God's mercy, for none but the unbelieving despair of the mercy of God."
And when they came in to Joseph, they said, "O Prince, distress hath reached
us and our family, and little is the money that we have brought. But give us
full measure, and bestow it as alms, for God will recompense the almsgivers."
He said, "Know ye what ye did to Joseph and his brother in your ignorance?"
They said, "Canst thou indeed be Joseph?" He said, "I am Joseph, and this is
my brother. Now hath God been gracious to us. For whoso feareth God and
endureth. . . . God verily will not suffer the reward of the righteous to
They said, "By God! now hath God chosen thee above us, and we have indeed
He said, "No blame be on you this day. God will forgive you, for He is the
most merciful of those who shew mercy.
Go ye with this my shirt and throw it on my father's face, and he shall
recover his sight: and bring me all your family."
And when the caravan was departed, their father said, "I surely perceive the
smell of Joseph:23 think ye that I dote?"
They said, "By God, it is thy old mistake."
And when the bearer of good tidings came, he cast it on his face, and Jacob's
Then he said, "Did I not tell you that I knew from God what ye knew not?"
They said, "Our father, ask pardon for our crimes for us, for we have indeed
He said, "I will ask your pardon of my Lord, for he is Gracious, Merciful."
And when they came into Joseph he took his parents24 to him, and said, "Enter
ye Egypt, if God will, secure."
And he raised his parents to the seat of state, and they fell down bowing
themselves unto him. Then said he, "O my father, this is the meaning of my
dream of old. My Lord hath now made it true, and he hath surely been gracious
to me, since he took me forth from the prison, and hath brought you up out of
the desert, after that Satan had stirred up strife between me and my
brethren; for my Lord is gracious to whom He will; for He is the Knowing, the
sayings. Maker of the Heavens and of the Earth! My guardian art thou in this
world and in the next! Cause thou me to die a Muslim, and join me with the
This is one of the secret histories25 which we reveal unto thee. Thou wast
not present with Joseph's brethren when they conceived their design and laid
their plot: but the greater part of men, though thou long for it, will not
Thou shalt not ask of them any recompense for this message. It is simply an
instruction for all mankind.
And many as are the signs in the Heavens and on the Earth, yet they will pass
them by, and turn aside from them:
And most of them believe not in God, without also joining other deities with
What! Are they sure that the overwhelming chastisement of God shall not come
upon them, or that that Hour shall not come upon them suddenly, while they
SAY: This is my way: resting on a clear proof, I call you to God, I and whoso
followeth me: and glory be to God! I am not one of those who add other
deities to Him.
Never before thee have we sent any but men, chosen out of the people of the
cities, to whom we made revelations. Will they not journey through the land,
and see what hath been the end of those who were before them? But the
mansions of the next life shall be better for those who fear God. Will they
not then comprehend?
When at last the Apostles lost all hope, and deemed that they were reckoned
as liars, our aid reached them, and we delivered whom we would; but our
vengeance was not averted from the wicked.
Certainly in their histories is an example for men of understanding. This is
no new tale of fiction, but a confirmation of previous scriptures, and an
explanation of all things, and guidance and mercy to those who believe.
1 See Sura lxviii. p. 32. In no other Sura beside this is one subject treated
of throughout. It was recited to the first eight of the Ansars who were
converted, and clearly proves that Muhammad must have been in confidential
intercourse with learned Jews.
2 The word Koran is here used in the same sense as Sura.
3 Muhammad was either unaware of the previous dream mentioned, Gen. xxxvii.
7, or passes it by in silence.
4 The captious and unbelieving Koreisch.
5 Wir mussten denn zuerst das Leben einbüssen. Wahl. Ullm. Maracci.
6 Lit. your minds have made a thing seem pleasant to you.
7 According to Gen. xxxvii. 24, the well or pit had "no water in it.
8 Some take the Arabic Boshra as the proper name of the person who
accompanied the drawer of water.
9 The apparition of his father, who said, "Hereafter shall the names of thy
brethren, engraven on precious stones, shine on the breast of the High
Priest. Shall thine be blotted out?" Tr. Sotah, fol. 36. Comp. Weil,
Legenden, p. 109, n.
10 Lit. that he be imprisoned.
11 An infant in the cradle. Sepher Hadjascher, as below on v. 31.
12 Instead of their food, through surprise at his beauty. Seph. Hadj. in
Midr. Jalkut. See also Midr. Abkhir, ib. ch. 146.
13 It is curious to observe how Muhammad, in this and the following verse,
puts his own doctrine and convictions into the mouth of Joseph.
14 Satan induced Joseph to place his confidence in man, rather than in God
alone, in punishment of which sin the imprisonment was continued. Thus Midr.
Rabba. Gen. Par. 89. Midr. Jalkut, ib. ch. 147.
15 In Gen. xli. 14, Joseph is released from prison before the interpretation
of the dreams. But the Koran makes him decline to quit it till his character
16 According to Gen. xli. 39, Pharaoh of his own accord sets Joseph over his
house and land.
17 For the king to bestow.
18 Thus we read in Mid. Rab. on Gen. Par. 91, "Jacob said to them, Enter ye
not all by one gate." See also Midr. Jalkut, ch. 148.
19 Thus also, in the Sepher Hadjaschar, Joseph first discovers himself to
Benjamin, in opposition to Gen. xlv. 1.
20 Comp. Gen. xlii. 9.
21 Joseph is said by the Muhammadan commentators to have stolen an idol of
gold belonging to his mother's father, which he broke, that he might not
worship it. But this comment, as well as the text of the Koran, is probably
based upon some such tradition as that of Midr. Rabba, Par. 92, "He is a
thief and the son of a thief" (Comp. Gen. xxxi. 19)�spoken of Benjamin.
22 That is, that Joseph was still alive. Thus Midr. Tanchumah on Gen. xlii.
23 Comp. Gen. xxvii. 27.
24 Joseph's mother had long been dead. See Gen. xxxv. 19. But the object of
Muhammad was probably to bring the event into strict accordance with the
prediction of the dream. Gen. xxxvii. 10. Some, however, suppose that Bilhah
is here meant, and her appearance before Joseph is also asserted to be the
fulfilment of the dream by some of the Rabbins. Comp. Raschi on Gen. xxxvii.
25 Lit. This is of the announcements of the things unseen (by thee,
Muhammad). Compare the manner in which the story of the Creation and of Moses
in the mount is introduced. Sura xxxviii. 70; xxviii. 45. Mr. Muir thinks
that Muhammad must at this period, while recasting and working up these
materials, have entered upon a course of wilful dissimulation and deceit
(although the end would justify to him the means employed) in claiming
inspiration for them.
SURA XL.�THE BELIEVER [LXXVIII.]
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
HA. MIM. The Revelation (sending down) of the Book is from God the Almighty,
Forgiver of sin, and receiver of penitence,�vehement in chastisement,
Long-suffering! There is no God but He: to Him shall be the final gathering.
None but infidels gainsay the signs of God: but let not their prosperity in
the land deceive thee.
The people of Noah, and the confederates after them, have brought the charge
of imposture before these Meccans: each nation schemed against their apostle
to lay violent hold on him, and disputed with vain words to refute the truth.
Therefore did I lay violent hold on them; and how great was my chastisement!
Thus is it that thy Lord's sentence, that inmates shall they be of the fire,
was accomplished upon the infidels.
They who bear the throne2 and they who encircle it, celebrate the praise of
their Lord and believe in Him, and implore forgiveness for the believers:�"O
our Lord! thou embracest all things in mercy and knowledge; forgive,
therefore, those who turn to thee and follow thy path; keep them from the
pains of hell:
O our Lord! and bring them into the Gardens of Eden which thou hast promised
to them, and to the righteous ones of their fathers and their wives and their
children; for thou art the All-mighty, the All-wise:
And keep them from evil: for on him hast thou mercy whom on that day thou
shalt keep from evil;" and this will be the great felicity.
But to the infidels shall a voice cry, "Surely the hatred of God is more
grievous than your hatred of yourselves, when ye were called to the faith,
and remained unbelievers."
They shall say, "Twice, O our Lord, hast thou given us death, and twice hast