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 33 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 33 of 42)
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quenting people of knowledge, and the few opportunities they have
of being instructed." Sale, Baidhdwi.

(99) There is who reckoneth . . . as tribute, i.e., "or a contribution
exacted by force, the payment of which he can in no wise avoid."

Waiteth some change, &c. "Hoping that some reverse may afford
a convenient opportunity of throwing off the burden." Sale.

The character here given to the Bedouins was substantiated by
their universal rebellion on the death of Muhammad. See Muirs
Life of Mahomet, vol. iv. p. 300.

According to Burckhardt and Palgrave, they still show the same
instability, except as they become adherents to the Wahaby faith,
which Burckhardt calls " the Protestantism, or even Puritanism, of
the Muhammadans," whose principle is, " The Koran, and nothing
but the Koran." Notes on the Bedouins and Walidbys, vol. i.
p. 102.

(100) Of the Arabs . . . there is who believeth, dec. " The Arabs
meant in the former of these two passages are said to have been the


desert there is who believeth in God and in the last day,
and esteemeth that which he layeth out for the service of
God to be the means of bringing him near unto God and
the prayers of the Apostle. Is it not unto them the means
of a near approach ? God shall lead them into his mercy ;
for God is gracious and merciful.
Hr ~2* || (101) As for the leaders and the first of the Muhajjirin
and the Ansars, and those who have followed them in
well-doing, God. is well pleased with them, and they are
well pleased in him: and he hath prepared for them
gardens watered by rivers ; they shall remain therein for
ever. This shall be great felicity. (102) And of the
Arabs of the desert who dwell round about you, there are
hypocritical persons; and of the inhabitants of Madina
tliere are some who are obstinate in hypocrisy. Thou
knowest them not, Prophet, but we know them: we

tribes of Asad, Ghattdn, and Banu Tamini ; and those intended in
the latter, Abdullah, surnamed Dhu'l Bajddfn, and his people."
Hale, Baidhdwi.

That ichich he layeth out, dec. Expenditure in the holy cause of
Islam is here declared to be the ground of acceptance with God.
The prayers of the Apostle can only be obtained by loyalty to the
same cause. Apparently allusion is made to the prohibition of
ver. 85.

(101) The Muhajjirin and the Ansdrs, i: The Muhajjirin, or refugees,
were those of Makkah who fled thence on account of their religion ;
and the Ansdrs, or helpers, were those of Madina, who received
Muhammad and his followers into their protection, and assisted
them against their enemies. By the leaders of the Muhajjirin are
meant those who believed on Muhammad before the Hijra, or
early enough to pray towards Jerusalem, from which the Qiblah
was changed to the temple of Makkah in the second year of the
Hijra, or else such of them as were present at the battle of Badr.
The leaders of the Ansdrs were those who took the oath of fidelity
to him at al Aqabah, either the first or the second time." Sale,

(102) Hypocritical persons, i.e., the tribes of Juhaina, Muzaina,
Aslam, Ashja, and Ghafar, who dwelt in the neighbourhood of
Madina. Hale, Baidhdwi.

Thou knowest them not. Many passages like this illustrate
Muhammad's marvellous subtlety. If he knew them, lie thus
endeavoured to conceal the fact. If he did not know them, he
would reach them by bringing them under the omniscient eye
of God.

S1PARAXI.] (311 ) [CHAP. IX.

will surely punish them twice; afterwards shall they
be sent to a grievous torment. (103) And others have
acknowledged their crimes. They have mixed a good
action with another which is bad : peradventure God will
be turned unto them ; for God is gracious and merciful.
(104) Take alms of their substance, that thou may est
cleanse them and purify them thereby; and pray for
them, for thy prayers shall be a security of mind unto
them; and God loth heareth and knoweth. (105) Do
they not know that God accepteth repentance from his
servants and accepteth alms, and that God is easy to be

We will punish them tioice. " Either by exposing them to public
shame and putting them to death ; or by either of those punish-
ments and the torment of the sepulchre ; or else by exacting alms
of them by way of fine, and giving them corporal punishment."
Sale, Baidhawi.

(103) Others have acknowledged their crimes. " Making no hypo-
critical excuses for them. These were certain men who, having
stayed at home instead of accompanying Muhammad to Tabuq, as
soon as they heard the severe reprehensions and threats of this
chapter against those who hud stayed behind, bound themselves to
the pillars of the mosque, and swore that they would not loose
themselves till they were loosed by the Prophet. But when he
entered the mosque to pray, and was informed of the matter, he also
swore that he would not loose them without a particular command
from God ; whereupon this passage was revealed, and they were
accordingly dismissed." Sale, Baidhawi.

Anot i 1 er which is bad. " Though they were backward in going to
war, and held with the hypocrites, yet they confessed their crime
and repented." Sale.

(104) Take alms, &c. " When these persons were loosed, they
prayed Muhammad to take their substance, for the sake of which
they had stayed at home, as alms, to cleanse them from their trans-
gression ; but he told them he had no orders to accept anything
from them : upon which this verse was sent down, allowing him to
take their alms." Sale, Baidhawi.

Compare Luke xi. 41, where the idea seems to be that the presence
in the treasure-house of those things required to be given in alms is
defiling to the whole. Here the idea of giving a certain sum in
alms in order to expiate crime is certainly intended, and it is here
taught that alms confer holiness upon the giver, which accords with
a tradition as follows : " Verily the shade of a believer, and his
place of asylum and cause of rest and redemption on the day of
resurrection, are from his alms, given in the road to God." Mishqdt
al Musdbih, vol. i. p. 453.

CHAP. IX.] ( 312 ) [SIPARA XI.

reconciled and merciful? (106) Say unto ttiem, Work as
ye will; but God will behold your work, and bis Apostle
also, and tbe true believers ; and ye shall be brought before
him who knoweth that which is kept secret, and that
which is made public ; and he will declare unto you what-
ever ye have done. (107) And there are others wlio wait
with suspense the decree of God, whether he will punish
them, or whether he will be turned unto them ; but God
is knowing and wise. (108) There are some who have
built a temple to hurt the faithful, and to propagate infi-
delity, and to foment division among the true believers,
and for a lurking-place for him who hath fought against
God and his Apostle in time past ; and they swear, say-
ing, Verily, we intended no other than to do for the best ;

(106) Work, i.e., see that your works correspond with your profes-
sion of repentance.

(107) Others who xcait. " This verse refers to Kab Ibn Malik, a
poet, who had done good service to Mahomet, and to two other
believers who had incurred his special displeasure. They had no
pretext to offer for their absence from the army, and their bad
example had encouraged the hesitating and disaffected citizens in
their neglect of the Prophet's summons. Tiieoe could not with any
show of justice be reprimanded or punished if the far more serious
offence of those three, his professed followers, were passed over. A
ban was therefore placed upon them. They were cut off from all
intercourse with the people, and even with their own wives and
families. Fifty days passed thus miserably, and the lives of the
three men became a burden to them. At length the heart of
Mahomet relented, and by the delivery of the revelation (recorded
in vers. 1 18 and 1 19 below) he received them back into his favour."
Muir's Life of Malwmet, vol. iv. p. 197.

(103) Who have built a temple. " When Bauu Amru Ibn Auf had
built tlie temple or mosque of Quba, which will be mentioned by
and by, they asked Muhammad to come and pray in it, and lie
complied with their request. This exciting the envy of their
brethren, Banu Ganitn Ibn Auf, they also built a mosque, intending
that the Imam or priest who should officiate there should be Abu
Amir, a Christian monk ; but he dying in Syria, they came to
Muhammad and desired he would consecrate, as it were, their
mosque by praying in it. The Prophet accordingly prepared him-
self to go with them, but was forbidden by the immediate revelation
of this passage, discovering their hypocrisy and ill design : where-
upon he sent Malik Ibn al Dukhshum, Maan Ibn Addi, Amir Ibn
al Saqan, and al Wuhsha, the Ethiopian, to demolish and burn it ;

SIPARA XI.] ( 313 ) [CHAP. IX.

but God is witness that they do certainly lie. (109) Stand
not up to pray therein for ever. There is a temple founded
on piety, from the first day of its building. It is more just
that thou stand up to pray therein : therein are men who

which they performed, and made it a dunghill. According to
another account, this mosque was built a little before the expedition
of Tabiiq, with a design to hinder Muhammad's men from engaging
therein ; and when he was asked to pray there, he answered that he
was just setting out on a journey, but that when he came back, with
God's leave, he would do what they desired ; but when they applied
to him again, on his return, this passage was revealed." Sale,

A lurking-place for him, dec. " That is, Abu Amir, the monk, who
was a declared enemy to Muhammad, having threatened him at
Ohod, that no party should appear in the field against him but he
would make one of them ; and, to be as good as his word, he con-
tinued to oppose him till the battle of Hunain, at which he was
present ; and being put to flight with those of Hawazin, he retreated
into Syria, designing to obtain a supply of troops from the Grecian
emperor to renew the war ; but he died at Kinnisrin. Others say
that this monk was a confederate at the war of the ditch, and that
he fled thence into Syria." Sale, Jaldluddin.

(109) A temple founded on piety, viz., "that of Quba, a place about
two miles from Madina, where Muhammad rested four days before
he entered that city, in his flight from Makkah, and where he laid
the foundation of a mosque, which was afterwards built by Banu
Ainru Ibn Aut. But according to a different tradition, the mosque
here meant was that which Muhammad built at Madina."

Men who love to be purified. " Al Baidhawi says that Muhammad,
walking once with the Muhajjarin to Quba, found the Ansars sitting
at the mosque door, and asked them whether they were believers,
and, on their beim,' silent, repeated the question ; whereupon Omar
answered that they were believers ; and Muhammad demanding
whether they acquiesced in the judgment Omar had made of them,
they said yes. He then asked them whether they would be patient
in adversity and thankful in prosperity, to which they answering in
the affirmative, he swore by the Lord of the Kaabah that they were
true believers. Afterwards he examined them as to their manner of
performing the legal washings, and particularly what they did after
easing themselves. They told him that in such a case they used
three stones, and after that washed with water ; upon which he re-
peated these words of the Quran to them." Sale.

The purity and holiness required by the Quran is invariably of
this character. The traditions relating to purification are simply
abominable, and yet they were scrupulously taught to every Muslim
woman and to every youth, the Mullah gravely introducing the sub-
ject by the statement that there is no shame in religion. Thus by
striving alter ceremonial cleanliness the very fountain of moral purity
is polluted.

R 1

CHAP. IX.] ( 314 ) [SIPARA XI.

love to be purified, for God loveth the clean. (110)
Whether therefore is he better who hath founded his
building on the fear of God and his good-will, or he who
hath founded his building on the brink of a bank of earth
which is washed away by waters, so that it falleth with
him into the fire of hell ? God directeth not the unjrodlv
people. (HI) Their building which they have built will
not cease to be an occasion of doubting in their hearts, until
their hearts be cut in pieces ; and God is knowing and
<T* || (112) Verily God hath purchased of the true believers
their souls and their substance, promising them the enjoy-
ment of Paradise 071 condition that they fight for the cause
of God : whether they slay or be slain, the promise for the
same is assuredly due by the law, and the gospel, and the
Quran ; and who performeth his contract more faithfully
than God? Rejoice therefore in the contract which ye
have made. This shall be great happiness. (113) The
penitent, and those who serve God and praise him, and
who fast, and bow down, and worship, and who command
that which is just and forbid that which is evil, and keep
the ordinances of God, shall likewise be rewarded with
Paradise: wherefore bear good tidings unto the faithful.

(110) Compare with the simile used by our Lord in Matt. vii.

(111) Until their hearts be cut in pieces. "Some interpret these
words of their being deprived of their judgment and understanding,
and others of the punishment they are to expect, either of deatli in
tins world, or of the rack of the sepulchre, or the pains of hell."

Others refer it to the bitter pangs of conscience. See Rodwell'a
note in loco.

(VIZ) God hath purchased . . . their souls, i.e., " He has been pleased
to grant them the joys of Paradise for their meritorious works.''

It would appear that there is a double purchase the l>eliever > 8

Eurchase of Paradise by works of merit and God's purchase of be-
evers by the allurements of Paradise. The salvation of a soul here
is dependent on its readiness " to fight for the cause of God."

The promise for the same, dec. "God hath purchased the souls of
believers ; in return they are to enjoy Para use if they tight for God.

SIPARA XI.] ( 315 ) [CHAP. IX.

(114) It is not allowed unto the Prophet, nor those who
are true believers, that they pray for idolaters, although
they be of kin, after it is become known unto them that
they are inhabitants of hell. (115) Neither did Abraham
ask forgiveness for his father, otherwise than in pursuance
of a promise which he had promised unto him ; but when
it became known unto him that he was an enemy unto
God, he declared himself clear of him. Verily Abraham

Conquered or slain, this is promised in the law, the gospel, and the
Koran. This verse is perhaps the greatest untruth in the whole of
the Koran.'' Brinckman's "Notes on Isldm."

Certainly the statement recorded in this verse has no foundation
in truth. The teaching is diametrically opposed to all the doctrine
of the Bible. The passage, however, illustrates the ignorance of Mu-
hammad as to Biblical teaching and his unscrupulous habit of bol-
stering up the doctrines of his Quran by assertions contrary to truth.
Worse than this, these are all put into the mouth of the God of truth.

(114) It is not allowed . . . to pray for idolaters. "This passage
was revealed, as some think, on account of Abu Tadib, Muhammad's
uncle and great benefactor, who, on his deathbed, being pressed by
his nephew to speak a word which might enable him to plead his
cause before God, that is, to profess Islam, absolutely refused. Mu-
hammad, however, told him that lie would not cease to pray for
him till he should be forbidden by God which he was by these
words. Others suppose the occasion to have been Muhammad's
visiting his mother Amina's sepulchre at al Abwa, soon after the
taking of Makkah ; for they say that while he stood at the tomb he
burst into tears, and said, ' I asked leave of God to visit my mother's
tomb, and he granted it me ; but when I asked leave to pray for her,
it was denied me.' " Sale, Baidhdwi.

After it is become known. " By their dying infidels. For other-
wise it is not only lawful but commendable to pray for unbelievers,
while there are hopes of their conversion." Sale.

The passage clearly teaches that Muslims are permitted to pray
for departed friends, provided they were not idolaters. What advan-
tages can accrue to the dead from these prayers is not clear. The
Muslim doctors say it secures a mitigation of the punishment of the
grave and of the pains to be inflicted on the judginent-'.ay. It has
been made the basis of as profitable a business to the Muslim priests
as ever Purgatory brought to the priests of Borne.

(115) A promise, viz., " To pray that God would dispose his heart
to repentance. Some suppose this was a promise made to Abraham
by his father, that he would believe in God. For tiie words may be
taken either way." Sale.

Clear of him. "Desisting to pray for him, when he was assured
by inspiration that he was not to be converted ; or after he actually
died an infidel." Sale.

See notes on chap. vi. 77-84.

CHAP. IX.] ( 316 ) (.SIPARA XI.

was pitiful and compassionate. (116) Nor is God disposed
to lead people into error after that he hath directed them,
until that which they ought to avoid is become known
unto them; for God knoweth all things. (117) Verily
unto God bdongeth the kingdom of heaven and of earth ;
he giveth life and he causeth to die; and ye have no
patron or helper besides God. (118) God is reconciled
unto the Prophet, and unto the Muhajjirfn and the Ansars,
who followed him in the hour of distress, after that it had
wanted little but that the hearts of a part of them had
swerved from their duty : afterwards was he turned unto
them, for he was compassionate and merciful towards

Abraham was pitiful, dbc. It is here suggested that Abraham's
condition and feeling was like that of Muhammad. The passage
seems to teach that Abraham's pity and compassion were chiefly
manifest before the command of God came forbidding their exer-

(116) Nor is God to lead people into error, i.e., "To consider or
punish them as transgressors. This passage was revealed to excuse
those who had prayed lor such of their friends as had died idolaters
before it Mas forbidden, or else to excuse certain people who had
ignorantly prayed towards the first Qibla, and drank wine, &c"

Sin, according to most Muslim authorities, is a conscious act com-
mitted against known laic, wherefore sins of ignorance are not num-
bered in the catalogue of crimes. The " leading into error" mentioned
seems to be equivalent to a retributive giving over to reprobation.

(118) God is reconciled to the Prophet, &c. " Having forgiven the
crime they committed, in giving the hypocrites leave to be absent
from the expedition to TabUq, or for the other sins which they
might, through inadvertence, have been guilty of. For the best men
have need of repentance." Sale, Baidhdivi.

This passage declares Muhammad to have been in fault in per-
mitting those to remain at home who had requested permission to
do so. This passage is contrary to the Muslim belief that Muhammad
was always inspired. For if so, how err in the matter here reproved ?
It also animadverts the doctrine of Muhammad's being absolutely
sinless. See note on chap. ii. 253.

The hour of distress, viz., "In the expedition of Tabuq. wherein
Muhammad's men were driven to such extremities that, besides what
they endured by reason of the excessive heat, ten men were obliged
to ride by turns on one camel, and provisions and water were so
scarce that two men divided a date between them, and they were
obliged to drink the water out of the camels' stomachs." Sale, Bai-

1 5

SIPARA XI.] ( 317 ) [CHAP. IX.

them. (119) And he is also reconciled unto the three who
were left behind, so that the earth became too strait for
them, notwithstanding its spaciousness, and their souls
became straitened within them, and they considered
that there was no refuge from God, otherwise than by
having recourse unto him. Then was he turned unto them
that they might repent, for God is easy to be reconciled
and merciful.

|| (120) true believers, fear God and be with the sin- K "4
cere. (121) There was no reason why the inhabitants of
Madina, and the Arabs of the desert who dwell around
them, should stay behind the Apostle of God, or should
prefer themselves before him. This is unreasonable, be-
cause they are not distressed either by thirst, or labour, or
hunger, for the defence of God's true religion ; neither do
they stir a step which may irritate the unbelievers ; neither
do they receive from the enemy any damage, but a good

(119) The three who were left behind. " Or, as it may be translated,
who were left in suspense, whether they should be pardoned or not.
These were three Ansars, named Qab Ibn Malik, Halal Ibn Umaiya,
and Marara Ibn Rabf, who went not with Muhammad to Tabuq,
and were therefore, on his return, secluded from the fellowship of
the other Muslims, the Prophet forbidding any to salute them or
to hold discourse with them ; under which interdiction they con-
tinued fifty days, till, on their sincere repentance, they were at
length discharged from it by the revelation of this passage." Sale.
See note on ver. 106 above.

God is easy to be reconciled. It was Muhammad who was not easy
to be reconciled, and yet he deliberately ascribes all he had done to
God. Is it possible to believe him sincere in this business ? If so,
there is no apparent alternative but to regard him as being given
over to believe a lie.

(121) Should prefer themselves before him. " By not caring to share
with him the dangers and fatigues of war. Al Baidhawi tells us,
that after Muhammad had set out for Tabuq, one Abu Khaithama,
sitting in his garden, where his wife, a very beautiful- woman, had
spread a mat for him in the shade, and had set new dates and fresh
water before him, after a little reflection, cried out, ' This is not well,
that I should thus take my ease and pleasure while the Apostle of
God is exposed to the scorching of the sunbeams and the inclem-
encies of the air ;' and immediately mounting his camel, took his
sword and lance, and went to join the army." Sale.

A good work is written down, dec, i.e., though they sit idly by, so
far as the warfare is concerned, yet they receive benefit through the


CHAP. IX.] ( 318 ) [SIPARA XI.

work is written down unto them for the same ; for God
suflereth not the reward of the righteous to perish. (122)
And they contribute not any sum either small or great,
nor do they pass a valley ; but it is written down unto
them that God may reward them with a recompense
exceeding that which they have wrought. (123) The
believers are not obliged to go forth to war altogether : if a
part of every band of them go not forth, it is that they
may diligently instruct themselves in their religion, and
may admonish their people when they return unto them,
that they may take heed to themselves.

|| (124) true believers, wage war against such of the
infidels as are near you; and let them find severity in

plunder of the infidels, in which they have some participation. The
reason for this proceeding is given in the next verse.

(123) Not obliged to go forth. " That is, if some of every tribe or
town be left behind, the end of their being so left is that they may
apply themselves to study, and attain a more exact knowledge of the
several points of their religion, so as to be able to instruct such as,
by reason of their continual employment in the wars, have no other
means of information. They say that after the preceding passages
were revealed, reprehending those who had stayed at home during
the expedition of Tabiiq, every man went to war, so that the study
of religion, which is rather more necessary for the defence and propa-
gation of the faith than even arms themselves, became wholly laid
aside and neglected ; to prevent which for the future a convenient
number are hereby directed to be left behind, that they may have
leisure to prosecute their studies." Sale.

(124) Wage tear against . . . the infidels. Arabia now lay at the
feet of Muhammad ; even foreign conquest had been undertaken
with success. For this reason the command to wage war for the
faith against all, both far away and near at hand, is now promulgated.
The principle of chap. ii. 256 had long since been abandoned, and
while the Muslims had hardly grasped the plan of the Prophet during
his lifetime, yet the doctrine of a universal conquest of the world for
Islam was clearly set forth in the Quran. Com p. chap. ii. 193, 215,

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 33 of 42)