them of their own accord, then no blame shall attach to you for any
disposition they may make of themselves in a fair way. And God is Mighty,
And for the divorced let there be a fair provision. This is a duty in those
who fear God.
Thus God maketh his signs clear to you that ye may understand.
Hast thou not thought on those who quitted their dwellings�and they were
thousands�for fear of death?95 God said to them, "Die:" then He restored them
to life, for full of bounty towards man is God. But most men give not thanks!
Fight for the cause of God; and know that God is He who Heareth, Knoweth.
Who is he that will lend to God a goodly loan? He will double it to him again
and again: God is close, but open handed also: and to Him shall ye return.
Hast thou not considered96 the assembly of the children of Israel after the
death of Moses, when they said to a prophet of theirs, "Set up for us a king;
we will do battle for the cause of God?" He said, "May it not be that if to
fight were ordained you, ye would not fight?" They said, "And why should we
not fight in the cause of God, since we and our children are driven forth
from our dwellings?" But when fighting was commanded them, they turned back,
save a few of them: But God knew the offenders!
And their prophet said to them, "Now hath God set (Talout) Saul king over
you." They said, "How shall he reign over us, when we are more worthy of the
kingdom than he, and of wealth he hath no abundance?" He said, "Verily God
hath chosen him to be over you, and hath given him increase in knowledge and
stature; God giveth his kingdom to whom he pleaseth; and God is Liberal,
And their prophet said to them, "Verily, the sign of his kingship shall be
that the Ark shall come to you: in it is a pledge of security97 from your
Lord and the relics98 left by the family of Moses, and the family of Aaron;
the angels shall bear it: Truly herein shall be a sign indeed to you if ye
And when Saul marched forth with his forces, he said, "God will test you by a
river: He who drinketh of it shall not be of my band; but he who shall not
taste it, drinking a drink out of the hand excepted, shall be of my band."99
And, except a few of them, they drank of it. And when they had passed it, he
and those who believed with him, the former said, "We have no strength this
day against (Djalout) Goliath and his forces:" But they who held it as
certain that they must meet God, said, "How oft, by God's will, hath a small
host vanquished a numerous host! and God is with the steadfastly enduring."
And when they went forth against Goliath and his forces, they said, "O our
Lord! pour out steadfastness upon us, and set our feet firm, and help us
against the infidels!"
And by the will of God they routed them; and (Daood) David slew Goliath; and
God gave him the kingship and wisdom, and taught him according to His will:
and were it not for the restraint of one by means of the other, imposed on
men by God, verily the earth had been utterly corrupted. But God is bounteous
to his creatures.
Such are the signs of God: with truth do we rehearse them to thee, for one of
the Sent Ones art Thou.
Some of the apostles we have endowed more highly than others: Those to whom
God hath spoken, He hath raised to the loftiest grade, and to Jesus the Son
of Mary we gave manifest signs, and we strengthened him with the Holy
Spirit.100 And if God had pleased, they who came after them would not have
wrangled, after the clear signs had reached them. But into disputes101 they
fell: some of them believed, and some were infidels; yet if God had pleased,
they would not have thus wrangled: but God doth what he will.
O Believers! give alms of that with which we have supplied you, before the
day cometh when there shall be no trafficking, nor friendship, nor
intercession. And the infidels are the wrong-doers.
God! There is no God but He; the Living, the Eternal; Nor slumber seizeth
Him, nor sleep; His, whatsoever is in the Heavens and whatsoever is in the
Earth! Who is he that can intercede with Him but by His own permission? He
knoweth what hath been before them and what shall be after them; yet nought
of His knowledge shall they grasp, save what He willeth. His Throne reacheth
over the Heavens and the Earth, and the upholding of both burdeneth Him not;
and He is the High, the Great!
Let there be no compulsion in Religion.102 Now is the right way made distinct
from error. Whoever therefore shall deny Thagout103 and believe in God�he
will have taken hold on a strong handle that shall not be broken: and God is
He who Heareth, Knoweth.
God is the patron of believers: He shall bring them out of darkness into
As to those who believe not, their patrons are Thagout: they shall bring them
out of light into darkness: they shall be given over to the fire: they shall
abide therein for ever.
Hast thou not thought on him104 who disputed with Abraham about his Lord,
because God had given him the kingdom? When Abraham said, "My Lord is He who
maketh alive and cause to die:" He said, "It is I who make alive and cause to
die!" Abraham said, "Since God bringeth the sun from the East, do thou, then,
bring it from the West." The infidel was confounded; for God guideth not the
Or how he105 demeaned him who passed by a city which had been laid in
ruins.106 "How," said he, "shall God give life to this city, after she hath
been dead?" And God caused him to die for an hundred years, and then raised
him to life. And God said, "How long hast thou waited?" He said, "I have
waited a day or part of a day." He said, "Nay, thou hast waited an hundred
years. Look on thy food and thy drink; they are not corrupted; and look on
thine ass: we would make thee a sign unto men: And look on the bones of thine
ass, how we will raise them, then clothe them with flesh." And when this was
shewn to him, he said, "I acknowledge that God hath power to do all things."
When Abraham said, "O Lord, shew me how thou wilt give life to the dead!" He
said, "Hast thou not believed?"
He said, "Yes; but I have asked thee, that my heart may be well assured." He
said, "Take, then, four birds,107 and draw them towards thee, and cut them in
pieces; then place a part of them on every mountain; then call them and they
shall come swiftly to thee: and know thou that God is Might, Wise!"
The likeness of those who expend their wealth for the cause of God, is that
of a grain of corn which produceth seven ears, and in each ear a hundred
grains; and God will multiply to whom He pleaseth: God is Liberal, Knowing!
They who expend their wealth for the cause of God, and never follow what they
have laid out with reproaches or harm, shall have their reward with their
Lord; no fear shall come upon them, neither shall they be put to grief.
A kind speech and forgiveness is better than alms followed by injury. God is
O ye who believe! make not your alms void by reproaches and injury, like him
who spendeth his substance to be seen of men, and believeth not in God and in
the latter day. The likeness of such an one is that of a rock with a thin
soil upon it, on which a heavy rain falleth but leaveth it hard: No profit
from their works shall they be able to gain; for God guideth not the
And the likeness of those who expend their substance from a desire to please
God, and for the stablishing of their souls, is as a garden on a hill, on
which the heavy rain falleth, and it yieldeth its fruits twofold; and even if
a heavy rain fall not on it, yet is there a dew: God beholdeth your actions.
Desireth any one of you a garden of palms and vines through which rivers
flow, in which he may have every fruit, and that old age should surprise him
there, and that his offspring should be weakly, and that then a fiery violent
wind shall strike it so that it shall be burned? Thus God maketh plain his
signs to you that ye may reflect.
O ye who believe! bestow alms of the good things which ye have acquired, and
of that which we have brought forth for you out of the earth, and choose not
the bad for almsgiving,
Such as ye would accept yourselves only by connivance: and know that God is
Satan menaceth you with poverty,108 and enjoineth base actions: but God
promiseth you pardon from himself and abundance: God is All-bounteous,
He giveth wisdom to whom He will: and he to whom wisdom is given, hath had
much good given him; but none will bear it in mind, except the wise of heart.
And whatever alms ye shall give, or whatever vow ye shall vow, of a truth God
knoweth it: but they who act unjustly shall have no helpers. Give ye your
alms openly?109 it is well. Do ye conceal them and give them to the poor?
This, too, will be of advantage to you, and will do away your sins: and God
is cognisant of your actions.
Their guidance is not thine affair, O Muhammad; but God guideth whom he
pleaseth. And the good that ye shall give in alms shall redound unto
yourselves; and ye shall not give but as seeking the face of God; and
whatever good thing ye shall have given in alms, shall be repaid you, and ye
shall not be wronged. There are among you the poor, who being shut up to
fighting for the cause of God, have it not in their power to strike out into
the earth for riches. Those who know them not, think them rich because of
their modesty. By this their token thou shalt know them�they ask not of men
with importunity: and of whatever good thing ye shall give them in alms, of a
truth God will take knowledge.
They who give away their substance in alms, by night and day, in private and
in public, shall have their reward with their Lord: no fear shall come on
them, neither shall they be put to grief.
They who swallow down usury, shall arise in the resurrection only as he
ariseth whom Satan hath infected by his touch. This, for that they say,
"Selling is only the like of usury:" and yet God hath allowed selling, and
forbidden usury. He then who when this warning shall come to him from his
Lord, abstaineth, shall have pardon for the past, and his lot shall be with
God. But they who return to usury, shall be given over to the fire; therein
shall they abide for ever.
God will bring usury to nought, but will increase alms with usury, and God
loveth no infidel, or evil person. But they who believe and do the things
that are right, and observe the prayers, and pay the legal impost, they shall
have their reward with their Lord: no fear shall come on them, neither shall
they be put to grief.
O believers! fear God and abandon your remaining usury, if ye are indeed
But if ye do it not, then hearken for war on the part of God and his apostle:
yet if ye repent, ye shall have the principal of your money. Wrong not, and
ye shall not be wronged.
If any one find difficulty in discharging a debt, then let there be a delay
until it be easy for him: but if ye remit it as alms it will be better for
you, if ye knew it.
Fear the day wherein ye shall return to God: then shall every soul be
rewarded according to its desert, and none shall have injustice done to them.
O ye who believe! when ye contract a debt (payable) at a fixed date, write it
down, and let the notary faithfully note between you: and let not the notary
refuse to note, even as God hath taught him; but let him note it down, and
let him who oweth the debt dictate, and let him fear God his Lord, and not
diminish aught thereof. But if he who oweth the debt be foolish or weak, or
be not able to dictate himself, let his friend dictate for him with fairness;
and call to witness two witnesses of your people: but if there be not two
men, let there be a man, and two women of those whom ye shall judge fit for
witnesses: if the one of them should mistake, the other may cause her to
recollect. And the witnesses shall not refuse, whenever they shall be
summoned. And disdain not to put the debt in writing, be it large or small,
with its time of payment: this will be more just for you in the sight of God,
better suited for witnessing, and the best for avoiding doubt. But if the
goods be there present, and ye pass them from hand to hand�then it shall be
no fault in you not to write it down. And have witnesses when ye sell, and
harm not writer or witness: it will be a crime in you to do this. But fear
God and God will give you knowledge, for God hath knowledge of all things.
And if ye be on a journey and shall find no notary, let pledges be taken: but
if one of you trust the other, let him who is trusted, restore what he is
trusted with, and fear God his Lord. And refuse not to give evidence. He who
refuseth is surely wicked at heart: and God knoweth your deeds.
Whatever is in the Heavens and in the Earth is God's: and whether ye bring
forth to light what is in your minds or conceal it, God will reckon with you
for it; and whom He pleaseth will He forgive, and whom He pleaseth will He
punish; for God is All-powerful.
The apostle believeth in that which hath been sent down from his Lord, as do
the faithful also. Each one believeth in God, and His Angels, and His Books,
and His Apostles: we make no distinction between any of His Apostles.110 And
they say, "We have heard and we obey. Thy mercy, Lord! for unto thee must we
God will not burden any soul beyond its power. It shall enjoy the good which
it hath acquired, and shall bear the evil for the acquirement of which it
laboured. O our Lord! punish us not if we forget, or fall into sin; O our
Lord! and lay not on us a load like that which thou hast laid on those who
have been before us; O our Lord! and lay not on us that for which we have not
strength: but blot out our sins and forgive us, and have pity on us. Thou art
our protector: give us victory therefore over the infidel nations.
1 The greater part of this, the oldest of the Medina Suras, was revealed in
the early part of the second year of the Hejira and previously to the battle
of Bedr.�The Hejira took place in the beginning of Muharram, or middle of
April, A.D. 622. The numbers who emigrated with Muhammad at first, were about
150 persons. Medina is 250 miles north of Mecca, and ten days' journey.
2 Said to mean A mara li Muhammad, i.e. at the command of Muhammad; but see
Sura 1xviii. p. 32.
3 Death, Resurrection, Judgment, etc.
4 The Jews.
5 The Jews and Christians, hostile to the mission of Muhammad.
6 Lit. the similitude of them is as the similitude of, etc.
7 The people of Medina are generally addressed with "O ye who believe;" the
Meccans, with "O men." Hence it has been inferred that from verse 19 (O men)
to 37 inclusively, is of the Meccan period. The subjects treated of also lead
to this conclusion.
8 The statues of false gods.
9 It will be an agreeable surprise to the blessed to have fruits, which at
first sight resemble those of earth, but are infinitely more delicious,.
10 Muhammad had been reproached for having drawn illustrations from the Ant,
Bee, Spider, etc.
11 Concerning faith in Muhammad. See verse 39 below, note.
12 The number of the Heavens is borrowed from the Talmud, or traditions based
upon it; but the idea probably has its root in the Scriptural expression,
"Heaven of Heavens."
13 Lit. a caliph, vicegerent. "When the Holy One, Blessed be He, would create
man, He took counsel with the Angels and said to them, We will make man in
our image." Midr. Rabbah on Numb. iv. par. 19. Comp. Midr. on Gen. 1, par. 8,
17. Sanhedr. 38.
14 "God said to the Angels, 'His wisdom is greater than yours.' Then brought
he before them beasts, cattle, and birds, and asked for their names, but they
knew them not. But when he had created man," etc. Midr. as above.
15 Or, if ye are truthful, or can make good a better claim to the
16 In the name Eblis (diabolos) and in the honour claimed for Adam as a kind
of Godman, there are traces of a Christian original, as well as in the
identification of the serpent with Satan. Comp. Ps. civ. 4; Heb. i. 6. The
Talmudists also enlarge on the honour paid to Adam. "Adam sat in the garden
and the Angels brought him flesh and cooling wine." Sanhedr. 29. "In the hour
when the Holy One, Blessed be He, created man, the Angels went astray in
regard to him, and essayed to say before him, 'O Holy One!' then God
permitted sleep to fall on him, and all knew that he was of earth." Midr.
Rabbah on Gen. par. 8. It is possible that the Arabic word balas, a
profligate, wicked person, may have influenced Muhammad in the formation of
the word Eblis. See note, p. 185. Eblis is used in the Arabic version of the
New Testament, for the probable date of which, see Tischendorf, Prol. p. 78.
17 Observe the change from Eblis, the calumniator, to Satan, the hater.
18 Muhammad rarely accused the Jews and Christians of corrupting, but often
of misinterpreting, their Sacred Books, in order to evade his claims. His
charges, however, are always very vaguely worded, and his utterances upon
this subject are tantamount to a strong testimony in favour of the
unimpeachable integrity of the sacred books, both of the Jews and Christians,
so far as he knew them. See Sura [lxxxvii.] vii. 168, and v. 73 below.
19 See Sura [lxv.] xxi. 49.
20 Lit. slay one another.
21 The Talmudists relate how the Israelites who had died, on hearing the
divine voice, etc., were restored by the intercession of the Law itself.
22 By storing them up in violation of God's command.
23 Jericho according to some commentators, Jerusalem according to others, but
see verse 58.
24 See Sura [lxxxvii.] vii. 162.
25 Lit. all men. This incident is perhaps inadvertently borrowed from Ex. xv.
26 This passage (comp. xxvi. 59) is one of the numerous anachronisms which
abound in the Koran and prove the gross ignorance of the Arabian Prophet.
27 The Sabeites are identical with the Mendaites, or so-called Christians of
S. John, residing in the marshy district at the mouth of the Euphrates, but
are not the same with the star-worshipping Sabians of Harran in Mesopotamia.
See D'Herbelot, Bibl. Or. under the word Sabi; Assemani, Bibl. Or. iii. 2,
609. For curious details as to the elements of the Sabeite religion, see
Chwolson's SSabier and SSabaismus I.
28 See Sura [lxxxvii.] vii. 170.
29 See Sura [lxxxvii.] vii. 164.
30 Compare Numb. xix.; Deut. xxii. 1-9. The cow was to be sacrificed in order
that a murderer might be discovered through the miracle to be wrought on the
corpse by a piece of her flesh.
31 To please you, O Muslims.
32 This is one of the passages which shews great familiarity with the habits
of the Jews, on the part of Muhammad. See Maracci's Prodr. i. 44. Wahl's
Einleitung, xxx. xxxv.
33 The Pentateuch. This passage shews that the art of writing was known in
Medina shortly after the Hejira.
34 Forty days; the period during which they worshipped the calf.
35 The blood of those who are as your own flesh.
36 Two Jewish tribes (Koreidha and Nadhir) in alliance with certain Arab
tribes who were at war, destroyed one another's abodes, but redeemed the
Jewish captives, professing that they were commanded to do this by the Law.
So the commentators.
37 Gabriel. Muhammad either knowingly rejected the divinity of the Holy
Ghost, or confounded Gabriel announcing the conception, with the Holy Spirit
that overshadowed Mary. It is probable that Muhammad's ideas of the Spirit
were at first indefinite, but that the two expressions, Gabriel and the Holy
Spirit, became ultimately synonymous. See note on Sura [lxvii.] xvii. 87.
Geiger (p. 82) quotes an instance in which the Jewish expositors understand
the distinctly-speaking Spirit (Sanhedr. 44) of Gabriel.
38 The gift of the prophetic office, etc., to a pagan Arab and not to a Jew.
39 Matt. xxiii. 37.
40 See Sura vii. 170, p. 309.
41 Comp. 1 Tim. v. 24.
42 In Solomon's Books of Magic. This story has been supposed to be of Persian
origin. See Hyde de Rel. Vet. Pers. ch. xii. But from a passage in the Midr.
Abhkhir quoted in the Midr. Jalkut, ch. 44, and from a quotation in Maracci's
Prodr. iv. 82, Geiger infers that Muhammad has transferred to the time of
Solomon, the Rabbinic traditions concerning the influence of angels upon men
at the time of the Deluge. p. 106. "Babel is regarded by the Muslims as the
fountain head of the science of magic. They suppose Haroot and Maroot to be
two angels who, in consequence of their want of compassion for the frailties
of mankind, were sent down to earth to be tempted. They both sinned; and
being permitted to choose whether they would be punished now or hereafter,
chose the former, and are still suspended by the feet at Babel in a rocky
pit, and are the great teachers of magic." (Lane on ch. iii. note 14 of the
43 Raina, as pronounced in Hebrew, "our bad one;" but in Arabic, "look upon
us," a kind of salutation of the same signification as ondhorna, which,
however, does not admit of any secondary bad sense like raina.
44 Comp. Sura xvi. 103; iv. 84. The Muslims admit that there are 225 verses
cancelled by later ones. The doctrine of "abrogation" is taught in the
Talmud. Thus Hilchoth Mamrim, ii. 1, 2, etc.
45 That is, does not weigh the evidence for Muhammad's mission already given,
but demands, as the Jews did, to see God himself.
46 In all Muhammadan countries the first time of prayer is the moghreb or
sunset, or rather, four minutes later; the second the eshe, when it has
become quite dark; the third the soobh or fegr, the daybreak; the fourth,
doohr, or a little after noon, when the sun has begun to decline; the fifth,
the asr, midway between noon and nightfall. The obligatory legal alms or
impost are called, as here, zekah (lit. purity), the voluntary, sudackah. It
is, however, left to the conscience of individuals to give and to apply them
as they think fit.
47 The idolatrous Arabs.
48 If this verse is aimed at the Meccans who, in the 6th year of the Hejira,
forbad Muhammad and his followers to enter the temple of Mecca in the
expedition of Hodeibiya, it is misplaced here.
49 Abrogated by verse 139 below.
50 The Caaba.
51 Freytag (Einl. p. 339) says that there is no good reason for doubting that