The Project Gutenberg ebook of The Koran

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The hypocrites are afraid lest a Sura should be sent down concerning them, to

tell them plainly what is in their hearts. SAY: Scoff ye; but God will bring

to light that which ye are afraid of.
And if thou question them, they will surely say, "We were only discoursing

and jesting." SAY: What! do ye scoff at God, and His signs, and His Apostle?

Make no excuse: from faith ye have passed to infidelity! If we forgive some

of you, we will punish others: for that they have been evil doers.

Hypocritical men and women imitate one another.27 They enjoin what is evil,

and forbid what is just, and shut up their hands.28 They have forgotten God,

and He hath forgotten them. Verily, the hypocrites are the perverse doers.
God promiseth the hypocritical men and women, and the unbelievers, the fire

of Hell�therein shall they abide�this their sufficing portion! And God hath

cursed them, and a lasting torment shall be theirs.
Ye act like those who flourished before you. Mightier were they than you in

prowess, and more abundant in wealth and children, and they enjoyed their

portion: so ye also enjoy your portion, as they who were before you enjoyed

theirs; and ye hold discourses like their discourses. These! vain their works

both for this world and for that which is to come! These! they are the lost

Hath not the history reached them of those who were before them?�of the

people of Noah,29 and of Ad, and of Themoud, and of the people of Abraham,

and of the inhabitants of Madian, and of the overthrown cities? Their

apostles came to them with clear proofs of their mission: God would not deal

wrongly by them, but they dealt wrongly by themselves.

The faithful of both sexes are mutual friends: they enjoin what is just, and

forbid what is evil; they observe prayer, and pay the legal impost, and they

obey God and His Apostle. On these will God have mercy: verily, God is

Mighty, Wise.

To the faithful, both men and women, God promiseth gardens 'neath which the

rivers flow, in which they shall abide, and goodly mansions in the gardens of

Eden. But best of all will be God's good pleasure in them. This will be the

great bliss.

O Prophet! contend against the infidels and the hypocrites, and be rigorous

with them: Hell shall be their dwelling place! Wretched the journey thither!

They swear by God that they said no such thing: yet spake they the word of

infidelity, and from Muslims became unbelievers! They planned what they could

not effect;30 and only disapproved of it because God and His Apostle had

enriched them by His bounty! If they repent it will be better for them; but

if they fall back into their sin, with a grievous chastisement will God

chastise them in this world and the next, and on earth they shall have

neither friend nor protector!
Some there are of them who made this agreement with God�"If truly He give us

of His bounties, we will surely give alms and surely be of the righteous."

Yet when he had vouchsafed them of His bounty, they became covetous thereof,

and turned their backs, and withdrew afar off:

So He caused hypocrisy to take its turn in their hearts, until the day on

which they shall meet Him�for that they failed their promise to God, and that

they were liars!
Know they not that God knoweth their secrets and their private talk, and that

God knoweth the secret things?

They who traduce such of the faithful as give their alms freely, and those

who find nothing to give but their earnings, and scoff at them, God shall

scoff at them; and there is a grievous torment in store for them.
Ask thou forgiveness for them, or ask it not, it will be the same. If thou

ask forgiveness for them seventy times, God will by no means forgive them.

This, for that they believe not in God and His Apostle! And God guideth not

the ungodly people.

They who were left at home were delighted to stay behind God's Apostle, and

were averse from contending with their riches and their persons for the cause

of God, and said, "March not out in the heat." SAY: A fiercer heat will be

the fire of Hell." Would that they understood this.

Little, therefore, let them laugh, and much let them weep, as the meed of

their doings!

If God bring thee back from the fight to some of them, and they ask thy leave

to take the field, SAY: By no means shall ye ever take the field with me, and

by no means shall ye fight an enemy with me: ye were well pleased to sit at

home at the first crisis: sit ye at home, then, with those who lag behind.

Never pray thou over anyone of them who dieth, or stand at his grave31�

because they believed not in God and His Apostle, and died in their

Let not their riches or their children astonish thee: through these God is

fain only to punish them in this world, and that their souls should depart

while they are still infidels.
When a Sura was sent down with "Believe in God and go forth to war with His

Apostle," those of them who are possessed of riches demanded exemption, and

said, "Allow us to be with those who sit at home.
Well content were they to be with those who stay behind: for a seal hath been

set on their hearts so that they understand not:�

But the Apostle and those who share his faith, contend for the faith with

purse and person; and these! all good things await them: and these are they

who shall be happy.
God hath made ready for them gardens 'neath which the rivers flow, wherein

they shall remain for ever: this will be the great bliss.

Some Arabs of the desert came with excuses, praying exemption; and they who

had gainsaid God and His Apostle sat at home: a grievous punishment shall

light on such of them as believe not.
It shall be no crime in the weak, and in the sick, and in those who find not

the means of contributing, to stay at home, provided they are sincere with

God and His Apostle. Against those who act virtuously, there is no cause of

blame: and God is Gracious, Merciful:�

Nor against those, to whom when they came to thee that thou shouldst mount

them, thou didst say "I find not wherewith to mount you," and they turned

away their eyes shedding floods of tears for grief, because they found no

means to contribute.

Only is there cause of blame against those who, though they are rich, ask

thee for exemption. They are pleased to be with those who stay behind; and

God hath set a seal upon their hearts: they have no knowledge.
They will excuse themselves to you when ye come back to them. SAY: Excuse

yourselves not; we cannot believe you: now hath God informed us about you:

God will behold your doings, and so will His Apostle: to Him who knoweth

alike things hidden and things manifest shall ye hereafter be brought back:

and He will tell you what ye have done.
They will adjure you by God when ye are come back to them, to withdraw from

them: Withdraw from them, then, for they are unclean: their dwelling shall be

Hell, in recompense for their deserts.
They will adjure you to take pleasure in them; but if ye take pleasure in

them, God truly will take no pleasure in those who act corruptly.

The Arabs of the desert are most stout in unbelief and dissimulation; and

likelier it is that they should be unaware of the laws which God hath sent

down to His Apostle: and God is Knowing, Wise.
Of the Arabs of the desert there are some who reckon what they expend in the

cause of God as tribute, and wait for some change of fortune to befall you: a

change for evil shall befall them! God is the Hearer, the Knower.
And of the Arabs of the desert, some believe in God and in the last day, and

deem those alms an approach to God and to the Apostle's prayers. Are they not

their approach? Into His mercy shall God lead them: yes, God is Indulgent,


As for those who led the way, the first of the Mohadjers,32 and the Ansars,

and those who have followed their noble conduct, God is well pleased with

them, and they with Him: He hath made ready for them gardens under whose

trees the rivers flow: to abide therein for aye: this shall be the great

And of the Arabs of the desert round about you, some are hypocrites: and of

the people of Medina, some are stubborn in hypocrisy. Thou knowest them not,

Muhammad: we know them: twice33 will we chastise them: then shall they be

given over to a great chastisement.

Others have owned their faults, and with an action that is right they have

mixed another that is wrong. God will haply be turned to them: for God is

Forgiving, Merciful.
Take alms of their substance,34 that thou mayst cleanse and purify them

thereby, and pray for them; for thy prayers shall assure their minds: and God

Heareth, Knoweth.
Know they not that when his servants turn to Him with repentance, God

accepteth it, and that He accepteth alms, and that God is He who turneth, the

SAY: Work ye: but God will behold your work, and so will His Apostle, and the

faithful: and ye shall be brought before Him who knoweth alike the Hidden and

the Manifest, and He will tell you of all your works.
And others await the decision of God; whether He will punish them, or whether

He will be turned unto them: but God is Knowing, Wise.

There are some35 who have built a Mosque for mischief36 and for infidelity,

and to disunite the faithful, and in expectation of him37 who, in time past,

warred against God and His Apostle. They will surely swear, "Our aim was only

good:" but God is witness that they are liars.

Never set thou foot in it.38 There is a Mosque39 founded from its first day

in piety. More worthy is it that thou enter therein: therein are men who

aspire to purity, and God loveth the purified.
Which of the two is best? He who hath founded his building on the fear of God

and the desire to please Him, or he who hath founded his building on the

brink of an undermined bank washed away by torrents, so that it rusheth with

him into the fire of Hell? But God guideth not the doers of wrong.

Their building which they40 have built will not cease to cause uneasiness in

their hearts, until their hearts are cut in pieces.41 God is Knowing, Wise.

Verily, of the faithful hath God bought their persons and their substance, on

condition of Paradise for them in return: on the path of God shall they

fight, and slay, and be slain: a Promise for this is pledged in the Law, and

in the Evangel, and in the Koran�and who more faithful, in to his engagement

than God? Rejoice, therefore, in the contract that ye have contracted: for

this shall be the great bliss.

Those who turn to God, and those who serve, who praise, who fast, who bow

down, who prostrate themselves, who enjoin what is just and forbid what is

evil, and keep to the bounds42 of God . . .43 Wherefore bear these good

tidings to the faithful.

It is not for the prophet or the faithful to pray for the forgiveness of

those, even though they be of kin, who associate other beings with God, after

it hath been made clear to them that they are to be the inmates of Hell.
For neither did Abraham ask forgiveness for his father, but in pursuance of a

promise which he had promised to him: but when it was shewn him that he was

an enemy to God, he declared himself clear of him. Yet Abraham was pitiful,

Nor is it for God to lead a people into error, after he hath guided them

aright, until that which they ought to dread hath been clearly shewn them.

Verily, God knoweth all things.

God! His the kingdom of the Heavens and of the Earth! He maketh alive and

killeth! Ye have no patron or helper save God.

Now hath God turned Him unto the Prophet and unto the refugees (Mohadjers),

and unto the helpers (Ansars)44, who followed him in the hour of distress,

after that the hearts of a part of them had well nigh failed them45. Then

turned He unto them, for He was Kind to them, Merciful.

He hath also turned Him unto the three46 who were left behind, so that the

earth, spacious as it is, became too strait for them; and their souls became

so straitened within them, that they bethought them that there was no refuge

from God but unto Himself. Then was He turned to them, that they might be

turned to Him, for God is He that turneth, the Merciful.
Believers!47 fear God, and be with the sincere.
No cause had the people of Medina and the Arabs of the desert around them, to

abandon God's Apostle, or to prefer their own lives to his; because neither

thirst, nor the labour nor hunger, could come upon them when on path of

God;48 neither do they step a step which may anger the unbelievers, neither

do they receive from the enemy any damage, but it is written down to them as

a good work. Verily, God suffereth not the reward of the righteous to perish.

Nor give they alms either small or great, nor traverse they a torrent, but it

is thus reckoned to them; that God may reward them with better than they have

The faithful must not march forth all together to the wars: and if a party of

every band of them march not out, it is that they may instruct themselves in

their religion, and may warn their people when they come back to them, that

they take heed to themselves.

Believers! wage war against such of the infidels as are your neighbours, and

let them find you rigorous: and know that God is with those who fear him.

Whenever a Sura is sent down, there are some of them who say, "Whose faith

hath it increased?" It will increase the faith of those who believe, and they

shall rejoice.
But as to those in whose hearts is a disease, it will add doubt to their

doubt, and they shall die infidels.

Do they not see that they are proved every year once or twice? Yet they turn

not, neither are they warned.

And whenever a Sura is sent down, they look at one another. . . . "Doth any

one see you?" then turn they aside. God shall turn their hearts aside,

because they are a people devoid of understanding.
Now hath an Apostle come unto you from among yourselves: your iniquities

press heavily upon him. He is careful over you, and towards the faithful,

compassionate, merciful.
If they turn away, SAY: God sufficeth me: there is no God but He. In Him put

I my trust. He is the possessor of the Glorious Throne!

1 The "Immunity" is said by some commentators to have formed originally one

Sura with the eighth, p.375, and that on this account the usual formula of

invocation is not prefixed. The Caliph Othman accounted for this omission of

the Bismillah from the fact of this Sura having been revealed, with the

exception of a few verses, shortly before the prophet's death, who left no

instructions on the subject. (Mishcat 1, p. 526.) The former verses from 1-

12, or, according to other traditions, from 1-40, were recited to the

pilgrims at Mecca by Ali, Ann. Hej. 9.

2 Lit. that ye cannot weaken God.
3 Shawâl, Dhu'lkaada, Dhu'lhajja, Muharram. These months were observed by the

Arabians previous to the time of Muhammad.

4 Al Abbas, Muhammad's uncle, when taken prisoner, had defended his unbelief,

and declared that he had performed these two important duties. Beidh.

5 Or, shall issue his behest.
6 At the battle of Honein, a valley three miles from Mecca (A.H. 8), the

Muhammadans, presuming upon the great superiority of their numbers, 12,000

men, over the enemy who were only 4000 strong, were seized with a panic

throughout their ranks. Order was restored and victory obtained through the

bravery and presence of mind of Muhammad and his kindred.
7 The enemy attacked and routed you on all sides.
8 See ii. 249, p. 365.
9 Through the breaking off commercial relations.
10 Or, by right of subjection, Sale; in cash, Wahl.; all without exception,

K. i.e. as if by counting hands.

11 Thus Hilchoth Melachim, vi. 4. The Jews are commanded, in case of war with

the Gentiles, to offer peace on two conditions:�that they become tributaries,

and renounce idolatry. Thus also chap. viii. 4.
12 The Muhammadan tradition is that Ezra was raised to life after he had been

100 years dead, and dictated from memory the whole Jewish law, which had been

lost during the captivity, to the scribes. That the Jews regarded Ezra as a

son of God is due to Muhammad's own invention. See Sonna, 462 v. H. v.

Purgstall's Fundgruben des Orients, i. 288. The Talmudists, however, use very

exaggerated language concerning him. Thus, Sanhedrin, 21, 22. "Ezra would

have been fully worthy to have been the lawgiver, if Moses had not preceded

him." Josephus, Ant. xi. 5, 5, speaks of his high repute ([greek text]) with

the people, and of his honourable burial. Muhammad probably represents the

Jews as having deified Ezra with the view of showing that they, as well as

the Christians, had tampered with the doctrine of the Divine unity.
13 An allusion to the word Rabbi, used by Jews and Christians, of their

priests, etc., but in Arabic of God only. Comp. Matt. xxiii. 7, 8.

14 See Sur. [cxiv.] v. 85.
15 The intercalation of a month every third year, in order to reduce the

lunar to the solar years, is justified by the Muhammadans from this passage.

16 See Sur. xiii. 26, p. 336 (n.).
17 With Abubekr. lit. second of two.
18 Wahk. reich oder arm. Savary, young or old. Ibn Hisam (924) pronounces

this to be the oldest verse of the Sura.

19 This refers to the expedition of Tabouk, a town half-way between Medina

and Damascus, against the Greeks, A.H. 9. Muhammad was now at the head of an

army of 30,000 men. Verses 42-48 are said to have been revealed during the

20 Lit. prepared a preparation.

21 Lit. written.
22 That is, victory or martyrdom.
23 Compare Sura iii. 172. Geiger, p. 76, shews that this is precisely the

teaching of the Talmudists with regard to the wicked.

24 The poor, i.e. absolute paupers; the needy i.e. those in some temporary


25 The petty Arab chiefs with whom Muhammad made terms after the battle of

Honein, in order to secure their followers.

26 There seems to be a play, in the original, upon the similarity of the

words for injure and ear.

27 Lit. (are) the one from the other.
28 From giving alms.
29 Comp. Sura liv. 15, p. 77. The traditions as to the collection of pitch

from wood of the Ark, in the time of Berosus (B.C. 250?) for amulets, and of

the wood itself, in the time of Josephus (Ant. i. 3, 6, c. Apion, i. 19) must

have reached Muhammad through his Jewish informants. Fragments are said to

have existed in the days of Benjamin of Tudela, and to have been carried away

by the Chalif Omar, from the mountain al Djoudi to the mosque of Gazyrat Ibn

30 To kill Muhammad. The circumstances are given in a tradition preserved ap.

Weil, p. 265, note. The meaning is, that the people of Medina, who had become

enriched by Muhammad's residence among them, had no better motive for

disapproving the attempt upon his life. Lit. they had nothing to avenge but

that, etc.
31 Prayers for the dead were customary among the Arabians before Muhammad.

See Freyt. Einl. p. 221.

32 The Mohadiers were those who fled with Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, the

Ansars his auxiliaries in Medina.

33 The commentators are not agreed as to the nature of this double


34 The fine of a third part of all their substance was imposed upon seven of

those who had held back from the expedition to Tabouk. This is the fault

spoken of in the preceding verse.
35 The tribe of Beni Ganim had built a mosque, professedly from religious

motives, which they invited Muhammad on his way to Tabouk to dedicate by a

solemn act of prayer. Muhammad, however, discovered that the real motive of

the Beni Ganim was jealousy of the tribe of Beni Amru Ibn Auf, and of the

mosque at Kuba, and that there existed and understanding between them and his

enemy the monk Abu Amir, who was then in Syria, for the purpose of urging the

Greeks to attack the Muslims and their mosque. It is to him that the word

irsâdan refers.

36 To the dwellers at Kuba. Verses 108-111 were probably promulged on the

return from Tabouk previous to the entry into Medina.

37 Abu Amir.
38 Or, never stand thou in it (to pray).
39 The mosque of Kuba, about three miles S.S.E. of Medina. The spot where

this verse was revealed is still pointed out, and called "Makam el Ayat," or

"the place of signs." Burton's "Pilgrimage," ii. p. 214.Muhammad laid the

first brick, and it was the first place of public prayer in El Islam. Ib. p.

40 The Beni Ganim.
41 That is, up to the time of their death they will never reflect on what

they have done without bitter pangs of conscience. See Weil's M. der Prophet,

pp. 268, 269, and note.
42 Lit. limits, i.e. laws.
43 Shall have their recompense.
44 See verse 101.
45 Lit. turned aside, swerved.
46 Three Ansars who did not accompany Muhammad to Tabouk, and who on his

return were put under interdict, and not released from it till after fifty

days of penance.
47 Verses 120-128 probably belong to the period after the return from Tabouk

to Medina.

48 While fighting for the cause of God.


MEDINA.�120 Verses
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
O BELIEVERS! be faithful to your engagements. You are allowed the flesh of

cattle other than what is hereinafter recited, except game, which is not

allowed you while ye are on pilgrimage. Verily, God ordaineth what he


O Believers! violate neither the rites of God, nor the sacred month Muharram,

nor the offering, nor its ornaments1, nor those who press on to the sacred

house seeking favour from their Lord and his good pleasure in them.
But when all is over2, then take to the chase: and let not ill will at those3

who would have kept you from the sacred mosque lead you to transgress4, but

rather be helpful to one another according to goodness and piety, but be not

helpful for evil and malice: and fear ye God. Verily, God is severe in

That which dieth of itself, and blood, and swine's flesh, and all that hath

been sacrificed under the invocation of any other name than that of God, and

the strangled, and the killed by a blow, or by a fall, or by goring5, and

that which hath been eaten by beasts of prey, unless ye make it clean by

giving the death-stroke yourselves, and that which hath been sacrificed on

the blocks of stone6, is forbidden you: and to make division of the slain by

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