The Project Gutenberg ebook of The Koran



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And our messengers came formerly to Abraham with glad tidings. "Peace," said

they. He said, "Peace," and he tarried not, but brought a roasted calf.


And when he saw that their hands touched it not,12 he misliked them, and grew

fearful of them. They said, "Fear not, for we are sent to the people of Lot."


His wife was standing by and laughed;13 and we announced Isaac to her; and

after Isacc, Jacob.


She said, "Ah, woe is me! shall I bear a son when I am old, and when this my

husband is an old man? This truly would be a marvellous thing."


They said, "Marvellest thou at the command of God? God's mercy and blessing

be upon you, O people of this house; praise and glory are His due!"


And when Abraham's fear had passed away, and these glad tidings had reached

him, he pleaded with us for the people of Lot. Verily, Abraham was right

kind, pitiful, relenting.
"O Abraham! desist from this; for already hath the command of thy God gone

forth; as for them, a punishment not to be averted is coming on them."


And when our messengers came to Lot, he was grieved for them; and he was too

weak to protect them,14 and he said, "This is a day of difficulty."


And his people came rushing on towards him, for aforetime had they wrought

this wickedness. He said, "O my people! these my daughters will be purer for

you: fear God, and put me not to shame in my guests. Is there no rightminded

man among you?"


They said, "Thou knowest now that we need not thy daughters; and thou well

knowest what we require."


He said, "Would that I had strength to resist you, or that I could find

refuge with some powerful chieftain."15


The Angels said, "O Lot! verily, we are the messengers of thy Lord: they

shall not touch thee: depart with thy family in the dead of night, and let

not one of you turn back: as for thy wife, on her shall light what shall

light on them. Verily, that with which they are threatened is for the

morning. Is not the morning near?"
And when our decree came to be executed we turned those cities upside down,

and we rained down upon them blocks of claystone one after another, marked16

by thy Lord himself. Nor are they far distant from the wicked Meccans.
And we sent to Madian17 their brother Shoaib. He said, "O my people! worship

God: no other God have you than He: give not short weight and measure: I see

indeed that ye revel in good things; but I fear for you the punishment of the

all-encompassing day.


O my people! give weight and measure with fairness; purloin not other men's

goods; and perpetrate not injustice on the earth with corrupt practices:


A residue,18 the gift of God, will be best for you if ye are believers:
But I am not a guardian over you."
They said to him, "O Shoaib! is it thy prayers which enjoin that we should

leave what our fathers worshipped, or that we should not do with our

substance as pleaseth us? Thou forsooth art the mild, the right director!"
He said, "O my people! How think ye? If I have a clear revelation from my

Lord, and if from Himself He hath supplied me with goodly supplies, and if I

will not follow you in that which I myself forbid you, do I seek aught but

your amendment so far as in me lieth? My sole help is in God. In Him do I

trust, and to Him do I turn me.
O my people! let not your opposition to me draw down upon you the like of

that which befel the people of Noah, or the people of Houd, or the people of

Saleh: and the abodes of the people of Lot are not far distant from you!
Seek pardon of your Lord and be turned unto Him: verily, my Lord is Merciful,

Loving.
They said, "O Shoaib! we understand not much of what thou sayest, and we

clearly see that thou art powerless among us: were it not for thy family we

would have surely stoned thee, nor couldest thou have prevailed against us."


He said, "O my people! think ye more highly of my family than of God? Cast ye

Him behind your back, with neglect? Verily, my Lord is round about your

actions.
And, O my people! act with what power ye can for my hurt: I verily will act:

and ye shall know


On whom shall light a punishment that shall disgrace him, and who is the

liar. Await ye; verily I will await with you."


And when our decree came to pass, we delivered Shoaib and his companions in

faith, by our mercy: And a violent tempest overtook the wicked, and in the

morning they were found prostrate in their houses
As if they had never dwelt in them. Was not Madian swept off even as Themoud

had been swept off?


Of old sent we Moses with our signs and with incontestable power to Pharaoh,

and to his nobles�who followed the behests of Pharaoh, and, unrighteous were

Pharaoh's behests.
He shall head his people on the day of the Resurrection and cause them to

descend into the fire: and wretched the descent by which they shall descend!


They were followed by a curse in this world; and in the day of the

Resurrection, wretched the gift that shall be given them!


Such, the histories of the cities which we relate to thee. Some of them are

standing, others mown down:


We dealt not unfairly by them, but they dealt not fairly by themselves: and

their gods on whom they called beside God availed them not at all when thy

Lord's behest came to pass. They did but increase their ruin.
Such was thy Lord's grasp19 when he laid that grasp on the cities that had

been wicked. Verily his grasp is afflictive, terrible!


Herein truly is a sign for him who feareth the punishment of the latter day.

That shall be a day unto which mankind shall be gathered together; that shall

be a day witnessed by all creatures.
Nor do we delay it, but until a time appointed.
When that day shall come no one shall speak a word but by His leave, and some

shall be miserable and others blessed.


And as for those who shall be consigned to misery�their place the Fire!

therein shall they sigh and bemoan them�


Therein shall they abide while the Heavens and the Earth shall last, unless

thy Lord shall will it otherwise; verily thy Lord doth what He chooseth.


And as for the blessed ones�their place the Garden! therein shall they abide

while the Heavens and the Earth endure, with whatever imperishable boon thy

Lord may please to add.
Have thou no doubts therefore concerning that which they worship: they

worship but what their fathers worshipped before them: we will surely assign

them their portion with nothing lacking.
Of old gave we Moses the Book, and they fell to variance about it. If a

decree of respite had not gone forth from thy Lord, there had surely been a

decision between them. Thy people also are in suspicious doubts about the

Koran.
And truly thy Lord will repay every one according to their works! for He is

well aware of what they do.
Go straight on then as thou hast been commanded, and he also who hath turned

to God with thee, and let him transgress no more. He beholdeth what ye do.


Lean not on the evil doers lest the Fire lay hold on you. Ye have no

protector, save God, and ye shall not be helped against Him.


And observe prayer at early morning, at the close of the day, and at the

approach of night; for the good deeds drive away the evil deeds. This is a

warning for those who reflect:
And persevere steadfastly, for verily God will not suffer the reward of the

righteous to perish.


Were the generations before you, endued with virtue, and who forbad corrupt

doings on the earth, more than a few of those whom we delivered? but the evil

doers followed their selfish pleasures, and became transgressors.
And thy Lord was not one who would destroy those cities unjustly, when its

inhabitants were righteous.


Had thy Lord pleased he would have made mankind of one religion: but those

only to whom thy Lord hath granted his mercy will cease to differ. And unto

this hath He created them; for the word of thy Lord shall be fulfilled, "I

will wholly fill hell with Djinn and men."


And all that we have related to thee of the histories of these Apostles, is

to confirm thy heart thereby. By these hath the truth reached thee, and a

monition and warning to those who believe.
But say to those who believe not, "Act as ye may and can: we will act our

part: and wait ye; we verily will wait."


To God belong the secret things of the Heavens and of the Earth: all things

return to him: worship him then and put thy trust in Him: thy Lord is not

regardless of your doings.20

_______________________


1 See Sura lxviii. p. 32.
2 Or, will bestow his grace on every gracious one, or will bestow his

abundance on every one who hath abundance (of merit). The difficulty of

rendering this passage arises from the word fadhl, which means merit as

applied to man, favour as applied to God.


3 That is, before the Creation. Precisely the same statement occurs in Raschi

on Gen. i. 2, also in the modern catechism. Tsenah ur'enak b'noth Tsion,

authoritatively put forth by the Polish and German Talmudist Rabbins. "At the

first creation of Heaven and Earth . . . the throne of glory of the Blessed

God stood in the air above the waters." Comp. Ps. civ. 3.
4 Men, heaven, and earth. Comp. Tr. Aboth, v. Mischna 1.
5 Comp. verse 37 and Sura [xci.] ii. 21. It should be observed that the

challenge in these passages is not to produce a book which shall equal the

Koran in point of poetry or rhetoric, but in the importance of its subject-

matter with reference to the Divine Unity, the future retribution, etc. Upon

these topics Muhammad well knew that he had preoccupied the ground. And we

may infer from the fragments of the Revelations of Musailima and Sajâh

(Hisam. 946; Attabâri (ed. Kosegarten) i. 134, 136, 152; Tab. Agâni, 339),

which are mere imitations of the Koran, that he felt this to be the case.


6 "They laughed and jeered at him in their words." Midr. Tanchuma. "The

passage Job xii. 5, refers to the righteous Noah who taught them and spake to

them words severe as flames: but they scorned him, and said, 'Old man! for

what purpose is this ark?"' Sanhedr. 108. Comp. Midr. Rabbah on Gen. 30, and

33 on Eccl. ix. 14.
7 Or, oven: according to others, reservoir. Geiger thinks that the expression

the oven boiled up may be a figurative mode of expressing the Rabbinic idea

that "the generation of the Deluge were punished by hot water." Rosch.

Haschanah, 16, 2; Sanhedr. 108. Comp. Weil's Legenden, p. 44.


8 The Montes Gordyoei, perhaps.
9 According to another reading: He hath done amiss. The origin of this story

is probably Gen. ix. 20-25.


10 A Prophet, so far as we know, of Muhammad's own invention, unless Muir's

conjecture be admitted that he was a Christian or Jewish missionary whose

adventures and persecution were recast into this form.�The name may have been

suggested by, Methusaleh, upon whose piety the Midrasch enlarges.


11 That is, we had intended to make thee our chief. Beidh.
12 Thus, in contradiction to Gen. xviii. 8, the Rabbins; comp. Tr. Baba

Mezia, fol. 86, "They made as though they ate."


13 Or, menstrua passa est, in token of the possibility of her bearing a

child.
14 Lit. his arm was straitened concerning them.


15 Lit. column.
16 With the name, it is said, of the person each should strike.
17 See Sura [lvi.] xxvi. 176.
18 That is, after giving fair measure.
19 Seizure, for punishment. Hence, the punishment itself.
20 In the later period of his life Muhammad attributed his gray hairs to the

effect produced upon him by this Sura and its "Sisters." While Abu Bekr and

Omar sat in the mosque at Medina, Muhammad suddenly came upon them from the

door of one of his wives' houses. . . . And Abu Bekr said, "Ah! thou for

whom I would sacrifice father and mother, white hairs are hastening upon

thee!" And the Prophet raised up his beard with his hand and gazed at it; and

Abu Bekr's eyes filled with tears. "Yes," said Muhammad, "Hűd and its sisters

have hastened my white hairs." "And what," asked Abu Bekr, "are its sisters?"

"The Inevitable (Sura lvi.) and the Blow (Sura ci.)." Kitâb al Wackidi, p.

84, ap. Muir.

SURA XIV.�ABRAHAM, ON WHOM BE PEACE [LXXVI.]
MECCA.�52 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
ELIF. LAM. RA. This Book have we sent down to thee that by their Lord's

permission thou mayest bring men out of darkness into light, into the path of

the Mighty, the Glorious�
Of God; to whom belongeth whatever is in the Heavens and whatever is on the

Earth: and woe! for their terrible punishment, to the infidels,


Who love the life that now is, above that which is to come, and mislead from

the way of God, and seek to make it crooked. These are in a far-gone error.


And in order that He might speak plainly to them, we have not sent any

Apostle, save with the speech of his own people; but God misleadeth whom He

will, and whom He will he guideth: and He is the Mighty, the Wise.
Of old did we send Moses with our signs: and said to him, "Bring forth thy

people from the darkness into the light, and remind them of the days of God."

Verily, in this are signs for every patient, grateful person:
When Moses said to his people, "Remember the kindness of God to you, when he

rescued you from the family of Pharaoh who laid on you a cruel affliction,

slaughtering your male children, and suffering only your females to live." In

this was a sore trial from your Lord�


And when your Lord caused it to be heard that, "If we render thanks then will

I surely increase you more and more: but if ye be thankless. . . . Verily,

right terrible my chastisement."
And Moses said, "If ye and all who are on the Earth be thankless, yet truly

God is passing Rich, and worthy of all praise."


Hath not the story reached you of those who were before you, the people of

Noah, and Ad, and Themoud,


And of those who lived after them? None knoweth them but God. When their

prophets came to them with proofs of their mission, they put their hands on

their mouths and said, "In sooth, we believe not your message; and in sooth,

of that to which you bid us, we are in doubt, as of a thing suspicious."


Their prophets said: "Is there any doubt concerning God, maker of the Heavens

and of the Earth, who calleth you that He may pardon your sins, and respite

you until an appointed time?"
They said, "Ye are but men like us: fain would ye turn us from our fathers'

worship. Bring us therefore some clear proof."


Their Apostles said to them, "We are indeed but men like you. But God

bestoweth favours on such of his servants as he pleaseth, and it is not in

our power to bring you any special proof,
But by the leave of God. In God therefore let the faithful trust.
And why should we not put our trust in God, since He hath already guided us

in our ways. We will certainly bear with constancy the harm you would do to

us. In God let the trustful trust."
And they who believed not said to their Apostles, "Forth from our land will

we surely drive you, or, to our religion shall ye return." Then their Lord

revealed to them, "We will certainly destroy the wicked doers,
And we shall certainly cause you to dwell in the land after them. This for

him who dreadeth the appearance at my judgment-seat and who dreadeth my

menace!"
Then sought they help from God, and every proud rebellious one perished:
Hell is before him: and of tainted water shall he be made to drink:
He shall sup it and scarce swallow it for loathing; and Death shall assail

him on every side, but he shall not die: and before him shall be seen a

grievous torment.
A likeness of those who believe not in their Lord. Their works are like ashes

which the wind scattereth on a stormy day: no advantage shall they gain from

their works. This is the far-gone wandering.
Seest thou not that in truth1 hath God created the Heavens and the Earth?

Were such his pleasure He could make you pass away, and cause a new creation

to arise.
And this would not be hard for God.
All mankind shall come forth before God; and the weak shall say to the men of

might, "Verily, we were your followers: will ye not then relieve us of some

part of the vengeance of God?"
They shall say, "If God had guided us, we surely had guided you. It is now

all one whether we be impatient, or endure with patience. We have no escape."


And after doom hath been given, Satan shall say, "Verily, God promised you a

promise of truth: I, too, made you a promise, but I deceived you. Yet I had

no power over you:
But I only called you and ye answered me. Blame not me then, but blame

yourselves: I cannot aid you, neither can ye aid me. I never believed that I

was His equal with whom ye joined me."2 As for the evil doers, a grievous

torment doth await them.


But they who shall have believed and done the things that be right, shall be

brought into gardens beneath which the rivers flow: therein shall they abide

for ever by the permission of their Lord: their greeting therein shall be

"Peace."
Seest thou not to what God likeneth a good word?3 To a good tree: its root

firmly fixed, and its branches in the Heaven:
Yielding its fruit in all seasons by the will of its Lord. God setteth forth

these similitudes to men that haply they may reflect.


And an evil word is like an evil tree torn up from the face of the earth, and

without strength to stand.


Those who believe shall God stablish by his steadfast word both in this life

and in that which is to come: but the wicked shall He cause to err: God doth

his pleasure.
Hast thou not beholden those who repay the goodness of God with infidelity,

and sink their people into the abode of perdition�


Hell? Therein shall they be burned; and wretched the dwelling!
They set up compeers with God in order to mislead man from his way. SAY:

Enjoy your pleasures yet awhile, but assuredly, your going hence shall be

into the fire.
Speak to my servants who have believed, that they observe prayer, and give

alms of that with which we have supplied them, both privately and openly, ere

the day come when there shall be neither traffic nor friendship.
It is God who hath created the Heavens and the Earth, and sendeth down water

from the Heaven, and so bringeth forth the fruits for your food: And He hath

subjected to you the ships, so that by His command, they pass through the

sea; and He hath subjected the rivers to you: and He hath subjected to you

the sun and the moon in their constant courses: and He hath subjected the day

and the night to you: of everything which ye ask Him, giveth He to you; and

if ye would reckon up the favours of God, ye cannot count them! Surely man is

unjust, ungrateful!


ABRAHAM said, "O Lord make this land secure, and turn aside me and my

children from serving idols:


For many men, O my Lord, have they led astray. But whosoever shall follow me,

he truly shall be of me; and whosoever shall disobey me. . . . Thou truly

art Gracious, Merciful.
O our Lord! verily I have settled some of my offspring in an unfruitful

valley, nigh to thy holy house;4 O our Lord, that they may strictly observe

prayer! Make thou therefore the hearts of men to yearn toward them, and

supply them with fruits that they may be thankful.


O our Lord! thou truly knowest what we hide and what we bring to light;

nought on earth or in heaven is hidden from God. Praise be to God who hath

given me, in my old age, Ismael and Isaac! My Lord is the hearer of prayer.
Lord! grant that I and my posterity may observe prayer. O our Lord! and grant

this my petition. O our Lord! forgive me and my parents and the faithful, on

the day wherein account shall be taken."
Think thou not that God is regardless of the deeds of the wicked. He only

respiteth them to the day on which all eyes shall stare up with terror:


They hasten forward in fear; their heads upraised in supplication; their

looks riveted; and their hearts a blank. Warn men therefore of the day when

the punishment shall overtake them,
And when the evil doers shall say, "O our Lord! respite us yet a little

while:5
To thy call will we make answer; thine Apostles will we follow." "Did ye not

once swear that no change should befal you?
Yet ye dwelt in the dwellings of those6 who were the authors of their

undoing7 and it was made plain to you how we had dealt with them; and we held

them up to you as examples. They plotted their plots: but God could master

their plots, even though their plots had been so powerful as to move the

mountains."
Think not then that God will fail his promise to his Apostles: aye! God is

mighty, and Vengeance is His.


On the day when the Earth shall be changed into another Earth, and the

Heavens also, men shall come forth unto God, the Only, the Victorious.


And thou shalt see the wicked on that day linked together in chains�
Their garments of pitch, and fire shall enwrap their faces that God may

reward every soul as it deserveth; verily God is prompt to reckon.


This is a message for mankind, that they may thereby be warned: and that they

may know that there is but one God; and that men of understanding may ponder

it.

_______________________


1 See Sura [lxxxiv.] x. 5.
2 Lit. I truly renounce your having associated me (with God) heretofore.
3 The preaching and the profession of Islam. Comp. Ps. i. 3, 4.
4 The Caaba.
5 Lit. to a term near at hand.
6 Of the anciently destroyed cities of Themoud, Ad, etc.
7 Lit. were unjust to their own souls.
SURA XII.�JOSEPH, PEACE BE ON HIM [LXXVII.]
MECCA.�III Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
ELIF. LAM. RA.1 These are signs of the clear Book.
An Arabic Koran have we sent it down, that ye might understand it.
In revealing to thee this Koran,2 one of the most beautiful of narratives

will we narrate to thee, of which thou hast hitherto been regardless.


When Joseph said to his Father, "O my Father! verily I beheld eleven stars

and the sun and the moon�beheld them make obeisance to me!"3


He said, "O my son! tell not thy vision to thy brethren, lest they plot a

plot against thee: for Satan is the manifest foe of man.


It is thus that thy Lord shall choose thee and will teach thee the

interpretation of dark saying, and will perfect his favours on thee and on

the family of Jacob, as of old he perfected it on thy fathers Abraham and

Isaac; verily thy Lord is Knowing, Wise!"


Now in JOSEPH and his brethren are signs for the enquirers;4
When they said, "Surely better loved by our Father, than we, who are more in

number, is Joseph and his brother; verily, our father hath clearly erred.

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