The text is said by the Commentators to apply to the
Jews and Christians, who both claimed Abraham, as having belonged to their
respective faiths; this, Mahomet would refute by saying that Abraham lived
before either the Old Testament or the Gospel had been revealed:how then
could they say that he belonged to the religion of either of those books? Or
what means of judging had they from their books what his religion was? I do not
pretend to offer an opinion as to the soundness of this argument. The passage is
quoted simply because the Old and New Testaments are mentioned in it. The
knowledge which the Jews and Christians are admitted to possess, and concerning
certain points of which they disputed, is clearly the knowledge of their own
CX.SURA III., v. 68[69-73].
سورة آل عمران
TESTIMONY TO THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
A party of the People of the Book
desire to cause thee to go astray: but they shall not cause (any) to go
astray, excepting their own souls, and they perceive it not.
Oh People of the Book! why do ye reject the signs of God, while ye bear
Oh People of the Book! why do ye clothe the truth
with that which is false, and hide the truth, while ye know (it)?
party of the people of the book say,Believe in that which is sent down unto
those that believe, in the early part of the day; and reject (it, in) the
latter part thereof; if haply they may turn back:
and, believe not (any)
excepting him that followeth your religion. Say,Verily the direction is the
direction of God, that there should be given unto one (i.e. to Mahomet, a
revelation) like unto that which hath been given unto you. Or, will they
dispute with you before your Lord? say,Verily favour is in the hand of God:
He giveth it unto whomsoever He pleaseth; and God is widely comprehensive (in
His mercy,) and wise.
This passage, it is agreed by all, is addressed to the
Jews of Medîna, who opposed Mahomet. It opens with impugning the erroneous
doctrines which they endeavoured to inculcate upon Mahomet and his followers.
They were bigotedly attached to their own system, and naturally held by the
maxim "to believe in no one but those who followed their
religion." It is added that "they only deceived their own souls,
though they perceived it not," that is, by their