200 The CORÂN

It follows, then, that the Sacred Scriptures—both the Old Testament and the New—as possessed by the Christians in the days of Mahomet, are free from any of those imputations, construed ever so widely; which the Mahometans are in the habit of casting .upon the Scriptures which were in possession of the Jews.

But, in the second place, the accusation in the text does not, even as regards the Jews, impute any tampering with the copies of their Scriptures. We have seen before (Art. XCVI.) that the very same words are used to mean no more than that passages were interpreted inconsistently with their context; that sentences were produced separately and disjointedly, so as to pervert their sense; and that expressions were used with a wrong, or double, meaning: and examples of such dislocation are actually cited in the Corân. Mahomet never could have meant by these expressions that the Jews tampered with their inspired books. For the whole tenor and scope of the frequent references throughout the Corân to the Scriptures, as then extant in the hands of the Jews, is to books authoritative, genuine, pure, divine.

As the Jews had "forgotten a portion of that whereby they were admonished," Mahomet says, at the close of the above passage, that the object of his mission was to "manifest much" of the same—that is, to bring to light many of the doctrines and precepts which they had held back or failed to unfold; as well as to "pass over much," i.e. to permit the abrogation of many Jewish ceremonies or ordinances.

CXXIII.—SURA V., v. 47[41].

سورة المائدة

يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ لاَ يَحْزُنكَ الَّذِينَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْكُفْرِ مِنَ الَّذِينَ قَالُواْ آمَنَّا بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَلَمْ تُؤْمِن قُلُوبُهُمْ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ هِادُواْ سَمَّاعُونَ لِلْكَذِبِ سَمَّاعُونَ لِقَوْمٍ آخَرِينَ لَمْ يَأْتُوكَ يُحَرِّفُون َ الْكَلِمَ مِن بَعْدِ مَوَاضِعِهِ يَقُولُونَ إِنْ أُوتِيتُمْ هَـذَا فَخُذُوهُ وَإِن لَّمْ تُؤْتَوْهُ فَاحْذَرُواْ ألخ

O thou apostle! let not those grieve thee who make haste after infidelity from amongst them that say, " We believe," with their mouths, but their hearts believe not. And from amongst the Jews there are that spy out in order to tell a falsehood; they spy out for another people that come not unto thee. They dislocate the word from out of its place. They say, "If this be given you, then receive it—but if it be not given you, then beware."

The Jews are here classed with the hypocritical or disaffected citizens of Medîna. They are accused of spying out a lie, or misrepresenting Mahomet's words to other people: and also of the offence (previously noticed) of dislocating passages from their proper places. This offence is here very distinctly expressed by the words, يحرفن الكلم من بعد مواضعه that is, either separating a passage from its proper context, and repeating it alone, so as to give it a different meaning; or repeating it in a wrong connection with some other passage, and thus distorting both. These perverted doctors told their people to go to Mahomet; and, if they