The Project Gutenberg ebook of The Koran

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journey thither!
There are varying grades with God: and God beholdeth what ye do.
Now hath God been gracious to the faithful, when he raised up among them an

apostle out of their own people, to rehearse unto them his signs, and to

cleanse them, and to give them knowledge of the Book and of Wisdom: for

before they were in manifest error.

When a reverse hath befallen you,50 the like of which ye had before

inflicted, say ye, "Whence is this?" SAY: It is from yourselves. For God hath

power over all things.
And that which befel you on the day when the armies met, was certainly by the

will of God, and that he might know the faithful, and that he might know the

hypocrites! And when the word was "Advance, fight on the path of God, or

drive back the foe,"�they said, "Had we known how to fight, we would have

followed you." Nearer were some of them on that day to unbelief, than to

They said with their lips what was not in their hearts! But God knew what

they concealed,
Who said of their brethren while themselves sat at home,
"Had they obeyed us, they had not been slain." SAY: Keep back death from

yourselves if ye speak truth.

And repute not those slain on God's path to be dead.51 Nay, alive with their

Lord, are they richly sustained;

Rejoicing in what God of his bounty hath vouchsafed them, filled with joy for

those who follow after them, but have not yet overtaken them, that on them

nor fear shall come, nor grief;
Filled with joy at the favours of God, and at his bounty: and that God

suffereth not the reward of the faithful to perish.

As to those who after the reverse52 which befel them, respond to God and the

Apostle�such of them as do good works and fear God, shall have a great

Who, when men said to them, "Now are the Meccans mustering against you;

therefore fear them!" it only increased their faith, and they said, "Our

sufficiency is God, and He is an excellent protector."
They returned, therefore, with the favour of God, enriched by Him, and

untouched by harm; and they followed what was well pleasing to God. And God

is of great Munificence.
Only would that Satan53 instil the fear of his adherents: Fear them not, but

fear me if ye are believers.

Let not those who vie in haste after infidelity grieve thee: Verily not one

whit shall they injure God! God will refuse them all part in the life to

come: a severe chastisement shall be their lot.
They truly who purchase infidelity at the price of their faith, shall not

injure God one whit! and a grievous chastisement shall be their lot.

Let not the infidels deem that the length of days we give them is good for

them! We only give them length of days that they may increase their sins! and

a shameful chastisement shall be their lot.
It is not in God to leave the faithful in the State in which they are, until

he sever the bad from the good:

Nor is God minded to lay open the secret things to you, but God chooseth whom

he will of his apostles to know them.54 Believe, therefore, in God and his

apostles: and if ye believe and fear God, a great reward awaiteth you.
And let not those who are niggard of what God hath vouchsafed them in his

bounty, think that this will be good for them�Nay, it will be bad for them�

That of which they have been niggard shall be their collar on the day of the

resurrection. God's, the heritage of the Heavens and of the Earth! And God is

well-informed of all ye do.
Now hath God heard the saying of those who said: "Aye, God is poor and we are

rich."55 We will surely write down their sayings, and their unjust slaughter

of the prophets; and and we will say, "Taste ye the torment of the burning.
This, for what your hands have sent before you; and because God will not

inflict a wrong upon his servants!"

To those who say, "Verily, God hath enjoined us that we are not to credit an

apostle until he present us a sacrifice which fire out of Heaven shall

SAY: Already have apostles before me come to you with miracles, and with that

of which ye speak. Wherefore slew ye them? Tell me, if ye are men of truth.

And if they treat thee as a liar, then verily apostles have been treated as

liars before thee, though they came with clear proofs of their mission, and

with Scriptures, and with the light-giving Book.
Every soul shall taste of death: and ye shall only receive your recompenses

on the day of resurrection. And whoso shall scape the fire, and be brought

into Paradise, shall be happy. And the life of this world is but a cheating


Ye shall assuredly be tried in your possessions and in yourselves. And many

hurtful things shall ye assuredly hear from those to whom the Scriptures were

given before you, and from those who join other gods with God. But if ye be

steadfast, and fear God this verily is needed in the affairs of life.

Moreover, when God entered into a convenant with those to whom the Scriptures

had been given, and said, "Ye shall surely make it known to mankind and not

hide it," they cast it behind their backs, and sold it for a sorry price! But

vile is that for which they have sold it.

Suppose not that they who rejoice in what they have brought to pass, and love

to be praised for what they have not done56�suppose not they shall escape the

chastisement. An afflictive chastisement doth await them,
For the Kingdom of the Heavens and the Earth is God's, and God hath power

over all things.

Verily, in the creation of the Heavens and of the Earth, and in the

succession of the night and of the day, are signs for men of understanding

Who standing, and sitting, and reclining, bear God in mind, and muse on the

creation of the Heavens and of the Earth. "O our Lord!" say they, "thou hast

not created this in vain. No. Glory be to Thee! Keep us, then, from the

torment of the fire.

O our Lord! surely thou wilt put him to shame whom thou shalt cause to enter

into the Fire, and the wrong-doers shall have none to help them.

O our Lord! we have indeed heard the voice of one that called. He called us

to the faith��Believe on your Lord��and we have believed.

O our Lord! forgive us then our sin, and hide away from us our evil deeds,

and cause us to die with the righteous.

O our Lord! and give us what thou hast promised us by thine apostles, and put

us not to shame on the day of the resurrection. Verily, Thou wilt not fail

thy promise."
And their Lord answereth them, "I will not suffer the work of him among you

that worketh, whether of male or female, to be lost. The one of you is the

issue of the other.57
And they who have fled their country and quitted their homes and suffered in

my cause, and have fought and fallen, I will blot out their sins from them,

and I will bring them into gardens beneath which the streams do flow."
A recompense from God! and God! with His is the perfection of recompense!
Let not prosperity in the land58 on the part of those who believe not,

deceive thee. 'Tis but a brief enjoyment! Then shall Hell be their abode; and

wretched the bed!
But as to those who fear their Lord�for them are the gardens 'neath which the

rivers flow: therein shall they abide for aye. Such their reception with God�

and that which is with God is best for the righteous.
Among the people of the Book are those who believe in God, and in what He

hath sent down to you, and in what He hath sent down to them, humbling

themselves before God. They barter not the signs of God for a mean price.
These! their recompense awaiteth them with their Lord: aye! God is swift to

take account.

O ye who believe! be patient, and vie in patience, and be firm, and fear God,

that it may be well with you.

1 Verses 1-87 probably belong to the period between the battle of Bedr and

Hej. 6.�Muhammad supposed Imran or Amran to be the father of the Virgin Mary

(Sura [cix.] lxvi. 12)�Mary and Elizabeth to be sisters; who, with Jesus,

John, and Zacharias, make up the family of Imran. It is difficult to avoid

the conclusion that Muhammad is guilty of the anachronism of confounding

Miriam with the Virgin Mary. On the other hand is the difficulty of

conceiving that as the sequence of time and fact is observed with tolerable

accuracy in regard to the main features of Jewish and Christian History, he

should have fallen into so serious an error, or have so inadvertently

adopted, as Mr. Muir supposes, the phraseology of his Jewish informants

(amongst whom the only well-known Mary (Miriam) was the daughter of Imran and

the sister of Moses) as to have overlooked the discrepancy in their

respective dates. But it is possible that Muhammad believed, as some Muslim

writers assert, that Miriam's soul and body were miraculously preserved till

the time of Jesus in order to become Mary his mother. Certainly the

Talmudists fabled that the Angel of Death and the worm of corruption had no

power over Miriam. Comp. Babha Bathra, 17. Jos. Ant. iv. 4, 6.
2 See note, p. 32.
3 See Sura xxi. 49, p. 154, n.
4 Lit. mother.
5 In the battle of Bedr, Muhammad, with 319 followers routed 1000 Meccans,

A.H. 2.
6 That is, knowledge, or revelation, became the cause of disputings.

7 That is, will ye receive Islam? The Ummiin, or common folk, the heathen

Arabians destitute of Revelation. In the earliest extant biography of

Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq, we find these words addressed by Zaid, previous to the

assumption of the prophetic office by Muhammad, to the Koreisch. This is one

of the facts which shew that the way was to a great extent prepared for

Islam. This whole address of Zaid's�which contains not less than six passages

afterwards repeated in the Koran�may be seen in Dr. Sprenger's Life of M. p.

42. The instances of others who had learned to disbelieve in idolatry, and

had either become Jews or Christians, or held their minds in suspense, might

easily be multiplied. Comp. Sharastani, p. 437. Masudi, ch. 6.

8 The King of the Kingdom, or, Lord of Might. This verse and the following

are either fragments of some lost Sura, or belonging to one of the Meccan

Suras. At any rate, they are misplaced, interrupting as they do the

connection of the preceding and subsequent verses.

9 The wife of Imran is Hannah or Anne. Comp. Protev. Jac. iv. [greek text].�

Evang. de Nat. Mar. 1: Voverunt tamen (Mari� parentes) si forte donaret eis

Deus sobolem, eam se Dni servitio mancipaturos.�Although Muhammad had no

direct access to the Apocryphal Gospels, yet these may have influenced, or at

any rate, contained much in common with, the ordinary traditions of S. Syria.

And of this, the Immaculate Conception of the B. V. Mary, supposed by Gibbon

(ch. 50) to have been "borrowed from the Koran," probably formed a part.
10 That is, the female could not become a priest.
11 See note, p. 114.
12 According to a tradition of Muhammad every new-born child is touched by

Satan, with the exception of Mary and her Son, between whom and Satan God

interposed a veil. (Djelal. Beidh.) Hence this passage may imply the

Immaculate Conception of the B. V. Mary. See v. 37 below.

13 Evang. de Nat. Mar. 7: Quotidie ab angelis frequentabatur, quotidie divinâ

visione fruebatur, queam a malis omnibus custodiebat et bonis omnibus

redundare faciebat. Protev. Jac. 8: [greek text]. Hist. Nativ. Mar. 6:

Quotidie escâ, quam de manu angeli accipiebat, ipsâ tantum reficiebatur.

14 The word rendered descendants is a collective noun. Gerock (p. 20) thinks

that Zacharias' prayer was not for a son of his own, but for an adopted son�

as, for instance, the future husband of Mary who might become his heir, and

hence accounts for his surprise and unbelief at the announcement of John.

15 Lit. chamber. By this may be meant an [greek text] of the Temple Comp.

Luke i. 21.

16 Luke i. 28.
17 Hist. de Nativ. Mar. 6: Abierunt simul Joachim et Anna uxor ejus ad

templum domini, et . . . tradiderunt . . . Mariam in contubernio virginum qu�

die noctuque in Dei laudibus manebant.
18 These reeds, say the commentators, were written over with passages from

the law, and cast into Jordan. That of Zacharias alone swam, and was the

token that the charge of Mary was to devolve on him. Others render, their

divining arrows. See a detailed account of the manner in which this matter

was settled by [greek text], virgae, in Protev. Jac. Thilo. p. 204. Hist.

Nat. Mar. ib. p. 359 sqq.

19 Ar. El-Mesich Isa ben Mariam, illustrious in this world as a Prophet, in

the next as an Intercessor. Beidh.

20 Evang. Thom�, ch. 2 (Thilo. p. 281) and Evang. Infantić Arab. ch. 36, 46.

(Thilo. p. 111, 123.)

20-21a (0) Addenda: Lit. who my helpers unto God? i.e., helpers of his

religion (Beidh). If Muhammad had become, by any means, acquainted with the

use of the Ćth. radeh, helper or disciple, we have herein a probable

interpretation of this passage, as well as of the word Ansar.

21 See Sura [cxiv.] v. 111.
22 Muhammad probably believed that God took the dead body of Jesus to Heaven�

for three hours according to some�while the Jews crucified a man who

resembled him. Sura [c.] iv. 156. The word motewaffika (comp. Sura [lxxx.]

xxxix. 156) means, in speaking of God, to cause to die, take to himself. It

would also seem from Sura [lviii.] xix. 34, that Muhammad supposed Jesus to

have died a natural death, though it is nowhere said how long he continued in

that state. The Muhammadans believe that Jesus on his return to earth at the

end of the world will slay the Antichrist, die, and be raised again. A vacant

place is reserved for his body in the Prophet's tomb at Medina. See Lieut.

Burton's Pilgrimage, vol. ii.

23 Lit. verily the similitude or analogy of Isa is as the similitude or

analogy of Adam, i.e. neither of them had a human father.

24 This refers to an embassy from the Christians in Nedjran in Arabia, with

their Bishop, Abu Hareth, at their head, to Muhammad at Medina, who had now

acquired political power. The embassy declined to be parties to the strange

mode of settling the dispute here proposed, but consented to pay tribute on

condition of not being molested in their religion or lands.
25 If this be not a mere figure of speech, it must mean let us call over and

curse the names, the persons being at a distance.

26 As the Christians do their Bishops and Priests.
27 Whether he were a Jew or Christian.
28 About Moses and Jesus, and their respective faiths.
29 See Sura xvi. 121, p. 209, note.
30 Muhammad insinuates that the claim to be equal with God could never have

been made by Jesus himself, but by his followers, in ignorance of the

Scriptures and of his true nature.
31 That is, to call them rabb�a title due only to God.
32 Assembled on Mount Sinai. Compare the Jewish legend, that all the

prophets, even those who were not yet born, were present on Mount Sinai, when

God gave the law to Moses. See Shemoth Rabba. Parashah 28, according to

which, not only the Prophets but the Rabbis of every generation, were present

at the giving of the Law.
33 Becca, place of crowding, i.e. Mecca. This sentence, together with other

Suras�the Cave, Mary, Imran, Repentance, T, H, are woven into the Kiswah or

covering of the Caaba, which is renewed annually.
34 The Makam Ibrahim (praying place of Abraham) is a small building supported

by six pillars about 8 ft. high, four of which are surrounded from top to

bottom by a fine iron railing, while they leave the space between the two

hind pillars open; within the railing is a frame about 5 ft. square, said to

contain the sacred stone on which Ibrahim stood when he built the Caaba.

Burckhardt. Lieut. Burton (Pilgrimage, iii. 336) says that as the Arab

tradition speaks clearly and consistently as to the fact of Abraham having

visited Mecca to build the Caaba, it may be considered an open question. Thus

also Dr. G. W. Freytag (Einl.).
35 The Koran.
36 Or, they are smitten with. Sale. S'etendra comme une tente. Kas.
37 This probably refers to the battle of Ohod.
38 The Arabic word occurs at verse 13 of horses as known by certain marks. So

here these angels would be known by their accoutrements, etc.

39 This and the following verses to 154 were probably revealed shortly after

the reverse of Ohod.

40 This verse and xxxix. 31 (p.257) were recited at Muhammad's death by Abu

Bekr, in order to convince Omar and the other Muslims of the possibility of

that event. It has been supposed that these passages were invented by Abu

Bekr on this occasion, and inserted into the Koran. But this is more than

doubtful. See Nöldeke, pp. 199-201.
41 That is, return to idolatry. A report had been spread in the battle of

Ohod that Muhammad had been slain.

42 Lit. according to a writing (i.e. of God) definite. The Rabbins also teach

(Com. Tract. Rosch. Haschanah) that there are books in which God has written

down the lifetime of every individual. Lit. No soul can die.
43 Lit. and their saying was no other than that they said.
44 To relapse into infidelity. The Koreisch attempted to seduce the Muslims

to renounce their faith after the battle of Ohod.

45 The command to abstain from taking the spoils. This disobedience turned

the scale of victory against the Muslims.

46 Victory and plunder.
47 Some took to flight, others stood firm, and were not careful of their

48 That is, in confused rout.

49 Muhammad had been accused of having secretly appropriated a portion of the

50 At Ohod.

51 See Sura [xci.] ii. 149.
52 At Ohod; lit. wound.
53 Lit. that Satan. Said to refer to Noaim, or Abu Sofian, the leader of the


54 This is an answer to the taunt that Muhammad could not distinguish true

believers from hypocrites.

55 This was the taunt of the Jews of the tribe of Kainoka, when Muhammad

demanded tribute of them in the name of God.

56 That is, who rejoice in their successful corruptions of their own sacred

books, especially the testimony of Moses to Muhammad, and in their own

fancied righteousness. Thus some of the commentators.
57 Lit. some of you are from others. These words were occasioned by one of

the Prophet's wives having told him that God often praised the men, but not

the women, who had fled their country for the faith. Beidh.
58 Lit. their movements, their comings and goings. Hence, the success of the

Meccans in their trading journeys. This may point to the comparative freedom

from trade and general independence of the Meccans after the affair at Ohod.


MEDINA.�14 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
ALL that is in the Heavens and all that is on the Earth praiseth God. He is

the Mighty, the Wise!

Believers! why profess ye that which ye practise not?1
Most hateful is it to God that ye say that which ye do not.
Verily God loveth those who, as though they were a solid wall, do battle for

his cause in serried lines!

And bear in mind when Moses said to his people, "Why grieve ye me, O my

people, when ye know that I am God's apostle unto you?" And when they went

astray, God led their hearts astray; for God guideth not a perverse people:
And remember when Jesus the son of Mary said, "O children of Israel! of a

truth I am God's apostle to you to confirm the law which was given before me,

and to announce an apostle that shall come after me whose name shall be

Ahmad!"2 But when he (Ahmad) presented himself with clear proofs of his

mission, they said, "This is manifest sorcery!"
But who more impious than he who when called to Islam deviseth a falsehood

concerning God? God guideth not the wicked!

Fain would they put out the light of God with their mouths! but though the

Infidels hate it, God will perfect his light.

He it is who hath sent his apostle with guidance and the religion of truth,

that, though they hate it who join other gods with God, He may make it

victorious over every other religion.
O ye who believe! shall I shew you a merchandise that shall deliver you from

the sore torment?

Believe in God and his apostle, and do valiantly in the cause of God with

your wealth and with your persons! This, did ye but know it, will be best for

Your sins will He forgive you, and He will bring you into gardens beneath

whose shades the rivers flow�into charming abodes in the gardens of Eden:

This shall be the great bliss.�
And other things which ye desire will he bestow, Help from God and speedy

conquest!3 Bear thou these tidings to the faithful.

O ye who believe! be helpers (ansars) of God; as said Jesus the son of Mary

to his apostles, "Who will come to the help of God?" "We," said the apostles,

"will be helpers of God." And a part of the children of Israel believed, and

a part believed not. But to those who believed gave we the upperhand over

their foes, and soon did they prove victorious.


1 Addressed to the Muslims who had turned their backs to the enemy at Ohod.
2 Muhammad had no doubt heard that Jesus had promised a Paracletos, John xvi.

7. This title, understood by him, probably from the similarity of sound, as

equivalent to Periclytos, he applied to himself with reference to his own

name Muhammad (i.e. praised, glorified) from the same root and of the same

meaning as Ahmad, also one of the Prophet's names. It may be here remarked

that the name Muhammad, if pronounced Muhammed, "might be understood by an

Arab in an active instead of a passive sense." (Lane, Kor. p. 52.) Other

passages of Scripture understood by Muslims of their Prophet are Deut.

xxxiii. 2, where Paran is said to mean Islam; Isai. xxi. 6, where the "rider

on the ass" is Jesus, the "rider on the camel" Muhammad; Matt. xx. 1-16,

where the morning, noon, and even are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; John

iv. 21; 1 John iv. 2, 3, where Muhammad is said to be "the spirit that is of

God," because he proclaimed that Jesus was a true man and not God.
3 If this allude to a meditated attack on the Banu Nadir (see Sura [cii.]

lix.) we have a clue to the probable date of the Sura. The promise, however,

may be general. But the tone of verse 9 evidently points to a period when, as

at Medina, the prospects of Islam were becoming hopeful.

MEDINA.1�29 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
ALL that is in the Heavens and in the Earth praiseth God, and He is the

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