And Moses said, "O Pharaoh! verily I am an apostle from the Lord of the
Nothing but truth is it right for me to speak of God. Now am I come to you
from your Lord with a proof of my mission; send away, therefore, the children
of Israel with me." He said, "If thou comest with a sign, shew it if thou art
a man of truth."
So he threw down his rod, and lo! it distinctly became a serpent.
Then drew he forth his hand, and lo! it was white24 to the beholders.
The nobles of Pharaoh's people said, "Verily, this is an expert enchanter:
Fain would he expel you from your land: what then do ye order to be done?"
They said, "Put25 him and his brother off awhile, and send round men to your
cities who shall muster
And bring to thee every skilled enchanter."
And the enchanters came to Pharaoh. Said they, "Shall we surely be rewarded
if we prevail?"
He said, "Yes; and ye certainly shall be near my person."
They said, "O Moses! either cast thou down thy rod first, or we will cast
He said, "Cast ye down." And when they had cast them down they enchanted the
people's eyes, and made them afraid; for they had displayed a great
Then spake we unto Moses, "Throw down thy rod;" and lo! it devoured their
So the truth was made strong, and that which they had wrought proved vain:
And they were vanquished on the spot, and drew back humiliated.
But the other enchanters prostrated themselves adoring:
Said they, "We believe on the Lord of the Worlds,
The Lord of Moses and Aaron."
Said Pharaoh, "Have ye believed on him, ere I have given you leave? This
truly is a plot which ye have plotted in this my city, in order to drive out
its people. But ye shall see in the end what shall happen.
I will surely cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides; then will I have
you all crucified."
They said, "Verily, to our Lord do we return;
And thou takest vengeance on us only because we have believed on the signs of
our Lord when they came to us. Lord! pour out constancy upon us, and cause us
to die Muslims."
Then said the chiefs of Pharaoh's people�"Wilt thou let Moses and his people
go to spread disorders in our land, and desert thee and thy gods?" He said,
"We will cause their male children to be slain and preserve their females
alive: and verily we shall be masters over them."
Said Moses to his people, "Cry unto God for help, and bear up patiently, for
the earth is God's: to such of His servants as He pleaseth doth He give it as
a heritage; and for those that fear Him is a happy issue."
"We have been oppressed," they said, "before thou camest to us, and since
thou hast been with us:" "Perhaps," said he, "your Lord will destroy your
enemy, and will make you his successors in the land, and He will see how ye
will act therein."
Already had we chastised the people of Pharaoh with dearth and scarcity of
fruits, that haply they might take warning:
And when good fell to their lot they said, "This is our due." But if ill
befel them, they regarded Moses and his partisans as (the birds) of evil
omen.26 Yet, was not their evil omen from God? But most of them knew it not.
And they said, "Whatever sign thou bring us for our enchantment, we will not
believe on thee."
And we sent upon them the flood and the locusts and the kummal (lice) and the
frogs and the blood,�clear signs27�but they behaved proudly, and were a
And when any plague fell upon them, they said, "O Moses! pray for us to thy
Lord, according to that which he hath covenanted with thee: Truly if thou
take off the plague from us, we will surely believe thee, and will surely
send the children of Israel with thee." But when we had taken off the plague
from them, and the time which God had granted them had expired,28 behold!
they broke their promise.
Therefore we took vengeance on them and drowned them in the sea, because they
treated our signs as falsehoods and were heedless of them.
And we gave to the people who had been brought so low, the eastern and the
western lands, which we had blessed as an heritage: and the good word of thy
Lord was fulfilled on the children of Israel because they had borne up with
patience: and we destroyed the works and the structures of Pharaoh and his
And we brought the children of Israel across the sea, and they came to a
people who gave themselves up to their idols. They said, "O Moses! make us a
god, as they have gods." He said, "Verily, ye are an ignorant people:
For the worship they practise29 will be destroyed, and that which they do, is
He said, "Shall I seek any other god for you than God, when it is He who hath
preferred you above all other peoples?"
And remember when we rescued you from the people of Pharaoh they had laid on
you a cruel affliction; they slew your sons, and let only your daughters
live, and in this was a great trial from your Lord.
And we appointed a meeting with Moses for thirty nights, which we completed
with ten other nights, so that his whole time with his Lord30 amounted to
forty nights. Then said Moses to his brother Aaron, "Take thou my place among
my people, and act rightly, and follow not the way of the corrupt doers."
And when Moses came at our set time and his Lord spake with him, he said, "O
Lord, shew thyself to me, that I may look upon thee." He said, "Thou shalt
not see Me; but look towards the mount, and if it abide firm in its place,
then shalt thou see Me." And when God manifested Himself to the mountain he
turned it to dust! and Moses fell in a swoon.
And when he came to himself, he said, "Glory be to thee! To thee do I turn in
penitence, and I am the first of them that believe."
He said, "O Moses! thee above all men have I chosen by my commissions, and by
my speaking to thee. Take therefore what I have brought thee, and be one of
those who render thanks.
And we wrote for him upon the tables a monition concerning every matter, and
said, "Receive them thyself with steadfastness, and command thy people to
receive them for the observance of its most goodly precepts:�I will shew you
the abode of the wicked."
The unjustly proud ones of the earth will I turn aside from my signs, for
even if they see every sign they will not believe them; and if they see the
path of uprightness, they will not take it for their path, but if they see
the path of error, for their path will they take it.
This,�for that they treated our signs as lies, and were heedless of them.
Vain will be the works of those who treated our signs, and the meeting of the
life to come, as lies! Shall they be rewarded but as they have wrought?
And the people of Moses took during his absence a calf made of their
ornaments, and ruddy like gold, and lowing.31 Saw they not that it could not
speak to them, nor guide them in the way?
Yet they took if for a God and became offenders!
But when they repented, and saw that they had erred, they said, Truly if our
Lord have not mercy on us, and forgive us, we shall surely be of those who
And when Moses returned to his people, wrathful, angered, he said, "Evil is
it that ye have done next upon my departure. Would ye hasten on the judgments
of your Lord?" And he threw down the tables, and seized his brother by the
head and dragged him unto him. Said he, "Son of my mother! the people thought
me weak, and had well nigh slain me. Make not mine enemies to rejoice over
me, and place me not among the wrong doers."
He said, "O Lord, forgive me and my brother, and bring us into thy mercy; for
of those who shew mercy thou art the most merciful."
Verily as to those who took the calf as a god, wrath from their Lord shall
overtake them, and shame in this present life: for thus recompense we the
devisers of a lie.
But to those who have done evil, then afterwards repent and believe, thy Lord
will thereafter be Lenient, Merciful.
And when the anger of Moses was stilled, he took up the tables; and in their
writing was guidance and mercy for those who dread their Lord.
And Moses chose seventy men of his people for a meeting appointed by us. And
when the earthquake overtook them, he said, "O my Lord! if it had been thy
pleasure, thou hadst destroyed them and me ere this! wilt thou destroy us for
what our foolish ones have done? It is nought but thy trial: thou wilt
mislead by it whom thou wilt, and guide whom thou wilt. Our guardian, thou!
Forgive us then and have mercy on us; for of those who forgive art thou the
And write down for us what is good in this world, as well as in the world to
come, for to thee are we guided." He said, "My chastisement shall fall on
whom I will, and my mercy embraceth all things, and I write it down for those
who shall fear me, and pay the alms, and believe in our signs,
Who shall follow the Apostle, the unlettered32 Prophet�whom they shall find
described with them in the Law and Evangel. What is right will he enjoin
them, and forbid them what is wrong, and will allow them healthful viands and
prohibit the impure, and will ease them of their burden, and of the yokes
which were upon them; and those who shall believe in him, and strengthen him,
and help him,33 and follow the light34 which hath been sent down with him,�
these are they with whom it shall be well."
SAY to them: O men! Verily I am God's apostle to you all;
Whose is the kingdom of the Heavens and of the Earth! Therefore believe on
God but He! He maketh alive and killeth! Therefore believe on God, and his
Apostle�the unlettered Prophet�who believeth in God and his word. And follow
him that ye may be guided aright.
And among the people of Moses there is a certain number35 who guide others
with truth, and practise what is right according to it.
And we divided the Israelites into twelve tribes, as nations; and we revealed
unto Moses when the people asked drink of him�"Strike the rock with thy
staff:" and there gushed forth from it twelve fountains�the men all knew
their drinking places. And we caused clouds to overshadow them, and sent down
upon them the manna and the quails. . . . "Eat of the good things with which
we have supplied you." But it was not us whom they injured, but they injured
their own selves:
And when it was said to them, "Dwell in this city, and eat therefrom what ye
will, and say 'Hittat' (forgiveness), and enter the gate with prostrations;
then will we pardon your offences,�we will give increase to the doers of
But the ungodly ones among them changed that word into another than that
which had been told them:36 therefore sent we forth wrath out of Heaven upon
them for their wrong doings.
And37 ask them about the city that stood by the sea, when its inhabitants
broke the Sabbath; when their fish came to them on their Sabbath day
appearing openly, but came not to them on the day when they kept no Sabbath.
Thus did we make trial of them, for that they were evildoers.38
And when some of them said, why warn ye those whom God would destroy or
chastise with terrible chastisement? they said, For our own excuse with your
Lord; and that they may fear Him.
And when they forgot their warnings, we delivered those who had forbidden
evil; and we inflicted a severe chastisement on those who had done wrong, for
that they were evil doers.
But when they proudly persisted in that which was forbidden, we said to them,
"Become scouted apes;" and then thy Lord declared that until the day of the
resurrection, he would surely send against them39 (the Jews) those who should
evil entreat and chastise them: for prompt is thy Lord to punish; and He is
And we have divided them upon the Earth as peoples: some of them are upright
and some are otherwise; and by good things and by evil things have we proved
them, to the intent that they might return to us.
And they have had successors to succeed them: they have inherited the Book:
they have received the passing good things of this lower world,40 and say,
"It will be forgiven us." Yet if the like good things came to them again,
they would again receive them. But hath there not been received on their part
a covenant through the Scripture that they should speak nought of God but the
truth? And yet they study its contents. But the mansion of the next world
hath more value for those who fear God�Do ye not then comprehend?�
And who hold fast the Book, and observe prayer: verily, we will not suffer
the reward of the righteous to perish.
And when we shook the mount41 over them as if it had been a shadow, and they
thought it falling upon them, . . . "Receive, said we, with steadfastness
what we have brought you, and remember what is therein to the end that ye may
And when thy Lord brought forth their descendants from the reins of the sons
of Adam and took them to witness against themselves, "Am I not," said He,
"your Lord?" They said, "Yes, we witness it." This we did, lest ye should say
on the day of Resurrection, "Truly, of this were we heedless, because
Or lest ye should say, "Our fathers, indeed, aforetime joined other gods with
our God, and we are their seed after them: wilt thou destroy us for the
doings of vain men?"
Thus make we our signs clear: that haply they may return to God.
Recite to them42 the history of him43 to whom we vouchsafed our signs, and
who departed from them, so that Satan followed him, and he became one of the
Had we pleased, we had certainly thereby exalted him; but he crouched to the
earth and followed his own lust: his likeness, therefore, is as that of the
dog which lolls out his tongue, whether thou chase him away, or leave him
alone! Such is the likeness of those who treat our signs as lies. Tell them
this tale then, that they may consider.
Evil the likeness of those who treat our signs as lies! and it is themselves
He whom God guideth is the guided, and they whom he misleadeth shall be the
Many, moreover, of the Djinn and men have we created for Hell. Hearts have
they with which they understand not, and eyes have they with which they see
not, and ears have they with which they hearken not. They are like the
brutes: Yea, they go more astray: these are the heedless.
Most excellent titles hath God:44 by these call ye on Him, and stand aloof
from those who pervert45 his titles. For what they have done shall they be
And among those whom we have created are a people who guide others with
truth, and in accordance therewith act justly.
But as for those who treat our signs as lies, we will gradually bring them
down by means of which they know not:
And though I lengthen their days, verily, my stratagem shall prove effectual.
Will they not bethink them that their companion Muhammad is not djinn-
possessed? Yes, his office is only that of plain warner.
Will they not look forth on the realms of the Heaven and of the Earth, and on
all things which God hath made, to see whether haply their end be not drawing
on? And in what other book will they believe46 who reject the Koran?
No other guide for him whom God shall mislead! He will leave them distraught
in their wanderings.
They will ask thee of the Hour�for what time is its coming fixed? SAY: The
knowledge of it is only with my Lord: none shall manifest it in its time but
He: it is the burden47 of the Heavens and of the Earth: not otherwise than on
a sudden will it come on you.48
They will ask thee as if thou wast privy to it: SAY: The knowledge of it is
with none but God. But most men know not this.
SAY: I have no control over what may be helpful or hurtful to me, but as God
willeth. Had I the knowledge of his secrets, I should revel in the good, and
evil should not touch me. But I am only a warner, and an announcer of good
tidings to those who believe.
He it is who hath created you from a single person, and from him brought
forth his wife that he might dwell with her: and when he had known her, she
bore a light burden, and went about with it; and when it became heavy, they
both cried to God their Lord, "If thou give us a perfect child we will surely
be of the thankful."
Yet when God had given them a perfect child,49 they50 joined partners with
Him in return for what he had given them. But high is God above the partners
they joined with Him!
What! Will they join those with Him who cannot create anything, and are
themselves created, and have no power to help them, or to help themselves?
And if ye summon them to "the guidance," they will not follow you! It is the
same to them whether ye summon them or whether ye hold your peace!
Truly they whom ye call on beside God, are, like yourselves, His servants!
Call on them then, and let them answer you, if what ye say of them be true!
Have they feet to walk with? Have they hands to hold with? Have they eyes to
see with? Have they ears to hear with? SAY: Call on these joint gods of
yours; then make your plot against me, and delay it not.
Verily, my Lord is God, who hath sent down "the Book;" and He is the
protector of the righteous.
But they whom ye call on beside Him, can lend you no help, nor can they help
And if ye summon them to "the guidance," they hear you not: thou seest them
look towards thee, but they do not see!
Make the best of things;51 and enjoin what is just, and withdraw from the
And if stirrings to evil from Satan stir thee, fly thou for refuge to God: He
verily heareth, knoweth!
Verily, they who fear God, when some phantom from Satan toucheth them,
remember Him, and lo! they see clearly.
Their Brethren52 will only continue them in error, and cannot preserve
themselves from it.
And when thou bringest not a verse (sign) of the Koran to them, they say,
"Hast thou not yet patched it up?53 SAY: I only follow my Lord's utterances
to me. This is a clear proof on the part of your Lord, and a guidance and a
mercy for those who believe.
And when the Koran is read, then listen ye to it and keep silence, that haply
ye may obtain mercy.
And think within thine own self on God, with lowliness and with fear and
without loud spoken words, at even and at morn; and be not one of the
Verily they who are round about thy Lord disdain not His service. They praise
Him and prostrate themselves before Him.
1 The initial letters, it has been conjectured, of (Amara li Muhammad
sahdiq), thus spake to me Muhammad the truthful. But see Sura 1xviii. p. 32.
The first part of this Sura was perhaps revealed when the Arabians were
assembled at the Pilgrimage. See verse 29.
2 A figure of frequent occurence in the Talmud. See Tr. Rosh. Haschana, 17a.
3 Comp. Sura xx. 118, p. 101.
4 Gen. iii. 15.
5 Lit. towards each Mosque, i.e. towards the kibla of each Mosque. The word
mosque, mesjid, however, is usually applied only to that of Mecca. The common
term in use for larger places of worship is djami, a word unknown, in that
sense, to the Koran.
6 For full information as to the clothing of the ancient Arabians see Freyt.
Einl. pp. 295 327. The Koreisch (we are told in Sirat Arrasul, fol. 26, and
Beidh.), in order to instil a deep respect for the Caaba and other holy
places into the minds of the Arabians, had forbidden all food during the
processions, and required that no clothes, except those borrowed from
Meccans, should be worn, or that those who wore their own should devote them
to God as holy vestments. The consequence was that most of the pilgrims
visited the holy places in perfect nudity. Hence the precept in the text.
7 The Angels of Death.
8 Comp. Matth. xix. 24; Mark x. 25; Luke xviii. 25. By the change of a single
vowel in the Arabic word for camel, we obtain the rendering, cable. In the
Rabbinic form of the proverb, however, the elephant is substituted for the
camel, which confirms the usual rendering and reading.
9 "On this wall (the name of which is derived from Arafa, 'to know,' with
allusion to the employment of those upon it) will stand those whose good and
evil works are equal, and are not, therefore, deserving of either Paradise or
Gehenna. The idea, which is analogous to that of Purgatory, may be derived
from the Talmud. Thus in the Midrasch on Eccl. vii. 14, 'How much space is
there between the two' (Paradise and Hell)? R. Jochanan saith, a wall; R.
Acha, a span: others hold them to be so close that a person may see from one
into the other." See Plato's Phaed. 62.
10 That is, they will know the inmates of Paradise by their whiteness, and
the people of Hell by the blackness of their faces.
11 That is, ye believers: to whom the speakers on Al Araf are supposed to
12 The fruits of Paradise. Comp. Luke xvi. 19.
13 The fulfilment of its promises and threats.
14 The rain. Thus, the Rabbins call the rain "the might and power of God,"
Comp. Tract Tanith, fol. I, and connect it with the Resurrection, Tract
Berachoth, fol. 33.
15 The Rabbins in like manner describe the mission of Noah. Comp. Sanhedr.
108. Midr. Rabbah on Gen. par. 30, 33; and on Eccl. 9, 14. See Sura [lxxv.]
16 The two tribes of Ad and Themoud�the latter of whom is mentioned by Diod.
Sic. and Ptolemy�lay to the north of Mecca in the direct line of traffic
between the countries to the north and to the south, and both probably
disappeared with its cessation, when the Arabs were no longer held in check
by the Romans. The traditions adopted by Muhammad attribute this to the
divine vengeance, throughout the Koran, and were derived by him from the
popular legends of Arabia. See Freyt. Einl. p. 12.
17 On Houd, see Geiger, pp. 113 119. He supposes him to be the Eber of the
Bible. But Mr. Muir suggests that both Houd and Saleh may have been
persecuted Jewish or Christian emissaries and teachers, whose rejection was
thus recast by Muhammad. See note on verse 71.
18 Or, entrusted, i.e. with the office of apostle.
19 Saleh�according to Bochart, the Peleg of Gen. xi. 16. D'Herbelot, B. O.
740, makes him the Schelah of Gen. xi. 13. See v. 63, n. and p. 220, n.
20 It is just possible that the act of Koleib, chief of the Banu Taghlib
tribe, in killing the milch camel of Basűs, a female relative of his wife of
Bani-Bakr lineage�which led to a forty years' war between these two tribes,