168 The CORÂN

Hast thou not seen those to whom We have given a portion of the Scripture?—they buy error, and desire that ye may err from the way: 
and God best knoweth your enemies. God sufficeth for a patron, and God sufficeth for a helper. 
Of those who profess Judaism there are that dislocate words from their places, and say—"we have heard,—and, have disobeyed"; and, "do thou hearken without hearing"; and, "look upon us"; twisting with their tongues, and reviling the faith. And if they had said, "we have heard and obeyed"; and, "hearken"; and, "look upon us"; it had been better for them and more upright: but God hath cursed them for their unbelief, and they shall not believe, excepting a few. 
Oh ye unto whom the Scriptures have been given! believe in what We have revealed attesting that (Scripture) which is with you, before We deface your countenances, and turn them front backwards, or curse them as We cursed those who (broke) the Sabbath; and the command of the Lord was fulfilled.

I have quoted the entire passage in order to show its connection. It is addressed to the Jews of Medîna, who used perverse sayings, words of double or equivocal meaning, expressions in another than their ordinary sense, and passages dislocated from their context, in such a manner as to turn Mahomet into ridicule and revile the faith, while they sheltered themselves behind the other and harmless meaning of what they said.

To the same purport is the following verse in Sura II., v. 104: يا أيها الذين آمنوا لا تقولوا راعنا وقولوا أنظرنا وأسمعوا —"Oh ye that believe! say not RÂINA (look on us); but say ANTZARNA [UNZURNA] (look on us); and hearken." Both were forms of salutation. But the former conveyed also a touch of abuse or contempt; it was in that sense employed by the Jews, and therefore


Mahomet altogether prohibits its use. It is the same practice which is reprobated in the text.

The explanation of Abdool Câdir, the Urdoo translator of the Corân, is tolerably appropriate. The following is his note:

راعنا لفظ بولتي تهي اِسكا بيان :سورة بقر مين هوا اِسي طرح حضرت بات فرماتي تو جواب مين كهتي سنا همني اِسكي معني يهه هين كه قبول كيا ليكن آهسته كهتي كه نه مانا يعني فقط كان سي سنا اور دل سي نه سنا اور حضرت كو خطاب كرتي توكهتي هين نسنايا جائبو ظاهر مين يهه دعا نيك هي كه توهميشة غالب رهي كوئي تجهكو بري بات نه سنا سكي او ردلمين نيت ركهتي كه تو بهرا هو جائيو ايسي شرارت كرتي .

"RÂINA (look on us) is a word which they were in the habit of using, as has been already explained in Sura Bacr (II.), thus:—When the Prophet spake, they would reply 'we have heard,' of which the meaning is, 'we have received thy words'; but they added apart, 'we have not attended to (or obeyed) them'; that is, 'we have only heard with the ear, and not heard with the heart.' So, when they addressed the Prophet, they said, 'cause not to be heard'; the ostensible signification of which is an invocation of good, or, 'Be thou always victorious, let no one venture to say an evil word against thee'; but in their heart