The Project Gutenberg ebook of The Koran

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them of their own accord, then no blame shall attach to you for any

disposition they may make of themselves in a fair way. And God is Mighty,

And for the divorced let there be a fair provision. This is a duty in those

who fear God.

Thus God maketh his signs clear to you that ye may understand.
Hast thou not thought on those who quitted their dwellings�and they were

thousands�for fear of death?95 God said to them, "Die:" then He restored them

to life, for full of bounty towards man is God. But most men give not thanks!
Fight for the cause of God; and know that God is He who Heareth, Knoweth.
Who is he that will lend to God a goodly loan? He will double it to him again

and again: God is close, but open handed also: and to Him shall ye return.

Hast thou not considered96 the assembly of the children of Israel after the

death of Moses, when they said to a prophet of theirs, "Set up for us a king;

we will do battle for the cause of God?" He said, "May it not be that if to

fight were ordained you, ye would not fight?" They said, "And why should we

not fight in the cause of God, since we and our children are driven forth

from our dwellings?" But when fighting was commanded them, they turned back,

save a few of them: But God knew the offenders!
And their prophet said to them, "Now hath God set (Talout) Saul king over

you." They said, "How shall he reign over us, when we are more worthy of the

kingdom than he, and of wealth he hath no abundance?" He said, "Verily God

hath chosen him to be over you, and hath given him increase in knowledge and

stature; God giveth his kingdom to whom he pleaseth; and God is Liberal,


And their prophet said to them, "Verily, the sign of his kingship shall be

that the Ark shall come to you: in it is a pledge of security97 from your

Lord and the relics98 left by the family of Moses, and the family of Aaron;

the angels shall bear it: Truly herein shall be a sign indeed to you if ye

are believers."
And when Saul marched forth with his forces, he said, "God will test you by a

river: He who drinketh of it shall not be of my band; but he who shall not

taste it, drinking a drink out of the hand excepted, shall be of my band."99

And, except a few of them, they drank of it. And when they had passed it, he

and those who believed with him, the former said, "We have no strength this

day against (Djalout) Goliath and his forces:" But they who held it as

certain that they must meet God, said, "How oft, by God's will, hath a small

host vanquished a numerous host! and God is with the steadfastly enduring."

And when they went forth against Goliath and his forces, they said, "O our

Lord! pour out steadfastness upon us, and set our feet firm, and help us

against the infidels!"
And by the will of God they routed them; and (Daood) David slew Goliath; and

God gave him the kingship and wisdom, and taught him according to His will:

and were it not for the restraint of one by means of the other, imposed on

men by God, verily the earth had been utterly corrupted. But God is bounteous

to his creatures.
Such are the signs of God: with truth do we rehearse them to thee, for one of

the Sent Ones art Thou.

Some of the apostles we have endowed more highly than others: Those to whom

God hath spoken, He hath raised to the loftiest grade, and to Jesus the Son

of Mary we gave manifest signs, and we strengthened him with the Holy

Spirit.100 And if God had pleased, they who came after them would not have

wrangled, after the clear signs had reached them. But into disputes101 they

fell: some of them believed, and some were infidels; yet if God had pleased,

they would not have thus wrangled: but God doth what he will.
O Believers! give alms of that with which we have supplied you, before the

day cometh when there shall be no trafficking, nor friendship, nor

intercession. And the infidels are the wrong-doers.
God! There is no God but He; the Living, the Eternal; Nor slumber seizeth

Him, nor sleep; His, whatsoever is in the Heavens and whatsoever is in the

Earth! Who is he that can intercede with Him but by His own permission? He

knoweth what hath been before them and what shall be after them; yet nought

of His knowledge shall they grasp, save what He willeth. His Throne reacheth

over the Heavens and the Earth, and the upholding of both burdeneth Him not;

and He is the High, the Great!
Let there be no compulsion in Religion.102 Now is the right way made distinct

from error. Whoever therefore shall deny Thagout103 and believe in God�he

will have taken hold on a strong handle that shall not be broken: and God is

He who Heareth, Knoweth.

God is the patron of believers: He shall bring them out of darkness into

As to those who believe not, their patrons are Thagout: they shall bring them

out of light into darkness: they shall be given over to the fire: they shall

abide therein for ever.

Hast thou not thought on him104 who disputed with Abraham about his Lord,

because God had given him the kingdom? When Abraham said, "My Lord is He who

maketh alive and cause to die:" He said, "It is I who make alive and cause to

die!" Abraham said, "Since God bringeth the sun from the East, do thou, then,

bring it from the West." The infidel was confounded; for God guideth not the

evil doers:

Or how he105 demeaned him who passed by a city which had been laid in

ruins.106 "How," said he, "shall God give life to this city, after she hath

been dead?" And God caused him to die for an hundred years, and then raised

him to life. And God said, "How long hast thou waited?" He said, "I have

waited a day or part of a day." He said, "Nay, thou hast waited an hundred

years. Look on thy food and thy drink; they are not corrupted; and look on

thine ass: we would make thee a sign unto men: And look on the bones of thine

ass, how we will raise them, then clothe them with flesh." And when this was

shewn to him, he said, "I acknowledge that God hath power to do all things."
When Abraham said, "O Lord, shew me how thou wilt give life to the dead!" He

said, "Hast thou not believed?"

He said, "Yes; but I have asked thee, that my heart may be well assured." He

said, "Take, then, four birds,107 and draw them towards thee, and cut them in

pieces; then place a part of them on every mountain; then call them and they

shall come swiftly to thee: and know thou that God is Might, Wise!"

The likeness of those who expend their wealth for the cause of God, is that

of a grain of corn which produceth seven ears, and in each ear a hundred

grains; and God will multiply to whom He pleaseth: God is Liberal, Knowing!
They who expend their wealth for the cause of God, and never follow what they

have laid out with reproaches or harm, shall have their reward with their

Lord; no fear shall come upon them, neither shall they be put to grief.
A kind speech and forgiveness is better than alms followed by injury. God is

Rich, Clement.

O ye who believe! make not your alms void by reproaches and injury, like him

who spendeth his substance to be seen of men, and believeth not in God and in

the latter day. The likeness of such an one is that of a rock with a thin

soil upon it, on which a heavy rain falleth but leaveth it hard: No profit

from their works shall they be able to gain; for God guideth not the

unbelieving people.

And the likeness of those who expend their substance from a desire to please

God, and for the stablishing of their souls, is as a garden on a hill, on

which the heavy rain falleth, and it yieldeth its fruits twofold; and even if

a heavy rain fall not on it, yet is there a dew: God beholdeth your actions.

Desireth any one of you a garden of palms and vines through which rivers

flow, in which he may have every fruit, and that old age should surprise him

there, and that his offspring should be weakly, and that then a fiery violent

wind shall strike it so that it shall be burned? Thus God maketh plain his

signs to you that ye may reflect.
O ye who believe! bestow alms of the good things which ye have acquired, and

of that which we have brought forth for you out of the earth, and choose not

the bad for almsgiving,
Such as ye would accept yourselves only by connivance: and know that God is

Rich, Praiseworthy.

Satan menaceth you with poverty,108 and enjoineth base actions: but God

promiseth you pardon from himself and abundance: God is All-bounteous,

He giveth wisdom to whom He will: and he to whom wisdom is given, hath had

much good given him; but none will bear it in mind, except the wise of heart.

And whatever alms ye shall give, or whatever vow ye shall vow, of a truth God

knoweth it: but they who act unjustly shall have no helpers. Give ye your

alms openly?109 it is well. Do ye conceal them and give them to the poor?

This, too, will be of advantage to you, and will do away your sins: and God

is cognisant of your actions.
Their guidance is not thine affair, O Muhammad; but God guideth whom he

pleaseth. And the good that ye shall give in alms shall redound unto

yourselves; and ye shall not give but as seeking the face of God; and

whatever good thing ye shall have given in alms, shall be repaid you, and ye

shall not be wronged. There are among you the poor, who being shut up to

fighting for the cause of God, have it not in their power to strike out into

the earth for riches. Those who know them not, think them rich because of

their modesty. By this their token thou shalt know them�they ask not of men

with importunity: and of whatever good thing ye shall give them in alms, of a

truth God will take knowledge.

They who give away their substance in alms, by night and day, in private and

in public, shall have their reward with their Lord: no fear shall come on

them, neither shall they be put to grief.
They who swallow down usury, shall arise in the resurrection only as he

ariseth whom Satan hath infected by his touch. This, for that they say,

"Selling is only the like of usury:" and yet God hath allowed selling, and

forbidden usury. He then who when this warning shall come to him from his

Lord, abstaineth, shall have pardon for the past, and his lot shall be with

God. But they who return to usury, shall be given over to the fire; therein

shall they abide for ever.
God will bring usury to nought, but will increase alms with usury, and God

loveth no infidel, or evil person. But they who believe and do the things

that are right, and observe the prayers, and pay the legal impost, they shall

have their reward with their Lord: no fear shall come on them, neither shall

they be put to grief.
O believers! fear God and abandon your remaining usury, if ye are indeed


But if ye do it not, then hearken for war on the part of God and his apostle:

yet if ye repent, ye shall have the principal of your money. Wrong not, and

ye shall not be wronged.
If any one find difficulty in discharging a debt, then let there be a delay

until it be easy for him: but if ye remit it as alms it will be better for

you, if ye knew it.
Fear the day wherein ye shall return to God: then shall every soul be

rewarded according to its desert, and none shall have injustice done to them.

O ye who believe! when ye contract a debt (payable) at a fixed date, write it

down, and let the notary faithfully note between you: and let not the notary

refuse to note, even as God hath taught him; but let him note it down, and

let him who oweth the debt dictate, and let him fear God his Lord, and not

diminish aught thereof. But if he who oweth the debt be foolish or weak, or

be not able to dictate himself, let his friend dictate for him with fairness;

and call to witness two witnesses of your people: but if there be not two

men, let there be a man, and two women of those whom ye shall judge fit for

witnesses: if the one of them should mistake, the other may cause her to

recollect. And the witnesses shall not refuse, whenever they shall be

summoned. And disdain not to put the debt in writing, be it large or small,

with its time of payment: this will be more just for you in the sight of God,

better suited for witnessing, and the best for avoiding doubt. But if the

goods be there present, and ye pass them from hand to hand�then it shall be

no fault in you not to write it down. And have witnesses when ye sell, and

harm not writer or witness: it will be a crime in you to do this. But fear

God and God will give you knowledge, for God hath knowledge of all things.
And if ye be on a journey and shall find no notary, let pledges be taken: but

if one of you trust the other, let him who is trusted, restore what he is

trusted with, and fear God his Lord. And refuse not to give evidence. He who

refuseth is surely wicked at heart: and God knoweth your deeds.

Whatever is in the Heavens and in the Earth is God's: and whether ye bring

forth to light what is in your minds or conceal it, God will reckon with you

for it; and whom He pleaseth will He forgive, and whom He pleaseth will He

punish; for God is All-powerful.

The apostle believeth in that which hath been sent down from his Lord, as do

the faithful also. Each one believeth in God, and His Angels, and His Books,

and His Apostles: we make no distinction between any of His Apostles.110 And

they say, "We have heard and we obey. Thy mercy, Lord! for unto thee must we

God will not burden any soul beyond its power. It shall enjoy the good which

it hath acquired, and shall bear the evil for the acquirement of which it

laboured. O our Lord! punish us not if we forget, or fall into sin; O our

Lord! and lay not on us a load like that which thou hast laid on those who

have been before us; O our Lord! and lay not on us that for which we have not

strength: but blot out our sins and forgive us, and have pity on us. Thou art

our protector: give us victory therefore over the infidel nations.


1 The greater part of this, the oldest of the Medina Suras, was revealed in

the early part of the second year of the Hejira and previously to the battle

of Bedr.�The Hejira took place in the beginning of Muharram, or middle of

April, A.D. 622. The numbers who emigrated with Muhammad at first, were about

150 persons. Medina is 250 miles north of Mecca, and ten days' journey.
2 Said to mean A mara li Muhammad, i.e. at the command of Muhammad; but see

Sura 1xviii. p. 32.

3 Death, Resurrection, Judgment, etc.
4 The Jews.
5 The Jews and Christians, hostile to the mission of Muhammad.
6 Lit. the similitude of them is as the similitude of, etc.
7 The people of Medina are generally addressed with "O ye who believe;" the

Meccans, with "O men." Hence it has been inferred that from verse 19 (O men)

to 37 inclusively, is of the Meccan period. The subjects treated of also lead

to this conclusion.

8 The statues of false gods.
9 It will be an agreeable surprise to the blessed to have fruits, which at

first sight resemble those of earth, but are infinitely more delicious,.

10 Muhammad had been reproached for having drawn illustrations from the Ant,

Bee, Spider, etc.

11 Concerning faith in Muhammad. See verse 39 below, note.
12 The number of the Heavens is borrowed from the Talmud, or traditions based

upon it; but the idea probably has its root in the Scriptural expression,

"Heaven of Heavens."
13 Lit. a caliph, vicegerent. "When the Holy One, Blessed be He, would create

man, He took counsel with the Angels and said to them, We will make man in

our image." Midr. Rabbah on Numb. iv. par. 19. Comp. Midr. on Gen. 1, par. 8,

17. Sanhedr. 38.

14 "God said to the Angels, 'His wisdom is greater than yours.' Then brought

he before them beasts, cattle, and birds, and asked for their names, but they

knew them not. But when he had created man," etc. Midr. as above.
15 Or, if ye are truthful, or can make good a better claim to the


16 In the name Eblis (diabolos) and in the honour claimed for Adam as a kind

of Godman, there are traces of a Christian original, as well as in the

identification of the serpent with Satan. Comp. Ps. civ. 4; Heb. i. 6. The

Talmudists also enlarge on the honour paid to Adam. "Adam sat in the garden

and the Angels brought him flesh and cooling wine." Sanhedr. 29. "In the hour

when the Holy One, Blessed be He, created man, the Angels went astray in

regard to him, and essayed to say before him, 'O Holy One!' then God

permitted sleep to fall on him, and all knew that he was of earth." Midr.

Rabbah on Gen. par. 8. It is possible that the Arabic word balas, a

profligate, wicked person, may have influenced Muhammad in the formation of

the word Eblis. See note, p. 185. Eblis is used in the Arabic version of the

New Testament, for the probable date of which, see Tischendorf, Prol. p. 78.

17 Observe the change from Eblis, the calumniator, to Satan, the hater.
18 Muhammad rarely accused the Jews and Christians of corrupting, but often

of misinterpreting, their Sacred Books, in order to evade his claims. His

charges, however, are always very vaguely worded, and his utterances upon

this subject are tantamount to a strong testimony in favour of the

unimpeachable integrity of the sacred books, both of the Jews and Christians,

so far as he knew them. See Sura [lxxxvii.] vii. 168, and v. 73 below.

19 See Sura [lxv.] xxi. 49.
20 Lit. slay one another.
21 The Talmudists relate how the Israelites who had died, on hearing the

divine voice, etc., were restored by the intercession of the Law itself.

Sanh. 5.
22 By storing them up in violation of God's command.
23 Jericho according to some commentators, Jerusalem according to others, but

see verse 58.

24 See Sura [lxxxvii.] vii. 162.
25 Lit. all men. This incident is perhaps inadvertently borrowed from Ex. xv.

26 This passage (comp. xxvi. 59) is one of the numerous anachronisms which

abound in the Koran and prove the gross ignorance of the Arabian Prophet.
27 The Sabeites are identical with the Mendaites, or so-called Christians of

S. John, residing in the marshy district at the mouth of the Euphrates, but

are not the same with the star-worshipping Sabians of Harran in Mesopotamia.

See D'Herbelot, Bibl. Or. under the word Sabi; Assemani, Bibl. Or. iii. 2,

609. For curious details as to the elements of the Sabeite religion, see

Chwolson's SSabier and SSabaismus I.

28 See Sura [lxxxvii.] vii. 170.
29 See Sura [lxxxvii.] vii. 164.
30 Compare Numb. xix.; Deut. xxii. 1-9. The cow was to be sacrificed in order

that a murderer might be discovered through the miracle to be wrought on the

corpse by a piece of her flesh.
31 To please you, O Muslims.
32 This is one of the passages which shews great familiarity with the habits

of the Jews, on the part of Muhammad. See Maracci's Prodr. i. 44. Wahl's

Einleitung, xxx. xxxv.
33 The Pentateuch. This passage shews that the art of writing was known in

Medina shortly after the Hejira.

34 Forty days; the period during which they worshipped the calf.
35 The blood of those who are as your own flesh.
36 Two Jewish tribes (Koreidha and Nadhir) in alliance with certain Arab

tribes who were at war, destroyed one another's abodes, but redeemed the

Jewish captives, professing that they were commanded to do this by the Law.

So the commentators.

37 Gabriel. Muhammad either knowingly rejected the divinity of the Holy

Ghost, or confounded Gabriel announcing the conception, with the Holy Spirit

that overshadowed Mary. It is probable that Muhammad's ideas of the Spirit

were at first indefinite, but that the two expressions, Gabriel and the Holy

Spirit, became ultimately synonymous. See note on Sura [lxvii.] xvii. 87.

Geiger (p. 82) quotes an instance in which the Jewish expositors understand

the distinctly-speaking Spirit (Sanhedr. 44) of Gabriel.
38 The gift of the prophetic office, etc., to a pagan Arab and not to a Jew.
39 Matt. xxiii. 37.
40 See Sura vii. 170, p. 309.
41 Comp. 1 Tim. v. 24.
42 In Solomon's Books of Magic. This story has been supposed to be of Persian

origin. See Hyde de Rel. Vet. Pers. ch. xii. But from a passage in the Midr.

Abhkhir quoted in the Midr. Jalkut, ch. 44, and from a quotation in Maracci's

Prodr. iv. 82, Geiger infers that Muhammad has transferred to the time of

Solomon, the Rabbinic traditions concerning the influence of angels upon men

at the time of the Deluge. p. 106. "Babel is regarded by the Muslims as the

fountain head of the science of magic. They suppose Haroot and Maroot to be

two angels who, in consequence of their want of compassion for the frailties

of mankind, were sent down to earth to be tempted. They both sinned; and

being permitted to choose whether they would be punished now or hereafter,

chose the former, and are still suspended by the feet at Babel in a rocky

pit, and are the great teachers of magic." (Lane on ch. iii. note 14 of the

1001 Nights.)
43 Raina, as pronounced in Hebrew, "our bad one;" but in Arabic, "look upon

us," a kind of salutation of the same signification as ondhorna, which,

however, does not admit of any secondary bad sense like raina.
44 Comp. Sura xvi. 103; iv. 84. The Muslims admit that there are 225 verses

cancelled by later ones. The doctrine of "abrogation" is taught in the

Talmud. Thus Hilchoth Mamrim, ii. 1, 2, etc.
45 That is, does not weigh the evidence for Muhammad's mission already given,

but demands, as the Jews did, to see God himself.

46 In all Muhammadan countries the first time of prayer is the moghreb or

sunset, or rather, four minutes later; the second the eshe, when it has

become quite dark; the third the soobh or fegr, the daybreak; the fourth,

doohr, or a little after noon, when the sun has begun to decline; the fifth,

the asr, midway between noon and nightfall. The obligatory legal alms or

impost are called, as here, zekah (lit. purity), the voluntary, sudackah. It

is, however, left to the conscience of individuals to give and to apply them

as they think fit.

47 The idolatrous Arabs.
48 If this verse is aimed at the Meccans who, in the 6th year of the Hejira,

forbad Muhammad and his followers to enter the temple of Mecca in the

expedition of Hodeibiya, it is misplaced here.
49 Abrogated by verse 139 below.
50 The Caaba.
51 Freytag (Einl. p. 339) says that there is no good reason for doubting that

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