The Project Gutenberg ebook of The Koran

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attain to truth, the morbid excitability of an epileptic subject, visions

seen in epileptic swoons, disgust at Meccan idolatry, and a desire to teach

his countrymen the divine Unity will sufficiently account for the period of

indecision termed the Fatrah, and for the determination which led Muhammad,

in all sincerity, but still self-deceived, to take upon himself the office

and work of a Messenger from God. We may perhaps infer from such passages as

Sura ii. 123, what had ever been the leading idea in Muhammad's mind.

MECCA.�55 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
O THOU, ENWRAPPED in thy mantle!
Arise and warn!
Thy Lord�magnify Him!
Thy raiment�purify it!
The abomination�flee it!
And bestow not favours that thou mayest receive again with increase;
And for thy Lord wait thou patiently.
For when there shall be a trump on the trumpet,2
That shall be a distressful day,
A day, to the Infidels, devoid of ease.
Leave me alone to deal with him3 whom I have created,
And on whom I have bestowed vast riches,
And sons dwelling before him,
And for whom I have smoothed all things smoothly down;�
Yet desireth he that I should add more!
But no! because to our signs he is a foe
I will lay grievous woes upon him.
For he plotted and he planned!
May he be cursed! How he planned!
Again, may he be cursed! How he planned!
Then looked he around him,
Then frowned and scowled,
Then turned his back and swelled with disdain,
And said, �This is merely magic that will be wrought;
It is merely the word of a mortal.�
We will surely cast him into Hell-fire.
And who shall teach thee what Hell-fire is?
It leaveth nought, it spareth nought,
Blackening the skin.
Over it are nineteen angels.
None but angels have we made guardians of the fire:4 nor have we made this to

be their number but to perplex the unbelievers, and that they who possess the

Scriptures may be certain of the truth of the Koran, and that they who

believe may increase their faith;

And that they to whom the Scriptures have been given, and the believers, may

not doubt;

And that the infirm of heart and the unbelievers may say, What meaneth God by

this parable?

Thus God misleadeth whom He will, and whom He will doth He guide aright: and

none knoweth the armies of thy Lord but Himself: and this is no other than a

warning to mankind.
Nay, by the Moon!
By the Night when it retreateth!
By the Morn when it brighteneth!
Hell is one of the most grievous woes,
Fraught with warning to man,
To him among you who desireth to press forward, or to remain behind.5
For its own works lieth every soul in pledge. But they of God�s right hand
In their gardens shall ask of the wicked;�
�What hath cast you into Hell-fire?�6
They will say, �We were not of those who prayed,
And we were not of those who fed the poor,
And we plunged into vain disputes with vain disputers,
And we rejected as a lie, the day of reckoning,
Till the certainty7 came upon us��
And intercession of the interceders shall not avail them.
Then what hath come to them that they turn aside from the Warning
As if they were affrighted asses fleeing from a lion?
And every one of them would fain have open pages given to him out of Heaven.
It shall not be. They fear not the life to come.
It shall not be. For this Koran is warning enough. And whoso will, it

warneth him.

But not unless God please, shall they be warned. Meet is He to be feared.

Meet is forgiveness in Him.

1 This Sura is placed by Muir in the �second stage� of Meccan Suras, and

twenty-first in chronological order, in the third or fourth year of the

Prophet�s career. According, however, to the chronological list of Suras

given by Weil (Leben M. p. 364) from ancient tradition, as well as from the

consentient voice of tradionists and commentaries (v. Nöld. Geschichte, p.

69; Sprenger�s Life of Mohammad, p. 111) it was the next revealed after the

Fatrah, and the designation to the prophetic office. The main features of

the tradition are, that Muhammad while wandering about in the hills near

Mecca, distracted by doubts and by anxiety after truth, had a vision of the

Angel Gabriel seated on a throne between heaven and earth, that he ran to his

wife, Chadijah, in the greatest alarm, and desired her, perhaps from

superstitious motives (and believing that if covered with clothes he should

be shielded from the glances of evil spirits�comp. Stanley on I Cor. xi. 10),

to envelope him in his mantle; that then Gabriel came down and addressed him

as in v. I. This vision, like that which preceded Sura xcvi., may actually

have occurred during the hallucinations of one of the epileptic fits from

which Muhammad from early youth appears to have suffered. Hence Muhammad in

Sura lxxxi. appeals to it as a matter of fact, and such he doubtless believe

it to be. It may here be observed, that however absurd the Muslim traditions

may be in many of their details, it will generally be found that where there

is an ancient and tolerably universal consent, there will be found at the

bottom a residuum of fact and historical truth. At the same time there can

be no doubt but that the details of the traditions are too commonly founded

upon the attempt to explain or to throw light upon a dark passage of the

Koran, and are pure inventions of a later age.
2 The Arabic words are not those used in later Suras to express the same

3 Said to be Walid b. Mogheira, a person of note among the unbelieving

Meccans. This portion of the Sura seems to be of a different date from the

first seven verses, though very ancient, and the change of subject is similar

to that at v. 9 of the previous Sura.
4 This and the three following verses wear the appearance of having been

inserted at a later period to meet objections respecting the number of the

angels who guard hell, raised by the Jews; perhaps at Medina, as the four

classes of persons specified are those whom Muhammad had to deal with in that

city, viz., the Jews, Believers, the Hypocrites, or undecided, and Idolaters.

These are constantly mentioned together in the Medina Suras.

5 That is, who believe, and do not believe.
6 As the word sakar disturbs the rhyme, it may have been inserted by a

mistake of the copyist for the usual word, which suits it.

7 That is, death. Beidh. Comp. Sura xv. 99.


MECCA. 20 Verses.
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
O THOU ENFOLDED in thy mantle,
Stand up all night, except a small portion of it, for prayer:
Half; or curtail the half a little,�
Or add to it: And with measured tone intone the Koran,2
For we shall devolve on thee weighty words.
Verily, at the oncoming of night are devout impressions strongest, and words

are most collected;3

But in the day time thou hast continual employ�
And commemorate the name of thy Lord, and devote thyself to Him with entire


Lord of the East and of the West! No God is there but He! Take Him for thy


And endure what they say with patience, and depart from them with a decorous


And let Me alone with the gainsayers, rich in the pleasures of this life; and

bear thou with them yet a little while:

For with Us are strong fetters, and a flaming fire,
And food that choketh, and a sore torment.
The day cometh when the earth and the mountains shall be shaken; and the

mountains shall become a loose sand heap.

Verily, we have sent you an Apostle to witness against you, even as we sent

an Apostle to Pharaoh:

But Pharaoh rebelled against the Apostle, and we therefore laid hold on him

with a severe chastisement.

And how, if ye believe not, will you screen yourselves from the day that

shall turn children greyheaded?

The very heaven shall be reft asunder by it: this threat shall be carried

into effect.

Lo! this is a warning. Let him then who will, take the way to his Lord.
Of a truth,4 thy Lord knoweth that thou prayest almost two-thirds, or half,

or a third of the night, as do a part of thy followers. But God measureth the

night and the day: He knoweth that ye cannot count its hours aright, and

therefore, turneth to you mercifully. Recite then so much of the Koran as may

be easy to you. He knoweth that there will be some among you sick, while

others travel through the earth in quest of the bounties of God; and others

do battle in his cause. Recite therefore so much of it as may be easy. And

observe the Prayers and pay the legal Alms,5 and lend God a liberal loan: for

whatever good works ye send on before for your own behoof, ye shall find with

God. This will be best and richest in the recompense. And seek the

forgiveness of God: verily, God is forgiving, Merciful.


1 From the first line of this Sura, and its expressions concerning the Koran,

Prayer, and Future Punishment: from the similarity of the tradition with

regard to its having been preceded by a vision of Gabriel (Beidh., etc.), it

seems to belong to, or at least to describe, a period, perhaps immediately

succeeding the Fatrah, during which the hours of night were spent by Muhammad

in devotion and in the labour of working up his materials in rhythmical and

rhyming Suras, and in preparation for the public assumption of the prophetic

office. Comp. especially verses 11, 19, 20, at the end, with 11, 54, 55, of

the preceding Sura.
2 Singe den Koran laut. H.v.P. Psalle Alcoranum psallendo. Mar. Singe den

Koran mit singender und lauter Stimme ab. Ullm.

3 Lit. most firm, perhaps, distinct.
4 This verse, according to a tradition of Ayesha, was revealed one year later

than the previous part of the Sura. Nöldeke says it is "offenbar ein

5 The reader will not be surprised to find in the very outset of Muhammad's

career a frequent mention of Alms, Prayer, Heaven, Hell, Judgment, Apostles,

etc., in their usual sense, when he remembers that Judaism was extensively

naturalised in Arabia, and Christianity, also, although to a smaller extent.

The words and phrases of these religions were doubtless familiar to the

Meccans, especially to that numerous body who were anxiously searching after

some better religion than the idolatries of their fathers (v. on Sura iii.

19, 60), and provided Muhammad with a copious fund from which to draw.

MECCA.�11 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
BY the noon-day BRIGHTNESS,
And by the night when it darkeneth!
Thy Lord hath not forsaken thee, neither hath he been displeased.
And surely the Future shall be better for thee than the Past,
And in the end shall thy Lord be bounteous to thee and thou be satisfied.
Did he not find thee an orphan2 and gave thee a home?
And found thee erring and guided thee,3
And found thee needy and enriched thee.
As to the orphan therefore wrong him not;
And as to him that asketh of thee, chide him not away;
And as for the favours of thy Lord tell them abroad.


1 This and the six following Suras are expressions of a state of deep mental

anxiety and depression, in which Muhammad seeks to reassure himself by

calling to mind the past favours of God, and by fixing his mind steadfastly

on the Divine Unity. They belong to a period either before the public

commencement of his ministry or when his success was very dubious, and his

future career by no means clearly marked out.

2 The charge of the orphaned Muhammad was undertaken by Abd-al-Mutalib, his

grandfather, A.D. 576. Hishami, p. 35; Kitab al Wakidi, p. 22, have preserved

traditions of the fondness with which the old man of fourscore years treated

the child, spreading a rug for him under the shadow of the Kaaba, protecting

him from the rudeness of his own sons, etc.
3 Up to his 40th year Muhammad followed the religion of his countrymen. Waq.

Tabari says that when he first entered on his office of Prophet, even his

wife Chadijah had read the Scriptures, and was acquainted with the History of

the Prophets. Spreng. p. 100. But his conformity can only have been partial.

MECCA.�8 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
HAVE we not OPENED thine heart for thee?
And taken off from thee thy burden,
Which galled thy back?
And have we not raised thy name for thee?
Then verily along with trouble cometh ease.
Verily along with trouble cometh ease.
But when thou art set at liberty, then prosecute thy toil.
And seek thy Lord with fervour.


In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
SAY: I betake me for refuge to the Lord of the DAY BREAK
Against the mischiefs of his creation;
And against the mischief of the night when it overtaketh me;
And against the mischief of weird women;1
And against the mischief of the envier when he envieth.
1 Lit. who blow on knots. According to some commentators an allusion to a

species of charm. Comp. Virg.Ec. vi. But the reference more probably is to

women in general, who disconcert schemes as thread is disentangled by blowing

upon it. Suras cxiii. are called the el mouwwidhetani, or preservative

chapters, are engraved on amulets,etc.


In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
SAY: I betake me for refuge to the Lord of MEN,
The King of men,
The God of men,
Against the mischief of the stealthily withdrawing whisperer,1
Who whispereth in man's breast�
Against djinn and men.
1 Satan.


MECCA.�7 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
PRAISE be to God, Lord of the worlds!
The compassionate, the merciful!
King on the day of reckoning!
Thee only do we worship, and to Thee do we cry for help.
Guide Thou us on the straight path,2
The path of those to whom Thou hast been gracious;�with whom thou art not

angry, and who go not astray.3

1 This Sura, which Nöldeke places last, and Muir sixth, in the earliest class

of Meccan Suras, must at least have been composed prior to Sura xxxvii.

182,where it is quoted, and to Sura xv. 87, which refers to it. And it can

scarcely be an accidental circumstance that the words of the first, second,

and fifth verses do not occur in any other Suras of the first Meccan period

as given by N�ldeke, but frequently in those of the second, which it

therefore, in N�ldeke, opinion, immediately precedes. But this may be

accounted for by its having been recast for the purposes of private and

public devotion by Muhammad himself, which is the meaning probably of the

Muhammadan tradition that it was revealed twice. It should also be observed

that, including the auspicatory formula, there are the same number of

petitions in this Sura as in the Lord's Prayer. It is recited several times

in each of the five daily prayers, and on many other occassions, as in

concluding a bargain, etc. It is termed "the Opening of the Book," "the

Completion," "the Sufficing Sura," the Sura of Praise, Thanks, and Prayer,"

"the Healer," "the Remedy," "the Basis," "the Treasure," "the Mother of the

Book," "the Seven Verses of Repetition." The Muhammadans always say "Amen"

after this prayer, Muhammad having been instructed, says the Sonna, to do so

by the Angel Gabriel.
2 Islam
3 The following transfer of this Sura from the Arabic into the corresponding

English characters may give some idea of the rhyming prose in which the Koran

is written:
Bismillahi 'rahhmani 'rrahheem.

El-hamdoo lillahi rabi 'lalameen.

Arrahhmani raheem.

Maliki yowmi-d-deen.

Eyaka naboodoo, wa�yaka nest aeen.

Ihdina 'ssirat almostakeem.

Sirat alezeena anhamta aleihim, gheiri-'l mughdoobi aleihim, wala dsaleen.


MECCA.�6 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
I worship not that which ye worship,
And ye do not worship that which I worship;
I shall never worship that which ye worship,
Neither will ye worship that which I worship.
To you be your religion; to me my religion.1


1 This Sura is said to have been revealed when Walîd urged Muhammad to

consent that his God should be worshipped at the same time with the old

Meccan deities, or alternately every year. Hishâmi, p. 79; Tabari, p. 139. It

is a distinct renunciation of Meccan idolatry, as the following Sura is a

distinct recognition of the Divine Unity.


MECCA.�4 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
SAY: He is God alone:
God the eternal!
He begetteth not, and He is not begotten;
And there is none like unto Him.


MECCA. 5 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
LET the hands of ABU LAHAB1 perish,and let himself perish!
His wealth and his gains shall avail him not.
Burned shall he be at the fiery flame,2
And his wife laden with fire wood,�
On her neck a rope of palm fibre.


1 Undoubtedly one of the earliest Suras, and refers to the rejection of

Muhammad's claim to the prophetic office by his uncle, Abu Lahab, at the

instigation of his wife, Omm Djemil, who is said to have strewn the path of

Muhammad on one occasion with thorns. The following six Suras, like the two

first, have special reference to the difficulties which the Prophet met with

the outset of his career, especially from the rich.

2 In allusion to the meaning of Abu Lahab, father of flame.


MECCA.�3 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
TRULY we have given thee an ABUNDANCE;
Pray therefore to the Lord, and slay the victims.
Verily whose hateth thee shall be childless.1


1 A reply to those who had taunted Muhammad with the death of his sons, as a

mark of the divine displeasure.

MECCA.�9 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Woe to every BACKBITER, Defamer!
Who amasseth wealth and storeth it against the future!
He thinketh surely that his wealth shall be with him for ever.
Nay! for verily he shall be flung into the Crushing Fire;
And who shall teach thee what the Crushing Fire is?
It is God's kindled fire,
Which shall mount above the hearts of the damned;
It shall verily rise over them like a vault,
On outstretched columns.


MECCA.�7 Verses
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
WHAT thinkest thou of him who treateth our RELIGION as a lie?
He it is who trusteth away the orphan,
And stirreth not others up to feed the poor.
Woe to those who pray,
But in their prayer are careless;
Who make a shew of devotion,
But refuse help to the needy.


MECCA.�8 Verses
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
THE DESIRE of increasing riches occupieth you,
Till ye come to the grave.
Nay! but in the end ye shall know
Nay! once more,in the end ye shall know your folly.
Nay! would that ye knew it with knowledge of certainty!
Surely ye shall see hell-fire.
Then shall ye surely see it with the eye of certainty;
Then shall ye on that day be taken to task concerning pleasures.


MECCA.�21 Verses
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
BY the NIGHT when she spreads her veil;
By the Day when it brightly shineth;
By Him who made male and female;
At different ends truly do ye aim!1
But as to him who giveth alms and feareth God,
And yieldeth assent to the Good;
To him will we make easy the path to happiness.
But as to him who is covetous and bent on riches,
And calleth the Good a lie,
To him will we make easy the path to misery:
And what shall his wealth avail him when he goeth down?
Truly man�s guidance is with Us
And Our�s, the Future and the Past.
I warn you therefore of the flaming fire;
None shall be cast to it but the most wretched,�
Who hath called the truth a lie and turned his back.
But the God-fearing shall escape it,�
Who giveth away his substance that he may become pure;2
And who offereth not favours to any one for the sake of recompense,
But only as seeking the face of his Lord the Most High.
And surely in the end he shall be well content.


1 See Pref., p. 5, line I.

2 Comp. Luke xi. 41. Muhammad perhaps derived this view of the meritorious

anture of almsgiving from the Jewish oral law.


Mecca.�52 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Nun.1 By the PEN2 and by what they write,
Thou, O Prophet; by the grace of thy Lord art not possessed!3
And truly a boundless recompense doth await thee,
For thou art of a noble nature.4
But thou shalt see and they shall see Which of you is the demented.
Now thy Lord! well knoweth He the man who erreth from his path, and well doth

he know those who have yielded to Guidance;

Give not place, therefore, to those who treat thee as a liar:
They desire thee to deal smoothly with them: then would they be smooth as oil

with thee:

But yield not to the man of oaths, a despicable person,
Defamer, going about with slander,
Hinderer of the good, transgressor, criminal,
Harsh�beside this, impure by birth,
Though a man of riches and blessed with sons.
Who when our wondrous verses are recited to him saith�"Fables of the


We will brand him on the nostrils.
Verily, we have proved them (the Meccans) as we proved the owners of the

garden, when they swore that at morn they would cut its fruits;

But added no reserve.5
Wherefore an encircling desolation from thy Lord swept round it while they


And in the morning it was like a garden whose fruits had all been cut.
Then at dawn they called to each other,
"Go out early to your field, if ye would cut your dates."
So on they went whispering to each other,
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