186 The CORÂN

erroneous doctrines. It was thus the erroneous interpretation and application of their Scriptures, for which Mahomet reprehended the Jews. "Why do ye reject the signs of God," i.e. the evidence contained in your Scriptures,—"though ye bear testimony to them."

As regards the accusation of "suppressing the truth," see the remarks, and quotation from Ibn Ishâc in Art. LXXXV. The cloak of falsehood, under which they are here accused of hiding the truth, was their mistaken and perverted interpretation of their Scriptures. The Scriptures themselves were pure and intact; but they mistook, or wilfully misapplied, their purport.

The imputation of acknowledging the revelation of Mahomet in the morning, and denying it again in the evening, is thus explained by Ibn Ishâc;—

تلبهسم الحق بالباطل وقال عبد الله أبن ضيف و عدي ابن زيد والحارث ابن عوف بعضهم لبعض تعالوا نؤمن بما انزل علي محمد واصحابه غدوة ونكفر به عشية حتى نلبس عليهم دينهم لعلهم يصنعون لما نصنع فيرجعون عن دينهم فانزل الله عز وجل فيهم يا أهل الكتاب لم تلبسون الحق بالباطل وتكتمون الحق وأنتم تعلمون الآية ؟
"How the Jews clothed the truth with error. Abdallah Adî and Hârith spake one with another,—'Come let us believe in that which is revealed to Mahomet and his followers in the morning, and reject the same in the evening, that we may confuse their religion for

them; perchance they may act as we act, and return from their faith.' Then the great and glorious God revealed this passage in respect of them, Oh ye people of the Book, why do ye clothe the truth with error, and hide the truth, although ye know it"? [1]

To these unworthy stratagems for throwing discredit on his revelation, Mahomet replies that God's spiritual favours are (not, as the Jews held, confined to their own nation, but) without respect of persons all-comprehensive. And further, that it was His will to direct His people "by giving unto one" (that is, to Mahomet) "a revelation similar to that which God had given unto them,"—that is, similar to the Jewish Scriptures of the Old Testament. Thus the passage, instead of being an imputation against the Jewish Scriptures, contains a clear and reverential mention of their authority and divine origin; and claims nothing more for the Corân itself than to be a revelation similar to them: مثل ما اوتيتم

CXI.—SURA III., v. 77[78].

سورة آل عمران

وَإِنَّ مِنْهُمْ لَفَرِيقًا يَلْوُونَ أَلْسِنَتَهُم بِالْكِتَابِ لِتَحْسَبُوهُ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمَا هُوَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَيَقُولُونَ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللّهِ وَمَا هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللّهِ وَيَقُولُونَ عَلَى اللّهِ الْكَذِبَ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ

[1] [Page 260-261. Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, Translated by A. Guillaume, Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, (Re-issued in Karachi, Pakistan, 1967, 13th impression, 1998) 1955, pp.815.]