For years didst thou stay among the people of Midian; then camest thou hither
by my decree, O Moses:
And I have chosen thee for Myself.
Go thou and thy brother with my signs and be not slack to remember me.
Go ye to Pharaoh, for he hath burst all bounds:
But speak ye to him with gentle speech; haply he will reflect or fear."
They said, "O our Lord! truly we fear lest he break forth against us, or act
with exceeding injustice."
He said, "Fear ye not, for I am with you both. I will hearken and I will
Go ye then to him and say, 'Verily we are Sent ones of thy Lord; send
therefore the children of Israel with us and vex them not: now are we come to
thee with signs from thy Lord, and, Peace shall be on him who followeth the
For now hath it been revealed to us, that chastisement shall be on him who
chargeth with falsehood, and turneth him away."'
And he said, "Who is your Lord, O Moses?"
He said, "Our Lord is He who hath given to everything its form and then
guideth it aright."
"But what," said he, "was the state of generations past?"10
He said, "The knowledge thereof is with my Lord in the Book of his decrees.
My Lord erreth not, nor forgetteth.
He hath spread the earth as a bed, and hath traced out paths for you therein,
and hath sent down rain from Heaven, and by it we bring forth the kinds11 of
�'Eat ye, and feed your cattle.' Of a truth in this are signs unto men endued
From it have we created you, and into it will we return you, and out of it
will we bring you forth a second time."12
And we shewed him all our signs: but he treated them as falsehoods, and
refused to believe.
He said, "Hast thou come, O Moses, to drive us from our land by thine
Therefore will we assuredly confront thee with like enchantments: so appoint
a meeting between us and you�we will not fail it, we, and do not thou�in a
place alike for both."
He said, "On the feast day13 be your meeting, and in broad daylight let the
people be assembled."
And Pharaoh turned away, and collected his craftsmen and came.
Said Moses to them, "Woe to you! devise not a lie against God:
For then will he destroy you by a punishment. They who have lied have ever
And the magicians discussed their plan, and spake apart in secret:
They said, "These two are surely sorcerers: fain would they drive you from
your land by their sorceries, and lead away in their paths your chiefest men:
So muster your craft: then come in order: well this day shall it be for him,
who shall gain the upper hand."
They said, "O Moses, wilt thou first cast down thy rod, or shall we be the
first who cast?"
He said, "Yes, cast ye down first." And lo! by their enchantment their cords
and rods seemed to him as if they ran.
And Moses conceived a secret fear within him.
We said, "Fear not, for thou shalt be the uppermost:
Cast forth then what is in thy right hand: it shall swallow up what they have
produced: they have only produced the deceit of an enchanter: and come where
he may, ill shall an enchanter fare."
And the magicians fell down and worshipped. They said,
"We believe in the Lord of Aaron and of Moses."
Said Pharaoh, "Believe ye on him ere I give you leave? He, in sooth, is your
Master who hath taught you magic. I will therefore cut off your hands and
your feet on opposite sides, and I will crucify you on trunks of the palm,
and assuredly shall ye learn which of us is severest in punishing, and who is
the more abiding."14
They said, "We will not have more regard to thee than to the clear tokens
which have come to us, or than to Him who hath made us: doom the doom thou
wilt: Thou canst only doom as to this present life: of a truth we have
believed on our Lord that he may pardon us our sins and the sorcery to which
thou hast forced us, for God is better, and more abiding than thou.15
As for him who shall come before his Lord laden with crime�for him verily is
Hell: he shall not die in it and he shall not live.
But he who shall come before Him, a believer, with righteous works,�these!
the loftiest grades await them:
Gardens of Eden, beneath whose trees16 the rivers flow: therein shall they
abide for ever. This, the reward of him who hath been pure."
Then revealed we to Moses, "Go forth by night with my servants and cleave for
them a dry path in the sea;
Fear not thou to be overtaken, neither be thou afraid."
And Pharaoh followed them with his hosts, and the whelming billows of the sea
therein diversely, that haply they may fear God, or that it may give birth to
reflection in them.
Exalted then be God, the King, the Truth! Be not hasty in its recital26 while
the revelation of it to thee is incomplete. Say rather, "O my Lord, increase
knowledge unto me."
And of old We made a covenant with Adam; but he forgat it; and we found no
firmness of purpose in him.
And when We said to the angels, "Fall down and worship Adam," they worshipped
all, save Eblis, who refused: and We said, "O Adam! this truly is a foe to
thee and to thy wife. Let him not therefore drive you out of the garden, and
ye become wretched;
For to thee is it granted that thou shalt not hunger therein, neither shalt
thou be naked;
But Satan whispered him: said he, "O Adam! shall I shew thee the tree of
Eternity,27 and the Kingdom that faileth not?"
And they both ate thereof, and their nakedness appeared to them, and they
began to sew of the leaves of the Garden to cover them, and Adam disobeyed
his Lord and went astray.
Afterwards his Lord chose him for himself, and was turned towards him, and
And God said, "Get ye all down hence, the one of you a foe unto the other.
Hereafter shall guidance come unto you from me;
And whoso followeth my guidance shall not err, and shall not be wretched:
But whoso turneth away from my monition, his truly shall be a life of misery:
And We will assemble him with others on the day of Resurrection, blind."28
He will say, "O my Lord! why hast thou assembled me with others, blind?
whereas I was endowed with sight."
He will answer, "Thus is it, because our signs came unto thee and thou didst
forget them, and thus shalt thou be forgotten this day."
Even thus will We recompense him who hath transgressed and hath not believed
in the signs of his Lord; and assuredly the chastisement of the next world
will be more severe and more lasting.
Are not they, who walk the very places where they dwelt, aware how many
generations we have destroyed before them? Verily in this are signs to men of
And had not a decree of respite from thy Lord first gone forth, their
chastisement had at once ensued. Yet the time is fixed.
Put up then with what they say; and celebrate the praise of thy Lord before
the sunrise, and before its setting; and some time in the night do thou
praise him, and in the extremes29 of the day, that thou haply mayest please
And strain not thine eye after what We have bestowed on divers of them�the
braveries of this world�that we may thereby prove them. The portion which thy
Lord will give, is better and more lasting.
Enjoin prayer on thy family, and persevere therein. We ask not of thee to
find thine own provision�we will provide for thee, and a happy issue shall
there be to piety.
But they say, "If he come not to us with a sign from his Lord . . .!"30 But
have not clear proofs for the Koran come to them, in what is in the Books of
And had We destroyed them by a chastisement before its time, they would
surely have said, "O our Lord! How could we believe if thou didst not send
unto us an Apostle that we might follow thy signs ere that we were humbled
SAY: Each one of us awaiteth the end. Wait ye then, and ye shall know which
1 The first 14 or 16 verses of this Sura are said to have induced Omar to
embrace Islam (His. 226. Ibn Sâd, i. and v. Comp. Weil, p. 60. Causs. i. 396
ff.) in the sixth year before the Hejira.
2 Freytag supposes these letters to mean, Hush! but see Sura lxviii. 1, p.
3 Lit. if thou raise thy voice.
4 Lit. guidance. Moses had lost his way, say the Commentators, when
journeying to Egypt to visit his mother.
5 The Muhammadan Commentators tell how Moses when a child burnt his tongue
with a live coal. The same story is found in Midr. Jalkut on Ex. c. 166, and
in Shalsheleth Hakabalah, p. 5, b. Ed. Amsterd.
6 Lit vizir.
7 Or, strengthen my back.
8 The form of the word in the original is not the pure Hebraic, but the later
9 See Sura [lxxix.] xxviii. 11, 12.
10 What is their condition after their death as to happiness or misery.
Beidh. whom Sale follows. But the word state, which Mar. renders mens, refers
rather to their creed. "How," enquires Pharaoh, "do you explain the fact that
the generations of men have always practised a different worship?"
11 Lit. pairs.
12 The Midrasch Tanchumah on Ex. vii. gives a very similar dialogue between
Pharaoh and Moses.
13 Lit. the day of ornament.
14 In punishing. Beidh.
15 To recompense. Beidh.
16 As the garden is said in Sura lxxxviii. to be lofty in point of situation,
this frequently recurring phrase may mean that rivers run at its base. The
Commentators, however, generally understand it to imply that the rivers flow
beneath its shades or pavilions.
17 Lit. and there overwhelmed them of the sea that which overwhelmed them.
18 The 70 elders who were to have accompanied him.
19 That is, the Samaritan. This rendering, which is probably the true
explanation of the word Samiri, involves a grievous ignorance of history on
the part of Muhammad. Selden (de diis Syr. Syn. i. ch. 4) supposes that
Samiri is Aaron himself, the Shomeer, or keeper of Israel during the absence
of Moses. Many Arabians identify him with the Micha of Judges xvii. who is
said to have assisted in making the calf (Raschi, Sanhedr. 102, 2 Hottinger
Hist. Orient. p. 84). Geiger suggests that Samiri may be a corruption of
Samael. See next note. But it is probable that the name and its application
in the present instance, is to be traced to the old national feud between the
Jews and Samaritans. See De Sacy, Chrestom. i. p. 189, who quotes Abu Rihan
Muhammad as stating that the Samaritans were called Al-limsahsit, the people
who say, "Touch me not" (v. 97, below), and Juynboll Chron. Sam. (Leid. 1848)
p. 113. Sale also mentions a similar circumstance of a tribe of Samaritan
Jews dwelling on one of the islands in the Red Sea.
20 "The calf came forth (Ex. xxxii. 24) lowing and the Israelites beheld it.
R. Jehuda saith, Samuel entered into it and lowed in order to mislead
Israel." Pirke R. Eliezer, § 45.
21 From the track of Gabriel's horse, or of Gabriel himself.
22 Lit. no touch.
23 I have adopted the word leaden as expressive of the idea implied in the
original word, viz. grey or greyish blue; hence, dulled, dimmed. The Arabians
have a great aversion to blue and grey eyes as characteristic of their
enemies the Greeks. The word, however, may also mean blind. Comp. v. 124, 5.
24 Lit. the most excellent or just of them in his way: dignitate, Mar. But
Kam. in Freyt. (iii. 150) justissimus eorum, simillimus veracibus. The sense
of the last clause is, "Yes have not tarried even so much as ten days, such,
now that we look back upon it, is the brevity of life." See Sura [lxiv.]
25 The angel Israfil.
26 Compare Sura lxxv. 16-19, p. 56.
27 It should be observed that here and in Sura vii. 19, Muhammad seems
unaware of the distinction between the tree of knowledge, and the tree of
life, as given in Gen. ii. 9, and iii. 5.
28 From the intensity of the light, mentioned Sura [1xxx.] xxxix. 69.
29 In order to reconcile this passage with the prescribed hours, some
understand the extremes to mean the mid-day, when the day is as it were
30 Supply, we will not believe.
SURA XXVI.�THE POETS1 [LVI.]
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Ta. Sin. Mim.2 These are the signs of the lucid Book.
Haply thou wearest thyself away with grief because they will not believe.
Were it our will we could send down to them a sign from Heaven, before which
they would humbly bow.3
But from each fresh warning that cometh to them from the God of Mercy they
have only turned aside,
And treated it as a lie: But tidings shall reach them which they shall not
laugh to scorn.
Have they not beheld the earth�how we have caused every kind of noble plant
to spring up therein?
Verily, in this is a sign: but most of them believe not.
And assuredly, thy Lord!�He is the Mighty, the Merciful.
And remember when thy Lord called to Moses, "Go to the wicked people,
The people of Pharaoh. What! will they not fear me?"
He said, "My Lord, in sooth I fear lest they treat me as a liar:
And my breast is straitened, and I am slow of speech:4 send therefore to
Aaron to be my helpmate.
For they have a charge5 against me, and I fear lest they put me to death."
He said, "Surely not. Go ye therefore with our signs: we will be with you and
And go to Pharaoh and say: 'Verily we are the messengers of the Lord of the
Send forth with us the children of Israel."'
And yet what a deed is that which thou hast done!6 Thou art one of the
He said, "I did it indeed, and I was one of those who erred: And I fled from
you because I feared you; but my Lord hath given me wisdom and hath made me
one of his Apostles.
And is this the favour thou hast conferred on me, that thou hast enslaved the
children of Israel?"
Said Pharaoh, "Who then is the Lord of the Worlds?"
He said, "The Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth and of all that is between
them, if only ye believe it."
Said Pharaoh to those around him, "Hear ye this?"
"Your Lord," said Moses, "and the Lord of your sires of old."
"In sooth, your Apostle whom He hath sent to you," said Pharaoh, "is
He said, "Lord is He of the East and of the West, and of all that is between
them, if ye can understand."
He said, "If ye take any God beside me, I will surely put thee in ward."
Said Moses, "What! if I shew thee that which shall be a proof of my mission?"
He said, "Forth with it then, if thou speakest truth."
Then threw he down his staff, and lo! an undoubted serpent:
And he drew out his hand, and lo! it was white7 to the beholders.
He said to his nobles around him. "This truly is a right cunning sorcerer:
Fain would he drive you out of your land by his Sorcery. But what do ye
They said, "Put him and his brother off awhile, and send summoners to all the
Who shall bring to thee every cunning magician."
So the magicians were mustered at a set time, on a solemn day:
And it was said to the people, "Are ye all assembled?"
�"Yes! and we will follow the magicians if they gain the day."
And when the magicians were arrived they said to Pharaoh, "Shall we have a
reward if we gain the day?"
He said, "Yes. And verily in that case ye shall be of those who are near my
Moses said to them, "Throw down what ye have to throw."
So they cast down their ropes and rods, and said, "By Pharaoh's might we
shall surely win."
Then Moses threw down his rod, and lo! it swallowed up their cheating
Then the magicians threw themselves down in worship:
They said, "We believe on the Lord of the Worlds,
The Lord of Moses and of Aaron."
Said Pharaoh, "Have ye then believed on him ere I gave you leave? He truly is
your master who hath taught you magic.8 But bye and bye ye shall surely know
They said, "It cannot harm us, for to our Lord shall we return:
Assuredly we trust that our Lord will forgive us our sins, since we are of
the first who believe."
Then revealed we this order to Moses: "Go forth by night with my servants,
for ye will be pursued."
And Pharaoh sent summoners through the cities:�
"These Israelites," said they, "are a scanty band;
Yet are they enraged against us�
But we truly are numerous, wary."
Thus we caused them to quit gardens and fountains,
And treasures and splendid dwellings;
So was it; and we gave them to the children of Israel for an heritage.9
Then at sunrise the Egyptians followed them:
And when the hosts came in view of one another, the comrades of Moses said,
"We are surely overtaken."
He said, "By no means:�for my Lord is with me�He will guide me."
And we revealed this order to Moses, "Strike the sea with thy rod." And it
clave asunder, and each part became like a huge mountain.
Then made we the others to draw on;
And we saved Moses, and those who were with him, all;
But we drowned the others.
Truly in this was a sign; but most of them did not believe.
But verily thy Lord,�He is the Mighty, the Merciful!
And recite to them the story of Abraham
When he said to his Father and to his people, "What worship ye?"
They said, "We worship idols, and constant is our devotion to them."
He said, "Can they hear you when ye cry to them?
Or help you or do you harm?"
They said, "But we found our Fathers do the like."
He said, "How think ye? They whom ye worship,
Ye and your fathers of early days,
Are my foes: but not so10 the Lord of the Worlds,
Who hath created me, and guideth me,
Who giveth me food and drink;
And when I am sick, he healeth me,
And who will cause me to die and again quicken me,
And who, I hope, will forgive me my sins in the day of reckoning.