him one
of the apostles."
And Pharaoh's family took him up to be a foe and a sorrow to
them, for sinners were Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts!
And Pharaoh's wife said, "Joy of the eye4 to me and thee! put him
not to death: haply he will be useful to us, or we may adopt him as
a son." But they knew not what they did.
And the heart of Moses' mother became a blank through fear: and
almost had she discovered him, but that we girt up her heart with
constancy, in order that she might be one of those who believe.
She said to his sister, "Follow him." And she watched him from
afar: and they perceived it not.
And we caused him to refuse the nurses,5 until his sister came and
said, Shall I point out to you the family of a house that will rear
him for you, and will be careful of him?
So we restored him to his mother, to be the joy of her eyes, and
that she might not fret, and that she might know that the promise
of God was true. But most men knew it not.
And when he had reached his age of strength, and had become a
man, we bestowed on him wisdom and knowledge; for thus do we
reward the righteous.
And he entered a city at the time when its inhabitants would not
observe him,6 and found therein two men fighting: the one, of his
own people; the other, of his enemies. And he who was of his own
people asked his help against him who was of his enemies. And
Moses smote him with his fist and slew him. Said he, "This is a
work of Satan; for he is an enemy, a manifest misleader."
He said, "O my Lord, I have sinned to mine own hurt:7 forgive
me." So God forgave him; for He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.
He said, "Lord, because thou hast showed me this grace, I will
never again be the helper of the wicked."
And in the city at noon he was full of fear, casting furtive glances
round him: and lo! the man whom he had helped the day before,
cried out to him again for help. Said Moses to him, "Thou art
plainly a most depraved person."
And when he would have laid violent hands on him who was their
common foe, he said to him, "O Moses, dost thou desire to slay
me, as thou slayedst a man yesterday? Thou desirest only to
become a tyrant in this land, and desirest not to become a
But a man came running up from the city's end. He said, "O
Moses, of a truth, the nobles consult to slay thee Begone then I
counsel thee as a friend."
So forth he went from it in fear, looking warily about him. He
said, "O Lord, deliver me from the unjust people."
And when he was journeying toward Madian, he said, "Haply my
Lord will direct me in an even path."
And when he arrived at the water of Madian, he found at it a
company of men watering.
And he found beside them, two women8 keeping back their flock:
"Why do ye," said he, "thus?" They said "We shall not water till
the shepherds shall have driven off; for our father is very aged."
So he watered for them then retired to the shade and said, "O my
Lord, of the good thou hast caused me to meet with I stand in
And one of them came to him, walking bashfully. Said she, "My
father calleth thee, that he may pay thee wages for thy watering for
us." And when he came to him and had told him his STORY,
"Fear not," said he, "thou hast escaped from an unjust people."
One of them said, "O my father, hire him: for the best thou canst
hire is the strong, the trusty."
He said, "Truly to one of these my two daughters I desire to marry
thee, if for eight years thou wilt be my hired servant:10 and if thou
fulfil ten, it shall be of thine own accord, for I wish not to deal
hardly with thee. Thou wilt find me, if God will, one of the
He said, "Be it so between me and thee: Whichever of the two
terms I fulfil, there will be no injustice to me. And God is witness