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God setteth forth also a comparison between two men, one of whom is dumb from
his birth, and hath no power over anything, and is a burden to his lord: send
him where he will, he cometh not back with success. Shall he and the man who
enjoineth what is just, and keepeth in the straight path, be held equal?
God's are the secrets of the Heavens and of the Earth! and the business of
the last hour will be but as the twinkling of an eye, or even less. Yes! for
all things is God Potent.
God hath brought you out of your mothers' wombs devoid of all knowledge; but
hath given you hearing, and sight, and heart, that haply ye might render
Have they never looked up at the birds subjected to Him in Heaven's vault?
None holdeth them in hand but God! In this are signs for those who believe.
And God hath given you tents to dwell in: and He hath given you the skins of
beasts for tents, that ye may find them light when ye shift your quarters, or
when ye halt; and from their wool and soft fur and hair, hath He supplied you
with furniture and goods for temporary use.
And from the things which He hath created, hath God provided shade for you,
and hath given you the mountains for places of shelter, and hath given you
garments to defend you from the heat, and garments to defend you in your
wars. Thus doth He fill up the measure of His goodness towards you, that you
may resign yourselves to Him.
But if they turn their backs, still thy office is only plain spoken
They own the goodness of God–then they disown it–and most of them are
But one day, we will raise up a witness out of every nation: them shall the
infidels have no permission to make excuses, and they shall find no favour.
And when they who have acted thus wrongly shall behold their torment, it
shall not be made light to them, nor will God deign to look upon them.
And when they who had joined associates with God shall see those their
associate-gods, they shall say, "O our Lord! these are our associate-gods
whom we called upon beside Thee." But they shall retort on them, "Verily, ye
And on that day shall they proffer submission to God; and the deities of
their own invention shall vanish from them.
As for those who were infidels and turned others aside from the way of God,
to them we will add punishment on punishment for their corrupt doings.
And one day we will summon up in every people a witness against them from
among themselves; and we will bring thee up as a witness against these
Meccans: for to thee have we sent down the Book which cleareth up everything,
a guidance, and mercy, and glad tidings to those who resign themselves to God
Verily, God enjoineth justice and the doing of good and gifts to kindred, and
he forbiddeth wickedness and wrong and oppression. He warneth you that haply
ye may be mindful.
Be faithful in the covenant of God when ye have covenanted, and break not
your oaths after ye have pledged them: for now have ye made God to stand
surety for you. Verily, God hath knowledge of what ye do.
And, because you are a more numerous people than some other people, be not
like her who unravelleth the thread which she had strongly spun, by taking
your oaths with mutual perfidy. God is making trial of you in this: and in
the day of resurrection he will assuredly clear up to you that concerning
which ye are now at variance.
Had God pleased, He could have made you one people: but He causeth whom He
will to err, and whom He will He guideth: and ye shall assuredly be called to
account for your doings.
Therefore take not your oaths with mutual fraud, lest your foot slip after it
hath been firmly fixed, and ye taste of evil because ye have turned others
aside from the way of God, and great be your punishment.
And barter not the covenant of God for a mean price; for with God is that
which is better for you, if ye do but understand.
All that is with you passeth away, but that which is with God abideth. With a
reward meet for their best deeds will we surely recompense those who have
Whoso doeth that which is right, whether male or female, if a believer, him
will we surely quicken to a happy life, and recompense them with a reward
meet for their best deeds.
When thou readest the Koran, have recourse to God for help against Satan the
For no power hath he over those who believe, and put their trust in their
But only hath he power over those who turn away from God, and join other
deities with Him.
And when we change one (sign) verse for another, and God knoweth best what He
revealeth, they say, "Thou art only a fabricator." Nay! but most of them have
SAY: The Holy Spirit15 hath brought it down with truth from thy Lord, that He
may stablish those who have believed, and as guidance and glad tidings to the
We also know that they say, "Surely a certain person teacheth him." But the
tongue of him at whom they hint is foreign,16 while this Koran is in the
As for those who believe not in the signs of God, God will not guide them,
and a sore torment doth await them.
Surely they invent a lie who believe not in the signs of God–and they are the
Whoso, after he hath believed in God denieth him, if he were forced to it and
if his heart remain steadfast in the faith, shall be guiltless:17 but whoso
openeth his breast to infidelity–on such shall be wrath from God, and a
severe punishment awaiteth them.
This, because they have loved this present life beyond the next, and because
God guideth not the unbelievers!
These are they whose hearts and ears and eyes God hath sealed up: these are
the careless ones: in the next world shall they perish beyond a doubt.
To those also who after their trials fled their country,18 then fought and
endured with patience, verily, thy Lord will in the end be forgiving,
On a certain day shall every soul come to plead for itself, and every soul
shall be repaid according to its deeds; and they shall not be wronged.
God proposeth the instance of a city,19 secure and at ease, to which its
supplies come in plenty from every side. But she was thankless for the boons
of God; God therefore made her taste the woe20 of famine and of fear, for
what they had done.
Moreover, an apostle of their own people came to them, and they treated him
as an impostor. So chastisement overtook them because they were evil doers.
Of what God hath supplied you eat the lawful and good, and be grateful for
the favours of God, if ye are his worshippers.
Forbidden to you is that only which dieth of itself, and blood, and swine's
flesh, and that which hath been slain in the name of any other than God: but
if any be forced, and neither lust for it nor wilfully transgress, then
verily God is forgiving, gracious.21
And say not with a lie upon your tongue, "This is lawful and this is
forbidden:" for so will ye invent a lie concerning God: but they who invent a
lie of God shall not prosper:
Brief their enjoyment, but sore their punishment!
To the Jews22 we have forbidden that of which we before told thee; we injured
them not, but they injured themselves.
To those who have done evil in ignorance, then afterwards have repented and
amended, verily thy Lord is in the end right gracious, merciful.
Verily, Abraham was a leader in religion:23 obedient to God, sound in
faith:24 he was not of those who join gods with God.
Grateful was he for His favours: God chose him and guided him into the
And we bestowed on him good things in this world: and in the world to come he
shall be among the just.
We have moreover revealed to thee that thou follow the religion of Abraham,
the sound in faith. He was not of those who join gods with God.
The Sabbath was only ordained for those who differed about it: and of a truth
thy Lord will decide between them on the day of resurrection as to the
subject of their disputes.
Summon thou to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and with kindly warning:
dispute with them in the kindest manner: thy Lord best knoweth those who
stray from his way, and He best knoweth those who have yielded to his
If ye make reprisals,25 then make them to the same extent that ye were
injured: but if ye can endure patiently, best will it be for the patiently
Endure then with patience. But thy patient endurance must be sought in none
but God. And be not grieved about the infidels, and be not troubled at their
devices; for God is with those who fear him and do good deeds.
1 See Sura [lxxxiv.] x. 5, n.
2 Ex gutta spermatis. Pirke Aboth iii. Unde venisti? ex guttá foetidâ. This
verse is said to be an allusion to a difficulty proposed by an idolatrous
Arab, who brought a carious leg-bone to Muhammad, and asked whether it could
be restored to life. Compare a similar argument for the Resurrection, Tr.
Sanhedrin, fol. 91 a.
3 Lit. there is beauty in them for you, i.e. they win you credit.
4 In allusion to Gen. xi. 1-10.
5 An Arabian idol.
6 Ps. xxxv. 9.
7 Lit. the family of the admonition, i.e. Jews and Christians versed in the
Pentateuch and Gospel.
8 The idolatrous Arabians regarded Angels as females and daughters of God.
But their own preference was always for male offspring. Thus Rabbinism
teaches that to be a woman is a great degradation. The modern Jew says in his
Daily Prayers, fol. 5, 6, "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God! King of the
Universe! who hath not made me a woman."
9 See Sura lxxxi. 8, p. 45. It is said that the only occasion on which Othman
ever shed a tear was when his little daughter, whom he was burying alive,
wiped the dust of the grave-earth from his beard.
10 Lit. the likeness of evil to those, etc.
11 The Arabs are curious in and fond of honey: Mecca alone affords eight or
nine varieties–green, white, red, and brown. Burton's Pilgr. iii. 110.
12 Ex. xx. 4.
13 The slave, and the dumb in verse following, are the idols.
14 See Sura [xcvii.] iii. 34, and n. 1, p. 114.
16 This passage has been supposed to refer to Salman the Persian. He did not,
however, embrace Islam till a much later period, at Medina. Nöld. p. 110. Mr.
Muir thinks that it may refer to Suheib, son of Sinan, "the first fruits of
Greece," as Muhammad styled him, who, while yet a boy, had been carried off
by some Greeks as a slave, from Mesopotamia to Syria, brought by a party of
the Beni Kalb, and sold to Abdallah ibn Jodda'ân of Mecca. He became rich,
and embraced Islam. Dr. Sprenger thinks the person alluded to may have been
Addas, a monk of Nineveh, who had settled at Mecca. Life of M. p. 79.
17 This is to be understood of the persecutions endured by the more humble
and needy Muslims by their townspeople of Mecca.
18 From Mecca to Medina, i.e. the Mohadjers, to whom also verse 43 refers.
Both passages, therefore, are of a later date than the rest of this Sura.
Thus Nöldeke. Sprenger, however (Life, p. 159), explains this passage of the
seven slaves purchased and manumitted by Abu Bekr. They had been tortured for
professing Islam, shortly after Muhammad assumed the Prophetic office.
20 Lit. the garment.
21 Comp. Sura [lxxxix.] vi. 119.
22 Comp. Sura [lxxxix.] vi. 147. This verse as well as the following, and
verse 125, were probably added at Medina.
23 Antistes. Maracci. Or the text may be literally rendered Abraham was a
people, i.e. the people of Abraham; from whom the idolatrous Koreisch
pretended to derive their origin.
24 Ar. a Hanyf. According to a tradition in Waquidi, fol. 255, Zaid (who died
only five years before Muhammad received his first inspiration, and
undoubtedly prepared the way for many of his subsequent announcements)
adopted this term at the instance of a Christian and a Jew, who exhorted him
to become a Hanyf. Zaid having at this time renounced idolatry, and being
unable to receive either Judaism or Christianity, "What," said he, "is a
Hanyf?" They both told him, it was the religion of Abraham, who worshipped
nothing but God. On this Zaid exclaimed, "O God, I bear witness that I follow
the religion of Abraham." The root, whence Hanyf is derived, means generally
to turn from good to bad, or vice versâ, and is equivalent to the verbs
convert and pervert.
25 All Muhammadan commentators explain this verse as a prohibition to avenge
the death of Hamza on the Meccans with too great severity.
SURA XXX.–THE GREEKS [LXXIV.]
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
ELIF. LAM. MIM.1 THE GREEKS have been defeated2
In a land hard by: But after their defeat they shall defeat their foes,
In a few years.3 First and last is the affair with God. And on that day
shall the faithful rejoice
In the aid of their God: He aideth whom He will; and He is the Mighty, the
It is the promise of God: To his promise God will not be untrue: but most men
know it not.
They know the outward shews of this life present, but of the next life are
Have they not considered within themselves that God hath not created the
Heavens and the Earth and all that is between them but for a serious end, and
for a fixed term? But truly most men believe not that they shall meet their
Have they never journeyed through the land, and seen what hath been the end
of those who were before them? Mightier were they than these in strength; and
they broke up the land, and dwelt in it in greater numbers than they who
dwell there now; and their apostles came to them with proofs of their
mission: and it was not God who would wrong them, but they wronged
Then evil was the end of the evil doers; because they had treated our signs
as lies, and laughed them to scorn.
God bringth forth the creation–then causeth it to return again–then to Him
shall ye come back.4
And on the day when the hour shall arrive, the guilty shall be struck dumb
And they shall have no intercessors from among the gods whom they have joined
with God, and they shall deny the gods they joined with Him.
And on that day when the Hour shall arrive, shall men be separated one from
And as for those who shall have believed and done the things that are right,
they shall enjoy themselves in a flowery mead;
But as for those who shall not have believed, but treated our signs and the
meeting of the next life as lies, they shall be given over to the torment.
Glorify God therefore when ye reach the evening, and when ye rise at morn:
And to Him be praise in the Heavens and on the Earth; and at twilight, and
when ye rest at noon.
He bringeth forth the living out of the dead, and He bringeth forth the dead
out of the living: and He quickeneth the earth when dead. Thus is it that ye
too shall be brought forth.5
And one of his signs it is that He hath created you out of dust; then lo! ye
become men who spread themselves far and wide:
And one of his signs it is, that He hath created wives for you of your own
species,6 that ye may dwell with them, and hath put love and tenderness
between you. Herein truly are signs for those who reflect.
And among his signs are the creation of the Heavens and of the Earth, and
your variety of tongues and colour. Herein truly are signs for all men.
And of his signs are your sleep by night and by day, and your goings in quest
of his bounties. Herein truly are signs to those who hearken.
And of his signs are, that He sheweth you the lightning, a source of awe and
hope; and that He sendeth down rain from the heaven and giveth life by it to
the earth when dead. Herein truly are signs to those who understand.
And of his signs also one is that the Heaven and the Earth stand firm at his
bidding: hereafter, when with one summons He shall summon you out of the
earth,–lo! forth shall ye come.
His, whatsoever is in the Heavens and on the Earth: all are obedient to him.
And He it is who bringeth a creature forth, then causeth it to return again;
and to him is this most easy. To whatever is loftiest in heaven and earth is
He to be likened; and He is the Mighty, the Wise.
He setteth forth to you an instance drawn from yourselves. Have ye among the
slaves whom your right hands have won, any partner in what we have bestowed
on you, so that ye share alike? Fear ye them as ye fear each other? (Thus
make we our signs clear to men of understanding.)
No, ye do not. But the wicked, devoid of knowledge, follow their own
desires:7 and those whom God shall mislead, who shall guide, and who shall be
Set thou thy face then, as a true convert,8 towards the Faith which God hath
made, and for which He hath made man. No change is there in the creation of
God. This is the right Faith, but the greater part of men know it not.
And be ye turned to Him, and fear Him, and observe prayer, and be not of
those who unite gods with God:
Of those who have split up their religion, and have become sects, where every
party rejoices in what is their own.9
When some evil toucheth men, they turn to their Lord and call upon him: then
when he hath made them taste his mercy, lo, a part of them join other gods
with their Lord,
Ungrateful for our favours! Enjoy yourselves then. But in the end ye shall
know your folly.
Have we sent down to them any mandate which speaketh in favour of what they
join with God?
When we cause men to taste mercy they rejoice in it; but if, for that which
their hands have aforetime wrought, evil befall them, they despair.
See they not that God bestoweth full supplies on whom He pleaseth and giveth
sparingly to whom He pleaseth? Signs truly are there herein to those who
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
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 God.
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 repose:
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
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 despair.
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 swear
That not above an hour have they waited: Even so did they utter lies on
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
But do thou, Muhammad, bear with patience, for true is the promise of God;
and let not those who have no firm belief, unsettle thee.
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 common.
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. Taanith (init.).
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 the whole.
10 Comp. Ps. xv. 5.
11 Lit. which none can put back from God.
SURA XI.–HOUD [LXXV.]
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
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 it, 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
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.
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 not believe.
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 ones.
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 not comprehend?
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
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 God bestow on them:–God best
knoweth what is in their minds–for then should I be one of those who act
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
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 are guilty.
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
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, Merciful."
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
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 judges."
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 thee not.
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
These men of Ad gainsaid the signs of their Lord, and rebelled against his
messengers, and followed the bidding of every proud contumacious person.
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 away?
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
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 that day. Verily, thy Lord is
the Strong, the Mighty!
And a violent tempest overtook the wicked, and they were found in the morning
prostrate 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 marvellous thing."
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 of difficulty."
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
O my people! give weight and measure with fairness; purloin not other men's
goods; and perpetrate not injustice on the earth with corrupt practices:
A residue,18 the gift of God, will be best for you if ye are believers:
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 turn me.
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,
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 couldest 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
And, O my people! act with what power ye can for my hurt: I verily 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 houses
As if they had never dwelt in them. Was not Madian swept off even 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
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 lacking.
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
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 Sajâh
(Hisam. 946; Attabâri (ed. Kosegarten) i. 134, 136, 152; Tab. Agâni, 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 Gordyoei, 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, Methusaleh, 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
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, "Hűd 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.)." Kitâb al Wackidi, p.
84, ap. Muir.
SURA XIV.–ABRAHAM, ON WHOM BE PEACE [LXXVI.]
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
ELIF. LAM. RA. This Book have we sent down to thee that by their 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, grateful person:
When Moses said to his people, "Remember the kindness of God to 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 your Lord–
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 wicked doers,
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
Then sought they help from God, and every proud rebellious one perished:
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
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 wandering.
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
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 the 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
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
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
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 thankful.
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 taken."
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 with terror:
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 little
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
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, the Victorious.
And thou shalt see the wicked on that day linked together in chains–
Their garments of pitch, and fire shall enwrap their faces that God may
reward every soul as it deserveth; verily God is prompt to reckon.
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
1 See Sura [lxxxiv.] x. 5.
2 Lit. I truly renounce your having associated me (with God) heretofore.
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.]
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 it.
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 regardless.
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!"
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 upright persons."
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 the 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 me."
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.
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 doers.
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 prison10 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
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
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
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 the despised."
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
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 to come;
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, the
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."
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
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 eat.
Then after that shall come seven grievous years which shall eat what ye have
stored for them, except a little which ye shall have kept.
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 of deceivers.
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, Merciful."
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 trust."
He said, "Set me over the granaries of the land,16 I will be their prudent
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
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 it."
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
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
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
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 did."19
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 unjust."
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.
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 ye state."
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 person."
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
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 silent sorrow.
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."
He said, "Know ye what ye did to Joseph and his brother in your ignorance?"
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
They said, "By God! now hath God chosen thee above us, and we have indeed
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
Then he said, "Did I not tell you that I knew from God what ye knew not?"
They said, "Our father, ask pardon for our crimes for us, for we have indeed
He said, "I will ask your pardon of my Lord, for he is Gracious, Merciful."
And when they came into Joseph he took his parents24 to him, and 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
O my Lord, thou hast given me dominion, and hast taught me to expound dark
sayings. Maker 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
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
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
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
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.
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.
4 The captious and unbelieving Koreisch.
5 Wir mussten denn zuerst das Leben einbüssen. Wahl. Ullm. Maracci.
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.
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.
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.
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. ch. 147.
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
16 According to Gen. xli. 39, Pharaoh of his own accord sets Joseph over his
house and land.
17 For the king to bestow.
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.
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.
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.
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.]
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
HA. MIM. The Revelation (sending down) of the Book is from God the Almighty,
Forgiver of sin, and receiver of penitence,–vehement in chastisement,
Long-suffering! There is no God but He: to Him shall be the final gathering.
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 All-wise:
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 felicity.
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 Great."
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 abhor it.
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, the Almighty.
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 prevail.
God knoweth the deceitful of eye, and what men's breasts conceal.
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
Moreover we had sent Moses of old with our signs and with clear authority.
To Pharaoh, and Haman, and Karun:4 and they said, "Sorcerer, impostor."
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 failure.
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
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 his
And, O my people! I indeed fear for you the day of mutual outcry–
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
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
And he who believed said, "O my people! follow me: into the right way will I
O my people! this present life is only a passing joy, but the life to come is
the mansion that abideth.
Whoso 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
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 the fire.
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
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
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
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 shame."
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?