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 21 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 21 of 42)
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tions, giving the largest portion to the gods, saying that the Almighty
God was not in need of so much as the poorer gods.

Sale, on the authority of Baidhdwi and Jalaluddin, says, " The
share set apart for God was employed chiefly in relieving the poor
and strangers, and the share of the idols for paying their priests
and providing sacrifices for them ; " which statement quite accounts
for their confidence in God's ability to take care of his own interests.

See also Prelim. Disc, pp. 36 and 37.

(137) To slay their children. "Either by that inhuman custom,
which prevailed among those of Kindah and some other tribes, of
burying their daughters alive so soon as they were born, if they
apprehended they could not maintain them ; or else by offering
them to their idols, at the instigation of those who had the custody
of their temples." Sale, Baidhdwi.

See notes on chaps, xvi. 60, 61, and lxxxi. 8, 9.

That tliey might bring them to perdition, <kc. The deities of the
idolaters are here declared to be evil spirits, whose object is the
destruction of men by obscuring the way of salvation taught by the
prophet Ismail.

// God had pleased, dec. See note on ver. 125.

(138) Who we please. "That is, those who serve our idols, and
are of the male sex ; for the women were not allowed to eat of
them." Sale, Baidhdwi.

Whose backs are forbidden. See Prelim. Disc, pp. 199-202, and
note on chap. v. 102.

Cattle on which, dec. See notes on chap. ii. 174, and chap. v.
2, 4-6.



(139) And they say, That which is in the bellies of these
cattle is allowed to our males to eat, and is forbidden to
our wives: but if it prove abortive, then they are both
partakers thereof. God shall give them the reward of their
attributing these things to him : he is knowing and wise.

(140) They are utterly lost who have slain their children
foolishly, without knowledge ; and have forbidden that
which God hath given them for food, devising a lie against
God. They have erred, and were not rightly directed.

rcba. || (141) He it is who produceth gardens of vines, both

"D 1 - 7 . those which are supported on trails of wood, and those which
are not supported, and palm-trees, and the corn affording
various food, and olives, and pomegranates, alike and un-
like unto one another. Eat of their fruit when they bear
fruit, and pay the due thereof on the day whereon ye shall
gather it ; but be not profuse, for God loveth not those who
are too profuse. (142) And God hath given you some cattle
fit for bearing of burdens, and some fit for slaughter only.
Eat of what GOD hath given you for food ; and follow not
the steps of Satan, for he is your declared enemy. (143)
Four pair of cattle hath God given you ; of sheep one pair,

(139) That which, dec. "That is, the foetus or embryos of the
Bahaira and the Saiba (chap. v. 102) which shall be brought forth
alive." Sale.

Of this the men alone might eat, but " if it prove abortive," the
* women were allowed to partake.

(140) See note on ver. 137.

(141) Supported . . . and not supported, or cultivated fruit-trees
and vines, and those which grow wild.

Pay the due. " That is, give alms thereof to the poor. And these
alms, as al Baidhawi observes, were what they used to give before
the zakdt, or legal alms, was instituted ; which was done after
Muhammad had retired from Makkah, where this verse was re-
vealed. Yet some are of another opinion, and for this very reason
will have the verse to have been revealed at Madfna." Sale.

Be not profuse, i.e., " charity begins at home." Sale.

(142) Follow not the steps of Satan, i.e., by observing the idola-
trous customs referred to above.

(143, 144) Four pair. Alluding to the four classes of sacred
animals. See chap. v. 102, and note.

Hath Qod forbidden, &c. The Tafslr-i-Raufi says this passage was
revealed in order to silence Auf-Ibn-Malik, who complained against

SIPARA VIII.] ( 195 ) [CHAP. VI.

and of goats one pair. Say unto them, Hath God forbidden
the two males, of sheep and of goats, or the two females ;
or that which the wombs of the two females contain ?
Tell me with certainty, if ye speak truth. (144) And of
camels hath God given you one pair, and of oxen one pair.
Say, hath he forbidden the two males of these, or the two
females ; or that which the wombs of the two females con-
tain ? Were ye present when God commanded you this ?
And who is more unjust than he who deviseth a lie against
God, that he may seduce men without understanding ?
Verily God directed not unjust people.

|| (145) Say, I find not in that which hath been revealed K 5 '
unto me anything forbidden unto the eater, that he eat it
not, except it be that which dieth of itself, or blood poured
forth, or swine's flesh ; for this is an abomination : or that
which is profane, having been slain in the name of some
other than of God. But whoso shall be compelled by
necessity to eat of these things, not lusting, nor wilfully
transgressing, verily thy Lord will he gracious unto him
and merciful. (146) Unto the Jews did we forbid every

Muhammad for having allowed his followers the food of sacred
animals, which was forbidden by their fathers. If the prohibition
was on the ground of their being males, then all males would be
forbidden ; if their being females were the ground, then all females
would be prohibited ; and if the unborn foetus were forbidden, then
all animals would be forbidden, seeing such were either male or
female !

Sale, on the authority of Baidhawi, says : " In this passage

Muhammad endeavours to convince the Arabs of their superstitious

folly in making it unlawful, one while, to eat the males of these

four kinds of cattle ; another while, the females ; and at another

ime, their young."

Who is more unjust than he, &c. " The person particularly in-
tended here, some say, was Amru Ibn Luhai, king of Hajaz, a great
introducer of idolatry and superstition among the Arabs." See Prelim-
Disc, sect i. p. 42. Sale.

(145) See note on ver. 118. There is no contradiction of chap. v.
2-6, as Brinckman and others suppose. This includes all kinds of
flesh specified there.

Whoso shall be compelled. This exception is added to every pas-
sage of the Quran repeating the law of permitted and forbidden
meats. See chap. ii. 174, chap. v. 4, and chap. xvi. 116.

CHAP. VI.] ( 196 ) [SIPARA VIII.

beast having an undivided hoof; and of bullocks and sheep,
we forbade them the fat of both ; except that which should
be on their backs, or their inwards, or which should be
intermixed with the bone. This have we rewarded them
with, because of their iniquity ; and we are surely speakers
of truth. (147) If they accuse thee of imposture, say,
Your Lord is endued with extensive mercy; but his
severity shall not be averted from wicked people. (148)
The idolaters will say, If God had pleased, we had not
been guilty of idolatry, neither our fathers ; and 'pretend
that we have not forbidden them anything. Thus did
they who were before them accuse the 'prophets of impos-
ture, until they tasted our severe punishment. Say, Is
there with you any certain knowledge of what ye allege,
that ye may produce it unto us ? Ye follow only a false
imagination ; and ye utter only lies. (149) Say, therefore,
Unto God belongeth the most evident demonstration ; for
if he had pleased, he had directed you all. (150) Say,
Produce your witnesses, who can bear testimony that God
hath forbidden this. But if they bear testimony of this,
do not thou bear testimony with them, nor do thou follow
the desires of those who accuse our signs of falsehood,
and who believe not in the life to come, and equalise idols
with their Lord.

(146) Except that . . . on their backs. This passage contradicts
the teaching of the Mosaic law. Compare Levit. iii. 9-1 1 and 17,
with vii. 23-25.

(148) The idolaters will say, dec. Yet this is just what the Quran
teaches in the next verse ! The same doctrine is taught in vers. 125
and 137 of this chapter. See notes there. The idolaters justified
their idolatry on this ground.

Accuse . . . of imposture. See note on chap. iii. 1 89.

A false imagination. See note on ver. 1 16.

(150) If they bear testimony, dec. In the beginning of this verse
the Quraish are challenged to bring testimony to prove that God
had forbidden the flesh of the sacred animals, Bahaira, Saiba, &c.
Here Muhammad is told not to believe the testimony even if pro-
duced in answer to the challenge ! One would think a challenge
under such circumstances was scarcely worth putting forth.

Equalise. See note on ver. 1 .

SIPARA VIII.] ( 197 ) [CHAP. VI.

Rl 9

Loed hath forbidden you ; that is to say, that ye be not
guilty of idolatry, and that ye show kindness to your
parents, and that ye murder not your children for fear
lest ye be reduced to poverty; we will provide for you
and them ; and draw not near unto heinous crimes, neither
openly nor in secret ; and slay not the soul which God
hath forbidden you to slay, unless for a just cause. This
hath he enjoined you that ye may understand. (152)
And meddle not with the substance of the orphan, other-
wise than for the improving thereof until he attain his
age of strength: and use a full measure, and a just
balance. We will not impose a task on any soul beyond
its ability. And when ye pronounce judgment observe
justice, although it be for or against one who is near of
kin, and fulfil the covenant of God. This hath God com-
manded you, that ye may be admonished; (153) and that
ye may know that this is my right way : therefore follow
it, and follow not the path of others, lest ye be scattered
from the path of God. This hath he commanded you, that
ye may take heed. (154) We gave also unto Moses the
book of the law ; a perfect rule unto him who should do
right, and a determination concerning all things needful,

(151) See notes on ver. 137. Sale says, " This and the two follow-
ing verses Jalaluddin supposes to have been revealed at Madina."
The requirements certainly belong to a date later than the Hijra.

Unless for a just cause. "As for murder, apostasy, or adultery."

(152) The substance of the orphan. See notes on chap. iv. 2-5.
A full measure. Compare Deut. xxv. 13-16.

A task . . . beyond ability. " But the pilgrimage, the Ramadhan
fast, the killing of unbelievers, and several other things, are very
often beyond the power of many Moslems." Brinckman. But no
Muslim is required to perform what is " beyond his power." This is
the very lesson taught in this verse. See chap. iv. 27.

(154) Rodwell thinks the abruptness with which this passage is
introduced predicates a lost passage preceding this. It, however,
simply illustrates the crudeness of the work wrought by the com-
pilers of the Quran.

The book of the law, a perfect rule, <kc. This testimony to the Pen-
tateuch and the way of salvation indicated therein is entirely against


and a direction and mercy; that the children of Israel
might believe the meeting of their Loud.

R2 O
T' || (155) And this book which we have now sent down is

blessed; therefore follow it, and fear God that ye may

obtain mercy : (156) lest ye should say, The scriptures

were only sent down unto two people before us; and

we neglected to peruse them with attention : (157) or lest

ye should say, If a book of divine revelations had been

sent down unto us, we should surely have been better

directed than they. And now hath a manifest declaration

come unto you from your Lord, and a direction and

mercy: and who is more unjust than he who deviseth

lies against the signs of God, and turneth aside from

them ? We will reward those who turn aside from our

signs with a grievous punishment, because they have

turned aside. (158) Do they wait for any other than that

the angels should come unto them, to part their souls from

heir bodies, or that thy Lord should come to punish them;

the Qurdn, which denies the cardinal doctrine of salvation by sacri-
fice and atoning blood. Yet in the following verses the assertion is
made that the teaching of the Qurdn and of " the Scriptures . . .
sent down unto the people before " that is, to the Jews and Chris-
tians is the same.

(156) And we neglected to peruse them. Abdul Qadir translates,
" and we did not know to read and to teach them ; " or, as Muir
translates, " but we are unable to read in their language" {Life of
Mahomet, vol. ii. p. 68, note). Muir conjectures that Muhammad
was led to make the prophetic claim by thoughts suggested by the
objections of his townsmen in language like the following : " It is
well for Jews and Christians to follow the purer faith thou speakest
of. They, we know, have had prophets bringing them a message
of the will of God. Let us be content with the light our Maker hath
given unto us, and remain as we are. If a prophet had been sent
unto us, we should no doubt have followed his directions, and been
equmlly devout and spiritual in our worship as the Jews and Chris-
tians." See whole discussion given at reference already quoted.

(157) Better directed than they. " Because of the acuteness of our
wit, the clearness of our understanding, and our facility of learning
sciences, as appears from our excelling in history, poetry, and ora-
tory, notwithstanding we are illiterate people." Sale, Baidhdwi. A
nice bit of Arab conceit.

Now hath a manifest declaration, c. The prophetic claim is here
gain set up. See notes on vers. 19 and 48.

SIPARA VIII.] ( 199 ) [CHAP. VI.

or that some of the signs of thy Lord should come to
pass, showing the day of judgment to be at hand ? On the
day whereon some of thy Lord's signs shall come to pass,
its faith shall not profit a soul which believed not before,
or wrought not good in its faith. Say, Wait ye for this
dag; we surely do waiter it. (159) They who make a
division in their religion and become sectaries, have thou
nothing to do with them ; their affair belongeth only unto
God. Hereafter shall he declare unto them that which
they have done. (160) He who shall appear with good
works shall receive a tenfold recompense for the same ;
but he who shall appear with evil works shall receive
only an equal punishment for the same ; and they shall
not be treated unjustly. (161) Say, Verily my Lord hath
directed me into a right way, (162) a true religion, the sect
of Abraham the orthodox ; and he was no idolater. (163)
Say, Verily my prayers, and my worship, and my life, and
my death are dedicated unto God, the Lord of all crea-

(158) Signs of thy Lord. "Al Baidhdwi, from a tradition of Mu-
hammad, says that ten signs will precede the last day, viz., the
smoke, the beast of the earth, an eclipse in the east, another in the
west, and a third in the peninsula of Arabia, the appearance of Anti-
christ, the sun's rising in the west, the eruption of Gog and Magog,
the descent of Jesus on earth, and fire shall break forth from Aden."
Sale. See also Prelim. Disc, sect. iv. p. 62.

Its faith shall not profit, dec. " For faith in the next life will be of
no advantage to those who have not believed in this ; nor yet faith
in this life without good works." Sale.

(159) Sectaries. " That is, who believe in part of it and disbelieve
other parts of it, or who form schisms therein. Muhammad is re-
ported to have declared that the Jews were divided into seventy-one
sects, and the Christians into seventy-two ; and that his own fol-
lowers would be split into seventy-three sects ; and that all of them
would be damned except only one of each." Sale, Baidhdwi.

As there were no sectaries among the Muslims at this time, it is
quite certain that the purport of this pas-age is that Muhammad
should avoid the Jews and Christians; ami it so, this verse must be
referred to Madfna rather than to Makkah. Commentators, who
interpret the passage thus, say it has been abrogated by the com-
mand to fight against infidels. See Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco.

(162) The sect of Abraham the orthodox. See note on chap. iii. 95,
and chap. iv. 124.

(163) Verily my prayers, dec. This entire consecration of self to


tures: he hath no companion. This have I been com-
manded: I am the first Muslim. (164) Say, Shall I
desire any other Lobd besides God ? since he is the Lord
of all things ; and no soul shall acquire any merits or de-
merits but for itself ; and no burdened sonl shall bear the
burden of another. Moreover, unto your Lord shall ye
return; and he shall declare unto you that concerning
which ye now dispute. (165) It is he who hath appointed
you to succeed your predecessors in the earth, and hath
raised some of you above others by various degrees of
worldly advantages, that he might prove you by that which
he hath bestowed on you. Thy Lord is swift in punish-
ing : and he is also gracious and merciful

the true God is what Muhammad here declares to be the religion of
I am the first Muslim. See note on ver. 14.

(164) No burdened soul, <c. " This was revealed in answer to the
preceding instances of the idolaters, who offered to take the crime
upon themselves if Muhammad would conform to their worship."
Sale, Baidh&vri.

That no sinner shall bear the sin of another is true ; but Muham-
mad went further, denying that the burden of the sinner could be
borne by any one. See note on chap. iii. 194.

(165) Appointed you to succeed. The original word is Ithalifah,
which is applied to the successors of Muhammad.

The meaning, according to the Tafsir-i-Raufi, is either that the
Quraish were appointed the successors of various peoples in Arabia,
or that the Muslims are appointed the successors of the Arab
idolaters. The latter seems to be the true meaning. If so, this
portion of the chapter may belong to the Madina revelations.

( 201 )



Revealed at Makkah.


This chapter owes its title to the reference to the partition wall be-
tween heaven and hell in ver. 4, which is called alArdf. It may be
said to contain Muhammad's vindication of his prophetic claims.
Accordingly, it abounds with stories of the experiences of former
prophets, and of the judgments that overtook those who refused to
accept their doctrine and the signs of their prophetic authority.
Even the most careless reader can hardly fail to see that all these
prophets are facsimiles of Muhammad himself. Their character and
authority, their message and accompanying claims to inspiration, the
incredulity and hardness of heart shown by the tribes to whom they
were sent, the consequent rejection of the prophets, and the threaten-
ings of the sudden and dreadful judgments of God upon unbelievers,
all these correspond to the experience of Muhammad ; and the infer-
ence suggested by each story is that the rejection of the Prophet of
Makkah would bring with it judgments on the Quraish similar to
and dreadful as those which befell those tribes who rejected the
former prophets.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

The allusion to a famine in ver. 95 (compare chap. x. 22, 23, and
xxiii. 77-79), and a subsequent period of prosperity in ver. 96,
together with the tone of the whole chapter, point to a period imme-
diately preceding the Hijra as the date to which it should be

The only passages to be excepted are vers. 158-160, and 164-17 1.
The former of these passages evidently belongs to Madfna, as ap-
pears : (1) From the title, Illiterate Prophet, or Gentile Prophet, as


( 202 )


contrasted with the prophets of Judaism and Christianity. This
contrast point-* to Ma<lfna rather than to Makkah. (2.) From the
expression the law and the gospel, which, as Noeldeke points out,
never occurs in other than Madina revelations. (3.) From the words
and assist him, which certainly refer to the Ansars or helpers of
Madina ; and (4.) From the fact that this passage breaks the thread
of discourse at ver. 157, which is taken up again at ver. 161. This
passage was probably added by Muhammad himself at Madina.

Most commentators agree, also, in referring vers. 164-17 1 to Ma-
dina. Noeldeke, however, differs from them, and regards it as
belonging to Makkah. When, however, it is remembered that Mu-
hammad's custom in the Quran is to give the most detailed accounts
of Jewish history and tradition in the earliest chapters containing
such narratives, afterward alluding to the same stories with more or
less brevity, it must be granted that this passage belongs to Madina,
inasmuch as the substance of it is given at length in the early
Madina chapters.

Principal Subjects.

Muhammad not to doubt the Quran .

The people exhorted to believe in it .

Many cities destroyed for their unbelief

Prophets and their hearers on the judgment-day

The ingratitude of infidels ....

The creation of Adam ....

Satan refuses to worship Adam .

He is driven from Paradise

He is respited until the resurrection .

He avows his purpose to beguile man .

God threatens Satan and his victims .

The fall of Adam and Eve ....

They are expelled from Paradise

Indecent customs condemned

God to be sought in prayer

True worshippers to be decently clad .

Every nation has a fixed term of life .

The doom of those who reject the apostles of God

The blessed reward of true believers .

God's curse on the infidels ....

The veil of Araf and its inhabitants .

The rejecters of God's apostles to be forgotten

A warning against rejecting Muhammad .

The Creator and Lord of the worlds to be served





11, 12

14, 15
16, 17


53. 54
55 59


( 203 )


Noah rejected by his people their fate .

Hud rejected by the Adites their fate

Salih rejected by the Thamiidites their destruction

Lot rejected and the Sodomites destroyed .

Shuaib rejected by the Madianites, and their doom .

Unbelievers at Makkah unaffected either by adversity or


The dreadful fate of those cities who rejected the apostles

of God and charged them with imposture .

They are reprobated

Moses is sent to Pharaoh and his princes .
The miracles of the serpent and leprous hand .

The magicians of Egypt called

Contest by miracles between Moses and the magicians

Several magicians converted to Moses

Pharaoh's anger kindled against them

Pharaoh and his princes persecute Moses and his people

Moses exhorts his people to patient trust in God

Adversity and prosperity alike unavailing to bring Pha

raoh to repentance

The Egyptian unbelievers plagued .

The hypocrisy of the Egyptians

They are destroyed in the Red Sea .

The people of Moses triumph, and possess the eastern

and western land

The children of Israel become idolatrous .

Moses makes Aaron his deputy, and fasts forty days

He desires to see the glory of God, but repents his rash

ness .........

God gives Moses the law on two tables

Infidels threatened for calling their prophets impos


The people of Moses worship the golden calf .

They repent their sin

Moses in indignation assaults Aaron .

He prays for forgiveness for himself and Aaron

He calls for vengeance on the idolaters

God merciful to believers ....

Moses's anger is appeased ....

He chooses seventy elders ....

Moses prays for deliverance from destruction by


The Illiterate Prophet foretold by Moses .




102, 103
104, 105
129, 130

131, 132




138, 141


144, 145

146, 147





( 204 )


Some Jews rightly directed .

The Israelites divided into twelve tribes .

The rock smitten, and manna and quails given

The command to enter the city saying Hittatun, and the

fate of the disobedient
The Sabbath-breakers changed into apes ,
Dispersion of the Jews among the nations
Some of their successors faithful to the law of Moses
Qod shakes Mount Sinai over the Israelites
God's covenant with the children of Adam
The curse of Balaam a warning to infidels
Many genii and men created for hell
The names of Qod not to be travestied
( iod's method of leading infidels to destruction
Muhammad not possessed of a devil .
No hope for the reprobate
The coming of the " last hour" sudden
Muhammad no seer, only a preacher
Adam and Eve were guilty of idolatry

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 21 of 42)