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 29 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 29 of 42)
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him repeatedly, the term was applied to all who allied themselves
to Muhammad.

Nearest of kin. "And shall consequently inherit one another's
substance, preferably to their relations by blood. And this, they
say, was practised for some time, the Muhajjirin and Ansars being
judged heirs to one another, exclusive of the deceased's other kin-
dred, till this passage was abrogated by the following : Those uho
are related by blood shall be deemed the nearest of kin to each other."

Abdul Qadir thinks the relationships of Muslims referred to here
to pertain to faith only and to the future life, and thus reconciles
this verse with ver. 76. But there is nothing in the language to
warrant such an interpretation. As a matter of policy this law was
inaugurated in order to bind the Muslims together in the earlier
days of the Hijra, but it could not long bear the pressure of its own
weight, and hence was abrogated by the law of ver. 76.

(74) This verse illustrates the political sagacity of Muhammad.
He divides all Arabs into two classes, and unites all his following,
from whatever quarter they might come, against the fragmentary
elements of the opposition.

(75) This verse corresponds with ver. 73, except in. so far as the
change of law required a change in the language. I think it very
probable that this verse gives the revised reading of ver. j$, and was
intended to take its place in the Quran.

(7G) See notes on ver. 73, also notes on chap. iv. 6-13.

CHAP. VIII.] ( 272 ) [SIPAKA X

country, and have fought with you, these also are of you.
And those who are related by consanguinity shall be
deemed the nearest of kin to each other preferably to
strangers according to the book of God : God knoweth ;ill

( 273 )


Revealed at Madina.


Of the many titles given to this chapter, those of Immunity and
Repentance are most commonly known. The former title is based on
the first verse, the latter on the third verse, or, perhaps better still,
upon the spirit of the whole chapter, which is a call to repentance to
a multitude of disaffected and lukewarm Muslims and Arabs who
declined to accompany Muhammad in his expedition to Tabuq.
Sale says : " It is observable that this chapter alone has not the
auspiciatory form, In the name of the most merciful God, prefixed to
it ; the reason of which omission, as some think, was, because these
words imply a concession of security, which is utterly taken away
by this chapter after a fixed time ; wherefore some have called it
the chapter of Punishment j others say that Muhammad (who died
soon after he had received this chapter), having given no direction
where it should be placed, nor for the prefixing the Bismillah to it,
as had been done to the other chapters, and the argument of this
chapter bearing a near resemblance to that of the preceding, his
companions differed about it, some saying that both chapters were
but one, and together made the seventh of the seven long ones, and
others that they were two distinct chapters ; whereupon, to accom-
modate the dispute, they left a space between them, but did not
interpose the distinction of the Bismillah.

" It is agreed that this chapter was the last which was revealed,
and the only one, as Muhammad declared, which was revealed entire
and at once, except the one hundred and tenth.

"Some will have the two last verses to have been revealed at

The statement that this chapter was the last revealed is based

CHAP. IX.] ( 274 ) [lNTROD.

upon the testimony of tradition, but the internal evidence fixes the
date of most of the revelations within the ninth year of the Hijra.
With this also Muslim tradition agrees. It would therefore appear
that during one whole year no revelation was vouchsafed to Muham-
mad, which is contrary to other traditions, which assign portions of
chapters ii., v., &c, to the time of the farewell pilgrimage in the end
of a.h. 10.

The statement that this whole chapter was revealed at one time is
also unfounded, as will be seen by reference to the date of the revela-
tions given below.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

Following Noeldeke for the most part, vers. 1-12 belong to
the latter part of a.h. 9. when Muhammad sent AH to Makkah
to notify to the tribes assembled there that henceforth the Holy
Temple would be closed against idolaters. Vers. 13-16, how-
ever, belong to an earlier period, viz., a.h. 8, when Muhammad
planned his expedition for the capture of Makkah. To these may
be added vers. 17-24, which, however, mark the time when Mu-
hamined first thought of conquering his native city. Some would
place vers. 23 and 24 among the revelations enunciated previous
to the expedition to Tabtiq in a.h. 9.

Vers. 25-27 mention the victory at Hunain (Shawal, a.h. 8),
and belong to the period immediately following the siege of Tayif,
i.e., Dzul Qaada, a.h. 8.

Ver. 28 seems to be connected with vers. 1-12, and therefore be-
longs to the latter part of a.h. 9.

Vers. 29-128 refer to the events connected with the expedition to
Tabtiq, which occurred in Eajab of a.h. 9. They were not, how-
ever, all enunciated at one time, but partly before the expedition,
partly on the march, and partly after the return.

Vers. 29-35 ma y ue referred to the time of arrival at Tabtiq, when
the Christian prince, John of Aylah, tendered his submission to Mu-
hammad, paying tribute (Jazya).

Vers. 36 and 37, referring to the abolition of the intercalary year
and the fixing the time of the pilgrimage in accordance with the
changes of the lunar year, must be assigned to the Dzu'l Hajja of
a.h. 10.

The remaining verses Noeldeke distributes as follows : Previous to
the expedition, vers. 38-41 (of which, according to Ibn Hisham, 924,
ver. 41 is the oldest of the whole Sura), and 49-73. On the march,
vers. 42-48 and 82-97 (of which ver. 85, if it refers to the death of
Abdullah Ibn Ubbai, must have been added later on). After the

INTROD.] ( 275 ) [CHAP. IX.

return, vers. 74-81 and 98-113, of which vers. 108-111 were enun-
ciated just before the entry into Madina.

Vers. 114-117, if they refer to the visit of Muhammad to the
tomb of his mother, Amina Bint Wahb, as many authorities state,
must be referred to the latter part of a.h. 6. But if they refer
to the death of Abdullah Ibn Ubbai, they belong to a period about
two months later than the return from Tabiiq. This latter seems to
be founded on the best authority.

Vers. 118 and 119 were enunciated about fifty days after the
return from Tabiiq (see note on ver. 119). The remaining verses,
excepting 129 and 130, which are probably of Makkan origin, belong
to the time immediately after the return from Tabuq.

Principal Subjects.


Four months' immunity proclaimed to idolaters . . . 1,2
After four months, all idolaters to be slain, with exception of

those with whom treaties have been made . . . 3-5
Ignorant idolaters to be taught the religion of Islam, after

which, if they repent, they are to be spared alive . 5, 6

No new league to be made with idolaters .... 7

Idolaters are not to be trusted ...... 8-10

Penitent idolaters to be regarded as brethren . . . 11
Muslims exhorted to fight against the truce-breakers of

Makkah 13-16

All but Muslims to be excluded from the sacred temples . 17, 18

Abbas rebuked for his vainglory ...... 19

The Muhajjirin assigned the first rank among Muslims their

reward 20-22

True believers to refuse friendship with nearest kin if they

be infidels . . . . . . . . . 23, 24

The victory of Hunain due to God's help .... 25-27

Idolaters excluded from the Kaabah . . . . . 28

The Jews and Christians as well as idolaters to be attacked . 29
Jews and Christians reproved for applying the epithet " Son

of God " to Ezra and Jesus ...... 30

They also worship their priests and monks . . . . 31, 32

Islam superior to all other religions ..... 33

Stingy Muslims likened to covetous monks their punishment 34, 35

Infidels may be attacked in sacred months .... 36

The sacred months not to be transferred .... 37

Muslims exhorted to go on expedition to Tabiiq by refer-
ence to God's help to Muhammad and Abu Baqr in

the cave 38-41


( 2 7 6 )



The lukewarm Muslims rebuked for wishing to stay at


Muhammad rebuked for excusing some of these from


Willingness to fight for Muhammad, a test of faith
Seditious Muslims rebuked ....
The sure reward of the faithful
God refuses the offerings of infidels and hypocrites
The wealth and prosperity of infidels a sign of


Half-hearted Muslims reproved

Those who hud spread libellous reports regarding Muham

mail's use of alms rebuked ....
How alms should be expended ....
Grumblers and hypocrites threatened
They are warned by the example of the wicked in former


The faithful described their rewards
Hypocrites denounced and threatened
Prosperity of infidels a prelude to their destruction .

God shall scoff at the scoffers

The traducers of the faithful shall never be forgiven

Punishment of the "stayers at home"

Muhammad forbidden to pray at the grave of unbelievers

and hypocrites

The Prophet not to wonder at the prosperity of the wicked

Reward of those who assist the Apostle in his wars

Hypocritical Arabs of the desert reproved

Who may lawfully remain at home in time of war

Other hypocrites reproved ....

The Baduin, the worst of hypocrites

Some of them true believers ....

The reward of the Ansars and Muhajjirin .

The desert Arabs and some of the people of Madiua re


The penitent confessors in Madina are pardoned
Others await God's decision in their case .
Denunciation against those who built a Masjid in opposi

tion to Muhammad and his faithful oik - .
True believers are sold to God ....
Muslims not to pray for idolatrous relatives
Why Abraham prayed for his idolatrous parents
God merciful to the faithful ....
The three recreant Ansars pardoned .




56, 57











108-1 1 1

112, II3



SIPARA X.J ( 277 ) [CHAP. IX.


The people of Madina rebuked for want of loyalty to Mu-
hammad 120-122

Some believers excused from going to war ... 123

True believers to war against neighbouring infidels and

hypocrisy 124

Eeproof of those who doubt the revelations of God and

Muhammad 125-128

The Apostle trusts in the help of God . . . .129,130

|| (1) A declaration of immunity from God and his ruba.
Apostle unto the idolaters with whom ye have entered "R 1.
into league. (2) Go to and fro in the earth securely four
months ; and know that ye shall not weaken God, and

(1) Ood and his Apostle. See note on chap. viii. 20. This formula
occurs sixteen times in this chapter.

With whom ye have entered into league. " Some understand this
sentence of the immunity or security therein granted to the infidels
for the space of four months ; but others think that the words
properly signify that Muhammad is here declared by God to be
absolutely free and discharged from all truce or league with them
after the expiration of that time ; and this last seems to be the truest

" Muhammad's thus renouncing all league with those who would
not receive him as the Apostle of God or submit to become tributary
was the consequence of the great power to which he was now arrived.
But the pretext he made use of was the treachery he had met with
among the Jewish and idolatrous Arabs scarce any keeping faith
with him except Bani Dhanira, Bani Kinana, and a few others."
Sale, Jaldluddin, Baidhdwi, Yahya.

This proclamation seals the triumph of Islam over all Arabia.
Henceforth there is to be no more compromise with idolaters. They
are to be converted to Islam or be destroyed by the sword. Previous
treaties of peace are to be respected, though this is due to the clem-
ency of " God and his Apostle," who here declare the Muslims to
be free from obligation to observe such treaties. How completely
the tables have been turned ! The Makkan refugee now dictates laws
for all Arabia !

(2) Four months. These were, according to some authorities,
Shawal, Dhu'l Qaada, Dhu'l Hajja, and Muharram, this revelation
having been made in Shawal. Others, computing from Dhu'l Hajja,

CHAP. IX.] ( 278 ) [SIPARA X.

that God will disgrace the unbelievers. (3) And a decla-
ration from God and his Apostle unto the people, on the
day of the greater pilgrimage, that God is clear of the
idolaters, and his Apostle also. Wherefore if ye repent,
this will be better for you ; but if ye turn back, know that
ye shall not weaken God : and denounce unto those who
believe not a painful punishment. (4) Except such of
the idolaters with whom ye shall have entered into a

when the proclamation of this revelation was made, reckon the
months to be Dhu'l Hajja, Muharram, Safar and Rabi-ul-auwal.
The latter seems to be the sounder opinion.

(3) TTie greater pilgrimage., viz., " The tenth of Dhu'l Hajja, when
they slay the victims at Mfna, which day is their great feast, and
completes the ceremonies of the pilgrimage. Some suppose the
adjective greater is added here to distinguish the pilgrimage made
at the appointed time from lesser pilgrimages, as they may be called,
or visitations of the Kaabah, which may be performed at any time
of the year; or else because the concourse at the pilgrimage this year
was greater than ordinary, both Muslims and idolaters being present
at it.

"The promulgation of this chapter was committed l>y Muhammad
to Ali, wno rode for that purpose on the Prophet's slit-eared camel
from Madina to Makkah ; and on the day above mentioned, landing
up before the whole assembly at al Aqabah, told them that he was
the messenger of the Apostle of God unto them. Whereupon they
asking him what was his errand, he read twenty or thirty verses
of the chapter to them, and then said, ' I am commanded to acquaint
you with four things : 1. That no idolater is to come near the temple
of Makkah after this year ; 2. That no man presume to compass the
Kaabah naked for the future (see chap. vii. 27-34). 3. That none
but true believers shall enter Paradise ; and 4. That public faith is
to be kept.'" Sale, Baidin'mi.

" There seems a kind of contradiction between the first verse, in
which all treaties are cast aside, and the subsequent verse and intima-
tion by Ali that treaties would be respected. Perhaps it was meant
that, notwithstanding any treaty, idolaters would be prevented from
coming to the pilgrimage, though the treaty would be in other
respects observed. Or it may mean that, although Mahomet had
permission given him in the first verse to cast aside treaties with
idolaters, yet he nevertheless voluntarily engaged to respect those
treaties which had been faithfully kept. The latter interpretation
is not so suitable as the other to the style of the Coram Mull's
Life of Mahomet, vol iv. p. 210, note.

(4) Except suck. The exception is in respect to the painful punish-
ment denounced against the unbelievers in the previous verse. So 1< >ng
as the idolaters with whom treaties of peace had already been made

SIPARA X.] ( 279 ) [CHAP. IX.

league, and who afterwards shall not fail you in any
instance, nor assist any other against you. Wherefore
perform the covenant which ye shall have made with them,
until their time shall be elapsed ; for God loveth those who
fear him. (5) And when the months wfoerein ye are not
allowed to attack them shall be past, kill the idolaters
wheresoever ye shall find them, and take them prisoners,
and besiege them, and lay wait for them in every con-
venient place. But if they shall repent, and observe the
appointed times of prayer and pay the legal alms, dismiss
them freely ; for God is gracious and merciful. (6) And
if any of the idolaters shall demand protection of thee,
grant him protection, that he may hear the word of God,
and afterwards let him reach the place of his security.
This shalt thou do, because they are people which know
not the excellency of the religion thou preachest.

should remain faithful to their treaty engagements, they should be
exempt from the punishment described in the following verse. The
spirit of the passage seems clearly to be opposed to that of the first
ver.se. It is probable that several revelations relating to idolaters,
and delivered at different times, have been woven together by the
compilers of the Quran. If this view be correct, the first verse was
promulgated at a later period than what follows, and we have here
an illustration of how the spirit of inspiration subserved the political
interests of the Prophet.

(5) Kill the idolaters. Compare this passage with chap. iv. 88, 89.
Wherever ye shall find them. " Either within or without the sacred
territory." Sale. This passage, with what follows, is said to abrogate
chap. ii. 216.

If they shall repent dec., i.e., if they shall embrace Islam, not only
formally but heartily. They must perform the duties of Islam.
" Hence," says Abdul Qadir, "Abu Baqr slew those who declined to
give legal alms, as he did the idolaters."

(6) That he may hear the word of God. The plain meaning of this
passage, according to the Tafdr-i-Raufi, is that the ignorant were to
be made acquainted with the claims of Islam, and if ilien they accepted
it, they were to be allowed to proceed to their homes in peace ; if
not, they were to be slain. Sale's paraphrase here seems to me to
mistake the purport of the general order to slay all impenitent
idolaters, excepting those with whom treaties had been made, and
who had observed their treaty obligations. He says, "You shall
give him a safe-conduct, that he may return home again securely, in
case he shall not think fit to embrace Muhammadanism."

CHAP. IX.] ( 280 ) [SIPARA X.

R f II (7) How shall the idolaters be admitted into a league
with God and with his Apostle, except those with whom
ye entered into a league at the holy temple ? So long as
they behave with fidelity towards you, do ye also behave
with fidelity towards them ; for God loveth those who
fear him. (8) How can they be admitted into a league with
you, since, if they prevail against you, they will not re-
gard in you either consanguinity or faith ? They will
please you with their mouths, but their hearts will be
averse from you ; for the greater part of them are wicked
doers. (9) They sell the signs of God for a small price,
and obstruct his way ; it is certainly evil which they do.
(10) They regard not in a believer either consanguinity or
faith; and these are the transgressors. (11) Yet if they re-
pent and observe the appointed times of prayer, and give
alms, they shall be deemed your brethren in religion. We
distinctly propound our signs unto people who understand.

(7) Those with whom ye entered into a league, i.e., the Bani Dhamra
and Bani Kinana, mentioned in note to ver. I.

(8) Bow f This ambiguous interrogative is variously understood.
In addition to what is inserted in the text we find the following :
" How can they ? " Rodwell. " How shall we not smite the in-
fidels?" Abdul Qddir. "How can there be peace?" Fatah-ar-
Hahmdn. The Persian translation agrees with tale.

If they prevail. The allusion seems to be clearly to Arab un-
believers. If so, this portion of the chapter must be referred to an
earlier date than that claimed for it by some of the commentators.
The spirit of the following verse, especially the charge against the
unbelievers, that they "sell the signs of God for a small price,"
points to the Quraish of Makkah in particular, with whom are per-
haps associated the disaffected inhabitants of Madina, as especially
intended here. With this view agrees the tradition concerning the
hypocrisy of Jallds, given in Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 30,

(9) Compare chap. ii. 175, 176, and see notes there.

(11) If they repent and observe, dec. This passage clearly asserts
the necessity of piety in religion as an evidence of true repentance.
The piety required, however, is simply the outward observance of the
rites of Islam. The contrast between Islam and Christianity on
this point is very marked, and needs only to be emphasised to
reveal the difference between the counterfeit and the true. The
ring of a genuine coin is unmistakable.

SIPARA X.] ( 28l ) [CHAP. IX.

(12) But if they violate their oaths after their league,
and revile your religion, oppose the leaders of infidelity
(for there is no trust in them), that they may desist from
their treachery. (13) Will ye not fight against people who
have violated their oaths, and conspired to expel the
Apostle of God; and who of their own accord assaulted
you for the first time ? Will ye fear them ? But it is
more just that ye should fear God, if ye are true believers.
(14) Attack them, therefore; God shall punish them by
your hands, and will cover them with shame, and will
give you the victory over them ; and he will heal the
breasts of the people who believe, (15) and will take away

(12) Oppose the leaders. Eodwell translates, "Do battle with
the ringleaders." This accords with the Persian and Urdu transla-
tions. Muslims are now to take active measures for the suppression
of infidelity.

(13) Will ye not fight, dec. Sale, on the authority of Baidhawi,
paraphrases thus : " As did the Quraish in assisting the tribe of
Baqr against those of Khudhaah (see Prelim. Disc, p. 93), and laying
a design to ruin Muhammad without any just provocation ; and, as
several of the Jewish tribes did, by aiding the enemy and endea-
vouring to oblige the Prophet to leave Madina as he had been
obliged to leave Makkah."

It seems more natural to regard the people here referred to as the
inhabitants of Makkah in particular. This is the view of the Tafsir-
i-Raufi. The passage, then, belongs to a period preceding the cap-
ture of Makkah, and was intended to stir up the faithful to make
war upon the Quraish, who had violated the treaty made at Hudai-
biya. This view accounts for the allusion to the perfidy of those
who regard neither religion nor consanguinity in ver. 8.

(14) By your hands. This passage seems to teach that Muslim
crusade again t idolatry was commanded by God as a sovereign act
of judgment, just as Moses was commanded to destroy the Canaan-
ites. The Muslim, therefore, uses the same arguments in defence of
the former that we do in respect of the conduct of Joshua and the
Israelites. See note on chap. ii. 191.

Will heal the breasts, &c. Sale, on the authority of Baidhawi, says
the allusion is to " those of Khudhaah ; or, as others say, certain
families of Yaman and Saba, who went to Makkah, and there pro-
fessed Muhammadanism, but were very injuriously treated by the
inhabitants ; whereupon they complained to Muhammad, who bid
them take comfort, for that joy was approaching."

It seems to me more natural to refer the healing to those Muslim
who were reluctant to fight against their own kindred at Makkah.
This is the class specially exhorted (in vers. 23, 24) to drown all
filial and fraternal affection in zeal for God and his Apostle. Love

CHAP. IX.] ( 282 ) [S1PARA X.

the indignation of their hearts: for God will be turned
unto whom he pleaseth ; and God is knowing and wise.
(16) Did ye imagine that ye should be abandoned, whereas
God did not yet know those among you who fought for
his religion, and took not any besides God, and his Apostle,
and the faithful for their friends ? God is well acquainted
with that which ye do.
R -f II (17) It is not fitting that the idolaters should visit
the temples of God, being witnesses against their own
souls of their infidelity. The works of these men are
vain, and they shall remain in hell-fire for ever. (18) But
he only shall visit the temples of God who believeth in

for Islam is to be supreme ; natural affection may wound the heart,
but God " will heal the breasts of the people who believe."

(15) Indignation of their hearts. The meaning of this verse de-
pends on ver. 14 According to the view of the commentators, it
would be that God, by avenging the faithful upon their persecutors,
would satisfy their desire for revenge. My own interpretation of
that verse requires this to mean that by healing the breasts of the
faithful, their indignation at the idea of warring against friends and
relations during even the sacred months would be removed amidst

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 29 of 42)