believed not: but when partners had been united with him, ye believed: But
judgment belongeth unto God, the High, the Great."
It is He who sheweth you his signs, and sendeth down supplies to you from
Heaven: but none will receive warning save he who turneth to God.
Call then on God, offering him a pure worship, though the infidels abhor it.
Of exalted grade, of the throne possessed, He sendeth forth the Spirit at His
own behest on whomsoever of His servants He pleaseth, that He may warn of the
day of meeting,
The day when they shall come forth from their graves, when nought that
concerneth them shall be hidden from God. With whom shall be the power
supreme on that day? With God, the One, the Almighty.
On that day shall every soul be recompensed as it hath deserved: no injustice
on that day! Verily, God will be swift to reckon.
Warn them, then, of the approaching day, when men's hearts shall rise up,
choking them, into their throats.
The evil-doers shall have no friend or intercessor who shall prevail.
God knoweth the deceitful of eye, and what men's breasts conceal.
And everything will God decide with truth: But nothing shall those gods whom
men call on beside him, decide. Verily, God! the Hearer, the Beholder, He!
Have they never journeyed in this land, and seen what hath been the end of
those who flourished before them? Mightier were they in strength than these
Meccans, and their traces remain in the land: Yet God took them in their
sins, and there was none to defend them against God.
This, because their apostles had come to them with proofs of their mission,
and they believed not: so God took them in hand; for He is mighty, vehement
Moreover we had sent Moses of old with our signs and with clear authority.
To Pharaoh, and Haman, and Karun:4 and they said, "Sorcerer, impostor."
And when he came to them from our presence with the truth, they said, "Slay
they exulted in what they possessed of knowledge; but that retribution at
which they scoffed, encompassed them.
And when they beheld our vengeance they said, "We believe in God alone, and
we disbelieve in the deities we once associated with Him."
But their faith, after they had witnessed our vengeance, profited them not.
Such the procedure of God with regard to his servants who flourished of old.
And then the unbelievers perished.
1 See Sura 1xviii. 1, p. 32.
2 The Cherubic beings of Scripture are said to be above the throne of God
(Is. vi. 1), beneath it (Ezek. x.); and the mystical beasts in the
Revelations are said to be in the midst of the throne and round about it.
3 Probably the union of life and death in the womb, and the subsequent life
followed by death.
4 See Sura [lxxix.] xxviii. 76.
5 Thus Sura [lxxix.] xxviii 20, and Sura [lx.] xxxvi. 19, we have a similar
character introduced into the narrative.
6 Comp. Acts v. 38, 39.
7 These tribes no doubt constantly formed temporary alliances. Muhammad
implies that they were confederate against their prophets.
8 Haman, the favourite of Ahasuerus and the enemy of the Jews, is thus made
the vizier of Pharaoh. The Rabbins make this vizier to have been Korah,
Jethro, or Balaam. Midr. Jalkut on Ex. ch. 1, Sect. 162-168; and Tr. Solah,
fol. 11. See Sura [lxxix.] xxviii. 5.
9 Thy remissness in propagating Islam. Beidh.
10 It is possible that Muhammad, conscious of his ignorance of Jewish
history, intends in this verse to screen himself from the charge of passing
over the histories of many of their prophets.
11 The wealth of Mecca, although it still numbered about 12,000 inhabitants
(as well as of Arabia generally), had much declined at the time of Muhammad,
owing mainly to the navigation of the Red Sea, under the Roman dominion over
Egypt, which of course impoverished the tribes situated on the line of the
old mercantile route southward. Mecca, however, was still to a certain extent
prosperous. Comp. Sura [lxi.] xliii. 28.
SURA XXVIII.�THE STORY [LXXIX.]
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
TA. SIN. MIM.1 These are the signs of the lucid Book.
We will recite to thee portions of the History of Moses and Pharaoh with
truth, for the teaching of the faithful.
Now Pharaoh lifted himself up in the earth, and divided his people into
parties: one portion of them he brought low�He slew their male children, and
let their females only live; for he was one of those who wrought disorders.
And we were minded to shew favour to those who were brought low in the land,
and to make them spiritual chiefs,2 and to make them Pharaoh's heirs,
And to stablish them in the land;3 and to make Pharaoh and Haman and their
hosts, the eye-witnesses of what they dreaded from them.
Lord of the Worlds:
Throw down now thy rod." And when he saw it move as though it were a serpent,
he retreated and fled and returned not. "O Moses," cried the Voice, "draw
near and fear not, for thou art in safety.
Put thy hand into thy bosom; it shall come forth white, but unharmed: and
draw back thy hand12 to thee without fear. These shall be two signs from thy
Lord to Pharaoh and his nobles; for they are a perverse people."
He said, "O my Lord! truly I have slain one of them, therefore fear I lest
they slay me.
My brother Aaron is clearer of speech than I. Send him, therefore, with me as
a help, and to make good my cause, for I fear lest they treat me as an
He said, "We will strengthen thine arm with thy brother, and we will give
power unto you both, and they shall not equal you in our signs. Ye twain and
they who shall follow you, shall gain the day."
And when Moses came to him with our demonstrative signs they said, "This is
nought but magical device. We never heard the like among our sires of old."
And Moses said, "My Lord best knoweth on whom He hath bestowed His guidance,
and whose shall be the recompense of the abode of Paradise. Verily, the
wicked shall not prosper."
And Pharaoh said, "O ye nobles, ye have no other God that I know of but
myself. Burn me then, Haman, bricks of clay,13 and build me a tower that I
may mount up to the God of Moses, for in sooth, I deem him a liar."
And he and his hosts behaved themselves proudly and unjustly on the earth,
and thought that they should never be brought back to us.
But we seized on him and his hosts and cast them into the sea: Behold, then,
the end of the wrongful doers:
And we made them imâms who invite to the fire of hell, and on the day of
Resurrection they shall not be helped.
We followed them with a curse in this world, and covered shall they be with
shame on the day of Resurrection.
And after we had destroyed the former generations, we gave the book of the
Law to Moses for man's enlightening, and a guidance and a mercy, that haply
they might reflect.
And thou wast not on the western slope of Sinai when we laid his charge on
Moses, nor wast thou one of the witnesses;
But we raised up generations after Moses, men whose days were lengthened;14
neither didst thou dwell among the inhabitants of Madian to rehearse to them
our signs, but we sent Apostles to them.15
Nor wast thou on the slope of Sinai when we called to Moses, but it is of the
mercy of thy Lord that thou warnest a people, to whom no warner had come
before thee, to the intent that they should reflect:
And that they should not say when a calamity shall befal them for their
previous handy work, "O our Lord! why hast thou not sent an Apostle to us?
Then we should have followed thy signs and have been of the believers."
Yet when the truth came to them from our very presence, they said, "Unless
the like powers be given to him that were given to Moses. . . ."16 But did
they not disbelieve in what of old was given to Moses? They said, "Two works
of sorcery17 have helped each other;" and they said, "We disbelieve them
SAY: Bring then a Book from before God which shall be a better guide than
these, that I may follow it; if ye speak the truth.
And if they answer thee not, then know that verily they are following their
own caprices: and who goeth more widely astray than he who followeth his own
caprice without guidance from God? for God guideth not the wicked.
And now have we caused our word to come unto them, that they may be warned:
They18 to whom we gave the Scriptures before IT, do in IT believe.
And when it is recited to them they say, "We believe in it, for it is the
truth from our Lord. We were Muslims before it came."
Twice shall their reward be given them, for that they suffered with patience,
and repelled evil with good, and gave alms out of that with which we provided
And when they hear light discourse they withdraw from it, and say, "Our works
for us and your works for you! Peace be on you! We are not in quest of