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 23 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 23 of 42)
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nevertheless a complete volume. Indeed, it may fairly be doubted
whether this expression ever is used in the Quran to designate a
portion of the Quran, except in the sense that it is a part of a whole
already existing.

(54) The interpretation, i.e., the fulfilment of its promises and

Intercessors. Allusion is to the gods whom they worshipped, and
whom they regarded as intercessors.

Sent back. The expression looks like an allusion to the doctrine
of metempsychosis.

That which they imagined ; their false gods. See chap. vi. 23, note.

(55) Six days. Compare Gen. i. 14-19, and Exod. xx. 1 1. Some
understand the creation days to be eacli one thousand solar years in
length. Tafsir-i-RaiiJi.

Then ascended. The commentators place this sentence among the
Mutashdbi'dt or difficult passages of the Quran, which none but
God and his prophet understand. The Tafsir-i- Ilavfi says, God
only knows the truth of this matter ; as the how about God him-
self is a mystery, so is the how about his ascent upon the throne of
the heavens a mystery.



(56) Call unto your Lord humbly and in secret ; for he
loveth not those who transgress. (57) And act not cor-
ruptly in the earth after its reformation ; and call upon
him with fear and desire : for the mercy of God is near
unto the righteous. (58) It is he who sendeth the winds,
spread abroad before his mercy, until they bring a cloud
heavy with rain, which we drive into a dead country ; and
we cause water to descend thereon, by which we cause all
sorts of fruits to spring foith. Thus will we bring forth
the dead from their graves; that peradventure ye may
consider. (59) From a good country shall its fruit spring
forth abundantly, by the permission of its Lord ; but from
the land which is bad it shall not spring forth otherwise
than scarcely. Thus do we explain the signs of divine
-providence unto people who are thankful.

|| (60) We formerly sent Noah unto his people: and he R, jg
said, my people, worship God : ye have no other God
than him. Verily I fear for you the punishment of the

Empire his. Because he sits in the throne of heaven.

(56) Humbly and in secret, i.e., " not behaving themselves arro-
gantly while they pray, or praying with an obstreperous voice, or a
multitude of words and vain repetitions." Sale, Baidhdwi.

Muslim prayers now come far short of fulfilling either the letter
or spirit of this injunction. Compare Matt. vi. 5-7.

(57) Act not corruptly, by strife, and blasphemy, and idolatry,
after its reformation, i.e., "after God hath sent his prophets and
revealed his laws for the reformation and amendment of mankind."

(58) A dead country. This refers probably to those parts of the
desert which depend upon the rain alone for productive power.

Thus will he bring forth the dead. Compare 1 Cor. xv. 35-38. This
doctrine of the resurrection was undoubtedly one of the most attrac-
tive of those borrowed from Judaism, and well calculated to com-
mend him to the Arabs as a prophet. The term nushran, translated
by Sale spread abroad, is busluan in all the copies current in India,
and is rendered heralds, as in Eodwell's translation.

(60) Noah. "Noah the son of Lantech, according to the Muham-
madan writers, was one of the six principal prophets, though he had
no written revelations delivered to him, and the first who appeared
alter his great-grandfather Idris or Enoch. They also say he was by
trade a carpenter, which they infer from his building the ark, and
that the year of his mission was the fiftieth, or, as others say, the
fortieth of his age." Sale.


great day. (61) The chiefs of his people answered him,
We surely perceive thee to be in a manifest error. (62)
He replied, my people, there is no error in me ; but I
am a messenger from the Lord of all creatures. (63) I
bring unto you the messages of my Lord ; and I counsel
you aright ; for I know from God, that which ye know not.
(64) Do ye wonder that an admonition hath come unto you
from your Lord by a man from among you, to warn you,
that ye may take heed to yourselves, and that peradven-
ture ye may obtain mercy ? (65) And they accused him
of imposture : but we delivered him and those who were
with him in the ark, and we drowned those who charged
our signs with falsehood ; for they were a blind people.
K ie' II (66) And unto the tribe of Ad we sent their brother
Hud. He said, my people, worship God : ye have no

Noah's experience, as pictured here, is the experience of Muham-
mad himself. His nation was a nation of idolaters, who persistently
refused to accept his preaching concerning the true God, who rejected
his prophetic claims, and accused him of imposture, and who perished
on account of their infidelity.

The great day. " Either the day of the resurrection, or that whereon
the flood was to begin." Sale.

(64) By a man. " For said they, If God had pleased, he would
have sent an angel, and not a man ; 6ince we never heard of such an
instance in the times of our fathers." Sale, Baidhdwi.

In this interpretation of this expression the commentators have
followed the example of their Prophet, and made the objections of
the antediluvians to Noah's prophetic claim to be the same as those
made by the Quraish to Muhammad's pretensions. See chap. vi. ill,
and notes thereon.

(65) Those . . . in the ark. "That is, those who believed on him,
and entered into that vessel with him. Though there be a tradition
among the Muhammadans, said to have been received from the
Prophet himself, and conformable to tlie Scripture, that eight per-
sons, and no more, were saved in the ark, yet some of them report
tlie number variously. One says they were but six, another ten,
another twelve, another seventy-eight, and another fourscore, half
men and half women, and that one of them was the elder Jorham,
the preserver, as some pretend, of the Arabian language." Sale,
Zamalihshari, Jaldluddin.

(66) Ad. "Ad was an ancient and potent tribe of Arabs, and
zealous idolaters. They chiefly worshipped four deities, Sakia,
Hafidha, Razika, and Salima ; the first, as they imagined, supplying
them with rain, the second preserving them from all dangers abroad,

S1PARA VIII.] ( 217 ) [CHAP. VIL

other God than him ; will ye not fear him ? (67) The
chiefs of those among his people who believed not
answered, Verily we perceive that thou art guided by
folly ; and we certainly esteem thee to be one of the liars.
(68) He replied, O my people, i" am not guided by folly ;
but I am a messenger unto you from the Lord of all
creatures. (69) I bring unto you the messages of my
Lord ; and I am a faithful counsellor unto you. (70) Do
ye wonder that an admonition hath come unto you from
your Lord by a man from among you, that he may warn
you ? Call to mind how he hath appointed you suc-
cessors unto the people of Noah, and hath added unto
you in stature largely. Eemember the benefits of God,
that ye may prosper. (71) They said, Art thou come
unto us, that we should worship God alone, and leave the
deities which our fathers worshipped ? Now bring down
that judgment upon us with which thou threatenest us,
if thou speakest truth. Hud ansvjered, Now shall there
suddenly fall upon you from your Lord vengeance and
indignation. (72) Will ye dispute with me concerning
the names which ye have named and your fathers, as to

the third providing food for their sustenance, and the fourth restor-
ing them to health when afflicted with sickness, according to the
signification of the several names." Sale. See also the Prelim.
Disc, p. 20.

Hud. See Prelim. Disc, p. 21, and my note there. Hud, like
Noah, had experiences like unto those of Muhammad. The lan-
guage ascribed to him and "his people" is mostly verbatim, the
same as that ascribed to Noah and the antediluvians.

Chiefs . . . who believed not. Some of the chiefs did believe on
Hud. Baidhawi says one of them was Murthad Ibn Saad.

(70) Successors unto the people of Noah. "Dwelling in the habita-
tions of the antediluvians, who preceded them not many centuries,
or having the chief sway in the earth after them ; for the kingdom
of Shidad, the son of Ad, is said to have extended from the sanda of
Alaj to the trees of Om&n." Sale, Baidhdwi.

And . . . stature. See Prelim. Disc, p. 22.

(71) Bring down that judgment. This was just what the infidel
Quraish said to Muhammad. See chap. vi. 56.

(72) The names. The idols, whose names are given in note on
ver. 66.


which God hath not revealed unto you any authority ?
(73) Do ye wait therefore, and I will be one of those who
wait with you. And we delivered him, and them who
believed with him, by our mercy ; and we cut off the utter-
most part of those who charged our signs with falsehood,
and were not believers.
R i?' II C^) And un to the tribe of Thamiid we sent their

brother Salih. He said, my people, worship God : ye
have no God besides him. Now hath a manifest proof
come unto you from your Lord. This she-camel of God
is a sign unto you : therefore dismiss her freely, that she
may feed in God's earth ; and do her no hurt, lest a

(73) We cut off, dec. The following note by Sale contains a speci-
men of the kind of history to be met with on the pages of any Muslim
commentary on the Quran :

"The dreadful destruction of the Adites we have mentioned in
another place (Prelim. Disc. p. 21), and shall only add here some
further circumstances of that calamity, and which differ a little from
what is there said ; for the Arab writers acknowledge many incon-
sistencies in the histories of these ancient tribes. The tribe of Ad,
having been for their incredulity previously chastised with a three
years' drought, sent Kail Ibn Ithar and Murthad Ibn Saad, with
seventy other principal men, to the temple of Makkah to obtain
rain. Makkah was then in the hands of the tribe of Amalek, whose
prince was Muawiyah Ibn Baqr ; and he, being without the city
when the ambassadors arrived, entertained them there for a month
in so hospitable a manner, that they had forgotten the business they
came about, had not the king reminded them of it, not as from him-
self, lest they should think he wanted to be rid of them, but by some
verses which he put into the mouth of a singing- woman. At which,
being roused from their lethargy, Murthad told them the only way
they had to obtain what they wanted would be to repent and obey
their prophet : but this displeasing the rest, they desired Mudwivah to
imprison him, lest lie should go with him ; which being done, Kail
with the rest entering Makkah, begged of God that he would send
rain to the people of Ad. Whereupon three clouds appeared, a
white one, a red one, and a black one; and a voice from heaven
ordered Kail to choose which he would. Kail failed not to make
choice of the last, thinking it to be laden with the most rain ; but
when this cloud passed over them, it proved to be fraught with the
divine vengeance, and a tempest broke forth from it which destroved
them all."

(74) Thamiid. An ancient tribe of Arabs. See Prelim. Disc,
p. 22.

Sdlih. " Baidhawi deduces his genealogy thus : Salih the son of


painful punishment seize you. (75) And call to mind
how he hath appointed you successors unto the tribe of
Ad, and hath given you a habitation on earth ; ye build
yourselves castles on the plains thereof, and cut out the
mountains into houses. Remember therefore the benefits
of God, and commit not violence in the earth, acting cor-
ruptly. (76) The chiefs among his people who were
puffed up with pride, said unto those who were esteemed
weak, namely, unto those who believed among them, Do
ye know that Salih. hath been sent from his Lokd ?
They answered, We do surely believe in that wherewith
he hath been sent. (77) Those who were elated with
pride replied, Verily we believe not in that wherein ye

Obaid, the son of Asaf, the son of Masikh, the sou of Obaid, the son
of Hadhir, the son of Thaniud." Sale. But these genealogies are
quite worthless, being almost without exception an adaptation of
J ewish genealogies to Arab tradition. See notes on Prelim. Disc,
pp. 24, 25. As usual, Salih is a brother of the people to whom he
is sent, as Muhammad was a brother of the people to whom he pre-
tended to have been sent.

The remarks made on the prophetic experiences of Noah and Hud,
vers. 60 and 66, will apply also to those of Salih. This Salih seems
to be a prophet of Muhammad's own invention. See note in Prelim.
Disc, p. 21.

This she-camel . . . a- sign. "The Thamiidites insisting on a
miracle, proposed to Salih that he should go with them to their
festival, and that they should call on their gods, and he on his,
promising to iollow that deity which should answer. But after
they had called on their idols a long time to no purpose, Junda Ibn
Aniru, their prince, pointed to a rock standing by itself, and bade
Salih cause a she-camel big with young to come forth from it,
solemnly engaging that if he did, he would believe ; and his people
promised the same. Whereupon Salih asked it of God, and pre-
sently the rock, after several throes, as if in labour, was delivered
of a she-camel answering the description of Junda, which imme-
diately brought forth a young one ready weaned, and, as some say,
as big as herself. Junda, seeing this miracle, believed on the
Prophet, and some few with him ; but the greater part of the Tha-
mudites remained, notwithstanding, incredulous." Sale.

(75) Cut out . . . houses. See Prelim. Disc, p. 23.

(76) Who were esteemed weak. This passage undoubtedly expresses
the social position of the Muslims when this passage was revealed.
As yet they were few in number, mostly poor, and held in contempt
by their townsmen.


believe. (78) And they cut off the feet of the camel, and
insolently transgressed the command of their Lord, and
said, Salih, cause that to come upon us which thou hast
threatened U9, if thou art one of those who have been sent
by God. (79) Whereupon a terrible noise from heaven
assailed them; and in the morning they were found in

(78) They cut off the feet of the camel, dec. " This extraordinary
camel frighting the other cattle from their pasture, a certain rich
woman named Onaiza Omm Ganim, having lour daughters, dressed
them out, and offered one Kidar his choice of them if lie would kill
the camel. Whereupon he chose one, and with the assistance of
eight other men hamstrung and killed the dam, and pursuing fhe
young one, which fled to the mountain, killed that also and divided
his flesh among them. Others tell the story somewhat differently,
adding Sadaqa Bint al Mukhta-r as a joint conspiratress with Onaiza,
and pretending that the young one was not killed ; for they say that
having fled to a certain mountain named Kdra, he there cried three
times, and Salih bade them catch him if they could, for then there
might be hopes of their avoiding the divine vengeance ; but this
they were not able to do. the rock opening after he had cried, and
receiving him within it." Sale, Bai&hawi.

Rodwell thinks it possible that the camel-killing which resulted
in a war between the Banu Taghlib and the Bani Baqr, a.d. 490,
afforded to Muhammad the groundwork of this story of the persecu-
tion of Salih. It seems clear that some such story was current among
the heathen Arabs, which Muhammad found convenient to his use,
and which he adapted to further his prophetic claims.

Cause that to come, <&c. They said this " because they trusted in
their strong dwellings, hewn in the rocks, saying the tribe of Ad
perished only because their houses were" not built with sufficient
strength." Sale.

(79) A terrible noise. " Like violent and repeated claps of thunder,
which some say was no other than the voice of the Angel Gabriel,
and which rent their hearts. It is said that after they had killed
the camel, Salih told them that on the morrow their faces should
become yellow, the next day red, and the third day black, and that
on the fourth God's vengeance should light on them ; and that the
first three signs happening accordingly, they sought to put him to
death, but God delivered him by sending him into Palestine." Sale,

The following episode in the history of Muhammad is here related
by Sale as follows, on the authority of Abulfida: "Muhammad,
in the expedition of Tabiik, which he undertook against the Greeks
in the ninth year of the Hijra, passing by Hijr, where the ancient
tribe had dwelt, forbade his army, though mucu distressed with heat
and thirst, to draw any water there, but ordered them, if they had
drunk of that water, to bring it up again, or if they had kneaded
any meal with it, to give it to their camels ; and wrapping up his
face in his garment, he set spurs to his mule, crying out, 'Enter not


their dwellings prostrate on their breasts and dead. (80)
And Salih departed from them, and said, my people,
now have I delivered unto you the message of my Lord,
and I advised you well, but ye love not those who advise
you well. (81) And remember Lot, when he said unto his
people, Do ye commit a wickedness wherein no creature
hath sent you an example ? (82) Do ye approach lust-
fully unto men, leaving the women ? Certainly ye are
people who transgress all modesty. (83) But the answer
of his people was no other than that they said the one to
the other, Expel them your city; for they are men who
preserve themselves pure from the crimes which ye commit.
(84) Therefore we delivered him and his family, except
his wife; she was one of those who stayed behind: and

the houses of those wicked men, but rather weep, lest that happen
unto you which befell them ; ' and having so said, he continued
galloping full speed with his face muffled up, till he had passed the

(80) The message. This message was probably delivered at the
parting of Salih from the people, though some think it was delivered
after the calamity.

(81) Lot. " The commentators say, conformably to the Scripture,
that Lot was the son of Haran, the son of Azar or Terah, and con-
sequently Abraham's nephew, who brought him with him from
Chaldea into Palestine, where they say he was sent by God to
reclaim the inhabitants of Sodom and the other neighbouring cities
which were overthrown with it from the unnatural vice to which
they were addicted." Sale.

Lot certainly was not sent to Sodom as a prophet. What Peter
says of him in his 2nd Epistle, ii. 8, in no way implies that he was
a preacher of righteousness, as Sale fancies. His only claim to be
even a righteous person is based on his having, in the midst of many
vices, held on to " the faith of Abraham." We think the Quran is
here fairly chargeable with again contradicting the Scriptures it pro-
fesses to attest.

No creature. The original has it, Min il 'alumina, none from
among the learned.

(83) Expel them, viz., "Lot and those who believe on him." Sale.
The Tafsir-i- Raufi says, Expel Lot and his sons and those who believe
on him. The statement of the Quran clearly implies that some of
the Sodomites, besides Lot and his daughters, mentioned in chap. xi.
77, 78, escaped from the destruction which fell on the remainder.

(84) She . . . stayed. Commentators are not agreed whether she
remained in the city or went forth some distance with Lot. See
Sale's note, given in chap. xi. 80. The language of both these pas-


we rained a shower of stones upon them. (85) Behold
therefore what was the end of the wicked.
J{ ^- (86) And unto Madian we sent their brother Shuaib. He
said unto them, O my people, worship God ; ye have no God

napes certainly favours the view of those who believe she remained
in the city.

(85) A shower. In chap. xi. 8i it is distinctly said this shower
was of " stones of baked clay." This whole passage, as well as the
parallel passages in chans. xi. 76-82 ; xv. 58-77 ; xxvi. 160-174 ;
xxvii. 55-59, &c, contradicts the statements of Gen. xix. in many
particulars. Surely the taunts of those referred to in ver. 203 of
this chapter were well directed. Granting the ignorance of Muham-
mad in respect to the sacred stories he attempts to narrate here,
of which ignorance we have abundant illustration in this chapter,
still the fact remains that Muhammad, receiving his information from
parties themselves ill-informed, recorded the result in the Quran,
declaring that he received it directly from heaven through the Angel

(86) Madian. "OrMidian. was a city of Hfj&z, and the habita-
tion of a tribe of the same name, the descendants of Midian, the son
of Abraham by Keturah (Gen. xxv. 2), who afterwards coalesced with
the Ishmaelites, as it seems ; Moses naming the same merchants who
sold Joseph to Potiphar in one place Ishmaelites, and in another
Midianites. (Comp. Gen. xxxix. 1, and xxxvii. 36.) This city was
situated on the Red Sea, south-east of Mount Sinai, and is doubtle-s
the same with the Modiana of Ptolemy ; what was remaining of it
in Muhammad's time was soon after demolished in the succeeding
wars, and it remains desolate to this day. The people of the country
pretend to show the well whence Moses watered Jethro's flocks." Sale.

Shuaib. Muslim writers generally identify Shuaib with Jethro,
the father-in-law of Moses. Baidhawi says he was the son of Mikail,
the son of Yashjar, the son of Midian, and the Tafslr-i-Iiaufi relates
that he was descended from Lot, Midian having married the daughter
of Lot.

"In the commentary of the Syrian Ephream, Jethro is called
Shuaib." Notes on tlie Roman Urdi, Qurdn.

An evident demonstration. No miracles wrought by Shuaib are
described either in the Qurdn or the Traditions, yet Muslim writers
tell us that when he desired to ascend a mountain, it invariably
stooped down to receive him, and then rose up to its ordinary place !
See Tafsir-i-liaufi in luco.

Sale gives the following on the authority of Baidhawi and D'Her-
belot : "This demonstration the commentators suppose to have been
a power of working miracles, though the Quran mentions none in
particular. However they say (after the Jews) that he gave his son-
in-law that wonder-working rod with which he performed all those
miracles in Egypt and the desert, and also excellent advice and in-
structions (Exod. xviii. 13), whence he had the surname of Khatibal
anbiyah, or the preacher to the prophets."

S1PARA VIII.] ( 223 ) [CHAP. VII.

besides him. Now hath an evident demonstration come
unto you from your Lord. Therefore give full measure
and just weight, and diminish not unto men aught of their
matters : neither act corruptly in the earth after its re-
formation. This will be better for you, if ye believe. (87)
And beset not every way, threatening the passenger, and
turning aside from the path of God him who believeth
in him, and seeking to make it crooked. And remember,
when ye were few and God multiplied you : and behold
what hath been the end of those who acted corruptly.
(88) And if part of you believe in that wherewith I am
sent, and part believe not, wait patiently until God judge
between us ; for he is the best judge.

j| (89) The chiefs of his people, who were elated with
pride, answered, We will surely cast thee, Shuaib, and
those who believe with thee, out of our city : or else thou
shalt certainly return unto our religion. He said, What !
though we be averse thereto ? (90) We shall surely imagine
a lie against God if we return unto your religion, after
that God hath delivered us from the same : and we have
no reason to return unto it, unless God our Lord shall
please to abandon us. Our Lord comprehendeth every-
thing by his knowledge. In God do we put our trust.
Lord, do thou judge between us and our nation with

Give full measure. One of the great crimes of the Midianites was
keeping two different kinds of weights and measures, buying by one
and selling by the other. Baidhdwi, Tafsir-i-Raufi.

After reformation. See on ver. 57.

(87) Beset not every way, &c. " Robbing on the highway, it seems,
was another crying sin, frequent among these people. But some of
the commentators interpret this passage figuratively of their beset-
ting the way of truth, and threatening those who gave ear to the
remonstrances of Shuaib." Sale, Baidiidwi.

(88) Wait patiently, &c. This is no doubt what Muhammad him-
self taught his hearers at Makkah. It would appear that, unable to
work miracles, he either hoped for the power to do so (see notes on

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 23 of 42)