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 3) online

. (page 1 of 40)
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 3) → online text (page 1 of 40)
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The riijhts of translation and of reproduction are reserved.



V.3



CONTENTS.



CHAP. PAGE

XIV. ENTITLED SURAT AL IBRAHIM (ABRAHAM) . i

XV. ENTITLED SURAT AL HAJR . . . . 13

XVI. ENTITLED SURAT AL NAHL (THE BEE) . . 24

XVII. ENTITLED SURAT AL BANI IsRAfL (THE CHIL-
DREN OF ISRAEL) 52

XVIII. ENTITLED SURAT AL KAHAF (THE CAVE) . . 76

XIX. ENTITLED SURAT AL MART AM (MARY) . . 99

XX. ENTITLED SURAT THA HA (T. H.) . . . 115

XXI. ENTITLED SURAT UL AMBAYA (THE PROPHETS). 135

XXII. ENTITLED SURAT AL HAJJ (THE PILGRIMAGE) . 154

XXIII. ENTITLED SURAT UL MUMINUN (THE TRUE

BELIEVERS) 173

XXIV. ENTITLED SURAT-UN-NUR (THE LIGHT; . . 187

XXV. ENTITLED SURAT AL FURQAN (THE ILLUMINA-
TION) 207

XXVI. ENTITLED SURAT AL SHU'ARA (THE POETS) . 219

XXVII. ENTITLED SURAT-UN-NAMAL (THE ANT) . . 236

XXVIII. ENTITLED SURAT AL QASAS (THE STORY) . 251

XXIX. ENTITLED SURAT AI, ANQUBUT (THE SPIDER) . 269



viii CONTENTS.

CHAP. PAGE

XXX. ENTITLED SURAT UR RUM (THE GREEKS) . 281

XXXI. ENTITLED SURAT LUQMAN (LOKMAN) . . 293

XXXII. ENTITLED SURAT us SIJDA (ADORATION) . 301

XXXIII. ENTITLED SURAT TJL AHZAB (THE CONFEDE-
RATES) 307

XXXIV. ENTITLED SURAT us SABA (SABA) . . . 329

XXXV. ENTITLED SURAT UL FATIR (THE CREATOR) . 341

XXXVI. ENTITLED SURAT UL YA SIN (Y. S.) . . 349

XXXVII. ENTITLED SURAT us SAFAT (THE RANKS) . 361

XXXVIIL ENTITLED SURAT AL SWAP (S.) . . .375

XXXIX. ENTITLED SURAT AL ZAMR (THE TROOPS) . 387

XL. ENTITLED SURAT AL MUMIN (THE TRUE BE-
LIEVER) 401



THE QURAN.

CHAPTER XIV.

ENTITLED SUKAT AL IBRAHfM (ABKAHAM).

Revealed at Makkafa,



INTRODUCTION.

ACCORDING to the commentators, the title of this chapter is due to
the mention of the Patriarch Abraham in ver. 38. Like most of
the Makkan chapters, this one relates entirely to the controversy
between Muhammad and the unbelieving Quraish. In it the infidels
are warned by the example of those who rejected the former proph-
ets, and they are threatened with the direst punishment of hell,
where they shall be ever dying without being permitted to die.

The purpose of Muhammad in relating the stories of the former
prophets and of the destruction of their enemies is to impress the
Quraish with the dreadful consequences of their rejection of him.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

All authorities agree that this chapter belongs to Makkah. The
commentators, however, would make vers. 33 and 34 refer to the
Quraish, who were disgraced at Badr, and thus relegate this passage
to Madina. There is, however, no good reason for such an inter-
pretation of this passage. See notes there.

Aside from the general spirit of the revelations in this chapter,
we have as data for fixing their date the statements of vers. 16 and

VOL. III. A



CHAP. XIV.] ( 2 ) [INTROD.

47, which allude to the purpose of the Quraish to expel Muhammad
and his followers from Makkah.

This would fix the date of the chapter very near the Hijra ; with
which the spirit of the Prophet's teaching here very well agrees.

Principal Subjects.

VERSES

The Quran given to guide men out of darkness into light . i

A grievous punishment awaits the infidels . . . . 2, 3

Apostles always use the language of their people . . 4

Moses sent to Pharaoh and his people ... . 5

His message to the children of Israel 6-8

Former prophets were rejected in spite of their miracles . 9-13

Miracles only possible by the will of God . . . . 13, 14

The prophets suffer persecution with resignation . . 15
The unbelievers determine to expel their prophets out of

the laud 16

God reveals to them the overthrow of the wicked . . 17

Infidels fail of success through the prayers of the apostles . 18

Thb dporn of the unbelievers ...... 19-21

God able to destroy the infidels and to create others in their

siefi.4 ' *'' < * . , r 22,23

Idolatrous leaders will confess themselves unable to assist

their deluded followers in the day of judgment . . 24,25

Even Satan will desert idolaters in hell . . . . 26, 27

The reward of the righteous in Paradise .... 28

Parables of the good and evil tree 29-32

The idolaters threatened with hell-fire 33~35

True believers exhorted to steadfastness and prayer . . 35, 36

Manifold favours of God to mankind ..... 37
Abraham prays for himself and children that they may be

kept from idolatry 38-41

He asks pardon for himself and his parents ... 42
God is not regardless of what infidels do, and will certainly

punish them ......... 43-46

The subtle plotting of the unbelievers will be brought to

confusion 47, 48

The earth and heavens to be changed at the resurrection . 49

The dreadful doom of the wicked So, 5 1

Warning intended to lead men to the true God . . . 52



SIPARA xiii.] ( 3 ) [CHAP. xiv.

IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.

|| (1) A. L. E. This book have we sent down unto
thee, that thou mayest lead men forth from darkness into
light, by the permission of their LORD, into the glorious
and laudable way. (2) GOD is he unto whom belongeth
whatsoever is in heaven and on earth : and woe be to the
infidels, because a grievous punishment waiteth them;
(3) who love the present life above that which is to
come, and turn men aside from the way of GOD, and seek
to render it crooked : these are in an error far distant
from the truth. (4) We have sent no apostle but with
the language of his people, that he might declare their
duty plainly unto them ; for GOD causeth to err whom he
pleaseth, and directeth whom he pleaseth ; and he is the
mighty, the wise. (5) We formerly sent Moses with our
signs, and commanded him, saying, Lead forth thy people
from darkness into light, and remind them of the favours
of God : verily therein are signs unto every patient and
grateful person. (6) And call to mind when Moses said
unto his people, Remember the favour of GOD towards you.



(1) A. L. R. See Prelim. Disc., pp. 100-102.

The glorious and laudable way. Rodwell's translation, " Into the
path of the mighty, the glorious of God," is better than that of the
text.

(4) The language of his people. " That so they might not only
perfectly and readily understand those revelations themselves, but
might also be able to translate and interpret them unto others."
Sale, Eaidlidwi.

The logical inference from statements like this is that Muhummad
regarded himself as merely the prophet of the Arabs. This verse
also justifies the translation of the Quran from the Arabic.

God causeth to err. God is here certainly made the author of sin.
The Tafslr-i-Raufi says, "Causing to err and directing aright are the
load of his wisdom ;" hence the clause, " and he is mighty and wise."

(5) Moses. See note in chap. vii. 104.

The favours of God. "Literally, ' the days of GOD;' which may
also be translated, the battles of God (the Arabs using the word day
to signify a remarkable engagement, as the Italians do giornata, and
the French journee), or his wonderful acts manifested in the vaiious
success of former nations in their wars." Sale, Baidhdwi.



CHAP. XIV.] ( 4 ) [SIPARA XIII.

when he delivered you from the people of Pharaoh : they
grievously oppressed you ; and they slew your male
children, but let your females live : therein was a great
trial from your LOED.

sots. || (7) And when your LORD declared ~by the mouth of

R iV Moses, saying, If ye be thankful, I will surely increase my
favours towards you ; but if ye be ungrateful, verily my
punishment shall be severe. (8) And Moses said, If ye
be ungrateful, and all who are in the earth likewise; verily
GOD needeth not your thanks, though he deserveth the
highest praise. (9) Hath not the history of the nations
your predecessors reached you, namely, of the people of
Noah, and of Ad, and of Thamiid, (10) and of those who
succeeded them ; whose number none kuoweth except GOD?
Their apostles came unto them with evident miracles ; but
they clapped their hands to their mouths out of indignation,
and said, We do not believe the message with which ye
pretend to be sent ; and we are in a doubt concerning the
religion to which ye invite us, as justly to l>e suspected.
(11) Their apostles answered, Is there any doubt con-
cerning GOD, the creator of heaven and earth? He in-
viteth you to ike true faith, that he may forgive you part
of your sins, and may respite your 'punishment ty granting

(6) Your females. See note on chap. vii. 128.

(7) In this and the following verses Moses is made to figure in
Egypt as did Muhammad in Arabia. See notes on chaps, xi. 32, 36,
and xii. 102.

(9) Noah, Ad, and Thamud. See notes on chap. vii. 60, 66,
and 74.

(10) Whose number. The whole number of prophets, according
to Muslim tradition, is 144,000 ; some say 244,000. They only
know the names of half a hundred !

Evident miracles. This is what the Quraish and Jews demanded
of Muhammad; but, saving the "signs of the Quran," none were
ever given them. Note that all the prophets are declared to have
been rejected for the same reason that Muhammad was.

We are in a doubt, &c. See note on chap. xi. 62.

(11) Part of your sins. " That is, such of them as were committed
directly against God, which are immediately cancelled by faith or
embracing IsMm, but not the crimes of injustice and oppression,
which were committed against man ; i'or to obtain remission of these



SIPARA xin.J ( 5 ) [CHAP. xiv.

you space to repent, until an appointed time. (12) They
answered, Ye are but men, like unto us : ye seek to turn
us aside from the gods which our fathers worshipped:
wherefore bring us an evident demonstration by some
miracle tJiat ye speak truth. (13) Their apostles replied
unto them, We are no other than men like unto you ; but
GOD is bountiful unto such of his servants as he pleaseth:
and it is not in our power to give you a miraculous demon-
stration of our mission, (14) unless by the permission of GOD ;
in GOD therefore let the faithful trust. (15) And what
excuse have we to allege, that we should not put our trust
in GOD, since he hath directed us our paths ? Where-
fore we will certainly suffer with patience the persecutions
wherewith ye shall afflict us : in GOD therefore let those
put their confidence who seek in whom to put their trust. g

|| (16) And those who believed not said unto their It Ts-
apostles, We will surely expel you out of our land ; or ye
shall return unto our religion. And their LOUD spake
unto them by revelation, saying, We will surely destroy
the wicked doers ; (17) and we will cause you to dwell
in the earth after them. This shall be granted unto him
who shall dread the appearance at my tribunal, and shall
fear my threatening. (18) And they asked assistance of

last, besides faith, repentance and restitution, according to a man's
ability, are also necessary." Sale, Baidhdwi.

(13) It is not in our power, &c. Three things are noteworthy here:
(l) Muhammad's picturing the former prophets in the colours in
which he iigured himself (see above on ver. 7); and (2) his inability
to point to any miracle actually wrought by himself. The language
here ascribed to other prophets was undoubtedly his own, but see
on chap. xiii. 8 ; (3) the facts of Scripture are contradicted.

(16) We will surely expel, &c. This passage points to the persecu-
tion of Muhammad and his followers on the eve of the Hijra. This,
however, was the experience of all other apostles.

(18) They asked assistance. " The commentators are uncertain
whether these were the prophets who begged assistance against their
enemies, or the infidels who called for God's decision between them-
selves and them, or both. And some suppose this verse has no
connection with the preceding, but is spoken of the people of Makkah,
who begged rain in a great drought with which they were afflicted at
the prayer of their Prophet, but could not obtain it." Sale, BaidMwi.



CHAP. XIV.] ( 6 ) [SIPARA XIIL

God, and every rebellious perverse person failed of suc-
cess. (19) Hell lieth unseen before him, and he shall have
filthy water given him to drink : (20) he shall sup it up
by little and little, and he shall not easily let it pass his
throat because of its nauseousness ; death also shall come
upon him from every quarter, yet he shall not die ; and
before him shall there stand prepared a grievous torment.
(21) This is the likeness of those who believe not in their
LORD. Their works are as ashes, which the wind violently
scattereth in a stormy day : they shall not be able to
obtain any solid advantage from that which they have
wrought. This is an error most distant from truth. (22)
Dost thou not see that GOD hath created the heavens and
the earth in wisdom ? If he please he can destroy you,
and produce a new creature in your stead : (23) neither
will this be difficult with GOD. (24) And they shall all
come forth into the presence of GOD at the last day: and
the weak among them shall say unto those who behaved
themselves arrogantly, Verily we were your followers on
earth; will ye not therefore avert from us some part of the
divine vengeance ? (25) They shall answer, If GOD had
directed us aright, we had certainly directed you. It is

(19) Filthy water. " Which will issue from the bodies of the
damned, mixed with purulent matter and blood." Sale.

(20) He shall not die. Tafsir-i-Raufi, on the authority of the
Ain-ul-Mdani, says the souls of the damned will stick in their
throats ; they will neither come out, that they may die, nor will
they return into their bodies, that they may live.

It would seem that the ordinary opinion among Muslims is that
suffering must be corporeal. The soul can only suffer in the body,
hence the suffering of the grave and changing of the skins of the
damned in hell in order to perpetuate their torment. See chap. iv.
54. As with the sufferings of the lost, so with the joys of the saved :
they are all carnal. See note on chap. iii. 15.

(24) The weak . . . shall say, &c., i.e., "the more simple and
inferior people shall say to their teachers and princes, who seduced
them to idolatry and confirmed them in their obstinate infidelity."
Sale.

(25) If God had directed, &c. " That is, we made the same choice
for you as we did for ourselves ; and had not God permitted us to
fall into error, we had not seduced you." /Sale.

See above on ver. 4.



SIPARA xin.] ( 7 ) [CHAP. xiv.

equal unto us whether we bear our torments impatiently,
or whether we endure them with patience : for we have
no way to escape.

|| (26) And Satan shall say after judgment shall have K T<r
been given, Verily God promised you a promise of truth :
and I also made you a promise ; but I deceived you. Yet
I had not any power over you to compel you ; (27) but I
called you only, and ye answered me : wherefore accuse
not me, but accuse yourselves. I cannot assist you ;
neither can ye assist me. Verily I do now renounce your
having associated me with God heretofore. A grievous
punishment is prepared for the unjust. (28) But they
who shall have believed and wrought righteousness shall
be introduced into gardens, wherein rivers flow ; they shall
remain therein for ever by the permission of their LOED ;
and their salutation therein shall be, Peace ! (29) Dost
thou not see how GOD putteth forth a parable ; represent-
ing a good word as a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed
in the earth, and whose branches reach unto heaven ;

(26) / had not any power, efcc. Here the sin of unbelievers is
ascribed to their own free-will, which hardly agrees with vers. 4
and 25 above.

(27) Accuse me not, &c. " Lay not the blame on my temptations,
but blame your own folly in obeying and trusting to me, who had
openly professed myself your irreconcilable enemy." Sale.

Having associated me with God. " Or I do now declare myself
clear of your having obeyed me preferably to God, and worshipped
idols at my instigation. Or the words may be translated, I believed
not heretofore in that Being with whom ye did associate mej intimating
his first disobedience in refusing to worship Adam at God's com-
mand." Sale, Baidhdwi.

(28) Peace. See note on chap. x. 10.

(29) A parable. The parables of Muhammad are in very striking
contrast with those of our Lord. Nothing points more decidedly to
the human authorship of the Quran than the imperfection and
commonplace of its parables.

A good word. " What is particularly intended in this passage by
the good word and the evil word, the expositors differ about. But
the first seems to mean the profession of God's unity, the inviting
others to the true religion, or the Quran itself ; and the latter, the
acknowledging a plurality of gods, the seducing of others to idolatry^
or the obstinate opposition to God's prophets." Sale, Baidhdwi,
Jaldluddin.



CHAP. XIV.] ( 8 ) [SIPARA XIII.

(30) which bringeth forth its fruit in all seasons, by the
will of its LORD ? GOD propoundeth parables unto men
that they may be instructed. (31) And the likeness of
an evil word is as an evil tree, which is torn up from
the face of the earth, and hath no stability. (32) GOD
shall confirm them who believe, by the steadfast word of
faith, both in this life and in that which is to come : but
GOD shall lead the wicked into error ; for GOD doth that
which he pleaseth.

vr (33) Hast thou not considered those who have changed
the grace of GOD to infidelity, and cause their people to
descend into the house of perdition, namely, into hell ?
(34) They shall be thrown to burn therein ; and an un-
happy dwelling shall it be. (35) They also set up idols
as copartners with GOD, that they might cause men to



(31) An evil word. See on ver. 29.

(32) That which is to come. " Jalaluddin supposes the sepulchre to
be here understood ; in which place, when the true believers come
to be examined by the two angels concerning their faith, they will
answer properly and without hesitation ; which the infidels will not
be able to do." Sale.

See also Prelim. Disc., p. 127.

(33) Those who have changed, <&c. "That is, who requite his
favours with disobedience and incredulity ; or whose ingratitude
obliged God to deprive them of the blessings he had bestowed
on them, as he did the Makkans, who, though God had placed
them in the sacred territory, and given them the custody of the
Kaabah, and abundant provision of all necessaries and conveniences
of life, and had also honoured them by the mission of Muhammad,
yet in return for all this, became obstinate unbelievers and perse-
cuted his apostles ; for which they were not only punished by a
famine of seven years, but also by the loss and disgrace they sus-
tained at Badr ; so that they who had before been celebrated for
their prosperity were now stripped of that, and become conspicuous
only for their infidelity. If this be the drift of the passage, it could
not have been revealed at Makkah, as the rest of the chapter is
agreed to be ; wherefore some suppose this verse and the next to
have been revealed at Madina. Sale.

This interpretation, however, is merely an application of the verse
to the people of Makkah by the commentators, and therefore predi-
cates nothing as to its Madina origin. The persons intended in the
text were the followers of former prophets, and the passage contains
a threat of judgment against the Quraish. Comp. vers. 7 and 8
above.



SIPARA xin.] ( 9 ) [CHAP. xiv.

stray from his path. Say unto them, Enjoy the pleasures
of this life for a time ; but your departure hence shall be
into hell-fire. Speak unto my servants who have believed,
that they may be assiduous at prayer, and give alms out
of that which we have bestowed on them, both privately
and in public ; (36) before the day cometh, wherein there
shall be no buying nor selling, neither any friendship.
(37) It is GOD who hath created the heavens and the
earth ; and causeth water to descend from heaven, and
by means thereof produceth fruits for your sustenance :
and by his command he obligeth the ships to sail in the
sea for your service; and he also forceth the rivers to
supply your uses : he likewise compelleth the sun and the
moon, which diligently perform their courses, to serve
you ; and hath subjected the day and the night to your
service. He giveth you of everything which ye ask him ;
and if ye attempt to reckon up the favours of GOD, ye shall
not be able to compute the same. Surely man is unjust

and ungrateful.

D 6
|| (38) Remember when Abraham said, LORD, make H T

this land a place of security ; and grant that I and my
children may avoid the worship of idols ; (39) for they,
LOKD, have seduced a great number of men. Whoever
therefore shall follow me, he shall be of me ; and whoso-
ever shall disobey me, verily thou wilt be gracious and



(37) Obligeth. " The word used here and in the following passages
is salchkJiara, which signifies forcibly to press into any service." Sale.

See note on chap. ii. 165.

(38) Tins land, viz., Makkah and its territory. See Prelim. Disc.,
p. 42.

Grant that I and my children, &c. " This prayer, it seems, was
not heard as to all his posterity, particularly as to the descendants
of Ismail ; though some pretend that these latter did not worship
images, but only paid a superstitious veneration to certain stones,
which they set up and compassed, as representations of the Kaahah. '
Sale, Baidhawi.

See also Prelim. Disc., p. 43.

(39) Thou wilt be gracious. " That is, by disposing him to re-
pentance. But Jalaluddin. supposes these words were spoken by
Abraham before he knew that God would not pardon idolatry."



CHAP. XIV.] ( 10 ) [_SIPARA XIII.

merciful. (40) LORD, I have caused some of my off-
spring to settle in an unfruitful valley, near thy holy
house, LORD, that they may be constant at prayer.
Grant, therefore, that the hearts of some men may be
affected with kindness toward them ; and do thou bestow
on them all sorts of fruits, that they may give thanks.
(41) LORD, thou knowest whatsoever we conceal, and
whatsoever we publish ; for nothing is hidden from GOD,
either on earth or in heaven. Praise be unto GOD, who
hath given me in my old age Ismail and Isaac ; for my
LORD is the hearer of supplication. (42) LORD, grant
that I may be an observer of prayer, and a part of my
posterity also, LORD, and receive my supplication.



The Tafsir-i-Raufi excepts idolatry as a sin which would not be
pardoned, paraphrasing thus: "Whosoever shall disobey me, ex-
cepting in the matter of idolatry, verily thou," &c. To such straits
are the commentators carried by their idea as to the sin of idolatry.
The sin alluded to here is idolatry, or that in particular if others be
alluded to.

(40) Some of my offspring, i.e., " Ismail and his posterity. The
Muhammad ans say that Hagar, his mother, belonged to Sarah, who
gave her to Abraham ; and that, on her bearing him this son, Sarah
became so jealous of her that she prevailed on her husband to turn
them both out of doors ; whereupon he sent them to the territory of
Makkah, where God caused the fountain of Zamzam to spring forth
for their relief, in consideration of which the Jorhamites, who were



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 3) → online text (page 1 of 40)