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 11 of 42)
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between men with a good intercession shall have a portion
thereof ; and he who intercedeth with an evil intercession
shall have a portion thereof; for God overlooketh all
things. (85) When ye are saluted with a salutation,
salute the person with a better salutation, or at least return
the same ; for God taketh an account of all things.

to receive him, but he, supposing them to have come out to kill him,
fled into Madina and spread the report of the disaffection of the
tribe. Tafsir-i-Raufi.

Ye had followed the devil. " That is, if God had not sent his Apostle
with the Quran to instruct you in your duty, ye had continued in
idolatry and been doomed to destruction, except only those who,
by God's favour and their superior understanding, should have true
notions of the divinity ; such, for example, as Zaid Ibn Amru Ibn
Nufail and Waraqa Ibn Naufal, who left idols and acknowledged
but oue God before the mission of Muhammad." Sale, Baidh&wi.

(83) Oblige not, &c. " It is said this passage was revealed when
the Muhammadans refused to follow their Prophet to the lesser ex-
pedition of Badr, so that he was obliged to set out with no more
than seventy (chap. iii. ver. 174). Some copies vary in this place,
and instead of Id tukallafu, in the second person singular, read Id
nulcallnfu, in the first person plural, ' We do not oblige,' &c. The
meaning being, that the Prophet only was under an indispensable
necessity of obeying God's commands, however difficult, but others
might choose, though at their peril." Sale.

Perhaps God will restrain. This is said to have been fulfilled in
the return of Abu Sufian, who had started on the second expedition
to Badr. The character of this prophecy, if such were intended, is
made sufficiently clear by reference to note on chap. iii. 175.

(84) God overlooketh all things, i.e., God sees all things, even the
secret motives which inspire your efforts at reconciliation, whether
they be good or bad, and will therefore certainly reward accordingly.

(85) A better salutation. " By adding something further. As

CHAP. IV.] ( 96 ) [SIPARA V.

mm. || (86) God ! there is no God but he ; he will surely

gather you together on the day of resurrection ; there is
no doubt of it: and who is more true than God in wli.it
q he saith ?

-** 9 II (87) Why are ye divided concerning the ungodly into

two parties; since God hath overturned them for what
they have committed ? Will ye direct him whom God
hath led astray ; since fur him whom God shall lead
astray, thou shalt find no true path ? (88) They desire
that ye should become infidels, as they are infidels, and
that ye should be equally wicked with themselves. There-
fore take not friends from among them, until they fly
their country for the religion of God; and if they turn
back from the faith, take them, and kill them wherever

when one salutes another by this form, ' Peace be unto thee,' he
ought not only to return ihe salutation, but to add, ' and the mercy
of God and his blessing.' " Sale.

The salutation in Arabic is As saldmo dlaikum, and the reply
should be wa dlaikomussaldm rahmat ulldh. or if the address be As
said ui dlaikum rahmat ulldh, the reply should add wa barahdtoli.
This salutation is used only in addressing a Muslim. If addressed
to a Muslim, he may only reply as above directed when he recog-
nises in the speaker a Muslim. The use of it is. therefore, equiva-
lent to a profession of Islam. It is the watchword of the Muslim.

(87) Two parties. " This passage was revealed, according to some,
when certain of Muhammad's followers, pretending not to like
Madina, desired leave to go elsewhere, and having obtained it, went
farther and farther, till they joined the idolaters ; or, as others say,
on occasion of some deserters at the battle of Ohod, concerning
whom the Muslims were divided in opinion whether they should be
slain as infidels or not" Sale.

Whom God hath led astray, i.e., by eternally decreeing his course
of evil, or by a righteous reprobation.

(88) They desire, dec. " The people here meant, say some, were
the tribe of Khuzaah, or, according to others, the Aslamians, whose
chief, named Hilal lbn Uwaimar, agreed with Muhammad, when
he set out against Makkah, to stand neuter; or, as others rather
think, Banu Baqr lbn Zaid." Sale, Baidlidwi, JaWuddfn.

No covenant of friendship was to be entered into with these,
except in the case of those who became refugees, and of whose sin-
cerity there could be no doubt Should they afterwards apostatise,
they were to be slain. This law was inexorably executed in all
Muslim countries for over twelve hundred years. Death is still the
penalty that may be legally inflicted on every convert from Islam
to Christianity in every country not yet under Christian domination.

sipara v.] ( 97 ) [CHAP. IV.

ye find them ; and take no friend from among them, nor
any helper, (89) except those who go unto a people who
are in alliance with you, or those who come unto you,
their hearts forbidding them either to fight against you,
or to fight against their own people. And if God pleased
he would have permitted them to have prevailed against
you, and they would have fought against you. But if
they depart from you, and fight not against you, and offer
you peace, God doth not allow you to take or kill them.
(90) Ye shall find others who are desirous to enter into
confidence with you, and at the same time to preserve a
confidence with their own people ; so often as they return
to sedition, they shall be subverted therein ; and if they
depart not from you, and offer you peace, and restrain
their hands from warring against you, take them and kill
them wheresoever ye find them ; over these have we
granted you a manifest power.

|| (91) It is not lawful for a believer to kill a believer, K
unless it happen by mistake ; and whoso killeth a believer
by mistake, the penalty shall be the freeing of a believer

(89) Except those, dec, i.e., "the Baiii Mudlaj, who had agreed to
remain neutral between Muhammad and the Quraish." Tafsir-i-
Raufi. The importance of this treaty is indicated in the latter part
of this verse.

(90) Ye shall find others. " The persons hinted at here were the
tribes of A sad and Ghatfan, or, as some say, Banu Abdaldar, who
came to Madina and pretended to embrace Muhammadanism, that
they might be trusted by the Muslims, but when they returned, fell
back to their old idolatry." Sale, Baidhdioi.

The history of Muslim wars with the Bani Quraidha and the Jews
of Khaibar illustrate how faithfully the fierce injunction of this
verse was carried out.

(91) Unless by mistake. " That is, by accident and without design.
This passage was revealed to decide the case of Ay ash Ibn Abi
Rabia, the brother by the mother's side of Abu Jahl, who, meeting
Harath Ibn Zaid on the road, and not knowing that he had em-
braced Muhaimuadanism, slew him." Sale, Baidhdioi.

A believer from slavery, i.e., a slave who has professed Islam. The
hope of freedom must have been a strong inducement to unbelieving
slaves to profess the religion of their masters.

A fine, "which is to be distributed according to the law of inheri-
tance given in the beginning of this chapter." Sale, Baidhdwi.




CHAP. IV.] ( 98 ) [SIPARA V.

from slavery, and a fine to be paid to the family of the
deceased, unless they remit it as alms: and if the slain
person be of a people at enmity with you, and be a true
believer, the penalty sJiall be the freeing of a believer ; but
if he be of a people in confederacy with you, a fine to be
paid to his family, and the freeing of a believer. And he
who fiudeth not wherewith to do this shall fast two months
consecutively as a penance enjoined from God ; and God
is knowing and wise. (92) But whoso killeth a believer
designedly, his reward shall be hell ; he shall remain
therein forever ; and God shall be angry with him, and
shall curse him, and shall prepare for him a great punish-
ment (93) true believers, when ye are on a march in
defence of the true religion, justly discern such as ye shall
happen to meet, and say not unto him who saluteth you,
thou art not a true believer ; seeking the accidental goods
of the present life ; for with God is much spoil. Such
have ye formerly been ; but God hath been gracious unto

When, however, the deceased believer's people are unbelievers,
no fine is to be paid. The legal fine as the price of blood is one
hundred camels, as follows : Twenty males one year old, twenty
females of one year, twenty of two years, twenty of three years, and
twenty of four years old. If the slain person be a woman, the fine
is half this sum. In the case of a slave, the price must be paid to
the master. If the fine be paid in coin, then the blood price is one
thousand dinars gold, or ten thousand dirhainsin silver. Half this
sum to be paid for a woman.

But if he be of a people in confederacy, die. The same rule as to
fine was applied to the case of a person slain, who, though not a
Muslim, yet belonged to a tribe or nation with whom a treaty of
peace had been formed.

(92) This verse was intended to abolish the blood fends so
prevalent among the Arabs, and no doubt it ministered to the
welding together of the various factions under the banner of I shim.
How many millions of Muslims have been consigned to hell by this
law since the death of Muhammad the annals of Islam abundantly
declare. The punishment is, say the commentators, purgatorial,
and the Muslim will eventually be restored to paradise, for, accord-
ing to the Quran, no true Muslim can be for ever lost. This view
of the matter is, however, contradicted by this very passage, which
says the murderer "shall remain therein for ever," the same lan-
guage used in speaking of the fate of infidels.

(93) Say not . . . thou art not a true believer. The desire for

SIPARA V.] ( 99 ) [CHAP. IV.

you ; therefore make a just discernment, for God is well
acquainted with that which ye do.

|| (94) Those believers who sit still at home, not having 1\ TT*
any hurt, and those who employ their fortunes and their per-
sons for the religion of God, shall not be held equal. God
hath prepared those who employ their fortunes and their
persons in that cause, to a degree of honour above those who
sit at home ; God hath indeed promised every one para-
dise, but God hath preferred those who fight for the faith
before those who sit still, by adding unto them a great
reward, (95) by degrees of honour conferred on them from
him, and by granting them forgiveness and mercy ; for God
is indulgent and merciful. (96) Moreover unto those
whom the angels put to death, having injured their own

plunder, which Muhammad had stirred up, had become so insatiable,
that even Muslims were slain on the pretence that they were infidels,
in order that they might be lawfully plundered. See Muir's Life
of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 307.

With God is much spoil. The motive here was certainly suited to
Arab minds : Don't rob and murder Muslims lor the sake of spoil,
for God will give you the opportunity of spoiling many infidels.
Muhammad did not scruple to pander to the worst passions of
human nature in order to advance his political ends. Let it be re-
membered, however, this language does not purport to be Muham-
mad's, but that of the only true God ! See our note in Prelim.
Disc, p. 118.

(94) Not having any hurt, i.e., "not being disabled from going to
war by sickness or other just impediment. It is said that when
this passage was first revealed there was no such exception therein,
which occasioned Ibn Umm Maqtum, on his hearing it repeated, to
object, 'And what though I be blind?' Whereupon Muhammad,
falling into a kind of trance, which was succeeded by strong agita-
tions, pretended he had received the divine direction to add these
words to the text." Sale, Baidhawi.

The Makkan preacher declared that force was not to be used in
religion, but the Madina politician promises the highest honours to
those who spend life and property in warring for the faith. The
prophet has now become a soldier and a general of armies. Like
Jeroboam, Muhammad, having built his altars in Bethel and Dan,
no longer hesitates to make any use of the holy name and
religion of Jehovah which would seem to advance his political

(96) Wiom the angels put to death. "These were certain inhabi-
tants of Makkah, who held with the hare and ran with the hounds,
for though they embraced Muhammadanism, yet they would not


souls, the anyels said, Of what religion were ye ? they
answered, We were weak in the earth. Tlie angels re-
plied, Was not God's earth wide enough, that ye might
fly therein to a place of refuge 1 Therefore their habita-
tion shall be hell ; and an evil journey shall it be thither:
(97) except the weak among men, and women, and chil-
dren, who were not able to find means, and were not
directed in the way; (98) these peradventure God will
pardon, for God is ready to forgive, and gracious. (99)
Whosoever flieth from his country for the sake of God's
true religion, shall find in the earth many forced to do the
same, and plenty of provisions. And whoever departeth
from his house, and flieth unto God and his apostle, if
death overtake him in the way, God will be obliged to
reward him, for God is gracious and merciful.
12 II (100) When ye march to war in the earth, it shall be

leave that city to join the Prophet, as the rest of the Muslims did,
but, on the contrary, went out with the idolaters, and were therefore
slain with them at the battle of Badr." Sale, Jaldluddin.

The angels who slew these Muslims were of the three thousand
who assisted the faithful (chap. iii. 13, note), but the angels who
examined them were Munkir and Nakir, " two fierce-looking black
angels with blue eyes, who visit every man in his grave and exa-
mine him with regard to his faith in God and Muhammad." Sell's
Faith of Islam, p. 145.

(97) Except the weak, dec. None were excused from the duty of
flight (Hijrat) excepting those who were unable to perform it.
Muslims still recognise the duty of flight from the Dar al Harb to
the Dar al Islam. This duty is so imperative that even a doubt is
thrown upon the case of the u weak," &c. in the next verse.

The purpose of this law is evident from the circumstances of the
Prophet at the time of its enunciation. He needed the help of the
faithful. All must therefore fly to Madfna for refuge. When
there, all must fight " in the way of God."

(99) If death overtake him. " This passage was revealed, says al
Baidhawi, on account of Jundub Ibn Dhamra. This person bein^'
sick, was, in his flight, carried by his sons on a couch, and before he
arrived at Madfna, perceiving his end approached, he clapped his
right hand on his left, and solemnly plighting his faith to God and
his Apostle, died." Sale.

God will be obliged. Rodwell's translation is better, " His reward
from God is sure."

(100 and 101) The service here sanctioned was called " The Service
of Danger." It was introduced during the return of Muhammad


no crime in you if ye shorten your prayers, in case ye fear
the infidels may attack you ; for the infidels are your open
enemy. (101) But when thou, Prophet, shalt be among
them, and shalt pray with them, -let, a ,party of t^m. arise
to prayer with thee, and let them -tajke their arms ; and
when they shall have worshipped,, let thorn, stand, behind
you, and let another party come that' hath not prayed, and
let them pray with thee, and let them be cautious and
take their arms. The unbelievers would that ye should
neglect your arms and your baggage while ye pray, that
they might turn upon you at once. It shall be no crime
in you, if ye be incommoded by rain or be sick, that ye
lay down your arms ; but take your necessary precaution :
God hath prepared for the unbelievers an ignominious
punishment. (102) And when ye shall have ended your
prayer, remember God, standing, and sitting, and lying on
your sides. But when ye are secure from danger, com-
plete your prayers : for prayer is commanded the faithful,
and appointed to he said at the stated times. (103) Be
not negligent in seeking out the unbelieving people, though

and his army from Dzat al Rica, where they had captured many
women. The following passage from Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol.
iii. p. 224, relating to this service, well expresses the character of
the revelations of this period (a.h. 5). He says ; " I quote the revela-
tion which sanctioned this practice, less for its own interest, than to
illustrate the tendency of the Coran now to hecome the vehicle of
military commands. In the Coran, victories are announced, success
promised, actions recounted, failure is explained, bravery applauded,
cowardice or disobedience chided, military or political movements
are directed ; and all this as an immediate communication from the
Deity. The following verses resemble in part what one might
expect to find in the ' General Orders ' of some Puritan leader or
commander of a crusade in the Holy Land." Here he quotes the
verses under comment.

We should like to know how the apologists for Muhammad would
reconcile this practical use of inspiration to political ends with their
dictum that he can no longer be regarded as an impostor.

(102) Standing, sitting, &c. See note on chap. iii. 192.

(103) Sale, on the authority of BaidhaAvi, says, " This verse was
revealed on the occasion of the unwillingness of Muhammad's men
to accompany him in the lesser expedition of Badr." The Tafsir-i-
Raufi refers it to the pursuit of Abu Sufian after the battle of Ohod.
The "seeking out the unbelieving people" was not to save, but to
destroy them.

E 1

CHAP. IV.] ( I02 ) [SI PARA V.

ye suffer some inconvenience; for they also shall suffer as
ye suffer, and ye hope for a reward from God which they
cannot hope for ; and God is knowing and wise.
lV || (I0) We havo sent 'down unto thee the book of the
Qurdn' with truth, that thou mayest judge between men
through -that wi&fcm: which God showeth thee therein;
and be not an advocate for the fraudulent; (105) but ask
pardon of God for thy wrong intention, since God is indul-
gent and merciful. (106) Dispute not for those who
deceive one another, for God loveth not him who is a
deceiver or unjust. (107) Such conceal themselves from
men, but they conceal not themselves from God ; for he is

(104) Be not an advocate for the fraudulent. " Tima Abu Ubairak,
of the sons of Dhafar, one of Muhammad's companions, stole a coat
of mail from his neighbour, Kitadalbn al Numan, in a bag of meal,
and hid it at a Jew's, named Zaid Ibn al Samin. Tima being
suspected, the coat of mail was demanded of him, but he denying
he knew anything of it, they followed the track of the meal, which
had run through a hole in the bag, to the Jew's house, and there
seized it, accusing him of the theft ; but he producing witnesses
of his own religion that he had it of Tima, the sons of Dhafar came
to Muhammad, and desired him to defend his companion's reputation
and condemn the Jew ; which he having some thoughts of doing,
this passage was revealed, reprehending him for his rash intention,
and commanding him to judge, not according to his own prejudice
and opinion, but according to the merit of the case." Sale, Baid-
h&ici, Jaldluddln, Yahya.

(105) Ask pardon, i.e., for the purpose, entertained for a while, of
acquitting the Muslim and of unjustly condemning the Jew. Tliis
passage affords an unanswerable argument against those modem
Muslims who claim that Muhammad was sinless.

(106) Who deceive one another. The friends of Tima, who were
importunate in their demands for favour to the Muslims.

A deceiver or unjust. " Al Baidhawi, as an instance of the divine
justice, adds, that Tima, after the fact above mentioned, fled to
Makkah and returned to idolatry ; and there, undermining the wall
of a house in order to commit a robbery, the wall fell in upon him
and crushed him to death." Sale.

Many other stories of a like nature have been related by the
commentators. See Tafsir-i-Raufi under ver. 14.

(107) A saying which pleaseth him not, i.e., " When they secretly
contrive means, by false evidence or otherwise, to lay their crime on
innocent persons." Sale.

This verse and 108-1 14 refer to the case of Tima and his associ-
ates. The whole passage shows how much superior the morality of

SIPARA V.] ( I03 ) [CHAP. IV.

with theni when they imagine by night a saying which
pleaseth him not, and God comprehendeth what they do.

(108) Behold, ye are they who have disputed for them in
this present life ; but who shall dispute with God for them
on the day of resurrection, or who will become their patron?

(109) Yet he who doth evil or injureth his own soul, and
afterwards asketh pardon of God, shall find God gracious
and merciful. (110) Whoso committeth wickedness, com-
mitteth it against his own soul : God is knowing and wise.
(Ill) And whoso committeth a sin or iniquity, and after-
wards layeth it on the innocent, he shall surely bear the
guilt of calumny and manifest injustice.

|| (112) If the indulgence and mercy of God had not R ^
been upon thee, surely a part of them had studied to
seduce thee ; but they shall seduce themselves only, and
shall not hurt thee at all. God hath sent down unto
thee the book of the Quran and wisdom, and hath taught
thee that which thou knewest not ; for the favour of God
hath been great towards thee.

|| (113) There is no good in the multitude of their suls.
private discourses, unless in the discourse of him who
recommendeth alms, or that which is right, or agreement
amongst men : whoever doth this out of a desire to please
God, we will surely give him a great reward. (114) But
whoso separateth himself from the apostle, after true
direction hath been manifested unto him, and followeth
any other way than that of the true believers, we will
cause him to obtain that to which he is inclined, and will
cast him to be burned in hell ; and an unhappy journey
shall it be thither.

Muhammad was to that of his Arab followers. Did he learn it from
his Jewish converts 1

(109) Who . . . asketh pardon. See note on chap. ii. 199.

(112) A part of them. The friends of Tuna alluded to above.

(114) We will cause him to obtain, <&c. This refers to all deceivers
and dishonest persons represented by Tima (ver. 106). This passage
has probably suggested the numerous stories of the commentators
related to illustrate it.

CHAP. IV.] ( I04 ) [SIPARA V.

^ if" I' (1*5) Verily God will not pardon the giving him a
companion, but he will pardon any crime besides that,
unto whom he pleaseth : and he who giveth a companion
unto God is surely led aside into a wide mistake; (116)
the infidels invoke beside him only female deities, and

(115) God will not pardon, dhc. See note on ver. 46.

(l 16) Only female deities. " Namely, Al Ldt, al Uzza and Mfn&t, the
idols of the Makkans; or the angels whom they called the daughters
o/God." Sale. See Prelim. Disc, pp. 39-43. The Tafsir-i- Rau.fi,
and the Tafslr-i-Hussaini tell us that the idols at Makkah were made
in the form of women, and that the goddesses thus represented were
called the daughters of God.

And only invoke rebellious Satan, i.e., when they pray to the idols.
Muhammad everywhere recognises the personality of Satan as a
being possessed of mighty power for evil, and he seems to have had
a strong conviction of his own exposure to his influences. See chap,
vi. 67, 112, xvi. 100, xix. 86, xx. 3, 54, cxiv. 1-6, &c.

Muir accounts for Muhammad's apostasy and his belief in his
inspiration, in part at least, by reference to direct Satanic influence
(see his Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. chap, iii.) This theory, while
scouted by Muslims and apologists for Islam, is decidedly the most
satisfactory of any yet enunciated, and to a believer in the Word
of God there should be no difficulty in accepting it. It accounts for
the sincere efforts at reform inaugurated at Makkah when Muham-
mad seemed to be really a preacher of righteousness. It accounts
for his fall, and for all the deception and iniquity practised by him
in later years under the garb of religion, and by what he presumed
to be divine right. It accounts for his deliberate imposture, while
fancying himself directed by God, for it is not impossible for Satan
to have, so to speak, reflected back upon the mind of Muhammad
the devices of his own heart, and so by a revelation not only confirm
his own views, but also lead him to fancy Ids every thought to be bom

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 11 of 42)