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

. (page 12 of 42)
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 12 of 42)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


of inspiration , so that he came practically to identify himself with
God, though really identified with Satan ! I think that something
like this is absolutely necessary to account for Muhammad's having,
even in giving military orders, &c. (see vers. 100, 101), invariably
spoken in the person as well as in the name of God.

I am aware of the reply of Mr. R. Bosworth Smith (in his Mo-
hammed and Mohammedanism, p. 116, note), that "if the Spirit of
Evil did suggest the idea to Mohammed, he never so completely
outwitted himself, since friend and foe must alike admit that it
was Mohammed's firm belief in supernatural guidance that lay at
the root of all he achieved." But this is exactly what the Lying
Spirit of false prophecy desires. Did Ahab's prophet think that he
spoke by the dictum of a lying spirit when he withstood the prophet
of God before the kings of Israel and Judah 1

Again, as to Muhammad's achievements, we think Satan has no
reason to believe he overstepped the matter in the accomplishment



SIPARA V.] ( 105 ) [CHAP. IV.

only invoke rebellious Satan. (117) God cursed him ;
and he said, Verily I will take of thy servants a part cut
off from the rest, (118) and I will seduce them, and will
insinuate vain desires into them, and I will command
them, and they shall cut off the ears of cattle ; and I will
command them, and they shall change God's creature.
But whoever taketh Satan for his patron, besides God,
shall surely perish with a manifest destruction. (119)
He maketh them promises, and insinuateth into them
vain desires : yet Satan maketh them only deceitful pro-
mises. (120) The receptacle of these shall be hell ; they
shall find no refuge from it. (121) But they who believe
and do good works we will surely lead them into gardens,
through which rivers flow ; they shall continue therein for
ever, according to the true promise of God ; and who is
more true than God in what he saith ? (122) It shall
not be according to your desires, nor according to the
desires of those who have received the scriptures. Whoso
doth evil shall be rewarded for it ; and shall not find any



of these. What better achievement could he devise than the estab-
lishment of a religion which would destroy the souls of men by
denying the atoning blood which alone can destroy his power?
Idolatry is certainly his strong tower, but when monotheism can be
made to serve the same end, his fortress is rendered doubly strong.

(117) God cursed him, or God curse him. The usual idiom would
require we cursed him. The word say introduced, however, makes
all consistent. See chap, i., note on ver. 2.

A part cut off, " or a part destined or 'predetermined to be seduced
by me." Sale.

(118) Cut off the ears. This was an ancient Arab custom, whereby
they marked the animals devoted to their idols.

They shall change God's creature, i.e., they shall devote their pro-
perty to the service of Satan by offering it to idols (Abdid Qddir).
Baidhawi thinks the allusion is to the mutilation and disfigure-
ment of the human body, e.g., marking their bodies with figures, by
pricking and dying them with wood or indigo, sharpening their
teeth by filing, by unnatural amours, &c. See Sale's note.

(122) Nor according to the desires, d-c. " That is, the promises of God
are not to be gained by acting after your oavii fancies, nor yet after
the fancies of the Jews or Christians, but by obeying the commands of
God. This passage, they say, was revealed on a dispute which arose
between those of the three religions, each preferring his own and



CHAP. IV.] ( Io6 ) [SIPARA V.

patron or helper beside God; (123) but whoso doth good
works, whether he be male or female, and is a true believer,
they shall be admitted into paradise, and shall not in the
least be unjustly dealt with. (124) Who is better in
point of religion than he who resigneth himself unto
God, and is a worker of righteousness, and followeth the
law of Abraham the orthodox ? since God took Abraham
for his friend ; (125) and to God belongeth whatsoever is
in heaven and on earth ; God comprehendeth all things.



condemning the others. Some, however, suppose the persons here
spoken to in the second person were not the Muhammadans, but the
idolaters." Sale, Baidhdwi, dec.

"Those who have received the Scriptures" must refer to false
professors of the religion revealed in their Scriptures, else the pas-
sage contradicts the claim of the Quran that Islam is the religion
of the former Scriptures.

(123) Male or female. This passage clearly disproves the opinion
of those who imagine that women are excluded from the paradise of
Islam. See also notes on chap. iii. 196, chap. ix. 73, and chap, xlviii. 5.
The ground of salvation given here is good works, which works are,
however, such as lsldm requires.

(124) He who resigneth himself, i.e., a Muslim, one who suhmits
himself to the divine will. Such are said to be the followers of " the
law of Abraham the Orthodox."

God took Abraham for his friend. Compare 2 Kings xx. 7, Isa.
xli. 8, and James ii. 23. " Muhammadans usually call that patriarch,
as the Scripture also does, Khalil Ullah, the friend of God, and
simply al Khalil; and they tell the following story: That Abraham
in a time of dearth sent to a friend of his in Egypt for a supply of
corn; but the friend denied him, saying in his excuse, that though
there was a famine in their country also, yet had it been for Abra-
ham's own family, he would have sent what he desired, but he knew
he wanted it only to entertain his guests and give away to the poor,
according to his usual hospitality. The servants whom Abraham
had sent on this message, being ashamed to return empty, to conceal
the matter from their neighbours, filled their sacks with the fine white
sand, which in the East pretty much resembles meal. Abraham
being informed by his servants, on their return, of their ill success,
the concern he was under threw him into a sleep; and in the mean-
time Sarah, knowing nothing of what had happened, opening one
of the sacks, found good flour in it and immediately set about
making of bread. Abraham awaking and smelling the new bread,
asked her whence she had the flour. 'Why,' says she, 'from your
friend in Egypt' 'Nay,' replied the patriarch, 'it must have come
from no other than my friend God Almighty.'" Sale, Baidhdwi,
Jaldluddin, Yahya.



S1PARA V.] ( I07 ) [CHAP. IV.

|| (126) They will consult thee concerning women ; R il
Answer, God instructeth you concerning them, and that
which is read unto you in the book of the Qurdn concern-
ing female orphans, to whom ye give not that which is
ordained them, neither will ye marry them, and con-
cerning weak infants, and that ye observe justice towards
oiphans: whatever good ye do, God knoweth it. (127)
If a woman fear ill usage, or aversion from her husband,
it shall be no crime in them if they agree the matter
amicably between themselves ; for a reconciliation is
better than a separation. Men's souls are naturally in-
clined to covetousness : but if ye be kind towards ivomen,
and fear to wrong them, God is well acquainted with what



(126) They vrill consult thee concerning women, i.e., " as to the share
they are to have in the distribution of the inheritances of their
deceased relations ; for it seems that the Arabs were not satisfied
with Muhammad's decision on this point against the old customs."
Sale.

God instructeth you, i.e., as in the earlier portion of the chapter.

Neither will ye marry them. " Or the words may be rendered in
the affirmative, and whom ye desire to marry. For the pagan Arabs
used to wrong their female orphans in both instances ; obliging
them to marry against their inclinations, if they were beautiful or
rich ; or else not suffering them to marry at all, that they might
keep what belonged to them." Sale, Baidhdwi.

Kodwell translates, "And whom ye refuse to marry." See also
note on ver. 3.

Weak infants. See notes on vers. 6 and 8.

(127) If a woman fear, dec. The Tafsir-i-Raufi says this verse was
occasioned by a man's having sought an excuse for divorcing his
wife. His wife, however, having a number of children, besought
him not to do so, saying he might take to himself as many wives as
he chose.

This verse, then, encourages wives to be reconciled to their
husbands, by remitting some portion of their dower, or by granting
them other wives, and thereby assuming the unenviable place of
co-wife. On the other hand, it encourages the husbands to practise
this kind of domestic oppression : " It shall be no crime in them if
they agree " in this manner.

Souls are naturally inclined to covetousness. This is said to refer
to Sauda, one of Muhammad's wives, who besought him to marry
her, that she might be amongst his wives at the resurrection ! It
would seem, however, rather to be intended to justify the covetous-
ness of husbands referred to above.



CHAP. IV.] ( 1 08 , [S1PARA V.

ye do. (128) Ye can by no means carry yourselves
equally between women in all respects, although ye study
to do it; therefore turn not from a wife with all manner
of aversion, nor leave her like one in suspense : if ye
agree, and fear to abuse your wives, God is gracious and
merciful ; (129) but if they separate, God will satisfy them
both of his abundance; for God is extensive and wise,
(130) and unto God belongeth whatsoever is in heaven
and on earth. We have already commanded those unto
whom the scriptures were given before you, and we com-
mand you also, saying, Fear God; but if ye disbelieve,
unto God belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth ;
and God is self-sufficient, and to be praised ; (131) for
unto God belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth,
and God is a sufficient protector. (132) If lie pleaseth he
will take you away, O men, and will produce others in
your stead ; for God is able to do this. Whoso desireth
the reward of this world, verily with God is the reward
of this world, and also of that which is to come ; God both
heareth and seeth.
K it || (133) true believers, observe justice when ye bear

witness before God, although it be against yourselves, or
your parents, or relations ; whether the party be rich, or
whether he be poor; for God is more worthy than them
both; therefore follow not your own lust in bearing
testimony so that ye swerve from justice. And whether
ye wrest your evidence or decline giving it, God is well



(128) Carry yourselves equally. See note <>n ver. 3.

Like one in suspense, " or like one that neither has a husband, nor
is divorced, and at liberty to marry elsewhere." Sale.

(129) God will satisfy them. They will have peace, or God will
bless them with a better match.

(130) We have already commanded, etc. This seems to indicate
that these laws, thus instituted, are in accord with the laws of the
Bible. If so, the Qurdu again comes far short of confirming the
former Scriptures.

Ood is self-sufficient, i.e., needing the service of no creature.
(132) Illustrative of God's sovereign power and self-sufficiency.



SIPARA V.] ( I09 ) [CHAP. IV.

acquainted with that which ye do. (134) true be-
lievers, believe in God and his apostle, and the book
which he hath caused to descend unto his apostle, and
the book which he hath formerly sent down. And who-
soever believeth not in God, and his angels, and his
scriptures, and his apostles, and the last day, he surely
erreth in a wide mistake. (136) Moreover they who
believed, and afterwards became infidels, and then be-
lieved again, and after that disbelieved, and increased
in infidelity, God will by no means forgive them, nor
direct them into the right way. (137) Declare unto the
ungodly that they shall suffer a painful punishment.
(138) They who take the unbelievers for their protectors,
besides the faithful, do they seek for power with them ?
since all power belongeth unto God. (139) And he hath
already revealed unto you, in the book of the Qur&n, the



(134) Observe justice when ye bear witness. The duty of truthful-
ness in witness-bearing is clearly inculcated here.

(135) The book which he hath formerly sent down. " It is said that
Abdullah Ibn Salam and his companions told Muhammad that they
believed in him, and in his Quran, and in Moses, and the Pentateuch,
and in Ezra, but no farther ; whereupon this passage was revealed,
declaring that a partial faith is little better than none at all, and
that a true believer must believe in all God's prophets and revela-
tions without exception." Sale, Baidhdwi.

The duty of believing the Scriptures of the Old and New Testa-
ments is here again inculcated. But so certainly impossible is the
fulfilment, that Muslims reject the Gospels, and holding to the
Quran, deny the teaching of all former prophets. See notes on
chap. ii. 105.

(136) Who . . . increased in infidelity. "These were the Jews,
who first believed in Moses, and afterwards fell into idolatry b*y
worshipping the golden calf ; and though they repented of that, yet
in after ages rejected the prophets who were sent to them, and
particularly Jesus the son of Mary, and now filled up the measure
of their unbelief by rejecting of Muhammad." Sale, Baidhdwi.

Abdul Qadir applies the passage to hypocritical professors of Islam.
All such will die and suffer the penalty of infidelity.

The passage also teaches the reprobation of such hypocrites.
They shall be given over to destruction, for they shall neither be
pardoned nor directed.

(139) He hath ahead// revealed. This passage expresses the sub-
stance of what is contained in chap. vi. If any particular verse is
indicated, it is probably chap. vi. 10.



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

following passage When ye SHALL hear the signs of
God, they shall not be believed, but they shall be
laughed TO scorn. Therefore sit not with them who
believe not, until they engage in different discourse ; for
/ ye do, ye will certainly become like unto them. God
will surely gather the ungodly and the unbelievers
together in hell. (140) They who wait to observe what
befalleth you, if victory be granted you from God, say,
Were we not with you ? But if any advantage happen
to the infidels, they say unto them, Were we not superior
to you, and have we not defended you against the
believers ? God shall judge between you on the day
of resurrection : and God will not grant the unbelievers
means to prevail over the faithful.
R 1 II (141) The hypocrites act deceitfully with God, but

he will deceive them ; and when they stand up to pray,
they stand carelessly, affecting to be seen of men, and
remember not God, unless a little, (142) wavering be-
tween faith and infidelity, and adhering neither unto
these nor unto those : and for him whom God shall lead
astray thou shalt find no true path. (143) true
believers, take not the unbelievers for your protectors
besides the faithful. Will ye furnish God with an evi-
dent argument of impiety against you ? (144) Moreover
the hypocrites shall be in the lowest bottom of hell fire,



Sit not with them. Muslims are not allowed even to listen to the
adverse criticisms of unbelievers, lest they should become like them.
'Miese scoffers were no doubt Jews, whose arguments were to the
Muslims unanswerable. Anything like a fair investigation would
have been disastrous to the cause of Isldm. Ignorant bigotry has
ever been its strongest defence.

(140) They who wait. The hypocrites who played fast and loose
with the Muslims anil their enemies. When the former were vic-
torious, as at Badr, these desired to share the booty, on pretence of
having been in sympathy with the victors. When, however, the
latter gained the day, as at Ohod, the lij r j>oci ites could show how
the victory was due to their withdrawing from the Muslims !

(141) lie will deceive them. This is a ^ood illustration of the play
upon words frequently met with in the Quran. See chap. iii. 53.

(144) The lowest bottom of hell fire. See Prelim. Disc, p. 14S.



SIPARA VI.] ( III ) [CHAP. IV.

and thou shalt not find any to help them' thence. (145)
But they who repent and amend, and adhere firmly unto
God, and approve the sincerity of their religion to God,
they shall be numbered with the faithful ; and God will
surely give the faithful a great reward. (146) And how
should God go about to punish you, if ye be thankful
and believe ? for God is grateful and wise.

| (147) God loveth not the speaking ill of any sixth
one in public, unless he who is injured call for assist-
ance; and God heareth and knoweth: (148) whether
ye publish a good action, or conceal it, or forgive evil,
verily God is gracious and powerful. (149) They who
believe not in God and his apostles, and would make a
distinction between God and his apostles, and say, We
believe in some of the prophets and reject others of them,
and seek to take a middle way in this matter ; (150) these
are really unbelievers : and we have prepared for the un-
believers an ignominious punishment. (151) But they
who believe in God and his apostles, and make no dis-
tinction between any of them, unto those will ye surely
<rive their reward ; and God is gracious and merciful.

T) 22

|| (152) They who have received the scriptures will de- R ~ 2 "
mand of thee, that thou cause a book to descend unto



(146) God is grateful. The idea that God is placed under some
sort of obligation to true Muslims is certainly suggested by the
language of this verse, but the meaning is that he acts towards
believers as if he were grateful. The passage may be quoted to
illustrate the use of the word repent in Gen. vi. 6.

(147) Unless he who is injured. The words call for assistance are
incorrectly supplied. The phrase gives an exception to the rule
that evil-speaking is displeasing to God. The oppressed may speak
evil of their oppressors. See Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco.

(149) They who believe not, &c. See chap. ii. 285.

(150) These are really unbelievers. The reference is to the Jews,
who said, " We believe in Moses and Ezra, but we reject Jesus ana
Muhammad " (Tafsir-i-Eaufi\

(152) That thou cause a book to descend, i.e., "the Jews, who
demanded of Muhammad, as a proof of his mission, that they might
see a book of revelations descend to him from heaven, or that he
would produce one written in a celestial character, like the two
tables of Moses." Sale.



CHAP. IV.] ( 112 ) [SI PARA IV.

them from heaven : they formerly asked of Moses a
greater thing than this ; for they said, Show us God
visibly. Wherefore a storm of fire from heaven destroyed
them, because of their iniquity. Then they took the calf
for their God, after that evident proofs of the divine unity
had come unto them : but we forgave them that, and gave
Moses a manifest power to punish them. (153) And we
lifted the mountain of Sinai over them when we exacted
from them their covenant ; and said unto them, Enter the
gate of the city worshipping. We also said unto them,
Transgress not on the Sabbath-day. And we received
from them a firm covenant, that they would observe these
things. (154) Therefore for that they have made void
their covenant, and have not believed in the signs of God,
and have slain the prophets unjustly, and have said, Our
hearts are circumcised ; (but God hath sealed them up,
because of their unbelief ; therefore they shall not believe,
except a few of them ;) (155) and for that they have not
believed in Jesus, and have spoken against Mary a grie-
vous calumny ; (156) and have said, Verily we have slain
Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the apostle of God; yet



Show us God visibly. See notes on chap. ii. 54 and 62 ; comp.
Exod. xxiv. 9, 10, and 11.

A storm of fire, dkc. There is no truth in this statement, which is
here given as so much inspired history. See note, chap. iii. 39.

They took the calf. Note on chap. ii. 50.

(153) We lifted the mountain, &c. See note on chap. ii. 62 and 64.

(154) For that. "There being nothing in the following words of
this sentence to answer to the casual for that, Jalaluddin supposes
something to be understood to complete the sense, as, therejore we
have cursed them, or the like." Sale.

(156) A grievous calumny. " By accusing her of fornication."
Sale.

They slew him not. See notes on chap. iii. 53 and 54.

Who disagreed. " For some maintained that he was justly and
really crucified ; some insisted that it was not Jesus who suffered,
but auother who resembled him in the face, pretending the other
parts of his body, by their unlikeness, plainly discovered the im-

Eosition ; some said he was taken up into heaven ; and others, that
is manhood only suffered, and that his godhead ascended into
heaven." Sale, liaidh&wi.



SIPARA VI.] ( 113 ) [CHAP. IV.

they slew him not, neither crucified him, but he was
represented by one in his likeness ; and verily they who
disagreed concerning him were in a doubt as to this
matter, and had no sure knowledge thereof, but followed
only an uncertain opinion. They did not really kill him ;
(157) but God took him up unto himself : and God is
mighty and wise. (158) And there shall not be one of
those who have received the scriptures who shall not
believe in him before his death ; and on the day of resur-

They did not really hill him. But the former Scriptures teach the
contrary. The death of Christ was foretold to take place at the
first advent (Dan. ix. 24). Jesus himself, according to the gospel,
often foretold, his death, and afterwards refers to it as past ; the same
Scriptures testify to his death as an accomplished fact, and all
gospel preaching for eighteen centuries has been based upon it.
The historians, Jewish, Heathen, and Christian, attest the fact. In
short, there is no fact of either history or revelation so certainly
established as that which is here contradicted. This one passage is
sufficient to refute Muhammad's claim to be a prophet of God. And
the Quran, instead of attesting the former Scriptures, is found to
attest a fiction of Christian heresy.

(158) And there shall not be one of those, &c. "This passage is
expounded two ways :

" Some, referring the relative his to the first antecedent, take the
meaning to be that no Jew or Christian shall die before he believes
in Jesus : for they say, that when one of either of those religions is
ready to breathe his last, and sees the angel of death before him, he
shall then believe in that prophet as he ought, though his faith will
not then be of any avail. According to a tradition of Hijaj, when
a Jew is expiring, the angels will strike him on the back and face,
and say to him, ' O thou enemy of God ! Jesus was sent as a prophet
unto thee, and thou didst not believe on him ; ' to which he will
answer, ' I now believe him to be the servant of God ; ' and to a
dying Christian they will say, 'Jesus was sent as a prophet unto
thee, and thou hast imagined him to be God, or the son of God ; '
whereupon he will believe him to be the servant of God only, and
his apostle.

" Others, taking the above-mentioned relative to refer to Jesus,
suppose the intent of the passage to be, that all Jews and Christians
in general shall have a right faith in that prophet before his death,
that is, when he descends from heaven and returns into the world,
where he is to kill Antichrist, and to establish the Muhammadan
religion, and a most perfect tranquillity and security on earth."
Sale, BaidluUoi, Jaldluddin, Yahya, Zamalchshari.

The latter view seems to be the most reasonable. See note on
chap. iii. 54.

He shall be a witness against them. His witness, says Sale, on
VOL. II. H



CHAP. IV.] ( 114 ) [SI PARA VI.

rection he shall be a witness against them. (159) Be-
cause of the iniquity of those who Judaise, we have
forbidden them good things, which had been formerly
allowed them ; and because they shut out many from the
way of God, (160) and have taken usury, which was for-
bidden them by the law, and devoured men's substance
vainly: we have prepared for such of them as are un-
believers a painful punishment. (161) But those among
them who are well grounded in knowledge, and the faith-
ful, who believe in that which hath been sent down unto
thee, and that which hath been sent down unto the pro-
phets before thee, and who observe the stated times of
prayer, and give alms, and believe in God and the last
day, unto these will we give a great reward.
R 3 || (162) Verily we have revealed our will unto thee, as

we have revealed it unto Noah and the prophets who suc-
ceeded him ; and as we revealed it unto Abraham, and
Ismail, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and unto

the authority of Baidhawi, shall he "against the Jews for rejecting



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 12 of 42)