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 26 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 26 of 42)
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Just, the Benignant, the Informer, the Great, the Pardoner, the
Rewarder, the High, the Great, the Rememberer, the Powerful, the
Satisfier, the Glorious, the Kind, the Guardian, the Answerer, the
All-embracing, the Wise, the All-loving, the Glorious, the Provider,
the Strong, the Firm, the Friend, the Praiseworthy, the Beginner,
the Reckoner, the Restorer, the Life-giver, the Destroyer, the Living,
the Self-subsisting, the Finder, the Glorious, the Unique, the Eternal,
the Powerful, the Prevailing, the Leader, the Finisher, the First, the
Eternal, the Everlasting, the Innermost, the Revealer, the Governor,
the Pure, the Propitious, the Remitter, the Avenger, the Merciful,
the King of the Kingdom, the Lord of Glory and Honour, the Equit-
able, the Assembler, the Rich, the Enricher, the Possessor, the Pro-
hibitor, the Afflicter, the Benefactor, the Light, the Guide, the
Creator, the Observer, the Inheritor, the Director, the Patient, the
Mild. See Macbride's Muhammadan Religion Explained, pp. 121-
1 23, and Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco.

Rewarded. " As did Walfd Ibn al Mughaira, who hearing Mu-
hammad give God the title of al Rahman, or the Merciful, laughed
aloud, saying he knew none of that name, except a certain man who
dwelt in Yam&ma ; or as the idolatrous Makkans did, who deduced
the names of their idols from those of the true God, deriving, for
example, Allat from Allah, al Uzza from al Aziz, the Mighty, and
Manat from al Mannan, the Bountiful." Sale.

(183) We will suffer them to fall, &c. " By flattering them with
prosperity in this life, and permitting them to sin in an uninter-
rupted security, till they find themselves unexpectedly ruined."
Sale. Baidhdwi.

(185) Their companion, viz., " In Muhammad, whom they j,'ave
out to be possessed when he went up to Mount Safa, and from thence

CHAP. VII.]. ( 244 ) [SIPARA IX.

preacher. Or do they not contemplate the kingdom of
heaven and earth, and the tilings which God hath created ;
and consider that peradventure it may be that their end
draweth nigh ? And in what new declaration will they
believe, after this ? (186) He whom God shall cause to
err shall have no director ; and he shall leave them in
their impiety, wandering in confusion. (187) They will
ask thee concerning the last hour, at what time its com-
ing is fixed ? Answer, Verily the knowledge thereof is
with my Lord ; none shall declare the fixed time thereof,
except he. The expectation tliereof is grievous in heaven
and on earth : it shall come upon you no otherwise than
suddenly. They will ask thee, as though thou wast well
acquainted therewith. Answer, Verily the knowledge
thereof is with God alone : but the greater part of men
know it not. (188) Say, I am able neither to procure
advantage unto myself, nor to avert mischief from me, but
as God pleaseth. If I knew the secrets of God, I should
surely enjoy abundance of good, neither should evil befall
me. Verily I am no other than a denouncer of threats,
and a messenger of good tidings unto people who believe.

called to the several families of each respective tribe, in order to
warn them of God's vengeance if they continued in their idolatry."
Sale, Baidhdwi.

The original literally translated, Do they not consider that there is to
their friend naught from the genii ?

A public preacher. This is the character in which Muhammad
loved to appear at Makkah. This claim is now made in the sense
that he is appointed of God to be a warner or preacher, hence the
transition from the position of reformer to that of apostle.

Declaration, i.e., the plain revelation of the Quran.

(186) See note on vers. 179 and 180.

(187) Grievous in heaven, i.e., to angels as well as to men,
genii, &c.

The knowledge thereof, dec. Compare Matt. xxiv. 36.

(188) This verse goes against those who attribute to Muhammad
the gift of foretelling future events. Much more does it refute the
assertions of those who say that Muhammad will intercede for his
people on the judgment-day, tradition to the contrary notwith-
standing, for no genuine tradition can contradict the uniform teach-
ing of the Quran. See note on chap. ii. 47, 123, and 254, and
vi. 49.

SIPARA IX.] ( 245 ) [CHAP. VII.

|| (189) It is he who hath created you from one person, J f-|-
and out of him produced his wife, that he might dwell
with her : and when he had known her, she carried a light
burden for a time, wherefore she walked easily therewith.
But when it became more heavy, she called upon God
their Lord, saying, If thou give us a child rightly shaped,
we will surely be thankful. (190) Yet when he had
given them a child rightly shaped, they attributed com-
panions unto him, for that which he had given them.
But far be that from God which they associated with
him ! (191) Will they associate with him false gods which
create nothing, but are themselves created ; (192) and

(189) One person. This certainly refers to Adam. The story
given by Sale below is an invention of the commentators to escape
from the conclusion that Adam and Eve became idolaters.

(190) They attributed companions unto him. " For the explaining
of this whole passage the commentators tell the following story.
They say that when Eve was big with her first child, the devil came
to her and asked her whether she knew what she carried within her,
and which way she should be delivered of it ; suggesting that pos-
sibly it might be a beast. She, being unable to give an answer to
this question, went in a fright to Adam, and acquainted him with
the matter, who not knowing what to think of it, grew sad and pen-
sive. Whereupon the devil appeared to her again (or, as others say,
to Adam), and pretended that he by his prayers would obtain of God
that she might be safely delivered of a son in Adam's likeness, pro-
vided they would promise to name him Abdul Harith, or the servant
of al Harith (which was the devil's name among the angels), instead
of Abdullah, or the servant of God, as Adam had designed. This
proposal was agreed to, and accordingly, when the child was born,
they gave it that name, upon which it immediately died. And
with this Adam and Eve are here taxed as an act of idolatry. The
story looks like a rabbinical fiction, and seems to have no other
foundation than Cain's being called by Moses Obed-adamah, that is,
a tiller of the ground, which might be translated into Arabic by
Abdul Harith.

" But al Baidhawi, thinking it unlikely that a prophet (as Adam
is by the Muhammadans supposed to have been) should be guilty of
such an action, imagines the Quran in this place means Kussai, one
of Muhammad's ancestors, and his wife, who begged issue of God,
and having four sons granted them, called their names Abd Manaf,
Abd Shams, Abdul Uzza, and Abdul Dar, after the names of four
principal idols of the Quraish. And the following words also he
supposes to relate to their idolatrous posterity." Sale, Baid/tdwi,

CHAP. VII.] ( 246 ) [SIPARA IX.

can neither give them assistance, nor help themselves?
(193) And if ye invite them to the true direction, they
will not follow you : it will be equal unto you whether ye
invite them, or whether ye hold your peace. (194) Verily
the false deities whom ye invoke besides God are servants
like unto you. Call therefore upon them, and let them
give you an answer, if ye speak truth. (195) Have they
feet, to walk with ? Or have they hands, to lay hold
with ? Or have they eyes, to see with ? Or have they
ears, to hear with ? Say, Call upon your companions,
and then lay a snare for me, and defer it not ; (196) for
God is my protector, who sent down the book of the Qurdn;
and he protecteth the righteous. (197) But they whom
ye invoke besides him cannot assist you, neither do they
help themselves ; (198) and if ye call on them to direct
you, they will not hear. Thou seest them look towards
thee, but they see not. (199) Use indulgence, and com-
mand that which is just, and withdraw far from the igno-
rant. (200) And if an evil suggestion from Satan be
suggested unto thee, to divert thee from thy duty, have
recourse unto God : for he hearetli and knoweth. (201)
Verily they who fear God, when a temptation from Satan
assaileth them, remember the divine commands, and behold,

(194) The false deities . . . are servants. The sun, moon, and stars
are here alluded to.

(195) Comp. Isa. xliv. 8-21, and Ps. cxv. 3-8.

Lay a snare for me. This points to a period near the Hijra when
the Quraish were ready by any means to destroy their dangerous
neighbour. Muhammad expresses confidence in God ; may he not
have already seen the way to deliverance in the completed arrange-
ments made for retiring to Madina?

(199) Use indulgence; "or, as the words may also be translated,
Take the superabundant overplus, meaning that Muhammad should
accept such voluntary alms from the people as they could spare.
But the passage, if taken in this sense, was abrogated by the precept
of legal alms, which was given at Madina." Sale.

It is more natural to understand this as an exhortation to Mu-
hammad to be forbearing toward the idolaters of Makkah.

And withdraw. This seems clearly to refer to the Hijra. See
chap vi. 106.

(200) See notes on chaps, iv. 116, and vi. 1 12.

SIPARA IX.] ' ( 247 ) [CHAP. VII.

they clearly see the danger of sin and the wiles of the devil.
(202) But as for the brethren of the devils, they shall con-
tinue them in error, and afterwards they shall not preserve
themselves therefrom. (203) And when thou bringest not
a verse of the Qurdn unto them, they say, Hast thou not
put it together ? Answer, I follow that only which is
revealed unto me from my Lord. This look containeth
evident proofs from your Lord, and is a direction and
mercy unto people who believe. (204) And when the
Quran is read attend thereto, and keep silence, that ye
may obtain mercy. (205) And meditate on thy Lord in
thine own mind, with humility and fear, and without loud
speaking, evening and morning; and be not one of the
negligent. (206) Moreover the angels who are with my
Lord do not proudly disdain his service, but they celebrate
his praise and worship him.

(202) The brethren. Those under the influence of devils.

(203) Hast thou not put it together? i.e., " Hast thou not yet con-
trived what to say ; or canst thou obtain no revelation from God ? "

The garbled stories, learned from Jewish tradition, so plentifully
given in this chapter, entirely justify the taunt intended here. See
note on ver. 85.

Muhammad's reply is, as usual, a reassertion of his own inspira-

(204) Keep silence. The occasion on which this verse was revealed
was as follows : A young Muslim, standing behind the Prophet,
kept repeating in a loud voice the passages of the Quran which were
being read, thus creating confusion in the service. The passage
enjoins silence on the part of all Muslims during prayers, except the
Imam or leader.

(205) Evening and morning. The five times for prayer probably
had not yet been fixed. The commentators say these are the most
important seasons of prayer.

(206) Worship him. This is one of the fifteen places in the Quran
where the reader must, according to some, prostrate himself in read-
ing ; according to others, this prostration is meritorious, though not

( 248 )


Revealed at Madina.


The title of this Sura was taken from the question of the first verse
concerning spoils. The chapter, however, has but little to do with
this subject, almost the whole of it being taken up with a descrip-
tion of the miraculous character of the battle of Badr, with allusions
to events immediately preceding or following it, by which the faith-
ful are confirmed in their confidence in God and Muhammad. Islam
is declared to have now received the seal of God to its truth, and
consequently all who hereafter may oppose it will merit shame and
destruction both in this world and in the world to come.

The confident and often defiant tone, perceptible in this chapter,
may be accounted for by the circumstances under which it was
written. Muhammad had been successful beyond expectation, and
the sometimes despondent Muslims were now exulting over tho-e
from whom they had so lately fled in fear. Muhammad, ever ready
to use his opportunities, declares this victory to be decisive proof of
the divine favour. God had brought it all about that he "might
accomplish the thing which was decreed to be done ; that he who
perisheth hereafter may perish after demonstrative evidence, and
that he who liveth may live by the same evidence."

Accordingly the infidels are denounced in no measured terms.
Even the proud Quraish are addressed in a patronising manner, and
are ottered an amnesty on condition of their ceasing to oppose. The
hypocrites and hitherto disaffected inhabitants of Madina are re-
proved and warned, while the duplicity of the Jews is threatened.

There is, however, the anticipation of future trouble. It required
no more than the sagacity of a politician to foretell it. The Muslims


( 249 )


are therefore urged to prepare for the holy war, and to fight with
that assurance which enables one man to face ten of his adversariea
God would be on their side, and the infidels would only rush on to
certain destruction.

Nothing could be in stronger contrast than the spirit of this
chapter compared with the latter part of chapter iii, written just
after the Muslim defeat at Ohod. Such a comparison should make
it clear to Muslims that the revelation of the Quran, instead of being
copied from the Preserved Table under the throne of God, was
copied from the heart-table of Muhammad himself.

Probable Date of tlie Revelations.

It is certain that the greater part of this chapter was written
immediately after the battle of Badr in A.H. 2. Indeed there is no
part of it which may not be referred to this period excepting vers.
7375, which must be assigned to the earlier months of a.h. i. Sale
mentions the fact that some authorities would place vers. 30-36
among the Makkan revelations, but the evidence seems to me to be
against them. This passage might, however, belong to an earlier
period than A.n. 2, inasmuch as it relates to the flight from Makkah.
Yet the victory of Badr would naturally recall to Muhammad's
mind the circumstances of his flight, and thus lead to their mention

Principal Subjects.

Spoils belong to God and his Apostle

True believers and their future reward

Muslims reproved for distrusting their Prophet .

God gives the Muslims either the Quraish or their caravan

The victory of Badr a seal to Islam ....

Angelic aid vouchsafed to Muhammad

The Muslims refreshed and comforted before the battle

The angels enjoined to comfort the faithful by destroying

the infidel Quraisli ......

Infidels are doomed to punishment here and hereafter
Muslims are never to turn their backs on the infidels on

pain of hell-fire .......

The victory of Badr a miracle .....

The Quraisli are warned against further warfare with the


Muslims exhorted to steadfastness in faith .
Infidels compared to deaf and dumb brutes
Believers are to submit themselves to God and his Apostle






10, 11

13, 14




20, 21
22. 23



( 250 )


They are warned against civil strife, deception, and trea


God's favour to true believers

Plots against Muhammad frustrated by God

The infidels liken the Quran to fables

The Quraish were protected from deserved punishment by

Muhammad's presence among them
The idolaters of Makkah rebuked and threatened
An amnesty offered to the Quraish ....
Impenitent idolaters to be extirpated from the earth .
How the spoils of war are to be divided
The Muslims were led by God to fight at Badr to attest the

truth of Islam

The Muslims encouraged, and the infidels lured to destruc

tion, by each seeing the other to be few in number

Believers exhorted to obedience

Believers warned against impious vainglory

The devil deserts the Quraish at Badr

The fate of hypocrites ......

Their doom like that of Pharaoh and his people .
The worst of beasts are the infidels ....

Treachery to be met with its like ....

God is against the infidels . . .

The Muslims excited to war against unbelievers

Condition of peace with unbelievers ....

The miracle of Arab union. .....

God with the Prophet and the Muslims in warring for the


Muslims reproved for accepting ransom for the captives

taken at Badr .......

Captive Quraish exhorted to accept Islam, and warned

against deception

The brotherhood of the Ansars and Muhaj Jirin
The hereditary rights of blood-relations re-established






















R li


|| (1) They will ask thee concerning the spoils : Answer,
The division of the spoils bclongeth unto God and the

(1) The spoil*, taken at the battle of Badr. "It consisted of 115
camels, 14 horses, a large store of leather (beds and rugs), and much
equipage and armour." J/uiV Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 1 1 1.


Apostle. Therefore fear God, and compose the matter
amicably among you: and obey God and his Apostle, if
ye are true believers. (2) Verily the true believers are
those whose hearts fear when God is mentioned, and whose
faith increaseth when his signs are rehearsed unto them,
and who trust in their Lord ; (3) who observe the stated
times of prayer, and give alms out of that which we have
bestowed on them. (4) These are really believers : they
shall have superior degrees of felicity with their Lord,
and forgiveness, and an honourable provision. (5) As thy
Lord brought thee forth from thy house with truth, and

The division, &c. Rod well translates this passage correctly The
spoils are God's and the Apostle's. The ellipsis understood by Sale,
however, points to the cause for this revelation. It was due to a
dispute between those who pursued the Quraish at Badr and those
who remained behind to guard the Prophet and the camp as to the
division of the spoils. Muhammad silences both parties by telling
them the victory was due to neither, but to God, and therefore the
spoil was God's and his Apostle's, and that they must await the
divine command as to its disposal. Idem, p. 112.

"It is related that Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas, one of the companions,
whose brother Omair was slain in this battle, having killed Said Ibn
al As, took his sword, and carrying it to Muhammad, desired that he
might be permitted to keep it ; but the Prophet told him that it was
not his to give away, and ordered him to lay it with the other spoils.
At this repulse and the loss of his brother Saad was greatly dis-
turbed ; but in a very little while this chapter was revealed, and
thereupon Muhammad gave him the sword, saying, ' You asked this
sword of me when I had no power to dispose of it, but now I have
received authority from God to distribute the spoils, you may take
it.' " Sale, BaidMwi.

(24) See notes on chap. ii. 3-5.

(5) As thy Lord, &c, i.e., from Madina. " The particle as having
nothing in the following words to answer it, al Baidhawi supposes
the connection to be, that the division of the spoils belonged to the
Prophet, notwithstanding his followers were averse to it, as they had
been averse to the expedition itself." Sale.

Rodwell supplies the word Remember, and translates, Remember
how thy Lord, &c. The Urdu translations agree with Sale.

Part . . . were averse. This passage refers to the following cir-
cumstances : Muhammad having received information of the ap-
proach of a caravan of the Quraish under Abu Sufian, went forth
with his followers to plunder it. But Abu Sufian being apprised
of the Muslim expedition, L;ave them the slip by turning aside and
pursuing his journey by another way. Succours had been called for
from Makkah, and 950 armed men, mounted on camels and horses,

CHAP. VIII.] ( 252 ) [SIPARA IX.

part of the believers were averse to thy directions: (6)
they disputed with thee concerning the truth, after it had
been made known unto them; no otherwise than as if they
had been led forth to death, and had seen it with tluir
eyes. (7) And call to mind when God promised you one
of the two parties, that it should be delivered unto you,
and ye desired that the party which was not furnished
with arms should be delivered unto you : but God pur-
posed to make known the truth in his words, and to cut
off the uttermost part of the unbelievers ; (8) that he
might verify the truth, and destroy falsehood, although

had answered the summons, and notwithstanding the safety of the
caravan, they determined to advance and punish the Muslims. Mu-
hammad and his people advanced with the expectation of an easy
victory and abundant spoil, but learned to their chagrin of Abu
Sufian's escape and the near approach of the succours. The question
now arose among the disappointed followers whether they should
pursue the caravan or follow Muhammad to the battle. By the aid
of revelation and the interposition of Abu Baqr, Omar, and others,
the disobedient were induced to submit to Muhammad's orders to
attack the succours, which resulted in the celebrated battle of Badr.
See Sale's note in loco, and Muir's Life of Mahomet, voL iii. chap. xii.

(6) After it had been made known. Muhammad pretended to have
received a promise from Gabriel that he should have either the
caravan or victory over the succours. Victory was therefore assumed
beforehand, but the smallness of tluir number made them afraid.

(7) One of the two -parties. 4i That is, either the caravan or the suc-
cours from Makkah. Father Marracci, mistaking al 'air and al naftr,
which are appellatives, and signify the caravan and the troop or body
of succours, for proper names, has thence coined two families of the
Quraish never heard of before, which he calis Airensea and Naphi-
renses (Marracci in Ale, p. 297)." Sale.

Ye desired, that the caravan, guarded by only forty armed men,
should be attacked.

But God proposal, dec. " As if he had said, Your view was only to
gain the spoils of the caravan and to avoid danger ; but God de-
signed to exalt liis true religion by extirpating its adversaries."
Sale, Baidhdwi.

(8) That he might verify the truth. The victory of the Muslims is
here declared to be evident proof of the divine mission of Muham-
mad and the truth of his religion. This claim gave ground to much
doubt among the faithful and to scoffs and jeers among unbelievers
after the defeat at Ohod. See notes on chap. iii. 121, and verses

SIPARA IX.] ( 253 ) [CHAP. VIII.

the wicked were averse thereto. (9) When ye asked
assistance of your Lord, and he answered you, Verily I
will assist you with a thousand angels, following one an-
other in order. (10) And this God designed only as good
tidings for you, and that your hearts might thereby rest
secure : for victory is from God alone ; and God is mighty
and wise.

jj (11) When a sleep fell on you as a security from him, Jx J~'
and he sent down upon you water from heaven, that he

(9) Assistance from your Lord. " When Muhammad's men saw
they could not avoid fighting, they recommended themselves to
God's protection ; and their Prophet prayed with great earnestness,
crying out, ' O God, fulfil that which thou hast promised me : O
God, if this party be cut off, thou wilt be no more worshipped on
earth.' And he continued to repeat these words till his cloak fell
from off his back." Sale, and the Tafslr-i-Baufi.

A thousand angels. See notes on chap. iii. 13, and 123-125. In
chap. iii. 127, the number of angels is given at 3000. The commen-
tators reconcile the discrepancy by saying that at first 1000 angels
appeared, " which," says Sale, " were afterwards reinforced with
3000 more. Wherefore some copies, instead of a thousand, read thou-
sands, in the plural."

(10) See notes on chap. iii. 126.

(11) Water from heaven. The following is Baidhawi's comment as
given by Sale :

" The spot where Muhammad's little army lay was a dry and deep
sand, into which their feet sank as they walked, the enemy having
the command of the water ; and that having fallen asleep, the greater
part of them were disturbed with dreams, wherein the devil suggested
to them that they could never expect God's assistance in the battle,

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 26 of 42)