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 25 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 25 of 42)
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brother Aaron, Be thou my deputy among my people
dtiring my absence; and behave uprightly, and follow not

of Amalek, whom Moses was commanded to destroy, and others of
the tribe of Lakhm. Their idols, it is said, were images of oxen,
which gave the first hint to the making of the golden calf." Sale,

Make us a god. This request being addressed to Moses contradicts
the Bible (Exod. xxxii. 1, and Acts vii. 40). The reason for their
returning to idolatry was that they had lost confidence in the absent

As these have, i.e., the Amalekites. The Israelites, however, did
not adopt a new form of idolatry, but merely lapsed into that which
they had adopted while in Egypt.

(142) Thirty nights. " The commentators say that God, having
promised Moses to give him the law, directed him to prepare himself
for the high favour of speaking with God in person by a last of
thirty days, and that Moses accordingly fasted the whole month of
Dhu'l Qaada ; but not liking the savour of his breath, he rubbed his
teeth with a dentifrice, upon which the angels told him that his
breath before had the odour of musk (see Prelim. Disc, p. 176), but
that his rubbing his teeth had taken it away. Wherefore God
ordered him to fast ten days more, which lie did ; and these were the
first ten days of the succeeding month, Dhu'l Hajja. Others, how-
ever, suppose that Moses was commanded to fast and pray thirty
days only, and that during the other ten God discoursed with him."
Sale, Baidhdwi, Jaldluddin.

Nights. The ordinary custom among Muslims is to fast during
the day-time, eating only during the night. Concerning the reckon-

CHAP. VII.] ( 234 ) [SIPARA IX.

the way of the corrupt doers. (143) And when Moses
came at our appointed time, and his Lord spake unto
him, he said, Lord, show me thy glory, that I may be-
hold thee. God answereth, Thou shalt in no wise behold
me ; but look towards the mountain, and if it stand firm
in its place, then thou shalt see me. But when his Lord
appeared with glory in the mount, he reduced it to dust.
And Moses fell down in a swoon. And when he came to
himself he said, Praise be unto thee ! I turn unto thee
with repentance, and I am the first of true believers.
(144) God said unto him, Moses, I have chosen thee
above all men, by honouring thee with my commissions,
and by my speaking unto thee: receive therefore that
which I have brought thee, and be one of those who give
thanks. (145) And we wrote for him on the tables an

ing by nights Savary says : "The Arabs reckoned by nights aa we
do by days. This custom doubtless had its rise from the excessive
heat of their climate. They dwell amidst burning sands, and while
the sun is above the horizon they usually keep within their tents.
When he sets they quit them, and enjoy coolness and a most delight-
ful sky. Night is in a great measure to them that which day is to
us. Their poets, therefore, never celebrate the charms of a beautiful
day; but these words, Laili ! Laili! night! night ! are repeated
in all their songs."

Be my deputy. Lit., act as my Khalifah. See note on chap. vi. 165.

(143) His Lord spake. " Without the mediation of any other, and
face to face, as he speaks to the angels." Sale, Baidhdwi.

Show me thy glory. The ellipsis should have been thyself, not thy
glory. This request was refused. Even the glory of God, as seen on
the mountain, which Muslims call al Zabir, caused Moses to swoon
and reduced the mountain to dust !

The first of true Deliverers. See a similar expression in chap. vi. 14.
The meaning here is that Moses was the first true believer among
the Israelites, or perhaps Egyptians. The Tafsir-i- liaufi paraphrases
thus : " I am the first believer in thy dignity and glory ; or this, that lam
the first to believe in the impossibility of seeing thee as thou art." Moses
is called Kalimulldh, the speaker viith God, referring to the circum-
stance here narrated.

(144) Iteceive . . . that which, dbc. The Tauret written on tables
of stone. Sale says : " The Muhammadans have a tradition that
Moses asked to see God on the day of Arafat, and that he received
the law on the day they slay the victims at the pilgrimage of Makkah,
which days are the ninth and tenth of Dhu'l Hajja."

(145) the tables. " These tables, according to some, were seven in

SIPARA IX.] ( 235 ) [CHAP. VII.

admonition concerning every matter, and a decision in
every case, and said, Eeceive this with reverence; and
command thy people that they live according to the most
excellent precepts thereof. I will show you the dwelling
of the wicked. (146) I will turn aside from my signs
those who behave themselves proudly in the earth, with-
out justice : and although they see every sign, yet they
shall not believe therein ; and although they see the way
of righteousness, yet they shall not take that way ; but
if they see the way of error, they shall take that way.
(147) This shall come to pass because they accuse our signs
of imposture, and neglect the same. But as for them who
deny the truth of our signs and the meeting of t"he life to
come, their works shall be vain : shall they be rewarded
otherwise than according to what they shall have wrought?

|| (148) And the people of Moses, after his departure, H "jp
took a corporeal calf, made of their ornaments, which

number, and according to others ten. Nor are the commentators
agreed whether they were cut out of a kind of lote-tree in Paradise
called al Sidra, or whether they were chrysolites, emeralds, rubies,
or common stone. But they say that they were each ten or twelve
cubits long ; for they suppose that not only the ten commandments
but the whole law was written thereon : and some add that the
letters were cut quite through the tables, so that they might be read
on both sides, which is a fable of the Jews." Sale, Baidhdwi.

And a decision in every case. These words are omitted in Rod-
well's translation, but present in all copies of the Quran in Arabic I
have been able to consult. Evidently Muhammad believed and
taught that Moses while in Mount Sinai received not the ten com-
mandments only (Exod. xxxiv. 28, 29 ; xxxi. 18), but also the whole
code of laws contained in the Pentateuch.

The dwelling of the wicked, viz., " The desolate habitations of the
Egyptians, or those of the impious tribes of Ad and Thamud, or
perhaps hell." Sale.

(146, 147) See notes above on vers. 97-100.

(148) A corporeal calf. Rodwell renders the word here translated
" corporeal," ruddy like gold. The Persian and Urdu translations
agree with Sale. See also note on chap. ii. 50.

Ornament*. The Tafsir-i- Raufi says this idol was made of the
ornaments borrowed from the Egyptians on the eve of their de-
parture (Exod. xii. 35, 36).

Which lowed. See note on chap. ii. 50. This also contradicts
Bible history.

CHAP. VII.] ( 236 ) [SIPARA IX.

lowed. Did they not see that it spake not unto them,
neither directed them in the way ? yet they took it for
their god, and acted wickedly. (149) But when they
repented with sorrow, and saw that they had gone astray,
they said, Verily if our Lord have not mercy upon us,
and forgive us not, we shall certainly become of the num-
ber of those who perish. (150) And when Moses returned
unto his people, full of wrath and indignation, he said,
An evil thing is it that ye have committed after my de-
parture ; have ye hastened the command of your Lord ?
And he threw down the tables, and took his brother by
the hair of the head, and dragged him unto him. And
Aaron said unto him, Son of my mother, verily the people
prevailed against me, and it wanted little but they had
slain me : make not my enemies therefore to rejoice over
me, neither place me with the wicked people. (151) Moses
said, O Lord, forgive me and my brother, and receive us
into thy mercy ; for thou art the most merciful of those
who exercise mercy.
R ^f * II (1^2) Verily as for them who took the calf for their

god, indignation shall overtake them from their Lord, and
ignominy in this life: thus will we reward those who

(149) When they repented. This statement makes the repentance
of the Israelites to have taken place during the absence of Moses.

(150) He threw down the tables, " which were all broken, and taken
up to heaven, except one only ; and this, they say, contained the
threats and judicial ordinances, and was afterwards put into the
ark." Sale, Baidhdwi.

Muhammad seems to have been ignorant of the renewal of the
tables, described in Exod. xxxiv.

Dragged him. This scene seems to have been entirely due to the
imagination of Muhammad. Exod. xxxii. 21-24. teaches no more
than that Moses was angry with his brother for having had anything
to do with the sin of the multitude.

(151) Forgive me and my brother. Forgive me for treating my
elder brother with such disrespect, or for breaking the tables, and
forgive my brother for whatever fault he committed in connection
with the worship of the calf. Tafslr-i-Rauji. This passage dis-
proves the claim of modern Muslims that all the prophets were

(152) See notes on chap. ii. 53.

SIPARAIX.] ( 237 ) [CHAP. VII.

imagine falsehood. (153) But unto them who do evil,
and afterwards repent, and believe in God, verily thy
Lord will thereafter be clement and merciful. (154) And
when the anger of Moses was appeased, he took the tables ;
and in what was written thereon was a direction and
mercy unto those who feared their Lord. (155) And
Moses chose out of his people seventy men, to go up with
him to the mountain at the time appointed by us : and
when a storm of thunder and lightning had taken them
away, he said, Lord, if thou hadst pleased, thou hadst
destroyed them before, and me also ; wilt thou destroy us
for that which the foolish men among us have committed ?
This is only thy trial ; thou wilt thereby lead into error
whom thou pleasest, and thou wilt direct whom thou
pleasest. Thou art our protector, therefore forgive us, and
be merciful unto us ; for thou art the best of those who
forgive. (156) And write down for us good in this world,
and in the life to come ; for unto thee are we directed.
God answered, I will inflict my punishment on whom I
please ; and my mercy extendeth over all things ; and I
will write down good unto those who shall fear me, (157)
and give alms, and who shall believe in our signs ; (158)
who shall follow the apostle, the illiterate prophet, whom

(154) He took the tables, i.e., " the fragments of what was left," say
the commentators. The passage plainly says the tables, meaning the
whole, though broken in pieces. See note above on ver. 1 50.

(155) See notes on chap. ii. 54, and chap. iv. 152. In chap. iv. this
sin and its punishment is made to precede the worship of the calf
and its judgment.

Thou wilt . . . lead into error, dec. See note on chap. ii. 155, and
vi. 125.

(158) The illiterate prophet. See Prelim. Disc, pp. 73, 74.

Kodwell thinks Muhammad insincere in making this claim. See
his note in loco. We need only consider what a man of letters was
in Muhammad's time to enable us to decide whether the Quran jus-
tifies this claim of Muhammad or not. To Muslims, however, it is
accepted, as doubtless Muhammad intended it should be, as one of
the chief arguments to prove the miraculous character of the Qurdn.
But the manner in which this expression is thrown into this verse and
the next raises the conjecture, which with us amounts to an opinion,
that this appellation came originally from the Jews, who used it in

CHAP. VII.] ( 238 ) (SIPARA IX.

they shall find written down with them in the law and
the gospel : he will command them that which is just,
and will forbid them that which is evil, and will allow
them as lawful the good things which were before forbidden,
and will prohibit those which are bad ; and he will ease
them of their heavy burden, and of the yokes which were
upon them. And those who believe in him, and honour
him, and assist him, and follow the light, which hath been
sent down with him, shall be happy.
R $ II (159) Say, men, Verily I am the messenger of God
unto you all : unto him belongeth the kingdom of heaven
and earth ; there is no God but he ; he giveth life, and he
causeth to die. Believe therefore in God and his apostle,
the illiterate prophet, who believeth in God and his word ;
and follow him, that ye may be rightly directed. (160) Of
the people of Moses there is a party who direct others
with truth, and act justly according to the same. (161)

expressing their contempt for the Gentile prophet, the term Ummi
meaning Gentile in the technical sense. Muhammad would readily
adopt the name, for reasons already expressed.

Written down with them in the law and the gospel, i.e., " both fore-
told by name and certain description." Safe. The passages usually
quoted by Muslims as referring to their Prophet are Deut. xviii. 15,
xxxiii. 2 ; Ps. 1. 2 ; Isa. xxi. 7, and lxiii. 1-6 ; Hab. iii. 3 ; John
i. 21, xiv. 16, xvL 7 ; and Rev. vi. 4. Muhammad nowhere ventures
to quote the Scripture foretelling his advent, except in chap. Ixi. 6,
where he certainly .shows himself to be illiterate in respect to the
New Testament Scriptures.

Good things . . . and bad. See note on chap. iii. 49, and chap.
v. 2-6.

This passage is regarded by Noeldeke as a Madina revelation,
because of the maturity of Islam here presented, and because of the
reference to those who "assist" the Prophet, i.e., the Ansdrs, who
were not so called until after the Hijra.

(159) men. Sale understands this to mean all mankind, but it
is more natural to understand it as simply addressed to the people of
Makkah. See note on chap. ii. 21.

(160) A party, viz., " Those Jews who seemed better disposed
than the rest of their brethren to receive Muhammad's law, or per-
haps such of them as had actually received it. Some imagine thev
were a Jewish nation dwelling somewhere beyond China, which
Muhammad 6aw the night he made his journey to heaven, and who
believed on him." Sale, Baidhdwi.

See also notes on chap. vi. 20.

SIPARA IX.] ( 239 ) [CHAP. VII.

And we divided them into twelve tribes, as into so
many nations. And we spake by revelation unto Moses
when his people asked drink of him, and we said, Strike
the rock with thy rod ; and there gushed thereout twelve
fountains, and men knew their respective drinking-place.
And we caused clouds to overshadow them, and manna
and quails to descend upon them, saying, Eat of the good
things which we have given you for food : and they in-
jured not us, but they injured their own souls. (162) And
call to mind when it was said unto them, Dwell in this city,
and eat of the provisions thereof wherever ye will, and say,
Forgiveness; and enter the gate worshipping: we will
pardon you your sins, and will give increase unto the
well-doers. (163) But they who were ungodly among
them changed the expression into another, which had not
been spoken unto them. Wherefore we sent down upon
them indignation from heaven, because they transgressed.

(164) And ask them concerning the city, which was ^ 2 \
situate on the sea, when they transgressed on the Sabbath- -^ 1 1
day : when their fish came unto them on their Sabbath-
day, appearing openly on the ivater : but on the day
whereon they celebrated no Sabbath, they came not unto
them. Thus did we prove them, because they were wicked-
doers. (165) And when a party of them said unto the others,
Why do ye warn a people whom God will destroy, or will
punish with a grievous punishment ? They answered, This

(161) See notes on chap. ii. 56 and 59. This stone, says Baidh&wi,
was thrown down from Paradise by Adam. Shuaib having posses-
sion of it, gave it with the rod to Moses. The Tafsir-i-Raufh says ,
the stone lay hidden in the desert, but spoke to Moses as he passed
by, saying, " Take me ; I will be of use to thee."

(162, 163) See notes on chap. ii. 57, 58.

(164) The city. Ailah or Elath, on the Red Sea. See chap. ii. 64.

(165) Why do ye vxxrn, <&c. ? Commentators differ as to the persons
asking this question, some referring it to the pious, others to the un-

An excuse. " That we have done our duty in dissuading them
from their wickedness." Sale. This seems to decide the question
as to who asked the question, Why do ye warn, &c. ?

CHAP. VII.] ( 240 ) [SIPARA IX.

is an excuse/or its unto your Lord, and peradventure they
will beware. (166) Bat when they had forgotten the ad-
monitions which had been given them, we delivered those
who forbade them to do evil ; and we inflicted on those
who had transgressed a severe punishment, because they
had acted wickedly. (167) And when they proudly re-
fused to desist from what had been forbidden them, we said
unto them, Be ye transformed into apes, driven away from
the society of men. (168) And remember when thy Lokd
declared that he would surely send against the Jews until
the day of resurrection some nation who should afflict
them with a grievous oppression ; for thy Lord is swift
in punishing, and he is also ready to forgive, and merciful:
(169) and we dispersed them among the nations in the
earth. Some of them are upright persons, and some of
them are otherwise. And we proved them with pros-
perity and with adversity, that they might return from
their disobedience; (170) and a succession of their posterity
hath succeeded after them, who have inherited the book
of the law, who receive the temporal goods of this world,
and say, It will surely be forgiven us : and if a temporal
advantage like the former be offered them, they accept it
also. Is it not the covenant of the book of the law estab-
lished with them, that they should not speak of God aught

(166, 167). See notes on chap. ii. 64, ami v. 65.

(168) See note on chap. v. 69. Comp. Deut. xxviii. 49, 50.

(169) Upright . . . and . . . otherwise. Comp. chap. iii. 113, 199.
This passage is certainly of Madina origin, hut revealed soon after
the Hijra, when some of the Jews hecame Muslims. The unbe-
lievers are reminded of the fate of their rebellious forefathers.

(170) Who receive, dec. "By accepting of bribes for wresting
judgment, and for corrupting the copies of the Pentateuch, and by
extorting of usury, &c." Sale, Baidhdwi.

Aught but truth. The lying of the Jews alluded to here, say the
commentators, was their saying tliat their sins were all forgiven
them ; the sins of the night were forgiven in the day, and the sins
of the day in the night. See Taftlr-i-llauji.

They diligently read, dec. This passage also shows that the Jews
in Muhammad's time were in possession of genuine copies of their

SI PARA IX.] ( 241 ) [CHAP. VII.

but the truth ? Yet they diligently read that which is
therein. But the enjoyment of the next life will be better
for those who fear God than the wicked gains of these people :
(Do ye not therefore understand ?) (171) and for those
who hold fast the book of the law, and are constant at
prayer : for we will by no means suffer the reward of the
righteous to perish. (172) And when we shook the
mountain of Sinai over them, as though it had been
a covering, and they imagined, that it was falling upon
them ; and we said, Receive the law which we have
brought you with reverence ; and remember that which
is contained therein, that ye may take heed.

(173) And when thy Lord drew forth their posterity R ^2
from the lions of the sons of Adam, and took them to
witness against themselves, saying, Am not I your Lord ?
They answered, Yea : we do bear witness. This was done
lest ye should say at the day of resurrection, Verily we
were negligent as to this matter, because we were not ap-
prised thereof: (174) or lest ye should say, Verily our
fathers were formerly guilty of idolatry, and we are their
posterity who have succeeded them ; wilt thou therefore
destroy us for that which vain men have committed ?
(175) Thus do we explain our signs, that they may return
from their vanities. (176) And relate unto the Jews the
history of him unto whom we brought our signs, and he

(172) The mountain. See note on chap. ii. 62. This passage is
based on Jewish tradition. See Rodwell in loco.

(173) Thy Lord drew forth, dec. "The commentators tell us that
God stroked Adam's back, and extracted from his loins his whole
posterity, which should come into the world until the resurrection,
one generation after another ; that these men were actually as-
sembled together in the shape of small ants, which were endued
with understanding ; and that after they had, in the presence of the
angels, confessed their dependence on God, they were again caused
to return into the loins of their great ancestor." Sale, Baidhdwi,
Jaldluddin, Yahya.

This transaction is said to have taken place in the valley of Mu-
man, near Arafat ; others say it took place in the plain of Dahia of
India. See Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco. This passage clearly recognises
the doctrine of pre-existence, as held by Origen.

(176) The history of him. " Some suppose the person here in-

CHAP. VII.] ( 242 ) [SIPARA IX.

departed from them ; wherefore Satan followed him, and
he became one of those who were seduced. (177) And if
we had pleased, we had surely raised him thereby unto
wisdom ; but he inclined unto the earth, and followed his
own desire. Wherefore his likeness as the likeness of a
dog, which, if thou drive him away, putteth forth his
tongue, or, if thou let him alone, putteth forth his tongue
also. This is the likeness of the people who accuse our
signs of falsehood. Eehearse therefore this history unto
them, that they may consider. (178) Evil is the simili-
tude of those people who accuse our signs of falsehood,
and injure their own souls. (179) Whomsoever God shall
direct, he un,ll be rightly directed ; and whomsoever he shall
lead astray, they shall perish. (180) Moreover we have
created for hell many of the genii and of men; they have
hearts by which they understand not, and they have eyes
by which they see not, and they have ears by which they
hear not. These are like the brute beasts ; yea, they go
more astray; these are the negligent. (181) God hath
most excellent names ; therefore call on him by the same ;

tended to be a Jewish Rabbi, or one Umraaya Ibn Abu Salab, who
read the Scriptures, aud found thereby that God would send a pro-
phet about that time, and was in hopes that he might be the man ;
liut when Muhammad declared his mission, believed not on him
through envy. But according to the more general opinion, it was
Balam, the son of Beor, of the Canaanitish race, well acquainted
with part at least of the Scripture, having even been favoured with
some revelations from God, who being requested by his nation to
curse Moses and the children of Israel,- refused it at first, saying,
"How can I curse those who are protected by the angels?' But
afterwards he was prevailed on by gifts ; and he had no sooner done
it, than he began to put out his tongue like a dog. and it hung down
upon his breast." Sale, Baidh&wi, Jaldluddin, &c. Comp. 2 Pet.
ii. 5, and Jude ii.

(178) Who accuse, <kc. See note on chap. iii. 1 85, and above on ver. 2.

(179, 180) This passage clearly makes God the author of evil. He
is said to create genii and men for the express purpose of filling hell
with them. Comp. chap. xi. 119. But see notes on chap. iii. 145,
! 55. The creation of the righteous is mentioned in ver. 182.

(181) God hath . . . name*. These are ninety-nine in number,
and are all to be found in the Quran. They are repeated by pious
Muslims, with the aid of a rosary, as a matter of merit. They are
is follows : The Merciful, the Compassionate, the King, the Most

SIPARA IX.] ( 243 ) [CHAP. VII.

and withdraw from those who use his name perversely :
they shall be rewarded for that which they shall have
wrought. (182) And of those whom we have created
there are a people who direct others with truth, and act
justly according thereto.

|| (183) But those who devise lies against our signs, we K fl
will suffer them to fall gradually into ruin, by a method
which they knew not: (184) and I will grant them to
enjoy a long and prosperous life ; for my stratagem is
effectual. (185) Do they not consider that there is no
devil in their companion ? He is no other than a public

Holy, the Tranquil, the Faithful, the Protector, the Victorious, the
Mighty, the Self-Exalted, the Creator, the Maker, the Former, the
Forgiver, the Wrathful, the Giver, the Cherisher, the Conqueror,
the Knower, the Seizer, the Expander, the Depresser, the Exalter,
the Strengthener, the Disgracer, the Hearer, the Seer, the Ruler, the

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 25 of 42)