The Project Gutenberg ebook of The Koran

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And they will say: "Why see we not the men whom we numbered among the wicked�
Whom we used to treat with scorn? Have they escaped our eyes?"17
Verily this is truth�the wrangling together of the people of the fire.
SAY: I am but a warner; and there is no God but God the One, the Almighty!
Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth, and of all that is between them,18 the

Potent, the Forgiving!

SAY: this is a weighty message,19
From which ye turn aside!
Yet had I no knowledge of what passed among the celestial chiefs when they


�Verily, it hath been revealed to me only because I am a public preacher�
When thy Lord said to the angels, "I am about to make man of clay,21
And when I have formed him and breathed my spirit into him, then worshipping

fall down before him."

And the angels prostrated themselves, all of them with one accord,
Save Eblis. He swelled with pride, and became an unbeliever.
"O Eblis," said God, "what hindereth thee from prostrating thyself before him

whom my hands have made?

Is it that thou are puffed up with pride? or art thou a being of lofty

He said: "I am more excellent than he; me hast thou created of fire:22 of

clay hast thou created him."
He said: "Begone then hence: thou art accursed,23
And lo! my ban shall be on thee till the day of the reckoning."
He said: "O my Lord! respite me till the day of Resurrection."
He said, "One then of the respited shalt thou be,
Till the day of the time appointed."
He said: "I swear by thy might then that all of them will I seduce,
Save thy sincere servants among them."
He said: "It is truth, and the truth I speak. From thee will I surely fill

Hell, and with such of them as shall follow thee, one and all.

Say: I ask no wage of you for this, nor am I one who intermeddleth.
Of a truth the Koran is no other than a warning to all creatures.
And after a time shall ye surely know its message.


1 The letter S. See Sura lxviii. p. 32.
2 These verses are said to have been revealed when, upon the conversion of

Omar, the Koreisch went in a body to Abu Talib and requested him to withdraw

his protection from Muhammad, but being put to silence by the latter,

departed in great confusion. Wah. Beidh.

3 That is, in the Christian religion, which teaches, Muhammad ironically

implies, a plurality of Gods.

4 This may allude to the so-called "confederacy" of the Koreisch against


5 This term is also applied to Pharaoh, Sura lxxxix. 9, p. 54. He is said to

have fastened the Israelites to stakes, and then subjected them to various

addenda: This is the usual interpretation. Lit. Lord of, or, possessor of

stakes (comp. li. 39 in Ar.), i.e., Forces. Dr. Sprenger ingenuously

suggests that Muhammad�s Jewish informant may have described Pharaoh as rich

in neçyb, i.e., fortresses; whereas, in Ar., naçyb, means an erection,

pillar, etc., for which Muhammad substituted the word for tent stakes. Vol.

i. (470).

6 Prćditi (manibus) virtute. Mar.
7 Comp. Ps. cxlviii. 9, 10.
8 Two angels who pretended to appeal to David in order to convince him of his

sin in the matter of Uriah's wife. Comp. I Sam. xii.

9 The Psalms, if we suppose with Nöldeke, p. 99, that David is still

addressed: the Koran, if with Sale we refer the passage to Muhammad.

10 The Commentators say that the word used in the original implies that the

mares stood on three feet, and touched the ground with the edge of the fourth

11 Solomon, in his admiration of these horses, the result, we are told, of

David's or his own conquests, forgot the hour of evening prayer, and when

aware of his fault commenced their slaughter. The Tr. Sanhedr. fol. 21,

mentions Solomon's love for horses, and that he determined to have a large

stud; yet not to send the people to Egypt (Deut. xvii. 16) but to have them

brought to him out of Egypt (I Kings x. 28).

12 One of the Djinn. The absurd fiction may be seen in extenso in Sale.

Compare Tr. Sanhedr. fol. 20, b. and Midr. Jalkut on I Kings vi. § 182.

13 Thus the second Targum on Esther i. 2, mentions the four different kinds

of Demons which were "given into the hand" of Solomon�a legend derived from a

misunderstanding of Eccl. ii. 8.
14 The fountain which had sprung up. To this history the Talmudists have no


15 Thy wife;�on whom he had sworn that he would inflict an hundred blows,

because she had absented herself from him when in need of her assistance, or

for her words (Job ii. 9). The oath was kept, we are told, by his giving her

one blow with a rod of a hundred stalks. This passage is often quoted by the

Muslims as authorising any similar manner of release from an oath

inconsiderately taken.

16 Lit. men of hand and of sight.
17 Lit. or do our eyes wander from them.
18 See verses 9, 26, above. It seems to have been one of the peculiarities of

Muhammad, as a person very deficient in imagination, to dwell upon and repeat

the same ideas, with an intensity which is at once an evidence of deep

personal conviction and consciousness, of the simple Arabian especially.

19 The connection between the concluding episode and the preceding part of

the Sura does not seem very clear. It probably originated at a different but

uncertain period.
20 About the creation of man.
21 Comp. Sura [xci.] ii. 28, ff.
22 Comp. Ps. civ. 4.
23 Lit. stoned. See Sura xv. 34, p. 114.


MECCA.�83 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
YA. SIN.1 By the wise Koran!
Surely of the Sent Ones, Thou,
Upon a right path!
A revelation of the Mighty, the Merciful,
That thou shouldest warn a people whose fathers were not warned and therefore

lived in heedlessness!

Just, now, is our sentence2 against most of them; therefore they shall not

On their necks have we placed chains which reach the chin, and forced up are

their heads:
Before them have we set a barrier and behind them a barrier, and we have

shrouded them in a veil, so that they shall not see.

Alike is it to them if thou warn them or warn them not: they will not

Him only shalt thou really warn, who followeth the monition and feareth the

God of mercy in secret: him cheer with tidings of pardon, and of a noble


Verily, it is We who will quicken the dead, and write down the works which

they have sent on before them, and the traces which they shall have left

behind them: and everything have we set down in the clear Book of our


Set forth to them the instance of the people of the city4 when the Sent Ones

came to it.

When we sent two unto them and they charged them both with imposture�

therefore with a third we strengthened them: and they said, "Verily we are

the Sent unto you of God."
They said, "Ye are only men like us: Nought hath the God of Mercy sent down.

Ye do nothing but lie."

They said, "Our Lord knoweth that we are surely sent unto you;
To proclaim a clear message is our only duty."
They said, "Of a truth we augur ill from you:5 if ye desist not we will

surely stone you, and a grievous punishment will surely befall you from us."

They said, "Your augury of ill is with yourselves. Will ye be warned?6 Nay,

ye are an erring people."

Then from the end of the city a man came running:7 He said, "O my people!

follow the Sent Ones;

Follow those who ask not of you a recompense, and who are rightly guided.
And why should I not worship Him who made me, and to whom ye shall be brought

Shall I take gods beside Him? If the God of Mercy be pleased to afflict me,

their intercession will not avert from me aught, nor will they deliver:
Truly then should I be in a manifest error.
Verily, in your Lord have I believed; therefore hear me."8
�It was said to him, "Enter thou into Paradise:" And he said, "Oh that my

people knew

How gracious God hath been to me, and that He hath made me one of His

honoured ones."

But no army sent we down out of heaven after his death, nor were we then

sending down our angels�

There was but one shout from Gabriel, and lo! they were extinct.
Oh! the misery that rests upon my servants! No apostle cometh to them but

they laugh him to scorn.

See they not how many generations we have destroyed before them?
Not to false gods is it that they shall be brought9 back,
But all, gathered together, shall be set before Us.
Moreover, the dead earth is a sign to them: we quicken it and bring forth the

grain from it, and they eat thereof:

And we make in it gardens of the date and vine; and we cause springs to gush

forth in it;

That they may eat of its fruits and of the labour of their hands. Will they

not therefore be thankful?

Glory be to Him, who hath created all the sexual pairs of such things as

Earth produceth,10 and of mankind themselves; and of things beyond their ken!

A sign to them also is the Night. We withdraw the day from it, and lo! they

are plunged in darkness;

And the Sun hasteneth to her place of rest. This, the ordinance of the

Mighty, the Knowing!

And as for the Moon, We have decreed stations for it, till it change like an

old and crooked palm branch.

To the Sun it is not given to overtake the Moon, nor doth the night outstrip

the day; but each in its own sphere doth journey on.

It is also a sign to them that we bare their posterity in the full-laden Ark;
And that we have made for them vessels like it on which they embark;
And if we please, we drown them, and there is none to help them, and they are

not rescued,

Unless through our mercy, and that they may enjoy themselves for yet awhile.
And when it is said to them, Fear what is before you and what is behind

you,11 that ye may obtain mercy. . . .

Aye, not one sign from among the signs of their Lord dost thou bring them,

but they turn away from it!

And when it is said to them, Give alms of what God hath bestowed on you,12

they who believe not say to the believers, "Shall we feed him whom God can

feed if He will? Truly ye are in no other than a plain error."
And they say, "When will this promise be fulfilled, if what ye say be true?"
They await but a single blast: as they are wrangling shall it assail them:
And not a bequest shall they be able to make, nor to their families shall

they return.

And the trumpet shall be blown, and, lo! they shall speed out of their

sepulchres to their Lord:

They shall say, "Oh! woe to us! who hath roused us from our sleeping place?

'Tis what the God of Mercy promised; and the Apostles spake the truth."

But one blast shall there be,13 and, lo! they shall be assembled before us,

all together.

And on that day shall no soul be wronged in the least: neither shall ye be

rewarded but as ye shall have wrought.

But joyous on that day shall be the inmates of Paradise, in their employ;
In shades, on bridal couches reclining, they and their spouses:
Therein shall they have fruits, and shall have whatever they require�
"Peace!" shall be the word on the part of a merciful Lord.
"But be ye separated this day, O ye sinners!
Did I not enjoin on you, O sons of Adam, 'Worship not Satan, for that he is

your declared foe,'

But 'Worship Me: this is a right path'?
But now hath he led a vast host of you astray. Did ye not then comprehend?
This is Hell with which ye were threatened:
Endure its heat this day, for that ye believed not."
On that day will we set a seal upon their mouths; yet shall their hands speak

unto us, and their feet14 shall bear witness of that which they shall have

And, if we pleased, we would surely put out their eyes: yet even then would

they speed on with rivalry in their path: but how should they see?

And, if we pleased, we would surely transform them as they stand,15 and they

would not be able to move onward, or to return.

Him cause we to stoop through age whose days we lengthen. Will they not


We have not taught him (Muhammad) poetry,16 nor would it beseem him. This

Book is no other than a warning and a clear Koran,

To warn whoever liveth; and, that against the Infidels sentence may be justly

See they not that we have created for them among the things which our hands

have wrought, the animals of which they are masters?
And that we have subjected them unto them? And on some they ride, and of

others they eat;

And they find in them profitable uses and beverages:
Yet have they taken other gods beside God that they might be helpful to them.
No power have they to succour them: yet are their votaries an army at their

Let not their speech grieve thee: We know what they hide and what they bring

to light.
Doth not man perceive that we have created him of the moist germs of life?

Yet lo! is he an open caviller.

And he meeteth us with arguments,17 and forgetteth his creation: "Who," saith

he, "shall give life to bones when they are rotten?"

SAY: He shall give life to them who gave them being at first, for in all

creation is he skilled:

Who even out of the green tree hath given you fire18, and lo! ye kindle flame

from it.
What! must not He who hath created the Heavens and the Earth be mighty enough

to create your likes? Yes! and He is the skilful creator.
His command when He willeth aught, is but to say to it, BE, and IT IS.
So glory be to Him in whose hand is sway over all things! And to Him shall ye

be brought back.

1 This Sura is said to have been termed by Muhammad "the heart of the Koran."

It is recited in all Muhammadan countries to the dying, at the tombs of

saints, etc. On Ya. Sin, see Sura lxviii. p. 32.
2 Sura xxxviii. 85, p. 129.
3 Lit. in the clear prototype, that is, in the Preserved Table, on which all

the actions of mankind are written down.

4 Antioch, to which Jesus is said to have sent two disciples to preach the

unity of God, and subsequently Simon Peter. This vague story, and that of the

seven sleepers in Sura xviii. are the only traces to be found in the Koran of

any knowledge, on the part of Muhammad, of the history of the Church

subsequent to the day of Pentecost, or of the spread of the Christian


5 Comp. Sura xxvii. 48; vii. 128, where, as in this passage, the word augur

refers to the mode of divination practised previous to Islam, by the flight

of birds.
6 Lit. if ye have been warned (will ye still disbelieve?).
7 Habib, the carpenter, who, as implied at verse 25, was martyred, and whose

tomb at Antioch is still an object of veneration to the Muhammadans.

8 Ullm. following Wahl, renders, Als sie (die stadtlente) darauf ihn

schändlich behandleten. The verb in the original is thus used in the 4th

conj. Nöldeke supposes that words to this effect have been lost from the

text. But of this there is no trace in the Commentators.

9 Or, the Apostles shall not return to them again. Ullm.
10 For instance, date trees, the female blossoms of which were carefully

impregnated, when requisite, by branches of the male plant. See Freyt. Einl.

p. 271.
11 The chastisements of this world and of the next.
12 On account of this precept, Itq. 35, and Omar b. Muhammad suppose the

verse to have originated at Medina.

13 The Muhammadans affirm that a space of forty years will intervene between

two blasts of the Trumpet. Maracci suggests that the idea of the two blasts

is derived from 1 Thess. iv. 16, "the voice of the archangel and . . . the

trump of God."

14 Thus Chagiga, 16; Taanith, 11. "The very members of a man bear witness

against him, for thus is it written (Is. xliii. 12), Ye yourselves are my

witnesses, saith the Lord." See also Sura [lxxi.] xli. 19, 20.
15 Lit. in their place.
16 See Sura xxvi. 225, p. III.
17 Lit. he setteth forth to us comparisons.
18 The form of the Arabic word is Rabbinic Hebrew.


MECCA.�89 Verses.
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Ha. Mim.1 By the Luminous Book!
We have made it an Arabic Koran that ye may understand:
And it is a transcript of the archetypal Book,2 kept by us; it is lofty,

filled with wisdom,

Shall we then turn aside this warning from you because ye are a people who


Yet how many prophets sent we among those of old!
But no prophet came to them whom they made not the object of their scorn:
Wherefore we destroyed nations mightier than these Meccans in strength; and

the example of those of old hath gone before!

And if thou ask them who created the Heavens and the Earth, they will say:

"The Mighty, the Sage, created them both,"

Who hath made the Earth as a couch for you, and hath traced out routes

therein for your guidance;

And who sendeth down out of Heaven the rain in due degree, by which we

quicken a dead land; thus shall ye be brought forth from the grave:

And who hath created the sexual couples, all of them, and hath made for you

the ships and beasts whereon ye ride:

That ye may sit balanced on their backs and remember the goodness of your

Lord as ye sit so evenly thereon, and say: "Glory to Him who hath subjected

these to us! We could not have attained to it of ourselves:
And truly unto our Lord shall we return."
Yet do they assign to him some of his own servants for offspring! Verily man

is an open ingrate!

Hath God adopted daughters from among those whom he hath created, and chosen

sons for you?

But when that3 is announced to any one of them, which he affirmeth to be the

case with the God of Mercy,4 his face settleth into darkness and he is

What! make they a being to be the offspring of God who is brought up among

trinkets, and is ever contentious without reason?

And they make the angels who are the servants of God of Mercy, females. What!

did they witness their creation? Their witness shall be taken down, and they

shall hereafter be enquired at.
And they say: "Had the God of Mercy so willed it we should never have

worshipped them." No knowledge have they in this: they only lie.

Have we ere this given them a Book?5 and do they possess it still?
But say they: "Verily we found our fathers of that persuasion, and verily, by

their footsteps do we guide ourselves."

And thus never before thy time did we send a warner to any city but its

wealthy ones said: "Verily we found our fathers with a religion, and in their

tracks we tread."
SAY,�such was our command to that apostle�"What! even if I bring you a

religion more right than that ye found your fathers following?" And they

said, "Verily we believe not in your message."
Wherefore we took vengeance on them, and behold what hath been the end of

those who treated our messengers as liars!

And bear in mind when Abraham said to his father and to his people, "Verily I

am clear of what ye worship,

Save Him who hath created me; for he will vouchsafe me guidance."
And this he established as a doctrine that should abide among his posterity,

that to God might they be turned.

In sooth to these idolatrous Arabians and to their fathers did I allow their

full enjoyments, till the truth should come to them, and an undoubted

But now that the truth hath come to them, they say, "'Tis sorcery, and we

believe it not."

And they say, "Had but this Koran been sent down to some great one of the two

cities6 . . .!"

Are they then the distributors of thy Lord's Mercy?7 It is we who distribute

their subsistence among them in this world's life; and we raise some of them

by grades above others, that the one may take the other to serve him: but

better is the mercy of thy Lord than all their hoards.

But for fear that all mankind would have become a single people of

unbelievers, verily we would certainly have given to those who believe not in

the God of Mercy roofs of silver to their houses, and silver stairs to ascend

And doors of silver to their houses, and couches of silver to recline on;

And ORNAMENTS OF GOLD: for all these are merely the good things of the

present life; but the next life doth thy Lord reserve for those who fear Him.

And whoso shall withdraw from the Warning of the God of Mercy, we will chain

a Satan to him, and he shall be his fast companion:

For the Satans will turn men aside from the Way, who yet shall deem

themselves rightly guided;

Until when man shall come before us, he shall say, "O Satan, would that

between me and thee were the distance of the East and West."8 And a wretched

companion is a Satan.
But it shall not avail you on that day, because ye were unjust: partners

shall ye be in the torment.

What! Canst thou then make the deaf to hear, or guide the blind and him who

is in palpable error?

Whether therefore we take thee off by death, surely will we avenge ourselves

on them;
Or whether we make thee a witness of the accomplishment of that with which we

threatened them, we will surely gain the mastery over them.9
Hold thou fast therefore what hath been revealed to thee, for thou art on a

right path:

For truly to thee and to thy people it is an admonition; and ye shall have an

account to render for it at last.10

And ask our Sent Ones whom we have sent before thee,
"Appointed we gods beside the God of Mercy whom they should worship?"11
Of old sent we Moses with our signs to Pharaoh and his nobles: and he said,

"I truly am the Apostle of the Lord of the worlds."

And when he presented himself before them with our signs, lo! they laughed at

Though we shewed them no sign that was not greater than its fellow:12 and

therefore did we lay hold on them with chastisement, to the intent that they

might be turned to God.

Then they said, "O Magician! call on thy Lord on our behalf to do as he hath

engaged with thee, for truly we would fain be guided."

But when we relieved them from the chastisement, lo! they broke their pledge.
And Pharaoh made proclamation among his people. Said he, "O my people! is not

the kingdom of Egypt mine, and these rivers which flow at my feet?13 Do ye

not behold?
Am I not mightier than this despicable fellow,
And who scarce can speak distinctly?
Have bracelets of gold14 then been put upon him, or come there with him a

train of Angels?"

And he inspired his people with levity, and they obeyed him; for they were a

perverse people:

And when they had angered us, we took vengeance on them, and we drowned them


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