E. M. (Elwood Morris) Wherry.

A comprehensive commentary on the Qurán; comprising Sale's translation and preliminary discourse, with additional notes and emendations; together with a complete index to the text, preliminary discourse, and notes (Volume 2) online

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Online LibraryE. M. (Elwood Morris) WherryA comprehensive commentary on the Qurán; comprising Sale's translation and preliminary discourse, with additional notes and emendations; together with a complete index to the text, preliminary discourse, and notes (Volume 2) → online text (page 10 of 42)
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of the disaffected citizens of Madina. [It niij:ht far more truly have
been applied to the renegade Jews who purchased their safety and
prosperity by pandering their evidence to Muhammad's ambition.]

"The passages in which 'dislocation' or 'perversion' is imputed
are these : Sura ii. 75, v. 14, v. 47, iv. 43. The latter verse . . .
well illustrates the meaning of tahrlf, ordinarily but incorrectly
translated interpolation ; it signifies the perversion of a word or pas-
sage, by using it in a double or erroneous sense, or with a wrong
contextual reference. The words Raina, &c, in the verse quoted
(chap. ii. 103), are examples given by Mahomet himself. So with
the passages of their Scriptures which the Jews wrested from their
proper signification, as expressed in S. ii. 75, 'they perverted them
after they understood them?

CHAP. IV.] ( 86 ) [SIPARA V.

have disobeyed; and do thou hear without understanding
our meaning, and look upon us: perplexing with their
tongues, and reviling the tnte religion. But if they had
said, We have heard and do obey, and do thou hear and
regard us ; certainly it were better for them, and more
right. But God hath cursed them by reason of their

" Next comes S. iii. 7 J. * They twist their tongues in (reading)
the Book, that ye may think it is out of the Book, though it is not
out of the Book ; ami they say it is from God, and it is not from
God.' Twisting their tongues is the same expression as in the verse
above quoted, S. iv. 43. They read out passages which they pre-
tended were from the Book, but were not (so Mahomet alleged); it
was a deception of their tongues, not any corruption of their MSS.

" So also S. ii. 78. Here reference is evidently made to the
ignorant Jews who copied out legends, traditions, or glosses from
rabbinical books, and brought them forward as possessed of divine
authority. Even if a more serious meaning were admitted, viz., that
the same unscrupulous Jews copied out passages from the writings
of their rabbins, &c, and brought them forward, pretending they
were actual extracts from Scripture, the charge would indeed be
one of fraud, but not by any means of corrupting the MSS. of the
Old Testament,

" These are, I believe, the main passages alleged to contain evidence
of corruption or interpolation, and even if they were capable of a
more serious construction, which I believe them not to be, they
must be construed in accordance with the general tenor of the
Coran ; and the very numerous passages, contemporary and sub-
sequent, in which 'the Book,' as current in the neighbourhood and
elsewhere, is spoken of as a genuine and authoritative record as
containing the rule of faith and practice to be followed by Jews and
Christians respectively, and as a divine record, belief in which is
earnestly enjoined on the Moslems also. Assuredly such would not
have been the language of Mahomet had he regarded cither the
Jewish or the Christian Scriptures as in any degree interpolated.

"The similitude of an ass laden with books, employed by Mahomet
to describe the Jews in reference to their Scriptures (S. lxii. 5),
exactly illustrates the point of his charge against them : they had
indeed a precious charge in their possession, but they were ignorant
of its value and use."

See notes on chap. ii. 75-78, and chap. iii. 77.

Look upon us. "The original word is Retina, which, 1 eing a term
of reproach in Hebrew, Muhammad forbade their using to him."

And regard us. "In Arabic undhurna, which, having no ill or
equivocal meaning, he ordered them to use instead of the former."

Sale understands the " perverting of wonls" charged upon the Jews
in this verse to be illustrated here. See also note on chap. ii. 103.

SIPARAV.] ( 87 ) [CHAP. IV.

infidelity; therefore a few of them only shall believe.
(45) ye to whom the scriptures have been given, believe
in the revelation which ye have sent down, confirming
that which is with you, before we deface your counte-
nances, and render them as the back parts thereof, or
curse them, as we cursed those who transgressed on the
Sabbath-day, and the command of God was fulfilled. (46)
Surely God will not pardon the giving him an equal, but
will pardon any other sin except that, to whom he pleaseth ;
and whoso giveth a companion unto God hath devised a
great wickedness. (47) Hast thou not observed those
who justify themselves ? But God justifieth whomso-
ever he pleaseth, nor shall they be wronged a hair. (48)
Behold, how they imagine a lie against God; and therein
is iniquity sufficiently manifest.

|| (49) Hast thou not considered those to whom part of K
the scripture hath been given ? They believe in false
gods and idols, and say of those who believe not, These
are more rightly directed in the way of truth than they
who believe on Muhammad. (50) Those are the men

(45) Confirming that, dec. This claim, so oft repeated, surely pre-
dicates the genuineness of the Scriptures in the hands of Jews and
Christians at that time.

Those who transgressed. See note on chap. ii. 64.

(46) God will not pardon, dec, i.e., idolatry, which includes the
ascribing of divine attributes to a creature as well as idol-worship,
is the unpardonable sin of Islam. It is unpardonable, however,
only to those who, having received Isldm or a knowledge of Islam,
persist in this sin.

To whom he pleaseth, i.e., to those who repent before death and
accept of Islam. These he forgives not on the ground of their good
works, nor on account of any atonement, but because he pleaseth.

(47) Those who justify, " i.e., the Christians and Jews, who called
themselves the children of God, and his beloved people." Sale, Jaldl-
uddin, Baidh&wi.

A hair, literally a fibre in the cleft of a date-stone.

(48) A lie against God. The lie here seems to be their regarding
themselves as the children of God. As applied to the Jews, compare
John viii. 39-44.

(49) They believe. The commentators say this passage refers to
certain Jews, who fraternised with the Makkan idolaters in their
opposition to Muhammad. Modern Muslims, who join hands with

CHAP. IV.] ( 88 ) [SIPARA V.

whom God hath cursed ; and unto him whom God shall
curse thou shalt surely find no helper. (51) Shall they
have a part of the kingdom, since even then they would
not bestow the smallest matter on men ? (52) Do they
envy otJier men that which God of his bounty hath given
them ? We formerly gave unto the family of Abraham
a book of revelations and wisdom ; and we gave them a
great kingdom. (53) There is of them who believeth on
him ; and there is of them who turneth aside from him ;
but the raging fire of hell is a sufficient punishment. (54)
Verily those who disbelieve our signs, we will surely cast
to be broiled in hell fire ; so often as their skins shall be
well burned, we will give them other skins in exchange,
that they may taste the sJiarper torment; for God is
mighty and wise.
ruha. || (55) But those who believe and do that which is

right, we will bring into gardens watered by rivers, there-
in shall they remain forever, and there shall they enjoy

idolaters in opposition to Christianity, receive no encouragement
from passages like this.

False gods and idols. This is better translated Jibt and Tdgh&t,
reference being had to certain idols bearing these names See chap,
ii. 256, note.

The story of the commentators, given by Sale, alleging that the
Jews actually worshipped idols at Makkah, is most likely a fabri-

(51) Shall they have apart of the kingdom ? The reference is to
Messiah's kingdom, in which the Jews would be restored to their
former grandeur.

(52) That which God hath given them, viz., "the spiritual gifts of
prophecy and divine revelations, and the temporal blessings of
victoiy and success bestowed on Muhammad and his followers."

The family of Abraham, i.e., the children of Israel. Reference is
to the Jews before their apostasy in rejecting Jesus. Compare with
preceding verse. See note in chap. iii. 33.

(53) Who believe on him. Sale refers the him to Muhammad, but
manifestly primary allusion is to Abraham. The inference is that
those who reject the religion of Muhammad also reject the religion
of Abraham the Orthodox.

(54) To be broiled, dec. See note, chap. ii. 38.

(55) Who believe and do, dec. See notes, chap. ii. 25 and 223,
and chap. iii. 15, 31, and 196.

SIPARA V.] ( 89 ) [CHAP. IV.

wives free from all impurity ; and we will lead them into
perpetual shades. (56) Moreover God commandeth you
to restore what ye are trusted with to the owners ; and
when ye judge between men, that ye judge according to
equity : and surely an excellent virtue it is to which God
exhorteth you; for God both heareth and seeth. (57)
true believers, obey God and obey the apostle, and
those who are in authority among you ; and if ye differ
in anything, refer it unto God and the apostle, if ye believe
in God and the last day : this is better, and a fairer
method of determination.

|| (58) Hast thou not observed those who pretend they K

(56) God commandeth you, <&c. " This passage, it is said, was re-
vealed on the day of the taking of Makkah, the primary design of
it being to direct Muhammad to return the keys of the Kaabah to
Othman Ibn Talha Ibn Abdul Dar, who had then the honour to be
keeper of that holy place, and not to deliver them to his uncle al
Abbas, who having already the custody of the well Zamzam, would
fain have had also that of the Kaal>ah. The Prophet obeying the
divine order, Othman was so aflected with the justice of ihe action,
notwithstanding he had at first refused him entrance, that he imme-
diately embraced Muhammadanism ; whereupon the guardianship
of the Kaabah was confirmed to this Othman and his heirs for ever."
Sale, Baidh&wi.

If this account of this revelation be correct, it is certainly out of
place here, sandwiched in between passages of an earlier date. We
think the reference is general, and that the passage is a sort of
introduction to what follows. Note that the sentiment of this verse
is expressive of high moral principle.

(57) Those who are in authority. This passage teaches the duty
of submission to kings and judges, so long as their decisions are in
accord with the teaching of God and his Apostle {Abdul Qddir), i.e., so
long as they are in accord with the Quran and the traditions.

The doctrine that Muhammad was "free from sin in what he
ordered to be done, and in what he prohibited, in all his words and
acts," for otherwise obedience to him would not be obedience to God,
is based upon this verse among others (see The Faith of Islam, p. 12).
But if so, the Aidai al Amri, or those in authority, must also be re-
garded as sinless and infallible !

The effort to establish the inspiration of the Ahudls or traditions
of Islam on grounds like this requires not only inspired Imdms but
also inspired Raids. But all admit that the latter were uninspired,
wherefore the science of Muslim tradition is one of the most difficult
as well as unsatisfactory departments of Muslim learning.

(58) Those icho pretend. The hypocrites.

CHAP. IV.] ( 90 ) [SIPAKA V.

believe in what hath been revealed unto thee, and what
hath been revealed before thee? They desire to go to
judgment before Taglnit, although they have been com-
manded not to believe in him ; and Satan desireth to
seduce them into a wide error. (59) And when it is said
unto them, Come unto the booh which God hath sent down,
and to the apostle; thou seest the ungodly turn aside
from thee with great aversion. (60) But how will they
behave when a misfortune shall befall them, for that which
their hands have sent before them ? Then will they come
unto thee, and swear by God, saying, If we intended any
other than to do good, and to reconcile the parties. (61)
God knoweth what is in the hearts of these men; there-
fore let them alone, and admonish them, and speak unto

Before Tdgh&t. "That is, before the tribunals of infidels. This
passage was occasioned by tlie following remarkable accident. A
certain Jew having a dispute with a wicked Muliamniadan, th
latter appealed to the judgment of Qab Ibn al Ashraf, the principal
Jew, and the former to Muhammad. But at length they agreed to
refer the matter to the Prophet singly, who giving it in favour of
the Jew, the Muhammadan refused to acquiesce in his sentence, but
would needs have it re-heard by Omar, afterwards Khalifah. When
they came to him, the Jew told him that Muhammad had already
decided the affair in his favour, but that the other would not submit
to his determination ; and the Muhammadan confessing this to be
true, Omar bid them stay a little, and fetching his sword, struck off
the obstinate Muslim's head, saying aloud, 'This is the reward of
him who refuseth to submit to the judgment of God and his Apostle.'
And from this action Omar had the surname of al Fanik. which
alludes botli to Ids separating that knave's head from his body, and
to his distinguishing between truth and falsehood. The name of
Taghut. therefore, in this place, seems to be given to Qdb Ibn al
Ashraf. Sale, Baidh&wi, Abdul Qddir.

This story does not fit in well with the passage it is intended to
illustrate, and is probably tagged on here by the commentators, who
seem to feel that every allusion of the Quran must be historically
explained. The passage simply refers to the disaffected citizens of
Madina, some of whom pretended to be favourable to Muhammad's
cause when it was in their interest to do so (see ver. 60), and at other
times showed too plainly their liking for the national idolatry, as is
intimated in the next verse.

{60) If we intended. "For this was the excuse of the friends of
the Muhammadan whom Omar slew, when they came to demand
satisfaction for his blood." Sale, Baidh&wi.

SI PARA V.J ( 91 ) [CHAP. IV.

them a word which may affect their souls. (62) We have
not sent any apostle, but that he might be obeyed by the
permission of God ; but if they, after they have injured
their own souls, come unto thee and ask pardon of God,
and the apostle ask pardon for them, they shall surely find
God easy to be reconciled and merciful. (63) And by
thy Lord they will not -perfectly believe until they make
thee judge of their controversies ; and shall not afterwards
find in their own minds any hardship in what thou shalt
determine, but shall acquiesce therein with entire submis-
sion. (64) And if we had commanded them, saying, Slay
yourselves, or depart from your houses ; they would not
have done it except a few of them. (65) And if they had
done what they were admonished, it would certainly have
been better for them, and more efficacious for confirming
their faith; and we should then have surely given them
in our sight an exceeding great reward, (66) and we should
have directed them in the right way. (67) Whoever
obeyeth God and the apostle, they shall be with those

(62) Obeyed by the permission of God. The claim of Muhammad
is that he should be implicitly obeyed. All controversies were to be
decided by him, aud all his decisions were to be "acquiesced in
with entire submission." See next verse. There is a remarkable
similarity between this claim of Muhammad and that of the Pope of
Rome. He holds the keys of heaven and hell, and pardon is depen-
dent upon his intercesiou. He is their rightful judge, and his judg-
ment 13 infallible. Muhammad seems to arrogate to himself a
similar position in this passage.

(64) If we had commanded, dec. " Some understand these words of
their venturing their lives in a religious expedition ; and others, of
their undergoing the same punishments which the Israelites did for
their idolatry in worshipping the golden calf." Sale.

See chap. ii. 53.

(67) Whosoever obeyeth God and his Apostle. Whilst it is true that
rebellion against the messengers of God is rebellion against God, yet
there is a vast difference between the teaching of the true messengers
of God and that of Muhammad on this point. This habit of asso-
ciating himself with God, and so making implicit obedience to him
necessary to salvation, is not the least of the many blasphemies of
Muhammad. Repudiating the divinity of our Lord, Muhammad
here claims almost all our Lord claimed by virtue of his divine

CHAP. IV.] ( 92 ) [SIPARA V.

unto whom God hath been gracious, of the prophets, and
the sincere, and the martyrs, and the righteous ; and these
are the most excellent company. (68) This is bounty
from God ; and God is sufficiently knowing.

I (69) true believers, take your necessary precaution
against your enemies, and eitlier go forth to war in separate
parties, or go forth all together, in a body. (70) There is
of you who tarrieth behind ; and if a misfortune befall you,
" 7 ' he saith, Verily God hath been gracious unto me, that I
was not present with them : (71) but if success attend you
from God, he will say (as if there was no friendship be-
tween you and him), Would to God I had been with
them, for I should have acquired great merit. (72) Let
them therefore fight for the religion of God, who part
with the present life in exchange for that which is to
come ; for whosoever fighteth for the religion of God,
whether he be slain or be victorious, we will surely give
him a great reward. (73) And what ails you, that ye
fight not for God's true religion, and in defence of the
weak among men, women, and children, who say, Lord,

(69) Necessary precaution. This verse illustrates how that every
dispatch from the orderly-room, so to speak, finds a place in the
Quran. This result is probably due to the faith of the Muslims that
every word spoken by their Prophet was a revelation. Hence the
inspired character of the traditions. These are, so far as they repre-
sent his teaching, fragmentary revelations.

The passage beginning here and ending with verse 83 has for its
object the incitement of the Muslims to fight for Islam. By counsel,
by reproaches, by taunts, by threats, by exhortation, and by promises
the Muslims are urged to fight for the religion of God.

(70) Who tarrieth. The reference is to the hypocrites of Madfna,
particularly Ibn Ubaf and his companions {Tafsir-i-Raufi).

(71) As if . . . not friendship, i.e., "as one who attendeth not to
the public but his own private interest. Or else these may be the
words of the hypocritical Muhammadan himself, insinuating that he
stayed not behind the rest of the army by his own fault, but was left
by Muhammad, who chose to let the others share in his good for-
tune preferably to him." Sale, Baidhdwi.

(72) See notes on chap. ii. 190-195, and chap. iii. 157 and 17a

(73) And what ails you,dbc, viz., " those believers who stayed behind
at Makkah, being detained there either forcibly by the idolaters or
for want of means to flv for refuge to Madfna. Al Baidhdwi observes

sipara v.] ( 93 ) [CHAP. IV.

bring us forth from this city, whose inhabitants are
wicked ; grant us from before thee a protector, and grant
us from before thee a defender. (74) They who believe
fight for the religion of God ; but they who believe not
fight for the religion of Taghiit. Fight therefore against
the friends of Satan, for the stratagem of Satan is weak.

| (75) Hast thou not observed those unto whom it was B, 1 8 l
said, Withhold your hands from war, and be constant at
prayers, and pay the legal alms ? But when war is com-
manded them, behold a part of them fear men as they
should fear God, or with a great fear, and say, Lord,
wherefore hast thou commanded us to go to war, and hast
not suffered us to wait our approaching end ? (76) Say
unto them, The provision of this life is out small ; but the
future shall be better for him who feareth God; and ye
shall not be in the least injured at the day of judgment.
(77) Wheresoever ye be, death will overtake you, although
ye be in lofty towers. If good befall them, they say, This
is from God; but if evil befall them, they say, This is
from thee, Muhammad : say, All is from God ; and what
aileth these people, that they are so far from understand-

that children are mentioned here to show the inhumanity of the
Quraish, who persecuted even that tender age." Sale.

Bring us forth from this city. The city referred to here is Makkah.
Muhammad pictures to his followers the furlorn condition of their
brethren there as a motive to fight against the infidel Quraish.
Weak helpless men, women, and children are crying to God for help
and deliverance. Muhammad well knew how to fire the martial
spirit of his countrymen.

" This petition, the commentators say, was heard. For God
afforded several of them an opportunity and means of escaping, and
delivered the rest at the taking of Makkah by Muhammad, who left
Ut&b Ibn Usaid governor of the city ; and under his care and pro-
tection those who had suffered for their religion became the most
considerable men in the place." Sale.

(74) The religion of Taghiit. See note, chap. ii. 256.

(75) Those unto iclwm. Those Muslims who were ready enough to
observe the ordinary duties of Islam, but who disliked to fight. It
is possible such were more averse to fighting against their relatives
and neighbours than to the fear of death attributed to them here.

(77) Wherever ye be, &c. Sie notes on chap. iii. 155.

CHAP. IV.] ( 94 ) [SIPARA V

ing what is said unto them? (78) Whatever good be-
falleth thee, man, it is from God ; and whatever evil
befalleth thee, it is from thyself. We have sent thee an
apostle unto men, and God is a sufficient witness thereof.
(79) Whoever obeyeth the apostle, obeyeth God; and
whoever turneth back, we have not sent thee to be a keeper
over them. (80) They say, Obedience : yet when they go
forth from thee, part of them meditate by night a matter
different from what thou speakest; but God shall write
down what they meditate by night : therefore let them
alone, and trust in God, for God is a sufficient protector.
(81) Do they not attentively consider the Quran ? if it
had been from any besides God, they would certainly
have found therein many contradictions. (82) When any
news cometh unto them, either of security or fear, they

(78) Evil . . . is from thyself '. " These words are not to be under-
stood as contradictory to the preceding, that all proceeds from God,
since the evil which befalls mankind, though ordered by God, is yet
the consequence of their own wicked actions.'"' Sale.

The passage is, however, contradictory of chap. vii. 179, 180; xv.
39-43 ; xvi. 95 ; xvii. 14-16, &c

God . . . is witness. The allusion is probably to the verses (aydt)
of the Quran as being self-evidently miraculous. The ordinary testi-
mony of God to his prophecy, viz., prophecy and miracles, was want-
ing. Of course this statement is only applicable to the Quran.
Tradition has provided an abundant supply of both.

(79) See note on ver. 67.

(81) Do they not attentively consider the Qurdn ? The belief that
the Qurdn was possessed in book form by many of the Muslims
receives confirmation from this statement

In this verse Muhammad sets up the claim that the Qurdn is from
God because it is free from contradictions. But notwithstanding his
own convenient doctrine of abrogation (note in chap. ii. 105), he has
left sufficient ground upon which to refute his propnetic pretensions
on the basis of this his own claim. Compare chap. ii. 256 with chap.
iv. 88; chap. v. 73 with ver. 76 of the same chapter; chap. ii. 61
with chap. iii. 84, &c. In addition to this, there is the more impor-
tant as well as more palpable contradiction l>etween the doctrine of
the Quran and that of the former Scriptures, though the former
distinctly professes to confirm the latter. See notes on chap. ii. 90;
chap. iii. 2, 31, 39, and 94, &c.

(82) Any news. This passage was occasioned thus : Muhammad
sent a certain person to a neighbouring tribe to collect the legal
alms. On the near approach of this messenger the people came forth

SI PARA v.] ( 95 ) [CHAP. IV.

immediately divulge it ; but if they told it to the apostle
and to those who are in authority among them, such of
them would understand the truth of the matter, as inform
themselves thereof from the apostle and his chiefs. And
if the favour of God and his mercy had not been upon
you, ye had followed the devil, except a few of you.
(83) Fight therefore for the religion of God, and oblige
not any to what is difficult, except thyself; however,
excite the faithful to war, perhaps God will restrain the
courage of the unbelievers ; for God is stronger than
they, and more able to punish. (84) He who intercedeth

Online LibraryE. M. (Elwood Morris) WherryA comprehensive commentary on the Qurán; comprising Sale's translation and preliminary discourse, with additional notes and emendations; together with a complete index to the text, preliminary discourse, and notes (Volume 2) → online text (page 10 of 42)