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 30 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 30 of 42)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the glories of the victory of Islam. This I think to be the bettt-r

For God will be turned unto whom he pleaselh. The Tafsir-i- Rauji
regards this as a prophecy foretelling the conversion of Abu Sufian,
Akrama Bin Abu Janl, &c. The passage, however, points to those
who, having been reluctant to tight against their relatives, had
become reconciled to the views of the Prophet, which fact is lure
regarded as a sign of the Divine favour.

(16) Gol did not y>.t know. Rodwell translates, "As if God did
not yet know." The Tafsir-i- Rauji paraphrases, " Since God lias not
yet made known." The passage seems to mean that the sincerity of
those who claimed to be Muslims could only be known by a trial of
their faith, and that the present defection of Rome was no reason for
supposing that all had been abandoned of God.

God is well acquainted, <c, i.e., he knows who are his true fol-
lowers and who are hypocrites.

(17) The temples of God. Literally, the masjids of God. Idolaters
are here refused admittance to the mosque as well as to the sacred
Kaabah at Makkah, a requirement carefully observed in all Muslim

(18) He only shall visit, dec "These words are to warn the be-
lievers from having too great a confidence in their own merits, and

SIPARA X.] ( 283 ) [CHAP. IX.

God and the last day, and is constant at prayer, and pay-
eth the legal alms, and feareth God alone. These per-
haps may become of the number of those who are rightly
directed. (19) Do ye reckon the giving drink to the
pilgrims and the visiting of the holy temple to be actions
as meritorious as those performed by him who believeth in
God and the last day, and fighteth for the religion of God ?
They shall not be held equal with God ; for God directeth
not the unrighteous people. (20) They who have believed,
and fled their country, and employed their substance and
their persons in the defence of God's true religion, shall
be in the highest degree of honour with God ; and these
are they who shall be happy. (21) Their Lord sendeth
them good tidings of mercy from him, and goodwill, and
of gardens wherein they shall enjoy lasting pleasure :
(22) they shall continue therein for ever; for with God
is a great reward. (23) true believers, take not your
fathers or your brethren for friends, if they love infidelity

likewise to deter the unbelievers ; for if the faithful will but perhaps
be saved, what can the others hope for 1 ?" Sale, Baidhdwi.

On the ground of this verse Jews and Christians should also be
excluded from the mosque, for whilst these perform the duties here
required, and though faith in Muhammad as the Apostle of God is
not expressly asserted here as one of the requirements, yet the plain
intent of the whole ia to exclude all except Muslims.

(19) " This passage was revealed on occasion of some words of
Abbas, Muhammad's uncle, who, when he was taken prisoner, bein<, r
bitterly reproached by the Muslims, and particularly by his nephew
Ali, answered, "You rip up our ill actions, but take no notice of
our good ones ; we visit the temple of Makkah, and adorn the
Kaabah with hangings, and give drink to the pilgrims, and fret-
captives." /Sale, Baidhdwi.

(20) This passage looks like a Madina revelation. The praise
bestowed upon the Muhajjarin may, however, be retrospective. The
revelation was certainly intended to stir up Muslim fanaticism. The
spirit of the fanatic (Ghdzi) is the spirit of the true Muslim.

(21) Gardens, dec. See note on chap. iii. 15.

(23) Take not your fathers . . . for friends. The Tafsir-i-Raufi says
this passage refers to those who neglected to perform the pilgrim-
age on account of domestic opposition and hindrance. The spirit of
the passage in this place seems rather to point to those who were
reluctant to fight against their relations in Makkah. May not that
clemency of Muhammad towards its people, when it fell into his

CHAP. IX.] ( 284 ) [S1PARA X.

above faith ; and whosoever among you shall take them
for his friends, they will be unjust doers. (24) Say, If
your fathers, and your sons, and your brethren, and your
wives, and your relations, and your substance which ye
have acquired, and your merchandise which ye appre-
hend may not be sold off, and your dwellings wherein ye
delight, be more dear unto you than God, and his Apostle,
and the advancement of his religion ; wait until God shall
send his command, for God directeth not the ungodly
JJ j 4 ^* (25) Now hath God assisted you in many engagements,
and particularly at the battle of Hunain, when ye pleased
yourselves in your multitude, but it was no manner of
advantage unto you, and the earth became too strait

hands, be in some measure accounted for on the ground of this
known antipathy of his people to slaughter their relatives, and to
destroy property in which they had so deep an interest 1

(24) W ait until God shall said his command. Sale, on the author-
ity of Baidhawi, says, " Or shall punish you. Some suppose the
taking of Makkah to be here intended." This confirms the view
that the relations here intended were the relatives of the refugees
in Makkah, and points to a time previous to the capture of Makkah
as the period in which this passage was revealed.

(25) God assisted . . . at . . . Hunain, "This battle was fought in
the eighth year of the Hijra, in the valley of Hunain, which lies about
three miles from Makkah towards Tayif, between Muhammad, who had
an army of twelve thousand men, and the tribes of Hawazin and Thakil,
whose forces did not exceed lour thousand. The Muharamadans,
seeing themselves so greatly superior to their enemies, made sure of
the victory ; a certain person, whom some suppose to have been the
Prophet himself, crying out, 'These can never be overcome by so
few.' But God was so highly displeased with this confidence, that
in the first encounter the Muslims were put to flight, some of them
running away quite to Makkah, so that none stood their ground
except Muhammad himself and some few of his family ; and they
say the Prophet's courage was so great, that his uncle al Abbas, and
his cousin Abu Sufian Ibn al Harith, had much ado to prevent his
spurring his mule into the midst of the enemy, by laying hold of
the bridle and stirrup. Then he ordered al Abbas, who had the
voice of a Stentor, to recall his flying troops ; upon which they
rallied, and the Prophet throwing a handful of dust against the
enemy, they attacked them a second time, and by the Divine assis-
tance gained the victory." Sale, liaidlutioi, Jaldluddin.

The earth became too straight for you. "Alluding to the narrow
and precipitous character of the pass, where their great numbers, of

SI PARA X.] ( 285 ) [CHAP. IX.

for you, notwithstanding it was spacious; then did ye
retreat and turn your backs. (26) Afterwards God sent
down his security upon his Apostle and upon the faithful,
and sent down troops of angels, which ye saw not ; and he
punished those who disbelieved ; and this was the reward
of the unbelievers. (27) Nevertheless God will hereafter
be turned unto whom he pleaseth ; for God is gracious and
merciful. (28) true believers, verily the idolaters are
unclean ; let them not therefore come near unto the holy

which they had been vaingloriously proud, only added to the diffi-
culty." Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iv. p. 143, note.

(26) God sent down his security. " The original word is Sakinat,
which the commentators interpret in this sense ; but it seems rather
to signify the Divine presence, or Shekinah, appearing to aid the
Muslims." Sale. See also note on chap. ii. 248.

Send down troops. Commentators differ as to the number. Some
say there were 5000, others 8000 and 16000. Tradition describes
the uniform they wore, and declares that they filled the valley like
a cloud, and were in multitude like an army of ants. See Sale, and
Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iv. p. 144, note.

Which ye saw not. " As usual, Muhammad's wonderful things are
only seen or known to himself. Elisha showed his servants the
angels ready to fight, but Muhammad never has a witness. His
great witness for the night journey did not see it, but only swore he
believed it." Brinckman in " jVotes on Islam."

The commentators, however, say that the infidels saw the angelic
hosts, and were, of course, reliable witnesses.

He punished those who disbelieved, i.e., the infidels who were de-
feated, for many were slain, 6000 of their women and children
taken captive, 24,000 camels, 4000 ounces of silver, and over 40,000
goats became spoil for the Muslims. Tafsir-i-Raufi.

(27) Hereafter turned, dec. "Besides a great number of proselytes
who were gained by this battle, Muhammad, on their request, was
so generous as to restore the captives (which were no less than six
thousand) to their friends, and offered to make amends himself to
any of his men who should not be willing to part with his prisoners."
Sale, Baidhdwi.

This took place some time after the battle on the return of the
army from Tayif, and was done as a matter of policy, as all the
authorities show. See Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iv. pp. 142, 148,
149. Yet this matter is here described as the subject of prophecy.
Surely it did not now require much prophetic foresight to foretell
the conversion of at least some of the unfortunate Hawazin.

(28) The idolaters are unclean. This verse seems to be connected
with those at the beginning of the chapter. Muhammad is now

CHAP. IX.] ( 286 ) [SIPARA X.

temple after this year. And if ye fear want, by the cutting
off trade and communication with tJiem, God will enrich
you of his abundance, if he pleaseth ; for God is knowing
and wise. (29) Fight against them who believe not in
God nor the last day, and forbid not that which God and

master of Arabia. The idolaters are now to be converted by force.
Exclusion from the sacred precincts of the ancient pantheon is now-
visited upon them, accompanied with the command to the Muslims
to slay them wherever they find them, unless they confess Islam.
The purity of the Muslims was not affected by contact with idolatry
in visiting the idol temple at Makkah (for such it was until capturi-d
by Muhammad), so long as Isl&m was too weak to abolish it. Now
that Muhammad is victorious, the spirit of his inspiration suddenly
informs him that idolaters are unclean, and that Muslims may not
perform the rites of the pilgrimage with them. Muhammad was
not, however, in any way inconsistent with the principle that seems
to have guided him everywhere that everything was right that
could in any way advance the cause of Islam. He was therefore
right in becoming almost a Jew in hope of winning them. This
failing, he was justified in patronising an idol temple and idolatrous
rites in order to win over the Arabs. On the same principle he
could condone assassination, sanction the plunder of caravans and
the murder of defenceless merchants, even in the sacred months, and
could on the same principle deny having any complicity in it. He
could for the same reason witness the massacre of 800 Jewish
prisoners, and spare, with a show of magnanimity, his bitterest
enemies on the capture of Makkah. All was right all was com-
manded of God, that promoted his selfish ambition, in the advance-
ment of his political and prophetic or politico-prophetical preten-
sions. He had unhesitatingly adopted the pernicious rule that evil
may be done in order to the accomplishment of a good end that
the end sanctifies the means.

After this year,i.e.,the ninth year a.h. "In consequence of tins

Jirohibition, neither Jews nor Christians, nor those of any other re-
igion, are suffered to come near Makkah to this day." S'a/t'.

God will enrich you. " This promise, says al Baidhawi, was fulfilled
by God's sending plenty of rain, and disposing the inhabitants of
Tabdla and Jurash, two towns in Yaman, to embrace Islam, who
thereupon brought sufficient provisions to Muhammad's men ; and
also by the subsequent coming in of the Arabs from all quarters to
him." Sale.

(29) Fight against them, dkc. "That is, tliose who have not a just
and true faith in these matters, but either believe a pluralitv of
gods, or deny the eternity of hell-torments, or the delights of Para-
dise as described in the Quran. For, as it appears by the following
words, the Jews and Christians are the persons here chiefly meant. ;

The Tafiir-i-Raufi says the passage alludes to "the Jews, who

SIPARA X.] ( 287 ) [CHAP. IX.

his Apostle have forbidden, and profess not the true reli-
gion, of those unto whom the scriptures have been deli-
vered, until they pay tribute by right of subjection, and
they be reduced low.

U (30) The Jews say, Ezra is the son of God; and the It ii*

allegorise (in respect to the Godhead), and the Christians, who
acknowledge a Trinity ; the Jews, who deny eating and drinking in
Paradise, and the Christians, who declare the enjoyments of heaven
to be spiritual."

Profess not the true religion, &c. It is here implied that Isl&m was
the religion of Jewish prophets and of Jesus, from which Jews and
Christians have departed. The Quran, by this claim so often re-
peated, challenges investigation, and thereby points to the evidence
of its own imposture. See notes on chap. ii. 136.

Until they pay tribute, dec. "This I think the true meaning of the words
an yadin, which literally signify by or out of hand, and are variously
interpreted ; some supposing they mean that the tribute is to be paid
readily, or by their own hands and not by another ; or that tribute is
to be exacted of the rich only, or those who are able to pay it, and
not of the poor ; or else that it is to be taken as & favour that the
Muhammadans are satisfied with so small an imposition, &c. That
the Jews and Christians are, according to this law, to be admitted to
protection on payment of tribute, there is no doubt, though the
Muhammadan doctors diii'er as to those of other religions. It is said
that Omar at first refused to accept tribute from a Magian, till
Abdul Rahman Ibn Auf assured him that Muhammad himself had
granted protection to a Magian, and ordered that the professors of
that religion should be included among the people of the book, or those
who found their religion on some book which they suppose to be of
Divine origin. And it is the more received opinion that these three
religions only ought to be tolerated on the condition of paying
tribute : others, however, admit the Sabians also. Abu Hanifa
supposed people of any religion might be suffered, except the
idolatrous Arabs ; and Malik excepted only apostates from Muham-
madanism. The least tribute that can be taken from every such
person is generally agreed to be a dinar, or about ten shillings a
year ; nor can he be obliged to pay more, unless he consent to it :
and this, they say, ought to be laid as well on the poor as on the
rich. But Abu Hanifa decided that the rich should pay forty-eight
dirhams (twenty, and sometimes twenty-five of which made a dindr)
a year ; one in middling circumstances half that sum ; and a poor
man, who was able to get his living, a quarter of it ; but that he
who was not able to support himself should pay nothing." Sale,

(30) Ezra is the son of God. " This grievous charge against the
Jews the commentators endeavour to support by telling us that it
is meant of some ancient heterodox Jews or else of some Jews of

CHAP. IX.] ( 288 ) [SIPARA X.

Christians say, Christ is the Son of God. This is their
saying in their mouths ; they imitate the saying of those
who were unbelievers in former times. May God resist
them. How are they infatuated ! (31) They take their priests
and their monks for their lords, besides God, and Christ

Madfna, who said bo for no other reason than for that the law being
utterly lost and forgotten during the Babylonish captivity, Ezra
having been raised to life after he had been dead one. hundred years
(chap. ii. 259, note), dictated the whole anew unto the scrihes out of
his own memory ; at which they greatly marvelled, and declared
that he could not have done it unless he were tlie son of God. Al
Baidhawi adds, that the imputation must be true, because this ver?e
was read to the Jews, and they did not contradict it, which they were
ready enough to do in other instances. That Ezra did thus restore
not only the Pentateuch, but also the other books of the Old Testa-
ment, by Divine revelation, was the opinion of several of the Chris-
tian fathers, who are quoted by Dr. Prideaux, and of some other
writers, which they seem to have first borrowed from a passage in
that very ancient apocryphal book called in our English Bible the
Second Book o/Esdras (chap. xiv. 20, &c.) Dr. Prideau\ tells us tha:
herein the fathers attributed more to Ezra than the Jews themselves,
who suppose that he only collected and set forth a correct edition of
the Scriptures, which he laboured much in, and went a great way in
the perfecting of it. It is not improbable, however, that the fiction
came originally from the Jews, though they be now of another
opinion, and I cannot fix it upon them by any direct proof. For,
not to insist upon the testimony of the Muhammadans (which yet
I cannot but think of some little weight in a point of this nature),
it is allowed by the most sagacious critics that the Second Book of
Ezra was written by a Christian indeed, but yet one who had been
bred a Jew, and was intimately acquainted with the fables of the
Rabbins ; and the story itself is perfectly in the taste and way of
thinking of those men." Sale, Baidhawi.

Rodwell regards this charge against the Jews as purely the inven-
tion of Muhammad.

May God resist them. The spirit of thiB passage is in marked con-
trast with the allusions made to the " people of the book " in the
earlier chapters of the Quran. Compare chap. v. 85, and note

The whole passage points to the latter years of the Prophet's life,
when he began to realise that the Christian power of Heracleus was
likely to oppose the strongest barrier to his ambitious projects.

(31) Priests . . . for their lords. An inference from the use of the
title Rabbi, coupled with the reverence accorded to the ordained
ministry. See note on chap. iii. 63. The charge here made, that
Christians worshipped their priests and monks as they did Christ
and God, is scarcely true. It is also noteworthy that the Messiah is
here deliberately denied all divine honours, and that the depre-

SI PARA X.] ( 289 ) [CHAP. IX.

the son of Mary ; although they are commanded to worship
one God only : there is no God but he ; far be that from
him which they associate with him ! (32) They seek to
extinguish the light of God with their mouths ; but God
willeth no other than to perfect his light, although the
infidels be averse thereto.

(33) It is he who hath sent his Apostle with the direc- nisf.
tion and true religion, that he may cause it to appear
superior to every other religion, although the idolaters be
averse thereto. (34) true believers, verily many of the
priests and monks devour the substance of God in vanity,
and obstruct the way of God. But unto those who trea-

catory formula, "far be it from him," &c.,is the same as that used in
reproaching the idolatrous Arabs for their service to heathen gods.
Whatever phrases, therefore, we find in the Qurdn expressive of
Messianic dignity must be attributed to the ignorance of the Pro-
phet as to their real import. See notes on chaps, ii. 86 and iii. 39.

(32) The light of God, i.e., the Qur&n, or the Divine Unity, or the
prophetic office of Muhammad, &c. Tafsir-i-Raufi.

(33) Superior to every other religion. Rodwell translates more cor-
rectly, "victorious over every other religion." This was true of the
religions of Arabia, to which the expression must primarily be re-
ferred, but it is not true of the religions of the world, Isl&m at
present being almost everywhere subject to or dependent for exis-
tence on Christian rule.

Christian apologists for Islam, in their endeavour to draw a favour-
able comparison between Islam and Christianity, are in the habit of
ignoring the fact that what is good and true in Isldm is very much
more clearly revealed in the Old and New Testament Scriptures,
while at the same time they carefully set aside the peculiar doctrines
of Christianity : the new birth, the atonement of Christ, the graces
of the Holy Spirit, and the holy character essential to the Christian
life. By such a process black may be made to appear white, and
vice versa. See It. Bosworth Smith's Mohammed and Mohamme-
danism, pp. 338, 339. This writer's statement that IsUm is " the
religion of stability," a religion dwelling on the "inherent dignity"
of human nature, " the religion of the best parts of Asia and Africa,"
with the implication that Christianity is unsuited to the stable races,
is contradicted by the history of the Church and of her missions.

(34) Monks devour, &c. "By taking bribes, says Baidh&wi, mean-
ing, probably, the money they took for dispensing with the com-
mands of God, and by way of commutation. ' Sale. It more pro-
bably refers to the fact that these classes were supported by the

Obstruct the way of God, i.e., by preventing their followers from
becoming Muslims.


CHAP. IX.] ( 290 ) [SIPARA X.

sure up gold and silver, and employ it not for the advance-
ment of God's true religion, denounce a grievous punish-
ment. (35) On the day of judgment their treasures shall
be intensely heated in the lire of hell, and their foreheads,
and their sides, and their backs shall be stigmatised there-
with ; and their tormentors shall say, This is what ye have
treasured up for your souls ; taste therefore that which ye
have treasured up. (36) Moreover, the complete number of
months with God is twelve months, which were ordained in
the book of God on the day whereon he created the heavens
and the earth : of these, four are sacred. This is the
right religion ; therefore deal not unjustly with yourselves
therein. But attack the idolaters in all the months, as they
attack you in all ; and know that God is with those who
fear him, (37) Verily the transferring of a sacred month

Those xcho treasure up,<kc. This refers to all men. being BUgp
by the conduct of the priests and monks. The exigencies of Islam
required that all Muslims should be willing to give freely of their
substance for the support of religion. Hence the dreadful denun-
ciation of the next verse, pointing at once to the fate of Christian
monks and Muslim misers.

(35) This verse describes the fate not only of miserly Muslims,
but also that of the Christian priests and monks of ver. 31.
"Thus," says Muir in his Life 0} Mahomet, vol. iv. p. 212, "with
threats of abasement and with bitter curses, Mahomet parted finally
from the Jews and Christians, whom he had so long deceived with
vain professions of attachment to their Scriptures, and from whose
teaching he had borrowed all that was most valuable in his .own
system. Having reached the pinnacle of prosperity and power, he
cast contemptuously a>ide the supports to which in no small measure
he owed his elevation."

(36) The complete number of months. "According to this pa

the intercalation of a month every third or second year, which the
Arabs had learned of the Jews, in order to reduce their lunar years
to solar years, is absolutely unlawful, For by this means they fixed
the time of the pilgrimage and of the feast of Ramadhan to certain
seasons of the year, which ought to be ambulatory." Hale. See also
Prelim. Disc, pp. 229, 230, and chap. ii. 1S5, note.

The book of God, viz., the Preserved Table. Sale.

Four are sacred. See Prelim. Disc, p. 228.

Attack the idolaters in all. "For it is not reasonable that you
should observe the sacred months with regard to those who do not
acknowledge them to be sacred, but make war against you therein."
Sale. See notes on chap. ii. 191, 193.

SIPARA X.] ( 291 ) [CHAP. IX.

to another month is an additional infidelity. The unbe-
lievers are led into an error thereby : they allow a month
to be violated one year, and declare it sacred another year,
that they may agree in the number of months which God
hath commanded to be kept sacred ; and they allow that
which God hath forbidden. The evil of their actions hath
been prepared for them ; for God directeth not the unbe-
lieving people.

|| (38) true believers, what ailed you, that when it was K 12 "
said unto you, Go forth to fight for the religion of God, ye
inclined heavily towards the earth ? Do ye prefer 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 30 of 42)