The Project Gutenberg ebook of The Koran



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tree is shaken on the night of the 15th of Ramadan every year a little after

sunset, when the leaves on which are inscribed the names of those who are to

die in the ensuing year fall, either wholly withered, or with more or less

green remaining, according to the months or weeks the person has yet to live.
4 The Sidrah is a prickly plum, which is called Ber in India, the zizyphus

Jujuba of Linnćus. A decoction of the leaves is used in India to wash the

dead, on account of the sacredness of the tree.
5 Hosts of adoring angels, by which the tree was masked.
6 Al-Lat or El-Lat, probably the Alilat of Herodotus (iii. 8) was an idol at

Nakhlah, a place east of the present site of Mecca. Al-Ozza was an idol of

the Kinanah tribe; but its hereditary priests were the Banu Solaym, who were

stationed along the mercantile road to Syria in the neighbourhood of Chaibar.


7 When at the first recital of this Sura, the prophet had reached this verse,

he continued,


These are the exalted females, [or, sublime swans, i.e., mounting nearer and

nearer to God]


And truly their intercession may be expected.
These words, however, which were received by the idolaters with great

exultation, were disowned by Muhammad in the course of a few days as a

Satanic suggestion, and replaced by the text as it now stands. The

probability is that the difficulties of his position led him to attempt a

compromise of which he speedily repented. In the Suras subsequent to this

period the denunciations of idolatry become much sterner and clearer. The

authorities are given by Weil, Sprenger and Muir. See Sura [lxvii.] xvii. 74-

76.
8 Verses 26-33 are probably later than the previous part of the Sura, but

inserted with reference to it. Some (as Omar b. Muhammad and 1tq.) consider

verse 33, or (as Itq.36) verses 34-42, or (as Omar b. Muhammad) the whole

Sura, to have originated at Medina.
9 Ex spermate cum seminatum fuerit.
10 The Dog-star, worshipped by the Arabians.
11 Compare the refrain in Sura lv. p. 74.

SURA LXX.�THE STEPS OR ASCENTS [XLVII.]


MECCA.�44 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
A SUITOR sued1 for punishment to light suddenly
On the infidels: none can hinder
God from inflicting it, the master of those ASCENTS,
By which the angels and the spirit ascend to him in a day, whose length is

fifty thousand years.2


Be thou patient therefore with becoming patience;
They forsooth regard that day as distant,
But we see it nigh:
The day when the heavens shall become as molten brass,
And the mountains shall become like flocks of wool:
And friend shall not question of friend,
Though they look at one another. Fain would the wicked redeem himself from

punishment on that day at the price of his children,


Of his spouse and his brother,
And of his kindred who shewed affection for him,
And of all who are on the earth that then it might deliver him.
But no. For the fire,
Dragging by the scalp,
Shall claim him who turned his back and went away,
And amassed and hoarded.
Man truly is by creation hasty;
When evil befalleth him, impatient;
But when good falleth to his lot, tenacious.
Not so the prayerful,
Who are ever constant at their prayers;
And of whose substance there is a due and stated portion
For him who asketh, and for him who is ashamed3 to beg;
And who own the judgment-day a truth,
And who thrill with dread at the chastisement of their Lord�
For there is none safe from the chastisement of their Lord�
And who control their desires,
(Save with their wives or the slaves whom their right hands have won, for

there they shall be blameless;


But whoever indulge their desires beyond this are transgressors);
And who are true to their trusts and their engagements,
And who witness uprightly,
And who keep strictly the hours of prayer:
These shall dwell, laden with honours, amid gardens.
But what hath come to the unbelievers that they run at full stretch around

thee,
On the right hand and on the left, in bands?


Is it that every man of them would fain enter that garden of delights?
Not at all. We have created them, they know of what.
It needs not that I swear by the Lord of the East and of the West4 that we

have power.


To replace them with better than themselves: neither are we to be hindered.
Wherefore let them flounder on and disport them, till they come face to face

with their threatened day,


The day on which they shall flock up out of their graves in haste like men

who rally to a standard:�


Their eyes downcast; disgrace shall cover them. Such their threatened day.

_______________________


1 Lit. asking one asked; probably some unbeliever, with reference to the

opening of Sura lvi., p. 60, or like statements in some previous Sura.


2 The expression is hyperbolical, and, as such, identical with Sura [lxx.]

xxxii. 4. Compare also Sura xcvii., p. 37. where the descent is said to take

place in a single night.
3 Lit. forbidden or prevented by shame.
4 See next Sura. v. 16.

SURA LV.�THE MERCIFUL [XLVIII.]


MECCA.�78 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
The God of MERCY hath taught the Koran,
Hath created man,
Hath taught him articulate speech,
The Sun and the Moon have each their times,
And the plants and the trees bend in adoration.
And the Heaven, He hath reared it on high, and hath appointed the balance;
That in the balance ye should not transgress.
Weigh therefore with fairness, and scant not the balance.
And the Earth, He hath prepared it for the living tribes:
Therein are fruits, and the palms with sheathed clusters,
And the grain with its husk, and the fragrant plants.
Which then of the bounties of your Lord will ye twain1 deny?
He created man of clay like that of the potter.
And He created the djinn of pure fire:
Which then of the bounties, etc.
He is the Lord of the East,2
He is the Lord of the West:
Which, etc.
He hath let loose the two seas3 which meet each other:
Yet between them is a barrier which they overpass not:
Which, etc.
From each he bringeth up pearls both great and small:
Which, etc.
And His are the ships towering up at sea like mountains:
Which, etc.
All on the earth shall pass away,
But the face of thy Lord shall abide resplendent with majesty and glory:
Which, etc.
To Him maketh suit all that is in the Heaven and the Earth. Every day doth

some new work employ Him:


Which, etc.
We will find leisure to judge you, O ye men and djinn:4
Which, etc.
O company of djinn and men, if ye can overpass the bounds of the Heavens and

the Earth, then overpass them. But by our leave only shall ye overpass them:


Which, etc.
A bright flash of fire shall be hurled at you both, and molten brass, and ye

shall not defend yourselves from it:


Which, etc.
When the Heaven shall be cleft asunder, and become rose red, like stained

leather:
Which, etc.


On that day shall neither man nor djinn be asked of his sin:
Which, etc.
By their tokens shall the sinners be known, and they shall be seized by their

forelocks and their feet:


Which, etc.
"This is Hell which sinners treated as a lie."
To and fro shall they pass between it and the boiling water:
Which, etc.
But for those who dread the majesty of their Lord shall be two gardens:
Which, etc.
With o'erbranching trees in each:
Which, etc.
In each two kinds of every fruit:
Which, etc.
On couches with linings of brocade shall they recline, and the fruit of the

two gardens shall be within easy reach:


Which, etc.
Therein shall be the damsels with retiring glances, whom nor man nor djinn

hath touched before them:


Which, etc.
Like jacynths and pearls:
Which, etc.
Shall the reward of good be aught but good?
Which, etc.
And beside these shall be two other gardens:5
Which, etc.
Of a dark green:
Which, etc.
With gushing fountains in each:
Which, etc.
In each, fruits and the palm and the pomegranate:
Which, etc.
In each, the fair, the beauteous ones:
Which, etc.
With large dark eyeballs, kept close in their pavilions:
Which, etc.
Whom man hath never touched, nor any djinn:6
Which, etc.
Their spouses on soft green cushions and on beautiful carpets shall recline:
Which, etc.
Blessed be the name of thy Lord, full of majesty and glory.

_______________________


1 Men and djinn. The verb is in the dual.
2 Lit. of the two easts, of the two wests, i.e., of all that lies between the

extreme points at which the sun rises and sets at the winter and summer

solstices.
3 Lit. he hath set at large, poured forth over the earth the masses of fresh

and salt water which are in contact at the mouths of rivers, etc. See Sura

[lxviii.] xxvii. 62; [lxxxvi.] xxxv. 13.
4 Lit. O ye two weights; hence, treasures; and, generally, any collective

body of men or things.


5 One for men, the other for the Genii; or, two for each man and Genius; or,

both are for the inferior classes of Muslims. Beidh.


6 It should be remarked that these promises of the Houris of Paradise are

almost exclusively to be found in Suras written at a time when Muhammad had

only a single wife of 60 years of age, and that in all the ten years

subsequent to the Hejira, women are only twice mentioned as part of the

reward of the faithful. Suras ii. 23 and iv. 60. While in Suras xxxvi. 56;

xliii. 70; xiii. 23; xl. 8 the proper wives of the faithful are spoken of as

accompanying their husbands into the gardens of bliss.

SURA LIV.�THE MOON [XLIX.]


MECCA.�55 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
The hour hath approached and the MOON hath been cleft:
But whenever they see a miracle they turn aside and say, This is well-devised

magic.
And they have treated the prophets as impostors, and follow their own lusts;

but everything is unalterably fixed.
A message of prohibition had come to them�
Consummate wisdom�but warners profit them not.
Quit them then. On the day when the summoner shall summon to a stern

business,


With downcast eyes shall they come forth from their graves, as if they were

scattered locusts,


Hastening to the summoner. "This," shall the infidels say, "is the

distressful day."


Before them the people of Noah treated the truth as a lie. Our servant did

they charge with falsehood, and said, "Demoniac!" and he was rejected.


Then cried he to his Lord, "Verily, they prevail against me; come thou

therefore to my succour."


So we opened the gates of Heaven with water which fell in torrents,
And we caused the earth to break forth with springs, and their waters met by

settled decree.


And we bare him on a vessel made with planks and nails.
Under our eyes it floated on: a recompence to him who had been rejected with

unbelief.


And we left it a sign: but, is there any one who receives the warning?
And how great was my vengeance and my menace!
Easy for warning have we made the Koran�but, is there any one who receives

the warning?


The Adites called the truth a lie: but how great was my vengeance and my

menace;
For we sent against them a roaring wind in a day of continued distress:


It tore men away as though they were uprooted palm stumps.
And how great was my vengeance and my menace!
Easy for warning have we made the Koran�but, is there any one who receives

the warning?


The tribe of Themoud treated the threatenings as lies:
And they said, "Shall we follow a single man from among ourselves? Then

verily should we be in error and in folly.


To him alone among us is the office of warning entrusted? No! he is an

impostor, an insolent person."


To-morrow shall they learn who is the impostor, the insolent.
"For we will send the she-camel to prove them: do thou mark them well, O

Saleh, and be patient:


And foretell them that their waters shall1 be divided between themselves and

her, and that every draught shall come by turns to them."


But they called to their comrade, and he took a knife and ham-strung her.
And how great was my vengeance and my menance!
We sent against them a single shout; and they became like the dry sticks of

the fold-builders.


Easy have we made the Koran for warning�but, is there any one who receives

the warning?


The people of Lot treated his warning as a lie;
But we sent a stone-charged wind against them all, except the family of Lot,

whom at daybreak we delivered,


By our special grace�for thus we reward the thankful.
He, indeed, had warned them of our severity, but of that warning they

doubted.
Even this guess did they demand: therefore we deprived them of sight,


And said, "Taste ye my vengeance and my menace;"
And in the morning a relentless punishment overtook them.
Easy have we made the Koran for warning but, is there any one who receives

the warning?


To the people of Pharaoh also came the threatenings:
All our miracles did they treat as impostures. Therefore seized we them as he

only can seize, who is the Mighty, the Strong.


Are your infidels, O Meccans, better men than these? Is there an exemption

for you in the sacred Books?


Will they say, "We are a host that lend one another aid?"
The host shall be routed, and they shall turn them back.
But, that Hour is their threatened time, and that Hour shall be most severe

and bitter.


Verily, the wicked are sunk in bewilderment and folly.
On that day they shall be dragged into the fire on their faces. "Taste ye the

touch of Hell."


All things have we created after a fixed decree:
Our command was but one word, swift as the twinkling of an eye.
Of old, too, have we destroyed the like of you�yet is any one warned?
And everything that they do is in the Books;2
Each action, both small and great, is written down.
Verily, amid gardens3 and rivers shall the pious dwell.
In the seat of truth, in the presence of the potent King.

_______________________


1 See Sura [lvi.] xxvi. 155; also Sura [lxxxvii.] vii. 71.
2 Kept by the Guardian Angels.
3 The Talmudic descriptions of the Gardens�for the later Jews believed in

more than one Paradise�and of the rivers and trees therein, will be found in

Schr der Talm. Rabb. Judenthum, pp. 418-432.

SURA XXXVII.�THE RANKS [L.]


MECCA.�182 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
By the angels ranged in order for Songs of Praise,
And by those who repel demons,1
And by those who recite the Koran for warning,
Truly your God is but one,
Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth, and of all that is between them, and

Lord of the East.2


We have adorned the lower heaven with the adornment of the stars.
They serve also as a guard against every rebellious Satan,
That they overhear not what passeth in the assembly on high, for they are

darted at from every side,3


Driven off and consigned to a lasting torment;
While, if one steal a word by stealth, a glistening flame pursueth him.
Ask the Meccans then, Are they, or the angels whom we have made, the stronger

creation? Aye, of coarse clay have we created them.


But while thou marvellest they mock;
When they are warned, no warning do they take;
And when they see a sign, they fall to mocking,
And say, "This is no other than clear sorcery:
What! when dead, and turned to dust and bones, shall we indeed be raised?
Our sires also of olden times?"
Say, Yes; and ye shall be covered with disgrace.
For, one blast only, and lo! they shall gaze around them, And shall say, "Oh!

woe to us! this is the day of reckoning; This is the day of decision which ye

gainsaid as an untruth."
Gather together those who have acted unjustly, and their consorts,4 and the

gods whom they adored


Beside God; and guide them to the road for Hell.
Set them forth: they shall be questioned.
"How now, that ye help not one another?"
But on this day they shall submit themselves to God,
And shall address one another with mutual reproaches.
They shall say, "In sooth, ye came to us in well-omened sort:"5
But they will answer, "Nay, it was ye who would not believe; and we had no

power whatever over you. Nay, ye were people given to transgress;


Just, therefore, is the doom which our Lord hath passed upon us.6 We shall

surely taste it:


We made you err, for we had erred ourselves."
Partners therefore shall they be in punishment on that day.
Truly, thus will we deal with the wicked,
Because when it was said to them, There is no God but God, they swelled with

pride,
And said, "Shall we then abandon our gods for a crazed poet?"


Nay, he cometh with truth and confirmeth the Sent Ones of old.
Ye shall surely taste the painful punishment,
And ye shall not be rewarded but as ye have wrought,
Save the sincere servants of God!
A stated banquet shall they have
Of fruits; and honoured shall they be
In the gardens of delight,
Upon couches face to face.
A cup shall be borne round among them from a fountain,
Limpid, delicious to those who drink;
It shall not oppress the sense, nor shall they therewith be drunken.
And with them are the large-eyed ones with modest refraining glances, fair

like the sheltered egg.7


And they shall address one another with mutual questions.
Saith one of them, "I truly had a bosom friend,
Who said, 'Art thou of those who credit it?
What! when we shall have died, and become dust and bones, shall we indeed be

judged?"'


He shall say to those around him, "Will ye look?"
And he shall look and see him in the midst of Hell.
And he shall say to him, "By God, thou hadst almost caused me to perish;
And, but for the favour of my Lord, I had surely been of those who have been

brought with thee into torment."


"But do we not die," say the blessed,
"Any other than our first death? and have we escaped the torment?"8
This truly is the great felicity!
For the like of this should the travailers travail!
Is this the better repast or the tree Ez-zakkoum?
Verily, we have made it for a subject of discord to the wicked.
It is a tree which cometh up from the bottom of hell;
Its fruits is as it were the heads of Satans;
And, lo! the damned shall surely eat of it and fill their bellies with it:
Then shall they have, thereon, a mixture of boiling water:
Then shall they return to hell.
They found their fathers erring,
And they hastened on in their footsteps.
Also before them the greater number of the ancients had erred.
Though we had sent warners among them.
But see what was the end of these warned ones,
Except of God's true servants.
Noah called on us of old, and right prompt were we to hear him,9
And we saved him and his family out of the great distress,
And we made his offspring the survivors;
And we left for him with posterity,
"Peace be on Noah throughout the worlds!"
Thus do we reward the well-doers,
For he was one of our believing servants;�
And the rest we drowned.
And truly, of his faith was Abraham,
When he brought to his Lord a perfect heart,
When he said to his father and to his people, "What is this ye worship?
Prefer ye with falsehood gods to God?
And what deem ye of the Lord of the worlds?"
So gazing he gazed towards the stars,
And said, "In sooth I am ill:10
And they turned their back on him and departed.
He went aside to their gods and said, "Do ye not eat?
What aileth you that ye do not speak?"
He broke out upon them, with the right hand striking:
When his tribesmen came back to him with hasty steps
He said, "Worship ye what ye carve,
When God hath created you, and that ye make?"
They said, "Build up a pyre for him and cast him into the glowing flame."
Fain would they plot against him, but we brought them low.
And he said, "Verily, I repair to my Lord who will guide me:
O Lord give me a son, of the righteous."
We announced to him a youth of meekness.
And when he became a full-grown youth,11
His father said to him, "My son, I have seen in a dream that I should

sacrifice thee; therefore, consider what thou seest right."


He said, "My father, do what thou art bidden; of the patient, if
God please, shalt thou find me."
And when they had surrendered them to the will of God, he laid him down upon

his forehead:


We cried unto him, "O Abraham!
Now hast thou satisfied the vision." See how we recompense the righteous.
This was indeed a decisive test.
And we ransomed his son with a costly12 victim,
And we left this13 for him among posterity,
"PEACE BE ON ABRAHAM!"
Thus do we reward the well-doers,
For he was of our believing servants.
And we announced Isaac to him�a righteous Prophet�
And on him and on Isaac we bestowed our blessing. And among their offspring

were well-doers, and others, to their own hurt undoubted sinners.


And of old,14 to Moses and to Aaron shewed we favours:
And both of them, and their people, we rescued from the great distress:
And we succoured them, and they became the conquerors:
And we gave them (Moses and Aaron) each the lucid book:
And we guided them each into the right way:
And we left this for each among posterity,
"PEACE BE ON MOSES AND AARON."
Thus do we reward the well-doers,
For they were two of our believing servants.
And Elias truly was of our Sent Ones,
When he said to his people, "Fear ye not God?
Invoke ye Baal and forsake ye the most skilful Creator?
God is your Lord, and the Lord of your sires of old?"
But they treated him as a liar, and shall therefore be consigned to

punishment,


Except God's faithful servants.
And we left this for him among posterity,
"PEACE BE ON ELIASIN!"15
Thus do we reward the well-doers,
For he was one of our believing servants.
And Lot truly was of our Sent Ones,
When we rescued him and all his family,
Save an aged woman among those who tarried.
Afterward we destroyed the others.
And ye indeed pass by their ruined dwellings at morn
And night: will ye not then reflect?
Jonas, too, was one of the Apostles,
When he fled unto the laden ship,
And lots were cast,16 and he was doomed,
And the fish swallowed him, for he was blameworthy.
But had he not been of those who praise Us,
In its belly had he surely remained, till the day of resurrection.
And we cast him on the bare shore�and he was sick;�
And we caused a gourd-plant to grow up over him,
And we sent him to a hundred thousand persons, or even more,
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