Part 4 out of 14
And the magicians fell down and worshipped. They said,
"We believe in the Lord of Aaron and of Moses."
Said Pharaoh, "Believe ye on him ere I give you leave? He, in sooth, is your
Master who hath taught you magic. I will therefore cut off your hands and
your feet on opposite sides, and I will crucify you on trunks of the palm,
and assuredly shall ye learn which of us is severest in punishing, and who is
the more abiding."14
They said, "We will not have more regard to thee than to the clear tokens
which have come to us, or than to Him who hath made us: doom the doom thou
wilt: Thou canst only doom as to this present life: of a truth we have
believed on our Lord that he may pardon us our sins and the sorcery to which
thou hast forced us, for God is better, and more abiding than thou.15
As for him who shall come before his Lord laden with crime–for him verily is
Hell: he shall not die in it and he shall not live.
But he who shall come before Him, a believer, with righteous works,–these!
the loftiest grades await them:
Gardens of Eden, beneath whose trees16 the rivers flow: therein shall they
abide for ever. This, the reward of him who hath been pure."
Then revealed we to Moses, "Go forth by night with my servants and cleave for
them a dry path in the sea;
Fear not thou to be overtaken, neither be thou afraid."
And Pharaoh followed them with his hosts, and the whelming billows of the sea
overwhelmed them,17 for Pharaoh misled his people, and did not guide them.
O children of Israel! we rescued you from your foes; and We appointed a
meeting with you on the right side of the mountain; and We caused the manna
and the quail to descend upon you:
"Eat," said We, "of the good things with which we have supplied you; but
without excess, lest my wrath fall upon you; for on whom my wrath doth fall,
he perisheth outright.
Surely however will I forgive him who turneth to God and believeth, and
worketh righteousness, and then yieldeth to guidance.
But what hath hastened thee on apart from thy people,18 O Moses?"
He said, "They are hard on my footsteps: but to thee, O Lord, have I
hastened, that thou mightest be well pleased with me."
He said, "Of a truth now have we proved thy people since thou didst leave
them, and Samiri19 had led them astray."
And Moses returned to his people, angered, sorrowful.
He said, "O my people! did not your Lord promise you a good promise? Was the
time of my absence long to you? or desired ye that wrath from your Lord
should light upon you, that ye failed in your promise to me?"
They said, "Not of our own accord have we failed in the promise to thee, but
we were made to bring loads of the people's trinkets, and we threw them into
the fire and Samiri likewise cast them in, and brought forth to them a
corporeal lowing20 calf: and they said, "This is your God and the God of
Moses, whom he hath forgotten."'
What! saw they not that it returned them no answer, and could neither hurt
nor help them?
And Aaron had before said to them, "O my people! by this calf are ye only
proved: surely your Lord is the God of Mercy: follow me therefore and obey my
They said, "We will not cease devotion to it, till Moses come back to us."
He said, "O Aaron! when thou sawest that they had gone astray, what hindered
thee from following me? Hast thou then disobeyed my command?"
He said, "O Son of my mother! seize me not by my beard, nor by my head:
indeed I feared lest thou shouldst say,
Thou hast rent the children of Isreal asunder, and hast not observed my
He said, "And what was thy motive, O Samiri?" He said, "I saw what they saw
not: so I took a handful of dust from the track21 of the messenger of God,
and flung it into the calf, for so my soul prompted me."
He said, "Begone then: verily thy doom even in this life shall be to say,
'Touch me not.'22 And there is a threat against thee, which thou shalt not
escape hereafter. Now look at thy god to which thou hast continued so
devoted: we will surely burn it and reduce it to ashes, which we will cast
into the sea.
Your God is God, beside whom there is no God: In his knowledge he embraceth
Thus do We recite to thee histories of what passed of old; and from ourself
have we given thee admonition.
Whoso shall turn aside from it shall verily carry a burden on the day of
Under it shall they remain: and grievous, in the day of Resurrection, shall
it be to them to bear.
On that day there shall be a blast on the trumpet, and We will gather the
wicked together on that day with leaden23 eyes:
They shall say in a low voice, one to another,–"Ye tarried but ten days on
We are most knowing with respect to that which they will say when the most
veracious24 of them will say. "Ye have not tarried above a day."
And they will ask thee of the mountains: SAY: scattering my Lord will scatter
them in dust;
And he will leave them a level plain: thou shalt see in it no hollows or
On that day shall men follow their summoner25–he marcheth straight on: and
low shall be their voices before the God of Mercy, nor shalt thou hear aught
but the light footfall.
No intercession shall avail on that day, save his whom the God of Mercy shall
allow to intercede, and whose words he shall approve.
He knoweth their future and their past; but in their own knowledge they
comprehend it not:–
And humble shall be their faces before Him that Liveth, the Self-subsisting:
and undone he, who shall bear the burden of iniquity;
But he who shall have done the things that are right and is a believer, shall
fear neither wrong nor loss.
Thus have We sent down to thee an Arabic Koran, and have set forth menaces
therein diversely, that haply they may fear God, or that it may give birth to
reflection in them.
Exalted then be God, the King, the Truth! Be not hasty in its recital26 while
the revelation of it to thee is incomplete. Say rather, "O my Lord, increase
knowledge unto me."
And of old We made a covenant with Adam; but he forgat it; and we found no
firmness of purpose in him.
And when We said to the angels, "Fall down and worship Adam," they worshipped
all, save Eblis, who refused: and We said, "O Adam! this truly is a foe to
thee and to thy wife. Let him not therefore drive you out of the garden, and
ye become wretched;
For to thee is it granted that thou shalt not hunger therein, neither shalt
thou be naked;
But Satan whispered him: said he, "O Adam! shall I shew thee the tree of
Eternity,27 and the Kingdom that faileth not?"
And they both ate thereof, and their nakedness appeared to them, and they
began to sew of the leaves of the Garden to cover them, and Adam disobeyed
his Lord and went astray.
Afterwards his Lord chose him for himself, and was turned towards him, and
And God said, "Get ye all down hence, the one of you a foe unto the other.
Hereafter shall guidance come unto you from me;
And whoso followeth my guidance shall not err, and shall not be wretched:
But whoso turneth away from my monition, his truly shall be a life of misery:
And We will assemble him with others on the day of Resurrection, blind."28
He will say, "O my Lord! why hast thou assembled me with others, blind?
whereas I was endowed with sight."
He will answer, "Thus is it, because our signs came unto thee and thou didst
forget them, and thus shalt thou be forgotten this day."
Even thus will We recompense him who hath transgressed and hath not believed
in the signs of his Lord; and assuredly the chastisement of the next world
will be more severe and more lasting.
Are not they, who walk the very places where they dwelt, aware how many
generations we have destroyed before them? Verily in this are signs to men of
And had not a decree of respite from thy Lord first gone forth, their
chastisement had at once ensued. Yet the time is fixed.
Put up then with what they say; and celebrate the praise of thy Lord before
the sunrise, and before its setting; and some time in the night do thou
praise him, and in the extremes29 of the day, that thou haply mayest please
And strain not thine eye after what We have bestowed on divers of them–the
braveries of this world–that we may thereby prove them. The portion which thy
Lord will give, is better and more lasting.
Enjoin prayer on thy family, and persevere therein. We ask not of thee to
find thine own provision–we will provide for thee, and a happy issue shall
there be to piety.
But they say, "If he come not to us with a sign from his Lord . . .!"30 But
have not clear proofs for the Koran come to them, in what is in the Books of
And had We destroyed them by a chastisement before its time, they would
surely have said, "O our Lord! How could we believe if thou didst not send
unto us an Apostle that we might follow thy signs ere that we were humbled
SAY: Each one of us awaiteth the end. Wait ye then, and ye shall know which
of us have been followers of the even way, and who hath been the rightly
1 The first 14 or 16 verses of this Sura are said to have induced Omar to
embrace Islam (His. 226. Ibn Sâd, i. and v. Comp. Weil, p. 60. Causs. i. 396
ff.) in the sixth year before the Hejira.
2 Freytag supposes these letters to mean, Hush! but see Sura lxviii. 1, p.
3 Lit. if thou raise thy voice.
4 Lit. guidance. Moses had lost his way, say the Commentators, when
journeying to Egypt to visit his mother.
5 The Muhammadan Commentators tell how Moses when a child burnt his tongue
with a live coal. The same story is found in Midr. Jalkut on Ex. c. 166, and
in Shalsheleth Hakabalah, p. 5, b. Ed. Amsterd.
6 Lit vizir.
7 Or, strengthen my back.
8 The form of the word in the original is not the pure Hebraic, but the later
9 See Sura [lxxix.] xxviii. 11, 12.
10 What is their condition after their death as to happiness or misery.
Beidh. whom Sale follows. But the word state, which Mar. renders mens, refers
rather to their creed. "How," enquires Pharaoh, "do you explain the fact that
the generations of men have always practised a different worship?"
11 Lit. pairs.
12 The Midrasch Tanchumah on Ex. vii. gives a very similar dialogue between
Pharaoh and Moses.
13 Lit. the day of ornament.
14 In punishing. Beidh.
15 To recompense. Beidh.
16 As the garden is said in Sura lxxxviii. to be lofty in point of situation,
this frequently recurring phrase may mean that rivers run at its base. The
Commentators, however, generally understand it to imply that the rivers flow
beneath its shades or pavilions.
17 Lit. and there overwhelmed them of the sea that which overwhelmed them.
18 The 70 elders who were to have accompanied him.
19 That is, the Samaritan. This rendering, which is probably the true
explanation of the word Samiri, involves a grievous ignorance of history on
the part of Muhammad. Selden (de diis Syr. Syn. i. ch. 4) supposes that
Samiri is Aaron himself, the Shomeer, or keeper of Israel during the absence
of Moses. Many Arabians identify him with the Micha of Judges xvii. who is
said to have assisted in making the calf (Raschi, Sanhedr. 102, 2 Hottinger
Hist. Orient. p. 84). Geiger suggests that Samiri may be a corruption of
Samael. See next note. But it is probable that the name and its application
in the present instance, is to be traced to the old national feud between the
Jews and Samaritans. See De Sacy, Chrestom. i. p. 189, who quotes Abu Rihan
Muhammad as stating that the Samaritans were called Al-limsahsit, the people
who say, "Touch me not" (v. 97, below), and Juynboll Chron. Sam. (Leid. 1848)
p. 113. Sale also mentions a similar circumstance of a tribe of Samaritan
Jews dwelling on one of the islands in the Red Sea.
20 "The calf came forth (Ex. xxxii. 24) lowing and the Israelites beheld it.
R. Jehuda saith, Samuel entered into it and lowed in order to mislead
Israel." Pirke R. Eliezer, § 45.
21 From the track of Gabriel's horse, or of Gabriel himself.
22 Lit. no touch.
23 I have adopted the word leaden as expressive of the idea implied in the
original word, viz. grey or greyish blue; hence, dulled, dimmed. The Arabians
have a great aversion to blue and grey eyes as characteristic of their
enemies the Greeks. The word, however, may also mean blind. Comp. v. 124, 5.
24 Lit. the most excellent or just of them in his way: dignitate, Mar. But
Kam. in Freyt. (iii. 150) justissimus eorum, simillimus veracibus. The sense
of the last clause is, "Yes have not tarried even so much as ten days, such,
now that we look back upon it, is the brevity of life." See Sura [lxiv.]
25 The angel Israfil.
26 Compare Sura lxxv. 16-19, p. 56.
27 It should be observed that here and in Sura vii. 19, Muhammad seems
unaware of the distinction between the tree of knowledge, and the tree of
life, as given in Gen. ii. 9, and iii. 5.
28 From the intensity of the light, mentioned Sura [1xxx.] xxxix. 69.
29 In order to reconcile this passage with the prescribed hours, some
understand the extremes to mean the mid-day, when the day is as it were
30 Supply, we will not believe.
SURA XXVI.–THE POETS1 [LVI.]
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Ta. Sin. Mim.2 These are the signs of the lucid Book.
Haply thou wearest thyself away with grief because they will not believe.
Were it our will we could send down to them a sign from Heaven, before which
they would humbly bow.3
But from each fresh warning that cometh to them from the God of Mercy they
have only turned aside,
And treated it as a lie: But tidings shall reach them which they shall not
laugh to scorn.
Have they not beheld the earth–how we have caused every kind of noble plant
to spring up therein?
Verily, in this is a sign: but most of them believe not.
And assuredly, thy Lord!–He is the Mighty, the Merciful.
And remember when thy Lord called to Moses, "Go to the wicked people,
The people of Pharaoh. What! will they not fear me?"
He said, "My Lord, in sooth I fear lest they treat me as a liar:
And my breast is straitened, and I am slow of speech:4 send therefore to
Aaron to be my helpmate.
For they have a charge5 against me, and I fear lest they put me to death."
He said, "Surely not. Go ye therefore with our signs: we will be with you and
And go to Pharaoh and say: 'Verily we are the messengers of the Lord of the
Send forth with us the children of Israel."'
He said, "Did we not rear thee among us when a child? And hast thou not
passed years of thy life among us?
And yet what a deed is that which thou hast done!6 Thou art one of the
He said, "I did it indeed, and I was one of those who erred: And I fled from
you because I feared you; but my Lord hath given me wisdom and hath made me
one of his Apostles.
And is this the favour thou hast conferred on me, that thou hast enslaved the
children of Israel?"
Said Pharaoh, "Who then is the Lord of the Worlds?"
He said, "The Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth and of all that is between
them, if only ye believe it."
Said Pharaoh to those around him, "Hear ye this?"
"Your Lord," said Moses, "and the Lord of your sires of old."
"In sooth, your Apostle whom He hath sent to you," said Pharaoh, "is
He said, "Lord is He of the East and of the West, and of all that is between
them, if ye can understand."
He said, "If ye take any God beside me, I will surely put thee in ward."
Said Moses, "What! if I shew thee that which shall be a proof of my mission?"
He said, "Forth with it then, if thou speakest truth."
Then threw he down his staff, and lo! an undoubted serpent:
And he drew out his hand, and lo! it was white7 to the beholders.
He said to his nobles around him. "This truly is a right cunning sorcerer:
Fain would he drive you out of your land by his Sorcery. But what do ye
They said, "Put him and his brother off awhile, and send summoners to all the
Who shall bring to thee every cunning magician."
So the magicians were mustered at a set time, on a solemn day:
And it was said to the people, "Are ye all assembled?"
–"Yes! and we will follow the magicians if they gain the day."
And when the magicians were arrived they said to Pharaoh, "Shall we have a
reward if we gain the day?"
He said, "Yes. And verily in that case ye shall be of those who are near my
Moses said to them, "Throw down what ye have to throw."
So they cast down their ropes and rods, and said, "By Pharaoh's might we
shall surely win."
Then Moses threw down his rod, and lo! it swallowed up their cheating
Then the magicians threw themselves down in worship:
They said, "We believe on the Lord of the Worlds,
The Lord of Moses and of Aaron."
Said Pharaoh, "Have ye then believed on him ere I gave you leave? He truly is
your master who hath taught you magic.8 But bye and bye ye shall surely know
I will cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides, and I will have you all
They said, "It cannot harm us, for to our Lord shall we return:
Assuredly we trust that our Lord will forgive us our sins, since we are of
the first who believe."
Then revealed we this order to Moses: "Go forth by night with my servants,
for ye will be pursued."
And Pharaoh sent summoners through the cities:–
"These Israelites," said they, "are a scanty band;
Yet are they enraged against us–
But we truly are numerous, wary."
Thus we caused them to quit gardens and fountains,
And treasures and splendid dwellings;
So was it; and we gave them to the children of Israel for an heritage.9
Then at sunrise the Egyptians followed them:
And when the hosts came in view of one another, the comrades of Moses said,
"We are surely overtaken."
He said, "By no means:–for my Lord is with me–He will guide me."
And we revealed this order to Moses, "Strike the sea with thy rod." And it
clave asunder, and each part became like a huge mountain.
Then made we the others to draw on;
And we saved Moses, and those who were with him, all;
But we drowned the others.
Truly in this was a sign; but most of them did not believe.
But verily thy Lord,–He is the Mighty, the Merciful!
And recite to them the story of Abraham
When he said to his Father and to his people, "What worship ye?"
They said, "We worship idols, and constant is our devotion to them."
He said, "Can they hear you when ye cry to them?
Or help you or do you harm?"
They said, "But we found our Fathers do the like."
He said, "How think ye? They whom ye worship,
Ye and your fathers of early days,
Are my foes: but not so10 the Lord of the Worlds,
Who hath created me, and guideth me,
Who giveth me food and drink;
And when I am sick, he healeth me,
And who will cause me to die and again quicken me,
And who, I hope, will forgive me my sins in the day of reckoning.
My Lord! bestow on me wisdom and join me to the just,
And give me a good name11 among posterity,
And make me one of the heirs of the garden of delight,
And forgive my father, for he was one of the erring,
And put me not to shame on the day when mankind shall be raised up,
The day when neither wealth nor children shall avail,
Save to him who shall come to God with a sound heart:
When Paradise shall be brought near the pious,
And Hell shall lay open for those who have gone astray.
And it shall be said to them, 'Where are they whom ye worshipped
Beside God? Can they harm you or help themselves?'
And they shall be cast into it–the seducers and the seduced,
And all the host of Eblis.
They shall say, as they wrangle therein together,
'By God, we were in a plain error,
When we equalled you with the Lord of the Worlds:
And none misled us but the wicked,
And we have none to plead for us,
Nor friend who careth for us.
Could we but return, we would be of the believers."'
Verily, in this was a sign: but most of them believed not.
And truly thy Lord!–He is the Mighty, the Merciful!
The people of Noah gainsaid the Apostles,
When their brother Noah said to them, "Will ye not fear God?
Of a truth am I your faithful Apostle;
Fear God then and obey me.
I ask of you no reward for this, for my reward is of the Lord of the Worlds
Fear God then and obey me."
They said, "Shall we believe on thee when the meanest only are thy
He said, "But I have no knowledge of that they did:12
To my Lord only must their account be given: would that ye understood this!
And I will not thrust away those who believe,
For I am only one charged with plain warnings."
They said, "Now unless thou desist, O Noah, one of the stoned shalt thou
He said, "Lord! my people treat me as a liar:
Decide thou therefore a decision between me and them, and rescue me and the
faithful who are with me."
So we saved him and those who were with him in the fully-laden ark,
And afterwards we drowned the rest.
Herein truly was a sign, but most of them believed not.
But thy Lord!–He is the Mighty, the Merciful.
The Adites13 treated their Apostles as liars,
When their brother Houd said to them, "Will ye not fear God?
I am your Apostle, worthy of all credit;
Fear God then and obey me:
I ask for no reward for this; for my reward is of the Lord of the Worlds
What! build ye landmarks on all heights in mere pastime?
And raise ye structures to be your lasting abodes?14
And when ye put forth your power do ye put it forth with harshness?
Fear ye God then and obey me;
And fear ye Him who hath plenteously betowed on you ye well know what:
Plenteously bestowed on you flocks and children,
And gardens and fountains;
Indeed I fear for you the punishment of a tremendous day."
They said, "It is the same to us whether thou warn or warn us not.
This is but a tale of the ancients,
And we are not they who shall be punished."
And they charged him with imposture; and we destroyed them. In this was a
sign: but most of them believed not.
But thy Lord!–He is the Mighty, the Merciful!
The Themoudites also treated their Apostles as liars,
When their brother Saleh said to them, "Will ye not fear God?
I am your Apostle worthy of all credit:
Fear God, then, and obey me.
I ask of you no reward for this: my reward is of the Lord of the Worlds
Shall ye be left secure amid these things here?
Amid gardens and fountains,
And corn-fields and palm-trees, with flower-sheathing branches?
And, insolent that ye are, will ye hew out your dwellings in the mountains?
But fear God and obey me,
And obey not the bidding of those who commit excess,
Who act disorderly on the earth and reform it not."
They said, "Certainly thou art a person bewitched;
Thou art only a man like us: produce now a sign if thou art a man of truth."
He said, "This she-camel, then–drink shall there be for her, and drink shall
there be for you, on a several day for each.
But harm her not, lest the punishment of a tremendous day overtake you."
But they ham-strung her, and repented of it on the morrow;
For the punishment overtook them. In this truly was a sign, but most of them
But thy Lord!–He is the Powerful, the Merciful!
The people of Lot treated their apostles as liars,
When their brother Lot said to them, "Will ye not fear God?
I am your Apostle worthy of all credit:
Fear God, then, and obey me.
For this I ask you no reward: my reward is of the Lord of the worlds alone.
What! with men, of all creatures, will ye have commerce?
And leave ye your wives whom your Lord hath created for you? Ah! ye are an
They said, "O Lot, if thou desist not, one of the banished shalt thou surely
He said, "I utterly abhor your doings:
My Lord! deliver me and my family from what they do."
So we delivered him and his whole family–
Save an aged one among those who tarried–
Then we destroyed the rest–
And we rained a rain upon them, and fatal was the rain to those whom we had
In this truly was a sign; but most of them did not believe.
But thy Lord! He is the Powerful, the Merciful!
The dwellers in the forest of Madian15 treated the Apostles as liars.
When Shoaib their brother said to them, "Will ye not fear God?
I truly am your trustworthy Apostle.
Fear God, then, and obey me:
No reward ask I of you for this: my reward is of the Lord of the Worlds
Fill the measure, and be not of those who minish:
Weigh with exact balance:
And defraud not men in their substance, and do no wrong on the earth by deeds
And fear Him who made you and the races of old."
They said, "Certainly thou art a person bewitched.
Thou art but a man like us, and we deem thee liar–
Make now a part of the heaven to fall down upon us, if thou art a man of
He said, "My Lord best knoweth your doings."
And when they treated him as a liar, the chastisement of the day of cloud
overtook them. This truly was the chastisement of a dreadful day!
In this was a sign, but most of them believed not.
But thy Lord!–He is the Mighty, the Merciful!
Verily from the Lord of the Worlds hath this Book come down;
The faithful spirit16 hath come down with it
Upon thy heart, that thou mightest become a warner–
In the clear Arabic tongue:
And truly it is foretold in the Scriptures of them of yore.17
Was it not a sign to them18 that the learned among the children of Israel
If we had sent it down unto any foreigner,
And he had recited it to them, they had not believed.
In such sort have we influenced19 the heart of the wicked ones,
That they will not believe it till they see the grievous chastisement?
And it shall come upon them on a sudden when they look not for it:
And they will say, "Can we be respited?"
What! will they seek to hasten on our chastisement?
How thinkest thou? If after we have given them their fill for years,
That with which they are menaced come upon them at last,
Of what avail will their enjoyments be to them?
We never destroyed a city which had not first its warners
With admonition; nor did we deal unjustly.
The Satans were not sent down with this Koran:
It beseemed them not, and they had not the power,
For they are far removed from hearing it.20
Call not thou on any other god but God, lest thou be of those consigned to
But warn thy relatives of nearer kin,21
And kindly lower thy wing over the faithful who follow thee.
And if they disobey thee, then say: "I will not be answerable for your
And put thy trust in Him that is the Mighty, the Merciful,
Who seeth thee when thou standest in prayer,
And thy demeanour amongst those who worship;
For He heareth, knoweth all.
Shall I tell you on whom Satan descend?
They descend on every lying, wicked person:
They impart what they have heard;22–but most of them are liars.
It is the POETS23 whom the erring follow:
Seest thou not how they rove distraught in every valley?
And that they say that which they do not?
Save those who believe and do good works, and oft remember God;
And who defend themselves when unjustly treated. But they who treat them
unjustly shall find out what a lot awaiteth them.
1 This Sura belongs to about the seventh year of Muhammad's prophetic life.
2 See Sura 1xviii. I, p. 32.
3 Lit. to which their necks would humble themselves.
4 Lit. my tongue is not free. This verse appears to be a studied
simplification of Ex. iv. 10-13.
5 The murder of the Egyptian. See Geiger, 159.
6 Lit. and thou hast done thy deed which thou hast done. See xxviii. 15.
7 Thus Pirke R. Elieser § 48. "He placed his hand in his bosom, and drew it
forth, white as snow with leprosy."
8 "The Pharaoh who lived in the days of Moses was a great magician." Mid.
Jalkut, c. 182. Comp. Sura xxviii. 38, where, in accordance with the Rabbinic
traditions Pharaoh claims to be a God.
9 See ii. 58, and Midr. Jalkut on Ex. xii. c. 208.
10 Lit. except.
11 Lit. a tongue of truth, i.e. high repute. Or, grant that my words may be
believed among posterity. See [lviii.] xix. 47.
12 Of their motives in embracing Islam.
13 The Adites are mentioned in vii. and xi.
14 This is to be understood of the small forts erected by the nomades of the
Hejaz along the route of the caravans to guarantee their safety. Comp. Gen.
xi. 1-10, and Sura lxxxix. 6, p. 54.
15 The Madian and the El-Aika of other Suras are unquestionably one and the
same place, as they have the same prophet Shoaib (or Sho'eyb), the Jethro of
Scripture–a name perhaps altered from Hobab (Numb. x. 29)–and because the
same sin is laid to the charge of both. See Winer's Realw”rterbuch on Jethro.
The Midr. Rabbah on Ex. ii. I6, Par. I, makes Jethro renounce idolatry, and
his office of Priest, and undergo banishment from the Midianites.
16 Gabriel. See Sura lxxxi. 19, p. 46.
17 See Sura xiii. 36. This verse is said to have been revealed at Medina by
18 The unbelieving Meccans. Lit. that the knowing (Doctors, Uhlemas) knew it.
19 Lit. have introduced it, i.e. infidelity; or, the Koran. Beidh. The latter
interpretation seems most accordant with the context.
20 Comp. Sura xxxvii. 7, 8, p. 79.
21 It is probable that within three or four years from his entry upon the
prophetic office, Muhammad had made about 40 converts. Some biographers refer
to this passage, and not to Sura lxiv. I, as the first call to preach. But
this Sura is itself late, and bears evidence of the opposition to which the
prophet had become exposed, and of adherents to his cause, now become
numerous. The diffuseness and feeblenss of the style clearly point to a late
22 They impart to their votaries on earth what they have learned by stealth
and partially, in heaven.
23 Muhammad found it necessary to employ the pens of certain poets to defend
himself and his religion from the ridicule and satire of other poets, whose
productions were recited at the great annual fair held at Okatz, the Olympus
of the Hejaz. The poems which were judged the best were written up in letters
of gold, or suspended (hence called Moallakat) in the Caaba. These poetical
contests were subsequently suppressed by Muhammad, as offering openings for
discussions which might prove inconvenient, and dangerous to his rising
SURA XV.–HEDJR1 [LVII.]
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
ELIF. LAM. RA.2 These are the signs of the Book, and of a lucid recital
Many a time will the infidels wish that they had been Muslims.
Let them feast and enjoy themselves, and let hope beguile them: but they
shall know the truth at last.
We never destroyed a city whose term was not perfixed:3
No people can forestall or retard its destiny.
They say: "O thou to whom the warning hath been sent down, thou art surely
possessed by a djinn:
Wouldst thou not have come to us with the angels, if thou wert of those who
assert the truth?"
–We will not send down the angels without due cause.4 The Infidels would not
in that case have been respited.
Verily, We have sent down the warning, and verily, We will be its guardian;
And already have We sent Apostles, before thee, among the sects of the
But never came Apostles to them whom they did not deride.
In like manner will We put it into the hearts of the sinners of Mecca to do
They will not believe on him though the example of those of old hath gone
Even were We to open above them a gate in Heaven, yet all the while they were
mounting up to it,
They would surely say: It is only that our eyes are drunken: nay, we are a
We have set the signs of the zodiac5 in the Heavens, and adorned and decked
them forth for the beholders,
And We guard them from every stoned6 Satan,
Save such as steal a hearing:7 and him doth a visible flame pursue.
And the Earth have We spread forth, and thrown thereon the mountains, and
caused everything to spring forth in it in balanced measure:
And We have provided therein sustenance for you, and for the creatures which
not ye sustain:
And no one thing is there, but with Us are its storehouses; and We send it
not down but in settled measure:
And We send forth the fertilising winds, and cause the rain to come down from
the heaven, and give you to drink of it; and it is not ye who are its
And We cause to live and We cause to die,8 and We are the heir of all things:
We know those of you who flourish first and We know those who come later:
And truly thy Lord will gather them together again, for He is Wise, Knowing.
We created man of dried clay, of dark loam moulded;
And the djinn had We before created of subtle fire.
Remember when thy Lord said to the Angels, "I create man of dried clay, of
dark loam moulded:
And when I shall have fashioned him and breathed of my spirit into him, then
fall ye down and worship him."
And the Angels bowed down in worship, all of them, all together,
Save Eblis: he refused to be with those who bowed in worship.
"O Eblis,"9 said God, "wherefore art thou not with those who bow down in
He said, "It beseemeth not me to bow in worship to man whom thou hast created
of clay, of moulded loam."
He said, "Begone then hence; thou art a stoned one,10
And the curse shall be on thee till the day of reckoning."
He said, "O my Lord! respite me till the day when man shall be raised from
He said, "One then of the respited shalt thou be
Till the day of the predestined time."
He said, "O my Lord! because thou hast beguiled me, I will surely make all
fair seeming to them11 on the earth; I will surely beguile them all;
Except such of them as shall be thy sincere servants."
He said, "This is the right way with me;
For over none of my servants shalt thou have power, save those beguiled ones
who shall follow thee."
And verily, Hell is the promise for them one and all.
It hath seven Portals;12 at each Portal is a separate band of them;
But 'mid gardens and fountains shall the pious dwell:
"Enter ye therein in peace, secure–"
And all rancour will We remove from their bosoms: they shall sit as brethren,
face to face, on couches:
Therein no weariness shall reach them, nor forth from it shall they be cast
Announce to my servants that I am the Gracious, the Merciful,
And that my chastisement is the grievous chastisement.
And tell them of Abraham's guests.
When they entered in unto him, and said, "Peace."
"Verily," said he, "We fear you."
They said, "Fear not, for of a sage son we bring thee tidings."
He said, "Bring ye me such tidings now that old age hath come upon me? What,
therefore, are your tidings really?"
They said, "We announce them to thee in very truth. Be not then one of the
"And who," said he, "despaireth of the mercy of his Lord, but they who err?"
He said, "What is your business then, O ye Sent Ones?"
They said, "We are sent unto a people who are sinners,
Except the family of Lot, whom verily we will rescue all,
Except his wife. We have decreed that she shall be of those who linger."
And when the Sent Ones came to the family of Lot
He said, "Yes; are persons unknown to me."
They said, "Yes; but we have come to thee for a purpose about which thy
We have come to thee with very truth, and we are truthful envoys.
Lead forth therefore thy family in the dead of the night; follow thou on
their rear: and let no one of you turn round, but pass ye on whither ye are
And this command we gave him because to the last man should these people be
cut off at morning.
Then came the people of the city rejoicing at the news13–
He said, "These are my guests: therefore disgrace me not.
And fear God and put me not to shame."
They said, "Have we not forbidden thee to entertain any one whatever?"14
He said, "Here are my daughters, if ye will thus act."
As thou livest, O Muhammad, they were bewildered in the drunkenness of their
So a tempest overtook them at their sunrise,
And we turned the city upside down, and we rained stones of baked clay upon
Verily, in this are signs for those who scan heedfully;
And these cities lay on the high road.15
Verily, in this are signs for the faithful.
The inhabitants also of El Aika16 were sinners:
So we took vengeance on them, and they both became a plain example.
And the people of HEDJR treated God's messengers as liars.
And we brought forth our signs to them, but they drew back from them:
And they hewed them out abodes in the mountains to secure them:
But a tempest surprised them at early morn,
And their labours availed them nothing.
We have not created the heavens and the earth and all that between them is,
but for a worthy end.17 And verily, "the hour" shall surely come. Wherefore
do thou, Muhammad, forgive with kindly forgiveness,
For thy Lord! He is the Creator, the Wise.
We have already given thee the seven verses of repetition18 and the glorious
Strain not thine eyes after the good things we have bestowed on some of the
unbelievers: afflict not thyself on their account, and lower thy wing to the
And SAY: I am the only plain-spoken warner.
We will punish those who foster divisions,20
Who break up the Koran into parts:
By thy Lord! we will surely take account from them one and all,
Concerning that which they have done.
Profess publicly then what thou hast been bidden,21 and withdraw from those
who join gods to God.
Verily, We will maintain thy cause against those who deride thee,
Who set up gods with God: and at last shall they know their folly.
Now know We that thy heart is distressed22 at what they say:
But do thou celebrate the praise of thy Lord, and be of those who bow down in
And serve thy Lord till the certainty23 o'ertake thee.
1 Hedjr, a valley in the route between Medina and Syria, originally the
country of the Themoudites.
2 See Sura lxviii. p. 32.
3 Lit. which had not a known writing.
4 That is, not merely to gratify the curiosity of the doubting, but to
execute prompt punishment. It might also be rendered, save with justice
5 Ar. bourdj, Gr. [greek text], towers, i.e. Signs of the Zodiac.
6 See Sura xv. 34; and note p. 114.
7 Comp. Sura xxxvii. 6, p. 79. In Chagiga 16, 1, the Demons (schedim) are
said to learn the secrets of the future by listening behind the veil
8 Compare precisely a similar association of subjects, the Rain, Food, God,
as Lord of life and death in Tr. Taanith, fol. 1 a.
9 Comp. Sura [xci.] ii. 32. There is much in this dialogue between Eblis and
Allah which reminds of the dialogue between Jehovah and Satan in the opening
of the Book of Job.
10 That is, accursed. According to the Muhammadan tradition, Abraham drove
Satan away with stones when he would have hindered him from sacrificing
Ismael. Hence the custom during the pilgrimage of throwing a certain number
of stones–the Shafeis, 49; the Hanafis, 70–as if at Satan, in the valley of
Mina, near Mecca. The spot where the apparition of Satan to Abraham took
place is marked by three small pillars, at which the stones are now thrown.
Comp. Gen. xv. II.
11 Lit. I will embellish, prepare.
12 Thus, in Sota, 10, David is said to have rescued Absalom from "the seven
dwellings of Hell;" in Midr. on Ps. xi. "There are seven houses of abode for
the wicked in Hell;" and in Sohar ii. 150, "Hell hath seven gates."
13 At the arrival of strangers.
14 Comp. Midr. Rabbah on Gen. Par. 50.
15 From Arabia to Syria. The pronoun in the fem. sing. may refer to the
Pentapolis as to a single city, or to Sodom alone.
16 See Sura [lvi.] xxvi. 176.
17 See Sura [lxxiii.] xvi. 3.
18 That is, the seven verses of Sura 1, p. 28. Others understand, the seven
long Suras; or, the fifteen Suras which make a seventh of the whole; or, this
Sura (Hedjr) as originally the seventh. Mathani is an allusion, according to
some, to the frequency with which the fatthah is to be repeated; or, to the
frequent repetitions of great truths, etc., in order to impress them on the
memory of the hearer and reader; or, to the manner in which waid and wa'd,
promises and threatenings, alternate and balance each other in the same or
subsequent verses and Suras, in pairs. This verse and Sura x. 10 shew that a
part at least of the Koran was known under that name and existed as a whole
in the time of Muhammad. Geiger's interpretations at pp. 59, 60 (and in the
note) seem very forced.
19 Comp. Sura [lvi.] xxvi. 215, i.e. demean thyself gently.
20 Lit. as we sent down upon the dividers, i.e. the Jews and Christians, who
receive part of the Scriptures and reject part. Others render obstructors and
explain the passage of twelve idolaters, who in order to intimidate the
Meccans, seized upon the public revenues of Mecca during the pilgrimage.
21 In this, the fourth year of his mission, Muhammad is said to have hazarded
the step of mounting the Safa, a slight eminence in one of the streets of
Mecca, and publicly preached to the Koreisch. The authorities are given in
Sprenger (Life of M. p. 177, 8).
22 Lit. contracted.
SURA XIX.1–MARY [LVIII.]
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
KAF. HA. YA. AIN. SAD.2 A recital of thy Lord's mercy to his servant
When he called upon his Lord with secret calling,
And said: "O Lord, verily my bones are weakened, and the hoar hairs glisten
on my head,
And never, Lord, have I prayed to thee with ill success.
But now I have fears for my kindred after me;3 and my wife is barren:
Give me, then, a successor as thy special gift, who shall be my heir and an
heir of the family of Jacob: and make him, Lord, well pleasing to thee."
–"O Zachariah! verily we announce to thee a son,–his name John:
That name We have given to none before him."4
He said: "O my Lord! how when my wife is barren shall I have a son, and when
I have now reached old age, failing in my powers?"
He said: So shall it be. Thy Lord hath said, Easy is this to me, for I
created thee aforetime when thou wast nothing."
He said: "Vouchsafe me, O my Lord! a sign." He said: "Thy sign shall be that
for three nights, though sound in health, thou speakest not to man."
And he came forth from the sanctuary to his people, and made signs to them to
sing praises morn and even.
We said: "O John! receive the Book with purpose of heart:"5–and We bestowed
on him wisdom while yet a child;
And mercifulness from Ourself, and purity; and pious was he, and duteous to
his parents; and not proud, rebellious.
And peace was on him on the day he was born, and the day of his death, and
shall be on the day when he shall be raised to life!
And make mention in the Book, of Mary, when she went apart from her family,
And took a veil to shroud herself from them:7 and we sent our spirit8 to her,
and he took before her the form of a perfect man.9
She said: "I fly for refuge from thee to the God of Mercy! If thou fearest
Him, begone from me."
He said: "I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a holy
She said: "How shall I have a son, when man hath never touched me? and I am
He said: "So shall it be. Thy Lord hath said: 'Easy is this with me;' and we
will make him a sign to mankind, and a mercy from us. For it is a thing
And she conceived him,10 and retired with him to a far-off place.
And the throes came upon her11 by the trunk of a palm. She said: "Oh, would
that I had died ere this, and been a thing forgotten, forgotten quite!"
And one cried to her from below her:12 "Grieve not thou, thy Lord hath
provided a streamlet at thy feet:–
And shake the trunk of the palm-tree toward thee:13 it will drop fresh ripe
dates upon thee.
Eat then and drink, and be of cheerful eye:14 and shouldst thou see a man,
Say,–Verily, I have vowed abstinence to the God of mercy.–To no one will I
speak this day."
Then came she with the babe to her people, bearing him. They said, "O Mary!
now hast thou done a strange thing!
O sister of Aaron!15 Thy father was not a man of wickedness, nor unchaste thy
And she made a sign to them, pointing towards the babe. They said, "How shall
we speak with him who is in the cradle, an infant?"
It said,16 "Verily, I am the servant of God; He hath given me the Book, and
He hath made me a prophet;
And He hath made me blessed wherever I may be, and hath enjoined me prayer
and almsgiving so long as I shall live;
And to be duteous to her that bare me: and he hath not made me proud,
And the peace of God was on me the day I was born, and will be the day I
shall die, and the day I shall be raised to life."
This is Jesus, the son of Mary; this is a statement of the truth concerning
which they doubt.
It beseemeth not God to beget a son. Glory be to Him! when he decreeth a
thing, He only saith to it, Be, and it Is.17
And verily, God is my Lord and your Lord; adore Him then. This is the right
But the Sects have fallen to variance among themselves about Jesus: but woe,
because of the assembly of a great day, to those who believe not!
Make them hear, make them behold the day when they shall come before us! But
the offenders this day are in a manifest error.
Warn them of the day of sighing when the decree shall be accomplished, while
they are sunk in heedlessness and while they believe not.
Verily, we will inherit the earth and all who are upon it. To us shall they
be brought back.
Make mention also in the Book of Abraham; for he was a man of truth, a
When he said to his Father, "O my Father! why dost thou worship that which
neither seeth nor heareth, nor profiteth thee aught?
O my Father! verily now hath knowledge come to me which hath not come to
thee. Follow me therefore–I will guide thee into an even path.
O my Father! worship not Satan, for Satan is a rebel against the God of
O my Father! indeed I fear lest a chastisement from the God of Mercy light
upon thee, and thou become Satan's vassal."
He said, "Castest thou off my Gods, O Abraham? If thou forbear not, I will
surely stone thee. Begone from me for a length of time."
He said, "Peace be on thee! I will pray my Lord for thy forgiveness, for he
is gracious to me:
But I will separate myself from you, and the gods ye call on beside God, and
on my Lord will I call. Haply, my prayers to my Lord will not be with ill
And when he had separated himself from them and that which they worshipped
beside God, we bestowed on him Isaac and Jacob, and each of them we made a
And we bestowed gifts on them in our mercy, and gave them the lofty tongue of
And commemorate Moses in "the Book;" for he was a man of purity: moreover he
was an Apostle, a Prophet:
From the right side of the mountain we called to him, and caused him to draw
nigh to us for secret converse:
And we bestowed on him in our mercy his brother Aaron, a Prophet.
And commemorate Ismael in "the Book;" for he was true to his promise, and was
an Apostle, a Prophet;
And he enjoined prayer and almsgiving on his people, and was well pleasing to
And commemorate Edris20 in "the Book;" for he was a man of truth, a Prophet:
And we uplifted him to a place on high.21
These are they among the prophets of the posterity of Adam, and among those
whom we bare with Noah, and among the posterity of Abraham and Israel, and
among those whom we have guided and chosen, to whom God hath shewed favour.
When the signs of the God of Mercy were rehearsed to them, they bowed them
down worshipping and weeping.
But others have come in their place after them: they have made an end of
prayer, and have gone after their own lusts; and in the end they shall meet
Save those who turn and believe and do that which is right, these shall enter
the Garden, and in nought shall they be wronged:
The Garden of Eden, which the God of Mercy hath promised to his servants,
though yet unseen:22 for his promise shall come to pass:
No vain discourse shall they hear therein, but only "Peace;" and their food
shall be given them at morn and even:
This is the Paradise which we will make the heritage of those our servants
who fear us.
We23 come not down from Heaven but by thy Lord's command. His, whatever is
before us and whatever is behind us, and whatever is between the two! And thy
Lord is not forgetful,–
Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth, and of all that is between them!
Worship Him, then, and abide thou steadfast in his worship. Knowest thou any
other of the same name?24
Man saith: "What! after I am dead, shall I in the end be brought forth
Doth not man bear in mind that we made him at first, when he was nought?
And I swear by thy Lord, we will surely gather together them and the Satans:
then will we set them on their knees round Hell:
Then will we take forth from each band those of them who have been stoutest
in rebellion against the God of Mercy:
Then shall we know right well to whom its burning is most due:
No one is there of you who shall not go down unto it25–This is a settled
decree with thy Lord–
Then will we deliver those who had the fear of God, and the wicked will we
leave in it on their knees.
And when our clear signs are rehearsed to them, the infidels say to those who
believe: "Which of the two parties26 is in the best plight? and which is the
most goodly company?"
But how many generations have we brought to ruin before them, who surpassed
them in riches and in splendour!
SAY: As to those who are in error, the God of Mercy will lengthen out to them
a length of days
Until they see that with which they are threatened, whether it be some
present chastisement, or whether it be "the Hour," and they shall then know
which is in the worse state, and which the more weak in forces:
But God will increase the guidance of the already guided.
And good works which abide, are in thy Lord's sight better in respect of
guerdon, and better in the issue than all worldly good.
Hast thou marked him who believeth not in our signs, and saith, "I shall
surely have riches and children bestowed upon me?"
Hath he mounted up into the secrets of God? Hath he made a compact with the
God of Mercy?
No! we will certainly write down what he saith, and will lengthen the length
of his chastisement:
And we will inherit what he spake of, and he shall come before us all alone.
They have taken other gods beside God to be their help.27
But it shall not be. Those gods will disavow their worship and will become
Seest thou not that we send the Satans against the Infidels to urge them into
Wherefore be not thou in haste with them;28 for a small number of days do we
number to them.
One day we will gather the God-fearing before the God of Mercy with honours
But the sinners will we drive unto Hell, like flocks driven to the watering.
None shall have power to intercede, save he who hath received permission at
the hands of the God of Mercy.
They say: "The God of Mercy hath gotten offspring." Now have ye done a
Almost might the very Heavens be rent thereat, and the Earth cleave asunder,
and the mountains fall down in fragments,
That they ascribe a son to the God of Mercy, when it beseemeth not the God of
Mercy to beget a son!
Verily there is none in the Heavens and in the Earth but shall approach the
God of Mercy as a servant. He hath taken note of them, and numbered them with
And each of them shall come to Him, on the day of Resurrection, singly:
But love will the God of Mercy vouchsafe to those who believe and do the
things that be right.
Verily we have made this Koran easy and in thine own tongue, that thou mayest
announce glad tidings by it to the God-fearing, and that thou mayest warn the
contentious by it.
How many generations have we destroyed before them! Canst thou search out one
of them? or canst thou hear a whisper from them?
1 Comp. the first 37 verses of this Sura with Sura iii. 35-57 with reference
to the different style adopted by Muhammad in the later Suras, probably for
the purpose of avoiding the imputation of his being merely a poet, a
sorcerer, or person possessed. Sura lii. 29, 30; xxi. 5; lxviii. 2, 51. This
Sura is one of the fullest and earliest Koranic Gospel Histories, and was
recited to the Nagash or King of Æthiopia, in the presence of the ambassadors
of the Koreisch. His. 220; Caussin, i. 392; Sprenger (Life of M.) p. 193.
2 See Sura lxviii. I, p. 32. Golius conjectured that these letters represent
coh ya'as, thus he counselled, and that they were added by some Jewish
scribe. Sprenger (Journ. of As. Soc. of Bengal, xx. 280) arranges them as
Ain, Sad, Kaf, Ha, Ya, and supposes them to be taken from the Arabic words
for Aisa (Jesus) of the Nazarenes, King of the Jews. But we can hardly
imagine that Muhammad would ascribe such a title to our Lord, and the word
which Dr. Sprenger uses for Jews is not the form peculiar to the Koran.
3 Lest they should desert the worship of the God of Israel.
4 Ar. Yahia. It may be true that the name in this form had never been given.
Otherwise, we have in this passage a misunderstanding of Luke i. 61, as well
as ignorance of the Jewish Scriptures. Comp. 2 Kings xxv. 23; 1 Chron. iii.
16; Ezra viii. 12; Jerem. xl. 8. Some commentators try to avoid the
difficulty by rendering samiyan, deserving of the name.
5 Or, with firm resolve. See Sura [xcvii.] iii. 36. The speaker is God.
6 To an eastern chamber in the temple to pray. Or it may mean, to some place
eastward from Jerusalem, or from the house of her parents.
7 Thus the Protev. Jac. c. 12 says that Mary, although at a later period,
[greek text] But Wahl, she laid aside her veil.
9 See Sura [lxxxix.] vi. 9.
10 It is quite clear from this passage, and from verse 36, that Muhammad
believed Jesus to have been conceived by an act of the divine will. Comp.
Sura [xcvii.] iii. 52; see also note at Sura [xci.] ii. 81.
11 Or, the throes urged her to the trunk of, etc.
12 This was either the Infant which spoke as soon as born, or Gabriel. Comp.
Thilo Cod. Apoc. 136-139 on this passage. Beidhawi explains: from behind the
13 See Thilo Cod. Apoc. N. T. p. 138, and the Hist. Nat. Mar. c. 20, which
connects similar incidents with the flight into Egypt. Thus also Latona,
[greek text], Call. H. in Apoll. and [greek text], H. in Delum.
14 Or, settle, calm thine eye, refresh thine eye. The birth of a son is still
called korrat ol ain.
15 The anachronism is probably only apparent. See Sura iii. 1, n. Muhammad
may have supposed that this Aaron (or Harun) was the son of Imran and Anna.
Or, if Aaron the brother of Moses be meant Mary may be called his sister,
either because she was of the Levitical race, or by way of comparison.
16 See Sura [cxiv.] v. 109.
17 From the change in the rhyme, and from the more polemical tone of the
following five verses, it may be inferred that they were added at a somewhat
18 The title Nabi, prophet, is used of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as
depositaries of the worship of the one true God, but with a mission
restricted to their own families; whereas Houd, Saleh, Shoaib, etc., are
designated as (Resoul) apostles and envoys, charged with a more extended
mission to the tribes of Arabia. In Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, etc., are
united the office and gift both of prophet (nabi) and apostle (resoul).
19 Made them to be highly praised. Beidh.
20 Enoch. Beidhawi derives the name Edris from the Ar. darasa, to search out,
with reference to his knowledge of divine mysteries. The Heb. Enoch, in like
manner, means initiated.
21 Comp. Gen. v. 24, and the tract Derek Erez in Midr. Jalkut, c. 42, where
Enoch is reckoned among the nine according to other Talmudists, thirteen
(Schroeder's Talm. und Rabb. Judenthum)–individuals who were exempted from
death and taken straight to Paradise. It should be observed that both here
and Sura xxi. 85, Edris is named after Ismael.
22 Maracci and Beidhawi, in absentid. Sale, as an object of faith. Beidhawi
ad f. in reward for their secret faith. Ullmann für die verborgene Zukunft.
23 This verse is to be understood as an answer on the part of Gabriel to
Muhammad's complaints of the long intervals between the revelations.
24 The idolaters called their deities Gods, but as Polytheists were unused to
the singular Allah, God.
25 Even the pious on their way to Paradise are to pass the confines of Hell.
26 The Koreisch, or the Muslims.
27 Or, glory, strength.
28 To call down judgments upon them.
29 As ambassadors come into the presence of a prince. Sale. This is implied
in the original.
SURA XXXVIII.–SAD [LIX.]
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
SAD.1 By the Koran full of warning! In sooth the Infidels are absorbed in
pride, in contention with thee.
How many generations have we destroyed before them! And they cried for mercy
but no time was it of escape!
And they marvel that a warner from among themselves hath come to them; and
the Infidels say, "This is a sorcerer, a liar:
Maketh he the gods to be but one god? A strange thing forsooth is this!"
And their chiefs took themselves off. "Go, said they, and cleave steadfastly2
to your gods. Ye see the thing aimed at.
We heard not of this in the previous creed.3 It is but an imposture:
To him alone of us all hath a book of warning been sent down?" Yes! they are
in doubt as to my warnings, for they have not yet tasted my vengeance.
Are the treasures of the mercy of thy Lord, the Mighty, the bounteous, in
Is the kingdom of the heavens and of the earth and of all that is between
them theirs? Then let them mount up by cords!
Any army of the confederates4 shall here be routed.
Before them the people of Noah and Ad and Pharaoh the impaler5 treated their
prophets as impostors;
And Themoud, and the people of Lot, and the dwellers in the forest: these
were the confederates.
Nought did they all but charge the apostles with falsehood: Just, therefore,
And these (Meccans) await but one single trumpet blast–There shall be no
Yet they dare to say, "O our Lord! hasten our lot to us, before the day of
Put thou up with what they say: and remember our servant David, a man strong
of hand6, one who turned him to Us in penitence:
We constrained the mountains7 to join with him in lauds at even and at
And the birds which flocked to him, and would all return to him oft;
And we stablished his kingdom: and wisdom, and skill to pronounce clear
decisions, did we bestow on him.
Hath the story of the two pleaders8 reached thee, O Muhammad, when they
mounted the walls of his closet?
When they entered in upon David, and he was frightened at them, they said,
"Be not afraid; we are two opposing parties: one of us hath wronged the
other. Judge therefore with truth between us, and be not unjust, but guide us
to the right way.
Now this my brother had ninety and nine ewes, and I had but a single ewe; and
he said, make me her keeper. And he over-persuaded me in the dispute."
He said, "Certainly he hath wronged thee in asking for thine ewe to add her
to his own ewes: and truly many associates do one another wrong–except those
who believe and do the things that are right; and few indeed are they!" And
David perceived that we had tried him; so he asked pardon of his Lord, and
fell down and bowed himself and repented.
So we forgave him that his sin; and truly he shall have a high rank with Us,
and an excellent retreat in Paradise.
O David! verily we have made thee our vicegerent upon earth. Judge therefore
between men with truth, and follow not thy passions, lest they cause thee to
err from the way of God. For they who err from the way of God shall meet with
a grievous chastisement, for that they have forgotten the day of reckoning.
We have not created the heaven and the earth and what is between them for
nought. That is the thought of infidels; but woe to the infidels because of
Shall we treat those who believe and do the things that are right like those
who propagate evil on earth? Shall we treat the God-fearing like the impious?
A blessed Book9 have we sent down to thee, that men may meditate its verses,
and that those endued with understanding may bear it in mind.
And Solomon gave we unto David. An excellent servant, for he loved to turn
Remember when at eventide the prancing10 chargers were displayed before him,
And he said, "Truly I have loved the love of earthly goods above the
remembrance of my Lord, till the sun hath been hidden by the veil of
Bring them back to me." And he began to sever the legs and necks.
We also made trial of Solomon, and placed a phantom12 on his throne:
whereupon he returned to Us (in penitence).
He said, O my Lord! pardon me, and give me a dominion that may not be to any
one beside me, for thou art the liberal giver.
So we subjected the wind to him; it ran softly at his bidding, whithersoever
he directed it:
And the Satans–every builder and diver–
And others bound in chains:13
"This," said we, "is our gift: be bounteous then, or withhold thy favours; no
account shalt thou render."
And his rank also is high with Us, and an excellent retreat.
And remember our servant Job when he cried to his Lord, "Verily, Satan hath
laid on me disease and pain."
"Stamp," said we, "with thy foot. This14 is to wash with; cool, and to
And we gave him back his family, and as many more with them in our mercy; and
for a monition to men of judgment.
And we said, "Take in thine hand a rod, and strike15 with it, nor break thine
oath." Verily, we found him patient!
How excellent a servant, one who turned to Us was he!
And remember our servants Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, men of might and
With this cleansing did we cleanse them the remembrance of the abode of
And verily, they were, in our sight, of the elect and of the good.
And remember Ishmael and Elisha and Dhoulkefl, for all these were of the
This is a monition: and verily, the pious shall have a goodly retreat:
Gardens of Eden, whose portals shall stand open to them:
Therein reclining, they shall there call for many a fruit and drink:
And with them shall be virgins of their own age, with modest retiring
"This is what ye were promised at the day of reckoning."
"Yes! this is our provision: it shall never fail."
Even so. But for the evil doers is a wretched home–
Hell–wherein they shall be burned: how wretched a bed!
Even so. Let them then taste it–boiling water and gore,
And other things of kindred sort!
To their leaders it shall be said, "This company shall be thrown in headlong
with you. No greetings shall await them, for they shall be burned in the
They shall say: "But ye, too! there shall be no welcome for you. It was ye
who prepared this for us, and wretched is the abode!"
They will say: "O our Lord! increase twofold in the fire, the punishment of
him who hath brought this upon us."
And they will say: "Why see we not the men whom we numbered among the wicked–
Whom we used to treat with scorn? Have they escaped our eyes?"17
Verily this is truth–the wrangling together of the people of the fire.
SAY: I am but a warner; and there is no God but God the One, the Almighty!
Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth, and of all that is between them,18 the
Potent, the Forgiving!
SAY: this is a weighty message,19
From which ye turn aside!
Yet had I no knowledge of what passed among the celestial chiefs when they
–Verily, it hath been revealed to me only because I am a public preacher–
When thy Lord said to the angels, "I am about to make man of clay,21
And when I have formed him and breathed my spirit into him, then worshipping
fall down before him."
And the angels prostrated themselves, all of them with one accord,
Save Eblis. He swelled with pride, and became an unbeliever.
"O Eblis," said God, "what hindereth thee from prostrating thyself before him
whom my hands have made?
Is it that thou are puffed up with pride? or art thou a being of lofty
He said: "I am more excellent than he; me hast thou created of fire:22 of
clay hast thou created him."
He said: "Begone then hence: thou art accursed,23
And lo! my ban shall be on thee till the day of the reckoning."
He said: "O my Lord! respite me till the day of Resurrection."
He said, "One then of the respited shalt thou be,
Till the day of the time appointed."
He said: "I swear by thy might then that all of them will I seduce,
Save thy sincere servants among them."
He said: "It is truth, and the truth I speak. From thee will I surely fill
Hell, and with such of them as shall follow thee, one and all.
Say: I ask no wage of you for this, nor am I one who intermeddleth.
Of a truth the Koran is no other than a warning to all creatures.
And after a time shall ye surely know its message.
1 The letter S. See Sura lxviii. p. 32.
2 These verses are said to have been revealed when, upon the conversion of
Omar, the Koreisch went in a body to Abu Talib and requested him to withdraw
his protection from Muhammad, but being put to silence by the latter,
departed in great confusion. Wah. Beidh.
3 That is, in the Christian religion, which teaches, Muhammad ironically
implies, a plurality of Gods.
4 This may allude to the so-called "confederacy" of the Koreisch against
5 This term is also applied to Pharaoh, Sura lxxxix. 9, p. 54. He is said to
have fastened the Israelites to stakes, and then subjected them to various
addenda: This is the usual interpretation. Lit. Lord of, or, possessor of
stakes (comp. li. 39 in Ar.), i.e., Forces. Dr. Sprenger ingenuously
suggests that Muhammad’s Jewish informant may have described Pharaoh as rich
in neçyb, i.e., fortresses; whereas, in Ar., naçyb, means an erection,
pillar, etc., for which Muhammad substituted the word for tent stakes. Vol.
6 Præditi (manibus) virtute. Mar.
7 Comp. Ps. cxlviii. 9, 10.
8 Two angels who pretended to appeal to David in order to convince him of his
sin in the matter of Uriah's wife. Comp. I Sam. xii.
9 The Psalms, if we suppose with Nöldeke, p. 99, that David is still
addressed: the Koran, if with Sale we refer the passage to Muhammad.
10 The Commentators say that the word used in the original implies that the
mares stood on three feet, and touched the ground with the edge of the fourth
11 Solomon, in his admiration of these horses, the result, we are told, of
David's or his own conquests, forgot the hour of evening prayer, and when
aware of his fault commenced their slaughter. The Tr. Sanhedr. fol. 21,
mentions Solomon's love for horses, and that he determined to have a large
stud; yet not to send the people to Egypt (Deut. xvii. 16) but to have them
brought to him out of Egypt (I Kings x. 28).
12 One of the Djinn. The absurd fiction may be seen in extenso in Sale.
Compare Tr. Sanhedr. fol. 20, b. and Midr. Jalkut on I Kings vi. § 182.
13 Thus the second Targum on Esther i. 2, mentions the four different kinds
of Demons which were "given into the hand" of Solomon–a legend derived from a
misunderstanding of Eccl. ii. 8.
14 The fountain which had sprung up. To this history the Talmudists have no
15 Thy wife;–on whom he had sworn that he would inflict an hundred blows,
because she had absented herself from him when in need of her assistance, or
for her words (Job ii. 9). The oath was kept, we are told, by his giving her
one blow with a rod of a hundred stalks. This passage is often quoted by the
Muslims as authorising any similar manner of release from an oath
16 Lit. men of hand and of sight.
17 Lit. or do our eyes wander from them.
18 See verses 9, 26, above. It seems to have been one of the peculiarities of
Muhammad, as a person very deficient in imagination, to dwell upon and repeat
the same ideas, with an intensity which is at once an evidence of deep
personal conviction and consciousness, of the simple Arabian especially.
19 The connection between the concluding episode and the preceding part of
the Sura does not seem very clear. It probably originated at a different but
20 About the creation of man.
21 Comp. Sura [xci.] ii. 28, ff.
22 Comp. Ps. civ. 4.
23 Lit. stoned. See Sura xv. 34, p. 114.
SURA XXXVI.–YA. SIN [LX.]
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
YA. SIN.1 By the wise Koran!
Surely of the Sent Ones, Thou,
Upon a right path!
A revelation of the Mighty, the Merciful,
That thou shouldest warn a people whose fathers were not warned and therefore
lived in heedlessness!
Just, now, is our sentence2 against most of them; therefore they shall not
On their necks have we placed chains which reach the chin, and forced up are
Before them have we set a barrier and behind them a barrier, and we have
shrouded them in a veil, so that they shall not see.
Alike is it to them if thou warn them or warn them not: they will not
Him only shalt thou really warn, who followeth the monition and feareth the
God of mercy in secret: him cheer with tidings of pardon, and of a noble
Verily, it is We who will quicken the dead, and write down the works which
they have sent on before them, and the traces which they shall have left