Revealed at Madina.


THE title of this Sura was taken from the question of the first verse concerning spoils. The chapter, however, has but little to do with this subject, almost the whole of it being taken up with a description of the miraculous character of the battle of Badr, with allusions to events immediately preceding or following it, by which the faithful are confirmed in their confidence in God and Muhammad. Islam is declared to have now received the seal of God to its truth, and consequently all who hereafter may oppose it will merit shame and destruction both in this world and in the world to come.

The confident and often defiant tone, perceptible in this chapter, may be accounted for by the circumstances under which it was written. Muhammad had been successful beyond expectation, and the sometimes despondent Muslims were now exulting over those from whom they had so lately fled in fear. Muhammad, ever ready to use his opportunities, declares this victory to be decisive proof of the divine favour. God had brought it all about that he "might accomplish the thing which was decreed to be done; that he who perisheth hereafter may perish after demonstrative evidence, and that he who liveth may live by the same evidence."

Accordingly the infidels are denounced in no measured terms. Even the proud Quraish are addressed in a patronising manner, and are offered an amnesty on condition of their ceasing to oppose. The hypocrites and hitherto disaffected inhabitants of Madina are reproved and warned, while the duplicity of the Jews is threatened.

There is, however, the anticipation of future trouble. It required no more than the sagacity of a politician to foretell it. The Muslims


are therefore urged to prepare for the holy war, and to fight with that assurance which enables one man to face ten of his adversaries. God would be on their Bide, and the infidels would only rush on to certain destruction.

Nothing could be in stronger contrast than the spirit of this chapter compared with the latter part of chapter iii, written just after the Muslim defeat at Ohod. Such a comparison should make it clear to Muslims that the revelation of the Quran, instead of being copied from the Preserved Table under the throne of God, was copied from the heart-table of Muhammad himself.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

It is certain that the greater part of this chapter was written immediately after the battle of Badr in A.H. 2. Indeed there is no part of it which may not be referred to this period excepting vers. 73-75, which must be assigned to the earlier months of A.H. 1. Sale mentions the fact that some authorities would place vers. 30-36 among the Makkan revelations, but the evidence seems to me to be against them. This passage might, however, belong to an earlier period than A.H. 2, inasmuch as it relates to the flight from Makkah. Yet the victory of Badr would naturally recall to Muhammad's mind the circumstances of his flight, and thus lead to their mention here.

Principal Subjects.

Spoils belong to God and his Apostle . . . 1
True believers and their future reward . . . 2-4
Muslims reproved for distrusting their Prophet.. . 5, 6
God gives the Muslims either the Quraish or their caravan ... 7
The victory of Badr a seal to Islam . . . 8
Angelic aid vouchsafed to Muhammad . . . 9
The Muslims refreshed and comforted before the battle ... 10, 11
The angels enjoined to comfort the faithful by destroying the infidel Quraish ... 12
Infidels are doomed to punishment here and hereafter .. . 13,14
Muslims are never to turn their backs on the infidels on pain of hell-fire . .. 15, 16
The victory of Badr a miracle . . . 17, 18
The Quraish are warned against further warfare with the Muslims ... 19
Muslims exhorted to steadfastness in faith. . . 20, 21
Infidels compared to deaf and dumb brutes . . . 22, 23
Believers are to submit themselves to God and his Apostle... 24


They are warned against civil strife, deception, and treachery . . . 25-28
God's favour to true believers . . . 29
Plots against Muhammad frustrated by God .. . 30
The infidels liken the Quran to fables . . . 31
The Quraish were protected from deserved punishment by Muhammad's presence among them . . . 32, 33
The idolaters of Makkah rebuked and threatened... 34-38
An amnesty offered to the Quraish . . . 39
Impenitent idolaters to be extirpated from the earth ... 40, 41
How the spoils of war are to be divided . . . 42
The Muslims were led by God to fight at Badr to attest the truth of Islam .. . 43, 44
The Muslims encouraged, and the infidels lured to destruction, by each seeing the other to be few in number .. . 45, 46
Believers exhorted to obedience . . . 47, 48
Believers warned against impious vainglory . . . 49
The devil deserts the Quraish at Badr . . . 50
The fate of hypocrites . . . . . . . 51-53
Their doom like that of Pharaoh and his people. . . 54-56
The worst of beasts are the infidels . . . 57
Treachery to be met with its like . . . 58-60
God is against the infidels . . . 61
The Muslims excited to war against unbelievers . . . 62
Condition of peace with unbelievers . . . 63
The miracle of Arab union. . . . 64
God with the Prophet and the Muslims in warring for the faith . . . 65,66
Muslims reproved for accepting ransom for the captives taken at Badr . . . 68-70
Captive Quraish exhorted to accept Islam, and warned against deception ... 71
The brotherhood of the Ansars and Muhaj Jirin ... 73-75
The hereditary rights of blood-relations re-established ... 76


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(1) THEY will ask thee Concerning the spoils: Answer, The division of the spoils belongeth unto GOD and the

(1) The spoils, taken at the battle of Badr. "It consisted of 115 camels, 14 horses, a large store of leather (beds and rugs), and much equipage and armour."- Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p.111.


Apostle. Therefore fear GOD, and compose the matter amicably among you: and obey GOD and his Apostle, if ye are true believers. (2) Verily the true believers are those whose hearts fear when GOD is mentioned, and whose faith increaseth when his signs are rehearsed unto them, and who trust in their LORD; (3) who observe the stated times of prayer, and give alms out of that which we have bestowed on them. (4) These are really believers: they shall have superior degrees of felicity with their LORD, and forgiveness, and an honourable provision. (5) As thy LORD brought thee forth from thy house with truth, and

The division, &c. Rodwell translates this passage correctly - The spoils are God's and the Apostle's. The ellipsis understood by Sale, however, points to the cause for this revelation. It was due to a dispute between those who pursued the Quraish at Badr and those who remained behind to guard the Prophet and the camp as to the division of the spoils. Muhammad silences both parties by telling them the victory was due to neither, but to God, and therefore the spoil was God's and his Apostle's, and that they must await the divine command as to its disposal.- Idem, p.112.

"It is related that Saad Ibn Abi Waqqa's, one of the companions, whose brother Omar was slain in this battle, having killed Said Ibn al As, took his sword, and carrying it to Muhammad, desired that he might be permitted to keep it; but the Prophet told him that it was not his to give away, and ordered him to lay it with the other spoils. At this repulse and the loss of his brother Saad was greatly disturbed; but in a very little while this chapter was revealed, and thereupon Muhammad gave him the sword, saying, 'You asked this sword of me when I have no power to dispose of it, but now I have received authority from God to distribute the spoils, you may take it.' "- Sale, Baidhawi.

(2-4) See notes on chap. ii. 3-5.

(5) As thy Lord, &c. i.e., from Madina. "The particle as having nothing in the following words to answer it, al Baidhawi supposes the connection to be, that the division of the spoils belonged to the Prophet, notwithstanding his followers were averse to it, as they had been averse to the expedition itself."- Sale.

Rodwell supplies the word Remember, and translates, Remember how thy Lord, &c. The Urdu translations agree with Sale.

Part . . . were averse. This passage refers to the following circumstances :- Muhammad having received information of the approach of a caravan of the Quraish under Abu Sufian, went forth with his followers to plunder it. But Abu Sufian being apprised of the Muslim expedition, gave them the slip by turning aside and pursuing his journey by another way. Succours had been called for from Makkah, and 950 armed men, mounted on camels and horses,


part of the believers were averse to thy directions: (6) they disputed with thee concerning the truth, after it had been made known unto them; no otherwise than as if they had been led forth to death, and had seen it with their eyes. (7) And call to mind when GOD promised you one of the two parties, that it should be delivered unto you, and ye desired that the party which was not furnished with arms should be delivered unto you: but GOD purposed to make known the truth in his words, and to cut off the uttermost, part of the unbelievers; (8) that he might verify the truth, and destroy falsehood, although

had answered the summons, and notwithstanding the safety of the caravan, they determined to advance and punish the Muslims. Muhammad and his people advanced with the expectation of an easy victory and abundant spoil, but learned to their chagrin of Abu Sufian's escape and the near approach of the succours. The question now arose among the disappointed followers whether they should pursue the caravan or follow Muhammad to the battle. By the aid of revelation and the interposition of Abu Baqr, Omar, and others, the disobedient were induced to submit to Muhammad's orders to attack the succours, which resulted in the celebrated battle of Badr. See Sale's note in loco, and Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. chap. xii.

(6) After it had been made known. Muhammad pretended to have received a promise from Gabriel that he should have either the caravan or victory over the succours Victory was therefore assumed beforehand, but the smallness of their number made them afraid.

(7) One of the two parties. "That is, either the caravan or the succours from Makkah. Father Marracci, mistaking al 'air and al nafir, which are appellatives, and signify the caravan and the troop or body of succours, for proper names, has thence coined two families of the Quraish never heard of before, which he calls Aireness and Naphirenses (Marracci in Alc., p. 297)."- Sale.

Ye desired, that the caravan, guarded by only forty armed men, should he attacked.

But God proposed, &c. "As if he had said, Your view was only to gain the spoils of the caravan and to avoid danger; but God designed to exalt his true religion by extirpating its adversaries."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(8) That be might verify the truth. The victory of the Muslims is here declared to be evident proof of the divine mission of Muhammad and the truth of his religion. This claim gave ground to much doubt among the faithful and to scoffs and jeers among unbelievers after the defeat at Ohod. See notes on chap. iii. 121, and verses following.


the wicked were averse thereto. (9) When ye asked assistance of your LORD, and he answered you, Verily 1 will assist you with a thousand angels, following one another in order. (10) And this GOD designed only as good tidings for you, and that your hearts might thereby rest secure: for victory is from GOD alone; and GOD is mighty and wise.

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(11) When a sleep fell on you as a security from him, he sent down upon you water from heaven, that he

(9) Assistance from your Lord. "When Muhammad's men saw they could not avoid fighting, they recommended themselves to God's protection; and their Prophet prayed with great earnestness, crying out, 'O God, fullfil that which thou hast promised me: O God, if this party be cut off, thou wilt be no more worshipped on earth.' And he continued to repeat these words till his cloak fell from off his back."- Sale, and the Tafsir-i-Raufi.

A thousand angels. See notes on chap. iii. 13, and 123-125. In chap. iii. 127, the number of angels is given at 3000. The commentators reconcile the discrepancy by saying that at first 1000 angels appeared, "which," says Sale, "were afterwards reinforced with 3000 more. Wherefore some copies, instead of a thousand, read thousands, in the plural."

(10) See notes on chap. iii. 126.

(11) Water from heaven. The following is Baidhawi's comment as given by Sale :-

"The spot where Muhammad's little army lay was a dry and deep sand, into which their feet sank as they walked, the enemy having the command of the water; and that having fallen asleep, the greater part of them were disturbed with dreams, wherein the devil suggested to them that they could never expect God's assistance in the battle, since they were cut off from the water, and besides suffering the inconveniency of thirst, must be obliged to pray without washing, though they imagined themselves to be the favourites of God and that they had his Apostle among them. But in the night rain fell so plentifully, that it formed a little brook, and not only supplied them with water for all their uses, but made the sand between them and the infidel army firm enough to bear them; whereupon the diabolical suggestions ceased."

Muir, however, assures us, on the authority of' the K. Waqkidi, that the Muslims had secured "the sole command of the water previous to the fall of rain and the night's comfortable rest. Most likely the rain was interpreted by the ever-sagacious Prophet as a sign of victory granted from heaven, inasmuch as three blessings had resulted therefrom already - (1) sound sleep, (2) water for ceremonial purification instead of sand, and (3) the sand was made solid, and so their "feet were established."


might thereby purify you, and take from you the abomination of Satan, and that he might confirm your hearts, and establish your feet thereby. (12) Also when thy LORD spake unto the angels, saying, Verily I am with you; wherefore confirm those who believe. I will cast a dread into the hearts of the unbelievers. Therefore strike off their heads, and strike off all the ends of their fingers. (13) This shall they suffer, because they have resisted GOD and his Apostle: and whosoever shall oppose GOD and his Apostle, verily GOD will be severe in punishing him. (14) This shall be your punishment; taste it therefore: and the infidels shall also suffer the torment of hell-fire. (15) O true believers, when ye meet the unbelievers marching in great numbers against you, turn not your backs unto them: (16) for whoso shall turn his back unto them in that day, unless he turneth aside to fight, or retreateth to another party of the faithful,

(12) Thy Lord spake. According to Rodwell, the address to the angels ends at "unbelievers," making the following words, "therefore strike," &c., an exhortation to the Muslims. The Tafsir-i-Raufi and Abdul Qadir understand these words also to have been addressed to the angels. "The angels did not know," says the Tafir-i-Raufi, "where to strike a fatal blow ;" hence the words, "strike off t heir heads " - literally smite their necks - and the allusion to the ends of their fingers is understood to include all the members of the body.

Sale understands the exhortation to be addressed to the Muslims. He says : - "This is the punishment expressly assigned the enemies of the Muhammadan religion, though the Muslims did not inflict it on the prisoners they took at Badr, for which they are reprehended in this chapter." The spirit of the passage is certainly very different from that of chap. ii. 256.

(13) God will be severe. The punishment will be severe if taken prisoner in the world, and afterwards in the final destruction of the soul. - Tafsir-i-Raufi.

(14, 15) The revelation is here plainly made Muhammad's vehicle for a military harangue. Was Muhammad sincere in uttering such exhortations as the very words of God? Muslims claim complete inspiration for them, and accept Muhammad's claim to have been simply the mouthpiece of Divinity. Are the apologists for Islam ready to do the same? If no, the only fair inference they can draw is that he was an impostor. Self-deception cannot be pleaded here. There is every sigh of intelligent, deliberate policy. He desires to incite his followers to bold, desperate warfare. They have come to believe him to be inspired, and he never scruples to impose on their credulity for the accomplishment of his ambitious purposes.


shall draw on himself the indignation of GOD, and his abode shall be in hell; an ill journey shall it be thither! (17) And ye slew not those who were slain at Badr yourselves, but GOD slew them. Neither didst thou, O Muhammad, cast the gravel into their eyes, when thou didst seem to cast it; but GOD cast it, that he might prove the true believers by a gracious trial from himself, for GOD heareth and knoweth. (18) This was done that GOD might also weaken the crafty devices of the unbelievers. (19) If ye desire a decision of the matter between us, now hath a decision come unto you: and if ye desist from opposing the Apostle, it will be better for you. But if ye return to attack him, we will also return to his assistance; and your forces shall not be of advantage unto you at all, although they be numerous; for GOD is with the faithful.

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(20) O true believers, obey GOD and his Apostle, and turn not back from him, since ye hear the admonitions of

(17) God slew them. See note on chap. iii. 13.

God heareth. The commentators say the angelic help at Badr was vouchsafed in answer to Muhammad's prayer.

(19) Now hath a decision come. The word translated decision (al fatah) means also victory. The Quraish had prayed for victory. Taking hold of the curtains of the Kaabali, they said, "O God, grant the victory to the superior army, the party that is most rightly directed, and the most honourable."Muhammad derisively plays on the word rendered victory in their prayer, and says, "Now hath a decision come unto you," &c. See Baidhawi in Sale's note here.

(20) God and his Apostle. This joining of God and his Apostle, so prevalent in this chapter, savours strongly of blasphemy. True, the union intended is not organic or vital, but official, Muhammad being, as he here pretends, the deputy of God. Nevertheless, the union is of such a character, that in the succeeding clause, in the exhortation turn not back from him," the pronoun may apply to either God or Muhammad, and, to bring all the circumstances of the dispute about spoils into consideration, I think it must be applied to the latter. The assumption of Muslims that God is the speaker does not seem to me to apply here, for, in the first place, the sin of identifying God with a sinful man (shirk) would in that case be removed from the Apostle only to be fastened on God; and, secondly, if God were the speaker, why invariably speak of himself in the third person? and finally, the reason given for obedience is "since ye hear," i.e., since ye are obedient unto God, being Muslims or submitters of yourselves to God. Surely such an exhortation predicates the Apostle as the exhorter. The commentators say that the expression signifies that


the Quran. (21) And be not as those who say, We hear, when they do not hear. (22) Verily the worst sort of beasts in the sight of GOD are the deaf and the dumb, who understand not. (23) If GOD had known any good in them, he would certainly have caused them to hear: and if he had caused them to hear, they would surely have turned back and have retired afar off. (24) O true believers, answer GOD and his Apostle when he inviteth you unto that which giveth you life; and know that GOD goeth between a man and his heart, and that before him ye shall be assembled. (25) Beware of sedition; it will not affect those

obedience to the Prophet is obedience to God, and vice versa. Certainly this is what Muhammad intended when he thus associated his name with that of God.

(22) Abdul Qadir says this verse means that men who hearken not to God are worse than beasts.

(23) Caused them to hear. "That is, to hearken to the remonstrances of the Quran. Some say that the infidels demanded of Muhammad that he should raise Kusai, one of his ancestors, to life, to bear witness to the truth of his mission, saying he was a man of honour and veracity, and they would believe his testimony but they are here told that it would have been in vain."- Sale.

(24) That which giveth life, i.e., "The knowledge of religion or orthodox doctrine, or crusade, or the declaration of faith in God and his Prophet, or the Qur'an - all of which have life-giving power to Muslims."-Tafsir-i-Raufi.

God goeth between, &c. "Not only knowing the innermost secrets of his heart, but overruling a man's design, and disposing him either to belief or infidelity."- Sale.

(25) Sedition. "The original word signifies any epidemical crime, which involves a number of people in its guilt; and the commentators are divided as to its particular meaning in this place."- Sale.

The Tafsir-i-Raufi says by the word fitna is intended the heresy and apostasy of the last times, when Muslims will be indifferent to the commands and prohibitions of their religion, indolent in the crusade for the faith, &c.

Others think the allusion is to the conduct of Abu Lubaba at the siege of the Bani Quraidha referred to in note on ver. 27 (see Muir's Life of Mahomet vol iii. p. 272, note), which, however, is improbable. The most probable allusion, to my mind, is the conduct of those who disputed about the spoils of Badr.

It will not affect, &c., i.e., the result of divisions and internal dissensions must lead to common ruin. Muhammad well understood the importance of unity among the faithful. The success of Islam depended on it. Hence he strains every nerve to bring all classes together by a common submission to himself.


who are ungodly among you particularly, but all of you in general; and know that GOD is severe in punishing. (26) And remember when ye were few and reputed weak in the land, ye feared lest men should snatch you away; but God provided you a place of refuge, and he strengthened you with his assistance, and bestowed, on you good things, that ye might give thanks. (27) O true believers, deceive not GOD and his apostle; neither violate your faith against your own knowledge. (28) And know that your wealth and your children are a temptation unto you; and that with GOD is a great reward.

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(29) O true believers, if ye fear GOD, he will grant you a distinction, and will expiate your sins from you, and will forgive you; for GOD is endued with great liberality. (30) And call to mind when the unbelievers

(26) This verse is addressed to the Muhajjarin, or those who fled with Muhammad from Makkah to Madina.

(27) Deceive not God. "Al Baidhawi mentions an instance of such treacherous dealing in Abu Lubaba, who was sent by Muhammad to the tribe of the Quraidha, then besieged by that prophet, for having broken their league with him, and perfidiously gone over to the enemies at the war of the ditch, to persuade them to surrender at the discretion of Saad Ibn Muadh, prince of the tribe of Aus, their confederates, which proposal they had refused. But Abu Lubaba's family and effects being in the hands of those of Quraidha, he acted directly contrary to his commission, and instead of persuading them to accept Saad as their judge, when they asked his advice about it, drew his hand across his throat, signifying that he would put them all to death. However, he had no sooner done this than he was sensible of his crime, and going into a mosque tied himself to a pillar, and remained there seven days without meat or drink, till Muhammad forgave him."- Sale.

(28) Abdul Qadir says the allusion here is to the children of the refugees, still in Makkah, and to the wealth acquired by warring againist the unbelievers. The former tempted them to lukewarmness in the struggle with the Makkans, and the latter tempted them to concealment and falsehood in reporting the spoil taken by them.

(29) A distinction, i.e., "A direction that you may distinguish between truth and falsehood, or success in battle to distinguish the believers from the infidels, or the like."- Sale.

Will expiate your sins. See note on chap. iii. 194.

(30) "When the Makkins heard of the league entered into by Muhammad with those of Madina, being apprehensive of the consequence, they held a council whereat they say the devil assisted in


plotted against thee, that they might either detain thee in bonds, or put to death, or expel thee the city; and they plotted against thee: but GOD laid a plot against thee; and GOD is the best layer of plots. (31) And when our signs are repeated unto them, they say, We have heard; if we pleased we could certainly pronounce a composition like unto this: this is nothing but fables of the ancients. (32) And when they said, O GOD, if this be the truth from thee, rain down stones upon us from heaven, or inflict on us some other grievous punishment. (33) But GOD was

the likeness of an old man of Najd. The point under consideration being what they should do with Muhammad, Abu'l Bakhtari was of opinion that he should be imprisoned, and the room walled up, except a little hole, through which he should have necessaries given him till he died. This the devil opposed, saying that he might probably be released by some of his own party. Hisham Ibn Amru was for banishing him, but his advice also the devil rejected, insisting that Muhammad might engage some other tribes in his interest, and make war on them. At length Abu Jahl gave his opinion for putting him to death, and proposed the manner, which was unanimously approved."- Sale, Baidhawi.

God laid a plot. "Revealing their conspiracy to Muhammad, and miraculously assisting him to deceive them and make his escape, and afterwards drawing them to the battle of Badr."- Sale.

See note on Prelim. Disc., p. 85.

(31) If we pleased, we could, &c. This verse proves very clearly that Muhammad's contemporaries were not convinced of the miraculous character of the Quran, as claimed by Muhammad. See chaps. ii. 23 and xvii. 90, and notes there. Arnold in his Islam and Christianity, pp. 324-328, shows very conclusively that the style of the Quran was not admitted to be of superior excellence by many competent judges in the early days of Islam. The policy of Muhammad's claim, and therefore of the only miracle or sign he could ever point to as testimony to his claim to be a prophet, was exposed a thousand years ago by al Kindi, an Arab Christian scholar in the service of the Klalifah al Mamun, whose work has lately been discovered. He declares it "to be destitute of order, style, elegance, or accuracy of composition or diction," and claims that the poetical works of al Qais and other contemporaries of Muhammad were superior in every aspect to the Quran. Having read the Quran of Musailama the false prophet, he declared it to be superior in style to the work of Muhammad. See also chap. vi. 94, and note there.

Fables of the ancients. See note on chaps. vi. 24 and vii. 203.

(32) Rain down stones. Baidhawi ascribes this speech to al Nudhar Ibn al Harith. Abdul Qadir says it was Abu Lahab.


not disposed to punish them, while thou wast with them; nor was GOD disposed to punish them when they asked pardon. (34) But they have nothing to offer in excuse why GOD should not punish them, since they hindered the believers from visiting the holy temple, although they are not the guardians thereof. The guardians thereof are those only who fear God; but the greater part, of them know it not. (35) And their prayer at the house of God is no other than whistling and clapping of the hands. Taste therefore the punishment, for that ye have been unbelievers. (36) They who believe not expend their

(33) While thou wast with them. The commentators here annotate as follows: "Judgment receded before the footsteps of Muhammad while at Makkah, but now had judgment overtaken them (the Makkans). In like manner, while the sinner remains contrite and repents, he escapes the punishment of his sin, be it ever so great. The prophet said, 'Sinners have refuge in two things: in my person and in repentance."'- Tafsir-i-Raufi.

Nor ... when they asked pardon. "Saying, God forgive us! Some of the commentators, however, suppose the persons who asked pardon were certain believers who stayed among the infidels ; and others think the meaning to be that God would not punish them provided they asked pardon."- Sale.

(34) They hindered, &c. As at Hudaibaya, see Prelim. Disc., p.89. The guardians... are those... who fear God. This was said to justify the claim that the Quraish were not the guardians of the Kaabah. They had the hereditary right to the guardianship of the temple, that right having been conceded to the great progenitor of Muhammad himself, Kusai, nearly two centuries before. See Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. i. p. ccii. Muhammad's claim must have been grounded on this rejection on account of idolatry, and therefore could only apply to those of his fellow-tribesmen who still persisted in their adherence to the old idolatry. For we find this same tribe confirmed in the guardianship of the Kaabah after the conquest of Makkah. See note on chap. iv. 56. Even the Quraish might not guard the temple unless they had within them the fear of God.

(35) Whistling and clapping. "It is said that they used to dig round the Kaabah naked (see notes on chap. vii. 28-34) both men and women, whistling at the same time through their fingers and clapping their hands. Or, as others say, they made this noise on purpose to disturb Muhammad when at his prayers, pretending to beat prayers also themselves."- Sale, Baidhawi.

Taste therefore, now, defeat at Badr and afterwards suffering an exile and imprisonment, and at last at the judgment-day taste the fire.- Tafsir-i-Raufi.

(36) "The persons particularly meant in this passage were twelve


wealth to obstruct the way of GOD: they shall expend it, but afterwards it shall become matter of sighing and regret unto them, and at length they shall be overcome; (37) and the unbelievers shall be gathered together into hell; (38) that GOD may distinguish the wicked from the good, and may throw the wicked one upon the other, and may gather them all in a heap, and cast them into hell. These are they who shall perish.

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(39) Say unto the unbelievers, that if they desist from opposing thee, what is already past shall be forgiven them; but if they return to attack thee, the exemplary punishment of the former opposers of the prophets is already past, and the like shall be inflicted on them. (40) Therefore fight against them until there be no opposition in favour of idolatry, and the religion be wholly GOD'S. If

of the Quraish, who gave each of them ten camels every day to be killed for provisions for their army in the expedition of Badr; or, according to others, the owners of the effects brought by the caravan, who gave great part of them to the support of the succours from Makkah. It is also said that Abu Sufian, in the expedition of Ohod, lured two thousand Arabs, who cost him a considerable sum, besides the auxiliaries which he had obtained gatis."- Sale, Baidhawi.

They shall be overcome. The Tafsir-i-Raufi regards this as a prophecy of the conquest of Makkah. The verses following, however, clearlv show this statement to be based upon the assurance that God will cause the righteous to triumph. The victory at Badr was looked upon as clearly indicating the Divine favour. It therefore portended the eventual triumph of the Muslims. Such prophecies are of daily occurrence.

(39) If they return. This probably refers to the declaration of the Quraish that they would return to avenge the defeat of Badr.

The exemplary punishment &c. Abdul Qadir translates, "The custom of the former (peoples) has passed before them." There is in the saying a subtle allusion to the defeat of the Quraish at Badr, in accordance with the doom of infidels in former times.

(40) Fight against them. See notes on chap. ii. 190-193. Mr. Bosworth Smith (Mohammed and Mohammedanism, 2d ed. p.201) thinks that Muhammad was constrained to draw the sword by force of circumstances and the hatred of his enemies. The "perfect model of the saintly virtues" found in the Makkan prophet is thus suddenly and "by accident" converted into a general, and so we have "the mixed and sullied character of the prophet-soldier Muhammad." It is certain that all the exhortations of the later chapters of the Quran, like that of the text, are entirely inconsistent with the spirit


they desist, verily GOD seeth that which they do; (41) but if they turn back, know that GOD is your patron; he is the best patron, and the best helper.


(42) And know that whenever ye gain any spoils, a fifth part thereof belongeth unto GOD, and to the Apostle, and his kindred, and the orphans, and the poor, and the traveller; if ye believe in GOD, and that which we have sent down unto our servant on the day of distinction, on the day whereon the two armies met: and GOD is almighty. (43) When ye were encamped on the hithermost side of the valley, and they were encamped on the farther side, and the caravan was below you; and if ye had mutually

of the teaching of the earlier chapters. They are not, however, inconsistent with the spirit of the Arabian Prophet. His savage cruelty and cold-hearted revenge, exhibited in the very beginning of his soldier career, are in too strong contrast with saintly virtues to permit us to believe in the reality of the saint. It was policy rather than saintliness which withheld the command to fight, and when the time came to fight, we find Muhammad leading the fray-not carried along with it by force. See on this point Prelim. Disc., p. 83

Until there be no opposition, i.e., "Until the infidels cease to oppose Abdul Qadir. The original reference was to the opposition of the Quraish, but the spirit of the passage makes it apply to all opposers of Islam.

(42) A fifth part. "According to this law, a fifth part of the spoils is appropriated to the particular uses here mentioned, and the other four-fifths are to be equally divided among those who were present at the action but in what manner or to whom the first fifth is to be distributed, the Muhammadan doctors differ, as we have elsewhere observed (Prelim. Disc., pp. 224-226). Though it be the general opinion that this verse was revealed at Badr, yet there are some who suppose it was revealed in the expedition against the Jewish tribe of Qainuquaa, which happened a little above a mouth after."- Sale, Baidhawi.

Sent down ... on the day of distintction, i.e., "of the battle of Badr, which is so called because it distinguished the true believers from the infidels."- Sale. The plain import of the passage is that the law of spoils was given to Muhammad at Badr; and therefore the "general opinion" as to the date of revelation is certainly correct.

(43) The caravan was below you, i.e., "by the sea-side, making the best of their way to Makkah."- Sale.

Ye would certainly have declined, &c. Owing to the superior number of the Quraish. Rodwell translates the clause thus: "Ye would have failed the engagement ;" but this may mean that the Muslims


appointed to come to a battle, ye would certainly have declined the appointment; but ye were brought to an engagement without any previous appointment, that GOD might accomplish the thing which was decreed to be done; (44) that he who perisheth hereafter may perish after demonstrative evidence, and that he who liveth may live by the same evidence; GOD both heareth and knoweth. (45) When thy LORD caused the enemy to appear unto thee in thy sleep few in number; and if be had caused them to appear numerous unto thee, ye would have been disheartened, and would have disputed concerning the matter: but GOD preserved you from this; for he knoweth the innermost parts of the breasts of men. (46) And when he caused them to appear unto you when ye met to be

would have been defeated, whereas the meaning intended is that they would have been afraid to fight at all.

The thing . . . decreed. Lit. the thing to be done, i.e., "By granting a miraculous victory to the faithful, and overwhelming their enemies for the conviction of the latter and the confirmation of the former." Sale, Baidhawi.

(45, 46) On the question of discrepancy between this passage and chap. iii. 13, Sale, on the authority of Baidhawi, Jalaluddin, and Yahya, says- "This seeming contradictory to a passage in the third chapter, where it is said that the Muslims appeared to the infidels to be twice their own number, the commentators reconcile the matter hy telling us that just before the battle began the Prophet's party seemed fewer than they really were, to draw the enemy to an engagement; but that so soon as the armies were fully engaged , they appeared superior, to terrify and dismay their adversaries. It is related that Abu Jahl at first thought them so inconsiderable a handful, that he said one camel would be as much as they could all eat."

The fact upon which this miracle is based is thus given by Muir "Mahomet had barely arrayed his line of battle when the advanced column of the Coreish appeared over the rising sands in front. Their greatly superior numbers were concealed by the fall of the ground behind, and this imparted confidence to the Muslims."- Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 100. Yet all this is represented here as the fulfilment of a prophetic vision, granted to the Prophet on the night preceding the battle, "with which Muhammad had acquainted his companions for their encouragement."- Sale. But unfortunately for this vision, we are credibly informed by the historians (Katib-i-Waqkidi, &c) that on the day previous Muhammad, having captured the water-carriers of the Quraish at the well of Badr, had learned from them the approximate number of his enemies.


few in your eyes, and diminished your numbers in their eyes; that GOD might accomplish the thing which was decreed to be done; and unto GOD shall all things return.

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(47) O true believers, when ye meet a party of the infidels, stand firm, and remember GOD frequently, that ye may prosper: (48) and obey GOD and his Apostle, and be not refractory, lest ye be discouraged, and your success depart from you; but persevere with patience, for GOD is with those who persevere. (49) And be not as those who went out of their houses in an insolent manner, and to appear with ostentation unto men, and turned aside from the way of GOD; for GOD comprehendeth that which they do. (50) And remember when Satan prepared their works for them, and said, No man shall prevail against you to-

(47) Here begins a military harangue, characteristic of the prophet. soldier of Madina. Obedience to "God and his Apostle" is urged by every motive of piety and self-interest.

(48) Lest . . . your success depart. The quarrel over the distribution of the booty might well awaken fears br the future success of his warfare. Hence the wisdom of his determination to divide the spoils himself is the agent of God to whom they belonged (ver. 1). Whilst admiring the wisdom of the general, will any one believe in the sincerity of the prophet?

(49) Those who went out, &c. "These were the Makkans, who, marching to the assistance of the caravan, and being come as far as Juhfa, were there met by a messenger from Abu Sufian, to acquaint them that he thought himself out of danger, and therefore they might return home; upon which Abu Jahl, to give the greater opinion of the courage of himself and his comrades, and of their readiness to assist their friends, swore that they would not return till they had been at Badr, and had there drunk wine and entertained those who should be present and diverted themselves with singing-women. The event of which bravado was very fatal, several of the principal Quraish, and Abu Jahl in particular, losing their lives in the expedition."- Sale, Baidhawi.

"Jihad (crusading) is worship, but when done in pride and vain-glory it is not acceptable to God."- Abdul Qadir.

(50) Remember when Satan, &c. "Some understand this passage figuratively of the private instigation of the devil, and of the defeating of his designs, and the hopes with which he had inspired the idolaters. But others take the whole literally, and tell us that when the Quraish on their march bethought themselves of the enmity between them and the tribe of Kanana, who were masters of the country about Badr, that consideration would have prevailed on them to return, had not the devil appeared in the likeness of Suraqah


day; and I will surely be near to assist you. But when the two armies appeared in sight of each other, he turned back on his heels, and said, Verily I am clear of you: I certainly see that which ye see not; I fear GOD, for GOD is severe in punishing.

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(51) When the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts there was an infirmity, said, Their religion hath deceived these men: but whosoever confideth in GOD cannot be deceived; for GOD is mighty and wise. (52) And if you didst behold when the angels caused the unbelievers to die: they strike their faces and their backs, and say unto

Ibn Malik, a principal person of that tribe, and promised them that they should not be molested, and that himself would go with them. But when they came to join battle, and the devil saw the angels descending to the assistance of the Muslims, he retired ; and al Harith Ibn Hasham, who had him then by the hand, asking him whither he was going, and if he intended to betray them at such a juncture, he answered in the words of this passage, 'I am clear of you all, for I see that which ye see not ;' meaning the celestial succours. They say further, that when the Quraish, on their return, laid the blame of their overthrow on Suraqah, he swore that he did not so much as know of their march till he heard they were routed : and afterwards, when they embraced Muhammadanism, they were satisfied it was the devil."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

Waqkidi gives the circumstantial evidence of a witness regarding the devil's behaviour on this occasion, his jumping into the sea, what he said, &c. See Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 125, note.

(51) Their religion hath deceived these men. This saying is ascribed by some to the Madina hypocrites, who, seeing the fewness of the Muslims, thought their purpose to attack so large an army a piece of folly, attributable only to the madness of fanaticism. But the fact that the Muslims went forth from Madina to plunder a comparatively defenceless caravan, and not to attack the army of the Quraish, is against this interpretation. Others therefore explain that there were among the Quraish certain persons who were partially persuaded of the truth of Islam, but declined to flee to Madina with other refugees. These went along with the Quraish, intending to go over to the Muslims provided they should be more in number than they, but seeing the Muslims to be few in number, they said their religion hath deceived them. See the Tafsir-i-Raufi in loco.

(52) When the angels, &c. "This passage is generally understood of the angels who slew the infidels at Badr, and who fought (as the commentators pretend) with iron maces, which shot forth flames of fire at every stroke (Baidhawi, Jaluluddin). Some, however, imagine that the words hint, at least, at the examination of the sepulcure, which the Muhammadans believe every man must undergo after


them, Taste ye the pain of burning: (53) this shall ye suffer for that which your hands have set before YOU, and because GOD is not unjust towards his servants. (54) These have acted according to the wont of the people of Pharaoh, and of those before them, who disbelieved in the signs of GOD: therefore GOD took them away in their iniquity; for GOD is mighty and severe in punishing. (55) This hath come to pass because GOD changeth not his grace, wherewith he hath favoured any people, until they change that which is in their souls; and for that GOD both heareth and seeth. (56) According to the wont of the people of Pharaoh, and of those before them, who charged the signs of their LORD with imposture, have they acted: wherefore we destroyed them in their sins, and we drowned the people of Pharaoh; for they were all unjust persons.(57) Verily the worst cattle in the sight of GOD are those who are obstinate infidels, and will not believe. (58) As to those who enter into a league with thee, and afterwards violate their league at every convenient opportunity, and fear not God; (59) if thou take them in war, disperse, by making them an example, those who shall come after them, that they may be warned; (60) or if thou apprehend treachery from any people, throw back their league unto

death, and will be very terrible to the unbelievers." (Prelim. Disc, p. 127).- Sale.

(53) Which your hands &c. See note on chap. ii. 94.

(54-56) See notes on chap; vii. 128-137.

God changeth not his grace. This passage recognises the freedom of the will, and consequently man's responsibility for his sin. Comp. chap. iii. 145, note.

(57) See note on ver. 22. The allusion here is probably to the Jews, either the Bani Qainuqaa or the Bani Quraidha. See Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p.135.

(58) Afterwards violate their league, "as did the tribe of Quraidha." - Sale. So too the Tafsir-i-Raufi. See the story of the treachery of this tribe in Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. chap. xvii.

(59) Making them an example, i.e., by slaying them. How well this command was performed let the 800 gory heads of the Bani Quraidha tell.- Muir's life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p.278.

(60) If thou apprehend treachery. The road to covenant-breaking is here made easy. A suspicion of the Prophet or of his successors that the Jews or Christians with whom covenant had been made were


them with like treatment; for GOD loveth not the treacherous.

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(61) And think not that the unbelievers have escaped God's vengeance, for they shall not weaken the power of God. (62) Therefore prepare against them what force ye are able, and troops of horse, whereby ye may strike a terror into the enemy of GOD, and your enemy, and into other infidels besides them, whom ye know not, but GOD knoweth them. And whatsoever ye shall expend in the defence of the religion of GOD, it shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly. (63) And if they incline unto peace, do thou also incline thereto; and put thy confidence in GOD, for it is he who heareth and knoweth. (64) But if they seek to deceive thee, verily GOD will be thy support. It is he who hath strengthened

treacherous is made a sufficient ground for breaking that covenant. As an illustration of this principle, see Muhammad's conduct toward the Bani Nadhir, described in Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p.209.

Like treatment. Lit. render them the like. The drift of this passage is so plainly contrary to the principles of honourable dealing, as to make even the Muslim commentators feel the need of softening the tone of it as far as possible. Baidhawi seems to justify the course here prescribed as fair. Abdul Qadir says the meaning is, that in case of a suspicion of treachery, the correspondence should be conducted with that caution which marked their dealings before conditions of peace were made. He concludes his comment here by saying, "There is no immoral teaching here." Yet notwithstanding the pious sentiment which follows at the end of this verse, God loveth not the treacherous, we are left with the conviction that counter-treachery is here justified as a means of self-defence. Of course it is only justifiable when used by Muslims.

(61) Think not. Sales says "Some copies read it in the third person, Let not the unbelievers think, &c.

Who have escaped, i.e., from Badr.

(62) Prepare.. . what force ye are able. Prepare for the holy war against the infidels. Primarily the allusion was to the Quraish and the treacherous Jews, but now it has a general application. See Abdul Qadir and Tafsir-i-Raufi.

Troops of horse. Muhammad here encourages the formation of cavalry in his army. To all such he promises repayment. Later on he ordered that the spoil of a horseman should be three times that of a footman. From chap. lix. ver. 6 we learn that Muhammad claimed and appropriated all the spoil of the expedition against the Bani Nadhir, because he alone rode on horseback.


thee with his help, and with that of the faithful, and hath united their hearts. If thou hadst expended whatever riches are in the earth, thou couldst not have united their hearts, but GOD united them; for he is mighty and wise.

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(65) O Prophet, GOD is thy support, and such of the true believers who followeth thee. (66) O Prophet, stir up the faithful to war: if twenty of you persevere with constancy, they shall overcome two hundred, and if there be one hundred of you, they shall overcome a thousand of those who believe not; because they are a people which do not understand. (67) Now hath GOD eased you, for he knew that ye were weak. If there be an hundred of you who persevere with constancy, they shall overcome two hundred; and if there be a thousand of you, they shall overcome two thousand, by the permission of GOD; for GOD is with those who persevere. (68) It hath not been granted unto any prophet that he should possess captives,

(64) Hath united their hearts. The Tafsir-i-Raufi thinks the allusion here is to the union of the tribes of Aus and Khazraj, who had been deadly enemies for more than a century before. It might, however, refer to union between other tribes as well.

God united them, i.e., by the bonds of Islam. The union of the tribes of Arabia under the banner of Islam is regarded by Muslims as a miracle, and therefore a proof of their Prophet's mission.

(65) "This passage, as some say, was revealed in a plain called al Baida, between Makkah and Madina, during the expedition of Badr; and, as others, in the sixth year of the Prophet's mission, on the occasion of Omar's embracing Muhammadanism."- Sale.

(66, 67) These verses were revealed at different times, but belonging to the same subject, have been grouped together by the compilers. Compare with Lev. xxvi. 8 and Josh. xxiii. 10. The Tafsir-i-Raufi says both verses were intended to arouse a spirit of fortitude in battle. As a result of the first injunction, that one Muslim should stand against ten infidels, one of the faithful was slain; whereupon that command was abrogated. and the more moderate one given in its place, which is introduced by the words Now hath God eased you (from the rigour of the first command), for he knew that ye were weak.

By the permission of God. One would naturally conclude that the first command might have stood on this ground.

(68) Any prophet. This verse was given to justify the cruelty of Muhammad towards the captives taken at Badr, many of whom were put to death in cold blood. But for the merciful pleading of Abu Baqr, all would have met a similar fate. The apology for this cruelty here given is that all warrior-prophets had been obliged to


until he hath made a great slaughter of the infidels in the earth. Ye seek the accidental goods of this world, but GOD regardeth the life to come; and GOD is mighty and wise. (69) Unless a revelation had been previously deli-

make "a great slaughter of the infidels" before they could succeed. Those who would paint the character of Muhammad in soft colours are guilty of deliberate misrepresentation. See on this subject Muirs Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. pp. 113-118.

A great slaughter. "Because severity ought to be used where circumstances require it, though clemency be more preferable where it may be exercised with safety. While the Muhammadans therefore were weak, and their religion in its infancy, God's pleasure was that the opposers of it should be cut off, as is particularly directed in this chapter. For which reason they are here upbraided with their preferring the lucre of the ransom to their duty."- Sale.

Ye seek the . . goods. It would seem that in the Prophet's opinion the Muslims were not so much actuated by feelings of mercy in pleading for the lives of their Makkan captives as by a desire for the ransom money.

(69) Unless a revelation, &c. Lit. a writing - kitab. Abdul Qadir translates thus "Had this not been written in God's decrees," viz., that many of the captives would be converted to Islam. Muir says, "It may simply mean, 'Had there not been a previous decree to the contrary, a grievous punishment had overtaken you.' "- Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 118, note.

This was a message, leaving it with Muhammad to decide whether the prisoners taken at Badr should be slain, or whether they should be ransomed, on condition that there should be an equal number of the Muslims slain at Ohod. Tradition tells us that Muhammad decided to receive the ransoms on the ground that when the Muslims should be slain, they would inherit Paradise and the crown of martyrdom.- Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. pp. I 17, 118.

Sale gives the following, taken from Muslim authorities, who felt constrained to place the responsibility of the vindictive spirit shown by their Prophet towards his enemies to the credit of others : -

"Among the seventy prisoners whom the Muslims took in this battle were al Abbas, one of Muhammad's nudes, and Okail, the son of Abu Talib and brother of Ali. When they were brought before Muhammad, he asking the advice of his companions what should be done with them, Abu Baqr was for releasing them on their paying ransom, saying that they were near relations to the Prophet, and God might possibly forgive them on their repentance; but Omar was for striking off their heads, as professed patrons of infidelity. Muhammad did not approve of the latter advice, but observed that Abu Baqr resembled Abraham, who interceded for offenders, and that Omar was like Noah, who prayed for the utter extirpation of the wicked antediluvians; and thereupon it was agreed to accept a ransom from them and their fellow captives. Soon after which, Omar, going into the Prophet's tent, found him and Abu Baqr


vered from GOD, verily a severe punishment had been inflicted on you for the ransom which ye took from the captives at Badr. (70) Eat therefore of what ye have acquired, that which is lawful and good; for GOD is gracious and merciful.

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(71) O Prophet, say unto the captives who are ill your hands, If GOD shall know any good to be in your hearts,

weeping, and asking them the reason of their tears, Muhammad acquainted him that this verse had been revealed condemning their ill-timed lenity towards their prisoners, and that they had narrowly escaped the Divine vengeance for it, adding, that if God had not passed the matter over, they had certainly been destroyed to a man, excepting only Omar and Saad Ibn Muadh, a person of as great severity, and who was also for putting the prisoners to death." See also note on chap. iii. 140.

It seems that the fierce vindictive spirit apparent in the Quran at this period was due in some measure at least to the defeat at Ohod. Yet, excepting a few personal enemies of the Prophet, who were summarily executed, all the prisoners were ransomed with the hearty consent of Muhammad himself, who not only needed the ransom price as a compensation to his followers, who were sorely grieved and disappointed at the loss of the caravan they had hoped to capture, but he also hoped for the conversion of some of the captive Quraish. See below on ver. 71. But the battle at Ohod, resulting in the defeat of Muhammad and the slaughter of many of the faithful, not only' aroused among the Muslims a bitter desire for vengeance, but required an explanation. Why this defeat? Why were the favourites of Heaven smitten before the infidels? These questions are answered in the latter part of chapter iii. Now, as the number of infidels killed at Badr was raised by the Quran itself from forty-nine to seventy (chap. iii. 140), in order to correspond with the seventy Muslims killed at Ohod, it is almost certain that the spirit of the Prophet after Ohod has been, so to speak, forced back upon Badr.

A severe punishment. "That is, had not the ransom been, in strictness, lawful for you to accept, by God's having in general terms allowed you the spoil and the captives, ye had been severely punished. . . . Yet did not this crime go absolutely unpunished neither for in the battle of Ohod the Muslims lost seventy men, equal to the number of prisoners taken at Badr; which was so ordered by God, as a retaliation or atonement for the same."- Sale.

(70) Eat therefore, i.e., "Of the ransom which ye have received of your prisoners. For it seems, on this rebuke, they had some scruple of conscience whether they might convert it to their own use or not." - Sale, Baidhawi.

(71) Say unto the captives. This was said in the hope that the captive Quraish might yet be induced to profess Islam, and this hope was in some measure realized.


he will give you better than what hath been taken from you; and he will forgive you, for GOD is gracious and merciful. (72) But if they seek to deceive thee, verily they have deceived GOD; wherefore he hath given thee power over them: and GOD is knowing and wise. (73) Moreover, they who have believed, and have fled their country, and employed their substance and their persons in fighting for the religion of GOD, and they who have given the Prophet a refuge among them, and have assisted him, these shall be deemed the one nearest of kin to the

He will give you better, &c. "That is, if ye repent and believe, God will make you abundant retribution for the ransom ye have now paid. It is said that this passage was revealed on the particular account of al Abbas, who being obliged by Muhammad, though his uncle, to ransom both himself and his two nephews, Okail and Naufal Ibn al-Harith, complained that he should be reduced to beg alms of the Quraish as long as he lived. Whereupon Muhammad asked him what was become of the gold which he delivered to Omm al Fadhl when he left Makkah, telling her that he knew not what might befall him in the expedition, and therefore, if he lost his life, she might keep it herself for the use of her and her children. Al Abbas demanded who told him this; to which Muhammad replied that God had revealed it to him. And upon this al-Abbas immediately professed Islam, declaring that none could know of that affair except God, because he gave her the money at midnight. Some years after, al Abbas reflecting on this passage, confessed it to be fulfilled ; for he was then not only possessed of a large substance, but had the custody of the well Zamzam, which, he said, he preferred to all the riches of Makkah."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(72) If they seek to deceive thee. Of this passage Muir says "This explained to mean 'deceit in not paying the ransom agreed upon ;' but it seems an unlikely interpretation, as the ransom was ordinary paid down ,on the spot. It may be a significant intimation that those who came over to Islam would be released without ransom ; - the deceit contemplated being a treacherous confession of faith followed by desertion to Makkah." - Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. p. 119, note.

The same thing is probably intended by the statement of the previous verse, " he will forgive you," &c.

He hath given thee power over them. The prophet-general of Madina speaks in different terms from those of the Makkah. Comp. chap. lxxxviii. 21, 22.

(73) Who . . . have fled, &c. The Muhajjirin, or refugees, a term at first applicable only to those who fled from Makkah, but afterwards to all who fled to the Prophet's standard.

They who have assisted, i.e., the Ansars, or Helpers. This term at


other. But they who have believed, but have not fled their country, shall have no right of kindred at all with you, until they also fly. Yet if they ask assistance of you on account of religion, it belongeth unto you to give them assistance; except against a people between whom and yourselves there shall be a league subsisting: and GOD seeth that which ye do. (74) And as to the infidels, let them be deemed of kin the one to the other. Unless ye do this, there will be a sedition in the earth, and grievous corruption. (75) But as for them who have believed, and left their country, and have fought for GOD'S true religion, and who have allowed the Prophet a retreat among them, and have assisted him, these are really believers; they shall receive mercy and an honourable provision. (76) And they who have believed since, and have fled their

first applied only to those of Madina who identified themselves with Islam, but other people from the neighbouring tribes having put themselves under the leadership of Muhammad, and having helped him repeatedly, the term was applied to all who allied themselves to Muhammad.

Nearest of kin. "And shall consequently inherit one another's substance, preferably to their relations by blood. And this, they say, was practised for some time, the Muhajjirin and Ansars being judged heirs to one another, exclusive of the deceased's other kindred, till this passage was abrogated by the following - Those who are related by blood shall be deemed the nearest of kin to each other. - Sale.

Abdul Qadir thinks the relationships of Muslims referred to here to pertain to faith only and to the future life, and thus reconciles this verse with ver. 76. But there is nothing in the language to warrant such an interpretation. As a matter of policy this law was inaugurated in order to bind the Muslims together in the earlier days of the Hijra, but it could not long bear the pressure of its own weight, and hence was abrogated by the law of ver. 76.

(74) This verse illustrates the political sagacity of Muhammad. He divides all Arabs into two classes, and unites all his following, from whatever quarter they might come, against the fragmentary elements of the opposition.

(75) This verse corresponds with ver. 73, except in so far as the change of law required a change in the language. I think it very probable that this verse gives the revised reading of ver. 73, and was intended to take its place in the Quran.

(76) See notes on ver. 73, also notes on chap. iv. 6-13.


country, and have fought with you, these also are of you. And those who are related by consanguinity shall be deemed the nearest of kin to each other preferably to strangers according to the book of GOD: GOD knoweth all things.

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