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Maulana Muhammad Ali's English translation of the Quran was the first English translation by a Muslim to be available generally, and the first Muslim translation published in the West, in 1917.

It included a comprehensive commentary: discussing meanings of Arabic words, reviewing earlier interpretations, citing authorities wherever he differed with previous views, removing misconceptions about Islam and refuting objections raised by Western criticism.

Later Muslim translators, such as Pickthall, Yusuf Ali, and Muhammad Asad, benefitted greatly from this pioneering work. "Pickthall's work is not very much more than a revision of the Ahmadiyya [M. Ali] version" â€" The Muslim World, July 1931.

Some of its many reviews:

"To deny the excellence of Maulvi Muhammad Ali's translation,

to deny the light of the sun.' Lucknow, India, 1943.

Abdul Majid Daryabadi, in Such,

"Among human productions of literary masterpieces, the English translation of the Holy Book by Maulvi Muhammad Ali undoubtedly claims a position of distinction and pre-eminence." â€" United India and Indian States, 1929.

eached such a high

standard." â€" Madras Mail, 1929.

"[I] greatly admire the general arrangement. As for the English rendering, 1 am impressed ... with the simplicity and precision and the adherence to the text which indicate the reverence due to God's own Word from a true believer." â€" Mohammad Ali Jauhar, Indian Muslim nationalist leader, 1918.

"Probably no man living has done longer or more valuable service for the cause of Islamic revival than Maulana Muhammad Ali of Lahore." â€" Marmaduke Pickthall, 1936, reviewing a later work by Maulana Muhammad Ali.

In the present, revised (2010) edition, the Arabic text has not been included. The language of the translation has been updated where necessary, and the notes have been abridged and edited.

English Translation of The Holy Quran

With Explanatory Notes

From the English translation and commentary of Maulana Muhammad Ali

Renowned author of several works on Islam

Language updated and notes abridged by the Editor

Zahid Aziz

Ahmadiyya Anjuman Lahore Publications, U.K. 2010

A Lahore Ahmadiyya Publication

First Printing, 2010

Earlier editions of Maul ana Muhammad AH's translation without

Arabic text and with shorter notes were published in:

1928, 1948 and 1951

© 2010 by Ahmadiyya Anjuman Lahore Publications, U.K. All Rights Reserved.

Ahmadiyya Anjuman Lahore Publications, U.K.

15 Stanley Avenue, Wembley, U.K. HAO 4JQ

Website: www.ahmadiyya.org

E-mail: info@ahmadiyya.org

ISBN: 978-1-906109-07-3

Preface

The English translation of the Holy Quran with extensive explanatory footnotes, by Maulana Muhammad Ali (d. 1951), was first published in 1917. It was the first English translation and commentary by a Muslim to be generally available in the world. The 1917 and several subsequent editions were printed in England and distributed from the Muslim mission at the Woking Mosque in England. This work remained the only Muslim English translation for several years. It was widely acclaimed as being an accurate, faithful, and true rendering, one which was desperately needed. It influenced all the major later English translations.

Maulana Muhammad Ali's translation was not merely an academic or literary exercise. It was done to refute the vast mass of misrepresentations of Islam by its Western critics, to convey the faith-reviving and heart-inspiring light of Islam to the world, to show how Islamic teachings are applicable to solving the problems of modern times, and to teach and guide both the Western-educated Muslims and English-speaking new Muslim converts. Towards the end of his life, Maulana Muhammad Ali thoroughly revised his translation and commentary, the revised edition being published in 1951. The translation was made simpler and the commentary was brought up to date with the changed circumstances prevailing after the Second World War.

The language of the translation was solemn and dignified, as befits a Divine scripture, yet it was also plain and easy to understand, aimed at the level of an educated reader having a reasonable standard of English. However, due to changes in the usage and

1. There were three, slightly earlier, English translations by Muslims in India in the early 1900s but these were of very limited circulation, and little known.

teaching of English in the second half of the twentieth century, such a reader today is much less familiar with certain forms and styles of literary expression used in the translation than was the case with previous generations. To bring the language closer to the general readership, it became necessary to replace some expressions by more modern forms. This has been my aim in producing the present updated version of the translation, while showing reverence to the original work and remaining as close as possible to the language used by Maulana Muhammad Ali.

The factor of greatest assistance during this editing work has been that the Maulana has himself in some places used more modern terms and in other places older styles to translate the same original words. Utilising this, I have been able to select his own phraseology to replace the older expressions. Thus, in the work of updating the translation in various places, I have applied the wording used by him elsewhere if such could be suitably found.

The most noticeable change is the replacement of the second person singular forms, 'thou', 'thee', 'thy', etc. by 'you' and 'your'. In fact, in the Preface to his first edition published in 1917, the Maulana wrote: "I have, however, given up the antiquated thou (except when the Divine Being is addressed)". In that edition he added a marginal column on the left of the translation, in which he indicated whether 'you' in the line of text opposite was the singular 'thou'. In his revised 1951 edition, he removed this margin as unnecessary and used the 'thou' forms within the translation itself. I have reverted to the usage of the 1917 edition, but have employed the convention that whenever 'you' is in the singular the letter y is printed in italics as in: you, jour. When God is addressed, which is always in the singular in the Quran, I have also used "You", with capital "Y", instead of "Thou" and "Thee".

The next most prominent change is also a reversion to the first edition, and that is in the use of the negative. In the revised 1951 edition the Maulana has used constructions such as "you know not", "they see not", etc. I have restored the style of his 1917 edition in which these are of the form: "you do not know", "they do not see", etc.

I will illustrate other changes by giving examples. The Maulana has used the words aught and naught in many places in the translation, but in other places exactly the same Arabic text has been translated using anything, nothing, in the least and at all. The particle bal is usually translated by him as nay, but in some places it is translated as rather, but or yet. In some places the more traditional that which (as in that which Allah has revealed) has been used by him but in others the simpler what (as in what Allah has revealed). The word translated as iniquitous is often also rendered as unjust or wrongdoer, the word translated as tarry is sometimes remain or stay, and hosts is sometimes forces or army. In each of these and similar cases I have used the latter words, which are more common, to replace the former, less familiar ones.

The Arabic preposition min is often used to indicate that a person belongs to a certain group, as for example in the translation: "if he is of (min) the truthful" (12:27, 12:51), "he is of (min) the liars" (12:26) or "if thou art of (min) the truthful" (26:31). The same kind of expression is elsewhere translated more simply as in the examples: "if thou art truthful" (26:154, 26:187), "I think him a liar" (28:38). I have substituted the latter style for the former, except if the change would not suit the context. Another type of similar instance is as in constructions such as "of them is he (min-hum man) who believes ... and of them is he who turns away" (4:55). Elsewhere the construction used is: "some of them believed and some of them denied" (2:253). Again, I have replaced the former by the latter.

I have also tried, as far as possible, to make the translation of the same phrase consistent in all its occurrences by using one of the wordings employed for it by the Maulana, if he had used different wording in different places. However, in certain places this has not been done because there was a clear reason for the difference, such as better suiting the context.

In some of those cases in which it was necessary to revise a word or phrase, I could not find a suitable alternative used elsewhere by the Maulana. In those instances, I have used my own judgment to make the revision while restricting myself to the Maulana's style and language as far as possible.

In a Preface I cannot list and explain every type of revision. Anyone interested in knowing the reason for any particular changes that are not explained here should contact me.

In clarification of certain points, I have consulted not only the 1917 edition of the Maulana's English translation but also his Urdu translation with extensive commentary known as Bayan-ul-Quran. I would also mention that in case of some verses I have compared other English translations of the Quran, old and new, to form a judgment as to the most suitable level of language.

It is clear that Maulana Muhammad Ali produced his translation to the highest standard of literary scholarship and he used words, expressions, phrases and styles that reflect the original Arabic with great precision, perhaps unmatched by any other English translation. In my effort to update its language, and bring it closer to current usage, it was inevitable that in some places its high literary level would be reduced and the new expressions employed be somewhat less precise than those which they replace.

Maulana Muhammad Ali had also produced two editions of his translation without including the Arabic text and with much condensed footnotes, in order to make available a handier book for the general reader. 1 Following the same approach in the present work, the Arabic text has not been included, and the footnote content has been abridged although not nearly by the extent of reduction in the Maulana's two editions. Taking the footnotes from his revised 1951 edition (as also found in its subsequent reprints), I have eliminated the detailed lexical discussion of the range of meaning of words and the explanation of the variety of views about the interpretation of the text. Only the conclusion reached by the Maulana as to the explanation of the verses is retained. Occasionally the abridgment has required some insignificant rephrasing of his original words.

Those who wish to benefit from the Maulana's full, scholarly commentary are referred to the reprints of his 1951 edition.

1. The first such edition was published in 1928, which was reprinted in 1951. A revised version of the same work was published in 1948.

At certain points in the footnotes it was necessary to make some further comment on a text, due mainly to issues and questions that have arisen in recent years. To meet this need I have added my own comments, marked as Editor's Note. These occur within existing footnotes and also as additional footnotes. In three places (21:85, 33:72, 55:33), footnotes have been added based on suggestions made by the late Mr N.A. Faruqui, a leading figure of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Lahore who was much involved in the Quran translation and publication work of this movement. He had sent me a brief draft of that material.

The introductory notes at the head of the chapters have had to be abridged considerably and therefore they have been re-worded.

As in the two editions produced by the Maulana which do not include the Arabic text, I have laid out the translation in continuous running form, not starting each verse on a new line. However, for ease of reading as well as comprehension I have divided most sections further into paragraphs. Note that the division of the longer chapters of the Quran into sections is only found in certain parts of the Muslim world, such as the Indian subcontinent. The headings given to sections is a feature of our English translations; these are not in the Arabic text of the Quran.

This edition carries an Introduction consisting of a life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and some information about the Quran, its teachings, and the history of its compilation, all taken from writings of Maulana Muhammad Ali as indicated there.

I cannot bring this Preface to a close without a mention of my association with the publication which I have edited to produce the present work. It was in 1978 that I first carried out a detailed, close reading of the latest reprint of the 1951 edition of the English translation and commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali in order to identify typographical errors and inconsistencies in preparation for the next reprint. The list of corrections and other suggestions that I thus compiled was gone through in detail in Lahore by Mr N.A. Faruqui and Mr Muhammad Ahmad, son of Maulana Muhammad Ali. In 1981 Mr Faruqui referred to this in his obituary of Muhammad Ahmad as follows:

"Muhammad Ahmad's work in the revision of the seventh edition of the English translation and commentary of the Holy Quran, now under print, was equally painstaking. For that revision, the original spadework done by Dr. Zahid Aziz was the most thorough job I have ever seen. But to collate and give final shape to the suggestions made by Dr. Zahid Aziz and several others, Muhammad Ahmad spent long evenings with me after his office hours." '

In 1990 it was proposed to re-typeset the entire work. I made detailed suggestions for a new, improved design and layout which were carefully scrutinised by the Head of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Lahore, Dr Saeed Ahmad Khan, the Vice-President Mr N.A. Faruqui, and other senior members of the Anjuman. The new edition incorporating these suggestions was published in the USA in 2002. I was in charge of the proof reading of the newly composed text. The index in that edition was also enlarged by me by about 50% from the previous one by Maulana Muhammad AH. This background has been indicated in the Foreword by Dr Saeed Ahmad Khan and Mr Faruqui, and in the Publisher's Note written by me, in that edition. 2

I have outlined this history to show that my previous experience equipped me somewhat, and inspired me, to carry out the present revision.

I wish to express my thanks to Mr Shaukat Ali, Coordinator of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Lahore for the Asia and Pacific Region, for pointing out some typographical errors.

The responsibility for all aspects of this revision rests with me, and I crave forgiveness from Allah as well as from the readers of this edition for any flaws in this production.

Zahid Aziz September 2010

1. The Light, Lahore, 8 March 1981, p. 8.

2. The year 2002 edition is published by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam Lahore Inc. USA, Dublin, Ohio, USA.

Contents

Preface 1-1

Introduction: 1-19

1. Life of Holy Prophet Muhammad 1-19

2. The Holy Quran and its Divisions 1-35

3. Relation to Earlier Scriptures 1-41

4. Liberal View of Other Religions 1-44

5. The Position of Woman 1-48

6. Purity of the Quranic Text 1-52

A Summary of the Holy Quran 1-61

Key 1-64

The Holy Quran:*

1. The Opening (Al-Fatihah) 1

2. The Cow (Al-Baqarah) 3

Fundamental principles of Islam - 3. Adam: Greatness of man and need for revelation - 8. The Israelites -11. Israelites' rejection of the Prophet - 20. Previous scriptures abrogated, perfect guidance in Islam - 23. Abraham - 26. Ka 'bah -31. Divine Unity - 36. Foods - 37. Bequests - 39. Fasting - 41. War - 44. Pilgrimage - 46. Trials - 48. Divorce, remarriage, widows - 52. Israelite wars - 59. Dead raised - 62. Monetary sacrifice - 64. Interest - 66. Contracts - 68. A great prayer - 69.

In this table, under each chapter up to ch. 80, a brief list of the main subjects treated in it is provided. The subject can be located by going to the page shown and starting from a section which begins on that page. You may need to continue on to subsequent pages to find or complete the subject. Note that the wording of the subjects as given here does not necessarily correspond to the section headings. From chapter 80 onwards, a one line description of the chapter is provided.

3. The Family of Amran (Al 'Imran) 72

Interpretation of scriptures - 72. Kingdom of God- 76. Last of the Israelites, Mary and Jesus - 78. Jews and Christians - 83. Covenant with prophets - 86. Muslim must remain united - 89. Battle ofUhud- 92. Ultimate triumph of the faithful - 102.

4. Women {Al-Nisa) 104

Orphans, marriage - 104. Inheritance - 107. Treatment of women - 108. Marriage - 110. Women 's rights over earnings -111. Husbands, wives -113. Purification - 115. Kingdom of Abraham given to Muslims - 117. Prophet to be obeyed - 118. Wars - 120. The hypocrites - 121. Murder, war â€" 124. The hypocrites - 126. Idolatry - 128. Orphans and women - 129. Believers and hypocrites - 130. Israelite history and attempt to kill Jesus - 133. Previous revelation, Quran and Jesus - 135.

5. Food (Al-Ma'idah) 138

Religion perfected in Islam - 138. Uprightness- 141. Earlier violation of covenant - 142. Cain and Abel - 144. Offenders -146. Jews, Christians, People of the Book - 147'. Sins of previous people - 156. Pilgrimage - 158. Some directions -159. Jesus and Christians - 161.

6. Cattle (Al-An 'am) 164

Divine Unity, mercy - 164. Rejection of truth, Divine Judgment - 168. Abraham - 173. His descendants - 175. Truth and its triumph - 176. Opposition to truth, idolatry - 180. Prohibited foods - 185. Guiding rules, goal of life - 187.

7. The Elevated Places (Al-A raf) 190

Doom of opponents - 190. Devil, Adam and man - 191. Messengers sent- 194. Acceptors and rejectors - 195. Noah, Hud, Salih, Lot, Shuaib - 199. Moses and Pharaoh - 204. Moses receives Law - 207. Calf worship - 209. Prophet Muhammad's advent - 209. Israelites - 211. Divine impress on man's nature, doom of rejectors -213. Final word -216.

8. Voluntary Gifts (Al-Anfdl) 218

Battle ofBadr - 218. Success does not depend on numbers -226. Relations of Muslim State with others - 229.

9. Immunity (A l-Bara 'at) 231

Declaration - 231. The Sacred Mosque - 234. Triumph of Islam - 235, 237. Tabuk expedition - 239. The hypocrites -240. The faithful - 250. Prophet's great anxiety - 253.

10. Jonah (Yunus) 255

Truth of revelation - 255. Punishment and merciful dealing -257'. Good news for the faithful - 263. Noah, Moses - 264. Heed warning to benefit - 267'. Divine judgment - 268.

11. Hud 270

Warning - 270. Noah, Hud, Salih, Abraham, Lot, Shuaib -273-282. Wrongdoers and righteous - 282.

12. Joseph (Yusuf) 286

Story of the prophet Joseph - 286-297. Lesson for Prophet Muhammad's opponents - 298.

13. Thunder (Al-Ra'd) 299

Truth of revelation - 299. Fall and rise of nations - 300. Good and evil - 302. Revolution through Quran - 303. Opposition will fail - 305. Progress of Truth - 306.

14. Abraham (Ibrahim) 307

Revelation dispels darkness - 307. Truth rejected first, but opposition at last fails - 308. Abraham - 312. End of opposition - 313.

15. The Rock (Al-Hijr) 315

The Quran is guarded - 315. Devil opposes the righteous -317. Abraham, Lot, Shuaib, Dwellers of the Rock- 319-321.

16. The Bee (Al-Nahl) 322

Nature's testimony - 322. Denial and disgrace - 324. Prophets raised - 325. Doom of opponents - 326. Human nature revolts against polytheism - 327. Lesson from cattle and the bee - 329. Recipient of revelation - 330. Prophets testify -333. Revelation enjoins good - 333. Quran not forgery - 335.

17. The Israelites (Bam Isra'Tl) 339

Israelites punished twice - 339. Every deed has a consequence - 341. Moral precepts - 342. Disbelievers grow harder - 344. Punishment must follow - 346. Devil's opposition to Adam - 348. Opposition to Prophet - 349. Truth will prevail - 350. Quran is unique - 352. Justice - 353. Moses - 354.

18. The Cave (Al-Kahf) 356

Warning to Christians - 356. Companions of the Cave - 359. Parable of two men - 363. Guilty brought to judgment - 365. Warning disregarded - 366. Moses travels in search of

knowledge - 367. Dhu-l-qarnain, Gog and Magog - 370. Christian nations - 374.

19. Mary (Maryam) 376

Zacharias and John - 376. Mary and Jesus - 377. Abraham, other prophets - 381. Opponents - 383. False doctrine of sonship - 384.

20. TaHa 386

Story of Moses - 386. Moses and Aaron go to Pharaoh - 388. Exodus, and calf-worship - 391. Prophet's opponents - 394. Devil misleads Adam - 395. Punishment is certain - 396.

21. The Prophets (Al-Anbiya) 398

Judgment approaches - 398. Truth triumphs - 399. Truth of revelation - 401. Allah is merciful - 403. Abraham and other prophets delivered - 403-408. Righteous inherit land - 408.

22. The Pilgrimage (Al-Hajj) 411

The Judgment - 411. Divine help - 413. Pilgrimage, sacrifices

- 415. Permission to fight - 417. Opposition - 419. Faithful established - 420. Divine mercy -All. Parable of a fly - 422.

23. The Believers (Al-Mu 'minuri) 423

Success of the faithful - 423. Noah and later prophets - 425. Higher values - 427. Polytheism - 428. Wicked regret - 429.

24. The Light (Al-Nur) 432

Law of adultery - 432. Slanderers - 434. Preventive measures

- 436. Divine light - 439. Divine power - 441. Islamic kingdom - 442. Privacy - 443. State matters take priority - 445.

25. The Criterion (Al-Furqan) 446

Warner for all nations - 446. Truth of warning - 448. Day of discrimination - 449. Fate of former people - 451. Lesson from nature - 451. The transformation brought about - 454.

26. The Poets {Al-Shu'ara') 456

Prophet consoled - 456. Moses called, sent to Pharaoh - 457. The enchanters - 458. Is delivered - 459. Abraham, Noah, Hud, Sdlih, Lot, Shuaib - 460-465. Opponents warned- 465.

27. The Naml (Al-Naml) 468

Moses in brief- 468. Solomon and the Queen ofSheba - 469. Sdlih and Lot - 474. Faithful will be exalted - 475. The spiritual resurrection - 476. Passing away of opposition - 477'.

28. The Narrative (Al-Qasas) 479

History of Moses - 479. A prophet like Moses - 484. Truth of revelation - 485. Opponents will be brought low - 487. Korah 's story - 489. Prophet will return to Makkah - 490.

29. The Spider {Al-Ankabut) 491

Trials purify - 491. Noah, Abraham, Lot - 493. Opposition a failure - 495. Quran a purifier - 496. Warning and Consolation - 498. Triumph of the faithful - 499.

30. The Romans (Al-Rum) 501

Great prophecy of victory of Romans - 501. The two parties -503. Signs in nature - 503. Human nature - 504. A transformation - 506. Overthrow of opposition - 508.

31. Luqman 509

Believers will be successful - 509. Luqman 's advice to son -510. Greatness of Divine power -511. 77ze doom comes - 512.

32. Adoration (Al-Sajdah) 514

Lslam will be established - 514. Believers and disbelievers compared -515. Dead earth to receive life - 517.

33. The Allies (Al-Ahzab) 519

Spiritual and physical relationship - 519. Battle of the Allies -521. Prophet's domestic simplicity, his marriages - 524-531. Domestic conduct -531. Those who spread evil reports - 533.

34. Saba (Al-Saba) 535

Judgment is certain - 535. David, Solomon, Saba - 536. A victory for Muslims - 539. Leaders of evil - 540. Wealth does not mean greatness - 540. Truth will prosper - 541.

35. The Originator (Al-Fatir) 543

Divine favours - 543. Truth will prevail - 544. New generation to be raised- 545. The elect - 546. Punishment - 548.

36. YaSTn 550

Truth of the Quran - 550. Parable of the three messengers -551. Signs of the truth - 553. Reward and punishment - 554. The resurrection - 555.

37. Those Ranging in Ranks {Al-Saffat) 558

Unity of God - 558. The judgment - 560. Noah and Abraham - 562. Moses, Aaron, Elias, Lot - 564. Jonah - 565.

38. Sad 568

Enemy's discomfiture - 568. David - 569. Solomon - 570. Prophet Job - 572. Opposition to prophets - 574.

39. The Companies (Al-Zumar) 576

Obedience to Allah - 576. Believers and disbelievers - 578. A perfect guidance - 579. Rejectors will be disgraced - 580. Punishment cannot be averted -581. Divine mercy - 582. The final judgment - 583. Each group meets its desert - 584.

40. The Believer (Al-Mu'min) 586

Protection of faithful - 586. Failure of opponents - 587. Moses, Pharaoh - 588. Messengers receive Divine help - 591. The power of Allah - 592. End of opposition - 593.

41. HaMTtn 595

Invitation to the truth - 595. The warning - 596. Man 's evidence against himself- 597'. Believers strengthened - 598. Effect of the revelation - 599. Gradual spread of truth - 600.

42. Counsel (Al-Shura) 602

Divine mercy in giving warning - 602. Judgment is given -603. Allah 's dealing is just - 605. Believers should be patient - 606. Revelation guides aright - 608.

43. Gold (Zukhruf) 610

Revelation is a Divine favour - 610. Polytheism condemned -61 I.Allah 's choice of prophet - 612. Opposition to truth -613. Pharaoh and Moses - 614. Jesus as prophet - 615. The two parties - 616.

44. The Drought {Al-Dukhan) 618

Lighter punishment followed by severer - 618. Good and evil rewarded - 620.

45. The Kneeling (Al-Jathiyah) 622

Denial of revelation - 622. Truth of the revelation - 623. Denial of judgment - 624. The doom - 624.

46. The Sandhills (Al-Abqaf) 626

Truth of revelation - 626. Witness of truth - 627'. The fate of Ad - 629. A warning - 629.

47. Muhammad 631

Opponents will perish in war - 631. Oppressors will be brought low - 632. The weak-hearted - 634. An exhortation - 635.

48. The Victory (Al-Fath) 636

Hudaibiyah, a victory - 636. The defaulters - 638. More victories for Islam - 639. Ultimate triumph of Islam - 641.

49. The Apartments (Al-Hujurat) 643

Respect for the Prophet - 643. Respect for Muslim brotherhood - 644.

50. Qaf 647

The resurrection â€" signs in nature - 647'. The resurrection â€" consequences made manifest - 648. The resurrection - 649.

51. The Scatterers (Al-Dhariyat) 651

Falsehood is doomed - 651. Fate of previous nations - 652. Judgment is sure - 653.

52. The Mountain (Al-Tur) 655

Success of the faithful - 655. Opponents are doomed - 657.

53. The Star (Al-Najm) 659

Eminence for the Prophet - 659. Nothing avails against truth - 661. Allah 's power in destroying falsehood - 661.

54. The Moon (Al-Qamar) 663

Judgment to overtake opponents - 663. Thamud and Lot's people - 665. Pharaoh and the Prophet's opponents - 666.

55. The Beneficent (Al-Rahman) 667

Divine beneficence - 667'. Judgment of the guilty - 669. Reward of the righteous - 670.

56. The Event (Al-Waqi'ah) 672

Three classes of people - 672. The guilty - 673. Judgment is inevitable - 674.

57. Iron {Al-Hadid) 676

Establishment of the kingdom of God - 676. Light and life given by the Prophet - 611. Truth shall be established - 679. Double reward for believers - 681.

58. The Pleading Woman (Al-Mujadilah) 682

Safeguarding women 's rights - 682. Secret counsels condemned - 683. Internal enemy to be guarded against - 685.

59. The Banishment (Al-Hashr) 686

The exiled Jews - 686. Hypocrites - 688. An exhortation - 689.

60. The Woman Tested (Al-Mumtahanah) 690

Friendly relations with enemies - 690. Friendly relations with non-Muslims - 691.

61. Ranks (Al-Saff) 694

Triumph of Islam - 694. Sacrifices needed- 696.

62. The Congregation (Al-Jumu'ah) 698

Muslims chosen for Divine favours - 698. Friday prayer - 699.

63. The Hypocrites (Al-Munafiquri) 700

The hypocrites - 700. An exhortation - 701.

64. Manifestation of Losses (Al-Taghabun) 702

Disbelievers warned - 702. An exhortation - 703.

65. Divorce (Al-Talaq) 704

Supplementary divorce rules - 704. Makkah warned - 705.

66. The Prohibition (Al-Tahrim) 707

Prophet's domestic relations - 707. Progress of the faithful -708.

67. The Kingdom (Al-Mulk) 710

The kingdom of God - 710. The disbelievers ' doom - 712.

68. The Pen (Al-Qalam) 714

Not a madman's message -714. A reminder for the nations -716.

69. The Sure Truth {Al-Haqqah) 718

The doom - 718. False allegations refuted - 720.

70. The Ways of Ascent (Al-Ma'arij) 722

Certainty of punishment - 722. New nation to be raised - 723.

71. Noah (AW) 725

Noah preaches - 725. Destruction of transgressors - 111.

72. The Jinn (Al-Jinn) 728

Foreign believers - 728. Protection of revelation - 730.

73. The one covering himself up (Al-Muzzammil) 731

Prophet enjoined to pray -731. Muslims must pray. - 733.

74. The one wrapping himself up (Al-Muddaththir) 734

Prophet enjoined to warn - 734. The warning - 735.

75. The Resurrection (Al-Qiyamah) 737

The Truth of the resurrection - 737. The dead rise - 739.

76. Man (Al-Insan) 740

Attainment of perfection - 740. Another generation will be raised up - 742.

77. Those Sent Forth {Al-Mursalat) 744

Consequences of rejection - 744, 746.

78. The Announcement {Al-Naba") 747

The day of decision - 747, 748.

79. Those Who Yearn (Al-Nazi'at) 750

The great commotion - 750. 77ze great calamity - 751.

80. He Frowned ( Abasa) 753

The Prophet frowns at being interrupted by a blind man.

81. The Folding Up (Al-TakwTr) 756

"Folding up" of the sun. Prophecies of the distant future.

82. The Tearing Apart (Al-Infitar) 759

Heaven is torn apart and doors of Divine help open.

83. Default in Duty (Al-Tatfif) 761

Condemnation of those who default and cheat others.

84. The Bursting Apart (Al-Inshiqaq) 763

Revelation likened to heaven bursting apart with rain.

85. The Stars {Al-Buruj) 765

Followers of the Prophet likened to stars giving light.

86. The Comer By Night {Al-Tariq) 767

Prophet Muhammad comes at time of utter darkness.

87. The Most High (Al-A 'la) 769

God, the Most High, will raise the Prophet to great heights.

88. The Overwhelming Event {Al-Ghashiyah) 771

Opponents of the truth overwhelmed in this life and hereafter.

89. The Daybreak (Al-Fajr) 772

Daybreak of the first day of the month of the Pilgrimage.

90. The City (Al-Balad) 774

City ofMakkah destined to be spiritual centre of the world.

91. The Sun (Al-Shams) 776

Prophet Muhammad is the Sun of righteousness.

92. The Night (Al-Lail) 778

Night of disbelief and ignorance will lead to light of day.

93. The Brightness of the Day {Al-Duha) 780

Gradual spreading of the light of the sun of Islam.

94. The Expansion (Al-Inshirah) 782

Prophet's heart expanded with Divine light and knowledge.

95. The Fig (Al-Tfn) 783

Fig, symbolic of law of Moses; Olive, symbolic of Islam.

96. The Clot (Al-'Alaq) 784

Man created from a humble clot of blood, or out of love.

97. The Majesty (Al-Qadr) 786

The Night of Majesty when revelation of the Quran began.

98. The Clear Evidence {Al-Bayyinah) 788

Prophet Muhammad is himself the clear evidence of truth.

99. The Shaking (Al-Zihal) 790

Severe shaking brings transformation in the world.

100. The Assaulters {Al-Adiydt) 792

Disasters of war to turn people's minds to spiritual truth.

101. The Calamity (Al-Qari'ah) 793

The doom of a nation or the great resurrection.

102. The Abundance of Wealth (Al-Takathur) 794

Abundance of wealth diverts people from the real aim of life.

103. Time (Al-'Asr) 795

Time provides testimony that the acceptors of truth succeed.

104. The Slanderer {Al-Humazah) 796

Those who slander others and amass wealth still perish.

105. The Elephant (Al-FTl) 797

Army of the king ofYaman with elephant attacks Makkah.

106. The Quraish {Al-Quraish) 799

Quraish granted Divine favours as guardians of the Ka 'bah.

107. Acts of Kindness (.4 l-Ma uri) 800

Those who fail to perform acts of kindness are denying religion.

108. The Abundance of Good (Al-Kauthar) 801

Abundance of good attained through prayer and sacrifice.

109. The Disbelievers {Al-Kafirun) 802

Disbelievers and believers receive recompense.

110. The Help (Al-Nasr) 803

Help from God makes the Prophet triumphant in the end.

111. The Flame (Al-Lahab) 804

Heart-burning of the opponents places them inflames.

112. The Unity (Al-Ikhlas) 805

The most perfect declaration of the oneness of God.

113. The Dawn {Al-Falaq) 806

Seeking protection in the Lord of the dawn from darkness.

114. Mankind (Al-Nas) 807

Seeking protection in the Lord of mankind from the devil.

Index 808

Transliterated forms 854

CONTENTS

Recitational Parts of the Holy Quran

Introduction

1. Life of the Prophet Muhammad*

Before prophethood

It was in the year 571 C.E. that the Prophet Muhammad was born. He came of the noblest family of Arabia, the Quraish, who were held in the highest esteem, being guardians of the Sacred House at Makkah, the Ka'bah, the spiritual centre of the whole of Arabia. At the time of his birth Arabia was steeped deep in the worst form of idolatry that has ever prevailed in any country. The Ka'bah itself was full of idols, and every household had, in addition, its own idols. Unhewn stones, trees and heaps of sand were also worshipped. In spite of this vast and deep-rooted idolatry, the Arabs were materialistic, "eat and drink" being the tone of most of their poetry. There was practically no faith in the life after death, no feeling of responsibility for one's actions. The Arabs, however, believed in demons, and diseases were attributed to the influence of evil spirits.

Ignorance prevailed among the high as well as the low, so much so that the noblest of men could boast of his ignorance. There was no moral code, and vice was rampant. Sexual relations were loose, obscene poems and songs were recited in public assemblies. There was no punishment for, nor any moral sanction against, illicit sexual relations. Prostitution had nothing dishonourable about it, so that leading men could keep brothels. Women were in the most degraded position, looked upon as a mere chattel. Instead of having any right to inheritance of property,

The material here is taken mainly from The Prophet of Islam with small additions from Muhammad The Prophet, both by Maulana Muhammad Ali.

a woman herself formed part of the inheritance, and the heir could dispose of her as he liked. There was no settled government, no law in the land, and might was practically right.

The Arabs belonged to one race and spoke one language, yet they were the most disunited people. Tribe made war on tribe, and family on family, on the most trivial excuse. The strong among them trampled upon the rights of the weak, and the weak could not get their wrongs redressed. The widow and the orphan were quite helpless and slaves were treated most cruelly.

Among this people was born the Prophet Muhammad. His father Abdullah had died before his birth and he lost even his mother Aminah when he was six years old. On the death of his mother, the charge of the child fell to his paternal grandfather, Abdul Muttalib. Barely two years had elapsed, however, when Abdul Muttalib also died. Thus he was eight years old when his guardianship passed to his paternal uncle, Abu Talib.

He came of the noblest family of the Quraish, yet, like most of the rest of his countrymen, he was not taught reading and writing. He tended sheep for some time, but in his youth he was chiefly occupied in trade. It was, however, his high morals that distinguished him from the first from all his compatriots. The Holy Quran, which contains the most trustworthy account of the Prophet's life, says that he was the possessor of "sublime morals" (68:4).

Leading generally a reserved life, he had for friends only those men whose moral greatness was admitted by all. His truthfulness is testified in the clearest words (6:33). His bitterest opponents were challenged to point out a single black spot on his character during the forty years that he had passed among them before he received the Divine call (10:16). It was in his youth that, on account of his pure and unsoiled character and his love for truth and honesty, he won from his compatriots the title of al-Amin, or the Faithful.

Living in a country in which idol-worship was the basis of the everyday life of the community, Muhammad hated idolatry from his childhood, and the Holy Quran is again our authority for the

1. LIFE OF THE HOLY PROPHET MUHAMMAD 1-21

statement that he never bent his forehead before an idol (109:4). Though he lived in a city in which drinking orgies were only too common, never did a drop of alcohol touch his lips. Even Abu Bakr, the most intimate friend of the Prophet's youth, never tasted alcohol. The society at Makkah found pleasure in gambling, yet never did Muhammad take part in any such pastime. He lived among a people who were addicted to war as they were addicted to drinking, yet he had no liking for either.

Above all, his earlier life was marked by that rare characteristic, rarest of all in Arabia at the time, love of the poor, the orphan, the widow, the weak, the helpless and the slave. Before he had affluence of means, he was one of the members who took an oath to stand by the oppressed and formed themselves into a league as champions of the injured.

A highly-placed widow, Khadijah, hearing of the righteousness of Muhammad, entrusted to him the sole charge of her business. Before long, much profit accrued to her through his honest dealings. These dealings gave evidence of his high morals and it was this circumstance which led Khadijah to make a proposal for marriage. Thus was he married, at the age of twenty-five, to a widow, fifteen years older than himself.* After his marriage, he spent freely for the help of the poor.

To these great qualities was added his anxiety for a fallen humanity. The Quran refers to it repeatedly (9:128, 18:6, 26:3, 35:8). As years went on, the gross idolatry of the Arabs and their evil ways pressed the more heavily on his heart, and he spent hours in solitude in the neighbouring mountains.

Raised to prophethood

Shortly before he reached the age of forty, he began to immerse himself more frequently in solitary meditation. Retiring to a cave known as Hira, he would give himself up to Divine contemplation for days. Meanwhile, he received many visions, which came to fulfilment to the very letter. While thus absorbed in Divine

For marriages of the Holy Prophet, see footnote to 33:50 and the Index entry Muhammad, under its sub-entry: wives of.

worship in the cave of Hira, the angel Gabriel appeared before him one night, in the month of Ramadan, in the year 609 C.E., with the first revelation (see 96:1-5). This was the first day when the heavy responsibility of prophethood was placed on his shoulders. The right path in the quest of which he had been so long engaged was at last revealed to him. It was made known to him at the same time that the stupendous charge of human reformation was to rest on his shoulders. At first, he was in doubt whether he would be able to perform the great task, but his anxiety soon gave place to absolute faith that truth would ultimately triumph, and he set to work with a strength of will and an inflexibility of purpose which could not be shaken by the severest opposition of the whole of Arabia.

From the very first his message was for all, for the Arab as well as the non-Arab, for the idolaters as well as the Jews, the Christians and the Magi. Nor was it limited to the town of Makkah, for Makkah was the centre to which men and women flocked in thousands every year from all parts of Arabia, and through this assemblage the Prophet's message reached the most distant corners of Arabia. His wife, Khadijah, was the first to believe in him, and she was followed by others who were either his most intimate friends or closely related to him.

His first revelations laid stress on the great power and majesty of the Divine Being and on the inevitability of the judgment. The Quraish mocked at first, treated him contemptuously and called him a madman. In spite of this he went on gaining adherents by twos and threes, until within four years the number reached forty and persecution grew bitter. At first the slaves were tortured. But the fire of persecution once kindled could not be confined. Converts of high birth were made to suffer along with the poorer followers. The Prophet himself did not escape the cruelties of the persecutors. The Muslims could not gather together or say their prayers in a public place. Still the Prophet Muhammad went on gaining new adherents, and his opponents became severer in their persecution, so much so that some of the humbler converts were put to death in a most brutal manner.

The Prophet's tender heart melted at the sight of this brutal

1. LIFE OF THE HOLY PROPHET MUHAMMAD 1-23

treatment of innocent men and women, and in spite of the fact that he would be left alone amongst exasperated opponents, he advised the small band of his followers to betake themselves to a place of safety. Eleven men and women left Makkah in the fifth year of the Prophet's mission, and migrated to Abyssinia. To there they were followed by a deputation of their opponents that petitioned the ruler of Abyssinia for their extradition. The Muslim case was put by their leader before the Christian king. The king was deeply touched by this statement and by a recitation from the Holy Quran, and refused to deliver the Muslims to their enemies. More Muslims went to Abyssinia next year, until the total reached 101, excluding children. The Quraish tried their utmost to check this tide of emigration, but in vain. Soon they became exasperated beyond all measure at the Prophet and the little band of Muslims that remained with him at Makkah. Not being able to prevail upon Abu Talib, the head of the Hashimites (the Prophet's family), to hand the Prophet over to them to end his life, and failing to tempt the Prophet by offering him kingship, wealth and beauty, they at last entered into a league and shut up the Hashimites and the Muslims in a small quarter, where they suffered the utmost privations for three long years, being allowed liberty of action only during the time of pilgrimage. These three years were the years of the hardest suffering for the Muslims, and Islam itself made little progress during this time.

Released at last from this imprisonment, the Prophet, though facing disappointment on all sides, had still as much faith in the triumph of the truth as ever. If Makkah was now quite deaf to his preaching, he would turn elsewhere. He went to Ta'if, another great city of Arabia. Here, however, he found the ground even harder than at Makkah. He was not allowed to stay in Ta'if after ten days, and as he walked back he was pelted with stones. Dripping with blood and not even allowed by his persecutors to take rest, he at last returned to Makkah, a sadder man than when he had left it.

Three years more passed away at Makkah amidst the most trying circumstances. In the meanwhile Islam took root in Madinah and spread fast. As the thirteenth year of his mission drew to a close, some Muslims from Madinah came to perform a pilgrimage

and swore allegiance to the Prophet, affirming that if he chose to go to Madinah, they would defend him against his enemies just as they defended their own children and wives. Then it was that the Muslim exodus to Madinah commenced.

The Prophet chose to remain alone amidst an enemy that was growing more and more exasperated, and to see his followers safe at the new centre. This shows the depth of his love and concern for his followers. He was anxious more for their safety than for his own. Within two months, about 150 Muslims left Makkah and there remained only the Prophet with two of his closest friends. His persecutors realised that if a final blow was not struck immediately, the Prophet might escape to Madinah and get beyond their reach. A big conference of all the tribes was held and a final decision taken. A youth from each clan was to be selected, and all these were to fall upon the Prophet at one and the same time, so that no particular clan should be held accountable for the murder.

The Prophet's house was besieged by these youths as soon as it was dark, but, undaunted and having his faith in Divine protection, the Prophet passed through them unnoticed. In the dark of the night, with only one companion, Abu Bakr, he made his way outside Makkah, and a hiding-place was ultimately found in a cave known as Thaur. When morning appeared, the enemy saw the failure of their plan and the whole countryside was scoured. One party reached the very mouth of the cave. Through a crevice, Abu Bakr saw the enemy at the mouth and grew anxious. "Do not grieve, for Allah is with us, " said the Prophet. The more helpless he became, the stronger grew his faith in God. After three days the Prophet and his companion started for Madinah.

At Madinah

The Prophet reached Madinah in June 622 C.E. The first thing that he did was to construct a mosque, now famous as the Prophet's Mosque. Here prayers to God were offered five times daily in a free atmosphere for the first time in the history of Islam. He next turned to establishing a brotherhood of the Muslims. Those who had fled from Makkah, called the Muhajirun (Refugees), had left all their property behind. So, to provide shelter for them, every refugee was bound in a bond of brotherhood with one of the

1. LIFE OF THE HOLY PROPHET MUHAMMAD 1-25

residents of Madinah, called the Ansar (Helpers). The Prophet also established friendly relations between the various tribes living in Madinah. Among these were three Jewish clans, and a pact was concluded with them as well, according to which Muslims and Jews would live in peace and jointly defend Madinah against an external attack upon it.

The battles

The Quraish now became determined to uproot Islam. The Holy Prophet received an intimation from on High that the sword would be taken up against him and he would have to carry on a war to save Islam from utter annihilation. Temperamentally the Prophet Muhammad was not inclined to war; he had not once handled the sword in actual fighting up to the fifty-fifth year of his age, and this in a country where fighting had become a vocation of the people. The religion which he preached, Islam (meaning peace or submission), was a religion of peace, laying stress on prayer to God and the service of humanity, and he was required to preach this religion; to deliver the message, not to enforce it on others. But war was being forced on him, and it was his duty, he was told in his revelation from God, to defend his oppressed community who had twice fled their homes from the persecutions of a cruel enemy. There was no question of Muslims converting anyone to Islam by force; it was the enemy that wanted to turn back the Muslims by force from Islam (see 2:217).

Small detachments of the Quraish used to go out on marauding expeditions and scour the country right up to the outskirts of Madinah. The situation called for vigilance on the part of the Prophet. Reconnaissance parties were sent out by him to keep an eye on enemy movements and to approach certain tribes to secure their alliance or neutrality. One such party sent out with express orders to gather information about the Quraish movements accidentally killed a member of the Quraish. The usual practice in Arabia in such cases was to demand blood-money. But the Quraish wanted a pretext to rouse the populace against the Muslims, and this murder furnished it. Another pretext was furnished by a Quraish caravan coming from Syria just at this time. Knowing that the Muslims were still very weak, the Quraish thought that 1,000 men

would be sufficient to annihilate them, and with this army they marched on Madinah in Ramadan, 2 A.H.

When news of this reached Madinah, the Prophet made hurried preparations to meet them, but could gather only a force of 313 Muslims. The two forces met at Badr, a distance of three days journey from Madinah and ten days from Makkah. The Prophet saw the weakness of his followers and in deep anxiety passed the night praying to God. But the unexpected happened. Almost all the Quraish chiefs, the ringleaders of the campaign against Islam, were slain in action. Seeing their chiefs fall, the rank and file were seized with confusion and took to flight. Seventy fell and an equal number were taken prisoners. There were fourteen casualties on the Muslim side.

The Quraish defeat at Badr was an ignominy which they could not leave unavenged. An army of 3,000 strong, with formidable warriors among them, marched on Madinah next year. The Muslims could muster no more than 700 men, and marched out of Madinah to meet the enemy at the foot of Uhud, only three miles from the city. The Muslims fought desperately and at first gained the upper hand. The Quraish took to flight and the Muslims pursued them, but just at this time the enemy noticed that the Muslim archers had left their rear undefended by vacating a certain position to join in the pursuit. Some of the Quraish wheeled round and attacked the Muslims from behind, while the main Quraish army turned back, and the handful of Muslims, in disorder on account of the pursuit, were thus pressed on both sides. The Prophet, braving the danger of himself becoming the target of the enemy's attack, called out aloud to his men to rally round him. This was a signal to the enemy to direct their attack to this particular point. The Muslims saw this and, cutting their way through the enemy ranks, mustered strongly round the Prophet. In this attempt they sustained serious losses, and the Prophet himself was seriously wounded, but the position of the Muslim army had become secure. Closing their ranks on elevated ground with the mountain protecting their retreat, they again made the enemy feel their strength. The Quraish retired from the field and took their way back to Makkah.

1. LIFE OF THE HOLY PROPHET MUHAMMAD 1-27

Though the Quraish had this time inflicted severe losses on the Muslims, even this attack on Madinah had proved abortive. So after returning from Uhud, they tried to rouse the Jews and the Bedouin tribes against the Muslims, and in this they were successful. They all combined to deal a crushing blow to Islam. A large army of the Quraish and allied Arab tribes numbering more than 10,000 was gathered in the year 5 A.H., having the support of some Jews of Madinah. The Muslims, unable to meet these forces in the open field, fortified themselves in Madinah by digging a ditch on the side which was unprotected. The Prophet himself participated in digging the ditch like an ordinary labourer. The huge force at last reached Madinah. It was an hour of consternation, anguish and perplexity for the Muslims but their hearts were full of faith.

During a full month of siege, the Muslims stood firm. Arrows and stones came in terrible showers but they could not break through the defence. Attacks were made and repulsed in quick succession. The siege became wearisome to the besieging army, which also began to run short of provisions. The elements of nature ultimately came to the help of the Muslim defence. A storm one night blew down the tents of the besiegers. There was confusion among them and they took to flight during the night, to the great joy and thanksgiving of the Muslims.

The Quraish now lost all hope of being able to crush the Muslims. About a year after this, the Prophet with about 1400 companions (Islam was gaining ground in spite of the wars) undertook a journey to Makkah to perform the lesser pilgrimage. But he found that the Quraish were prepared to offer armed resistance to his entry into Makkah, even though it was simply with the object of performing a religious obligation. He had to stop at about nine miles from the sacred city, at a place called Hudaibiyah.

Emissaries were sent to find a peaceful solution. After a period of great anxiety and tension, a truce was in the end drawn up to last for a period of ten years, with the following conditions among others: (1) The Muslims shall return without performing a pilgrimage, for which they may come back the following year. (2) Should any of the Makkans go over to Madinah, the Muslims

shall hand him back to the Makkans, but if any of the Muslims go over to Makkah, the Quraish are under no obligation to return him to the Muslims. (3) The Arab tribes are at liberty to enter into alliance with whichever party they choose.

It can easily be seen what a heavy price the Prophet was willing to pay for the sake of peace; he had agreed not to give shelter to those who were persecuted for accepting Islam, while his own men were free to join the unbelievers and find shelter in Makkah. The moral force drawing people to Islam was so great that while not a single Muslim went back to Makkah where he could find a sure shelter, scores of Makkans embraced Islam, and finding the doors of Madinah closed to them, settled themselves at 'Is, a place subject neither to the authority of the Prophet, nor to that of the Quraish. Islam was spreading in spite of the sword.

After returning from Hudaibiyah, the Prophet made arrangements to send the message of Islam to all people, Christians as well as Magians, living on the borders of Arabia. He wrote letters to the sovereigns of the neighbouring kingdoms, the Emperor of Rome, Chosroes II of Persia, the king of Egypt, the Negus of Abyssinia and certain Arab chiefs, inviting them to Islam. Of the rulers addressed the Negus accepted Islam; the king of Egypt sent some presents in reply; the Roman Emperor was impressed but his generals were averse; while Chosroes tore up the letter and sent orders to the governor of Yaman to arrest the Prophet. When the governor's soldiers reached Madinah for the execution of the orders, the Prophet told them that Chosroes was himself dead and no more the king of Persia. They went back with this report to the governor of Yaman, and it was found that Chosroes II had actually been murdered by his own son on the very night indicated by the Prophet. This event led to the governor's conversion to Islam, and ultimately to Yaman's throwing off the yoke of Persia.

Conquest of Makkah

The truce of Hudaibiyah had hardly been in force for two years when the Banu Bakr, an ally of the Quraish, attacked the Khuza'a, an ally of the Muslims, with the help of the Quraish. The Prophet thereupon sent word to the Quraish that they should either pay blood money for those slain from among the Khuza'a or dissociate

1. LIFE OF THE HOLY PROPHET MUHAMMAD 1-29

themselves from the Banu Bakr, or, in the last resort, declare the truce of Hudaibiyah to be null and void. The Quraish did not agree to either of the first two proposals, and the result was the annulment of the truce. The Prophet thereupon ordered an attack on Makkah in the closing months of the year 8 A.H. (629 C.E.)

The two years during which the truce remained in force had brought such large numbers over to Islam that the Prophet now marched on Makkah with 10,000 men under his flag. The Makkans were unable to make any preparations to meet the attack. At Marr al-Zahran, a day's journey from Makkah, the Quraish leader, Abu Sufyan, sued for pardon, and though he was the arch-offender who had left no stone unturned to annihilate Islam, free pardon was granted to him by the Prophet.

The conquest of Makkah was practically bloodless. The Quraish were unable to meet this force and the Prophet declared a general amnesty, guaranteeing safety to all those who entered Abu Sufyan's house, or closed the doors of their own houses or entered the sacred precincts of the Ka'bah. Conversion to Islam formed no part of the conditions which guaranteed security of life and property. There were strict orders to the advancing army that there should be no bloodshed. There were only about a score of casualties due to some of the Quraish attacking a party of the Muslim forces.

Makkah having thus been entered, the first thing that the Prophet did was to clear the Ka'bah of the idols. He then addressed the assembled Quraish who had been guilty of the most heinous offences against the Muslims. They were standing before him now as culprits who had persecuted Muslims, inflicted on them the severest tortures, put many of them to death and ultimately expelled them from Makkah. They had not even allowed the Muslims to live a peaceful life at their new home in Madinah, but had attacked that city three times with large forces which they knew the Muslims had no means to meet.

It was these men who were now at the Prophet's mercy, and addressing them, he put to them the question: "What treatment do you expect from me?" They knew al-Amin of old; they knew he had a generous heart. "You are a noble brother, the son of a noble

brother", was their unhesitating reply. But the treatment the Prophet accorded them exceeded even their own expectations. "This day, " he said in the words of Joseph to his brothers, "there is no reproach against you" (12:92).

They were yet unbelievers, but mark the magnanimity of that great soul who would not even reproach them for their evil deeds, who let them go even without taking a pledge from them for the future. Not only was Makkah conquered, but with it were conquered also the hearts of the bitterest foes of Islam.

They now saw with their own eyes how the combined forces of opposition offered by the whole country had proved an utter failure against the mighty truth which came from the lips of a man who had stood alone in the midst of all opposition. The truth of the cause was now only too clear to them, and men and women came forward spontaneously to embrace the faith. There was not a single instance of conversion by force.

Those that still adhered to the old religion were treated in the same spirit of friendliness as the members of the brotherhood. Even a hostile Western critic of Islam, Sir William Muir, had to admit this in these words: "Although the city had cheerfully accepted his supremacy, all its inhabitants had not yet embraced the new religion, or formally acknowledged his prophetical claim. Perhaps he intended to follow the course he had pursued at Madinah, and leave the conversion of the people to be gradually accomplished without compulsion" (The Life of Mahomet, ch. 25).

Islam spreads throughout Arabia

The fall of Makkah was a signal to the whole of Arabia. With the sole exception of the battle of Hunain, which had to be undertaken against the Hawazin tribe immediately after the conquest of Makkah, regular warfare between Muslims and non-Muslims in the whole of Arabia now came to an end, and even at Hunain, the unbelieving Makkans fought on the side of the Muslims.

Islam was now free from trouble from within, but the Christian power on the north viewed its strength with a jealous eye, and persistent news as to preparations of the Roman Empire to attack Arabia could not be ignored. Accordingly, an expedition of 30,000

1. LIFE OF THE HOLY PROPHET MUHAMMAD 1-31

men was led by the Prophet personally to the northern frontier in the year 9 A.H. When he reached Tabuk, however, he found that his march had a restraining effect on the enemy, and there being no hostile force in the field, the Prophet returned without either attacking the Romans or declaring war against them. In fact, the Prophet always observed the Quranic injunction to fight only with those who took up the sword first to fight against the Muslims.

After the return from Tabuk, peace was apparently established in the peninsula, but the Islamic territory was infested with hordes of marauders belonging to the tribes that had entered into agreements with the Muslim state, but had little respect for their treaties: "...those with whom you make an agreement, then they break their agreement every time, and they do not keep their duty" (8:56). These people had become a menace to the security of life and property, and accordingly, towards the end of the year 9 A.H., the Holy Prophet sent Ali to make an important declaration of immunity regarding such agreements at the annual pilgrimage at Makkah, an immunity of Muslims from their obligations towards such people. The declaration describes them as: "...those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement" (9:1), and makes an exception in favour of those who had not violated their treaties: "except those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement, then they have not failed you in anything and have not backed up anyone against you; so fulfil their agreement to the end of their term" (9:4). The result was that such tribes surrendered, and a settled condition of peace prevailed throughout the peninsula.

This declaration of immunity towards the violators is sometimes misrepresented as meaning an abrogation of the conditions of war laid down at the beginning: "And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you but do not be aggressive" (2:190). As a matter of fact, the condition laid down remained effective to the end. The Prophet's return from Tabuk, without attacking either the Roman territory or the territory of any other tribe, is a clear evidence of this. And even after the declaration of immunity, the Muslims were required to fight only with those who attacked them first: "Will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Messenger, and they attacked you first?" (9:13).

Deputations which had already started coming to the Prophet in 9 A.H. to learn the truth about Islam now became more abundant. People came from all over Arabia and embraced Islam of their own free will. As soon as peace was established, Islam spread rapidly, and the year 10 A.H. witnessed the conversion of the whole of Arabia to Islam, including some Christian tribes. It was not only that idolatry was given up for the purest monotheism; it was a reformation in all spheres of life. The whole course of life of an entire nation was changed â€" ignorance, superstition and barbarism giving place to the spread of knowledge and to a rational outlook in all aspects of life.

The "farewell" Pilgrimage

At the end of the year 10 A.H., the Prophet set out to perform the pilgrimage to Makkah. As the whole of Arabia was now Muslim, there was not a single idolater in the huge concourse of 124,000 pilgrims assembled at Makkah from all corners of the country. The very spot where the Prophet was only twenty years ago a rejected person, to whose word no one was willing to lend his ear, was now the scene of marvellous devotion to him. Everywhere he saw devoted friends who recognized him both as their temporal as well as their spiritual head â€" an inspiring manifestation of Divine power to him as well as to those who had assembled there.

It was here, on the day of the assembling of the pilgrims at Mount Arafat, that he received a revelation which sent a thrill of joy through the vast gathering: "This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour to you and chosen for you Islam as a religion" (5:3). The Prophet perceived that the message of the perfection of religion meant his approaching end. Here he delivered his famous sermon to the whole of Arabia through representatives of tribes coming from every quarter:

"O people! Lend an attentive ear to my words, for I do not know whether I shall ever again have the opportunity to meet you here. I apprise you that your lives, your properties and your honour must be as sacred to one another as this sacred day in this sacred month in this sacred town. Let those present take this message to those absent. You are about to meet your Lord Who will call you to account for your deeds...

1. LIFE OF THE HOLY PROPHET MUHAMMAD 1-33

"O people! This day Satan has despaired of re-establishing his power in this land of yours. But should you obey him even in what may seem to you a trifling matter, it will be a source of pleasure for him. So you must beware of him in the matter of your faith.

"O my people! You have certain rights over your wives and so have your wives over you... They are the trust of Allah in your hands. So you must treat them with all kindness ... And as regards your slaves, see that you give them to eat of what you yourselves eat and clothe them with what you clothe yourselves.

"O people! Listen to what I say and take it to heart. You must know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. You are all equal, and members of one brotherhood. It is forbidden to any of you to take from his brother save what he should willingly give. Do not do injustice to your people."

Then the Prophet cried at the top of his voice: O Allah! I have delivered Your message, and the valley resounded with the words: Yes, you certainly have!

A little while after his return to Madinah, the Holy Prophet fell ill. At first he went to the mosque to lead the prayers even during his illness, but later on he became too weak and appointed Abu Bakr to lead the prayers. After about twelve days' illness, he passed away on the 12th of the month of Rabi '-ul-Awwal on a Monday in 11 A.H., corresponding to June 632 C.E., at the age of sixty-three. His last words were: Blessed companionship on High.

The amazing transformation

The most outstanding characteristic of the life of the Prophet Muhammad is the amazing success which he achieved. The transformation wrought within the short space of less than a quarter of a century is in fact unparalleled in the history of the world. There is not a single reformer who brought about such an entire change in the lives of a whole nation inhabiting such a vast country. None, in fact, found his people at such a depth of degradation as the Prophet found the Arabs, and no one raised them materially, morally and spiritually to the height to which he raised them.

So deep-rooted was their idolatry, so powerful the bonds of

their superstitions and their usages that the propagandic efforts of the Jews and the Christians, carried on for hundreds of years one after the other, could not bring about the least change in their condition. The indigenous Arab movement of the Hanifs proved an even greater failure. All these attempts at reform left the Arabs as a nation as ignorant of the principles of religion and morality as they ever were.

Twenty-three years work of the Prophet, however, quite metamorphosed them. Worship of idols and of all objects other than God, whether in heaven or on earth, was now considered to be a disgrace to humanity. The whole nation awakened to a sense of the true dignity of mankind and realized the folly of falling prostrate before things which man was made to rule and before powers which he was required to conquer. Superstition gave place to a rational religion. The Arab was not only cleansed of deep-rooted vice and bare-faced immorality; he was further inspired with a burning desire for the best and noblest deeds in the service of, not country and nation, but, what is far higher than that, humanity. Old customs which involved injustice to the weak and the oppressed were all swept away, and just and reasonable laws took their place. Drunkenness, to which Arabia was addicted from time immemorial, disappeared entirely. The loose relations of the sexes gave place to the highest regard for chastity. The Arab who prided himself on ignorance became the lover of knowledge, drinking deep at every fountain of learning to which he could get access. And greatest of all, from an Arabia, the various elements of which were so constantly at war with each other that the whole country was about to perish, from these jarring and warring elements, the Prophet Muhammad welded together a nation, a united nation full of life and vigour, before whose onward march the greatest kingdoms of the world crumbled as if they were but toys before the reality of the new faith.

No man ever breathed such a new life on such a wide scale â€" a life affecting all branches of human activity; a transformation of the individual, of the family, of the society, of the nation, of the country, an awakening, material as well as moral, intellectual as well as spiritual. This unparalleled transformation has been acknowledged even by non-Muslim critics of Islam in their writings.

2. The Holy Quran and its Divisions*

The name Al-Qur'an, the proper name of the Sacred Book of the Muslims, occurs several times in the Book itself (2:185, etc.)- The word Qur 'an is an infinitive noun from the root qara 'a meaning he read or recited; and the Book is so called because it is or should be read; as a matter of fact, it is the most widely read book in the whole world. It is plainly stated to be a revelation from the Lord of the worlds (26:192), or a revelation from Allah, the Mighty, the Wise (39:1, etc.), and so on. It was sent down to the Prophet Muhammad (47:2), having been revealed to his heart through the Holy Spirit (26:193-194), in the Arabic language (26:195, 43:3). The first revelation came to the Holy Prophet in the month of Ramadan (2:185), on the 25th or 27th night, which is known as Lailat al-Qadr (97:1).

Divisions

The Holy Quran is divided into 114 chapters, each of which is called a surah. The word surah means literally eminence or high degree, and also any step of a structure, and in the Book itself it is applied to a chapter of the Quran (2:23). The chapters of the Holy Quran are of varying length, the largest comprising fully one twelfth of the entire Book â€" 286 verses â€" and the smallest containing only three verses. Each chapter is, however, complete in itself and is, therefore, called a book, and the whole of the Quran is said to contain many books (98:2-3).

Each chapter contains a number of verses, a verse being called an ayah. The word ayah means, originally, an apparent sign or mark and, in this sense, it comes to mean a miracle, but it also signifies a communication or a message from God and is applied as such to a verse of the Holy Quran as well as to a revelation or a law. In certain parts of the Muslim world the longer chapters are marked into sections, each section (known as a ruku") generally dealing with one subject.

The material from here onwards has been abridged and adapted from the Introduction by Maulana Muhammad Ali in the full edition of his commentary.

For the purposes of recitation, the Holy Quran is divided into 30 parts of equal length, each called ajuz', to enable the reciter to complete its recitation in one month. Another division of the Book, traceable to the Prophet himelf, is into seven portions, each known as a manzil, to enable the reciter to complete its recitation in seven days. These divisions, however, have nothing to do with the subject-matter of the Quran.

Revealed piecemeal but collected and arranged from the first

The Quran was revealed piecemeal (25:32) during a period of 23 years (609-632 C.E.), the shorter chapters generally, and some of the larger ones, being revealed entire and at one time, while the revelation of the majority of the larger chapters and some of the shorter chapters extended over many years. The practice was that when a chapter was revealed in parts, the Holy Prophet specified, under Divine guidance, the place of the verse revealed, and thus the arrangement of verses in each chapter was entirely his work.

Similarly, later on when a considerable portion had been revealed, the arrangement of the chapters was also the work of the Holy Prophet himself. It is in one of the earliest revelations that the Holy Quran speaks of its collection as well as its revelation as being a part of the Divine scheme: "Surely on Us rests the collecting of it and the reciting of it" (75:17). The collection of the Holy Quran â€" which means the arrangement of its verses and chapters â€" was, therefore, a work which was performed by the Holy Prophet himself under Divine guidance, and it is a mistake to think that either Abu Bakr or Uthman was the collector of the Quran, though both of them did important work in connection with the dissemination of the written copies of the sacred text.

Abu Bakr made the first complete written copy, by arranging the manuscripts written in the time of the Holy Prophet, in the order of the oral recitation of the Prophet's time. Uthman's work, on the other hand, was only the ordering of copies to be made from the written manuscript of Abu Bakr's time and the placing of these copies in the various centres of Islamic learning, so that those who wrote the Holy Quran might be able to follow the standard copy. The text of the Holy Quran has thus been safeguarded from all alterations or corruptions in accordance with the Divine promise

in one of the earliest revelations: "Surely We have revealed the Reminder, and surely We are its Guardian" (15:9).

Revelations at Makkah and Madinah

Another division of the Holy Book concerns the revelations received at Makkah and those received at Madinah. Of the 23 years over which the revelation of the entire Book is spread, 13 years were passed by the Holy Prophet at Makkah and 10 were passed at Madinah, to which city he had to flee for the safety of his own life and the lives of his followers in the year 622 C.E. Of the entire number of chapters, 93 were revealed at Makkah and 21 were revealed at Madinah, but the 110th chapter, though belonging to the Madinah period, was revealed at Makkah during the well-known Farewell Pilgrimage.

The Madinan chapters, being generally longer, contain really about a third of the entire Quran. In arrangement, the Makkan revelation is intermixed with the Madinan revelation. Thus the Holy Quran opens with a Makkan revelation which is entitled the "Opening", and is followed by four chapters revealed at Madinah, which take up over one fifth of the whole Book. Then follow alternately Makkan and Madinan revelations.

As regards the dates of the revelation of the various Makkan chapters, it is difficult to assign a particular year to a particular chapter, except in rare cases, but broadly they may be divided into three groups: those revealed in the early Makkan period, i.e., during the first five years; those revealed in the middle Makkan period, i.e., from the sixth to the tenth year; and those revealed during the late Makkan period, i.e., from the 11th year to the Flight (Hijrah). The dates of the Madinan chapters, on the other hand, are tolerably certain and definite, but in this case the difficulty is that the revelation of the longer chapters extended over lengthy periods, and a chapter which undoubtedly belongs to the earliest days at Madinah sometimes contains verses which were revealed in the closing days of the Holy Prophet's life.

Chronological order

The first five verses of the 96th chapter were undoubtedly the first revelation, and these were equally certainly followed by the first

part of the 74th chapter, which again was, in all probability, followed by the first chapter, after which came the first part of the 73rd chapter. Beyond this, it is impossible to give a tolerably certain order. The attempt to give a chronological order of chapters is an undoubted failure, as even the shorter chapters were not revealed entire. For instance, only verses 1 to 5 of chapter 96 were revealed first, verses 6 to 19 coming long afterwards as they refer to events of four years later. In case of chapter 2, its revelation undoubtedly began in 1 or 2 A.H., but it is equally certain that it contains verses which were revealed in 10 A.H. A chronological order of the different chapters is, therefore, an impossibility, and all that we can say with tolerable certainty is that the greater part of a certain chapter was revealed during a certain period.

Makkan and Madinan Revelations intermingled in the final arrangement

In the present arrangement, chapters revealed at Makkah and those revealed at Madinah are intermingled. The reasons underlying this arrangement relate to the chief features which distinguish the Makkan from the Madinan revelations. While the Makkan revelations grounded the Muslims in faith in God, the Madinan revelation was meant to translate the faith into action. It is true that exhortations for good and noble deeds are met with in the Makkan revelations and that faith is still shown in the Madinan revelations to be the foundation on which the structure of deeds should be built, but, in the main, stress is laid in the former on faith in an Omnipresent and Omnipotent God Who requites every good and evil deed, while the latter deals chiefly with what is good and what is evil; in other words, with the details of the law.

Another feature distinguishing the two revelations is that, while the Makkan revelation is generally prophetical, the revelation that came down at Madinah deals with the fulfilment of prophecy. Again, if the Makkan revelation shows how true happiness of mind may be sought in communion with God, the Madinan revelation points out how man's dealing with man may be a source of bliss and comfort to him. Hence, a judicious arrangement of the Holy Quran could be made to rest only on the intermingling of the two revelations.

World's greatest spiritual force

The Quran claims to be the greatest spiritual force which is ultimately destined to bring the whole of humanity to perfection. It opens thus: "Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds" (1:1), and it ends thus: "Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of mankind" (114:1). The word for 'Lord' here, Rabb, means the Nourisher to perfection.

It calls itself al-Ruh (42:52) or the Spirit which gives life to humanity, and time and again compares itself to the water which gives life to a dead earth (for example, see 41:39). The giving of life to the dead earth is a constant theme of the Quran and it is full of assurances that the dead earth will be raised to life spiritual: "Know that Allah gives life to the earth after its death" (57:17). It calls itself Shifa' or Healing (10:57) to show that it heals all the spiritual diseases of humanity, and al-Nur or the Light (7:157) which will ultimately dispel all darkness from the surface of the earth. It calls itself al-Haqq or the Truth (17:81) which will ultimately take hold of the minds of people and before which falsehood will vanish, and al-Huda or the Guidance (72:13) which will make people ultimately attain the goal of life.

The Quran claims that it is the only spiritual force which will ultimately conquer the whole world, and that the whole of humanity cannot produce such a spiritually effective force: "And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your helpers besides Allah if you are truthful" (2:23).

Unparalleled transformation wrought by the Quran

In fact, the Holy Quran brought about a transformation unparalleled in the history of the world. It found the Arabs worshippers of idols, stones, trees, heaps of sand, and yet, within less than a quarter of a century, the worship of the One God ruled the whole country. It swept away all superstitions and gave in their place the most rational religion that the world could imagine. It declared man's thirst for knowledge to be insatiable (20:114). The Quran removed deep vices and evil social practices, and inspired its hearers with a burning desire for the best and noblest deeds in the service of humanity. No other faith ever imparted such a new life

to its votaries on such a wide scale, a life affecting all branches of human activity. The Quran effected a transformation of humanity from the lowest depths of degradation to the highest pinnacle of civilization within an incredibly short time.

Other unique characteristics

Besides the unparalleled revolution brought about in the world by the Quran, it possesses two other characteristics equally unique â€" the wealth of ideas and the beauty of style. The effect produced by the Holy Quran was due merely to the greatness and reasonableness of the ideas clothed in the best of forms that appealed to the heart of man. A blaze of light was cast on all the great questions which had hitherto puzzled man. Hence it is, that one of the names by which the Holy Book speaks of itself is al-Burhan, or the Clear Argument, showing that argument was the weapon which it used to conquer the heart of man; and, as it appealed to reason and not to sentiment, its conquests were far-reaching and permanent. It is also called al-Bayan, or the Explanation, indicating that it had removed all obscurities in religious problems. It claimed not only to have perfected religion (5:3), and thus to have stated all religious truths needed for the moral and spiritual advancement of man, but also to have dealt with all objections to its truth: "And they cannot bring you a question, but We have brought you the truth and the best explanation" (25:33).

The style and diction of the Quran have been universally praised. What, however, establishes the Quran's claim to uniqueness even in the outward form, apart from its subject and the effect produced, is the permanent hold that it has kept on the Arabic language itself the fact that it remains forever the standard by which the beauty of style and diction may be judged in Arabic literature. No other book in the world can be credited with even the achievement of keeping alive a language for thirteen centuries. The Quran has done this, attaining to the eminence of being the standard of eloquence for so long, and of retaining that position while the nation speaking it emerged from oblivion to become the leader of civilization in the world, leaving its home to settle in far distant lands where Arabic became either the spoken language of the masses or at least their literary language.

3. Relation to Earlier Scriptures

Previous Scriptures recognized

The Holy Quran requires a belief not only in its own truth but also in the truth of previous scriptures delivered to the prophets of different nations of the world. At its commencement, addressing the Holy Prophet, it lays down clearly that Muslims are those:

"who believe in what has been revealed to you (O Prophet) and what was revealed before you..." â€" 2:4

The universality of what was revealed before is clearly accepted:

"And there is not a people but a warner has gone among

them." â€"35:24

"And for every nation there is a messenger." â€" 10:47

Lest anyone should be misled by the names of only a few prophets mentioned in the Holy Quran, it is stated:

"And certainly We sent messengers before you (O Prophet)

â€" among them are those We have mentioned to you and among them are those We have not mentioned to you."

â€" 40:78; see also 4:164

Thus the Holy Quran accepts the truth of the sacred books of the world, and hence it is again and again spoken of as a Book verifying that which is before it. The basis of the relation in which the Holy Quran stands to other scriptures is, therefore, that they are all members of one family; they all have a Divine origin.

Guardian of previous scriptures

The Verifier of the sacred books of the world, however, occupies a unique position among them. The relation in which the Holy Quran stands to earlier scriptures is thus lucidly set forth by the Holy Book itself:

"And We have revealed to you (O Prophet) the Book with the truth, verifying what is (already) before it of the Book and a guardian over it..." â€"5:48

The Quran is thus not only a verifier of the sacred books of all nations as stated above; it is also a guardian over them. In other words, it guards the original teachings of the prophets of God, for, as elsewhere stated, those teachings had undergone alterations, and only a revelation from God could separate the pure Divine teaching from the mass of error which had grown around it. Of all the scriptures, it has particularly chosen the Gospels to show in what ways erroneous doctrines had almost entirely suppressed the truth preached by a prophet of God.

The Quran as a judge in existing differences

The Holy Quran further claims that it came as a judge to decide the differences between the various religions:

"We certainly sent (messengers) to nations before you (O Prophet), ... and We have not revealed to you the Book except that you may make clear to them what they differ about..."â€" 16:63-64

The Quran proclaimed that prophets had been raised in every nation, and, therefore, that every nation had received guidance from God, yet nation differed from nation even in the essentials of faith. The position of the Holy Quran was, therefore, essentially that of a judge deciding between these various claimants.

It explains all obscurities

Revelation, according to the Holy Quran, is not only universal but also progressive, and it attains perfection in the Final Revelation. A revelation was granted to each nation according to its requirements, and in each age in accordance with the capacity of the people of that age. As the human brain became more and more developed, more and more light was cast by revelation on matters relating to the unseen, on the existence and attributes of the Divine Being, on the nature of revelation from Him, on the requital of good and evil, on life after death, and on paradise and hell. It is for this reason that the Holy Quran is again and again called a Book "that makes manifest". It shed complete light on the essentials of the faith and made manifest what had hitherto of necessity remained obscure.

Perfect revelation of Divine Will

The Holy Quran claims that it came as a perfect revelation of Divine will:

"This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favour to you and chosen for you Islam as a religion." â€" 5:3

The finality of the Quranic revelation is, therefore, based on its perfection. New scriptures were revealed as long as they were needed, but when perfect light was cast on all essentials of religion in the Holy Quran, no prophet was needed after Muhammad.

A correct history

The idea that the Quran has merely borrowed something from the earlier scriptures, especially from the Torah and the Gospels, must be examined in the light of facts. That the Quran deals with the religious topics which are dealt with in those books goes without saying; that it relates the history of some of the prophets whose history is also related in the Bible is also a fact, but to say that it borrows from those books is entirely wrong.

Take first the essentials of religion as they are dealt with in the Holy Quran. Neither the Old nor the New Testament, nor any other sacred book, makes any approach to the grand and noble truths that find expression in the Holy Quran. Take next the histories of the prophets, as they are narrated in the Bible and as they are narrated in the Holy Quran, and you will find that the latter corrects the errors of the former as it does in the matter of religious doctrines. The Bible speaks of many of the prophets of God as committing the most heinous sins; it speaks of Abraham as telling lies and casting away Hagar and her son; it speaks of Lot as committing incest with his own daughters; it speaks of Aaron as making a calf for worship and leading the Israelites to its worship; it speaks of David as committing adultery with Uriah's wife; it speaks of Solomon as worshipping idols; but the Holy Quran accepts none of these statements, definitely rejects most of them and clears these prophets of the false charges against them.

4. Liberal View of Other Religions

Faith in all prophets

There is a general misconception that the Quran preaches intolerance, and that Muhammad preached his faith with the sword in one hand and the Quran in the other. The basic principle of Islam, a faith in all the prophets of the world, is enough to give the lie to this allegation. The great and liberal mind that preached not only love and respect for the founders of the great religions of the world but much more than that, faith in them, could not shrink to the narrowness of intolerance for those very religions. Tolerance is not, in fact, the word that can sufficiently indicate the breadth of the attitude of Islam towards other religions. It preaches equal love for all, equal respect for all, and equal faith in all.

No compulsion in religion

Again, intolerance could not be ascribed to a book which altogether excludes compulsion from the sphere of religion:

"There is no compulsion in religion." â€" 2:256

In fact, the Holy Quran is full of statements showing that belief in this or that religion is a person's own concern, and that he is given the choice of adopting one way or another; that, if he accepts truth, it is for his own good, and that, if he sticks to error, it is to his own detriment. Given below are just two of these quotations:

"The Truth is from your Lord; so whoever wishes, let him believe, and whoever wishes, let him disbelieve." â€" 18:29

"Clear proofs have indeed come to you from your Lord; so whoever sees, it is for the good of his own soul; and whoever is blind, it is to its harm. And I am not a keeper over you." â€" 6:104

Why fighting was allowed

The Muslims were allowed to fight indeed, but the object was not to compel the unbelievers to accept Islam, for it was against all the broad principles in which they had hitherto been brought up. It was

to establish religious freedom, to stop all religious persecution, to protect the houses of worship of all religions, mosques among them. To quote again from the Quran:

"And fight with them until there is no more persecution, and all religions are for Allah." â€" 8:39

"And if Allah did not repel some people by others, surely cloisters and churches and synagogues, and mosques in which Allah's name is much remembered, would have been pulled down." â€" 22:40

The Holy Prophet and his companions were subjected to the severest persecution, as Islam began to gain ground at Makkah; over a hundred of them fled to Abyssinia, but persecution grew still more relentless. Ultimately, the Muslims had to take refuge in Madinah, but they were not left alone even there, and the sword was taken up by the enemy to annihilate Islam and the Muslims. The Quran bears express testimony to this:

"Permission (to fight) is given to those on whom war is made, because they are oppressed. And surely Allah is Able to assist them â€" those who are driven from their homes without a just cause except that they say: Our Lord is Allah." â€"22:39-40

Later, the express condition was laid down:

"And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you but do not be aggressive. Surely Allah does not love the aggressors." â€" 2:190

The Quran, therefore, allowed fighting only to save a persecuted community from powerful oppressors, and hence the condition was laid down that fighting was to be stopped as soon as persecution ended:

"But if they cease, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight them until there is no persecution..." â€" 2:192-193

If the enemy offered peace, peace was to be accepted, though the enemy's intention might be only to deceive the Muslims:

"And if they incline to peace, you (must) incline to it also, and trust in Allah. Surely He is the Hearer, the Knower. And if they intend to deceive you, then surely Allah is sufficient for you." â€" 8:61-62

The Holy Prophet made treaties of peace with his enemies; one such treaty brought about the famous truce of Hudaibiyah, the terms of which were not only disadvantageous, but also humiliating to the Muslims. According to the terms of this treaty "if an unbeliever, being converted to Islam, went over to the Muslims, he was to be returned, but if a Muslim went over to the unbelievers, he was not to be given back to the Muslims". This clause of the treaty cuts at the root of all allegations of the use of force by the Holy Prophet.

It is a mistake to suppose that the condition to fight "against those who fight against you" (2:190) was abrogated at any time. It remained in force to the end. There is not a single direction in the latest revelation on this subject, in ch. 9, The Immunity, that goes against this condition. The opening verse of that chapter speaks expressly of "idolaters with whom you made an agreement", and then, v. 4, excepts from its purview "those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement, then they have not failed you in anything and have not backed up anyone against you", thus showing clearly that the "immunity" related only to such idolatrous tribes as had first made agreements with the Muslims and then, violating them, killed and persecuted the Muslims wherever they found them, as v. 10 says expressly: "They respect neither ties of relationship nor covenant in the case of a believer". Further on in ch. 9, the condition of the enemy attacking the Muslims first is plainly repeated: "Will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Messenger, and they attacked you first?" (9:13).

The waging of war on unbelievers to compel them to accept Islam is a myth pure and simple, a thing unknown to the Holy Quran. It was the enemy that waged war on the Muslims to turn them away from their religion, as the Holy Book so clearly asserts: "And they will not cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion, if they can" (2:217).

Relations of friendship with others

It is sometimes asserted that the Quran forbids relations of friendship with the followers of other religions. How could a Book which allows a man to have as his comrade in life a woman following another religion (5:5), say in the same breath that no friendly relations can be had with the followers of other religions? The loving relation of husband and wife is the friendliest of all relations and, when this is expressly permitted, there is not the least reason to suppose that other friendly relations are forbidden. The fact is that, wherever there is prohibition against making friends with other people, it relates only to the people who were at war with the Muslims, and this is plainly stated in the Quran:

"Allah does not forbid you, with regard to those who do not fight you for religion, nor drive you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly. Surely Allah loves the doers of justice. Allah forbids you only with regard to those who fight you for religion, and drive you forth from your homes and help (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends of them; and whoever makes friends of them, these are the wrongdoers." â€" 60:8-9

No punishment for apostasy

It is generally thought that the Quran provides a death sentence for those who desert the religion of Islam. Anyone who reads the Quran will see that there is not the least ground for such a supposition. The Quran speaks repeatedly of people going back to unbelief after believing, but never once does it say that they should be killed or punished. For example:

"And whoever of you turns back from his religion, then he dies while an unbeliever â€" these it is whose deeds are fruitless in this world and the Hereafter." â€" 2:217

"Those who disbelieve after their believing, then increase in disbelief, their repentance is not accepted, and these are they that go astray." â€" 3:90

On the other hand, the Quran speaks of a plan of the Jews to adopt Islam first and then desert it, thus creating the impression

that Islam was not a religion worth having (3:72). Such a scheme could never have entered their heads while living at Madinah, where the Government was Muslim, if apostasy, according to the Quranic law, were punishable with death. The misconception seems to have arisen from the fact that people who, after becoming apostates, joined the enemy, were treated as enemies, or that, where an apostate took the life of a Muslim, he was put to death, not for changing his religion, but for committing murder.

5. The Position of Woman

Spiritually woman raised to the position of man

No other religious book and no other reformer has done even a small fraction of what the Holy Quran or the Prophet Muhammad has done to raise the position of woman. Read the Quran and you find good and righteous women being given the same position as good and righteous men. Both sexes are spoken of in the same terms. The highest favour which God has bestowed upon man is the gift of Divine revelation, and we find women, to whom Divine revelation came, spoken of along with men:

"And We revealed to Moses' mother, saying: Suckle him; then when you fear for him, cast him into the river and do not fear, nor grieve; surely We shall bring him back to you and make him a messenger (of Ours)." â€" 28:7

"And when the angels said: O Mary, surely Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the world." â€"3:42

Further, where the Holy Quran speaks of the great prophets of God, saying: "And mention Abraham in the Book" (19:41), "And mention Moses in the Book" (19:51), and so on, it speaks of a woman in exactly the same terms: "And mention Mary in the Book" (19:16). No other religious book has given such a high spiritual position to woman.

The Quran makes no difference between man and woman in the bestowal of reward for the good he or she does:

"And whoever does good deeds, whether male or female, and is a believer â€" these will enter the Garden, and they will not be dealt with unjustly in the least." â€" 4:124

"Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer, We shall certainly make him live a good life, and We shall certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did." â€" 16:97

Also, 33:35, speaking of good women alongside of good men, enumerates every good quality as being possessed by women exactly as it is possessed by men, and ends with the words: "Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a mighty reward". With God, therefore, according to the Quran, there is no difference between men and women, and morally and spiritually they can rise to the same eminence.

Woman is the equal of man in rights of property

On the material side, too, we find no difference, except what nature requires for its own ends. A woman can earn, inherit and own property and dispose of it just as a man can, and the Holy Quran is explicit on all these points:

"For men is the benefit of what they earn. And for women is the benefit of what they earn." â€" 4:32

"For men is a share of what the parents and the near relatives leave, and for women a share of what the parents and the near relatives leave." â€" 4:7

Woman, in Arabia, had no rights of property; in fact, she herself was part of the inheritance, and was taken possession of along with other property. She had no right to the property of her deceased husband or father. The Quran took her from this low position and raised her to a position of perfect freedom as regards her property rights and her right to inheritance, a position which, among other nations, she has only partly attained and that after centuries of hard struggle.

Polygamy

It is, however, asserted that polygamy and the seclusion of women,

as enjoined in the Holy Quran, have done more harm to woman than the benefit conferred on her by bestowal of property rights. The fact is that a great misunderstanding exists on these two points. Monogamy is the rule in Islam and polygamy only an exception allowed subject to certain conditions. The following two verses are the only authority for the sanction of polygamy, and let us see how far they carry us:

"And if you fear that you cannot do justice to orphans, marry such women as seem good to you, two, or three, or four; but if you fear that you will not do justice, then marry only one or what your right hands possess. This is more proper that you may not do injustice..." â€" 4:3

"And they ask you (O Prophet) a decision about women. Say: Allah makes known to you His decision concerning them; and what is recited to you in the Book is concerning widowed women, whom you do not give what is appointed for them, while you are not inclined to marry them..." â€"4:127

Now the first of these verses allows polygamy on the express condition that "you cannot do justice to orphans", and what is meant is made clear by the second verse, which contains a clear reference to the first verse in the words, "what is recited to you in the Book is concerning widowed women". The Arabs were guilty of a double injustice to widows: they did not give them and their children a share in the inheritance of their husbands, nor were they inclined to marry widows who had children, because the responsibility for the maintenance of the children would in that case devolve upon them. The Quran remedied both these evils; it gave a share of inheritance to the widow with a share also for the orphans, and it commended the taking of such widows in marriage, and allowed polygamy expressly for this purpose. It should, therefore, be clearly understood that monogamy is the rule in Islam and polygamy is allowed only as a remedial measure, for the sake of widows and orphans.

This permission was given at a time when the wars, which were forced on the Muslims, had decimated the men, so that many widows and orphans were left for whom it was necessary to provide.

A provision was made in the form of polygamy so that the widow should find a home and protector and the orphans should have paternal care and affection. Nature will have its course, and allowing illicit sexual relations is the inevitable alternative to a limited polygamy.

Seclusion

As regards the seclusion of women, the Quran never prohibited women from going out of their houses for their needs. In the time of the Prophet, women went regularly to mosques, and said their prayers along with men, standing in a separate row. They also joined their husbands in the labour of the field; they even went with the army to the field of battle, and looked after the wounded, removing them from the field, if necessary, and helped fighting-men in many other ways. They could even fight the enemy in an emergency. No occupation was prohibited to them, and they could do any work they chose. The only restrictions on their liberty are contained in the following verses:

"Say to the believing men that they lower their gaze and restrain their sexual passions. That is purer for them. Surely Allah is Aware of what they do. And say to the believing women that they lower their gaze and restrain their sexual passions and do not display their adornment except what appears of it. And they should wear their head-coverings over their bosoms." â€" 24:30-31

Now the real restriction contained in these verses is that both men and women should, when they meet each other, cast down their looks, but there is an additional restriction in the case of women that they should not display their adornment with the exception of "what appears of it". The exception has been explained as meaning "what is customary and natural to uncover". That women went to mosques with their faces uncovered is a fact recognized by all, and there is also a saying of the Holy Prophet that, when a woman reaches the age of puberty, she should cover her body except the face and the hands. The majority of the commentators are also of opinion that the exception relates to the face and the hands. Hence, while a display of beauty is forbidden, the restriction does not interfere with the necessary activities of woman. She

can do any work that she likes to earn her livelihood, for the Holy Quran says plainly, as already quoted, that women shall have the benefit of what they earn. A limited seclusion and a limited polygamy do not, therefore, interfere with the necessary activities of woman; they are both meant for her protection and as preventives against loose sexual relations, which ultimately undermine society.

6. Purity of the Quranic Text

Among all the religious books of the world, the Holy Quran is the only Book which enjoys the distinction of having a pure text. Every word and letter of the Holy Book, as we have it today, is as it left the lips of the Holy Prophet Muhammad to whom the Book was revealed, and it is for this reason that, through all the centuries since it was revealed and among all the Muslims from East to West, among the numerous contending sects, there is only one Quran. The factors which contributed to this safe preservation of the text are its being reduced to writing under the direction of the Prophet himself and its being committed to memory by a large number of people, at the time of its revelation.

Every portion of the Quran was written as it was revealed â€" internal evidence

There is a hint as to the use of the pen in the very first revelation that came to the Holy Prophet:

"Read in the name of your Lord Who creates â€" creates man from a clot (of blood) â€" read and your Lord is most Generous, Who taught by the pen, taught man what he did not know." â€" 96:1-5

In the very first message that the Holy Prophet received from on High, he is told not only to read but also to seek the help of the pen, which was the only means of the preservation of knowledge. It was due to this that from the very first he made arrangements to have every revelation reduced to writing as it came down to him, in addition to having it committed to memory, which he did by reading it out to those around him. Moreover, the Holy Quran

itself furnishes abundant evidence that it existed in a written form. It again and again calls itself a kitab, which means a book, or a writing which is complete in itself.

There are many other references in the Holy Quran showing that its chapters existed in a written form at an early date. Thus:

"Surely it is a bountiful Quran, in a book that is protected, which none touches but the purified ones." â€" 56:77-79

Historical evidence as to the writing of the Quran

There are numerous anecdotes showing that when the Holy Prophet received a revelation, it was immediately reduced to writing. The general practice is thus described, by no less a personage than Uthman, the third Caliph whose name is in particular associated with the collection of the Quran and who, being one of the earliest converts to Islam, remained with the Prophet almost since the beginning of his mission:

"It was customary with the Messenger of Allah, when portions of different chapters were being revealed to him, that when any verse was revealed, he called one of those persons who used to write the Quran and said to him, Write these verses in the chapter where such and such verses occur." â€" (Abu Dawud, 2:123; Tirmidhi, Abwdb Tafsir-ul-Qur 'an, on Surah 9)

This report mentions, not what the Holy Prophet did on one occasion, but what he always used to do whenever any verse of the Holy Quran was revealed to him.

Every portion committed to memory

Every portion of the Quran was committed to memory as soon as it was revealed. With the Arabs, memory was the safest of repositories. They had learnt all their poems and long genealogies by heart. We learn from numerous reports that whenever a passage was revealed, it was recited by the Holy Prophet to those who happened to be present at the time and many of his followers committed it to memory at once, others again learning it from those who heard it from the mouth of the Prophet. The Companions believed every word of the revelation to proceed from no

other than the Divine source, so they secured it in the securest of places, viz., their hearts.

The Holy Prophet himself set an example in frequently reciting the Quran in public as well as in private. It was not only in prayers that long portions of the Holy Book were recited. We have on record instances showing that the Prophet recited the Quran when travelling on the back of a camel (Bukhari, 66:24). He also loved to hear others recite the Quran.

There are many trustworthy reports which show that there were numerous men among the Companions who could recite the whole Quran from memory. Seventy of them were treacherously put to death by a tribe of the unbelievers (Bukhari, 64:30). The fact that such a large number of them were murdered in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet shows that there were hundreds of them among the Companions.

Arrangement was Prophet's work

That the arrangement of the verses and chapters of the Holy Quran was effected by the Holy Prophet under the guidance of Divine revelation is shown in the first place by the Holy Quran itself. There we read:

"Surely on Us rests the collecting of it and the reciting of it. So when We recite it, follow its recitation." â€" 75:17â€" 18

This is one of the very earliest revelations, showing that the collection of the Holy Quran, that is, its gathering into one whole, with an arrangement of its various parts, was according to the Divine scheme to be brought about by the guidance of Divine revelation.

In another chapter, revealed a little later, we have the following words addressed to the Holy Prophet:

"And those who disbelieve say: Why has not the Quran been revealed to him all at once? It is so that We may strengthen your heart with it and We have arranged it well in arranging." â€" 25:32

The Quran itself, therefore, makes it clear that its collection and arrangement were also brought about by Divine revelation.

We meet with the clearest proof in authentic and reliable reports that the Holy Prophet left at his death the complete Quran with the same arrangement of the verses and chapters as we have now in every Arabic Quran. That such a large book, treating so many and such varied subjects, should have been committed to memory and regularly recited in and outside prayers, and taught by one man to another, without there being any settled arrangement of its parts, is a most preposterous proposition.

The practice of the Holy Prophet has already been referred to in a report quoted earlier, in which Uthman tells us: "It was customary with the Messenger of Allah, when portions of different chapters were being revealed to him, that when any verse was revealed, he called one of those persons who used to write the Quran and said to him, Write these verses in the chapter where such and such verses occur." From this it appears that the place and chapter for every verse were pointed out by the Holy Prophet himself.

There is a report in Bukhari (64:12) as follows: "The Holy Prophet said, Whoever reads the last two verses of the chapter entitled Baqarah on any night, they are sufficient for him". This shows that the Holy Prophet himself followed an arrangement which he had made known to his Companions, and they all followed the same arrangement; otherwise, he could not have referred to two verses as the last two verses of a certain chapter. This and numerous other Hadith reports show conclusively that the arrangement of verses in the chapters was the Prophet's own work. That this arrangement was the same as that followed now in the copies of the Holy Quran is shown by the absence of any other arrangement in the whole Muslim world.

Conclusive evidence shows that not only the verses but even the chapters of the Quran were arranged by the Holy Prophet.

Abu Bakr collected original written manuscripts of the Quran

The primary work of the collection of the Holy Quran was done by the Holy Prophet himself under the guidance of Divine revelation.

Such collection was needed only by those who wished to commit the whole of the Quran to memory and it was in reciting the whole that the arrangement of chapters was needed. Hence, though the whole Quran existed in a complete and arranged form in the memories of the Companions, yet there did not exist an authorized collection of it in writing. So long as the recipient of the Divine revelation lived, the whole could not be written in a single volume as at any time a verse might be revealed which it was necessary to place in the middle of a chapter. Such a collection became, however, a necessity after the death of the Holy Prophet. It was also needed to facilitate reference to and circulation of the Holy Word, and to give it a more permanent form than was secured to it in being consigned to memory. Such was the object with which the collection of the Holy Quran was taken in hand by Abu Bakr.

Soon after the death of the Holy Prophet, the Muslims fought a battle at Yamamah, in which many of those who had committed the whole of the Quran to memory lost their lives. Thereupon Umar urged Abu Bakr to give immediate orders for the collection of the Quran, fearing that more of the reciters may be killed in the future. When Abu Bakr was convinced of this course, he sent for Zaid ibn Thabit and said:

"You used to write the revelations of the Prophet. Search, therefore, for (the written portions of) the Quran and collect it (into one volume)."

So heavy did the task appear to Zaid that at that time he thought: "It would not have been more difficult for me, if I had been asked to remove a mountain". But at last he was prevailed upon, and began the search (Bukhari, 65.9: 20).

There was nothing to be feared so long as the reciters were safe, but if they perished in battles then it was feared certain portions of the Holy Quran might be lost, because the manuscripts of different chapters and verses had not been up to that time collected in one place. The report shows that the entire Quran was safe in the memories of the reciters, and Umar only desired to make a collection of the Quran in writing in addition to the collection existing in the memories of the reciters.

The object of the collection undertaken by Abu Bakr was to gather together what had been written in the presence of the Holy Prophet. Zaid's collection was meant to secure the original writings, and this was the great difficulty to which Zaid alluded. Zaid was chosen for the task because he had written the greater portion of the revelation at Madinah and was presumed to have all those copies safe in his custody. But the task before him was a very difficult one. He had to search all the original writings and then give them an arrangement in accordance with that of the verses and chapters as followed in the recitation of the entire Quran from memory, in obedience to the directions given by the Holy Prophet. That these writings were safe cannot be doubted. Everything relating to Divine revelation was preserved with the utmost care. But the task was no doubt an arduous one, and required hard labour and diligent search.

Hence also the first direction of Abu Bakr to Zaid was to "search for the Quran and collect it", and it is easy to see that a search had only to be made for writings. If the object of the new collection for which Umar contended were simply to reduce the Quran to writing as recited by those who had committed the whole of it to memory, sufficient accuracy could have been obtained by gathering together a few reciters, and Zaid had only to write out the Holy Quran as dictated by them and approved by the Companions. But Umar's object and Abu Bakr's orders were to gather the original writings which had been written according to the directions of the Holy Prophet himself, and thus to make the accuracy of the text doubly certain.

Accuracy of Zaid's collection

The most important question with regard to the collection made under the orders of Abu Bakr is: Did it accord in every respect with the Quran as stored and collected in the memories of the Companions, and as repeated and recited, publicly as well as privately, in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet? There is not the least reason to believe that it did not. In the first place, none of the compilers was actuated by any motive to make any change in the text. The earnest desire of all those engaged in the task was to have a complete and faithful collection of what had been revealed

to the Holy Prophet. Secondly, the collection began only six months after the death of the Holy Prophet, while almost all of those who had heard the Quran from his lips were still alive. Thirdly, there were many among them who could repeat the whole of the Quran from memory. There were others who knew large portions, and these were kept fresh in memory by constant recitation in and apart from prayers. It was impossible that any variation from the text as prevalent in the time of the Holy Prophet should have found its way into the collection in the presence of such men. Fourthly, there were many transcripts of the revelations current among the Companions. And since every verse was written at the time of its revelation, and copies of it were then made by the Companions, there were ample means of testing the accuracy of the collection of Zaid. Memory and writing thus corroborated the already unimpeachable testimony afforded by each.

Uthman ordered further copies from Abu Bakr's original collection

The collection thus made remained, we are told, in the possession of Abu Bakr, and after his death in that of Umar. After the latter's death, the copy was transferred to the custody of Hafsah, the daughter of Umar, and a widow of the Holy Prophet. Thus the collection made by the orders of Abu Bakr came down to the reign of Uthman without any alteration in its text or arrangement. But some circumstances coming to the notice of Uthman, he deemed it necessary to circulate official copies, transcribed by official scribes, and suppress all those made by private persons, either from the collection of Zaid or from other writings still prevalent among them.

The circumstances which made it necessary are thus described:

"Ans relates that there came to Uthman, Hudhaifah who had been fighting with the people of Syria in the conquest of Armenia and with the people of Iraq in Azarbaijan, and who was alarmed at their variations in the modes of reading, and he said to Uthman: 'O Commander of the Faithful, stop the people before they differ in the Holy Book as the Jews and the Christians differ in their Scriptures'. So

Uthman sent word to Hafsah asking her to send him the Quran in her possession, so that they might make other copies of it and then send the original copy back to her. Thereupon Hafsah sent the copy to Uthman, and he ordered Zaid ibn Thabit and Abdullah ibn Zubair and Sa'id ibn al-As and Abdur Rahman ibn Harith ibn Hisham, and they made copies from the original copy. Uthman also said to the three men who belonged to the Quraish (Zaid being a Madinite): 'When you differ with Zaid in anything concerning the Quran, then write it in the language of the Quraish, for it is in their language that it was revealed'. They obeyed these instructions, and when they had made the required number of copies from the original copy, Uthman returned the original to Hafsah and sent to every quarter one of the copies thus made, and ordered all other copies or leaves on which the Quran was written to be burned." (Bukhari, 66:3)

It was only in newly converted countries, where Arabic was not spoken, that these differences were noticed. As to the nature of these differences, it is stated in clear words that they were only differences in modes of reading. But it was feared that, if nothing was done to put a stop to the slight differences existing at that time, they might, after the lapse of a few generations, develop into serious ones.

The report tells us that, when variations of readings were brought to the notice of Uthman, the only action that he took was to obtain the collection made in the time of Abu Bakr, and to have other copies transcribed from it for circulation. Thus copies of the Quran transcribed under his orders were true and faithful copies of the collection of Abu Bakr, which, as we have seen, was in the custody of Hafsah after the death of Umar. Zaid was one of the men who were now called upon to make fresh copies from it. To remove any difference of dialect or variation in the mode of writing certain words that might possibly arise, Uthman gave the orders that the reading of the Quraish should be adopted in preference to any other reading. But the only example of such variation that has been preserved to us in reports is that Zaid read a word as tabuh and the Quraish read it as tabut, there being a very

slight difference as to the manner in which the final letter of the word was to be written, without there being the slightest change in significance; and such importance was given to this trifling difference that the matter was reported to Uthman for decision. Hence we have conclusive testimony in our hands showing that the copies of the Quran made and circulated under the orders of Uthman were exact and faithful copies of the original collection of Zaid made in the time of Abu Bakr. Had there been any difference between the original and the copies made, it would no doubt have come to light in the long reign of Uthman or in that of Ali, when Muslims had been divided into factions, and that copy was still in the possession of Hafsah.

The present Quranic text is exactly as the Prophet left it

The work of collecting the written manuscripts of the Quran was thus carried out by Abu Bakr after the death of the Holy Prophet, and Uthman did nothing but order the necessary number of copies to be made from Abu Bakr's collection. He acted after consultation with the Companions, securing the services of the most eminent men who were noted for their knowledge of the Quran to carry out and superintend the work of the transcription. The copies made by his orders were recognized as true copies by the whole Muslim world, and these copies have admittedly remained unaltered through the centuries that have since elapsed.

A Summary of the Holy Quran

The Holy Book is prefaced with a short Makkan chapter which, in its seven short verses, contains the essence of the whole of the Quran, and teaches a prayer which is admittedly the most beautiful of all prayers taught by any religion, and which sets before man an ideal greater than any other which can be conceived. If the preface is the quintessence of the Quran and places before man the highest ideal, the commencement of the Book is equally logical, for the second chapter opens with a clear statement as to its aims and objects. Chapters 2 to 5 all belong to the Madinan revelation and, occupying as they do over a fifth of the whole Quran, deal in detail with the teachings of Islam, comparing them with the previously existing teachings, particularly Jewish and Christian, which had by that time become the prototypes of error in religion, the former laying too much stress on outward ritual, while utterly neglecting the spirit, and the latter condemning law itself, trusting to faith in Christ alone. The greater part of Islamic law dealing with the individual, home and civic life of man is contained in these four chapters.

These are followed by two of the longest Makkan chapters, 6 and 7, the first of which deals in detail with the doctrine of Divine Unity, and the second with that of prophethood. This latter chapter illustrates the doctrine of prophethood with reference to the histories of some well-known prophets. These two are again followed by two Madinan chapters, which fit in with the context, as they show how opposition to Truth as revealed to the Holy Prophet was dealt with: the first of these â€" the 8th â€" deals with their discomfiture in the first struggle in the battle of Badr and the second â€" the 9th â€" with their final vanquishment.

Then follows a group of seven Makkan chapters (10th to 16th), the Alif Lam Rd group, dealing with the truth of the Holy Prophet's revelations, internal evidence, evidence from man's nature, from the histories of the previous prophets and from external nature, being produced to establish that truth. Another group of five Makkan chapters follows it, all dealing with the greatness to which Islam

1-62 A SUMMARY OF THE HOLY QURAN

was destined to rise, with special reference to Jewish history in ch. 17, to Christian history and doctrine in ch. 18 and ch. 19, to the history of Moses in ch. 20, and to the history of prophets in general and their deliverance in ch. 21. Two more Makkan chapters follow, the 22nd showing that the Prophet's cause must triumph, though the faithful would be required to make great sacrifices for the cause of Truth, and the 23rd showing that the foundation on which the greatness of the Muslim nation rested was moral, not material. A Madinan chapter â€" the 24th â€" is then brought in to show how the prophecies of the Makkan revelations were being brought to fulfilment by the establishment of a Muslim kingdom and the dissemination of the spiritual light of Islam. The 25th chapter is again a Makkan revelation, which shows, as its name indicates, that the distinction between truth and falsehood which the Holy Quran was to establish was witnessed in the lives of the Companions of the Holy Prophet.

A group of three more Makkan chapters (26th to 28th), the Ta Sz~w_group, is then introduced, prophesying the ultimate triumph of the Holy Prophet with special reference to the triumph of Moses over a powerful enemy who was bent upon destroying the Israelites. Another group of four Makkan chapters (29th to 32nd), the AlifLam Mim group, follows and shows that the state of helplessness and utter weakness in which the Muslims were at the time would soon be changed. A Madinan chapter, the 33rd, is again inserted showing how the combined forces of the enemies of Islam in the Battle of the Allies failed to crush Islam. The utmost simplicity of the Holy Prophet's domestic life is here brought in to show that the attractions of this world, such as wealth or kingdom, had no charm for him, despite the fact that he then ruled Arabia, and that he was to be a model for all nations and for all ages, no prophet being needed after him, and emphasizing that it was only shortsighted critics who found fault with a man who led a life of such unexampled purity and simplicity. A group of six Makkan chapters follows (34th to 39th), showing that the rise and fall of nations are brought about by the good and evil they do, and that nations which rise to greatness can retain their eminent position only if they are not ungrateful for the favours conferred upon them.

The next group of seven Makkan chapters (40 to 46) is known as the Ha Mim group, and it lays stress on the fact that Truth must overcome opposition and that no temporal power with all the material resources at its back can annihilate Truth. This is followed by a group of three Madinan chapters: the 47th, which was revealed in 1 A.H., showing that those who had accepted the truth as revealed to the Holy Prophet, though in great distress, would soon have their condition ameliorated; the 48th, which belongs to 6 A.H., predicting in the clearest words the final triumph of Islam over all the religions of the world; and the last of this group, ch. 49, which was revealed towards the close of the Holy Prophet's life, enjoining on the Muslims the duty of respect for one another.

From the 50th to the 56th, is another group of seven Makkan chapters pointing out the great spiritual awakening which was to be brought about by the Holy Quran. Then comes the last group of Madinan revelations, ten chapters in all, from the 57th to the 66th, which supplement what has already been said in the previous Madinan chapters, the last two of these, the 65th and 66th, being clearly a supplement to the second chapter, al-Baqarah, and dealing with the subject of divorce and temporary separation.

Then follow 48 short Makkan chapters, showing how people and nations can rise to eminence by following the Truth which is revealed in the Holy Quran, and how they suffer loss by rejecting the Truth. The Holy Book ends with a concise but clear declaration of Divine Unity, in chapter 112; the last two chapters show how to seek refuge in Divine protection against all kinds of mischief.

Key

It is sometimes necessary to know whether the words "you" and "your" in the translation (when not referring to God) occur in the singular or plural in the Arabic text. To indicate the singular case in this translation, the initial letter "y" is set in italic font, like this: you. For example, in 2:4 in the words "revealed to you", the word "you" is in the singular, referring to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, while in 4:140 in the words "revealed to you" the word "you" is plural, referring to all Muslims. Note that whenever God is addressed, it is always in the singular in the Arabic text of the Quran, and in those cases in this translation the letter "y" has been capitalised, as in "You" and "Your".

Footnotes: Footnote numbering on each page starts afresh from a. In each footnote, the footnote mark (a, b, c, etc.) is followed in parentheses by the number of the verse that it refers to; for example: b (1). When two or more footnotes refer to the same verse, the verse number is followed by a dash and a serial number (-1, -2, etc.); for example: a (3-1) and b (3-2).

Transliteration: Common words are not transliterated, such as Islam, Quran, Allah, Muhammad, Hadith (which would be: Islam, Qur'an, Allah, Muhammad, Hadith). Some names are transliterated only to the extent of placing the 'bar' over the letters a, i, or u, to indicate that the vowel is long, as a guide to pronunciation. Full transliteration marks are only used when the exact form of a word or phrase in Arabic needs to be represented, and in all such cases that text is printed in italics. For all words that are not fully transliterated, the full transliteration has provided on the page entitled Transliterated Forms at the end of the Index.

Sections: The marking of sections (each called a ruku') within the longer chapters of the Quran is only found in certain parts of the Muslim world, such as the Indian subcontinent. The section headings given in this work (following Maulana Muhammad Ali's original translation) are inserted by the translator, and are not found in the Quran itself.

/

Chapter 1 Ai-Fatihah The Opening

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful."

1 Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds,

2 The Beneficent, the Merciful,

3 Master of the day of Recompense/

4 You do we serve and You do we beseech for help.

5 Guide us on the right path, e

6 The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favours,

7 Not those upon whom wrath is brought down, nor those who go astray/

Introduction

Al-Fatihah or The Opening is the quintessence of the whole of the Holy Quran. It formed an essential part of the Muslim prayers from the earliest days of Islam. The chapter is headed by the words Bi-smillah-ir-Rahman-ir-RahTm ("In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful"), which also head every other chapter of the Quran except the ninth. The first three verses speak of the four chief Divine attributes, namely, providence, beneficence, mercy and requital, and the last three lay open before the Great Maker the earnest desire of man's soul to walk in righteousness, without stumbling on either side, while the middle verse is expressive of man's entire dependence on Allah. These Divine attributes disclose Allah's all-encompassing beneficence and care, and His unbounded love for all of His creatures, and the ideal to which the soul is made to aspire is the path of righteousness, the path of grace, and the path in which there is no stumbling.

Notes

a. The phrase is equivalent to: I seek the assistance of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. The word Allah is a proper name applied to the Being Who exists necessarily by Himself, comprising all the attributes of perfection.

Rahman ("Beneficent") and Rahim ("Merciful") both signify tenderness requiring the exercise of beneficence, the former indicating the greatest preponderance of the quality of mercy, and the latter being expressive of a constant repetition and manifestation of the attribute. Ar-Rahman is the Beneficent God

1. THE OPENING • Ch. 1

Whose love and mercy are manifested in the creation of this world, and ar-Rahim is the Merciful God Whose love and mercy are manifested in the state that comes after, in the consequences of people's deeds. Thus the former is expressive of the utmost degree of love and generosity, and includes both the believer and the unbeliever for its objects, while the latter is expressive of unbounded and constant favour and mercy, and relates specially to the believer.

b (1) Rabb ("Lord") is the Author of all existence Who has not only given to the whole creation its means of nourishment but has also beforehand ordained for each a sphere of capacity and within that sphere provided the means by which it continues to attain gradually to its goal of perfection. There is no single word in English carrying the significance of the word Rabb â€" Nourisher to perfection would be nearest. Thus the very first words of the Quran â€" Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds â€" are in consonance with the cosmopolitan nature of the religion of Islam, which requires belief in prophets of all nations.

c (3) The adoption of the word master is to show that Allah can forgive His servants, because He is not a mere king or a mere judge, but more properly a Master. The word yaum ("day") is applied in the Holy Quran to any period of time, from a moment (55:29) to fifty thousand years (70:4), and may therefore indicate an indefinitely small or indefinitely large amount of time. In describing God as Master of the day of Recompense, the Holy Quran lays stress, on the one hand, on the fact that the Divine law of recompense of deeds is working every moment, and thus makes man feel the responsibility of what he does, and gives prominence, on the other, to the quality of forgiveness in Divine nature as God's dealing with man is like that of a Master Who is essentially merciful.

d (4) Here the way is pointed out through which man can attain to real greatness. It is through 'ibadat (service) of God which means obedience combined with complete humility, and through seeking help from God. The idea of 'ibadat in Islam is not a mere declaration of the glory of God, but the imbibing of Divine morals and receiving their impress through humble service to God.

e (5) Hidayat (guidance) means not only showing the way but also leading one on the right way till one reaches the goal.

/(6) Those upon whom favours are bestowed are the four classes mentioned in 4:69, namely, the prophets, the truthful, the faithful and the righteous. It is in the footsteps of these spiritual leaders of the world that the Muslim aspires to walk, the chief aim of his life thus being not only his own spiritual perfection but to try also for the spiritual perfection of others.

g (7) Muslims are warned here that even after receiving Divine favours they may incur Divine displeasure and go astray from the path which leads to the goal of perfection. The Jews provide an example of a people failing in righteous deeds, failing to carry out the spirit of the doctrine while retaining the doctrine, and the Christians an example of a people corrupting the doctrine itself. The Muslims are thus taught a prayer that they may neither fail in good deeds while retaining the letter of the law, nor corrupt the doctrine, and that they may be kept on the middle path, avoiding either extreme.

Chapter 2

Al-Baqarah The COW

The name of this chapter is taken from the story in verses 67-71 regarding the slaughter of a cow, cow-worship having taken a hold among the Jews. This chapter deals mainly with the Israelites and their contentions against Islam, and hence much of the legislation, details of which necessarily differ from the Jewish law, is dealt with in this chapter. The last chapter contains a prayer for being guided on the right path (1:5), and here that guidance is afforded in the opening words: "This book, in which there is no doubt, is a guide" (v. 2).

The chapter deals with: the fundamental principles of Islam, need for Divine revelation, history of the Israelite nation, the replacement of former scriptures by the Quran, the covenant with Abraham, Islamic teachings on various important matters (including fasting, pilgrimage, wars, marriage and divorce), the power of Allah to give life to dead nations, and the need to sacrifice wealth in the cause of Truth. It ends with a prayer for the ultimate triumph of truth. This chapter was revealed at Madinah, mostly in the years 1 and 2 A.H.

Section 1: Fundamental Principles of Islam

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

2? II, Allah, am the Best Knower. a 2 This Book, in which there

* is no doubt, is a guide to those who keep their duty, 3 who believe

a (1) This verse consists of the letters alif, lam, mim. The combinations of letters or single letters occurring at the commencement of several chapters of the Quran are, according to the best received opinion, abbreviations standing for words. Translations of the Holy Quran generally leave these abbreviations untranslated. The alif, lam, mim, occuring here as well as at the commencement of five other chapters are interpreted by some early authorities as meaning "I, Allah, am the best Knower", alif standing for ana, lam for Allah, and mim for a 'lam, being respectively the first, the middle and the last letters of the words for which they stand. Others regard them as contractions for some Divine attribute.

b (2) The application of the word "book" (kitab) to the Holy Quran occurs in very early revelations, and shows clearly that the Quran was from the first meant to be a complete book that existed not only in the memory of people but also in

2. THE COW • 2 : 4

in the Unseen a and keep up prayer and spend (on good works) out of what We have given them,* 4 and who believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you, c and of the Hereafter d they are sure. 5 These are on a right course from their Lord and these it is that are successful.

6 Those who disbelieve â€" to whom it is the same whether you warn them or do not warn them 6 â€" they will not believe. 7 Allah has sealed their hearts and their hearing; and there is a covering on their eyes, and for them is a grievous punishment/

writing. The Quran is here described as affording guidance to those who keep their duty, because the sense of keeping his duty is innate in man. No guidance would benefit those who have no regard for their duty.

a (3-1) The Unseen here stands for Allah, a belief in Whose existence is the cardinal principle of religion.

b (3-2) In Islam prayer assumed a regularity and a form. However, it is not the mere observance of the form that the Quran requires, but the keeping of it in a right state, i.e. being true to the spirit of the prayer. Spending out of what one has been given stands for charity in its broadest sense, or the doing of good to all creatures. This verse lays down the two prime duties which are necessary for spiritual advancement: prayer to God and service to humanity.

c (4-1) Islam requires faith in all the prophets of the world and the recognition of truth in all religions. The words what was revealed before you (O Prophet) include revelations to all the nations of the world, for we are elsewhere told that "there is not a people but a warner has gone among them" (35:24). A Muslim is therefore one who believes in all the prophets of God, sent to any nation, whether their names are mentioned in the Holy Quran or not.

d (4-2) A life after death, according to Islam, implies a state of existence which begins with death, but a complete manifestation of which takes place later, when the fruits of the actions done in this life take their final shape. A belief in God and a belief in the Hereafter, being respectively the first and the last of the fundamental principles of Islam as mentioned here, often stand for a belief in all the fundamental principles of Islam, as in 2:8, 2:62, etc.

e (6) The passage is parenthetical, meaning that disbelievers of a particular type, i.e., those who pay no heed at all to the Holy Prophet's warning, cannot benefit by his preaching.

f(J) Only those disbelievers are spoken of here who so hardened their hearts as not to pay any heed to the Prophet's preaching and warning, as clearly indicated in the previous verse; compare 7:179: "They have hearts with which they do not understand, and they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. They are as cattle." Allah is here spoken of as having

Section 2: Lip-profession

8 And there are some people who say: We believe in Allah and the Last Day; and they are not believers." 'They seek to deceive Allah and those who believe, and they deceive only themselves and they do not perceive. 10 In their hearts is a disease, so Allah increased their disease, 6 and for them is a painful punishment because they lie. n And when it is said to them, Do not make mischief in the land, they say: We are only peacemakers. 12 Now surely they are the mischief-makers, but they do not perceive. 13 And when it is said to them, Believe as the people believe, they say: Shall we believe as the fools believe? Now surely they are the fools, but they do not know.

14 And when they meet those who believe, they say, We believe; and when they are alone with their devils, e they say: Surely we are with you, we were only mocking. 15 AUah will pay them back their mockery, and He leaves them alone in their inordinacy, blindly wandering on. 16 These are they who buy error for guidance, so their bargain brings no gain, nor are they guided.

17 Their parable is as the parable of one who kindles a fire, but when it illumines all around him, Allah takes away their light, and leaves them in darkness 8 â€" they cannot see. 18 Deaf, dumb,

sealed their hearts and ears because He made them taste the consequences of their heedlessness.

a (8) Belief in Allah and the Last Day is here equivalent to the profession of Islam. After speaking of the accepters and the rejecters of the Holy Prophet's message, the Quran now speaks of the insincere people who accept the message only with their lips. The persons spoken of in this verse are the hypocrites, who were a source of constant trouble to the Holy Prophet at Madinah.

b (10) In 71:6 Noah is made to say: "But my call has only made them flee the more", though the call was meant to bring them nearer to the truth. The disease here stands for the weakness of their hearts, for they had not the courage to deny Islam openly, and this weakness only became the greater as the cause of Islam became more and more triumphant.

c (14) By their devils are meant their evil companions, as stated in 2:76.

d (15) God will requite them with punishment according to their mockery.

e (17) The kindler of the fire is the Holy Prophet Muhammad, who kindled

(and) blind, so they do not return (to the right way), 19 or like abundant rain from the cloud in which is darkness, and thunder and lightning; they put their fingers into their ears because of the thunder-peal, for fear of death. And Allah encompasses the disbelievers. 20 The lightning almost takes away their sight. Whenever it shines on them they walk in it, and when it becomes dark to them they stand still. a And if Allah had pleased, He would have taken away their hearing and their sight. Surely Allah is Powerful over all things.

Section 3: Divine Unity

21 O people, serve your Lord Who created you and those before you, so that you may guard against evil, 22 Who made the earth a resting-place for you and the heaven a structure, and sends down rain from the clouds then brings forth with it fruits for your sustenance; so do not set up rivals to Allah while you know. 23 And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your helpers besides Allah if you are truthful. ° 24 But if you do not (do it) â€"

the torch of light. The light of their eyes, which alone could make them take advantage of the light which was lit up by the Prophet, was taken away. The act of taking away the light is attributed to Allah, as the remote cause.

a (20) When difficulties and distresses befell the Muslims â€" when it became dark â€" the hypocrites and the weak-hearted stood still. They refused to keep company with the Muslims in the battles which the latter had to fight. When there was a flash of lightning, and a success followed â€" a success so great that it almost blinded them â€" they would walk on a little and seem to be keeping company with the Muslims.

b (22) Attention is thus drawn to the oneness of humanity, as if it were a single family living in one resting-place under one roof.

c (23) A similar challenge is contained in 10:38. See also 11:13. In 17:88 the whole of mankind are declared to be unable to produce a book like the Quran. While the Quran is undoubtedly a unique production of Arabic literature, its chief characteristic, in which no other book can claim equality with it, is the wonderful, unparalleled transformation which it accomplished. Its injunctions swept off the most deep-rooted evils and made an ignorant people the foremost torchbearers of knowledge and science, and masters of the greatest empire of the world. Besides, every word of the Quran gives expression to Divine majesty and glory in a manner which is not approached by any other sacred book.

2 : 25 • DIVINE UNITY

and you can never do (it) â€" then be on your guard against the fire whose fuel is people and stones;" it is prepared for the disbelievers.

25 And give good news to those who believe and do good deeds, that for them are Gardens in which rivers flow. Whenever they are given a portion of the fruit of these (Gardens), they will say: This is what was given to us before; and they are given the like of it. c And they will have therein pure companions and therein they will abide.

26 Surely Allah does not disdain to set forth any parable â€" a gnat or anything above that. 6 Then as for those who believe, they know that it is the truth from their Lord; and as for those who disbelieve, they say: What is it that Allah means by this parable?

a (24) The reference in "stones" may be to the leaders, called "helpers" in the previous verse, while "people" would stand for the common people.

b (25-1) The description of paradise as given in the Holy Quran is expressly stated to be a parable; see 13:35, 47:15. The righteous are spoken of as having gardens in the next life to show that they have made the seed of faith to grow into extensive gardens, and this is in reference to the vast development of their inner self or of the faculties which God has given them. The rivers represent the good deeds which are necessary to the growth of the seed. The fruits of the life after death are the consequences of the deeds done in this life.

c (25-2) Whenever the faithful are made to taste of a portion of the fruits of their good deeds in the life to come, they will find those fruits much resembling the fruits which they tasted spiritually in this life. The like of it may signify that the fruits of their deeds will be similar to those deeds.

d (25-3) The pure companions may be the believing wives of the faithful, as elsewhere we have: "They and their wives are in shades, reclining on raised couches" (36:56). But more probably these are among the blessings of the heavenly life to which men and women are equally entitled. All the blessings of heavenly life are, according to a saying of the Holy Prophet, "things which no eye has seen and no ear has heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive of them" (Bukhari, 59:8). The words in which these blessings are depicted in the Holy Quran, therefore, should not be taken literally.

e (26-1) The parables to which reference is contained in these words are the parables speaking of the weakness of the false deities; see 29:41, 22:73. The gnat is mentioned here because among the Arabs it is a proverbially weak creature, so that to express the utmost degree of weakness they say, weaker than the gnat.

2. THE COW • 2 : 27

Many He leaves in error by it" and many He leads aright by it. And He leaves in error by it only the transgressors, 27 who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut apart what Allah has ordered to be joined, and make mischief in the land. These it is that are the losers.

28 How can you deny Allah and you were without life and He gave you life? Again, He will cause you to die and again bring you to life, then you shall be brought back to Him. c 29 He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth. And He directed Himself to the heaven/ so He made them complete seven heavens; 6 and He is Knower of all things.

Section 4: Greatness of Mankind and Need for Revelation

30 And when your Lord said to the angels, I am going to place a ruler in the earth, g they said: Will You place in it such as





a (26-2) Allah guides people by sending His messengers, and therefore He could not be spoken of as leading them astray. When ascribed to God, the word adalla used here means He pronounced him to be erring or He left him in error.

b (27) The covenant of Allah is the evidence of His Unity to which human nature bears witness. The confirmation of this covenant is brought about by sending prophets. Cutting off what Allah has ordered to be joined is the disregard of others' rights.

c (28) The first part of the verse contains an argument of the existence of God Who gave life to man, and the second states that death on this earth is not the end of life but the beginning of another, an eternal and a far higher life.

d (29-1) The earth was made after the heavens; see 79:30.

e (29-2) The word sab 'a, which signifies the number seven, is also used as meaning seven or more, several or many. In 65:12 it is affirmed that as there are seven heavens so there is a like number of earths, and the seven heavens are called the seven ways in 23:17, and in this sense the orbit of a planet may be called its heaven. The seven heavens may also be taken to apply to the whole starry creation and the reference may in this case be to the magnitudes of the stars.

/(30-1) Allah's saying to the angels is really the expression of an intention which is to be brought into execution. It is not a conversation, or a consultation with the angels; it is an expression of the Divine will to those intermediary beings who are entrusted by the Divine Being with its execution. The existence of such intermediaries has been recognized by the righteous in all ages and all countries.

g (30-2) This shows the high place that man was destined to hold in the whole

make mischief in it and shed blood? And we celebrate Your praise and extol Your holiness. He said: Surely I know what you do not know." 31 And He taught Adam all the names^ then presented them to the angels; He said: Tell Me the names of those if you are right. 32 They said: Glory be to You! we have no knowledge but what You have taught us. Surely You are the Knowing, the Wise. 33 He said: O Adam, inform them of their names. So when he informed them of their names, He said: Did I not say to you that I know what is unseen in the heavens and the earth? And I know what you manifest and what you hide/

34 And when We said to the angels, Be submissive to Adam, they submitted, 2 but not IblTs. He refused and was proud, and he

of creation. What is stated here is an allegorical description of the preference of man above the whole of the creation on this earth, and then of the election of those righteous servants of Allah from among men themselves who lead others into the right path. One view is that the word "ruler" (khalifa) here refers to the whole of mankind, which is corroborated by the Quran itself in 6:165.

a (30-3) Being entrusted with such great powers, man could use them rightly or wrongly. The whole history of mankind is briefly written in this one verse. Man is the greatest killer on this earth but he also turns the gifts of God to the best use. To God was known the brighter side of this picture; hence the words, / know what you do not know.

b (31-1) Nowhere in the Holy Quran is it affirmed that Adam was the first man or that there was no creation before him. Great Muslim theologians have held that there were many Adams â€" thousands of Adams â€" before the great ancestor of mankind known by this name. Adam, therefore, though it may also be the name of a particular man, stands for mankind generally.

c (31-2) Teaching Adam the names signifies the vast capability of man and the superiority of his knowledge to that of the angels. Or, the reference may be to the faculty of speech, which is the real source of the excellence of man above the whole of creation.

d (33) "What you hide" refers to those great qualities in man which preponderate the evil in him, and which remain hidden until they are made manifest through the Divine gift of knowledge. The immense capability of man for progress remains hidden, while the evil of shedding blood is manifested in a very primary stage in his growth.

e (34-1) Adam throughout this section stands for man generally; so submission is to man generally. Man has a superiority over the angels on account of his great gift of knowledge of things, the angels being the controlling powers of

was one of the disbelievers." 35 And We said: O Adam, dwell you and your wife in the garden, and eat from it a plentiful (food) wherever you wish, and do not approach this tree or you would be from among the unjust. e 36 But the devil made them slip from it, and caused them to depart from the state in which they were. And We said: Go forth, some of you are enemies of others. 8 And there is for you in the earth an abode and a provision for a time.

the forces of nature. By his knowledge man could harness the forces of nature and exercise control over them; in other words, the angels submitted to him.

a (34-2) Iblls and Satan (Arabic: shaitan) refer to one and the same being. The word Iblis is used when the evil one's evil is limited to himself, and Satan, when his evil affects others besides himself. The angels' submission meant that man could control the forces of nature by his knowledge of things. But he himself was a part of nature, and he could not conquer his own evil desires. The conquest of self needed yet another act of Divine mercy, the sending of Divine Revelation. Note that Iblls was not one of the angels.

b (35-1) The garden spoken of in this verse was on this earth, as it was on the earth that man was placed. It was certainly not the paradise to which people go after death, and from which they will never be expelled (15:48). The placing in the garden signifies leading a life of ease and comfort, as is shown by the words that follow: "Eat from it a plentiful food wherever you wish". These may also be translated as: Eat from it wherever you wish, having abundance of all things.

c (35-2) It was the tree of the spiritual death of man, the tree of evil. Compare 14:24-26, where a good word is likened to "a good tree, whose root is firm and whose branches are high, yielding its fruit in every season", and an evil word is likened to "an evil tree pulled up from the earth's surface; it has no stability". The order to eat from the earth a plentiful food but not to approach evil is really a description of what pure human nature is. Man is entitled to all the benefits of nature to maintain the body so long as he does not forget his soul.

rf(36-l) The words mean that the devil made them commit a fault unintentionally. The result was that they were made to depart from the happy condition in which they were. The Quran contradicts the Bible: it was not the serpent that misled Eve, nor did Eve mislead Adam. The devil cast an evil suggestion into the minds of both Adam and Eve, as he casts evil suggestions into the mind of every son and daughter of Adam and Eve.

e (36-2) The new condition in which man finds himself by submitting to his low desires is the condition of the mutual enmity of one to the other, the tyranny of man to man being undoubtedly the greatest evil which man can commit. The use of the words "some of you are enemies of others" shows clearly that this address is to all mankind.

37 Then Adam received (revealed) words from his Lord, and He turned to him (mercifully). Surely He is Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful." 38 We said: Go forth from this (state) all. Surely a guidance from Me will come to you, then whoever follows My guidance, no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve. 6 39 And (as to) those who disbelieve in and reject Our messages, they are the companions of the Fire; in it they will abide.'

Section 5: Israelite Prophecies fulfilled in the Quran

40 O Children of Israel, call to mind My favour which I bestowed on you and be faithful to (your) covenant with Me, I shall fulfil (My) covenant with you; and Me, Me alone, should you fear. 41 And believe in what I have revealed, verifying what

a (37) Man is found too weak to overcome the evil suggestions of the devil or the evil inclinations in him, however strong he may be to conquer the forces of nature. So God comes to his help and reveals Himself to him. He sends down revelation which, strengthening his faith in God, gives him the strength to overcome the devil and reject his suggestions.

b (38) This is a statement of a general law that Divine Revelation will be granted to the whole of humanity and prophets will appear everywhere from time to time, and by following the guidance sent by God through His prophets people will attain to a state of perfection in which "no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve". Those who truly follow the Divine Revelation shall have no fear of the devil misleading them, nor shall they grieve at wasting the opportunity given them in this life.

c (39) The people spoken of in this verse are those who not only disbelieve but also exert their utmost to oppose revealed truth and uproot it. They keep company with evil in this life, so the fire becomes their companion in the next to purge them of the evil consequences of their evil deeds. Their hearts burn with evil passions in this life, and it is this very fire that assumes a palpable shape in the next. Note that the word khalidun ("abide") signifies simply abiding, which may be for a long time, and does not necessarily convey the idea of perpetuity.

d (40) After speaking of the need of Divine Revelation, the Quran now speaks of a nation to whom this favour was granted, among whom many prophets were raised and who were also made rulers in the earth (see 5:20). The Jewish people who are addressed here are generally mentioned as Children of Israel, Israel being the other name of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham. For the covenants spoken of here, see Deuteronomy 26:17-19. The covenant included the acceptance of the revelation to the promised prophet of Deut. 18:18.

is (already) with you, and do not be the first to deny it; nor take a small price for My messages;" and keep your duty to Me, Me alone. 42 And do not mix up truth with falsehood, nor hide the truth while you know. 43 And keep up prayer and give the due charity and bow down with those who bow down. 44 Do you tell people to be good and neglect your own souls while you read the Book? Have you then no sense? 45 And seek assistance through patience and prayer, and this is hard except for the humble ones, 46 who know that they will meet their Lord and that to Him they will return.

Section 6: Divine Favours on Israel

47 O Children of Israel, call to mind My favour which I bestowed on you and that I made you excel the nations/ 48 And guard yourselves against a day when no soul will avail another in the least, neither will intercession be accepted on its behalf, nor will compensation be taken from it, nor will they be helped.

49 And when We delivered you from Pharaoh's people, who subjected you to severe torment, killing your sons and sparing

a (41) The verification referred to here is clearly the fulfilment of the promise contained in Deuteronomy 18:15-18: "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear...". No prophet ever claimed to have come in fulfilment of this prophecy except the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The religious leaders rejected the truth which the Holy Prophet brought, fearing to lose their high position as leaders. They thus sacrificed truth to the inducements of this life, and took "a small price" for it.

b (43) These are the two fundamental principles of religion: worship of God through prayer to Him, and service of humanity or helping the poor.

c (47) By "the nations" are meant the people contemporaneous with the Israelites in their days of triumph, or large masses of people. Numerous prophets were raised among them, and they were made to rule in the earth, and these are the favours of which Moses also reminds them (5:20).

d (48) The Islamic doctrine that the prophets and the righteous will intercede for sinners on the day of Judgment really means that if they took as their model a righteous servant of God and did their best to follow him, this will shelter them from their own weaknesses. See further 2:255 footnote 1 and 4:85 footnote.

your women, and in this there was a great trial from your Lord. 50 And when We parted the sea for you, so We saved you and drowned the people of Pharaoh while you saw." 51 And when We appointed a time of forty nights with Moses, then you took the calf (for a god) after him, and you were unjust. 4 52 Then We pardoned you after that so that you might give thanks.

53 And when We gave Moses the Book and the criterion 0 that you might walk aright. 54 And when Moses said to his people: My people, you have surely wronged yourselves by taking the calf (for a god), so turn to your Creator (penitently), and kill your passions.'' That is best for you with your Creator. So He turned to you (mercifully). Surely He is the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.

55 And when you said: Moses, we will not believe in you till we see Allah manifestly, so the punishment overtook you while you looked on. e 56 Then We raised you up after your stupor that you might give thanks. 57 And We made the clouds to give shade

a (50) The Quran does not say how the Israelites were made to pass through the sea or in what manner the parting of the sea was brought about. One explanation is that the Israelites passed when the sea receded on account of the ebb, and the Egyptians were drowned because the tide was on at the time, and in their zeal to overtake the Israelites they did not care for it.

b (51) While the making of the calf is attributed to Aaron in the Bible, the Holy Quran declares that prophet to be innocent in the matter.

c (53) Furqdn ('criterion', 'distinction') is anything that makes a distinction between truth and falsity, and hence it signifies a proof or demonstration and also aid or victory. In the sense of distinction, the furqdn given to Moses was Pharaoh's drowning in the sea and the deliverance of the Israelites. In the case of the Holy Prophet the battle of Badr afforded the furqdn or distinction, and hence the battle of Badr is called yaum al-furqdn or the day of distinction in 8:41.

d (54) The Holy Quran rejects the Bible story of the Israelites being killed as a punishment for calf-worship. They were pardoned and were told simply to repent, and God accepted their repentance as clearly stated here. Therefore anfusa-kum does not mean here your people, but your desires or your passions. No prophet ever taught that a man can be killed for the worship of an object other than God.

e (55) See Exodus 19:16-17.

over you and We sent to you manna and quails. Eat of the good things that We have given you. And they did Us no harm, but they wronged their own souls.

58 And when We said: Enter this city, then eat from it a plentiful (food) wherever you wish, and enter the gate submissively, and make petition for forgiveness. We will forgive you your wrongs and increase the reward of those who do good (to others). 59 But those who were unjust changed the word which had been spoken to them, for another saying," so We sent upon the wrongdoers a pestilence from heaven because they transgressed.

Section 7: Divine Favours on Israel

60 And when Moses prayed for water for his people, We said: March on to the rock with your staff. e So twelve springs flowed from it. Each tribe knew their drinking-place. Eat and drink of the provisions of Allah, and do not act corruptly, making mischief in the land. 61 And when you said: Moses, we cannot endure one food, so pray your Lord on our behalf to bring forth for us out of what the earth grows, of its herbs and its cucumbers and its garlic and its lentils and its onions. He said: Would you exchange what

a (59-1) That is to say, they went against the Divine commandment.

b (59-2) When a punishment overtakes a people as a consequence of their wicked deeds it is spoken of as coming from heaven, the significance probably being that it cannot be averted. The pestilence spoken of here is referred to in the Bible in Numbers 25:8-9, according to which 24,000 men died of the plague.

c (60) The words may mean strike the rock with your staff or march on to the mountain with your staff ox your community. The story that Moses carried a stone with him and that twelve springs flowed from it whenever, placing it in the wilderness, he struck it with his staff, has no foundation in the words of the Holy Quran or any saying of the Holy Prophet. What the words of the Quran signify is either that Moses was commanded by God to strike a particular rock with his staff from which water flowed forth miraculously, or to march on to a mountain from which springs flowed.

d (61-1) The Israelites were required to live a hard life which would make them fit for conquering the Holy Land; this was better for them. But they wanted to live a life of ease and to have all kinds of food which they could get only by settling in towns and tilling the land.

is better for what is worse? Enter a city, so you will have what you ask for. And degradation and humiliation were stamped upon them, and they incurred Allah's wrath." That was so because they disbelieved in the messages of Allah and would kill the prophets unjustly. That was so because they disobeyed and exceeded the limits.

Section 8: Israelites' Degeneration

62 Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, 6 whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good, they have their reward with their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve. c

63 And when We made a covenant with you and raised the mountain above you: Hold on firmly what We have given you, and bear in mind what is in it, so that you may guard against evil. 64 Then after that you turned back; and if it had not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you, you would certainly have

a (61-2) The verse speaks of the ultimate condition to which the Israelites were reduced when they persisted in setting at naught the Divine commandments and indulged in immoral and depraved practices.

b (62-1) The commentators hold different opinions regarding Sabians, most of them agreeing that they are representatives of a religion between Judaism and Christianity, based on the doctrine of unity, but also maintaining worship of angels.

c (62-2) This verse strikes at the root of the idea of a favoured nation whose members alone may be entitled to salvation. The subject is introduced here to show that even the Jews, despite their transgressions which had made them deserving of Divine wrath, were entitled to a goodly reward if they believed and did good deeds. The statement made here is that salvation cannot be attained by mere lip-profession by any people, not even by the Muslims, unless they adhere to a true belief and do good deeds. The existence of good people in other religions is not denied by the Holy Quran, but perfect peace, or the state of absolute contentment which is indicated by freedom from fear and grief, is obtainable only in Islam, because it alone is the religion of absolute submission to the Divine Being.

d (63) There is nothing in the words of the Quran to support the baseless story that the mountain was suspended in the air over the heads of the Israelites to frighten them into submission. The use of the word raf ("raised") is in accordance with the Arabic idiom, for it signifies the making high or lofty of a building.

been among the losers. 65 And indeed you know those among you who violated the Sabbath," so We said to them: Be (as) apes, despised and hated. 66 So We made them an example to those who witnessed it and those who came after it and an admonition to those who guard against evil.

67 And when Moses said to his people: Allah commands you to sacrifice a cow. c They said: Do you ridicule us? He said: I seek refuge with Allah from being one of the ignorant. 68 They said: Call on jour Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what she is. (Moses) said: He says, Surely she is a cow neither advanced in age nor too young, of middle age between these (two); so do what you are commanded. 69 They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it clear to us what her colour is. (Moses) said: He says, She is a yellow cow; her colour is intensely yellow delighting the onlookers. 70 They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it clear to us what she is, for surely to us cows are all alike, and if Allah please we shall surely be guided aright. 71 (Moses) said: He says: She is a cow not made submissive to plough the land, nor does she water the crops, sound, without a blemish in her. They said: Now you have brought the truth. So they slaughtered her, though they were not inclined to do (it).

a (65-1) There is no Sabbath among the Muslims because in Islam no particular day is set apart for Divine worship. On the other hand, the Muslim is required to pray in the very midst of his everyday work, and even the Jumu 'ah (Friday) prayers are no exception, for the Quran expressly allows the doing of work both before and after the Jumu 'ah prayers.

b (65-2) An early commentator, Mujahid, gives the following explanation: "They were not transformed or metamorphosed; it is only a parable which Allah has set forth for them, the like of what He has set forth in likening them to asses (62:5), i.e., their hearts were transformed, not that they were metamorphosed into apes."

c (67) As the Israelites held the cow in great honour, and even worshipped it, as is clear from their worship of the golden calf, they were ordered to slaughter such cows as were usually let loose to wander and worshipped as sacred objects, the aim being to root out cow-worship from among them.

Section 9: They grow in Hard-heartedness

72 And when you (almost) killed a man," then you disagreed about it. And Allah was to bring forth what you were going to hide. 73 So We said: Strike him with it partially. Thus Allah brings the dead to life, c and He shows you His signs that you may understand. 74 Then your hearts hardened after that, so that they were like rocks, rather worse in hardness. And surely there are some rocks from which streams burst forth; and there are some of them which split apart so water flows from them; and there are some of them which fall down for the fear of Allah. And Allah is not heedless of what you do.

75 Do you then hope that they would believe in you, and some of them indeed used to hear the word of Allah, then altered it after they had understood it, and they know (this). 6 76 And when they meet those who believe they say, We believe, and when they are apart with one another they say: Do you talk to them of what Allah has disclosed to you that they may contend with you by this before your Lord? Do you not understand? 77 Do they not know

a (72-1) This incident refers to Jesus, as it was with respect to his death that disagreement took place and many doubted his death. Compare the incidents narrated here with the same incidents as narrated in 4:153-157. The words you killed are used because the Jews asserted that they had killed him, and because metaphorically a person may be said to have been killed when he is made to appear as if he were dead.

b (72-2) The Jews wanted to kill Jesus, but God ordained that he should not die. This was the bringing forth of what they were going to hide.

c (73) The act of murder was not completed in the case of Jesus, as the Gospels show, for after he was taken down from the cross his legs were not broken, as in the case of the thieves. This was really a case of giving life to the dead, for Jesus Christ was dead to all appearance. Those actually dead do not return to life in this world; see 21:95, 23:100 and 39:42.

rf(74) Even hardened hearts would receive life â€" even more, they would give life to others, be a source of spiritual life for others as water and streams are sources of life in the physical world.

e (75) That the Israelites did not preserve their sacred books in their purity is a constant charge laid by the Holy Quran against the Jews. In fact, the alteration and corruption of the various books of the Bible is now proved beyond all doubt.

that Allah knows what they keep secret and what they make known? 78 And some of them are illiterate; they do not know the Book except (from) hearsay, and they only conjecture. 0

79 Woe, then, to those who write the Book with their hands then say, This is from Allah; so that they may take for it a small price. So woe to them for what their hands write and woe to them for what they earn. 80 And they say: Fire will not touch us but for a few days. Say: Have you received a promise from Allah? Then Allah will not fail to perform His promise. Or do you speak against Allah what you do not know? 81 Indeed, whoever earns evil and his sins beset him on every side, those are the companions of the Fire; in it they abide.' 82 And those who believe and do good deeds, these are the owners of the Garden; in it they abide. e

a (78) The Jewish masses had no access to their own sacred books which were known only to their learned men, and therefore their religious ideas were based only on stories which they knew from hearsay. The same is to a very large extent true of the Muslims of our day. In the early days of Islam, every individual Muslim, man as well as woman, sought light direct from the Quran. Not so the Muslims in this age who depend entirely on their learned men. They do read the Quran but look upon mere recitation as a meritorious deed without trying to learn what it says, and then act upon it.

b (81) The inmates of the Fire are here stated to be those who earn evil, and find themselves beset on every side by their evil deeds. These are the people who give themselves up to evil, and who therefore ultimately find themselves in the power of evil, which even in this life, but more palpably in the life after death, assumes the form of a burning fire. It should be noted that the one who struggles against evil, however long that struggle may take, to overcome an evil inclination, is not the one who earns evil, because the earnest struggle in which the fighter against evil hates and detests evil, and seeks to overcome it, always ends in a victory for the good and noble qualities in human beings.

c (82) The doers of good are called ashab al-Jannah or owners of the Garden. The word ashab is plural of sahib which means a companion or an owner. I have translated ashab an-nar as companions of the Fire but ashab al-Jannah as owners of the Garden, because while the inmates of the Fire will be taken out of it after being purged of the evil, of paradise it is said that it is "a gift never to be cut off" (11:108), and that those in it will never be ejected from it (15:48).

Section 10: Their Covenant and its Violation

83 And when We made a covenant with the Children of Israel:" You shall serve none but Allah. And do good to (your) parents, and to the near of kin and to orphans and the needy, and speak good (words) to (all) people,* and keep up prayer and give the due charity. c Then you turned back except a few of you, and you are averse. 84 And when We made a covenant with you: You shall not shed your blood, nor turn your people out of your cities; then you promised and you bear witness. 85 Yet you it is who would kill your people and turn some of you out of their homes, backing each other up against them unlawfully and exceeding the limits. And if they should come to you as captives you would ransom them, whereas their turning out itself was unlawful for you. Do you then believe in a part of the Book and disbelieve in the other? e What then is the reward of such among you as do this but

a (83-1) Allah's making a covenant with a people signifies His giving commandments to them.

b (83-2) The word qaul (speaking) is used to express all kinds of deeds, and hence the speaking of good words to all stands for kind dealing with all.

c (83-3) Prayer and zakat ("due charity") as enjoined on the Israelites differed from the Islamic prayer and zakat in details. The directions regarding tithe among the Israelites are contained in Deuteronomy 14:28-29.

d (84) The previous verse speaks of a covenant with the Children of Israel while this one speaks of a covenant with you. The reference here is to the important treaty of mutual obligation in writing which the Holy Prophet entered into with the Jews when he settled at Madinah. By this treaty the Muslims and the Jews were bound not only not to turn their hands against each other but also to defend one another against a common enemy.

e (85) The reference is to the terms of the original treaty under which the Jews were bound to ransom the Muslims if they were made captives by an enemy. They did not openly repudiate the treaty but intrigued with the enemy to turn the Muslims out of Madinah. The reference in believing in a part of the book and disbelieving in the other is to this conduct of the Jews. Most commentators, however, understand that the reference here is to the alliance which the two Jewish tribes, Quraizah and Nadir, living side by side at Madinah, had made with Aus and Khazraj, the two rival tribes of Madinah respectively. When the latter fought against each other, their allies took part in the fighting, and thus one Jewish tribe slaughtered and imprisoned the other and laid waste their habitations,

disgrace in the life of this world, and on the day of Resurrection they shall be sent back to the most grievous punishment. And Allah is not heedless of what you do. 86 These are they who buy the life of this world for the Hereafter, so their punishment shall not be lightened, nor shall they be helped.

Section 11 : They reject the Prophet

87 And We indeed gave Moses the Book and We sent messengers after him one after another; and We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear arguments and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit." Is it then that whenever a messenger came to you with what your souls did not desire, you were arrogant? And some you rejected and others you would kill. 88 And they say: Our hearts are securely covered. No, Allah has cursed them on account of their unbelief; c so it is little that they believe. 89 And when a Book from Allah came to them verifying what they (already) have, and before this they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieved â€"

but afterwards collected subscriptions for the release of the Jewish prisoners, on the ground that the law commanded them to redeem the prisoners and they fought against their co-religionists for the honour of their allies.

a (87) Generally the epithet "son of Mary" is added to Jesus' name to show that he was a mortal like other prophets of God. The long chain of prophets that came after Moses ended in Jesus, Moses being the first and Jesus the last prophet of the Israelite dispensation. The idea of the Holy Ghost as met with in Christian religious literature is quite different from and opposed to the Jewish conception of the Holy Spirit which Islam accepts. The Holy Spirit is the angel which brought revelation: "The Holy Spirit has revealed it (i.e. the Quran) from your Lord" (16:102). Jesus' being strengthened with the Holy Spirit only means that he was granted Divine revelation like other prophets before him.

b (88-1) The meaning is either that they said that their hearts were so full of knowledge already that they stood in no need of any further knowledge, or that their hearts were covered from hearing and accepting what the Prophet said.

c (88-2) The allegation of the Israelites was that, being descendants of prophets, their hearts were the repositories of knowledge, and being already, as it were, full of knowledge, they did not stand in need of more. They are told that it was really their disbelief which became the cause of their estrangement from the good which the Holy Prophet had brought.

d (89) The Jews expected that when the Prophet spoken of in Deuteronomy

but when that which they recognized came to them, they disbelieved in it; so Allah's curse is on the disbelievers. 90 Evil is what they sell their souls for â€" that they should deny what Allah has revealed, out of envy that Allah should send down of His grace on whomsoever of His servants He pleases; so they incur wrath upon wrath. And there is a humiliating punishment for the disbelievers.

91 And when it is said to them, Believe in what Allah has revealed, they say: We believe in what was revealed to us. And they deny what is besides that, while it is the Truth verifying what they (already) have." Say: Why then did you kill Allah's prophets before (this) if you were believers? 92 And Moses indeed came to you with clear arguments, then you took the calf (for a god) in his absence and you were wrongdoers. 93 And when We made a covenant with you and raised the mountain above you: Take hold of what We have given you with firmness and obey. They said: We hear and disobey. e And they were made to imbibe (the love of) the calf into their hearts on account of their disbelief. Say: Evil is what your faith bids you if you are believers.

94 Say: If the abode of the Hereafter with Allah is specially for you to the exclusion of the (other) people, then invoke death if you are truthful. 95 And they will never invoke it on account of what their hands have already done, and Allah knows the wrongdoers. 96 And you will certainly find them the greediest of people for life, (greedier) even than those who set up partners (with Allah). One of them loves to be granted a life of a thousand years, and his being granted a long life will in no way remove him

18:18 came, he would make them victorious over their disbelieving opponents.

a (91-1) They asserted that they could accept only a revelation granted to an Israelite. The reply to this is that the revelation of the Holy Prophet is the truth verifying what is contained in their own scriptures.

b (91-2) They tried to kill even Israelite prophets, which shows that it was their hard-heartedness which prevented them from accepting the truth, whether that truth was revealed through an Israelite or a non-Israelite prophet.

c (93) They did not utter these words with their tongues, but it is an expression of their condition.

further off from the punishment. And Allah is Seer of what they do.

Section 12: Their Enmity to the Prophet

97 Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel a â€" for surely he revealed it to jour heart by Allah's command, verifying what is (already) before it and a guidance and glad tidings for the believers. 98 Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and His messengers and Gabriel and Michael, then surely Allah is an enemy to disbelievers.

99 And We indeed have revealed to you clear messages, and none disbelieve in them except the transgressors. 100 Is it that whenever they make a covenant, some of them cast it aside? No, most of them have no faith. 101 And when a messenger from Allah came to them verifying what they (already) have, some of those who were given the Book threw the Book of Allah behind their backs as if they knew nothing.'

102 And they follow what the devils fabricated against the kingdom of Solomon. And Solomon did not disbelieve, but the devils disbelieved, teaching people enchantment. 6 And it was not

a (97) The Jews looked upon Gabriel as their enemy because he was considered to be an avenging angel who brought down Divine punishment upon the guilty. But in the Bible, as in the Holy Quran, Gabriel is mentioned as delivering Divine messages to men, as in Daniel 8:16 and in Luke 1:19 and 26.

b (98) Man's enmity to Allah signifies opposition to His commandments, and Allah's enmity to man signifies the recompense for his opposition. Note that Allah is here said to be an enemy to those disbelievers only who first make themselves enemies to His prophets, and hence also to the Divine Being Himself.

c (101) The covenant referred to in v. 100 as being cast aside, and the throwing of the Book behind their backs, both refer to the Israelites paying no heed to the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:18, which was verified by the advent of the Holy Prophet.

d (102-1) According to an interpretation accepted by all commentators, by the devils here are meant human devils, or devils in the form of people.

e (102-2) The Arabic word sihr ("enchantment") signifies 'the producing of what is false in the form of truth', and 'embellishment by falsification and deceit'.

revealed to the two angels in Babel â€" Harut and Mariit. Nor did they teach (it to) anyone, so that they should have said, We are only a trial, so do not disbelieve. But they learn from these two (sources) that by which they make a distinction between a man and his wife. And they cannot hurt with it anyone except with Allah's permission. And they learn that which harms them and does not benefit them. And certainly they know that he who buys it has no share of good in the Hereafter. 0 And surely evil is the price for which they have sold their souls; if only they knew! i° 3 And if they had believed and kept their duty, reward from Allah would certainly have been better; if only they knew!

Section 13: Previous Scriptures are abrogated

104 O you who believe, do not say Rd 'i-na and say Unzur-na, and listen. And for the disbelievers there is a painful punishment.* 105 Neither those who disbelieve from among the people of the Book, nor the idolaters, like that any good should be sent down to you from your Lord. And Allah chooses whom He pleases for His mercy; and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace. 106 Whatever message We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or one like it. c Do you not know that Allah is Powerful over

a (102-3) What the Quran says here is that the Jews, instead of following the word of God, followed certain evil crafts which they falsely attributed to Solomon and to two angels at Babel (Harut and Marat). Solomon is declared free of any such sinfulness attributed to him, and the story of the two angels is declared to be a fabrication. But the Jews are blamed for learning from these two sources, i.e., by their fabrications against Solomon and the story of the two angels, things by which they made a distinction between a man and his wife. These words refer to secret gatherings of the nature of masonic societies, for it is in freemasonry and in no other religious society of the world that women are totally excluded. The words, they cannot hurt with it anyone except with Allah's permission, show that by this craft they intended to inflict some injury on the Holy Prophet.

b (104) Ra'i-na is equivalent to listen to us, but with a slight change of accent it becomes ra'ina, which means he is foolish. The word unzur-na, which means wait for us or grant us a little delay, is suggested instead, because it cannot be distorted. Morally the injunction is worthy of the highest regard, as it disapproves of the use of words bearing a sinister meaning.

c (106) The objection of the Jews was: Why was another revelation sent

all things? 107 Do you not know that Allah's is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and that besides Allah you have not any friend or helper? 108 Rather you wish to put questions to your Messenger, as Moses was questioned before. And whoever adopts disbelief instead of faith he indeed has lost the right direction of the way. 109 Many of the people of the Book wish that they could turn you back into disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from themselves, after truth has become clear to them. But pardon and forgive, till Allah bring about His command." Surely Allah is Powerful over all things.

110 And keep up prayer and give the due charity. And whatever good you send on ahead for yourselves, you will find it with Allah. Surely Allah is Seer of what you do. m And they say: None shall enter the Garden except he who is a Jew, or the Christians.* These are their vain desires. Say: Bring your proof if you are truthful. 112 No, whoever submits himself entirely to Allah and he is the doer of good (to others), he has his reward from his Lord, and there is no fear for such nor shall they grieve. c

down to Muhammad, and why was a law containing new commandments promulgated? The answer is that if one law (i.e. the Jewish law) was abrogated, one better than it was given through the Holy Prophet. The doctrine that some of the Quranic verses were abrogated by others, though a generally accepted view, is due to a misconception of the words of this verse and is based simply on conjecture. There are no discrepancies in the Quran, and it is want of reflection on it that is responsible for the theory of abrogation.

a (109) Note that Muslims are told to pardon and forgive even such enemies.

b (111) What is said here may be expanded thus: The Jews say that none shall enter the Garden except a Jew and the Christians say that none shall enter the Garden except the Christians. Both degraded religion to a belief in a set of doctrines, and leading a life of righteousness was not considered as of the essence of religion.

c (112) Their assertions that only the Jews and the Christians will be saved are groundless. It is entire submission to God and the doing of good to His creatures that is the true source of salvation, and that is what 'Islam' means according to the Holy Quran. The name Islam is derived from aslama, meaning 'submission' or 'entering into peace'. See also 3:19 footnote.

Section 14: Perfect Guidance is only in Islam

113 And the Jews say, The Christians follow nothing (good), and the Christians say, The Jews follow nothing (good), while they recite the (same) Book. Even thus say those who have no knowledge, like what they say." So Allah will judge between them on the day of Resurrection in that in which they differ.

114 And who is more unjust than he who prevents (people) from the mosques of Allah, from His name being remembered in them, and strives to ruin them? (As for) these, it was not proper for them to enter them except in fear. For them is disgrace in this world, and theirs is a grievous punishment in the Hereafter. 115 And Allah's is the East and the West, so whichever way you turn, there is Allah's purposed Surely Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing.

116 And they say: Allah has taken to Himself a son â€" glory be to Him! Rather, whatever is in the heavens and the earth is His. All are obedient to Him. 117 Wonderful Originator of the heavens

a (113) The Jews and the Christians are here blamed for denying all good in each other like ignorant people, despite both being followers of one Book, by which is here meant the Old Testament, which both accepted. As against this, the Quran accepts that there is partial truth in all religions.

b (114) The idolatrous Quraish had turned the Muslims out of the Sacred Mosque at Makkah and the Jews and the Christians were now helping them to annihilate the small Muslim community in Madinah, which practically meant the laying waste of the Sacred Mosque itself. The word mosques is used here because the Sacred Mosque was to be the centre of all the mosques of the world. This generalization further shows that the fate of all those who prevented Muslims from worshipping Allah in mosques is predicted here, and the fate of the opponents of the Holy Prophet bears ample testimony to the truth of this prediction.

c (115) These words point clearly to the Divine promise that all obstacles in the path of the Muslims will be removed and victory will follow their footsteps.

rf(116) The phrase "glory be to Him" {subhana-hu) is always used to declare the freedom of the Divine Being from all imperfections, and is always mentioned in connection with the Christian doctrine that God has a son to show that to attribute a son to the Divine Being is to attribute an imperfection to Him, which is met with in human beings. The doctrine of sonship is mentioned here as being opposed to the religion which requires entire submission to Divine

and the earth! And when He decrees an affair, He only says to it, Be, and it is." 118 And those who have no knowledge say: Why does not Allah speak to us or a sign come to us? Even thus said those before them, like what they say. Their hearts are all alike. Indeed We have made the messages clear for a people who are sure. 119 Surely We have sent you with the Truth as a bearer of good news and as a warner, and you will not be called upon to answer for the companions of the flaming Fire.

120 And the Jews will not be pleased with you, nor the Christians, unless you follow their religion. Say: Surely Allah's guidance â€" that is the (perfect) guidance. And if you follow their desires after the knowledge that has come to you, you shall have from Allah no friend, nor helper. 121 Those to whom We have given the Book follow it as it ought to be followed. e These believe in it. And whoever disbelieves in it, these it is that are the losers.

Section 15: Covenant with Abraham

122 O Children of Israel, call to mind My favour which I bestowed on you and that I made you excel the nations. 123 And be

commandments from every person and thus dispenses with the necessity of a conciliator.

a (117) This is the oft-recurring phrase in which Allah's act of the creation and annihilation of things is spoken of in the Holy Quran. It is not meant by this that there is no gradual process in the creation of things. It is, in fact, an answer to those who think that the creation of things by God is dependent on the previous existence of matter and soul and the adaptability of their attributes. The argument given here in the word "Originator" (bad!') is that man, who stands in need of matter to make things, also stands in need of a pattern after which to make them, but God stands in need of neither.

b (118) The answer to both these demands is contained in v. 119, for as a bearer of good news the Holy Prophet told them that if they purified themselves by walking in his footsteps, Allah would speak to them, and as a warner he informed them of the coming wrath (the sign which they often demanded) if they persisted in their evil ways.

c (121) The Muslims are meant, while the Book is the Quran.

d (122) The Israelites are three times told in the Holy Quran (see earlier 2:40 and 2:47) that God had made them a great nation but that it was by their own evil

on your guard against a day when no soul will avail another in the least, neither will any compensation be accepted from it, nor will intercession benefit it, nor will they be helped.

124 And when his Lord tried Abraham with certain commands he fulfilled them. He said: Surely I will make you a leader of people. (Abraham) said: And of my offspring? My covenant does not include the wrongdoers, said He." 125 And when We made the House a resort for people and a (place of) security, and (saying): Take the Place of Abraham for a place of prayer. c And We

deeds and forsaking the ways of righteousness that they were proving themselves unworthy of that greatness. Here they are being addressed the third time and reminded of the covenant which was made with Abraham, the great patriarch in whom the Israelites and the Ishmaelites met.

a (124) Abraham was made spiritual leader of people because he was found perfect in fulfilling the Divine commandments. As a spiritual leader of three great nations of the world, that patriarch occupies a unique position. Having discussed at length that a prophet from the Ishmaelites had come in accordance with the prophecies of the Israelite prophets, the Holy Quran now proceeds to show that even the covenant with their great ancestor Abraham necessitated the appearance of a prophet in Arabia. The second part of the verse states that the spiritual leadership of the world was still with Abraham's descendants. The covenant was made, not with Israel but with Abraham, and that therefore the seed of Ishmael and Isaac were equally to be blessed. In fact, as stated further on in 2:125, the covenant was made with both Abraham and Ishmael. The Jewish and Christian contention that the covenant made with Ishmael was simply of a temporal nature is groundless.

b (125-1) Al-Bait or The House is the famous house known by this name to this day, the Ka'bah. It is also known as Bait Allah or the House of Allah, and is the same as the Bethel of the Bible. History bears out these three distinguishing characteristics of the Ka'bah. It exists from the remotest antiquity, it was visited annually by people from the most distant corners of Arabia, and its sacredness was respected by the whole of Arabia.

c (125-2) The Ka'bah, the spiritual centre of Islam, was connected with the name of Abraham, and pointed reference to this is made in the mention of Maqam Ibrahim or the Place of Abraham. It is true that a particular place, a small building supported by six pillars about eight feet high, situated in the Ka'bah, is known by this name, and is incontrovertible evidence of Abraham's connection with Arabia and its spiritual centre. But here really Maqam Ibrahim stands for the House itself. The injunction to take the Place of Abraham for a place of prayer means that the Ka'bah shall be the Central Mosque of the Muslims. It is called the Place

commanded Abraham and Ishmael," saying: Purify My House for those who visit (it) and those who abide (in it) for devotion and those who bow down (and) those who prostrate themselves. 126 And when Abraham said: My Lord, make this a secure town and provide its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day. He said: And whoever disbelieves, I shall grant him enjoyment for a short while, then I shall drive him to the punishment of the Fire. And it is an evil destination.

127 And when Abraham and Ishmael raised the foundations of the House: e Our Lord, accept from us; surely You are the Hearing, the Knowing. 128 0ur Lord, and make us both submissive to You, and (raise) from our offspring, a nation submissive to You, and show us our ways of devotion and turn to us (mercifully); surely You are the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful. 129 0ur Lord, and raise up in them a Messenger from among them who shall recite to them Your messages and teach them the Book

of Abraham because it was Abraham who purified it of the idols and it was Abraham who rebuilt The House as stated further on.

a (125-3) Ishmael's connection with Arabia is established by the Bible itself, for Kedar (son of Ishmael, Genesis 25:13) stands throughout the writings of the Old Testament for Arabia (Psalms 120:5, Isaiah 42:11 and 60:7). The Arab tradition representing Abraham as coming with Hagar and Ishmael to the place where now Makkah is, is quite independent of the Bible statement, and the facts recorded in the Quran are borne out fully by Arab tradition and the Bible.

b (126) Abraham, when settling Hagar and Ishmael near the Sacred House, which was already there, laid the foundations of the city of Makkah there. While Abraham prayed for provisions of life for the righteous only, God's acceptance of the prayer included the wicked of that city as well (see 28:57).

c (127) Abraham and Ishmael rebuilt the Ka'bah, which was already there; see 14:37.

d (128) The word translated as submissive is Muslim in the original. A Muslim is so called because he surrenders himself to the will of God or because he is secure from the slavery of the devil or because he enters into peace. Though all prophets were Muslims but only the followers of the Prophet Muhammad are known as a Muslim nation. At the time when these verses were revealed, there existed only a few Muslims in Madinah, and reference to a Muslim nation was still prophetical.

and the Wisdom, and purify them. Surely You are the Mighty, the Wise."

Section 16: The Religion of Abraham

130 And who forsakes the religion of Abraham but he who makes a fool of himself. And certainly We made him pure in this world, and in the Hereafter he is surely among the righteous. 131 When his Lord said to him, Submit, he said: I submit myself to the Lord of the worlds. 132 And the same did Abraham command his sons, and (so did) Jacob: My sons, surely Allah has chosen for you (this) religion, so do not die except as submitting ones. 133 0r were you witnesses when death visited Jacob, when he said to his sons: What will you serve after me? They said: We shall serve your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, one God only, and to Him do we submit. 134 Those are a people that have passed away; for them is what they earned and for you what you earn; and you will not be asked of what they did.

135 And they say: Be Jews or Christians, you will be on the right course. Say: Rather, (we follow) the religion of Abraham, the upright one, 6 and he was not of those who set up partners (with Allah). 136 Say: We believe in Allah and (in) what has been revealed to us, and (in) what was revealed to Abraham, and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and (in) what was given to Moses and Jesus, and (in) what was given to the prophets from their Lord, we make no distinction between any of them and

a (129) The Messenger had appeared but the great task of teaching the Book and the Wisdom to the progeny of Ishmael, the Arabs, and the still greater task of purifying them of evil, had yet to be performed, and its mention at this time was therefore prophetical. The more one ponders on the unique transformation brought about by the Holy Prophet in Arabia, and through Arabia in the world, the more one's head bows before the grandeur of this prophecy.

b (135) The word hanlf or "upright" is often mentioned in connection with the name of Abraham and the Holy Prophet, and his followers are also enjoined to be hanlf Muslims are enjoined to remain firm in the right state, and thus to be the true representatives of the Abrahamic faith in the world. It is for this reason that the word hanlf is used here in opposition to the attitude of both the Jews and the Christians.

to Him we submit." 137 So if they believe as you believe, they are indeed on the right course; and if they turn back, then they are only in opposition. But Allah will be sufficient for you against them; and He is the Hearing, the Knowing. 138 (We take) Allah's colour, and who is better than Allah at colouring, and we are His worshippers. 139 Say: Do you dispute with us about Allah, and He is our Lord and your Lord, and for us are our deeds and for you your deeds; 0 and we are sincere to Him? 140 Or do you say that Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Do you know better or Allah? And who is more unjust than he who conceals a testimony that he has from Allah? And Allah is not heedless of what you do. 141 Those are a people that have passed away; and for them is what they earned

a (136) This shows the cosmopolitan nature of a Muslim's belief. Not only is belief in the great prophets of Israel an article of faith with a Muslim, but the words what was given to the prophets from their Lord make the Muslim conception of belief in prophets as wide as the world. And it should be noted that this broad conception was promulgated at a time when the Jews and the Christians were exerting themselves to the utmost against the new faith.

b (138) The religion of Islam is called Allah's colour because God is uppermost in a Muslim's ideas, and because his views are as broad as humanity. This particular word has also been adopted here as a hint to Christians that baptism of water does not effect any change in a person. It is the baptism of the broad principle of faith, accepting the prophets of all nations, that brings about change in the mentality of man. It is through this baptism that the new birth is received, because it opens the mind for the reception of all truth, and inspires it with love and reverence for all good people.

c (139) A Muslim's conception of Allah is very broad. It includes all that is best in all other religions, but is free from the limitations they put. Therefore no one who is true to his religion can dispute the Muslim conception of the Divine Being. Moreover, every religion of the world limits the spiritual sustenance of God to one nation or one country. Not so Islam, which says that the truth was revealed to every nation. Every nation thus accepts partial truth, only that part of the truth which was revealed to it, but Islam accepts the whole truth.

d (140) The Jewish claim was that only acceptance of the Jewish law could save man, and the Christians claimed that none could be saved unless he accepted the atonement of Jesus. They are told that their ancestors who were prophets were the followers of neither the one nor the other. Islam was, in fact, a reversion to the simple faith of sincerity, the faith of Abraham and his immediate followers and descendants.

*0

2 : 142 • THE KA'BAH AS THE SPIRITUAL CENTRE 31

and for you what you earn; and you will not be asked concerning what they did.

Section 17: The Ka'bah as the Spiritual Centre

142 The fools among the people will say: What has turned them from their qiblah which they had? Say: The East and the West belong only to Allah; He guides whom He pleases to the right path." 143 And thus We have made you an exalted nation that you may be the bearers of witness to the people and (that) the Messenger may be a bearer of witness to you. e And We did not make that which you would have to be the qiblah but that We

a (142) Qiblah means the direction or point towards which one turns his face. In its religious usage it means the direction towards which a person turns his face when saying his prayers, and the qiblah is thus the Spiritual Centre of a people. The change here referred to is the change which took place at Madinah about sixteen months after the Prophet's flight to that city. While the Holy Prophet was at Makkah among the idolaters, he used to pray with his face to the Holy Temple at Jerusalem, but when he came to Madinah, where the Jewish element was strong and powerful, he was directed by Divine Revelation to turn his face to the Ka'bah as his qiblah. If Abraham's seed was to be blessed in Ishmael's progeny, it was necessary that the new Spiritual Centre should be the house purified by Abraham and Ishmael, the First House appointed for mankind, the temple at Jerusalem being only the spiritual centre of the Israelites.

b (143-1) The word wasat ("exalted") signifies the middle part of anything; and therefore, as being removed from either extreme, it signifies the best part of a thing. The commentators explain wasat as meaning equitable and exalted. By making the Ka'bah their qiblah, Allah had made it known that they were the people, the Muslim nation, for whom Abraham had prayed (v. 128), and therefore they were the inheritors of all those Divine blessings which had been promised to the seed of Abraham.

c (143-2) The bearers of witness are the persons who carry knowledge to others, bearing testimony to its truth in their own persons. Some commentators explain the word shahid ("bearer of witness") as meaning a purifier. But it also means an Imam or a leader, and the significance is that just as the Prophet delivered the message of truth to the Muslims and was their purifier and leader, the role of the Muslim community was to deliver the message of truth to the whole of humanity and to be its purifiers and leaders.

d (143-3) The words "that which you would have to be the qiblah" mean on which you had firmly set your heart that it should be your qiblah. It thus appears that the Prophet longed that the Ka'bah should be his qiblah, yet he did not take

might distinguish him who follows the Messenger from him who turns back upon his heels. And it was indeed a hard test except for those whom Allah has guided. Nor was Allah going to make your faith to be fruitless. Surely Allah is Compassionate, Merciful, to the people. 144 Indeed We see the turning of jour face to heaven, so We shall surely make you master of the qiblah which you like; a turn then jour face towards the Sacred Mosque. And wherever you are, turn your faces towards it. And those who have been given the Book certainly know that it is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not heedless of what they do.

145 And even if you should bring to those who have been given the Book every sign they would not follow jour qiblah, nor can jou be a follower of their qiblah, neither are they the followers of each other's qiblah. c And ifjou should follow their desires after the knowledge that has come to jou, then jou would indeed be from among the wrongdoers. 146 Those whom We have given the Book recognize him as they recognize their sons, but some of

any step until he had received the Divine Revelation. If his revelations had been the outcome of his own desires he would not have waited for sixteen months for a revelation from on high to change the qiblah.

a (144-1) The Holy Prophet is here told that the Ka'bah will not remain an idol temple, as he will soon be master of it, and idolatry will forever be swept off from the new Spiritual Centre of the world.

b (144-2) The truth of the Prophet was manifest so far as the Jews and the Christians were concerned. There was a clear prophecy for the appearance of a Prophet who was to be the like of Moses; see Deut. 18:15-18. They also knew that God had promised to bless Ishmael, but that no prophet had up to this time appeared from among the Ishmaelites. They also knew that Ishmael was left in Arabia, and they identified his son, Kedar, with the Arabs. Isaiah 21:13 speaks in clear words of a prophecy about "Arabia" and of the Prophet's Flight. The Bait Allah (Ka'bah) was the only Beit-el that the world knew.

c (145) Every sign of the Prophet's truth had been given to them already but their hearts were so hardened that they did not pay any attention to the clearest signs. But they were not agreed even among themselves. Although the Jews and Christians both looked to the temple at Jerusalem as their central temple, they were not agreed upon it as their qiblah or Spiritual Centre.

d (146) All the prophets of Abraham's seed had hitherto appeared among the Children of Israel, and hence as they know their sons is equivalent to as they

them surely conceal the truth while they know. 147 The truth is from your Lord, so do not be from among the doubters."

Section 18: The Ka'bah as the Spiritual Centre

148 And everyone has a goal to which he turns (himself), so vie with one another in good works.* Wherever you are, Allah will bring you all together. Surely Allah is Powerful over all things. 149 And from whatsoever place you come forth, turn your face towards the Sacred Mosque. e And surely it is the truth from your

know the Israelite prophets, the significance being that the Israelites or the Jews recognized the Prophet who appeared among the Children of Ishmael, as they recognized the prophets who appeared among the Children of Israel.

a (147) It is the reader who is addressed here.

b (148) In making the Ka'bah the Spiritual Centre the Muslims are told that their goal, as a nation, is to lead the world on to the greatest good. Their race is not a race for material benefits, riches or power, but a race for the attainment of good and for the spread of good. Hence they must vie with one another in doing good. In the words that follow â€" wherever you are, Allah will bring you all together â€" they are told that they will be spread far and wide in the world, yet their goal must be one. The outward unity of the qiblah stands for their unity of purpose, and it forms the basis on which rests the brotherhood of Islam; hence the saying of the Prophet: "Do not call those who follow your qiblah unbelievers".

c (149) The Ka'bah has never been supposed by any Muslim to possess any Divine attribute. The Muslims honour the Ka'bah because it is their Spiritual Centre; they do not worship it. It should also be borne in mind that the famous Black Stone was not one of the Arab idols, nor can the kissing of it in performing the pilgrimage be looked upon as a remnant of idolatry. That Stone stands only as a monument: "The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone" (Psalms, 118:22). Ishmael was looked upon as rejected, and the covenant was considered to have been made with the children of Isaac, yet it was that rejected stone, for which the Black Stone at the Ka'bah stands as a monument, that was to become "the chief cornerstone". Jesus Christ made this clear in the parable of the husbandmen, when he plainly told the Israelites that the vineyard (i.e., the kingdom of God) would be taken away from them and given to "other husbandmen", i.e. to a non-Israelite people, giving indication of that people in the words: "Have you never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone?" (Matthew, 21:42). And he added: "The kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it" (Matthew, 21:43), thus showing that he was referring to a rejected nation which was to become the corner-stone of the Divine kingdom.

Lord. And Allah is not heedless of what you do. 150 And from whatsoever place you come forth, turn your face towards the Sacred Mosque. And wherever you are, turn your faces towards it, so that people may have no plea against you except such of them as are unjust â€" so do not fear them and fear Me â€" and that I may complete My favour to you and that you may go aright." 151 Even as We have sent among you a Messenger from among you, who recites to you Our messages and purifies you and teaches you the Book and the Wisdom and teaches you what you did not know. 152 Therefore glorify Me, I will make you eminent, 0 and give thanks to Me and do not be ungrateful to Me.

Section 19: Hard Trials necessary to establish Truth

153 O you who believe, seek assistance through patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient. 154 And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Rather, (they are) alive, but you do not perceive. 155 And We shall certainly try you

a (150) By completing of favour is meant the bestowing of spiritual favours on the Muslims. In the next verse they are told that they have been raised to carry the Divine message to other people and to purify them and teach them the Book and the Wisdom. If that message was not conveyed to other people they had a plea against the Muslims that they had not conveyed the Truth to them. The turning of the face to the Sacred Mosque is thus equivalent to proclaiming the Truth which had its origin in the Ka'bah to the whole world. The Ka'bah was the house rebuilt by Abraham and Ishmael, and with prophethood now being transferred to the descendants of Ishmael, the Spiritual Centre had necessarily to be changed. The Ka'bah was moreover the first Spiritual Centre of the world (3:96), and it was in the fitness of things that it should be the last Spiritual Centre of the whole world.

b (151) The reference is to Abraham's prayer in v. 129. The functions of the Promised Prophet there are exactly the same as here.

c (152) These words may be translated either as remember Me I will remember you or as glorify Me I will make you eminent, for the word dhikr carries either significance, remembrance or honouring. Adopting either significance, what is stated here is that if the Muslims keep God in the forefront of their programme, they will be made great as a nation.

d (154) The sacrifice of life which must be undertaken in the cause of Truth is hinted at in this passage. The words rendered literally as in Allah's way or in

with something of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits. And give good news to the patient," 156 who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah's, and to Him we shall return. 157 Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord; and those are the followers of the right course.

158 The Safa and the Marwah are truly among the signs of Allah; c so whoever makes a pilgrimage to the House or pays a visit (to it), there is no blame on him if he goes round them. And whoever does good spontaneously â€" surely Allah is Bountiful in rewarding, Knowing. 159 Those who conceal the clear proofs and the guidance that We revealed after We have made it clear in the Book for people, these it is whom Allah curses, and those who

the cause of Allah, frequently occurring in the Holy Quran, signify the cause of Truth. A Christian translator's comment that the words in the way of Allah mean "war undertaken against unbelievers for the propagation of Islam" is baseless. Carrying the message of Islam to non-Muslims is indeed the duty of a Muslim, and anyone engaged in this work is undoubtedly working in the way of Allah, but that a Muslim was required to carry the message of God at the point of the sword is no more than a myth.

a (155) The Muslims had already made great sacrifices in the cause of Allah. They had left their homes, their near and dear ones and everything they had, behind them at Makkah, and had come to Madinah empty-handed, but they were now told that they would have to make more sacrifices yet. They would have to face fear and hunger and all kinds of losses, even death itself. If they bore all these sufferings with steadfastness, they would have a great future, of which the good news is given to them beforehand. Those who have sacrificed their lives in the cause of Truth gain the life eternal, while the dead are really those who are dead in ignorance.

b (156) This is the true expression of a Muslim's resignation under trials: We are Allah's and to Him we shall return. He resigns himself to the will of God so thoroughly that no trial or misfortune can disturb the course of his life, which has a much higher goal before it than mere comfort.

c (158) The Safa and the Marwah are two mountains near Makkah. They were the scene of Hagar's running to and fro in quest of water when left alone with Ishmael in the wilderness. These two mountains now serve as two monuments of the reward which patience brought, and it is as a memorial to Hagar's patience that they are now gone round by the pilgrims.

curse, curse them (too)." 160 Except those who repent and amend and make manifest (the truth), these it is to whom I turn (mercifully); and I am the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful. 161 Those who disbelieve and die while they are disbelievers, these it is on whom is the curse of Allah and the angels and people, of all (of them):' 162 abiding in it; their punishment shall not be lightened nor shall they be given respite. 163 And your God is one God; there is no God but He! He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. c

Section 20: Unity must prevail

164 In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, and the ships that run in the sea with that which benefits mankind, and the water that Allah sends down from the sky, then gives life with it to the earth after its death and spreads in it all (kinds of) animals, and the changing of the winds and the clouds made subservient between heaven and earth, there are surely signs for a people who understand. 165 Yet there are some people who take for themselves objects of worship besides

a (159) As against those who willingly endure all kinds of sufferings in the cause of truth, the Quran now speaks of people who hide the truth, i.e., they neither act according to it, nor do they carry the message to others. These words convey a warning to the Muslims.

6(161) This verse continues the subject-matter of v. 159, the disbelievers spoken of here being those who hide the truth. The curse of God stands for their estrangement from God, the curse of the angels signifies their loss of all incentive to good and noble deeds, and the curse of people signifies their subjugation to other people.

c (163) The mention of Divine Unity is to show that it was for this object that the trials and privations spoken of in this section were to be undergone. The ultimate triumph of Divine Unity is spoken of in the next section.

d (164) The unity of God is declared by the whole of nature, and being such a clear doctrine, must no doubt at last prevail over idolatry and polytheism of every kind. Not only did Arabia witness the truth of this at the time of the Holy Prophet, but even today we see that, as man is freed from the trammels of prejudice, he realizes the truth of Divine Unity more and more. The uniformity that is clearly observed in the diversity of nature is constantly appealed to in the Quran as a sign of the Unity of the Maker.

Allah," whom they love as they should love Allah. And those who believe are stronger in (their) love for Allah. And if only the wrongdoers had seen, when they see the punishment, that power is wholly Allah's, and that Allah is Severe in punishing! 166 When those who were followed renounce those who followed (them), and they see the punishment and their ties are cut apart. i fi7 And those who followed will say: If only we could return, we would renounce them as they have renounced us. Thus will Allah show them their deeds to be intense regret to them, and they will not escape from the Fire. c

Section 21: Prohibited Foods

168 O people, eat the lawful and good things from what is in the earth, and do not follow the footsteps of the devil. Surely he is an open enemy to you. 169 He commands you only (to commit) evil and indecency, and that you speak against Allah what you do not know.

a (165-1) The objects of worship here referred to may include idols, but the reference is apparently to the leaders who lead their followers into evil. This is made plain by the verses that follow, where "those who were followed", i.e. the leaders, renounce those who followed them.

b (165-2) While Allah's love for His creatures is the ever-recurring theme expressed in the Quran, the believer's love for Allah, or absolute submission to the Divine Being, is here declared to be stronger than all other ties of love and friendship, including that which unites a man to his idols or other false deities.

c (167) The mutual renouncement of the leaders and their followers takes place sometimes in this very life. It should also be noted that it is the intense regret for the evil deeds done, here described as being the Fire, from which there is no escape.

rf(168) The fundamental principle of faith, Divine Unity, having been discussed, certain secondary rules and regulations are now considered, and among these the subject of prohibited foods is introduced first with a twofold object. Firstly, only lawful and good things should be eaten. Lawful things are not only those which the law has not declared to be forbidden, but even unforbidden things become unlawful if they are acquired unlawfully, by theft, cheating, etc. Secondly, by adding the injunction do not follow the footsteps of the devil, the Quran recognizes some sort of relation between the physical and the spiritual conditions of man.

170 And when it is said to them, Follow what Allah has revealed, they say: But we follow that (path) upon which we found our fathers. What! Even though their fathers had no sense at all, nor did they follow the right way. 171 And the parable of those who disbelieve is as the parable of one who calls out to that which hears no more than a call and a cry. Deaf, dumb, blind, so they have no sense." 172 0 you who believe, eat of the good things that We have provided you with, and give thanks to Allah if He it is Whom you serve. 173 He has forbidden you only what dies of itself, and blood, and the flesh of swine, e and that on which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked. Then whoever is driven by necessity, not desiring, nor exceeding the limit, no sin is upon him. Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

174 Those who conceal anything of the Book that Allah has revealed and take for it a small price, they eat nothing but fire into their bellies/ and Allah will not speak to them on the day of

a (171) The Prophet is likened to the crier who calls out, but the disbelievers are deaf to reason, and are like cattle which only hear the cry of the driver, but do not understand the meaning of what he says. This is in accordance with what is said in the previous verse.

b (172) The injunction to eat of the good things is directed against the use of things which are injurious to health, though they may not be forbidden by law.

c (173-1) The Jews held the swine in great detestation, and the mention of the animal in the Gospels shows that Jesus Christ held it in equal abhorrence, which proves that he too regarded the animal as impure. Neither does he appear to have broken the Jewish law in this respect.

d (173-2) The words that over which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked are said by commentators to refer to animals slaughtered by the worshippers of idols, which they used to slaughter as offerings to their idols or to those over which the name of an idol is invoked at the time of its slaughter. But the statement made in the Quran is general, and the invocation of any name other than that of Allah makes the animal slaughtered unlawful.

e (174) The prohibition to eat certain impure or injurious foods is followed by a warning against the eating of fire. Caution is always given lest too much stress should be laid upon the outward ceremonial of the law. Even more dangerous than the prohibited foods is the eating of fire, which means the concealing of what is revealed in the Book. The concealment in this case means not acting upon the teaching of the Book. The Muslims are warned of the danger of being strict in external acts of purity while neglecting internal purity.

Resurrection, nor will He purify them; and for them is a painful punishment. 175 Those are they who buy error for guidance and punishment for forgiveness; how bold they are to challenge the Fire! 176 That is because Allah has revealed the Book with truth. And surely those who disagree about the Book go far in opposition."

Section 22: Retaliation and Bequests

177 It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but righteous is the one who believes in Allah, and the Last Day, and the angels e and the Book and the

a (176) By those who disagree about the Book are meant people who accept one part of the Divine Revelation and reject the other, as the Jews and the Christians did, the Book in this case standing for the whole of the Divine Revelation which is accepted by the Muslims only. Or, the Book stands for the Quran, and their disagreement means their rejection of it.

b (177-1) A warning is given to the Muslims that they should not fall into the error into which the previous people fell, who sacrificed the spirit of religion for the outward ceremonial. The essence of religion is faith in God and benevolence towards people. The turning of the face to the East and the West refers to the outward act of facing a certain direction when saying prayers. This, though necessary, should not be taken as the real object of prayer, which is in fact meant to enable one to hold communion with the Divine Being and to imbue oneself with Divine morals as explained further on.

c (177-2) A belief in angels is one of the basic principles of Islam. This belief is accepted generally in all monotheistic religions. As in the case of all other principles of faith, Islam has pointed out a certain significance underlying the belief in angels. There are two attractions placed in humans â€" the attraction to good or to rise up to higher spheres of virtue, and the attraction to evil or to stoop down to a kind of low, bestial life. If we respond to the attraction for good we are following the angel or the Holy Spirit, and if we respond to the attraction for evil we are following the devil. Our belief in angels carries, therefore, the significance that whenever we feel a tendency to do good we should at once obey that call. It does not simply mean that we should admit that there are angels. This is clear from the fact that not only are we not required to believe in devils, whose existence is as certain as that of the angels, but we are plainly told that we should disbelieve in the devils (2:256). As a disbelief in the devil means that we should repel the attraction for evil, so a belief in angels means that we should follow the inviter to good.

prophets, 0 and gives away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the traveller and to those who ask and to set slaves free c and keeps up prayer and gives the due charity; and the performers of their promise when they make a promise, and the patient in distress and affliction and in the time of conflict. These are they who are truthful; and these are they who keep their duty.

178 O you who believe, retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the slain: the free for the free, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. 2 But if remission is made to one by his (aggrieved) brother, prosecution (for blood-money) should be according to usage, and payment to him in a good manner/ This is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. Whoever exceeds the limit after this, will have a painful punishment. 179 And there is life for you in retaliation, you people of understanding, that you may guard yourselves.

a (177-3) The Book stands for Divine Revelation in general or the scriptures of all the prophets.

b (177-4) The love of Allah is here, as in many other places in the Quran, stated to be the true incentive to all deeds of righteousness.

c (177-5) The basis was thus laid down for the abolition of slavery.

d (177-6) The performance of promise on the part of individuals as well as of nations is one of the first essentials of the welfare of humanity, and hence the stress laid upon it by the Quran. Faithlessness to treaties and pledges on the part of nations has wrought the greatest havoc on humanity. Just as no society can prosper until its individual members are true to their mutual agreements and promises to each other, so humanity at large can never have peace unless the nations are true to their agreements.

e (178-1) The Jewish law of retaliation is greatly modified in Islam, being limited only to cases of murder, while among the Jews it extended to all cases of grievous hurt. The words retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the slain mean that the murderer should be put to death. The pre-Islamic Arabs used in certain cases to insist, when the person killed was of noble descent, upon the execution of others besides the murderer. The Quran abolished this custom.

/(178-2) There may be circumstances which alleviate the guilt. In such cases the murderer may be made to pay a fine to the relatives of the murdered person. Such money is called diyat or blood-money. A comparison with 4:92 makes it clear that when homicide is not intentional, blood-money may be paid.

180 It is prescribed for you, when death approaches one of you, if he leaves behind wealth for parents and near relatives, to make a bequest in a kindly manner; it is incumbent upon the dutiful." 181 Then whoever changes it after he has heard it, the sin of it is only upon those who change it. Surely Allah is Hearing, Knowing. 182 But if one fears a wrong or a sinful course on the part of the testator, and effects an agreement between the parties, there is no blame on him. Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Section 23: Fasting

183 O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard against evil. 184 For a certain number of days. But whoever among you is sick or on a journey, (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days. And those who find it extremely hard may effect redemption by feeding a poor one. c So whoever does good spontaneously, it is better for him; and that you fast is better for you if you know.

a (180) Some commentators hold the opinion that the direction here, to make a bequest, is abrogated by 4:11 which fixes the shares of the heirs of the deceased person. However, that verse clearly recognizes the validity of any bequest that may have been made. In practice, however, traced to the Prophet himself, the right to make a will has been subject to the condition that not more than a third of the property shall be bequeathed, and that those who take as heirs shall not be entitled to take under the bequest. Hence, this verse really speaks of bequests made for charitable purposes and not of bequests to heirs.

b (183) Fasting is a religious institution almost as universal as prayer, and in Islam it is one of the five fundamental practical ordinances. "Fasting has in all ages and among all nations been an exercise much in use in times of mourning, sorrow and affliction" (Cruden's Bible Concordance). But Islam has introduced quite a new meaning into the institution of fasting. It becomes an institution for the improvement of the moral and spiritual condition of man. This is plainly stated in the concluding words: so that you may guard against evil. The object is that man may learn how he can shun evil, and hence fasting in Islam does not mean simply abstaining from food, but from every kind of evil. Abstention from food is only a step to make a person realize that if he can, in obedience to Divine injunctions, abstain from that which is otherwise lawful, how much more necessary is it to abstain from the evil ways which are forbidden by God.

c (184) The first two classes exempted are: (a) those who are sick and (b) those journeying. Both are required to fast afterwards when sickness or

185 The month of Ramadan" is that in which the Quran was revealed,* a guidance to people and clear proofs of the guidance and the Criterion.^ So whoever of you is present in the month, he shall fast in it, and whoever is sick or on a journey, (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days. Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire hardship for you, and (He desires) that you should complete the number and that you should exalt the greatness of Allah for having guided you and that you may give thanks.

186 And when My servants ask you concerning Me, surely I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls on Me, so they should hear My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way.

journey ends. What is sickness or journey every person can determine for himself. Someone who needs a medicine or is unable to bear the hardship of hunger or thirst should not fast. In journeying again, whether one can easily fast or not is the determining factor. The third exception is in the case of those who find it extremely difficult to bear the hardship of fasting. Such people may effect a redemption by giving food daily to a poor person. This exception covers the case of pregnant women, women who are breast feeding infants, old people who cannot bear fasting; also such sick people whose sickness is prolonged and such people whose journey extends over the whole year.

a (185-1) The revelation of the Quran commenced in the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Arabian year; hence, the month of Ramadan is particularly spoken of as being the month in which the Quran was revealed.

b (185-2) Elsewhere we are told that it was revealed on the Lailat al-Qadr or the Night of Majesty (97:1), a well-known night in the month of Ramadan, being the 25th or 27th or 29th night of that month. By the revelation of the Quran in the month of Ramadan is therefore meant the commencement of its revelation. The month of Ramadan is thus a memorial of the revelation of the Quran.

c (185-3) Firstly, the Quran is a "guidance" for all people, and therefore it contains teachings suitable and sufficient for all people in all countries and ages. Secondly, it contains "clear proofs" to demonstrate the truth of what it asserts. Thirdly, it contains arguments which afford a "criterion" (Arabic \furqan), separating truth from falsehood.

d (186) This verse speaks of the nearness of God to man and of the acceptance of his prayers to show that fasting is a spiritual exercise and it brings about spiritual awakening in man. Fasting undoubtedly awakens a living consciousness of the existence of God in the mind. This is the idea underlying the words: "When My servants ask you concerning Me". A real and earnest search for God is raised

187 It is made lawful for you to have intercourse with your wives on the night of the fast. They are an apparel for you and you are an apparel for them. a Allah knows that you acted unjustly to yourselves, so He turned to you in mercy and removed (the burden) from you. So now be in contact with them and seek what Allah has ordained for you, and eat and drink until the whiteness of the day becomes distinct from the blackness of the night at dawn, then complete the fast till nightfall/ and do not touch them while you keep to the mosques. These are the limits of Allah, so do not go near them. Thus does Allah make clear His messages for people that they may keep their duty. 188 And do not swallow up your property among yourselves by false means, nor seek to gain access thereby to the judges, so that you may swallow up a part of the property of (other) people wrongfully while you know. 6

in the mind through fasting. "I am near" is the reply to that inner search. And then follow the words: "I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls on Me". God is near, but that consciousness only raises the further desire to get nearer and nearer to Him. For that man calls on God; he prays to Him to draw him closer and closer to Himself. And he is told that God accepts this prayer.

a (187-1) First, the sex instinct is classed with hunger and thirst. It is a natural desire and one could not live without satisfying it. And then in these words â€" your wives are an apparel for you and you are an apparel for them â€" we are told that while satisfying a natural desire, the relation of husband and wife has higher ends in view. They serve as a garment for each other, i.e., they are a means of protection, comfort and even embellishment for each other, and the weakness of one is made up by the strength of the other.

b (187-2) Muslims at first thought that it was illegal to have intercourse with their wives even at night, on the days during which they kept fasts. These words made it clear that this was permitted during the nights of fasting as the satisfaction of hunger and thirst was permitted.

c (187-3) In countries where the days are sometimes very long, the time of fasting may be measured in accordance with the length of an ordinary day, or where practicable postpone the fasts to shorter days of about normal length.

d (187-4) Those people are meant who cut themselves off from all worldly connections during the last ten days of Ramadan, passing day and night in the mosques. This practice, known as I'tikaf is voluntary and not obligatory.

e (188) The command to abstain from illegally taking other people's property is a fitting sequel to the injunction relating to fasting, for by fasting a person abstains from using what he has a legal right to, simply in obedience to Divine

Section 24: Fighting in Defence

189 They ask you about the new moons. Say: They are times appointed for people, and (for) the pilgrimage. a And it is not righteousness that you enter houses by their backs, but he is righteous who keeps his duty. And go into houses by their doors; 6 and keep your duty to Allah, that you may be successful.

190 And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you but do not be aggressive. Surely Allah does not love the aggressors. c 191 And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from where they drove you out, and persecution is worse than slaughter/ And do not fight with them at the Sacred

commandments. Fasting, in fact, enables one to control his passions, and the more the passions are mastered, the less the greed for illegal acquisition.

a (189-1) The reference in "new moons" is in particular to the four months of the year which the Arabs observed as sacred (the 11th, 12th, 1st and 7th). All hostilities ceased and peace was established throughout the land; thus trade was carried on without molestation. The pilgrimage to Makkah was also performed during these months.

b (189-2) Entering by the back indicates turning aside from the right course, while entering by the doors signifies sticking to the right course. This also refers to a superstitious custom of pre-Islamic Arabs, whereby when one of them failed to attain his objective he would not enter his house by the door but by the back.

c (190) This is one of the earliest revelations permitting Muslims to fight. It is remarkable that fighting in the way of Allah is here expressly limited to fighting in defence. Muslims were required to fight in the way of Allah, but they could fight only against those who waged war on them. Exactly the same limitation is placed on what was in all probability the first revelation permitting fighting: "Permission (to fight) is given to those on whom war is made because they are oppressed" (22:39). Muslims were allowed to take up the sword only as a measure of self-defence. The enemies of Islam, being unable to suppress Islam by persecution, and seeing that Islam was now safe at Madinah and gaining strength, took up the sword to annihilate it. No course was left for the Muslims but either to be swept off the face of the earth or take up the sword in defence against an enemy which was immensely stronger.

d (191-1) The words kill them refer to those with whom fighting is enjoined in the previous verse, who waged war upon the Muslims.

e (191-2) The word translated as "persecution" is fitna. Ibn Umar explained the w'ord fitna when he said: "And there were very few Muslims [in the beginning], so a man used to be persecuted on account of his religion: they either

Mosque until they fight with you in it; so if they fight you (in it), kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers. 192 But if they cease, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." 193 And fight them until there is no persecution, and religion is only for Allah. But if they cease, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors. 194 The sacred month for the sacred month, and retaliation (is allowed) in sacred things. c Whoever then acts aggressively against you, inflict injury on him according to the injury he has inflicted on you and keep your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty. 195 And spend in the way of Allah and do not cast yourselves to destruction with your own hands and do good (to others). Surely Allah loves the doers of good.

196 And accomplish the pilgrimage and the visit for Allah. But if you are prevented, (send) whatever offering is easy to obtain; and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its destination. Then whoever among you is sick or has an ailment of the head, (he may effect) a compensation by fasting or (giving in) charity or sacrificing. And when you are secure, whoever profits by combining the visit with the pilgrimage (should take) whatever offering is easy to obtain. But he who cannot find (an offering) should fast for three days during the pilgrimage and for seven days

murdered him or subjected him to tortures until Islam became predominant, then there was aofitna " (Bukhari, 65.2:30).

a (192) Note the clemency of the Islamic fighting injunctions. Muslims were to sheathe their swords if the enemy desisted from fighting.

b (193) When persecution ceases, and people are not forced to accept or renounce a religion, then there should be no more fighting. If they cease persecution, Muslims are at once to stop fighting against them, and hostilities are not to be continued against any except the aggressors.

c (194) This is similar to what is said in v. 191 regarding the Sacred Mosque. The pre-Islamic Arabs observed four months in the year as sacred, in which hostilities ceased and peace was established throughout the land. If the opponents violated the sacred months by attacking the Muslims first in those months, the Muslims were permitted to fight against them in the sacred months. And generally retaliation within the limits of the original act of aggression is permitted in the case of all sacred objects.

when you return. These are ten (days) complete. This is for him whose family is not present in the Sacred Mosque. And keep your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is Severe in retribution."

Section 25: The Pilgrimage

197 The months of the pilgrimage are well known; so whoever determines to perform pilgrimage in them, there shall be no immodest speech, nor abusing, nor altercation in the pilgrimage. And whatever good you do, Allah knows it. And make provision for yourselves, the best provision being to keep one's duty. And keep your duty to Me, you people of understanding. 198 It is no sin for you that you seek the bounty of your Lord. e So when you press on from Arafat, remember Allah near the Holy

a (196) The two subjects of war and pilgrimage are linked because Muslims were free at Madinah to perform all the religious ordinances required by Islam, but they were not free to perform the pilgrimage, their Spiritual Centre, Makkah, being in the possession of their enemies who were at war with them. The "visit" or 'umrah may be performed at any time, whilst the "pilgrimage" or hajj can only be performed at a particular time of the year. The pilgrimage represents the last stage in the progress of the spiritual pilgrim. The first requirement of the pilgrimage, ihram, represents the severance of all worldly connections for the love of God. All costly dresses in which the inner self is so often mistaken for the outward appearance, are cast off, and the pilgrim has only two seamless wrappers to cover himself. The other important requirement is making circuits round the Ka'bah, called tawaf, and running between the Safa and the Marwah, called sa 'y, and both these are external manifestations of that fire of Divine love which has been kindled within the heart, so that like the true lover, the pilgrim makes circuits round the house of his beloved One.

b (197) The pilgrimage represents the final stage of spiritual progress, and hence the pilgrim is told not to speak words which should be a source of annoyance to anybody. Perfect love of God requires perfect peace with fellow beings; hence no offence should be caused to anyone. The doing of good to others is recommended instead in the words whatever good you do, Allah knows it.

c (198-1) Seeking the bounty of the Lord here stands for trading. What is meant is that there is no harm in seeking an increase of wealth by trading in Makkah in the pilgrimage season.

d (198-2) 'Arafat is the place where the pilgrims assemble on the 9th of the month of Dhii-l-Hiijah, towards the close of the pilgrimage. Here the vast gathering from all countries and nations clad in one dress, with one utterance, labbaika

Monument," and remember Him as He has guided you, though before that you were certainly in error. 199 Then hasten on from where the people hasten on, and ask the forgiveness of Allah. Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

200 And when you have performed your devotions, extol Allah as you extolled your fathers, rather a stronger extolling/ But there are some people who say: Our Lord, give us (good) in the world. And for such there is no portion in the Hereafter. 201 And there are some among them who say: Our Lord, grant us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the Fire. d 202 For those there is a portion on account of what they have earned. And Allah is Swift in reckoning. 203 And remember Allah during the appointed days. Then whoever hastens off in two days, it is no sin for him; and whoever stays behind, it is no sin for him, for one who keeps his duty. 6 And keep your duty to Allah, and know that you will be gathered together to Him.

Allah-umma labbaika (here I am, O Allah, in Your Presence), declares the glory of God. The word 'Arafat is derived from 'arafa, meaning he knew, or acquainted himself with, a thing, and there is undoubtedly a reference in this name to the fact that here people feel truly the august Divine presence.

a (198-3) This is the place known as Muzdalafah, or the ground bordering on it, where the pilgrims stop for the night after their return from Arafat on the evening of the 9th Dhu-l-Hijiah.

b (199) The Quraish and the Kananah used to stay at Muzdalafah, thinking it beneath their dignity to join other pilgrims in going to the plain of Arafat. As all distinctions were levelled by Islam, they were told to consider themselves on a par with others

c (200) In pre-Islamic times people used to boast among themselves of the greatness of their fathers after they had performed the pilgrimage. The Quran forbade people to boast of the greatness of their fathers, and told them to celebrate the praise of Allah instead.

d (201) This is the true Muslim's prayer. As he is taught to pray for both the good of this life and that of the next, so he should exert himself to attain good in this life as well as in the Hereafter.

e (203) The appointed days are the three days following the day of Sacrifice, and are called the days of Tashrlq. Ordinarily pilgrims leave on the afternoon of the last day of Tashrlq days, but they are allowed to leave on the evening of the second day.

204 And among people is he whose speech about the life of this world pleases you, and he calls Allah to witness as to what is in his heart, yet he is the most violent of adversaries. 205 And when he holds authority, he makes effort in the land to cause mischief in it and destroy crops and offspring; and Allah does not love mischief. 206 And when it is said to him, Be careful of your duty to Allah, pride carries him off to sin â€" so hell is sufficient for him. And certainly evil is the resting-place. a 207 And among people is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah. And Allah is Compassionate to the servants.

208 O you who believe, enter into complete peace and do not follow the footsteps of the devil. Surely he is your open enemy. 209 But if you slip after clear arguments have come to you, then know that Allah is Mighty, Wise. 210 They only wait that Allah should come to them in the shadows of the clouds with angels, and the matter has (already) been decided. And to Allah are (all) matters returned.

Section 26: Trials and Tribulations

211 Ask the Children of Israel how many a clear sign We gave them! And whoever changes the favour of Allah after it has come to him, then surely Allah is Severe in retribution. 0 212 The life of this world is made to seem attractive to those who disbelieve, and they mock those who believe. And those who keep their duty will be above them on the day of Resurrection. And Allah gives to whom He pleases without measure.

a (206) Mihad ("resting-place") means a cradle, and also what a man has prepared for himself. Hell is a thing which a man prepares for himself; and for a new spiritual growth in the Hereafter in the case of those who retarded that growth in this world, it serves the same purpose as the cradle for a child. Elsewhere hell is called an umm or mother (101:9).

b (210) The coming of Allah stands for the coming of the threatened punishment for those who wanted to annihilate Islam. The matter has already been decided, because it was repeatedly made clear in the earliest revelations that all opposition to Islam would perish.

c (211) The favour of Allah is the Quran and its change implies its rejection.

213 Mankind is a single nation. " So Allah raised prophets as bearers of good news and as warners, and He revealed with them the Book with truth, that it might judge between people in that in which they differed. And none but the very people who were given it differed about it after clear arguments had come to them, envying one another/ So Allah has guided by His will those who believe to the truth about which they differed. And Allah guides whom He pleases to the right path. 214 0r do you think that you will enter the Garden, while there has not yet come upon you the like of what befell those who have passed away before you. Distress and affliction befell them and they were shaken violently, so that the Messenger and those who believed with him said: When will the help of Allah come? Now surely the help of Allah is near! e

a (213-1) The oneness of humanity is a truth on which the Quran lays the greatest stress. They are sometimes told that they have all been "created of a single being" (4:1); again that they are all descended from the same parents (49:13); still again that they are as it were dwellers in one home, having the same earth as a resting-place and the same heaven as a canopy (2:22). Hence also the conclusion that prophets were raised among all nations which is conveyed in the words that follow.

b (213-2) As all people are a single nation (umma), God, too, has been revealing Himself to all. This Law of Divine Revelation has, we are told, found expression through prophets, to every one of whom a revealed Book was given to show them the right way.

c (213-3) The universal law expressed here is that corruption followed guidance. As time passed on, the very people to whom the Book was given so that they might follow it, went against it. Thus, though a prophet had been raised in every nation, yet every nation had forsaken the right way. Differences again arose which necessitated the advent of another prophet. Hence it was necessary to raise a prophet who should show the right way to all nations, and this is what is stated in the words that follow.

d (213-4) Allah's guiding those who believe refers to the raising of the Prophet Muhammad, through whom Muslims were guided to the right path, to the truth, regarding which differences had arisen among all people. If a prophet was needed by every nation to settle its own differences, one was surely now needed to settle the differences of the various nations. Thus among the different national religions of the world, Islam occupies the position of an international religion.

e (214) This verse inculcates faith and perseverance under the hardest trials

215 They ask you as to what they should spend. Say: Whatever wealth you spend, it is for the parents and the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the traveller. And whatever good you do, Allah surely is Knower of it.

216 Fighting is ordained for you, though it is disliked by you; and it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you, and it may be that you love a thing while it is harmful for you; and Allah knows while you do not know."

Section 27: Miscellaneous Questions

217 They ask you about fighting in the sacred month. Say: Fighting in it is a grave (offence). And hindering (people) from Allah's way and denying Him and the Sacred Mosque and turning its people out of it, are still graver with Allah; and persecution is graver than slaughter. And they will not cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion, if they can. 6 And whoever of you turns back from his religion, then he dies while an unbeliever â€" these it is whose deeds are fruitless in this world and the Hereafter. e And they are the companions of the Fire: in it they

and is an indication of the Prophet's own unequalled endurance and faith. It refers not only to the great trials and hardships which Muslims had already suffered at Makkah and the privations which they had to undergo in their exile, but more particularly to the hardships which were yet in store for them, and which they could clearly see in the massing of all forces that could be used to annihilate them.

a (216) Muslims were too weak to carry on the struggle against the mighty forces that were bent upon their destruction, and they disliked the war. A picture of distresses and afflictions to which the few converts to Islam were subjected is drawn in v. 214. They were few in numbers, poor, exiled, and distressed, yet it became inevitable that they should fight in self-defence or they would be destroyed. It was their utter weakness and the enormous disparity of numbers that made them dislike the fighting.

b (217-1) The unbelievers took up the sword to force the Muslims back into unbelief and they were determined to carry on the war until they gained this end. Note the words they will not cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion, if they can, which disprove the false allegation that the Muslims started war to convert the unbelievers by force.

c (217-2) The persons spoken of here are the apostates. A wrong impression exists that those who apostatize from Islam are to be put to death. This is entirely

will abide. 218 Those who believed and those who fled (their homes) and strove hard in Allah's way â€" these surely hope for the mercy of Allah. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

219 They askjou about intoxicants" and games of chance. Say: In both of them is a great sin and (some) advantage for people, and their sin is greater than their advantage. And they ask you as to what they should spend. Say: What you can spare. Thus does Allah make clear to you the messages that you may ponder 220 on this world and the Hereafter. And they ask you concerning the orphans. c Say: To set right their affairs is good; and if you mix with them, they are your brethren. And Allah knows him who

untrue. What is stated here is that the opponents of Islam exerted themselves to their utmost to turn back the Muslims from their faith by their cruel persecutions, and therefore if a Muslim actually went back to unbelief he would be a loser in this life as well as in the next, because the desertion of Islam would not only deprive him of spiritual advantages, but also of the physical advantages which must accrue to the Muslims through the ultimate triumph of Islam. Neither here nor anywhere else in the Quran is there even a hint at the infliction of capital or any other punishment on the apostate. In the matter of religion, the Quran gives perfect freedom to all to adopt whatever religion they like: "And say: The Truth is from your Lord; so whoever wishes, let him believe, and whoever wishes, let him disbelieve" (18:29).

a (219-1) The word khamr used here includes all intoxicating substances. The prohibition spoken of here as regards both intoxicating liquors and games of chance is made plainer in 5:90. The prohibition of intoxicants in connection with the mention of war shows that Islam wanted to inspire true courage into its followers and disliked the reckless daring which a man shows under the influence of intoxicating liquors and which has so often led to atrocities in wars. The constant fighting of Arab tribes, one against the other, had made the habit of drink second nature to the Arab. Intoxicating liquors were the chief feature of their feasts, and the habit of drink was not considered an evil, nor had there ever been a temperance movement among them. Yet one word of the Holy Quran was sufficient to blot out all traces of it from among a whole nation.

b (219-2) Intoxicants and gambling are both declared in 5:91 as causing "enmity and hatred among you", and a society the members of which are imbued with feelings of hatred and enmity towards each other could never prosper.

c (220-1) From the earliest, the revelations of the Quran always speak of the orphans, the needy, and the slaves in the kindest words, and lay special stress on helping and feeding them. See 90:11-16 and other places.

d (220-2) Orphans are not to be treated as a separate class, and they should

makes mischief from him who sets (affairs) right. And if Allah pleased, He would have made matters difficult for you. Surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.

221 And do not marry female idolaters until they believe; and certainly a believing maid is better than a female idolater even though she please you. Nor give (believing women) in marriage to idolaters until they believe, and certainly a believing slave is better than an idolater, even though he please you. These invite to the Fire and Allah invites to the Garden and to forgiveness by His will and He makes clear His messages to people that they may be mindful.

Section 28: Divorce

222 And they ask j^ou about menstruation." Say: It is harmful; so keep aloof from women during menstrual discharge and do not approach them (for intercourse) until they are clean. But when they have cleansed themselves, go to them as Allah has commanded you. Surely Allah loves those who turn much (to Him), and He loves those who purify themselves. 223 Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth when you like, and send (good deeds) beforehand for yourselves; and have regard for your duty to Allah and know that you will meet Him. e And give good news to the believers.

not be treated as living on the charity of others; they must be treated as brethren.

a (222-1) Just as war made many children orphans, it made many women widows, but questions relating to widowhood and divorce being somewhat analogous, the two questions are treated together here and further on.

b (222-2) The word used (adh-an) signifies anything that causes a slight harm. It is not, however, the menstrual discharge that is called harmful here but having sexual relations while the woman is in that condition. The Jewish law contains a similar prohibition in Leviticus 18:19 and 20:18, though Jewish practice rendered it necessary that the separation between husband and wife should be complete. In Islam, it is limited to the cessation of sexual intercourse as the answer here shows.

c (223) This verse shows that the real object of marital relations is not simply the satisfaction of sexual desires. (Editor's Note: The comparison of women to the land that is tilled is to show that it is through them that the crop of

224 And do not make Allah by your oaths a hindrance to your doing good and keeping your duty and making peace between people. 0 And Allah is Hearing, Knowing. 225 Allah will not call you to account for what is vain in your oaths, but He will call you to account for what your hearts have earned. And Allah is Forgiving, Forbearing. 226 Those who swear that they will not have sexual relations with their wives should wait four months; e then if they go back, Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. 227 And if they resolve on a divorce/ Allah is surely Hearing, Knowing. 228 Divorced women

the next generation of human beings grows and develops, both physically and in character. Men are also told here to do some act of moral goodness before approaching their wives sexually, and to have regard for duty to God which stands for having regard for one's duties towards others as required by God. Thus the husband is required to be mindful also of moral duty and responsibility in the matter of sexual relations with his wife, so that it should not be merely an occasion for him to gratify his lust selfishly with no regard for moral goodness or the rights of his wife.)

a (224) This verse refers to the pre-Islamic Arab custom of Tla', a way of temporarily putting off the wife which was effected by an oath in Allah's name not to have sexual relations with her. The result of this was that the husband considered himself free from all marital obligations. The first step to bring about a reform in the relations of husband and wife was that this practice was abolished. It is in reference to this that the taking of oaths against the doing of good to others is prohibited. The fulfilment of marital obligations is thus referred to as the doing of good and observance of duty and making peace between people. But the subject is generalized and the taking of all oaths to forbid oneself the doing of good or fulfilment of obligations is prohibited. See also 66:2 footnote.

b (225) By vain oaths are meant unintentional or thoughtless oaths in ordinary conversation, and by what the hearts have earned is meant an oath intentionally taken.

c (226) Ila' signifies an oath by a man that he shall not approach his wife. In pre-Islamic times the Arabs used to take such oaths frequently, and as the period of suspension was not limited, the wife was compelled sometimes to pass her whole life having neither the position of a wife nor that of a divorced woman free to marry elsewhere. The Quran declares that if the husband does not reassert conjugal relations within four months, the wife shall be divorced. Cases in which husbands desert wives, having neither conjugal relations with them nor divorcing them, must be dealt with practically as amounting to Tla', so that after four months the wife should be free if she wants a divorce.

d (227) The Islamic law of divorce is elastic and does not strictly limit the causes of divorce. Divorce is allowed if sufficient reason exists, but the right is to

should keep themselves in waiting for three courses." And it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have a better right to take them back in the meanwhile if they wish for reconciliation. And women have rights similar to those against them in a just manner, c and men are a degree above them. And Allah is Mighty, Wise.

Section 29: Divorce

229 Divorce may be (pronounced) twice; e then keep (them) in good fellowship or let (them) go with kindness/And it is not lawful

be exercised under exceptional circumstances. A wife can claim a divorce according to the Islamic law, which was not a right conferred on her by Jewish and Christian laws on divorce as formulated in Deuteronomy and Matthew.

a (228-1) The period of waiting, or 'iddat, forms the first condition in the Islamic law of divorce. But for cases in which marriage is not consummated, no period of waiting is necessary; see 33:49.

b (228-2) These words give a clear right to the parties to effect a reconciliation and re-establish conjugal relations within the period of waiting. No special procedure is necessary for this but both the divorce and the reconciliation must take place in the presence of witnesses. If, however, the 'iddat is over and no reconciliation has been effected, the relation of husband and wife can be reestablished by remarriage, which right is given to the parties by v. 232.

c (228-3) The rights of women against their husbands are here stated to be similar to those which the husbands have against their wives. The change in this respect was really a revolutionizing one, for the Arabs hitherto regarded women as mere property. Women were now declared to have rights similar to those which were exercised against them. The equality of the rights of women with those of men was never previously recognized by any nation or any reformer.

d (228-4) The statement that "men are a degree above them" does not nullify the rights asserted in the previous passage. The words are added simply to show that the husband is the head of the household.

e (229-1) The divorce spoken of here is the revocable divorce of v. 228, after which a reconciliation may be effected in the waiting period. Islam allows a revocable divorce on two occasions only, so that the period of waiting in each of these two cases might serve as a period of temporary separation during which conjugal relations could be re-established. Remarriage of the same parties is allowed after the lapse of the waiting period.

/ (229-2) The husband must make his choice after the second divorce either to retain the wife permanently or to bring about a final separation. The object of a

for you to take any part of what you have given them," unless both fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah. Then if you fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah, there is no blame on them for what she gives up to become free thereby. These are the limits of Allah, so do not exceed them; and whoever exceeds the limits of Allah, these are the wrongdoers.

230 So if he divorces her (the third time), c she shall not be lawful to him afterwards until she marries another husband. If he divorces her, there is no blame on them both if they return to each other (by marriage), if they think that they can keep within the limits of Allah. And these are the limits of Allah which He makes clear for a people who know.

true marriage union is indicated in the simple words keep them in good fellowship. If good fellowship is entirely absent the only remedy is to let the woman go with kindness.

a (229-3) The full payment of the dowry to the wife by the husband is another condition relating to the Islamic law of divorce. (This is the nuptial gift the husband owes the wife, as agreed between them at the time of marriage.)

b (229-4) These words give the wife a right to claim a divorce. Islam gives the wife the right to claim a divorce even on grounds of disliking her husband, if she is willing to forgo the whole or part of her dowry (i.e., nuptial gift from the husband). The words unless both fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah mean their inability to perform towards each other their marital obligations and to maintain good fellowship. The words if you fear refer to the properly constituted authorities and this shows that the authorities can interfere in the matter.

c (230-1) The words refer to the "letting go with kindness" of the previous verse, and hence by divorce here is meant the irrevocable divorce pronounced a third time, i.e., after there has been a divorce and a restitution of conjugal rights twice.

d (230-2) When the wife has been divorced twice, after each of which reconciliation has been effected and has failed, the third divorce becomes irrevocable. It is not simply by repeating the pronouncement of divorce three times that the third pronouncement becomes irrevocable. A divorce should actually have taken place twice, followed each time by reconciliation, then and only then the third divorce becomes irrevocable. It would, in fact, be very rare. After the third irrevocable divorce, the husband cannot remarry the divorced wife until she has been married elsewhere and divorced; but it must be a genuine marriage and a genuine divorce.

231 And when you divorce women and they reach their prescribed time, then retain them with kindness or let them go with kindness and do not retain them for injury so that you exceed the limits." And whoever does this, he indeed wrongs his own soul. And do not take Allah's messages for a mockery,* and remember Allah's favour to you, and what He has revealed to you of the Book and the Wisdom, instructing you by it. And keep your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is the Knower of all things.

Section 30: Remarriage of Divorced Women and Widows

232 And when you divorce women and they end their term, do not prevent them from marrying their husbands if they agree among themselves in a lawful manner. With this is instructed he among you who believes in Allah and the Last Day. This is more virtuous for you and purer. And Allah knows while you do not know. e 233 And mothers shall suckle their children for two whole years, for him who desires to complete the time of suckling. And their maintenance and their clothing must be borne by the father

a (231-1) If the husband is proved to give injury to the wife, he cannot retain her, and she can claim a divorce. Injury to the wife may be of a general nature or one given with the object of compelling her to remit her dowry to obtain a divorce. It is for the judge to see that the husband is not taking undue advantage of his position. On the other hand, the husband is enjoined to show liberality to the divorced wife, and the judge would no doubt see that the injunctions of the Quran were observed. It is made clear in 4:35 that decision in matters of divorce rests with the judges appointed, not with the husband or the wife.

b (231-2) The injunctions relating to the kind treatment of women must not be taken lightly, we are told here. Retaining women to cause them injury has already been declared to be a transgression and emphasis is now laid on the proper observance of these injunctions by stating that these are most serious matters relating to the welfare of society as a whole.

c (232) As already stated, when a divorce is pronounced, the conjugal relations can be re-established within the period of waiting. Here it is stated that if the period of waiting has elapsed, even then the former husband can remarry the divorced wife. The decision to re-marry is determined solely by mutual agreement between the former husband and wife, on terms of equality with one another.

d (233) By mothers here are meant in particular, as the context shows, women who have been divorced having children to suckle.

according to usage. No soul shall be burdened beyond its capacity. Neither shall a mother be made to suffer harm on account of her child, nor a father on account of his child; and a similar duty (devolves) on the (father's) heir. But if both desire weaning by mutual consent and counsel, there is no blame on them. And if you wish to engage a wet-nurse for your children, there is no blame on you so long as you pay what you promised according to usage. And keep your duty to Allah and know that Allah is Seer of what you do.

234 And (as for) those of you who die and leave wives behind, such women should keep themselves in waiting for four months and ten days; a when they reach their term, there is no blame on you for what they do for themselves in a lawful manner.* And Allah is Aware of what you do. 235 And there is no blame on you concerning what you speak indirectly in the asking of (such) women in marriage or keep (the proposal) concealed within your minds. Allah knows that you will have them in your minds, but do not give them a promise in secret unless you speak in a lawful manner. And do not confirm the marriage tie until the prescribed period reaches its end. And know that Allah knows what is in your minds, so beware of Him; and know that Allah is Forgiving, Forbearing.

Section 31: Provision for Divorced Women and Widows

236 There is no blame on you if you divorce women while yet you have not touched them, nor appointed for them a portion. And provide for them, the wealthy according to his means and the restricted one according to his means, a provision according to usage. (This is) a duty on the doers of good. c 237 And if you divorce

a (234-1) The period of waiting in the case of a widow is four months and ten days. But in case a divorced woman or a widow is pregnant, the period of waiting is extended to the time of delivery (65:4).

b (234-2) The meaning is that the widow may look out for a husband and remarry. {Editor's Note: The words "what they do for themselves in a lawful manner" place decisions about the widow's remarriage entirely in her hands.)

c (236) The "portion" is the dowry due from the husband, so that even when

them before you have touched them and you have appointed for them a portion, (pay) half of what you have appointed unless they forgo or he forgoes in whose hand is the marriage tie." And it is nearer to dutifulness that you forgo. Nor neglect the giving of free gifts between you. Surely Allah is Seer of what you do.

238 Guard the prayers and the most excellent prayer, and stand up truly obedient to Allah. 239 But if you are in danger (say your prayers) on foot or on horseback. And when you are secure, remember Allah as He has taught you what you did not know.

240 And those of you who die and leave wives behind, should make a bequest in favour of their wives of maintenance for a year without turning (them) out. c Then if they themselves go away, there is no blame on you for what they do of lawful deeds concerning themselves. And Allah is Mighty, Wise. 241 And for divorced women, provision (must be made) in kindness. This is incumbent

no dowry has been agreed upon, and marriage has not been consummated, liberality must be shown to the divorced wife, and some provision should be made for her, even though the husband may be in difficult circumstances.

a (237) The husband is the person in whose hand is the marriage tie. His forgoing his due is equivalent to not claiming the half of the dowry which he is entitled to by this verse. Note that forgoing on the part of husbands is here stated to be the more commendable course.

b (238) There are several opinions regarding what is meant by the term translated above as "the most excellent prayer". Most probably it does not refer to any particular prayer and means simply attending to prayer in the most excellent form. The guarding of prayers is not simply the observance of the outward form; it is both the form and the spirit to which attention is drawn. Prayers are to be said at stated times and a particular method is to be observed, but this does not mean that the Islamic prayer is devoid of spirit. The external form is needed to bring the inner faculty into exercise. As regards the spirit of prayer, attention is called to it again and again in the Quran. Elsewhere we are told: "Prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil" (29:45). In fact, the Quran condemns prayers which are devoid of spirit (107:4-6).

c (240) What the widow obtains under this verse is in addition to the share of the deceased husband's property which she inherits under 4:11. It is plainly stated in 4:12 that anything to be paid under a will shall have precedence of the division of the property into shares under that verse.

d (241) This provision is in addition to the dowry which must be paid to

on those who have regard for duty. 242 Allah thus makes clear to you His messages that you may understand.

Section 32: Fighting in the Cause of Truth

243 Have you not considered those who went forth from their homes, and they were thousands, for fear of death. Then Allah said to them, Die. Then He gave them life." Surely Allah is gracious to people, but most people are not grateful. 244 And fight in the way of Allah, and know that Allah is Hearing, Knowing. 245 Who is it that will offer to Allah a goodly gift, so He multiplies it to him manifold? And Allah receives and amplifies, e and to Him you shall be returned.

246 Have you not thought of the leaders of the Children of Israel after Moses? When they said to a prophet of theirs: Raise up for us a king, that we may fight in the way of Allah. He said: May it not be that you will not fight if fighting is ordained for you? They said: And what reason have we that we should not fight in Allah's way and we have indeed been deprived of our homes and our children? But when fighting was ordained for them, they

them. Just as in the previous verse the widow is given an additional benefit, here a provision in addition to her dowry is recommended for divorced woman. This shows how liberal are the injunctions of the Quran regarding women.

a (243) The thousands referred to are the Israelites who left Egypt with Moses. They left Egypt for fear of death, for death would surely have been their fate if they had not emigrated. The next incident in their history referred to here is the Divine commandment to them to "die". This is more fully stated in 5:21-26. Moses told them to enter the Holy Land "which Allah has ordained for you," but they refused and were made to wander about in the wilderness for forty years, so that that generation perished. This is also shown by their history as given in the Old Testament. It is also meant as a warning for Muslims, who are told that if they followed the footsteps of the Israelites, death must be their fate.

b (244) See 2:190; fighting in Allah's way is equivalent to fighting in defence of faith.

c (245) Allah receives and amplifies means that Allah receives the gift that is offered to Him and then amplifies it; in other words, any sacrifice made in the cause of Truth is amply rewarded by Allah.

d (246) The prophet alluded to is Samuel. See 1 Samuel 8:19-20.

turned back, except a few of them. And Allah is Knower of the wrongdoers. 247 And their prophet said to them: Allah has raised Saul to be a king over you. They said: How can he have kingdom over us while we have a greater right to kingdom than he, and he has not been granted abundance of wealth? He said: Surely Allah has chosen him above you, and has increased him abundantly in knowledge and physique. And Allah grants His kingdom to whom He pleases. And Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing. 248 And their prophet said to them: Surely the sign of his kingdom is that there shall come to you the heart in which there is tranquillity from your Lord and the best of what the followers of Moses and the followers of Aaron have left," the angels bearing it. Surely in this there is a sign for you if you are believers.

Section 33: Fighting in the Cause of Truth

249 So when Saul set out with the forces, he said: Surely Allah will try you with a river. Whoever drinks from it, he is not of me, and whoever does not taste it, he is surely of me, except he who takes a handful with his hand. But they drank of it except a few of them. So when he had crossed it, he and those who believed with him, they said: We have today no power against Goliath and his forces. Those who were sure that they would meet their Lord said: How often has a small group overcome a numerous army by Allah's permission! And Allah is with the steadfast. 250 And when they went out against Goliath and his forces, they said: Our Lord, pour out patience on us and make our steps firm

a (248-1) The word tabut means a chest or a box, but also signifies the heart. Tranquillity from the Lord is not a thing which is placed in boxes, but the heart is its real repository. On five other occasions the coming down of saklnah, or tranquillity, is mentioned in the Quran, and every time it is the heart of the Prophet or the faithful that is the recipient of it. The coming of "the heart in which there is tranquillity" means the change which came over Saul when he was made king: "So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart" (1 Samuel 10:9). The best of what the true followers of Moses and Aaron left are spiritual blessings, the highest being Divine inspiration.

b (248-2) The meaning is that the tranquillity and inspiration were borne by the angels into the heart of Saul.

sa

2:251' COMPULSION IN RELIGION FORBIDDEN 61

and help us against the disbelieving people. 251 So they put them to flight by Allah's permission. And David killed Goliath, and Allah gave him kingdom and wisdom, and taught him of what He pleased. And if it were not for Allah's repelling some people by others, the earth would certainly be in a state of disorder; but Allah is full of grace to the worlds. 252 These are the messages of Allah â€" We recite them to you with truth; and surely you are one of the messengers.

253 We have made some of these messengers to excel others." Among them are they to whom Allah spoke, and some of them He exalted by (many) degrees of rank. And We gave clear arguments to Jesus son of Mary, and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit. And if Allah had pleased, those after them would not have fought with one another after clear arguments had come to them, but they disagreed; so some of them believed and some of them denied. And if Allah had pleased they would not have fought with one another, but Allah does what He intends.

Section 34: Compulsion in Religion forbidden

254 O you who believe, spend (on good works) out of what We have given you before the day comes in which there is no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. And the disbelievers â€" they are the wrongdoers.

255 Allah â€" there is no god but He, the Ever-living, the Self-subsisting by Whom all subsist. Slumber does not overtake Him, nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. Who is he that can intercede with Him but by His permission? c He knows what is before them and what is

a (253-1) This also refers to the excellence of the Prophet Muhammad over all other prophets.

b (253-2) Allah spoke to all, but there were some who were exalted above others by many degrees.

c (255-1) Islam does not recognize the concept that man stands in need of any mediator to reconcile him with God, as in the sense of the Christian doctrine. The Prophet is the model for his people and in this sense he is called a shafT' or

behind them. And they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He pleases. His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth, and the preservation of them both does not tire Him. And He is the Most High, the Great."

256 There is no compulsion in religion' â€" the right way is indeed clearly distinct from error. So whoever disbelieves in the devil and believes in Allah, he indeed lays hold on the firmest handle which shall never break. And Allah is Hearing, Knowing. 257 Allah is the Friend of those who believe â€" He brings them out of darkness into light. And those who disbelieve, their friends are the devils who take them out of light into darkness. They are the companions of the Fire; in it they abide.

Section 35: How Dead Nations are raised to Life

258 Have you not thought of him who disputed with Abraham about his Lord, because Allah had given him kingdom? c When Abraham said, My Lord is He Who gives life and causes to die, he said: I give life and cause death. Abraham said: Surely Allah causes

an intercessor. Those who take him for their model are not all equally gifted, nor have all equal occasion for spiritual progress, though they exert themselves to their utmost. So Divine mercy takes them by the hand and amends are made for their shortcomings through the intercession of the Prophet. It is in this sense that Islam recognizes the doctrine of intercession in the life after death.

a (255-2) This is a very well-known verse which goes under the name of ayat al-kursT, or the verse of knowledge, because it deals with the all-comprehensive knowledge of Allah.

b (256) To all the allegations that the Holy Prophet preached Islam by the sword, this verse is a sufficient answer. Being assured of success, Muslims are told that when they hold power in their hands their guiding principle should be that there should be no compulsion in the matter of religion. The claim that this passage was directed only to the early converts and that it was abrogated later on is utterly baseless.

c (258-1) The words "because Allah had given him kingdom" refer to Abraham. This is corroborated by 4:54. The Muslims are here told that just as a promise is given to them that they will be raised to great eminence, which is equivalent to raising the dead to life, a similar promise was given to Abraham, that promise being in fact the basis of the present promise to the Prophet.

d (258-2) As the discussion arose out of the promise given to Abraham that

the sun to rise from the East, so you make it rise from the West. a Thus he who disbelieved was baffled. And Allah does not guide the unjust people.

259 Or like him who passed by a town, and it had fallen in upon its roofs. He said: When will Allah give it life after its death? So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him. He said: How long have you remained? He said: I have remained a day, or part of a day. He said: No, you have remained a hundred years; but look at jour food and drink â€" years have not passed over it! And look at your donkey! That We may make you a sign to people. And look at the bones, how We set them together then clothe them with flesh. So when it became clear to him, he said: I know that Allah is Powerful over all things.

260 And when Abraham said, My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead, He said: Do you not believe? He said: Yes, but that my heart may be at ease. He said: Then take four birds, then tame them to incline to you, then place on every mountain a part of them, then call them, they will come to you flying; and know that Allah is Mighty, Wise. e

his descendants would be made a great nation, it is clear that the reference here is to the life and death of nations.

a (258-3) The disputant belonged to a race of sun-worshippers, and therefore if he could give life and cause death, he could control even his deity, the sun, and should be able to make it rise from the opposite direction.

b (259) This refers to Ezekiel's vision as related in Ezekiel, ch. 37. The town is Jerusalem. The prophet dying for a hundred years is also an incident of the vision, standing symbolically for the death of the Jewish nation or the desolation of Jerusalem for almost a hundred years after Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar in 599 B.C. The bones were a symbol of the fallen condition of the house of Israel. The food and drink of the prophet not showing any influence of years, and his donkey still standing by, proves that the hundred years' death was only a vision. The vision made him a symbol of the whole Jewish nation, and his symbolic death for a hundred years represented the sorrows and afflictions of Israel for a similar period, after which they were once more to be restored to life.

c (260) This is a sequel to v. 258, which speaks of the manifestation of Allah's power in the life and death of nations. In Genesis 15:8 Abraham is made to say, after receiving a promise of the land of Canaan: "Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?" The Quranic parallel to this is: "My Lord, show me

Section 36: Spending Money in the Cause of Truth

261 The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is as the parable of a grain growing seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains. a And Allah multiplies (further) for whom He pleases. And Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing. 262 Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, then do not follow up what they have spent with reproach or injury, their reward is with their Lord, and they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve. 263 A kind word with forgiveness is better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Self-sufficient, Forbearing.

264 O you who believe, do not make your charity worthless by reproach and injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen by people and does not believe in Allah and the Last Day. c So his parable is as the parable of a smooth rock with earth upon it, then heavy rain falls upon it, so it leaves it bare! They are not able to gain anything of what they earn. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people. 265 And the parable of those who spend their

how You give life to the dead." He believed in the Divine promise, but how would it be fulfilled? The answer to Abraham's how as given in the Quran is a perfectly intelligible parable. If he should take four birds and tame them, they would obey his call and fly to him even from distant mountains. The words "place a part (juz ') of them" can only mean one each of the four birds. The story of cutting the birds into pieces, in connection with this verse, is not traceable to any reliable authority, nor do these words occur here. {Editor's Note: To revive a dead people with spiritual truth, from which they are running away like birds, they have to be tamed as one tames birds so that instead of being repelled away from the truth they are attracted towards it even from a great distance.)

a (261) The expenditure of money must be accompanied with hard labour, as a seed cast on the ground unaccompanied by any labour would not grow.

b (262) Gifts, whether given in the cause of national or individual suffering, must not be accompanied by any interested motives; hence the donor is forbidden even to mention them afterwards.

c (264-1) This conveys a very strong disapproval of giving charity to be seen by people, making it utterly hateful in the sight of true believers.

d (264-2) The concluding words of the parable show that the efforts of the disbelievers to deal a death-blow to Islam are meant here. They were spending their money to retard the advancement of Islam, but their efforts would be fruitless.

wealth to seek Allah's pleasure and for the strengthening of their souls is as the parable of a garden on elevated ground, upon which heavy rain falls, so it brings forth its fruit twofold; but if heavy rain does not fall on it, light rain (is sufficient)." And Allah is Seer of what you do. 266 Does one of you like to have a garden of palms and vines with streams flowing in it â€" he has in it all kinds of fruits â€" and old age has overtaken him and he has weak offspring, when a whirlwind with fire in it strikes it so it becomes blasted. Thus Allah makes the messages clear to you that you may reflect.

Section 37: Spending in the Cause of Truth

267 O you who believe, spend (on good works) out of the good things that you earn and out of what We bring forth for you from the earth, and do not aim at the bad to spend from it, while you would not take it yourselves unless you turned a blind eye to it.* And know that Allah is Self-sufficient, Praiseworthy. 268 The devil threatens you with poverty and commands you to be miserly, and Allah promises you forgiveness from Himself and abundance. And Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing; 269 He grants wisdom to whom He pleases. And whoever is granted wisdom, he indeed is given a great good. And none are mindful but those who have understanding. 270 And whatever you spend in charity or (whatever) vow you vow, Allah surely knows it. And the wrongdoers shall have no helpers.

271 If you manifest charity, how excellent it is! And if you hide it and give it to the poor, it is good for you. c And it will do

a (265) This is the parable of the believers who will reap the fruits of the sacrifices they make.

b (267) Muslims are here enjoined to support the cause of Truth by spending good things, things which they love, and not to even think of giving bad things, things which they themselves would not accept from others. Elsewhere it is said: "You cannot attain to righteousness unless you spend out of what you love" (3:92).

c (271) The manifesting of charity or giving charity openly is quite different from giving "to be seen by people", for which see v. 264. By the giving of charity

away with some of your evil deeds; and Allah is Aware of what you do. 272 Their guidance is not jour duty, but Allah guides whom He pleases. And whatever good thing you spend, it is to your good. And you do not spend but to seek Allah's pleasure. And whatever good thing you spend, it will be paid back to you in full, and you will not be wronged."

273 (Charity is) for the poor who are confined in the way of Allah, 4 they cannot go about in the land; the ignorant man thinks them to be rich on account of (their) abstaining (from begging). Fou can recognize them by their mark â€" they do not beg of people demandingly. c And whatever good thing you spend, surely Allah is Knower of it.

Section 38: Usury prohibited

274 Those who spend their wealth by night and day, privately and publicly, their reward is with their Lord; and they have no fear, nor shall they grieve. 275 Those who swallow usury cannot arise except as he arises whom the devil prostrates by (his) touch. rf

openly is meant the giving of subscriptions for the advancement of national or public welfare. The rule laid down here enjoins public as well as private acts of charity, mentioning public charity first, as that is of greatest importance.

a (272) Muslims did not fight to bring the disbelievers into the fold of Islam; for that, the Prophet is told here in plain words, was not his responsibility. It was for the good of their people, for their defence, that the Muslims were required to raise subscriptions. Hence what they spent was for Allah's pleasure, because it was in the cause of truth. They are assured that for these deeds of sacrifice they will be fully rewarded. As regards private charity, Muslim charity was exercised not only for the welfare of their own people but also for that of non-Muslims. Islam did not allow difference of religion to be a hindrance in giving charity.

b (273-1) "Confined in the way of Allah" included those who had to fight in defence of Islam but had no means of livelihood, those who could not go forth to trade because of insecurity, and those who were wounded in the fighting.

c (273-2) Those who abstain from begging deserve to be assisted by private acts of charity.

d (275-1) Riba means an addition over and above the principal sum that is lent and includes usury as well as interest. Just as charity is the broad basis of human sympathy, usury annihilates all sympathetic affection and leads to the





That is because they say, Trading is only like usury. And Allah has allowed trading and forbidden usury." To whomsoever then the exhortation has come from his Lord, and he refrains, he shall have what has already passed. And his affair is in the hands of Allah. And whoever returns (to it) â€" these are the companions of the Fire: in it they will abide. 276 AUah will blot out usury, and He causes charity to prosper. And Allah does not love any ungrateful sinner. 277 Those who believe and do good deeds and keep up prayer and give the due charity â€" their reward is with their Lord; and they have no fear, nor shall they grieve.

278 O you who believe, keep your duty to Allah and relinquish what remains (due) from usury, if you are believers. 279 But if you do not, then be apprised of war from Allah and His Messenger^ and if you repent, then you shall have your capital.

extreme of miserliness. Islam refused to allow the rich to grow richer by reducing the poor to still greater poverty, which is the real aim of usury. Usury causes man to be obsessed by love of wealth and selfishness; and this is, in fact, what is meant by the devil prostrating a devourer of usury. It may also be mentioned that while Islam enjoins acts of sacrifice to carry on the struggle for national existence, it prohibits usurious dealings which are the basis of modern warfare. All wars are now carried on with the help of loans, interest on which ultimately is a source of ruin to both the conquerers and the conquered. A just war, a war in self-defence, would always lead a community to acts of sacrifice to which they would be impelled in the interest of their own existence.

a (275-2) In trade the capitalist takes the risk of loss along with the hope of profit, but in lending money on usury the whole of the loss is suffered by the one who uses his labour, while the capitalist may count upon his profit even in the case of loss in the actual concern. Hence trading is quite different from usury.

b (276) Usury is here condemned, while charitable deeds are commended as being the real source of the prosperity of a nation or of humanity in general. It is a prophetic reference to the general tendency in the growth of civilization to lessening rates of interest, so much so that usurious dealings, in the proper sense of the word, are becoming almost extinct, while the tendency for public charity or personal sacrifice in the interests of a community, or even humanity in general, is gaining ground.

c (279) Going directly against the commandments of Allah is here described as a war with Allah and His Messenger. The money received as bank interest may be spent in the cause of Allah and His Messenger or for the propagation of Islam.

Wrong not, and you shall not be wronged. 280 And if (the debtor) is in difficulty, let there be postponement till (he is in) ease. And that you forgo it as charity is better for you, if only you knew. a 281 And guard yourselves against a day in which you will be returned to Allah. Then every soul will be paid in full what it has earned, and they will not be wronged.

Section 39: Contracts and Evidence

282 O you who believe, when you contract a debt for a fixed time, write it down. And let a scribe write it down between you with fairness; nor should the scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught him, so let him write. And let him who owes the debt dictate, and he should observe his duty to Allah, his Lord, and not diminish anything from it. But if he who owes the debt is unsound in understanding or weak, or (if) he is not able to dictate himself, let his guardian dictate with fairness. e And call to witness from among your men two witnesses; but if there are not two men, then one man and two women from among those whom you choose to

In fact the Divine purpose in the prohibition of interest is fulfilled if interest is changed into charity.

a (280) This indicates the kind of sympathy Islam demands. The poor man is not to be prosecuted and thrown into prison, and payment of debt must be postponed till the debtor is able to pay, or, better still, the whole may be remitted as charity.

b (282-1) If Islam enjoins charity and prohibits usury, it also requires that the greatest precautions must be taken for safeguarding property rights. The Arabs were quite an illiterate people, among whom writing was very rare. Even then they were required to put down all their transactions, great or small, in writing, except in hand-to-hand dealings.

c (282-2) A guardian may be appointed for one who is not able to manage his own property because he is a minor or his understanding is not sound on account of age or any other reason.

d (282-3) As women did not take much part in business, and might be unfamiliar with the transaction, two women are required instead of one man. (Editor's Note: It is quite unwarranted to presume from this advice that the evidence of two women equals the evidence of one man. According to 24:6-9 if a husband accuses his wife of adultery which she denies and he is the sole witness, her testimony is treated as of equal value to his. In 5:106 and 65:2 it is required to

be witnesses, so that if one of the two commits error, the one may remind the other." And the witnesses must not refuse when they are summoned. And do not be averse to writing it whether it is small or large along with the time of its falling due. This is more equitable in the sight of Allah and makes testimony surer and the best way to keep away from doubts. But when it is ready merchandise which you give and take among yourselves from hand to hand, there is no blame on you in not writing it down. And have witnesses when you sell to one another. And let no harm be done to the scribe or to the witnesses. And if you do (it), then surely it is a transgression on your part. And keep your duty to Allah. And Allah teaches you. And Allah is Knower of all things.

283 And if you are on a journey and you cannot find a scribe, a security may be taken into possession.^ But if one of you trusts another, then he who is trusted should deliver his trust, and let him keep his duty to Allah, his Lord. And do not conceal testimony. And whoever conceals it, his heart is surely sinful. And Allah is Knower of what you do.

have "two just ones" as witnesses and not specifically men. There are a number of reports in Hadith showing that the Holy Prophet Muhammad gave full weight to the testimony of a woman.)

a (282-4) The personal pronoun humd may refer either to the testimony of the two witnesses or the two women. Reminding here stands for making up the deficiency of the other's memory. The Holy Quran does not say that no case should be decided except on the testimony of two witnesses, but requires ordinarily the calling of two witnesses at the time of the transaction, so that the deficiency of one may be rectified by the other. Cases may be decided on circumstantial evidence as well, which is sometimes stronger than the evidence of witnesses. The Quran itself speaks of Joseph's innocence being established on circumstantial evidence (12:26-27).

b (282-5) The scribe and the witnesses must not be made to suffer loss in their own business. In other words, their convenience must be kept in view, and they should be paid.

c (283) This does not mean that a security cannot be taken in any other case. Security may be taken when the lender does not trust the debtor. Also, advantage can be derived by the lender from the property which has been given into his possession as a security for the debt.

Section 40: Muslims shall be made Victorious

284 To Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And whether you manifest what is in your minds or hide it, Allah will call you to account according to it." So He forgives whom He pleases and punishes whom He pleases. And Allah is Powerful over all things.

285 The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. They all believe in Allah and His angels and His Books and His messengers. We make no distinction between any of His messengers. And they say: We hear and obey; our Lord, Your forgiveness (do we crave), and to You is the eventual course.

286 Allah does not impose on any soul a duty beyond its ability. To its benefit is what (good) it earns, and to its detriment is what (evil) it works. Our Lord, do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake. Our Lord, do not lay on us a burden as You did lay on those before us. Our Lord, do not impose on us (afflictions) which we have not the strength to bear. And pardon us! And grant us protection! And have mercy on us! You are our Patron, so grant us victory over the disbelieving peopled

a (284) This verse does not signify "Allah will call you to account for it" but that He "will call you to account according to it"; so that he who hides (i.e. keeps under control) his evil inclinations and he who manifests (i.e. gives vent to them) shall not be dealt with in the same manner, but according to their deserts. Almost the same statement is contained in 3:29, where it is said: "Say: Whether you hide what is in your hearts or manifest it, Allah knows it". Evil thoughts are not unpunishable, but evil inclinations which a man keeps suppressed, and which therefore gradually disappear, cannot be included in the category of evil thoughts; it is these that are meant here.

b (285) The breadth of the Muslim faith, which has been dealt with on several occasions in this chapter, is again mentioned in reference to the triumph of the Muslims; for even if the Muslims were triumphant, their religion could not triumph over other religions unless established on very broad principles which should commend themselves to all. The triumph of the Muslim religion would be due to the excellence and breadth of its principles. Hence, even in these days of Muslim political decadence, Islam is making spiritual conquests.

c (286) See next page.

c (286) As a preliminary to the prayer for victory over the disbelieving people, there is one set of three petitions in the first part of the verse and another set of three petitions in the second part. The first three petitions made to God are do not punish us, do not lay on us the burden of sins, do not impose on us afflictions which we have not the strength to bear. Corresponding to these three petitions respectively are the three petitions in the second part, pardon us, grant us protection, have mercy on us. Thus corresponding to the desire to be saved from punishment is the petition that God may pardon His servant whatever faults he has committed; corresponding to the desire that one may not be burdened with sins is the petition that one may be granted protection from the commission of sins; and corresponding to the desire to be saved from afflictions which one has not the strength to bear is the petition for the mercy of God.

It is noteworthy that if Muslims are taught to pray for victory over disbelievers, as here, they are at the same time taught to be humble and forgiving.

Chapter 3 ai 'immn The Family of Amran

The name of this chapter is taken from the mention of 'Imran in v. 33, who is Amran of the Bible, the father of Moses and Aaron. It deals with the departure of prophethood from the Mosaic dispensation. It opens with a rule of interpretation for Divine books, which is that any allegorical statement must be interpreted so as not to contradict the clear principles laid down by Divine revelation. This is a preliminary to a discussion of Christian doctrines, which are based on wrong interpretations of certain allegorical statements. The chapter then deals with: the last Divine elect of the Israelites, including Jesus, after whom the spiritual kingdom was granted to the Muslims, religious controversy with the Jews and Christians, and their opposition to Islam, testimony to the truth of Islam in previous scriptures, the need for Muslim unity, the need for Muslims to show perseverance in suffering as in the battle of Uhud, and how they will triumph in the end after their struggles. Almost the entire chapter was revealed in 3 A.H.

Section 1: Rule of Interpretation

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 I, Allah, am the Best Knower," 2 Allah, (there is) no god but He, the Ever-living, the Self-subsisting, by Whom all subsist. 3 He has revealed to you the Book with truth/ verifying what is (already) before it, and He revealed the Torah and the Gospel

a (1) For explanation, see 2:1 footnote.

b (2) As this chapter controverts Christian doctrines, it fittingly opens with two attributes of the Divine Being, the Ever-living and the Self-subsisting, which refute the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus Christ. The statement that there is no god but He contains an ideal expression of the religion of Islam in four words.

c (3-1) "With truth" signifies that the Quran was revealed suitably to the requirements of wisdom and justice, and to the exigencies of the case; in other words, it was revealed at a time when revelation was sorely needed by humanity.

d (3-2) Taurat is the name given to the books of Moses, or the Pentateuch, and hence its correct rendering is the Hebrew word Torah. The Taurat does not signify the Old Testament, because the latter is the name of the whole collection

4 before, a guidance for the people," and He sent the Criterion. Those who disbelieve in the messages of Allah â€" for them is a severe punishment. And Allah is Mighty, the Lord of retribution/ 5 Surely nothing in the earth or in the heaven is hidden from Allah. 6 He it is Who shapes you in the wombs as He pleases. There is no god but He, the Mighty, the Wise.

7 He it is Who has revealed the Book to you; some of its verses are decisive â€" they are the basis of the Book â€" and others are allegorical. Then those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part of it which is allegorical, seeking to mislead, and seeking to give it (their own) interpretation. 6 And none knows its interpretation

of the books of the Israelite prophets. The word Injil (Gospel) does not signify the New Testament but the revelation granted to Jesus.

a (4-1) The Torah and the Gospel were undoubtedly a guidance before the Quran; but even as they now exist, they afford guidance in many respects with a mixture of error, and contain numerous prophecies fulfilled in the advent of Prophet Muhammad.

b (4-2) See 2:53 and 2:185 footnote 3. The Quran is here mentioned by the name Furqdn or that which distinguishes between truth and falsehood, and provides a criterion, because it was sent to separate the truth in previous revelation from the falsehood which had found its way into it. As the Furqdn, or the criterion of truth, in the case of the Holy Prophet was also provided by the battle of Badr, this event is referred to in v. 13 as a prelude to the actual controversy.

c (4-3) The word used here for retribution conveys the idea of avenging but not of revenge.

d (7-1) The Quran establishes certain principles in clear words which are to be taken as the basis, while there are statements made in allegorical words or susceptible to different meanings, the interpretation of which must be in consonance with the other parts and the spirit of the Book. When a certain principle is laid down in unmistakable words, any statement carrying a doubtful significance, or one which is apparently opposed to that principle, must be interpreted subject to the principle enunciated. The subject is appropriately dealt with here as a prelude to a controversy with the Christians, who attribute divinity to Jesus on the basis of certain ambiguous words or allegorical statements, without heeding the fundamental principles established by the earlier prophets.

e (7-2) These are people who do not care to seek the real interpretation which can only be found by referring to the principles laid down elsewhere but give an interpretation to an ambiguous verse alone, without considering it in conjunction with other similar verses or the principles laid down elsewhere.

except Allah, and those firmly rooted in knowledge. They say: We believe in it, it is all from our Lord." And none are mindful except those who have understanding. 8 Our Lord, do not make our hearts to deviate after You have guided us and grant us mercy from Yourself; surely You are the most liberal Giver. 9 Our Lord, surely You are the Gatherer of people on a day about which there is no doubt. Surely Allah will not fail in (His) promise.

Section 2: Unity of God as Basis of all Religions

10 Those who disbelieve, neither their wealth nor their children will avail them at all against Allah. And they will be fuel for fire â€" n as was the case of the people of Pharaoh, and those before them! They rejected Our messages, so Allah destroyed them on account of their sins. And Allah is Severe in retribution. 12 Say to those who disbelieve: You will be defeated, and driven together to hell; and evil is the resting-place. 13 Indeed there was a sign for you in the two armies (which) met together in encounter â€" one party fighting in the way of Allah and the other disbelieving, whom they saw twice as many as themselves with the sight of the eye. c And Allah strengthens with His aid whom He pleases. There is surely a lesson in this for those who have eyes.

a (7-3) The words it is all from our Lord signify that there is no disagreement between the various portions of the Holy Book. Hence the rule of interpretation which they follow is that they refer passages which are susceptible to various interpretations to those whose meaning is obvious or to similar passages, and subject particular statements to general principles.

b (12) This is one of the passages in which the punishment of this life, which is defeat, is spoken of in the same breath with the punishment of the Hereafter, which is hell.

c (13) The reference here is to the battle of Badr. The actual strength of the two parties was: Quraish about 1000, Muslims 313. The Muslims saw the disbelievers to be twice as many as themselves, and therefore they appeared fewer in their eyes as compared with their actual numbers. The battle of Badr is here stated to be a sign of the truth of the Holy Prophet, not only because of the prophecies of victory contained in the Quran, but also because of the clear prophecy in the Bible in the book of Isaiah, 21:13-17. It speaks of future events in the land of Arabia, which clearly came to pass in the emigration of the Muslims to Madinah and the defeat, one year later, of the army of the Quraish.

14 The love of desires is made attractive to people â€" of women and sons and hoarded treasures of gold and silver and well-bred horses and cattle and crop produce. This is the provision of the life of this world. And Allah â€" with Him is the good goal (of life). 15 Say: Shall I tell you of what is better than these? For those who guard against evil are Gardens with their Lord, in which rivers flow, to abide in them, and pure companions and Allah's goodly pleasure." And Allah is Seer of the servants. 16 Those who say: Our Lord, we believe, so forgive our sins and save us from the punishment of the fire. 17 The patient and the truthful and the obedient and those who spend (on good works) and those who ask Divine protection in the morning times.

18 Allah bears witness that there is no god but He, and (so do) the angels and those possessed of knowledge, maintaining justice. e There is no god but He, the Mighty, the Wise. 19 Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam. And those who were given the Book

a (15) For the companions in paradise see 2:25 footnote 3. Among the blessings of paradise is Allah's goodly pleasure, which is elsewhere said to be the greatest of all the blessings of paradise (9:72). The addition of this word here shows that the blessings of paradise are spiritual.

b (17) Seeking of Divine protection (istighfar) is really a prayer to attain to sinlessness. The righteous servants of God are here spoken of as possessing the great qualifications of steadfastness, truthfulness, obedience to God, spending in Allah's way, and finally as resorting to istighfar or Divine protection, which shows that it is one of the highest stages to which the spiritual pilgrim aspires.

c (18) Allah bears witness to His Unity through nature, which is His handiwork, and also by His word made known through revelation. The angels bear witness by their working within man, whose nature bears testimony to Divine Unity. Those who have a true knowledge of the holy scriptures of any religion also bear testimony to the great truth of the Unity of Allah. The Unity of Allah is, in fact, the common principle which is recognized by all religions.

The words maintaining justice most likely qualify those possessed of knowledge, the meaning being that every possessor of knowledge, to whatever religion he may belong, bears witness to the grand truth of Divine Unity if he maintains justice in bearing witness.

d (19) The meaning is that the principle of submission to God, thereby entering into peace, has always been the true religion. According to the Holy Quran, Islam was the religion of all the prophets. The Israelite prophets who followed

differed only after knowledge had come to them, out of envy among themselves. And whoever disbelieves in the messages of Allah â€" Allah indeed is Quick at reckoning. 20 But if they dispute with you say: I submit myself entirely to Allah and (so does) he who follows me. And say to those who have been given the Book and the Unlearned (people):" Do you submit yourselves? If they submit, then indeed they follow the right way; and if they turn back, jour duty is only to deliver the message. And Allah is Seer of the servants.

Section 3: Kingdom granted to another People

21 Those who disbelieve in the messages of Allah and would kill the prophets unjustly and kill those among people who command (the doing of) justice, announce to them a painful punishment. 22 Those are they whose deeds will be fruitless in this world and the Hereafter, and they will have no helpers. 23 Have you not seen those who are given a portion of the Book? They are invited to the Book of Allah that it may decide between them, then some of them turn back and they withdraw/ 24 This is because they say: The Fire shall not touch us but for a few days; and what they forge deceives them regarding their religion. 25 Then how will it be when We gather them together on a day about which there is no doubt. And every soul shall be fully paid what it has earned, and they shall not be wronged?

26 Say: O Allah, Owner of the Kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom You please, and take away the kingdom from whom

Moses are spoken of as the prophets who submitted themselves (to Allah) (5:44). It is also the natural religion of man, as in 30:30 it is described as being "the nature made by Allah in which He has created mankind".

a (20) By the Unlearned people are meant the Arabs.

b (23-1) The Jews are spoken of as being given only a portion of the Book, because much of it had already been lost. Moreover, the Torah was not a complete law.

c (23-2) The reference here is to the broad principles of religion regarding which the Jews and the Christians differed. The Book of Allah is the Holy Quran which gave a decision in the differences between them.

You please, and You exalt whom You please and degrade whom You please. In Your hand is the good. Surely You are Powerful over all things. 27 You make the night to pass into the day and You make the day to pass into the night; and You bring forth the living from the dead and You bring forth the dead from the living; and You give sustenance to whom You please without measure."

28 The believers should not take the disbelievers as allies rather than believers. And whoever does this has no connection with Allah â€" except that you guard yourselves against them, c guarding carefully. And Allah cautions you against His retribution. And to Allah is the eventual coming. 29 Say: Whether you hide what is in your hearts or manifest it, Allah knows it. And He knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And Allah is Powerful over all things. 30 On the day when every soul will find present whatever good it has done, and whatever evil it has done, it will wish that between it and that (evil) there were a long distance. And Allah cautions you against His retribution. And Allah is Compassionate to the servants.

a (27) Verses 26-27 refer to the fact that kingdom and honour shall be given now to another nation, whose night shall be made to pass into a day of triumph. The Jews had already been warned by Jesus that "the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it" (Matthew, 21:43). A living nation of Muslims was brought forth from among the dead Arabs, and the living nation of Israelites was represented now by a people who were spiritually dead.

b (28-1) The Muslims, being in a state of war with the disbelievers, were forbidden to look to their enemies to guard their interests or for help of any kind. The clear statement made in 60:8-9 settles the point beyond all doubt: "Allah does not forbid you, with regard to those who do not fight you for religion, nor drive you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly. ... Allah forbids you only with regard to those who fight you for religion, and drive you forth from your homes and help (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends of them".

c (28-2) The meaning is: Do not look to them for guarding your interests, rather guard yourselves against them.

Section 4: Last Members of a Chosen Race

31 Say: If you love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you, a and grant you protection from your sins. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. 32 Say: Obey Allah and the Messenger; but if they turn back, Allah surely does not love the disbelievers.

33 Truly Allah chose Adam and Noah and the descendants of Abraham and the descendants of Amran above the nations,* 34 offspring, one of the other. And Allah is Hearing, Knowing. 35 When a woman of Amran c said: My Lord, I vow to You what is in my womb, to be devoted (to Your service), so accept (it) from me; surely You, only You, are the Hearing, the Knowing. 36 So when she gave birth to it, she said: My Lord, I have given birth to a female â€" and Allah knew best what she had given birth to â€" and the male is not like the female, and I have named it Mary, and I commend her and her offspring into Your protection from the accursed devil. 6

a (31) The love of Allah is the great goal of life to which Islam leads.

b (33) Here begins the story of Jesus Christ, the central figure of the Christian religion, and as a preliminary we are told that if Jesus was chosen by God so were his great ancestors, Adam and Noah. The descendants of Abraham and Amran are then spoken of as having been chosen above the nations. For the choice of the descendants of Abraham, see 2:124 footnote. They are divided into two branches, the Israelites and the Ishmaelites. The former are here spoken of as the descendants of 'Imran, who is the same as Amran of the Bible. The descendants of Amran are Moses and Aaron. Moses became the founder of the Israelite law and Aaron the head of the Israelite priesthood. The last of this race were John and Jesus. Their parents, Zacharias and Mary, are first spoken of here.

c (35) Imra 'at means a woman and also a wife. I take imra 'at 'Imran as meaning a woman of the family of Amran rather than wife of Amran because the name of a great ancestor is frequently used to indicate the nation which has sprung from him. According to tradition, however, 'Imran was the name of Mary's father, and therefore the words imra'at 'Imran may mean the wife of Amran.

d (36-1) She had vowed the child to be devoted to the service of the Temple, but a female could not do the priestly work.

e (36-2) Mary's mother while praying for Mary prays also for her offspring, because, while dedicating her daughter to the Temple, she entertained the hope that Mary would eventually become a wife and mother.

37 So her Lord accepted her with a goodly acceptance and made her grow up a goodly growing, and gave her into the charge of Zacharias. Whenever Zacharias entered the sanctuary to (see) her, he found food with her. He said: Mary, from where does this come to you? She said: It is from Allah. Surely Allah gives to whom He pleases without measure." 38 There did Zacharias pray to his Lord. He said: My Lord, grant me from Yourself goodly offspring; surely You are the Hearer of prayer. 39 So the angels called to him as he stood praying in the sanctuary: Allah gives you the good news of John, verifying a word from Allah, c and honourable and chaste and a prophet from among the good ones. 40 He said: My Lord, how can I have a son when old age has already come upon me, and my wife is barren? He said: Even thus does Allah do what He pleases. 41 He said: My Lord, appoint a sign for me. Said He: Four sign is that you do not speak to people for three days except by signs. And remember your Lord much and glorify (Him) in the evening and early morning.

Section 5: Birth of Jesus and his Ministry

42 And when the angels said: O Mary, surely Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the world. 43 0 Mary, be obedient to your Lord and humble yourself and bow down with those who bow. 44 This is among the tidings of things

a (37) Mary's reply, that she got sustenance/rom Allah, is the reply of every devout person who believes that Allah is the sustainer of all, and that therefore all provision or sustenance comes from Him. Mary being attached to the Temple, the worshippers would naturally bring gifts to her, and as it was through Divine grace that she received these gifts she said that it was Allah Who gave her these things.

b (39-1) The Arabic word for John is Yahya, this name indicating that he would not die in sin like his other relations.

c (39-2) The promise given to Zacharias was a word from Allah, and John was the verifier of that word, because his birth brought about the fulfilment of the prophecy. A word from Allah, therefore, stands for a Divine prophecy; see also 6:34 and 10:64.

rf(43) After speaking of Mary's birth and her growing up, the Quran now speaks of her election just as the righteous before her were elected. Evidently this refers to a time when she had grown up to the age of puberty and left the temple.

unseen which We reveal to you. And you were not with them when they cast their pens (to decide) which of them should have Mary in his charge, and you were not with them when they contended with one another."

45 When the angels said: O Mary, surely Allah gives you good news with a word from Him (of one) whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, c worthy of regard in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those who are drawn near (to Allah), 46 and he will speak to the people when in the cradle and when of old age, and (he will be) one of the good ones. 47 She said: My Lord, how can I have a son and man has not yet touched me? He said: Even so; Allah creates what He pleases. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, Be, and it is. e

a (44) This verse cannot refer back to Mary's history as a child in the temple, as some think. The Quran has described her history in the natural order: her conception (v. 35), birth (v. 36), being dedicated to and residing in the temple (v. 37), and her election at the age of discretion (v. 42 and 43). Therefore this particular incident refers to her espousal. The casting of lots and the contention as to who should have her in his charge means her charge as a wife.

b (45-1) The good news was given by means of a prophetic word from God.

c (45-2) The Quran makes no mention at all of Mary's husband, but nor does it at all mention Moses' father when relating the circumstances of Moses' birth. The mere fact, therefore, that there is no mention of Jesus' father is not sufficient to show that Jesus had no father. Moreover, of his two parents Joseph and Mary, Mary was undoubtedly much more well-known than Joseph.

d (46) Speaking "when in the cradle and when of old age" cannot be considered as miracles, as the latter is undoubtedly not. The good news conveyed consists in the fact that the child announced will be a healthy child and shall not die in childhood. It would thus appear that, according to the Holy Quran, Jesus did not die at thirty-three years of age, but lived to a sufficiently old age.

e (47) She is told in reply to her question that the child will be born because God would bring about the circumstances which result in the birth of a child. The words do not show that she would conceive out of the ordinary course of nature, for there is no doubt that Mary had other children, which no one supposes to have been conceived out of the ordinary course of nature. Nor do the words that follow prove anything beyond the simple fact that Mary must give birth to a son in accordance with the prophecy. The whole of creation is brought about, we are told again and again, by the Divine word "Be" (see 2:117), yet no one supposes that creation is not brought about according to the laws of nature.

48 And He will teach him the Book and the Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel, 49 and (make him) a messenger to the Children of Israel (saying): I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that I determine for you out of dust the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird with Allah's permission, 0 and I heal the blind and the leprous, and bring the dead to life e with Allah's permission; and I inform you of what you should eat and what you should store in your houses. Surely there is a sign in this for you, if you are believers. 50 And (I have come) verifying what is (already) before me of the Torah, and I allow you part of what was forbidden to you; 6 and I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah and obey me. 51 Surely Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so serve Him. This is the right path.

a (49-1) As Jesus spoke in parables, this passage must be taken allegorically. What is meant is that Jesus, by breathing a spirit into mortals, will make them rise above those who are bent low upon the earth, and the apostles of Jesus, who were all men of humble origin (which is referred to in the word dust in the parable), left everything for the master's sake and went into the world by his command to preach the truth. Here was mere dust having the form of a bird, which the messenger of God converted into high-soaring birds by breathing truth into them.

b (49-2) The Quran gives an explanation of the healing of the sick when, speaking of itself, it says that it is "a healing for what is in the hearts" (10:57), i.e. for spiritual diseases. A prophet's healing is spiritual, not healing of physical diseases. The Quran speaks of the blind and the deaf frequently, but it never means those who do not possess the senses of seeing and hearing.

c (49-3) The Quran says plainly that those who die are not sent back to this world; see 39:42 and 23:100. But the use of the word mauta, i.e. the dead, and of their being raised to life, is frequent in the Quran in a spiritual sense: "Is he who was dead, then We raised him to life ... like him whose likeness is that of one in darkness" (6:122). And again: "O you who believe, respond to Allah and His Messenger, when He calls you to that which gives you life" (8:24). The prophets are raised only for quickening to life those who are spiritually dead, and it is to this quickening through Jesus that the Quran refers here.

d (49-4) Jesus laid special stress on not having any care "for the morrow", and advised a rich man when he came to him to sell all he had. He would have them lay up treasures in heaven. The verse refers to this aspect of his teaching.

e (50) The law of Moses was upheld by the Israelite prophets, but amended from time to time. These changes are particularly marked out in Jesus' teaching.

52 But when Jesus perceived disbelief on their part, he said: Who will be my helpers in Allah's way? The disciples said: We are Allah's helpers, we believe in Allah, and (ask you to) bear witness that we are submitting ones. 53 0ur Lord, we believe in what You have revealed and we follow the messenger, so write us down with those who bear witness. 54 And (the Jews) planned and Allah (also) planned. And Allah is the Best of planners."

Section 6: Jesus cleared of False Charges

55 When Allah said: O Jesus, I will cause you to die* and exalt you in My presence c and clear you of those who disbelieve and make those who follow you above those who disbelieve to the day of Resurrection. 6 Then to Me is your return, so I shall decide between you in that in which you differ.' 56 Then as to those who disbelieve, I shall punish them with severe punishment in this world

a (54) The word makr used here is the equivalent of the word plan, the good or evil nature of the plan being dependent on the doer's intention. The Jews planned to put Jesus to death by crucifixion, and Allah made a plan to frustrate their plans; and Allah's plan was successful, i.e. he was saved from death on the cross, for which see 3:55 and 4:157.

b (55-1) Ibn Abbas says that the words used here, mutawafji-ka, mean mumltu-ka, i.e. I will cause you to die (see Bukhari, 65.5:12). These words are used to show that the Jewish plans to cause Jesus' death on the cross would be frustrated and that he would afterwards die a natural death; see 4:157.

c (55-2) The word raf signifies raising or elevating, and also exalting or making honourable. When the raf of a human being to Allah is spoken of in the religious literature of Islam, it is always in the sense of exaltation. The exaltation of Jesus is mentioned here as a reply to the Jews, whose object was to make him die an accursed and ignominious death on the cross.

rf(55-3) This signifies clearing Jesus of the false charges relating to the alleged illegitimacy of his birth, and so on, charges of which Jesus was cleared by the Quran.

e (55-4) This is the fourth promise made to Jesus in this verse, that those who follow Jesus shall be made dominant over his rejectors till the day of Judgment. Its truth is witnessed to this day in the dominance of the Christians over the Jews.

/(55-5) Differences of belief are dealt with in the life after death, while the worst of transgressions in deeds are punished even in this life.

and the Hereafter, and they will have no helpers. 57 And as to those who believe and do good deeds, He will pay them fully their rewards. And Allah does not love the unjust.

58 This We recite to you of the messages and the Reminder full of wisdom. 59 The likeness of Jesus with Allah is truly as the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then said to him, Be, and he was." 60 (This is) the truth from your Lord, so do not be one of the disputers. ^Whoever then disputes with you in this matter after the knowledge that has come to you, say: Come! Let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our people and your people, then let us be earnest in prayer, and invoke the curse of Allah on the liars. 62 Surely this is the true account, and there is no god but Allah. And Allah, He surely is the Mighty, the Wise. 63 But if they turn away, then surely Allah knows the mischief-makers.

Section 7: Controversy with Jews and Christians

64 Say: O People of the Book, come to an equitable word between us and you, that we shall serve none but Allah and that we shall not set up any partner with Him, and that some of us shall

a (59) Adam stands for man generally, because all human beings are created from dust (see 18:37, 22:5 and 30:20). All that is meant is that Jesus is no more than a mortal, and that it is an error to take him for God. If Adam is taken as a proper name, the meaning would be that just as Adam was created from dust and then chosen by Allah, so was Jesus created from dust, and his election was similar to the election of Adam, the command "Be" referring to the election of a righteous servant of Allah. In either case there is no reference to Jesus being brought into existence without the agency of a male parent.

b (61) The persons addressed in particular in this verse are the members of the Christian deputation from Najran that came in 10 A.H. to see the Prophet Muhammad. The deputation was lodged by the Holy Prophet in his mosque. Thus did he set an unparalleled example of freedom of religious belief and practice. After the Holy Prophet gave them arguments showing that Jesus was not God, and finding them still insisting on their false belief, they were invited as a last resort to pray earnestly that the curse of Allah might overtake the party that insisted on falsehood. After some deliberation they decided against it and told the Prophet that they had decided not to pray against him as suggested. Thereupon they were given a pledge by which they were free to practise their religion.

not take others for lords besides Allah. But if they turn away, then say: Bear witness, we are Muslims." 65 0 People of the Book, why do you dispute about Abraham, when the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Do you not understand? 66 Look! You are they who disputed about that of which you had knowledge; why then do you dispute about that of which you have no knowledge? And Allah knows while you do not know.* 67 Abraham was not a Jew nor a Christian, but he was (an) upright (man), a Muslim; and he was not of those who set up partners (with Allah). 68 The nearest of people to Abraham are surely those who follow him and this Prophet and those who believe. And Allah is the Friend of the believers.

69 Some of the People of the Book desire that they should lead you astray; and they lead astray only themselves, but they do not perceive. 70 O People of the Book, why do you disbelieve in the messages of Allah while you witness (their truth)? 71 0 People of the Book, why do you mix the truth with falsehood, and hide the truth while you know?

Section 8: Machinations to discredit Islam

72 And a group of the People of the Book say: Affirm belief in what has been revealed to those who believe, in the first part of

a (64) In this verse the Jews and the Christians are called upon to accept the broad principles of the faith of Abraham, which were also the basic principles of the faith of Islam. The words some of us shall not take others for lords is to the practice prevailing then both among Jews and Christians, and at present among Muslims too, to treat religious leaders as if invested with Divine powers. The basic doctrines of Islam are the greatest common measure of the truth contained in different religions of the world. The doctrine of Unity as taught by Islam affords an illustration. All higher religions start on the basis of Divine Unity but then each religious system has its peculiarities unknown to all others. Islam alone is free from all these additions to the basic doctrine, and it preaches Unity in its simplest form. There are no idols, no gods, no incarnations of the Divine Being, no sons of God, and finally no priests or clerics to be followed blindly.

b (66) The Jews invited people to a belief in the Torah and the Christians to a belief in the Gospel, but both these had lost the purity of the faith of Abraham which was pure monotheism, unmixed with either Jewish priesthood or Christian doctrine of sonship.

the day, and disbelieve in the latter part of it, perhaps they may turn back." 73 And do not believe except in him who follows your religion. Say: True guidance â€" Allah's guidance â€" is that one may be given the like of what you were given; or they would prevail on you in argument before your Lord. e Say: Grace is surely in Allah's hand. He gives it to whom He pleases. And Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing. 74 He specially chooses for His mercy whom He pleases. And Allah is the Lord of mighty grace.

75 And among the People of the Book is he who, if you entrust him with a heap of wealth, would pay it back to you; and among them is he who, if you entrust him with a dinar, would not pay it back to you, unless you kept on demanding it. This is because they say there is no blame on us in the matter of the unlearned people and they forge a lie against Allah while they know. 6 76 No, whoever fulfils his promise and keeps his duty â€" then Allah surely loves the dutiful. 77 Those who take a small price for the covenant of Allah and their own oaths â€" they have no portion in the Hereafter, and Allah will not speak to them, nor will

a (72) This has two different significances. One is that they should affirm belief in the earlier part of the revelation, while denying the latter portion, as some modern critics do, thus creating doubts as to the sincerity of the Prophet. The other is that they should affirm a belief in the truth of Islam in the morning and deny it in the evening, creating the impression that the religion of Islam was a false religion. The fact that a group of Jews, in Madinah under Muslim rule, could conceive this plan is a clear proof that apostates in Islam were not put to death.

b (73-1) Editor's Note: This is the statement of the Jews continued from v. 72, that they should not believe in any prophet who did not follow their religion.

c (73-2) The contention of the Jews not to believe in any prophet who did not follow the law of Moses is met with the reply that a revelation must be given to another prophet like the revelation that had been given to Moses, for the Divine promise to Moses was that God would raise up a prophet like him from among the "brethren" of the Israelites (Deuteronomy, 18:18). In this argument the Muslims are said to prevail over their opponents.

d (74) Allah's choosing for His mercy stands here for His choice of a prophet.

e (75) They considered themselves free from all responsibility towards the Arabs, despite any agreement they might have made with them. They are, however, told that God never allowed dishonesty against any people.

He look upon them on the day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them, and for them is a painful punishment.

78 And certainly there are some of them who lie about the Book that you may consider it to be (a part) of the Book while it is not (a part) of the Book; and they say, It is from Allah, while it is not from Allah; and they forge a lie against Allah while they know. 79 It is not for a mortal that Allah should give him the Book and the judgment and the prophethood, then he should tell people: Be my servants besides Allah's; but (he would say): Be worshippers of the Lord because you teach the Book and because you study (it); 80 nor would he command you to take the angels and the prophets for lords." Would he command you to disbelieve after you submit?

Section 9: Covenant of the Prophets

81 And when Allah made a covenant through the prophets: Certainly what I have given you of Book and Wisdom â€" then a Messenger comes to you verifying what is (already) with you, you shall believe in him, and you shall aid him. He said: Do you affirm and accept My compact in this (matter)? They said: We do affirm. He said: Then bear witness, and I (too) am a bearer of witness with you. 82 Whoever then turns back after this, these are the transgressors. 83 Do they then seek other than Allah's religion? And to Him submits whoever is in the heavens and the earth,

a (80) Thus according to the Quran no prophet â€" Jesus included â€" ever taught his followers to take him as God. Even the current Gospels do not attribute any such teaching to Jesus. The angels are mentioned because the pagan Arabs worshipped the angels.

b (81) The covenant was made through the prophets with their people. Both Moses and Jesus specially laid an obligation on their people to accept the prophet about whom they prophesied (see, for instance, Deuteronomy 18:18 and John 16:13). In fact, all the prophets of the world foretold the advent of the Prophet Muhammad. The covenant was made through each prophet separately as he appeared in the world. And just as all the prophets foretold the advent of the Prophet Muhammad and laid an obligation upon their people to accept him, so the Prophet Muhammad also taught his followers to believe in all the prophets that had appeared among different people in different ages, and this is stated in v. 84.

willingly or unwillingly, and to Him they will be returned. 0

84 Say: We believe in Allah and (in) what is revealed to us, and (in) what was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and (in) what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord; we make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we submit. 85 And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.

86 How shall Allah guide a people who disbelieved after their believing, and (after) they had borne witness that the Messenger was true, and clear arguments had come to them? And Allah does not guide the unjust peopled 87 As for these, their reward is that on them is the curse of Allah and the angels and of people, all together â€" ""abiding in it. Their punishment shall not be lightened, nor shall they be given respite â€" 89 except those who repent after that and amend, for surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. 90 Those who disbelieve after their believing, then increase in disbelief, their repentance is not accepted, and these are they that go astray. 91 Those who disbelieve and die while they are disbelievers, the earth full of gold will not be accepted from anyone of them, though he should offer it as ransom. These it is for whom is a painful punishment, and they shall have no helpers.

a (83) Compare 13:15, 22:18, etc., where it is said that all those who are in the heavens and the earth make submission to Allah. The verse, in fact, shows that Islam, or the rule of submission to Divine law, is a law which is seen working throughout nature, and this is an argument of the truth of the religion of Islam.

b (85) The cosmopolitan nature of the religion of Islam having been clearly set forth in the previous verse, it is now stated that anyone who refused to accept such principles would unfailingly lose in the end. A Muslim accepts the whole truth, the truth as revealed to any prophet anywhere in the world, the truth as revealed to all mankind.

c (86) The persons meant are those who believed in the former prophets and disbelieved in the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Having clear signs of the Prophet's truth with them, and professing a belief in the prophets who had foretold the advent of the last of the prophets, they still disbelieved in him.



88 3. THE FAMILY OF AMRAN • 3 : 92

Section 10: Ever-living Testimony to Truth of Islam

92 You cannot attain to righteousness unless you spend (on good works) out of what you love." And what you spend, Allah surely knows it. 93 A11 food was lawful to the Children of Israel, before the Torah was revealed, except what Israel forbade himself. Say: Bring the Torah and read it, if you are truthful. 94 So whoever forges a lie against Allah after this, these are the wrongdoers.

95 Say: Allah speaks the truth; so follow the religion of Abraham, the upright one. And he was not one of those who set up partners (with Allah). 96 Certainly the first house appointed for mankind is the one at Bakkah, c blessed and a guidance for the nations. 97 In it are clear signs: (It is) the Place of Abraham; and whoever enters it is safe; and pilgrimage to the House is a duty which people owe to Allah â€" whoever can find a way to it. e And

a (92) The connection with the last verse is clear. No wealth will buy redemption for a person if he has wasted his opportunity here, and to make the best of that opportunity a person must spend here what he loves most.

b (93) The Jews objected to the Muslims making use of certain foods which the law of Moses did not allow. An answer is given here that such foods were lawful for Abraham and his descendants, and Islam agreed in principle with the religion of Abraham. By all food is meant all food made lawful for Muslims.

c (96-1) Bakkah is the same as Makkah (Mecca). The Temple at Jerusalem was erected long after Abraham, while the Holy House at Makkah was there even before Abraham, and was, in fact, the first House on earth for the worship of the Divine Being.

d (96-2) The word mubarak, rendered as blessed, signifies the continuance forever of the blessings which a thing possesses. Thus Makkah is not only the first spiritual centre for mankind but also the ultimate spiritual centre for the whole of humanity.

e (97) There are three signs or prophecies here with regard to the future of Makkah. The first sign is that it is the Place of Abraham and hence the first prophecy is that the doctrine of the Unity of God will be proclaimed to the whole world from this centre. The second sign is that Makkah will always be secure, i.e., it shall not fall into the hands of an enemy who should destroy it. Thus its security is assured both physically and spiritually. The third prophecy is that a pilgrimage to the Sacred House shall continue to be made forever, and no power in the world shall ever be able to put a stop to it. The most striking fact about these prophecies is that they were all announced at a time when the Prophet and his followers had

whoever disbelieves, surely Allah is above need of the worlds.

98 Say: O People of the Book, why do you disbelieve in the messages of Allah? And Allah is a witness of what you do. "Say: O People of the Book, why do you hinder those who believe from the way of Allah, seeking (to make) it crooked, while you are witnesses? And Allah is not heedless of what you do. 100 O you who believe, if you obey some of those who have been given the Book, they will turn you back as disbelievers after your belief. 101 And how can you disbelieve while to you are recited the messages of Allah, and among you is His Messenger? And whoever holds fast to Allah, he indeed is guided to a right path.

Section 11: Muslims exhorted to remain United

102 O you who believe, keep your duty to Allah, as it ought to be kept, and do not die except as Muslims." 103 And hold fast by the covenant of Allah all together and do not be disunited. And remember Allah's favour to you when you were enemies, then He united your hearts so by His favour you became brethren. And you were on the brink of a pit of fire, then He saved you from it. e Thus Allah makes clear to you His messages that you may be guided. 104 And from among you there should be a community who invite

apparently been driven away forever from the Sacred Place, when that place was in the exclusive possession of an enemy who did not allow the Muslims to visit it, and when the small Muslim community was in danger of being utterly destroyed by that powerful enemy at any moment.

a (102) The Muslims are exhorted, first to be individually conscious of the duty they owe to God (v. 102), and then to remain united in carrying the message of Islam to the whole world (v. 103). Every Muslim must live a life of true submission to God, so that when death comes to him it should find him a Muslim. As v. 104 shows, the Muslim's great duty, to which attention is called here, is the carrying of the message of Islam to others.

b (103-1) By the covenant of Allah is meant the Quran, a significance supported by sayings of the Holy Prophet. All Muslims, we are here told, should be united in holding fast to the Quran and carrying its message to other people.

c (103-2) Before the advent of the Holy Prophet, the Arabs were in a state of continual internecine warfare which threatened to devastate the whole country. He brought about the impossible of uniting all these factions.

to good and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong. And these are they who are successful." 105 And do not be like those who became divided and disagreed after clear arguments had come to them. And for them is a grievous punishment.

106 On the day when (some) faces will brighten and (some) faces will darken. Then as to those whose faces are darkened: Did you disbelieve after your belief? So taste the punishment because you disbelieved. 107 And as to those whose faces are brightened, they shall be in Allah's mercy. In it they shall abide. 108 These are the messages of Allah which We recite to you with truth. And Allah desires no injustice to (His) creatures. i° 9 And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And to Allah are all affairs returned.

Section 12: Relations of Muslims with Jews

110 You are the best nation raised up for mankind: you enjoin good and forbid evil and you believe in Allah. 0 And if the People of the Book had believed, it would have been better for them. Some of them are believers but most of them are transgressors. m They will not harm you except a slight hurt. And if they fight you, they will turn (their) backs to you. Then they will not be helped. ^Degradation will be their lot wherever they are found,

a (104) This verse and 9:122 both direct Muslims to have always among them a missionary group, whose only object should be the propagation of Islam and rightly directing their own people. This is the most neglected injunction of the Quran in our day. Muslims have arrangements for all other things but have no arrangements for inviting people to the great truth revealed in the Quran.

b (106) By faces brightening is meant their being expressive of joy, and by their darkening is meant their being expressive of regret. (Editor's Note: Physical colour of skin, white or black, is not meant here; compare 16:58: "And when the birth of a daughter is announced to one of them, his face becomes dark".)

c (110) The excellence of the Muslim people lies in their enjoining good and forbidding evil and in their great faith in Allah. If they lose these characteristics, they lose their excellence as well. Their excellence was no doubt due to the excellence of that Great Teacher who thoroughly purified them of the worst vices and made perfect the light within them.

except under a covenant with Allah and a covenant with people," and they shall incur the wrath of Allah, and humiliation will be made to cling to them. This is because they disbelieved in the messages of Allah and killed the prophets unjustly. This is because they disobeyed and exceeded the limits. 113 They are not all alike. Of the People of the Book some are upright â€" they recite Allah's messages in the night-time and they adore (Him). n4 They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and they enjoin good and forbid evil and hasten in (doing) good deeds. And those are among the righteous. 115 And whatever good they do, they will not be denied it. And Allah knows those who keep their duty.

116 Those who disbelieve, neither their wealth nor their children will avail them at all against Allah. And these are the companions of the Fire; in it they abide. 117 The likeness of what they spend in the life of this world is as the likeness of wind in which is intense cold; it strikes the harvest of a people who are unjust to themselves and destroys it. And Allah did not wrong them but they wronged themselves. n8 0 you who believe, do not take for intimate friends others than your own people: they spare no pains to cause you loss. c They love whatever distresses you. Vehement hatred has already appeared from out of their mouths, and what their hearts conceal is greater still. Indeed We have made the messages clear to you, if you understand. 119 Look! You are the ones who will love them while they do not love you, and you believe in the Book,

a (112) The Jews had already been subjected to disgrace before the appearance of the Prophet. But with the advent of Islam they could better their condition either by accepting the covenant of Allah, by which is meant the acceptance of Islam, or by making a compact of security with such people as could give them protection. This remains true to this day.

b (115) These verses speak of the good among the Jews and the Christians. The Quran does not deny that there is good in others, its own eminence lying in the fact that it makes man attain the highest degree of perfection in goodness. Thus the description of the upright among the followers of the Book concludes with the words: whatever good they do, they will not be denied it.

c (118) As the context shows, these people made war on the Muslims and wished to cause them loss. Hence Muslims could not be friendly with them.

d (119) This verse clearly indicates the difficulties which the Muslims had in

(in) the whole of it. And when they meet you they say, We believe, and when they are alone, they bite (their) finger tips in rage against you. Say: Die in your rage. Surely Allah is Knower of what is in the hearts. 120 If good befalls you, it grieves them, and if an evil afflicts you, they rejoice at it. And if you are patient and keep your duty, their struggle will not injure you in any way. Surely Allah encompasses what they do.

Section 13: The Battle of Uhud

121 And when you went forth early in the morning from your family, to assign to the believers their positions for the battle. a And Allah is Hearing, Knowing. 122 When two parties from among you thought of showing cowardice, and Allah was the Guardian of them both. And in Allah should the believers trust. 123 And Allah certainly helped you at Badr when you were weak. So keep your duty to Allah that you may give thanks.

124 When you said to the believers: Is it not sufficient for you that your Lord should help you with three thousand angels sent down? * 125 Indeed, if you are steadfast and keep your duty, and

establishing friendly and loving relations with non-Muslims. The Muslims would offer friendship, but the other party was always on the look-out for some opportunity to inflict loss on them.

a (121) Much of the rest of this chapter is devoted to the events of the battle of Uhud. In 3 A.H. the Quraish marched against Madinah. The Prophet at first intended to stay within the town, but afterwards marched into the open field with a thousand men, one-third of whom, under the leadership of Abdullah ibn Ubayy, the hypocrite leader, left him and returned to Madinah. The enemy were first completely routed, but fifty Muslim archers, who were placed in a strong position to cut off the retreat of the enemy, made a mistake, and in order to join in the pursuit left their position. The enemy fell back upon the Muslims who were now in disorder and had lost their naturally fortified position, and after inflicting some loss upon them, left the field secure from the pursuit of the Muslim force. It was not a victory for the Quraish, who thought it safe to go back when they found the Muslims involved in their own troubles. They could not take a single prisoner of war, nor had they the courage to attack Madinah, which they did two years later with a very strong force.

b (124) The promise of the coming of angels is fully explained in the 8th chapter in connection with the battle of Badr. As here, it is first stated there that

they come upon you in a headlong manner, your Lord will assist you with five thousand of havoc-making angels." 126 And Allah made it only as good news for you, and that your hearts might be at ease by it. And help comes only from Allah, the Mighty, the Wise, 127 that He may cut off a part of those who disbelieve or humble them so that they should return in failure. 128 You have no concern in the matter whether He turns to them (mercifully) or punishes them; surely they are wrongdoers/ 129 And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. He forgives whom He pleases and punishes whom He pleases. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Section 14: What Success meant for Muslims

130 O you who believe, do not devour usury, doubling and redoubling, and keep your duty to Allah, that you may be successful. 131 And guard yourselves against the fire which has been

the promise was given only "as good news, and that your hearts might be at ease by it" (8:10). Then it is made further clear there that the believers were strengthened and made firm while terror was cast into the hearts of their enemy. This was the result of the action of the angels upon the hearts.

a (125) The assistance of the angels stated in this verse refers to a third occasion, when the enemy came "in a headlong manner", all the tribes uniting with the Quraish to crush the Muslims. This happened in the battle of Ahzab, or the Allies, when the Quraish, numbering about five thousand, with the help of allied forces, the total strength being more than ten thousand, suddenly attacked Madinah. The dispersal of such a large army when the Muslims were only about fourteen hundred was no doubt due to Divine help, sent through angelic hosts.

b (127) Although the object of the disbelievers was to extirpate the Muslims by war, God's aim was not to destroy all the disbelievers by defeat but to cut off their ringleaders and chiefs. The word translated as "a part", taraf, also means the leading men. When the leaders of mischief were cut off, the rest would be disappointed of attaining the object of extirpating Islam, and persecution would cease.

c (128) As a mortal the Prophet might have sometimes desired a severe punishment for his enemies; but he is told that it was not his concern, for Allah might as well forgive them, even though they deserved punishment. The all-comprehensiveness of the Divine mercy expressed in this verse is unapproached in sacred literature.

prepared for the disbelievers." 132 And obey Allah and the Messenger, that you may be shown mercy.

133 And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden, as wide as the heavens and the earth; it is prepared for those who keep their duty: 134 Those who spend in ease as well as in adversity and those who restrain (their) anger and pardon people. And Allah loves the doers of good (to others). 135 And those who, when they commit an indecency or wrong their souls, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins. And who forgives sins but Allah? And they do not persist knowingly in what they do. 136 Their reward is protection from their Lord, and Gardens in which rivers flow, to abide in them. And excellent is the reward of the workers!

137 Indeed there have been examples before you; so travel in the earth and see what was the end of the deniers. i 38 This is a clear statement for mankind, and a guidance and an admonition to those who would keep their duty. 139 And do not be weak-hearted, nor grieve, and you will have the upper hand if you are believers. 140 If a wound has afflicted you, a wound like it has also afflicted the (disbelieving) people. And We bring these days to people by turns, that Allah may know e those who believe and (He may) take witnesses from among you. And Allah does not love the wrongdoers, 141 and that He may purge those who believe and deprive the disbelievers of blessings. 142 Do you think that you will enter the Garden while Allah has not yet known those from among you who strive hard (nor) known the steadfast? 143 And certainly you desired death before you met it. So indeed you have seen it now as you look/

a (131) The fire in this case is excessive love of wealth. See chapter 104.

b (134) Restraining of anger, pardoning, and doing good to others, besides being great moral qualities, strengthen the bond of union which is so necessary for success. The verse has on many occasions inspired Muslims with the noblest thoughts of toleration and charitableness.

c (140) Allah knows all that is seen or unseen. The knowing here and the not knowing in v. 142 refer to the knowledge of the event actually having taken place.

d (143) This refers to the desire of those who insisted that they should meet the enemy in the open field, while the Holy Prophet's own desire was that the Muslims should defend themselves within Madinah.

Section 15: Sufferings to be met with Perseverance

144 And Muhammad is but a messenger â€" messengers have already passed away before him. If then he dies or is killed, will you turn back upon your heels? " And he who turns back upon his heels will do no harm at all to Allah. And Allah will reward the grateful. 145 And no soul can die but with Allah's permission â€" the term is fixed. And whoever desires the reward of this world, We give him of it, and whoever desires the reward of the Hereafter, We give him of it. And We shall reward the grateful.

146 And how many a prophet has fought, with whom were many worshippers of the Lord. So they did not lose heart on account of what befell them in Allah's way, nor did they weaken, nor did they disgrace themselves. And Allah loves the steadfast. 147 And their cry was only that they said: Our Lord, grant us protection from our sins and our extravagance in our affair, and make firm our feet and grant us victory over the disbelieving people. 148 So Allah gave them the reward of the world and a good reward of the Hereafter. And Allah loves the doers of good (to others).

Section 16: Causes of Misfortune in Battle of Uhud

149 O you who believe, if you obey those who disbelieve, they will make you turn back upon your heels, so you will turn back losers. 150 Rather, Allah is your Patron, and He is the Best of

a (144) The Prophet received severe wounds in the battle of Uhud; there was even a rumour that he was killed. Even if the Prophet were killed, Islam was so far superior to all forms of faith that the Muslims could not give up Islam. This verse served another important purpose at the death of the Prophet. Some of the Companions thought that he was not dead. Abu Bakr went in, and seeing that life had departed, ascended the pulpit and read this verse, which had a magical effect upon his hearers, all of them being convinced that the Prophet had passed away, as all prophets had passed away before him. The prophets were but mortals, and their span of mortal life must no doubt terminate like that of other mortals. This verse affords a conclusive proof that Jesus was also dead; otherwise Abu Bakr's argument could not have silenced the doubters of the Prophet's death.

b (149) The war was carried on only with the object of making the Muslims renounce their religion, and hence they could not think of accepting the disbelievers as their rulers.

the helpers. 151 We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve a because they set up partners with Allah for which He has sent down no authority, and their abode is the Fire. And evil is the abode of the wrongdoers.

152 And Allah certainly made good His promise to you when you slew them by His permission, until you became weak-hearted and disputed about the affair and disobeyed after He had shown you what you loved. Some of you desired this world, and some of you desired the Hereafter. Then He turned you away from them that He might try you; and He has indeed pardoned you. c And Allah is Gracious to the believers. 153 When you went away far, and paid no heed to anyone, and the Messenger was calling you in your rear. So He gave you (another) grief for (your) first grief that you might not grieve at what escaped you, nor (at) what befell you. And Allah is Aware of what you do.

a (151) The Muslims were less than one-fourth of their opponents, being at the same time not so well equipped as their foes, and in spite of the disorder into which the Muslim forces had fallen, the enemy had to flee, leaving the Muslims in the field, not even making a show of attacking Madinah, which was quite defenceless. This clearly shows that they were terror-stricken.

b (152-1) The weak-heartedness of a part of the archers who were placed in an important position to cut off the enemy's retreat consisted in their disobeying the clear orders of the Prophet: "If you see us overcoming the enemy do not leave your position, and if you see the enemy overcoming us, do not leave your position". But they fell a prey to the love of the world and left their position to get a share in the booty when they saw the enemy fleeing before the Muslim onrush.

c (152-2) The enemy, who was being pursued, turned against the pursuers on seeing the important position of the archers vacated, and the result was that the Muslims who were now in disorder on account of the pursuit found themselves helpless against the enemy who turned back on them, and some of them who were cut off from the main body took to flight. However, God pardoned them as their flight was the result of circumstances which were beyond their control.

d (153) It refers to the Prophet's call, at whom the Muslims now saw that the attack of the enemy was directed. So they did not grieve for losing an opportunity of pursuing the enemy, but for the dangerous position in which they saw the Prophet.

154 Then after grief He sent down security on you, slumber overcoming a group of you," while (there was) another group whom their own minds had made anxious â€" they entertained about Allah thoughts of ignorance quite unjustly. They said: Have we any hand in the affair? Say: The affair is wholly (in the hands) of Allah. They hide within themselves what they would not reveal to you. They say: If we had any hand in the affair, we would not have been slain here. c Say: Had you remained in your houses, those for whom slaughter was ordained would have gone forth to the places where they would be slain. And (this happened) that Allah might test what was in your minds and that He might purge what was in your hearts. And Allah is Knower of what is in the minds. i S5 Those of you who turned back on the day when the two armies met, only the devil sought to cause them to make a slip on account of some deeds they had done, and certainly Allah has pardoned them. Surely Allah is Forgiving, Forbearing. 6

a (154-1) This happened when the enemy departed. The slumber was a sign of security.

b (154-2) These were the disaffected who took no part in fighting. They now gave vent to their hidden rancour against the Muslims. The evil thoughts which the hypocrites entertained about Allah were that Allah had not helped the Muslims.

c (154-3) The hypocrites sided with the minority whose counsel was that the Muslims should not fight the enemy in the open field and should remain besieged in Madinah. The majority was, however, in favour of going out and meeting the enemy where it had encamped. The Prophet decided that the majority vote must be accepted. The hypocrites now argued that the disaster would not have befallen the Muslims if their advice as to remaining within the town had been accepted. They took no part in fighting but they spoke of the loss of the Muslims as their own loss.

d (154-4) They are given the reply that even if the Muslims had defended themselves by remaining in Madinah, those who laid down their lives in the field of Uhud would have laid them down in Madinah as well.

e (155) The persons spoken of here are those who were unable to join the main Muslim army and fled to Madinah, or in some other direction. It was a slip on their part, not intentional disobedience, and God granted them a free pardon.

3. THE FAMILY OF AMRAN • 3 : 156

Section 17: Battle of Uhud afforded a Distinction

156 O you who believe, do not be like those who disbelieve and say of their brethren when they travel in the earth or engage in fighting: If they had been with us, they would not have died, or been killed;" that Allah may make it a regret in their hearts. And Allah gives life and causes death. And Allah is Seer of what you do. 157 And if you are killed in Allah's way or you die, surely Allah's protection and (His) mercy are better than what they amass. 158 And if you die or you are killed, to Allah you are gathered.

159 Thus it is by Allah's mercy that you are gentle to them. And if you had been rough, hard-hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you. b So pardon them and ask protection for them, and consult them in (important) matters/ But when you have determined, put jour trust in Allah. Surely Allah loves those who trust (in Him). 160 If Allah helps you, there is none that can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there that can help you after Him? And in Allah should the believers put their trust.

161 And it is not for a prophet to act dishonestly. And whoever acts dishonestly will bring his dishonesty on the day of

a (156) By "their brethren" are meant their relatives who were sincere in professing Islam, and who had to lay down their lives in defence of their faith.

b (159-1) The Quran calls attention to the Prophet's gentle dealing with those around him when speaking of his experience in the field of battle as a general, a capacity which required him to be very strict in punishing any delinquency. He was the ablest general in leading his men, yet his gentle manners and his forbearance in dealing with his friends as well as foes stand in remarkable contrast with his capacity as a commander in the field of battle. After the Uhud trouble he did not speak even a harsh word to those who were guilty of disobeying his orders.

c (159-2) It was the majority decision to meet the enemy in the open field that had brought about the present trouble, but just at this juncture Divine revelation affirmed the principle of adhering to decision by counsel.

d (159-3) Trusting in Allah does not imply inaction. Everything necessary is to be done. A course of action must be determined and then in pursuing that course trust must be placed in Allah. The consequences must then be accepted.

Resurrection. Then shall every soul be paid back fully what it has earned, and they will not be wronged. 162 Is then he who follows the pleasure of Allah like him who incurs Allah's displeasure, and his abode is hell? And it is an evil destination. 163 There are grades with Allah. And Allah is Seer of what they do.

164 Certainly Allah conferred a favour on the believers when He raised among them a Messenger from among themselves, reciting to them His messages and purifying them, and teaching them the Book and the Wisdom, although before that they were surely in manifest error. 165 What! When a misfortune befell you, and you had inflicted twice as much, you say: From where is this? Say: It is from yourselves. Surely Allah is Powerful over all things. 166 And what befell you on the day when the two armies met was by Allah's permission, that He might know the believers, 167 and that He might know the hypocrites. And it was said to them: Come, fight in Allah's way, or defend yourselves." They said: If we knew fighting, we would have followed you. They were on that day nearer to disbelief than to belief; they say with their mouths what is not in their hearts. And Allah best knows what they conceal. 168 Those who said of their brethren whilst they (themselves) held back: If they had obeyed us, they would not have been killed. Say: Avert death from yourselves, if you are truthful.

169 And do not think of those who are killed in Allah's way as dead. Rather, they are alive being provided sustenance from their Lord, 170 rejoicing in what Allah has given them out of His grace, and they rejoice for the sake of those who, (being left) behind them, have not yet joined them, that they have no fear, nor shall they grieve. 171 They rejoice for Allah's favour and (His) grace, and that Allah does not waste the reward of the believers.

a (167) The words show clearly that, in the language of the Quran, fighting in Allah's way carries the significance of fighting in self-defence.

Section 18: Uhud no gain to the Enemy

172 Those who responded to the call of Allah and the Messenger after the misfortune had befallen them â€" for such among them who do good and keep their duty is a great reward. 173 Those to whom people said: Surely men have gathered against you, so fear them; but this increased their faith, and they said: Allah is sufficient for us and He is an excellent Guardian. i 74 So they returned with favour from Allah and (His) grace; no evil touched them, and they followed the pleasure of Allah. And Allah is the Lord of mighty grace. 175 It is the devil who only frightens his friends, but do not fear them, and fear Me, if you are believers.

176 And do not let those grieve you who run into disbelief hastily; surely they can do no harm to Allah. Allah does not intend to assign them any portion in the Hereafter; and for them is a grievous punishment. 177 Those who buy disbelief at the price of faith can do no harm to Allah, and for them is a painful punishment. 178 And those who disbelieve should not think that our granting them respite is good for themselves. We grant them respite only that they may add to their sins; and for them is a humiliating punishment. 179 Allah will not leave the believers in the condition in which you are until He separates the evil from the good. Nor is Allah going to make you acquainted with the unseen, but Allah chooses of His messengers whom He pleases. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And if you believe and keep your duty, you will have a great reward.

180 And those who are miserly in spending what Allah has granted them out of His grace should not think that it is good for them. Rather, it is evil for them. They shall have a collar of their miserliness on their necks on the day of Resurrection." And Allah's is the heritage of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Aware of what you do.

a (180) The same idea in more general terms, as to the effect of deeds being bound to the neck, is expressed in 17:13. Every person carries the effect of his deeds with him in this life, but on the day of Resurrection that effect will become clearly visible.

Section 19: Carpings of the People of the Book

181 Allah has certainly heard the saying of those who said: Allah is poor and we are rich. We shall record what they say, and their killing the prophets unjustly, and We shall say: Taste the punishment of burning." 182 This is for what your own hands have sent ahead, and because Allah is not in the least unjust to the servants. 183 Those who say: Allah has enjoined us that we should not believe in any messenger until he brings us an offering which is consumed by fire.* Say: Indeed messengers came to you before me with clear arguments and with what you demand. Why then did you try to kill them, if you are truthful? e 184 But if they reject you, so indeed were rejected before you messengers who came with clear arguments and scriptures and the illuminating Book. 185 Every soul must taste of death. And you will be paid your reward fully only on the day of Resurrection. Then whoever is removed far from the Fire and is made to enter the Garden, he indeed attains the object. And the life of this world is nothing but a provision of vanities.

186 You will certainly be tried in your property and your persons. And you will certainly hear from those who have been given the Book before you and from the idolaters much abuse. And if you are patient and keep your duty, surely this is an affair of great resolution. 187 And when Allah took a covenant from

a (181) The Jews ridiculed the poverty of the Muslims and their borrowings from the Jewish money-lenders. They also ridiculed the raising of funds for the defence of the faith by subscriptions. See also 5:64.

b (183-1) They were referring to the burnt offerings of the Mosaic law.

c (183-2) The critics are told that they even sought to kill those prophets who followed the Mosaic law, who came "with what you demand".

d (186) This verse speaks of the future, in fact the distant future. The abuses which have been heaped on Islam in the past two centuries are without a parallel in the whole history of religion. The scurrilous language of Western publications, political as well as Christian, and the vituperations of their imitators elsewhere have exceeded all moral bounds. But Muslims are taught in this verse to bear all such abuse only with patience. (Editor's Note: Hence it is not at all required or even allowed in Islam that Muslims should respond by killing or physically attacking

those who were given the Book: You shall explain it to people and shall not hide it. But they threw it behind their backs and took a small price for it. And evil is what they buy. 188 Do not think that those who exult in what they have done, and love to be praised for what they have not done â€" do not think them to be safe from the punishment; and for them is a painful punishment. 189 And Allah's is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Powerful over all things.

Section 20: Ultimate Triumph of the Faithful

190 In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day, there are surely signs for those who have understanding, 191 those who remember Allah, standing and sitting and (lying) on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: Our Lord, You have not created this in vain! Glory be to You! Save us from the punishment of the Fire. a 192 0ur Lord, whomsoever You make enter the Fire, him You indeed bring to disgrace. And there will be no helpers for the wrongdoers. 193 0ur Lord, surely we have heard a Crier calling to the faith, saying: Believe in your Lord. So we do believe. Our Lord, grant us protection from our sins and remove our evils and make us die with the righteous. 194 0ur Lord, grant us what You have promised us by Your messengers and do not disgrace us on the day of Resurrection. Surely You never fail in (Your) promise!

195 So their Lord accepted their prayer, (saying): I will not let the work of any worker among you to be lost, whether male or

those who vilify Islam and its Holy Prophet. See also 20:130, 33:48, 73:10, 4:140 and 6:68 which lead to the same conclusion.)

a (191) This chapter, like the one before it, ends with a prayer for the victory of Faith over disbelief and a prediction for its ultimate triumph. Verses 190-191 describe true believers on the one hand as remembering God in the midst of all worldly pursuits, standing and sitting and lying on their sides, being thus fully conscious of the Divine presence in all conditions; and, on the other, they set out for the conquest of nature with the full consciousness that nothing has been created in vain and that a purpose underlies the whole of creation. This is the grand object which Islam sets before its followers, to conquer self by remembrance of God and to conquer nature by pursuit of knowledge.

female; each of you is as the other. So those who fled and were driven forth from their homes and persecuted in My way and who fought and were slain," I shall truly remove their evil and make them enter Gardens in which rivers flow â€" a reward from Allah. And with Allah is the best reward. 196 Do not let control in the land, of those who disbelieve, deceive you. 197 A brief enjoyment! Then their abode is hell. And evil is the resting-place. 198 But those who keep their duty to their Lord, for them are Gardens in which rivers flow, to abide therein; and entertainment from their Lord. And what Allah has in store for the righteous is best.

199 And among the People of the Book are those who believe in Allah and (in) what has been revealed to you and (in) what has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before Allah â€" they do not take a small price for the messages of Allah. These it is that have their reward with their Lord. Surely Allah is Swift to take account! 200 O you who believe, be steadfast and try to excel in steadfastness and guard (the frontiers). And keep your duty to Allah that you may be successful.

a (195) Editor's Note: This shows that Muslims were first made to flee, were driven from their homes, and were persecuted for worshipping the One God, by their enemies, and it was then that they fought in battles in which they were slain. And they fought only after war was made upon them; see 22:39-40, 2:190.

b (200) While victory is predicted for the Muslims, they are required to be humble in the hour of triumph, as at the close of the last chapter. The three qualities spoken of here, namely, steadfastness or endurance, trying to excel in steadfastness, and guarding, carry a temporal as well as a spiritual significance. They require, on the one hand, showing endurance in wars, excelling the enemy in endurance and to remain in readiness on the frontiers of the Muslim territory to meet the enemy, and, on the other, remaining steadfast in keeping away from evil and in keeping to obedience to God, trying to excel each other in the quality of endurance and to remain on guard against the temptations of the devil.

Chapter 4 Ai-Nisa' Women

This chapter deals chiefly with the rights of women. The battle of Uhud, dealt with in the last chapter, had left a large number of orphans and widows among the Muslims, and this chapter opens with the subject of duties towards them followed by rights of women generally. During the battle of Uhud the hypocrites had deserted the Muslims, and this chapter then deals with the subject of hypocrisy. Following the battle of Uhud had come the final rupture with the Jews as they had sided with the enemy, and the chapter towards its end speaks of their transgressions against the Israelite prophets and their allegations against Jesus. This chapter was mainly revealed in 4 A.H.

Section 1: Duties of Guardians to Orphans

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 O people, keep your duty to your Lord, Who created you from a single being and created its mate of the same (kind)," and spread from these two many men and women.* And keep your duty to Allah, by Whom you demand one of another (your rights), and (to) the ties of relationship. Surely Allah is ever a Watcher over you.

a (1-1) How the first man was created is not stated either in the Quran or in the Hadith, nor is the Bible statement accepted that Eve was created from a rib of Adam. Muslims do not accept that man was created six thousand years ago. There are traditions stating that there were many Adams, even hundreds of thousands of Adams, before our Adam. Nor do Muslims accept that our world is the only world in this universe; one Imam is reported as saying that in God's universe there are twelve thousand systems each bigger than our solar system. The words "Who created you from a single being and created its mate of the same" only declare the unity of the human race and the equality of the male and the female. Elsewhere we are told that for all of you wives are created from yourselves: 'And Allah has made wives for you from among yourselves" (16:72).

b (1-2) "Many men and women" spring from married pairs. The verse does not necessarily refer to any parent pair of the whole of mankind. It reminds people of the strength of the ties of relationship, an idea mentioned in what follows.

2 And give to orphans their property, and do not substitute worthless (things) for (their) good (ones), nor devour their property (adding) to your own property. This is surely a great sin. a 3 And if you fear that you cannot do justice to orphans, marry such women as seem good to you, two, or three, or four; * but if you fear that you will not do justice, then (marry) only one or what your right hands possess. c This is more proper that you may not do injustice. 4 And give women their dowries as a free gift. But if they of themselves are pleased to give you a portion from it, consume it with enjoyment and pleasure/

a (2) The care of the orphan was one of the earliest injunctions that Islam gave, and the Prophet had always shown a deep anxiety for the welfare of the poor and the orphans; see 2:220 and 90:15-16. The subject is here introduced in detail because of the number of orphans having been greatly increased by the war.

b (3-1) This passage permits polygamy under certain circumstances; it does not prescribe it, nor even permit it unconditionally. This chapter was revealed to guide the Muslims under the conditions which followed the battle of Uhud, and the last chapter deals with that battle. Now in that battle 70 men out of 700 Muslims had been killed, and this had greatly decreased the number of males. The number was likely to diminish further still in the battles which had yet to be fought. Thus many orphans would be left in the charge of widows, who would find it difficult to procure the necessary means of support. Hence in the first verse of this chapter Muslims are enjoined to respect ties of relationship. As they all came from a single ancestor, a breadth is introduced into the idea of relationship. In the second verse the care of orphans is particularly stressed. In the third verse we are told that if they could not do justice to the orphans, they might marry the widows, whose children would thus become their own children; and as the number of women was now much greater than the number of men, they were permitted to marry even two or three or four women. The Holy Prophet's own action in marrying widows corroborates this statement. Marriage with orphan girls is also sanctioned in this passage, for there were the same difficulties in their case as in the case of widows, and the words are general. See also 4:127. It is not only the preponderance of females over males that necessitates polygamy in certain cases, but there is a variety of other circumstances, not only for the moral but also for the physical welfare of society.

c (3-2) By what your right hands possess are meant the females who were taken prisoners in war. The Quran sanctions marriage with them in this verse. As for the conditions of that marriage, see 4:25.

d (4) It is obligatory in Islam that a "dowry" or nuptial gift should be given by the husband to the wife at the time of marriage, whether she is a free woman,

5 And do not make over your property, which Allah has made a (means of) support for you, a to the weak of understanding, and maintain them out of it, and clothe them and give them a good education. 6 And test the orphans until they reach the age of marriage/ Then if you find in them maturity of intellect, make over to them their property, and do not consume it extravagantly and hastily against their growing up. And whoever is rich, let him abstain, and whoever is poor let him consume reasonably. And when you make over to them their property, call witnesses in their presence. And Allah is enough as a Reckoner.

7 For men is a share of what the parents and the near relatives leave, and for women a share of what the parents and the near

an orphan girl, or a prisoner of war. So every woman begins her married life as the owner of some property, and thus marriage is the means of raising her status. The practice has, however, become more or less general to recognize dowry as a debt which the husband owes to the wife and which she can claim when she likes.

a (5-1) By your property is meant the property of the orphans which is under your control as guardians. This verse requires guardianship in the case of all who are weak of understanding, whether minors or not. While on the one hand the Quran lays stress on the transitoriness of this life, on the other it teaches that wealth is not a thing to be despised or wasted, because it is the means of support.

b (5-2) The words "give them a good education" are generally rendered as meaning "speak to them good words", but the word qaul (speak) is used to express all kinds of deeds. After referring to the maintenance and clothing of the orphans in a befitting manner, the Quran now calls attention to another great need of theirs which is education. From the first revelation, Islam laid stress on knowledge, read and write (96:1-5) being its very first message, and the Prophet spoke of the acquisition of knowledge as being as great a need of humanity as the acquisition of wealth. It is the education of orphans that the Quran refers to here, and the next verse which enjoins guardians to "test" their wards makes it clear.

c (6-1) These words show further that the guardian is not only responsible for the education of the wards but he is also required to examine them and see what progress they have made. According to Abu Hanifah, majority is attained at eighteen years, but if maturity of intellect is not attained at eighteen, the limit may be extended. These words, moreover, show that marriage should be performed at an age after a person has attained majority, not before it, for the age of marriage is spoken of as being the age of attaining majority.

d (6-2) These words allow payment of reasonable wages to the manager of a ward's estate out of the ward's property if the manager is not a rich man.

relatives leave, whether it is little or much â€" an appointed share. " 8 And when relatives and the orphans and the needy are present at the division, give them out of it and speak to them kind words. 'And let those fear who, if they should leave behind them weakly offspring, would fear on their account; so let them observe their duty to Allah and let them speak right words. 10 Those who swallow the property of the orphans unjustly, they swallow only fire into their bellies. And they will burn in blazing fire.

Section 2: Law of Inheritance

11 Allah commands you concerning your children: for the male is the equal of the portion of two females; but if there are more than two females, two-thirds of what the deceased leaves is theirs; and if there is one, for her is the half. e And as for his parents, for each of them is the sixth of what he leaves, if he has a child; but if he has no child and (only) his two parents inherit him, for his mother is the third; but if he has brothers, for his mother is the sixth, after (payment of) a bequest he may have bequeathed or a debt. Your parents and your children, you do not know which of them is the nearer to you in benefit. This is an ordinance from Allah. Surely Allah is ever Knowing, Wise.

a (7) Among the Arabs, women and children had no share in inheritance. Islam introduced a great reform. The principle laid down here is the basis of the Muslim law of inheritance. Children and near relatives, or failing these, distant relatives, whether males or females, are the lawful heirs, and the whole of the property does not go to the eldest son. This is in accordance with the broad principles of democracy and the brotherhood of man which Islam seeks to establish.

b (8) That is, distant relatives who for any reason are not entitled to inherit.

c (11-1) By females are here meant the female children. When daughters are the sole heirs they are entitled to a share of two-thirds of the inheritance if there are two or more of them (the words "more than two" include the case of two daughters). If there is only one daughter she is entitled to a half.

d (11-2) The parents first take their respective shares, and the residue goes to the children, if there are any, failing which, the share of the parents is increased. But in case the deceased has brothers, the mother receives the same share as she would have received if the deceased had children. In all cases the payment of bequests and debts takes precedence of the shares of the heirs.

12 And yours is half of what your wives leave if they have no child; but if they have a child, your share is a fourth of what they leave after (payment of) any bequest they may have bequeathed or a debt; and theirs is the fourth of what you leave if you have no child, but if you have a child, their share is the eighth of what you leave after (payment of) a bequest you may have bequeathed or a debt." And if a man or a woman, having no children, leaves property to be inherited and he (or she) has a brother or a sister, then for each of them is the sixth; but if they are more than that, they shall be sharers in the third after (payment of) a bequest that may have been bequeathed or a debt not injuring (others). e This is an ordinance from Allah, and Allah is Knowing, Forbearing.

13 These are Allah's limits. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, He will admit him to Gardens in which rivers flow, to abide in them. And this is the mighty achievement. 14 And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger and goes beyond His limits, He will make him enter fire to abide in it, and for him is a humiliating punishment.

Section 3: Treatment of Women

15 And as for those of your women who are guilty of an indecency, call to witness against them four (witnesses) from among you; so if they bear witness, confine them to the houses until death takes them away or Allah opens a way for them.''

a (12-1) The husband or the wife (and surviving parents) take their fixed shares first, and the residue goes to the children. The two-thirds share for two or more daughters can only be given when there are neither parents, nor husband or wife; otherwise they take the residue, as in the case of sons or sons and daughters.

b (12-2) This is the case where the deceased has no children but has parents, and therefore the brothers and sisters are not the only heirs and their share is only one-sixth. See 4:176 for one who leaves neither children nor parents, and therefore the brothers and the sisters take the whole of the inheritance.

c (12-3) The words not injuring others mean that debts and bequests shall not prejudice the rights of the legal heirs.

d (15) The word "indecency" here signifies immoral conduct short of illicit sexual intercourse, the punishment for which is given in 24:2. Women guilty of

16 And as for the two of you who are guilty of it, give them both a slight punishment; then if they repent and amend, turn aside from them. a Surely Allah is ever Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.

17 Repentance with Allah is only for those who do evil in ignorance, then turn (to Allah) soon, so these it is to whom Allah turns (mercifully). And Allah is ever Knowing, Wise. 18 And repentance is not for those who go on doing evil deeds, until when death comes to one of them, he says: Now I repent; nor (for) those who die while they are disbelievers. For such We have prepared a painful punishment.

19 O you who believe, it is not lawful for you to take women as heritage against (their) will. c Nor should you cause them hardship by taking part of what you have given them, unless they are guilty of manifest indecency. And treat them kindly. Then if you

immoral conduct are curtailed of their liberty. If they mend their ways, or being unmarried they get married, a way is opened for them by Allah, and they regain their liberty.

a (16) The crime spoken of in this verse is the same as that in the previous verse. The committers are two, and though the masculine gender is used, it does not imply that they are both necessarily males. Slight punishment has been explained as meaning reproving with the tongue.

b (18) Repentance, according to the Quran, implies an actual change in the course of one's life, not the mere utterance of words. In fact, the law stated here shows how repentance does away with sins. When the very course of a person's life is changed in respect of a particular sin, the tendency to that sin is uprooted. But those who continue doing evil until death cannot obtain the benefit of repentance, because there is no time left for them to improve themselves.

c (19-1) Among the pre-Islamic Arabs, when a man died his elder son or other relations had a right to possess his widow or widows, marrying them themselves if they wished, without settling a dowry on them, marrying them to others, or prohibiting them from marriage altogether. This is abolished by these words.

d (19-2) This passage remedies another evil. Some husbands who were dissatisfied with their wives gave them trouble in order to force them to claim a divorce and remit the dowry (i.e., the legally-due nuptial gift from the husband to the wife). This is disallowed. If the judge finds that the fault lies actually with the husband, he will not allow the dowry to be remitted in his favour. It can only be taken back if the woman is guilty of immoral conduct. In such cases, when the fault is with the woman, she may be required to return it wholly or in part.

hate them, it may be that you dislike a thing while Allah has placed abundant good in it. 20 And if you wish to have (one) wife in the place of another and you have given one of them a heap of gold, take nothing from it. Would you take it by slandering (her) and (doing her) manifest wrong? a 2 iAnd how can you take it when you have been intimate with each other and they have taken from you a strong covenant?

22 And do not marry women whom your fathers married, except what has already passed. This surely is indecent and hateful; and it is an evil way.

Section 4: What Women may be taken in Marriage

23 Forbidden to you are your mothers, and your daughters, and your sisters, and your paternal aunts, and your maternal aunts, and brother's daughters and sister's daughters, and your mothers that have suckled you, and your foster-sisters, and mothers of your wives, and your stepdaughters who are in your guardianship (born) of your wives with whom you have had sexual relations â€" but if you have not had sexual relations with them, there is no blame on you â€" and the wives of your sons who are of your own loins; and that you should have two sisters together, except what has already passed. Surely Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful,

24 And all married women except those whom your right «■ hands possess (are forbidden); c (this is) Allah's ordinance to you.

a (20) Another social evil was that a husband, wanting to marry another woman instead, would accuse his wife of adultery or other gross immorality, thus compelling her to obtain a divorce by paying a large sum of money.

b (21) Marriage is here called a covenant or agreement between the husband and the wife. As there can be no agreement unless both parties give their consent to it, marriage in Islam can only be entered into with the free consent of the husband and wife.

c (24-1) It is thus forbidden to a man to marry a woman who is already married. An exception is made, however, regarding those whom your right hands possess. This expression may here mean those whom you have lawfully taken in marriage, and the meaning would be that all free women are prohibited to you except those whom you have lawfully married. Generally by this expression in the

â–º0 85

And lawful for you are (all women) besides those, provided that you seek (them) with your property, taking (them) in marriage, not committing fornication. Then as to those whom you profit by (by marrying), give them their dowries as appointed. And there is no blame on you about what you mutually agree after what is appointed (of dowry)." Surely Allah is ever Knowing, Wise.

25 And whoever among you cannot afford to marry free believing women, (let him marry) such of your believing maidens as your right hands possess. And Allah knows best your faith â€" you are (sprung) the one from the other. So marry them with the permission of their masters, and give them their dowries justly, they being chaste, not fornicating, nor taking lovers in secret; then if they are guilty of adultery when they are taken in marriage, they shall suffer half the punishment for free married women. This is for him among you who fears falling into evil. And that you abstain is better for you. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Section 5: Women's Rights over their Earnings

26 Allah desires to explain to you, and to guide you into the ways of those before you, and to turn to you (mercifully). And Allah is Knowing, Wise. 27 And Allah desires to turn to you (mercifully). And those who follow (their) lusts desire that you should deviate (with) a great deviation. 28 Allah desires to make

Quran are meant those who are taken prisoners in war. It sometimes happened that such prisoners became converts to Islam, and therefore they could not be sent back. Such women it was lawful to take in marriage, even though they might not have been divorced formally by their former husbands.

a (24-2) The husband and the wife are free to increase or decrease the amount of dowry fixed at the time of marriage by agreement among themselves.

b (25) There is no verse in the Quran or any instance in the Holy Prophet's life sanctioning what is called concubinage. Whenever the establishment of conjugal relations with slave-girls or women prisoners of war is mentioned, their taking in marriage is clearly laid down as a condition as in v. 3, v. 24, and this verse. Here marriage with such women is allowed under the following conditions: (1) they should be Muslims; (2) a man has not the means to marry a free woman, and (3) he fears to fall into evil.

light your burdens, and man is created weak."

29 O you who believe, do not swallow up your property among yourselves by false means except that it be trading by your mutual consent. And do not kill your peopled Surely Allah is ever Merciful to you. 30 And whoever does this aggressively and unjustly, We shall soon cast him into fire. And this is ever easy for Allah. 31 If you shun the great things which you are forbidden, We shall do away with your evil (inclinations) and make you enter an honourable place of entering.

32 And do not hanker after what Allah has given some of you above others. For men is the benefit of what they earn. And for women is the benefit of what they earn. And ask Allah of His grace. Surely Allah is ever Knower of all things. 33 And to everyone We have appointed heirs of whatever parents and near relatives leave. And as to those with whom your right hands have ratified agreements, give them their due. Surely Allah is ever Witness over all things. e

a (28) In Islam all principles of right action are stated with such completeness, devoid of unnecessary details, that the real burden of man is much lighter than in any other religion. It, moreover, points out the right way for man's freedom from the bondage of sin, and thus reduces his burden by saving him from falling into evil ways. Man being "created weak" refers to Allah's great mercy in having shown him the truth and guidance, because he could not chalk out a way for himself which was free from error.

b (29-1) All illegal methods of acquiring property are forbidden. Only the seeking of gain from one another by trading by mutual consent is allowed. The passage is particularly directed to guard women's right to property, because it was women's and orphans' property that was generally swallowed up unjustly.

c (29-2) This forbids the killing of anfusa-kum, which means your people or yourselves. In the first case, the significance is that life must also be protected; in the second case, it is an injunction against suicide which according to the law of Islam is a grave sin. (Editor's Note: This injunction also forbids sending "your people" on suicide missions to their certain death.)

rf(31) If a person avoids committing sins, the evil inclinations within him die also. Division of sins into kabira (major) and saghira (minor) is baseless.

e (33) In pre-Islamic days, people entered into covenants with one another, by which they undertook to defend and inherit one another. Such inheritance was abolished by this verse, and the words give them their due mean the rendering of assistance in general.

Section 6: Disagreement between Husband and Wife

34 Men are the maintainers of women, with what Allah has given some of them above others and with what they spend out of their wealth. So the good women are obedient (to Allah)," guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded. And (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the beds e and turn them away (from wrongdoing). So if they obey

a (34-1) Obedience here signifies obedience to Allah. This significance of the word is made clear by a comparison with 33:31, 33:35, and 66:5.

b (34-2) This refers to their guarding the husband's rights. The two qualifications of a good wife as given here are her obedience to God and chastity.

c (34-3) The word translated here as desertion, when used about a woman in connection with her husband, means her rising against her husband. This is explained by the commentators in a number of ways; for example, her leaving the husband's place and taking up an abode which he does not like or that the wife resisted her husband and hated him and deserted him. The remedy for her correction is that she is to be admonished, but if she persists in the wrong course, her bed is to be separated, i.e. a cessation of sexual relations.

rf(34-4) Editor's Note: The words translated as "turn them away" use the term darb, and have often been translated as "beat them". Maulana Muhammad Ali rendered them as "chastise them" and explained that very slight chastisement was allowed only in extreme cases, which should not leave an impression, and further that this permission is meant only for the crass type of people in society among whom such chastisement is acceptable. However, as he pointed out in his footnotes on verses 2:60 and 2:73, the verb darb signifies "all kinds of actions except a few"; and apart from striking it is used to mean, for example, marching on, setting forth a parable, and likening. In these other senses it is commonly used in the Quran. It is used in 43:5 as meaning to turn (something) away: "Shall We then turn away the Reminder from you...?", which is how Maulana Muhammad Ali and many other translators have rendered this verse. This sense seems to be applicable here. Thus the meaning here would be that by admonishing and, if necessary, breaking off sexual relations, the husband should turn the wife away from her wrong course, or it may mean that if these measures fail he should turn her away from himself, i.e. divorce her. It may be added that the Quran clearly forbids a man from causing injury to his wife. In its rules for divorce, husbands are told about their wives: "retain them with kindness or let them go with kindness and do not retain them for injury" (2:231), "retain them with kindness or part from them with kindness ... do not injure them in order to impose hardship upon them" (65:2, 6). In fact, only a few verses prior to v. 34 above, in v. 19, husbands have been instructed as follows about their wives: "Nor should you cause them

you, do not seek a way against them. Surely Allah is ever Exalted, Great.

35 And if you fear a breach between the two, appoint an arbiter from his people and an arbiter from her people. If they both desire agreement, Allah will effect harmony between them. Surely Allah is ever Knowing, Aware."

36 And serve Allah, and do not set up any partner with Him, and be good to the parents and to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the neighbour of (your) kin and the alien neighbour, and the companion in a journey and the traveller and those whom your right hands possess. e Surely Allah does not love such as are proud, boastful, 3 7who are miserly and tell people to be miserly and hide what Allah has given them out of His grace. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment

hardship... And treat them kindly. Then if you hate them, it may be that you dislike a thing while Allah has placed abundant good in it".

a (35) This verse lays down the procedure for divorce. It is not for the husband to put away his wife; it is the business of the judge to decide the case. He is required to appoint two arbiters, one belonging to the wife's family and the other to the husband's. These two arbiters will find out the facts, but their objective must be to effect a reconciliation between the parties. If all hopes of reconciliation fail, a divorce is allowed, but the final decision for divorce rests with the judge who is legally entitled to pronounce a divorce. Cases were decided in accordance with these directions in the early days of Islam.

b (36-1) The neighbour of kin may mean a neighbour who is a relative or a Muslim neighbour, and the alien neighbour is either a neighbour not related or a neighbour of an alien religion. Thus the charity of Islam is not limited to one's own people or one's own co-religionists, but is extended to others also. {Editor's Note: The companion in a journey or the traveller, mentioned after neighbours, could belong to any people or any religion. Indeed, the parents, near of kin, orphans and needy mentioned at the beginning could also be non-Muslims and it would be a Muslim's duty to do good to them regardless of their religion.)

c (36-2) By those whom your right hands possess are meant all those with whose care you are entrusted, so that it includes even animals over which one has control. While dealing with the rights of women, the Quran generalizes the law of doing good to others, so much so that it requires goodness to be extended even to a fellow-traveller. If even companions whose company is so short-lived are to be treated generously, how generous must a man be to her who is the companion of his whole life!

â€" 3S and those who spend their wealth to be seen by people and do not believe in Allah nor in the Last Day. And as for him whose companion is the devil, an evil companion is he!

39 And what (harm) would it do them if they believe in Allah and the Last Day and spend (on good works) out of what Allah has given them? And Allah is ever Knower of them. 40 Surely Allah does not wrong (anyone even by) the weight of an atom; and if it is a good deed, He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward. a

41 But how will it be when We bring from every people a witness and bring you as a witness against these? 42 0n that day will those who disbelieved and disobeyed the Messenger desire that the earth were levelled with them. And they can hide no fact from Allah.

Section 7: Purification of the Soul

43 O you who believe, do not go near prayer when you are intoxicated till you know what you say, c nor after sexual intercourse â€" except you are merely passing by â€" until you have bathed. And if you are sick, or on a journey, or one of you has

a (40) Such is the ever-recurring description of the preponderance of mercy in Divine nature: good done is always multiplied and evil nullified by God.

b (41) The prophet sent to a people is frequently spoken of as being a witness in respect of them, and by these are here meant the followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. It appears that the people spoken of here are Muslims who disobey the Prophet, and hence the Prophet's anxiety for the later generations of his followers. This is made clear in the verse that follows in the words those who disbelieved and disobeyed the Messenger. Disobedience amounts to disbelief in practice.

c (43-1) The prohibition against praying when intoxicated was a step towards the total prohibition of drink, for the necessity of going to prayer five times a day would leave little opportunity for indulgence in drink. The verse also makes it clear that one must know the meaning of what one says when praying to God.

d (43-2) Going near prayer may signify going into mosques, and the meaning in that case would be unless you pass (through the mosques) as by a way.

come from the toilet, or you have had (sexual) contact with women," and you cannot find water, then resort to pure earth and wipe your faces and your hands (with it). Surely Allah is ever Pardoning, Forgiving.

44 Do you not see those to whom a portion of the Book was given? They buy error and desire to make you go astray from the (right) way. 45 And Allah best knows your enemies. And Allah is sufficient as a Friend and Allah is sufficient as a Helper.

46 Some of those who are Jews alter words from their places e and say, We have heard and we disobey; and (say), Hear without being made to hear, and (say), Ra 'i-nd, distorting with their tongues and slandering religion. And if they had said, We hear and we obey, and listen, and unzur-na, it would have been better for them and more upright; but Allah has cursed them on account of their disbelief, so they do not believe except a little. 47 0 you who have been given the Book, believe in what We have revealed, verifying what you (already) have, 6 before We destroy the leaders and turn them on their backs, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers. And the command of Allah is ever executed.

48 Surely Allah does not forgive that a partner should be set up with Him, and forgives all besides that to whom He pleases. And whoever sets up a partner with Allah, he devises indeed a

a (43-3) Literally, "you have touched women", which is a euphemism for sexual intercourse. Many of the fine phrases used in the Quran to express this delicate relation were unknown to the Arabs.

b (43-4) Tayammum means striking both hands on pure earth, or anything containing pure dust, and then passing the hands over the face and the backs of the hands. When water is not found, or is likely to do harm, tayammum suffices instead of ablution before prayer.

c (46-1) The corruption of the previous books is constantly referred to in the Quran, and, as the words clearly show, it implies a corruption of the text as well as a false rendering of it.

d (46-2) See 2:104 and footnote.

e (47) The verification referred to here and elsewhere implies only a verification of the general principles and the prophecies contained in the earlier books.

4 : 49 • KINGDOM GRANTED TO ABRAHAM'S DESCENDANTS 117

great sin. a 49 Have you not seen those who attribute purity to themselves? ' Rather, Allah purifies whom He pleases, and they will not be dealt with unjustly in the least. 50 See how they forge lies against Allah! And sufficient is this as a manifest sin.

Section 8: Kingdom granted to Abraham's Descendants

51 Have you not seen those to whom a portion of the Book was given? They believe in sorcery and diviners c and say of those who disbelieve: These are better guided in the path than those who believe. 52 Those are they whom Allah has cursed. And whomever Allah curses, you will not find a helper for him. 53 0r have they a share in the kingdom? But then they would not give to people even the speck on a date-stone. 54 0r do they envy the people for what Allah has given them of His grace? But indeed We have given to Abraham's children the Book and the Wisdom, and We have given them a grand kingdom. e 55 So some of them believe in

a (48) Shirk or setting up partners with Allah is spoken of as the gravest sin. Wrong belief in false deities lowers the dignity of man. Man is made to rule nature itself and all creatures, but when he lowers himself before creatures lower than himself, he sets at naught the very purpose of his creation. It should be noted that shirk or setting up gods with God also includes blind obedience rendered to leaders; see 9:31 and also the next footnote. It should also be noted that if a person guilty of shirk repents of it before his death then all his sins including shirk are forgiven because he gives a new turn to his life. Even those who die while guilty of shirk will, after suffering the consequences of their deeds in the after life, be received into the mercy of God.

b (49) These are the priests, doctors of law and monks who demanded blind obedience from their followers, and include such ulama, shaikhs and pirs among the Muslims as well.

c (51) These words seem to refer to the general debasement of the Jews, who believed in all kinds of enchantment, divination, and sorcery, and had long bidden farewell in practice to the pure monotheism of Moses.

d (53) This shows that a temporal or worldly kingdom cannot be granted to a nation which would not deal liberally with others.

e (54) By the people are meant the Arabs. The promised kingdom was still in Abraham's seed, but was now transferred from the descendants of Israel to those of Ishmael, in accordance with the covenant made with Abraham.

him, and some of them turn away from him." And Hell is sufficient to burn.

56 Those who disbelieve in Our Messages, We shall make them enter Fire. As often as their skins are burned, We shall change them for other skins, that they may taste the punishment. Surely Allah is ever Mighty, Wise. 57 And those who believe and do good deeds, We shall make them enter Gardens in which rivers flow, to abide in them forever. They will have therein pure companions and We shall make them enter a pleasant shade.

58 Surely Allah commands you to make over trusts to those worthy of them, and that when you judge between people, you judge with justice. 6 Surely Allah instructs you with what is excellent. Surely Allah is ever Hearing, Seeing. 59 0 you who believe, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. e This is best and more suitable to (achieve) the end.

Section 9: The Prophet must be obeyed

60 Have you not seen those who assert that they believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you? They desire to seek the judgment of the devil, though they have

a (55) By "him" is meant the Holy Prophet Muhammad, who was now the true exponent of Abraham's religion.

b (58) Muslims, having been granted worldly rule, are here told to entrust the affairs of State to people who are worthy of this responsibility, while the authorities and judges so entrusted are required to judge with justice.

c (59) This verse lays down three important rules in matters relating to the welfare of the Muslim community and to affairs of State. These are obedience to God and His Messenger in the first place; secondly, obedience to those in authority from among the Muslims; and thirdly, referring matters to God and His Messenger in cases of dispute with those in authority. God and His Messenger are thus the final authority. It is especially in matters religious that differences would arise, in which case it would be necessary to refer the matter to God and His Messenger; in other words to the Quran and Hadith. In case of Muslims living under non-Muslim authority, Islam requires them to abide by the laws of the land.

been commanded to deny him. And the devil desires to lead them far astray. 61 And when it is said to them, Come to what Allah has revealed and to the Messenger, you see the hypocrites turning away from you with aversion. 62 But how is it that when a misfortune befalls them on account of what their hands have already done, they come to you swearing by Allah: We desired nothing but good and concord? 63 These are they, the secrets of whose hearts Allah knows; so turn aside from them and admonish them and speak to them effective words concerning themselves.

64 And We sent no messenger but that he should be obeyed by Allah's command. And if they had, when they wronged themselves, come to you and asked forgiveness of Allah, and the Messenger had (also) asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Oft-returning (to mercy), merciful. 65 But no, by your Lord! they do not believe until they make you a judge of what is in dispute between them, then find no reluctance in their hearts as to what you decide and submit with full submission. 66 And if We had ordained for them: Lay down your lives or go forth from your homes, they would not have done it except a few of them." And if they had done what they are exhorted to do, it would certainly have been better for them and more strengthening, 67 and then We would certainly have given them from Ourselves a great reward, 68 and We would certainly have guided them in the right path.

69 And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, they are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favours from among the prophets and the truthful and the faithful and the righteous, and a goodly company are they!

a (66) The Companions of the Holy Prophet had to lay down their lives in defence of their faith, and had to leave their homes for the sake of their religion. But the hypocrites at Madinah were too weak of heart to undergo such hardships. They were only required to contribute to the struggle which was being carried on for national defence and to obey the Prophet's orders which was a far easier task, but they did not do even this.

b (69) Those upon whom Allah has bestowed favours are spoken of as belonging to four classes: (1) the prophets; (2) the truthful â€" those who are true in their sayings and their belief, and confirm their truth by their deeds or acting; (3) the faithful â€" those who bear witness to the truth both by words and deeds,

70 Such is the grace from Allah, and Allah is sufficient as Knower.

Section 10: Believers must defend Themselves

71 O you who believe, take your precautions, then go forth in detachments or go forth in a body. 72 And among you is he who would hang back. Then if a misfortune befalls you, he says: Allah indeed bestowed a favour on me as I was not present with them. 73 And if bounty from Allah comes to you, he would cry, as if there were no friendship between you and him: If only I had been with them, then I should have achieved a mighty success! 74 So let those fight in the way of Allah who sell this world's life for the Hereafter. And whoever fights in the way of Allah, whether he is killed or is victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward.

75 And what reason have you not to fight in the way of Allah, and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, who say: Our Lord, take us out of this town, whose people are oppressors, and grant us from Yourself a friend, and grant us from Yourself a helper!" 76 Those who believe fight in the way of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the way of the devil. So fight against the friends of the devil; surely the struggle of the devil is ever weak.

and one slain in defence of his religion is included because he too gives evidence of the truth of religion by laying down his life; (4) the righteous or those who stick to the right course in all their deeds, come what may. Those who obey Allah and the Messenger are here told that they are with the perfect ones who belong to these four classes. Thus this verse promises to those who have not attained to perfection the company, in the life to come, of those who have attained to perfection when the former have done their best to obey God and His Messenger. It may be added that no one can become a prophet by obeying the Holy Prophet. If this were true, not only would all the truthful and the faithful and the righteous be prophets, because they perfectly obeyed Allah and His Messenger, but even all those who tried to follow them would also be prophets which is absurd.

a (75) This explains what is meant by fighting in the way of Allah. While most of the believers who had the means had escaped from Makkah, there remained those who were weak and unable to undertake a journey. These were still persecuted and oppressed at Makkah. Fighting to deliver them from the persecution of their oppressors was really fighting in the way of Allah.

Section 11: Attitude of the Hypocrites

77 Have you not seen those to whom it was said: Withhold your hands, and keep up prayer and give the due charity. But when fighting is prescribed for them, then some of them fear men as they ought to fear Allah, or with a greater fear, and say: Our Lord, why have You ordained fighting for us? Would You not grant us respite for a little while?" Say: The enjoyment of this world is short, and the Hereafter is better for him who keeps his duty. And you will not be dealt with unjustly in the least. 78 Wherever you are, death will overtake you, though you are in towers, raised high. And if good befalls them, they say: This is from Allah; and if a misfortune befalls them, they say: This is from you. Say: All is from Allah. But what is the matter with these people that they make no effort to understand anything? 79 Whatever good befalls you (O man), it is from Allah, and whatever misfortune befalls you, it is from yourself. And We have sent you (O Prophet) to mankind as a Messenger. And Allah is sufficient as a witness.

80 Whoever obeys the Messenger, he indeed obeys Allah. And whoever turns away, We have not sent you as a keeper over them. 81 And they say: Obedience. But when they go out from your presence, a group of them plan by night doing otherwise than what you say. And Allah writes down what they plan by night, so turn aside from them and trust in Allah. And Allah is sufficient as having charge of affairs. 82 Will they not then meditate on the Quran?

a (77) Had there been any hope of plunder to animate the ranks of Muslims, those who loved this world most, who are here called the hypocrites, would have been foremost in fighting; but as they knew that they were fighting against odds, they considered acting on this order as equivalent to courting death, and requested to be granted a respite until they died a natural death.

b (79) Good and evil, or benefits and misfortunes, proceed from Allah; but while He sends benefits from Himself, i.e. out of His beneficence, no evil or misfortune afflicts a man unless his own hands have called for it. The previous verse states that the hypocrites attributed their misfortunes to the Prophet; they are told, in the words "All is from Allah", that misfortunes were sent by Allah. This verse tells them that, though sent by Allah, the immediate cause of these misfortunes was to be found in their own doings.

And if it were from any other than Allah, they would have found in it many a discrepancy. a 83 But if any news of security or fear comes to them, they spread it about. And if they had referred it to the Messenger and to those in authority among them, those of them who can search out knowledge of it would have known it. And if it were not for the grace of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would certainly have followed the devil except a few. 84 Fight then in Allah's way â€" you are not responsible except for yourself; and urge on the believers. It may be that Allah will restrain the fighting of those who disbelieve. And Allah is stronger in prowess and stronger to give exemplary punishment.

85 Whoever intercedes in a good cause has a share of it, and whoever intercedes in an evil cause has a portion of it. And Allah is ever Keeper over all things. c 86 And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet with one better than it, or return it. Surely Allah

a (82) The Quran was not written out and given on one occasion, but it continued to be delivered in small portions during twenty-three years under the most varying circumstances. But what is striking throughout the entire revelation is that it keeps up one and the same strain â€" absolute submission to Allah, entire trust in Him, perfect confidence of future success, a liberal view of humanity, an attitude of charity towards all nations and religions, and goodness to all alike. The spirit of the revelations to the solitary, persecuted, and rejected preacher of Makkah does not differ in these and a hundred other particulars from the spirit of the revelations to the sole temporal and spiritual monarch of Arabia.

b (84) The primary duty to defend Islam lay on the Holy Prophet alone, as against all the forces of Arabia. This shows that he never put any trust in the prowess of his followers, and his confidence was based solely on Divine help.

c (85) The meaning is that he who joins himself to another and assists him, and becomes to him as one of a pair or an intercessor in doing good or evil, and thus aids him and strengthens him, partakes with him the benefit or the harm of it. Interceding here also implies that one institutes for another a way of good or a way of evil which the other imitates, and thus becomes to him as one of a pair. The connection is clear; the Prophet made himself an example of good for others to imitate or to aid him. For the meaning of intercession see 2:255 footnote 1.

d (86) A greeting is a prayer for the good of another; tahiyyah, the word used for it here, meaning originally a prayer for one's long life. The minimum requirement is that a greeting must be returned in the same words. What is really aimed at is that a Muslim should always wish good for, or do good to, his brother, and the other is required to do greater good in return.

ever takes account of all things. 87 Allah, there is no god but He â€" He will certainly gather you together on the day of Resurrection, there is no doubt in it. And who is more true in word than Allah?

Section 12: How to deal with the Hypocrites

88 Why should you, then, be two parties in relation to the hypocrites while Allah has made them return (to disbelief) for what they have earned? Do you desire to guide him whom Allah leaves in error? And whomsoever Allah leaves in error you cannot find a way for him. 89 They long that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved so that you might be on the same level; so do not take from among them friends until they flee (their homes) in Allah's way. Then if they turn back (to hostility), seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take no friend nor helper from among them, 90 except those who join a people between whom and you there is an alliance, or who come to you, their hearts shrinking from fighting you or fighting their own people. And if Allah had pleased, He would have given them power over you, so that they would have fought you. So if they withdraw from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah allows you no way against them." 91 You will find others who desire to be secure from you and secure from their own people. Whenever they are made to return to hostility, they are plunged into it. So if they do not withdraw from you, nor offer you peace and restrain their hands, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them. And against these We have given you a clear authority.

a (90) This shows clearly that even waverers were not to be killed or fought against if they refrained from fighting, though they may have gone over to disbelief after accepting Islam. The persons referred to in this verse were disbelievers and not Muslims. Note also that we have here the clear injunction that if any people offered peace, they were not to be fought against.

b (91) Editor's Note: The meaning of the words "then seize them and kill them wherever you find them" is clearly shown by the preceding text: "So if they do not withdraw from you, nor offer you peace and restrain their hands". Those enemies are meant who themselves attacked the Muslims first. The words "kill them wherever you find them" also occur in 2:190-191, preceded by: "And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you but do not be aggressive".

Section 13: Murderer of a Muslim

92 And a believer would not kill a believer except by mistake." And he who kills a believer by mistake should free a believing slave, and blood-money should be paid to his people unless they forgo it as charity. But if he is from a tribe hostile to you and he is a believer, the freeing of a believing slave (is sufficient). And if he is from a tribe between whom and you there is a covenant, the blood-money should be paid to his people along with the freeing of a believing slave; but he who has not the means should fast for two months successively: a penance from Allah. And Allah is ever Knowing, Wise. 93 And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is hell, abiding in it; and Allah is furious with him and He has cursed him and prepared for him a grievous punishment.

94 O you who believe, when you go forth (to fight) in Allah's way, make investigation, and do not say to anyone who offers you salutation, Fou are not a believer, seeking the good of this world's life. e But with Allah there are abundant gains. You too were such before, then Allah conferred a benefit on you; so make investigation. Surely Allah is ever Aware of what you do. 95 Those who hold back from among the believers, not disabled by injury, and those who strive hard in Allah's way with their property and their

a (92) The man who killed a believer intentionally could not be a believer. Disbelievers often made use of ruses, professing belief in Islam and thus tempting Muslims to go over to them as religious teachers, and afterwards murdering them.

b (93) The commentators are agreed that this verse speaks of a disbeliever who murders a believer. In fact, the word intentionally stands here for murdering a man because he is a believer, as this was what the disbelievers often did.

c (94) The original word for salutation is salam (meaning peace). The first word of the Muslim salutation stands therefore for the Muslim salutation. The Muslims were surrounded by enemies on all sides, yet they were told not to presume that every Arab tribe belonged to the enemy camp but were to make an investigation first. Even when a man belonging to an enemy tribe offered the Muslim salutation, to show that he was a Muslim, he was to be taken as a brother Muslim and could not be dealt with as an enemy. Incidentally, it lays down the principle that no Muslim can be called a kafir, not even the man whose claim to Islam is borne out only by offering the Muslim salutation.

persons, are not equal. Allah has made those who strive with their property and their persons to excel those who hold back by a (high) degree. And to each Allah has promised good. And Allah has granted to those who strive above those who hold back a mighty reward â€" "(high) degrees from Him and protection and mercy. And Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.

Section 14: Muslims who remained with the Enemy

97 (As for) those whom the angels cause to die while they are unjust to themselves, (the angels) will say: What were you doing? They will say: We were weak in the earth. (The angels) will say: Was not Allah's earth spacious, so that you could have migrated in it? So these it is whose refuge is hell â€" and it is an evil destination." 98 Except the weak from among the men and the women and the children who do not have the means, nor can they find a way (to escape); "so these, it may be that Allah will pardon them. And Allah is ever Pardoning, Forgiving. 100 And whoever flees in Allah's way, he will find in the earth many a place of escape and abundant resources. And whoever goes forth from his home fleeing to Allah and His Messenger, then death overtakes him, his reward is indeed with Allah. And Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.

Section 15: Prayer when Fighting

101 And when you journey in the earth, there is no blame on you if you shorten the prayer, if you fear that those who disbelieve will give you trouble.* Surely the disbelievers are an open enemy to you. 102 And when you are among them and lead the prayer for

a (97) By those who were unjust to themselves are meant persons who were convinced of the truth of Islam, but chose to remain among the disbelievers, who did not allow them to give expression to their beliefs, despite having the means to join the Muslims and avow Islam openly.

b (101) The prayer service on a journey is shorter than the ordinary prayer service in the zuhr (midday), 'asr (afternoon) and 'isha' (night) prayers but the shortening of prayer as mentioned in this verse is quite different from the ordinary shorter service of the journey, and its details are given in the next verse.

them, let a group of them stand up with you, and let them take their arms. Then when they have performed their prostration, let them go to your rear, and let another group who have not prayed come forward and pray with you, and let them take their precautions and their arms. Those who disbelieve long that you may neglect your arms and your baggage, that they may attack you with a sudden united attack. And there is no blame on you, if you are inconvenienced on account of rain or if you are sick, to put away your arms; and take your precautions. Surely Allah has prepared a humiliating punishment for the disbelievers." 103 So when you have finished the prayer, remember Allah standing and sitting and reclining. But when you are secure (from danger) keep up (regular) prayer. Prayer indeed has been enjoined on the believers at fixed times. 4 104 And do not be weak-hearted in pursuit of the enemy. If you suffer they (too) suffer as you suffer, and you hope from Allah what they do not hope. And Allah is ever Knowing, Wise.

Section 16: Hypocrites are Dishonest

105 Surely We have revealed the Book to you with truth that you may judge between people by means of what Allah has taught you. And do not be one pleading the cause of the dishonest/

a (102) This verse and the previous one show the importance of prayer and of offering prayer in congregation in Islam, which could not be neglected even on the field of battle.

b (103) The hours of prayer were fixed by the Prophet under Divine guidance, and the observance of the hours of prayer is an essential part of the due observance of prayer. It is this feature of the Islamic prayer which makes it a unique force in the unification of the human race.

c (105) The occasion of the revelation of these verses was a dispute between a Muslim and a Jew, in which judgment was given by the Prophet against the Muslim. It was a time when every Muslim hand was sorely needed for the defence of Islam, and a verdict against a man supported by his whole tribe meant the loss of that tribe. But such considerations did not carry any weight with the Prophet. Thus these verses lay down the broad principle that dishonesty must be punished, and the balance of justice must be held equal between Muslims and non-Muslims and between friends and foes.

106 and ask the forgiveness of Allah." Surely Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. 107 And do not contend on behalf of those who act unfaithfully to their souls. Surely Allah does not love him who is treacherous, sinful: 108 They seek to hide from people and they cannot hide from Allah, and He is with them when they counsel by night matters which do not please Him. And Allah ever encompasses what they do. 109 Look! You are they who may contend on their behalf in this world's life, but who will contend with Allah on their behalf on the day of Resurrection, or who will have charge of their affairs?

110 And whoever does evil or wrongs his soul, then asks forgiveness of Allah, will find Allah Forgiving, Merciful. ni And whoever commits a sin, commits it only against himself. And Allah is ever Knowing, Wise. 112 And whoever commits a fault or a sin, then accuses of it one innocent, he indeed takes upon himself the burden of a slander and a manifest sin.

Section 17: Secret Counsels of the Hypocrites

113 And if it were not for Allah's grace upon you and His mercy, a group of them had certainly aimed to ruin you. And they ruin only themselves, and they cannot harm you in any way. And Allah has revealed to you the Book and the Wisdom, and taught you what you did not know, and Allah's grace on you is very great. 114 There is no good in most of their secret counsels except (in) him who enjoins charity or goodness or reconciliation between people. And whoever does this, seeking Allah's pleasure, We shall give him a mighty reward. 115 And whoever acts hostilely to the Messenger after guidance has become manifest to him and follows other than the way of the believers, We turn him to that to

a (106) The injunction in this as well as the previous verse is meant for every Muslim who is called upon to act as a judge. He must be strictly just as between his own people and aliens, and must further ask the protection of Allah from being guilty of an act of injustice, even unknowingly.

b (108) Those who supported the guilty man are condemned here as hypocrites. The same subject is continued in the verses that follow.

which he (himself) turns and make him enter hell; and it is an evil destination."

Section 18: Idolatry condemned

116 Surely Allah does not forgive setting up partners with Him, and He forgives all besides this to whom He pleases. And whoever sets up a partner with Allah, he indeed goes far astray. 117 Besides Him they call on nothing but female divinities and they call on nothing but a rebellious devil, 118 whom Allah has cursed. And he said: Certainly I will take of Your servants an appointed portion; 119 and certainly I will lead them astray and excite in them vain desires and bid them so that they will slit the ears of the cattle^ and bid them so that they will alter Allah's creation. And whoever takes the devil for a friend, forsaking Allah, he indeed suffers a manifest loss. 120 He promises them and excites vain desires in them. And the devil promises them only to deceive. 121 These â€" their refuge is hell, and they will find no way of escape from it.

122 And those who believe and do good, We shall make them enter Gardens in which rivers flow, to abide in them forever. It is





a (115) This verse clearly speaks of the hypocrites, who followed a way other than the way of the believers. Only a distortion of the words could make them signify that it was a sin to differ with the majority of the Muslims on any question of religion.

b (117) The word translated here as "female divinities" can signify inanimate things, such as trees and stones and wood, which they worshipped, as well as idols because they named the idols as females.

c (119-1) The practice of slitting or cutting off the ear of certain animals was a prevalent form of polytheism in Arabia, for such an animal was looked upon as devoted to certain idols.

d (119-2) A comparison with 30:30 will show clearly that by Allah's creation is here meant the religion of Allah, the natural religion of man. By the devil's changing the creation of Allah is therefore meant the changing of the natural religion of man which requires obedience to Allah and His laws. Some commentators understand by changing the creation of Allah the using of His created things for an object other than that for which they were created, and worshipping objects such as the sun, etc., which were really created to be subservient to man.

Allah's promise, in truth. And who is more truthful in word than Allah? 123 It will not be in accordance with your vain desires nor the vain desires of the People of the Book. Whoever does evil, will be recompensed for it and will not find for himself besides Allah a friend or a helper." 124 And whoever does good deeds, whether male or female, and is a believer â€" these will enter the Garden, and they will not be dealt with unjustly in the least. 125 And who is better in religion than he who submits himself entirely to Allah while doing good (to others) and follows the faith of Abraham, the upright one? And Allah took Abraham for a friend. 126 And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And Allah ever encompasses all things.

Section 19: Equitable Dealings with Orphans and Widows

127 And they ask you a decision about women. Say: Allah makes known to you His decision concerning them; and what is recited to you in the Book is concerning widowed women, whom you do not give what is appointed for them, while you are not inclined to marry them, nor to the weak among children, and that you should deal justly with orphans. And whatever good you do, Allah is surely ever Knower of it. 128 And if a woman fears

a (123) Editor's Note: Divine reward is not bestowed upon anyone in accordance with their vain desires, whether they are Muslims or Jews or Christians. People are judged by their deeds, and rewarded or punished accordingly.

b (127) It is stated here that a decision regarding the doing of good to women, to weak children and to orphans has already been given (see 4:1-10). The words "and what is recited to you in the Book is concerning widowed women, whom you do not give what is appointed for them while you are not inclined to marry them" refer to 4:3. The meaning is that the order given in 4:3 in the words "if you fear that you cannot do justice to orphans marry such women as seem good to you" relates to orphans of the women (or to widows) whom their share in inheritance was denied, both their share and the share of their orphan children, nor were people inclined to marry them owing to the burden which they brought with them in the shape of their children. So the permission was given that they may marry such women, even up to four. Widows and their orphaned children used to receive no share of inheritance. The Quran brought about a great change: it required the giving of inheritance both to women and their orphaned children, and it also recommended that such women should be taken in marriage.

ill-usage from her husband or desertion, there is no blame on the two of them if they effect a reconciliation between them. And reconciliation is better. And greed is met with in (people's) minds. And if you do good (to others) and keep your duty, surely Allah is ever Aware of what you do. 129 And you cannot do justice between wives, even though you wish (it), but do not be disinclined (from one) with total disinclination, so that you leave her in suspense. And if you are reconciled and keep your duty, surely Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. 130 And if they separate, Allah will render them both free from want out of His ampleness. And Allah is ever Ample-giving, Wise.

131 And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And certainly We charged those who were given the Book before you, and (We also charge) you, to keep your duty to Allah. And if you disbelieve, surely to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And Allah is ever Self-sufficient, Praiseworthy. 132 And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as having charge of affairs. 133 If He please, He will take you away, O people, and bring others. And Allah is ever Powerful to do that. i 34 Whoever desires the reward of this world â€" then with Allah is the reward of this world and the Hereafter. And Allah is ever Hearing, Seeing.

Section 20: Hypocrisy condemned

135 O you who believe, be maintainers of justice, bearers of witness for Allah, even if it is against your own selves or (your) parents or near relatives â€" whether he is rich or poor, Allah has a better right over them both." So do not follow (your) low desires, that you deviate. And if you distort (the truth) or turn away (from it), surely Allah is ever Aware of what you do.

a (135) "Allah has a better right over them" means that they should be dealt with justly. Thus, neither ties of kinship and love nor considerations of fear, favour, or compassion should make one swerve a hair's breadth from the truth.

136 O you who believe, believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book which He has revealed to His Messenger and the Book which He revealed before. And whoever disbelieves in Allah and His angels and His Books and His messengers and the Last Day, he indeed strays far away. 137 Those who believe then disbelieve, again believe and again disbelieve, then increase in disbelief, Allah will never forgive them nor guide them in the (right) way. a 138 Give news to the hypocrites that for them is a painful punishment â€" 139 those who take disbelievers for friends rather than believers. Do they seek for might from them? Might surely belongs wholly to Allah.

140 And indeed He has revealed to you in the Book that when you hear Allah's messages disbelieved in and mocked at, do not sit with them until they enter into some other discourse, for then indeed you would be like them. Surely Allah will gather together the hypocrites and the disbelievers all in hell â€" 141 those who wait (for misfortunes) for you. Then if you have a victory from Allah they say: Were we not with you? And if there is a chance for the disbelievers, they say: Did we not prevail over you and defend you from the believers? So Allah will judge between you on the day of Resurrection. And Allah will by no means give the disbelievers a way against the believers.

Section 21: End of the Hypocrites

142 The hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, and He will pay them back their deceit. And when they stand up for prayer, they stand up sluggishly â€" they do it only to be seen by people and

a (137) Allah's not guiding them is the consequence of their own actions. They wavered first but in the end became firm in disbelief.

b (140) See 6:68 which was revealed at Makkah. Muslims are told to leave the assembly where truth is derided. Criticism is quite a different thing and a Muslim should always be ready to meet any criticism of his religion. (Editor's Note: Thus the response when faced with mere ridicule of Islam is to withdraw, temporarily, from that company of people and rejoin them later when they stop their mocking. It is therefore entirely wrong to believe that Muslims are required to attack physically, still less kill, those who deride their religion.)

they remember Allah but little, 143 wavering between that (and this) â€" (belonging) neither to these nor to those." And whomsoever Allah leaves in error, you will not find a way for him. 144 0 you who believe, do not take the disbelievers for friends instead of the believers. Do you desire to give Allah a manifest proof against yourselves? 145 The hypocrites are surely in the lowest depths of the Fire, and you will find no helper for them, 146 except those who repent and amend and hold fast to Allah and are sincere in their obedience to Allah â€" these are with the believers. And Allah will soon grant the believers a mighty reward. 147 Why should Allah punish you if you are grateful and believe? And Allah is ever Multiplier of rewards, Knowing.

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148 Allah does not love the public utterance of hurtful speech, «■ except by one who has been wronged. c And Allah is ever Hearing, Knowing. 149 If you do good openly or keep it secret or pardon an evil, Allah surely is ever Pardoning, Powerful.

150 Those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers and desire to make a distinction between Allah and His messengers and say: We believe in some and disbelieve in others; and desire to take a course in between â€" 151 these are truly disbelievers; and We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment. 152 And those who believe in Allah and His messengers and make no distinction between any of them, to them He will grant their rewards. And Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. 6

a (143) The reference in "that and this" is to belief and disbelief.

b (147) The word shakir, usually meaning thankful, when used as an attribute of the Divine Being signifies One Who multiplies rewards to His servants.

c (148) The use of defamatory speech of every kind regarding others is strictly forbidden, but justification for it may exist in case a person has in some way been wronged.

rf(149) If you pardon the evil which anyone has done to you, Allah will pardon your evils, and grant you even good reward; He is not only Pardoning, but also Powerful to grant good reward.

e (152) To make distinction between Allah and His messengers means to believe in one and not in the other. Islam requires the acceptance of all prophets who were raised for the regeneration of mankind, and hence a denial of any one of

Section 22: Transgressions of the Jews

153 The People of the Book ask you to bring down to them a Book from heaven; indeed they demanded of Moses a greater thing than that, for they said: Show us Allah manifestly. So destructive punishment overtook them on account of their wrongdoing. Then they took the calf (for a god), after clear signs had come to them, but We pardoned this. And We gave Moses clear authority. 154 And We raised the mountain above them at their covenant. And We said to them: Enter the gate submissively. And We said to them: Do not violate the Sabbath; and We took from them a firm covenant.

155 Then for their breaking their covenant and their disbelief in the messages of Allah and their killing the prophets unjustly and their saying, Our hearts are securely covered; no, Allah has sealed them on account of their disbelief, so they do not believe but a little; " 156 and for their disbelief and for their uttering against Mary a grievous slander; 157 and for their saying: We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of Allah, and they did not kill him, nor did they cause his death on the cross, c but he

the prophets named in the Quran takes a person out of the category of believers and places him among the disbelievers.

a (155) The incidents referred to in verses 153-155 have been mentioned in detail in 2:51-71; see the footnotes there.

b (156) The slander referred to was that Mary was guilty of fornication.

c (157-1) The words used here do not negative that Jesus was nailed to the cross; they negative his having expired on the cross as a result of being nailed to it. That Jesus died a natural death is plainly stated in 5:117. The Gospels contain clear testimony showing that Jesus Christ escaped death on the cross. For example, Jesus remained on the cross for a few hours only (Mark 15:25, John 19:14) but death by crucifixion was always slow. When the side of Jesus was pierced, blood rushed out and this was a certain sign of life (John 19:34). Jesus was not buried but was given into the charge of a wealthy disciple of his, who lavished care on him and put him in a spacious tomb hewn in the side of a rock (Mark 15:46). When the tomb was seen on the third day, the stone was found to have been removed from its mouth (Mark 16:4), which would not have been the case if there had been a supernatural rising. Jesus Christ prayed the whole night before his arrest to be saved from the accursed death on the cross, and he also asked his disciples to pray for him. He seems to have even received a promise from God to

was made to appear to them as such." And certainly those who differ concerning it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge about it, but only follow a conjecture, and they did not kill him for certain; 158 rather, Allah exalted him in His presence. And Allah is ever Mighty, Wise. 159 And there is none of the People of the Book but will believe in this before his death; and on the day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them. c

160 So for the wrongdoing of the Jews, We forbade them the good things which had been made lawful for them, and for their hindering many (people) from Allah's way. 161 And for their taking usury â€" though indeed they were forbidden it â€" and their devouring the property of people falsely. And We have prepared for the disbelievers from among them a painful punishment. 162 But the firm in knowledge among them and the believers believe in

be saved, and it was to this promise that he referred when he cried out on the cross: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" The statements made in the Quran corroborate the testimony found in the Gospels. Jesus did not die on the cross, nor was he killed as were the two thieves who were crucified with him, but to people he appeared as if he were dead.

a (157-2) These words may bear two interpretations: he was made to be like it to them or the matter was made dubious to them. The story that someone else was made to resemble Jesus is not borne out by the words of the Quran, which could only mean, if an object were mentioned, that Jesus was made to resemble someone, not that someone was made to resemble Jesus.

b (158) For "exaltation" see 3:55 footnote 2. Being exalted in the Divine presence was opposed to being killed on the cross. Deuteronomy 21:23 explains this, for there we have, he who is hanged is accursed of God. If Jesus had died on the cross he would have been accursed; hence the statement made here â€" he was not killed on the cross and accursed but he was exalted in the Divine presence.

c (159) Both Jews and Christians necessarily believe in the death of Jesus on the cross, while according to the Quran they have really no sure knowledge of it. The belief of the Jews is that since Jesus died on the cross he was accursed of God, and hence he cannot be a prophet. Following quite a different line of argument, Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross and was accursed, but that unless Jesus were accursed he could not take away the sins of those that believe in him. Hence the belief of both Jews and Christians is that Jesus died on the cross, and the meaning of the verse is clear, i.e., every Jew and Christian, despite having no sure knowledge at all, must believe before his death that Jesus died on the cross.

what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you, and those who keep up prayer and give the due charity and the believers in Allah and the Last Day â€" these it is to whom We shall give a mighty reward.

Section 23: Previous Revelation and the Quran

163 Surely We have revealed to you as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him, and We revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and We gave to David a scripture. 164 And (We sent) messengers We have mentioned to you before and messengers We have not mentioned to you. And to Moses Allah addressed His word, speaking (to him) â€" 165 messengers, bearers of good news " and warners, so that the people may have no plea against Allah after the (coming of) messengers. And Allah is ever Mighty, Wise. 166 But Allah bears witness by what He has revealed to you that He has revealed it with His knowledge, and the angels (also) bear witness. And Allah is sufficient as a witness.

167 Those who disbelieve and hinder (others) from Allah's way, they indeed have gone astray, straying far. 168 Those who disbelieve and act unjustly, Allah will never forgive them, nor guide them to a path, 169 except the path of hell, to abide in it for a long time. And that is easy to Allah.

170 O mankind, the Messenger has indeed come to you with truth from your Lord, so believe, it is better for you. And if you disbelieve, then surely to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth. And Allah is ever Knowing, Wise. 171 0 People of the Book, do not exaggerate in the matter of your religion nor speak anything about Allah but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, is only a messenger of Allah and His word* which He

a (165) The good news which these messengers brought relates as much to the peace and happiness which is granted to the righteous as to the advent of one who, coming at the end, should unite the qualifications of all the prophets in his own person, and accordingly make the nations of the earth as one nation.

b (171-1) Kalima, or word, is here equivalent to prophecy, in which sense it

communicated to Mary and a mercy from Him. a So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, Three. Refrain (from it), it is better for you. Allah is only one God. Far be it from His glory to have a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And sufficient is Allah as having charge of affairs.

Section 24: Prophethood of Jesus

172 The Messiah does not disdain to be a servant of Allah, nor do the angels who are near to Him. And whoever disdains His service and is proud, He will gather them all together to Himself. 173 Then as for those who believe and do good, He will pay them fully their rewards and give them more out of His grace. And as for those who disdain and are proud, He will punish them with a painful punishment, and they will find for themselves besides Allah no friend nor helper.

174 O people, manifest proof has indeed come to you from your Lord and We have sent down to you a clear light. 17S Then as for those who believe in Allah and hold fast by Him, He will admit them to His mercy and grace, and guide them to Himself on a right path.

176 They ask you for a decision. Say: Allah gives you a decision concerning the person who has neither parents nor children.

is frequently used in the Quran. Jesus is called a prophecy because he was born in accordance with a prophecy from God.

a (171-2) Ruh also means mercy, as translated here. It also signifies inspiration or Divine revelation, and if this significance is adopted it would be an explanation of the foregoing words, i.e. His prophecy which He communicated to Mary. Even if we take spirit to be the meaning of the word ruh, it does not take Jesus beyond the limits of mortality, because according to the Quran the spirit of God is breathed into every human being (32:9). Moreover, the words used here can only mean a spirit from Him and not the spirit from Him.

b (171-3) The doctrine of Trinity is plainly rejected here. There are not three persons in Godhead, but only one: Allah is only one God. The Quran nowhere says that the Christian Trinity is formed of Jesus, Mary, and God, although it no doubt refers to the Roman Catholic doctrine of the worship of Mary in 5:116.

If a man dies (and) he has no son and he has a sister, hers is half of what he leaves, and he shall be her heir if she has no son. But if there are two (sisters), they shall have two-thirds of what he leaves. And if there are (both) brothers and sisters, then for the male is the like of the portion of two females. Allah makes clear to you, in case you go astray. And Allah is Knower of all things."

a (176) The rule given here supplements the law of inheritance as given at the commencement of this chapter. Here there are neither children nor parents and therefore the whole of the inheritance goes to the brothers and the sisters. Reversion to the law of inheritance just after speaking of Jesus has perhaps a deeper meaning. It is a fact that no prophet appeared among the Israelites after Jesus, and therefore his death really left Israel without a spiritual head who should rise to the eminence of prophethood. The spiritual kingdom which was promised to Abraham, and which hitherto remained in the house of Israel, was now taken from the Israelites and made over to the brother nation, the Ishmaelites. This would also explain the words addressed to Moses: "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren" (Deuteronomy, 18:15).

Chapter 5

Al-Ma'idah Food

The name of this chapter refers to the demand for food, or physical sustenance, by the followers of Jesus and the granting of Jesus' prayer for his earlier and later followers (verses 112-115). Not only physical food, but God sent down for them spiritual food in the form of the Quran, which "perfected" religion (v. 3). The chapter deals with the deviation of the Jews and Christians from the truth and their hostility towards Islam. It contains directions for Muslims on several points and warns them to avoid the errors into which previous nations fell. It ends with a refutation of the doctrine of Jesus' divinity and gives hope of the deliverance of his followers from this wrong belief. This chapter was mainly revealed in 5-7 A.H. However, v. 3, speaking of the perfection of religion in Islam, was revealed during the Holy Prophet's last pilgrimage to Makkah in 10 A.H.

Section 1: Perfection of Religion in Islam

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 O you who believe, fulfil the obligations." The cattle quadrupeds are allowed to you except what is recited to you, not violating the prohibition against game when you are on the pilgrimage.* Surely Allah orders what He pleases.

2 O you who believe, do not violate the signs of Allah, c nor the

a (1-1) Respect for all covenants, contracts, agreements and treaties, all of which are included in the significance of the word 'uqud, and also of all Divine ordinances, is the very first necessity of social relations. The word includes the covenants imposed by God as well as the mutual agreements made by people. Thus respect for law, religious as well as temporal, is taught here.

b (1-2) The prohibition against killing game during pilgrimage is mentioned in connection with the security of the Ka'bah in verses 94-96, so that even wild animals are secure during this time.

c (2-1) The term sha'a'ir Allah signifies all duties imposed by God on people. Rites and ceremonies in connection with the pilgrimage and places where these ceremonies are performed are also known by this name.

Sacred Month, nor the offerings, nor the victims with garlands," nor those repairing to the Sacred House seeking the grace and pleasure of their Lord. And when you are free from pilgrimage obligations, then hunt. And do not let hatred of a people â€" because they hindered you from the Sacred Mosque â€" incite you to transgress. And help one another in righteousness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and aggression, and keep your duty to Allah.' Surely Allah is Severe in retribution.

3 Forbidden to you is what dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that on which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked, and the strangled (animal), and that beaten to death, and that killed by a fall, and that killed by goring with the horn, and what wild beasts have eaten â€" except what you slaughter; and what is sacrificed on stones set up (for idols), 8 and (it is forbidden) that you seek to divide by arrows; that is a transgression. This day have those who disbelieve despaired of your religion, so do not fear them, and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favour to you and chosen for you

a (2-2) Hady or "offering" means what is driven (to Makkah). Qald'id or "victims with garlands" means necklaces or what is put upon the neck of an animal that is brought as an offering to Makkah for sacrifice. Only camels are made to wear garlands, while hady includes all kinds of animals brought as offering.

b (2-3) The principle laid down here requires from Muslims equal treatment for all nations, for those whom we hate as well as for those whom we love. Only this principle of Islam can serve as the basis for an international code for the modern world and an international law.

c (2-4) Editor's Note: Muslims ought only to cooperate with one another in matters of goodness, and are forbidden to help each other in wrongdoing against others. This injunction prohibits the evils of blind patriotism and unconditional support for one's own people even when they commit injustices against others.

d (3-1) The meaning is that if an animal partly eaten by wild beasts is found while yet alive, and is slaughtered in the proper manner, its flesh is allowed.

e (3-2) Certain stones were set up around the Ka'bah, over or near which it was customary for the idolaters to kill animals as offerings to certain idols.

/(3-3) This prohibits dividing the flesh of slaughtered animals by means of certain arrows with which the idolatrous Arabs played a game of chance.

Islam as a religion. 0 But whoever is compelled by hunger, not inclining wilfully to sin, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

4 They askyou as to what is allowed them. Say: The good things are allowed to you, and what you have taught the beasts and birds of prey, training them to hunt â€" you teach them of what Allah has taught you; so eat of what they catch for you and mention the name of Allah over it; and keep your duty to Allah. Surely Allah is Swift in reckoning. 5 This day (all) good things are made lawful for you. And the food of those who have been given the Book is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. c And so are the chaste from among the believing women and the chaste from among those who have been given the Book before you, when you give them their dowries, taking (them) in marriage, not fornicating nor taking them for lovers in secret. And whoever

a (3-4) This verse was revealed towards the close of the Holy Prophet's life, and it is held by all authorities that no precept was revealed after this. It is a clear testimony to the perfection of religion in Islam, no such claim being made by any other book or religion. Just before the Holy Prophet Muhammad, Jesus had said: "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth" (John, 16:12-13). The Prophet Muhammad was thus the last of the prophets, because religion being perfected, no prophet was needed after him.

b (4) Game killed by means of beasts and birds of prey taught to hunt is allowed. When the beast or the bird is sent after the prey, the name of Allah should be mentioned. Game killed by an arrow or by a shot is allowed, subject to the same condition. If the game is not killed before it falls into the hands of the hunter, it should be slaughtered; if it is already killed, it is lawful in that condition.

c (5-1) Thus animals slaughtered by the Jews or the Christians are allowed when slaughtered in the name of God. However, any food which is clearly prohibited cannot become lawful because it is offered by a Jew or a Christian.

d (5-2) In Islam intermarriages with idol-worshippers are totally prohibited (2:221), but in the case of a people whose religion is based on a revealed book, in which category fall almost all the nations of the world, the taking of their women in marriage is expressly allowed. The giving away of Muslim women in marriage to followers of other religions is not, however, expressly mentioned, and practice from the earliest times is against it. {Editor's Note: A Jewish or Christian woman marrying a Muslim man would enter a household where her prophets and scriptures are believed in; while in the converse case a Muslim woman would be entering a household where the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran are not

denies faith, his work indeed is fruitless; and in the Hereafter he is among the losers.

Section 2: Duty of Uprightness

6 O you who believe, when you rise up for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe your heads, and (wash) your feet up to the ankles. And if you are under an obligation," then wash (your body). And if you are sick, or on a journey, or one of you has come from the toilet, or you have had (sexual) contact with women, and you cannot find water, then resort to pure earth and wipe your faces and your hands with it. Allah does not desire to place a burden on you but He wishes to purify you, and that He may complete His favour on you, so that you may give thanks.

7 And remember Allah's favour on you and His covenant with which He bound you when you said: We have heard and we obey. And keep your duty to Allah. Surely Allah is Knower of what is in the hearts.

8 O you who believe, be upright for Allah, bearers of witness with justice; and do not let hatred of a people incite you not to act equitably. Be just; that is nearer to observance of duty. And keep your duty to Allah. Surely Allah is Aware of what you do. 9 AUah has promised to those who believe and do good deeds: For them is forgiveness and a mighty reward. 10 And those who disbelieve and reject Our messages, such are the companions of the flaming fire.

11 O you who believe, remember Allah's favour on you when a people had determined to stretch out their hands against you, but He withheld their hands from you; and keep your duty to Allah. And on Allah let the believers rely. 6

believed in. Also note that this verse allows a Muslim man to marry a woman of the People of the Book only under the condition that the two of them follow the same code of sexual morality as would apply if both of them were Muslims.)

a (6) I.e., to perform a total ablution or bath after sexual intercourse.

b (11) The enemies of Islam tried to take away the life of the Holy Prophet and to exterminate the Muslims on occasions too numerous to mention.

Section 3: Christian Violation of the Covenant

12 And certainly Allah made a covenant with the Children of Israel, and We raised up among them twelve chieftains." And Allah said: Surely I am with you. If you keep up prayer and give the due charity and believe in My messengers and assist them and offer to Allah a goodly gift, I will certainly cover your evil deeds, and make you enter Gardens in which rivers flow. But whoever among you disbelieves after that, he indeed strays from the right way. 13 But on account of their breaking their covenant We cursed them and hardened their hearts. They alter words from their places and neglect a portion of what they were reminded of. And you will always discover treachery in them excepting a few of them â€" so pardon them and forgive. Surely Allah loves those who do good (to others). 14 And with those who say, We are Christians, We made a covenant, but they neglected a portion of what they were reminded of, so We stirred up enmity and hatred among them to the day of Resurrection/ And Allah will soon inform them of what they did.

15 O People of the Book, indeed Our Messenger has come to you, making clear to you much of what you concealed of the Book and passing over much. Indeed, there has come to you from Allah,

a (12) See the Bible, Book of Numbers, 1:5-16 and 1:44.

b (14-1) The covenant, made through Jesus, was to accept the Prophet when he appeared. Jesus told his followers: "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak" (John 16:12-13).

c (14-2) The prophecy that there shall always be hatred and enmity between the various Christian peoples has proved true in all ages, and never more clearly than in modern times with the World Wars in Europe.

d (15-1) There were many truths which the Jews and the Christians had lost, their scriptures not having remained free from corruption, and many which were in their books but which they did not act upon. Those which were of permanent value were revealed in the Quran, but others â€" referred to in passing over much â€" that only suited the requirements of the earlier times were not now needed.

a Light and a clear Book," 16 by which Allah guides such as follow His pleasure into the ways of peace, and brings them out of darkness into light by His will, and guides them to the right path.

17 They indeed disbelieve who say: Surely, Allah â€" He is the Messiah, son of Mary. Say: Who then could control anything as against Allah when He wished to destroy the Messiah, son of Mary, and his mother and all those on the earth? And Allah's is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He creates what He pleases. And Allah is Powerful over all things.

18 And the Jews and the Christians say: We are the sons of Allah and His beloved ones. c Say: Why does He then punish you for your sins? Rather, you are mortals from among those whom He has created. He forgives whom He pleases and punishes whom He pleases.'' And Allah's is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, and to Him is the eventual coming. 19 0 People of the Book, indeed Our Messenger has come to you explaining to you after a cessation of the messengers, 6 in case you say: No bearer of good news came to us nor a warner. So indeed a bearer of good news and a warner has come to you. And Allah is Powerful over all things.

a (15-2) The Light is the Holy Prophet, and the Book, the Quran.

b (17) The meaning is that Jesus and Mary, and all those who were then on the earth, tasted equally of death; hence Jesus was a mortal and not God.

c (18-1) In the Gospels it is said: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God" (Matthew, 5:9). The Christians think they are the people spoken of here. The Jews considered themselves as the favourite nation, because they thought they were the only nation chosen by God for the gift of Divine revelation, to the exclusion of all other nations of the world.

d (18-2) It is in accordance with Divine laws that forgiveness and punishment are exercised, and the alleged atonement of Jesus brought no change in this.

e (19) Several centuries had elapsed since the appearance of any prophet in any country when the great Arabian Prophet made his appearance. No nation in the world claims the appearance of any messenger in it between the advent of Jesus Christ and that of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The world was, as it were, preparing itself for the advent of the greatest of all prophets, who was to be a messenger to all the nations of the world.

Section 4: Israelites' Violation of the Covenant

20 And when Moses said to his people: My people, remember the favour of Allah to you when He raised prophets among you and made you kings and gave you what He did not give to any other of the nations." 21 My people, enter the Holy Land which Allah has ordained for you and do not turn your backs, for then you will turn back losers. 22 They said: Moses, in it are a powerful people, and we shall not enter it until they go out from it; if they go out from it, then surely we will enter. 23 Two men of those who feared, on whom Allah had bestowed a favour, said: Enter upon them by the gate, for when you enter it you will surely be victorious; and put your trust in Allah, if you are believers.' 24 They said: Moses, we will never enter it so long as they are in it; go therefore you and your Lord, and fight; surely here we sit. 25 He said: My Lord, I have control of none but my own self and my brother; so distinguish between us and the transgressing people. 26 He said: It will surely be forbidden to them for forty years â€" they will wander about in the land. e So do not grieve for the transgressing people.

Section 5: Cain and Abel

27 And relate to them with truth the story of the two sons of Adam, when they offered an offering, but it was accepted from one of them and was not accepted from the other. He said: I will certainly kill you. (The other) said: Allah accepts only from the dutiful. 28 If you stretch out your hand against me to kill me I shall

a (20) The reference need not be to the earlier history of the Israelites, but to their history as dating from the time of Moses, for the advent of Moses had brought about an entire change both in their spiritual and political status.

b (23) These were Joshua and Caleb. See Numbers, 14:6-9.

c (26) See Numbers 14:23. The forty years spoken of here represent the life of that generation.

d (27) The reference is apparently to the story of Cain and Abel. Compare Genesis 4:3-12. But the story may be taken allegorically, where the Israelites may be taken for the aggressive and sinful brother and the Ishmaelites, as represented by the Holy Prophet, for the righteous one.

not stretch out my hand against you to kill you. Surely I fear Allah, the Lord of the worlds: 29 I would rather that you should bear the sin against me and your own sin, a thus you would be one of the companions of the Fire; and that is the recompense of the unjust. 30 At length his mind made it easy for him to kill his brother, so he killed him; then he became one of the losers. 31 Then Allah sent a crow scratching the ground to show him how to cover the dead body of his brother. He said: Woe is me! Am I not able to be as this crow and cover the dead body of my brother? So he became regretful.

32 For this reason We prescribed for the Children of Israel that whoever kills a person, unless it is for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he had killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved the lives of all mankind. And certainly Our messengers came to them with clear arguments, but even after that many of them commit excesses in the land. 33 The only punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive to make mischief in the land c is that they should be murdered, or crucified, or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides, or they should be

a (29) The words "the sin against me" are literally "my sin" but here mean the sin committed against me, i.e. the sin of murder. By "your sin" is meant his previous sin on account of which his offering was not accepted. The righteous brother tells the wicked one that even after knowing that he intended to kill him he would not be the first to raise his hand against him and kill him, but he would rather that the guilty one should go on adding to his sins.

b (32) The reference is generally understood to be to the gravity of the crime of murder.

c (33-1) This has generally been accepted as referring to armed robbers and murderers who cause disorder and loss of life and property in a settled state of society, and not to those who actually wage war. The punishment to be inflicted in any particular case would depend upon the circumstances of the case, as well as the time and place where the crime was committed. (Editor's Note: Some recent commentators suggest that these words do not convey commands to apply these punishments as legal penalties, but describe the natural consequences that occur in society as a result of the actions of the perpetrators of such crimes.)

imprisoned. 0 This shall be a disgrace for them in this world, and in the Hereafter they shall have a grievous punishment, 34 except those who repent before you overpower them; so know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Section 6: Punishment of Offenders

35 O you who believe, keep your duty to Allah, and seek means of nearness to Him, and strive hard in His way that you may be successful. 36 Those who disbelieve, even if they had all that is in the earth, and as much as it again, to ransom themselves with it from the punishment of the day of Resurrection, it would not be accepted from them; and theirs is a painful punishment. 37 They would desire to come forth from the Fire, and they will not come forth from it, and theirs is a lasting punishment.

38 And (as for) the man and the woman addicted to theft, cut off their hands as a penalty for what they have earned â€" an exemplary punishment from Allah. And Allah is Mighty, Wise. 39 But whoever repents after his wrongdoing and reforms, Allah will turn to him (mercifully). Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. 40 Do you not know that Allah is He to Whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth? He punishes whom He pleases,

a (33-2) These words literally mean they should he banished from the earth, but are mostly accepted as meaning imprisonment. Deportation is also included if we take "earth" as meaning a particular country.

b (38) The cutting off of hands may be taken metaphorically or literally. If taken metaphorically, it would simply mean restraining the thief by imprisonment or otherwise. If taken literally, it must be emphasized that it is the maximum punishment, and whether it is inflicted would depend on the circumstances of the case. This punishment is called exemplary, and exemplary punishment could only be inflicted where the crime is very serious or the offender is a habitual criminal. The next verse shows that the punishment of cutting off the hand is only for a criminal who does not reform, i.e. for the habitual offender. Moreover, what is required is repentance and reform. To give a man a chance to reform it is necessary that he should be given freedom of action before the more serious punishment is inflicted. I translate the word al-sariq as meaning one addicted to theft, not only for the reasons given above but also because an explanatory reading of this word is al-sarriq, which is a noun of intensiveness, from the same root.

and forgives whom He pleases. And Allah is Powerful over all things.

41 O Messenger, do not let those grieve you who hasten to disbelief, from among those who say with their mouths, We believe, and their hearts do not believe, and from among those who are Jews â€" they are listeners for the sake of a lie, listeners for another people who have not come to you." They alter words after they are put in their (proper) places, saying: If you are given this, take it, and if you are not given this, be cautious. And he for whom Allah intends temptation, you control nothing for him against Allah. Those are they whose hearts Allah does not intend to purify. For them is disgrace in this world, and for them a grievous punishment in the Hereafter. 42 Listeners for the sake of a lie, devourers of forbidden things, so if they come to you, judge between them or turn away from them. And if you turn away from them, they cannot harm you at all. And if you judge, judge between them with equity. Surely Allah loves the equitable. 43 And how do they make you a judge and they have the Torah in which is Allah's judgment? Yet they turn away after that! And these are not believers.

Section 7: The Quran and Previous Scriptures

44 Surely We revealed the Torah, having guidance and light. e

a (41) The meaning is that they listen, but their object is only to invent lies and to give false reports to people who have not come to the Holy Prophet.

b (42) By the agreement drawn up between the various nationalities of Madinah on the advent of the Holy Prophet there (see 2:84 footnote), all disputes were to be referred to the Holy Prophet, but the Jews had by this time become so inimical to the Prophet that he is allowed to refuse to judge between them. In case he judged between them, he is still told to judge with equity. To be equitable, despite their severe enmity, shows that the Prophet had reached the highest point of moral rectitude to which man can attain.

c (44-1) Verses 44-47 do not provide evidence of the purity of the text of the Bible as we have it. That the Torah was a Divine revelation containing light and guidance has never been denied. What is denied is that that light and guidance were kept intact throughout the ages. It is further denied that these two books were meant for the whole world and for all ages.

By it did the prophets who submitted themselves (to Allah) judge for the Jews, and the rabbis and the doctors of law, because they were required to guard the Book of Allah," and they were witnesses of it. So do not fear the people and fear Me, and do not take a small price for My messages. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, those are the disbelievers. 45 And We prescribed to them in it that life is for life, and eye for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, and tooth for tooth, and for wounds retaliation. But whoever forgoes it, it shall be an expiation for him. c And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, those are the wrongdoers.

46 And We sent after them in their footsteps Jesus, son of Mary, verifying what was (already) before him of the Torah; and We gave him the Gospel containing guidance and light, and verifying what was before it of the Torah, and a guidance and an admonition for the dutiful. 47 And let the People of the Gospel judge by what Allah has revealed in it. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, those are the transgressors.

a (44-2) They were required to guard the Book of God but nonetheless alterations were made in it as stated in 2:75 and 2:79.

b (44-3) By judging is not meant only the judging of civil or criminal cases, but judging in all matters of religion, so that those who did not judge the revelation of the Holy Prophet by what was revealed in the Torah were disbelievers. The adoption of the words what Allah has revealed instead of the Torah is significant. It shows that the whole of the Torah as existing then was not looked upon by the Quran as being the Divine revelation.

c (45) If a man forgoes his right to an act of reprisal against his brother, this shall be an expiation for any wrong he may have done.

d (46) The description of the Gospel as containing light and guidance conveys the same significance as the similar statement regarding the Torah in v. 44. In addition it is stated that the Gospel verified the Torah despite the fact that it introduces many new doctrines in place of those given in the Mosaic law. This clearly shows that by verification is meant only corroboration of the general principles and broad doctrines of the faith, such as the unity of God and equitable dealing with people, or the declaration by one prophet of the truth of a previous prophet, as the declaration of the truth of Moses by Jesus and of both by the Holy Prophet. It is in this sense that the Quran is spoken of as verifying the Torah and the Gospel.

48 And We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, verifying what is (already) before it of the Book and a guardian over it," so judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires, (turning away) from the truth that has come to you. For everyone of you We appointed a law and a way. And if Allah had pleased He would have made you a single people, but that He might try you in what He gave you. e So vie with one another in good works. To Allah you will all return, so He will inform you of that in which you differed; 49 and that you should judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires, and be cautious of them that they do not seduce you from part of what Allah has revealed to you. Then if they turn away, know that Allah desires to afflict them for some of their sins. And surely many of the people are transgressors. 50 Is it then the judgment of ignorance that they desire? And who is better than Allah to judge for a people who are sure?

a (48-1) Being a guardian over all previous revelation shows that whatever was of permanent value in the previous scriptures has been preserved in the Quran. The previous books contained a light and guidance for the people for whom they were meant, and they were commanded to judge by those books, but the Quran is now the Book which judges all truth, wherever it may have been.

b (48-2) The appointment of a law and a way for everyone refers to the giving of different laws to different nations in accordance with their requirements before the revelation of the Quran, which fulfilled the requirements of all nations and all ages. Thus the Quran here recognizes the principle to which it refers frequently, that prophets were raised among every people, for which see particularly 10:47, 13:7 and 35:24.

c (48-3) One significance is that man is placed above the whole of creation in that he has been granted discretionary powers. Hence, people follow different ways, adopting different sects. If man had not been granted these powers, all humans would have been a single people, but then man's better qualities would not have been manifested. The words may, however, also mean "if Allah pleases He will make you a single people", referring to the ultimate destiny of the human race. In fact all people are now growing to the consciousness that they are all but one nation. (Editor's Note: These words, along with what follows in this verse, also indicate that all religions, though they are different, set before their adherents the same goal of doing good works, and therefore the followers of each religion should try to excel followers of other religions, or vie with them, in the doing of good works. That is how God tries adherents of every religion in this life.)

Section 8: Relations of Muslims with Enemies

51 O you who believe, do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends of each other. And whoever among you takes them for friends he is indeed one of them. Surely Allah does not guide the unjust people." 52 But you see those in whose hearts is a disease, hastening towards them, saying: We fear that a calamity may befall us.* Maybe Allah will bring the victory or a commandment from Himself/ so they will regret what they hid in their souls. 53 And those who believe will say: Are these they who swore by Allah with their most forcible oaths that they were surely with you? Their deeds will be fruitless, so they will be losers.

54 O you who believe, if anyone of you should turn back from his religion, then Allah will bring a people whom He loves and who love Him, humble towards the believers, mighty against the disbelievers, striving hard in Allah's way and not fearing the censure of any censurer. This is Allah's grace â€" He gives it to whom He pleases. And Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing.

a (51) All non-believers, whatever their own differences, had made common cause against Islam; this is what is meant by their being friends of each other. Muslims are warned that they should not expect help or friendship from any party of them, whether Jews, Christians, or idolaters. It would have been weakness of faith in the ultimate triumph of Islam if, from fear of a powerful enemy, they had sought help and friendship here and there among a hostile people, as the next verse shows. See 60:7-9 which make it clear that the prohibition against friendly relations with the disbelievers was only temporary, to be operative only so long as the war continued. Those verses settle conclusively that friendly relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, as such, are not prohibited.

b (52-1) By hastening towards them is meant hastening to make friendship with them or seeking their help, fearing a Muslim reverse.

c (52-2) Bringing about a commandment refers to the establishment of the rule of Islam, by which is meant the dominance of Islam, there being a further reference to the spiritual conquests of Islam in v. 54.

d (54) Muslims were severely persecuted while at Makkah and their troubles at Madinah increased manifold owing to the presence of warring tribes on all sides. Yet they faced all these hardships with the greatest perseverance, and cases of apostasy were rare.

55 0nly Allah is your Friend and His Messenger and those who believe, those who keep up prayer and give the due charity, and they bow down. 56 And whoever takes Allah and His Messenger and those who believe for friend â€" surely the party of Allah, they shall triumph.

Section 9: Those who mock

57 O you who believe, do not take for friends those who take your religion as a mockery and a sport, from among those who were given the Book before you and the disbelievers; and keep your duty to Allah if you are believers." 58 And when you call to prayer they take it as a mockery and a sport. That is because they are a people who do not understand.

59 Say: O People of the Book, do you find fault with us for only that we believe in Allah and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed before, while most of you are transgressors? 60 Say: Shall I inform you of those worse than this in retribution from Allah? They are those whom Allah has cursed and upon whom He brought His wrath and of whom He made apes and swine, and who serve the devil. These are in a worse plight and further astray from the straight path. 61 And when they come to you, they say, We believe, and surely they come in unbelief and they go forth in it. And Allah knows best what they conceal. 62 And you see many of them hastening to (commit) sin and transgression, and their devouring unlawful gain. Certainly evil is what they do. 63 Why do not the rabbis and the doctors of law prohibit them from their sinful utterances and their devouring unlawful gain? Certainly evil are the works they do.

a (57) Muslims were prohibited from having friendly relations with those who mocked their religion and their Prophet. Friendship with such people would indeed have led to a similar bent of mind. (Editor's Note: This again makes clear that friendship is only disallowed with disbelievers when they behave in a hostile way towards Islam. Muslims are nowhere required to attack physically or punish those who mock their religion, but only withdraw friendship temporarily.)

b (63) Editor's Note: It is for their committing of evil deeds, the sins prohibited in their own scriptures, that the Jews are here condemned. Verses 65 and 66

64 And the Jews say: The hand of Allah is tied up. Their own hands are fettered and they are cursed for what they say. No, both His hands are spread out." He disburses as He pleases. And what has been revealed to you from jour Lord will certainly make many of them increase in inordinacy and disbelief. And We have cast among them enmity and hatred till the day of Resurrection. Whenever they kindle a fire for war Allah puts it out, and they strive to make mischief in the land. And Allah does not love the mischief-makers. 65 And if the People of the Book had believed and kept their duty We would certainly have removed from them their evils, and made them enter gardens of bliss. 66 And if they had observed the Torah and the Gospel and what is revealed to them from their Lord, they would certainly have eaten from above them and from beneath their feet. Some of them keep to the moderate course; but most of them â€" evil is what they do. e

make it clear that Jews and Christians should not have violated the good teachings of their own scriptures and that there were some of them who did not.

a (64-1) Muslims as a community were mostly poor people who accepted the truth. Jews on the other hand carried on business and were rich, hence they taunted Muslims, saying that Allah's hand was fettered. See also 3:181. The words "both His hands are spread out" indicate that God will enrich Muslims materially as well as spiritually.

b (64-2) The casting of enmity among them may relate to the enmity between the Jews and the Christians, because both are again and again referred to in this chapter. {Editor's Note: That enmity has existed throughout their history, culminating in the atrocities against the Jews in Europe in the 20th century.)

c (66) If they had observed the Torah and the Gospel which contained clear prophecies of the Prophet's advent, they would have believed in the revelation of the Quran as well. The eating from above is in reference to spiritual blessings and eating from beneath their feet signifies the earthly provisions; i.e., they would have had abundance of both. The attitude of liberality adopted by Islam towards even its most implacable foes is remarkable. Despite their strong enmity to Islam, some Jews and Christians are described as keeping to the moderate course. (Editor's Note: It may also be meant that if Jews and Christians had acted on the moral teachings of their respective scriptures they would at least have not opposed the Prophet Muhammad, still less tried to destroy Islam.)

Section 10: Christian Deviation from the Truth

67 O Messenger, deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do not, you have not delivered His message. And Allah will protect you from people. Surely Allah does not guide the disbelieving people."

68 Say: O People of the Book, you follow no good till you observe the Torah and the Gospel and what is revealed to you from your Lord. And surely what has been revealed to you from your Lord will make many of them increase in inordinacy and disbelief; so do not grieve for the disbelieving people. 69 Surely those who believe and those who are Jews and the Sabians and the Christians â€" whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good â€" they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve.

70 Certainly We made a covenant with the Children of Israel and We sent to them messengers. Whenever a messenger came to them with what their souls did not desire, some (of them) they called liars and some they (even) sought to kill. 71 And they thought that there would be no affliction,* so they became blind and deaf; then Allah turned to them (mercifully) but many of them (again) became blind and deaf. c And Allah is Seer of what they do.

a (67) The promise is given here that the Holy Prophet will remain under Divine protection as against the innumerable dangers that threatened him from all quarters and the numerous plots against his life. But it also refers to the Prophet's spiritual protection. God protects prophets by creating them pure from every sin in their very nature, keeping them firm in trials, sending down tranquillity upon them and protecting their hearts against evil.

b (71-1) Although they had been repeatedly warned of the afflictions which would befall them, they still thought that, being a favoured nation, they would not suffer punishment for their evil deeds. They had been subjected to great sufferings at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian rulers who followed him, large numbers having been slain and the rest taken prisoners. And again they suffered at the hands of Titus. See v. 78 where this affliction is spoken of as coming after David and Jesus.

c (71-2) Allah's turning mercifully to them signifies the advent of Jesus, and their becoming blind and deaf a second time refers to their rejection of him.

72 Certainly they disbelieve who say: Allah, He is the Messiah, son of Mary. And the Messiah said: O Children of Israel, serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord." Surely whoever sets up partners with Allah, Allah has forbidden to him the Garden and his abode is the Fire. And for the wrongdoers there will be no helpers. 73 Certainly they disbelieve who say: Allah is the third of the three. And there is no God but One God. And if they do not refrain from what they say, a painful punishment will surely befall such of them as disbelieved 74 Will they not then turn to Allah and ask His forgiveness? And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

75 The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a messenger â€" messengers had indeed passed away before him. And his mother was a truthful woman. They both used to eat food. See how We make the messages clear to them, then see how they are turned away (from truth)! 76 Say: Do you serve besides Allah that which controls for you neither harm nor benefit? And Allah â€" He is the Hearing, the Knowing. 77 Say: O People of the Book, do not exaggerate in the matter of your religion unjustly, nor follow the

a (72) "You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve" (Matthew, 4:10).

b (73-1) The well-known Christian doctrine of the Trinity is here plainly referred to. It should be noted that the name of Mary is never mentioned in connection with the doctrine of the Trinity. But as the Christians, especially the Roman Catholics, invested Mary with Divine character, as being the mother of God, the Quran often mentions her along with Jesus as being an ordinary mortal.

c (73-2) The doctrine of the Atonement has slowly and gradually made the Christian world forget God altogether, and material advancement and the acquisition of worldly power has become their only concern. They first sought to subjugate the whole world, and, having done that, they are now seeking to overpower each other. Their mutual hatred and enmity as a punishment for their violation of the covenant of God has been already clearly spoken of in v. 14, and again in v. 64, as also in an earlier revelation: "And on that day We shall let some of them surge against others" (18:99).

d (75) Feeling hungry and partaking of food shows that both Jesus and his mother were ordinary mortals. Every living thing needs food; it is only the Supreme Being Who has no need of it. As Jesus is clearly spoken of as eating food while alive, he could not remain alive without food, and this verse thus negatives the allegation that Jesus is still alive.

low desires of people who went astray before and led many astray, and went astray from the right path. a

Section 11: Christian Nearness to Islam

78 Those who disbelieved from among the Children of Israel were cursed by the tongue of David and Jesus, son of Mary. This was because they disobeyed and exceeded the limits. 79 They did not forbid one another the hateful things they did. Evil indeed was what they did. 80 Ybu see many of them befriending those who disbelieve. Certainly evil is what their souls send ahead for them, so that Allah is displeased with them, and in punishment will they abide. 81 And if they believed in Allah and the Prophet c and what is revealed to him, they would not take them for friends, but most of them are transgressors. 82 Fou will certainly find the most violent of people in enmity against the believers to be the Jews and the idolaters; and you will find the nearest in friendship to the believers to be those who say, We are Christians. That is because

a (77) The exaggeration spoken of here refers to the Christian doctrine raising a mortal to the dignity of Godhead. The Christians are here told that in making this doctrine the basis of their religion they have only followed an erroneous doctrine preached by people before them. Recent criticism has shown that the Christians have only followed previous idolatrous nations in ascribing a son to God. This subject has been fully discussed in The Sources of Christianity by the late Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din.

b (78) After Moses, David and Jesus, who represent the highest achievement of Israelite prophethood in temporal and spiritual glory, spoke of the advent of the Holy Prophet in unmistakable terms. The curse is used here in its original sense of being removed further off from Divine mercy. Both prophets had warned the Jews that their transgressions called for Divine punishment which should soon overtake them if they did not mend their ways. The time of both was followed by a great affliction overtaking the Jews, in the respective depredations of the Babylonian kings and the destruction wrought by Titus.

c (81) By al-Nabl or the Prophet in the Quran is always meant the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and he is often spoken of and addressed as al-Nabi or al-Rasul, the Prophet or the Messenger. In fact, he is referred to as the Prophet or that Prophet in earlier prophecy as well (John 1:21,25). The Jews professed belief in the Unity of God, yet they made a common cause with the idolatrous Quraish to uproot Islam which was a religion of pure monotheism.



156 5. FOOD «5:83

there are priests and monks among them and because they are not proud."

83 And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger you see their eyes overflow with tears because of the truth they recognize. They say: Our Lord, we believe, so write us down with the witnesses.* 84 And what (reason) have we that we should not believe in Allah and in the Truth that has come to us, while we earnestly desire that our Lord should make us enter with the righteous people? 85 So Allah rewarded them for what they said, with Gardens in which rivers flow, to abide in them. And that is the reward of the doers of good. 86 And those who disbelieve and reject Our messages, such are the companions of the flaming fire.

Section 12: Warning of Sins of Previous People

87 O you who believe, do not forbid the good things which Allah has made lawful for you, nor exceed the limits. Surely Allah

a (82) The Christians were nearer to Islam than the Jews, not only because the Muslims accepted Jesus as a prophet of God, but because there were still among them many people who feared and worshipped God. In the Holy Prophet's own time, the Negus, Christian Emperor of Abyssinia, accepted Islam; Heraclius, the Byzantine ruler, was favourably disposed towards it; and even the Christian deputation of Najran towards the end of the Prophet's life was impressed with the Prophet's arguments. But the words here are more of a prophetical nature. In the early history of Islam, Christians in Egypt, North Africa, Syria, Persia and other countries, accepted Islam in very large numbers and at present, too, when Islam is being presented to the West, the Christians are receiving the message with an open heart.

b (83) This refers to the Christians who believed. An important such personage was the Negus of Abyssinia, in whose dominions the Muslims found shelter in the early days of the Prophet's mission, when compelled to flee from Makkah on account of the severe persecutions of the Quraish. When the portion of the chapter of the Quran entitled 'Mary' dealing with Jesus Christ was read out to him, the words so impressed him that he wept and said that Jesus was not one whit more than the Quran described him to be. That he subsequently became a true convert to Islam is clearly shown by a funeral service having been held for him by the Holy Prophet when news of his death reached Madinah.

does not love those who exceed the limits." 88 And eat of the lawful and good (things) that Allah has given you, and keep your duty to Allah, in Whom you believe. 89 Allah will not call you to account for what is vain in your oaths, but He will call you to account for the making of deliberate oaths; so its expiation* is the feeding often poor persons with the average (food) you feed your families with, or their clothing, or the freeing of a slave. But whoever does not find (means) should fast for three days. This is the expiation of your oaths when you swear. And keep your oaths. Thus does Allah make clear to you His messages that you may give thanks.

90 O you who believe, intoxicants and games of chance and (sacrificing to) stones set up and (dividing by) arrows e are only an uncleanness, the devil's work; so shun it that you may succeed/ 91 The devil desires only to create enmity and hatred among you by means of intoxicants and games of chance, and to keep you back from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. Will you then keep back? e 92 And obey Allah and obey the Messenger and

a (87) Muslims are told on the one hand not to follow the self-imposed restrictions of Christian monks and priests, and at the same time they are warned against depriving themselves of Divine blessings by falling into evil habits.

b (89) The oaths referred to are in relation to vows, etc., by which one forbids oneself what is otherwise lawful. The injunction at the end of this verse, keep your oaths, also shows that oaths cannot be violated generally, and therefore expiation is only allowed in the case of oaths by which a person deprives himself of some lawful thing or of an occasion of virtue, as in 2:226.

c (90-1) For "stones set up" and "dividing by arrows" see 5:3 footnotes 2 and 3.

d (90-2) This verse totally prohibits all intoxicants and games of chance; and besides, by classing them with sacrifices to stones set up for idols and dividing by arrows, subjects them to the prohibition of 5:3. It is related that when this verse was revealed a crier proclaimed in the streets of Madinah that wine was prohibited, and in response to this every jar of wine in a Muslim house was emptied, so that wine flowed in the streets (Bukhari, 46:20). Never in the history of the world was such a deep-rooted evil as drink so suddenly yet so completely eradicated.

e (91) Only one very clear reason is here given why intoxicants and games of chance are forbidden. Elsewhere it is clearly stated that in intoxicants and games of chance there is a great sin (2:219).

be cautious. But if you turn back then know that the duty of Our Messenger is only to deliver the message clearly. 93 0n those who believe and do good there is no blame for what they eat, a when they keep their duty and believe and do good deeds, then keep their duty and believe, then keep their duty and do good (to others). And Allah loves the doers of good.

Section 13: Inviolability of the Ka'bah

94 O you who believe, Allah will certainly try you in respect of some game which your hands and your lances can reach, that Allah may know who fears Him in secret. Whoever exceeds the limit after this, for him is a painful punishment. 95 0 you who believe, do not kill game while you are on pilgrimage.* And whoever among you kills it intentionally, the compensation of it is the like of what he killed, from the cattle, as two just persons among you judge, as an offering to be brought to the Ka'bah, or the expiation of it is the feeding of the poor or equivalent of it in fasting, that he may taste the unwholesome result of his deed. Allah pardons what happened in the past. And whoever returns (to it), Allah will punish him. And Allah is Mighty, Lord of retribution. 96 Lawful to you is the game of the sea and its food, e a provision for you and for the travellers, and the game of the land is forbidden to you so long as you are on pilgrimage, and keep your duty to Allah, to Whom you shall be gathered.

a (93) The verse speaks of those who died before the prohibition came. But even if it is taken generally, it would not justify doing what is unlawful, because one who believes, does good deeds, and keeps his duty will not approach any prohibited thing. In three times mentioning belief and regard for duty, the reference is to the threefold duty of man, viz., to Allah, to himself, and to others.

b (95) The prohibition to kill game when on pilgrimage, mentioned in verses 94-96, is a token of respect for the security of the Ka'bah (see v. 97), in addition to being a measure necessary for the safety of life in such a large gathering.

c (96) By the game of the sea is meant all water game, whether sea, river, pond, or lake. The food of the sea is here distinguished from its game, and means what is found having been left by the sea or river on dry land, without needing to be caught.

97 Allah has made the Ka'bah, the Sacred House," a means of support for the people, and the sacred month and the offerings and the victims with garlands. That is that you may know that Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth, and that Allah is Knower of all things. 98 Know that Allah is Severe in retribution and that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. "The duty of the Messenger is only to deliver the message. And Allah knows what you do openly and what you hide. 100 Say: The bad and the good are not equal, though the abundance of the bad may make you wonder. So keep your duty to Allah, you people of understanding, that you may succeed.

Section 14: Some Directions for Muslims

101 O you who believe, do not ask about things which, if made known to you, would give you trouble; and if you ask about them when the Quran is being revealed, they will be made known to you. Allah pardons this; and Allah is Forgiving, Forbearing/ 102 A people before you indeed asked such questions, then became disbelievers in them.

a (97-1) The word Ka 'bah comes from the root meaning it swelled or became prominent, and it is so called because of its prominence, or it is a prophetical name showing that it shall forever have eminence in the world. Al-Bait al-Haram (The Sacred or Inviolable House), used here, is also one of its names, and among the Arabs it was known as Bait Allah, or the House of Allah.

b (97-2) This is a prophetic announcement that the Ka'bah will forever remain a support or stay for mankind, where pilgrims will flock from all parts of the world. The words "That is that you may know that Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth" indicate that the fulfilment of this prophecy in all future ages will be a sign of the great knowledge of Allah, Who pronounced it at a time when the Ka'bah was hardly known beyond the borders of Arabia; see 3:97.

c (101) Islam prohibited questions relating to details on many points which would require this or that practice to be made obligatory, and much was left to individual will or the circumstances of the time and place. The exercise of judgment occupies a very important place in Islam and this gives ample scope to different nations and communities to frame laws for themselves to meet new and changed situations. The Holy Prophet also discouraged questions on details in which a Muslim could choose a way for himself.

103 Allah has not ordained a bahirah or a sd'ibah or a wasilah or a /zawz", but those who disbelieve fabricate a lie against Allah." And most of them do not understand. 104 And when it is said to them, Come to what Allah has revealed and to the Messenger, they say: Sufficient for us is that on which we found our fathers. What! even though their fathers knew nothing and had no guidance! 105 O you who believe, take care of your souls â€" he who goes astray cannot harm you when you are on the right way. To Allah you will all return, so He will inform you of what you did.

106 O you who believe, call to witness between you, when death draws near to one of you, at the time of making the will, two just persons from among you, or two others from among others than you, if you are travelling in the land and the calamity of death befalls you. You should detain them after the prayer. Then if you doubt (them), they shall both swear by Allah (saying): We will not take for it a price even for a relative, nor will we hide the testimony of Allah, c for then certainly we shall be sinners. 107 If it is discovered that they are guilty of a sin, two others shall stand up in their place from among those against whom the first two have been guilty of a sin; so they shall swear by Allah: Certainly our testimony is truer than the testimony of those two, and we have not exceeded the limit, for then surely we should be unjust. 108 Thus it is more probable that they will give true testimony or fear that other oaths will be taken after their oaths. And keep your duty to Allah and listen. And Allah does not guide the transgressing people.

a (103) The liberation of certain animals in honour of idols was a practice among the Arabs, and as Islam uprooted every vestige of idolatry, this practice is condemned here. The terms bahirah, sd'ibah, wasilah and hami referred to various types of camels and goat.

b (106-1) The words "others than you" show that the evidence of the followers of other religions is admissible according to the Quran, who may be chosen as witnesses by Muslims.

c (106-2) "The testimony of Allah" stands for the testimony which Allah has enjoined to be borne uprightly.

Section 15: Christian Love of the Material Life

109 On the day when Allah will gather together the messengers and say: What was the response you received? They will say: We have no knowledge. Surely You are the great Knower of the unseen/ 110 When Allah will say: O Jesus, son of Mary, remember My favour to you and to your mother, when I strengthened you with the Holy Spirit; you spoke to people in the cradle and in old age, and when I taught you the Book and the Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel, and when you determined out of clay a thing like the form of a bird by My permission, then you breathed into it and it became a bird by My permission; and you healed the blind and the leprous by My permission; and when you raised the dead by My permission; and when I withheld the Children of Israel from you when you came to them with clear arguments â€" but those of them who disbelieved said: This is nothing but clear enchantment.

Ill And when I revealed to the disciples, saying, Believe in Me and My messenger, they said: We believe, and (ask You to) bear witness that we are submitting ones. 112 When the disciples said: Jesus, son of Mary, is jour Lord able to send down food ° to us from heaven? He said: Keep your duty to Allah if you are believers. 113 They said: We desire to eat of it, and that our hearts should be satisfied, and that we may know that you have indeed spoken truth to us, and that we may be witnesses of it. 114 Jesus, son of Mary, said: O Allah, our Lord, send down to us food from

a (109) Only Allah knew how their message was received, because they could not say how far its rejecters were guilty, nor how far the accepters of the message remained true to it after their death.

b (110) For being strengthened with the Holy Spirit, see 2:87 footnote; for speaking in the cradle and in old age, see 3:46 footnote; for the miracles spoken of here, see 3:49 footnotes; for the withholding of the Israelites, see 3:54-55 footnotes.

c (112) The word md'idah, also the title of this chapter, means both a table with food on it and food. It also means knowledge, because knowledge is the nourishment for hearts, as food is the nourishment for bodies.

heaven which should be to us an ever-recurring happiness " to the first of us and the last of us, and a sign from You, and give us sustenance and You are the Best of the sustainers. 115 Allah said: Surely I will send it down to you, but whoever disbelieves afterwards from among you, I will punish him with a punishment with which I will not punish anyone among the nations f

Section 16: False Doctrines introduced after Jesus' Death

116 And when Allah will say: O Jesus, son of Mary, didyou say to people, Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah?"' He will say: Glory be to You! It was not for me to say

a (114-1) The word 'id used here means a festival, the literal significance being an ever-recurring happiness or source of enjoyment.

b (114-2) This passage seems to refer to the well-known prayer for daily bread, which Jesus appears to have included in the famous Lord's prayer on account of the earthly inclinations of his disciples. The food of the earth has no doubt been granted in abundance to Christians, but this has deprived them of the heavenly food. The Muslim's prayer in the opening chapter of the Quran craves not for bread but for the right path. The form of the prayer here, that it should be an ever-recurring happiness, shows clearly that the prayer was not for a table laden with provisions, as is generally supposed. As to its being sent down from heaven, it should be borne in mind that, in the language of the Quran, everything is with God and is sent down to people; see 15:21.

c (115) The terrible calamities which the two World Wars brought to humanity, and especially to the Christian nations, are unprecedented in human history. The calamities which have befallen the world today are due to the mad race for bread and for the wealth of this world. The neglect of the higher values of life and running blindly after material comforts has already brought to the world a ruin which it has never witnessed before.

rf(116) From this description of Mary being taken for a god by Christians, some critics of the Quran conclude that it has mistakenly considered the Trinity to consist of the three persons â€" God, Jesus and Mary. However, the doctrine of the Trinity is not mentioned here, while the divinity of Mary is not mentioned where the Quran speaks of the Trinity. See 4:171 footnote 3 and 5:73 footnote 1. As to Mary being taken for a god, the catechism of the Roman Church includes the following doctrines: "That she is truly the mother of God, and the second Eve, by whose means we have received blessing and life; that she is the mother of Pity and very specially our advocate; that her images are of the utmost utility" (Encyclopaedia Britannica, llthed., vol. 17, p. 813).

what I had no right to (say). If I had said it, You would indeed have known it. You know what is in my mind, and I do not know what is in Your mind. Surely You are the great Knower of the unseen. 117 I said to them nothing but what You commanded me: Serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord; and I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when You caused me to die You were the Watcher over them. And You are Witness of all things." m If You punish them, surely they are Your servants; and if You protect them, surely You are the Mighty, the Wise. 119 Allah will say: This is a day when their truth will profit the truthful ones. For them are Gardens in which rivers flow, abiding therein forever. Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Allah. That is the mighty achievement. 120 AUah's is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and whatever is in them; and He is Powerful over all things.

a (117) This verse is a conclusive proof that Jesus died a natural death, and is not now alive in heaven. Here Jesus says that so long as he was among his followers he was a witness of their condition, and he did not find them holding the belief in his divinity. The logical conclusion of this statement is that the false doctrine of his divinity was introduced into the Christian faith after his death, after "You caused me to die"; see further 3:55 footnote 1. A saying of the Holy Prophet is recorded in which the Holy Prophet speaks concerning himself in the very words which are here put into the mouth of Jesus. He said that he would be shown on the day of Resurrection some of his followers who had gone against his teachings, and "I would say what the righteous servant said: I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when You caused me to die, You were the Watcher over them" (Bukhari, 60:8).

b (118) The words tagkfir la-hum {protect them ox forgive them) refer to their final protection which will be granted to the Christian nations through acceptance of Islam. If the forgiveness of sins was meant, the Divine attributes referred to would have been those speaking of forgiveness and mercy, as the Forgiving, the Merciful. Instead of that the attributes referred to are the Mighty, the Wise, which generally indicate that some great purpose would be achieved and a transformation would be brought about.

Chapter 6

Al-An'am Cattle

The name of this chapter refers to certain superstitious and idolatrous practices of the pre-Islamic Arabs (v. 142-144) which were to be abolished to establish the doctrine of Divine Unity. The chapter deals with this doctrine at length, presents evidence to prove its truth and declares its ultimate triumph over idolatry and all other kinds of polytheism. This chapter was revealed at Makkah in the last year of the phase of the Holy Prophet's life there.

Section 1: Ultimate Triumph of Divine Unity

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 Praise be to Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, and made darkness and light. Yet those who disbelieve set up equals to their Lord." 2 He it is Who created you from clay, then He decreed a term. And there is a term named with Him; still you doubt.* 3 And He is Allah in the heavens and in the earth. He knows your secret (thoughts) and your open (words), and He knows what you earn.'

a (1) The words that Allah is the Maker of darkness and light are directed against the dualistic doctrine of the Magian religion, which holds light and darkness to be two co-eternal principles. The religion of Islam is the purest monotheism, and thus it holds that the ultimate cause of all things is the Great Maker of the heavens and the earth. Pure monotheism holds out before mankind the bright hope that, as goodness is inherent in the Divine Being, it is also the goal to which the creation moves on; while dualism considers the prevalence of evil to be necessary.

b (2) The first term is that of life and the second the Resurrection. All humans are here said to be created from clay, which means, in the case of Adam as well as human beings generally, that the earth is the original source, and dust the first stage, of life.

c (3) Life in Resurrection, spoken of in the previous verse, is here stated to be the result of man's own actions, which, whether done secretly or openly, are known to God. It is out of what you earn that He shapes a new life for you.

4 And no message comes to them of the messages of their Lord but they turn away from it. 5 So they rejected the truth when it came to them, but soon will come to them the news of what they mocked. 6 Do they not see how many a generation We destroyed before them, whom We had established in the earth as We have not established you, and We sent clouds pouring abundant rain on them, and We made rivers flow beneath them? Then We destroyed them for their sins, and raised up after them another generation.

7 And if We had sent down to you a writing on paper, then they had touched it with their hands, those who disbelieve would have said: This is nothing but clear enchantment." 8 And they say: Why has not an angel been sent down to him? And if We send down an angel, the matter would be decided and then they would not be given respite. 9 And if We had made him an angel, We would certainly have made him a man, and (thus) made confused to them what they confuse. c 10 And messengers before you were indeed mocked, but that which they derided befell those of them who scoffed/

a (7) If truth had been sent down to man in the physical form of a book, and had not been revealed to the mind of man, it could not bring about a transformation in the minds of human beings. But even if it had taken a physical shape, they would have called it an enchantment, and still rejected it.

b (8) They wanted to see the spiritual reality of the angel in a physical form. The presence of angels was felt by the righteous in the transformation which they worked in their hearts but the hearts of the wicked were impervious to all good, and hence the only form in which the angels could make their presence felt to them was by punishing them for their evil deeds. Hence the coming of the angels to the guilty is always spoken of in the Quran as being synonymous with the infliction of the punishment with which they were threatened. Compare 2:210 and v. 158 of this chapter.

c (9) If an angel were made a messenger to mankind, he would doubtless appear in the form of a man as the physical eye cannot see angels. Thus there would still be the same confusion in their minds as when a human being was entrusted with the Divine message. Moreover only a human being could serve as a model for people.

d (10) They ridiculed the idea of the Prophet and the believers being triumphant. Truth had always triumphed, they are told, and it would triumph even now.

Section 2: Greatness of Divine Mercy

11 Say: Travel in the land, then see what was the end of the rejectors. 12 Say: To whom belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth? Say: To Allah. He has ordained mercy on Himself." He will certainly gather you on the day of Resurrection â€" there is no doubt about it. Those who have lost their souls, they will not believe. 13 And to Him belongs whatever dwells in the night and the day. And He is the Hearing, the Knowing.

14 Say: Shall I take for a friend other than Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, and He feeds and is not fed? Say: I am commanded to be the first of those who submit. And do not be of those who set up partners (with Allah). 15 Say: Surely I fear, if I disobey my Lord, the punishment of a grievous day. 16 He from whom it is averted on that day, Allah indeed has had mercy on him. And this is a manifest achievement. 17 And if Allah touch you with affliction, there is none to remove it but He. And if He touch you with good, He is Powerful over all things. 18 And He is the Supreme, above His servants. And He is the Wise, the Aware.

19 Say: What thing is of most weight in testimony? Say: Allah is witness between you and me. And this Quran has been revealed to me that with it I may warn you and whomsoever it reaches. c Do you really bear witness that there are other gods with Allah? Say: I do not bear witness. Say: He is only One God, and surely I am innocent of what you set up (with Him). 20 Those whom We have given the Book recognize him as they recognize their sons. Those who have lost their souls, they will not believe.

a (12) The words He has ordained mercy on Himself 'imply that mercy is in fact His very nature. The evidence of Divine mercy is manifest in the physical world: He has created all things for the benefit of man. Would He not deal equally mercifully with man in his spiritual needs and send a revelation to guide him?

b (17) The meaning is: Allah, being All-powerful, will bring good to you.

c (19) The Holy Prophet was thus a warner, not for the Arabs only, but for all people whom the Quran may reach, i.e. for the whole world.

d (20) For as they recognize their sons, see 2:146 and footnote.

Section 3: Polytheists' Witness against themselves

21 And who is more unjust than one who forges a lie about Allah, or calls His messages a lie? Surely the wrongdoers will not be successful. 22 And on the day We gather them all together, then We shall say to those who set up partners (with Allah): Where are your associate-gods whom you asserted? 23 Then their excuse would be nothing but that they would say: By Allah, our Lord! we did not set up partners. 24 See how they lie against their own souls, and what they forged shall fail them! 25 And some of them listen to you and We have cast veils over their hearts so that they do not understand it and a deafness into their ears. And (even) if they see every sign they will not believe in it. a So much so that when they come to you they only dispute with you â€" those who disbelieve say: This is nothing but stories of the ancients.

26 And they forbid (others) from it, and they keep away from it; and they ruin none but their own souls while they do not perceive. 27 And if you could see when they are made to stand before the Fire, and say: If only we were sent back, we would not reject the messages of our Lord but would be from among the believers. 28 No, what they concealed before will become manifest to them. And if they were sent back, they would certainly go back to what they are forbidden, and surely they are liars. 29 And they say: There is nothing but our life of this world and we shall not be raised again. 30 And if you could see when they are made to stand before their Lord! He will say: Is not this the truth? They will say: Certainly, by our Lord! He will say: Taste then the punishment because you disbelieved.

a (25) Veils were cast over their hearts because they would not believe even if they saw all the signs. As the words that follow show, they came to the Prophet, not for the purpose of listening to and pondering over what he said, but to dispute with him. The veils were due to their own actions; see 2:10 and footnote.

b (28) The evil consequences of their deeds were hidden in this life, but they will become manifest in the life after death. And since, if they were sent back, the evil consequences of evil deeds would again be hidden from the physical eye they would revert to evil deeds.

Section 4: Rejection of the Truth

31 They are losers indeed who reject the meeting with Allah, until when the hour comes upon them suddenly," they will say: O our grief for our neglecting it! And they bear their burdens on their backs. Now surely evil is what they bear! 32 And this world's life is but an idle sport and play. And certainly the abode of the Hereafter is better for those who keep their duty. Do you not then understand? 33 We know indeed that what they say grieves you, for surely they do not call you a liar, but the wrongdoers deny the messages of Allah. 34 And messengers indeed were rejected before you, but they were patient when rejected and persecuted, until Our help came to them. And there is none to change the words of Allah. c And there has already come to you some information about the messengers. 35 And if their turning away is hard on you, then, if you can, seek an opening into the earth or a ladder to heaven, to bring them a sign!''And if Allah pleased, He would certainly have gathered them all to guidance, so do not be from among the ignorant. 36 0nly those accept who listen. And (as for) the dead, Allah will raise them, then to Him they will be returned. 6

a (31) By the hour is meant their doom, as well as the hour of the final judgment.

b (33) The Holy Prophet was known among them as al-Amln, i.e., the Faithful or the Truthful one. His worst enemies at the height of their enmity admitted that he had never told a lie. It was after he received the Divine revelation that he was called a liar, and hence it was really a denial of the Divine revelation, not a denial as to the Prophet's truthfulness.

c (34) The context shows that by the words of Allah here are meant the prophecies foretelling the triumph of Truth and the overthrow of all opposition.

d (35) By sign is meant a sign that should bring all to guidance. Their doom was pronounced, and that word must be fulfilled, as affirmed in the previous verse; but the demand of the people to be overawed into an immediate submission to the Prophet by a sign was not in accordance with the Divine Law.

e (36) Those addressed by the Holy Prophet are here divided into two classes: (1) those who listen: they accept him and become believers; (2) those who are spiritually dead and pay no heed to his warning. Even the latter are not to be despaired of, for Allah will raise them too to spiritual life. Their being returned to Allah stands here for their ultimate acceptance of the Truth.

37 And they say: Why has not a sign been sent down to him from his Lord? Say: Surely Allah is Able to send down a sign, but most of them do not know." 38 And there is no animal in the earth, nor a bird that flies on its two wings, but (they are) communities like yourselves. We have not neglected anything in the Book. Then to their Lord will they be gathered. 39 And those who reject Our messages are deaf and dumb, in darkness. Whom Allah pleases He leaves in error. And whom He pleases He places on the right way. 40 Say: See, if the punishment of Allah overtake you or the hour come upon you, will you call on others than Allah, if you are truthful? 41 No, Him you call upon, so He removes that for which you pray, if He pleases, and you forget what you set up as partners (with Him).

Section 5: Consequences of Rejection

42 And indeed We sent (messengers) to nations before you then We seized them with distress and affliction that they might humble themselves. 43 Yet why did they not, when Our punishment came to them, humble themselves? But their hearts hardened and the devil made all that they did seem good to them. 44 Then, when they neglected what they had been admonished with, We opened for them the gates of all things. c Until, when they rejoiced in what they were given, We seized them suddenly; then they were in

a (37) Allah did send the very sign demanded, as we find the Arabs submitting to the Holy Prophet almost in a body after the conquest of Makkah.

b (38) Other creatures are all provided for by Allah as human beings are, so far as physical needs are concerned. But man's nature aspires to something higher, and it is to satisfy that spiritual craving that prophets are sent. This verse, moreover, points, as it were, to two classes of people â€" those who, like beasts, are wholly bent on earth and cannot rise, and those who rise like birds, soaring upward to the higher spiritual regions. The concluding words of the verse â€" then to their Lord will they be gathered â€" are in reference to mankind and, as compared with other animals, point to the Higher life, the life eternal in God. There is no mention here or anywhere else in the Quran of the lower animals being raised to a new life for Judgment.

c (44) By opening the gates of all things is meant that all comforts of life were made accessible to them.

utter despair! 45 So the roots of the people who did wrong were cut off. And praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds."

46 Say: Have you considered that if Allah should take away your hearing and your sight and seal your hearts, who is the god besides Allah that can bring it to you? See how We repeat the messages yet they turn away! 47 Say: See, if the punishment of Allah should overtake you suddenly or openly, will any be destroyed but the wrongdoing people? 48 And We do not send messengers but as bearers of good news and warners; then whoever believes and acts aright, they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve. 49 And as for those who reject Our messages, punishment will afflict them because they transgressed. 50 Say: I do not say to you, I have with me the treasures of Allah, nor do I know the unseen, nor do I say to you that I am an angel; I follow only what is revealed to me. Say: Are the blind and the seeing alike? Do you not then reflect?

Section 6: Reward of Believers

51 And warn with it those who fear that they will be gathered to their Lord â€" there is no protector for them, nor any intercessor besides Him â€" so that they may keep their duty. 52 And do not drive away those who call upon their Lord, morning and evening, desiring only His pleasure. Neither are you accountable for them at all, nor are they accountable for you at all, that you should drive them away and thus be one of the wrongdoers. c 53 And thus do We

a (45) By cutting off the roots is meant the destruction of the ringleaders in particular.

b (50) Appearing among a superstitious and ignorant people, the Holy Prophet could have claimed any supernatural powers for himself. But he told them plainly that he was a man who had no treasures, nor did he lay claim as a man to know the secrets of the future, nor did he profess to be any more than a mortal. Allah had revealed His will to him, and he faithfully followed and translated into practice everything that he received from on High. And as he himself was, so he wanted others to be. The unique greatness of the Prophet lies in the fact that he never tried to put himself before people as superhuman.

c (52) This verse was revealed when some leading Quraish expressed their

try some of them by others so that they say: Are these they upon whom Allah has conferred benefit from among us? " Does not Allah best know the grateful? 54 And when those who believe in Our messages come to you, say: Peace be on you, your Lord has ordained mercy on Himself, (so) that if anyone of you does evil in ignorance, then turns after that and acts aright, then He is Forgiving, Merciful. 55 And thus do We make distinct the messages so that the way of the guilty may become clear.

Section 7: Divine Judgment

56 Say: I am forbidden to serve those whom you call upon besides Allah. Say: I do not follow your low desires, for then indeed I should go astray and should not be of the guided ones. 57 Say: Surely I have manifest proof from my Lord and you call it a lie. I do not have with me (the power to bring) what you seek to hasten. The judgment is only Allah's. He relates the truth and He is the Best of deciders. 58 Say: If I had with me (the power to bring) what you seek to hasten, the matter would have certainly been decided between you and me. And Allah best knows the wrongdoers.

59 And with Him are the treasures of the unseen â€" none knows them but He. And He knows what is in the land and the sea. And no leaf falls but He knows it, nor is there a grain in the darkness of the earth, nor anything green or dry, but (it is all) in a clear book. 60 And He it is Who takes your souls at night, and He

willingness to accept the Prophet if the poorer Muslims were not allowed to remain in his company at the time. The poor and the rich are here brought to the same level; they have equal claims to learn and practise the truth. Truth is equally accessible to all. To the religion of Islam, no aristocracy is known. Before the Great Master the differences of rank, wealth and colour sink into insignificance, and therefore before Allah's Messenger, as before Allah Himself, they must all stand upon one level. Everyone is answerable for what he does is the golden principle preached by Islam.

a (53) The simple and decisive answer given above no doubt wounded the pride of the wealthy Quraish, who were required to sit along with the poor slaves whom they never treated as human beings, and thus they were tried.

b (59) The clear book is the great law of cause and effect. The falling of the

knows what you earn by day, then He raises you up in it that an appointed term may be fulfilled. Then to Him is your return, then He will inform you of what you did.

Section 8: Divine Judgment

61 And He is the Supreme above His servants, and He sends keepers over you; until when death comes to one of you, Our messengers cause him to die, and they are not remiss. 62 Then are they sent back to Allah, their Master, the True one. Now surely His is the judgment and He is swiftest in taking account.

63 Say: Who is it that delivers you from the calamities of the land and the sea? (When) you call upon Him, in humility and in secret: If He deliver us from this, we will certainly be of the grateful ones. 64 Say: Allah delivers you from this and from every distress, yet you set up partners (with Him). 65 Say: He has the power to send on you a punishment from above you or from beneath your feet, or to throw you into confusion, (making you) of different factions, and make some of you taste the violence of others. See how We repeat the messages that they may understand!"

leaf indicates that its power to draw nourishment has come to an end; thus do individuals and nations fall. The grain in the darkness of the earth stands for the mission of the Prophet, for that grain was destined to sprout forth, growing into a tree of exceptional proportions. The "green" indicates those people that prosper and the "dry" those that must fall off.

a (65) The three forms of punishment were witnessed by the Holy Prophet's opponents later on. A punishment from above took the form of a storm during the well-known battle of the Allies, when an army between ten and twenty thousand strong took to flight on account of a great storm; a punishment from beneath took the form of a drought which brought great affliction upon the people of Makkah for seven years; while they were made to taste the violence at the hands of the Muslims in the battles which they themselves started and which brought about the final disruption of the power of the Quraish. Applied to the modern West, the punishment from above and punishment from below are, respectively, the tyranny of the bourgeois and the tyranny of the proletariate. The capitalists first tyrannized labour and then communism wreaked vengeance on the capitalists. To these two punishments is now added a third. The whole world is divided into parties which aim at each other's destruction and the violence of man against man has reached a

66 And your people call it a lie and it is the Truth. Say: I am not put in charge of you. 67 For every prophecy is a term, and you will soon come to know (it). a 68 And when you see those who talk nonsense about Our messages, withdraw from them until they enter into some other discourse. And if the devil cause you to forget, then do not sit after recollection with the unjust people. 69 And those who keep their duty are not accountable for them at all but (theirs) is only to remind; perhaps they may guard against evil.

70 And leave those who take their religion for a play and an idle sport, and whom this world's life has deceived, and remind (people) with this (message) in case a soul be destroyed for what it has earned. It has besides Allah no friend nor intercessor, and though it offer every compensation, it will not be accepted from it. Those are they who are destroyed for what they earn. For them is a drink of boiling water and a painful punishment, because they disbelieved.

Section 9: Abraham's Argument for Divine Unity

71 Say: Shall we call, besides Allah, on that which does not benefit us nor harm us, and shall we be turned back on our heels after Allah has guided us? Like one whom the devils cause to follow his low desires, in bewilderment in the earth â€" he has companions who call him to the right way (saying), Come to us. Say: Surely the guidance of Allah, that is the (true) guidance. And we are commanded to submit to the Lord of the worlds, 72 and that you should keep up prayer and keep your duty to Him. And He it is to Whom you shall be gathered. 73 And He it is Who created the

peak unthought of by the world. Whole cities with their millions of residents are turned into graves in the twinkling of an eye, and this wholesale destruction of man by man is considered as the greatest feat of material civilization.

a (67) The prophecy of the vanquishment of the powerful opponents of Islam is declared with even greater emphasis than in the earlier stage of the Prophet's mission, despite the apparent triumph of opposition to his cause which had succeeded in scattering the few people who accepted Islam.

heavens and the earth with truth. And when He says, Be, it is. fl His word is the truth and His is the kingdom on the day when the trumpet is blown.* The Knower of the unseen and the seen; and He is the Wise, the Aware.

74 And when Abraham said to his sire, Azar: c Do you take idols for gods? Surely I see you and jour people in manifest error. 75 And thus did We show Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and that he might have certainty. d 76 So when the night overshadowed him, he saw a star. He said: Is this my Lord? e So when it set, he said: I do not love the setting ones. 77 Then when he saw the moon rising, he said: Is this my Lord? So when it set,

a (73-1) These words are generally used when the bringing about of a great change â€" a change which seems to be impossible to people â€" is meant.

b (73-2) The reference may be either to the Resurrection when human beings will be raised to be brought to judgment, or the great spiritual resurrection which was to be brought about through the Holy Prophet when the whole of Arabia was destined to receive a new life, the life spiritual, or perhaps to the still greater spiritual resurrection when the whole of humanity was destined to receive a new life through the triumph of Islam.

c (74) Whether Azar was the father of Abraham, or his grandfather or uncle, is a much disputed point. The word ab means a father as well as an ancestor, and in 2:133 it is applied to an uncle because there Ishmael is spoken of as an ab of Jacob. Abraham's father (walid) is indicated in 14:41 to be a believer, while the sire (ab) is elsewhere mentioned as having stuck to idolatry till his death (9:114). Hence I prefer sire as the significance of the word.

d (75) Showing Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth signifies granting him an insight into the Divine laws of nature working in the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. This insight had convinced him that Allah was the real controller of the universe, while the sun, the moon, the stars and other heavenly bodies, were only His creation and subject to His laws.

e (76) These words, which literally mean this is my Lord, do not contain Abraham's conviction. The words are either uttered by way of surprise or, as translated here, the phrase may be interrogatory, expressing disapproval. It should be borne in mind that Abraham never worshipped idols or the heavenly bodies like his people. He has already been spoken of in v. 74 as denouncing the idol-worship of his people, and in v. 75 as possessing certainty of faith in One God. Further on, we find it clearly stated in v. 83 that what is related here was an argument by which Abraham tried to convince his people that they worshipped false deities, which were themselves subject to Divine laws.

he said: If my Lord had not guided me, I should certainly be of the people who are in error. 78 Then when he saw the sun rising, he said: Is this my Lord? Is this the greatest? So when it set, he said: My people, I am clear of what you set up (with Allah). 79 Surely I have turned myself, being upright, wholly to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth, and I am not of those who set up partners (with Allah).

80 And his people disputed with him. He said: Do you dispute with me respecting Allah and He has guided me indeed? And I do not fear in any way those that you set up with Him, unless my Lord please. My Lord comprehends all things in His knowledge. Will you not then be mindful? 81 And how should I fear what you have set up (with Him), while you do not fear to set up partners with Allah for which He has sent down to you no authority? Which then of the two parties is surer of security, if you know? 82 Those who believe and do not mix up their faith with wrongdoing â€" for them is security and they go aright.

Section 10: Prophets among Abraham's Descendants

83 And this was Our argument which We gave to Abraham against his people. We exalt in degrees whom We please. Surely your Lord is Wise, Knowing. 84 And We gave him Isaac and Jacob. Each did We guide; and Noah did We guide before, and of his descendants, David and Solomon and Job and Joseph and Moses and Aaron. And thus do We reward those who do good (to others), 85 and Zacharias and John and Jesus and Elias; each one (of them) was of the righteous, 86 and Ishmael and Elisha and Jonah and Lot; and each one (of them) We made to excel the people; 87 and some of their fathers and their descendants and their brethren. And We chose them and guided them to the right way.

88 This is Allah's guidance with which He guides whom He pleases of His servants. And if they had set up partners (with Him), all that they did would have been fruitless. 89 These are they to

whom We gave the Book and authority and prophecy. " Therefore if these disbelieve in it, We have indeed entrusted it to a people who are not disbelievers in it. 90 These are they whom Allah guided, so follow their guidance. Say: I do not ask you for any reward for it. It is nothing but a Reminder for the nations.

Section 11: Truth of Divine Revelation

91 And they do not honour Allah with the honour due to Him, when they say: Allah has not revealed anything to a mortal. c Say: Who revealed the Book which Moses brought, a light and a guidance to people â€" you make it into (scattered) papers, which you

a (89) Each one of the prophets was given three things. The first was the Kitdb, the Book, or the Divine revelation which the prophet was granted to guide people aright. The second is called hukm, which means authority to judge. This shows that every prophet received authority directly from God, and it was by Divine authority that he judged his people. The third is nubuwwat, which means prophethood or the gift of prophecy. The Book contains directions for guidance of the people and nubuwwat is the prophetical part which is meant to strengthen faith. Thus the Holy Prophet Muhammad was granted the gift of prophecy long before he was granted the Book which began with the words, Read in the name of your Lord (96:1). Further there is a vast number of his prophecies which are contained in the Hadith and which do not form a part of the Book, the Quran.

b (90) The Prophet is told to follow the guidance of all the earlier prophets because his message was for all the nations to whom previous prophets had separately come. Hence the Quran is called a Reminder, showing that it was meant for all the nations, to whom it was a reminder of what they had received before. The Prophet is, in fact, here told that he was now the representative of all the prophets that had gone before him, and therefore possessed all the excellences which were granted to those prophets separately.

c (91-1) The words Allah has not revealed anything to a mortal may mean a total denial of God revealing Himself to man or simply a denial of revelation to the Holy Prophet. The Jews and the Christians are told in this verse that the same God Who revealed a book to Moses, containing a clear prophecy of a prophet like him, has now in fulfilment of that prophecy sent the like of Moses. Their only answer to that clear prophecy was that they would not mention it or talk of it at all â€" and you conceal much. The deniers of Divine revelation are also told, more generally, that the proof of revelation was in the knowledge which it gave â€" you are taught what neither you nor your fathers knew.

rf(91-2) The book was not kept intact, hence its description as scattered papers.

show and you conceal much? And you are taught what neither you nor your fathers knew. Say: Allah. Then leave them sporting in their idle talk. 92 And this is a Blessed Book We have revealed, verifying what is (already) before it, and that you may warn the mother-town " and those around it. And those who believe in the Hereafter believe in it, and they keep a guard over their prayers.

93 And who is more unjust than he who forges a lie against Allah, or says, Revelation has been granted to me, while nothing has been revealed to him; and he who says: I can reveal the like of what Allah has revealed? ' And if you could see when the wrongdoers are in the agonies of death and the angels stretch forth their hands, (saying): Yield up your souls. This day you are awarded a punishment of disgrace because you spoke against Allah other than truth, and (because) you scorned His messages. 94 And certainly you have come to Us one by one as We created you at first, and you have left behind your backs what We gave you. And We do not see with you your intercessors about whom you asserted that they were (Allah's) partners in respect to you. Certainly the ties between you are now cut off and what you asserted has failed you.

Section 12: Ultimate Triumph of the Truth

95 Surely Allah causes the grain and the date-stone to germinate. He brings forth the living from the dead and He is the bringer forth of the dead from the living. That is Allah. How are you then turned away (from truth)! e 96 He is the cleaver of the daybreak;

a (92) Umm al-Qura or the mother of the towns is the title by which Makkah is known. The reason is not only that it was both the political and the spiritual centre of Arabia, but also because it was destined to be the universal spiritual centre â€" the real mother of the whole world.

b (93) These words declare the Holy Prophet free of having forged a lie against Allah. The claim "I can reveal the like of what Allah has revealed" are the words of those who refuse to believe in the truth of Divine revelation.

c (95) The preaching of the Holy Prophet is likened to the sowing of the seed which, though to all appearance it is lost in the earth, soon springs forth into a large tree. The bringing forth the living from the dead is the bringing forth a living

and He has made the night for rest, and the sun and the moon for reckoning. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Knowing." 97 And He it is Who has made the stars for you that you might follow the right way by them in the darkness of the land and the sea. Indeed We have made plain the signs for a people who know. 98 And He it is Who has brought you into being from a single soul, then there is (for you) an abode and a repository/ Indeed We have made plain the signs for a people who understand.

99 And He it is Who sends down water from the clouds, then We bring forth with it buds of all (plants), then We bring forth from it green (foliage), from which We produce clustered grain; and of the date-palm, of the sheaths of it, come forth clusters (of dates) within reach; and gardens of grapes and the olive and the pomegranate, alike and unlike. Look at the fruit of it when it bears fruit and the ripening of it. Surely there are signs in this for a people who believe! i°°And they regard the jinn to be partners with Allah, and He created them, and they falsely attribute to Him sons and daughters without knowledge. Glory be to Him, and supremely exalted is He above what they ascribe (to Him)!

people from the spiritually dead Arabs, and the bringing forth the dead from the living alludes to the spiritual death of those who had been previously granted spiritual life through Divine revelation.

a (96) The darkness prevailing in the earth would soon be dispelled, and would give place to light, even as, with the break of the morning, darkness gives place to light.

b (97) The Holy Prophet is likened to the sun, and those who receive light from him and transmit it to others are likened to the stars. The analogy is that He Who makes light to guide you physically could not have neglected your spiritual guidance.

c (98) The abode may indicate this life and the repository the grave.

d (100) The reference is either to the dualistic doctrine of the Magi, who thought that while Allah was the creator of good, the devil was the creator of evil, or to the Arab belief that the jinn had a hand in the transaction of their affairs, or in bringing them good fortune or ill luck.

Section 13: Gradual Progress

101 Wonderful Originator of the heavens and the earth! How could He have a son when He has no consort? And He created everything, and He is the Knower of all things." 102 That is Allah, your Lord. There is no god but He, the Creator of all things; therefore serve Him, and He has charge of all things. 103 Vision cannot comprehend Him, and He comprehends (all) vision; and He is the Knower of subtleties, the Aware.

104 Clear proofs have indeed come to you from your Lord; so whoever sees, it is for the good of his own soul; and whoever is blind, it is to its harm. And I am not a keeper over you. 105 And thus do We repeat the messages, and that they may say, 7ou have studied; and that We may make it clear to a people who know. 106 Follow what is revealed to you from jour Lord â€" there is no god but He; and turn away from those who set up partners (with Allah). 107 And if Allah had pleased, they would not have set up others (with Him). And We have not appointed you a keeper over them, and you are not in charge of them.

108 And do not abuse those whom they call upon besides Allah, in case, exceeding the limits, they abuse Allah through ignorance. c Thus to every people have We made their deeds seem good; then to their Lord is their return so He will inform them of what they did. 109 And they swear their strongest oaths by Allah that if a sign comes to them they would certainly believe in it. Say: Signs are with Allah. And what should make you know that when they come they do not believe? 110 And We turn their hearts

a (101) This verse and those that follow describe the transcendental Unity of the Divine Being. To attribute a son to Him is to acknowledge that He had a consort; otherwise the word son will have to be taken simply as a metaphor.

b (103) The physical vision of man, working as it does only within narrow limits and being able only to see bodies, cannot comprehend the Infinite One. He is the all-pervading Spirit, and can be seen only with the spiritual eye.

c (108) Here Muslims are forbidden to abuse even the idols of other people, though their worship is condemned in the strongest terms.

rf(109) Many signs of the Holy Prophet's truth had appeared while he was



180 6. CATTLE -6:111

and their sights, just as they did not believe in it the first time; and We leave them in their inordinacy, blindly wandering on."

Section 14: Idolaters' Opposition

111 And even if We send down to them the angels and the dead speak to them and We bring together all things before them, they would not believe unless Allah please, but most of them are ignorant. 112 And thus did We make for every prophet an enemy, the devils from among the people and the jinn, some of them inspiring others with gilded speech to deceive (them)^ And if your Lord pleased, they would not do it, so leave them alone with what they forge â€" 113 And that the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter may incline to it, and that they may be pleased with it, and that they may earn what they are earning.

114 Shall I then seek a judge other than Allah, when He it is Who has sent down to you the Book fully explained. And those

still at Makkah, but they still went on demanding signs. The reply, "signs are with Allah", means that the sign which they demanded would be shown and that Allah had the power to show all kinds of signs. But even then they would not believe. The first sign of the overthrow of the power of the Quraish appeared in the battle of Badr, but they did not believe even then.

a (110) The turning of their hearts and sights is Allah's leaving them in their inordinacy, as explained by the verse itself. And even this is due to their own action in rejecting the truth. When an attitude of enmity is assumed towards the truth, the heart becomes estranged from it, and this growing estrangement is termed the turning away of the heart from it.

b (111) There are always some people who turn a deaf ear to every argument, and it is of such leaders of evil that this verse speaks; see next verse. The coming of the angels stands for the execution of the decree of their punishment. The speaking of the dead refers either to the raising of the spiritually dead to life (see v. 122), or to the evidence of those who had passed away before the Prophet, being given through their writings. And lastly, by the bringing together of all things is meant the bringing together of things relating to their punishment. The meaning is that some of the opponents are so blind that the clearest of signs or proofs would not convince them.

c (112) By the people and the jinn here are apparently meant the ordinary people and the leaders, suggesting to each other varnished tales of falsehood. See later v. 128 footnote 1 for a fuller discussion of the word/mo.

whom We have given the Book know that it is revealed by your Lord with truth, so do not be one of the disputers. 115 And the word of jour Lord has been accomplished truly and justly. There is none who can change His words; and He is the Hearer, the Knower." 116 And if you obey most of those in the earth, they will lead you astray from Allah's way. They follow nothing but conjecture, and they only lie. 117 Surely jour Lord â€" He knows best who goes astray from His way, and He knows best the guided ones.

118 Eat, then, of that on which Allah's name has been mentioned, if you are believers in His messages. 119 And what reason have you that you should not eat of that on which Allah's name is mentioned, when He has already made plain to you what He has forbidden to you â€" except what you are compelled to. c And surely many lead (people) astray by their low desires through ignorance. Surely jour Lord â€" He best knows the transgressors. 120 And avoid open sins and secret ones. Surely they who earn sin will be rewarded for what they have earned. 121 And do not eat of that on which Allah's name has not been mentioned, and that is surely a transgression. 2 And certainly the devils inspire their friends

a (115) The word signifies the prophetic word; see 6:34 footnote.

b (118) The establishment of the doctrine of Divine Unity, which is the object of this chapter, required the abolition of all idolatrous practices, among which was the practice of slaughtering animals in the names of idols. It is allowed to Muslims to slaughter animals for food, but Allah's name must be mentioned when the animal is slaughtered. This is also a reminder to man that this act of the taking of a life, even though it is the life of an animal, is made lawful only by Divine permission, for the attainment of a necessary purpose.

c (119) The reference in these words is to what is said in an earlier revelation; see 16:115. The same subject is again referred to in 6:145, as also in 2:173 and in greater detail in 5:3, both of these being revelations at Madinah.

d (120) The Muslim is here commanded to consider open and secret sins to be equally hateful. In fact there are very few people who commit open sins as compared with those who are guilty of secret sins.

e (121) These words are explained by the majority as containing only a prohibition against the eating of that which is slaughtered in the name of others than Allah.

to contend with you; and if you obey them, you will surely be those who set up partners (with Allah).

Section 15: The Chief Opponents

122 Is he who was dead, then We raised him to life and made for him a light by which he walks among the people, like him whose likeness is that of one in darkness from which he cannot come forth? a Thus their doings are made to seem good to the disbelievers. 123 And thus have We made in every town the leaders of its guilty ones, that they may make plans in it. And they plan only against themselves, and they do not perceive. 124 And when a message comes to them they say: We will not believe till we are given the like of what Allah's messengers are given. Allah best knows where to place His message. Humiliation from Allah and severe punishment will surely befall the guilty for their planning.

125 So whomsoever Allah intends to guide, He expands his breast for Islam, and whomsoever He intends to leave in error, He makes his breast close (and) narrow as though he were ascending upwards. Thus does Allah lay uncleanness on those who do not believe. 126 And this is the path of jour Lord, (a) straight (path). Indeed We have made the messages clear for a people who are mindful. 127 Theirs is the abode of peace with their Lord, and He is their Friend because of what they do.

128 And on the day when He will gather them all together: O assembly of jinn, e you took away a great part of the people. And

a (122) These words explain what is meant by the raising of the dead to life through the prophets. Through the Quran the dead were raised to life and given a light by which they showed the way to others. The concluding words of the verse show that, despite witnessing this great transformation, the leaders of mischief went on opposing the Truth as if it were a good deed.

b (125) The concluding words of the verse show that uncleanness of the heart, which makes a person's breast close and narrow, as though he were ascending upwards, is the result of a man's own disbelief and rejection of the truth.

c (128-1) The word jinn is derived from janna, meaning he covered or concealed or hid ox protected. The class of beings that goes under this name stands in the Quran for the spirits of evil or the beings that invite man to evil, as opposed

their friends from among the people will say: Our Lord, some of us profited by others and we have reached our appointed term which You appointed for us. He will say: The Fire is your abode â€" you shall abide in it, except as Allah please." Surely your Lord is Wise, Knowing. 129 And thus do We make some of the wrongdoers to befriend others on account of what they earn.

Section 16: Evils of Idolatry

130 O community of jinn and people, did not messengers come to you from among you, relating to you My messages and warning you of the meeting of this day of yours? They will say: We bear witness against ourselves. And this world's life deceived them, and they will bear witness against themselves that they were disbelievers. 131 This is because your Lord would not destroy towns unjustly while their people are negligent. c 132 And for all are degrees according to their doings. And your Lord is not heedless of what they do. 133 And your Lord is the Self-sufficient One, the Lord of mercy. If He please, He may remove you, and make whom

to the angels, who invite him to good, both being alike invisible to the human eye. But there is a wider use of the word in Arabic literature as well as in the Quran. One signification of the word is explained under 72:1. But the word is also applied in the Quran to powerful leaders who, through their importance and detachment from the masses, do not mix freely with them, so they remain distant or "hidden from their eyes". Verses 129-131 show that by the jinn here are meant the human leaders of evil.

a (128-2) The words except as Allah please indicate that those in hell shall after all be delivered from it.

b (130) By calling the jinn and people a single community, the Quran has made it clear that the jinn and the people spoken of here are not two different classes of beings. Again, the jinn and the people are told that messengers had come to them from among them, i.e. from among jinn and people. But as the only messengers spoken of in the Quran and other reliable histories of prophets are those who belong to mankind, it follows that the jinn spoken of here belong to mankind, and not to any other class of creation.

c (131) That is, while the reminder and the warning had not yet come to them. Or, the words mean that it is not for negligence that nations are destroyed; it is only when they become wrongdoers and spread mischief in the world that they are overtaken by punishment in this life.

He pleases successors after you, just as He raised you up from the offspring of other people. 134 Surely what you are promised will come to pass, and you cannot escape (it). i 3s Say: My people, act according to your ability, I too am acting; so you will soon come to know for whom is the (good) end of the abode. Surely the wrongdoers will not succeed.

136 And they set apart a portion for Allah out of what He has created of crops and cattle, and say: This is for Allah â€" so they assert â€" and this for our associate-gods. Then that which is for their associate-gods does not reach Allah, and that which is for Allah reaches their associate-gods. Evil is what they judge. " 137 And thus their associate-gods have made it seem good to many idolaters the killing of their children, that they may cause them to perish and obscure for them their religion. And if Allah had pleased, they would not have done it, so leave them alone with what they forge.

138 And they say: Such and such cattle and crops are prohibited â€" none shall eat them except such as we please â€" so they assert â€" and cattle whose backs are forbidden, and cattle on which they would not mention Allah's name c â€" forging a lie against Him. He will recompense them for what they forge. i 39 And they say: What is in the wombs of such and such cattle is reserved for our males, and forbidden to our wives, and if it be

a (136) It was a custom among the Arab idolaters to set apart certain portions of the produce of their fields and their cattle, one portion for Allah and another portion for the idols. The portion for idols was always applied to their use, but the portion set apart for Allah, though ordinarily spent to feed the poor and the needy, was in certain cases diverted to the use of the idols. The portion for the idols was handed over to the priests.

b (137) This refers to the practice of killing or burying alive the female children, and also to the human sacrifices to idols, as they sometimes vowed that, if they had a number of sons, they would sacrifice one of them to an idol. By introducing these superstitious and evil customs they were making confused and obscure the true religion â€" the religion of the service of One God.

c (138) That is, such as were sacrificed in the name of idols. All these along with what is said in the next two verses are denounced as being idolatrous practices.

stillborn, they are partners in it. He will reward them for their (false) attribution. Surely He is Wise, Knowing. 140 They are losers indeed who kill their children foolishly without knowledge, and forbid what Allah has provided for them, forging a lie against Allah. They indeed go astray, and are not guided.

Section 17: Idolaters' Self-imposed Prohibitions

141 And He it is Who produces gardens, trellised and untrellised, and palms and seed-produce of which the fruits are of various sorts, and olives and pomegranates like and unlike. Eat of its fruit when it bears fruit, and pay the due of it on the day of its reaping, and do not be extravagant. Surely He does not love the extravagant; 142 and of the cattle (He has created) some for burden and some for slaughter. Eat of what Allah has given you and do not follow the footsteps of the devil. Surely he is your open enemy

â€" 143 eight in pairs â€" of the sheep two and of the goats two. Say: Has He forbidden the two males or the two females or what the wombs of the two females contain? Inform me with knowledge, if you are truthful;" 144 and of the camels two and of the cows two. Say: Has He forbidden the two males or the two females or what the wombs of the two females contain? Or were you witnesses when Allah enjoined you this? Who is then more unjust than he who forges a lie against Allah to lead people astray without knowledge? Surely Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.

Section 18: Prohibited Foods

145 Say: I do not find in what is revealed to me anything forbidden for an eater to eat of, except if it is what dies of itself, or blood poured forth, or flesh of swine â€" for that surely is unclean

â€" or what is a transgression, other than the name of Allah having been invoked on it. But whoever is driven by necessity, not desiring

a (143) The Arabs considered those animals which were otherwise lawful for them to be unlawful in particular cases. These practices, which were all superstitious, resulting from idol-worship, are here condemned.

b (145) The reason for the prohibition of what dies of itself and blood and

nor exceeding the limit, then surely jour Lord is Forgiving, Merciful. 146 And to those who are Jews We forbade every animal having claws, and We forbade them the fat of oxen and sheep, except such as was on their backs or the entrails or what was mixed with bones. This was a punishment We gave them on account of their rebellion, and We are surely Truthful. 147 But if they reject you, then say: Your Lord is the Lord of all-encompassing mercy; and His punishment cannot be averted from the guilty people. 0

148 Those who set up partners (with Allah) say: If Allah pleased we would not have set up partners (with Him) nor our fathers, nor would we have made anything unlawful. Thus did those before them reject (the truth) until they tasted Our punishment. Say: Have you any knowledge so you would bring it forth to us? You only follow a conjecture and you only tell lies. 149 Say: Then Allah's is the conclusive argument; so if He had pleased, He would have guided you all. i 50 Say: Bring your witnesses who bear witness that Allah forbade this. If they bear witness, then do not bear witness with them. And do not follow the low desires of

swine's flesh is that these things are physically unclean, while the reason for the prohibition of animals on which other than Allah's name is invoked is that all things are to be avoided which are in any way associated with idolatry.

a (147) The all-encompassing mercy of Allah is mentioned even in speaking of those who rejected the Holy Prophet. It was because of the mercy of Allah that the disbelievers were not destroyed immediately; but as punishing the "guilty" is in itself a mercy towards the weak and the oppressed, they are warned that they will not escape punishment if they persist in their evil ways.

b (149) The previous verse records the statement of the disbelievers: "If Allah pleased we would not have set up partners with Him". The reply is that Allah reveals His will through His chosen messengers, so bring forth any Divine revelation that you possess sanctioning idolatry. The argument is here carried on further. Allah does not mislead people, but, in fact, He sends His prophets to guide them into the right path. His pleasure is therefore that everyone should walk in the right path and serve only one Master. That is the conclusive argument against the false assertion of the idolaters. The guidance of Allah is, moreover, brought through prophets, and people are never compelled to accept the right way; much less could they be compelled to follow the wrong course. Man was created with a will free within certain limits to act as he pleases.

those who reject Our messages and those who do not believe in the Hereafter, and they make (others) equal with their Lord.

Section 19: Guiding Rules of Life

151 Say: Come! I will recite what your Lord has forbidden to you: Set up no partner with Him, and do good to parents, nor kill your children for (fear of) poverty â€" We provide for you and for them, nor go near to indecencies, open or secret, nor kill the soul which Allah has made sacred except in the course of justice. This He enjoins upon you that you may understand. 152 And do not approach the property of the orphan except in the best manner," until he attains his maturity. And give full measure and weight with equity â€" We do not impose on any soul a duty beyond its ability. And when you speak, be just, even (against) a relative. And fulfil Allah's covenant. This He enjoins on you that you may be mindful; 153 and (know) that this is My path, the right one, so follow it, and do not follow (other) ways, for they will lead you away from His way. This He enjoins on you that you may keep your duty. 154 Again, We gave the Book to Moses to complete (Our blessings) on him who would do good, and making plain all things c and a guidance and a mercy, so that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord.

Section 20: The Goal for the Faithful

155 And this is a Book We have revealed, full of blessings; so follow it and keep your duty that mercy may be shown to you, 156 in case you say that the Book was revealed only to two parties

a (152-1) That is, unless you do it with the object of improving it or making it profitable. Wages of the guardian may be paid from it, for which see 4:6.

b (152-2) Islam requires a person to be so upright as not to be led away by the ties of relationship. Truth is not to be sacrificed to any interest but every interest must be sacrificed to truth.

c (154) By all things are meant all those things needed for the guidance of the Israelites.

before us and we were truly unaware of what they read," 157 or, you say: If the Book had been revealed to us, we would have been better guided than they. So indeed clear proof has come to you from your Lord, and guidance and mercy. Who is then more unjust than he who rejects Allah's messages and turns away from them? We reward those who turn away from Our messages with an evil punishment because they turned away.

158 They only wait that the angels should come to them, or that your Lord should come,' or that some of the signs of your Lord should come. On the day when some of the signs of your Lord come, its faith will not benefit a soul which did not believe before, nor earned good through its faith.^ Say: Wait; we too are waiting. 159 As for those who split up their religion and became sects, you have no concern with them. Their affair is only with Allah, then He will inform them of what they did. 160 Whoever brings a good deed will have tenfold like it, and whoever brings an evil deed, will be recompensed only with the like of it, and they shall not be wronged.

a (156) As in Arabia there lived only the Jews and the Christians besides the idolaters, the Arabs spoke of only two parties to whom the Book was given.

b (158-1) For a similar expression see 2:210. Also v. Ill and note. Similar words occur also in 16:33: "They only wait that the angels should come to them or that your Lord's command should come to pass". Here the words are that your Lord should come. Thus the coming of the Lord carries the same significance as the coming to pass of His command, or the execution of His decree, i.e. the final doom of the opponents. The coming of the angels stands for the smaller visitations or distresses the opponents witnessed in the battles which they fought to annihilate Islam, in which the coming of angels is spoken of; see 3:125-126, 8:9.

c (158-2) The only time when faith does not benefit a soul is the approach of death, and hence I am of opinion that by "some of the signs of your Lord" are meant clear signs of approach of death. A person's death is in one sense also his resurrection: "Whoever dies, his resurrection comes to pass" (Mishkat, 26:6).

d (160) No other sacred book gives such prominence to the quality of mercy in the Divine Being. While evil must have its evil consequence, it is only its like, but virtue brings a tenfold reward. According to a saying of the Holy Prophet, evil is pardoned or recompensed with its like, while good brings from a tenfold to a seven-hundredfold reward (Bukhari, 81:33). Thus the verse mentions only the maximum punishment of evil and the minimum reward of good.

161 Say: As for me, my Lord has guided me to the right path â€" a right religion, the faith of Abraham, the upright one, and he was not of those who set up partners (with Allah). 162 Say: My prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are surely for Allah, the Lord of the worlds â€" 163 no partner has He. And this am I commanded, and I am the first of those who submit." 164 Say: Shall I seek a Lord other than Allah, while He is the Lord of all things? And no soul earns (evil) but against itself. Nor does a bearer of burden bear another's burden. Then to your Lord is your return, so He will inform you of that in which you differed. i 65 And He it is Who has made you successors in the land and exalted some of you in rank above others, that He may try you by what He has given you. Surely your Lord is Quick in retribution, and He is surely the Forgiving, the Merciful. e

a (163) The idea of entire submission to the Divine Being conveyed in the word Islam finds its perfect manifestation in the Holy Prophet, who is the first of the Muslims. Above even the noblest object that a person can set for himself stands the love of the Divine Being. It is the highest goal of human life, and every Muslim is taught to set that goal before himself.

b (164) In these words the Christian doctrine of atonement is rejected by the Quran. Elsewhere we have: "That no bearer of burden bears another's burden, and that man can have nothing but what he strives for" (53:38-39). Every person who is born is called a bearer of burden, not because he is a sinner, but because he starts life with certain responsibilities of his own.

c (165) With the highest goal of life before them, Muslims are now told that they were going to be made rulers in the land. Their exaltation above others, however, was not due to their wealth or to their political power but simply to the fact that they submitted themselves to God, that their prayers and their sacrifices were not for their nation or their country but for God, Who was the Rabb, the Nourisher to perfection, of the whole of humanity. Hence they were a people who had the betterment of the whole of humanity in view. But even they are told, in the concluding words of the verse, that if they fall off and follow evil ways they will be requited, though the forgiveness and mercy of the Divine Being will ultimately take them by the hand.

Chapter 7 Ai-A'raf The Elevated Places

The title of this chapter is taken from the mention of The Elevated Places (v. 46) on which stand the perfect righteous servants of Allah. The main theme of this chapter is the truth of Divine revelation. It illustrates this by referring to the histories of several prophets, warning that the opponents of the Holy Prophet would meet the same fate as the opponents of the earlier prophets if they did not mend their ways. The chapter goes on to relate the history of Moses, as the Prophet Muhammad appeared in the likeness of Moses according to prophecies in the Torah. Towards the end, it gives the essence of the last and present chapter. This chapter was revealed at Makkah, just prior to the Emigration of the Holy Prophet.

Section 1: Opponents' Doom

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 I, Allah, am the Best Knower, the Truthful. a 2 A Book revealed to you â€" so let there be no worry in your heart concerning it â€" that you may warn with it, and a Reminder to the believers. c 3 Follow what has been revealed to you from your Lord and do not follow besides Him any guardians; little mindful are you!

4 And how many a town have We destroyed! So Our punishment came to it by night or while they slept at midday. 5 Yet their

a (1) Of the four letters alif, lam, mim, and sad, the first three are the same as at the commencement of ch. 2, for which see 2:1 footnote; while sad stands for Sadiq, meaning Truthful, Whose promise would not fail.

b (2-1) This parenthetical passage is introduced to console the Holy Prophet, who at this time was encountering the greatest opposition and was surrounded by difficulties on all sides.

c (2-2) The Quran is called a reminder because, being in consonance with human nature, it is a reminder of what is imprinted on human nature. It may, however, have the alternative meaning of honour or eminence, for which see 2:152.

cry, when Our punishment came to them, was nothing but that they said: Surely we were wrongdoers. 6 Then certainly We shall question those to whom messengers were sent, and We shall question the messengers, 0 7 then surely We shall recount to them with knowledge, and We are never absent.

8 And the judging on that day will be just; so as for those whose good deeds are heavy, they are the successful. 9 And as for those whose good deeds are light, those are they who ruined their souls because they disbelieved in Our messages. 10 And certainly We established you in the earth and made in it means of livelihood for you; little thanks you give!

Section 2: The Devil's Opposition to Man

11 And We indeed created you, then We fashioned you, then We said to the angels: Be submissive to Adam. So they submitted, but not IblTs; he was not of those who submitted. 12 He said: What hindered you from submitting when I commanded you? He said: I am better than he; You have created me of fire, while him You did create of dust. c 13 He said: Then get forth from this (state), for it is not for you to behave proudly in it. Go forth,

a (6) Those to whom messengers were sent will be questioned as to how they treated the messengers, and the latter as to how they were received.

b (11) That what is stated here of Adam is true of all mankind is made clear by the opening words of this verse. Human beings are created first, then fashioned, then the order is given to the angels to make submission to Adam, who in this sense typifies a human being. Thus the angels are really required to make submission to every human being.

c (12) Not only is Adam created from dust, but all human beings are spoken of as being similarly created; see 3:59 footnote, and see also 18:37, 22:5 and 30:20. As a contrast to man's creation from dust, the devil claims to have been created from fire. There may be a reference here to the nature of the temperaments of the two classes, human beings and devils. The Quran says elsewhere: "Man is created of haste" (21:37), which means that he is hasty. In like manner the devil's creation of fire may mean that he is made of a fiery temperament, while the perfect man is humble and meek, being created of dust, which stands for humility and meekness. Elsewhere it is stated that the jinn were created of fire (15:27), and also that Iblls was one of the jinn (18:50).





therefore, surely you are a degraded one. 14 He said: Grant me respite till the day when they are raised." 15 He said: Surely jou are granted respite.

16 He said: As You have judged me to be in error, I will certainly lie in wait for them in Your straight path, 17 then I shall certainly come upon them from in front of them and from behind them, and from their right and from their left; and You will not find most of them thankful. 18 He said: Get out of it, despised, driven away. Whoever of them will follow you, I will certainly fill hell with you all.

19 And (We said): O Adam, dwell you and jour wife in the garden, and eat from wherever you wish, but do not go near this tree or you would be from among the unjust. 20 But the devil made an evil suggestion to them that he might make manifest to them their shame that had been hidden from them,' and he said: Your Lord has only forbidden you this tree that you may not become angels or become immortals. 21 And he swore to them both: Surely I am a sincere adviser to you â€" 22 thus he caused them to fall by deceit. So when they had tasted of the tree, their shame became manifest to them, and they both began to cover themselves with the leaves of the garden. c And their Lord called to them: Did I not forbid you that tree, and say to you that the devil is surely your open enemy? 23 They said: Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves;

a (14) The devil's grip continues only so long as man is not spiritually raised to life. The raising here stands for the spiritual resurrection of man. If the final Resurrection is meant, the significance would be that the devil would mislead man so long as man lives on this earth.

b (20) The devil's suggestions always lead man to the disclosure of his shame.

c (22) The covering with the leaves of the garden is the desire to make up by human effort any fault that may have been committed. The clothing that guards against evil, which is spoken of in v. 26 as being the best clothing, explains the meaning of covering here. Divine revelation points out to man the true way, enabling him to cover himself or guard himself against evil. And, further, the statement in v. 27, pulling off from them both their clothing that he might show them their shame shows that covering with the leaves of the garden is an allegorical statement; see v. 27 footnote 1.

7 : 24 • WARNING AGAINST THE DEVIL'S INSINUATIONS 193

and if You do not forgive us and have mercy on us, we shall certainly be from among the losers. 24 He said: Go forth â€" some of you are enemies of others. And there is for you in the earth an abode and a provision for a time. 25 He said: In it shall you live, and in it shall you die, and from it shall you be raised.

Section 3: Warning against the Devil's Insinuations

26 O children of Adam, We have indeed sent down to you clothing to cover your shame and (clothing) for beauty; and clothing that guards against evil â€" that is the best." This is of the messages of Allah that they may be mindful. 27 0 children of Adam, do not let the devil seduce you, as he expelled your parents from the garden, pulling off from them both their clothing that he might show them their shame. He surely sees you, he as well as his company, from where you do not see them. Surely We have made the devils to be the friends of those who do not believe/

28 And when they commit an indecency they say: We found our fathers doing this, and Allah has commanded us to do it. Say: Surely Allah does not command indecency. Do you say of Allah what you do not know? 29 Say: My Lord commands (the doing of) justice. And set upright your faces at every time of prayer and call on Him, being sincere to Him in obedience. As He brought you

a (26) Clothing at first simply served to cover shame; with further progress people sought to embellish their persons with it; but there is yet a third kind of clothing, says the Quran, which is the best, and that is the clothing of piety, literally the clothing that guards one against evil. It indicates a further step in the progress of man, for virtue is an embellishment of the mind, and when man has seen the good of embellishing his person, he will soon be aware of the necessity of embellishing his mind.

b (27-1) That the clothing for the body is not meant here is clear from the fact that all men and women are warned against a similar attack of the devil. As to the clothing of which Adam was divested, there remains no doubt, when it is seen that the devil tries to divest every child of Adam of the same clothing: it is the clothing that guards against evil.

c (27-2) It is because they do not believe in the Truth that the devils are made their friends. Those who sever their connection with the Source of purity must fall into impurity.

into being, so shall you return. 30 Some has He guided, and others â€" error is justly their due." Surely they took the devils for friends instead of Allah, and they think that they are rightly guided. 31 0 children of Adam, attend to your adornment at every time of prayer, and eat and drink and do not be extravagant; surely He does not love the extravagant.

Section 4: Messengers sent for Uplift of Humanity

32 Say: Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah, c which He has brought forth for His servants, and the good provisions? Say: These are for the believers in the life of this world, purely (theirs) on the day of Resurrection. Thus do We make the messages clear for a people who know. 33 Say: My Lord forbids only indecencies, such of them as are apparent and such as are concealed, and sin and unjust rebellion, and that you set up with Allah partners for which He has sent down no authority, and that you say of Allah what you do not know.

34 And every nation has a term; so when its term comes they cannot postpone it an hour, nor can they bring it forward. 35 0 children of Adam, if messengers come to you from among you relating to you My messages, then whoever guards against evil and acts aright â€" they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve.

a (30) Error is justly their due because they have taken the devils for their friends. Whoever continues to follow the devil must surely remain in error.

b (31) Attending to one's adornment carries a double significance here. It requires adorning oneself physically, i.e. being clean and clothed appropriately for prayer, especially for the Friday and 'Id gatherings. But what is specially aimed at is adornment in a spiritual sense. A Muslim must attend to inner beautification, for prayer is really meant as an aid to the beauty of the soul. He must come to prayer with a heart free from all impurities and full of the highest aspirations and noblest sentiments.

c (32-1) By the adornment of Allah is meant the adornment which Allah has made lawful for people to avail themselves of.

d (32-2) In the life of this world the believer and the disbeliever equally benefit by the good things, but in the life after death all good shall be exclusively for those who have accepted and acted on the right principles.

36 And those who reject Our messages and turn away from them haughtily â€" these are the companions of the Fire; they shall abide in it.

37 Who is then more unjust than he who forges a lie against Allah or rejects His messages? These â€" their portion of the Book shall reach them; a until when Our messengers come to them causing them to die, they say: Where are those you used to call upon besides Allah? They would say: They are gone away from us. And they shall bear witness against themselves that they were disbelievers. 38 He will say: Enter into the Fire among the nations of jinn and people that have passed away before you. Every time a nation enters, it curses its sister; until when they all follow one another into it, the last of them will say with regard to the first of them: c Our Lord, these led us astray, so give them a double punishment of the Fire. He will say: Each one has double but you do not know. 39 And the first of them will say to the last of them: You have no preference over us, so taste the punishment for what you earned.

Section 5: Those who accept the Message

40 Those who reject Our messages and turn away from them haughtily, the doors of heaven will not be opened for them, nor will they enter the Garden until the camel pass through the eye of the needle. And thus do We reward the guilty. 41 They shall have a

a (37) That is, the punishment promised in the Book will overtake them.

b (38-1) By the sister nation is meant the nation which resembles it in its deeds.

c (38-2) By the last and Has first are meant here the common people and the leaders, because, though the words would bear both interpretations, i.e. the last and the first in time or the last and the first in position, the latter significance is corroborated by similar expressions in several other places, such as 2:166, 14:21, 34:31-33,40:47, etc.

d (38-3) The common people would desire that the leaders should suffer a double torment, for their own sins as well as for having misled others. They are told that if the leaders were guilty of misleading them, they themselves deserved a double punishment for having blindly followed the leaders.

bed of hell and over them coverings (of it). And thus do We recompense the wrongdoers. 42 And as for those who believe and do good â€" We do not impose on any soul a duty beyond its scope â€" they are the owners of the Garden; in it they abide. 43 And We shall remove whatever of bitterness is in their hearts â€" rivers flow beneath them. And they say: All praise is due to Allah, Who guided us to this! And we would not have found the way if Allah had not guided us. Certainly the messengers of our Lord brought the truth. And it will be cried out to them: This is the Garden which you are made to inherit for what you did.

44 And the owners of the Garden call out to the companions of the Fire: We have found what our Lord promised us to be true; have you, too, found what your Lord promised to be true? They will say: Yes. Then a crier will cry out among them: The curse of Allah is on the wrongdoers, 45 who hinder (people) from Allah's way and seek to make it crooked, " and they are disbelievers in the Hereafter. 46 And between them is a veil. And on the Elevated Places are men who know all by their marks.' And they call out to the owners of the Garden: Peace be on you! They have not yet entered it, though they hope.'' 47 And when their eyes are turned towards the companions of the Fire, they say: Our Lord, do not place us with the unjust people/

a (45) By seeking to make Allah's way crooked is meant that they suggest doubts regarding the Truth.

b (46-1) The veil which here separates the wicked from the righteous and on account of which the former fail to see the bliss which the latter enjoy will assume a perceptible form in the next life. Thus it is not distance that separates heaven from hell but only a veil, and they hear and even see one another.

c (46-2) The men spoken of here as being on the elevated places (the title of this chapter, Al-A 'raf) are the same righteous servants of Allah who are distinctly mentioned in 56:10-11: "And the foremost are the foremost â€" these are drawn near to Allah". Besides this, the prophets are again and again spoken of as a class by themselves, being witnesses over their people.

d (46-3) They are, as it were, standing at the door of the Garden, ready to enter it.

e (47) Thus do pray those who hope to enter paradise.

Section 6: Helplessness of Opponents

48 And the owners of the Elevated Places call out to men whom they recognize by their marks, saying: Of no avail were to you your amassings a and your arrogance. 49 Are these they about whom you swore that Allah would not bestow mercy on them? Enter the Garden; you have no fear, nor shall you grieve. 50 And the companions of the Fire call out to the owners of the Garden: Pour on us some water or some of what Allah has provided for you. They say: Surely Allah has forbidden them both to the disbelievers, 51 who take their religion for an idle sport and a play, and this world's life deceives them. So this day We shall forsake them, as they neglected the meeting of this day of theirs, and as they denied Our messages.

52 And certainly We have brought them a Book which We make clear with knowledge, a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe. 53 Do they wait only for its final sequel? On the day when its final sequel comes, those who neglected it before will say: Indeed the messengers of our Lord brought the truth. Are there any intercessors on our behalf so that they should intercede for us? Or could we be sent back so that we should do (deeds) other than those which we did? Indeed they have lost their souls, and what they forged has failed them.

Section 7: The Righteous will prosper

54 Surely your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six periods/ and He is established on the Throne

a (48) The word used may mean either your amassing worldly wealth, or it may mean your multitude or strength in numbers.

b (53) By final sequel is meant the ultimate state of the perfect manifestation of truth by the fulfilment of the prophecies, the end ox the ultimate consequence.

c (54-1) The word yaum means not only day but also a period, whatever period it may be. The six periods of time in which the heavens and the earth are created refer in fact to the six stages in which they have grown to their present condition. In the case of the earth these six stages are detailed in 41:9-10.

of Power." He makes the night cover the day, which it pursues incessantly. And (He created) the sun and the moon and the stars, made subservient by His command. Surely His is the creation and the command. Blessed is Allah, the Lord of the worlds! 55 Call on your Lord humbly and in secret. Surely He does not love the transgressors. 56 And do not make mischief in the earth after its reformation, and call on Him, fearing and hoping. Surely the mercy of Allah is near to the doers of good.'

57 And He it is Who sends forth the winds bearing good news before His mercy; till, when they bear a laden cloud, We drive it to a dead land, then We send down water on it, then bring forth thereby fruits of all kinds. Thus do We bring forth the dead that you may be mindful/ 58 And the good land â€" its vegetation comes

a (54-2) The true significance of the word 'arsh is power or control of the creation. It is not a physical throne for sitting on. The phrase "He is established on the Throne of Power ( 'arsh)" is used in the Quran here and on six other occasions, viz., in 10:3, 13:2, 20:5, 25:59, 32:4 and 57:4. It is invariably used after mentioning the creation of the heavens and the earth and in relation to the Divine control of His creation and the law and order to which the universe is made to submit by its great Author, as shown by the words that follow here, His is the creation and the command. The meaning is that after creating the universe, God has not left it to run its course independently of Him, but He it is Whose command holds sway and Who regulates the affairs as He has planned them.

b (54-3) In the words Rabh al- 'alamin ("Lord of the worlds") there is also a deeper reference to the spiritual evolution of man which is being worked out under the Divine plan, and the 'arsh is mentioned specially in this connection, as man's perfection does not consist in the working of the material laws which prevail in the universe but in the spiritual laws which are needed for his perfection. In 40:15 the Lord of the 'arsh is clearly stated to be the Sender of revelation to man to bring about his spiritual perfection. In 40:7 it is added: "Those who bear the 'arsh and those around it celebrate the praise of their Lord and believe in Him and ask protection for those who believe". The bearers of the 'arsh or the Throne of Power are, in fact, the bearers of the Divine message.

c (56) The feeling which should be entertained towards Allah should be a combination of fear and hope, of awe as well as love, because the fear of His displeasure ennobles the mind no less than the hope of His mercy.

d (57-1) His mercy represents the rain in the physical world.

e (57-2) The bringing forth of the spiritually dead to life through the revelation of the Quran is always likened to the bringing of the dead earth to life by rain.

forth (abundantly) by the permission of its Lord. And that which is inferior â€" (its vegetation) comes forth but scantily. Thus do We repeat the messages for a people who give thanks. a

Section 8: Noah

59 Certainly We sent Noah to his people, so he said: My people, serve Allah, you have no god other than Him. Indeed I fear for you the punishment of a grievous day. 60 The chiefs of his people said: Surely we see you in clear error. 61 He said: My people, there is no error in me, but I am a messenger from the Lord of the worlds. 62 I deliver to you the messages of my Lord, and I offer you good advice, and I know from Allah what you do not know. 63 Do you wonder that a reminder has come to you from your Lord through a man from among you, that he may warn you and that you may guard against evil, and that mercy may be shown to you?

64 But they called him a liar, so We delivered him and those with him in the ark, and We drowned those who rejected Our messages. Surely they were a blind people! c

The wind bearing the good news was the movement towards Islam, which was daily becoming more and more powerful.

a (58) Revelation is here likened to the rain and the good or bad nature of man to good or inferior land. If some people do not benefit by the revelation, it is just as some lands do not benefit by rain.

b (59) Having warned the opponents of the evil consequences of their opposition to the Holy Prophet, several illustrations are now given from sacred history, showing how those people were dealt with who refused to listen to the voice of the warners. The object is not to narrate history as such, but to bring out common characteristics of the histories of different nations, to mention incidents which contain prophetical allusion to the Holy Prophet's life and to illustrate the general warnings made regarding the ultimate consequences of the rejection of Truth. The Quran relates the broad facts that every prophet preached Divine Unity, every prophet laid stress on the doing of good, every prophet was received with severe opposition, and that every prophet ultimately succeeded in establishing the truth.

c (64) See further 11:37â€"48 and 23:27-29. The Quran does not support the idea of a world deluge, for it states here that Noah was sent only to his people, not to all nations. Only the people to whom Noah was sent called him a liar, and only those were drowned who rejected the message of Allah delivered through Noah.

Section 9: Hod

65 And to Ad (We sent) their brother Hud." He said: My people, serve Allah, you have no god other than Him. Will you not then guard against evil? 66 The chiefs of those who disbelieved from among his people said: Certainly we see you in folly, and we certainly think you to be a liar. 67 He said: My people, there is no folly in me, but I am a messenger of the Lord of the worlds. 68 I deliver to you the messages of my Lord and I am a faithful adviser to you. 69 Do you wonder that a reminder has come to you from your Lord through a man from among you that he may warn you? And remember when He made you successors after Noah's people and increased you in excellence of make. So remember the bounties of Allah, that you may be successful. 70 They said: Have you come to us that we may serve Allah alone, and give up what our fathers used to serve? Then bring us what you threaten us with, if you are truthful. 71 He said: Indeed uncleanness and wrath from your Lord have come upon you. Do you dispute with me about names which you and your fathers have named? c Allah has not sent any authority for them. So wait; I too am waiting along with you.

72 So We delivered him and those with him by mercy from Us, and We cut off the roots of those who rejected Our messages and were not believers.

a (65) Ad was the grandson of Aram (mentioned in 89:7), who was a grandson of Noah, and the tribe of Ad spoken of here is called the first Ad (53:50), as distinguished from the tribe of Thamud, which is called the second Ad. This tribe lived in the desert of al-Ahqaf (46:21) which is marked on the maps of Arabia and extends from Oman to Hadramaut.

The male member of a tribe is generally spoken of as their brother, as here HOd is called. The prophet Hud is the Eber of the Bible, because Hud is said to be the grandson of Arphaxad, the grandson of Noah. Compare Genesis 10:24 for Eber's genealogy.

b (69) By making them khulafa' or successors is meant that they were made a ruling nation and possessors of a vast kingdom.

c (71) The reference here is to their deities.

d (72) They were destroyed by a storm (69:7).

Section 10: Salih and Lot

73 And to Thamud (We sent) their brother Salih." He said: My people, serve Allah, you have no god other than Him. Clear proof has indeed come to you from your Lord. This is Allah's she-camel â€" a sign for you â€" so leave her alone to pasture in Allah's earth, and do her no harm or a painful punishment will afflict you. 74 And remember when He made you successors after Ad and settled you in the land â€" you make mansions on its plains and carve out houses in the mountains. So remember Allah's bounties and do not act corruptly in the land, making mischief. 75 The arrogant chiefs of his people said to those who were weak, to those who believed from among them: Do you know that Salih is one sent by his Lord? They said: Surely we are believers in that with which he has been sent. 76 Those who were arrogant said: Surely we are disbelievers in what you believe.

77 Then they hamstrung the she-camel and revolted against their Lord's commandment, and said: Salih, bring us what you threaten us with, if you are one of the messengers. 78 So the earthquake seized them, and they were motionless bodies in their abodes. 79 So he turned away from them and said: My people, indeed I delivered to you the message of my Lord and gave you good advice, but you do not love good advisers. c

80 And (We sent) Lot, when he said to his people: Do you

a (73-1) Ad and Thamud, though two nearly related tribes, were separated both as regards time and place. Thamud is known after a grandson of Aram, the grandson of Noah. Historical traces of it are met with in Ptolemy. The tribe flourished more than two hundred years after Ad, and occupied the territory known as al-Hijr (15:80), and the plain known by the name of Wadi-1-Qura, which forms the southern boundary of Syria and the northern one of Arabia. Salih was a descendant in the sixth generation after Thamud.

b (73-2) It is called Allah's she-camel because it was given as a sign from Allah. It was an ordinary she-camel, which was given as a sign to a people. Their slaying of it was a sign that they would neither accept the truth, nor cease persecuting Salih and his followers.

c (79) This evidently refers to the survivors from the great disaster.

d (80) Lot is one of those prophets who have been maligned in the Bible. He

commit foul deeds which no one in the world did before you? 81 Surely you come to males with lust instead of females. Indeed, you are a people exceeding bounds. 82 And the answer of his people was only that they said: Turn them out of your town; surely they are a people who aspire to purity! 83 So We delivered him and his followers, except his wife â€" she was among those who remained behind. 84 And We rained upon them a rain. a See, then, what was the end of the guilty!

Section 11: Shuaib

85 And to Midian (We sent) their brother Shuaib. He said: My people, serve Allah, you have no god other than Him. Clear proof indeed has come to you from your Lord, so give full measure and weight and do not diminish to people their things^ nor make mischief in the land after its reform. This is better for you, if you are believers. 86 Nor lie in wait on every road, threatening and turning away from Allah's way him who believes in Him and seeking to make it crooked. And remember when you were few, then He multiplied you, and see what was the end of the mischief-makers! 87 And if there are some of you who believe in what I am sent with, and others who do not believe, then wait patiently till Allah judges between us; and He is the Best of judges.

88 The arrogant chiefs of his people said: We will certainly 3- turn you out, Shuaib, and those who believe with you from our town, or you shall come back to our religion. He said: Even though we dislike (it)? 89 Indeed we should have forged a lie against Allah,

was considered a righteous servant by Abraham (Genesis, 18:23), but a little further on in the same book we are told that Lot was guilty of incestuous intercourse with his daughters. The record there has evidently been manipulated.

a (84) The punishment which overtook the people of Lot is frequently called rain, while in 11:82 and 15:74 stones are said to have been rained down upon them. See also 54:34. It was a volcanic eruption combined with an earthquake.

b (85-1) Shuaib was a descendant of Abraham in the fifth generation. It is generally supposed to be another name for Jethro of the Bible (Exodus, 3:1).

c (85-2) The injunction do not diminish to people their things stands for not depriving or defrauding people of their rights.

â–º0 ss

if we go back to your religion after Allah has delivered us from it. And it is not for us to go back to it, unless Allah our Lord please. Our Lord comprehends all things in His knowledge. In Allah do we trust. Our Lord, decide between us and our people with truth, and You are the Best of deciders. 90 And the chiefs of his people, who disbelieved, said: If you follow Shuaib, you are surely losers.

91 So the earthquake overtook them, and they were motionless bodies in their homes â€" 92 Those who called Shuaib a liar were as though they had never dwelt there â€" those who called Shuaib a liar, they were the losers. 93 So he turned away from them and said: My people, indeed I delivered to you the messages of my Lord and I gave you good advice; how, then, should I be sorry for a disbelieving people?

Section 12: Makkans warned of Punishment

94 And We did not send a prophet to a town but We seized its people with distress and affliction that they might humble themselves." 95 Then We changed the evil for good, till they became affluent and said: Distress and happiness did indeed touch our fathers. So We took them by surprise while they did not perceive. 96 And if the people of the towns had believed and kept their duty, We would certainly have opened for them blessings from the heavens and the earth. But they rejected, so We seized them for what they earned. 97 Are the people of the towns, then, secure from Our punishment coming to them by night while they sleep? 98 0r, are the people of the towns secure from Our punishment coming to them in the morning while they play? "Are they secure from Allah's plan? But none feels secure from Allah's plan except the people who perish.

a (94) That the histories of the nations are meant as a warning to all opponents of truth is evident. It is also plain that even afflictions and distress sent on a people are meant for their spiritual betterment, that they might humble themselves.

b (98) The playing may be taken either literally or it may indicate the worldly engagements in which they were occupied to the utter neglect of higher aspirations.

Section 13: Moses sent to Pharaoh with Signs

100 Is it not clear to those who inherit the earth after its (former) residents that, if We please, We would afflict them for their sins, and seal their hearts so they would not hear? 101 Such were the towns some of whose news We have related to you. And certainly their messengers came to them with clear arguments, but they would not believe what they had rejected before. Thus does Allah seal the hearts of the disbelievers. 102 And We did not find in most of them (faithfulness to) covenant; and We found most of them to be transgressors.

103 Then, after them, We sent Moses " with Our messages to Pharaoh and his chiefs, but they disbelieved them. See, then, what was the end of the mischief-makers! 104 And Moses said: O Pharaoh, surely I am a messenger from the Lord of the worlds, i° 5 worthy of not saying anything about Allah except the truth. I have come to you indeed with clear proof from your Lord, so let the Children of Israel go with me. i° 6 He said: If you have come with a sign, produce it, if you are truthful. 107 So he threw down his staff, then lo! it was an obvious snake. 108 And he drew forth his hand, and lo! it was white to the onlookers.

a (103) The history of Moses is here taken up in detail. The Holy Prophet Muhammad had more in common with Moses than with any other prophet, and he is called the like of Moses in the Mosaic prophecies.

b (108) It is nowhere stated that whenever Moses threw down his rod it turned into a snake. Only on two occasions the rod is stated to have turned into a snake: (1) when Moses held communion with God before going to Pharaoh; (2) when he first came before Pharaoh, or when Pharaoh summoned the enchanters to his help. On the first of these occasions the rod was seen turning into a snake by Moses alone, when he was in a state of vision â€" the state in which a prophet is temporarily transported to a spiritual sphere. On the latter occasion others besides Moses witnessed the change, but it is a fact that the effect of inspired vision is sometimes so strong that others besides the seer partake in it.

Whatever their real nature, these miracles of Moses were not mere play. The great truth underlying the rod or staff turning into a snake was that the followers of Moses, as represented by his rod, would prevail over their enemies; and the significance underlying the whitening of Moses' hand was that his arguments would shine forth with clearness.

Section 14: Pharaoh summons Enchanters

109 The chiefs of Pharaoh's people said: Surely this is a skilful enchanter! 110 He intends to turn you out of your land. (Pharaoh said:) What do you advise? m They said: Put him off and his brother, and send heralds into the cities, 112 to bring to you every skilful enchanter.

113 And the enchanters came to Pharaoh, saying: We must surely have a reward if we prevail. 114 He said: Yes, and you shall certainly be among those who are near (to me).

115 They said: Moses, will you throw, or shall we (be the first to) throw? 116 He said: You throw. So when they threw, they deceived the people's eyes and overawed them, and they produced a mighty enchantment. 117 And We revealed to Moses: Throw down jour staff. Then lo! it swallowed up their lies. 118 So the truth was established, and what they did became null. 119 There they were defeated, and they went back humiliated.

120 And the enchanters fell down prostrate â€" 121 They said: We believe in the Lord of the worlds, 122 the Lord of Moses and Aaron. 123 Pharaoh said: You believe in Him before I give you permission! Surely this is a plot which you have plotted in the city, to turn out of it its people, but you shall know! n4 I shall certainly cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, then I shall crucify you all together! 125 They said: Surely to our Lord do we return. m And you take revenge on us only because we believed in the messages of our Lord when they came to us. Our Lord, pour out on us patience and cause us to die in submission (to You)! "

a (126) The Bible does not speak of the magicians as believing in the Divine mission of Moses when they were vanquished, but according to Rabbinical literature, some Egyptians accompanied Moses when he departed from Egypt. It should be noted that the magicians could not have believed unless they had heard the arguments of Moses as to the existence of God and as to a life after death in which they now believed so staunchly that they were ready to sacrifice their very lives for their faith. It shows that Moses had explained the essential religious truths to the whole gathering before he showed the signs.

Section 15: Persecution of Israelites continues

127 And the chiefs of Pharaoh's people said: Will you leave Moses and his people to make mischief in the land and forsake you and your gods? He said: We will kill their sons and spare their women, and surely we are dominant over them. 128 Moses said to his people: Ask help from Allah and be patient. Surely the land is Allah's â€" He gives it for an inheritance to such of His servants as He pleases. And the end is for those who keep their duty. 129 They said: We were persecuted before you came to us and since you have come to us. He said: It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you rulers in the land, then He will see how you act. a

Section 16: Moses shows more Signs

130 And certainly We overtook Pharaoh's people with droughts and shortage of fruits that they might be mindful. 131 But when good befell them they said: This is due to us. And when evil afflicted them, they attributed it to the ill-luck of Moses and those with him. Surely their evil fortune is only from Allah, but most of them do not know. 132 And they said: Whatever sign you may bring us to charm us with it â€" we shall not believe in you. 133 So We sent upon them widespread death, and the locusts and the lice and the frogs and the blood â€" clear signs. But they behaved haughtily and they were a guilty people.

134 And when the plague fell upon them, they said: Moses, pray for us to your Lord as He has made promise with you. If you remove the plague from us, we will certainly believe in you and will let the Children of Israel go with you. 135 But when We removed the plague from them till a term which they should attain,

a (129) By the land is meant the Promised Land, for it was there that Moses was taking them. Their being made rulers in the land was conditional upon their doing good; this is suggested in the concluding words of the verse.

b (131) Their evil fortune is from Allah means that the misfortunes which they were made to suffer were brought about by Allah as a result of their own evil deeds.

lo! they broke (their promise)." 136 So We exacted retribution from them and drowned them in the sea, because they rejected Our signs and were heedless of them. 137 And We made the people who were considered weak to inherit the eastern lands and the western ones which We had blessed. And the good word of your Lord was fulfilled in the Children of Israel â€" because of their patience. And We destroyed what Pharaoh and his people had produced and what they had built.

138 And We took the Children of Israel across the sea. Then they came to a people who were devoted to their idols. They said: Moses, make for us a god as they have gods. e He said: Surely you are an ignorant people! 139 (As to) these, what they are engaged in shall be destroyed and what they do is futile. 140 He said: Shall I seek for you a god other than Allah, while He has made you excel (all) created things? i 41 And when We delivered you from Pharaoh's people, who subjected you to severe torment, killing your sons and sparing your women. And in it there was a great trial from your Lord.

Section 17: Moses receives the Law

142 And We appointed for Moses thirty nights, and completed them with ten, so the appointed time of his Lord was complete

a (135) A reference to Exodus, ch. 8â€"11, will show that Pharaoh again and again broke his promise to let the Children of Israel go â€" promises which he made on condition that a certain affliction should be removed.

b (137) The land that was blessed is none other than the Holy Land, for which a Divine promise was given to Abraham. The good word referred to here is that contained in Genesis 17:8. The eastern and the western lands might signify the eastern and the western tracts of the Holy Land, or the lands on the eastern and western sides of the Jordan.

c (138) The Israelites undoubtedly came across idolatrous nations in their wanderings. They themselves had idolatrous leanings: "...the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, Come, make us gods that shall go before us" (Exodus, 32:1). Many other anecdotes show a similar tendency to idol-worship.

rf(140) Moses' argument against idolatry is the one to which the Quran repeatedly calls attention, namely, that man, being as it were the lord of creation under God, and excelling the whole of creation, should not take objects lower than himself as his gods.

forty nights. And Moses said to his brother Aaron: Take my place among my people, and act well and do not follow the way of the mischief-makers. 143 And when Moses came at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said: My Lord, show me (Yourself) so that I may look at You. He said: Fou cannot see Me, but look at the mountain; if it remains firm in its place, then will you see Me. So when his Lord manifested His glory to the mountain, He made it crumble and Moses fell down fainting." Then when he recovered, he said: Glory be to You! I turn to You, and I am the first of the believers. 144 He said: O Moses, surely I have chosen you above the people by My messages and My words. So take hold of what I give you and be of the grateful ones.

145 And We ordained for him in the tablets admonition of every kind and clear explanation of all things. So take hold of these (teachings) with firmness and command your people to take hold of the best of these. I shall show you the abode of the transgressors. 0 146 I shall turn away from My messages those who are unjustly proud in the earth. And if they see every sign, they will not believe in it; and if they see the way of rectitude, they do not take it for a way; and if they see the way of error, they take it for a way. This is because they reject Our messages and are heedless of them. 147 And those who reject Our messages and the meeting of

a (143) The words You cannot see Me negative the seeing of the Divine Being with the physical eye. Moses' request seems to have been based on the elders' demand spoken of in 2:55. I venture, however, another explanation. What Moses wanted to see was the great manifestation of Divine glory which was reserved for the Holy Prophet Muhammad. In fact, both Moses and Jesus were not equal to the task which was reserved for the Prophet Muhammad. Jesus said that he could not teach his followers all things, but that when the Comforter made his appearance he would guide them into all truth. That Moses was unequal to the Holy Prophet's task was clearly demonstrated by his falling down in a swoon when he beheld the Great Manifestation.

b (145-1) The words admonition of every kind and explanation of all things cannot be taken generally, but are limited by the requirements of the time in which Moses appeared.

c (145-2) The meaning is that a time will come to the Israelites when they will become transgressors, i.e. they will not keep the Divine commandments.

the Hereafter â€" their deeds are fruitless. Can they be rewarded except for what they do?

Section 18: Israelites worship a Calf

148 And Moses' people made of their ornaments a calf after him â€" a (lifeless) body, having a lowing sound." Could they not see that it did not speak to them, nor guided them in the way? They took it (for worship) and they were unjust. 149 And when they repented and saw that they had gone astray, they said: If our Lord have not mercy on us and forgive us, we shall certainly be losers.

150 And when Moses returned to his people, angry, grieved, he said: Evil is what you have done after me! Did you hasten on the judgment of your Lord? And he threw down the tablets and seized his brother by the head, dragging him towards him. (Aaron) said: Son of my mother, the people reckoned me weak and had almost killed me. So do not make the enemies to rejoice over me and do not count me among the unjust people. 151 (Moses) said: My Lord, forgive me and my brother, and admit us to Your mercy, and You are the most Merciful of those who show mercy.'

Section 19: The Torah and the Prophet's Advent

152 Those who took the calf (for a god) â€" wrath from their Lord, and disgrace in this world's life, will surely come upon them.

a (148) The word jasad means a body, as well as red or intensely yellow. The former meaning indicates that the calf was a mere lifeless body, yet it was so made that it gave a lowing sound like that of a calf. The other meaning also provides a true description of the calf as it was made of gold ornaments.

b (149) The Israelites' repentance, though mentioned first, was subsequent to Moses' return (2:54). The order here connects the repentance with the sin.

c (151) Aaron's excuse and Moses' acceptance of it show clearly that Aaron was quite innocent, having had a share neither in making the calf nor in worshipping it. The Bible account, which makes a righteous prophet of God guilty of the most heinous crime, must be rejected as untrue. That forgiveness was not sought for any fault in connection with calf-worship is clear from the fact that Moses joins himself with Aaron in the prayer given in this verse. Forgiveness here, as frequently elsewhere in the Quran, is equivalent to the Divine protection which everyone should seek against the shortcomings of human nature.

And thus do We recompense those who invent lies. 153 And those who do evil deeds, then repent after that and believe â€" your Lord after that is surely Forgiving, Merciful. 154 And when Moses' anger calmed down, he took up the tablets; and in the writing thereof was guidance and mercy for those who fear their Lord.

155 And Moses chose of his people seventy men for Our appointment." So when the earthquake struck them, he said: My Lord, if You had pleased, You would have destroyed them before and myself (too). Will You destroy us for what the foolish among us have done? It is only Your trial. You cause to perish by it whom You please and guide whom You please. You are our Protector, so forgive us and have mercy on us, and You are the Best of those who forgive. 156 And ordain for us good in this world's life and in the Hereafter, for surely we turn to You. He said: I afflict with My punishment whom I please, and My mercy encompasses all things. So I ordain it for those who keep their duty and give the due charity, and those who believe in Our messages â€" 1S7 those who follow the Messenger-Prophet, the Umml, c whom they find mentioned in the Torah and the Gospel. He enjoins

a (155) Exodus 24:1 speaks of Moses having taken up seventy elders of Israel along with him, though they were forbidden to "come near the Lord", and on this occasion Moses was in the mountain forty days and forty nights (Exodus, 24:18). Although the Bible also speaks of Moses as going to the mountain for forty days and forty nights after the incident of the calf-worship (Exodus, 34:28), the Quran refers only to the first occasion.

b (156) No attribute of God receives such prominence in the Quran as the attribute of mercy â€" My mercy encompasses all things. Even punishment is a phase of Divine mercy because it seeks to correct the evil-doers.

c (157-1) UmmT means one who neither writes nor reads a writing. Hence the Arabs are called an ummT people, and the UmmT Prophet is either the prophet of the ummT people (i.e. the Arabs) because he was like them, or he was so called because he himself did not know reading and writing. But according to some, the prophet is called UmmT because he came from the Umm al-Qura, i.e. Makkah, which is the Metropolis of Arabia.

d (157-2) There are many prophecies regarding the advent of the Holy Prophet in the Bible. The Torah and the Gospel are specially mentioned here because Moses and Jesus were respectively the first and the last of the Israelite prophets. Deuteronomy 18:15-18 speaks very clearly of the raising of a prophet, who shall

them good and forbids them evil, and makes lawful to them the good things and prohibits for them impure things, and removes from them their burden and the shackles which were on them. So those who believe in him and honour him and help him, and follow the light which has been sent down with him â€" these are the successful.

Section 20: Divine Favours on Israelites

158 Say: O mankind, surely I am the Messenger of Allah to you all, of Him Whose is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth." There is no god but He; He gives life and causes death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the UmmT Prophet who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him so that you may be guided aright.

159 And of Moses' people is a party who guide with truth and with it they do justice.* i fi0 And We divided them into twelve tribes, as nations. And We revealed to Moses when his people asked him for water: March on to the rock with jour staff; so out flowed from it twelve springs. Each tribe knew its drinking-place. And We made the clouds to give shade over them and We sent to them manna and quails. Eat of the good things We have given

be the like of Moses, from among the brethren of the Israelites, i.e. the Ishmaelites or the Arabs, while Deuteronomy 33:2 speaks of the shining forth of the manifestation of the Lord, i.e. his coming in full glory "from Mount Paran". The Gospel is full of prophecies of the advent of the Holy Prophet; Matthew 21:33^44, Mark 12:1-11, Luke 20:9-18, where the Lord of the vineyard comes after the son (i.e. Jesus) is maltreated, and Matthew 13:31-32, John 1:21, John 14:16, John 14:26 all contain such prophecies.

a (158) As against the various prophets spoken of in this chapter, every one of whom was sent to his people, the Prophet Muhammad is here spoken of as having been sent to all people, to the whole of mankind. Thus the appearance of the Prophet Muhammad was a turning point in the history of humanity. The day of the national prophet was over and a new era had dawned in which the whole of humanity was ultimately to be united under one spiritual head. The idea of nationality had to give place to the broader idea of one humanity, and the basis of it was laid by the Quran.

b (159) Thus the Quran recognizes that there were good people among the Jews. See also v. 168.

you. And they did not do Us any harm, but they wronged their own souls.

161 And when it was said to them: Dwell in this town and eat from it wherever you wish, and make petition for forgiveness, and enter the gate submissively, We shall forgive you your wrongs. We shall give more to the doers of good. 162 But those who were unjust among them changed it for a word other than that which they were told, so We sent upon them a pestilence from heaven for their wrongdoing/

Section 21: Israelites' Transgressions

163 And ask them about the town which stood by the sea. When they violated the Sabbath, when their fish came to them on their Sabbath day on the surface, and when it was not their Sabbath they did not come to them. Thus did We try them because they transgressed. 164 And when some of them said: Why do you preach to a people whom Allah would destroy or whom He would punish with a severe punishment? They said: To be free from blame before your Lord, and that perhaps they may guard against evil. 165 So when they neglected what they had been reminded of, We delivered those who forbade evil and We overtook those who were wrongdoers with an evil punishment because they transgressed.

166 So when they revoltingly persisted in what they had been forbidden, We said to them: Be (as) apes, despised and hated. 167 And when your Lord declared that He would send against them to the day of Resurrection those who would subject them to severe torment. Surely jour Lord is Quick in retribution; and surely He is Forgiving, Merciful. 168 And We divided them in the earth into

a (162) For the statements made in v. 160-162, see 2:57-60 and footnotes.

b (163) The city referred to here is generally recognized as being Ela, which was situated on the Red Sea. The incident alluded to is mentioned as an instance of the Jewish violation of the Sabbath. The fish appeared on the surface of the water on the Sabbath because they had a sense of security on that day. This was a temptation for the people to break the law.

(different) groups â€" some of them are righteous and some of them are otherwise. And We tried them with blessings and misfortunes that they might turn.

169 Then after them came an evil generation who inherited the Book, taking the frail goods of this low life and saying: It will be forgiven us. And if (more) such good came to them, they would take it (too). a Was not a promise taken from them in the Book that they would not speak anything about Allah but the truth? And they study what is in it. And the abode of the Hereafter is better for those who keep their duty. Do you not then understand? 170 And as for those who hold fast by the Book and keep up prayer â€" surely We do not waste the reward of the reformers. m And when We shook the mountain over them as if it were a covering, and they thought that it was going to fall down upon them: Hold on firmly what We have given you, and bear in mind what is in it, so that you may guard against evil. 4

Section 22: Evidence of Divine Impress on Man's Nature

172 And when jour Lord brought forth from the children of Adam, from their loins, their descendants, and made them bear witness about themselves: Am I not your Lord? They said: Yes, we bear witness. c In case you should say on the day of Resurrection: We were unaware of this, 173 or you should say: Only our fathers

a (169) First they commit a crime for the frail goods of this life, saying that they will be forgiven; then persist in their evil course and when a similar occasion arises, they again return to the old crimes. There is no repentance.

b (171) The stories built upon these simple words by some commentators must be rejected. The words simply relate the experience of the elders of Israel when they stood at the foot of the mountain, which rose above them. There was a severe earthquake, which is referred to in v. 155, causing them to think that the mountain would fall down upon them.

c (172) The verse does not mention the bringing forth of descendants from Adam, but from the children of Adam, and this seems clearly to refer to every human being as he comes into existence. The evidence is, therefore, given by human nature itself. It is, in fact, the same evidence which is elsewhere spoken of as being afforded by human nature as in "the nature made by Allah in which He has created mankind" (30:30).

set up partners (with Allah) before (us), and we were (their) descendants after them. Will You destroy us for what liars did? 174 And thus do We make the messages clear, and that perhaps they may return.

175 And recite to them the news of him to whom We give Our messages, but he withdraws himself from them, so the devil follows him up, and he is of those who perish." 176 And if We had pleased, We would have exalted him thereby; but he clings to the earth and follows his low desire. His parable is as the parable of the dog â€" if you drive him away, he lolls out his tongue, and if you leave him alone, he lolls out his tongue. Such is the parable of the people who reject Our messages. So relate the narrative that they may reflect. 177 Evil is the likeness of the people who reject Our messages and wrong their own souls. 178 He whom Allah guides is on the right way; and he whom He leaves in error â€" they are the losers.

179 And certainly We have created for hell many of the jinn and the people â€" they have hearts with which they do not understand, and they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. c They are as cattle; rather, they are more astray. These are the heedless ones. 180 And Allah's are the best names, so call on Him thereby d and leave alone those

a (175) This verse speaks generally of everyone to whom guidance is brought but he turns aside from it. This view is corroborated by what is stated at the conclusion of the parable in v. 176, such is the parable of the people who reject Our messages.

b (176) Earth here stands for all that is earthly, for things material. The people spoken of here are those who do not care for the higher values of life.

c (179) Many people and jinn are created for hell, but they are none other than the heedless ones who do not care for what is said. Allah has not created them differently from others, but they themselves do not use the faculties which Allah has granted them.

d (180-1) By the best names are meant names expressing the most excellent attributes of the Divine Being. By calling on Him thereby is meant that man should always keep the Divine attributes before his mind, endeavouring to possess those attributes.

who violate the sanctity of His names." They will be recompensed for what they do. 181 And of those whom We have created is a community who guide with the truth and with it they do justice.

Section 23: The Coming of the Doom

182 And those who reject Our messages â€" We lead them (to destruction) step by step from where they do not know. 183 And I grant them respite. Surely My scheme is effective. 184 Do they not reflect (that) there is no madness in their companion? He is only a plain warner. 185 Do they not consider the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and what things Allah has created, and that it may be that their doom has drawn near? In what announcement after this will they then believe? 186 Whomsoever Allah leaves in error, there is no guide for him. And He leaves them alone in their inordinacy, blindly wandering on.

187 They ask you about the Hour, c when will it take place? Say: Its knowledge is with my Lord only. None but He will manifest it at its time. It is momentous in the heavens and the earth. It will not come to you but suddenly. They ask you as if you could find out about it (by effort). Say: Its knowledge is with Allah only, but most people do not know. 188 Say: I do not control benefit nor harm for myself except as Allah please. And if I had known the unseen, I should have much of good, and no evil would touch me. I am but a warner and the giver of good news to a people who believe.

a (180-2) Violation of the sanctity of His names is of two kinds: firstly, giving Him an improper or inaccurate attribute; and secondly, to interpret His attributes in a manner which does not befit Him.

b (183) The word kaid (scheme), in relation to God, indicates skill in the management or ordering of affairs.

c (187) That is, the Hour with which they are threatened as being the hour of their doom. The word sa 'ah or the hour is used in the Quran to indicate both the doom of the guilty in this life and the time when a perfect manifestation of rewards and punishments will take place in the Hereafter.

rf(188) The simplicity and nobility of this statement as indicating the mission of a prophet is unsurpassed. He gives glad news of triumph to those who

Section 24: The Final Word

189 He it is Who created you from a single soul, and of the same did He make his mate, that he might find comfort in her. So when he covers her she bears a light burden, then moves about with it. Then when it grows heavy, they both call upon Allah, their Lord: If You give us a good one, we shall certainly be grateful. 190 But when He gives them a good one, they set up with Him partners in what He has given them." Supremely exalted is Allah above what they set up as partners (with Him). 191 Do they set up (with Him) that which has not created anything, while they are themselves created? 192 And they cannot give them help, nor can they help themselves.

193 And if you invite them to guidance, they will not follow you. It is the same to you whether you invite them or you are silent. 194 Those whom you call on besides Allah are slaves like yourselves; so call on them, then let them answer you, if you are truthful. 195 Do they have feet with which they walk, or do they have hands with which they hold, or do they have eyes with which they see, or do they have ears with which they hear? Say: Call upon your associate-gods then plot against me and give me no respite. 196 Surely my Friend is Allah, Who revealed the Book, and He befriends the righteous. 197 And those whom you call upon besides Him are not able to help you, nor can they help themselves.

198 And if you invite them to guidance, they do not hear; and you see them looking towards you, yet they do not see. 199 Take to forgiveness and enjoin good and turn away from the ignorant.

believe, warns the evil-doers of the evil consequences of their deeds in this life as well as in the next, but he does not claim the possession of Divine powers.

a (190) This describes the condition of man in general and refers to the evidence of his nature, for when in distress he always turns to Allah, but when in ease he goes after other gods or his own low desires.

b (193) Invitation to Truth must be extended to all, though some may not benefit by it. The meaning is further clarified in verses 198-199.

200 And if a false imputation from the devil afflict .you," seek refuge in Allah. Surely He is Hearing, Knowing. 201 Those who guard against evil, when a visitation from the devil afflicts them, they become mindful, then lo! they see. 202 And their brethren c increase them in error, then they do not cease.

203 And when you do not bring them a sign, they say: Why do you not demand it? Say: I follow only what is revealed to me from my Lord. These are clear proofs from your Lord and a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe. 204 And when the Quran is recited, listen to it and remain silent, that mercy may be shown to you. 205 And remember your Lord within yourself humbly and fearing, and in a voice not loud, in the morning and the evening, and do not be one of the heedless. 206 Surely those who are with your Lord are not too proud to serve Him, and they glorify Him and prostrate themselves before Him.

a (200) The devil in this case, as frequently in the Quran, stands for the devilish enemies who spread all kinds of false reports concerning the Holy Prophet, against which he is told to seek refuge in Allah.

b (201) The visitation of the devil means the happening of any grievous incident or the coming of an affliction from the hands of the devil, or the wicked acting in opposition to the righteous. Being endowed with insight, they see their way out of the affliction. The devil's visitation may also signify anger which blinds a man, and those who guard against evil are not blinded by it.

c (202) That is, the brethren of the devils, or the devil's human associates.

Chapter 8 Ai-Anfai Voluntary Gifts

This chapter deals with the battle of Badr, the first battle which the Muslims had to fight, and it goes under the name of Anfal, literally voluntary gifts, because the Muslim State had at the time no treasury, nor any arsenal, nor an army and voluntary gifts were therefore called for. It was not only this battle but all the succeeding battles which Muslims had to fight were carried on only by voluntary gifts. Success in this battle, against all odds, provided proof of the truth of the Holy Prophet's mission and thus this chapter occurs after a discussion of prophethood in the last chapter. Most of this chapter was revealed in 2 A.H., while the concluding verses of sections 7 and 8 were revealed around the time of the conquest of Makkah in 8 A.H.

Section 1: The Battle of Badr â€" Muslims go forth

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 They ask you about voluntary gifts. Say: Voluntary gifts are for Allah and the Messenger/ So keep your duty to Allah and set aright your differences, and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you are believers. 2 They only are believers whose hearts are full of fear when Allah is mentioned, and when His messages are recited to them they increase them in faith, and in their Lord do they trust, 3 those who keep up prayer and spend (on good works) out of what We have given them. 4 These are the believers truly. For them are with their Lord exalted grades and protection and an honourable sustenance.

a (1) There is much difference of opinion among the commentators as to what is meant by anfal here. The most generally received opinion is that it means property acquired during the war. I take the word anfal as carrying here its literal significance of voluntary gifts for the advancement of the cause of Islam, such voluntary gifts being most needed at a time when the very life of Islam was threatened. Indeed there is no better justification for a war than that it is carried on by the voluntary gifts of those whose life is in danger. It is the only war that is really carried on by the people in self-defence.

5 Even as your Lord caused you to go forth from your house with truth, though some of the believers were surely averse," disputing with you about the truth after it had become clear â€" as if they were being driven to death while they saw (it). 7 And when Allah promised you one of the two parties that it should be yours, and you loved that the one not armed should be yours, and Allah desired to establish the Truth by His words, c and to cut off the root of the disbelievers â€" 8 that He might cause the Truth to triumph and bring falsehood to failure, though the guilty disliked.

9 When you sought the aid of your Lord, so He answered you: I will assist you with a thousand of the angels following one another. 10 And Allah gave it only as good news, and that your hearts

a (5) The circumstances of the battle of Badr have been misunderstood. It is alleged that the Holy Prophet had made preparations for attacking an unarmed caravan of the Quraish on its way back from Syria to Makkah, when Abu Sufyan, the caravan leader, sent word to Makkah and obtained an escort of nearly a thousand men. If the Holy Prophet had desired to plunder the caravan when it approached Madinah, he would have done so long before Abu Sufyan could obtain assistance from Makkah, as Madinah was thirteen days' journey from Makkah. Badr lies at a distance of three days' journey from Madinah. The enemy had marched forth for ten days and the Muslims only for three days when the two forces encountered each other at Badr, which shows clearly that the Muslims had turned out to take the defensive against an invading force. It is clearly stated here that some of the believers were averse to fighting. They could not have been averse if they had to encounter only an unarmed caravan. It is said in the next verse that they went forth as if they were being driven to death. They knew that they were going to meet an enemy treble in numbers and much more powerful and efficient.

b (7-1) The two parties referred to were the unarmed caravan of the Quraish going to Makkah and the armed force of the Quraish that was on its way to Madinah. Naturally, some of the Muslims desired that their encounter should take place with the unarmed Quraish caravan.

c (7-2) By His words is meant here the fulfilment of His words, because the Holy Prophet had declared at Makkah long before that an encounter would take place between the Muslims and the Quraish, in which the former would be victorious. The Holy Prophet himself repeated one of these prophecies aloud in the field when he prayed on the day of Badr: "Soon shall the armies be routed, and they will show their backs" (54:45).

might be at ease by it. a And victory is only from Allah; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.

Section 2: The Battle of Badr â€" Fighting

11 When He made slumber fall on you as a security from Him, and sent down upon you water from the clouds that He might purify you with it,* and take away from you the uncleanness of the devil, and that He might fortify your hearts and make firm (your) feet by it. e 12 When jour Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, so make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. So strike above the necks and strike every finger-tip of them. 13 This is because they opposed Allah and His Messenger. And whoever opposes Allah and His Messenger â€" then surely Allah is Severe in retribution. 14 This â€" taste it, and (know) that for the disbelievers is the punishment of the Fire.

a (10) See 3:124 footnote. It is nowhere stated in the Quran that the angels actually fought, but here, as in 3:126, we are told that the angels were sent down to bear good news of victory and to ease the hearts of the Muslims. Here, however, we are further told that, as a result of the coming of the angels, calm fell upon the Muslims, their hearts being strengthened and their footsteps being steadied (v. 11), and that while the believers were thus made firm, terror was cast into the hearts of the disbelievers (v. 12). Hence it is that the number of angels corresponds with the strength of the enemy force in each case.

b (11-1) Compare 25:25, which is a prophecy about the events of this remarkable battle: "And on the day when the heaven bursts apart with clouds, and the angels are sent down, as they are sent". The rainfall brought many advantages to the Muslims, for which see the next footnote.

c (11-2) Before the rain fell the Muslim position was very weak. The enemy had the command of the water and the Muslims were in a low and sandy place. Therefore there were some who had misgivings, which, as is said here, were due to the devil's uncleanness. The enemy having taken possession of the drinking-water, the Muslims feared being troubled by thirst, which is called the devil of the desert. The rain strengthened the position of the Muslims and consequently comforted their hearts. This was a purification, for after the rainfall they all became certain of Divine help and so of their triumph over the enemy.

d (12) The two phrases, strike above the necks and strike the finger-tips, respectively signify the killing of the enemy and disabling him so as to render him unfit for taking further part in fighting.

15 O you who believe, when you meet those who disbelieve marching for war, do not turn your backs to them. 16 And whoever turns his back to them on that day â€" unless manoeuvring for battle or turning to join a company â€" he indeed incurs Allah's wrath and his refuge is hell. And an evil destination it is. 17 So you did not kill them but Allah killed them, and you (O Prophet) did not strike when you struck (the enemy), but Allah struck (him), a and that He might confer upon the believers a benefit from Himself. Surely Allah is Hearing, Knowing. 18 This c â€" and (know) that Allah will weaken the struggle of the disbelievers. 19 If you sought a judgment, the judgment has indeed come to you; and if you cease (fighting), it is better for you. And if you return (to fighting), We (too) shall return and your forces will not avail you at all, though they may be many; and (know) that Allah is with the believers.

Section 3: The Way to Success

20 O you who believe, obey Allah and His Messenger and do not turn away from Him while you hear. 21 And do not be like those who say, We hear; and they do not hear. 22 Surely the vilest of beasts, in Allah's sight, are the deaf, the dumb, who do

a (17-1) Rama carries a number of significances, including throwing, flinging, assailing and striking. It is used in connection with fighting, and therefore striking is its equivalent here. The first part of the verse about killing refers to the Muslims generally, the address being in the plural; and the second part, being in the singular, is understood as referring to the Holy Prophet. The Muslims killed the enemy, but it is affirmed that really they did not kill, but it was Allah Who killed them; the meaning apparently being that Allah's hand was working in the battle. The same applies to the other passage relating to the striking of the enemy by the Holy Prophet. Whether the Prophet actually threw a handful of pebbles at the enemy, which discomfited the latter, is a different question. It was Allah's hand that killed them, and it was His hand that struck them and ultimately put them to rout.

b (17-2) The benefit spoken of here is a victory which strengthened the foundations of Islam, and dealt a death-blow to the evil designs of those who were determined to exterminate it, as is plainly stated in the next verse.

c (18) This here stands for: this was the Divine purpose in bringing about this encounter.

not understand." 23 And if Allah had known any good in them, He would have made them hear. And if He makes them hear, they would turn away while they are averse.

24 O you who believe, respond to Allah and His Messenger, when he calls you to that which gives you life.' And know that Allah comes in between a man and his heart,' and that to Him you will be gathered. 25 And guard yourselves against an affliction which may not strike those of you exclusively who are wrongdoers; and know that Allah is Severe in retribution.

26 And remember when you were few, considered weak in the land, fearing if people should carry you off by force, He sheltered you and strengthened you with His help, and gave you good things that you might give thanks. 27 0 you who believe, do not be unfaithful to Allah and the Messenger, nor be unfaithful to your trusts, while you know. 28 And know that your wealth and your children are a temptation, and that Allah is He with Whom there is a mighty reward.

Section 4: Muslims to be Guardians of the Sacred Mosque

29 O you who believe, if you keep your duty to Allah, He will grant you a distinction and do away with your evils and protect you. And Allah is the Lord of mighty grace. 30 And when those

a (22) The deaf and the dumb signify those who are spiritually deaf and dumb â€" those who do not understand.

b (24-1) Faith or submission to Allah is life, and disbelief is death. By the expression that which gives you life some understand the Quran, others take it to meanjihad, or exertion in the cause of truth. Evidently it is faith.

c (24-2) By heart is meant the desires of the heart. The Divine intervention is the cutting off of those desires. The faithful are enjoined to be quick in responding to the call of the Holy Prophet, and not to indulge in worldly desires, for these may soon be cut off. Or, the meaning is that they must respond to the call of the Holy Prophet in case, having deprived themselves of one occasion of doing good, the heart should be hardened, and, as a punishment for the first rejection, Allah may so turn it that it may not turn to good at all.

d (25) This refers to afflictions that are of such a widespread nature as to overtake even others, in addition to those for whom they are primarily intended.

who disbelieved devised plans against you that they might confine you or kill you or drive you away â€" and they devised plans and Allah, too, had arranged a plan; and Allah is the Best of planners. " 31 And when Our messages are recited to them, they say: We have heard. If we wished, we could say the like of it; this is nothing but the stories of the ancients.

32 And when they said: O Allah, if this is indeed the truth from You, then rain down on us stones from heaven or inflict on us a painful punishment. 33 And Allah would not punish them while you were among them; nor would Allah punish them while they seek forgiveness. e 34 And what excuse have they that Allah should not punish them while they hinder (people) from the Sacred Mosque and they are not its (true) guardians? Its guardians are only those who keep their duty, but most of them do not know.^ 35 And their prayer at the House is nothing but whistling and clapping of hands. 2 Taste, then, the punishment, because you disbelieved.

36 Surely those who disbelieve spend their wealth to hinder (people) from the way of Allah. So they will go on spending it, then it will be to them a regret, then they will be overcome. And those who disbelieve will be gathered together to hell, 37 that Allah

a (30) The reference is to the final plans of the Quraish when, the Companions having emigrated to Madinah, the Prophet was left alone at Makkah. The Divine plan was that the disbelievers should see the downfall of their power at the hands of the Prophet.

b (31) That this was an empty boast is confirmed by the fact that, although the Quran repeatedly challenged them to produce anything like it, they could not produce even the like of its shortest chapter.

c (33) The punishment was to overtake them when the Holy Prophet was no more among them, i.e. after his flight from Makkah. But even then the punishment might be averted if they asked for forgiveness.

d (34) The words contain a prophecy not only as to the deprivation of the disbelieving Quraish of the guardianship of the Ka'bah, but also as to the passing of the guardianship into the hands of the Muslims.

e (35) In fact the House was not used by them for offering prayers to God but for sacrilegious talk and gossiping.

*0 £0

224 8. VOLUNTARY GIFTS • 8 : 38

may separate the wicked from the good, and put the wicked upon one another, then heap them together, then cast them into hell. These indeed are the losers.

Section 5: Badr as Sign of the Prophet's Truth

38 Say to those who disbelieve, if they cease (fighting), what is past will be forgiven them; and if they return (to it), then the example of those of old has already gone." 39 And fight with them until there is no more persecution, and all religions are for Allah. But if they cease, then surely Allah is Seer of what they do. 40 And if they turn back, then know that Allah is your Patron. Most excellent the Patron and most excellent the Helper!

41 And know that whatever you acquire in war, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the traveller/ if you believe in Allah

a (38) They had gone away from Badr quite discomfited, and they were told that, if they ceased fighting, they would be forgiven. Otherwise, they could read their own doom in the doom of those with whom Allah had dealt previously in similar circumstances.

b (39) That is, if they cease fighting and put an end to their mischief, God's decree of punishment will not be executed. The state of religious liberty which Islam aimed at is put tersely in the two opening statements â€" there is no more persecution and all religions are for Allah, everyone being at liberty to hold any belief he likes.

c (41-1) The one-fifth spoken of here is to be divided again into five parts, the Prophet, the near of kin, the orphans, the poor, and the traveller being equal sharers. The near of kin included all individuals belonging to the tribes of Bani Hashim and Bani Abdul Muttalib, to whom zakat money was not allowed. The poor among them were thus paid from this source of income. As to the Holy Prophet's twenty-fifth, it was also used for the benefit of the Muslims. The remaining four-fifths of the acquisitions were divided among those who took part in the battle, as they were not otherwise paid for their services, but there is no order to this effect in the Quran itself. This arrangement was simply an exigency. War was forced on Muslims all of a sudden when the State had not yet been properly formed; there was no army at all, nor a treasury from which to pay it; and just as they were required to carry on war on the basis of voluntary gifts, so they were allowed a share in the war acquisitions. If the State pays its soldiers as it pays its civil servants, the war acquisitions would all go to the State treasury.

and in what We revealed to Our servant, on the day of Distinction, the day on which the two forces met." And Allah is Powerful over all things.

42 When you were on the nearer side (of the valley) and they were on the farther side, while the caravan was in a lower place than you. And if you had tried to make a mutual appointment, you would certainly have broken away from the appointment, but c â€" in order that Allah might bring about a matter which had to be done; that he who perished by clear argument might perish, and he who lived by clear argument might live. 6 And surely Allah is Hearing, Knowing: 43 When Allah showed them to you in jour dream as few' â€" and if He had shown them to you as many, you (O Muslims) would certainly have become weak-hearted and you would have disputed about the matter, but Allah saved (you). Surely He is Knower of what is in the hearts. 44 And when He showed them to you, when you met, as few in your eyes, and He made you to appear few in their eyes, in order that Allah might bring about a matter which had to be done. g And to Allah are all affairs returned.

a (41-2) The day of Distinction (yaum al-furqan) referred to here is the battle of Badr.

b (42-1) The Muslims were on the side nearer to Madinah, the main army of the Quraish was on the side which was farther from Madinah, while the caravan was in a lower place, i.e. towards the sea-coast, and farther away from Madinah, on its way to Makkah.

c (42-2) There is a break here, the meaning being but an encounter was brought about without an appointment. The Muslims were so weak that they could not think of making an appointment with the enemy â€" they would have broken away from the appointment.

d (42-3) The matter referred to is the defeat of the opponents of Islam.

e (42-4) The disbelievers had seen clear arguments of the Holy Prophet's truth, yet they rejected him and had thus perished in a spiritual sense; they were now vanquished in the battle and thus perished temporally.

/(43) The Holy Prophet's seeing them few in a vision must be interpreted as signifying their actual weakness, despite their great number.

g (44) Here we are told that they were also shown to be few to the Muslims when the two armies met. See 3:13 and footnote.

Section 6: Success does not depend on Numbers

45 O you who believe, when you meet an army, be firm, and remember Allah much, that you may be successful. 46 And obey Allah and His Messenger and do not dispute with one another so that you get weak-hearted and your power departs; and be steadfast. Surely Allah is with the steadfast.

47 And do not be like those who came forth from their homes exultingly and to be seen by people, and they hinder (people) from the way of Allah." And Allah encompasses what they do. 48 And when the devil made their works seem good to them, and said: No man can overcome you this day, and I am your protector. But when the two armies came in sight of one another, he turned upon his heels, and said: Surely I am clear of you, I see what you do not see; surely I fear Allah. And Allah is Severe in retribution.

Section 7: Enemy's Strength weakened

49 And when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease said: Their religion has deluded them. And whoever trusts in Allah, then surely Allah is Mighty, Wise. 50 And if you could see when the angels cause to die those who disbelieve, striking their faces and their backs, and (saying): Taste the punishment of burning. 51 This is for what your hands have sent ahead, and because Allah is not in the least unjust to the servants â€" 52 in the manner of the people of Pharaoh and those before them, they disbelieved in Allah's messages, so Allah punished them for their sins. Surely Allah is Strong, Severe in retribution. 53 This is because Allah never changes a favour which He has conferred upon a people until they change their own condition â€" and because Allah is Hearing, Knowing â€" 54 in the manner of the people of Pharaoh, and those before them. They rejected the messages of their Lord,

a (47) This clearly refers to the army of the Quraish which had marched forth in great exultation to destroy Madinah.

b (48) The person referred to here as the devil is said to have been Suraqa ibn Malik who gave the Quraish promise of help. However, what is stated here may only be the devil's suggestion to the Quraish leaders.

8:55' PEACE TO BE SECURED BY STRENGTH 227

so We destroyed them for their sins. And We drowned Pharaoh's people and they were all wrongdoers.

55 Surely the vilest of beasts in Allah's sight are those who disbelieve, then they would not believe â€" 56 those with whom you make an agreement, then they break their agreement every time, and they do not keep their duty." 57 So if >>ou overtake them in war, scatter by them those who are behind them, that they may be mindful. 58 And if you fear treachery on the part of a people, throw back to them (their treaty) on terms of equality. Surely Allah does not love the treacherous. c

Section 8: Peace to be secured by Strength

59 And those who disbelieve should not think that they can outstrip (Us). Surely they cannot escape. 60 And make ready for them whatever force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them, whom you do not know â€" Allah knows them. And whatever you spend in Allah's way, it will be paid back to you fully and you will not be wronged.

a (56) It shows how the opponents of Islam disregarded their responsibility and violated their agreements. The use of the words every time shows clearly that the Muslims never hesitated in making a new agreement when one was violated, but the disbelievers did not even then respect their agreements; hence, as a last resort, Muslims were allowed to repudiate unrespected agreements (v. 58).

b (57) That is, an exemplary punishment should be inflicted on them, so that a stop might be put to further fighting and bloodshed.

c (58) If the other party does not remain faithful to the agreement of peace, Muslims may also repudiate it. The word fear does not indicate that a mere apprehension, unsupported by any action on the other side's part, is sufficient for repudiation. Read it along with v. 62, and the meaning is clear.

d (60) Muslims had won a victory at Badr, though they were not even well-equipped and had made no preparation for the war. But they are told that they must in future keep themselves well prepared and avail themselves of all sources of strength, so that the enemy should by their very preparedness assume a peaceful attitude. It was evident that the weakness of the Muslims was a temptation for their opponents to attack them.

61 And if they incline to peace, you (must) incline to it also, and trust in Allah. Surely He is the Hearer, the Knower. 62 And if they intend to deceive you, then surely Allah is sufficient for you." He it is Who strengthened you with His help and with the believers, 63 and He has united their hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah united them. Surely He is Mighty, Wise. 64 0 Prophet, Allah is sufficient for you and those who follow you from the believers.

Section 9: Muslims to meet Overwhelming Numbers

65 O Prophet, urge the believers to fight. If there are of you twenty steadfast, they shall overcome two hundred; and if there are of you a hundred, they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they are a people who do not understand^ 66 Now Allah has lightened your burden and He knows that there is weakness in you. So if there are of you a hundred steadfast, they shall overcome two hundred; and if there are of you a thousand, they shall overcome two thousand by Allah's permission. And Allah is with the steadfast.

a (62) The deceit is in relation to what has been said in the previous verse, the meaning being that ;/ they intend to deceive you under the cloak of peace, even in such a case peace is to be accepted.

b (65-1) It should be noted that the war to which Muslims were to be urged was the defensive war which they had to fight to save themselves and to protect the religion of Islam. The sword had been taken up against them; see 2:190, 2:217, 22:39, etc.

c (65-2) There is a clear prophecy here that, despite their fewer numbers, Muslims shall be victorious. After the battle of Badr came the battle of Uhud, in which Muslims were less than 1 to 4 against the enemy; this was followed by the battle of the Ahzab, in which they were 1 to 10, yet the enemy was routed.

d (66) The statements in verses 65 and 66 relate to two different states of the Muslims. At the time of the battle of Badr there was no Muslim army in existence. They had very few arms, and they had never been trained. This is referred to in the words: He knows that there is weakness in you. So the Muslim forces as then constituted could at most be a match for double their numbers. But a time did come when they were a match for ten times their numbers. So both the statements in the Quran proved true.

67 It is not fit for a prophet to take captives unless he has fought and triumphed in the land. You desire the frail goods of this world, while Allah desires (for you) the Hereafter." And Allah is Mighty, Wise. 68 If an ordinance from Allah had not gone before, surely a great punishment would have befallen you for what you were going to do. 69 Eat then of the lawful and good (things) which you have acquired in war, and keep your duty to Allah. Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Section 10: Relations of Muslim State with Others

70 O Prophet, say to those of the captives who are in your hands: If Allah knows anything good in your hearts, He will give you better than what has been taken from you, and will forgive you. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. 71 And if they intend to be treacherous to you, so indeed they have been treacherous to Allah before, but He gave (you) mastery over them. And Allah is Knowing, Wise.

72 Surely those who believed and fled (their homes) and struggled hard in Allah's way with their wealth and their lives, and those who gave shelter and helped â€" these are friends of

a (67) The commentators are of opinion that this verse and the next refer to releasing the prisoners of war taken at Badr after taking ransom from them, which act, it is said, is here disapproved. But various considerations show that these verses refer to some other incidents. The reference is to the desire â€" not to an action already completed â€" of a party of the Muslims referred to in v. 7, and you loved that the one not armed should be yours. Some Muslims desired to attack and capture the unarmed caravan, but depredations like these, though committed by disbelievers upon Muslims, were not fit for a prophet. He must fight a hard fight in his defence first and then, if he overcomes the enemy, he may take prisoners. Thus this injunction also declares slavery to be illegal, and allows only the retaining of those who are taken prisoners in war. The frail goods of this world appropriately refer to the caravan and its merchandise, while the addition of the concluding words in v. 69, eat then of the lawful and good things which you have acquired in war, shows that the ransom received on account of the prisoners is among the lawful and good things.

b (68) That ordinance from Allah was to bring about an encounter with the main army of the Quraish at Badr. It is referred to in v. 7 and v. 42.

one another. And those who believed and did not flee, you are not responsible for their protection until they flee. And if they seek help from you in the matter of religion, it is your duty to help (them) except against a people between whom and you there is a treaty ." And Allah is Seer of what you do. 73 And those who disbelieve are friends of one another. If you do not do it, there will be persecution in the land and great mischief. 74 And those who believed and fled and struggled hard in Allah's way, and those who gave shelter and helped â€" these are the believers truly. For them is forgiveness and an honourable provision. 75 And those who believed afterwards and fled and struggled hard along with you, they are of you. And the relatives are nearer to one another in the ordinance of Allah. c Surely Allah is Knower of all things.

a (72) Those who believed, and, having been persecuted, fled from their homes, i.e. the Muhajirin, formed a community at Madinah along with those who gave them shelter and helped them, i.e. the Ansar. But there were those who chose to remain in their homes. The Muslim community at Madinah could not undertake to guard the interests of such persons, and this is what is meant by saying, you are not responsible for their protection. But if they seek help in the matter of religion, it is incumbent on the Muslim community to give them help, unless there exists a treaty of alliance with the people against whom such help is sought.

b (73) If you do not help your brethren in the matter of religion, the disbelievers will become more daring in their persecutions and in causing mischief and disorder in the land.

c (75) When even strangers who have accepted Islam and fled from their homes become "of you", those who have in addition ties of relationship, possess every title to have their interests guarded by the Muslim community.

Chapter 9 Ai-Bara'at Immunity

The name of this chapter (which is also called Al-Taubah or Repentance) refers to the declaration in its opening verses that Muslims were now not subject to their agreements with certain idolatrous Arab tribes who had been constantly breaking them (verses 7-13). The chapter thus first deals with the subject of agreements with them as depending on their adherence to them, and goes on to prophesy the triumph of Islam in Arabia and later in the world. It then refers to the expedition to Tabuk by Muslims undertaken at great sacrifice, and deals with the subject of those who excused themselves and the hypocrites. At the end, Muslims are reminded of the importance of the propagation of Islam and contributing towards it, which was the real object of Islam. This chapter was revealed in 9 A.H. This is the only chapter of the Quran not opening with Bismillah, "In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful", as it is, in a sense, a continuation of the last chapter.

Section 1: Declaration of Immunity

1 A declaration of immunity from Allah and His Messenger to those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement." 2 So go about in the land for four months and know that you cannot escape Allah and that Allah will disgrace the disbelievers. 3 And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger to the people on the day of the greater pilgrimage that Allah is free from liability to the idolaters, and so is His Messenger. So if you repent, it will be

a (1) This is a declaration of immunity from obligations with such of the idolatrous tribes of Arabia as had repeatedly broken their agreements with the Muslims. They broke their agreements again and again (8:56), yet the Muslims were enjoined to accept peace if the disbelievers consented to it, even after repeated violations (8:61). But this state of things could not continue long, for it was soon found that it was impossible to trust such neighbours. This repudiation of agreements took place on a large scale when the Muslims were absent on the Tabuk expedition.

b (3) The first thirteen verses of this chapter were publicly proclaimed by Ali on the occasion of the pilgrimage in 9 A.H.

better for you; and if you turn away, then know that you will not escape Allah. And announce painful punishment to those who disbelieve â€" 4 except those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement, then they have not failed you in anything and have not backed up anyone against you; so fulfil their agreement to the end of their term. Surely Allah loves those who keep their duty."

5 So when the sacred months have passed, kill the idolaters, wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush.* But if they repent and keep up prayer and give the due charity, leave their way free. c Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. 6 And if anyone of the idolaters seek your protection, protect him till he hears the word of Allah, then convey him to his place of safety. This is because they are a people who do not know.^

a (4) The exception given here makes it clear that the Muslims were not fighting with the idolaters on account of their religion, but on account of their having been untrue to their agreements.

b (5-1) The clear exception of the last verse shows that by the idolaters here are meant, not all idolaters or polytheists wherever they may be found in the world, not even all idolaters of Arabia, but only those idolatrous tribes of Arabia assembled at the pilgrimage who had first made agreements with the Muslims and then violated them. The order to kill them and to make them prisoners and to besiege them and ambush them amounts clearly to an order to fight against them, as it is in war only that all these actions are made lawful. (Editor's Note: The expression "kill them wherever you find them" has also been used in 2:190-191, where it is also declared clearly: "And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you but do not be aggressive". Thus "wherever you find them" means wherever you find those who are engaged in fighting against you, after they have been the first to attack you.)

c (5-2) The whole verse relates to certain idolatrous Arab tribes who had broken their engagements with the Muslims, and who had now been apprised of a similar repudiation by the Muslims. They had so often broken their word that they could no more be trusted. Yet, if they joined the brotherhood of Islam, and there was an absolute change in their condition, the punishment which they otherwise deserved could be remitted. It was a case of forgiving a guilty people who had repented. Nothing could be further from the truth than the allegation that this offers to the disbelievers the alternative of either being killed or accepting Islam.

d (6) This verse leaves no doubt that the Holy Prophet was never ordered by God to kill anyone on account of his religion. Any idolater seeking the protection

Section 2: Reasons for the Immunity

7 How can there be an agreement for the idolaters with Allah and with His Messenger, except those with whom you made an agreement at the Sacred Mosque? So as long as they are true to you, be true to them. Surely Allah loves those who keep their duty. a 8 How (can it be)? And if they prevail against you, they respect neither ties of relationship nor covenant in your case. They would please you with their mouths while their hearts refuse; and most of them are transgressors.

9 They have taken a small price for the messages of Allah, so they hinder (people) from His way. Surely evil is what they do. 10 They respect neither ties of relationship nor covenant in the case of a believer. And these are they who go beyond the limits. n But if they repent and keep up prayer and give the due charity, they are your brethren in faith. And We make the messages clear for a people who know. 12 And if they break their oaths after their agreement and revile your religion, then fight the leaders of disbeliefâ€" surely their oaths are nothing â€" so that they may ceased

13 Will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Messenger, and they attacked you first? Do you fear them? But Allah has more right that you should fear Him, if you are believers. 14 Fight them; Allah will punish

of the Muslims in order to learn about Islam was to be granted safe conduct to return home in case he did not think it fit to embrace Islam.

a (7) So long as the idolaters were true to their agreements, Muslims were required to be true to them. Just as in the case of war, Muslims were not allowed to fight until the enemy had first attacked, so, in the case of repudiation of agreements, it was the enemy who first repudiated the agreement.

b (10) Note the repeated assertions of the Quran that the disbelievers were not to be fought against for their disbelief but for their being first in starting war or repudiating agreements.

c (12) Those leaders of disbelief are to be fought against who break their oaths after their agreements.

d (13) Editor's Note: This again makes clear that Muslims are only required to fight those who attacked them first.

them at your hands and bring them to disgrace, and assist you against them and relieve the hearts of a believing people, 15 and remove the rage of their hearts. And Allah turns (mercifully) to whom He pleases. And Allah is Knowing, Wise. 16 Do you think that you would be left alone while Allah has not yet known those of you who struggle hard and do not take anyone as an intimate friend besides Allah and His Messenger and the believers? And Allah is Aware of what you do.

Section 3: Idolaters' Service of the Sacred House

17 The idolaters have no right to maintain the mosques of Allah, while bearing witness to disbelief against themselves. 0 These it is whose deeds are fruitless; and in the Fire will they abide. 18 Only he can maintain the mosques of Allah who believes in Allah and the Last Day, and keeps up prayer and gives the due charity and fears none but Allah. So these it is who may be of the guided ones. 19 Do you hold the giving of drink to the pilgrims and the maintenance of the Sacred Mosque equal to (the service of) one who believes in Allah and the Last Day and strives hard in Allah's way? They are not equal in the sight of Allah. And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people. 20 Those who believed and fled (their homes), and strove hard in Allah's way with their wealth and their lives, are much higher in rank with Allah. And it is these that shall triumph. 21 Their Lord gives them good news of mercy and pleasure, from Himself, and Gardens in which lasting blessings will be theirs, 22 abiding in them forever. Surely Allah has a mighty reward with Him.

23 O you who believe, do not take your fathers and your brothers for friends if they love disbelief above faith. And who-

a (17) By the mosques of Allah is meant particularly the Sacred Mosque at Makkah, as being the centre of all the mosques of the world. This is made clear in v. 19. It had long remained in the hands of the idolaters, who visited and repaired it, having placed a large number of idols within it. With the conquest of Makkah the Sacred Mosque was denuded of all idols, and was now as pure an emblem of monotheism as in the time of Abraham. Hence the idol-worshippers had nothing to do with it now.

ever of you takes them for friends, such are the wrongdoers. 24 Say: If your fathers and your sons and your brethren and your wives and your kinsfolk and the wealth you have acquired, and trade whose dullness you fear, and dwellings you love, are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and striving in His way, then wait till Allah brings His command to pass. And Allah does not guide the transgressing people."

Section 4: Islam made Triumphant in Arabia

25 Certainly Allah helped you in many battlefields, and on the day of Hunain, when your great numbers made you proud, but they availed you nothing, and the earth with all its vastness was narrowed for you, then you turned back retreating. 26 Then Allah sent down His calm upon His Messenger and upon the believers, and sent armies which you did not see, and punished those who disbelieved. And such is the reward of the disbelievers. 27 Then will Allah, after this, turn mercifully to whom He pleases. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

28 O you who believe, the idolaters are surely unclean, c so

a (24) A true Muslim may have wealth, may carry on trade, may have magnificent houses, but these should not be dearer to him than Allah and exertion in His path. He should be ready to sacrifice all these interests for a higher purpose, before which all these sink into insignificance. The Quran does not require one actually to hate riches, but rather not to be obsessed by wealth to the neglect of one's higher duties. The acquisition of wealth is not harmful so long as it is not made the real aim of life, but has its proper place as the means to an end.

b (25) The battle of Hunain, fought in 8 A.H. in the valley of Hunain, about three miles from Makkah, differed from the other battles in that the Muslims here outnumbered the enemy. However, the archers of the enemy were good marksmen, and had occupied strong positions in the mountain passes. The Muslim army contained some men from Makkah still adhering to idolatry. Unfortunately this was the advance party of the army, and, unable to face the archers, they retreated causing disorder to the whole army. The Holy Prophet, however, led the assault, at first alone, in face of the archers, but was soon joined by others and a victory was obtained, as the next verse shows.

c (28-1) Because they indulged in evil practices and went naked round the Ka'bah. Compare 5:90, where idols are declared to be unclean.

they shall not approach the Sacred Mosque after this year of theirs." And if you fear poverty, then Allah will enrich you out of His grace, if He please. Surely Allah is Knowing, Wise. 29 Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, nor follow the Religion of Truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgement of superiority and they are in a state of subjection/

a (28-2) The year of the proclamation, i.e. 9 A.H.

b (28-3) The importance of Makkah as a commercial centre lay in the fact that the whole of Arabia repaired to it in the season of the pilgrimage, and there carried out important commercial transactions. The prohibition referred to in the first part of the verse could have been easily foreseen as affecting the commerce, and consequently the prosperity of Makkah, but worldly or business considerations never interfered with the carrying out of the moral reforms of Islam.

c (29) The great Christian power, the Roman Empire, had just mobilized its forces for the subjection of the new religion, and the Tabflk expedition took place, which is dealt with further on in this chapter. As the object of this Christian power was simply the subjection of the Muslims, their final defeat by the Muslims is spoken of as subjection. It was not in any way the object of the Quran to bring the Christians into subjection. On the other hand, the Christians first moved themselves to bring Muslim Arabia under subjection. Tbsjizyah or tax spoken of here is, according to Lane's Lexicon, the tax that is taken from the free non-Muslim subjects of the Muslim Government whereby they ratify the compact that ensures them protection.

The permission to fight given to Muslims is subject to the condition that the enemy should first take up the sword (2:190). The Holy Prophet never overstepped this limit, nor did his followers. He fought against the Arabs when they took up the sword to destroy the Muslims, and he led an expedition against the Christians when the Roman Empire first mobilized its forces with the object of subjugating the Muslims. When he found that the enemy had not yet taken the initiative, he did not attack the Roman Empire, but returned without fighting. Later on, however, the Roman Empire, like the Persians, fomented trouble against the newly established Muslim Kingdom, as a result of which both these empires came into conflict with the Muslims and, despite the fact that both the Persians and the Romans were very powerful nations with unlimited resources and strong military organizations, and that they both tried at the same time to subjugate Islam, the result was what is predicted here in clear words â€" they were both reduced to a state of subjection by an insignificant nation like the Arabs.

Section 5: Islam will triumph in the World

30 And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; a and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. These are the words of their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before. Allah's curse be on them! How they are turned away (from truth)! 31 They take their doctors of law and their monks for lords besides Allah/ and (also) the Messiah, son of Mary. And they were enjoined that they should serve one God only â€" there is no god but He. Glory be to Him from what they set up as partners (with Him)!

32 They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will allow nothing except the perfection of His light, though the disbelievers are averse/ 33 He it is Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth that He may make it prevail over all religions, though those who set up partners (with Allah) are averse. e

a (30-1) It has been shown by Muslim historians that there was a sect among the Jews who raised Ezra to the dignity of godhead or son of God. The Quran never blames the Jewish nation as a whole for entertaining this belief. However, the word son in case of Ezra may have been used here freely as meaning a special favourite, in the same way as elsewhere the Quran says of the Jews and the Christians that they call themselves the sons of Allah and His beloved ones (5:18).

b (30-2) We are here told that the Christian doctrine that Jesus Christ was the son of God was borrowed from earlier pagan people. Recent research has established the fact beyond all doubt. In fact, when St. Paul saw that the Jews would on no account accept Jesus Christ as a messenger of God, he introduced the pagan doctrine of sonship of God into the Christian religion, so that it might become more acceptable to the pagans.

c (31) This does not mean that they took them actually for gods; the meaning is that they followed them blindly in what they enjoined and what they forbade, attaching to them a Divine dignity. Muslims who accord a similar position to their ulama, spiritual leaders or saints are guilty of the same error.

d (32) This is a prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam in face of severe opposition. All opposition to truth, whether based on force or propaganda, is here compared with putting out the Divine light by blowing with the mouth to show that all such attempts would prove futile. The Divine light will be made perfect, by which is meant the triumph of Islam, as the next verse states clearly.

e (33) The prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam in the whole world is

34 O you who believe, surely many of the doctors of law and monks eat away people's property falsely, and hinder (them) from Allah's way. And those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah's way â€" announce to them a painful punishment, 3s on the day when it will be heated in the Fire of hell, then their foreheads and their sides and their backs will be branded with it: This is what you hoarded up for yourselves, so taste what you used to hoard."

36 Surely the number of months with Allah is twelve months by Allah's ordinance, since the day when He created the heavens and the earth â€" of these four are sacred. That is the right religion; so do not wrong yourselves in regard to them. And fight the idolaters all together as they fight you all together.^ And know that Allah is with those who keep their duty. 37 Postponing (of the sacred month) is only an addition in disbelief, by which those who disbelieve are led astray. They allow it one year and forbid it (another) year, that they may agree in the number (of months)

repeated three times in the Quran, in exactly the same words â€" here and in 48:28 and 61:9. In Arabia itself, Islam became triumphant in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet. After his death, the first century of the Muslim era saw vast Christian communities swelling the ranks of Islam, in Egypt, North Africa, Asia Minor, Persia and Central Asia. More amazing was the fact that Islam, coming in contact with other great religions, with Zoroastrianism in Persia, with Buddhism and Hinduism in India and Afghanistan, and with Confucianism in China, conquered the hearts of the followers of every religion and they accepted the message of Truth in vast numbers. And the final manifestation of this great prophecy is foreshadowed in the gradual acceptance of the principles of Islam in the whole world today, despite the fact that the political power of Islam is at its lowest ebb.

a (35) The punishment of an evil is spoken of throughout the Quran as similar to the evil. Even in this world, a man feels a torment similar to the nature of the evil in which he indulges. Being branded with the hoarded wealth is thus a fit description of the punishment of the hoarders.

b (36-1) The allusion here is to the Arab practice of postponing the pilgrimage to a month other than that in which it fell, for which see the next verse.

c (36-2) Fighting was prohibited in the sacred months (2:217). Excepting this, the Muslims were told to fight with the idolaters as the idolaters fought with them, i.e. since all idolaters united in fighting with the Muslims, the latter, too, should unite in fighting with them.

which Allah has made sacred, and thus make lawful what Allah has forbidden." The evil of their doings is made to seem good to them. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.

Section 6: The Tabuk Expedition

38 O you who believe, what (excuse) have you that when it is said to you, Go forth in Allah's way, you should incline heavily to earth? Are you contented with this world's life instead of the Hereafter? The provision of this world's life is but little as compared with the Hereafter. 39 If you do not go forth, He will punish you with a painful punishment, and bring in your place a people other than you, and you can do Him no harm. c And Allah is Powerful over all things.

40 If you do not help him, Allah certainly helped him when those who disbelieved expelled him â€" he being the second of the two; when they were both in the cave, when he said to his companion: Do not grieve, surely Allah is with us. So Allah sent

a (37) The reference here is to the practice of postponing observance of the sacred month, thus allowing an ordinary month to be observed as sacred and a sacred month to be treated as ordinary. This practice interfered with the security of life which was guaranteed in the sacred months, and is, therefore, denounced.

b (38) This refers to the expedition of Tabuk, which was undertaken in the middle of 9 A.H. owing to the threatening attitude of the Roman Empire. There were many hindrances to the raising of an army sufficient to meet the strong forces of the Roman Empire, the main ones being: a great drought, the length of the journey to Syria, the ripening of the fruits which were now ready to be gathered, the heat, and the organization and power of the Roman army. In spite of all these difficulties 30,000 men gathered round the Holy Prophet's banner.

c (39) The reference here and in what follows is to certain men, who, while professing belief, hesitated to accept the Holy Prophet's call to get ready for the expedition.

rf(40) This refers to the Holy Prophet's flight from Makkah, when he was forced to hide himself in a cave called Thaur, about three miles from Makkah, with only one companion, Abu Bakr, "the second of the two". The believers are told that Allah saved the Prophet from the hands of his enemies when he had just one companion amidst a whole nation of enemies, and that Allah would help him now.

down His tranquillity on him and strengthened him with forces which you did not see, and made lowest the word of those who disbelieved. And the word of Allah, that is the uppermost. And Allah is Mighty, Wise.

41 Go forth, light and heavy," and strive hard in Allah's way with your wealth and your lives. This is better for you, if you know. 42 If it had been a near gain and a short journey, they would certainly have followed you, but the hard journey was too long for them. And they will swear by Allah: If we had been able, we would have gone forth with you. They cause their own souls to perish; and Allah knows that they are liars.

Section 7: The Hypocrites

43 Allah pardon youf Why did you permit them until those who spoke the truth had become apparent to you and you had known the liars? 44 Those who believe in Allah and the Last Day do not ask permission from you (to stay away) from striving hard with their wealth and their persons. And Allah is Knower of those who keep their duty. 45 They alone ask permission from you who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day, and their hearts are in doubt, so in their doubt they waver. 46 And if they had intended to go forth, they would certainly have provided equipment for it; but Allah did not like their going forth. So He withheld them, and it was said: Hold back with those who hold back. 47 If they had gone

a (41) That is, whether it is easy or difficult for you to proceed or whether you are sufficiently armed or not.

b (42) Tabuk was midway between Madinah and Damascus. The Arabs were accustomed to fighting near home; hence, the distance was one of the chief considerations which held back those who were insincere.

c (43) This expression does not convey the significance of pardon of sins; it is rather the equivalent of Allah bless you! or may Allah set your affairs aright! In previous battles, too, the hypocrites always stayed away, offering one excuse or another. But the Divine purpose in this last expedition of the Holy Prophet was to bring about a clear distinction, and to clean the Muslim society of the hypocritical element thoroughly. Such a distinction was really brought about later on as verses 83-84 point out.

forth with you, they would have added to you nothing but trouble, and would have hurried to and fro among you seeking (to sow) dissension among you. And among you there are those who would listen to them. And Allah well knows the wrongdoers. 48 Certainly they sought (to sow) dissension before, and they devised plots against you till the Truth came, and Allah's command prevailed, though they did not like (it).

49 And among them is he who says: Excuse me and do not try me. Surely into trial have they already fallen, and truly hell encompasses the disbelievers. 50 If good befalls you, it grieves them; and if hardship afflicts you, they say: Indeed we had taken care of our affair before. And they turn away rejoicing. 51 Say: Nothing will afflict us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Patron; and on Allah let the believers rely. 52 Say: Do you await for us but one of two most excellent things? a And we await for you that Allah will afflict you with punishment from Himself or by our hands. So wait; we too are waiting with you.

53 Say: Spend willingly or unwillingly, it will not be accepted from you. Surely you are a transgressing people. 54 And nothing hinders their contributions being accepted from them, except that they disbelieve in Allah and in His Messenger and they do not come to prayer except as lazy people, nor do they spend (on good works) but reluctantly. 55 Do not, then, let their wealth nor their children excite your admiration. Allah only wishes to punish them by means of these in this world's life and (that) their souls may depart while they are disbelievers. c 56 And they swear by Allah that

a (52-1) The two most excellent things are: the laying down of life in the cause of Truth, or being sharer in the ultimate triumph of Truth.

b (52-2) The only punishment that the hypocrites received from the hands of the Muslims was that they were named and asked to leave the mosque. Otherwise their liberty was not interfered with. See also the next verse.

c (55) The hypocrites experienced earthly torture about their property and children for two reasons: (1) because, avowing their belief in Islam, they had to take some share in its defensive expeditions and thus spend part of their property, unwillingly though it was, in the cause of Islam; (2) the children of many of them were true believers, and they knew that after their death their property and their

they are truly of you. And they are not of you, but they are a people who are afraid. 57 If they could find a refuge or caves or a place to enter, they would certainly have turned to it, running away in all haste.

58 And some of them blame you in the matter of the (distribution of) charity. So if they are given out of it, they are pleased, and if they are not given out of it, lo! they are enraged. 59 And (better it would be) if they were content with what Allah and His Messenger gave them, and had said: Allah is sufficient for us, Allah will soon give us (more) out of His grace and His Messenger too â€" surely to Allah we make petition.

Section 8: The Hypocrites

60 (The due) charity a is only for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer it, and those whose hearts are made to incline (to truth), and (to free) the captives, and those in debt, and in the way of Allah and for the traveller â€" an ordinance from Allah. And Allah is Knowing, Wise.

children were to become a source of strength to the very religion which they tried to extirpate.

a (60-1) The word sadaqat, used here for charity, refers in this verse to the obligatory charity called zakat, and not to voluntary alms which is its common meaning. This is shown by the concluding words of the verse, which call it an ordinance from Allah.

b (60-2) The verse defines the objects for which the zakat or due charity may be spent. Eight heads of expenditure are recognized. There are the poor, or those in difficult circumstances. Then there are the needy, by which are meant people who need some help to enable them to earn their living; poor students and craftsmen or business men without sufficient means are included in this category. Thirdly, there are the collectors of zakat and other people employed to administer the funds. This shows that the institution was meant for raising a public fund, whose management should entirely be in the hands of a public body. In the fourth class are people whose hearts are made to incline to Truth â€" carrying the message of Truth to them needs funds, and there are also people who may need help if they accept the Truth. The fifth head relates to the freeing of the prisoners of war. Islam thus laid down a permanent basis for the abolition of slavery. The sixth class is that of debtors â€" people who incur debts for right purposes. Squanderers of wealth are, however, not included in this category. The seventh head is

61 And some of them molest the Prophet and say, He is (all) ear." Say: A hearer of good for you â€" he believes in Allah and believes the faithful, and is a mercy for those of you who believe. And those who molest the Messenger of Allah, for them is a painful punishment. 62 They swear by Allah to you to please you; and Allah â€" as well as His Messenger â€" has a greater right that they should please Him, if they are believers. 63 Do they not know that whoever opposes Allah and His Messenger, for him is the Fire of hell to abide in it? That is the grievous disgrace.

64 The hypocrites fear that a chapter may be sent down concerning them, telling them plainly of what is in their hearts. Say: Go on mocking, surely Allah will bring to light what you fear. 65 And if you ask them, they would certainly say: We were only talking idly and sporting. Say: Was it Allah and His messages and His Messenger that you mocked? 66 Make no excuse, you disbelieved after your believing. If We pardon some of you, We shall punish others because they are guilty. c

Section 9: The Hypocrites

67 The hypocrites, men and women, are all alike. They enjoin evil and forbid good and withhold their hands. They have forsaken Allah, so He has forsaken them. Surely the hypocrites are the transgressors. 68 AUah promises the hypocrites, men and women, and the disbelievers the Fire of hell to abide in it. It is enough

in general words "in the way of Allah". This would include those fighting in defence of faith and the community, or those engaged in propagating Islamic truths, but the words may be taken generally and include every charitable purpose. The eighth head is that of travellers, people who are stranded in a country, to whatever religion or nation they may belong.

a (61) The hypocrites made various derogatory remarks concerning the Holy Prophet, saying among other things, that he was a man who believed everything that he heard, and they were therefore sure that they would make him believe their hypocritical professions.

b (62) Though Allah and His Messenger are both mentioned together, the duty of the faithful is here said to be to please Him, i.e. Allah alone.

c (66) History shows that most of the hypocrites ultimately repented and sincerely joined the ranks of the faithful.

for them. And Allah curses them, and for them is a lasting punishment. 69 Like those before you â€" they were stronger than you in power and had more wealth and children. So they enjoyed their portion; thus have you enjoyed your portion as those before you enjoyed their portion, and you indulge in idle talk as they did. These are they whose deeds are fruitless in this world and the Hereafter, and these are they who are the losers.

70 Has not the story reached them of those before them â€" of the people of Noah and Ad and Thamud, and the people of Abraham and the dwellers of Midian and the overthrown cities? Their messengers came to them with clear arguments. So Allah did not wrong them but they wronged themselves.

71 And the believers, men and women, are friends of one another. They enjoin good and forbid evil and keep up prayer and give the due charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Surely Allah is Mighty, Wise. 72 Allah has promised to the believers, men and women, Gardens, in which rivers flow, to abide in them, and goodly dwellings in Gardens of perpetual abode. And greatest of all is Allah's goodly pleasure. That is the mighty achievement.

Section 10: The Hypocrites

73 O Prophet, strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be firm against them." And their abode is hell, and evil is the destination. 74 They swear by Allah that they said nothing. And certainly they did speak the word of disbelief, and disbelieved after their Islam, and they aimed (to do) what they could

a (73) Jihad signifies striving hard. It is in a secondary sense that the word signifies fighting, and it is repeatedly used in the Quran in its primary significance. It is a fact that those who professed Islam insincerely were never fought against by the Muslims â€" as on this occasion and on the occasion of the battle of Uhud. The Holy Prophet is commanded here to carry on a jihad against disbelievers as well as hypocrites. Hence the only significance that can be attached to these words is that he must continue to exert himself hard in preaching both to the disbelievers and the hypocrites.

not attain. 0 And they sought revenge only because Allah â€" as well as His Messenger â€" had enriched them out of His grace. So if they repent, it will be good for them; and if they turn away, Allah will punish them with a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter; and they shall have in the earth neither a friend nor a helper.

75 And some of them made a covenant with Allah: If He give us out of His grace, we will certainly give in charity and be of the righteous. 76 But when He gave them out of His grace, they became miserly with it and they turned away and they are averse. 77 So He repaid them with hypocrisy in their hearts till the day when they meet Him, because they broke their promise with Allah and because they lied. 78 Do they not know that Allah knows their hidden thoughts and their secret counsels, and that Allah is the great Knower of the unseen things?

79 Those who taunt the free givers of charity among the believers as well as those who cannot find anything (to give) but with their hard labour â€" they scoff at them. Allah will pay them back their mockery; and for them is a painful punishment/ 80 Ask forgiveness for them or do not ask forgiveness for them. Even if you ask forgiveness for them seventy times, Allah will not forgive them. This is because they disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger. And Allah does not guide the transgressing people.

a (74-1) They did their best to put an end to the life of the Holy Prophet and bring about the extirpation of Islam.

b (74-2) The advent of the Muslims in Madinah had enriched its inhabitants. Was it not, then, a matter for wonder that those men who had gained by Islam should turn against their very benefactors?

c (79) When subscriptions were raised for the expedition to Tabuk, the wealthier members of the Muslim community gave large donations, while the poorer ones, the labourers, also paid their mite out of their hard earnings. The hypocrites taunted both, the former as making a show of their wealth, the latter as bringing in their small subscriptions only to be counted among the subscribers.

d (80) Spiritual relations with the hypocrites were henceforth cut off. The mention of seventy may not indicate the specific number here. When Abdullah ibn Ubayy, the recognized leader of the hypocrites, died, the Holy Prophet was asked

Section 11: The Hypocrites

81 Those who were left behind were glad on account of their remaining behind Allah's Messenger, and they disliked to strive in Allah's way with their property and their persons, and said: Do not go forth in the heat. Say: The Fire of hell is fiercer in heat. If only they could understand! 82 Then let them laugh a little and weep much â€" a recompense for what they earned. 83 So if Allah bring you back to some of them, then they ask your permission to go forth, say: Never shall you go forth with me and never shall you fight an enemy with me. You chose to sit (at home) the first time, so sit (now) with those who remain behind."

84 And never offer prayer for anyone of them who dies, nor stand by his grave. Surely they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger and they died in transgression. 85 And do not let their

to conduct the burial service. The Holy Prophet got up, but Umar objected on the ground that Abdullah was a hypocrite, and referred to his hostile attitude throughout his life. The Holy Prophet replied that Allah had given him a choice (referring to the words of this verse: Ask forgiveness for them or do not ask forgiveness for them), and that he would ask forgiveness for him for over seventy times, so that forgiveness could be extended to the dead man. Then he offered prayers for him. Verse 84 is said to have been revealed then to stop the offering of prayers for those who were known to be hypocrites (Bukhari, 23:84).

The incident shows how kind and forgiving the Holy Prophet was to his severest enemies. Abdullah ibn Ubayy was the man who had led the hypocrite movement against him, and thus was not only one of his worst enemies, but a most dangerous one, because he was aware of all the movements of the Muslims and deceived them at the most critical moments. Yet the Holy Prophet forgave him entirely.

a (83) This is the only punishment given to the hypocrites, namely, that they were not allowed to take part in future expeditions against the enemies of the Muslims. It is also related that from one of them the Holy Prophet and the three Caliphs who followed him refused to accept the zakat. These were the only disadvantages, if it is right to call them so, which the hypocrites suffered. They were not looked upon as members of the Muslim community, but as citizens they enjoyed all the rights of other citizens.

b (84) The Prophet is now told that, though they professed Islam outwardly, they were disbelievers at heart, and the burial service, which was only for Muslims, should not be extended to them. But it was through Divine revelation that the Prophet learnt that they were really disbelievers. It is, further, clear from these

wealth and their children excite jour admiration. Allah only intends to punish them thereby in this world, and (that) their souls may depart while they are disbelievers.

86 And when a chapter is revealed, saying, Believe in Allah and strive hard along with His Messenger, the wealthy among them ask permission of you and say: Leave us (behind), that we may be with those who sit (at home). 87 They prefer to be with those who remain behind, and their hearts are sealed so they do not understand. 88 But the Messenger and those who believe with him strive hard with their property and their persons. And these it is for whom are the good things and these it is who are successful. 89 Allah has prepared for them Gardens in which rivers flow, to abide therein. That is the mighty achievement.

Section 12: The Hypocrites

90 And the defaulters from among the dwellers of the desert came that permission might be given to them, and they sat (at home) who lied to Allah and His Messenger. A painful punishment will afflict those of them who disbelieve. 91 No blame lies on the weak, nor on the sick, nor on those who can find nothing to spend, if they are sincere to Allah and His Messenger. There is no way (to blame) against the doers of good. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful â€" 92 nor on those to whom, when they came to you that you should carry them, you said: I cannot find anything on which to carry you." They went back, their eyes overflowing with tears of grief that they could not find anything to spend. 93 The way (to blame) is only against those who ask permission of you, though they are rich. They have chosen to be with those who remained behind; and Allah has sealed their hearts, so they do not know.

words that those who were known to be hypocrites were not fought against but lived to die a natural death. There is not a single case on record of any one of them having been put to death. Standing by the grave refers to the Holy Prophet's practice of praying for the deceased standing by his grave after the burial.

a (92) What they wanted in order to join the expedition, and what the Holy Prophet could not find for them, were beasts on which they should be carried, along with their provisions and necessaries. See also 19:27 footnote 1.

*0

248 9. THE IMMUNITY • 9 : 94

94 They will make excuses to you when you return to them. Say: Make no excuse, we shall not believe you; Allah has informed us of matters relating to you. And Allah and His Messenger will now see your actions, then you will be brought back to the Knower of the unseen and the seen, then He will inform you of what you did." 95 They will swear by Allah to you, when you return to them, so that you may leave them alone. So leave them alone. Surely they are unclean and their refuge is hell â€" a recompense for what they earned. 96 They will swear to you that you may be pleased with them. But if you are pleased with them, yet surely Allah is not pleased with the transgressing people.

97 The dwellers of the desert are hardest in disbelief and hypocrisy, and most disposed not to know the limits of what Allah has revealed to His Messenger. And Allah is Knowing, Wise. 98 And some of the dwellers of the desert take what they spend to be a fine, e and they wait for an evil turn of fortune for you. On them is the evil turn. And Allah is Hearing, Knowing. "And some of the dwellers of the desert believe in Allah and the Last Day, and consider what they spend and the prayers of the Messenger as bringing them nearer to Allah. Surely they bring them nearer (to Allah); Allah will admit them into His mercy. Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Section 13: The Hypocrites

100 And the foremost, the first of the Emigrants and the Helpers, and those who followed them in goodness â€" Allah is well

a (94) Evidently these verses were revealed when the Holy Prophet was away from Madinah, and the statements made in them are therefore prophetical, being exactly fulfilled on his return.

b (95) On his return from Tabflk, the Holy Prophet forbade Muslims to have any relations with the hypocrites.

c (98) The hypocrites had to contribute something for the sake of appearance; they also paid the zakat so that they might be treated as Muslims.

d (100) In the history of Islam, the word 'Emigrants' (muhajirin) came to signify all those Companions of the Holy Prophet who, having embraced Islam at

pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them Gardens in which rivers flow, abiding therein forever. That is the mighty achievement. 101 And some of the dwellers of the desert around you are hypocrites; and some of the people of Madinah (also) â€" they persist in hypocrisy. Fou do not know them; We know them. a We will punish them twice, then they will be turned back to a severe punishment.

102 And others have acknowledged their faults â€" they mixed a good deed with another that was evil. It may be that Allah will turn to them (mercifully). Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. e 103 Take charity out of their property â€" you would cleanse them and purify them thereby â€" and pray for them. Surely your prayer is a relief to them. And Allah is Hearing, Knowing/ 104 Do they not know that Allah is He Who accepts repentance from His servants and takes the charity, and that Allah â€" He is the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful? 105 And say, Work; so Allah will see your work and (so will) His Messenger and the believers. And you will be brought back to the Knower of the unseen and the seen, then He will inform you of what you did. 106 And others are

Makkah, had to flee from their homes either to Abyssinia (present day Ethiopia) or to Madinah. The latter flight, including nearly all the Muslims of Makkah, is known as the Hijra or Flight, and the Muslim era dates from it. The word 'Helpers' (Ansar) signifies the Muslims of Madinah who, having accepted Islam before the Flight, gave shelter to those who fled from Makkah. By "those who followed them in goodness" are meant the Muslims who came after the Companions and followed their good deeds.

a (101-1) The insincerity of the heart could not be known to a mortal â€" it is known only to Allah.

b (101-2) The hypocrites were punished twice in this life. They had to take part in all contributions for the defence of the Muslim community and had to pay the zakat, all this against their conviction and unwillingly. After having suffered all this torment for the sake of being reckoned Muslims, they were ultimately separated from the Muslims, and this exposure to public shame was no doubt a great punishment for them.

c (102) According to different reports, the number of these men varied from three to ten. They were sincere and acknowledged their fault.

d (103) Because they showed sincerity in confessing their faults, they were dealt with leniently. Their charity was not to be rejected.

made to await Allah's command, whether He will punish them or turn to them (mercifully). And Allah is Knowing, Wise."

107 And those who built a mosque to cause harm (to Islam) and (to help) disbelief, and to cause disunion among the believers, and a refuge for him who made war against Allah and His Messenger before. And they will certainly swear: We desired nothing but good. And Allah bears witness that they are certainly liars. 108 Never stand in it. Certainly a mosque founded on observance of duty from the first day is more deserving that you should stand in it. In it are men who love to purify themselves. And Allah loves those who purify themselves/ 109 Is he, then, who lays his foundation on duty to Allah and (His) good pleasure better, or he who lays his foundation on the edge of a cracking hollowed bank, so it broke down with him into the Fire of hell? And Allah does not guide the unjust people. 110 The building which they have built will ever continue to be a source of disquiet in their hearts, unless their hearts be torn to pieces. And Allah is Knowing, Wise.

Section 14: The Faithful

111 Surely Allah has bought from the believers their persons and their property â€" theirs (in return) is the Garden. They fight in Allah's way, so they kill and are killed. It is a promise which is

a (106) This is generally supposed to refer to three of the believers who held back from the expedition (Bukhari, 64:81).

b (107) Some hypocrites built a mosque at the instigation of Abu Amir, with the object of causing harm to that mosque. Abu Amir, who after fighting against the Holy Prophet for a long time, had fled to Syria after the battle of Hunain, had written to his friends at Madinah that he was coming with a formidable army to crush the Prophet, and that they should build a mosque for him. But Abu Amir died in Syria, and the founders desired the Holy Prophet to give it a blessing by his presence, which he was forbidden to do by Divine revelation, and the mosque was demolished.

c (108) The words are general and every mosque raised for the service of Allah may be included in this description.

rf(110) Their hearts could be torn to pieces by severe regret or by sincere repentance.

binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Quran." And who is more faithful to his promise than Allah? Rejoice therefore in your bargain which you have made. And that is the mighty achievement. 112 They who turn (to Allah), who serve (Him), who praise (Him), who fast, who bow down, who prostrate themselves, who enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, and who keep the limits of Allah â€" and give good news to the believers.

113 It is not for the Prophet and those who believe to ask forgiveness for those who set up partners (with Allah), even though they should be near relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of the flaming fire. 114 And Abraham's

a (111) The promise binding on Allah is that Allah will grant the believers His blessings, if they exert themselves with their persons and their property in His way. The Gospels give the same promise: "If you want to be perfect", said Jesus to a wealthy man, "go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me" (Matthew, 19:21). To Peter he said: "everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life" (Matthew, 19:29). Moses' teaching contains similar promises. For instance, the promise of "a land flowing with milk and honey" is made conditional on "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength" (Deuteronomy, 6:3-5), which is the same as exerting oneself to the utmost in the way of God with one's person and property.

It should be borne in mind that the words, they fight in Allah's way, so they kill and are killed, are not a part of the promise, but are expressive of the condition of the Companions, and show that they were true to their promise. The promise to spend one's person and property may be carried out in various ways under different circumstances, and the Companions of the Holy Prophet were as true to this promise during the thirteen years at Makkah as during the ten years at Madinah.

b (113) This verse does not prohibit praying for the forgiveness of the disbelievers in general, but only such disbelievers about whom it became clear that they were doomed to the Fire. When the Holy Prophet was asked to pray for the destruction of a people who were fighting against him, he prayed thus: "My Lord, forgive them because they do not know". So long as a man is alive, however hard he may be in his disbelief, it is not forbidden to pray for his forgiveness or guidance. But when he is dead, God will deal with him as He pleases, and He is the most Merciful of all merciful ones. According to a hadith, after all intercessions have taken place, the most Merciful of all will take a handful â€" and the handful with God is as vast as the heavens and the earth (39:67) â€" out of hell and throw

asking forgiveness for his sire was only owing to a promise which he had made to him; but when it became clear to him that he was an enemy of Allah, he dissociated himself from him. Surely Abraham was tender-hearted, forbearing. 115 And it is not (attributable to) Allah that He should lead a people astray after He has guided them, so far so that He makes clear to them what they should guard against." Surely Allah is Knower of all things. 116 Surely Allah's is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. He gives life and causes death. And besides Allah you have no friend nor helper.

117 Certainly Allah has turned in mercy to the Prophet and the Emigrants and the Helpers who followed him in the hour of hardship, after the hearts of a group of them were about to deviate; then He turned to them in mercy. Surely to them He is Compassionate, Merciful; 118 and (He turned in mercy) to the three who were left behind; until the earth, vast as it is, became narrow to them and their souls were also narrowed to them; and they knew that there was no refuge from Allah but in Him. Then He turned to them in mercy that they might turn (to Him). Surely Allah â€" He is the Oft-returning to mercy, the Merciful/

them into the river of Life, and these would be the people who never did any good (Bukhari 98:24). But under this verse the burial service, which is a prayer for forgiveness, is held only for Muslims, and not for those who die in disbelief.

a (115) This verse establishes in clear words that Allah never leads a people astray; and how could He lead astray, says the Quran, when He it is Who gives them guidance, and makes clear to them the evils they should guard against?

b (117) Taubah on the part of Allah means His turning to His servant and changing one state to another which is higher than it. Allah's turning mercifully is in relation to the Prophet and those sincere believers who are plainly stated to have followed the Prophet in the hour of difficulty. The group whose hearts were about to deviate is referred to in the next verse.

c (118) These were three men from among the Ansar, referred to in v. 106. The words were left behind may mean left behind with respect to the commandment of Allah concerning them, as v. 106 speaks of them as being "made to await Allah's command". They remained cut off from all relations with the Muslims for fifty days. Ka'b ibn Malik, one of the three men, was a man of importance, and when he received a letter from the king of Ghassan, offering him a position under him if he deserted the Prophet, he burned the letter, showing his contempt for the offer, and gave no reply.

Section 15: What the Faithful should do

119 O you who believe, keep your duty to Allah and be with the truthful. 120 It was not proper for the people of Madinah and those round about them of the dwellers of the desert to remain behind the Messenger of Allah, nor to prefer their own lives to his life." That is because neither thirst nor fatigue nor hunger afflicts them in Allah's way, nor do they tread a path which enrages the disbelievers, nor do they cause any harm to an enemy, but a good work is written down for them on account of it. Surely Allah does not waste the reward of the doers of good; 121 nor do they spend anything, small or great, nor do they traverse a valley but it is written down for them, that Allah may reward them for the best of what they did.

122 And the believers should not go forth all together. Why, then, does not a group from every party from among them go forth that they may apply themselves to obtain understanding in religion, and that they may warn their people when they come back to them, that they may be cautious?

Section 16: The Prophet's Great Anxiety

123 O you who believe, fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you and let them find firmness in you. c And know that Allah is with those who keep their duty. 124 And whenever a chapter is revealed, there are some of them who say: Which of you has it strengthened in faith? So as for those who believe, it strengthens

a (120) The meaning is that they should neither desire rest for themselves, nor comfort, nor protection, in preference to the Prophet; in other words, they should accompany him in difficulty and distress.

b (122) In the midst of the ordinances relating to fighting, the Quran introduces the subject of the preparation of a missionary force, thus showing that this was the greatest necessity of Islam. It was only by means of a missionary effort that truth could be spread, and the ultimate object was not to be lost sight of, even when the community was engaged in a life-and-death struggle against overwhelming forces of the enemy.

c (123) Because it was those who were near who persecuted the Muslims. The object was to stop persecution. Muslims must be firm and not yield to them.

them in faith and they rejoice. 125 And as for those in whose hearts is a disease, it adds uncleanness to their uncleanness, and they die while they are disbelievers." 126 Do they not see that they are tried once or twice in every year, yet they do not repent, nor do they become mindful. 127 And whenever a chapter is revealed, they look at one another: Does anyone see you? Then they turn away. Allah has turned away their hearts because they are a people who do not understand.

128 Certainly a Messenger has come to you from among yourselves; very painful for him is your falling into distress, most concerned (he is) for you, to the believers (he is) compassionate, merciful. c 129 But if they turn away, say: Allah is sufficient for me â€" there is no god but He. On Him do I rely, and He is the Lord of the mighty Throne.

a (125) The uncleanness of their hearts increased with new revelation, because it increased them in stubbornness, and their hearts were more and more hardened against truth. See also 71:6 footnote.

b (126) These trials consisted of the expeditions which the Muslims had to undertake every now and then, and in which the hypocrites were distinguished from the true believers.

c (128) This is the true picture of the heart which grieved, not for his followers alone, not for one nation or country, but for all humanity. He grieves for the burdens of all, and he is most concerned for the welfare of all. The whole of humanity is meant here because the concluding words refer additionally to the believers. There is a special relation he bears to those who follow him; to them he is, in addition, compassionate and merciful.

Chapter 10 Yunus Jonah

This chapter makes a brief reference to the Prophet Jonah (v. 98), which gives it its title, to indicate that as the people of Jonah benefited by his warning, so would the Arabs ultimately believe in the Prophet Muhammad. While this chapter asserts the truth of revelation, it also lays stress on the merciful dealing of God with mankind. It tells us that He does not send punishment quickly and that evidence of His mercy is also found in nature. It also refers to the histories of Noah and Moses. This chapter was revealed during the last four years of the Makkan period of the Holy Prophet's life.

Section 1: Truth of Revelation

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 I, Allah, am the Seer." These are the verses of the Book, full of wisdom. 2 Is it a wonder to the people that We have revealed to a man from among themselves: Warn the people and give good news to those who believe that for them is advancement in excellence c with their Lord? The disbelievers say: This is surely an obvious enchanter.

3 Surely your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six periods, and He is established on the Throne of Power

a (1-1) Alif, lam, ra are the three letters which stand at the head of this chapter and chapters 11, 12, 14 and 15, while chapter 13 has alif, lam, mim, ra. The abbreviation is of the same form as alif, lam, mim (see 2:1 footnote), except that ra stands for Ra ';', meaning the Seer, or ara, meaning / see.

Chapters 10 to 16 all belong to the last four years of the Holy Prophet's life at Makkah, and deal with the truth of prophethood with more or less reference to the histories of the earlier prophets, four of them being named after a prophet.

b (1-2) The Book, i.e. the Quran, is called hakim, meaning wise or full of wisdom, because it possesses the quality which discriminates between truth and falsehood and right and wrong, and because it is free from all unsoundness.

c (2) The words "advancement in excellence" may also be translated as a footing of firmness.

regulating the Affair." There is no intercessor except after His permission. This is Allah, your Lord, therefore serve Him. Will you not be mindful? 4 To Him is your return, of all (of you). It is the promise of Allah (made) in truth. Surely He produces the first creation, then He reproduces it, that He may reward with equity those who believe and do good. And as for those who disbelieve, for them is a drink of hot water and a painful punishment because they disbelieved.

5 He it is Who made the sun a shining brightness, and the moon a light, and ordained for it stages that you might know the computation of years and the reckoning. Allah did not create this but with truth. He makes the signs clear for a people who know. 6 Surely in the alternation of the night and the day, and what Allah has created in the heavens and the earth, there are signs for a people who keep their duty. c





7 Those who do not expect the meeting with Us, and are pleased with this world's life and are satisfied with it, and those who are heedless of Our messages â€" 8 these, their abode is the Fire because of what they earned. 9 Those who believe and do good, their Lord guides them by their faith; rivers will flow beneath them in Gardens of bliss. i°Their cry therein will be, Glory be to You, O Allah! and their greeting, Peace! And the last of their cry will be: Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds \ c

a (3) For creation in six periods and the Throne of Power, see footnotes under 7:54. In regulating the Affair, there is a further reference to the spiritual evolution of man, as stated more clearly elsewhere: "He orders (or regulates) the Affair from the heaven to the earth" (32:5). For intercession, see 2:255 footnote 1.

b (5) The moon is here called mir because its light is borrowed, as contrasted with the sun which is called here diycC.

c (6) The whole of creation is, despite its variety, subject to one law, and clearly bears witness to the unity of its Maker. And just as the visible universe is subject to law, there is also a law working in the spiritual world.

d (9) The light of faith, which is even in this life a guiding principle of man's actions, will assume a more palpable form in the life after death. Compare 57:12, where it is called the light running, or gleaming, before them.

e (10) This is the Muslim paradise, and this description is sufficient to belie

Section 2: Punishment of Rejection

11 And if Allah were to hasten for people the (consequences of) evil, as they would hasten on the good, their doom would certainly have been decreed for them. But We leave those alone, who have no hope of meeting with Us, in their inordinacy, blindly wandering on. a 12 And when affliction touches man, he calls on Us, whether lying on his side or sitting or standing; but, when We remove his affliction from him, he passes on as though he had never called on Us on account of an affliction that touched him. Thus what they do is made to seem good to the extravagant. 13 And certainly We destroyed generations before you when they did wrong, and their messengers came to them with clear arguments, yet they would not believe. Thus do We recompense the guilty people. 14 Then We made you rulers in the land after them, so that We might see how you act.

15 And when Our clear messages are recited to them, those who have no hope of meeting with Us say: Bring a Quran other than this or change it. Say: It is not for me to change it of my own accord. I follow only what is revealed to me. Indeed I fear, if I disobey my Lord, the punishment of a terrible day. c 16 Say: If Allah had desired, I would not have recited it to you, nor would He have made it known to you. I have lived among you a lifetime before it. Do you not then understand? 17 Who is then more unjust than he

the allegation that the Muslim concept of paradise is characterized by sensuality.

a (11) People desire and pray for good things to be hastened on to them, and they are hastened on, but in His merciful dealing God does not hasten on the consequences of evil, so that people may repent and escape those consequences.

b (15-1) They desire a revelation which should not condemn their evil ways and their idol-worship, nor contain any threats of their coming doom.

c (15-2) These words show how true the Holy Prophet himself was to revelation, translating every one of its precepts into practice.

rf(16) The Holy Prophet's truthfulness and honesty before he received the Divine revelation were undisputed, and he had earned such renown for these qualities that he was known as al-Amin, i.e. the Faithful one, or the Truthful one. If, as they admitted, he had never told a lie in his lifetime, even for the sake of a personal advantage, how could he, now that he had passed the age of youth, speak falsely, and that to his own detriment? He was not the gainer, but a sufferer thereby,

who forges a lie against Allah or calls His messages a lie? Surely the guilty never succeed.

18 And they serve besides Allah that which can neither harm them nor benefit them, and they say: These are our intercessors with Allah. Say: Would you inform Allah of what He does not know in the heavens and the earth? Glory be to Him, and supremely exalted is He above what they set up as partners (with Him)! 19 And (all) people are but a single nation, then they disagree. And if a word had not already gone forth from your Lord, the matter would have certainly been decided between them regarding that in which they disagree." 20 And they say: Why is not a sign sent to him from his Lord? Say: The unseen is only for Allah, so wait; I too am waiting along with you.

Section 3: Merciful Dealing

21 And when We make people taste of mercy after an affliction touches them, lo! they devise plans against Our messages. Say: Allah is quicker to plan. Surely Our messengers write down what you plan. 22 He it is Who makes you travel by land and sea; until, when you are in the ships, and they sail on with them in a pleasant breeze, and they rejoice at it, a violent wind overtakes them and waves surge in on them from all sides, and they think they are surrounded. Then they pray to Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience: If You deliver us from this, we will certainly

on account of the persecution which his preaching had brought about for him. Moreover, a man who had so long refrained from showing any interest in their lives and their modes of worship, and had all but lived the silent life of a recluse among them, could not, of his own accord, be imagined to have suddenly changed the course of his life.

a (19) The word that had gone forth is referred to in many places: "And they say: When will this promise come to pass, if you are truthful? Say: Maybe something of what you seek to hasten has drawn near to you" (27:71-72). And again: "Say: You have the appointment of a day which you cannot postpone by an hour, nor bring it forward" (34:30).

b (20) It is clear from the context that their demand is for the punishment with which they are threatened, because they would recognize no other sign; they are told to wait for the sign which would undoubtedly come.

be from among the grateful ones. 23 But when He delivers them, lo! they are unjustly rebellious in the earth. O people, your rebellion is against yourselves â€" a provision (only) of this world's life. Then to Us is your return, so We shall inform you of what you did.

24 The likeness of this world's life is only as water which We send down from the clouds, then the vegetation of the earth, of which people and cattle eat, grows luxuriantly thereby; until when the earth puts on its golden attire and it becomes adorned, and its people think that they are masters of it, Our command comes to it, by night or by day, so We render it as reaped seed-produce, as though it had not flourished yesterday. Thus do We make clear the messages for a people who reflect.

25 And Allah invites to the abode of peace, and guides whom He pleases to the right path. a 26 For those who do good is good (reward) and more (than this). Neither darkness nor disgrace will cover their faces. These are the owners of the Garden; in it they will abide. 27 And those who earn evil, the punishment of an evil is the like of it, and humiliation will cover them â€" they will have none to protect them from Allah â€" as if their faces had been covered with slices of the dense darkness of night. These are the companions of the Fire; in it they will abide.

28 And on the day when We gather them all together, then We shall say to those who set up partners (with Allah): Stay where you are, you and your associate-gods. Then We shall separate them from one another, and their associate-gods will say: It was not us that you served. 29 So Allah is sufficient as a witness between

a (25) This is another description of the Muslim paradise, which is called dar al-salam, or the abode of peace. The word salam in dar al-salam is from the same root as Islam. Islam, in fact, makes even this world an abode of peace for a true Muslim; he makes his peace with his Lord, and he lives at peace with his fellow beings. The peace of the next life is, in fact, a continuation of the peace of mind which a Muslim finds in this very life.

b (26) Throughout the Quran the reward of virtue is spoken of as being much more than actual recompense, while evil is either spoken of as being forgiven or as being punished only with a like punishment. See 42:25-26 and 6:160.

us and you that we were quite unaware of your serving (us). 30 There will every soul become acquainted with what it did before, and they will be brought back to Allah, their true Patron, and what they devised will escape from them.

Section 4: Uniqueness of Divine Gifts

31 Say: Who gives you sustenance from the heaven and the earth, or who controls the hearing and the sight, and who brings forth the living from the dead, and brings forth the dead from the living? And who regulates the affair? They will say: Allah. Say then: Will you not then guard against evil? 32 Such then is Allah, your true Lord. And what is there after the truth but error? How then are you turned away (from truth)! 33 Thus does the word of jour Lord prove true against those who transgress that they do not believe."

34 Say: Is there anyone among your associate-gods who produces the first creation, then reproduces it? Say: Allah produces the first creation, then He reproduces it. How are you then turned away (from truth)! 35 Say: Is there any of your associate-gods who guides to the Truth? Say: Allah guides to the Truth. Is He then Who guides to the Truth more worthy to be followed, or he who cannot find the way unless he is guided? What is the matter with you? How do you judge? 36 And most of them follow only conjecture. Surely conjecture will not avail at all against the Truth. Truly Allah is Knower of what they do.

37 And this Quran is not such as could be forged by those besides Allah, but it is a verification of what is before it and a clear explanation of the Book, there is no doubt in it, from the Lord of the worlds. 38 0r say they: He has forged it? Say: Then bring a

a (33) The word refers to the fact that their disbelief is a result of their transgression.

b (37) The Quran explains in clear words many of the most important principles of religion which are left ambiguous or obscure in the previous books. For instance, the Bible is obscure on the important principle of resurrection or life after death. Similarly the attributes of the Divine Being are not explained in clear

chapter like it, and call upon whom you can besides Allah, if you are truthful. 39 But they reject that whose knowledge they cannot encompass and whose final sequel has not yet come to them." Even thus did those before them reject; then see what was the end of the wrongdoers. 40 And some of them believe in it, and some of them do not believe in it. And jour Lord best knows the mischief-makers.

Section 5: The Guilty and their Punishment

41 And if they reject you, say: My work is for me and your work for you. You are clear of what I do and I am clear of what you do. 42 And some of them listen to you. But can you make the deaf to hear, though they will not understand? 43 And some of them look at you. But can you show the way to the blind, though they will not see? ' 44 Surely Allah does not wrong people in the least, but people wrong themselves.

45 And on the day when He will gather them, as though they had not stayed but an hour of the day, they will recognize one another. They perish indeed who reject the meeting with Allah, and they do not follow the right way. 46 And if We show you something of what We promise them, or cause you to die (before that), yet to Us is their return, and Allah is Witness to what they do. e 47 And for every nation there is a messenger. So when their messenger comes, the matter is decided between them with justice, and they are not wronged.

words and the result is the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus Christ. The Quran fully explains all such points and finally settles all these questions.

a (39) The final sequel is the consequence of the rejection of the Truth.

b (43) Compare 7:179: "They have hearts with which they do not understand, and they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear."

c (46) The significance of the words "to Us is their return" is that those who are warned will be dealt with by Allah as they deserve, and the warning will prove true. It is no concern of theirs whether the Prophet lives to punish them with his own hands or that punishment is executed by Allah in some other way.

rf(47) Compare 35:24: "And there is not a people but a warner has gone

48 And they say: When will this promise be fulfilled, if you are truthful? 49 Say: I do not control for myself any harm, or any benefit, except what Allah pleases." Every nation has a term. When their term comes, they cannot postpone it an hour, nor bring it forward. 50 Say: Do you see if His punishment comes to you by night or by day? c What (part) of it would the guilty hasten? 51 And when it comes to pass, will you believe in it? What! now! and you hastened it on. 52 Then will it be said to those who were unjust: Taste abiding punishment; you are not recompensed except for what you earned. 53 And they ask you: Is that true? Say: Yes, by my Lord! it is surely the Truth, and you will not escape.

Section 6: Mercy takes Precedence over Punishment

54 And if every soul that has done wrong had all that is in the earth, it would offer it for ransom. And they will manifest regret when they see the punishment. And it will be decided between them with justice, and they will not be wronged. 55 Now surely whatever is in the heavens and the earth is Allah's. Now surely Allah's promise is true, but most of them do not know. 56 He gives life and causes death, and to Him you will be returned.

57 O people, an admonition has indeed come to you from your Lord and a healing for what is in the hearts; and a guidance

among them". Humanity will always be under the deepest obligation to the Holy Prophet for this broad humanitarian principle. By "between them" must be understood the messenger and those who charge him with falsehood.

a (49-1) These are not the words which a pretender would utter but are those of an honest man who, without assuming any personal pretensions, preaches truth in all sincerity. The Holy Prophet is repeatedly made to disclaim any control of good and evil, so that he offers no low temptation to his followers. Truth must be accepted for its own sake, not for any hope of worldly gain or fear of worldly loss.

b (49-2) The verse does not teach fatalism. It lays down a truth which no historian can deny. To every nation, as to every individual, is granted a term of life, and nations live and die like individuals.

c (50) The coming of the doom by night or by day signifies its coming at a time when people are engaged in their revelries or occupied with their business transactions, so as to be utterly inattentive to the real values of life.

and a mercy for the believers." 58 Say: In the grace of Allah and in His mercy, in that they should rejoice. It is better than what they hoard. 59 Say: Do you see the sustenance that Allah has sent down for you, then you make (a part) of it unlawful and (a part) lawful. Say: Has Allah commanded you or do you forge a lie against Allah? 60 And what do those think who forge lies against Allah of the day of Resurrection? Surely Allah is Bountiful to people, but most of them do not give thanks.

Section 7: Good News for the Faithful

61 And you are not (engaged) in any matter nor you recite concerning it any portion of the Quran, and you do no work, but We are witness of you when you are engaged in it. And not the weight of an atom in the earth or in the heaven is hidden from jour Lord, nor anything less than that nor greater, but it is (all) in a clear book'

62 Now surely the friends of Allah, they have no fear nor do they grieve â€" 63 those who believe and keep their duty.

a (57) They demanded punishment again and again, but they are told that Allah has sent to them that in which they will find a healing and a guidance and a mercy for them, viz. the Quran. Compare 29:51, where, in answer to a demand for a sign which should destroy them, the disbelievers are told: "Is it not enough for them that We have revealed to you (O Prophet) the Book which is recited to them? Surely there is mercy in this and a reminder for a people who believe".

b (59) Just as Allah gave them the means of their physical sustenance, He has also sent His grace and mercy for their spiritual welfare through revelation. Yet they deprive themselves of the spiritual sustenance as if it were unlawful. Or the reference may be to their declaring certain things to be unlawful for them out of reverence for their idols.

c (61) The clear book mentioned here is not, of course, a collection of written or printed sheets bound together. It is the book of the Divine law which makes every deed, good or evil, great or small, bring its recompense.

d (62) The friends of Allah are those who help the Divine cause and invite people to faith in God. They attain to that spiritual height where fear and grief are unknown. There is also a prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Truth, for when a man attains his object, all his fear is gone and he no more grieves for the sacrifices he has made.

64 For them is good news a in this world's life and in the Hereafter. There is no changing the words of Allah. That is the mighty achievement.

65 And do not let their speech grieve yon. Surely might belongs wholly to Allah. He is the Hearer, the Knower. 66 Now, surely, whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is Allah's. And what do follow those who call on associate-gods besides Allah? They follow nothing but conjecture, and they only lie. 67 He it is Who made for you the night that you might rest therein and the day giving light. Surely there are signs in this for a people who hear. 68 They say: Allah has taken a son (to Himself). Glory be to Him! He is the Self-sufficient. His is what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. You have no authority for this. Do you say against Allah what you do not know? 69 Say: Those who forge a lie against Allah will not succeed. 70 A little enjoyment in this world, then to Us is their return, then We shall make them taste severe punishment because they disbelieved.

Section 8: Noah and Moses

71 And recite to them the story of Noah, when he said to his people: My people, if my staying (here) and my reminding (you) by the messages of Allah is hard on you, on Allah do I rely; so decide upon your course of action and (gather) your associates. Then do not let your course of action be dubious to you, so have it

a (64-1) The Holy Prophet said: "There has remained nothing of prophet-hood except mubashsharaty Asked what is meant by mubashshardt, he replied, "Good visions" (Bukhari, 92:5). Elsewhere good visions are said to be a part of prophethood (Bukhari 92:4), which shows that, as the prophets were informed of the triumph of Truth, so will their followers be given this good news in their visions. The upholders of the Divine cause, we are told, will not only be successful, they will also receive the good news of their ultimate triumph in good visions.

b (64-2) The words of Allah here signify the prophecies. It is the prophecy of the good reward for the faithful that is mentioned immediately before these words, and the meaning of there being no change is that the prophetic word must be fulfilled; compare similar words used in 6:34, 6:115 and 18:27.

executed against me and give me no respite. a 72 But if you turn back, I ask for no reward from you. My reward is only with Allah, and I am commanded to be of those who submit.

73 But they rejected him, so We delivered him and those with him in the ark, and We made them rulers and drowned those who rejected Our messages. See, then, what was the end of those who were warned. 74 Then after him We sent messengers to their people. They came to them with clear arguments, but they would not believe what they had rejected before. Thus do We seal the hearts of those who exceed the limits.

75 Then after them We sent Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh and his chiefs with Our signs, but they were arrogant, and they were a guilty people. 76 So when the truth came to them from Us, they said: This is surely clear enchantment! 77 Moses said: Do you say (this) of the truth when it has come to you? Is it enchantment? And the enchanters never succeed. 78 They said: Have you come to us to turn us away from what we found our fathers following, and (that) greatness in the land may be for you two? And we are not going to believe in you.

79 And Pharaoh said: Bring to me every skilful enchanter. 80 So when the enchanters came, Moses said to them: Throw down what you are going to throw. 81 So when they had thrown down, Moses said: What you have brought is deception. Surely Allah will make it null. Surely Allah does not allow the work of mischief-makers to thrive. 82 And Allah will establish the truth by His words, though the guilty dislike (it).

a (71) The challenge of Noah to his opponents was, in fact, being reproduced now as a challenge to the opponents of the Holy Prophet. And these opponents did, in fact, decide upon their course of action in their great council hall, perhaps a year or two later, and surrounded the Prophet's house in accordance with that decision. But the Prophet escaped unnoticed from among them and they were unable to lay their hands on him.

b (74) They do not ponder over the truth, but, having rejected once, go on opposing its progress without reflecting on it. This condition is described as the sealing of the heart, because the heart ceases to reflect.

Section 9: End of Opposition to Moses

83 But, on account of the fear of Pharaoh and their chiefs persecuting them, none believed in Moses except a few of his people." And Pharaoh was truly high-handed in the land; and surely he was one committing excesses. 84 And Moses said: My people, if you believe in Allah, then rely on Him if you submit (to Him). 85 They said: On Allah we rely; our Lord, do not make us a trial for the unjust people. 86 And deliver us by Your mercy from the disbelieving people.

87 And We revealed to Moses and his brother: Take for your people houses to abide in Egypt and make your houses places of worship* and keep up prayer. And give good news to the believers. 88 And Moses said: Our Lord, surely You have given Pharaoh and his chiefs finery and riches in this world's life, our Lord, that they may lead (people) astray from Your way. c Our Lord, destroy their riches and harden their hearts, so that they do not believe till they see the painful punishment. 89 He said: Your prayer is accepted; so continue in the right way and do not follow the path of those who do not know.

90 And We brought the Children of Israel across the sea. Then Pharaoh and his armies followed them for oppression and tyranny, till, when drowning overtook him, he said: I believe that there is no god but He in Whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am of those who submit. 6 91 What! Now! And indeed before (this) you

a (83) The Israelites believed in Moses as the verses that follow show. By his people, therefore, are meant Pharaoh's wife (66:11) and a believer (40:28).

b (87) The qiblah is that facing which one prays, and therefore it indicates a place of worship. The Israelites were obliged to pray in their houses because they did not enjoy full religious liberty in Egypt and had no public places of worship.

c (88-1) The significance is not that God had granted them riches to mislead people, but that this was the end for which they used their riches.

d (88-2) Pharaoh and his people did not care for either arguments or signs. Moses therefore now prays for their punishment.

e (90) In the agonies of death, even pronounced atheists have sometimes recognized the existence of God.

disobeyed and you were a mischief-maker! 92 But this day We shall save you in your body that you may be a sign to those after you. And surely most of the people are heedless of Our signs/

Section 10: Those who heed Warning will Benefit

93 And certainly We lodged the Children of Israel in a goodly abode and provided them with good things. Then they did not differ till the knowledge came to them. Surely your Lord will judge between them on the day of Resurrection in that in which they differed. 94 But if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to you, ask those who read the Book before you. c Certainly the Truth has come to you from your Lord, so do not be one of the doubters, 95 nor be of those who reject the messages of Allah, (for) then you will be from among the losers. 96 Surely those against whom the word of your Lord has proved true will not believe, 97 though every sign should come to them, till they see the painful punishment.

a (92) That the body was really cast ashore, though the Bible does not mention it, is clear from the fact that the body of Rameses II, who is regarded as the Pharaoh of Moses, has been discovered as preserved among the mummies in Egypt. This is another instance of the insufficiency of the Bible narrative and of the truth of the Quranic statement where it supplements the Bible. The discovery now made could not have been known to the Holy Prophet; it was not known to any person in the world till very recently.

b (93) This may be a prophetical announcement as to the Jewish attitude towards the Prophet Muhammad later on when he fled to Madinah.

c (94) The person addressed in the Quran in the singular form is not always the Prophet but often the reader, as here. Nor do the words revealed to you (in the singular) show that the Prophet is meant, for the Quran is in many places spoken of as being revealed to all the people (see 2:136, 21:10). Verse 104 makes it clear that the reader is addressed: "Say: O people, if you are in doubt as to my religion". Throughout the Quran the Holy Prophet appears as having the greatest certainty about the word which was revealed to him, so much so that he never entertained the slightest doubt about the truth of the promises of future success and triumph. In the very next verse the words are, nor be of those who reject the messages of Allah, which shows clearly that it is the Prophet's opponents who are addressed here. The words "ask those who read the Book before you" mean: ask them whether previous revelation does not contain clear prophecies of the advent of such a Prophet.

98 And why was there not a town which believed, so that their belief should have benefited them, but the people of Jonah? When they believed, We removed from them the punishment of disgrace in this world's life, and We gave them provision for a while." "And if your Lord had pleased, all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them. Will you then force people till they are believers? 100 And it is not for any soul to believe except by Allah's permission. And He casts uncleanness on those who will not understand^

101 Say: Look at what is in the heavens and the earth! And signs and warners do not avail a people who do not believe. i° 2 What do they wait for, then, but the like of the days of those who passed away before them? Say: Wait then; I too am waiting along with you. 103 Then We deliver Our messengers and those who believe â€" even so (now); it is binding on Us to deliver the believers.

Section 11: Divine Judgment

104 Say: O people, if you are in doubt as to my religion, (know that) I do not serve those whom you serve besides Allah, but I serve Allah, Who causes you to die; and I am commanded to be one of the believers, 105 and that you set yourself for the religion,

a (98) Jonah bears a resemblance to the Holy Prophet in that his people benefited by the warning, as did the Arabs by the warning of the Prophet, though after much opposition. Jonah is thus the type of a prophet whose people were dealt with mercifully.

b (99) Compare 2:256: "There is no compulsion in religion". The reference is to the great zeal of the Holy Prophet and his over-exerting himself in preaching the Truth: "Then perhaps you will kill yourself with grief, sorrowing after them, if they do not believe in this announcement" (18:6). {Editor's Note: The Quran tells us here that it is in the natural order of things that while some people believe, others do not, and no human being can or should apply compulsion to others in this regard.)

c (100) Those who refuse to understand the truth will find uncleanness cast on them. The word rijs ("uncleanness") also means punishment, and the meaning, in that case, is that those who care not for the warning must receive the punishment.

being upright; and do not be of those who set up partners (with Allah). i° 6 Nor call besides Allah on that which can neither benefit you nor harm you; for if you do, you shall then be of the unjust. 107 And if Allah afflicts you with harm, there is none to remove it but He; and if He intends good to you, there is none to repel His grace. He brings it to whom He pleases of His servants. And He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.

108 Say: O people, the Truth has indeed come to you from your Lord; so whoever goes aright, goes aright only for the good of his own soul; and whoever goes astray, goes astray only to its detriment. And I am not a custodian over you. 109 And follow what is revealed to you and be patient till Allah give judgment, and He is the Best of the judges.

Chapter 11 Hud

The history of the Prophet Hud is referred to in this chapter. While the last chapter dealt mostly with abstract questions relating to the truth of revelation, this chapter illustrates the truth of those questions by referring to the histories of former prophets. Thus it deals with the histories of Noah, Hud, Salih, Abraham, Lot and Shuaib. A cruel and persecuting enemy is warned of the fate that befell previous people. This chapter was revealed during the last four years of the period of the Holy Prophet's life at Makkah.

Section 1: A Warning

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 I, Allah, am the Seer. A Book, whose verses are characterized by wisdom, then they are made plain, from One Wise, Aware: 2 that you should serve none but Allah. Surely I am to you from Him a warner and a giver of good news. 3 And ask forgiveness of your Lord, then turn to Him. He will provide you with a goodly provision to an appointed term, and will bestow His grace on every one endowed with grace. a And if you turn away, I fear for you the punishment of a great day. 4 To Allah is your return, and He is Powerful over all things. 5 Now surely they cover up their breasts to conceal (their enmity) from Him. Now surely, when they put their garments as a covering, He knows what they hide and what they make public. Surely He is Knower of what is in the breasts.

J? 6 And there is no animal in the earth but on Allah is the sus-

«■ tenance of it, and He knows its abode and its repository. All is in a

a (3) One endowed with grace here is the possessor of spiritual blessings in addition to the material benefits spoken of in the preceding words.

b (5) This expression indicates their trying not to see or hear, or holding back from lending an ear, or it is an allusion to their running away.

clear record. 7 And He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six periods; and His Throne of Power is ever on water " that He might manifest (the good qualities in) you, whoever of you is best in deeds. And if you say, You shall surely be raised up after death, those who disbelieve say: This is nothing but clear deceit. 8 And if We delay for them the punishment for a stated period, they will certainly say: What prevents it? Now surely on the day when it will come to them, it will not be averted from them, and what they mocked at will beset them.

Section 2: Truth of Revelation

9 And if We make man taste mercy from Us, then withdraw it from him, he is surely despairing, ungrateful. 10 And if We make him taste a favour after distress has afflicted him, he says: The evils are gone away from me. Certainly he is exultant, boastful, 1 'except those who are patient and do good. For them is forgiveness and a great reward.

12 Then, may it be that you will give up part of what is revealed to you and your heart will be distressed by it, because they say: Why has not a treasure been sent down for him or an angel come with him? c Fou are only a warner. And Allah is in

a (7-1) For the meaning of 'arsh or Throne of Power see 7:54 footnote 2. The great power of God which is manifested in the creation of man is connected with water because physical life grows out of water. Similarly, spiritual life grows out of revelation, which is so often compared with rain or water. God's great power has thus been made manifest through water, and hence with the creation of the heavens and the earth is mentioned the fact that God's Throne of Power is ever on the waters. The words that follow make it clearer still.

b (7-2) The object of the creation of man and all that has been brought into existence is that the great qualities with which man is endowed should be manifested. But that manifestation, we are told in the words that follow, takes place not in this life but in the life after death.

c (12) This passage does not signify that the Prophet intended to give up any part of the revelation; on the other hand, it is a strong statement indicating that he could not do it. It is a peculiar use of the word la 'alia ("maybe"). When it is intended to show a person's remoteness from a thing, it is said: Maybe he has power to do such a thing.

charge of all things. 13 Or, say they: He has forged it. Say: Then bring ten forged chapters like it, and call upon whom you can besides Allah, if you are truthful." 14 But if they do not answer you, then know that it is revealed by Allah's knowledge, and that there is no God but He. Will you then submit?*

15 Whoever desires this world's life and its finery â€" We repay them their deeds in it, and they are not made to suffer loss in it. 16 These are they for whom there is nothing but Fire in the Hereafter. And what they work in it is fruitless and their deeds are futile. e 17 Is he then (like these) who has with him clear proof from his Lord, and a witness from Him recites it, and before it (is) the Book of Moses, a guide and a mercy? These believe in it. And whoever of the parties disbelieves in it, the Fire is his promised place. So do not be in doubt about it. Surely it is the truth from jour Lord, but most people do not believe.

a (13) See also 2:23 and footnote. This challenge is contained in four different chapters of the Quran. The earliest in point of revelation is 17:88: "Say: If people and jinn should combine together to bring the like of this Quran, they could not bring the like of it, though some of them were aiders of others." Then in the verse above, the demand is reduced to ten chapters. Lastly in 10:38 and 2:23 they are challenged to produce a single chapter like the Quran. Another point worth noting is that, while in 17:88 people and jinn are challenged, in 2:23 the word shuhada', which means helpers, leaders or their great or learned men, is substituted for jinn, thus showing that jinn in 17:88 are only human beings.

b (14) If the false gods or the leaders do not answer their devotees when they call on them to assist them in producing a like of the Quran, then at least no doubt should be left in their minds that the Quran is not the work of the Prophet, but a revelation from the Divine Being.

c (16) That is, their deeds will not result in any good to them.

d(\l) He who has with him clear proof from his Lord applies to every believer in the truth of the Quran; the words these believe in it, occurring further on, make this clear. The witness from Allah, who recites it, is the Holy Prophet, who is called a witness elsewhere, as being an exemplar for the believers. Besides being a clear proof in itself, the Quran has a further evidence of its truth in the book of Moses, which is, therefore, called a guide and a mercy, because it contains clear prophecies of the truth of the Prophet. The meaning of the whole passage is: He who, being a believer in the truth of the Quran, has clear proof from his Lord, and who has an exemplar for him in the person of the Holy Prophet, and has additional testimony of his truth in the book of Moses, is not like

18 And who is more unjust than he who forges a lie against Allah? These will be brought before their Lord, and the witnesses will say:" These are they who lied against their Lord. Now surely the curse of Allah is on the wrongdoers, 19 who hinder (people) from the path of Allah and desire to make it crooked. And they are disbelievers in the Hereafter. 20 These will not escape in the earth, nor do they have guardians besides Allah. The punishment will be doubled for them. They could not bear to hear, c and they did not see. 21 These are they who have lost their souls, and what they forged is gone from them. 22 Truly in the Hereafter they are the greatest losers.

23 Surely those who believe and do good and humble themselves before their Lord, these are the owners of the Garden; in it they will abide. 24 The likeness of the two parties is as the blind and the deaf, and the seer and the hearer. Are they equal in condition? Will you not then be mindful?

Section 3: History of Noah

25 And certainly We sent Noah to his people (saying): Surely I am a plain warner to you, 26 to serve none but Allah. Indeed I fear for you the punishment of a painful day. 27 But the chiefs of his people who disbelieved said: We do not see you but (as) a mortal like us, nor do we see that any follow you but those who are the lowest of us at first thought. Nor do we see in you any superiority over us; no, we think you to be liars.

28 He said: My people, do you see if I have with me clear proof from my Lord, and He has granted me mercy from Himself

him who loves this world and cares not for the Truth. The latter statement, being included in the previous verses, is omitted here.

a (18) The witnesses are according to some the angels; according to others, the prophets â€" and this is corroborated by 4:41; according to still others the believers.

b (20-1) They would not escape the punishment, if Allah intended to punish them in this world.

c (20-2) They could not bear even to hear what the Prophet said.

and it has been made obscure to you? Can we compel you to (accept) it while you dislike it? 29 And, my people, I do not ask you for wealth (in return) for it. My reward is only with Allah, and I am not going to drive away those who believe. Surely they will meet their Lord, but I see you a people who are ignorant. 30 And, my people, who will help me against Allah, if I drive them away? Will you not then be mindful? 31 And I do not say to you that I have the treasures of Allah, nor do I know the unseen, nor do I say that I am an angel. Nor do I say about those whom your eyes scorn that Allah will not grant them (any) good â€" Allah knows best what is in their souls â€" for then indeed I should be of the wrongdoers.

32 They said: Noah, indeed you have disputed with us and prolonged dispute with us, so bring upon us what you threaten us with, if you are truthful. 33 He said: Only Allah will bring it on you, if He please, and you will not escape; 34 and my advice will not benefit you, if I intend to give you good advice, if Allah intends to destroy you. He is your Lord; and to Him you will be brought back.

35 Or do they say: He has forged it? Say: If I have forged it, on me is my guilt; and I am free of what you are guilty of°

Section 4: History of Noah

36 And it was revealed to Noah: None of jour people will believe except those who have already believed, so do not grieve at what they do; 37 and make the ark under Our eyes and Our revelation, and do not speak to Me on behalf of those who are unjust. Surely they will be drowned.

38 And he began to make the ark. And whenever the chiefs of his people passed by him, they laughed at him. He said: If you

a (35) The change shows positively that the disbelievers of Makkah are meant, and the reference is to their calling the Quran a forgery. This shows that the histories of the prophets are referred to in the Quran as a warning for the Holy Prophet's opponents.

laugh at us, surely we, too, laugh at you as you laugh (at us). a 39 So you shall know who it is on whom will come a punishment which will disgrace him, and on whom a lasting punishment will fall.

40 At length when Our command came and water gushed forth from the valley,* We said: Carry in it two of all things, a pair, c and jour own family â€" except those against whom the word has already gone forth â€" and those who believe. And only a few believed with him. 41 And he said: Embark in it, in the name of Allah be its sailing and its anchoring. Surely my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful. 42 And it moved on with them amid waves like mountains. And Noah called out to his son, who was apart: My son, embark with us and do not be with the disbelievers. 43 He said: I will take refuge on a mountain that will save me from the water.

a (38) The laughing of the righteous at the wicked is not to be taken literally. You laugh at a thing to show your contempt for it; just as the disbelieving people showed their contempt for the making of the ark, the believer in Divine promise shows his contempt for their opposition and their plans to destroy him.

b (40-1) Far al-tanniir has often been translated as the oven poured forth water or the oven boiled or the earth's surface boiled up. But the meaning of fara which suits the context here, is not of boiling, but of water spouting forth, and that of tannur applicable here is not oven but a place where the water of a valley collects.

c (40-2) By all things are meant all things needed by Noah, and not all things existing in the world, which was too extensive for Noah to travel over.

d (42) The Quran does not support the story that the deluge covered the whole surface of the earth. On the other hand, it repeatedly speaks of Noah as having been sent to his people, i.e. to a single tribe, and according to the Divine law the punishment must have overtaken his people, who not only rejected the truth, but also sought to destroy Noah and his followers. The mention of the water flowing from the valley also shows that it was only a tract of land that was deluged, and not the entire earth. The taking in of a pair of all things does not mean that Noah had travelled over the whole earth and taken a pair of every living animal wherever it could be found. The order is clearly to take in pairs of all those things that he considered necessary for himself and those who were with him in the ark. The Bible narrative, which speaks of God "bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life," (Genesis, 6:17), and then makes Noah collect and lodge in an ark a pair of each of the thousands of animals and birds, cannot be accepted.

He said: There is none safe today from Allah's command, but he on whom He has mercy. And a wave intervened between them, so he was among the drowned.

44 And it was said: O earth, swallow your water, and O cloud, clear away. And the water was made to subside, and the affair was decided, and it rested on the JudI," and it was said: Away with the wrongdoing people! 45 And Noah cried to his Lord and said: My Lord, surely my son is of my family, and Your promise is true, and You are the most just of the judges. 46 He said: O Noah, he is not of your family; he is (an embodiment of) unrighteous conduct. So do not ask of Me that of which you have no knowledge. I admonish you so you may not be of the ignorant ones. 47 He said: My Lord, I seek refuge in You from asking of You that of which 1 have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have mercy on me, I shall be among the losers. 48 It was said: O Noah, descend with peace from Us and blessing on you and on nations (springing) from those with you. And there are nations whom We afford provisions, then a painful punishment from Us afflicts them.

49 These are announcements relating to the unseen which We reveal to you; you did not know them â€" (neither) you nor your people â€" before this. So be patient. Surely the (good) end is for the dutiful. c

a (44) The Greek name of this mountain is said to be Gordyoei, being one of those mountains which divide Armenia on the south from Mesopotamia (Iraq).

b (46) When it is meant to speak of a person as the very embodiment of a certain quality, he is designated not as the possessor of that quality, but as that quality itself. In 2:177 it is said, literally, righteousness is the one who believes, the meaning being that such a person is the embodiment of righteousness.

c (49) The announcement relating to the unseen is the fate of the opponents of the Holy Prophet as read in Noah's history. The words that follow â€" be patient â€" are a clear indication, for patient waiting was needed for the fate of the Prophet's opponents, not for anything relating to Noah's history.

Section 5: History of Hud

50 And to Ad (We sent) their brother Hfid. fl He said: My people, serve Allah, you have no god other than Him. You are only fabricators. 51 My people, I ask of you no reward for it. My reward is only with Him Who created me. Do you not then understand? 52 And, my people, ask forgiveness of your Lord, then turn to Him, He will send on you clouds pouring down abundance of rain and add strength to your strength, and do not turn back, guilty.

53 They said: Hud, you have brought us no clear argument, and we are not going to desert our gods for jour word, and we are not believers in you. 54 We say nothing but that some of our gods have struck you with evil. He said: Surely I call Allah to witness, and you should bear witness too, that I am innocent of what you set up (with Allah) 55 besides Him. So scheme against me all together, then give me no respite. 56 Surely I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord. There is no living creature but He grasps it by its forelock. Surely my Lord is on the right path. 57 But if you turn away, then indeed I have delivered to you the message with which I am sent to you. And my Lord will bring another people in your place, and you cannot do Him any harm. Surely my Lord is the Preserver of all things.

58 And when Our commandment came to pass, We delivered Hud and those who believed with him with mercy from Us; and We delivered them from a hard punishment. 59 And such were Ad. They denied the messages of their Lord, and disobeyed His messengers and followed the bidding of every insolent opposer (of truth). 60 And they were overtaken by a curse in this world and on the day of Resurrection. Now surely Ad disbelieved in their Lord. Now surely, away with Ad, the people of Hud!

a (50) See 7:65 footnote.

b (56) My Lord is on the right path signifies that He does not deviate from justice.

Section 6: History of Salih

61 And to Thamud (We sent) their brother Salih. a He said: My people, serve Allah, you have no god other than Him. He brought you forth from the earth and made you dwell in it, so ask forgiveness of Him, then turn to Him. Surely my Lord is near, answering. 62 They said: Salih, you were among us a centre of (our) hopes before this. Do you forbid us to worship what our fathers worshipped? And surely we are in grave doubt about that to which you call us. 63 He said: My people, do you see if I have clear proof from my Lord and He has granted me mercy from Himself â€" who will then help me against Allah, if I disobey Him? So you would add to me nothing but perdition. 64 And, my people, this is Allah's she-camel, a sign for you, so leave her to pasture on Allah's earth and do her no harm, or a punishment will soon come upon you. 65 But they hamstrung her, so he said: Enjoy yourselves in your houses for three days. That is a promise not to be belied.

66 So when Our commandment came to pass, We saved Salih and those who believed with him by mercy from Us from the disgrace of that day. Surely jour Lord â€" He is the Strong, the Mighty. 67 And the cry overtook those who did wrong, e so they were motionless bodies in their abodes, 68 as though they had never dwelt in them. Now surely Thamud disbelieved in their Lord. So away with Thamud!

Section 7: Abraham and Lot

69 And certainly Our messengers came to Abraham with good news. They said: 'Peace!' 'Peace!', said he. And he made no delay

a (61) See 7:73 footnote 1.

b (64) See 7:73 footnote 2.

c (67) It was an earthquake. See 7:78.

d (69) Whether they were angels or men, is not made clear here or anywhere else in the Quran. But as they did not partake of food, and the fact that they brought to Abraham news of a son and of the destruction of Lot's people, they are generally looked upon as angels who appeared in the similitude of men.

in bringing a roasted calf. 70 But when he saw that their hands did not reach to it, he mistrusted them and conceived fear of them. They said: Do not fear; we have been sent to Lot's people.

71 And his wife was standing (by), so she wondered." Then We gave her the good news of Isaac, and beyond Isaac, of Jacob.* 72 She said: O wonder! e Shall I bear a son when I am an extremely old woman, and this my husband an extremely old man? This is a wonderful thing indeed! 73 They said: Do you wonder at Allah's commandment? The mercy of Allah and His blessings be on you, people of the house! Surely He is Praised, Glorious.

74 So when fear departed from Abraham and good news came to him, he began to plead with Us for Lot's people. 75 Surely Abraham was forbearing, tender-hearted, oft-returning (to Allah). 76 0 Abraham, cease from this. Surely the decree of jour Lord has gone forth and a punishment must come to them which cannot be averted.

77 And when Our messengers came to Lot, he was grieved for them, and he was unable to protect them, and said: This is a distressful day!

78 And his people came to him, (as if) driven on towards him, and they were used to the doing of evil deeds before. He said: My

a (71-1) It is made clear in 51:24-34 that the news of the birth of a son was given to Abraham first. This explains Sarah's wonder. It was after receiving the good news of the birth of a son that Abraham was informed of the destruction of Lot's people. The statement made further on that Sarah was given the good news of the birth of a son is by way of reassurance on her expression of wonder, and to give the further news of a son's son, Jacob.

6(71-2) Compare Genesis 18:10-12. The mention of a son's son (Jacob) was to show that that son should have progeny. The word ward' ("beyond") also means a son's son. Elsewhere Jacob is expressly called nafilah (21:72) which means a grandson.

c (72) The original words yd wailatd, while used to express grief and sorrow, are also used to express wonder.

d (73) AM al-bait ("people of the house") includes the wife of a person; in fact, it is Abraham's wife who is primarily addressed here. The same phrase in the case of the Holy Prophet (33:33) includes his wives as well as his children.

people, these are my daughters â€" they are purer for you; so guard against (the punishment of) Allah and do not disgrace me about my guests. Is there not among you any right-minded man? " 79 They said: Certainly you know that we have no claim on jour daughters, and you know what we desire. 80 He said: If only I had the power to repel you! â€" rather I shall have recourse to a strong support.

81 They said: Lot, we are the messengers of jour Lord. They shall not reach you. So travel with your people for a part of the night â€" and let none of you turn back â€" except your wife. Surely whatsoever befalls them shall befall her. Surely their appointed time is the morning. Is not the morning near? 82 So when Our decree came to pass, We turned them upside down, and rained on them stones, as decreed, one after another, c 83 marked (for punishment) with your Lord. And it is not far off from the wrongdoers.

a (78) Lot, it appears from Genesis 19:9, was a stranger in the city, and the messengers being strangers, the townsmen would not allow him to keep them. Lot offered his daughters as hostages so that he might be allowed to keep his guests with him, for according to 15:70 he had not permission to allow any stranger to come under his roof. Another view is that Lot offered his daughters for marriage, as thus he would not be a stranger among them but would be one of them. Some commentators have suggested that Lot did not point to his real daughters, but to women of the tribe, because a prophet would speak of the women of his tribe as his daughters, and in that case he did no more than point to the natural relation of man and woman. The answer of his people seems, however, to relate to his daughters.

b (80) Allah is the strong support to Whom the righteous have recourse when they are in trouble. The particle au signifies or, as well as rather.

c (82) It was a severe earthquake, which so utterly demolished the cities as to turn them upside down. In 15:73 it is called a rumbling that precedes an earthquake; see 7:84. The raining down of stones might have been the result of a volcanic eruption which was accompanied by an earthquake.

rf(83) The concluding words indicate a reversion to the subject of the punishment of the opponents of the Holy Prophet. It refers to the punishment.

Section 8: History of Shuaib

84 And to Midian (We sent) their brother Shuaib. He said: My people, serve Allah, you have no god other than Him. And do not give short measure and weight. I see you in prosperity, and I fear for you the punishment of an all-encompassing day. 85 And, my people, give full measure and weight justly, and do not defraud people of their things, nor act corruptly in the land, making mischief. 86 What remains with Allah is better for you, if you are believers." And I am not a keeper over you.

87 They said: Shuaib, does jour prayer enjoin you that we should give up what our fathers worshipped or that we should not do what we please with regard to our property? So you are the one who is the forbearing, the right-directing!

88 He said: My people, do you see if I have a clear proof from my Lord and He has given me a goodly sustenance from Himself? And I do not desire to act in opposition to you, in what I forbid you. I desire nothing but reform, so far as I am able. And with none but Allah is the direction of my affair to a right issue. In Him I trust and to Him I turn. 89 And, my people, do not let opposition to me make you guilty so that there may befall you the like of what befell the people of Noah, or the people of Hud, or the people of Salih. Nor are the people of Lot far off from you. 90 And ask forgiveness of your Lord, then turn to Him. Surely my Lord is Merciful, Loving-kind.

91 They said: Shuaib, we do not understand much of what you say and surely we see you to be weak among us. And if it were not for your family, we would surely stone you, and you are not strong against us. 92 He said: My people, is my family more esteemed by you than Allah? And you neglect Him as a thing cast behind your backs! Surely my Lord encompasses what you do. 93 And, my

a (86) Baqiyyat Allah would properly signify that part of man's doing which remains with Allah, i.e., the righteous or good works, of which the recompense remains, the word conveying the same significance as bdqiydt in 18:46 and 19:76. But it may also mean what Allah leaves to you after you have paid the dues of others.

people, act according to your ability, I too am acting. You will soon know upon whom will come the punishment, that will disgrace him, and who is a liar. And watch, surely I too am watching with you.

94 And when Our decree came to pass, We delivered Shuaib and those who believed with him by mercy from Us. And the cry overtook those who did wrong, so they were motionless bodies in their abodes, 95 as though they had never dwelt in them. So away with Midian, just as Thamud perished!

Section 9: The Wrongdoers and the Righteous

96 And certainly We sent Moses with Our signs and a clear authority, 97 to Pharaoh and his chiefs, but they followed the bidding of Pharaoh; and Pharaoh's bidding was not right-directing. 98 He will lead his people on the day of Resurrection, and bring them down to the Fire. And evil the place to which they are brought! "And they are followed by a curse in this (world), and on the day of Resurrection. Evil the gift which shall be given!

100 This is an account of the towns which We relate to you. Of them are some that stand and (others) mown down. 101 And We did not wrong them but they wronged themselves. And their gods whom they called upon besides Allah did not avail them in the least when the decree of your Lord came to pass. And they added to them nothing but ruin. 102 And such is the punishment of your Lord, when He punishes the towns while they are wrongdoers. Surely His punishment is painful, severe. 103 Surely there is a sign in this for him who fears the punishment of the Hereafter. That is a day on which people will be gathered together, and that is a day to be witnessed. 104 And We do not delay it but for an appointed term.

105 On the day when it comes, no soul will speak except by His permission; so (some) of them will be unhappy and (others) happy. 106 Then as for those who are unhappy, they will be in the Fire; for them there will be in it sighing and groaning â€"

107 abiding in it so long as the heavens and the earth endure, except as your Lord please. Surely your Lord is Doer of what He intends/ 108 And as for those who are made happy, they will be in the Garden abiding in it so long as the heavens and the earth endure, except as your Lord please â€" a gift never to be cut off.*

109 So do not be in doubt as to what these (people) worship. They worship only as their fathers worshipped before. And surely We shall pay them in full their due undiminished.

Section 10: Believers are comforted

110 And indeed We gave Moses the Book, but differences arose concerning it. And if a word had not already gone forth from your Lord, judgment would have been given between them. And they are surely in a disquieting doubt about it. m And your Lord will surely pay back to all their deeds in full. He indeed is Aware of what they do.

112 Continue, then, in the right way as you are commanded, as also (should) those who turn (to Allah) with you. And do not be

a (107) This limitation on the duration of abiding in hell â€" except as your Lord please â€" is given here and in 6:128, showing clearly that the punishment of hell is not everlasting. The next verse states that those in paradise will abide there as long as the heavens and the earth endure, "except as your Lord please", but this statement is immediately followed by another: A gift never to be cut off. This shows that in fact there is no limitation upon the eternity of paradise, and the words except as your Lord please have been used, in the case of paradise, only to express the unbounded power of the Divine Being and the fact that it is due to God's pleasure that they are there. In the case of hell, however, the words except as your Lord please are followed by a statement which corroborates the limitation thus placed, for, Fa"al or Doer, as an attribute of God, indicates that He does even those things which seem impossible to others.

Three times in the Quran (4:169, 33:65, 72:23) abiding in hell for abad is mentioned, which is generally considered as meaning forever. However, abad signifies a long time as well as time without end. The Quran makes clear in 78:23 that a long time is meant as it states there that the disbelievers will remain in hell for ahqdb, i.e. long years.

b (108) In accordance with what is said here, that heavenly life is a gift never to be cut off, we have in 15:48: "Nor will they be ejected from there".

inordinate (O people). Surely He is Seer of what you do. 113 And do not incline to those who do wrong, so that the fire touch you; and you have no protectors besides Allah, then you would not be helped. 0 114 And keep up prayer at the two ends of the day and in the first hours of the night.* Surely good deeds take away evil deeds. This is a reminder for the mindful. 115 And be patient, for surely Allah does not waste the reward of the doers of good.

116 Why were there not, then, among the generations before you, those possessing understanding who forbade mischief in the earth except a few among them whom We delivered? And the unjust pursued the enjoyment of plenty, and they were guilty. n7 And jour Lord would not destroy towns unjustly, while their people acted well. c 118 And if your Lord pleased, He would have made people a single nation/ And they do not cease to differ, 119 except those on whom your Lord has mercy; and for this did He create them. And the word of your Lord is fulfilled: I will certainly fill hell with jinn and people, all together. e

a (113) Not only is man forbidden to do any wrong himself, but he should keep himself at a safe distance from wrong and refrain from leaning towards the wrongdoers.

b (114) The times of prayer are clearly indicated here. Of the two ends of the day, the first is the fajr, or the prayer before sunrise, and the second includes the zuhr, or the early afternoon, and the 'asr, or the later afternoon, prayers. In the first hours of the night we have the maghrib, or the after sunset prayer, and the 'isha', or the prayer before going to bed. The two afternoon prayers and the two after sunset prayers, which are spoken of together, may under exceptional circumstances be said together in each case.

c (117) God does not destroy people unjustly. He destroys them only when they act corruptly and make mischief in the world. He would not destroy them if they act well, whatever their beliefs. Most of the commentators take the word zulm (injustice in the word "unjustly") here as meaning shirk or setting up partners with God, and the meaning becomes that God would not destroy people, even though they were guilty of shirk, provided they acted well. The translation in this case would be: your Lord would not destroy towns for wrong beliefs, while their people acted well.

rf(118) God does not force people to one particular belief. He has given them the choice to accept or reject the truth.

e (119) Here it is clearly stated that Allah created all human beings to have

120 And all We relate to you from the account of the messengers is to strengthen jour heart with it. And in this has come to you the truth and an admonition and a reminder for the believers. 121 And say to those who do not believe: Act according to your power, surely we too are acting; 122 and wait, surely we too are waiting. 123 And Allah's is the unseen in the heavens and the earth, and to Him the whole affair will be returned. So serve Him and put jour trust in Him. And jour Lord is not heedless of what you do.

mercy on them. By His mercy He guides some to the right path, while to others, who go over to evil and make themselves deserving of hell, mercy will come only after suffering. It is by their own hands that they get into distress and difficulty, while Allah has mercy on them in extricating them from it.

The filling of hell with jinn and people would be because they went against the ways which Allah had mercifully shown to them. Therefore they must pass through another ordeal, so that they may be purged of evil and made fit for spiritual progress.

Chapter 12 Yusuf Joseph

This entire chapter gives a continuous account of the history of Joseph. At the beginning and the end it indicates that the purpose is to foretell the ultimate triumph of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the final submission of those who were plotting against his life. It is also prophesied here that the mutual dealings of the Holy Prophet and his enemies would be similar to the dealings of Joseph and his brothers: they would persecute him but he would forgive them when they would ultimately come before him in submission. This chapter was revealed during the last four years of the period of the Holy Prophet's life at Makkah.

Section 1: Truth of Revelation

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 I, Allah, am the Seer. These are the verses of the Book that makes manifest. 2 Surely We have revealed it â€" an Arabic Quran â€" that you may understand. 3 We narrate to you the best of narratives, 0 in that We have revealed to you this Quran, though before this you were of those who are unaware.

4 When Joseph said to his father: My father, I saw eleven stars and the sun and the moon â€" I saw them making submission to me. 5 He said: My son, do not relate your dream to your

a (3-1) It is called the best narrative because it is the best picture of the dealing of the Quraish with the Holy Prophet, and the Prophet's dealing with them. It was in the very words of Joseph to his brothers â€" there is no reproach against you this day (v. 92) â€" that the Holy Prophet forgave the people of Makkah all the atrocities they had committed against him.

b (3-2) The Holy Prophet's "unawareness" relates to his own future, of which this chapter gives a clear indication in the incidents of Joseph's life, viz. that he was to be expelled from his home but that his countrymen would ultimately come to him in submission, asking pardon for their faults. But "unawareness" here may also refer to all those things that are related in the Quran, because the Prophet knew nothing of them before revelation.

brothers, in case they devise a plan against you. The devil indeed is an open enemy to man. 6 And thus will jour Lord choose you and teach you the interpretation of sayings, and make His favour complete to you and to the Children of Jacob, as He made it complete before to your fathers, Abraham and Isaac. Surely your Lord is Knowing, Wise.

Section 2: Plot against Joseph by his Brothers

7 Surely in Joseph and his brothers there are signs for the inquirers. a 8 When they said: Certainly Joseph and his brother are dearer to our father than we, though we are a (strong) company. Surely our father is in clear error â€" 'Kill Joseph or banish him to some (other) land, so that your father's regard may be exclusively for you, and after that you may be a righteous peopled 10 A speaker among them said: Do not kill Joseph, but, if you are going to do anything, cast him down to the bottom of the well. Some of the travellers may pick him up.

11 They said: Our father, why do you not trust us with Joseph, and surely we are his sincere well-wishers? 12 Send him with us tomorrow that he may enjoy himself and play, and we shall surely guard him well. 13 He said: Indeed it grieves me that you should take him away and I fear that the wolf may eat him while you are careless of him. 14 They said: If the wolf should eat him while we are so many, we should then certainly be losers.

15 So when they took him away and agreed to put him down at the bottom of the pit, We revealed to him: 7ou will certainly

a (7) By inquirers are meant people who inquired about the Holy Prophet, who was at this time being persecuted most severely by the people of Makkah. They are told in plain words that the story of the Prophet and his opponents was the story of Joseph and his brothers.

b (8) Benjamin, his brother by the same mother, is meant here.

c (9) The conspiracy of the Quraish against the Holy Prophet is referred to in the Quran in the words: 'And when those who disbelieved devised plans against you that they might confine you or kill you or drive you away" (8:30).

inform them of this affair of theirs while they do not realize/ 16 And they came to their father at nightfall, weeping. 17 They said: Our father, we went off racing with one another and left Joseph by our goods, so the wolf ate him. And you will not believe us, though we are truthful. 18 And they came with false blood on his shirt. He said: Indeed, your souls have made it a light matter for you. So patience is best. And Allah is He Whose help is sought against what you describe.

19 And travellers came, and they sent their water-drawer and he let down his bucket. He said: Good news! This is a youth. And they concealed him as an article of merchandise, and Allah knew what they did. 20 And they sold him for a small price, a few pieces of silver, and they showed no desire for him.

Section 3: Joseph's Firmness under Temptation

21 And the Egyptian who bought him said to his wife: Make his stay honourable. Maybe he will be useful to us, or we may adopt him as a son. And thus We established Joseph in the land, and that We might teach him the interpretation of sayings. And Allah has full control over His affair, but most people do not know. 22 And when he attained his maturity, We gave him wisdom and knowledge. And thus do We reward the doers of good.

23 And she in whose house he was, sought to seduce him, and bolted the doors and said: Come. He said: Allah forbid! Surely my Lord made good my abode. The wrongdoers never prosper. 24 And certainly she desired him, and he would have desired her if he had not seen the clear evidence of his Lord. Thus (it was) that We

a (15) The essential difference between the version of this story given in the Bible and the version in the Quran is that while the Bible narrates it as a simple story, the Quran preserves in it the spiritual element.

b (18) The Quran represents Jacob as doubting from the very first the sincerity of Joseph's brothers, but not so the Bible. Again, according to the Quran, Joseph relates his vision to his father, who is at once apprehensive of the envy of his brothers, if they are apprised of it; but according to the Bible, Jacob himself rebuked Joseph for his dream. Besides several discrepancies, the Bible narrative represents Jacob as an ordinary man, while the Quran represents him as a prophet.

might turn away from him evil and indecency. Surely he was one of Our chosen servants."

25 And they raced with one another to the door, and she tore his shirt from behind, and they met her husband at the door. She said: What is the penalty for one who intends evil to jour wife, except imprisonment or a painful punishment? 26 He said: She sought to seduce me. And a witness of her own family bore witness: If his shirt is torn in front, she speaks the truth and he is a liar. 27 And if his shirt is torn from behind, she tells a lie and he is truthful. 28 So when he saw his shirt torn from behind, he said: Surely it is an intrigue of you women. Your intrigue is indeed great! 29 Joseph, turn aside from this. And (my wife), ask forgiveness for your sin. Surely you are one of the sinful.

Section 4: Joseph is imprisoned

30 And women in the city said: The chief's wife seeks to seduce her slave. He has indeed affected her deeply with (his) love. Truly we see her in clear error. 31 So when she heard of their scheming, c she sent for them and prepared for them a feast, and gave each of them a knife, and said (to Joseph): Come out to them. So when they saw him, they thought him great, and cut their hands (in amazement), and said: Holy Allah! This is not a mortal! This is but a noble angel. 32 She said: This is he about whom you blamed me. And certainly I sought to seduce him, but he was firm in self-

a (24) This does not show that Joseph had any desire for her, but that the temptation was so strong that, if he had not been strengthened by great faith in God, he would have fallen a prey to mortal weakness.

b (28) The vindication of Joseph's character on this occasion, and the production of the evidence of the shirt, are not related in the Bible. The next section proves that Joseph was not cast into prison for being guilty of having committed an outrage against his master's wife.

c (31-1) Some think that she knew that certain women had circulated the news with the object of getting a chance to see Joseph.

rf(31-2) The Egyptians were a superstitious and polytheistic people, and anything strange, or any human being about whom they witnessed anything wonderful, was considered by them to be a god.

restraint. And if he does not do what I order him, he shall certainly be imprisoned, and he shall certainly be degraded.

33 He said: My Lord, the prison is dearer to me than that to which they invite me. And if You do not turn away their intrigue from me, I shall yearn towards them and be one of the ignorant. 34 So his Lord accepted his prayer and turned away their intrigue from him. Surely He is the Hearer, the Knower. 35 Then it occurred to them after they had seen the signs that they should imprison him for a while."

Section 5: Joseph's Preaching in Prison

36 And two youths entered the prison with him. One of them said: I saw myself pressing wine. And the other said: I saw myself carrying bread on my head, from which birds were eating. Inform us of its interpretation; surely we see you to be from among the doers of good.*

37 He said: The food with which you are fed shall not come to you, but I shall inform you of its interpretation before it comes to you. This is from what my Lord has taught me. Surely I have forsaken the religion of a people who do not believe in Allah, and are deniers of the Hereafter. 38 And I follow the religion of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. It does not befit us to set up any partner with Allah. This is by Allah's grace upon us and on mankind, but most people do not give thanks. 39 My two fellow-prisoners, are various lords better or Allah the One, the Supreme? 40 You do not serve besides Him but names which you have named, you and your fathers â€" Allah has sent down no authority for them. Judgment is only Allah's. He has commanded that you

a (35) There is nothing to show that Joseph was cast into prison on a charge of having committed an outrage on that woman. As he was proved guiltless of that charge, it is very likely that some other accusation was brought against him; and more probably an autocratic ruler needed no excuse for putting an innocent man into prison. By signs must be understood the signs of Joseph's innocence.

b (36) Compare Genesis, ch. 40, which, however, omits Joseph's preaching. The two youths were the butler and the baker.

serve none but Him. This is the right religion, but most people do not know.

41 My two fellow-prisoners, as for one of you, he will serve wine for his lord to drink; and as for the other, he will be crucified, so that birds will eat from his head. The matter is decreed concerning which you inquired. 42 And he said to him whom he knew would be delivered of the two: Remember me with your lord. But the devil caused him to forget mentioning (it) to his lord, so he remained in the prison a few years.

Section 6: The King's Vision interpreted by Joseph

43 And the king said: I have seen seven fat cows which seven lean ones devoured, and seven green ears and (seven) others dry. Chiefs, explain to me my dream, if you can interpret the dream. 44 They said: Confused dreams, and we do not know the interpretation of dreams. 45 And of the two, he who had found deliverance and remembered after a long time said: I will inform you of its interpretation, so send me.

46 Joseph, truthful one, explain to us seven fat cows which seven lean ones devoured, and seven green ears and (seven) others dry, that I may go back to the people so that they may know. 47 He said: You shall sow for seven years as usual, then what you reap, leave it in its ear, except a little which you eat. 48 Then after that will come seven years of hardship, which will eat away all you have beforehand stored for them, except a little which you have preserved. 49 Then after that will come a year in which people will have rain and in which they will press (grapes).

Section 7: Joseph cleared of the Charges

50 And the king said: Bring him to me. So when the messenger came to him, he said: Go back to your lord and ask him, what is the case of the women who cut their hands? Surely my Lord knows their intrigue.

51 (The king) said: What was your business when you sought to seduce Joseph? They said: Holy Allah! We knew of no evil on his part. The chief's wife said: Now has the truth come out. I sought to seduce him and he is surely truthful.

*

1

292 12. JOSEPH • 12 : 52

52 (Joseph said:) This is that he might know that I have not been unfaithful to him in secret, and that Allah does not guide the plan of the unfaithful. 0 * 53 And I do not call myself sinless; surely (man's) self is apt to command evil, except those on whom my Lord has mercy. Surely my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful.

54 And the king said: Bring him to me, I will choose him for myself. So when he talked with him, he said: Surely you are in our presence today dignified, trusted. 55 He said: Place me (in authority) over the treasures of the land; surely I am a good keeper, knowing well.

56 And thus did We give to Joseph power in the land â€" he had mastery in it wherever he liked. We bestow Our mercy on whom We please, and We do not waste the reward of the doers of good. 57 And certainly the reward of the Hereafter is better for those who believe and guard against evil.

Section 8: Joseph helps his Brothers

58 And Joseph's brothers came and went in to (see) him, and he knew them, while they did not recognize him. s9 And when he furnished them with their provision, he said: Bring me a brother of yours from your father. Do you not see that I give full measure and that I am the best of hosts? 60 But if you do not bring him to me, you shall have no measure (of corn) from me, nor shall you come near me. 61 They said: We shall try to make his father yield about him, and we are sure to do (it). 62 And he said to his servants: Put their money into their bags that they may recognize it when they go back to their family, so that they may come back.

a (52) These are the words of Joseph, who explains his conduct in preferring to remain in prison until his innocence was established.

b (53) When a man addressed Jesus as good master, he said: "Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God" (Mark 10:18). The righteous never attribute any good to themselves, but attribute all good to the Great Source of goodness â€" God. Man's self is here called ammarah, i.e. one apt to command evil. It is the lowest stage in spiritual growth. See also 75:2 and 89:30.

63 So when they returned to their father, they said: Our father, the measure is withheld from us, so send with us our brother that we may get the measure, and we will surely guard him. 64 He said: Can I trust you with him, except as I trusted you with his brother before? So Allah is the Best Keeper, and He is the most Merciful of those who show mercy.

65 And when they opened their goods, they found their money returned to them. They said: Our father, what (more) can we desire? This is our property returned to us, and we shall bring corn for our family and guard our brother, and have in addition the measure of a camel-load. This is an easy measure. 66 He said: I will by no means send him with you, until you give me a firm promise in Allah's name that you will bring him back to me, unless you are completely surrounded. And when they gave him their promise, he said: Allah is Guardian over what we say. 67 And he said: My sons, do not enter by one gate but enter by different gates." And I cannot avail you against (the decree of) Allah at all. Judgment is only Allah's. On Him I rely, and on Him let the reliant rely.

68 And when they entered as their father had instructed them, it did not avail them against Allah at all, but (it was only) a desire in the soul of Jacob, which he satisfied. And surely he was possessed of knowledge, because We had given him knowledge, but most people do not know.

Section 9: The Youngest Brother

69 And when they came to Joseph, he lodged his brother with himself, saying: I am jour brother, so do not grieve at what they do. 70 Then when he furnished them with their provision, (someone)

a (67) Jacob, it seems, had come to know by Divine revelation that Joseph was there, and therefore he ordered them to enter by different gates so that Joseph might find his brother. The next verse makes it clear when it says: And surely he was possessed of knowledge because We had given him knowledge.

b (68) The Bible narrative represents Jacob as being quite ignorant in the matter.

placed the drinking-cup in his brother's bag. a Then a crier cried out: O caravan, you are surely thieves! 71 They said, turning towards them: What is it that you miss? 72 They said: We miss the king's drinking-cup, and he who brings it shall have a camel-load, and I am responsible for it. 73 They said: By Allah! You know for certain that we have not come to make mischief in the land, and we are not thieves. 74 They said: But what is the penalty for this, if you are liars? 75 They said: The penalty for this â€" the person in whose bag it is found, he himself is the penalty for it. Thus do we punish the wrongdoers.

76 So he began with their sacks before the sack of his brother, then he brought it out from his brother's sack. Thus did We plan for the sake of Joseph. He could not take his brother under the king's law, unless Allah pleased. e We raise in degree whom We please. And above everyone possessed of knowledge is the All-Knowing One. 77 They said: If he steal, a brother of his did indeed steal before. But Joseph kept it secret in his mind, and did not

a (70-1) Though the Bible narrative ascribes the placing of the cup to Joseph, the Quran does not say so. It may have been one of Joseph's own brothers who did this act so that Benjamin might also be removed from Jacob, who loved him most after Joseph. There is a clear hint to this possibility in v. 77, where Joseph accuses them of having done some guilty deed: "You are in an evil condition", and a still clearer hint in v. 89, where Joseph says: "Do you know how you treated Joseph and his brother, when you were ignorant?"

b (70-2) It is a mistake to suppose that the crier was the very person who had placed the cup there. As v. 72 makes it clear, it was the king's drinking-cup; in other words it was not Joseph's personal property, but the property of the king, or government property. It is clear that the men who provided corn were different from those who had charge of the king's property.

c (76) This makes it clear that this was not Joseph's plan, but a Divine plan. In other words, the circumstances were made to assist Joseph to keep his brother with him. Joseph's desire, no doubt, was to retain his brother Benjamin while the others returned; but he was unable to do so under the laws of Egypt, as stated here. This shows that one living under an alien government should abide by the laws of that government.

d (77) The brothers of Joseph made a false statement against Joseph to cast a veil over their own evil deeds. If Benjamin, they said, was a thief, so was his brother Joseph, as if they meant to say that this evil trait of character was due to the mother, Rachel (probably referring to the incident in Genesis, 31:19).

disclose it to them. He said: You are in an evil condition, and Allah knows best what you state. 78 They said: O chief, he has a father, a very old man, so take one of us in his place. Surely we see you to be one of the doers of good. 79 He said: Allah forbid that we should seize other than him with whom we found our property, for then surely we should be unjust!

Section 10: Joseph discloses his Identity

80 So when they despaired of (persuading) him, they conferred together privately. The eldest of them said: Do you not know that your father took from you a promise in Allah's name, and how you fell short of your duty about Joseph before? So I shall not leave this land, until my father permits me or Allah decides for me; and He is the Best of the judges. 81 Go back to your father and say: Our father, jour son committed theft. And we bear witness only to what we know, and we could not keep watch over the unseen. 82 And ask the town where we were, and the caravan with which we proceeded. And surely we are truthful.

83 (Jacob) said: No, your souls have contrived an affair for you, so patience is best. Maybe Allah will bring them together to me. Surely He is the Knowing, the Wise. 84 And he turned away from them, and said: My sorrow for Joseph! And his eyes were filled " (with tears) on account of the grief, then he repressed (grief). 85 They said: By Allah! Fou will not cease remembering Joseph till you are a prey to disease or you perish. 86 He said: I complain of my grief and sorrow only to Allah, and I know from Allah what you do not know.' 87 My sons, go and inquire about Joseph and his brother, and do not despair of Allah's mercy. c

a (84) The word used can carry the meaning of being filled. Even if we accept the ordinary significance, his eyes were whitened, the meaning is that they were whitened with tears, which naturally came at the mention of Joseph.

b (86) This shows clearly that Jacob knew by Divine revelation that Joseph was alive.

c (87) Here the Quran again differs from the Bible and shows that Jacob was so certain of Joseph being alive because of the knowledge he received from God, that he sent his sons a third time to Egypt to ascertain about Joseph. It appears that he had an inkling also that Joseph was in Egypt.

Surely none despairs of Allah's mercy except the disbelieving people.

88 So when they came to him, they said: O chief, distress has afflicted us and our family, and we have brought little money, so give us full measure and be charitable to us. Surely Allah rewards the charitable. 89 He said: Do you know how you treated Joseph and his brother, when you were ignorant? 90 They said: Are you indeed Joseph? He said: I am Joseph and this is my brother; Allah has indeed been gracious to us. Surely he who keeps his duty and is patient â€" Allah never wastes the reward of the doers of good. 91 They said: By Allah! Allah has indeed chosen you over us, and we were certainly sinners. 92 He said: There is no reproach against you this day. a Allah may forgive you, and He is the most Merciful of those who show mercy. 93 Take this shirt of mine and cast it before my father's face â€" he will come to know. And bring to me all your family.

Section 11: Jacob goes to Egypt

94 And when the caravan left (Egypt), their father said: Surely I scent (the power of) Joseph, if you do not call me weak of mind. c 95 They said: By Allah! you are surely in your old error.

96 Then when the bearer of good news came, he cast it before

a (92) It is related that the Holy Prophet took hold of the two sides of the gate of the Ka'bah on the day of the conquest of Makkah and said to the Quraish: How do you think I should treat you? They said: We hope for good, a noble brother and the son of a noble brother. Then he said: I say as my brother Joseph said: "There is no reproach against you this day".

b (93) The Quran does not say anywhere that Jacob had become blind. The shirt was sent as being a reminder of the torn shirt of Joseph, which Joseph's brothers had brought to Jacob (v. 18).

c (94) When the caravan in which were Joseph's brothers departed from Egypt, Jacob again received assurance from on high about Joseph, so he said to those around him that he scented the power of Joseph. Jacob knew that Joseph was alive and of this he informed his sons again and again, but he now told them further that he had received an assurance from God that Joseph occupied a high position.

his face so he became certain. He said: Did I not say to you that I know from Allah what you do not know? 97 They said: Our father, ask forgiveness of our sins for us, surely we are sinners. 98 He said: I shall ask forgiveness for you of my Lord. Surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.

99 Then when they came to Joseph, he lodged his parents with himself and said: Enter Egypt in safety, if Allah please. 100 And he raised his parents on the throne," and they fell prostrate for his sake. And he said: My father, this is the significance of my earlier vision â€" my Lord has made it true. And He was indeed kind to me, when He brought me forth from the prison, and brought you from the desert after the devil had sown dissensions between me and my brothers. Surely my Lord is Benignant to whom He pleases. Truly He is the Knowing, the Wise. 101 My Lord, You have given me kingdom and taught me something of the interpretation of sayings. Originator of the heavens and the earth, You are my Friend in this world and the Hereafter. Make me die in submission and join me with the righteous.

102 This is from the announcements relating to the unseen (which) We reveal to you, and you were not with them when they resolved upon their affair, and they were devising plans. e 103 And most people do not believe, though you desire it eagerly. 104 And you ask them no reward for it. It is nothing but a Reminder for the nations.

a (100-1) The meaning may be that he placed them in a good position.

b (100-2) Seeing the highly dignified position to which Joseph had been raised in Egypt, they all fell prostrate before God as a mark of thanksgiving.

c (102) Throughout the Quran the "announcements relating to the unseen", as here, signify not the ancient histories of past prophets, but a repetition of those histories in the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Thus from this verse onwards the subject is changed to the Holy Prophet's opponents. The reference in "when they resolved upon their affair, and they were devising plans" is to the resolution of the Quraish and their plans against the Prophet, for which see 8:30. The Quran does not relate stories for the sake of giving information of the past, but for the lessons which they afford for the future guidance of man.

Section 12: A Lesson for the Prophet's Opponents

105 And how many a sign in the heavens and the earth do they pass by, yet they turn away from it! 106 And most of them do not believe in Allah without setting up partners (with Him). 107 Do they then feel secure from the coming to them of an all-encompassing punishment from Allah or from the coming to them of the hour suddenly, while they do not perceive?

108 Say: This is my way; I call to Allah, with certain knowledge â€" I and those who follow me. And glory be to Allah! and I am not of those who set up partners (with Allah). 109 And We did not send before you any but men, from the people of the towns, to whom We sent revelation. Have they not then travelled in the land and seen what was the end of those before them? And certainly the abode of the Hereafter is best for those who keep their duty. Do you not then understand? 110 Until, when the messengers despaired and (the people) thought that they were told a lie," Our help came to them, and whom We pleased was delivered. And Our punishment is not averted from the guilty people. m In their histories there is certainly a lesson for those who have understanding. It is not a narrative which could be forged, but a verification of what is before it, and a distinct explanation of all things, and a guide and a mercy to a people who believe.

a (110) "They" refers to the people, not messengers. The messengers warn their people, but the latter are so stubborn that the messengers at length despair of their people. The people, on the other hand, think that what the prophets had told them about the coming of the punishment was a lie. Then it is that the promised help for the prophets comes and the punishment with which the evildoers are threatened overtakes them. That the prophets never despair of Divine assistance coming to them, in accordance with Divine promise, is clear from what has already been said in v. 87 (see also 15:56 and 29:23).

Chapter 13 Ai-Ra'd Thunder

This chapter is named Thunder from the analogy of rain which is often likened to revelation in the Quran. As rain is accompanied by thunder and lightening, so is revelation accompanied by warning of punishment, although its real purpose is mercy. The chapter points to signs in physical nature to the truth of revelation and deals with the demand from the disbelievers to see the sign of punishment befalling them. It then tells them about the Divine laws which govern reward and punishment, and explains that the real miracles were the spiritual life that the Quran awakened in people and the transformation it would bring in the world despite facing great mountains of obstacles. This chapter was revealed during the last four years of the period of the Holy Prophet's life at Makkah.

Section 1: Truth of Revelation

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 I, Allah, am the Best Knower, the Seer." These are verses of the Book. And what is revealed to you from your Lord is the Truth, but most people do not believe. 2 Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that you can see, and He is established on the Throne of Power, and He made the sun and the moon subservient (to you). Each one runs to an appointed term. He regulates the affair, making clear the messages that you may be certain of the meeting with your Lord.

3 And He it is Who spread the earth, and made in it firm mountains and rivers. And of all fruits He has made in it pairs,

a (1) The original Arabic consists of the letters alif, lam, mim and ra. These stand for ana (I), Allah, A 'lam (Best Knower) and Ra'i, (Seer) respectively.

b (2) All heavenly bodies are raised high without any pillars that man can see. Those pillars are the laws of gravitation. All heavenly bodies, we are further told, run their course to an appointed term; they have a beginning and an end, as all things on earth have a beginning and an end.

two (of every kind). He makes the night cover the day. Surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect. 4 And in the earth are tracts side by side, and gardens of vines, and corn, and palm-trees growing from one root and distinct roots â€" they are watered with one water; and We make some of them to excel others in fruit. Surely there are signs in this for a people who understand."

5 And if you wonder, then wondrous is their saying: When we are dust, shall we then be raised in a new creation? These are they who disbelieve in their Lord, and these have chains on their necks,* and they are the companions of the Fire; in it they will abide. 6 And they ask you to hasten on the evil before the good, and indeed there have been exemplary punishments before them. And surely your Lord is full of forgiveness for mankind despite their wrongdoing. And surely your Lord is Severe in retribution. 0 7 And those who disbelieve say: Why has not a sign been sent down to him from his Lord? Fou are only a warner and for every people a guide.

Section 2: Fall and Rise of Nations

8 Allah knows what every female bears, and what the wombs

a (4) Unity in diversity is observable in the whole of nature, which is a sure sign of the Unity of the great Author of all existence. Besides this, as there is a difference in the produce of different tracts, though they are subject to the same laws of nature, even so are the hearts of people in relation to the growth of the seed of virtue, which is sown by revelation.

b (5) The chains spoken of here are the chains which keep them constrained to evil usages and corrupt practices.

c (6) The opponents of the Holy Prophet are told that the Merciful God would deal with them not according to their wrongdoings, but according to His vast and comprehensive forgiveness. But when evil outsteps all bounds, His very mercy, which must be exercised towards His righteous servants, requires that the wrongdoers should not be left without punishment.

d (7) The words for every people a guide refer to the Holy Prophet. He was a warner indeed; he warned the evildoers of the evil consequences of their evil deeds, but he was ultimately to be a guide for every people, to lead them out of their evil ways and to set them on the right path.

fall short of completing and what they grow." And everything with Him has a measure. 9 The Knower of the unseen and the seen, the Great, the Most High. 10 Alike (to Him) among you is he who conceals the word and he who speaks openly, and he who hides himself by night and (who) goes forth by day.* n For him are (angels) guarding the consequences (of his deeds), before him and behind him, who guard him by Allah's command^ Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people, until they change their own condition. And when Allah intends harm to a people, there is no averting it, and besides Him they have no protector.

12 He it is Who shows you lightning causing fear and hope and (Who) brings up the heavy cloud. 13 And thunder celebrates His praise, and the angels too for awe of Him. And He sends thunderbolts and strikes with them whom He pleases, yet they dispute concerning Allah, and He is Mighty in prowess.

14 To Him is due the true prayer. And those to whom they pray besides Him give them no answer, but (they are) like one who stretches forth his two hands towards water that it may reach his mouth, but it will not reach it. And the prayer of the disbelievers is only wasted. 15 And whoever is in the heavens and the earth makes submission to Allah only, willingly and unwillingly, and their shadows, too, morning and evening.

16 Say: Who is the Lord of the heavens and the earth? Say: Allah. Say: Do you then take besides Him, guardians who control

a (8) The physical law of nature is spoken of here with a deeper reference to the spiritual law, according to which some receive a new birth through the Prophet and others do not. The subject is made clearer in the verses that follow.

b (10) A general law is given expression to here, with a deeper reference to the secret and open counsels against the Holy Prophet and to enemies seeking his life by day and by night.

c (11) While the statement is no doubt general and refers to the guardian angels referred to in 6:61, there is a deeper allusion to the Divine protection specially granted to the Holy Prophet against the numerous enemies among whom he lived day and night. The angels guard the consequences of the deeds of man, and are therefore spoken of here as guarding him, i.e., guarding whatever he does, by Allah's command.

no benefit or harm even for themselves? Say: Are the blind and the seeing alike? Or, are darkness and light equal? Or, have they set up with Allah partners who have created creation like His, so that what is created became confused to them? Say: Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is the One, the Supreme.

17 He sends down water from the clouds, then watercourses flow according to their measure, and the torrent bears along the swelling foam. And a scum like it arises from what they melt in the fire for the sake of making ornaments or tools." Thus does Allah compare truth and falsehood. Then as for the scum, it passes away as a worthless thing; and as for that which benefits people, it remains behind in the earth. Thus does Allah set forth parables. 18 For those who respond to their Lord is good. And as for those who do not respond to Him, even if they had all that is in the earth and as much again, they would certainly offer it for a ransom. As for those, theirs is an evil reckoning and their abode is hell; and evil is the resting-place.

Section 3: Good and Evil bring their own Reward

19 Is he who knows that what is revealed to you from your Lord is the truth, like him who is blind? Only those who have understanding are mindful â€" 20 those who fulfil the pact of Allah, and do not break the covenant, 21 and those who join what Allah has ordered to be joined c and have awe of their Lord, and fear the evil reckoning. 22 And those who are steadfast seeking the pleasure

a (17-1) The word used includes here all kinds of things necessary for the life of man, such as utensils, tools, implements, and instruments of war.

b (17-2) The parable set forth here signifies that the Holy Prophet and his followers will live and prosper, as they work for the good of mankind. On the other hand, evil practices and worthless usages and customs, as well as those who uphold them, will be swept away before the mighty current of Truth, as rubbish is borne away by a torrent.

c (21) While the previous verse deals with people's duty to their Maker, this refers to relations with His creatures. "What Allah has ordered to be joined" includes all those ties of love and relationship which Allah has taught human beings to observe and keep inviolate.

13:23' GOOD AND EVIL BRING THEIR OWN REWARD 303

of their Lord, and keep up prayer and spend (on good works) out of what We have given them, secretly and openly, and repel evil with good; a theirs is the (happy) issue of the abode â€" 23 Gardens of perpetuity, which they will enter along with those who do good from among their fathers and their spouses and their offspring; and the angels will enter in upon them from every gate. 24 Peace be on you, because you were constant â€" how excellent is then the final abode!

25 And those who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation, and cut apart what Allah has ordered to be joined, and make mischief in the land, for them is the curse, and theirs is the evil end of the abode. 26 Allah amplifies provision for whom He pleases, and restricts (it also). And they rejoice in this world's life. And this world's life, compared with the Hereafter, is only a temporary enjoyment.

Section 4: Revolution to be brought about by the Quran

27 And those who disbelieve say: Why is not a sign sent down to him by his Lord? c Say: Allah leaves in error whom He

a (22) Evil is a thing which is by all means to be repelled, and hence good for evil is recommended only in cases when evil would be repelled by that good. Unconditionally requiting evil with good would abolish all safeguards; evildoers who received nothing but good for every evil they committed would most assuredly establish a condition of anarchy by their evil deeds. Elsewhere it is said: whoever forgives and brings about reform (42:40).

b (23) The Quran is full of clear statements that women shall enjoy the bliss of paradise. Azwaj is the plural oizauj, which means either husband or wife, and hence I have rendered it as spouses.

c (27-1) The answer to this question is given at the end of this section: "disaster will not cease to afflict them because of what they do, or it will reach close to their homes, until the promise of Allah come to pass" (v. 31). This promise related to the utter annihilation of the power of the disbelievers. The question, why is not a sign sent down to him, here as elsewhere in the Quran, is a demand for the promised annihilation of their power and their defeat, and the answer is always conveyed in somewhat similar terms, stating first that they should ask for mercy; that the Quran has healing power, the condition of the faithful being a witness to it; that the fate of the former generations affords a lesson; that smaller calamities continue to afflict them, and in these they can see the signs of their

pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him) " â€" 28 those who believe and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah. Now surely in Allah's remembrance do hearts find rest. 29 Those who believe and do good, a good final state is theirs and a goodly return. 30 Thus We have sent you among a nation before which other nations have passed away, that you might recite to them what We have revealed to you, and (still) they deny the Beneficent. Say: He is my Lord, there is no god but He; in Him do I trust and to Him is my return.

31 And if there could be a Quran with which the mountains were made to pass away, or the earth were split apart, or the dead were made to speak â€" indeed, the commandment is wholly Allah's. Do not those who believe know that, if Allah please, He would certainly guide all the people? And as for those who disbelieve, disaster will not cease to afflict them because of what they do, or it will reach close to their homes, until the promise of Allah come to pass. Surely Allah will not fail in (His) promise.

ultimate vanquishment; and that finally, if all those tokens are rejected, the great calamity will not fail to overtake them.

a (27-2) The contrast with those who turn to God makes it clear that Allah's pleasure to leave some in error is exercised only in the case of those who, though invited to God, do not turn to Him but choose to remain in error. The first part may also be translated thus: Allah leaves in error who will (remain in error).

b (31) That the Quran should work such great wonders is not an impossibility but a fact, for we are immediately told that it will be brought about soon by Allah's commandment. At the time when these verses were revealed, difficulties in the spread of Islam appeared like mountains. It is a matter of history that they were made to pass away. The earth splitting apart means that the Quran would go deep down into the hearts of people, which are compared here to the earth. These words may also mean that the earth will be travelled over. There were no facilities at that time for going to distant corners of Arabia, to say nothing of the whole world. Yet not only was the whole of Arabia travelled over by the message-bearers of Islam within ten years after this, but within a hundred years of the Prophet's death Islam had traversed the whole of the known world, from the farthest East in China to the farthest West in Spain. It is again a matter of history that the dead were made to speak. People who were dead spiritually now spoke with such power that the whole earth from end to end responded to their call.

Section 5: Opposition will fail

32 And messengers before you were certainly mocked, but I gave respite to those who disbelieved, then I seized them. How (terrible) was then My retribution! 33 Is, then, He Who watches every soul as to what it earns (like their associate gods)? And yet they ascribe partners to Allah! Say: Name them. a Would you inform Him of what He does not know in the earth, or of an outward saying?' Rather, their plan is made to seem good to those who disbelieve, and they are kept back from the path. e And whom Allah leaves in error, he has no guide. 34 For them is punishment in this world's life, and the punishment of the Hereafter is certainly more grievous. And they have no protector against Allah.

35 A parable of the Garden which is promised to those who keep their duty: In it flow rivers. Its fruits are perpetual and (so is) its plenty. Such is the end for those who keep their duty; and the end for the disbelievers is the Fire. 36 And those to whom We have given the Book rejoice in what has been revealed to you, e and some sects deny a part of it. Say: I am commanded only to serve Allah and not set up partners with Him. To Him do I invite (you), and to Him is my return. 37 And thus have We revealed it, a

a (33-1) It is to show the utmost contempt for the alleged partners of the Divine Being that their worshippers are called upon to give them a name, as if it were said that they are not worthy of a name. Or the meaning may be, give them a name expressing any qualification of godhead, such as a sustainer, creator, etc.

b (33-2) He knows both the inner feelings of man and his outward sayings, and He does not stand in need of a mediator.

c (33-3) As stated in 29:38, it is the devil who makes their evil deeds seem good to people and keeps them back from the right path.

rf(35) The paradise mentioned here is called a. parable, as also in 47:15. A saying of the Holy Prophet makes it clear that the blessings of paradise are such as no eye has seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive of them (Bukhari, 59:8). The description given in the Quran is only a likeness of what it actually is, as it is of a nature entirely different from the things of this world.

e (36) The Book may signify the Quran; or it may refer to the previous revelation, in which case the Jewish and Christian converts to Islam are meant here.

true judgment, in Arabic. And if you follow their low desires after the knowledge that has come to you, you would have against Allah no guardian nor protector.

Section 6: Steady Progress of Truth

38 And certainly We sent messengers before you and appointed for them wives and children. And it is not in the power of a messenger to bring a sign except by Allah's permission. For every term there is an appointment. 39 Allah effaces what He pleases and establishes (what He pleases), and with Him is the basis of the Book."

40 Whether We show you part of what We promise them, or cause you to die (before it comes about), your duty is only to deliver the message, and Ours to call (them) to account. 41 Do they not see that We are visiting the land, curtailing it of its sides?* And Allah pronounces a doom â€" there is no repeller of His decree. And He is Swift in calling to account. 42 And those before them planned indeed, but all planning is Allah's. c He knows what every soul earns. And the disbelievers will come to know for whom is the (good) end of the abode. 43 And those who disbelieve say: 7ou are not a messenger. Say: Allah is sufficient for a witness between me and you and whoever has knowledge of the Book.

a (39) The Divine ordinance to annihilate the power of the opponents of the Holy Prophet and to bring about the establishment of the Truth is called the "basis of the Book" {Umm al-Kitab), because the final defeat of the powers of evil, which was previously foretold, would be such a clear sign that it would dispel all doubts.

b (41) The reference in curtailing the sides may be either to some of the exalted men having come over to Islam and the opposition being thus weakened, or to the diminution of the number of disbelievers, both high and low, by people daily leaving their ranks and joining the ranks of Islam.

c (42) The meaning is that the plans of the enemy need not be feared, for all their planning is controlled by Allah, or that the requital of their plans is in the hands of Allah.

d (43) Those who have any knowledge of previous revelation will testify to the truth of the revelation of the Quran, because it fulfils all previous prophecies and satisfies the criteria of a true revelation.

Chapter 14 Ibrahim Abraham

This chapter is named after Abraham, whose prayer is mentioned in verses 35â€"41. It explains that the work of the Quran is to lead people out of darkness into light, but that previous prophets too, such as Moses, had their message rejected at first. However, in all cases the opposition failed and God's promise to help the prophet was fulfilled. Truth is confirmed and man brings about his own ruin by rejecting it. Then Abraham's prayer for the right guidance of his descendants is mentioned and we are told that opposition to the truth will always end in failure. This chapter was revealed during the last four years of the period of the Holy Prophet's life at Makkah.

Section 1: Revelation dispels Darkness

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 I, Allah, am the Seer. A Book which We have revealed to you that you may bring forth people, by their Lord's permission, from darkness into light, to the way of the Mighty, the Praised One, 2 of Allah, Whose is whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And woe to the disbelievers for the severe punishment! 3 Those who love this world's life more than the Hereafter, and turn away from Allah's path, and would have it crooked. Those are far astray.

4 And We sent no messenger but with the language of his people, so that he might explain to them clearly/ Then Allah leaves in error whom He pleases and He guides whom He pleases. And He is the Mighty, the Wise.

5 And certainly We sent Moses with Our messages, saying:

a (4) Nothing is said here about the extent of the mission of the Holy Prophet, which was for all mankind; see 7:158. All that is said here is that every prophet is sent with the language of his people so that he may explain to his people, because it is his people who are the first recipients of his message.

Bring forth jour people from darkness into light and remind them of the days of Allah." In this are surely signs for every steadfast, grateful one. 6 And when Moses said to his people: Call to mind Allah's favour to you, when He delivered you from Pharaoh's people, who subjected you to severe torment, and slaughtered your sons and spared your women. And there was a great trial in it from your Lord.

Section 2: Truth is rejected First

7 And when your Lord made it known: If you are grateful, I will give you more, and if you are ungrateful, My punishment is truly severe. 8 And Moses said: If you are ungrateful, you and all those on earth, then Allah is surely Self-sufficient, Praised.

9 Has not the account reached you of those before you, of the people of Noah and Ad and Thamud â€" and those after them? None knows them but Allah. Their messengers came to them with clear arguments, but they thrust their hands into their mouths e and said: We deny what you are sent with, and surely we are in serious doubt about that to which you invite us. 10 Their messengers said: Is there doubt about Allah, the Maker of the heavens and the earth? He invites you to forgive you your faults and to give you respite till an appointed term. They said: You are nothing but mortals like us; you wish to turn us away from what our fathers used to worship, so bring us clear authority.

a (5) "The days of Allah" signify His merciful dealings with the righteous and His punishment of the wicked.

b (9-1) The Quran does not claim to give a history of all the prophets; see 4:164 and 40:78. The statement made here is much wider. It is claimed that no other book mentions them all; they are known only to Allah.

c (9-2) This expression may mean their inability to give an answer, or that they bit their hands by reason of rage, or that they put their hands into the mouths of the messengers to silence them.

d (9-3) The general statements made with regard to the messengers and the treatment of their people, in this and the following section, are particularly made in reference to the mission of the Prophet Muhammad, the opposition and enmity of his people, their turning him out of the city, and their final discomfiture.

11 Their messengers said to them: We are nothing but mortals like yourselves, but Allah bestows (His) favours on whom He pleases of His servants. And it is not for us to bring you an authority, except by Allah's permission. And on Allah let the believers rely. 12 And why should we not rely on Allah and He has indeed guided us in our ways? And we would certainly bear with patience your persecution of us. And on Allah should the reliant rely.

Section 3: Opposition is at last destroyed

13 And those who disbelieved said to their messengers: We will certainly drive you out of our land, unless you come back into our religion." So their Lord revealed to them: We shall certainly destroy the wrongdoers, 14 and We shall certainly settle you in the land after them. This is for him who fears standing in My presence and fears My threat. 15 And they sought judgment, and every insolent opposer was disappointed: 16 Hell is before him and he is given to drink boiling water; 17 he drinks it little by little and is not able to swallow it; and death comes to him from every quarter, yet he does not die. c And before him is vehement punishment.

18 The parable of those who disbelieve in their Lord: Their works are as ashes on which the wind blows hard on a stormy day. They have no power over anything they have earned. That is straying far away. 19 Do you not see that Allah created the heavens and the earth with truth? If He please, He will take you away and bring a new creation, 20 and that is not difficult for Allah. 21 And they will all come forth to Allah, then the weak will say to those who were proud: We were your followers, can you then avert from

a (13) This is no doubt equally a description of what the Holy Prophet was suffering at the hands of his enemies.

b (14) This verse contains a very clear prophecy of the flight of the Holy Prophet from Makkah and of his re-entry into that city as a conqueror and ruler.

c (17) He experiences, as it were, the pangs of death, but death, which would end all distress, does not come to him.

d (20) V. 18 states that all the exertions of the opponents against the Prophet will be useless, while verses 19 and 20 warn the disbelievers that their power will come to an end and another people will take their place.

us any of the punishment of Allah? They will say: If Allah had guided us, we would have guided you. It is the same to us whether we cry or bear patiently; there is no escape for us.

Section 4: Truth is confirmed

22 And the devil will say, a when the matter is decided: Surely Allah promised you a promise of truth, and I promised you, then failed you. And I had no authority over you, except that I called you and you obeyed me; so do not blame me but blame yourselves. I cannot come to your help, nor can you come to my help. I deny your taking me as partner with Allah before. e Surely for the unjust is a painful punishment.

23 And those who believe and do good are made to enter Gardens, in which rivers flow, abiding in them by their Lord's permission. Their greeting therein is, Peace! 24 Do you not see how Allah sets forth a parable of a good word as a good tree, whose root is firm and whose branches are high, "yielding its fruit in

a (22-1) The devil mentioned in this verse is none other than the proud mis-leader of the preceding one. Compare also 37:30, where the very words we had no authority over you are put into the mouth of the leaders of evil from among mankind.

b (22-2) Whenever a person is misled into an evil deed, he finds in the end that the promise of a good consequence for an evil deed was only a deception. Compare 4:120 and 17:64.

c (22-3) An alternative meaning: is / disbelieved because you took me as partner with Allah. In other words, the leaders disbelieve because their followers make them think by their flattery that they are worthy of being obeyed and followed.

d (24) The parable likening a good word to a good tree follows immediately a description of the final abode of those who do good â€" Gardens in which rivers flow. A good word is like a good tree which gives its fruit in every season, and therefore the fruits which a man will find in paradise are only the fruits of his own good deeds. The trees of paradise are in fact man's own good deeds, which have grown into trees, bearing a fruit which is an embodiment of the spiritual fruits of the good deeds of this life. As good deeds are likened to fruit-bearing trees, faith is likened to water repeatedly in the Quran, being the source of physical life. It is for this reason that, just as the righteous are always spoken of as being those who believe and do good, paradise is always described as being a Garden in which

every season by the permission of its Lord? And Allah sets forth parables for people that they may be mindful. 26 And the parable of an evil word is as an evil tree pulled up from the earth's surface; it has no stability." 27 AUah confirms those who believe with the sure word in this world's life and in the Hereafter; and Allah leaves the wrongdoers in error; and Allah does what He pleases.

Section 5: Man's Injustice in rejecting Truth

28 Do you not see those who change Allah's favour for disbelief e and make their people reach the abode of destruction â€" 29 Hell. They will burn in it. And an evil place it is to settle in! 30 And they set up equals with Allah to lead astray from His path. Say: Enjoy yourselves, for surely your return is to the Fire.

31 Tell My servants who believe to keep up prayer and spend (on good works) out of what We have given them, secretly and openly, before the coming of the day in which there is no bartering, nor befriending. 32 Allah is He Who created the heavens and the earth and sent down water from the clouds, then brought forth with it fruits as a sustenance for you, and He has made the ships subservient to you to run their course in the sea by His command, and He has made the rivers subservient to you. rf 33 And He has made subservient to you the sun and the moon, pursuing their courses; and He has made subservient to you the night and the day. 34 And He gives you of all that you ask of Him. And if you

rivers flow, the rivers corresponding to faith and the trees of the Garden corresponding to the good which a person does.

a (26) The evil deed is likened to a tree whose roots do not go down into the earth, and in whose case, therefore, the process of nutrition must stop. Therefore an evil deed does not prosper and cannot bear any fruit.

b (27) Allah does what He pleases, but it is the wrongdoers only, whom He leaves in error. The immediate cause of their going astray is their own iniquity.

c (28) They reject Allah's favour, the Revelation, which aims at making them a great and exalted people, and adopt disbelief in its place.

d (32) The whole of creation is here, and in the next verse, declared to be made subservient to man, to show his high place in creation. How much then does man degrade himself by worshipping things which were made to serve him!

count Allah's favours, you will not be able to number them. Surely man is very unjust, very ungrateful.

Section 6: Abraham's Prayer

35 And when Abraham said: My Lord, make this city secure, and save me and my sons from worshipping idols. " 36 My Lord, surely they have led many people astray.* So whoever follows me, he is surely of me; and whoever disobeys me, You surely are Forgiving, Merciful. c 37 0ur Lord, I have settled a part of my offspring in a valley unproductive of fruit near Your Sacred House, our Lord, that they may keep up prayer; so make the hearts of some people yearn towards them, and provide them with fruits; perhaps they may be grateful. 38 0ur Lord, surely You know what we hide and what we proclaim. And nothing is hidden from Allah, either in the earth or in the heaven.

39 Praise be to Allah, Who has given me, in old age, Ishmael and Isaac! Surely my Lord is the Hearer of prayer. 40 My Lord,

a (35) That idolatry received a death-blow from the hands of one of Abraham's descendants shows that Abraham's prayer was not in vain.

b (36-1) Idols do not actually lead people astray; the meaning is that it is on account of them that people go astray.

c (36-2) The prayer of Abraham is in fact the prayer of the Holy Prophet and illustrates the breadth of his view. Those who follow him are, of course, his own, but he does not reject even those who disobey him, for he prays for Allah's mercy and protection even for them.

d (37) According to a Hadith report (Bukhari, 60:9), Abraham brought Hagar and Ishmael, and settled them near the ruins of the Sacred House, the Ka'bah. This, as the hadith states, was done under a Divine commandment. For when Abraham was going back, on leaving them both in this wilderness, where there was no town at this time, Hagar asked him, Is it by Allah's commandment that you are doing this? Abraham's reply was, Yes. Then said Hagar: "Allah will not leave us to perish". It is further stated that, when no water was left with her, Hagar ran to and fro, between the Safa and the Marwah, to find out if there was any caravan going that way. It was on this occasion that she saw an angel, who pointed to her a place where she could find water. This was the place known now as Zamzam. It was due to this water that some people settled there. Even the Bible accepts that Ishmael's descendants settled in Arabia.

make me keep up prayer and (those) from my offspring (too), our Lord, and accept my prayer. 4 iOur Lord, grant me protection and my parents and the believers on the day when the reckoning comes to pass.

Section 7: The End of Opposition

42 And do not think Allah to be heedless of what the unjust do. He only gives them respite to a day when the eyes will stare (in terror), 43 hastening forward, their heads upraised, their gaze not returning to them, and their hearts vacant." 44 And warn people of a day when the punishment will come to them, then the wrongdoers will say: Our Lord, grant us respite for a short while, we will respond to Your call and follow the messengers. Did you not swear before, that there will be no passing away for you? 45 And you dwell in the abodes of those who wronged themselves, and it is clear to you how We dealt with them and We made (them) examples for you. 46 And they have indeed planned their plan, and their plan is with Allah, though their plan is such that the mountains should be moved by it.

47 So do not think that Allah will fail in His promise to His messengers. Surely Allah is Mighty, the Lord of retribution. 48 0n the day when the earth will be changed into a different earth, and the heavens (as well), c and they will come forth to Allah, the One,

a (43) The striking of terror into the hearts of those who opposed the Prophet was witnessed in this very life, when the Prophet advanced on Makkah. The vacancy or blankness of the heart indicates a state of great terror.

b (46) The reference is to the plan of the Quraish to put an end to the Prophet's life, when he was left almost alone in Makkah. The words their plan is with Allah signify that their plan is controlled by Allah, Who will make it ineffective. A wonderful prophecy indeed in the mouth of a man whose only chance of saving himself now lay in escaping from his enemies, while they were taking every precaution not to allow him to escape, having decided to put him to death!

c (48) The transformation wrought by the Holy Prophet no doubt changed the earth into a different earth and the heaven into a new heaven. The Arabia at the birth of the Prophet was not the Arabia at his death. Beliefs, usages, and practices, which had baffled all attempts at reformation for centuries, were swept away, and the ignorant, superstitious, and warring tribes had become a single nation,

the Supreme. 49 And you will see the guilty on that day linked together in chains" â€" 50 their shirts made of pitch, and fire covering their faces, S1 that Allah may repay each soul what it has earned. Surely Allah is Swift in reckoning. 52 This is a message for the people and that they may be warned by it, and that they may know that He is One God, and that those who have understanding may be mindful.

holding aloft the torch of knowledge and civilization to the whole world. Idolatry was blotted out of existence so completely that no vestige of it could be found among a people who had remained addicted to it for centuries. And that great change must now come over the whole world. But the spiritual resurrection is only an indication of the great day of Resurrection.

a (49) The powerful opponents of the Prophet were brought before him linked together in chains in this very life, at the battle of Badr. These promises were fulfilled in this life to show that they were equally true as regards the next.

Chapter 15 Ai-mjr The Rock

This chapter is named The Rock after the Dwellers of the Rock mentioned in v. 80, whose fate is a warning to those who sought to kill the Holy Prophet. The chapter begins with the grand promise that the Quran shall forever be guarded against all corruption and all attempts to annihilate it (v. 9). It goes on to declare that evil-doers cannot inflict any injury on the chosen ones of God and that the devil's opposition has always failed. Then it gives examples of how opponents of previous prophets were destroyed. This chapter was revealed at Makkah.

*0

85

Section 1: The Quran is guarded

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 I, Allah, am the Seer. These are the verses of the Book and (of) a Quran that makes clear.

2 Often will those who disbelieve wish that they were Muslims." 3 Leave them to eat and enjoy themselves, and let (false) hope beguile them, for they will soon know. 4 And never did We destroy a town but it had a decree made known. 5 No people can hasten on their doom, nor postpone it.

6 And they say: Fou, to whom the Reminder is revealed, you are indeed mad. 7 Why do you not bring the angels to us, if you are truthful? 8 We do not send angels but with truth, and then they

a (2) The passage does not refer only to life after death. The opponents, who thought Islam would soon be annihilated, must no doubt have felt after in life, when the truth of Islam became manifest, that it would have been much better for them if they had accepted Islam at the first call of the Prophet.

b (7) The words if you are truthful clearly show that the coming of angels is demanded in relation to the fulfilment of prophecies. In the next verse they are told that the angels will be sent, in accordance with the requirements of truth and justice, when they are required to execute the judgment of the doom of the opponents.

would not be given respite. 'Surely We have revealed the Reminder, and surely We are its Guardian."

10 And certainly We sent (messengers) before you among the sects of old. n And never did a messenger come to them but they mocked him. 12 Thus do We make it enter the hearts of the guilty * â€" 13 they do not believe in it; and the example of the ancients has gone before. 14 And even if We open to them a gate of heaven, and they keep on ascending into it, 15 they would say: Only our eyes have been covered over, rather we are a people under enchantment^

Section 2: Forces of Evil will be destroyed

16 And certainly We have made strongholds in the heaven, and We have made it attractive for the onlookers, 17 and We guard it against every accursed devil, 18 but he who steals a hearing; so there follows him a visible flame. d

a (9) This is one of the most wonderful prophecies, whose fulfilment is, and will ever remain, a standing testimony to the truth of the Holy Quran, that the Quran will for all time be preserved safe against all attempts to destroy it and from every kind of corruption. The fulfilment of this prophecy is so evident a fact that a hostile writer like Sir William Muir admitted that "there is probably in the world no other work which has remained twelve centuries with so pure a text" (The Life of Mahomet, 1861, ch. 1). In the whole length and breadth of the Islamic world there does not exist a single copy with any variation from the recognized text, and thus not only was the Quran preserved from destruction against a powerful enemy, but it has also been preserved from corruption.

b (12) Thus refers to the mockery mentioned in the previous verse. Due to their mockery, it enters their hearts not to believe in the Divine message.

c (15) Verses 14-15 speak of the hardness of their hearts. They were determined to reject the truth and did not pay any attention to the clearest evidence.

d (18) The three verses 16-18 speak of the soothsayers and the diviners, who were among the opponents of the Holy Prophet; they pretended to receive communications from on high. We are here told that they were really driven from the Divine presence, and therefore could not have any access to that source of purity. In speaking of the divinations as being followed by a visible flame, it is indicated that they meet with failure and disappointment. The description of spiritual truths in words relating to physical laws prevailing in the world is of common occurrence in the Quran.

19 And the earth â€" We have spread it out and made in it firm mountains and caused to grow in it of every suitable thing. 20 And We have made in it means of subsistence for you and for those (creatures) for whom you do not provide. 21 And there is not a thing but with Us are the treasures of it, and We do not send it down but in a known measure. 22 And We send the winds fertilizing, then send down water from the clouds," so We give it to you to drink; nor is it you who store it up. 23 And surely it is We, Who give life and cause death, and We are the Inheritors.

24 And certainly We know those among you who go forward and We certainly know those who lag behind. 25 And surely jour Lord will gather them together. He indeed is Wise, Knowing. 0

Section 3: The Devil's Opposition to the Righteous

26 And surely We created man of sounding clay, of black mud fashioned into shape. 27 And the jinn, We created before of intensely hot fire. 28 And when jour Lord said to the angels: I am going to

a (22) The fertilizing winds represent the signs of the progress of Islam before its final triumph, which is indicated by the rain from the clouds.

b (23) One who inherits is the one who remains after another has perished. The announcement made here is a prophecy that the true worshippers of Allah will be heirs in the land while the others will perish.

c (25) One meaning is that those who are foremost in accepting truth and those who lag behind in accepting it will all be gathered together, i.e., ultimately those who now lag behind will be brought over to the right course.

d (27) See also 7:12 footnote. Man's creation from dust also refers to his low and humble origin and his temperate nature, as opposed to another kind of creation of a fiery nature, which is called the/inn or the devil. The two words, jinn and devil, are frequently applied to men of a fiery temperament or rebellious nature who lead others to evil. These descriptions of the creation of men and jinn axe, allegorical, referring respectively to the nature of those who are submissive to Divine laws and those who rebel against them, and the allegory is carried on further in what is stated of the rebellion of the devil against Adam. The two descriptions of the origin of man, his being made from clay that gives sound and of mud that is fashioned into shape, refer to the two great characteristics which give man a superiority over other animals, namely, his use of language and the perfection of his make.

create a mortal of sounding clay, of black mud fashioned into shape. 29 So when I have made him complete and breathed into him of My spirit," fall down making submission to him. 30 So the angels submitted, all of them together â€" 31 but not IblTs. He refused to be with those who submitted.

32 He said: O IblTs, what is the reason that you are not with those who submit? 33 He said: I am not going to submit to a mortal, whom You have created of sounding clay, of black mud fashioned into shape. 34 He said: Then go forth, for surely you are driven away, 35 and surely on you is a curse till the day of Judgment. 36 He said: My Lord, grant me respite till the day when they are raised. 37 He said: Surely you are granted respite, 38 till the day of the time made known.

39 He said: My Lord, as You have judged me to be in error/ I shall certainly make (evil) seem good to them on earth, and I shall cause them all to deviate, 40 except Your servants from among them, the purified ones. 41 He said: This is a right way with Me. 42 As regards My servants, you have no authority over them except such of the deviators as follow you. 43 And surely hell is the promised place for them all â€" 44 it has seven gates. For each gate is an appointed portion of them. e

a (29) This shows that man is made complete when the Divine spirit is breathed into him. The Divine spirit (Arabic: riih) does not mean here the animal soul in man, but the spirit of Allah that gives him perfection.

b (36) When a man is raised to life spiritually, the suggestions and the promptings of the devil cease to affect him. But until he finds spiritual life, evil suggestions mislead him now and then. This is the "time made known" in v. 38.

c (39) The meaning is clearly "as You have judged me to be in error" and not caused me to be in error.

d (42) In a broad sense all people are servants of Allah. That the devil has no authority over them is clear from 14:22, where the devil says to his followers: "I had no authority over you, except that I called you and you obeyed me."

e (44) The seven gates mean the seven ways which lead into it, according to which there are seven different names of hell in the Quran. However, the numeral seven in Arabic often stands for a large number, so that the meaning may be that there are many gates or many ways leading to it.

Section 4: Mercy for the Righteous â€" Abraham

45 Surely those who keep their duty are in Gardens and fountains. 46 Enter them in peace, secure. 47 And We shall remove whatever of bitterness is in their hearts â€" as brothers, on thrones, facing each other. 48 Toil does not afflict them therein, nor will they be ejected from there." 49 Inform My servants that I am the Forgiving, the Merciful, 50 and that My punishment â€" that is the painful punishment.

51 And inform them of the guests of Abraham. 52 When they came to him, they said, Peace! He said: We are afraid of you. 53 They said: Do not be afraid, we give you good news of a boy, possessing knowledge. 54 He said: Do you give me good news when old age has come upon me? Of what then do you give me good news? 55 They said: We give you good news with truth, so do not be from among the despairing ones. 56 He said: And who despairs of the mercy of his Lord except those in error?

57 He said: What is your business, then, messengers? 58 They said: We have been sent to a guilty people, 59 except Lot's followers. We shall deliver them all, 60 except his wife: We ordained that she shall surely be among those who remain behind.

Section 5: Lot and Shuaib

61 So when the messengers came to Lot's followers, 62 he said: Surely you are an unknown people. 63 They said: Indeed, we have come to you with that about which they disputed. 64 And we have come to you with the truth, and we are surely truthful.

a (48) Such is the Muslim paradise. There is absolute peace of mind, perfect security from any inclination to evil or any other danger (v. 46); there is a brotherhood in which no one conceals any rancour in his heart for his brother, nor has anyone a complaint against another (v. 47); and lastly, there is neither toil nor fatigue, nor is one to be ever deprived of that state of perfect bliss (v. 48). This verse further establishes that those who are once made to enter paradise are not sent back to this world; and that therefore the garden in which Adam was at first placed was not the paradise of heavenly life, for in that case he would not have been ejected from it.

65 So travel with your followers for a part of the night, yourself following behind them; and let not anyone of you turn round, and go where you are commanded. 66 And We made known to him this decree, that the roots of these should be cut off in the morning.

67 And the people of the town came rejoicing. 68 He said: These are my guests, so do not disgrace me, 69 and keep your duty to Allah and do not shame me. 70 They said: Did we not forbid you from (entertaining) people? 71 He said: These are my daughters, if you are going to do anything. " 72 By your life! they blindly wandered on in their frenzy. 73 So the cry overtook them at sunrise; 74 thus We turned it upside down, and rained upon them stones, as decreed. 75 Surely in this are signs for those who take a lesson. 76 And it is on a road that still abides. 77 Surely in this is a sign for the believers.

78 And the dwellers of the grove were indeed wrongdoers: 79 So We inflicted retribution on them. And they are both on an open high road. c

Section 6: Dwellers of the Rock and a Warning

80 And the dwellers of the Rock indeed rejected the messengers; 81 and We gave them Our messages, but they turned away from them; 82 and they carved houses in the mountains, in security. 83 So the cry overtook them in the morning; 84 and what they earned did not avail them.

85 And We did not create the heavens and the earth and all that is between them but with truth. And the Hour is surely coming, so turn away with kindly forgiveness. 6 86 Surely your Lord â€"

a (71) See 11:78 footnote.

b (78) The dwellers of the grove were Shuaib's people.

c (79) By both are meant the cities of the people of Lot as well as those of Shuaib's people. The road alluded to is the road followed by caravans from the Hijaz to Syria.

d (80) The dwellers of the Rock are the people of Thamud; see 7:73 note 1.

e (85) Just one of many instances of the Holy Prophet's forgiveness was at the

He is the Creator, the Knower. 87 And certainly We have given you seven oft-repeated (verses) and the grand Quran."

88 Do not strain your eyes (with desire) at what We have given certain classes of them to enjoy, nor grieve for them, and make yourself gentle to the believers.* 89 And say: I am indeed the plain warner. 90 Like as We sent down on them who took oaths, 91 those who divided the Quran into parts. 92 So, by your Lord! We shall question them all, 93 as to what they did.

94 Therefore declare openly what you are commanded, and turn away from those who set up partners (with Allah). 95 Surely We are sufficient for you against the scoffers â€" 96 those who set up another god with Allah; so they will come to know. 97 And We know indeed that your heart is distressed at what they say; 98 so celebrate the praise of your Lord, and be of those who prostrate (before Him). "And serve your Lord, until there comes to you what is certain. c

conquest of Makkah, when, having captured the city which had most tyrannically driven him out with his followers, and whose people were guilty of shedding the innocent blood of the Muslims, he forgave all.

a (87) The Holy Prophet is reported to have said that the "seven oft-repeated verses" were the seven verses of the Fatihah, the first chapter of the Quran. (Bukhari, 65:1). According to the same hadith, the Fatihah is called the grand Quran. It is so called because it contains the essence of the whole of the Quran.

b (88) The riches and embellishments of this life had no temptation for the Holy Prophet. The unequalled simplicity of his life from the time that he married a rich widow to the time that he ruled Arabia may be guessed from the last scene of his life, when he ordered the last penny in his house to be given to the poor. The verse, moreover, draws a picture of the utmost kindness and gentleness which he showed to his followers. The straining of the eyes signifies looking desirously.

c (99) What is certain is here generally taken to mean death (Bukhari, 65.15:5), because it is the one thing which is certain to come to every creature.

Chapter 16 Ai-NaM The Bee

This chapter is so named because the bee, guided by its instinct which is called "revelation" in 16:68, gathers honey from flowers by taking the best of what is in them, producing "a beverage of many colours in which there is healing for human beings" (16:69). Similarly, Divine revelation to the Holy Prophet collected the best in previous revealed teachings and presented it in the Quran, which is also called "a healing" for people (10:57).

This chapter begins by mentioning the benefits which God has conferred upon man in physical nature to show that He also bestows upon him spiritual gifts. Those who reject these gifts will come to disgrace but God is slow to punish. Revelation is necessary, but not every person can receive it directly. The best ones are chosen for it. Revelation teaches the doing of good, and the Quran replaces previous revelation. Those who reject it are then compared to a flourishing town which is made to suffer because of the ingratitude of its people. Lastly, Muslims are given certain golden directions to follow in order to be a great nation. This chapter was revealed in the last period at Makkah.

Section 1: Revelation testified to by Nature

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 Allah's commandment will come, so do not seek to hasten it. a Glory be to Him, and supremely exalted is He above what they set up as partners (with Him)! 2 He sends down angels with revelation by His command on whom He pleases of His servants, saying: Give the warning that there is no God but Me, so keep your duty to Me. 3 He created the heavens and the earth with truth. Supremely exalted is He above what they set up as partners (with Him)!

a (1) The disbelievers are asked not to hasten the punishment, for Allah, Who conferred so many physical benefits on them, and is willing to bestow His spiritual gifts, as mercy has the foremost place in Divine nature. This is stated in the verses that follow. What that punishment was going to be is expressly stated at the end of this chapter (v. 112).

4 He created man from a small life-germ," and lo! he is an open contender. 5 And the cattle, He has created them for you. You have in them warm clothing and (other) advantages, and of them you eat. 6 And therein is beauty for you, when you drive them back (home) and when you send them out (to pasture). 7 And they carry your heavy loads to regions which you could not reach but with distress to yourselves. Surely your Lord is Compassionate, Merciful. 8 And (He made) horses and mules and asses that you might ride upon them and as an ornament. And He creates what you do not know. 9 And upon Allah it rests to show the right way, and there are some deviating (ways). And if He please, He would guide all of you aright.

Section 2: Nature upholds Unity

10 He it is Who sends down water from the clouds for you; it gives drink, and by it (grow) the trees on which you feed. n He causes to grow for you by it vegetation, and the olives, and the date-palms, and the grapes, and all the fruits. Surely there is a sign in this for a people who reflect. 12 And He has made subservient to you the night and the day and the sun and the moon. And the stars are made subservient by His command. Surely there are signs in this for a people who understand. 13 And what He has created for you in the earth is of varied colours. Surely there is a sign in this for a people who are mindful. 14 And He it is Who has made the sea subservient that you may eat fresh flesh from it and bring forth from it ornaments which you wear. And you see the ships cleaving through it, so that you seek of His bounty and that you may give thanks. 15 And He has cast firm mountains in the earth in case it should quake with you, and rivers and roads that you may go aright,

a (4) The word nutfah used refers here to seminal fluid.

b (15) These words seem to point to the great upheavals and the violent agitations which led to the formation of the mountains, before man's existence on earth, and, that having been effected, the convulsions are now comparatively insignificant, making life possible. But these words can also be translated as meaning that they may be a source of benefit to you. In accordance with this we have elsewhere: "And the mountains, He made them firm, a provision for you and for your cattle" (79:32-33).

16 and landmarks. And by the stars they find the right way.

17 Is He then Who creates like him who does not create? Are you not then mindful? 18 And if you would count Allah's favours, you would not be able to number them. Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. 19 And Allah knows what you conceal and what you do openly. 20 And those whom they call on besides Allah created nothing, while they are themselves created. 21 Dead (are they), not living. And they do not know when they will be raised."

Section 3: Denial due to Ignorance

22 Your God is one God: so those who do not believe in the Hereafter, their hearts refuse to know and they are proud. "Undoubtedly Allah knows what they conceal and what they do openly. Surely He does not love the proud. 24 And when it is said to them, What is it that your Lord has revealed, they say, Stories of the ancients! 25 That they may bear their burdens in full on the day of Resurrection, and also part of the burdens of those whom they lead astray without knowledge. Ah! evil is what they bear.

Section 4: The Wicked will come to Disgrace

26 Those before them plotted, so Allah demolished their building from the foundations, so the roof fell down on them from above them, and the punishment came to them from where they did not perceive. 27 Then on the day of Resurrection He will bring them to disgrace and say: Where are My partners, for whose sake you became hostile? Those who are given the knowledge will say: Surely disgrace this day and evil are upon the disbelievers,* 28 whom the angels cause to die, while they are unjust to themselves. Then would they offer submission: We did not do any evil.





a (21) These two verses show conclusively that neither Jesus Christ nor any other person who is taken for a god ever created anything; and secondly, that Jesus was not alive at the time of the revelation of the Quran: Dead are they, not living. The further statement that they do not even know when they will be raised, shows that the verse speaks of men taken for gods, and at any rate includes them.

b (27) Disgrace is a sort of hell-fire, which they had in this very life, too.

Yes! Surely Allah knows what you did. 29 So enter the gates of hell, to abide in it. Evil indeed is the dwelling-place of the proud.

30 And it is said to those who guard against evil: What has your Lord revealed? They say, Good. For those who do good in this world is good. And certainly the abode of the Hereafter is better. And excellent indeed is the abode of those who keep their duty â€" 31 Gardens of perpetuity which they enter, in which rivers flow: they have therein what they please. Thus does Allah reward those who keep their duty, 32 whom the angels cause to die in purity, saying: Peace be on you! enter the Garden for what you did.

33 They only wait that the angels should come to them or that your Lord's command should come to pass." Thus did those before them. And Allah did not wrong them, but they wronged themselves. 34 So the evil of what they did afflicted them, and what they mocked at beset them.

Section 5: Prophets are raised to explain

35 And the idolaters say: If Allah pleased we would not have served any but Him, (neither) we nor our fathers, nor would we have prohibited anything without (order from) Him. Thus did those before them. But have the messengers any duty except to deliver the message clearly? ° 36 And certainly We raised in every nation a messenger, saying: Serve Allah and shun the devil. Then some of them Allah guided, and for some of them remaining in

a (33) The coming of the angels stands for the smaller afflictions, such as overtook them in the form of famine and war, while the coming to pass of the command of the Lord indicates the complete overthrow of their power.

b (34) The past tense is used to express the highest degree of certainty relating to the future.

c (35) They contended that if Allah did not like evil He could have diverted them from evil ways. They are told in reply that Allah's pleasure is not exercised by compelling people to adopt one way or the other, but by sending His messengers in every age and to every nation to point out the right way to the people, and by clear messages through His messengers to warn people to avoid evil.

error was justly due." So travel in the land, then see what was the end of the rejectors. 37 If you desire their guidance, yet Allah will not guide him who leads (others) astray,* nor do they have any helpers.

38 And they swear by Allah their most energetic oaths: Allah will not raise up him who dies. Yes indeed! It is a promise binding on Him, quite true, but most people do not know: 39 So that He might make clear to them what they differ about, and that those who disbelieve might know that they were liars. 40 Our word for a thing, when We intend it, is only that We say to it: Be; and it is.

Section 6: Doom of Opponents is coming

41 And those who flee for Allah's sake after they are oppressed, We shall certainly give them a good abode in the world; and the reward of the Hereafter is much greater, if only they knew c â€" 42 those who are steadfast and on their Lord they rely.

43 And We did not send before you any but men to whom We sent revelation â€" so ask the followers of the Reminder if you do not know â€" 44 with clear arguments and Scriptures. And We

a (36) There were some people who did not care for the Prophet's warning and adhered to error. Justice therefore required that they should be left in error. The message was sent by God; the choice was man's own to accept or reject it. The words do not mean that Allah had foredoomed some people, for then the sending to them of messengers would have been absurd.

b (37) Those who not only walk in error themselves, but have grown so hostile to the cause of Truth that they mislead others, cannot find the right way, however much the Prophet may be anxious for them.

c (41) Here is a clear prophecy regarding those Muslims who had to flee their homes on account of the persecutions of the Quraish. They are promised not only a reward of the Hereafter but a good abode in this world, too. Those who fled their homes in utter helplessness, and were in danger of their very lives, were given the clearest promise of a great future in this life, and this promise proved true despite the hard struggle of a powerful nation to exterminate Islam.

d (43) By the followers of the Reminder are generally understood the Jews and the Christians, to whom the disbelievers of the Quraish are referred. But the

have revealed to you the Reminder that you may make clear to people what has been revealed to them, and that perhaps they may reflect.

45 Are they, then, who plan evil (plans), secure that Allah will not humble them in the earth, or that punishment will not come upon them from where they do not perceive? 46 0r that He will not seize them in their going to and fro, then they will not be able to escape? 47 0r that He will not seize them with a gradual reduction?" Your Lord is surely Compassionate, Merciful. 48 Do they not see everything that Allah has created? Its (very) shadows return from right and left, making submission to Allah, while they are in utter humility. 49 And to Allah submits every living creature that is in the heavens and that is in the earth, and the angels (too) and they are not proud. 50 They fear their Lord above them and do what they are commanded.

Section 7: Human Nature revolts against Polytheism

51 And Allah has said: Do not take two gods. He is only one God: So Me alone should you fear. 52 And whatever is in the heavens and the earth is His, and to Him is obedience due always. Will you then fear other than Allah? 53 And whatever good you have, it is from Allah; then, when evil afflicts you, to Him do you cry for aid. 54 Then when He removes the evil from you, lo! some of you set up partners with their Lord, 55 so as to deny what We have given them. Then enjoy yourselves, for soon will you know. 56 And they set apart for what they do not know, a portion of what

mention in the very next verse of the Reminder being sent to the Holy Prophet shows that the words apply to the Muslims. Some commentators take the words generally as meaning learned men.

a (47) As verses 41â€"42 speak of a prosperous future for those who accepted the truth and now were suffering the severest persecutions, verses 45^47 speak prophetically of the different forms of punishment to which the persecutors of the righteous were to be subjected, v. 47 stating that they would be reduced gradually. This was their end, as their power went on waning till the whole of Arabia bowed before Islam.

b (56) That is, for the idols or their gods, whom they ignorantly take for intercessors.

We have given them. By Allah! you shall certainly be questioned about what you forged.

57 And they ascribe daughters to Allah. Glory be to Him! And for themselves is what they desire! 58 And when the birth of a daughter is announced to one of them, his face becomes dark and he is full of wrath. 59 He hides himself from the people because of the evil of what is announced to him. Shall he keep it with disgrace or bury it (alive) in the dust? Now surely evil is what they judge!" 60 For those who do not believe in the Hereafter are evil attributes and Allah's are the sublime attributes. And He is the Mighty, the Wise.

Section 8: Wrongdoing of Deniers

61 And if Allah were to destroy people for their wrongdoing, He would not leave on it a single creature, but He gives them respite till an appointed time. So when their doom comes they cannot postpone it an hour, nor (can they) bring it forward. 62 And they ascribe to Allah what they (themselves) hate,' and their tongues relate the lie that for them is good. Assuredly for them is the Fire, and they will be abandoned (in it). 63 By Allah! We certainly sent (messengers) to nations before you, but the devil made their deeds seem good to them. So he is their patron today, and for them is a painful punishment. 64 And We have not revealed to you the Book except that you may make clear to them what they differ about, and (as) a guidance and a mercy for a people who believed 65 And

a (59) The allusion is to the barbarous custom of burying daughters alive, which was prevalent among the Arabs, especially among their chiefs. Its abolition was one of the numerous blessings of Islam. With no physical or administrative power behind it to ensure its enforcement, the word of Allah swept away this deep-rooted custom as if by a magician's wand, so that not a single case of the burial of a living girl ever occurred after the mandate came. Attention is drawn to the inconsistency of their avowed beliefs with their inward convictions in v. 62.

b (62) The reference is to their ascribing daughters to Allah, while they themselves did not like to have a daughter, thus showing how obviously inconsistent with their inward convictions was their professed belief in the Divine Being.

c (64) The previous verse shows that the whole world was in the grip of the

16 : 66 • PARABLES SHOWING TRUTH OF REVELATION 329

Allah sends down water from above, and with it gives life to the earth after its death." Surely there is a sign in this for a people who listen.

Section 9: Parables showing Truth of Revelation

66 And surely there is a lesson for you in the cattle: We give you to drink of what is in their bellies â€" from between the faeces and the blood â€" pure milk, agreeable to the drinkers. 67 And of the fruits of the palms and the grapes, you obtain from them intoxicants and goodly provision. There is surely a sign in this for a people who ponder.

68 And jour Lord revealed to the bee: Make hives in the mountains and in the trees and in what they build, 69 then eat of all the fruits and walk in the ways of jour Lord submissively. From their

devil at the advent of the Prophet. Messengers were sent to all nations before the coming of the Prophet, but as time passed, the followers of the messengers, instead of following their teachings, followed evil ways, which gradually appeared to them so beautiful that the good of this world was all in all for them. This verse shows that the teachings of the previous prophets had been distorted to such an extent that a new Prophet was now needed to lead them aright. Truth could not now be discovered without light from heaven. It also establishes that the new Prophet's message was for the followers of all religions; in other words, for the whole world.

a (65) The water from heaven is the Divine revelation, the death of the earth is its corruption, and the giving of life signifies its spiritual awakening, marvellous signs of which had already appeared in Arabia.

b (67) Verses 66 and 67 compare the Divine laws as manifested in nature with the handiwork of man. Divine law in nature produces such a valuable and agreeable diet as pure milk, separating it from the other elements â€" blood and dung â€" to which food is reduced in the belly of an animal, which the hand of man is unable to do. On the other hand, the most agreeable provisions produced by nature in the form of fruits are turned into such a poisonous drug as alcohol by the hand of man. The two illustrations thus point out that just as Divine laws working in the physical world produce the purest and most agreeable diets, separating them from obnoxious elements and useless excrements, so their working in the spiritual world produces the most sublime moral teachings, which afford to man the purest spiritual diet. But the best teachings given by Divine revelation are likely to be corrupted by the hands of man, as the best of fruits is turned into such an obnoxious thing as alcohol.

bellies comes forth a beverage of many colours, in which there is healing for man. Surely in this there is a sign for a people who reflect." 70 And Allah creates you, then He causes you to die; and some of you are brought back to the worst part of life, knowing nothing after having knowledge. Surely Allah is Knowing, Powerful.

Section 10: The Recipient of Revelation

71 And Allah has made some of you excel others in the means of subsistence; so those who are made to excel do not give away their sustenance to those whom their right hands possess, so that they may be equal in it. Will they then deny the favour of Allah? c

a (69) This is another illustration to show that Divine revelation brings about an object which cannot be effected by human exertions. The bee gathers the sweet juice of different flowers, making it into honey. What this small creature effects, working instinctively in obedience to Divine laws, cannot be effected by the combined exertions of the whole of humanity. This illustration shows a similar working of the Divine laws in the spiritual world, viz., that the Prophet, working, as it were, instinctively in obedience to the Divine laws prevailing in the spiritual world, collects by Divine revelation all that is best and noblest in any religion, and sums it up in the Quran: a work which could not be effected by human exertion.

It should be noted that five kinds of the wahy (revelation) of Allah are mentioned in the Quran: a revelation to inanimate objects, as the earth (99:5) or the heavens (41:12); a revelation to living creatures other than man, as the bee; a revelation to the angels (8:12); a revelation to men and women other than prophets, as the apostles of Jesus (5:111) or the mother of Moses (28:7); and a revelation to prophets and messengers. All these kinds of wahy are not identical; in the case of the bee, it is its very instinct that is a revelation to it. The revelation to the prophets is the expression of Divine will for the guidance of people.

b (70) As in individuals, so in nations. Those who had been given knowledge of Divine revelation before the Holy Prophet had lost or corrupted it at the time of his advent; hence the necessity for a new Divine revelation.

c (71) This provides an answer to the demand of the disbelievers expressly stated elsewhere: "We will not believe till we are given the like of what Allah's messengers are given" (6:124). It is pointed out that, as there are differences in the physical world, so there are differences in the spiritual world. All persons are not equally fit to receive the gift of Divine revelation. The favour of Allah, which is the Divine revelation, should not be denied simply because all individuals are not equal recipients of it.

72 And Allah has made wives for you from among yourselves," and has given you sons and daughters from your wives, and has provided you with good things. Will they then believe in falsehood and deny the favour of Allah?

73 And they serve besides Allah that which controls for them no sustenance at all from the heavens and the earth; nor have they any power. 74 So do not coin likenesses for Allah. Surely Allah knows and you do not know. 75 Allah sets forth a parable: There is a slave, the property of another, controlling nothing, and there is one to whom We have granted from Ourselves a goodly provision, so he spends from it (on good works) secretly and openly. Are the two alike? Praise be to Allah! But most of them do not know. e 76 And Allah sets forth a parable of two men: One of them dumb, controlling nothing, and he is a burden to his master; wherever he sends him, he brings no good. Is he equal with him who enjoins justice, and he is on the right path?

a (72-1) The statement made here is that for all men wives are created from their anfus (plural of nafs, meaning soul or self). No one ever interprets these words in the erroneous way in which similar words about Adam are misinterpreted, where the rib is made to take the place of soul or self. The words of the Quran do not allow this unnatural interpretation, which is based upon the story of Genesis.

b (72-2) They believe in the superstition that the idols, which are inanimate objects, can intercede with Allah, and deny the favour of Allah (i.e. Divine revelation) being granted to a human being. Hence the next verse speaks of the idols.

c (75) By slave is meant the idol-worshipper who, instead of being master of idols, stones, and such-like objects, as Allah has created him to be, chooses to become a slave to them, bows before them, and considers them more powerful than himself. By the master of the goodly provision from Allah is meant the recipient of the Divine revelation, i.e., the Prophet. The comparison is made to show that the idol-worshippers will ultimately find themselves deprived of all power.

d (76) This parable makes the same comparison as the previous one. The purport is here made clearer. The master of the goodly provision from Allah of the previous verse is here plainly called the enjoiner of justice and the one who is on the right path, while the idol-worshipper is the one who is not able to do anything and who remains unsuccessful in whatever he undertakes â€" a prophetical allusion to the defeats and discomfiture of the idolaters.

Section 11: Punishment withheld

77 And Allah's is the unseen of the heavens and the earth. And the matter of the Hour is but as a twinkling of the eye or it is nearer still. a Surely Allah is Powerful over all things. 78 And Allah brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers â€" you knew nothing â€" and He gave you hearing and sight and hearts that you might give thanks.

79 Do they not see the birds, constrained in the middle of the sky? None withholds them but Allah. Surely there are signs in this for a people who believe. 80 And Allah has given you an abode in your houses, and He has given you houses of the skins of cattle, which you find light to carry on the day of your march and on the day of your halting, and of their wool and their fur and their hair, household stuff and a provision for a time. 81 And Allah has made for you, out of what He has created, shelters, and He has given you in the mountains, places of retreat, and He has given you garments to save you from the heat^ and (protective) garments to save you in your fighting. Thus does He complete His favour to you that you may submit. 82 Then if they turn away, your duty is only to deliver the message clearly. 83 They recognize the favour of Allah, yet they deny it, and most of them are ungrateful.

a (77) By the unseen is meant the knowledge of the unseen, or the knowledge of the eventual fulfilment of the prophecies; and by the Hour is meant the hour of the doom of the opponents of the Prophet, the hour when their power was to be utterly destroyed.

b (79) Both Arab proverb and Arab poetry bear witness to birds being spoken of as attending a victorious army to feed upon the corpses of the enemy left on the battlefield. In withholding the birds, therefore, there may be a reference to withholding the punishment which must ultimately overtake the enemy.

c (81-1) The mention of one of two contrary things always involves the other. Hence by the preservation from heat spoken of here, preservation from heat and cold alike is meant.

d (81-2) As He has given you of the good things of this life, the physical blessings, He now completes these blessings by giving you the greatest of His blessings, i.e., Divine revelation, so that, submitting to it, you may prosper.

Section 12: Prophets testify

84 And on the day when We raise up a witness out of every nation," then permission (to offer excuse) will not be given to the disbelievers, nor will they be allowed to make amends. 85 And when the wrongdoers see the punishment, it will not be lightened for them, nor will they be given respite. 86 And when those who set up partners (with Allah) see their associate-gods, they will say: Our Lord, these are our associate-gods on whom we called besides You. But they will throw back at them the word: Surely you are liars. 87 And they will tender submission to Allah on that day, and what they used to forge will fail them.

88 Those who disbelieve and hinder (people) from Allah's way, We will add punishment to their punishment because they made mischief. 89 And on the day when We raise up in every people a witness against them from among themselves, and bring you as a witness against these. And We have revealed the Book to you explaining all things/ and a guidance and mercy and good news for those who submit.

Section 13: Revelation enjoins Good

90 Surely Allah commands (the doing of) justice and the doing of good (to others) and the giving to the near of kin, and He forbids indecency and evil and rebellion. He instructs you that you may be mindful.'' 91 And fulfil the covenant of Allah, when you have

a (84) In this verse, as well as in the concluding verse (v. 89) of this section, the broad humanitarian doctrine is taught that a prophet has been raised in every nation. There are religions which claim hundreds of prophets for a single nation, like the house of Israel, but grudge even a single true prophet to other vast countries and nations. Islam rejects all such narrow views of the spiritual providence of Allah, Who is not the "Lord God of Israel", but the Lord of all nations.

b (89-1) By these are meant the Muslim community throughout the world and in all ages.

c (89-2) By everything is meant every basic principle necessary for the spiritual welfare of man. The sunnah, the practice of the Prophet, as illustrating the precepts of the Quran, supplies the details.

d (90) This verse deals with the different degrees of goodness and evil. The

made a covenant, and do not break (your) oaths after making them firm, and you have indeed made Allah your surety. Surely Allah knows what you do.

92 And do not be like her who unravels her yarn, disintegrating it into pieces, after she has spun it strongly." You make your oaths to be means of deceit between you because (one) nation is more numerous than (another) nation. Allah only tries you by this. And He will certainly make clear to you on the day of Resurrection what you differed about. 93 And if Allah please, He would make you a single nation, but He leaves in error whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases. And certainly you will be questioned as to what you did. 94 And do not make your oaths a means of deceit between you, so that a foot should slip after its stability, and you should taste evil because you hinder (people) from Allah's way and severe punishment be your (lot). 95 And do not take a small price for Allah's covenant. Surely what is with Allah is better for you, if only you knew! 96 What is with you passes away and what is with Allah is enduring. And We shall

lowest form of goodness is justice or returning good for good, and includes not only justice proper but also the fulfilment of all duties and obligations. A higher degree of goodness is, however, that which is called ihsan, or goodness proper, the doing of good without having received any benefit. The last stage of goodness is that in which a person's nature is so inclined to good that he does good to all people as an ordinary man does good to his own near of kin. In fact, he looks upon the whole of humanity as his kindred.

Similarly, this verse deals with the three degrees of evil: the merest indecency which may not affect the rights of others, evil actions which affect the rights of other individuals, and oppression or rebellion affecting the rights of large numbers, nations or states.

a (92-1) People, after accepting the truth, are united by certain ties, but when this union brings about strength, they destroy it with their own hands. It was unity which made the Muslims rise to great power, but that unity today lies in ruins, and the strong community of Islam is like the unravelled yarn of a crazy spinner.

b (92-2) Faithfulness to covenants is here stressed and, from the covenant with God, the subject is diverted to covenants between people. Attention is drawn in the words, you make your oaths to be means of deceit between you, to the conditions generally prevailing in the world, to the breach of covenants between nations, which is ruining the stability of human society.

certainly give to those who are patient their reward for the best of what they did. 97 Whoever does good, whether male or female, " and is a believer, We shall certainly make him live a good life, and We shall certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did.

98 So when you recite the Quran, seek refuge in Allah from the accursed devil. "Surely he has no authority over those who believe and rely on their Lord. 100 His authority is only over those who befriend him and those who set up partners with Him.

Section 14: The Quran is not a Forgery

101 And when We change a message for a message â€" and Allah knows best what He reveals â€" they say: 7ou are only a forger. Rather, most of them do not know. 102 Say: The Holy Spirit has revealed it from jour Lord with truth, c that it may establish those who believe, and as a guidance and good news for those who submit. 103 And indeed We know that they say: Only a mortal teaches him. The tongue of him whom they hint at is foreign, and this is clear Arabic language. 104 Those who do not believe in

a (97) The doers of good, both men and women, are made to lead a good life in this world and will have a reward in the Hereafter.

b (101) It is not the change of the Quranic verses that is spoken of here; it is the change of the previous messages sent through former prophets for the message of the Holy Quran. This chapter belongs to Makkah, and the upholders of abrogation have never asserted that any verse was abrogated while the Holy Prophet was at Makkah. Moreover, it was the revelation of the Quran itself that was called a forgery, and not an occasional change that any of its commandments could have undergone, with which change the disbelievers had, in fact, no concern. See also 2:106 footnote.

c (102) The Holy Spirit (Ruh al-qudus) is here stated to be the bearer of the revelation to the Holy Prophet; elsewhere the same bearer is called al-Ruh al-Arriin, or the Faithful Spirit (26:193), and the same is called Gabriel in 2:97.

d (103) Various names have been suggested as to the person whom the opponents of the Prophet referred to. These are mostly the names of Christian slaves, who were not Arabs. All these slaves were among the early converts to Islam, who were most cruelly persecuted by the Quraish, yet they remained firm under the severest tortures. Is it possible that they, without being in the least

Allah's messages, Allah does not guide them, and for them is a painful punishment. 105 Only they forge lies who do not believe in Allah's messages, and they are the liars."

106 Whoever disbelieves in Allah after his belief â€" not he who is compelled while his heart is content with faith, but he who opens (his) breast for disbeliefâ€" they incur Allah's displeasure, and for them is a grievous punishment. 107 That is because they love this world's life more than the Hereafter, and because Allah does not guide the disbelieving people. 108 These are they whose hearts and ears and eyes Allah has sealed and these are the heedless ones. c 109 No doubt that in the Hereafter they are the losers. 110 Then surely your Lord, to those who flee after they are persecuted, then struggle hard and are patient, surely jour Lord after that is Protecting, Merciful.

Section 15: Fate of the Opponents

111 On the day when every soul will come pleading for itself,

gainers, should have thus willingly suffered persecutions for a cause which they knew to be false? This is sufficient to show the absurdity of the allegation, and it is to this that v. 105 refers. They certainly cannot be supposed to have been the authors of the sublime themes of the Holy Quran.

a (105) The reference is to v. 103. The allegation was that certain slaves taught the Prophet. How could a forger of lies be a believer, especially when he had to undergo the severest trials for its sake.

b (106) Only very rare instances are met with in the early history of Islam in which converts even under compulsion ever recanted.

c (108) Allah does not seal the hearts of people and thus hinder them from accepting the truth; it is they who reject the truth, turning a deaf ear to the preaching of the Prophet, as the previous verses show. Nor are the hearts sealed forever, for, as v. 110 shows, even after that Allah forgives them, if they repent and show perseverance.

rf(110) The struggle (jihad) spoken of here is certainly not in connection with fighting, for the verse was revealed at Makkah. Note also that God is spoken of here as being Ghaffir, translated as Protecting, to those who flee from their homes on account of persecution and then struggle hard to establish Truth. God being Ghafiir here is in relation to His exalting them by protecting them from the commission of sins, not forgiving of sins, for it is their acts of sacrifice that are spoken of here, not their sins.

and every soul will be paid in full what it has done, and they will not be dealt with unjustly. 112 And Allah sets forth a parable: A town safe and secure, to which its means of subsistence came in abundance from every quarter; but it disbelieved in Allah's favours, so Allah made it taste a pall of hunger and fear because of what they did." 113 And certainly a Messenger came to them from among them, but they rejected him, so the punishment caught them while they were wrongdoers.

114 So eat of what Allah has given you, lawful and good (things), and give thanks for Allah's favour, if He it is you serve. n5 He has forbidden you only what dies of itself and blood and the flesh of swine and that on which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked; but whoever is driven to (it), not desiring nor exceeding the limit, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.* 116 And do not utter the lie which your tongues describe: This is lawful and this unlawful; so that you forge a lie against Allah. Surely those who forge a lie against Allah will not prosper. 117 A little enjoyment â€" and for them is a painful punishment. 118 And to those who are Jews We prohibited what We have related to you already, and We did not wrong them, but they wronged themselves. 119 And surely jour Lord, for those who do evil in ignorance, then turn after that and make amends, surely jour Lord after that is Forgiving, Merciful.

a (112) The parable is set forth to depict the state of Makkah as it was before the time of the Holy Prophet and, prophetically, its fate after he was rejected, after it disbelieved in Allah's favours. Its first condition was one of great prosperity and affluence, as referred to in 106:3â€"4. When the Prophet and his followers were persecuted and tortured, a famine overtook them, which destroyed everything, till they ate skins and dead animals. This was the pall of hunger, spoken of here. But, even then, they did not stop persecution and tried to exterminate Islam by the sword. The result was that all their attacks on Madinah failed, and ultimately Makkah itself lay powerless when attacked by the Prophet. This was the pall of fear, being so called because no blood was shed.

b (115) See 2:173, 6:145 and 5:3, and the footnotes there.

Section 16: The Way to Greatness

120 Surely Abraham was a model (of virtue), obedient to Allah, upright, and he was not from among the idolaters, 121 grateful for His favours. He chose him and guided him on the right path. 122 And We gave him good in this world; and in the Hereafter he is surely among the righteous.

123 Then We revealed to you: Follow the faith of Abraham, the upright one; and he was not from among the idolaters. 124 The Sabbath was ordained only against those who differed about it." And surely your Lord will judge between them on the day of Resurrection in that in which they differed.

125 Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the best manner. Surely your Lord knows best him who strays from His path, and He knows best those who go aright. 126 And if you take your turn, then retaliate with the like of what you were afflicted with. c But if you show patience, it is certainly best for the patient. 127 And be patient and your patience is not but by (the help of) Allah, and do not grieve for them, nor be in distress by what they plan. 128 Surely Allah is with those who keep their duty and those who do good (to others).

a (124) The meaning here seems to be that the Sabbath, the Jewish day of worship which should have made them walk in the footsteps of righteous Abraham, was turned against them because of their violation of it. Or, the statement is made to show that it was not necessary for the Muslims to observe a day of worship, as even Abraham, a model of virtue for both the Jews and the Muslims, did not observe a particular day of worship.

b (125) The principle laid down for preaching and religious controversy by the Quran has yet to be learned by the most advanced people. It shows the breadth of mind of the Holy Prophet, more especially when it is remembered that the injunction was given at a time when Muslims were being most severely persecuted and there was the greatest reason for adopting a harsh attitude.

c (126) Muslims were being persecuted most cruelly, and they were told that the time would come when they would dominate their erstwhile persecutors. In that case they are allowed to punish them for their guilt, but it is twice added, here and in v. 127, that they should show patience when they had the upper hand and do good even to their enemies, for Allah is with those who do good (v. 128).

Chapter 17 Bamisra'ii The Israelites

This chapter opens and ends by referring to the history of the Israelites, who, after attaining to greatness, were twice punished for their misdeeds. It begins with a mention of the Mi 'raj or ascension of the Holy Prophet, indicative of the eminence to which the Muslims would rise. It then warns Muslims of the fate which befell the Israelites, as the same fate was to befall them. Then it goes on to deal with the following subjects: every deed must have a consequence, the moral teachings Muslims must follow to do good deeds, opposition to the truth and to the righteous, and its defeat by the truth â€" that "truth" being the Holy Prophet himself who is the "spirit of truth" prophesied in the Gospel of John â€" the Quran being a miracle, and, finally, Moses' warning to Pharaoh, a warning like it now being given by the Quran to its opponents. This chapter was revealed in the early period at Makkah, around the fifth year of the Holy Prophet's mission.

Section 1: Israelites punished Twice

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

£ 1 Glory be to Him Who carried His servant by night from the

«■ Sacred Mosque to the Remote Mosque, whose precincts We u» blessed, that We might show him some of Our signs!" Surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing.

2 And We gave Moses the Book and made it a guidance to the

a (1) The carrying by night of the Holy Prophet Muhammad from the Sacred Mosque at Makkah to the Remote Mosque at Jerusalem (known as Isrd ') is in reference to the Prophet's reported Ascension (known as Mi'raj). Isrd' was the first stage in Mi 'raj, as before his Ascension to heaven, the Prophet was taken to the Remote Mosque, or the Temple at Jerusalem. The Ascension was not a translation of the body, but the spiritual experience of the Holy Prophet, as is shown in v. 60 where it is expressly called a vision. As the significance of the Ascension was the spiritual eminence of the Holy Prophet and indicated his triumph in the world, his being carried to the Temple at Jerusalem signified that he would also inherit the blessings of the Israelite prophets.

Children of Israel (saying): Take no guardian beside Me a â€" 3 (you) the offspring of those whom We bore with Noah. Surely he was a grateful servant. 4 And We made known to the Children of Israel in the Book: Certainly you will make mischief in the land twice, and behave insolently with mighty arrogance.' 5 So when the first warning of the two came to pass, We raised against you Our servants, of mighty prowess, so they made havoc in (your) houses. And it was an accomplished threat. 'Then We gave you back the turn against them, and aided you with wealth and children and made you a numerous band. c 7 If you do good, you do good for your own souls. And if you do evil, it is for them. So when the second warning came, (We raised another people) that they might bring you to grief and that they might enter the Mosque as they entered it the first time, and that they might destroy, whatever they conquered, with utter destruction/ 8 It may be that your Lord will have mercy on you. And if you return (to mischief), We

a (2) The first verse really prophesies a great future for Islam and the Muslims, while this warns them of the pitfalls of greatness, citing the instance of a nation that had been made to rise to eminence before them.

b (4) Jerusalem was destroyed twice as a punishment for the transgressions of the Jews, once by the Babylonians, and again by the Romans. See Jesus' warning in Matthew 23:38 and Luke 21:24 and various other like references. The Psalms are also replete with warnings.

c (6) V. 5 relates the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem and the murder, imprisonment, and banishment of the Jews by the Babylonians in the year 588 B.C., while v. 6 relates to the return of the Jews and rebuilding of the temple under Zerubbabel, and to their subsequent prosperity.

d (7) This verse describes the destruction of the Temple a second time, which was accomplished by the Romans under Titus. There is a prophetical reference here to the history of the Muslims. The Caliphate of Islam was destroyed twice, first by the Mongols under Hulagu in 656 A.H. (1258 C.E.), and again by the powers of Europe after the First World War. But while in the case of the Israelites their spiritual centre was laid waste on both occasions, the spiritual centre of Islam, the Ka'bah, has remained intact on both occasions under a Divine promise. Following the first great reverse in Muslim history in 1258, Islam gained spiritual conquests in the coming over to Islam en masse of the Mongols and Turks. After the second reverse, the afflictions of Islam are giving birth to a spiritual resuscitation of the world. On both occasions, there has been a revival of its temporal power as well.

17:9" EVERY DEED HAS A CONSEQUENCE 341

will return (to punishment)." And We have made hell a prison for the disbelievers.

9 Surely this Quran guides to what is most upright, and gives good news to the believers who do good that theirs is a great reward, 10 and that those who do not believe in the Hereafter, We have prepared for them a painful punishment.

Section 2: Every Deed has a Consequence

11 And man prays for evil as he ought to pray for good; and man is ever hasty. 12 And We made the night and the day two signs, then We have made the sign of the night to pass away and We have made the sign of the day manifest, so that you may seek grace from your Lord, and that you may know the numbering of years and the reckoning. And We have explained everything distinctly. 13 And We have made every human being's actions to cling to his neck, and We shall bring forth to him on the day of Resurrection a book which he will find wide open.^ 14 Read your book. Your own soul is sufficient as a reckoner against you this day. 15 Whoever goes aright, goes aright only for the good of his own soul; and whoever goes astray, goes astray only to its detriment. And no bearer of a burden can bear the burden

a (8) This relates to the advent of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, when the Israelites were again given a chance to reform, but they are told that if they return to mischief they will again be punished.

b (12) The night stands for the darkness of ignorance and unbelief (see 2:257), and the passing away of the night indicates that ignorance will vanish and the light of Islam will take its place. Arabia witnessed this sign in the seventh century C.E., and Islam has since then been gradually advancing in the world.

c (13) This verse reveals the principle that every action produces an effect which is made to cling to a person, and that this very effect will be met with on the day of Resurrection in the form of a wide open book. It is thus by leaving its effect behind that every action is recorded, and this very effect constitutes the book of a person's actions. Clinging to the neck indicates the inseparability of one thing from another, thus establishing the law of cause and effect.

d (14) This verse throws a flood of light on the nature of the reckoning on the day of Resurrection, showing clearly that it is nothing but a complete manifestation of the effects of the deeds done in this life.

of another." Nor do We punish until We raise a messenger.

16 And when We wish to destroy a town, We send commandments to its people who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction/ 17 And how many generations did We destroy after Noah! And your Lord is sufficient as being Aware and Seer of His servants' sins. 18 Whoever desires this transitory life, We hasten to him in it what We please for whomsoever We desire, then We assign to him hell; he will enter it despised, driven away. 19 And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it with due striving and is a believer â€" those are they whose striving is amply rewarded. 20 A11 do We aid â€" these as well as those â€" out of the bounty of your Lord, and the bounty of your Lord is not limited.

21 See how We have made some of them to excel others. And certainly the Hereafter is greater in degrees and greater in excellence. 22 Do not set up any other god with Allah, or you will sit down despised, forsaken.

Section 3: Moral Precepts

23 And your Lord has decreed that you serve none but Him, and do good to parents. If either or both of them reach old age

a (15-1) This verse strikes at the root of the doctrine of atonement. The burden of the sins of one person cannot be taken away by another, for, as already stated, the effect of each man's actions clings to himself.

b (15-2) Here it is stated that guidance is offered to man through a messenger of God, but if he still persists in error and strays from the path, it is to his own detriment. And then it is added that the punishment of the Hereafter is only after man has been warned through a Divine messenger. The law as to punishment in this world is stated in v. 16, which speaks of the destruction of towns, for such punishment is sent when tyranny and transgression assume extraordinary proportions, and punishment is then inflicted on large numbers.

c (16) Allah does not command people to transgress. The meaning is clear: Allah sends them commandments to do good, pointing out the right way through His prophets, but as they are accustomed to lead easy lives, they transgress those commandments, and are therefore punished.

d (23) Doing good to parents is placed next to submission to Allah, for among fellow-beings none has a greater claim upon a person than his parents.

with you, say no word to them showing annoyance, nor rebuke them, and speak to them a generous word. 24 And make yourself gentle to them with humility out of mercy, and say: My Lord, have mercy on them, as they brought me up (when I was) little.

25 Your Lord knows best what is in your minds. If you are righteous, He is surely Forgiving to those who turn (to Him). 26 And give to the near of kin his due and (to) the needy and the traveller, and do not squander wastefully. 27 Surely the squanderers are the devil's brethren. And the devil is ever ungrateful to his Lord." 28 And if you (have to) turn away from them (in order) to seek mercy from jour Lord that you hope for, then speak to them a gentle word.* 29 And do not make your hand to be chained to your neck, nor stretch it forth to its fullest extension, so that you sit down blamed, stripped off. c 30 Surely your Lord amplifies provision for whom He pleases, and restricts (it also). Surely He is ever Aware, Seer, of His servants.

Section 4: Moral Precepts

31 And do not kill your children for fear of poverty â€" We provide for them and for you. Surely the killing of them is a great wrong. 32 And do not go near to fornication: surely it is an

a (27) While enjoining charity, the Quran also draws attention to economy, thus indicating the golden mean. Those who waste wealth are called the devil's brethren, because they are ungrateful to God for wasting away what He has given them out of His grace.

b (28) Hoping for mercy from the Lord means standing in need of the bounty of the Lord, i.e., not having anything to give to the needy. In that case one should still speak to the needy gently. A saying of the Holy Prophet declares a gentle word spoken to someone to be a deed of charity (Bukhari, 56:72).

c (29) By the hand being tied to the neck is meant being miserly, and by stretching it forth to its fullest extension is meant being wasteful. The verse teaches that the middle path should be adopted in one's ordinary expenses.

rf(31) Infanticide, in the case of daughters, was met with among the Arabs, but this was not for fear of poverty. Since the word children (aulad) includes both males and females, the killing of children here may mean not giving them proper education; ignorance, or intellectual death, being treated as death. (Editor's Note: Abortion without a medical reason may also be included here.)

obscenity. And evil is the way." 33 And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause. And whoever is killed unjustly, We have indeed given to his heir authority â€" but let him not exceed the limit in killing. Surely he will be helped.

34 And do not draw near to the orphan's property, except in the best way, till he attains his maturity. And fulfil the promise; surely the promise will be enquired into. 35 And give full measure when you measure out, and weigh with a true balance. This is fair and better in the end. 36 And do not follow that of which you have no knowledge/ Surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these will be asked about it. 37 And do not go about in the land exultingly, for you cannot split the earth, nor reach the mountains in height. 38 A11 this, the evil of it, is hateful in the sight of your Lord.

39 This is from the wisdom which your Lord has revealed to you. And do not set up with Allah any other god, or you would be thrown into hell, blamed, cast away. 40 Has then your Lord preferred to give you sons, and (for Himself) taken daughters from among the angels? Surely you utter a terrible saying.

Section 5: Disbelievers grow Harder

41 And certainly We have repeated (warnings) in this Quran that they may be mindful. And it only adds to their aversion.

a (32) The Quran not only forbids all out-of-wedlock sex, but enjoins people not to go near it, thus avoiding all those opportunities which are likely to tempt one to fall into the evil. Hence it is that Islam discourages the too free intermingling of the sexes.

b (33) The words he will be helped indicate that as the state is bound to help him by bringing the murderer within reach of the law, the heir should not take the law into his own hands. This is called exceeding the limits.

c (36) If this injunction were followed, all society gossip would immediately cease, relieving many innocent people of the heart-burning which they suffer on account of evil and unfounded reports. The verse also forbids entering into discussions without accurate knowledge, or putting forward uncertain opinion.

rf(41) Allah's purpose in repeating arguments and signs in the Quran is to make people mindful, but the more they are reminded, the greater is their aversion to it.

42 Say: If there were with Him gods, as they say, then certainly they would have been able to seek a way to the Lord of the Throne." 43 Glory be to Him, and He is supremely exalted above what they say! 44 The seven heavens and the earth and those in them declare His glory. And there is not a single thing but glorifies Him with His praise, but you do not understand their glorification. Surely He is Forbearing, Forgiving.

45 And when you recite the Quran, We place between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter a hidden barrier; c 46 and We put coverings on their hearts and a deafness in their ears that they may not understand it; and when you mention your Lord alone in the Quran, they turn their backs in aversion. 47 We know best what they listen to when they listen to you, and when they take counsel secretly, when the wrongdoers say: You follow only a man deprived of reason. 48 See, what they liken you to! So they have gone astray, and cannot find the way.

49 And they say: When we are bones and decayed particles, shall we then be raised up as a new creation? s0 Say: Be stones or iron, 51 or some other creature of those which are too hard (to

a (42) The idol-worshippers were sunk deep in vices and immorality, while access to the Divine Being â€" a way to the Lord of the Throne â€" which they claimed they got through their idols, should have purified their lives. Or, the meaning is that, if they had access to God, Who holds all power in His hands, they should have received Divine help and been successful in uprooting Islam.

b (44) The whole universe is here mentioned as declaring the glory of Allah, which means declaring God to be free from every imperfection and impurity, or from everything derogatory to His dignity. This declaration need not be with the tongue and in words: in fact, the very dependence of the whole creation on the Creator and its consequent imperfection is a glorification of the Creator.

c (45) This hidden barrier is nothing but that erected by their own aversion, as plainly indicated in v. 41.

d (46) The placing of coverings on the hearts and deafness in the ears of the disbelievers is no doubt attributed to Allah as the prime cause of all things, but this covering and deafness is directly brought about because they do not even listen to the mention of Allah, and flee in aversion from His word. Allah brings it about on account of the condition of their very hearts and ears. See also 7:179.

receive life) in your minds \ a But they will say: Who will return us? Say: He Who created you at first. Still they will shake their heads at you and say: When will it be? Say: Maybe it has drawn near. 52 0n the day when He will call you forth, then will you obey Him, giving Him praise, and you will think that you remained only a little (while).

Section 6: Punishment must follow

53 And say to My servants that they speak what is best. Surely the devil sows dissensions among them. The devil is surely an open enemy to man. c 54 Your Lord knows you best. He will have mercy on you, if He please, or He will punish you, if He please. And We have not sent you as being in charge of them. 55 And your Lord best knows those who are in the heavens and the earth. And certainly We made some of the prophets to excel others, and to David We gave the Zabur. e

a (51-1) They are told that a life after death must follow even if they could change themselves into stones. And the spiritual life with which they were quickened by the Holy Prophet, despite their hard-heartedness â€" "they were like rocks, rather worse in hardness" (2:74) â€" was a clear proof of this.

b (51-2) The answer, maybe it has drawn near, refers to the spiritual resuscitation of Arabia, which was now to be accomplished through the Holy Prophet, as an indication of the greater Resurrection. The next verse makes it clear: Then will you obey Him, giving Him praise. Fifteen years after this the whole of Arabia resounded with Divine praises.

c (53) The Muslims â€" My servants â€" are here enjoined to be very kind when they speak to the disbelievers. It is related that when the Muslims complained to the Holy Prophet that they were abused by the idolaters, they were told to be kind and not to retaliate. It was the devil that was causing these quarrels. The words evidently imply that these dissensions were only transient, and that the two parties would again become united.

d (54) In this verse, as elsewhere in the Quran, mercy is mentioned first, thus showing that Divine mercy has precedence over Divine retribution.

e (55) By saying that some of the prophets are made to excel others, the excellence of the Holy Prophet over others is implied. David is specially mentioned, because, as stated in the Psalms (called here Zabur), he prayed for the utter destruction of his enemies, whereas the two previous verses show that the Holy Prophet was enjoined to deal mercifully with his opponents.

56 Say: Call on those whom you assert besides Him; they have no power to remove distress from you nor to change. 57 Those whom they call upon, themselves seek the means of access to their Lord â€" whoever of them is nearest â€" and they hope for His mercy and fear His punishment. Surely the punishment of your Lord is a thing to be cautious of." 58 And there is not a town but We will destroy it before the day of Resurrection or punish it with a severe punishment. That is written in the Book. 59 And nothing hindered Us from sending signs, but the ancients rejected them. c And We gave to Thamud the she-camel, a manifest sign, but they did her wrong, and We send signs only to warn.

60 And when We said to you: Surely jour Lord encompasses people. And We made the vision which We showed you only a

a (57) These divinities, it is argued, themselves hoped for Divine mercy and feared His retribution; the nearer a person to the Divine Being, the greater was his hope of mercy and his fear of punishment if he disobeyed.

b (58) There is a prophetical reference here to great disasters which would ruin populous towns. The words "before the day of Resurrection" clearly show that the destruction of the towns does not refer to the end of things. Already we have seen the fulfilment of this prophecy in the destruction of populous towns in almost every country of the world on an unprecedented scale, but it is nothing compared with the havoc which the atomic bomb and other inventions of this modern age are likely to work, if the mad struggle for power is not ended. It should be noted that the prophecy of the ruination of populous towns is here mentioned as a part of the Divine scheme in the ultimate triumph of Islam with which this chapter deals, and hence the reference to the sending of signs in v. 59.

c (59) After speaking of a great sign in the latter days, the destruction of towns on a large scale, this verse speaks of a general law that God has always been sending signs to establish truth, and that nothing ever hindered Him from sending signs, though such signs were rejected by the people to whom they were sent. It is further made clear that signs are sent to warn people of the evil consequences of doing evil.

rf(60-l) The reference here is to the vision of Ascension or the Mi'raj (Bukhari, 63:42), which was really a prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam. In a Hadith report the words describing the condition in which the Holy Prophet was at the time of this Ascension are: whilst I was in a state between that of one sleeping and one awake (Bukhari, 59:6). Thus it was not an Ascension of the body. Although he was not asleep he was in a vision. He was actually carried to the Holy Presence, and he was shown great wonders, but it was in spirit that he was

trial for people, as also the tree cursed in the Quran." And We warn them, but it only adds to their great inordinacy.

Section 7: The Devil's Opposition to the Righteous

61 And when We said to the angels: Be submissive to Adam, they submitted, but not IblTs. He said: Shall I submit to him whom You have created of dust? 62 He said: Do You see, this is he whom You have honoured above me! If You grant me respite to the day of Resurrection, I will certainly cause his progeny to perish except a few. 63 He said: Go away! Whoever of them follows you surely hell is your recompense, a full recompense. 64 And incite whoever of them you can with jour voice, c and collect against them your horse(-men) and your foot(-soldiers), and share with them in wealth and children, 6 and promise them. And the devil promises them only to deceive. 65 My servants â€"you have surely no authority

carried, and it was with the spiritual eye that he saw those wonders, not in body and with the physical eye, for things spiritual can only be seen with the spiritual eye. This vision had an important significance. He saw it at a time when his condition was one of utmost helplessness, and he was shown that a great future lay before him. His opponents, as usual, disbelieved in such visions, and laughed at him.

a (60-2) As the Holy Prophet's vision signified his future triumph and gave an indication of the greatness to which Islam would rise, the statement made elsewhere that the tree oizaqqiim was the food of sinners (44:43-44) contained a prophecy of the discomfiture of the enemies of Islam, telling them that a deadly food was in store for them. The reason why the vision and the statement about the cursed tree are conjoined is that the triumph of Islam and the discomfiture of the enemy went hand in hand.

b (61) See 2:34 and 7:12.

c (64-1) The devil is here compared with a coward who comes with great show but little real force, and who, if shown the least resistance, retreats at every step. Every inviter who invites people to the disobedience of Allah is such a devil.

d (64-2) The forces of the devil are no other than the evildoers, those going quickly into evil being likened to horsemen and those who walk slowly in their evil course being likened to infantry.

e (64-3) The sharing of the devil in wealth signifies everything spent or acquired unlawfully and sharing in children is in reference to committing fornication.

over them." And your Lord is sufficient as having charge of affairs.

66 Your Lord is He Who speeds the ships for you in the sea that you may seek of His grace. Surely He is ever Merciful to you. 67 And when distress afflicts you in the sea, away go those whom you call on except He; but when He brings you safe to the land, you turn away. And man is ever ungrateful.* 68 Do you then feel secure that He will not bring you low on a tract of land, or send on you a violent wind? c Then you will not find a protector for yourselves; 69 or, do you feel secure that He will not take you back into it another time, then send on you a fierce gale and thus overwhelm you for your ungratefulness? Then you will not find any aider against Us in the matter. 70 And surely We have honoured the children of Adam, and We carry them in the land and the sea, and We provide them with good things, and We have made them to excel highly most of those whom We have created.

Section 8: Opposition to the Prophet

71 On the day when We shall call every people with their leader: then whoever is given his book in his right hand, these will read their book; and they will not be dealt with unjustly in the least. 6 72 And whoever is blind in this (world) he will be blind

a (65) My servants may include all human beings. The devil will say to the sinners: I had no authority over you (14:22).

b (67) A true picture is drawn here of human nature, which turns to Allah in affliction but forgets Him in ease.

c (68) It was by a violent wind that the combined forces of all the enemies of Islam were brought low in the battle of the Allies, when, besieging Madinah in the year 5 A.H., they had to flee in disorder.

d (71-1) The meaning is that the righteous will follow the righteous leaders and the wicked will follow their wicked leaders. The word imam, or leader, here is interpreted in several other ways, meaning scripture, prophet, law, book of deeds. The last of these significances also suits the context, as the books of deeds are spoken of in the words that follow.

e (71-2) This book is the one mentioned in v. 14, i.e., the effect of one's deeds, which will be brought before everyone in a palpable form on the day

in the Hereafter, and further away from the path."

73 And surely they had purposed to turn you away from what We have revealed to you, that you should forge against Us (some revelation) other than that, and then they would have taken you for a friend. 74 And if We had not made you firm, you might have indeed inclined to them a little; 75 then We would have made you taste a double (punishment) in life and a double (punishment) after death, and then you would not have found any helper against Us. 76 And surely they purposed to unsettle you from the land that they might expel you from it, and then they will not remain after you but a little while. c 77 (This is Our) way with Our messengers whom We sent before you, and you will not find a change in Our course.

Section 9: Truth will prevail

78 Keep up prayer from the declining of the sun till the darkness of the night, and the recital of the Quran at dawn. Surely

of Resurrection. The book of deeds is given in the right hand to those who hold the Book of God in their right hands here, i.e., act upon it. As against them are those spoken of in the next verse; they remain blind to the Book of God, so they will be blind in the Hereafter.

a (72) Those who remain blind to truth in this life remain blind in the life after death, which shows that it is here that a hellish life begins with spiritual blindness, and that the hell of the next life is also a blindness. This is corroborated by what is said in 57:12, that the faithful will have a light on that day.

b (73) This refers to an incident at Makkah when the chief men of the Quraish offered to give the Prophet wealth or to make him their king, if he gave up speaking against their idols and their evil ways. The Prophet's reply was that he wanted neither of these things, but that it was for their welfare that he asked them to give up evil ways.

c (76) When the opponents failed to make the Prophet swerve from the path of Truth, they planned to expel him from the land, though they were told beforehand that in that case they themselves would not retain power but for a short time. It was only eight years after the Hijrah that the Prophet entered Makkah as a conqueror.

rf(77) This law is also stated in 14:13-14.

the recital of the Quran at dawn is witnessed." 79 And during a part of the night, keep awake by it, beyond what is incumbent on you; maybe jour Lord will raise you to a position of great glory. e 80 And say: My Lord, make me enter a truthful entering, and make me go forth a truthful exit, and grant me from Your presence an authority to help (me). 81 And say: The Truth has come and falsehood vanished. Surely falsehood is ever bound to vanish. 2

a (78) After describing how the opponents wanted to bring the Prophet's mission to failure by various means, the Prophet is told to resort to prayer as a solution of the great difficulties he faced. From the declining of the sun to sunset are zuhr and 'asr, or the early and late afternoon prayers, while from sunset till darkness are maghrib and 'isha', or the sunset prayer and the prayer at nightfall. The fifth is the morning prayer, which is called here Qur 'an al-fajr, or the recital of the Quran at dawn. Thus this verse, which is one of the very early revelations, mentions all the five prayers.

b (79-1) This refers to the tahajjud prayer, whose name is derived from the words "keep awake" (fa-tahajjad). The time for this prayer is the latter portion of the night in the early hours. It is not an obligatory prayer but, as stated here, it is the means of raising a man to a position of great glory. The time at which it is said is most suited for the concentration of mind and for communion with God.

c (79-2) The man whom the opponents had planned to expel from their city as a helpless man was to be raised to a position of eminent dignity through prayer to God, the tahajjud prayer in the night in particular. As time passes on, the Prophet is ever rising to positions of greater and greater glory. But while the verse speaks in particular of the Prophet and of the great glory to which he was destined to rise, it gives a promise in general as well that whoever is sincere in calling upon God, especially at night, is raised to a position of glory.

rf(80) The reference here is a prophecy of the Prophet's Flight, entering Madinah and going forth from Makkah. But the words are also general, man being taught here to pray that his entering into any affair and his exit may be marked by truthfulness, and that he may be granted Divine help in all his undertakings.

e (81) The advent of the Prophet is here spoken of as the advent of the Truth, in reference to the prophecy in John 16:13: "However, when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak; and he will tell you things to come." The vanishing of falsehood is here spoken of in the past tense to indicate the certainty of its occurrence. Falsehood finally disappeared from Makkah when the Prophet entered it as a conqueror, and as the House of the Holy One was cleared of the idols, the Prophet recited this verse, The Truth has come and falsehood vanished (Bukhari, 46:32), thus showing that he understood it to contain the

82 And the Quran that We reveal is a healing and a mercy to the believers, and it only increases the wrongdoers in loss. a 83 And when We bestow favours on man, he turns away and behaves proudly; and when evil afflicts him, he is in despair. 84 Say: Everyone acts according to his manner. But your Lord best knows who is best guided on the path.

Section 10: The Quran â€" a Unique Guidance

85 And they ask you about the revelation/ Say: The revelation is by the commandment of my Lord, and you are not given knowledge but a little. 86 And if We please, We could certainly take away what We have revealed to you, then you would find none to plead (your cause) against Us â€" 87 But it is a mercy from your Lord. Surely His bounty to you is abundant.

88 Say: If people and jinn should combine together to bring the like of this Quran, they could not bring the like of it, though they helped one another. 89 And certainly We have made clear for

prophecy of the conquest of Makkah. The statement made here, however, is general and it means that falsehood cannot stand before Truth and that Truth must finally prevail in the whole world.

a (82) The Quran is here called a healing and a mercy for spiritual diseases, and history bears testimony that spiritual diseases were all swept away by the Quran. But, it is added, it is a healing for the believers who follow it, and not for those who reject it, and its rejection brings only greater loss.

b (84) Both the believer and the disbeliever act according to the rules of conduct which they have set before themselves. Who is on the right path is made clear by the consequences which appear later but which are always known to God.

c (85) The word ruh means inspiration or revelation as well as spirit. Here, before this verse as well as after it, the Quran is the only topic of discussion, and therefore the context shows clearly that the question of the disbelievers is not about the soul of man, but about the Quran itself.

rf(88) See 2:23 and 11:13 footnote. Out of the four places in which the disbelievers are challenged to produce the like of the Quran, this is the only one where the jinn and the people are spoken of together; in all the other places the shuhada', meaning helpers, leaders or their great men, take the place of the jinn. This shows that the word jinn is used in the Quran for the leaders of evil.

people in this Quran every kind of description, 0 but most people consent only to denying. 90 And they say: We will by no means believe in you, till you cause a spring to gush forth from the earth for us, 91 or>>ou have a garden of palms and grapes in the midst of which you cause rivers to flow forth abundantly, 92 or you cause the heaven to come down upon us in pieces, as you think, or bring Allah and the angels face to face (with us), 93 or you have a house of gold, or you ascend into heaven. And we will not believe in your ascending till you bring down to us a book we can read. Say: Glory be to my Lord! Am I anything but a mortal messenger? c

Section 11: Justice of Retribution

94 And nothing prevents people from believing, when the guidance comes to them, except that they say: Has Allah raised up a mortal to be a messenger? 95 Say: If there had been in the earth angels walking about secure, We would have sent down to them from the heaven an angel as messenger. 96 Say: Allah is sufficient for a witness between me and you. Surely He is ever Aware of His servants, Seer (of them).

97 And he whom Allah guides, he is on the right way; and he whom He leaves in error, for them you will find no guardians besides Him. And We shall gather them together on the day of Resurrection on their faces, blind and dumb and deaf. Their abode is hell. Whenever it abates, We make them burn the more.

a (89) It is here affirmed that all that contributes to the moral and spiritual welfare of man is made distinct in the Quran.

b (90) The signs demanded in this and the following three verses relate to the promises made for the righteous and the threats of punishment for the wicked, and they were no doubt fulfilled in due time. But the disbelievers wanted to see the spiritual blessings of communion with God in a physical shape. The believers were granted gardens with rivers running in them even in this life, and punishment from heaven overtook the opponents, but this was to come about gradually.

c (93) The answer to all the demands of the disbelievers is that the Prophet was only a mortal messenger, and the prophecies regarding his own great future or the discomfiture of his enemies would be brought to fulfilment gradually, as in the case of messengers before him.

98 This is their retribution because they disbelieve in Our messages and say: When we are bones and decayed particles, shall we then be raised up into a new creation? "Do they not see that Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, is Able to create the like of them? And He has appointed for them a term, of which there is no doubt. But the wrongdoers consent only to denying. 100 Say: If you control the treasures of the mercy of my Lord, then you would withhold (them) for fear of spending. And man is ever miserly.

Section 12: Comparison with Moses

101 And certainly We gave Moses nine clear signs; so ask the Children of Israel. When he came to them, Pharaoh said to him: Surely I think you, Moses, to be one bewitched. 102 He said: Truly you know that none but the Lord of the heavens and the earth has sent these as clear proofs; and surely I believe you, Pharaoh, to be lost. 103 So he desired to scare them from the land, but We drowned him and those with him, all together; 104 and We said to the Children of Israel after him: Abide in the land. But when the latter promise came, We brought you all rolled up."

105 And with truth have We revealed it, and with truth did it come. And We have not sent you but as a giver of good news and as a warner. 106 And it is a Quran We have made distinct, so that you may read it to the people by slow degrees, and We have revealed it in portions.

107 Say: Believe in it or do not believe. Surely those who are given the knowledge before it, fall down prostrate on their faces, when it is recited to them, 108 and they say: Glory be to our Lord! Surely the promise of our Lord was to be fulfilled.* 109 And they fall

a (104) The latter promise here relates to the promise given to Moses for the raising up of another prophet like him. This is corroborated by what is said in the next verse about the revelation of the Quran, which came with truth, i.e., in fulfilment of a true promise. By the rolling up of the Israelites is meant that they would make way for another people, who would inherit the kingdom of God.

b (108) The promise spoken of here is no doubt the promise given to the former prophets regarding the advent of the Holy Prophet; and by knowledge in the previous verse is also meant knowledge of the prophecies.

down on their faces, weeping, and it adds to their humility. no Say: Call on Allah or call on the Beneficent. a By whatever (name) you call on Him, He has the best names. And do not be loud in your prayer nor be silent in it, and seek a way between these. m And say: Praise be to Allah! Who has not taken to Himself a son, and Who does not have a partner in the kingdom, and Who does not have a helper because of weakness; and proclaim His greatness, magnifying (Him).

a (110-1) The name Rahman (Beneficent) seems to have been particularly objectionable to the Arabs, who objected to its use even so late as the truce at Hudaibiyah. The Christians also do not recognize Allah to be Rahman, because it means that Allah shows mercy to His creatures without their having done anything to deserve it, while the Christian doctrine of atonement is based on the belief that Allah cannot show mercy to His creatures without receiving some satisfaction.

b (110-2) The two extremes with regard to prayer are its utterance in a very loud voice or not uttering any word at all with the tongue, thinking that God knows what is in the hearts. Muslims are told to take the middle course between the two extremes. Utterance of words makes the prayer go deeper down into the heart of man, and thus makes it more effective.

Chapter 18 Ai-Kahf The Cave

This chapter deals with both the early state of Christianity, when it was under persecution and practised renunciation of the world, and prophetically with its latter-day condition when Christian nations have acquired unsurpassed material dominance in the world. It is called The Cave because early Christians sought refuge in such places from persecution and practised monkery in solitude. In the first as well as the last section the doctrine of the Divine sonship of Jesus is denounced (v. 4, v. 102) and the purely material engrossment of these nations is prophesied to lead to material and spiritual failure (v. 7-8, v. 103-104). In between, the chapter treats the following subjects: a story from early Christianity of the dwellers of the cave, containing prophetical allusions to its later history, rejection of the truth by those who possess wealth and power, the guilty being brought to judgment, a story of Moses' search for knowledge and finding a man of God superior to him in knowledge, indicating the coming of Islam, and a story of King Darius I and his efforts to repel the two tribes of Gog and Magog, which again contains a prophetical allusion to the rise and dominance of modern Western nations. This chapter was revealed in the early period at Makkah.

Section 1: A Warning to the Christians

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 Praise be to Allah! Who revealed the Book to His servant, and did not allow in it any crookedness, 2 rightly directing," to give warning of severe punishment from Him and to give good news to the believers who do good that theirs is a goodly reward, 3 staying in it forever; 4 and to warn those who say: Allah has taken to Himself a son. 5 They have no knowledge of it, nor had their fathers. Grievous is the word that comes out of their mouths. They speak

a (2) The Quran is here described as possessing two qualifications. The first refers to its own perfection, there is no crookedness in it; and the second speaks of it as a book suited to make others perfect, for it is called qayyim, as meaning one that rightly directs others.

nothing but a lie." 6 Then perhaps you will kill yourself with grief, sorrowing after them, if they do not believe in this announcement.

7 Surely We have made whatever is on the earth an embellishment for it, so that We may try which of them is best in works. 8 And We shall surely make what is on it dust, without vegetation/

a (5) The Holy Prophet is reported to have said: He who remembers the first ten verses of the chapter entitled The Cave is protected from the tribulation of Dajjal (the Antichrist) (Sahih Muslim, 6:42). In another report the last ten verses of The Cave instead of the first ten are mentioned (Abu Dawud, 36:12). Now in the first and the last sections of this chapter the Christian doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is condemned. In the first section a warning is given to those who say Allah has taken to Himself a son (v. 4), in the last two to those who take My servants to befriends besides Me (v. 102), and this doctrine, the doctrine of sonship and of the divinity of a servant of God, is the basic doctrine of the Christian religion. Moreover, in the concluding ten verses, a true description of the occupation of Christian nations is given in the words whose effort goes astray in this world's life (v. 104). The Holy Prophet's saying quoted above plainly shows that the Dajjal of the Hadith is the same as the upholders of the erroneous Christian doctrine of the sonship and divinity of Jesus Christ. Christianity, in its present form, being opposed to the true teachings of Christ, is thus the only Antichrist known to the Quran.

b (6) The anxiety which the Holy Prophet felt on account of a fallen humanity was so great that he is spoken of here as almost killing himself with grief. His was a life of absolute devotion to the cause of humanity, his only concern being that man should rise to the true dignity for which God had made him. This anxiety was not only for those who were directly addressed by him, but, as the context shows, it was as deep for another people, who attributed a son to the Divine Being, and whom outward finery was to mislead to such an extent as to make them strangers to spiritual truth. Reading the next verse leaves no doubt that the Prophet was shown the earthly embellishments which are so great a trial for Christendom today. The word announcement here refers to the Quran.

c (8) The picture drawn here is of the beautiful cities of the modern age, with all their attractions and luxuries, which so engross people that they neither pay attention to the preaching of truth nor to the pursuit of righteousness. The earth will be first beautified to its utmost, we are told here, and then laid waste, by man's own hands, lofty buildings being reduced to dust and beautiful gardens being turned into bare earth without any vegetation on it. All prophecies made known through the righteous servants of God, the prophets of the Old Testament and Jesus Christ, and then through the Quran and the Hadith, point to world-wide conflicts in the latter days, of nation rising against nation, and of destruction of

9 0r, do you think that the companions of the Cave and the Inscription were from among Our wonderful signs?" 10 When the youths sought refuge in the Cave, they said: Our Lord, grant us mercy from Yourself, and provide for us a right course in our affair. n So We prevented them from hearing in the Cave for a number of years, 4 12 then We raised them up that We might know which

cities on a vast scale. Science first embellished the earth and science is now turning it into a waste, by its atom bombs and other diabolic inventions.

a (9) The Cave stands for the Christian institution of monkery, this being the distinctive characteristic which it assumed soon after its birth. Raqim means an inscription or a tablet with a writing upon it. The Inscription contains a prophetical reference to an aspect of the Christian religion quite opposed to its first aspect of growth in the Cave. Inscription (or Advertisement) is, in fact, as prominent a feature of the business activities of the Christian nations of today as the Cave was a feature of their religious activities in the early days. The Quran seems to have chosen the epithets to designate the Christian nations by indicating their most prominent characteristics in their early and their latter days.

The account from here to v. 22 is generally identified with the memorable story of the "seven sleepers", Christian youths who took refuge in a cave to escape the persecution of the Roman Emperor Decius around the year 250 C.E. According to the story, the Emperor ordered the entrance to the cave to be blocked with stones. It is stated that the youths fell asleep as soon as they were shut up in the cave, and awoke 187 years after this in the reign of Theodosius (some state 375 years), when the stones were removed to supply building material for some edifice. They then sent one of their number to bring food for them from the city, but he was taken to the judge on presenting a coin of the reign of Decius, and thus the youths were discovered. The story as narrated in the Quran does not credit the unnatural incidents of the above account. It only speaks of some men having taken refuge in a dark cave on account of a religious persecution; where and when it does not state. After they had rested for a part of a day, they made arrangements to get their food from outside (v. 19), and remained in this condition for "a number of years" (v. 11), but were subsequently discovered, and an edifice being built at the mouth of the cave caused their death (v. 21). It mentions conjectures as to their number and the number of years they remained in the cave (v. 22), but does not go beyond saying that there were some men who remained in the cave for some years.

However, the story itself is not without a deeper meaning, and more statements than one show that there is a reference to the history of Christianity itself in the story.

b (11) The meaning is that these people remained cut off from the rest of the world for a number of years. The Quran does not support the story that they remained in the cave for hundreds of years or that they were asleep all this time.

of the two parties was best able to calculate the time for which they remained."

Section 2: The Dwellers in the Cave

13 We relate to you their story with truth. Surely they were youths who believed in their Lord and We increased them in guidance. 14 And We strengthened their hearts when they stood up and said: Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth; we call upon no god beside Him, for then indeed we should utter an enormity.

15 These our people have taken gods beside Him. Why do they not bring clear authority for them? Who is then more unjust than he who forges a lie against Allah? 16 And when you withdraw from them and what they worship except Allah, take refuge in the Cave; your Lord will spread forth for you some of His mercy, and provide for you a profitable course in your affair.

17 And you might see the sun, when it rose, decline from their Cave to the right, and when it set leave them behind on the left, while they were in a wide space of it. c This is from among the signs of Allah. He whom Allah guides, he is on the right way; and whom He leaves in error, you will not find for him a friend to guide aright.

Section 3: The Dwellers in the Cave

18 And you might think them awake while they were asleep, and We turned them about to the right and to the left, with their

a (12) The raising them up might signify raising them up from sleep, as also raising them up into a condition of activity, after their remaining cut off from the world, as stated in the previous verse.

b (14) This is to show that the early followers of Christianity were Unitarians â€" believers in one God only.

c (17) This describes the position of the cave, which was so situated that it did not admit sunshine. This could easily happen in a cave with its mouth to the north, situated in the northern hemisphere and above the tropic of cancer. With reference to the history of Christianity it may indicate its coming to Europe.

dog outstretching its paws at the entrance. If you looked at them, you would turn back from them in flight, and you would be filled with awe because of them."

19 And thus did We rouse them that they might question each other. A speaker from among them said: How long have you stayed? They said: We have stayed for a day or a part of a day. (Others) said: Your Lord knows best how long you have stayed. Now send one of you with this silver (coin) of yours to the city, then let him see what food is purest, and bring you provision from it, and let him behave with gentleness, and not make your case known to anyone. c 20 For if they prevail against you, they would stone you to death or force you back to their religion, and then you would never succeed.

a (18) What is related in this section is clearly applicable to the story of the seven sleepers, as also to the later history of Christianity. In the first case, the meaning is that the youths, who fled for fear of persecution and betook themselves to a cave, slept for some time with a dog at the door of the cave. The whole scene was rather awe-inspiring: a dark cave, in some distant and uninhabited part of the country, with some men sleeping in it and a dog at the door. Applied to the history of Christianity the statement is equally true. In this case it should be borne in mind that ruqud ("asleep") also means inactive or stagnant. Similarly aiqaz ("awake") means vigilant or wary. The turning about to the right and to the left, which signifies an uneasy condition while sleeping, may be used as expressing the activities of a man or a nation. Thus there may be a reference here to the lethargy in which the Christian nations remained for a long time, and to their subsequent going about in the world in all directions. It may also be noted that Europeans are generally fond of dogs.

b (19-1) This may refer either to the time for which the youths slept or to the centuries of inactivity of the Christian nations. A day of a thousand years is spoken of in the Quran (see 22:47, etc.), and therefore the word day, applied to the history of a nation, may signify a thousand years.

c (19-2) After having been refreshed with sleep, which might have been brought on by the fatigue of the journey, they thought of procuring food for themselves in that solitary cave and sent one of them to the city, and impressed on him that he should be gentle and should not give an inkling of their whereabouts to anyone. In reference to the history of Christianity, this speaks of the commercial activities of the Christian nations (i.e. in Asia and Africa, by means of which their rule was established. The words "and not make your case known to anyone" apply to their hidden intentions of gaining rule under the pretext of trade. â€" Editor)

21 And thus did We make (people) to get knowledge of them," that they might know that Allah's promise is true and that the Hour â€" there is no doubt about it.* When they disputed among themselves about their affair and said: Erect an edifice over them. c Their Lord knows best about them. Those who prevailed in their affair said: We shall certainly build a place of worship over them. 22 (Some) say: (They were) three, the fourth of them their dog; and (others) say: Five, the sixth of them their dog, making conjectures about the unseen. And (others) say: Seven, and the eighth of them their dog. Say: My Lord best knows their number â€" none knows them but a few. So do not contend in their matter but with a clear argument, and do not question any of them concerning them. 6

a (21-1) It was their going out to purchase food that brought them to the knowledge of the outside world. It is not stated how long they continued in this state. Comparing this with v. 11, however, we may say that they passed several years in this condition.

b (21-2) The result of their becoming known is described in words which show that they were put to death, because the promise of Allah as to a future state of life is fully realized only after death.

c (21-3) These words show that their death was brought about by closing the mouth of the cave. This is what is meant by the erection of an edifice over them. The words may also signify the erection of a monument.

d (21-4) The people spoken of here are those who prevailed in their affair. This is a later incident, when Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire, and the reference here seems to be to the saint-worship which was prevalent in Christianity.

e (22) This verse and v. 25 show that these are only conjectures of the people with regard to them. Their number and the number of years during which they remained in the cave are both matters which are said to be only known to Allah. Ibn Abbas is, however, of the opinion that the words condemning the first two as conjectures show that the last-mentioned number, i.e., seven, is correct. {Editor's Note: In his Urdu commentary, Maulana Muhammad Ali has applied this number to the number of Western powers, whose number varies depending on whether they are counted individually or in groups according to their treaty alliances.)

According to Ibn Jarir's commentary the people referred to in the concluding words, any of them, are the people of the Book, or the Christians. It is clear from this that it is really the history of Christianity that is dealt with in the story of the Companions of the Cave. V. 25, which again speaks of the same people who are

Section 4: The Quran as a Guidance

23 And do not say of anything: I will do that tomorrow, 24 unless Allah please." And remember jour Lord when you forget and say: Maybe my Lord will guide me to a nearer course to the right than this.

25 And they remained in their cave three hundred years, and they add nine. e 26 Say: Allah knows best how long they remained. His is the unseen of the heavens and the earth. How clear His sight and His hearing! There is no guardian for them beside Him, and He takes none as partner in His judgment.

27 And recite what has been revealed to you of the Book of

spoken of here, makes it clear that it is the history of Christianity that is really aimed at.

a (24-1) Though the words are general, there seems to be a special prophetic reference to the Prophet's Flight and his taking refuge in a cave. He had entirely to trust in Allah, Who was to bring it about as He thought best for him.

b (24-2) The meaning is that the difficulties which had to be experienced by the dwellers in the cave would be removed from the Prophet's way. He had to pass only three days in the cave, and though a powerful enemy exerted itself to its utmost, his hiding-place at only a distance of three miles from the city, whither food was conveyed to him, could not be discovered. Or, in the nearer course there is a reference to the unprecedented triumph of Islam, which spread over the whole of Arabia within twenty-three years, and spread from Spain in the west to China in the east within a century, whereas Christianity remained in a state of subjection in its birth-place for three hundred years, as stated in the verse that follows.

c (25) The history of Christianity, which runs like an undercurrent in the story of the Companions of the Cave, finds a clear expression now. There is no tradition that the Companions of the Cave remained in the Cave for three hundred years, but Christianity itself remained in a Cave for full three hundred years. It is a fact that Christianity rose to power with the conversion of Constantine, and at the same time it lost its purity with the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity, which was promulgated in 325 C.E. It is, moreover, now almost agreed that Jesus Christ was born in 6-5 B.C. So if he began his ministry at the age of thirty, the Christian religion may be said to have been born at about 25 C.E., and thus exactly after three hundred years it lost its purity by the promulgation of the Trinitarian doctrine, emerging at the same time as a State religion. Thus it remained in the Cave for three hundred years. As to adding nine years, to convert solar years to lunar years three years have to be added to every hundred years, and to the three centuries another nine years are thus added.

jour Lord. There is none who can alter His words. a And you will find no refuge beside Him. 28 And keep yourself with those who call on their Lord morning and evening desiring His goodwill, and let not your eyes pass from them, desiring the beauties of this world's life. And do not follow him whose heart We have made unmindful of Our remembrance, and he follows his low desires and his case exceeds due bounds. 29 And say: The Truth is from your Lord; so whoever wishes, let him believe, and whoever wishes, let him disbelieve. Surely We have prepared for the wrongdoers a Fire, an enclosure of which will encompass them. And if they cry for water, they are given water like molten brass, scalding their faces. Evil the drink! And ill the resting-place! 30 As for those who believe and do good, We do not waste the reward of him who does a good work. 31 These it is for whom are Gardens of perpetuity in which rivers flow; they are adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and they wear green robes of fine silk and thick brocade, reclining therein on raised couches. c Excellent the recompense! And goodly the resting-place!

Section 5: A Parable

32 And set forth to them the parable of two men â€" for one of them We made two gardens of grape-vines, and We surrounded

a (27) By "words" are meant here prophecies, because it is the prophecy of the Prophet's Flight and his final triumph over his enemies that is referred to here. These prophecies, it is claimed, cannot be altered by people, and they must come to pass, however great the opposing forces.

b (29) They refused the water of spiritual life in this life, and so they will have no water to quench their thirst in the life after death.

c (31) It is after these things that people hanker in this life, but the ornaments and robes of this life are transitory. The righteous, who in this life desire and struggle for only spiritual ornaments and moral beauty, find these visible in the after-life. However, these prophecies were in one sense brought to fulfilment in this very life also. The Arabs, whose only wealth consisted of their camels and horses, and whose clothes were made of skins or cloth of rough textures, found the treasures of Rome and Persia laid at their feet, and the bracelets of gold and the silk brocade interwoven with gold, which they had never seen before, were now brought to them in abundance, while the gardens of Mesopotamia and Persia were given to them for a permanent heritage.

them with date-palms, and between them We made corn-fields. " 33 Both these gardens yielded their fruits, and did not fail in this at all, and We caused a river to gush forth in their midst, 34 and he had fruit. So he said to his companion, while arguing with him: I have more wealth than you, and am greater in followers. 35 And he went into his garden, while he was unjust to himself. He said: I do not think that this will ever perish, 36 and I do not think the Hour will come; and even if I am returned to my Lord, I will certainly find a better place of return than this.

37 His companion said to him, while arguing with him: Do you disbelieve in Him Who created you of dust, then of a small life-germ, then He made you a perfect man? 38 But as for me, He, Allah, is my Lord, and I set up none as partner with my Lord. 39 And why did you not say, when you entered your garden: It is as Allah has pleased â€" there is no power except in Allah? If you consider me as less than you in wealth and children â€" 40 then maybe my Lord will give me better than your garden, and will send on (yours) a reckoning from heaven so that it is dust without plant, 41 or its water will sink down into the ground, so that you are unable to find it. 42 And his fruit was destroyed; so he began to wring his hands for what he had spent on it, as it lay waste, its roofs fallen down, c and he said: Ah me! I wish I had not set up any partner with my Lord! 43 And he had no forces to help him against Allah, nor could he defend himself. 44 Thus protection is only Allah's, the True One. He is best to (give) reward and best for (determining) the final end.

a (32) The parable set forth here is undoubtedly to illustrate the condition of the Christian and the Muslim nations. The former received an abundance of the wealth of this life, as is indicated by the gardens of the parable, while the latter, though poorer in worldly possessions, were richer in the heavenly blessings of Allah. The former reject the message of Truth, of which the latter are the bearers, and their vaunt is the same as that of the wealthy man in the parable: / have more wealth than you, and am greater in followers (v. 34).

b (36) By the "Hour" is meant the hour of doom which must overtake every people who reject the Truth.

c (42) Here we have an exact description of the havoc that is being wrought in the world before our eyes by modern wars.

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Section 6: The Guilty are brought to Judgment

45 And set forth to them the likeness of the life of this world as water which We send down from the cloud, so the vegetation of the earth becomes luxuriant by it, then it becomes dry, broken into pieces which the winds scatter. And Allah is the Holder of power over all things. 46 Wealth and children are an adornment of the life of this world; but the ever-abiding, the good works, are better with jour Lord in reward and better in hope. 47 And the day when We cause the mountains to pass away, and you see the earth a levelled plain and We gather them together and leave none of them behind." 48 And they are brought before your Lord in ranks. Now certainly you have come to Us as We created you at first. But you thought that We had not made an appointment for you. 49 And the book is placed, and you see the guilty fearing for what is in it, and they say: O woe to us! What a book is this! It leaves out neither a small thing nor a great one, but numbers them (all), and they find what they did confronting them. And your Lord does not wrong anyone.

Section 7: Their Helplessness

50 And when We said to the angels: Be submissive to Adam, they submitted, but not Iblls. He was from among the jinn, so he transgressed the commandment of his Lord. c Will you then take him and his offspring for friends rather than Me, and they are your enemies? Evil is the exchange for the unjust. 51 I did not make them witness the creation of the heavens and the earth, nor their own creation. Nor could I take those who mislead for aiders.

a (47) Making the earth a levelled plain indicates the removal of all those mighty obstacles which stood in the way of the advancement of Truth, and these are the mountains which are made to pass away; see 20:105-107.

b (49) This comprehensive book is the same as is spoken of in 17:13-14. There is not the slightest action, good or bad, which does not leave its effect behind.

c (50) Iblls is one of the jinn or the evil spirits, so it is an error to take him for an angel or a good spirit. The spirit of evil is always rebellious, and it is against this that man is warned, so that he should resist every evil tendency.

52 And one day He will say: Call on those whom you considered to be My partners. So they will call on them, but they will not answer them, and We shall cause a separation between them. 53 And the guilty will see the Fire, and know that they are about to fall into it, and they will find no escape from it.

Section 8: Warning is disregarded

54 And certainly We have made distinct in this Quran for mankind every kind of description; and man is in most things contentious. 55 And nothing prevents people from believing when the guidance comes to them, and from asking forgiveness of their Lord, but that (they wait) for the way of the ancients to catch up with them, or that the punishment should confront them. 56 And We do not send messengers but as givers of good news and warning, and those who disbelieve contend by means of falsehood to weaken thereby the Truth, and they take My messages and the warning for a mockery. 57 And who is more unjust than he who is reminded of the messages of his Lord, then he turns away from them and forgets what his hands have already done? Surely We have placed veils over their hearts, so they do not understand it, and a deafness in their ears. a And if you call them to the guidance, they will even then never follow the right course.

58 And jour Lord is Forgiving, full of mercy. If He were to punish them for what they earn, He would certainly hasten the punishment for them. But for them there is an appointed time from which they will find no refuge. 59 And these towns â€" We destroyed them when they did wrong. And We have appointed a time for their destruction.

a (57) It is when man becomes so iniquitous as to turn away from the truth and so callous as not to care for the evil that he does that a veil is placed over his heart.

b (59) The personal pronoun their refers to the opponents of Truth, earlier as well as later.

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Section 9: Moses travels in Search of Knowledge

60 And when Moses said to his servant: " I will not cease until I reach the junction of the two rivers, or I will go on for years. 61 So when they reached the junction of the two (rivers), they forgot their fish, and it took its way into the river, being free. 62 But when they had gone further, he said to his servant: Bring us our morning meal, we have certainly found this journey of ours tiring. 63 He (the servant) said: Did you see when we took refuge on the rock, I forgot the fish, and none but the devil made me forget to speak of it, and it took its way into the river; what a wonder! c 64 He said: This is what we sought for. So they returned retracing their footsteps.

a (60-1) Some reports give his name as Joshua, the son of Nun, the man who afterwards appears so prominently in the history of Israel.

The incidents narrated in verses 60-82 may be the actual experience of Moses or this journey may simply be an Ascension of Moses, like the Ascension (Mi 'raj) of the Holy Prophet, referred to in the last chapter. What is stated in the next section makes the latter view more probable.

b (60-2) Moses lived in Egypt for forty years, and the junction of the two rivers (Majma' al-Bahrain) is no other than the junction of the two great branches of the Nile at Khartoum. Rabbinical and Hellenistic literature agree that Moses went to Ethiopia. Hence a journey to Khartoum, which was near the southern boundary of Ethiopia, made in search of knowledge, is most probable. Some commentators, however, do not take these words literally, taking the meaning to be the union of the rivers of human and Divine knowledge. I would, however, suggest that if we accept this journey in the light of an Ascension, it would be an indication of the limitation of the Mosaic dispensation. Moses' going on for years until he reached the "the junction of the two rivers" would mean that the Mosaic dispensation would see its termination after a time, being replaced by one which was to be guided by a prophet who is the union of the two seas of human and Divine knowledge, or one in whom the temporal and the spiritual would find their highest manifestation, this being the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

c (63) The loss of the fish was, according to a report, to serve as a sign that the goal had been attained (Bukhari, 3:44). There is nothing either in the Quran or in the Hadith to show that this was a roasted fish. Taking refuge on the rock shows that they were staying at a place which was flooded by the river, and Moses' companion, when hastening for refuge, forgot to take the fish along with him. The wonder is not expressed at the fish having gone down into the river, but because he had forgotten to mention the loss to Moses.

65 Then they found one of Our servants whom We had granted mercy from Us and whom We had taught knowledge from Ourselves." 66 Moses said to him: May I follow you that you may teach me some of the good you have been taught? 67 He said: Fou will not be able to have patience with me. 68 And how can you have patience in matters in which you do not have a comprehensive knowledge? 69 He said: If Allah please, you will find me patient, nor shall I disobey you in anything. 70 He said: If you would follow me, do not question me about anything until I myself speak to you about it.

Section 10: Moses travels in Search of Knowledge

71 So they set out, until, when they embarked in a boat, he made a hole in it. (Moses) said: Have you made a hole in it to drown its occupants? Fou have surely done a terrible thing. 72 He said: Did I not say that you will not be able to have patience with me? 73 He said: Do not blame me for what I forgot, and do not be hard upon me for what I did.

74 So they went on, until, when they met a boy, he killed him. (Moses) said: Have you killed an innocent person, not guilty of * killing another? Fou have indeed done a horrible thing. * 75 He said: Did I not say to you that you will not be able to have patience with me? 76 He said: If I ask you about anything after this, do not keep company with me. Fou will then indeed have found an excuse in my case.

77 So they went on, until, when they came to the people of a town, they asked its people for food, but they refused to entertain them as guests. Then they found in it a wall which was on the point of falling, so he put it into a right state. (Moses) said: If you had wished, you could have taken a recompense for it. 78 He said: This is the parting between me and you. Now I will inform you of the significance of that about which you could not have patience.

79 As for the boat, it belonged to poor people working on the

a (65) His name was Khadir (Bukhari, 3:44).

ss

18 : 80 "MOSES TRAVELS IN SEARCH OF KNOWLEDGE 369

river, and I intended to damage it, for there was behind them a king who seized every boat by force. 80 And as for the boy, his parents were believers and we feared that he might involve them in wrongdoing and disbelief." 81 So we intended that their Lord might give them in his place one better in purity and nearer to mercy. 82 And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and there was beneath it a treasure belonging to them, and their father had been a righteous man. So your Lord intended that they should attain their maturity and take out their treasure â€" a mercy from your Lord â€" and I did not do it of my own accord. This is the significance of that about which you could not have patience. 6

a (80) That the youth himself deserved death is abundantly clear. His inordi-nacy had now reached an extreme when it was feared that his innocent parents would be involved in the trouble which must befall him as a result of his wrongdoing. The circumstances were known to Khadir, though not to Moses.

b (82) The interpretation of the three incidents shows a manifestation of Divine wisdom in what takes place in the everyday life of man. Divine laws, as manifested in nature, are really working towards ultimate good, though sometimes they may appear to the outward eye to be working to the detriment of somebody. The beneficent hand of Allah that works in nature is always directing humanity to the goal of great good, though that goal must necessarily be reached with apparent loss. Sometimes the loss is only apparent, as in the case of making a hole in the boat; there was no real loss, but the apparent loss served a great purpose and brought much benefit to the owner. The second instance is that in which there is real loss to a person, but it is for the good of humanity at large, for life must be sacrificed for the ultimate good of humanity. The third instance shows that, for the good of humanity, deeds must be done which bring no immediate reward, and that good done by one generation is not devoid of benefit to the next.

Moses himself had, in fact, to undergo the experience of his teacher, and the incidents seem no more than prophetic allegories of Moses' own life-work. Moses had to lead his people to a place where they thought they had only been brought to be drowned; but their safe passage through the sea showed that it was for their good. Then he had to order his men to fight against an iniquitous people and to put them to death, but he was not shedding human blood to no purpose, for it was really a step towards the evolution of a better race. And finally, his devoting his own life to the Israelites, descendants of a righteous man, corresponded to his teacher's building the wall for the orphans without claiming recompense. Read in this light, the narration is clearly an Ascension of Moses, foreshadowing the great events which were to befall him.

Section 11: Dhu-1-qarnain and Gog and Magog

83 And they ask you about Dhu-1-qarnain." Say: I will recite to you an account of him. 84 Truly We established him (with power) in the land and granted him means of access to everything; 8S so he followed a course. 86 Until, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it going down into a black sea, e and found by it a people. We said: O Dhu-1-qarnain, either punish them or do them a benefit. 87 He said: As for him who is unjust, we shall punish him, then he will be returned to his Lord, and He will punish him with an exemplary punishment. 88 And as for him who

a (83) Dhu-1-qarnain literally means the two-horned one, or one belonging to two generations or two centuries. The reference here seems to be to the two-horned ram of Daniel's vision (Daniel, 8:3), which he interpreted as the Kingdoms of Media and Persia, which were combined into a single kingdom under one ruler, Cyrus, who is erroneously called Darius in the Bible (Encyclopedia Biblica and Jewish Encyclopedia, Art. 'Darius').