The Project Gutenberg ebook of The Koran

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My Lord! bestow on me wisdom and join me to the just,
And give me a good name11 among posterity,
And make me one of the heirs of the garden of delight,
And forgive my father, for he was one of the erring,
And put me not to shame on the day when mankind shall be raised up,
The day when neither wealth nor children shall avail,
Save to him who shall come to God with a sound heart:
When Paradise shall be brought near the pious,
And Hell shall lay open for those who have gone astray.
And it shall be said to them, 'Where are they whom ye worshipped
Beside God? Can they harm you or help themselves?'
And they shall be cast into it�the seducers and the seduced,
And all the host of Eblis.
They shall say, as they wrangle therein together,
'By God, we were in a plain error,
When we equalled you with the Lord of the Worlds:
And none misled us but the wicked,
And we have none to plead for us,
Nor friend who careth for us.
Could we but return, we would be of the believers."'
Verily, in this was a sign: but most of them believed not.
And truly thy Lord!�He is the Mighty, the Merciful!
The people of Noah gainsaid the Apostles,
When their brother Noah said to them, "Will ye not fear God?
Of a truth am I your faithful Apostle;
Fear God then and obey me.
I ask of you no reward for this, for my reward is of the Lord of the Worlds

Fear God then and obey me."

They said, "Shall we believe on thee when the meanest only are thy


He said, "But I have no knowledge of that they did:12
To my Lord only must their account be given: would that ye understood this!
And I will not thrust away those who believe,
For I am only one charged with plain warnings."
They said, "Now unless thou desist, O Noah, one of the stoned shalt thou

surely be."

He said, "Lord! my people treat me as a liar:
Decide thou therefore a decision between me and them, and rescue me and the

faithful who are with me."

So we saved him and those who were with him in the fully-laden ark,
And afterwards we drowned the rest.
Herein truly was a sign, but most of them believed not.
But thy Lord!�He is the Mighty, the Merciful.
The Adites13 treated their Apostles as liars,
When their brother Houd said to them, "Will ye not fear God?
I am your Apostle, worthy of all credit;
Fear God then and obey me:
I ask for no reward for this; for my reward is of the Lord of the Worlds

What! build ye landmarks on all heights in mere pastime?

And raise ye structures to be your lasting abodes?14
And when ye put forth your power do ye put it forth with harshness?
Fear ye God then and obey me;
And fear ye Him who hath plenteously betowed on you ye well know what:
Plenteously bestowed on you flocks and children,
And gardens and fountains;
Indeed I fear for you the punishment of a tremendous day."
They said, "It is the same to us whether thou warn or warn us not.
This is but a tale of the ancients,
And we are not they who shall be punished."
And they charged him with imposture; and we destroyed them. In this was a

sign: but most of them believed not.

But thy Lord!�He is the Mighty, the Merciful!
The Themoudites also treated their Apostles as liars,
When their brother Saleh said to them, "Will ye not fear God?
I am your Apostle worthy of all credit:
Fear God, then, and obey me.
I ask of you no reward for this: my reward is of the Lord of the Worlds

Shall ye be left secure amid these things here?

Amid gardens and fountains,
And corn-fields and palm-trees, with flower-sheathing branches?
And, insolent that ye are, will ye hew out your dwellings in the mountains?
But fear God and obey me,
And obey not the bidding of those who commit excess,
Who act disorderly on the earth and reform it not."
They said, "Certainly thou art a person bewitched;
Thou art only a man like us: produce now a sign if thou art a man of truth."
He said, "This she-camel, then�drink shall there be for her, and drink shall

there be for you, on a several day for each.

But harm her not, lest the punishment of a tremendous day overtake you."
But they ham-strung her, and repented of it on the morrow;
For the punishment overtook them. In this truly was a sign, but most of them

believed not.

But thy Lord!�He is the Powerful, the Merciful!
The people of Lot treated their apostles as liars,
When their brother Lot said to them, "Will ye not fear God?
I am your Apostle worthy of all credit:
Fear God, then, and obey me.
For this I ask you no reward: my reward is of the Lord of the worlds alone.
What! with men, of all creatures, will ye have commerce?
And leave ye your wives whom your Lord hath created for you? Ah! ye are an

erring people!"

They said, "O Lot, if thou desist not, one of the banished shalt thou surely

He said, "I utterly abhor your doings:

My Lord! deliver me and my family from what they do."
So we delivered him and his whole family�
Save an aged one among those who tarried�
Then we destroyed the rest�
And we rained a rain upon them, and fatal was the rain to those whom we had

In this truly was a sign; but most of them did not believe.

But thy Lord! He is the Powerful, the Merciful!
The dwellers in the forest of Madian15 treated the Apostles as liars.
When Shoaib their brother said to them, "Will ye not fear God?
I truly am your trustworthy Apostle.
Fear God, then, and obey me:
No reward ask I of you for this: my reward is of the Lord of the Worlds

Fill the measure, and be not of those who minish:

Weigh with exact balance:
And defraud not men in their substance, and do no wrong on the earth by deeds

of licence;

And fear Him who made you and the races of old."
They said, "Certainly thou art a person bewitched.
Thou art but a man like us, and we deem thee liar�
Make now a part of the heaven to fall down upon us, if thou art a man of

He said, "My Lord best knoweth your doings."

And when they treated him as a liar, the chastisement of the day of cloud

overtook them. This truly was the chastisement of a dreadful day!

In this was a sign, but most of them believed not.
But thy Lord!�He is the Mighty, the Merciful!
Verily from the Lord of the Worlds hath this Book come down;
The faithful spirit16 hath come down with it
Upon thy heart, that thou mightest become a warner�
In the clear Arabic tongue:
And truly it is foretold in the Scriptures of them of yore.17
Was it not a sign to them18 that the learned among the children of Israel

recognised it?

If we had sent it down unto any foreigner,
And he had recited it to them, they had not believed.
In such sort have we influenced19 the heart of the wicked ones,
That they will not believe it till they see the grievous chastisement?
And it shall come upon them on a sudden when they look not for it:
And they will say, "Can we be respited?"
What! will they seek to hasten on our chastisement?
How thinkest thou? If after we have given them their fill for years,
That with which they are menaced come upon them at last,
Of what avail will their enjoyments be to them?
We never destroyed a city which had not first its warners
With admonition; nor did we deal unjustly.
The Satans were not sent down with this Koran:
It beseemed them not, and they had not the power,
For they are far removed from hearing it.20
Call not thou on any other god but God, lest thou be of those consigned to

But warn thy relatives of nearer kin,21

And kindly lower thy wing over the faithful who follow thee.
And if they disobey thee, then say: "I will not be answerable for your


And put thy trust in Him that is the Mighty, the Merciful,
Who seeth thee when thou standest in prayer,
And thy demeanour amongst those who worship;
For He heareth, knoweth all.
Shall I tell you on whom Satan descend?
They descend on every lying, wicked person:
They impart what they have heard;22�but most of them are liars.
It is the POETS23 whom the erring follow:
Seest thou not how they rove distraught in every valley?
And that they say that which they do not?
Save those who believe and do good works, and oft remember God;
And who defend themselves when unjustly treated. But they who treat them

unjustly shall find out what a lot awaiteth them.

1 This Sura belongs to about the seventh year of Muhammad's prophetic life.
2 See Sura 1xviii. I, p. 32.
3 Lit. to which their necks would humble themselves.
4 Lit. my tongue is not free. This verse appears to be a studied

simplification of Ex. iv. 10-13.

5 The murder of the Egyptian. See Geiger, 159.
6 Lit. and thou hast done thy deed which thou hast done. See xxviii. 15.
7 Thus Pirke R. Elieser § 48. "He placed his hand in his bosom, and drew it

forth, white as snow with leprosy."

8 "The Pharaoh who lived in the days of Moses was a great magician." Mid.

Jalkut, c. 182. Comp. Sura xxviii. 38, where, in accordance with the Rabbinic

traditions Pharaoh claims to be a God.
9 See ii. 58, and Midr. Jalkut on Ex. xii. c. 208.
10 Lit. except.
11 Lit. a tongue of truth, i.e. high repute. Or, grant that my words may be

believed among posterity. See [lviii.] xix. 47.

12 Of their motives in embracing Islam.
13 The Adites are mentioned in vii. and xi.
14 This is to be understood of the small forts erected by the nomades of the

Hejaz along the route of the caravans to guarantee their safety. Comp. Gen.

xi. 1-10, and Sura lxxxix. 6, p. 54.
15 The Madian and the El-Aika of other Suras are unquestionably one and the

same place, as they have the same prophet Shoaib (or Sho'eyb), the Jethro of

Scripture�a name perhaps altered from Hobab (Numb. x. 29)�and because the

same sin is laid to the charge of both. See Winer's Realw�rterbuch on Jethro.

The Midr. Rabbah on Ex. ii. I6, Par. I, makes Jethro renounce idolatry, and

his office of Priest, and undergo banishment from the Midianites.

16 Gabriel. See Sura lxxxi. 19, p. 46.
17 See Sura xiii. 36. This verse is said to have been revealed at Medina by

Itq. 34.
18 The unbelieving Meccans. Lit. that the knowing (Doctors, Uhlemas) knew it.

19 Lit. have introduced it, i.e. infidelity; or, the Koran. Beidh. The latter

interpretation seems most accordant with the context.

20 Comp. Sura xxxvii. 7, 8, p. 79.
21 It is probable that within three or four years from his entry upon the

prophetic office, Muhammad had made about 40 converts. Some biographers refer

to this passage, and not to Sura lxiv. I, as the first call to preach. But

this Sura is itself late, and bears evidence of the opposition to which the

prophet had become exposed, and of adherents to his cause, now become

numerous. The diffuseness and feeblenss of the style clearly point to a late

22 They impart to their votaries on earth what they have learned by stealth

and partially, in heaven.

23 Muhammad found it necessary to employ the pens of certain poets to defend

himself and his religion from the ridicule and satire of other poets, whose

productions were recited at the great annual fair held at Okatz, the Olympus

of the Hejaz. The poems which were judged the best were written up in letters

of gold, or suspended (hence called Moallakat) in the Caaba. These poetical

contests were subsequently suppressed by Muhammad, as offering openings for

discussions which might prove inconvenient, and dangerous to his rising


MECCA.�99 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
ELIF. LAM. RA.2 These are the signs of the Book, and of a lucid recital

Many a time will the infidels wish that they had been Muslims.

Let them feast and enjoy themselves, and let hope beguile them: but they

shall know the truth at last.

We never destroyed a city whose term was not perfixed:3
No people can forestall or retard its destiny.
They say: "O thou to whom the warning hath been sent down, thou art surely

possessed by a djinn:

Wouldst thou not have come to us with the angels, if thou wert of those who

assert the truth?"

�We will not send down the angels without due cause.4 The Infidels would not

in that case have been respited.

Verily, We have sent down the warning, and verily, We will be its guardian;
And already have We sent Apostles, before thee, among the sects of the


But never came Apostles to them whom they did not deride.
In like manner will We put it into the hearts of the sinners of Mecca to do

the same:

They will not believe on him though the example of those of old hath gone

Even were We to open above them a gate in Heaven, yet all the while they were

mounting up to it,
They would surely say: It is only that our eyes are drunken: nay, we are a

people enchanted.

We have set the signs of the zodiac5 in the Heavens, and adorned and decked

them forth for the beholders,

And We guard them from every stoned6 Satan,
Save such as steal a hearing:7 and him doth a visible flame pursue.
And the Earth have We spread forth, and thrown thereon the mountains, and

caused everything to spring forth in it in balanced measure:

And We have provided therein sustenance for you, and for the creatures which

not ye sustain:

And no one thing is there, but with Us are its storehouses; and We send it

not down but in settled measure:

And We send forth the fertilising winds, and cause the rain to come down from

the heaven, and give you to drink of it; and it is not ye who are its

And We cause to live and We cause to die,8 and We are the heir of all things:
We know those of you who flourish first and We know those who come later:
And truly thy Lord will gather them together again, for He is Wise, Knowing.
We created man of dried clay, of dark loam moulded;
And the djinn had We before created of subtle fire.
Remember when thy Lord said to the Angels, "I create man of dried clay, of

dark loam moulded:

And when I shall have fashioned him and breathed of my spirit into him, then

fall ye down and worship him."

And the Angels bowed down in worship, all of them, all together,
Save Eblis: he refused to be with those who bowed in worship.
"O Eblis,"9 said God, "wherefore art thou not with those who bow down in


He said, "It beseemeth not me to bow in worship to man whom thou hast created

of clay, of moulded loam."

He said, "Begone then hence; thou art a stoned one,10
And the curse shall be on thee till the day of reckoning."
He said, "O my Lord! respite me till the day when man shall be raised from

the dead."

He said, "One then of the respited shalt thou be
Till the day of the predestined time."
He said, "O my Lord! because thou hast beguiled me, I will surely make all

fair seeming to them11 on the earth; I will surely beguile them all;

Except such of them as shall be thy sincere servants."
He said, "This is the right way with me;
For over none of my servants shalt thou have power, save those beguiled ones

who shall follow thee."

And verily, Hell is the promise for them one and all.
It hath seven Portals;12 at each Portal is a separate band of them;
But 'mid gardens and fountains shall the pious dwell:
"Enter ye therein in peace, secure�"
And all rancour will We remove from their bosoms: they shall sit as brethren,

face to face, on couches:

Therein no weariness shall reach them, nor forth from it shall they be cast

for ever.

Announce to my servants that I am the Gracious, the Merciful,
And that my chastisement is the grievous chastisement.
And tell them of Abraham's guests.
When they entered in unto him, and said, "Peace."
"Verily," said he, "We fear you."
They said, "Fear not, for of a sage son we bring thee tidings."
He said, "Bring ye me such tidings now that old age hath come upon me? What,

therefore, are your tidings really?"

They said, "We announce them to thee in very truth. Be not then one of the


"And who," said he, "despaireth of the mercy of his Lord, but they who err?"
He said, "What is your business then, O ye Sent Ones?"
They said, "We are sent unto a people who are sinners,
Except the family of Lot, whom verily we will rescue all,
Except his wife. We have decreed that she shall be of those who linger."
And when the Sent Ones came to the family of Lot
He said, "Yes; are persons unknown to me."
They said, "Yes; but we have come to thee for a purpose about which thy

people doubt:

We have come to thee with very truth, and we are truthful envoys.
Lead forth therefore thy family in the dead of the night; follow thou on

their rear: and let no one of you turn round, but pass ye on whither ye are

And this command we gave him because to the last man should these people be

cut off at morning.

Then came the people of the city rejoicing at the news13�
He said, "These are my guests: therefore disgrace me not.
And fear God and put me not to shame."
They said, "Have we not forbidden thee to entertain any one whatever?"14
He said, "Here are my daughters, if ye will thus act."
As thou livest, O Muhammad, they were bewildered in the drunkenness of their

So a tempest overtook them at their sunrise,

And we turned the city upside down, and we rained stones of baked clay upon

Verily, in this are signs for those who scan heedfully;

And these cities lay on the high road.15
Verily, in this are signs for the faithful.
The inhabitants also of El Aika16 were sinners:
So we took vengeance on them, and they both became a plain example.
And the people of HEDJR treated God's messengers as liars.
And we brought forth our signs to them, but they drew back from them:
And they hewed them out abodes in the mountains to secure them:
But a tempest surprised them at early morn,
And their labours availed them nothing.
We have not created the heavens and the earth and all that between them is,

but for a worthy end.17 And verily, "the hour" shall surely come. Wherefore

do thou, Muhammad, forgive with kindly forgiveness,
For thy Lord! He is the Creator, the Wise.
We have already given thee the seven verses of repetition18 and the glorious

Strain not thine eyes after the good things we have bestowed on some of the

unbelievers: afflict not thyself on their account, and lower thy wing to the


And SAY: I am the only plain-spoken warner.
We will punish those who foster divisions,20
Who break up the Koran into parts:
By thy Lord! we will surely take account from them one and all,
Concerning that which they have done.
Profess publicly then what thou hast been bidden,21 and withdraw from those

who join gods to God.

Verily, We will maintain thy cause against those who deride thee,
Who set up gods with God: and at last shall they know their folly.
Now know We that thy heart is distressed22 at what they say:
But do thou celebrate the praise of thy Lord, and be of those who bow down in

And serve thy Lord till the certainty23 o'ertake thee.

1 Hedjr, a valley in the route between Medina and Syria, originally the

country of the Themoudites.

2 See Sura lxviii. p. 32.
3 Lit. which had not a known writing.
4 That is, not merely to gratify the curiosity of the doubting, but to

execute prompt punishment. It might also be rendered, save with justice

5 Ar. bourdj, Gr. [greek text], towers, i.e. Signs of the Zodiac.
6 See Sura xv. 34; and note p. 114.
7 Comp. Sura xxxvii. 6, p. 79. In Chagiga 16, 1, the Demons (schedim) are

said to learn the secrets of the future by listening behind the veil

8 Compare precisely a similar association of subjects, the Rain, Food, God,

as Lord of life and death in Tr. Taanith, fol. 1 a.

9 Comp. Sura [xci.] ii. 32. There is much in this dialogue between Eblis and

Allah which reminds of the dialogue between Jehovah and Satan in the opening

of the Book of Job.
10 That is, accursed. According to the Muhammadan tradition, Abraham drove

Satan away with stones when he would have hindered him from sacrificing

Ismael. Hence the custom during the pilgrimage of throwing a certain number

of stones�the Shafeis, 49; the Hanafis, 70�as if at Satan, in the valley of

Mina, near Mecca. The spot where the apparition of Satan to Abraham took

place is marked by three small pillars, at which the stones are now thrown.

Comp. Gen. xv. II.
11 Lit. I will embellish, prepare.
12 Thus, in Sota, 10, David is said to have rescued Absalom from "the seven

dwellings of Hell;" in Midr. on Ps. xi. "There are seven houses of abode for

the wicked in Hell;" and in Sohar ii. 150, "Hell hath seven gates."
13 At the arrival of strangers.
14 Comp. Midr. Rabbah on Gen. Par. 50.
15 From Arabia to Syria. The pronoun in the fem. sing. may refer to the

Pentapolis as to a single city, or to Sodom alone.

16 See Sura [lvi.] xxvi. 176.
17 See Sura [lxxiii.] xvi. 3.
18 That is, the seven verses of Sura 1, p. 28. Others understand, the seven

long Suras; or, the fifteen Suras which make a seventh of the whole; or, this

Sura (Hedjr) as originally the seventh. Mathani is an allusion, according to

some, to the frequency with which the fatthah is to be repeated; or, to the

frequent repetitions of great truths, etc., in order to impress them on the

memory of the hearer and reader; or, to the manner in which waid and wa'd,

promises and threatenings, alternate and balance each other in the same or

subsequent verses and Suras, in pairs. This verse and Sura x. 10 shew that a

part at least of the Koran was known under that name and existed as a whole

in the time of Muhammad. Geiger's interpretations at pp. 59, 60 (and in the

note) seem very forced.
19 Comp. Sura [lvi.] xxvi. 215, i.e. demean thyself gently.
20 Lit. as we sent down upon the dividers, i.e. the Jews and Christians, who

receive part of the Scriptures and reject part. Others render obstructors and

explain the passage of twelve idolaters, who in order to intimidate the

Meccans, seized upon the public revenues of Mecca during the pilgrimage.

21 In this, the fourth year of his mission, Muhammad is said to have hazarded

the step of mounting the Safa, a slight eminence in one of the streets of

Mecca, and publicly preached to the Koreisch. The authorities are given in

Sprenger (Life of M. p. 177, 8).

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