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CHAPTER LVII.

ENTITLED SURAT AL HADID (IRON).

Revealed at Madina.

INTRODUCTION.


THE title of this chapter is taken from the mention of iron in ver 25. The object of the revelations seems to have been to arouse the faithful to greater zeal and energy in warring for the faith. It belongs, therefore, to a period in the history of Islam when Muhammad was in trouble. From ver. 22 seq. we infer that that period was the dark time succeeding the defeat at Ohod; comp. ver. 22 seq. with chap. iii. 149-154. The latter part of the chapter, vers. 25-29 is addressed to Christians, and therefore probably belongs to a different period. This part is specially interesting, because it set forth Muhammad's prophetic claims in relation to the former prophets and especially in relation to Jesus. We find that all these prophets are recognised as well as the Word of God spoken by them. The "Gospel," by which is intended the New Testament Scriptures, is distinctly mentioned. The prophets and Jesus are all the servants of God, and the books sent down to them are the Word of God; but now another Prophet and a new revelation have been sent. It is the duty of Christians to, recognise these; failing which they must be regarded as "evil-doers" (ver. 27).

Probable Date of the Revelations.

Muslim authors are quite divided in opinion as to where this chapter belongs. The statement in ver. 10, according to the interpretation of Al Farra, Al Baghawi, and Al Bukhari, is quite decisive for Makkah. But, according to others, this statement does not refer to Makkah at all, but to the "victory" at Badr. See Rodwell. Turning to the style and spirit of the composition, we find it on the whole decidedly Madinic.


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As to the date of composition, NoŽldeke says, "Verse 22 seq. implies, if we are not mistaken (comp. ver. 23, with chap. iii. 149 seq.), that Muhammad at this time was in distress. We are therefore inclined to place this Sura in the time between the faith of Ohod and the war of the Ditch."

Principal Subjects.

God omniscient and omnipresent . . . 1-6
Muslims exhorted to give alms and help on the holy war ... 7-11
The wise and the foolish in the judgment day .. . 12-14
True believers admonished to submit humbly to God... 15-17
God will reward the faithful but will punish the wicked ... 18
The present life a vain show . . . 19, 20
Men exhorted to seek the life to come . . . 21
All things recorded in God's book of decrees . . . 22, 23
God hateth proud and covetous persons (therefore the defeat at Ohod) . . .24
Apostles sent to former nations . . . 25
Noah, Abraham, the prophets, and Jesus, with the Gospel, sent ...26, 27
Christians exhorted to become Muslims . . . 28, 29

IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.

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(1) Whatever is in heaven and earth singeth praise unto GOD; and he is mighty and wise. (2) His is the kingdom of heaven and earth; he giveth life, and he putteth to death; and he is almighty. (3) He is the first and the last; the manifest and the hidden: and he knoweth all things. (4) It is he who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and then ascended his throne. He knoweth that which entereth into the earth, and that which issueth out of the same, and that which descendeth from heaven, and that which ascendeth thereto: and he is with you wheresoever ye be: for GOD seeth that which

(1-6) We have here a striking illustration of the omnipotence and omniscience of God. Such passages show the wonderful superiority of the Makkan preacher over the religions teachers of his idolatrous countrymen.


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ye do. (5) His is the kingdom of heaven and earth; and unto GOD shall all things return. (6) He causeth the night to succeed the day, and he causeth the day to succeed the night; and he knoweth the innermost part of men's breasts. (7) Believe in GOD and his Apostle, and lay out in alms a part of the wealth whereof GOD hath made you inheritors: for unto such of you as believe and bestow alms shall be given a great reward, (8) And what aileth you, that ye believe not in GOD, when the Apostle inviteth you to believe in your LORD; and he hath received your covenant concerning this matter, if ye believe any proposition? (9) It is he who hath sent down unto his servant evident signs, that he may lead you out of darkness into light; for GOD is compassionate and merciful unto you. (10) And what aileth you, that ye contribute not of your substance for the defence of GOD's true religion? Since unto GOD appertaineth the inheritance of heaven and earth. Those among you who shall have contributed and fought in defence of the faith before the taking of Makkah, shall not be held equal with those who shall contribute and fight for the same afterwards. These shall be superior in degree unto those who shall contribute and fight for the propagation of the faith after the above mentioned success; but unto all hath GOD promised a most excellent reward; and GOD well knoweth that which ye do.

R 8/18.

(11) Who is he that will lend unto GOD an acceptable loan? for he will double the same unto him, and he shall receive moreover an honourable reward. (12) On a certain day thou shalt see the true believers of both sexes: their

(7) Lay out in alms, &c. See note on chap. ix. 104.

(8) Your covenant. "That is, ye are obliged to believe in him by the strongest arguments and motives."-Sale.

(10) The taking of Makkah. The reference here is to Badr, and not not to Makkah.

Not be held equal, &c. "Because afterwards there was not so great necessity for either, the Muhammadan religion being firmly established by that great success.- Sale.


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light shall run before them, and on their right hands; and it shall be said unto them, Good tidings unto you this day: gardens through which rivers flow; ye shall remain therein for ever. This will be great felicity. (13) On that day the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women shall say unto those who believe, Stay for us, that we may borrow some of your light. It shall be answered, return back into the world and seek light. And a high wall shall be set betwixt them, wherein shall be a gate, within which shall be mercy; and without it, over against the same, the torment of hell. The hypocrites shall call out unto the true believers, saying, Were we not with you ? They shall answer, Yea; but ye seduced your own souls by your hypocrisy; and ye waited our ruin; and ye doubted concerning the faith; and your wishes deceived you, until the decree of GOD came, and ye died; and the deceiver deceived you concerning GOD. (14) This day, therefore, a ransom shall not be accepted of you, nor of those who have been unbelievers. Your abode shall be hell-fire: this is what ye have deserved and an unhappy journey shall it be thither! (15) Is not the time yet Come unto those who believe, that their hearts should humbly submit to the admonition of GOD, and to that truth which hath been revealed; and that they be not as those unto whom the Scripture was given heretofore, and to whom the time of forbearance was prolonged, but their hearts were hardened, and many of them were wicked doers? (16) Know that GOD quicketh the earth after it hath been dead. Now have we distinctly declared our signs unto you, that ye may under-

(12) Their light, &c. "One light leading them the right way to Paradise, and the other proceeding from the book wherein their actions are recorded, which they will hold in their right hand." - Sale.

(13) Stay for us, &c. "For the righteous will hasten to Paradise swift as lightening."-Sale.

There is a faint resemblance between this passage and the parable of the virgins, Matt. xxv. 1-12.


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stand. (17) Verily as to the almsgivers, both men and women, and those who lend unto GOD an acceptable loan, he will double the same unto them; and they shall moreover receive an honourable reward. (18) And they who believe in GOD and his apostles, these are the men of veracity, and the witnesses in the presence of their LORD: they shall have their reward and their light. But as to those who believe not, and accuse our signs of falsehood, they shall be the companions of hell.

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(19) Know that this present life is only a toy and a vain amusement: and worldly pomp, and the affectation of glory among you, and the multiplying of riches and children, are as the plants nourished by the rain, the springing up whereof delighteth the husbandmen; afterwards they wither, so that thou seest the same turned yellow, and at length they become dry stubble. And in the life to come will be a severe punishment for those who covet worldly grandeur; (20) and pardon from GOD, and favour for those who renounce it: for this present life is no other than a deceitful provision. (21) Hasten with emulation to obtain pardon from your LORD, and Paradise, the extent whereof equalleth the extent of heaven and earth, prepared for those who believe in GOD and his apostles. This is the bounty of GOD: he will give the same unto whom he pleaseth; and GOD is endued with great bounty. (22) No accident happeneth in the earth, nor in your persons, but the same was entered in the book of our decrees before we created it: verily this is easy with GOD: (23) and this is written lest ye immoderately grieve for the good which escapeth you, or rejoice for that which happened unto you; for GOD loveth no proud or vainglorious person, (24) or those who are covetous, and command men covetousness. And whoso turneth aside from giving alms; verily GOD is self-sufficient, worthy to be praised.

(18) God and his apostles. See notes on chap. ii. 136, 285.


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(25) We formerly sent our apostles with evident miracles and arguments; and we sent down with them the Scriptures and the balance, that men might observe justice: and we sent them down iron, wherein is mighty strength for war, and various advantages unto mankind: that GOD may know who assisteth him and his apostles in secret; for GOD is strong and mighty.

R 4/20.

(26) We formerly sent Noah and Abraham, and we established in their posterity the gift of prophecy, and the Scripture: and of them some were directed, but many of them were evil-doers. (27) Afterwards we caused our apostles to succeed in their footsteps; and we caused Jesus the son of Mary to succeed them, and we gave him the gospel: and we put in the hearts of those that followed him compassion and mercy: but as to the monastic state, they instituted the same (we did not prescribe it to them) only out of a desire to please GOD; yet they observed not the same as it ought truly to have been observed. And we gave unto such of them as believed their reward: but many of them were wicked doers. (28) O ye who believe in the prophets, fear GOD and believe in his Apostle Muhammad: he will give you two portions of his mercy, and he

(25) The balance, i.e., a rule of justice. "Some think that a balance was actually brought down from heaven by the Angel Gabriel to Noah, the use of which he was ordered to introduce among his people."-Sale.

Iron. "That is, we taught them how to dig the same from mines. Al Zamakhshari adds, that Adam is said to have brought down with him from Paradise five things made of iron, viz., an anvil, a pair of tongs, two hammers, a greater and a lesser, and a needle."-Sale.

Wherein. &c. "Warlike instruments and weapons being generally made of iron."- Sale.

In secret. That is, sincerely and heartily not by a mere outward display of loyalty.

(27) Jesus. See notes on chaps. ii. 86 and iii. 39.

(28) O ye who believe, &c. "These words are directed to the Jews and Christians, or rather to the latter only."-Sale.

Two portions of his mercy. "One as a recompense for their believing in Muhammad, and the other as a recompense for their believing in the prophets who preceded him; for they will not lose


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will ordain you a light wherein ye may walk, and he will forgive you; for GOD is ready to forgive, and merciful! (29) that those who have received the Scriptures may know that they have not power over any of the favours of GOD, and that good is in the hand of GOD; he bestoweth the same on whom he pleaseth: for GOD is endued with great beneficence.

the reward of their former religion, though it be now abrogated by the promulgation of Islam."- Sa1e Baidhawi.

(29) That those ... may know, &c., i.e., "that they cannot expect to receive any of the favours above mentioned, because they believe not in his Apostle, and those favours are annexed to faith in him ; or, that they have not power to dispose of God's favours, particularly of the greatest of them, the gift of prophecy, so as to appropriate the same to whom they please." -Sale, Baidhawi.


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