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 35 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 35 of 42)
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aside from the truth ? (34) Tims is the word of thy Lokd
verified upon them who do wickedly ; that they believe
not. (35) Say, Is tliere any of your companions who
produceth a creature, and then causeth it to return unto
himself? Say, God produceth a creature, and then causeth
it to return unto himself. How therefore are ye turned
aside from his worship ? (36) Say, Is there any of your
companions who directeth unto the truth ? Say, God
directeth unto the truth. Whether is he, therefore, who
directeth unto the truth more worthy to be followed, or
he who directeth not, unless he be directed ? What aileth
you therefore, that ye judge as ye do ? (37) And the
greater part of them follow an uncertain opinion only ; but
a mere opinion attaineth not unto any truth. Verily God
knoweth that which they do. (38) This Quran could not
have been composed by any except God ; but it is a con-
firmation of that which was revealed before it, and an



and fleeing to him in every time of trouble. These teaching*
account for much of the success of Islam as a missionary religion.
Its pure monotheism stands out in strong contrast with the poly-
theism of the idolaters.

(38) The Qurdn could not have been composed by any except God.
' No reason is given why none other but God could have composed
it. In the next verse Muhammad declares the interpretation of the
Koran had not come to the people he reproves : if, then, they did
not understand it, how could they judge if it was miraculous?
If it was 'dark sentences to them, their saying was true that the
verses were meaningless, jangling rhymes." Brinekman's "Notes on
Islam." See also notes on chaps, ii. 23, and vi. 93.

A confirmation of tliat which w<ts revealed before it. This passage
explicitly declares the former Scriptures to be the Word of God. It
also claims that the Quran explains these Scriptures. If, therefore, it
tails to fulfil its own claims, it thereby proves itself a forgery.



SIPARA XI.] (331 ) [CHAP. X.

explanation of the scripture ; there is no doubt thereof ;
sent down from the Lord of all creatures. (39) Will they
say, Muhammad hath forged it ? Answer, Bring therefore
a chapter like unto it ; and call whom you may to your
assistance, besides God, if ye speak truth. (40) But they
have charged that with falsehood, the knowledge whereof
they do not comprehend, neither hath the interpretation
thereof come unto them. In the same manner did those
who were before them accuse their prophets of imposture ;
but behold, what was the end of the unjust ! (41) There
are some of them who believe therein ; and there are some
of them who believe not therein : and thy Lord well
knoweth the corrupt doers.

|| (42) If they accuse thee of imposture, say, I have a To'
my work and ye have your work ; ye shall be clear of
that which I do, and I will be clear of that which ye do.
(43) There are some of them who hearken unto thee ; but
wilt thou make the deaf to hear, although they do not
understand ? (44) And there are some of them who look
at thee ; but wilt thou direct the blind, although they see
not ? (45) Verily God will not deal unjustly with men

(39) Will they say Muhammad hath forged it ? The charge of im-
posture is as old as Muhammad's prophetic claims. In reply he save
no better proof of his sincerity than that of this verse. On this claim
see chaps, ii. 23 and vi. 93.

(40) In the same manner, &c. Muhammad here likens himself to
the former prophets. But unfortunately for the likeness, it is not
true. The former prophets, as a class, were not charged with im-
posture.

(41) Some . . . who believe, dec, i.e., "There are some of them who
are inwardly well satisfied of the truth of thy doctrine, though they
are so wicked as to oppose it ; and there are others of them who
believe it not, through prejudice and want of consideration. Or the
passage may be understood in the future tense, of some who should
afterwards believe and repent, and of others who should die infidels."
Sale, Baidhdwi.

(42) See note on chap. iii. 185.

(44) Although they see not. "These words were revealed on ac-
count of certain Makkans, who seemed to attend while Muhammad
read the Qurdn to them or instructed them in any point of religion,
but yet were as far from being convinced or edified, as if they had
not heard him at all." Sale.



CHAP. X.] ( 332 ) [SIPARA XI.

in any respect: but men deal unjustly with their own
souls. (46) On a certain day lie will gather them to-
gether, as though they had not tarried above an hour of a
day ; they shall know one another. Then shall they
perish who have denied the meeting of God; and were
not rightly directed. (47) Whether we cause thee to see
a part of the punishment wherewith we have threatened
them, or whether we cause thee to die before thou see it ;
unto us shall they return : then shall God be witness of
that which they do. (48) Unto every nation hath an
apostle been sent ; and when their apostle came, the matter
was decided between them with equity; and they were
not treated unjustly. (49) The unbelievers say, When will
this threatening be made good, if ye speak truth ? (50)
Answer, I am able neither to procure advantage unto
myself, nor to avert mischief from me, but as God plea-
seth. Unto every nation is fixed term decreed; when their
term therefore is expired, they shall not have respite for
an hour, neither shall their punishment be anticipated.
(51) Say, Tell me, if the punishment of God overtake you
by night or by day, what part thereof will the ungodly

(45) Men deal unjustly, dec. " For God deprives them not of their
senses or understanding ; but they corrupt and make an ill use of
them.'' Hale.

(46) As though they had not tarried, dec. This passage, which
alludes to the resurrection, teaches that death is a sleep from which
men shall awaken as though they hail slept but an hour.

They shall know one another, " as if it were but a little while since
they parted. But this will happen during the first moments only
of the resurrection, for afterwards the terror of the day will disturh
and take from them all knowledge of one another." Sale.

(48) See notes on chap. vi. 41. This idea was borrowed from the
Jews.

With equity. "By delivering the Prophet and those who believed
on him, and destroying the obstinate infidels." Hale.

How far this is from the truth the reailer need not be told.

(50) When their term is expired, dec. The doctrine of the decrees
as here set forth carries with it a strong bent towards fatalism.
But see note on chap. iii. 145.

Their punishment This insertion is an error. The word it,
meaning the fixed time, would convey the meaning of the original.

(51) By nu/lU or by day, i.e., sudden and unexpected. The infi-



SIPARA XI.] ( 333 ) [chap. X

wish to be hastened ? (52) When it falleth on you, do
ye then believe it ? Now do ye believe, and vjish it far from
you, when as ye formerly desired it should be hastened ?
(53) Then shall it be said unto the wicked, Taste the
punishment of eternity ; would ye receive other than the
reward of that which ye have wrought ? (54) They will
desire to know of thee whether this be true. Answer,
Yea, by my Lord, it is certainly true ; neither shall ye
weaken God's power so as to escape it.

|| (55) Verily, if every soul which hath acted wickedly K fy*
had whatever is on the earth, it would willingly redeem
itself therewith at the last day. Yet they will conceal
their repentance, after they shall have seen the punish-
ment ; and the matter shall be decided between them with
equity, and they shall not be unjustly treated. (56) Doth
not whatsoever is in heaven and on earth belong unto
God? Is not the promise of God true ? But the greater
part of them know it not. (57) He giveth life, and he
causeth to die ; and unto him shall ye all return. (58)
men, now hath an admonition come unto you from your
Lord, and a remedy for the doubts which are in your
breasts; and a direction and mercy unto the true be-
lievers. (59) Say, Through the grace of God and his
mercy; therein therefore let them rejoice; this will be
better than what they heap together of worldly riches.

dels had said they did not believe in the threatened judgments of
Muhammad's revelation, and had defiantly declared their wish for
it to come upon them at once." Tafsir-i-Raufi.

(55) Tliey will conceal their repentance. " To hide their shame and
regret, or because their surprise and astonishment will deprive them
of the use of speech. Some, however, understand the verb which is
here rendered will conceal in the contrary signification, which it
sometimes bears ; and then it must be translated, ' They will openly
declare their repentance,' &c." Sale, Jal&luddin, Baidhdwi.

Rodwell translates, "they will proclaim their repentance."

(57) This is said in proof of the doctrine of the resurrection and
judgment which the Quraish so strenuously rejected.

(58) An admonition, i.e., the Quran. How it could be "a remedy
for the doubts " of the Quraish is not very evident, seeing " the inter-
pretation " had not yet come to them. See ver. 38.



CHAP. X.] ( 334 ) [SI PAR A XI.

(60) Say, Tell me, of that which God hath sent down
unto you for food, have ye declared part to be lawful, and
other part to be unlawful ? Say, Hath God permitted
you to make this distinction? or do ye devise a lie con-
cerning God ? (61) But what will be the opinion of
those who devise a lie concerning God on the day of the
resurrection ? Verily God is endued with beneficence
towards mankind; but the greater part of them do not
give thanks.
t) JL.. || (62) Thou shalt be engaged in no business, neither
shalt thou be employed in meditating on any passage of
the Quran ; nor shall ye do any action, but we will be
witnesses over you, when ye are employed therein. Nor
is so much as the weight of an ant hidden from thy Lord
in earth or in heaven : neither is there anything lesser than
that, or greater, but it is written in the Perspicuous Book.
(63) Are not the friends of God the persons on whom no
fear shall come, and who shall not be grieved ? (64)
They who believe and fear God, (65) shall receive good
tidings in this life and in that which is to come. There
is no change in the words of God. This shall be great
felicity. (66) Let not their discourse grieve thee ; for all
might belongeth unto God : he both heareth and knoweth.
(67) Is not whoever dwelleth in heaven and on earth sub-
ject unto God ? What therefore do they follow who in-
voke idols besides God ? They follow nothing but a vain



(60) Food . . . lawful and unlaxcful. See chap. vi. 118, 119.

(61) Tafsir-i-Iiaufi paraphrases as follows: "And thou, O my be-
loved, art not in any condition, nor readest thou aught of the divine
Quran ; nor do ye, O men, any work, but we are present with you
in the day ye begin it."

This is one of the few passages of the Quran which teach the
omnipresence of God.

Weight of an ant. See chap. iv. 39, and note there.

Perspicuous Book. " The rreserved Table whereon God's decrees
are recorded." Sale.

(65} No change in the words of God, i.e., his promises are sure.

(66) Tlieir discourse, viz., " the impious and rebellious talk of the
infidels." Sale.



SIPARA xi.] ( 335 ) [CHAP. X.

opinion ; and they only utter lies. (68) It is he who hath
ordained the night for you, that you may take your rest
therein, and the clear day for labour: verily herein are
signs unto people who hearken. (69) They say, God
hath begotten children : God forbid ! He is self-sufficient.
Unto him belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth :
ye have no demonstrative proof of this. Do ye speak of
God that which ye know not? (70) Say, Verily, they
who imagine a lie concerning God shall not prosper.
(71) They may enjoy a provision in this world ; but after-
wards unto us shall they return, and we will then cause
them to taste a grievous punishment, for that they were
unbelievers.

|| (72) Eehearse unto them the history of Noah, when 8dls -
he said unto his people, O my people, if my standing forth R x 3
among you, and my warning you of the signs of God, be
grievous unto you, in God do I put my trust. Therefore
lay your design against me, and assemble your false gods ;
but let not your design be carried on by you in the dark :
then come forth against me, and delay not. (73) And if
ye turn aside from my admonitions, I ask not any reward
of you for the same; I expect my reward from God alone,
and I am commanded to be one of those who are resigned
unto him. (74) But they accused him of imposture, where-
fore we delivered him, and those who were with him in
the ark, and we caused them to survive the flood, but we
drowned those who charged our signs with falsehood.
Behold, therefore, what was the end of those who were
warned by Noah. (75) Then did we send, after him,

(69) God hath begotten children. This is said of the Quraish. Com-
pare chap. vi. 101. The opinion of the idolaters here combated no
doubt exercised an influence in leading Muhammad to reject the doc-
trine of the sonship of Christ.

(71) A provision in this world. Alluding to the prosperity of the
infidel Quraish.

(72) The history of Noah. See chap. vii. 60.

(73) i" ask not any reward from you. " Therefore, ye cannot excuse
yourselves by saying that I am burdensome to vou." Sale.

(75) Then did we send . . . apostles. " As Hud, Salih, Abraham,



CHAP. X.] ( 336 ) [SIPARA XL

apostles unto their respective people, and they came unto
them with evident demonstrations : yet they were not
disposed to believe in that which they had before rejected
as false. Thus do we seal up the hearts of the trans-
gressors. (76) Then did we send, after them, Moses and
Aaron unto Pharaoh and his princes with our signs : but
they behaved proudly, and were a wicked people. (77)
And when the truth from us had come unto them, they
said, Verily this is manifest sorcery. (78) Moses said unto
them, Do ye speak this of the truth, after it hath come
unto you ? Is this sorcery ? but sorcerers shall not
prosper. (79) They said, Art thou come unto us to turn
us aside from that religion which we found our fathers
practise, and that ye two may have the command in the
land ? But we do not believe you. (80) And Pharaoh
said, Bring unto me every expert magician. And when
the magicians were come, Moses said unto them, Cast
down that which ye are about to cast down. (81) And
when they had cast down their rods and cords, Moses said
v/nto them, The enchantment which ye have performed
shall God surely render vain ; for God prospereth not the
work of the wicked doers ; (82) and God will verify the
truth of his words, although the wicked be adverse thereto.

T\ 9

h. Ti* || (83) And there believed not any on Moses, except a

generation of his people, for fear of Pharaoh and of his

Lot, and Shuaib, to those of Ad, Thamiid, Babel, Sodonj, and
Midian." Sale.

(76) Moses and Aaron, dec. See notes on chap. vii. 104, &c.

(77) Sorcery. According to the Quran, the charges made against
the former prophets were of a kind with those made by the Quraish
against Muhammad. This constant effort of Muhammad, everywhere
visible in the Quran, does not well accord with the conduct of the
prophets to whom he likened himself.

(79) T<> turn us aside, dec. Here again the Quran contradicts Holy
Writ. Moses and Aaron are nowhere in the liible set fortli as
apostles sent for the conversion of the Egyptians to the true faith.
Nor is there any reason to believe that Pharaoh regarded Moses and
Aaron as usurpers striving to obtain "the command of the land."

(83) Except a generation. "For when he first began to preach, a
few of the younger Israelites only believed in him ; the others not



sipara xi.] ( 337 ) [CHAP. X

princes, lest he should afflict them. And Pharaoh was
lifted up with pride in the earth, and was surely one
of the transgressors. (84) And Moses said, O my people,
if ye believe in God, put your trust in him, if ye be
resigned to his will. (85) They answered, We put our
trust in God : Lord, suffer us not to be afflicted by un-
just people ; (86) but deliver us, through thy mercy, from
the unbelieving people. (87) And we spake by inspiration
unto Moses and his brother, saying, Provide habitations
for your people in Egypt, and make your houses a place
of worship, and be constant at prayer; and bear good
news unto the true believers. (88) And Moses said,
Lord, verily thou hast given unto Pharaoh and his people
pompous ornaments and riches in this present life, Lord,
that they may be seduced from thy way : O Lord, bring
their riches to nought, and harden their hearts ; that they
may not believe, until they see their grievous punishment.



giving ear to him for fear of the king. But some suppose the pro-
noun his refers to Pharaoh, and that these were certain Egyptians
who, together with his wife Asia, believed in Moses."- Sale, Baidlwwi.
The allusion may be to the magicians, who are said to have been
converted to the faith of Moses and Aaron. See chap. vii. 121-127.
Arnold thinks the allusion is to the Israelites (Islam and Christianity,
p. 139). The succeeding verses seem to justify this view.

(87) Make your houses a place of worship. "So Jalaluddin expounds
the original word Qibla, which properly signifies that place or quarter
towards which one prays. Wherefore al Zamakhshari supposes that
the Israelites are here ordered to dispose their oratories in such a
manner that, when they prayed, their faces might be turned towards
Makkah, which he imagines was the Qibla of Moses, as it is that of
the Muhammadans. The former commentator adds that Pharaoh
had forbidden the Israelites to pray to God, for which reason they
were obliged to perform that duty privately in their houses." Sale.

It is more likely that the allusion is to the Passover feast. Abdul
Qadir says that the Israelites were made to occupy a special quarter
of the city so as to escape the judgments about to come on Pharaoh.

(88) Pompous ornaments. " As magnificent apparel, chariots, and
the like." Sale.

Harden their hearts. This statement also contradicts the Pentateuch.

Your petition is htard. " The pronoun is in the dual number ; the
antecedent being Moses and Aaron. The commentators say that, in
consequence of this prayer, all the treasures of Egypt were turned
into stones." Sale, Jalaluddin.

VOL. II. Y



CHAP. X.] ( 338 ) [SIPARA XI.

(89) God said, Your petition is heard ; be ye upright, there-
fore, and follow not the way of those who are ignorant

(90) And we caused the children of Israel to pass through
the sea : and Pharaoh and his army followed them in a
violent and hostile manner ; until, when he was drowning,
he said, I believe that there is no God but he on whom
the children of Israel believe ; and I am one of the resigned

(91) Now dost thou believe, when thou hast been hitherto
rebellious, and one of the wicked doers ? (92) This day
will we raise thy body from tlie bottom of the sea, that thou
mayest be a sign unto those who shall be after thee ; and
verily a great number of men are negligent of our signs.

il (93) And we prepared for the children of Israel an
R IT established dwelling in the land of Canaan, and we pro-
vided good things for their sustenance ; and they differed
not in point of religion until knowledge had come unto
them ; verily thy Lord will judge between them on the

Be ye upright. " Or, as al Baidhawi interprets it, Be }'e constant
and steady in preaching to the people. The Muhammadans pretend
that Moses continued in Egypt no less than forty years after he had
first published his mission, which cannot he reconciled to Scripture."
Sale.

(90) i" am one of the resigned. " These words, it is said, Pharaoh
repeated often in his extremity that he might be heard. But his
repentance came too late; for Gabriel soon stopped his mouth with
mud lest he should obtain mercy, reproaching him at the same time
in the words which follow." Sale.

This is a vague rendering of the Jewish legend that Pharaoh
repented and was forgiven, and that he was raised from the dead, in
accordance with Exod. ix. 15, 16. See Rodwell in loco, and Arnold's
Islam, and Christianity, p. 140.

(92) We will raise thy body. "Some of the children of Israel
doubting whether Pharaoh was really drowned, Gabriel, by God's
command, caused his naked corpse to swim to shore that they might
see it (cf. Exod. xiv. 30). The word here translated body, signifying
also a coat of mail, some imagine the meaning to be that his corpse
floated armed with his coat of mail, which they tell us was of gold,
by which they knew that it was he." Sale.

(93) Until knowledge, dec, i.e., "until the law had been revealed
and published by Moses." Sale. It seems to me the knowledge
intended here is that of the Quran, and the allusion is to the rejec-
tion of Muhammad by the Jews, though some were questioning
whether he were not a prophet, and perhaps even believing him to
be such. See Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p. 183.



SIPARA XI.] ( 339 ) [CHAP. X

day of resurrection concerning that wherein they dis-
agreed. (94) If thou art in doubt concerning any part of
that which we have set down unto thee, ask them who
have read the book of tJie law before thee. Now hath the
truth come unto thee from thy Lord; be not therefore
one of those who doubt ; (95) neither be thou one of those
who charge the signs of God with falsehood, lest thou
become one of those who perish. (96) Verily those
against whom the word of thy Lord is decreed shall
not believe, (97) although there come unto them every
kind of miracle, until they see the grievous punishment
prepared for them. (98) And if it were not so, some city,
among the many which have been destroyed, would have
believed ; and the faith of its inhabitants would have been
of advantage unto them ; but none of them believed, before
the execution of their sentence, except the people of Jonas.
When they believed, we delivered them from the punish-
ment of shame in this world, and suffered them to enjoy



(94) If thou art in doubt . . . ask, &c. " That is, concerning the
truth of the histories which are here related. The commentators
doubt whether the person here spoken be Muhammad himself, or
his auditor." Sale.

This passage clearly confirms the Scriptures current in the days
of Muhammad. See note on chap. vi. 93.

(98) Except the people of Jonas, viz., " the inhabitants of Ninive,
which stood on or near the place where al Mausal now stands. This
people having corrupted themselves with idolatry, Jonas, the son of
Mattai (or Amittai, which the Muhammadans suppose to be the
name of his mother), an Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin, was sent
by God to preach to and reclaim them. When he first began to
exhort them to repentance, instead of hearkening to him, they used
him very ill, so that he was obliged to leave the city, threatening
them, at his departure, that they should be destroyed within three
days, or, as others say, within forty. But when the time drew near,
and they saw the heavens overcast with a black cloud, which shot
forth fire and filled the air with smoke, and hung directly over their
city, they were in a terrible consternation, and getting into the fields
with their families and cattle, they put on sackcloth and humbled
themselves before God, calling aloud for pardon, and sincerely
repenting of their past wickedness. Whereupon God was pleased to
forgive them, and the storm blew over." *b'a/e, Baidhdwi, Jaldl-
uddin.



CHAP. X.] ( 340 ) [SIPARA XI.

their lives and possessions for a time. (99) But if thy
Lord had pleased, verily all who are in the earth would
have believed in general Wilt thou therefore forcibly
compel men to be true believers ? (100) No soul can
believe but by the permission of God ; and he shall pour
out his indignation on those who will not understand.
(101) Say, Consider whatever is in heaven and on earth:
but signs are of no avail, neither preachers unto people
who will not believe. (102) Do they therefore expeci
any other than some terrible judgment, like unto the judg-
ments which have fallen on those who have gone before
them ? Say, Wait ye the issue; and I also will wait with
you; (103) then will we deliver our apostles and those
who believe. Thus is it a justice due from us that we
should deliver the true believers.

|| (104) Say, O men of Makkah, if ye be in doubt con-

R XV cerning my religion, verily 1 worship not the idols which

ye worship, besides God; but I worship God, who will

For a time. Sale says, " Until they died in the ordinary course
of nature." It is better to understand it of the continued duration



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 35 of 42)