Surat al-Qamar : The Moon

The splitting of the moon mentioned in the opening line was taken by later piety as an actual event and counted as one of the miracles of Mohammed. me passage, however, is obviously eschatological, so some partial eclipse of the moon, visible at Mecca, was apparently taken as a sign pointing towards the last Days. This reference to the Day then introduces a series of references to former peoples who were destroyed because of their refusal to heed the warning. Each of these passages save the last a in a refrain. This was probably the case originally with the last also, but only the beginning of that story has survived and in its place we now have a number of unconnected fragments.


The Hour has drawn nigh. Indeed, the moon has been split. Yet if they see a sign they turn away, and say: "Passing magic." And they have counted the message false, and have followed their own desires, even though every matter is set tied. Yet of the stories of former peoples there has, indeed, come to them that in which there is eloquent warning, Far-reaching wisdom, but the warners profit them not. So, O Mohammed, turn thou from them. On the Day when the Summoner1 will summon to a difficult thing, With downcast looks will they emerge from their graves, as though they were scattered locusts. As they hurry along to the Summoner the unbelievers will be saying: "This will be a difficult day."

Before them the people of Noah counted the message false. They counted the messenger false and said: "Jinn-possessed,"2 and he was rejected. So Noah called upon his Lord, saying: "Truly I am overcome, so come to my help." Whereupon We opened the portals of the sky with water pouring down

1 The Summoner is doubtless Allah, though in later times, when Israfel was the angel assigned to the blowing of the Trump of Doom, the Summoner was identified with him. Others seem to have considered that the Summoner was Gabriel.

2 It is not necessarily an anachronism for Mohammed to have described Noah's contemporaries as calling him "jinn-possessed." The word majnun may have been so commonly used in the Prophet's day in the sense of "crazy" that he was using it with as little thought of the jinn as we are of the moon when we use the word "lunatic."


so the waters met together in accordance with a determined decree. But him did We bear upon a vessel made of planks and nails, Which floated along under Our eyes - a recompense for him who had been disbelieved. And We have, indeed, left it 1 as a sign, but is there anyone who is reminded? So how was My punishment and My warning? Why, We have, indeed, made the lesson [qur'an] easy for a reminder, but is there anyone who is reminded? Ad counted the message false, and how was My punishment and My warning? We sent against them a roaring wind on a day of passing calamity, Which snatched men away as though they were uprooted palm-trunks. So how was My punishment and My warning? Why, We have, indeed, made the lesson easy for a reminder, but is there anyone who is reminded?

Thamud counted the warning false, And they said: "Is it a man from among ourselves, a single fellow, that we are to follow? We should in that case most assuredly be in error and in foolishness. Has the reminder been sent to him alone amongst use Nay, but he is a liar, an insolent fellow." On the morrow they will know who is the liar and the insolent fellow. We are going to send the she-camel as a testing for them, so keep watch on them, O Salih,2 and be patient, And announce to them that the water is to be divided between them, each to drink by turn. But they summoned their companion, and he made himself ready and hamstrung her. So how was My punishment and My warning? Truly, We sent against them one single blast, and they were like dried stalks used by sheepfold builders. Why, We have, indeed, made the lesson easy for a reminder, but is there anyone who is reminded?

The people of Lot counted the warning false, So We sent

1 The "it" here is feminine and so may refer rather to the story of Noah than to the ark. Yet, since fulk, the word used elsewhere in the Koran for Noah's ark, is grammatically feminine, it could possibly be a reference to the widely believed story that there were remains of Noah's ark still resting of Mount Ararat.

2 In the Thamud story in Suras 7 and 11 the name of the messenger sent by Allah to this people is Salih. For the allusion to their drinking water by turn see Sura 26, Note 9.


against them a sandstorm, except the family of Lot whom We delivered at day-break. As a favor from Us. Thus do we recompense whosoever is thankful. Lot had, indeed, given them warning of Our severity, but they had doubts about the warning, And had made lustful demands on him for his guests, so We put out their eyes, saying: "Taste ye then My punishment and My warning," And there came upon them in the morning a lasting punishment, While We said: "Taste ye My punishment and My warning." Why, We have, indeed, made the lesson easy for a reminder, but is there anyone who is reminded?

Just as truly did the warning come to the family of pharaoh, But they counted all Our signs false, so We laid hold of them with the grip of One mighty, One endued with power.

Are the unbelievers among you Meccans any better than these? Or do ye have a promise of immunity in the Books?1 Or are they saying: "We are a group who will lend one another aid?" Their group will be put to flight, and they will turn tail. Nay, but the Hour is their appointed time, and the Hour is more grievous and more bitter. Truly, the sinners are in error and in foolishness. On the Day when they are dragged on their faces into the Fire, We shall say: "Taste ye the touch of Saqar."2 We have, indeed, created everything by a decree,3 And Our command is naught but one word, swift as a glance with the eye, And We have already destroyed the likes of you,4 but is there anyone who is reminded? Every-thing they do is in the Record Books, Where everything whether small or great is written down. Truly, the pious are in gardens and among rivers, In a seat secure, in the presence of a King endued with power.

1 az-zubur here, as in 11 lines below, seems to mean the Record Books, or possibly the Book of Decrees.

2 As in Sura 74, Saqar is a name for Hell-fire.

3 bi qadarin may, however, mean no more than "by measure" or "with a limit."

4 In all probability the reference is to the communities of Noah, Ad, Thamud, Lot, and Pharaoh in the body of the Sura, who were held up as warning examples to the Meccans.


Surat as-Saffat : Those Who Set in Array

The introductory verses to this Sura may be early Meccan, but most of the pieces which have gone into its composition are middle Meccan. The core of the Sura is the group of passages telling of the previous messengers from Noah to Jonah, that about Abraham having been expanded in Medina by additional verses. To these "Prophet stories" have been prefixed certain characteristic passages vindicating Mohammed against Meccan sneers by descriptions of Allah's creation and of the Judgment and its consequences. These admirably introduce the "Prophet stories," which are then followed by passages which sharply criticize Meccan paganism and rebuke their negative attitude towards the Prophet's message. The precise references in the introductory swearing formulae are unknown, though they are commonly thought to refer to various classes of angels.


By those who set the ranks in array,1 By those who scare away by a cry, By those who recite a warning, Verily your God is One, Lord of the heavens and of the earth and of what is between them, and Lord of the rising-places of the celestial lights,2

Truly We have adorned the lower heaven with an adornment of stars, And We have set a guard against every rebellious satan.3 They [the satans] do not listen in at the Highest Council but are pelted away from every side. Banished are they, and for them is a continuing punishment. They learn naught save such an one as may snatch a chance phrase, but there follows him a gleaming flame.4 So question thou them.5 Are they a stronger creation, or those others whom We have

1 If the opening verses are taken to refer to angelic groups, then they will be (1) those who arrange the ranks of the angels for their celestial duties (or those who dress the ranks of men for Judgment), (2) those who scare away the jinn when they try to listen in at the heavenly Council (or those who chide men for their evil ways), (3) those who recite warnings from the Heavenly Book.

2 Some think that this refers to the sun, whose actual point of rising shifts along the eastern horizon with the progress of the seasons.

3 Four orders of created beings are mentioned in the Koran: (1) angels, (2) jinn, (3) men, (4) animals. The satans are one class of jinn, for in Sura 18 Satan himself, there called Iblis, is said to belong to the jinn. It is likely, however, that this distinction of classes among the jinn is a later idea and that for Mohammed satans, demons, jinn were but different names for the same creatures.

4 This is said to refer to the shooting stars, which are popularly thought of as being cast as the satans who seek to listen in at what goes on in the heavenly Council. See the third section of Sura 15.

5 The "them" would seem to be the unbelieving Meccans.


created? Indeed, We created them [i.e. humans] of sticky clay.

Nay, but thou art amazed at Allah's signs while they make mock, And when they are reminded they do not pay heed, And when they see a sign they set to making mock of it. And they say: "This is naught but manifest sorcery. Is it that when we have died and become dust and bones we are to be raised up? And also our sires, those of former times?" Say: "Yes! and ye will be abashed" For it is only a single blast, and behold! they are looking about them, And they say: "O woe to us! this is the Judgment Day." This is the Day of Severance which ye were counting false. Gather together those who have done wrong, and their consorts, and what they used to worship In place of Allah, and guide them to the path to al-Jahim.1 And make them stand, for they are to be questioned by One who will ask: "How is it that ye do not help one another?"2 Nay, but they are today seeking their own safety. They will approach one another making enquiry. Men will say: "Verily, ye used to come to us from the right hand."3 They [the false gods] will say: "Nay, but ye were not believers. We had no authority over you. Nay, it was ye who were a people given to transgression. So the sentence of our Lord has come true upon us; we, indeed, are tasting it. We made you err because we were ourselves erring." So they, on that Day, are sharing in the punishment; Thus do We deal with sinners.

They, when it was said to them: "There is no deity but Allah," were haughty, And were saying: "Shall we abandon our gods for a crazy poet?" Nay, but he came with the truth and confirmed the envoys.4 It is ye who will be tasting the painful punishment, Nor will ye be receiving recompense save for the works ye have been doing: Save Allah's servants the single-hearted,5 Those have a well-known provision, Fruits to eat while they are honoured, In gardens of delight,

1 One of the names of Hell; see Sura 73, Note 3. For the Day of Severance see Sura 77, Note 2.

2 The reference in the next 14 verses is to the false gods men used to worship but who on the Day prove their worthlessness.

3 The right had was the side of good omen.

4 al-mursalun, "those who have been sent, i.e., the messengers from Allah to mankind. The meaning is that the reaction of the Meccans to Mohammed's preaching was that he was a "crazy poet," one "jinn-possessed" (majnun) as the local poets and soothsayers were; but the reply to them is that since his message confirms the things about which former prophets preached, he must be in the prophetic succession.

5 This is Bell's translation of the word used in the refrain to these stories. mukhlas means one who is utterly sincere and devoted in his religion, or as we should say, one who serves God with single-heartedness.


Upon couches, facing one another. Borne around among them is a cup filled from a spring, White, a pleasure to those who drink, In which is no headache, nor from it will they be intoxicated. And beside them are wide-eyed damsels, restrained of glance, As though they were sheltered eggs. So they will approach one another, making enquiry. One of them will say: "I, indeed, had a close friend Who used to say: 'Are you of those who consider it true? Is it that when we have died and become dust and bones we are going to be judged?"' He will say: "Are you folk able to look down?" So he will look down and see him [his doubting friend] in the midst of al-Jahim. He will say to him: "By Allah, you came near to causing me to perish also: Had it not been for the favour of my Lord, I too should have been among those brought to torment. Is it then that we do not die Save our first death, and are we not to be punished? Truly this is the great success; For the like of this, then, let the workers work."

Is that a better repast, or the tree of Zaqqum?1 Verily, We have appointed this tree as a trial for the wrongdoers. It is a tree which emerges from the bottom of al-Jahim, Its fruit 2 is as though it were satans' heads. Indeed they will be eating of it and from it fining their bellies, Then they shall have on top of it a drink of scalding water.3 Then, indeed, the place to which they will return will be al-Jahim. Truly they found their fathers erring, Yet they in their footsteps are hastening along. Indeed, before them most of those of former times had erred, Even though We had sent among them warners. So see what the latter end was of those who were warned, Save Allah's servants, the single-hearted.

Verily, Noah called upon Us, and right good were those who responded.4 We delivered him and his household out of the great distress, And We appointed his offspring to be the survivors, And We left for him with those of later times

1 This is the tree of the infernal regions. See also Sura 73, Note 4.

2 tal is the word used for the spathe of the palm-tree, but here it would seem to mean the fruit of the tree Zaqqum.

3 This is the hamim referred to in Sara 78, Note 4.

4 I.e., those who responded to Noah's preaching.


the saying: "peace be upon Noah in the worlds." Thus, indeed do We reward those who do well. Truly, he was among Our servants, the believers. Then We drowned the others.

Verily, of Noah's party was Abraham, When he came to his Lord with a sound heart. When he said to his father and his people: "What is this ye are worshipping? Is it some false devising ye prefer as gods instead of Allah? What is your thought then of the Lord of mankind?" Then he gave a look at the stars 1 And said: "In truth, I am sick," So they turned from him departing. Then he went in alone to their gods, and said: "Do ye not eat? What is the matter with you that ye speak not in reply to me?" Alone there among them he began striking them with his right hand. Then the people came towards him, moving hastily. He said: "Is it that ye worship that which ye carve, Though Allah created both you and what ye make?" They said: "Build for him a pyre and cast him into the blaze."2 They wished to find some stratagem against him, but We made them the inferior ones. And he said: "I, indeed, am going to my Lord. He will guide me. O my Lord, give me one of the righteous as a son." So We gave him the good tidings of a meek-tempered youth.3 Then when he [the son] had reached the age of working with him,4 he said: "O my son, I see in a dream that I am to sacrifice thee. So look! what is it that thou dost see?" He said: "O my father, perform what thou art bidden. Thou wilt find me, if Allah wills, one of those who patiently endure." So when the two had thus resigned themselves, and he had laid him face downwards, We called to him: "O Abraham! Thou hast treated the vision as worthy of trust. Thus do We recompense those who do well; This, indeed, was the clear testing." So We redeemed the son by an excellent sacrifice, And We left for the father with those of later times the saying; "Peace be upon Abraham!" Thus, indeed, do We reward those who do good.

1 The story of how Abraham examined the heavenly bodies to see if any of them were really worthy of worship such as men paid them is given more fully elsewhere in the Koran. The story doubtless derives from a misunderstanding of Genesis, XV, 5.

2 The word used here for "blaze" is jahim, the same word we have seen used for the blazing fires of Hell. Doubtless the choice of word was intentional.

3 The remainder of this passage is a Medinan addition to the Sura.

4 This seems to mean when the son had passed out of the irresponsible stage of childhood and was old enough to begin sharing in the family responsibilities. Since the word sa'y is also the word used for the running between Safa and Marwa during the pilgrimage ceremonies at Mecca, and this is a Medinan passage from the time when Mohammed was busy associating the pilgrimage ceremonies with the Abraham story, Bell thinks that there may be an underlying reference to that here.


Truly, he was among Our servants, the believers, And We gave him the good news of Isaac, a Prophet, one of the righteous. And We bestowed Our blessing upon him and upon Isaac. Of the offspring of these two some were well-doers and some were doers of manifest wrong to themselves.

We showed favours also to Moses and Aaron, And delivered them both, along with their people, out of the great distress. And We aided them so that it was they who were the conquerors. And We gave to both of them the Book that makes clear, And guided them both to the straight path, And We left for them both with those of later times the saying: "Peace be upon Moses and Aaron!" Thus do We reward those who do well. Truly, both of them were among Our servants, the believers.

Verily, Elias was one of the envoys, When he said to his people: "Will ye not be pious? Do ye call upon Baal and leave the Best One of those who create, Allah, your Lord, and the Lord of your fathers, those of former times?" But they counted him false, so it is they who will be brought in to judgment, Save Allah's servants, the single-hearted. And We left for him with those of later times the saying: "Peace be upon Elias!" Thus do We reward those who do well. Truely, he was among Our servants, the believers.

And, verily, Lot was one of the envoys, When We rescued him and his household, all of them Save an old woman among those who hung behind. Then We destroyed the others. Ye, indeed, pass by them as ye go in the morning,1 And by night. Will ye not then understand?

And, verily, Jonah was one of the envoys, When he fled to the laden ship. So he took part in the casting of lots but he was one of those condemned,2 And so the fish swallowed him, for he was blameworthy, And had it not been that he

1 The caravan route to the north passed by ruins which, it is suggested here, were the ruins of the settlement to which Lot was sent as a messenger.

2 I.e., he drew the counter that condemned him to be the victim. The word used here for "fish" is hut, which is the word for Pisces in the zodiac, but it was also commonly used for "whale."


was one of those who glorify. Allah, He would have remained in its belly till the Day when they are raised. But We cast him up on the naked shore, and he was a sick man. But We caused to grow over him a plant of the gourd species,1 And We sent him to a hundred thousand, or maybe more; Then they believed, so We gave them enjoyment of life for a while.

So do thou consult them.2 Is it that thy Lord has daughters and they sons? Or did We create the angels females while they were watching? Is it not a fact that it is out of their own false devising that they say: "Allah has begotten?" They, indeed, are speaking lies. Did He give preference to daughters over sons? What is the matter with you? How are ye judging? Will ye not be reminded? Or do ye have some clear authority? Bring out your Book if ye are speaking the truth. Moreover they have made kinship between Him and the jinn, though the jinn already know that they are to be brought to judgment. Glory be to Allah! He is far removed from what they describe, Save Allah's servants, the single-hearted.

"Ye, indeed, and what ye worship 3 Will not tempt any to rebellion against Him, Save such a person as is destined to roast in al-Jahim. There is not one of us angels but has an appointed place.We are those who arrange the ranks in order,4 We are those who give glory to Allah." And though the unbelievers were saying: "Had we with us a reminder from those of former times We should have been Allah's servants, the single-hearted," Yet they have disbelieved in it [Mohammed's message]; but anon they will know. Our word came of old to Our servants the envoys. They are the ones who should have been aided. And, indeed, it is Our armies that are the conquerors. So turn thou from them for a while, O Mohammed, And observe them. Anon it is they who will observe. Is it that they would hasten on Our punishment? When it descends at their courts an evil morning will it be

1 This is merely a guess at the meaning of yaqtin, a word which occurs only here in the Koran.

2 This is a separate passage, perhaps earlier in date than what precedes. It is the Meccans whom Mohammed is bidden to consult. For their notion that Allah has daughters see Sura 53, ref. 3.

3 These lines are spoken by the angels to men.

4 Cf. The opening verse of the Sura.


for those who were warned. So turn thou from them for a while, And observe. Anon it is they who will observe. Glory be to thy Lord, Lord of the greatness. He is far removed from what they describe. Peace be upon the envoys, And praise be to Allah, Lord of mankind.

Surat ash-Shu'ara: The Poets

Again the core of the Sura is an account of previous messengers, the individual members of the account being linked by a refrain. These "Prophet stories" belong to much the same period as those of sura 37, though here the order is less chronological and more detail is given. To these stories has been prefixed a passage which chides the Meccans for their slowness to believe and then introduces the stories. The stories are followed by passages defending Mohammed's own "revelations," then the famous condemnation of the poets, from which the Sura takes its title, and a concluding passage which seems very late.


T.S.M.1 These are the signs of the Book that makes clear. Maybe, O Mohammed, thou art grieving thyself overmuch that they are not becoming believers. Did We so will We could send down upon them a sign from heaven to which their necks would become humble, Yet no renewed reminder from the Merciful comes to him [i.e., to Mohammed], but they are turning from it. Thus have they counted the message false, but there will anon come to them news of that of which they have been making mock. Is it that they have not looked at the earth, at how much We have caused to grow therein of every noble species? Truly in that is a sign, but the

1 Here is another example of the mysterious letters which stand at the head of certain Suras (see Sura 68, Note 1). The matter is discussed in Nöldeke-Schwally, Geschichte des Qorans, II, (Leipzig, 1919), pp. 68-78.


majority of them are not believers. Yet thy Lord, indeed, He is the Sublime, the Compassionate.

Now when his Lord summoned Moses, saying: "Go to the people, the wrongdoers, The people of Pharaoh; will they not show piety?" He said: "O my Lord, I fear, indeed, that they will count me false. Moreover my breast is straitened and my tongue moves not freely, so send to Aaron. Also they have a crime they are holding against me, so I am afraid they may kill me." He said; "Nay, not so! Go both of you with Our signs. We shall be with you hearkening. So go both of you to Pharaoh, and say: 'We are messengers from the Lord of mankind; Send forth with us the Children of Israel.'" Pharaoh said: "Did we not rear thee with us as a child? Indeed, thou hast passed years of thy life amongst us, And hast thou not done that deed of thine which thou didst? Thus thou art one of the ungrateful." Said he: "I did it at a time when I was one of the erring, So I fled from you Egyptians when I was afraid of you, but my Lord gave me wisdom and made me one of the envoys. And what a favour that is thou bestowest on me in that thou hast enslaved the Children of Israel!" Said Pharaoh: "And what is this title Lord of mankind?" He said: "He is Lord of the heavens and the earth and what is between them both, if ye are those who form right judgment." Said Pharaoh to those who were around him: "Do ye not hearken?" Said Moses: "Your Lord and Lord of your fathers of former times." Said Pharaoh: "Assuredly your messenger who has been sent to you is jinn-possessed" Said Moses: "Lord of the East and of the West and what is between them both, if ye are intelligent." Said Pharaoh: "As sure as thou takest another deity instead of me! shall appoint thee to be among the imprisoned." Said Moses: "But what if I bring thee something which makes the matter clear?" Said Pharaoh: "Come along with it then, if thou art of those


who speak the truth." So he cast down his staff, and behold! It was a manifest serpent, Also he drew forth his hand from his bosom, and behold! It was white to the beholders. Said Pharaoh to the Council around him: "This fellow is indeed a knowing sorcerer Who wants to drive you out from your land by his sorcery, so what orders would you give?" They said: "Put him and his brother off awhile, and send into the cities those who will assemble And bring to you every knowing expert in sorcery." So the sorcerers were gathered together for the appointment of a day that had been fixed. Also the people were asked: "Are ye going to assemble?" They answered: "Maybe we shall follow the sorcerers, if they are the ones who overcome." When the sorcerers came they said to Pharaoh: "Is it that we shall have a reward should we be those who overcome?" Said he: "Yea! and in that case ye shall be those who draw near to me." Moses said to them: "Cast down what ye are going to cast down." So they cast down their ropes and their staves, and they said: "By the greatness 1 of pharaoh we shall be those who overcome." Then Moses cast down his staff, and behold! it swallowed up what they were falsely devising, So the sorcerers cast themselves down, doing obeisance. They said: "We believe in the Lord of mankind, The Lord of Moses and Aaron." Said Pharaoh: "Is it that ye have believed in Him 2 before I have given you permission? Verily, He is your chief who has taught you sorcery, so ere long ye will know, for I shall assuredly cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and I shall crucify the lot of you." They said: "No harm! We are turning to our Lord, Indeed, we earnestly desire that our Lord will forgive us our sins now that we have become the first believers." Then We spoke by revelation to Moses, saying: "Go forth by night with My servants, for ye will surely be followed." Then Pharaoh sent unto the cities those who would assemble troops. They said: "Lo! these are but a small band, few in number,

1 There is perhaps a particular point in the use of the word izza here, for it is a word especially associated with Allah, who at the end of Sura 37 is called "Lord of greatness," while Sura 35 says: "If anyone desires greatness, why all greatness belongs to Allah." The use of this word here might thus be meant to suggest that the Egyptian sorcerers recognized Pharaoh's claim to be divine.

2 This takes the pronoun to refer to the "Lord of mankind" in whom they have confessed their belief, and who Pharaoh now says is but the chief sorcerer from whom they have learned their art of sorcery. Others, however, take the pronoun as referring to Moses.


Even though they are enraged at us, But we are quite a band, on our guard." This We brought them forth from the land of gardens and fountains, And pleasures and a noble estate, Thus it was; and We gave them as an inheritance to the Children of Israel. But the Egyptians followed them, getting up at sunrise, And when the two hosts saw one another, the companions of Moses said: "We are surely overtaken." Said he: "Nay, not so! Truly my Lord is with me. He will guide me." So We spoke by revelation to Moses, saying: "Smite the sea with thy staff," and it was split asunder, so that each part was like a great mountain, And there We brought along the others. We saved Moses and all those who were with him, Then We drowned the others. Truly, in that there is a sign for the Meccans, but the major part of them have not become believers. Yet thy Lord, indeed, He is the Sublime, the Compassionate.

So recite to them, O Mohammed, the story of Abraham. When he said to his father and to his people: "What are ye worshipping?" They said: "We worship idols and we maintain constant devotion to them." Said he: "And do they hear you when ye call upon them? Or do they do you either benefit or harm?" They said: "Nay, but we found our fathers acting thus." Said he: "Have ye ever thought about what it is ye are worshipping, Ye and your fathers of earlier times? They, indeed, [i.e., the false gods] are an enemy to me, save the Lord of mankind Who created me, for it is He who guides me, And He it is who gives me food and drink, And when I am sick then He heals me. And He it is who will cause me to die and then bring me to life, And Who, I earnestly desire, may forgive me my sins on the Day of Judgment. O my Lord, grant me wisdom, and join me up with the righteous, And appoint for me a tongue of truth 1 among the latter peoples, And appoint me among those who inherit the Garden of De-

1 Some take this to mean a good reputation, in that he will always be spoken highly of by those of later generations. Others think that it means, "put words on my tongue that will be firmly believed by later peoples." In Sura 19, Ref. 8, the "tongue of truth" is said to have been given to Isaac and Jacob.


light. And forgive my father, for he was one of those who went astray. And pit me not to shame on the Day men are raised, A Day when wealth will not profit one, nor children, Save such as come to Allah with a sound heart, A Day when the Garden has been brought near to the pious, While al-Jahim has been made visible to those who have been beguiled" Then to them it will be said: "Where is that which ye were worshipping Instead of Allah? Are they giving you any aid, or are they aiding themselves?" Then into it they will be thrown headlong, they and those who have been beguiled. And all the hosts of Iblis.1 Men will say while they are therein wrangling with one another: "By Allah! we were indeed in manifest error When we put you on an equality with the Lord of mankind. It was none but the sinners led us astray, So now we have no intercessors, Nor any warm friend. Would that we might have another chance, so that we might be among the believers!" Truly, in that there is a sign for the Meccans, but the major part of them have not become believers, Yet thy Lord, He is the Sublime, the Compassionate.

The people of Noah counted the envoys false, When their brother Noah said to them: "Will ye not be pious? I, indeed, am a faithful messenger to you, So shew piety towards Allah, and obey me.2 I am asking of you no reward for it. My reward depends solely on the Lord of mankind, So shew piety towards Allah, and obey me." Said they: "Are we to believe in thee when only the vilest folk follow thee?" Said he: "But what knowledge do I have of what they were doing? Their accounting is with none but my Lord. Would that ye could perceive this, For I am not going to turn believers away.' I am nothing but a warner who makes clear." They said: "If thou dost not put an end to this, O Noah, thou wilt assuredly be one of the stoned." He said: "O my Lord, my people have counted me false, So open Thou an opening 3 between me

1 Iblis, a name derived from the Greek diabolos, is commonly used in the Koran as a name of Satan.

2 This demand for obedience which occurs constantly in the Prophet stories given in the Koran arises from Mohammed's idea that a messenger sent from Allah was not only a preacher but also a legislator sent to lay down a rule of life that was to be obeyed.

3 Their objection is that the only impression made by the preaching of Noah had been on the disreputable section of the community. Noah replies that whether they were disreputable or not was a matter for Allah to decide; his own prophetic task was to warn and to accept as followers any who would believe.

4 This is generally taken to mean "give a clear decision," but it may be his prayer to Allah to open the heavens, since the next verse speaks of the ark and the drowning of the unbelievers.


and them, and rescue me, and with me those who believe." So We did rescue him, and those with him, in the fully-laden ark. Then afterwards, We drowned those who remained. Truly in that there is a sign for the Meccans, but the major part of them have not become believers, Yet thy Lord, indeed, He is the Sublime, the Compassionate.

Ad counted the envoys false, When their brother Hud said to them: "Will ye not be pious? I, indeed, am a faithful messenger to you, So shew piety towards Allah, and obey me. I am asking of you no reward for it. My reward depends solely on the Lord of mankind. Do ye build on every height a land-mark, amusing yourselves? And do ye take for yourselves huge structures wherein maybe ye may long abide? And whenever ye make an onslaught ye make onslaught as though ye were giants? Shew piety towards Allah and obey me, And shew piety towards Him who caused you to abound in that whereof ye know. He caused you to abound in cattle and in children, And gardens and fountains. Truly I fear for you the punishment of a mighty day." Said they: "It is the same to us whether thou hast preached or hast not been one of the preachers; This is naught but some creation of the ancients, And we are not those who will be punished." Thus they counted him false and We destroyed them. Truly in that there is a sign for the Meccans, but the major part of them have not become believers, Yet thy Lord, indeed, He is the Sublime, the Compassionate.

Thamud counted the envoys false, When their brother Salih said to them: "Will ye not be pious? I, indeed, am a faithful messenger to you, So shew piety towards Allah, and obey me. I am asking you no reward for it. My reward depends solely on the Lord of mankind. Will ye be left in the midst of what is here secure? Amidst gardens and fountains, And cultivated fields and palm trees whose spathes are thinly smooth? And


will ye hew out houses for yourselves from the mountains, working cleverly? Shew piety towards Allah, and obey me, And obey not the bidding of those who go to excess, Who cause corruption in the land instead of working reform." Said they: "Thou art only one of the ensorcelled, Thou art naught but a man like us, so produce a sign if thou art one of those who speak the truth." He said: "This is a she-camel I have produced. She shall have a drink and ye shall have a drink on a settled day, So touch her not with evil intent lest there overtake you the punishment of a mighty day.1 But they hamstrung her, and rose in the morning penitent, But the punishment overtook them. Truly in that there is a sign for the Meccans, but the major part of them have not become believers, Yet thy Lord, indeed, He is the Sublime, the Compassionate.

The people of Lot counted the envoys false, When their brother Lot said to them: "Will ye not be pious? I, indeed, am a faithful messenger to you, So shew piety towards Allah, and obey me. I am asking you no reward for it. My reward depends solely on the Lord of mankind. Do ye come at the males among mankind, And leave what your Lord created for you, namely your spouses? Nay, but ye are a wicked people." Said they: "If thou dost not put an end to this, O Lot, thou wilt assuredly be one of the banished." He said: "Truly, I am one of those who abhor your doings. O my Lord, save me and my household from what they are doing." So We rescued him and his household, all of them Save an old woman among those who tarried. Then We destroyed the rest, For We rained upon them a rain, and evil was the rain for those who had been warned. Truly in that there is a sign for the Meccans, but the major part of them have not become believers, Yet thy Lord, indeed, He is the Sublime, the Compassionate.

1 The legend is that this miraculous she-camel drank so much they had to appoint alternate days at their well, the camel watering one day and the people of Thamud the next. See Sura 54, Ref. 4.


The people of the Grove counted the envoys false. When Shu'aib1 said unto them: "Will ye not be pious? I, indeed, am a faithful messenger to you, So shew piety towards Allah, and obey me. I am asking you no reward for it. My reward depends solely on the Lord of mankind. Give full measure, and be not of those who cause loss to others, So do your weighing with a true balance, And defraud not men of their substance, and do not do evil in the land, causing corruption, But shew piety towards Him who created you and the multitudes of ancient times." Said they: "Thou art only one of the ensorcelled. Thou art only a man like us, and truly we think thee one of the liars, So make some segments of the sky fall down on us if thou art of those who speak the truth." He said: "My Lord knows best about what ye are doing." So they counted him false, and there overtook them the punishment of a day of the overshadowing cloud. Verily it was the punishment of a mighty day. Truly, in that there is a sign for the Meccans, but the major part of them have not become believers, Yet thy Lord, indeed, He is the Sublime, the Compassionate.

Now this message is indeed a revelation 2 from the Lord of mankind. The faithful spirit came down with it Upon thy heart, that thou mightest be one of those who warn. It has been sent down in clear Arabic speech, And indeed it is in the Books of the former peoples. Was it not a sign to them that the Divines 3 of the Children of Israel recognize it? Had We sent it down upon one of the foreigners And he had recited it to them, they would not have been believing in it. Thus have We made a way for it in the hearts of sinners. They will not believe in it until they see the painful punishment, For it will come on them suddenly while they are not aware, So that they will say: "Are we to be respited?" Is it that they are seeking to hasten Our punishment? Hast thou given thought? If We have given them enjoyment for years, And then there

1 Since the people of the Grove to whom Shu'aib was sent were the Midianites, as we learn from other passages in the Koran, there have been those who equated Shu'aib with the Biblical Jethro. It seems more likely, however, that like Hud and Salih this is just a name given as a prophet-name to fit an ancient Arab legend into Mohammed's list of warning examples from the past.

2 tanzil is literally " a sending down," i.e., something sent from Allah. The "faithful spirit" in the next verse is regarded as a name for Gabriel, since Mohammed later associated him with the bringing of revelation. It is very possible, however, that at first it referred to the Holy Spirit.

3 ulama, the "learned," particularly those learned in theological matters, and so in our language "the Divines" as Doctors of Divinity.


comes to them that which they were promised, What will what they have been enjoying avail them? We have not destroyed any city but it has had those who gave warning. As a reminder, and We have not been wrongdoers.

The satans did not come down with it. It was not befitting for them, nor were they able. They indeed are far removed from hearing it, So do not call on any other deity along with Allah, lest thou be among those to be punished, But warn thy kindred who are the nearest, And lower thy wing to whosoever of the believers may follow thee. Then, if they oppose thee, say: "I, indeed, am innocent of what ye do," And rely upon the Sublime, the Compassionate, Who sees thee when thou standest, And sees thee turning thyself among those who are prostrating themselves in obeisance. He, indeed, is the One who hears and knows.

Shall I inform you Meccans upon whom the satans come down? They come down upon every wicked liar. They impart what they hear, but the majority of them are liars, And the poets, those who are beguiled, follow them. Dost thou not see that in every valley they wander love-distraught? And that they say what they do not do?

Save those who believe and work righteous works, and make much mention of Allah, and who make their defence after they have been wronged. Also those who do wrong will know anon with what an upsetting they will be upset.


Surat Ta Ha : T.H.

The main portion of this Sura was apparently constructed as a unit to tell in some fullness the story of Moses. As such it has an introduction and an epilogue. To this various odd bits, including apiece with the Adam story, were added by the compilers; these constitute the last two sections. Much of the material in the Moses story is Middle Meccan but the whole would seem to have been revised in Medina. The curiously mixed-up chronology of the Moses story is due to the fact that the story has been pieced together from a number of pieces of quite different provenance. The Sura gets its name from the mysterious letters with which it opens.


T.H. We have not sent down the lesson [qur'an] upon thee that thou shouldst be miserable, But as a reminder to him who fears. It is a revelation from Him who created the earth and the high heavens. The Merciful has taken His seat upon the Throne. His is whatever is in the heavens, and whatever is on earth, and what is between them both, and what is beneath the soil.1 There is no need for thee to speak loudly, for He knows the secrets and what is even more hidden. Allah, there is no deity save Him; His are the most beautiful names.2

Has there come to thee, O Mohammed, the story of Moses? When he saw a fire he said to his household: "Abide ye here. I have caught sight of a fire; maybe I shall bring you a brand from it, or maybe I shall find guidance at the fire." But when he reached it there came a call to him: "O Moses! Verily, I am thy Lord, so remove thy sandals. Truly thou art in the holy vale Tuwa,3 And I have chosen thee, so hearken to what is revealed. It is I, indeed, who am Allah. There is no deity

1 ath-thara means earth which is moist after rains. In later thought, however, there had to be a lowest depth to correspond to the highest height of heaven, and so "beneath the thara" was taken to mean "below the lowest depths."

2 The ninety-nine beads of a Moslem rosary are meant to represent these "most beautiful name," which the pious pronounce one by one as they "tell" the beads with their fingers.

3 See Sura 79, Note 4.


save Me. So worship thou Me, and observe prayer as a remembrance of Me. Truly the Hour is coming - I can barely keep it hidden-that every soul may be recompensed for that after which it strives, So let not one who believes not in it, but follows his own desire, turn thee from it so that thou dost perish. And what is that in thy right hand, O Moses?" He said: "It is my staff on which I lean, and with which I beat down leaves for my flock, and for which I have also other uses." Said He: "Cast it down, O Moses!" So he cast it down, and behold! it was a serpent that moved along. Said He: "Take hold of it, and be not afraid: We shall make it return to its former state. Now put thy hand close into thine arm-pit;1 it will come out white but unharmed, as another sign, That We may show thee some of Our greatest signs. Go to Pharaoh, for he has wickedly transgressed." He said: "O my Lord, expand for me my breast, And ease for me my affair, And loose a knot from my tongue,2 So that they may understand my speech. And appoint for me a vizier from my own house-hold, Aaron, my brother. By him strengthen my loins, And associate him with me in my affair, That we may give much glory to Thee, And make frequent mention of Thee. Thou hast, indeed, been regarding us." Said He: "Thou hast been granted what thou hast requested, O Moses, Though We had already bestowed favour on thee at another time, When We revealed to thy mother that which was revealed, Saying: 'Cast him into the ark 3 and cast it into the sea, and let the sea cast it on the shore. One who is an enemy to Me and an enemy to him will take him up.' And I threw upon thee a token of love from Myself, and all this was that thou mightest be fashioned according to My eye. So when thy sister was walking she said: 'Shall I point out to you someone who will nurse hime' Thus did We return thee to thy mother, that her eye might be cheered and that she grieve not. Then thou didst slay a person, but We rescued thee from that trouble, and We tried

1 See the second section of Sura 26. In Sura 28 Moses is bidden put his hand in his jaib, i.e., the opening of his gown at the bottom. Here he is told to put it into his janah, literally his "wind," meaning apparently under his arm-pit, which is confirmed by what follows in Sura 28, where he is bidden press his janah close without fear. See Exodus IV, 6, 7.

2 Cf. the second section of Sura 26. That Moses had difficulties with his speech is derived, or course, from Exodus IV, 10.

3 The word for "ark" here is tabut, the word used also for the Israelitish Ark of the Covenant. It means a wooden chest, whereas the word for Noah's ark is fulk, derived from the Greek epholkion, and is preserved in the molten felucca. The word for "sea" in this passage is yamm, a loan-word in Arabic, as it was also in Ancient Egyptian, and is probably meant to suggest the Nile, which is often call "the sea."


thee with trials, so thou didst tarry for years with the people of Midian, and then thou didst come in accordance with a decree, O Moses. And I fashioned thee for Myself. Go thou and thy brother with My signs, and be not slack in remembrance of Me. Go ye to Pharaoh! He, indeed, has wickedly transgressed, But speak ye to him with gentle speech, so that maybe he will be reminded, or will fear." They said: "O our Lord, truly we are afraid lest he break out in anger against us, or wickedly transgress." Said He: "Be ye not afraid, for lam with you. I hear and I see." So they came to him and they said: "We are two messengers from thy Lord, so send forth with us the Children of Israel, and do not punish them. We have now come to thee with a sign from thy Lord, and peace be upon him who follows the guidance! We, indeed, have had it revealed to us that the punishment will be upon him who counts the message false and turns away." He said: "And who is the Lord of you two, O Moses?" He said: "Our Lord, Who gave to everything its nature, then guided it the way it should go." Pharaoh said: "Then what about the former generations?" Moses said: "Knowledge about them is with my Lord in a Book. My Lord does not err nor does He forget, He who appointed the earth to be for you a cradle, and laid out paths thereon for you, and sent down rain from the skies, whereby We have brought forth various species of plants, Saying: 'Eat ye, and pasture your flocks.' Verily in that surely there are signs for those possessed of understanding. From the earth did We create you, and into it shall We return you, and from it bring you forth once more.'' Then We showed him all Our signs but he counted them false and disdained to believe. He said: "Hast thou come to drive us out of our land by thy sorcery, O Moses? We shall assuredly produce for thee sorcery like it, so appoint a time of meeting between us and thee, which neither we nor thou will fail to keep at some halfway place." Moses said: "Your appointed time will be


the decoration day,1 that the people may assemble in the fore-noon." So Pharaoh turned away and prepared his stratagem. Then he came, Moses said to them: "Woe to you! Devise not a lie against Allah lest He exterminate you by a punishment. He who devises devices against Allah has already failed." So the Egyptian sorcerers discussed their affair among themselves and kept their conference secret. They said: "These two are sorcerers who desire to drive you from your land by their sorcery, and take away your most excellent way of life, So prepare your stratagem, then come along in orderly ranks. He who today gets the upper hand will have prospered." They said: "O Moses, either thou wilt cast or we shall be the first to cast." Said he: "Nay, but do ye cast," and lo! their ropes and their staves appeared to him, because of their sorcery, as though they were running, Where at Moses felt within himself a fearfulness. We said: "Fear not! it is thou who art the superior, So cast what is in thy right hand; it will swallow up what they have produced. They have produced only a sorcerer's stratagem, and no sorcerer will prosper, wherever it be he may come." Then tile sorcerers fell down doing obeisance. They said: "We believe in the Lord of Aaron and Moses." Pharaoh said: "Have ye believed in Him before I gave you permission? He, indeed, is your chief who has taught you sorcery. I shall assuredly cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides, and just as assuredly shall I crucify you on palm-tree trunks,2 so ye will surely know which of us is the severer and more enduring in punishment."They said: "Never shall we give thee preference over the clear evidences that have come to us, and over Him who created us. Decide what thou art going to decide c6ncerning us, for thy deciding affects only this worldly life. We have believed in Our Lord, that He may forgive us our sins and the sorcery to which thou didst compel us, for Allah is better and is more enduring. The fact is that he who comes to his Lord a sinner, for him is

1 Literally "day of adornment," i.e., a national feast day or holiday when the people, not having to go to their usual labors, would be able to assemble in the morning.

2 This is an anachronism for the punishment of crucifixion was unknown in ancient Egypt.


Gehenna, in which he neither dies nor live. But he who come to Him a believer who has done righteous works, for such as these are the highest ranks in Paradise, Gardens of Eden, beneath which rivers flow, in which they will be for ever. That is the recompense of him who has made an effort to be pure."

Then We spoke to Moses by revelation, saying: "Go forth by night with My servants, and smite for them a way by dry land in the sea. Have no fear of being overtaken, and be not afraid." Then Pharaoh had them followed by his armies, so there covered them, of the sea, what covered them. Thus Pharaoh led his people astray instead of guiding them. O Children of Israel, We certainly rescued you from your enemy, and We made an appointment with you at the right-hand side of at-Tur,1 and We sent down for you the manna and the quail. Eat of the good things which We have given you as a provision, but go not to excess therein lest My anger light upon you, for whosoever has My anger light upon him has already and believes and acts righteously, then submits to guidance. perished. Yet am I, indeed, forgiving to whosoever repents and believes and acts righteously, then submits to guidance.

But what has made thee hasten away from thy people, O Moses? He said: "They are those following after me,2 but I hastened on to Thee, O my Lord, that Thou mightest be well-pleased." Said He: "Now, indeed, have We tested thy people after thy leaving them, and the Samaritan has led them astray."3 Then Moses returned to his people angered and chagrined. He said: "O my people, did not your Lord make you an excellent promise? Did the covenant then seem to last too long for you, or did ye desire that anger from your Lord light upon you, that ye failed my appointment?" They said: "We did not of our own accord fail thy appointment, but we were made to carry loads of the people's ornaments, so we threw them down." Thus also did the Samaritan cast,

1 This is the Aramaic word for "mountain" and is a common name for Mt. Sinai. The words for manna and quail are those used in the Hebrew Bible (Exocus XVI, 13, 15).

2 These are said to be the Seventy Elders of Exodus XVIII, 25 and it is these seventy whom Moses upbraids for not having kept the appointment, and who, ten line below complain that they had to bear the people's ornaments.

3 In this account of the episode of the golden calf there is, as Horovitz pointed out, a curious confusion with story in II Chronicles XIII, 6 ff. of how Jeroboam set up calf-worship in Samaria. The Samaritan schism is doubtless what is referred to later in this section.


And he produced for them a calf, a body which lowed. And they said: "That is your god, and the god of Moses, but he has forgotten." But do they not see that it returns no word to them, and that it possesses no power either to harm or to benefit them? Aaron had already said to them beforehand: "O my people, ye are only being put to the test by it. Your Lord is the Merciful, so follow me and be obedient to my command." They said: "We shall not cease being devoted to it till Moses returns to us." Said Moses: "O Aaron, what hindered thee when thou sawest them going astray, That thou didst not follow me? Hast thou disobeyed my command?" Said Aaron: "O mother's son, seize me not by my beard or by my head. I, indeed, was afraid thou wouldst say: 'Thou hast caused a schism among the Children of Israel, and didst not observe what I said."' Moses said: "And what is thy statement, O Samaritan?" Said he: "I saw what they saw not, so I took a handful from the track of the messenger and threw it, for thus did my soul suggest to me."1 Moses said: "Begone, then; and truly it shall be thine throughout life to say: 'No touching!' Thine also is an appointment thou wilt not fail to keep. So look at thy god to which thou didst continue so devoted. Most assuredly we shall burn it, then grind it to powder and cast it into the sea. Allah alone is your God, He than Whom there is no other deity, Whose knowledge embraces all things."

Thus do We recount to thee, O Mohammed, some of the stories of what happened of old, and We have, indeed, given thee from Ourselves a reminder. Whosoever turns aside from it, he, truly, on the Day of Resurrection will carry a burden. Such will continue under it, and an evil load will it be for them on the Day of Resurrection-A Day when there will be a blast on the Trump [Sur], and We shall assemble the sinners, on that Day, blue.2 Among themselves they will be

1 What we have here is a confused reminiscence of Exodus XXXII, 21-24.

2 The plural of the word for "blue" occurs only here in the Koran. Some suggest that it merely means "blind" (see towards the end of the next section); but to the people who heard these words, blueness was an inauspicious thing.


softly saying: "Ye have tarried no more than ten days in the grave." We know right well what they will say, when the one of them whose way of life has been the most exemplary will say: "Ye have tarried no more than a day."1 And they will question thee about the mountains. Say: "My Lord will grind them to powder, And leave them a levelled-off plain, In which thou wilt see no crookedness and no curve [i.e., there will be no hills or valleys]. On that Day they will follow the Summoner, who knows no crookedness, and voices will be lowered before the Merciful, so that thou wilt hear nothing but a shuffling of feet. On that Day no intercession will avail save that of him to whom the Merciful gives permission and is pleased to let speak. He knows what is before them and what is behind them, though their knowledge compasses not Him. Faces will be humbled before the Living One, the Self-subsistent, and whosoever is carrying his burden of wrongdoing will indeed have failed; But whosoever has done righteous works, and is a believer, he will fear neither wrong nor defrauding.

And thus We have sent it down an Arabic Qur'an, and in it We have set forth clearly some threats, that maybe they will shew piety, or that it may be again to them a reminder. So, exalted be Allah, the King, the True One. Be not thou hasty with the lesson [qur'an] before its being revealed to thee is finished, and say: "O my Lord, increase me in knowledge.

Truly, of old We made a covenant with Adam, but he was forgetful, and We found in him no constancy. And when We said to the angels: "Do obeisance to Adam," they did obeisance, save Iblis, who disdainfully refused. So We said: "O Adam, truly this one is an enemy to thee and to thy wife, so let him not drive you both from the garden, that thou shouldst become wretched. Verily it is thine not to hunger therein nor be naked, And that thou shouldst not thirst therein

1 In other religions also we find this idea that the resurrected will imagine they have been but a short time in the grave.


nor suffer from the sun's heat." But Satan whispered to him. He said: "O Adam, shall I direct thee to the Tree of Eternity and a possession that grows not old?" So they both ate thereof, whereat their pudenda became noticeable to them, so they set about sewing for themselves garments from some leaves of the garden. Thus Adam disobeyed his Lord and went astray. Then his Lord chose him, so that He turned to him and gave guidance. He said: "Get ye down from Paradise, both together, the one of you an enemy to the other, but should guidance from Me come to you, then whosoever follows My guidance will not err, nor will he be wretched, But whosoever turns away from remembrance of Me, for him, truly, there is a narrow life, and We shall assemble him blind on Resurrection Day." He will say: "O my Lord, why hast Thou assembled me blind, though I used to be one who sees?" Allah will say: "Thus is it to be. Our signs came to thee, but thou wast forgetful of them and so today thou art forgotten." Thus do We recompense him who has transgressed and who did not believe in the signs of his Lord. Truly, the punishment of the Hereafter is more severe and more lasting.

Has there been no guidance for them in the number of generations We have destroyed before them, through whose dwelling-places they walk? Truly, in that there are signs for those possessed of understanding. Had it not been for a word from thy Lord which preceded, the Judgment would have been right here, but it is a time fixed. So, O Mohammed, endure with patience what they are saying about thee, and glorify thy Lord with praise before the rising of the sun and before its setting, and at the night watches, and give glory also at the ends of the day; maybe thou wilt be well-pleasing to Him. And let not thine eyes look with longing at what We have given divers of them to enjoy, the splendour of this present world, that thereby We may put them to the test, for


the provision of thy Lord is better and more lasting. Enjoin prayer on thy household, and continue steadfastly therein. We ask thee for no provision, rather do We provide for thee, and the final outcome depends on piety.1 They say: "Why does he not bring to us a sign from his Lord?" Has there not come to them the clear evidence of what is in the former scrolls? Had We destroyed them by a punishment before it.2 came to them they would have said: "O our Lord, hadst Thou sent to us a messenger we would have followed Thy signs before we were humiliated and disgraced." Say: "Everyone is waiting expectantly for the Hour, so wait ye expectantly, and ye shall know who are the people of the even path, and who has accepted guidance."

Surat al-Hijr : Al Hijr

The Sura derives its name from the settlement in the northern Hejaz, the Hegra of the Nabataean inscriptions, which was a stopping place on the caravan route to the north, and which is mentioned toward the end of the Sura as a place to which one of Allah's envoys was sent. The passages about Iblis, about al Hijr, and about Abraham and Lot are Middle Meccan, though as the Abraham and Lot stories are here connected, and it is obvious that two originally distinct stories have. been combined, this must be later than those Suras in which they are still independent. The creation piece (second section) which leads up to the Iblis story is even earlier, but the introduction and the concluding verses are almost certainly Medinan.


A.L.R. These are the signs of the Book, and of a lesson [qur'an] that makes clear. Often will those who have disbe-

1 The point here is that the pagan idols had to have sacrifices and offerings as daily provision form their worshipers, whereas Allah demands no such offerings, for He is the One who provides for mankind. Thus what finally will count, the ultimate issue, will not depend on the richness of the offerings man has made at altars, but on the piety he has shown towards Allah.

2 The "it" here seems to mean the message of Mohammed, which as he often says, is in substance the same as had been revealed in previous Scriptures.


lieved wish that they had become submissive. Let them eat and enjoy themselves, and let hope beguile them, for anon they will know. Yet We have not destroyed any town save when there was for it a known decree.1There is no people that anticipates its term, and none can retard it.

Now, they said: "O thou to whom the reminder has been sent down, thou art, indeed, one jinn-possessed. Why dost thou not bring us the angels, if thou art of those who tell the truth?" We do not send the angels down save with the truth, and these folk then would not be granted respite. We it is, indeed, Who have sent down the reminder, and it is We who will keep watch for it. We, indeed, have sent messengers before thee among the sects of former peoples, And never would a messenger come to them but they would be making jest of him. Likewise We make a way for it in the hearts of sinners. They do not believe in it, though, indeed, the customary rule of life of the former peoples has come to an end. Were We to open for them one of the gates of heaven so that they could mount up continually into it, They would say: "Our sight has been made drunken, Nay, but we are a people who have been ensorcelled."

Truly, We have set constellations 2 in the sky, and have beautified them for those who behold, And have guarded them from every stoned satan, Save such as may stealthily hearken, but such are followed by a clear flame.3 And the earth We have spread out, and cast mountains upon it, and in it have caused to grow everything that is measured. Also in it We have appointed for you means of livelihood, and for those for whom ye cannot make provision. And there is not a thing but with Us are its storehouses, and We do not send it down save by fixed measure. Also We have sent forth the winds as fertilizers, and from the skies have We sent down water, so that We may give you drink thereby. It is not ye

1 A known writing (kitab), i.e., it was only destroyed when that fate was already written down in the Book of Decrees. This Book is referred to again in Sura 17 in connection with the destruction of towns.

2 buruj as in the opening verse of Sura 85.

3 See Sura 37, Note 4, for the jinn who try to listen in at the heavenly Councils being driven away by shooting stars.


who are storers of it. Also it is We, indeed, Who cause to live and cause to die and We are the ultimate inheritors.1 Truly We know those of you who seek to press forward, and just as truly We know those who seek to hang back. Verily thy Lord is He Who will assemble them for Judgment. He, indeed, is wise, knowing. And We created man from potter's clay, of moulded mud, But the jinn We created earlier from the fire of the simoon.2

And when thy Lord said to the angels: "Behold! I am about to create a man from potter's clay, of moulded mud; So when I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My spirit, then fall down before him doing obeisance," Then the angels, all of them together, did obeisance, Save Iblis, who disdainfully refused to be among those doing obeisance. Said Allah: "O Iblis, what is the matter with thee that thou art not among those doing obeisance?" Said he: "I am not one who would do obeisance to a man whom Thou hast created from potter's clay, of moulded mud." Said Allah: "Then get out from the garden, for thou art stoned, And, truly, on thee shall be the curse till the Day of judgment." Said he: "O my Lord, grant me respite till the Day when they are raised." Said He: "Verily thou art one of those respited Till the day of the set time." He said: "O my Lord, inasmuch as Thou hast turned me away I shall make things look fine to them on earth and turn them away altogether, Save Thy servants among them who are single hearted." Said Allah: "This is the straight path for Me. Truly, over My servants thou hast no authority, save over those perverse ones who follow thee, And Gehenna, indeed, is the place appointed for all of them." It has seven gates and to each gate is one section of them assigned. Those, however, who show piety are amidst gardens and fountains. To them it is said: "Enter ye in peace, fully secure," And We shall have removed any rancour there may have been in their

1 This is the Alpha and Omega idea. As Allah was the sole possessor in the beginning, and has bestowed on men everything that they possess, so ultimately all will return to Him, and thus He will be the final inheritor of all.

2 The samum is the burning desert wind called also in English the "simoom."


breasts, so that as brethren they may sit facing one another on ever be turned out of it.

Announce, O Mohammed, to My servants that I am, indeed, the Forgiving, the Compassionate, But that My punishment is the painful punishment. Tell them also about Abraham's guests, When they entered to him, and said: "Peace. He said: "Truly we are afeared of you." They said: "Have no fear. We are bringing you good tidings of a knowing youth." Said he: "Do ye give me such tidings in spite of the fact that old age hath touched me? So what is this good tidings ye give?" They said: "We have given you good tidings in very truth, so do not be among those who despond." Said he: "What then is your message, O ye envoys'." They said: "Truly, we have been sent to a people who are sinners, Save the family of Lot, all of whom we are going to rescue," Except his wife,1 for We had decreed that she be one of those who tarried. Then, when the envoys came to Lot's family, He said: "Ye are people unknown to me." They said: "Nay, but we have brought that about which they are in doubt, So set off with thy household in one of the night watches, and do thou follow behind them, saying: 'Let not one of you turn around, but pass along whither ye are bidden."' We delivered to him this command to depart because these Sodomites were to be cut off to the last man as they arose in the morning. Now the people of the city came to Lot's house rejoicing. Said he: "But these are my guests, so do not disgrace me, But show piety towards Allah, and put me not to shame." They said: "And did we not forbid thee from mankind?"2 Said he: "Here are my daughters if ye are going to act thus." By thy life, in the intoxication of their lust they were out of their senses, So the Shout 3 took them as they arose at sunrise, And We turned their city upside down,' and rained upon them

1 In Sura 26 it was only "an old woman," but here as in Genesis XIX it is Lot's wife. It will be noticed from many details in this passage how the Prophet's acquaintance with Biblical material improves as his mission advances.

2 This would seem to be a reminiscence of the Rabbinic notion we find recorded in Genesis Rabba l, 7, that the men Sodom considered Abraham, by accepting these strangers in his home, to have violated the decree they had laid down about strangers.

3 In the Koran the word saiha, "shout," appears frequently in connection with the destruction of former peoples, e.g., those destroyed in Noah's day be the deluge (Sura 23), and Korah and his group (Sura 29). It invariably precedes the act of destruction, and is a mighty sound from heaven, which will also precede the final act of destruction on the Last Day (Sura 36, Ref. 9). Its Biblical antecedents are the "great noise" of II Pet. III, 10, the "shout" of I Thess.IV, 16, and the voice of God which in the teaching of the Rabbis will usher in the resurrection. In Moslem legend it was such a saiha which caused the house to fall in on Job's children.

4 Literally, "We made the top part its bottom part." The "hardened clay" is but a guess. The word sijjil occurs in Sura 105 for the pellets the birds dropped to destroy the Abyssinian army, and in the parallel Lot story in Sura 11, where the pellets are said to have been marked, presumably each with the name of the sinner it was to smite. They represent the "brimstone" of the Biblical story. The next verse but one means that the caravan route to the north still used to pass the ruins as it formerly passed the city when it was inhabited.


stones of hardened clay. In that, indeed, there are signs to those who mark the signs, And the city [that was overturned] was on a say that still remains. Truly, in that there is a sign for those who believe.

Also the people of the Grove [in the land of Midian] were wrongdoers, So We took vengeance on them. Verily they are both in a Codex that makes clear.1 And the people of .al-Hijr counted the envoys false. We brought to them Our signs, but they were turning away from them, And were hewing out for themselves houses from the mountains, quite secure, But the Shout took them as they were arising in the morning, And what they had been gaining availed them not.2

We have not created the heavens and the earth and what is between them both save in truth. Also the Hour is surely coming, so, O Mohammed, pardon with a gracious pardon those who have been inimical. Thy Lord, He, indeed, is the One Who creates, the One Who knows. We have given thee seven from the Mathani3 and the mighty Koran. So let not thine eyes look longingly at what We have given divers of them to enjoy, and grieve not over them, but lower thy wing to those who believe, And say: "As for me, I am the clear warner.

Like that which We sent down upon those who make decisions,4 Who have made the lesson [qur'an] into separate parts, So by thy Lord We shall assuredly question them all About what they have been doing. So, O Mohammed, declare what thou art bidden, and turn from the polytheists. Verily We shall attend to the scoffers for thee, Those who set up another deity along with Allah. Anon they will know. We know, indeed, that thou dost feel a straitening of thy breast at what they are saying, But give glory, with praise of thy Lord, and be one of those who do obeisance, And worship thy Lord till the certainty come to thee.

1 Since the ruins in Midian were also passed by caravans taking the route to the north, the meaning seems to be that both Sodom and Midian were destroyed, and that their tale was to be found in Scripture as a warning example.

2 Hegra was a Nabataean city in the northern Hejaz, and on the ground of the second verse preceeding, some have thought that the people of Thamud are meant here. It may, however, be a memory of the rock-hewn city of Petra, whose ruins were well known, in which case this verse would refer to their great commercial enterprises.

3 Mathnai is a word about which there has been much discussion. It derives from a root meaning "to repeat," i.e., to do a thing a second time, and there is much in favor of the suggestion that it refers to the oft-repeated stories of Ad, Thamud, etc., which were quoted as warning examples to the Meccans.

4 These four verses are an interpolation from an old piece of material which apparently refers to the Jewish and Christian practice of cutting up Scripture lessons.


Surat al-Kahf : The Cave

The three main legend that of the Seven Sleepers, that of Moses and al-Khidr, and that of Alexander the Great- and the two parables, which form the nucleus of this Sura, are of Middle Meccan material, but odd bits, some of earlier and some of later date, have been interpolated, perhaps by the compilers, and Medinan material had been used both for the introduction and the conclusion. All three of the legends were derived from Christian sources, though that of Moses goes back to a Jewish original, at least in part.


Praise be to Allah, Who has sent down upon His servant the Book, and has put in it no crookedness, But has made it direct, that He may warn of grievous vengeance from His presence, and give good tidings to the believers who do righteous works, that for them there is an excellent reward, Wherein they will abide for ever, And warn those who say:"Allah has taken for Himself a son." They have no knowledge thereanent nor had their fathers. It has grown big as a word that comes out from their mouths, but they say naught but a lie. Maybe thou art going to wear thyself out in vexation following their footsteps if they do not believe this discourse. We, indeed, have appointed whatever is on the earth to be an adornment thereof that We might test them, which of them is best in works, But We are assuredly going to make what is on it a barren expanse of earth.1 Or hast thou considered, O Mohammed, how the Companions of the Cave and of ar-Raqim2 were a wonder from among Our signs? When the youths fled for refuge to the cave, they said: "O our Lord, grant us a mercy from Thyself, and prepare for us a right direction for our affair." So We smote upon their ears

1 Sa'id is a word commonly used for the place where the Final Judgment will be held, an expanse of earth on which all hills and valleys have been flattened out, and where there are no trees or other excrescences behind which a man could hide. Juruz in this verse means bare of all herbage. See Note 1 to Sura 99.

2 The commentators present a great variety of guesses as to the meaning of ar-Raqim. The best solution so far offered is Torrey's suggestion that it arises from a misreading by Mohammed's informants of the Decius in the Story of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, who suffered during the Decian persecution, though the source was more likely to have been Syriac than the Hebrew source he posits. For the story itself see the assemblage of material by Ignazio Guidi in Testi orientali indeitisopra i Setti Dornienti di Efeso, 1884.


in the cave for quite a number of years. Then We raised them up that We might know which of the two parties 1 was the better at reckoning the time they had tarried there. We shall better relate to thee their story in truth. They were youths who believed in their Lord, and whom We increased in guidance. And We girded up their hearts when they stood up and said: "Our Lord is Lord of the heavens and the earth, never will we call upon any deity other than Him, for in that case we should have said something outrageous. These people of ours have taken for themselves deities other than Him. Would that they could bring some clear authority for them, for who does greater wrong than one who devises some lie about Allah? Now, since ye have separated yourselves from them and that which they worship in place of Allah, flee for refuge to the cave. Your Lord will extend to you of His mercy, and will prepare for you some settlement of your affair." Thou mightest see the sun when it arose incline to the right-hand side of their cave, and when it set turn off to the left-hand side of them, while they were in an open part thereof That is one of Allah's signs. The one whom Allah guides is really guided; and whom He sends astray, for him thou wilt never find a patron who will direct aright. And thou wouldst have thought them awake while they were asleep, and We were making them turn over now to the right, now to the left, while their dog at the threshold was stretching out its paws. Hadst thou caught sight of them thou wouldst have turned from them in flight, and been filled with terror of them. Thus did We raise them up that they might question among themselves. Said one of them who spoke: "How long have ye tarried?" They said: "We have tarried a day, or part of a day." They said: "Your Lord knows best how long ye have tarried. Send now one of you with this money of yours into the city. Let him observe where therein the food is purest, and let him bring you provision therefrom; also let him speak courteously and

1 This may refer forward to the seventh verse following, and mean that when they awoke and wondered how long they had been in the cave, there were two opinions about it. Or it may be that there were two opinions among Mohammed's informants as to the length of stay in the cave. See Note 5.


not discover you to anyone, For they, indeed, if they get hold of you will stone you, or will force you to return to their religion, in which case ye will never prosper at all." Thus, then, did We make folk acquainted with them, that they might know that Allah's promise is true, and that the Hour is something about which there is no doubt: When the people [of Ephesus] were disputing among themselves about their affair, they said: "Build over them a building. Their Lord knows best about them." Said those who prevailed in their matter: "We shall surely set up over them a place of worship."1 Some will say: "Three, their dog the fourth of them." Others will say: "Five, their dog the sixth of them," making a shot at the unknown. Others will say: "Seven, their dog the eighth." Say: "My Lord knows best what their number was." None but a few know about them, so do not thou, O Mohammed, dispute about them save where the issue is obviow, and do not ask anyone from among them [i.e., the Christians] for an opinion about them. And never say about anything, "I am going to do that tomorrow" Without adding: "Should it be that Allah wills." And make mention of thy Lord when thou hast forgotten, and say: "Maybe my Lord will guide me to something nearer right direction than this." Now they tarried in their cave three hundred years and added thereto nine.2 Say: "Allah knows best how long they tarried." His are the unknown things of the heaven and the earth. How well He sees and hears! They have no patron other than Him, and He associates no one in His wisdom. So recite what is revealed to thee from the Book of thy Lori There is no one who may make alterations in His words, nor wilt thou ever find a refuge other than Him. So content thy soul in patience along with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and in the evening, seeking His face, and let not thine eyes be turned away from them seeking the splendour of this present world, and obey not him whose heart We have

1 The Church of the Seven Sleepers at Ephesus was quite a famous monument.

2 The three hundred and nine years must be due to faulty memory. In the legend they fled during the persecution of Decius (201-251) and were discovered during the reign of Theodosius II (401-450). There is an excellent account of the legend in Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter XXXII.


made careless of remembering Us, who follows his desire, and whose affair has become iniquitous. And say: "The truth is from your Lord, so whosoever wills let him believe, and whosoever wills let him disbelieve." Truly, We have prepared for the wrongdoers a Fire, whose canopies will surround them, and should they ask for moisture they will be moistened with water like molten metal which will scald their faces. How terrible a drink, and how evil a place in which to recline! As for those who have believed and done righteous works, We shall not suffer the reward of one who has worked well to be lost. Such have gardens of Eden beneath which rivers flow, in which they will be adorned with golden bracelets, be clothed with green robes of satin and brocaded silk, reclining there on couches. What a wondrous reward, and how excellent a place in which to recline!

Now set forth for them a parable about two men, for one of whom We appointed two gardens of grapevines, both of which We girt about with palm trees and between them set plots for cultivation. Each of the two gardens yielded its edible fruits and did not come short thereof in anything, and between the two of them We caused a stream to flow; Thus he had fruit, so he said to his friend, as he was conferring with him: "I have more wealth than thou hast, and a mightier family." So he entered his garden, doing wrong to himself. He said: "I do not think that this will ever perish, Nor do I think that the Hour will ever come, and even should I be sent back to my Lord I shall surely find something better than it in exchange." His friend said to him while he was conferring with him: "Dost thou disbelieve in Him Who created thee from dust, then from a drop, then fashioned thee as a man? Indeed, He is Allah, my Lord, and I shall not associate anyone with my Lord. Why didst thou not, when entering thy garden, say: 'What Allah has willed: There is no strength save


with Allah'? Even though thou seest that I am thy inferior with regard to wealth and children. It may be that my Lord will give me something better thin thy garden, and send upon thy garden a thunderbolt from the sky so that by the morning it is a slippery expanse of earth, Or by morning its water has become so deeply sunk thou wilt never be able to reach it." So his fruit was encompassed by destruction, and he was that morning wringing his hands over what he had spent on it, for the vines were wasted on their trellises, and he was saying: "O would that I had not associated anyone with my Lord!" And there was no party to help him in place of Allah, and he was not one who could help himself. There the protecting is Allah's affair, the True One Who is best when it comes to reward, and best when it comes to the final outcome.

Set forth also for them a parable of this present life. It is as water which We send down from the skies so that there is a mingling with the vegetation of the earth, but in the morning it is stubble which the breezes Scatter, for Allah has power over everything Wealth and children belong to the adornment of this world's life, but in thy Lord's sight the things that abide, righteous works, are better in matter of reward and better in matter of hope. On the Day when We shall set the mountains moving, thou wilt see the earth an extended plain, where We have assembled them and have not omitted one of them. When they have been drawn up before thy Lord in ranks, We shall say: "Truly ye have come to Us as We created you the first time. Nay, but ye claimed that We should never set for you an appointed time." Then the Book will be placed before Him, and thou wilt see the sinners alarmed about what is in it, and they will say: "O woe to us! What a Book this is that omits nothing either small or great but has made count of it!" And they will find what they have done there present, and thy Lord will not wrong anyone.


Also make mention of what We said to the angels: "Do obeisance to Adam." They did obeisance, save Iblis who was of the jinn and revolted against the command of his Lord. Is it that ye will take him and his progeny as patrons instead of Me? Why, they are inimical to you. How poor an exchange for the wrongdoers! I did not have them witness the creation of the heavens and the earth, nor the creation of themselves, nor was I taking as helpers those who lead astray. On a Day He will say: "Summon those whom ye claimed were My partners." So they will summon them but they will not answer them, for We will have set a gulf between them. Then the sinners will see the Fire and will imagine that they are about to be flung into it, and will find no place to which to turn from it.

Truly We have set forth for the people in this Koran every kind of parable, but man, more than anything else, is a caviller. And naught prevented the people from believing when the guidance came to them, and from asking forgiveness from their Lord, save that they were going to follow the custom of former peoples, or that punishment would come to them openly. We do not send envoys save as bringers of good tidings and as warners, but those who disbelieve cavil with vain arguments that thereby they may attempt to refute the truth; and they take My signs, and that by which they are warned, as a jest. So who does greater wrong than one who is reminded of the signs of his Lord, but turns away from them, forgetting what his hands have sent forward? We have set veils over their hearts lest they should understand it, and in their ears a heaviness, so if thou summonest them to the guidance, even then they will never be guided. Yet thy Lord is the Forgiving One, One Who has mercy. Were He to take them to task for what they have earned, He would hurry on for them the punishment. But they have an appointed time, and they will never


find a refuge apart from Him. Those towns We destroyed when they did wrong, and We set an appointed time for their destruction.

Also make mention of when Moses said to his servant: "I shall not stop till I reach the confluence of the two seas,1 or if I do not reach that, I shall go on for a long time. Then when the two of them reached the confluence, between them they forgot their fish, so it took its way to the sea by a path.2 Then when the two of them had passed on he said to his servant: "Bring us our morning meal, for we have become weary from this journey of ours." Said he: "Didst thou notice when we went to the rock for rest? It was then I forgot the fish-and none but Satan made me forget to mention it-and it took its way wondrously to the sea." He said: "That is the very thing of which we were in quest," so they went back, retracing their steps, And they found one of Our servants 3 to whom We had granted a mercy from Ourselves, and whom We had taught knowledge such as We have. Moses said to him: "Shall I follow thee on condition that thou teachest me some-what of the right guidance that thou hast been taught?" Said he: "Thou wouldst never be able to be patient with me. Indeed, how shouldst thou be patient about that concerning which thou hast no information?" Said Moses: "If Allah wills thou wilt find me patient, and I shall not disobey thee in any matter." Said he: "Well, if thou followest me thou art not to question me about anything until I make mention of it to thee." So the two of them went along till when they embarked on a ship, al-Khidr staved it in. Said Moses: "Hast thou staved it in in order to drown its company? Truly thou hast done a grievous thing." Said he: "Did I not say that thou wouldst never be able to be patient with me?" Said Moses: "Do not chide me because I forgot, and do not lay too difficult a thing upon me in my affair." So the two of them went

1 The two seas, one of sweet water and one of salt water, are mentioned again in four other Suras, and various attempts have been made to locate this confluence at the point where the sweet waters mingle with the salt in the Persian Gulf or elsewhere. It seems certain, however, that the conception is a mythical one.

This and the next four verses really belong to the legend of Alexander the Great, for it was he who had gone wandering to find the fountain of immorality, and it was his servant who let the salted fish fall into the water where it came to life and swam away, and although Alexander retraced his steps to try to find that spot again they never did find it. It was al-Khidr who found ir and became immortal. On all this, see I Friedländer, Die Chadirlegende und der Alexander-roman, Berlin, 1923. Wensinck has pointed out that here in this Sura the Jewish legends of Elijah and Rabbi Joshua ben Levi have become mixed up with the al-Khidr and Alexander story.

2 saraban could possibly mean "freely," but a sarab is a water conduit, and since two verses later the fish is said to have made its way "wondrously" to the sea, the likelihood is that these are both references to an element in the legend which says that the fish made its way by an underground channel from the Fountain of Life to its natural habitat in the sea.

3 This is the famous al-Khidr, who is still regarded by members of the Dervish Orders as the Qutb (pole) of the hierarchy of Saints. His name comes from the root for "green" and he corresponds to the Elias (Elijah) of Syrian mythology, an incarnation of the ever-living spirit of vegetation.


along till when they met a youth, al-Khidr slew him. Said Moses: "Hast thou put to death a guiltless soul? Truly, thou hast done an unheard-of thing." Said he: "Did I not say to thee that thou wouldst never be able to be patient with me?" Moses said: "If I question thee about anything after this let me be thy companion no more, for truly thou hast now from me an excuse." So the two of them went along till, when they came to the people of a town, they asked its people for food, but they disdainfully refused to take them as guests. So they found therein a wall just ready to fall down but al-Khidr set it upright. Moses said: "Hadst thou so wished thou mightest have taken payment for it." Said he: "This is the separation between me and thee. I shall now inform thee of the interpretation of that about which thou couldst not be patient. As for the ship, it belonged to poor men who laboured in the sea, and I desired to damage it because behind them was a king who was seizing every ship by force. And as for the youth, his two parents were believers, and we feared that he might cause them trouble by his transgression and unbelief, So we wanted their Lord to give them in exchange a son better than him in purity and closer in affection. And as for the wall, it belonged to two youths in the city who were orphans, and beneath it was a treasure of theirs. Now their father was a righteous man, so their Lord wanted them to reach their years of strength and bring forth their treasure as a mercy from their Lord. Thus I did not do it at my own bidding. That is the interpretation of that about which thou wast not able to be patient."

Also they will ask thee about Dhu'l-Qarnain.1 Say: "I shall recite to you some mention of him." Truly, We made him powerful in the earth and gave him a way to everything, So he followed a way, Until he reached the setting-place of the sun. He found it setting in a muddy spring, beside which he

1 "Lord of the two horns," i.e. Alexander the Great, who on some of his coins is pictured with two ram's horns attached to his head. His legendary "life" was widely known throughout the Near East in Mohammed's day, and the form of it which appears in the Koran is closest to that known to us through the Syriac writings of Jacob of Sarugh, who dies in 521.


found a people dwelling. We said: "O Dhu'l-Qarnain, two ways are open to thee: either that thou punish these people, or that thou take among them a way of kindness." Said he:"As for anyone who does wrong, we shall anon punish him and he will be sent back to his Lord, who will also punish him with an unheard-of punishment, But as for him who believes and acts righteously, his is the reward of that which is better, and we shall say to him that of our command which is easy." Then he followed a way, Till when he reached the place where the sun rises he found it rising on a people for whom We had set no curtain over against it. Thus it was, and truly, We had fill' information about what was with him. Then he followed a way, Till when he reached the place between the two mountain ramparts he found over against them a people who could hardly understand speech.1 They said: "O Dhu'l-Qarnain, truly Gog and Magog are working corruption in the land, so shall we pay thee tribute on condition that thou settest up a rampart between us and them?" Said he: "That in which my Lord hath made me powerful is better, so assist me with such strength as ye have, and I shall set firm a wall between you and them. Bring me lumps of iron" until, when he had made a level place between the two mountain sides, he said: "Blow your bellows," till, when he had made it red hot he said: "Bring me molten brass that I may pour on it." So they [the hosts of Gog and Magog] were not able to scale it, nor were they able to dig through it. He said: "This is a mercy from my Lord, but when the promise of my Lord comes He will make it powdered dust, and the promise of my Lord is true."

And We shall leave them on that Day surging like waves against one another; then there will be a blast on the Trump, and We shall assemble them all together. On that Day We shall present Gehenna in all its extent to the sinners, Whose

1 In the original legend this apparently meant that he had got to a place beyond the area where Greek was understood. The place between the mountains is apparently the Pass of Derbend. See A.R. Anderson, Alexander's Gate, Gog and Magog and the Enclosed Nations, 1932.


eyes have been veiled against My reminder, and who have become incapable of hearing. It is that those who disbelieve consider that they can take My servants as patrons instead of Me? Truly, We have made Gehenna ready as a reception for the unbelievers. Say: "shall we inform you about those who will be losing their works the most? Whose effort in this present life has gone astray, while they consider that their works are going well? These are they who disbelieve in the signs of their Lord, and in the meeting with Him, so their works have been in vain, for We shall assign them no weight at the weighing on the Resurrection Day. That is their recompense, Gehenna, because they have disbelieved and taken My signs and My messengers as matter for jest." Verily those who believe and do righteous works, the gardens of Firdaus 1 are a reception for them, Wherein they shall abide for ever, for they will desire no change therefrom. Say: "Were the ocean ink for writing down the words of my Lord, the ocean would fail ere the words of my Lord fail, even though We were to bring as much as it again in addition."2 Say: "I am, indeed, only a man like you. It has been revealed to me that your god is One God, so let whosoever hopes to meet his Lord work a righteous work and associate no one in the worship of his Lord."

1 Firdaus is derived, through Aramaic, from the Greek paradeisos = Paradise.

2 See Sura 31, Ref. 5.


Surat Ya Sin : Y.S.

The Sura derives its name from the mysterious letters with which it opens. For some reason not entirely clear it has become the Sura popularly recited at funerals, during periods of mourning, and at the visitation of graves. There are eschatological pieces in it, but the nucleus is the parable in the third section, which is Middle Meccan, as are the passages illustrating the signs. The other pieces that were inserted, however, are later, and the introduction is certainly Medinan.


Y.S. By the wise lesson [qur'an], Thou, O Mohammed, art indeed one of the envoys, Upon a straight path, Bringing a revelation [tanzil] of the Sublime, the Compassionate, That thou mayest warn a people whose fathers were not warned, so they were heedless.

Verily the sentence has come true on most of them, so they will not believe. We, indeed, have set shackles on their necks, which reach to the chins, so that they perforce hold up their heads. And We have set a rampart before them and a rampart behind them, and We have covered them over so that they do not see. Thus it is alike to them whether thou warn them or warn them not, they will not believe. Only such as follow the reminder wilt thou warn, such as fear the Merciful in the Unseen; so to such give good tidings of forgiveness and of a generous reward. It is We Who bring to life the dead, and write down what they have sent ahead and the traces they have left behind. Everything have We reckoned up in a Codex 1 that makes clear.

Set forth for them, O Mohammed, a parable: The people

1 This is doubtless the Record Book that is to be opened at Judgment.


of a certain town 1 were there when the envoys came to it, When we sent to them two; but they counted them both false, so We strengthened the mission by a third. Then the messengers said: "We are indeed Allah's envoys to you." The people said: "Ye are naught but humans like ourselves; and the Merciful has not sent down a thing. It is only that ye are lying." The messengers said: "Our Lord knows that we are indeed His envoys to you, But we have no obligation beyond the clear proclamation of the message." The people said: "We auger 2 ill of you. If ye do not desist we shall most assuredly stone you, and assuredly there will touch you from us a painful punishment." The messengers said: "Your ill augury is with yourselves. Since ye have been warned, will ye still be unbelieving? Nay, but ye are prodigal people." Then there came from the farthest end of the city a man running.3 Said he: "O my people, follow ye the envoys, Follow those who do not ask of you any wage, and who are rightly guided. Why should I not worship Him Who created me? It is to Him ye are to be brought back. Am I to take other gods instead of Him? Should the Merciful wish to harm me their intercession would not avail me a thing, nor would they deliver me. I should then indeed be in manifest error. Lo! I have believed in your Lord, so hearken ye to me." It was said to him: "Enter the Garden."4 Said he: "Would that my people could know How my Lord has forgiven me my sins and made me one of the honoured ones!" Now We did not send down upon his people after him any army from the skies, nor have We been sending such down, There was naught but a single shout, and lo! They were extinct. O what sorrow for humans!5 There comes not to them any messenger but they are making mock of him. Have they not seen how many generations before them We have destroyed? They, indeed, will not return to them, Yet assuredly all will be brought together before Us.

1 The town is said to be Antioch. The Commentaries tell of two disciples of Jesus being sent to preach to that city, and of their being presently joined by a third.

2 The verb used here suggests auguries being taken from birds.

3 Tradition names him Habib the carpenter. The verse at Reference 5 suggests that he was martyred, and in later times his supposed tomb at Antioch became a place of visitation.

4 The assumption is that the people of Antioch were polytheist to whom the envoys preached the One God, and when Habib the carpenter believed, and was martyred for his believing, he was taken to Paradise.

5 Lit. "servants," but it seems to mean humans who are all servants of Allah.


Moreover the dead earth is a sign to them. We gave it life and brought forth from it grain, so that of it they eat, And therein caused springs to gush forth, That they might eat of its fruits and of that for which their hands have laboured. Will they not then be thankful? Glory be to Him Who created all the pairs from which the earth has its productivity, and is the Creator of themselves, and of things they know not.1 The night also is a sign for them. We strip from it the day, and behold! they are in darkness. Also the sun which runs to a place of rest it has. That is the decreeing of the Sublime, the Knowing One. And for the moon We have decreed stations, so that it comes back like an ancient bent palm branch. It behooves not the sun to overtake the moon, nor the night to outstrip the day, but, each in an orbit, they swim along.

Also a sign for them is the fact that We carried their progenitors 2 in the fully-laden ark, And We have granted for them the like whereon they embark; And if We will We drown them, so no cry for help will avail them, nor will they be rescued, Unless as an act of mercy from Us, and as an enjoyment for a while. Yet, when it is said to them: "Fear ye what is before you and what is behind you, maybe ye will obtain mercy," they pay no heed. Not a sign of the signs of their Lord comes to them but they turn away from it. And when it is said to them: "Give a contribution out of that with which Allah has provideded you," those who disbelieve say to those who believe: "Shall we feed one whom Allah could feed if He so willed? Ye are only in clear error" And they are saying: "When will this threat come to pass, if ye are those who speak the truth?" What do they expect save a single shout?3 It will seize them while they are still disputing. So they will be able to make no testamentary deposition, nor will they return to their families, But there will be a blast on the Trump,

1 The meaning is that there are male and female elements in nature, among mankind, and also in other areas of which man is ignorant, but in each case the "pairs" are the source of new life.

2 dhuriyya normally means "progeny," but seems here to refer to their progenitors who were in the ark with Noah.

3 See Sura 15, Note 8.


and lo! From the sepulchers to their Lord will they be speeding. They will say: "Ah! Also for us! Who has raised us from our place of rest? That is what the Merciful promised, and the envoys spoke the truth." There is naught but a single blast, and behold! all of them are brought into Our presence. Today no soul will be wronged in anything, and ye will not be recompensed save for what ye have been doing. Verily, the inmates of the Garden are today joyously busy, They and their spouses are in shade, reclining on couches. They have therein fruit, and they have whatsoever they call for. "Peace!" - a word of greeting from a compassionate Lord. But to the others He will say: "Separate yourselves out today, O ye sinners. Did I not make a covenant with you, O ye sons of Adam, that ye should not serve Satan?"-he, indeed, is a manifest enemy to you-And did I not say: "Worship ye Me. This is a straight path?" But now, indeed, he has led astray a great host of you Did ye then have no sense? This is Gehenna with which ye were threatened. Roast in it today because of the way ye were disbelieving. Today We shall set a seal upon their mouths, and their hands will speak to Us, and their feet will bear witness to what they have been acquiring. And did We please We should put out their eyes, so that they would be trying to get ahead on the path, but how would they see? And did We please We should metamorphose them where they stand, so that they would not be able to move on, nor go back. And no matter to whom We give long life, him shall We reverse in nature.1 Is it that they do not have intelligence?

We have not taught him [i.e., Mohammed] poetry, nor would that beseem him. It is naught but a reminder and a lesson [qur'an] that makes clear, That he may warn whosoever is alive, and that the sentence against the unbelievers may be justified.

1 I.e., he will go back to a second childhood, becoming more childlike the older he grows.


Do they not see that We have created cattle for them out of what Our hands have made, so that they have dominion over them? And We have made them subject to them, so that from them they may have their riding beasts, and from them they may eat, And have of them advantages and beverages. Will they not be thankful? Yet they have taken for themselves deities apart from Allah, that mayhap they may be aided by them. They are not able to aid them, though they are for them a host that will be brought forward. So do not let their speech grieve thee. We know, indeed, what they keep secret and what they reveal.

Does not man see that We have created him from a drop? Yet, behold, he is a manifest disputer, And has set forth for Us a parable, and forgotten his creation, saying: "Who will bring the bones to life when they are decayed?" Say: "He will bring them to life Who produced them the first time, since He knows about every created thing, He who gave you fire from the green tree, so that, behold, ye kindle flame from it. Is not He who created the heavens and the earth powerful enough to create their like? Yea, indeed, He is the Creator, the Knower. His only command when He desires anything is to say to it: 'Be!' and it is. So glory be to Him in whose hand is the dominion over everything, seeing that to Him ye will be brought back."

Surat Nuh : Noah

As the title indicates, the message of this Sura is the story of Noah, the main portion of which is Middle Meccan. Bell has suggested that the greater part of the first section, which really has nothing to do with the Noah story, is part of a Meccan meditation of Mohammed, which is here put into the mouth of Noah as appropriate to the occasion.


We, indeed, sent Noah to his people, saying: "Warn thy people before a painful punishment come upon them." He said: "O my people, I am to you a plain warner. Worship Allah and act piously towards Him, and obey me, Then He will forgive you your sins and defer you till a fixed time. Truly, Allah's time, when it comes, is not to be deferred, did ye only know." He said: "O my Lord, I have summoned my people night and day, But my summoning has only increased them in their eagerness to be fleeing. Indeed, whenever I summon them that Thou mayest forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears, and wrap their garments around them, and they persist in their evil ways and act disdainfully. Then I, indeed, summoned them plainly, Then I addressed them in public, and secretly I addressed them in private, And I said: 'Ask pardon of your Lord, for He has become forgiving. He will send down the skies upon you in copious rain, And will expand you in wealth and children, and will appoint for you gardens, and appoint for you streams. What is the matter with you that ye put no hope in Allah's benevolence, Seeing that it was He Who created you stage by stage? Have ye not seen how Allah created the seven heavens one above the other? And in them set the moon as a light and set the sun as Then He will make you return into it, and will bring you out a lamp? Allah also made you spring plantlike out of the earth, again. Also Allah has set the earth for you like a carpet spread, That thereon ye may walk in open paths."

Said Noah: "O my Lord, they have disobeyed me, and they have followed one whose wealth and children have increased him only in loss, And they have worked out a mighty stratagem, And say: 'Leave not your deities! Leave not Wadd,


nor Suwa, nor Yaghuth and Ya'uq and Nasr!1 And they have, indeed, led many astray, though they increase the wrongdoers in naught but error." Because of their sins they were drowned, and were made to enter a fire,2 for they did not find for themselves any helpers apart from Allah. Said Noah:"O my Lord, leave not on the earth any house of the unbelievers, For shouldst Thou leave them they will lead Thy servants astray and beget only wicked unbelievers O my Lord, forgive me and my parents, and every believer who enters my house, and the male and female believers, but increase not the wrongdoers save in destruction."

Surat al-Isra : The Night Journey

Here we have a Sura made up of a great number of little pieces of revelation material, most of it Meccan, but some of it clearly Medinan additions. It contains a number of very interesting passages. There is an imitation of the Decalogue, adapted to the new religion. There are some curious reminiscences of Jewish history in the second and the next-to-last sections, a reference to the Psalms at References, an echo of the discussion about the Spirit, and an important verse of instruction to Moslems on the matter of prayer. The opening verse, from which the Sura gets its name, is, as has often been observed, quite unconnected with what follows, but is important as the basis for the well-known legend of the Prophet's ascension.


Glory be to Him Who took His servant by night from the sacred shrine to the further shrine 3 Whose environs We have blessed, that We might show him some of Our signs. He it is Who is the One Who hears, the One Who sees.

1 The commentators say that Wadd was an idol in the form of a beautiful youth, Suwa an idol in the form of a woman, Yaghuth in the form of a lion. Ya'uq in the form of a horse, and Nasr in the form of an eagle. It is a least curious that the Babylonian goddess Ishtar had as paramours Tammuz, a beautiful youth, a lion, a horse, and a great bird. Wadd, Yaghuth, and Nasr have been found as god-names in South Arabian inscriptions.

2 This seems to mean that they were judged and condemned to the Fire immediately after death and did not have to wait for the Final Judgment.

3 Since early Islamic times these two shrines have been identified as the Temple in Mecca and the Temple at Jerusalem. Legend has luxuriated around this Night Journey that Mohammed made, on a winged steed named Buraq, in company with Gabriel, from Mecca to Jerusalem, where he led the assembled prophets in prayer, and during which he was given his vision of heaven and hell. One particular account of this Night Journey has had no little influence on the structure of parts of Dante's Divin Commedia. There is every reason to believe, however, that the "further sanctuary" was only a place of worship some little distance from the city, and which Mohammed used at times to frequent, and so the original reference in this verse was to a perfectly prosaic terrestrial event.


Now We gave Moses the Book which We appointed to be a guidance for the Children of Israel, saying: "Take for yourselves no guardian beside Me, O ye progeny of those whom We carried in the ark along with Noah. He, indeed, was a grateful servant." And We decreed for the Children of Israel in the Book: "Ye will assuredly cause corruption in the land, and ye will assuredly mount to a great height.1 So when the menace of the first of the two periods of corruption comes We shall send against you servants of Ours, possessors of mighty prowess, and they will search the inner apartments of the houses, so that it becomes a menace accomplished. Then We shall give you the turn again over them and extend you in wealth and children, and make you a more numerous host, And We shall say: 'If ye do well it is to your own souls ye do well, and if ye do evil it is to your own souls.' Then when the menace of the other period of corruption comes, it will come that they may make your faces ashamed and may enter the sanctuary as they entered it the first time, and that they may destroy utterly whatever they lay hands on. Maybe your Lord will have mercy on you, and will say: 'If ye turn back We shall turn back, but We have set Gehenna as a prison for the unbelievers."' Verily, this Koran guides to that which is more upright, and it gives good tidings to the believers, who perform righteous acts, that for them there is, indeed, a great reward; And that for those who do not believe in the Here-after We have prepared a painful punishment. But man prays for evil as he prays for good, for man is hasty.

Now We have appointed the night and the day as two signs; then We blot out the sign of the night and set up the sign of the day to make things visible, so that ye may seek bounty from your Lord, and that ye may know the number of the years and the reckoning of time, and everything have We made clearly distinct. Each man's bird of fate 2 have We

1 This would seem to refer to two periods of great religious decline, and two periods of great religious exaltation, but what these were in Mohammed's mind is a matter about which we can only conjecture. The tow violations of the sanctuary by the enemy might suggest the armies of Antiochus in 170 B.C. and of Titus in 70 A.D., or perhaps the two violations by the Babylonians in 597 and 586 B.C..

2 From very ancient days in the Near East the idea has been widespread among the common folk that a man's fate, as decreed by the gods, appears in bird form.


fastened on his neck, and on the Day of Resurrection We shall produce for him a Book which he will meet wide open, And the judge will say: "Read thy Book! Thou thyself wilt suffice today to assess the reckoning against thee." Whosoever submits to guidance submits only his own soul to the guidance, and he who goes astray leads astray only it. No burdened soul will bear the burden of another. It has not been Our wont to punish till We send a messenger, And whenever We desire to destroy a town We give command to its affluent folk and they act wickedly therein, so the sentence against it is justified, and We destroy it utterly. How many generations of those after Noah have We destroyed? And thy Lord is sufficiently informed and observant of the sins of His servants. Whosoever is desirous of this life which hastens away, We hasten to him therein what We will, to whom We will; then We appoint for him Gehenna where he will roast, disgraced, rejected. But whosoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it as it should be striven for, and is a believer, these will find that their striving has been gratefully received. To all, both to these and to those, do We extend of the bounty of thy Lord, for the bounty of thy Lord has not been hindered. Look how We have given some preference over others, but the Hereafter has greater degrees and greater preferment.

Set not up some other deity along with Allah, for by doing so thou wilt sit disgraced, abandoned. Thy Lord hath decreed that ye humans shall worship none save Him, and that ye act kindly with parents, whether only one of them reach old age with thee or both of them. Say not thou to them: "Uff!"1-neither reproach them, but speak to them with respectul speech, And lower thou to them the wing of humility in mercy, and say: "O my Lord, show mercy to them both since they brought me up when I was but little." Your Lord well knows what is in your souls if ye are upright, and He,

1 An expression of contempt. In Sura 21 Abraham uses it to his idolatrous contemporaries, and in Sura 46 there is reference to an unbelieving son who used the expression to his believing parents.


indeed, is forgiving to those who resort to Him. And give thou to the kinsmen his due, and to the unfortunate, and to the son of the road, and be not a squanderer. Verily, squanderers are brothers of the satans, and Satan was ungrateful to his Lord. But shouldst thou turn from them out of a desire for a mercy from thy Lord of which thou hast hope, nevertheless speak to them with gentle speech. Keep not thy hand bound fast to thy neck, yet do not open it out too liberally,1 so that thou sittest there as one who is blamed and beggared. Verily, thy Lord provides openhandedly for whom He wills, or gives limited measure. He, indeed, is well-informed about and observant of His servants. Put not your children to death out of fear of want. We shall make provision for them and also for you. Truly, the putting them to death is a great sin. And draw not near to fornication. It is, indeed, a wicked thing and an evil way. Do not kill, save where it is justified, any soul 2 that Allah has made inviolate. We have given authority to the next-of-kin of any one who is wrongfully killed, but let him not be excessive in the killing, for he himself has been aided. And draw not nigh to the property of orphans, except as is right and proper, till he reaches his maturity; and fulfill the covenant you have made, for a covenant is something about which one will be questioned.3 Give full measure when ye measure, and weigh with a just balance. That is better and the fairer interpretation. Follow not that about which thou hast no knowledge. Verily, hearing, seeing, heart, all those are things about which one will be questioned. And walk not insolently in the land. Thou wilt never pierce a hole through the earth, nor wilt thou ever reach the mountains in height. All that is something whose evil is an odious thing with thy Lord. That which is set forth above belongs to the wisdom which thy Lord hath revealed to thee, so set not up some other deity along with Allah, lest thou be cast into Gehenna, blamed, rejected. Has then your Lord for prefer-

1 The injunction is against being too niggardly on the one hand, and extravagantly liberal on the other.

2 nafs could be translated "person," but it is the common word for "soul," and the idea here is that man has no right to take the nafs of another save under certain justifiable circumstances. It a man has been killed without there being such justification, his next-of-kin (waliy) has the right of blood-revenge, a life for a life, but he is warned against making extravagant use of this right, for after all it was Allah who aided him by granting him this right.

3 This is usually taken to mean that at Judgment one will be questioned as to one's faithfulness in the matter of covenants one has made. It could mean, however, that covenants are matters the may come up for questioning in human community life, although the second verse following tips the balance in favor of thinking that Mohammed had the Judgment Day in mind.


ence granted you sons and taken from the angels for Himself females? Ye are, indeed, uttering a mighty saying. We have made use of various things in this Koran that they might be reminded, but it increases them in naught but flight from the truth. Say: "Were there deities along with Him, as ye say, they would in that case have certainly sought a way unto the Possessor of the Throne. Glory be to Him! and exalted be He a great height from what they are saying. The seven heavens and the earth and all that is in them give glory to Him. Indeed, there exists nothing that does not give glory with praise of Him, but ye do not understand how they give glory. He, indeed, is forbearing, forgiving."

And when thou recitest the lesson [qur'an], O Mohammed, We set between thee and those who do not believe in the Hereafter a veil spread as a curtain. And We have set upon their hearts a covering lest they should understand it, and in their ears a heaviness; and when thou makest mention of thy Lord alone in the lesson they turn tail in flight. We well know how they will listen, when they listen to thee, and when they are in private, when the wrongdoers say: "Ye follow but a man who has been ensorcelled." Look how they set forth parables for thee; but they are astray, and are unable to find a way. And they say: "When we have become bones and grains of dust are we going to be raised up a new creation?" Say: "Be ye stones, or iron, Or any created thing that in your breasts ye think big." They will say: "Who is going to restore us?" Say: "He Who created you the first time." But they will wag their heads at thee and say: "When is this to be?" Say: "Maybe it is near, The Day He will summon you, and ye will respond with praise of Him, and ye will think that ye have tarried in the grave but a little while." And say thou to My servants that they should speak what is right and proper. Truly, Satan stirs strife among them, for Satan is, indeed, a


manifest enemy of man. Your Lord well knows about you. If He will He may show you mercy, or if He will He may punish you. We have not sent thee, O Mohammed, to be a guardian over them. Thy Lord well knows who is in the heavens and on the earth, and We have given some of the prophets superiority over others, and We gave to David the Psalter.1

Say: "Summon those whom ye claim to be deities apart from Him. They have no power to relieve your distress or to make any change." Those upon whom they call are themselves seeking a way of access to their Lord, to see which of them will be nearer than the others. They themselves are hoping for His mercy and are afraid of His punishment. Truly, the punishment of thy Lord is something against which to guard. There is no town but We are going to destroy it before the Day of Resurrection, or punish it with grievous punishment. That has been written in the Book. Naught has prevented Us from sending signs save that the former peoples counted them false. We gave Thamud the she camel as a visible thing, but they did wrong to her. We do not send signs save to arouse fear. And when We said to thee: "Verily thy Lord is round about the people," We did not appoint a vision which We caused thee to see save as a testing for the people,2 and the tree accursed in the Koran. We frighten them but it increases them in naught save great presumption.

And when We said to the angels: "Do obeisance to Adam," then they did obeisance, save Iblis, who said: "shall I do obeisance to one whom Thou hast created of clay?" He said: "Seest Thou this creature whom Thou hast honoured above me? If thou wilt give me respite till Resurrection Day I shall certainly devour his progeny save a few." Said Allah: "Go! and should any of them follow thee, then Gehenna is your recompense, an ample recompense. So entice such of them as

1 Zabur may men merely "Book," but it is probably meant to represent the Hebrew mizmor, "psalm." The superiority of some prophets over others is said to mean that some were sent merely to preach, whereas others were given a Book of Scripture in which Allah's message to mankind was recorded.

2 Those Commentators who regard the Night Journey of the opening verse as a vision, consider that that is the vision referred to here; but it is much more likely to refer to the vision whereby he was called to his prophetic mission. What the reference to the Lord being round about His people is we do not know, but the accursed tree is generally taken to refer to the tree Zaqqum (Sura 37, Note II).


thou art able by thy voice, and attack them with thy cavalry and thy infantry, and go partners with them in wealth and in children, and make them promises." Yet Satan promises them naught but vain hopes. "Really thou hast no authority over My servants, and thy Lord is a sufficient guardian."

It is your Lord Who speeds along the ships for you in the sea that ye may seek of His bounty. He is, indeed, compassionate with you. And when troubles touch you at sea whosoever it may be ye summon to your aid save Him, is astray; but when He has brought you safely to the shore, ye turn away. Man is ungrateful. Are ye then so sure that He will not make the side of the shore swallow you up, or send against you a sandstorm? Then ye will find for yourselves no guardian. Or are ye sure that He will not return you to the sea a second time, and send against you a hurricane of wind, so that He drowns you because of your ingratitude? Then ye will not find for yourselves any helper against Us therein. And, indeed, We have honoured the children of Adam, and have borne them by land and by sea, and have provided for them of the good things of Our creation, and We have given them obvious superiority over many of the things We have created. One Day We shall summon all men with their exemplar 1. Then such as are given their book in their right hand, those will read their book and they will not be wronged a fatil2, But he who in this life has been blind will also be blind in the Hereafter, and even further astray from the path.

Truly, they had almost beguiled thee from that which We revealed to thee, that thou mightest invent something other than it against Us, in which case they would certainly have taken thee as a friend;3 And had We caused thee to stand firm thou wouldst almost have leaned a little towards them, In which case We should have made thee taste a double portion of the woes of life, and a double portion of those of death.

1 This word imam is often translated "leaders", but it is singular not plural, and seems rather to mean the Codex in which the record of mens deeds is to be found.

2 A falil is the thread of fiber in the cleft of a date-stone, and so is used to suggest a thing so small and valueless as to be insignificant, as we might say: "They will not be wronged a fly-speck."

3 This is what follows seem certainly to be a reference to the matter contained in Sura 53, Section 2.


Then thou wouldst not find for thyself any helper against Us. Indeed, they had almost driven thee from the land, that they might expel thee from it, in which case they themselves would not have remained after thee but for a little while. This has been the custom in the case of those of Our messengers whom We sent before thee, and thou wilt not find any change in Our custom.1.

Observe prayer from the declining of the sun till the darkening of the night, and the dawn recitation. Verily the dawn recitation is witnessed, And some of the night, so keep thou vigil therein as something in addition for thyself. It may be that thy Lord will raise thee to a highly praised position. And say: "O my Lord, make me enter with a right entrance and come forth with a right exit, and appoint for me from Thyself a helpful authority." And say: "The truth has come, and the false has vanished." Verily, the false has become a vanishing thing. So We are sending down of the Koran that which is a healing and a mercy to the believers, but it increases not the wrongdoers save in loss. When We bestow favour on man he turns away and goes to one side, but when evil troubles him he is in despair. Say: "Each acts after his own manner, and your Lord well knows about who is best guided in the path."

4 They will question thee about the Spirit 2 Say: "The Spirit is part of the affair of my Lord, and ye have not been given save a little knowledge of these matters."

Did We so will We could certainly take away that which We have revealed to thee. Then thou wouldst find for thyself no guardian against Us in that, Save a mercy from thy Lord. Truly His bounty to thee has been great. Say: "Even though men and jinn were to combine to produce the like of this

1 This must refer to Meccan attempts to oust the Prophet. Other ancient peoples, he says, had tried to do the same thing, and it was immediately after their rejection of their messenger that they were destroyed.

2 Suras 78, Note 6; 32, Note I; 16, Note I.


Koran they would not produce its like though the one group were helping the other." We have, indeed, set out for men in this Koran every kind of parable, but the most part of the people refused aught but disbelief. And they say: "We shall never believe for thee till thou makest a spring gush forth for us from the earth, Or till thou hast a garden of palms and grapevines, and thou makest streams to gush forth so as to run through the midst of them, Or makest the skies to fall down in pieces upon us as thou pretendest,1 or bringest Allah and the angels as surety, Or thou hast a house with gilt embellishment, or thou mountest up into the sky, though we shall never believe in thy mounting up till thou sendest down to us a Book that we may read." Say: "Glory be to my Lord! Am I anything more than a man who has come as a messenger?" Naught hinders the people from believing when guidance has come to them save that they say: "Has Allah sent a man as a messenger?" Say: "Had it been angels who were walking about tranquilly on the earth, We should have sent down to them from heaven an angel as a messenger." Say: "Allah suffices as a witness between me and you. He, indeed, is well informed about and observant of His servants." Whom soever Allah guides, he is, indeed, guided; and whomsoever He leads astray, for them thou wilt never find patrons apart from Him, and We shall assemble them on the Resurrection Day on their faces, blind, dumb, and deaf. Gehenna will be their refuge-place, where as often as it dies down We shall make Sa'ir 2 burn more fiercely for them. That is their recompense because they disbelieved in Our signs and said: "Is it that when we have become bones and grains of dust we are going to be raised up a new creation?" Have they not perceived that Allah who created the heavens and the earth is able to create their like? Also He has appointed for them a term about which there is no doubt, yet the wrongdoers have refused aught but disbelief. Say: "Were ye in possession of the

1 This threat of causing the sky to fall in pieces on them is made in Sura 34.

2 Sa'ir is one of the names of Hell, but here it may be merely a common noun and mean: "We shall make Gehenna a fiercer blaze for them."


treasuries of my Lord's mercy ye would certainly in that case keep a tight hold, afraid of expending, for man is niggardly."

Now We gave Moses nine evidential signs, so ask the Children of Israel. When he came to them as Allah's messenger, and Pharaoh said to him: "I, indeed, consider thee, O Moses, as ensorcelled," He said: "Surely thou knowest that none other than the Lord of the heavens and the earth sent down these signs as visible evidences? I, indeed, consider thee, O Pharaoh, as lost." So he wanted to drive them out from the land, but We drowned him and those with him altogether, And after that We said to the Children of Israel: Dwell ye in the land." But when the promise of the Hereafter comes We shall bring you along a mixed crowd.

With the truth have We sent the message down, and with the truth it came down, and We have not sent thee, O Mohammed, save as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. And as a lesson [qur'an] We have separated it out that thou mayest recite it to the people bit by bit, and We sent it down as a revelation [tanzil]. Say: "Believe in it or believe not, the fact is that those who were previously given knowledge of Scripture, when it is recited to them, fall down on their chins doing obeisance, And they say: ‘Glory be to our Lord! The promise of our Lord has come to pass.' And they fall down upon their chins weeping, and it increases their humility." Say: "Invoke Allah, or invoke the Merciful. Whichever of them it is ye invoke, He has the beautiful names." And do not, O Mohammed, utter loudly thy praying, yet do not utter it in too low a voice, but seek a way between these, And say: "Praise be to Allah, Who has not taken for Himself a son, and Who has no partner in the kingdom, and Who has no one to protect Him from abasement," and magnify Him with a magnificat.1

1 Lit. "magnify Him a magnifying" (takbir), which has come to mean making use of the phrase Allahu akbar, "Allah is very great," which is thus a very brief Islamic magnificat.

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