hand shall possess,'1 but into this matter we need not go. The limitation to four wives, excluding concubines, in the case of ordinary Muslims is to be found in the third verse of Sura An-Nisa' (iv), revealed about the fourth or fifth year of the Hijra, and earlier than the passage in which Muhammad is limited to nine wives.

About this time Muhammad made a small expedition against an Arab tribe, the Bani Mustaliq, which is of interest on account of a scandal regarding 'Ayisha, who accompanied her husband and which led to a special revelation. On the march she loitered behind and finally came into camp escorted by a youth, named Safwan bin Mu'attal. Her excuse was that she stayed behind to find a lost necklace. There were scandal-mongers present who made improper remarks about this. Then came the verse:—

Of a truth, they who advanced that lie were a large number of you. Sura An-Nur (xxiv) 11.

The commentators Husain, Ibn Abba's and also Baidawi say that the verse refers to 'Ayisha. The occasion gave rise to this Sura, delivered after the return to Madina, and with verse nineteen of Sura An-Nisa' (iv) forms the Prophet's denunciation of fornication and gives the law regarding it. There is a Tradition to the effect that the Khalifa 'Umar said that the punishment originally was that of stoning, now held to be abrogated by Sura An-Nur (xxiv) 1-4.

1 Sura Al-Ahzab (xxxiii) 52. It is said to be abrogated by the preceding verses. See Sale's note on this verse and the Khalasatu't-Tafasir, vol. iii, p. 578 ; but the latter gives no authority for the statement it makes, so the abrogation is doubtful.

In any case the 'verse of stoning' was not inserted in Zaid's recension of the Qur'an.

Somewhat later on, about the eighth or ninth year of the Hijra, we have another revelation connected with a domestic affair. Some time before this the Roman Governor of Egypt had presented Muhammad with a Coptic slave girl of great beauty, who in due course bore a son named Ibrahim. This led to great jealousy amongst the wives of the Prophet. Muhammad was annoyed because his wife Hafasa revealed to one of his other wives, named 'Ayisha, some scandal which he had solemnly charged her to keep secret. The family disturbance increased and, at last, Muhammad had to get a divine sanction for his conduct with Mary the Copt.1 This he did in the following passage which approves of his action, and releases him from an oath he had taken to please and pacify his wives:—

O Prophet! wherefore dost thou prohibit what God hath made lawful to thee, craving to please thy wives, but God is forgiving, compassionate.
God hath allowed you release from your oaths and God is your master. Sura At-Tahrim (lxvi) 1-2.

In the fifth year of the Hijra the Quraish made another great effort and laid siege to Madina. It was called the war of the Confederates, on account of the various tribes of Arabs and of the number of Jews who assisted the Meccans. The Jews had already begun to feel the heavy hand of Muhammad upon them, and saw that their only chance of a peaceful life lay in friendship with the Quraish

1 For further details see Muir, Life of Mahomet, vol. iv, pp. 152-167; Tafsir-i-Husaini, vol. ii, p. 411, and Sell, The Life of Muhammad, pp. 201-2.