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 13 of 42)
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him, and against the Christians for calling him God and the Son
of God." See note on chap. v. 1 16- 1 19.

(159) We have forbidden them good things. See notes on chap,
iii. 93.

(161) Those . . . who are well grounded. Such as Abdullah Ibn
Salam (Tafsir-i-Baufi). It seems that those were well grounded in
the faith who accepted Islam. Infidelity and incorrigible stupidity
went hand in hand in rejecting the claims of Muhammad.

(162) We have revealed our will unto thee, &c. This jumble of
names, presented without any respect to chronology, is probably
due to Muhammad's receiving his information second-hand and
piecemeal through Jewish informants. Yet Muhammad claims to
nave been inspired, as were all the prophets. He also asserts that his
inspiration was of precisely the same character as that of all the per-
sons here enumerated, i.e., they received the message directly from
Gabriel, by direct communication and audible voice, the tinkling
sound of bells in his ears, &c, which Muslims call Wahi and lUidm
(see Sell's Faith of Isl&m, p. 37, and Hughes's Notes on Muhammad-
anism, p. 47).

The Bible shows clearly that some of those mentioned here were
not prophets at all, and that few of them knew aught of the inspi-
ration claimed by Muhammad. Here again the Quran denies his-
torical fact and contradicts the book it professes to attest.

We have given the Qurdn. This clause should have been omitted.
The text is clear without it.

SIPARA VI.] ( I15 ) [CHAP. IV.

Jesus, and Job, and Jonas, and Aaron, and Solomon ; and
we have given thee the Qurdn as we gave the psalms unto
David : (163) some apostles have we sent, whom we have
formerly mentioned unto thee ; and other apostles have we
sent, whom we have not mentioned unto thee ; and God
spake unto Moses, discoursing with him; (164) apostles
declaring good tidings and denouncing threats, lest men
should have an argument of excuse against God, after the
apostles had teen sent unto them : God is mighty and wise.
(165) God is witness of that revelation which he hath
sent down unto thee; he sent it down with his special
knowledge ; the angels also are witnesses thereof ; but
God is a sufficient witness. (166) They who believe not,
and turn aside others from the way of God, have erred in
a wide mistake. (167) Verily those who believe not and
act unjustly, God will by no means forgive, neither will
he direct them into any other way than the way of hell ;
they shall remain therein forever ; and this is easy with
God. (168) men, now is the apostle come unto you,
with truth from your Loed ; believe, therefore ; it will be
better for you. But if ye disbelieve, verily unto God
helongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth ; and God
is knowing and wise. (169) ye who have received the
scriptures, exceed not the just bounds in your religion,

(163) God spake unto Moses. This Muslims understand to be the
highest form of wahi (revelation), or inspiration, as the word is incor-
rectly translated. In this respect, say they, Moses resembled
Muhammad. Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco.

(165) God is witness. The occasion of this revelation was the
infidelity of certain Jews, who being asked to testify to his prophecy
before certain Quraish chiefs, declared that they did not recognise
him as a prophet (Tafsir-i- Raufi). The witness of God is in the
incomparable language and style of the Quran ; the witness of
angels has reference to the testimony of Gabriel. See the plural
form used for the singular, chap. iii. 39, note.

(166) Turned aside others, i.e., the chiefs of the Quraish, who were
turned aside by the answer of the Jews referred to in the note on
the preceding verse.

(168) With truth from your Lord. A new assertion of his pro-
phetic claim. See notes on vers. 116, 156, and 162.

(169) Exceed not the just bounds, i.e., "either by rejecting or con-

CHAP. IV.] ( Il6 ) [SIPARA VI.

neither say of God any other than the truth. Verily Christ
Jesus the son of Mary is the apostle of God, and his Word,
which he conveyed into Mary, and a spirit proceeding from
him. Believe therefore in God and his apostles, and say
not, There are three Gods ; forbear this ; it will be better
for you. God is but one God. Far be it from him that
he should have a son ; unto him belongeth whatever is in
heaven and on earth ; and God is a sufficient protector.
' l 4 ' II (170) Christ doth not proudly disdain to be a servant
unto God ; neither the angels who approach near to his
presence : and whoso disdaineth his service and is puffed
up with pride, God will gather them all to himself on the
last day. (171) Unto those who believe and do that
which is right he shall give their rewards, and shall super-
abundantly add unto them of his liberality : but those
who are disdainful and proud, he will punish with a
grievous punishment; (172) and they shall not find any

temning Jesus, as the Jews do ; or raising him to an equality with
God, as do the Christians." Sale, Baidhdwi.

His word, ... a spirit proceeding from him. See notes on chap,
ii. 86, and chap. iii. 39.

Say not . . . three, " Namely, God, Jesus, Mary. For the Eastern
writers mention a sect of Christians which held the Trinity to be
composed of those three ; but it is allowed that this heresy has been
long since extinct (Elmacin, p. 227). The passage, however, is
equally levelled against the Holy Trinity, according to the doctrine
of the orthodox Christians, who, as Al Baidhawi acknowledges,
believe the divine nature to consist of three persons, the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Ghost ; by the Father, understanding God's
essence ; by the Son, his knowledge ; and by the Holy Ghost, his
life." Sale.

See also Prelim. Disc, p. 64.

The commentators Baidhawi, Jalaluddin, and Yahya agree in
interpreting the three to mean " God, Jesus, and Mary," in the rela-
tion of Father, Mother, and Son. This misrepresentation of the
Scripture doctrine again stamps the Quran as a fabrication, and fur-
nishes the evidence of its being such on the ground of its own claims.
The history of the Church, as well as the Bible, proves the state-
ment of the text, as interpreted by authoritative commentators, to be
false ; for even granting that some obscure Christian sect did hold
such a doctrine of the Trinity (of which statement we have yet to
learn the truth), yet the spirit of Muhammad's inspiration represents
it as the faith of the Christians generally. In almost every case

SIPARA VI. J ( 117 ) [CHAP. IV.

to protect or to help them, besides God. (173) men,
now is an evident proof come unto you from your Lord,
and we have sent down unto you manifest light. (174)
They who believe in God and firmly adhere to him, he
will lead them into mercy from him, and abundance ; and
he will direct them in the right way to himself. (175)
They will consult thee for thy decision in certain cases; say
unto them, God giveth you these determinations concern-
ing the more remote degrees of kindred. If a man die
without issue, and have a sister, she shall have the half
of what he shall leave : and he shall be heir to her, in
case she have no issue. But if there be two sisters, they
shall have between them two third parts of what he shall
leave; and if there be several, both brothers and sisters, a
male shall have as much as the portion of two females.
God declareth unto you these precepts, lest ye err : and
God knoweth all things.

where the Quran refers to the Christian faith, it is to inveigh against
the idea that God has a son. See chap. ix. 31, xix. 31, xliii. 59.

(173) Maui/est light, i.e., the teaching of the Quran.

(175) See notes on vers. 10 and 11.

And he shall be heir to her, i.e., where there is a brother and a
sister, the sister inherits half the brother's property in case he die
first without issue. On the other hand, in case the sister die first
without issue, the brother inherits all her property.

( 8 )


Revealed at Madina.


Although, as is usual with all the long chapters of the Qunin,
this chapter refers to a variety of matters of a general and miscel-
laneous character, e.g., rules respecting purification, laws concerning
lawful and unlawful food, yet there are four points which attract the
special notice of the reader. These are (i) the extended reference to
the rites of the pilgrimage to Makkah ; (2) the fierce hatred of the
Prophet towards the Jews and his denunciations against them ; (3)
the laboured effort to refute the Christian doctrine of the Trinity
and the Sonship of Christ ; and (4) the repeated warning given to
Muslims not to make friends of either Jews or Christians. Where-
fore both the historic references of this chapter as well as the animus
of the revelation point to a period late in the life of Muhammad as
that to which it belongs a period when successful warfare had
made the Prophet indifferent alike to Jewish hatred and Christian

The statement of ver. 4, " This day have I perfected your religion
for you," &c, has led some writers to regard this chapter as the last
of the chapters of the Qur&ii, taken in their chronological order. M us-
lim authorities agree that this verse and a few others at the beginning
of this chapter fairly claim the last place on the list of revelations.
However, excepting this short section, there is nothing in this
chapter to lead us to believe it to be chronologically the last in the
Qurdn. Noeldeke and Muir both agree in placing chap. ix. at the
end of the chronological list of Suras, the former, however, admitting
that there are some verses in this chapter which fairly claim poste-
riority to all others in the Qur&n. He refers especially to ver. 4,
which he thinks was revealed when Muhammad, with perhaps a


( "9 )

[chap. v.

presentiment of death being near, could say that all his enemies had
lost their courage and that his religion was completed. It is for this
reason he places it last in his historico-critical observations.
The revelations of this chapter are therefore of Madina origin.

Probable Bate of the Revelations.

Following Noeldeke for the most part, the dates within which the
revelations of this chapter were made are as follows :

Vers. 1 1 1 belong to A.H. 10. The date of ver. 12 cannot be as-
certained with certainty. Vers. 13 and 14 may be placed almost
anywhere between a.h. 2 and 7, the probability being that they
belong nearer to the latter than to the former date. Vers. 45-55,
though referred by most Muslim writers to a period prior to the
massacre of the Bani Quraidha, should nevertheless be placed later,
i.e., prior to the expedition against the Jews of Khaibar in A.H. 7.

Vers. 56-63, according to Muslim authorities, belong to the latter
part of a.h. 3 or the early part of a.h. 4.

Of vers. 64-88, the most that can be said is that they belong to a
period between a.h. 4 and 8, after many wars with the Jews, and
before the final outbreak with the Christians. Vers. 89-104 belong
to a.h. 4-6. The date of the remaining verses is uncertain, but may
be fixed approximately at a.h. 5-8.

Principal Subjects.

Covenants are to be fulfilled

Lawful meats ........

Heathen pilgrims not to be molested ....

Islam completed last revelation of the Quran
Certain kinds of food, gaming, and lots forbidden
Muslims permitted to eat the food of Jews and Christians

and to marry their women
The law of purifications ....

Believers reminded of the covenant of Aqabah
Muslims should forget old quarrels with brethren
God's favour to Muslims ....

Disobedience of Jews and Christians exposed

Jews and Christians are exhorted to accept Islam

The divinity of Christ denied

Jews and Christians not the children of God

Muhammad sent as a warner

Israel's rebellion at Kadesh Barnea

The story of Cain and Abel ....











( 1 20 )


The sin of homicide

The punishment of theft accompanied by apostasy
The faithful exhorted to fight for religion .

The punishment of infidels

The penalty of theft

Muhammad to judge the Jews and Christians by the law,

gospel, and the Quran

Muslims forbidden to fraternise with Jews and Christians

Hypocrites threatened

Believers warned and instructed

Muslims not to associate with infidels ....

The Jews exhorted and warned

The hypocrisy and unbelief of the Jews rebuked . .
Promises to believing Jews and Christians .

Muhammad required to preach

He attests Jewish and Christian Scriptures .

Believing Jews, Sabeans, and Christians to be saved .

The Jews rejected and killed the prophets of God

The doctrines of the Trinity and Christ's Sonship rejected

Disobedient Jews cursed by their prophets .

Jewish hatred and Christian friendship compared

Muslims to use lawful food, &c

Expiation for perjury

Wine and lots forbidden

Law concerning hunting and gaming during pilgrimage

Pilgrimage and its rites enjoined

The Prophet not to be pestered with questions
Heathen Arab customs denounced ....

Wills to be attested by witnesses

The prophets ignorant of the characters of their followers

Jesus his miracles God's favour to him

The apostles of Jesus were Muslims ....

A table'provided by Jesus for the apostles .

Jesus did not teach his followers to worship him and his


The reward of the true believer

God is sovereign









101, 102




109, 1 10

1 11



SIPARA VI.] ( 121 ) [CHAP. V.



|| (1) true believers, perform your contracts. (2) Ye K g-
are allowed to eat the brute cattle, other than what ye
are commanded to abstain from ; except the game which
ye are allowed at other times, but not while ye are on pil-
grimage to Makkah ; God ordaineth that which he pleaseth.
(3) true believers, violate not the holy rites of God, nor
the sacred month, nor the offering, nor the ornaments
hung thereon, nor those who are travelling to the holy
house, seeking favour from their Lord, and to please him.
But when ye shall have finished your pilgrimage, then
hunt. And let not the malice of some, in that they
hindered you from entering the sacred temple, provoke
you to transgress, by taking revenge on them in the
sacred months. Assist one another according to justice
and piety, but assist not one another in injustice and
malice : therefore fear God ; for God is severe in punish-

(1) Perform your contracts. The command is general, and is
introductory to the matters following.

(2) Ye are alloiced, dec. See below, on vers. 4-6 ; also chap. ii. 174.
The only flesh forbidden in the Quran, if properly slain, is that of
the swine ; but tradition and custom decide many animals unfit for
food. Wild animals, otherwise lawful, are forbidden during the pil-

(3) Holy rites, i.e., the rites connected with pilgrimage to Makkah.
This passage relates to the heathen pilgrims and their offerings, tole-
rated for a short time after the capture of Makkah.

Sacred month. See Prelim. Disc, sect. vii.

The offering. An animal devoted to sacrifice might not be cap-
tured even from an infidel. A garland on the neck of an animal
indicated its sacred character. It is related in the Tafsir-i-Raufi that
a camel was stolen from Muhammad at Madina. Some time after-
wards, when on a pilgrimage, he recognised his stolen camel in a
caravan on its way to Makkah ; but seeing the garland on its neck,
he forbade his followers taking it. This story may be apocryphal,
but it illustrates the force of this law.

The malice of some, i.e., in the pilgrimage a.h. 6, when the Muslims
were stopped at Hudaibaya. See Prelim. Disc, p. 89.

Assist one another, dec, in the pilgrimage. The sense is closely
connected with what precedes.

CHAP. V.] ( 122 ) [SIPARA VI.

ing. (4) Ye are forbidden to eat that which dieth of
itself, and blood, and swine's flesh, and that on which the
name of any besides God hath been invocated ; and that
which hath been strangled, or killed by a blow, or by a
fall, or by the horns of another beast, and that which hath
been eaten by a wild beast, except what ye shall kill
yourselves ; and that which hath been sacrificed unto idols.
It is likewise unlawful for you to make division by cast-
ing lots with arrows. This is an impiety. On this day
woe be unto those who have apostatised from their reli-
gion ; therefore fear not them, but fear me. This day
have I perfected your religion for you, and have com-
pleted my mercy upon you ; and I have chosen for you
Islam, to be your religion. But whosoever shall be driven

(4) Ye are forbidden, dec. See notes on chap. ii. 174.

Eaten by a wild beast, i.e., the flesh of an animal killed by a wild
beast is forbidden unless it be found before life is extinct. In this
case the flesh may be eaten, provided the hunter cuts its throat in
the usual manner.

Sacrificed to idols. " The word also signifies certain stones which
the pagan Arabs used to set up near their houses, and on which they
superstitiously slew animals in honour of their gods. : ' Sale, Bai-

These stones of the Ishniaelites were probably such as are referred
to in Gen. xxviii. 18-22. They were the altars upon which sacri-
fices were offered to the idols Lat and Uzza, but which pointed to
the blood which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel. It
is probable that every animal slain for food was offered as a sacri-

Lots icith arrows. See note on chap. ii. 218, and Prelim. Disc, p.
196. Three arrows were ordinarily used. On one was written My
God commands me, on another was written My God forbids me, and
the third was blank. If the first were drawn, the way was clear ; if
the second were drawn, the matter was left in abeyance for one year,
when arrows were again drawn ; it' the blank were drawn, it was
returned to the bag and another trial was ma<le, and so on until
either first or second should be drawn (Tafsir-i-Raufi).

On this day. "This passage, it is said, was revealed on Friday
evening, being the day of the pilgrims visiting Mount Arafat the
last time Muhammad visited the temple of Makkah, therefore called
the pilgrimage of valediction." Sale.

This day have I perfected your religion. u And therefore the com-
mentators say that after this time no positive or negative precept
was given." Sale.

SIPARA VI.] ( 123 ) [CHAP. V.

by necessity through hunger to eat of what we have for-
bidden, not designing to sin, surely God will be indulgent
and merciful unto him. (5) They will ask thee what is
allowed them as lawful to eat. Answer, Such things as
are good are allowed you ; and what ye shall teach ani-
mals of prey to catch, training them up for hunting after the
manner of dogs, and teaching them according to the skill
which God hath taught you. Eat therefore of that which
they shall catch for you ; and commemorate the name of
God thereon ; and fear God, for God is swift in taking an
account. (6) This day are ye allowed to eat such things
as are good, and the food of those to whom the scriptures
were given is also allowed as lawful unto you ; and your
food is allowed as lawful unto them. And ye are also
allowed to marry free women that are believers, and also
free women of those who have received the scriptures
before you, when ye shall have assigned them their dower,
living chastely with them, neither committing fornication,
nor taking them for concubines. Whoever shall renounce
the faith, his work shall be vain, and in the next life he
shall be of those who perish.

(5) Commemorate the name of God thereon. Sale says, "Either
when ye let go the hound, hawk, or other animal after the game, or
when ye kill it." The rule is to say Bismillah alluho Akbar, or
simply Bismillah, when the dog or hawk is let go.

The requirements of these verses look as if they were either de-
livered on two different occasions, or they represent the same com-
mand as repeated by two different persons to those who compiled
the Quran in its present form.

(6) The food of those to whom the Scriptures, dec. This one passage
is sufficient to refute the position of those Muslims in India who
regard Christians as infidels, and forbid their co-religionists to eat
and drink with them.

Free women of those who, dec. Muslims are allowed to have Chris-
tian and Jewish wives, but Muslim women may not have Christian
or Jewish husbands. Such Christian women, however, may not
be taken as concubines.

Muhammad did not feel himself bound by this law in the case of
the Jewess Bihdna, whom he took for his concubine immediately
after the cruel slaughter of the Bani Quraidha ; nor in the case of
the Coptic Mary. This law may, however, have been delivered after
these women had been taken into the Prophet's harem.

CHAP. V.] ( 124 ) [SIPARA VI.

R II CO true believers, when ye prepare yourselves to

pray, wash your faces, and your hands unto the elbows ;
and rub your heads, and your feet unto the ankles ; and if
ye be polluted by having lain with a woman, wash your-
selves all over. But if ye be sick, or on a journey, or any
of you cometh from the privy, or if ye have touched
women, and ye find no water, take fine clean sand, and
rub your faces and your hands therewith : God would not
put a difficulty upon you ; but lie desireth to purify you,
and to complete his favour upon you, that ye may give
thanks. (8) Remember the favour of God towards you,
and his covenant which he hath made with you, when ye
said, "We have heard, and will obey. Therefore fear God,
for God knoweth the innermost parts of the breasts of
men. (9) true believers, observe justice when ye appear
as witnesses before God, and let not hatred towards any
induce you to do wrong : but act justly ; this will approach
nearer unto piety; and fear God, for God is fully ac-
quainted with what ye do. (10) God hath promised unto
those who believe and do that which is right that they
shall receive pardon and a great reward. (11) But they
who believe not and accuse our signs of falsehood, they

(7) He desireth to purify you. This verse, as well as the chapter
on purifications in the Mishqdt ul Masdbih, abundantly show that
this external purity is all Islam knows of holiness. The word holy
conveys no otner idea to a Muslim's mind.

(8) We have heard. Sale says, " These words are the form used
at the inauguration of a prince ; and Muhammad here intends the
oath of fidelity which his followers had taken to him at Al Aqabah."
(See Prelim Disc, p. 81.)

(9) Let not hatred,, dec. According to the Tafslr-i-Raufi this passage
has reference to those who, having once persecuted the Muslims,
afterwards embraced Islam. Muslims are here exhorted to forgive
all such injuries.

(11) They . . . who accuse our signs, dec. This is another passage
showing (1) that the charge of imposture was made in Muhammad's
lifetime ; (2) that the language and style of the Quran was not 60
striking as to convince Muhammad's contemporaries that they were
inimitable ; and (3) that Muhammad's only argument in reply was
his usual threat.

SIPARA VI.] ( 125 ) [CHAP. V.

shall be the companions of hell. (12) true believers,
remember God's favour towards you, when certain men
designed to stretch forth their hands against you, but he
restrained their hands from hurting you; therefore fear
God and in God let the faithful trust.

|| (13) God formerly accepted the covenant of the chil- R -f-

(12) He restrained their hands. "The commentators tell several
stories as the occasion of this passage. One says that Muhammad
and some of his followers being at Usfan (a place not far from
Makkah, in the way to Madina), and performing their noon devo-
tions, a company of idolaters who were in view repented they had
not taken that opportunity of attacking them, and therefore waited
till the hour of evening prayer, intending to fall upon them then ;
but God defeated their design by revealing the verse of Fear. An-
other relates that the Prophet going to the tribe of Quraidha (who
were Jews) to levy a fine for the blood of two Muslims who had been
killed by mistake by Amru Ibn Ummaya al Dhimri, they desired him
to sit down and eat with them, and they would pay the fine : Mu-
hammad complying with their request, while he was sitting they
laid a design against his life, one Amru Ibn Jash undertaking to
throw a millstone upon him ; but God withheld his hand, and Ga-

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 13 of 42)