Revealed at Makkah.


THIS chapter might be called the chapter of wonderful stories. It owes its name to one of these-the story of the sleepers in the cave, which is the story of the Seven Sleepers of Christian tradition embellished by Muhammad with an Islamic colouring. (See notes on vers. 8-12.)

This is remarkable, in that it throws some light on the habit the Prophet of Makkah had of delaying to answer difficult questions till the following day, on the pretence of not yet having received the answer by revelation. In this instance, if we are to believe the commentators, he had to wait ten days for the required answer, at which time he proclaims himself rebuked by God for rashly presuming to command the spirit of revelation on a morrow (ver. 23, note). But, judging from the character of the story itself, we are safe in adopting the opinion that during this interval Muhammad did not despise the scanty information he was able to derive from the Christian slaves of his town, some of whom were in his own household.

A remarkable feature of the stories of this chapter is that three of them are derived from apocryphal sources, viz., the story of the sleepers, the story of Khidhar (Jethro), and the story of Alexander's journeyings, and of his building a barrier to prevent the incursions of the northern kings of Gog and Magog. All these stories partake of the character of the marvellous, and carry with them such an air of vagueness as to leave the impression that Muhammad's informants were themselves but ill-informed. We have already indicated our belief as to the source of this information.


The remaining portions of the chapter are of the usual Makkan type. The idolaters are warned by the example of rebellious nations in past ages, and especially by that of the Israelites, who, on account of having rejected their prophets, suffered the loss of their sacred city. On the other hand, the faithful are encouraged by the hopes of Paradise.

Probable Dates of the Revelations.

The whole of this chapter belongs to Makkah. It is true some authorities would refer the exhortation of ver. 27 to Madina, but other authorities place it among the Makkan revelations, while there is nothing in the sentiment of that verse which might not have been uttered at any time and in any place. Occurring as it does in the midst of Makkan revelations, it is more natural to count it among them than forcibly to transfer it to Madina.

Beyond the style of the chapter and the spirit of the addresses to the Quraish there is little upon which to fix a date for the composition. These are, however, quite decisive for a period anterior to the Ban of the Hashimites. The intercourse with Jews and Christians, through whom most of the matter of this chapter was derived, would also point to a period when Muhammad had gained converts and adherents from among these. We conclude, therefore, that the main portion of this chapter should be assigned to about the sixth year of Muhammad's ministry at Makkah. The stories of Khidhar and of Alexander may, however, belong to some other period, their presence here being accounted for by the purpose of the compilers to bring together these marvellous stories in the same chapter. I confess, however, that this is simply conjecture.

Principal Subjects.

God praised for the gift of the Quran. .. 1
The Quran a warner to unbelievers and good tidings to the faithful . . . 2
Those who say God has sons or daughters are liars .. . 3, 4
Muhammad grieves for the unbelief of his people . . . 5
Earth's adornment to be reduced to dust . . . 6, 7
The story of the companions of the cave . . . 8-22
Muhammad rebuked for promising a revelation on a fixed date ... 23
The sleepers of the cave sleep 309 years . . . 24
Times and seasons are in God's hands . . . 25
None can change the Quran . . . 26
The pious are the Prophet's guardians . . . 27


Truth is from the Lord ... 28
Sufferings of the wicked contrasted with the rewards of the righteous ... 28-30
The parable of the two men. . . 31-42
Life on earth likened to water from heaven . . . 43
Good works better than wealth and children . . . 44
Mankind assembled on the judgment-day . . . . 45
The manner of the judgment-the book of personal action delivered ... 46, 47
Iblis refuses to worship Adam . . . . 48
Genii, the offspring of Satan, not present at the creation ... 49
Idol-worshippers deserted by their idols in the judgment ... 50
The wicked doomed to hell-fire . . . 51
The Quran rejected by men through unbelief . . . 52, 53
Prophets are sent with threats and good news . . . 54
The sin of apostasy . . . 55-57
Unbelief destroyed the former cities ..58
Moses and Joshua visit Khidhar . . . 59-64
Moses desires to be taught by Khidhar...65
Khidhar, knowing Moses's inability to receive his wisdom, yields to his importunity ...66-69
He scuttles a boat, kills a man, and builds a tottering wall... 70-76
Khidhar refuses to communicate further with Moses on account of his protests against his conduct, but condescends to explain his conduct . . . 77-81
Dhu al Qarnain journeys to the setting sun. .. 82-84
He finds a people, whom he is permitted to treat as he will... 85-87
He travels east and north, where he finds an ignorant race, who plead his protection against Gog and Magog ... 88-93
He builds a rampart against them ... 94-96
Gog and Magog to be let loose before the judgment-day... 97-99
Rewards and punishments in the judgment ... 100-108
Were the ocean ink, it would not suffice to write all the words of God ... 109
Muhammad only a mortal man ... 110


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(1) Praise be unto GOD, who hath sent down unto his servant the book of the Quran, and hath not inserted therein any crookedness, (2) but hath made it a straight rule: that he should threaten a grievous punishment unto


the unbelievers, from his presence; and should bear good tidings unto the faithful, who work righteousness, that they should receive an excellent reward, namely paradise, wherein they shall remain for ever: (3) and that he should warn those who say, GOD hath begotten issue; (4) of which matter they have no knowledge, neither had their fathers. A grievous saying it is, which proceedeth from their mouths: they speak no other than a lie. (5) Peradventure thou wilt kill thyself with grief after them, out of thy earnest zeal for their conversion, if they believe not in this new revelation of the Quran. (6) Verily we have ordained whatsoever is on the earth for the ornament thereof, that we might make trial of men, and see which of them excelleth in works: (7) and we will surely reduce whatever is thereon to dry dust. (8) Dost thou consider that the companions of the cave, and Al Raqim, were one of our signs, and a great miracle? (9)

(3) Those who say, God hath begotten issue. See notes on chap. iv. 169, v. 19 and 79, and vi. 101. The passage may allude to Christians, but more probably to the idolaters of Makkah, who called the angels the daughters of God.

(5) New revelation. It was new to the Arabs, but, according to Muhammad's uniform claim, not new to Jews and Christians.

(8) Companions of the cave. "These were certain Christian youths, of a good family in Ephesus, who, to avoid the persecution of the Emperor Decius, by the Arab writers called Decianus, hid themselves in a cave, where they slept for a great number of years.

"This apocryphal story (for Baronius, Martyrol. ad. 27 Julii, treats it as no better, and Father Marracci acknowledges it to be partly false, or at least doubtful, though he calls Hottinger a monster of impiety, and the off-scum of heretics, for terming it a fable) was borrowed by Muhammad from the Christian traditions (vide Greg. Turon et Simeon, Metaphraste), but has been embellished by him and his followers with several additional circumstances."- Sale.

Al Raqim. "What is meant by this word the commentators cannot agree. Some will have it to be the name of the mountain or the valley wherein the cave was; some say it was the name of their dog; and others (who seem to come nearest the true signification) that it was a brass plate or stone table placed near the mouth of the cave, on which the names of the young men were written.

There are some, however, who take the companions of Al Raqim be different from the seven sleepers: for they say the former


When the young men took refuge in the cave, they said, O LORD, grant us mercy from before thee, and dispose our business for us to a right issue. (10) Wherefore we struck their ears with deafness, so that they slept without disturbance in the cave for a great number of years: (11) then we awaked them, that we might know which of the two parties was more exact in computing the space which they had remained there.

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(12) We will relate unto thee their history with truth. Verily they were young men who had believed in their LORD; and we had abundantly directed them; (13) and we fortified their hearts with constancy when they stood before the tyrant; and they said, Our LORD is the LORD of heaven and earth; we will by no means call on any god besides him, for then should we surely utter an extravagance. (14) These our fellow-people have taken other gods besides him, although they bring no demonstrative argument for them; and who is more unjust than he who deviseth a lie concerning GOD? (15) And they said the one

were three men who were driven by ill weather into a cave for shelter, and were shut in there by the falling down of a vast stone, which stopped the cave's mouth; but on their begging God's mercy, and their relating each of them a meritorious action which they hoped might entitle them to it, were miraculously delivered by the rock's rending in sunder to give them passage."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(11) The two parties, viz., "of the sleepers themselves, or others, who were divided in opinion as to the length of their stay in the cave."- Sale.

(l2) We will relate unto thee their history with truth. Muhammad relates this story, which be received from Christian tradition, as coming from God for his own instruction! Was there no element of fabrication and conscious imposition here? Can any one conceive of such conduct apart from a purpose to deceive?

(13) We will by no means, &c. The language used by Muhammad in his addresses to the Quraish is here put into the mouths of the seven sleepers.

(14) Our fellow-people. The word fellow in Sale's translation is misleading. These young men are conceived of here as divine messengers, and "our people" is the usual term whereby the Quran designates the people to whom the prophets were sent.

Beside him, &c. These young men were Muslims, bringing to mankind verbatim the very message Muhammad brought to the Quraish.


to the other, when ye shall separate yourselves from them, and from the duties which they worship, except GOD, fly into the cave: your LORD will pour his mercy on you abundantly, and will dispose your business for you to advantage. (16) And thou mightest have seen the sun when it had risen to decline from their cave towards the right hand, and when it went down to leave them on the left, hand: and they were in the spacious part of the cave. This was one of the. signs of GOD. Whomsoever GOD shall he shall be rightly directed and whomsoever he shall cause to err thou shalt not find any to defend or to direct.

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(17) And thou wouldest have judged them to have been awake while they were sleeping; and we caused them to turn themselves to the right hand and to the left. And their dog stretched forth his forelegs in the mouth of the cave: if thou hadst come suddenly upon them, verily

(15) When ye shall separate, &c. According to the Tafsir-i-Raufi, these words were spoken by the eldest of the seven, whose name was Yamlikha. The names of the remaining sir were Maksalmina, Masalina Marnush Barnush, Shazlus, and Kamartus, and the name of their dog Qatmir. The same authority, however, gives another list differing somewhat from this.

(16) Thou mightest have seen the sun, &c. "Lest it should be offensive to them, the cave opening towards the south."- Sale.

The spacious part, i.e., " in the midst of it where they were incommoded neither by the heat of the sun nor the closeness of the cave." Sale, Baidhawi.

(17) To have been awake. "Because of their having their eyes open, or their frequent turning themselves from one side to the other."- Sale, Baidhawi.

We caused them to turn. "Lest their lying so long on the ground should consume their flesh."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

Their dog. "This dog had followed them as they passed by him when they fled to the cave, and they drove him away, wheren on God caused him to speak, and he said 'I love those who are dear unto God; go to sleep therefore, and I will guard you.' But some say it was a dog belonging to a shepherd who followed them, and that the dog followed the shepherd, which opinion is supported by reading, as some do, kalibohum, 'their dog's master,' instead of kalbohum, 'their dog.' Jalaluddin adds, that the dog behaved as his masters did, in turning himself, in sleeping, and in waking.

"The Muhammadans have a great respect for this dog, and allow him a place in paradise with some other favourite brutes; and they have a sort of proverb which they use in speaking of a covetous per-


thou wouldest have turned thy back and fled from them, and thou wouldest have been filled with fear at the sight of them. (18) And so we awaked them from their sleep, that they might ask questions of one another. One of them spake and said, how long have ye tarried here? They answered, We have tarried a day, or part of a day. The others said, Your LORD best knoweth the time ye have tarried: and now send one of you with this your money into the city, and let him see which of its inhabitants hath the best and cheapest food, and let him bring you provision from him, and let him behave circumspectly, and not discover you to any one.

son,'that he would not throw a bone to the dog of the seven sleepers;' nay, it is said that they have the superstition to write his name, which they suppose to be Qatmir (though some, as is observed above, think he was called al Raqim), on their letters which go far, or which pass the sea, as a protection, or kind of talisman to reserve them from miscarriage."- Sale, Baidhawi. See also La Roque, Voy. de l'Arabie Heur., p.74.

The reading kalibohum is without any good authority, and was probably invented to avoid the doctrine, otherwise to be inferred from the text, that at least one unclean beast is to be found in Paradise.

Thou wouldest have been filled with fear, &c. "For that God had given them terrible countenances, or else because of the largeness of their bodies or the horror of the place."

"It is related that the Khalifah Muaviah, in an expedition he made against Natolia, passed by the cave of the seven sleepers, and would needs send somebody into it, notwithstanding Ibn Abbas remonstrated to him the danger of it, saying that a better man than him (meaning the Prophet) had been forbidden to enter it, and repeated this verse; but the men the Khalifah sent in had no sooner entered the cave than they were struck dead by a burning wind." Sale, Baidhawi.

This story exaggerates even the text, and illustrates how wild the revels of the traditionists became whilst they dwelt in this congenial clime.

The time ye have tarried. "As they ,entered the cave in the morning, and waked about noon, they at first imagined they had slept half a day, or a day and a half at most, but when they found their nails and hair grown very long, they used these words." - Sale, Baidhawi.

The city. "Which some commentators suppose was Tarsus."- Sale.

The story requires it to be Ephesus.



(19) Verily if they come up against you they will stone you, or force you to return to their religion, and then shall ye not prosper for ever. (20) And so we made their people acquainted with what had happened to them, that they might know that the promise of GOD is true, and that there is no doubt of the last hour, when they disputed among themselves concerning their matter. And they said, Erect a building over them; their LORD best knoweth their condition. Those who prevailed in their affair answered, We will surely build a chapel over them.(21) Some say the sleepers were three, and their dog was the fourth, and others say they were five, and their dog was the sixth, guessing at a secret matter; and others say they were seven, and their dog was the eighth. Say, My LORD best knoweth their number: none shall know them except

(19) This verse marks the middle of the Quran, attained by counting the letters of the Arabic text.

(20) That they might know, &c. "The long sleep of these young men, and their waking after so many years, being a representation of the state of those who die, and are afterwards raised to life."- Sale.

Disputed . . . concerning the matter, i.e.," concerning the resurrection, some saying that the souls only should be raised, others that they should be raised with the body; or concerning the sleepers, after they were really dead; one saying that they were dead, and another that they were only asleep; or else concerning the erecting a building over them, as it follows in the next words ; some advising a dwelling-house to be built there, and others a temple."- Sale, Baidhawi.

We will surely build a chapel. Literally, a masjid, or a place of worship. "When the young man who was sent into the city went to pay for the provision he had bought, his money was so old, being the coin of Decianus, that they imagined he had found a treasure, and carried him before the prince, who was a Christian, and having heard his story, sent some with him to the cave, who saw and spoke to the others, after which they fell asleep again and died, and the prince ordered them to be buried in the same place, and built a chapel over them."- Sale.

(21) Their dog the fourth. "This was the opinion of Sayad, a Jacobite Christian of Najran."- Sale, Baidhawi.

Their dog was the sixth. "This was the opinion of certain Christians, and particularly of a Nestorian prelate."- Sale, Baidhawi.

Their dog was the eighth. "This is the true opinion."- Sale, Baidhawi.

None shall know. The fair inference from this statement is that


a few. (22) Wherefore dispute not concerning them, except with a clear disputation, according to what hath been revealed unto thee, and ask not any of the Christians concerning them. (23) Say not of any matter, I will surely do this tomorrow, unless thou add if GOD please. And remember thy LORD when thou forgettest, and say, My LORD is able to direct me with ease, that I may draw near unto the truth of this matter rightly. (24) And they remained in their cave three hundred years, and nine years over. (25) Say, GOD best knoweth how long they

the number was not made known even in the Quran. Muhammad's purpose evidently was to be non-committal on this subject.

(22) Ask not any of the Christians, &c. One would have thought the Christians best qualified to attest the truth of a story based upon their own tradition. It cannot be doubted that Muhammad here deliberately casts discredit on those who were alone competent to expose the source of his revelation.

(23) Say not I will surely do this tomorrow, &c. "It is said that when the Quraish, by the direction of the Jews, put the three questions above mentioned to Muhammad, he bid them come to him the next day and he would give them an answer, but added not 'if it please God,' for which reason he had the mortification to wait above ten days before any revelation was vouchsafed him concerning those matters, so that the Quraish triumphed, and bitterly reproached him as a liar; but at length Gabriel brought him directions what he should say, with this admonition, however, that he should not be so confident for the future."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

When thou forgettest. Sale applies these words to the Prophet's forgetting to say," If God please " but the text requires that these words he applied to the story just related. Does not this passage suggest the use Muhammad made of the delay he sought on this occasion? And is it not reasonable to believe that the various numbers of verse 21 represent the various renderings of the story as he heard it now from one informant and again from another? We should like to know how the apologists would account for all the circumstances of this piece of garbled Christian tradition in accordance with their belief in Muhammad's honesty and sincerity.

(24) Three hundred years, and nine years over. "Jalaluddin supposes the whole space was three hundred solar years, and that the odd nine are added to reduce them to lunar years.

"Some think these words are introduced as spoken by the Christians, who differed among themselves about the time, one saying it was three hundred years, and another three hundred and nine years. The interval between the reign of Decius and that of Theodosius the younger in whose time the sleepers are said to have awaked, will not allow them to have slept quite two hundred years, though Muhammad is somewhat excusable, since the number assigned by


continued there: unto him are the secrets of heaven and earth known; do thou make him to see and to hear. The inhabitants thereof have no protector besides him, neither doth he suffer any one to have a share in the establishment or knowledge of his decree.

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(26) Read that which hath been revealed unto thee of the book of thy LORD without presuming to make any change therein. There is none who hath power to change his words; and thou shalt not find any to fly to besides him if thou attempt it (27) Behave thyself with constancy towards those call upon their LORD morning and evening, and who seek his favour; and let not thine eyes be turned away from them seeking the pomp of this life, neither obey him whose heart we have caused to neglect the remembrance of us, and who followeth his lusts, and leaveth the truth behind him.


(28) And say, The truth is from your LORD, wherefore let him who will believe, and let him who will be incredu

Simeon Metaphrastes is three hundred and seventy-two years. "- Sale Greg, Turan, et Simeon Metaphras.

This passage is fatal to Muhammad's inspiration. According to this account the seven sleepers awoke about ten years before Muhammad's birth.

(25) Do thou make him to see and to hear. "This is an ironical expression, intimating the folly and madness of man's presuming to instruct God"- Sale, Baidhawi Jalaluddin

Rodwell translates," Look thou and hearken unto him alone," but ·admits the possibility of rendering as in the text.

None hath power to change his words. "As the unbelievers would persuade them to do."- Sale.

The passage may be fairly quoted against those who claim that the corrupters of Scripture have succeeded in so corrupting the Jewish and Christian Scriptures as to render them unworthy of credit. If the great Prophet of Islam could not have changed the Word of God, had he attempted it, how much less likely wicked Jews and Christians should succeed.

(27) Seeking the pomp. "That is, despise not the believers because of their meanness, nor honour the rich because of their wealth and grandeur."- Sale.

Him whose. heart, &c. "The person more particularly intended here, it is said, was Ummaya Ibn Khalf, who desired Muhammad to discard his indigent companions out of respect to the Qurais. See chap. vi. 51. "Sale.


lous. We have surely prepared for the unjust hell-fire, the flame and smoke whereof shall surround him like a pavilion; and if they beg relief they shall be relieved with water like molten brass, which shall scald their faces. Oh, how miserable a potion, and how unhappy a couch! (29) As to those who believe and do good works, we will not suffer the reward of him who shall work righteousness to perish; (30) for them are prepared gardens of eternal abode, which shall be watered by rivers; they shall be adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and they shall be clothed in green garments of fine silk and brocades, reposing themselves therein on thrones. Oh, how happy a reward, and how easy a couch!

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(31) And propound unto them as a parable two men, on the one of whom we had bestowed two vineyards, and had surrounded them with palm-trees, and had caused corn to grow between them. Each of the gardens brought forth its fruit every season, and failed not at all; (32) and we caused a river to flow in the midst thereof: and he

(30) Gardens. See note on chap. ix. 73.

Brocades. Rodwell says this word and the words for paradise and cups, in chap. liv., are all of Persian origin, showing whence Muhammad obtained his sensual heaven.

(31) A parable of two men. "Though these seem to be general characters only, designed to represent the different end of the wicked and of the good, yet it is supposed by some that two particular persons are here meant. One says they were two Israelites and brothers, who had a considerable sum left them by their father, which they divided between them, and that one of them, being an unbeliever, bought large fields and possessions with his portion, while the other, who was a true believer, disposed of his to pious uses; but that in the end the former was ruined and the latter prospered. Another thinks they were two men of the tribe of Makhzum: the one named al Aswad Ibn Abdul Ashad, an infidel, and the other Abu Salma Ibn Abdullah, the husband of Omm Salma (whom the Prophet married after his death), and a true believer."- Sale, Baidhawi.

Compared with any one of the parables of Jesus, the parable. of Muhammad come far short of vindicating his claim that the Quran is incomparable in style and sentiment.

(33) He went into his garden. "Carrying his companion with him, out of ostentation, and to mortify him with the view of his large possessions."- Sale.


had great abundance. And he said unto his companion by way of debate, I am superior to thee in wealth, and have a more powerful family. (33) And he went into his garden, being guilty of injustice against his own soul, and said, I do not think that this garden will decay for ever; (34) neither do I think that the last hour will come: and although I should return unto my Lord, verily I shall find a better garden than this in exchange. (35) And his companion said unto him, by way of debate, Dost thou not believe in him who created thee of the dust, and after-wards of seed; and then fashioned thee into a perfect man? (36) But as for me, GOD is my' LORD; and I will not associate any other deity with my LORD. (37) And when thou enterest thy garden, wilt thou not say, What GOD pleaseth shall come to pass; there is no power but in GOD alone? Although thou seest me to be inferior to thee in wealth and number of children, (38) my LORD is well able to bestow on me a better gift than thy garden, and to shoot his arrows against the same from heaven, so that it shall become barren dust; (39) or its waters may sink deep into the earth, that thou canst not draw thereof. (40) And his possessions were encompassed with destruction, as his companion had forewarned him; wherefore he began to turn down the palms of his hands out of sorrow and regret for that which he had expended thereon; for the vines thereof were fallen down on their trails: and h6 said, Would to GOD that I had not associated any other deity with my LORD! (41) And he had no party to assist

(34) Neither do 1 think the last hour will come. This shows decidedly that this parable is directed against the prosperous Makkans, who refused to believe in the doctrine of the resurrection, and, at the same time despised the poor Muslims. See chap. ii. 211, and xi. 8-11. The passage is not therefore of Madina origin.

I shall find a better garden. "Vainly imagining that his prosperity was not so much the free gift of God as due to his merit."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(35-42) These words were intended to serve the double purpose of comforting poor believers and rebuking the vainglory of the unbelieving Quraish.


him besides GOD, neither was he able to defend himself against his vengeance. (42) In such case protection belongeth of right unto GOD alone; he is the best rewarder, and the best giver of success.

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(43) And propound to them a similitude of the present life. It is like water which we send down from heaven; and the herb of the earth is mixed therewith, and after it hath been green and flourishing, in the morning it becometh dry stubble, which the winds scatter abroad; and GOD is able to do all things. (44) Wealth and children are the ornament of this present life; but good works, which are permanent, are better in the sight of thy LORD, with respect to the reward, and better with respect to hope. (45) On a certain day we will cause the mountains to pass away, and thou shalt see the earth appearing plain and even; and we will gather mankind together, and we will not leave any one of them behind. (46) And they shall be set before thy LORD in distinct order, and he shall say unto them, Now are ye come unto us naked, as we created you the first time, but ye thought that we should not perform our promise unto you. (47) And the book wherein every one's actions are recorded shall be put into his hand; and thou shalt see the wicked in great terror because of that which is written therein, and they shall say, Alas for us! what meaneth this book? it omitteth neither a small action nor a great one, but it compriseth the same; and they shall find that which they have wrought, present before their eyes. and thy LORD will not deal unjustly with any one.

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(48) Remember when we said unto the angels, Worship ye Adam: and they all worshipped him, except Iblis,

(43) Compare Psalm xc. 39.

(45) We will cause the mountains to pass away. "For being torn up by the roots, they shall fly in the air and be reduced to atoms." - Sale, Baidhawi See Prelim. Disc., p.135.

(47) The book, &c. See Prelim. Disc., p. 144.

(48) Except Iblis. See notes on chap. ii.34, and vii. 11-19.

Who was one of the genii. "Hence some imagine the genii are a


who was one of the genii, and departed from the command of his LORD. Will ye therefore take him and his offspring or your patrons besides me, notwithstanding they are your enemies? Miserable shall such a change be to the ungodly! (49) I called not them to be present at the creation of the heavens and of the earth, nor at the creation of themselves, neither did I take those seducers for my assistants. (50) On a certain day God shall say unto the idolaters, Call those whom ye imagined to be my companions to protect you: and they shall call them, but they shall not answer them; and we will place a valley of destruction between them.

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(51) And the wicked shall see hell-fire: and they shall know that they shall be thrown into the same, and

species of angels. Others suppose the devil to have been originally a genius, which was the occasion of his rebellion, and call him the father of the genii, whom he begat after his fall, it being a constant opinion among the Muhammadans that the angels are impeccable, and do not propagate their species."- Sale, Jalaluddin.

See also Prelim. Disc., pp. 119-121 and 147.

His offspring. Some commentators understand this to mean those who are subject to the command of the Evil One ; but most writers understand the words literally. They say that God created his wife out of a portion of his left side, with whom he lived in a wilderness, and by whom were born to him (I) Laqis, who brings to the mind foolish imaginations during ceremonial washings; (2) Dalhan, who endangers the believer when at prayers; (3) Zakinur, who teaches lying and cheating in the market-places; (4) Aaur; who shows the way to leechery; (5)Wasim, who eats with the man who does not say bismillah ;(6) Madhash, who dazes the mind of the learned; (7) Bashar, who afflicts and persecutes those who are the children of sorrow and calamity; and, (8) Mansut, who is the author of lies. See the Tafsir-i-Raufi, in loco.

(49) I called not, &c. The infidels fancied the genii were acquainted with the secrets of divinity, and this passage meets the claim by denying their existence when God created the heavens and the earth.- Tafsir-i-Raufi.

This passage, including the preceding verse, contradicts opinion of those who fancy the earth to have been inhabited by genii before man was created.

(50) Call those, &c. See chap. xvi. 88, 89.

A valley . . . between, i.e., "between the idolaters and their false gods. Some suppose the meaning is no more than that God will set them at variance and division."- Sale.


they shall find no way to avoid it. (52) And now have we variously propounded unto men, in this Quran, a parable of every kind; but man cavilleth at most things therein. (53) Yet nothing hindereth men from believing, now a direction is come unto them, and from asking pardon of their LORD, excepting that they wait until the punishment of their predecessors come to be inflicted on them, or that the chastisement of the next life come upon them publicly. (54) We send not our messengers bear good tidings, and to denounce threats. Those who believe not dispute with vain arguments, that they may thereby render the truth of no effect; and they hold my signs, and the admonitions which have been made them, in derision. (55) And who is more unjust than he who hath been acquainted with the signs of his LORD, and retireth afar off from the same, and forgetteth that which his hands have formerly committed. Verily we have cast veils over their hearts, lest they should understand the Quran, and into their ears thickness of hearing; (56) if thou invite them to the true direction, yet will they not therefore be directed for ever. (57) Thy LORD is gracious, endued with mercy; if he would have punished them for that which they have committed, he would doubtless have hastened their punishment: but a threat hath been denounced against them, and they shall find no refuge, besides him. (58) And those former cities did we destroy when they acted unjustly; and we gave them previous warning of their destruction.

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(59) And remember when Moses said unto his servant Joshua the son of Nun, I will not cease to go forward, until

(54) This passage is abrogated by every passage of the Quran exhorting the faithful to fight for the faith, especially by chap. ix. 5.

(55) We have cast veils, &c. Compare Isa. vii 9, 10.

(57) A threat, &c., viz., "of their calamity at Badr (for the Quraish are the infidels here intended), or their punishment at the resurrection."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(58) The former cities, i.e., the Adites, Thamudites, Sodomites, &c.

See chap. vii. 66, &c.


I come to the place where the two seas meet; or I will travel for a long space of time. (60) But when they were arrived at the meeting of the two seas, they forgot their fish, which they had taken with them; and the fish took its way freely in the sea. (61) And when they had passed beyond that place, Moses said unto his servant, Bring us our dinner; for now are we fatigued with this our journey. (62) His servant answered, Dost thou know what has

(59) The place where two seas meet. The commentators say these two seas were the Mediterranean and the Persian. Some, however, feeling that this is not quite satisfactory, understand the expression as figurative of the meeting of Moses end Khidhar, who are likened to the two oceans or human and divine knowledge! This mystical interpretation is not in favour with the orthodox, who do not feel obliged even to mention the seas by name.

A long space of time. "The original word properly signifies the space of eighty years and upwards. To explain this long passage the commentators tell the following story. They say that Moses once preaching to the people, they admired his knowledge and eloquence so much, that they asked him whether he knew any man in the world who was wiser than himself; to which he answered in the negative: whereupon God, in a revelation, having reprehended him for his vanity (though some pretend that Moses asked God the question of his own), acquainted him that his servant Khidhar was more knowing than he and , at Moses's request, told him he might find that person at a certain rock, where the two seas met; directing him to take a fish with him in a basket, and that where be missed the fish, that was the place. Accordingly Moses set out with his servant Joshua in search of al Khidhar; which expedition is here described." - Sale, Zamakhshari, &c.

Brinckman; in his Notes on Islam, says this contradicts what the Bible teaches as to Moses' meekness, "As he is said to have searched for Khidhar through vanity, hearing he was thought to be wiser than himself," but Abdul' Qadir explains his journey as prompted by a desire to learn from one so wise. See ver. 65 below.

(60) They forgot their fish. "Moses forgot to inquire concerning it, and Joshua forgot to tell him when he missed it. It is said that when they came to the rock, Moses falling asleep, the fish which was roasted, leaped out of the basket into the sea; some add, that Joshua making the ablution at the fountain of life (of which immediately), some the water happened to be sprinkled on the fish, which immediately restored it to life."' - Sale, Baidhawi, &c.

Freely. "The word here translated freely, signifying also a pipe or arched canal for conveyance of water, some ave imagined that the water of the sea was miraculously kept from touching the body of the fish, which passed through it as under an arch."- Sale, Baidhawi.


befallen me? When we took up our lodging at the rock, verily I forgot the fish: and none made me to forget it, except Satan, that I should not remind thee of it. And the fish took its way into the sea, in a wonderful manner. (63) Moses said, This is what we sought after. And they both went back, returning by the way they came. (64) And coming to the rock, they found one of our servants, unto whom we had granted mercy from us, and whom we had taught wisdom from before us. (65) And Moses said unto him, Shall I follow thee, that thou mayest teach me part of that which thou hast been taught, for a direction unto me? (66) He answered, Verily thou canst not bear with me: (67) for how canst thou patiently suffer those things, the knowledge whereof thou dost not comprehend? (68) Moses replied, Thou shalt find me patient, if GOD please; neither will I be disobedient unto thee in anything. (69) He said, If thou follow me, therefore, ask me not concerning anything, until I shall declare the meaning thereof unto thee.

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(70) So they went on by the sea-shore, until they went up into a ship; and he made a hole therein. And Moses

(63) This is what we sought after, i.e., this is the sign given to direct us to our journey's end. See above on ver. 59.

(64) One of our servants. "This person according to the general opinion, was the prophet al Khidhar, whom the Muhammadans usually confound with Phineas, Elias, and St. George, saying that his soul passed by a metempsychosis successively through all three. Some, however, say his true name was Balya Ibn Malkan, and that lie lived in the time of Afridun, one of the ancient kings of Persia, and that he preceded Dhu-'l-Qarnain, and lived to the time of Moses. They suppose al Khidhar, having found out the fountain of life, and drank thereof, became immortal; and that he had therefore this name from his nourishing and continual youth. Vide D'Herbelot, Bibl. Orient., art. Khedher; Septemcastrens. de Turcar. Moribus.; Busbeq. Epist. I, p. 93,&c.;Hotting, Hist. Orient., p. 58, &c. 99, &c. 292, &c.

"Part of these fictions they took from the Jews, some of whom also fancy Phineas was Elias (R. Levi Ben Gerson in Append., lib. i.,Reg. I, 27)."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(70) Made a hole. "For Khidhar took an axe and knocked out two of her planks."- Sale, Baidhawi.


said unto him, Hast thou made a hole therein, that thou mightest drown those who are on board? now hast thou done a strange thing. (71) He answered, Did I not tell thee that thou couldest not bear with me? (72) Moses said, Rebuke me not, because I did forget; and impose not on me a difficulty in what I am commanded. (73) Wherefore they left the ship and proceeded, until they met with a youth, and he slew him. Moses said, Hast thou slain an innocent person, without his having killed another? now hast thou committed an unjust action.


(74) He answered, Did I not tell thee that thou couldest not bear with me ? (75) Moses said, If I ask thee concerning anything hereafter, suffer me not to accompany thee: now hast thou received an excuse from me. (76) They went forwards, therefore, until they came to the inhabitants of a certain city: and they asked food of the inhabitants thereof; but they refused to receive them. And they found therein a wall, which was ready to fall down; and he set it upright. Whereupon Moses said unto him, If thou wouldest thou mightest doubtless have received a reward for it. (77) He answered, This shall be a separation between me and thee; but I will first declare unto thee the signification of that which thou couldest not bear with patience. (78) The vessel belonged to certain poor men, who did their business in the sea: and I was minded to render it unserviceable, because there was a

(73) And he slew him. "By twisting his neck round, or dashing his head against a wall, or else by throwing him down and cutting his throat."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(76) A certain city. "This city was Antioch ; or as some rather think, Obollah, near Basra, or else Bajirwan in Armenia."- Sale Baidhawi.

He set it upright. "By only stroking it with his hand; though others say he threw it down and rebuilt it."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(78) Certain poor men. The commentators, as usual, undertake to give particulars as to their history. "They were ten brothers, five of whom were past their labour by reason of their age."- Sale, Baidhawi.

A king. "Namid Jaland Ibn Karkar, or Minwar Ibn Jaland al Azdi,wh o reigned in Oman. See Poc. Spec., p. 42."- Sale.


king behind them; who took every sound ship by force. (79) As to the youth, his parents were true believers; and we feared, lest he, being an unbeliever, should oblige them to suffer his perverseness and ingratitude: (80) wherefore we desired that their LORD might give them a more righteous child in exchange for him, and one more affectionate towards them. (81) And the wall belonged to two orphan youths in the city, and under it was a treasure hidden which belonged to them; and their father was a righteous man: and thy LORD was pleased that they should attain their full age, and take forth their treasure, through the mercy of thy LORD, and I did not what thou hast seen of mine own will, but by God's direction. This is the interpretation of that which thou couldest not bear with patience.

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(82) The Jews will ask thee concerning Dhu-'l- Qarnain. Answer, I will rehearse unto you an account of him. (83) We made him powerful in the earth, and

(80) One more affectionate. It is said that they had afterwards a daughter, who was the wife and the mother of a prophet; and that her son converted a whole nation."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(81) Two orphaned youths. "Their names were Asram and Sarim." - Sale.

The author of the Notes on the Roman Urdu Quran says this story is found in the commentary of the Syrian Ephraim almost verbatim as here recorded in the Quran. As that book belongs to an age preceding Muhammad, he concludes that the story came from that source.

(82) Dhu-'l-Qarnain. "Or, the two-horned. The generality of the commentators (Baidhawi, Zamakhshari, Jalaluddin, and Yahya) suppose the person here meant to be Alexander the Great, or, as they call him, Iskandar al Rumi, king of Persia and Greece; but there are very different opinions as to the reason of this surname. Some think it was given him because he was king of the East and of the West, or because he had made expeditions to both those extreme ends of the earth; or else he had two horns on his diadem, or two curls of hair, like horns, on his forehead ; or, which is most probable, by reason of his great valour. Several modern writers rather suppose the surname was occasioned by his being represented in his coins and statues with horns, as the son of Jupiter Ammon; or else by his being compared by the prophet Daniel to a he-goat; though he is here represented with but one horn.

"There are some good writers, however, who believe the prince


we gave him means to accomplish everything he pleased. (84) And he followed his way, until he came to the place where the sun setteth; and he found it to set in a spring of black mud; and he found near the same a certain people. (85) And we said, O Dhu-'l-Qarnain, either punish this people or use gentleness towards them. (86) He answered, Whosoever of them shall commit in justice, we will surely punish him in this world; afterwards shall he return unto his LORD, and he shall punish him with a severe punishment. (87) But whosoever believeth, and doth that which is right, shall receive the most excellent reward, and we will give him in command that which is easy. (88) Then he continued his way, (89) until he came to the place where the sun riseth; and he found it to rise on certain people, unto whom we

intended in this passage of the Quran was not Alexander the Grecian, but another great conqueror, who bore the same name and surname, and was much more ancient than he, being contemporary with Abraham, and one of the kings of Persia of the first race (D'Herbelot, Bibl. Orient., art. Escander); or, as others suppose, a king of Yaman, named Asaab Ibn al Raish.

"They all agree he was a true believer, but whether he was a pro p het or no, is a disputed point."- Sale.

The orthodox belief is that given under the authority of the great commentators of Islam, and there has not yet appeared one good reason for doubting that that interpretation of the passage is correct. All other Muslim interpretations are inspired by the evident desire to escape from the conclusion that their Prophet had set his imprimatur on an idolater as one of the great prophets.

(84) A spring of black mud. "That is it seemed so to him, when he came to the ocean and saw nothing but water."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

A certain people. "An unbelieving nation, who were clothed in the skins of wild beasts, and lived upon what the sea cast on shore." Sale, Baidhawi.

(85) Either punish, or, &c. "For God gave Dhu-'l-Qarnain his choice, either to destroy them for their infidelity, or to instruct them in the true faith; or, according to others, either to put them to the sword, or to take them captives: but the words which follow confirm the former interpretation, by which it appears he chose to invite them to the true religion, and to punish only the disobedient and incredulous."- Sale.

(88) When the sun riseth, i.e., "that part of the habitable world on which the sun first rises."- Sale.

Certain people, &c. "Who had neither clothes nor houses, their


had not given anything wherewith to shelter themselves therefrom. (90) Thus it was; and we comprehended with our knowledge the forces which were with him. (91) And he prosecuted his journey from south to north, (92) until he came between the two mountains; beneath which he found certain people, who could scarcely understand what was said. (93) And they said, O Dhu-'l-Qarnain, verily Gog and Magog waste the land: shall we therefore pay thee tribute, on condition that thou build a rampart between us and them? (94) He answered, The power wherewith my LORD has strengthened me is better than your tribute; but assist me strenuously, and I will set a strong wall between you and them. (95) Bring me iron in large pieces, until it fill up the space between the two sides of these mountains. And he said to the workmen, Blow with your bellows, until it make the iron red hot as fire. And he said further, Bring me molten brass, that I may pour upon it. (96) Wherefore, when this wall was finished, Gog and Magog could not scale it, neither could

country not bearing any buildings, but dwelt in holes underground, into which they retreated from the heat of the sun. Jalaluddin. says they were the Zanj, a black nation lying south-west of Ethiopia. They seem to be the Troglodytes of the ancients."- Sale.

(92) He came between the two mountains. "Between which Dhu-'l-Qarnain built the famous rampart, mentioned immediately, against the irruptions of Gog and Magog. These mountains are situate in Armenia and Adirbjan, or, according to others much more north-wards, on the confines of Turkestan. The relation of a journey taken to this rampart, by one who was sent on purpose to view it by the Khalifah al Wathiq, may be seen in D'Herbelot."- Sale.

Who could scarce understand. "By reason of the strangeness of their speech and their slowness of apprehension ; wherefore they were obliged to make use of an interpreter."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(93) Gog and Magog. Sale, on the authority of Baidhawi and D'Herbelot, Bibl. Orient., art. Jagiouge, says: "The Arabs call them Yajuj and Majuj, and say they are two nations or tribes descended from Japhet, the son of Noah, or, as others write, Gog are a tribe of the Turks, and Magog of those of Gillan, the Geli and Gelae of Ptolemy and Strabo.

It is said these barbarous people made their irruptions into the neighbouring countries in the spring and destroyed and carried off all the fruits of the earth; and some pretend that they were man eaters"


they dig through it. (97) And Dhu-'l-Qarnain said, This a mercy from my LORD: (98) but when the prediction of my LORD shall come to be fulfilled, he shall reduce the wall to dust; and the prediction of my LORD is true. (99) On that day we will suffer some of them to press tumultuously like waves on others: and the trumpet shall be sounded, and we will gather them in a body together. (100) And we will set hell on that day before the unbelievers; (101) whose eyes have been veiled from my remembrance, and who could not hear my words.

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(102) Do the unbe1ievers think that I will not punish them, for that they take my servants for their protectors besides me? Verily we have prepared hell for the abode

(96) Neither could they dig through it. "The commentators say the wall was built in this manner: They dug till they found water, and having laid the foundation of stone and melted brass, they built the superstructure of large pieces of iron, between which they laid wood and coals till they equalled the height of the mountains; and then setting fire to the combustibles, by the help of large bellows they made the iron red-hot, and over it poured melted brass, which filling up the vacancies between the, pieces of iron, rendered the whole work as firm as a rock. Some tell us that the whole was built of stones joined by cramps of iron, on which they poured melted brass to fasten them."- Sale, Baidhawi.

This wall has been identified with fortifications which extended on the Caspian to the Pontus Euxinus, said to have been constructed by Alexander the Great. See Rodwell in loco. The author the Notes on the Roman Urdu Quran conjectures that the text is based on the sayings of Syrian Jews and Christians, who, having heard of Alexander's fortifications against the incursions of the northern barbarians, naturally identified these people with Gog and Magog of prophecy; May not this fancied conflict of Alexander with the enemies of God, Gog and Magog, have led Muhammad to count the great conqueror among the prophets who were zealous for the worship of the one true God?

(98) When the prediction, &c. "That is, when the time shall come for Gog and Magog to break forth from their confinement; which shall happen some time before the resurrection."- Sale.

See the Prelim. Disc., p.133.

(99) To press tumultuosly &c. "These words represent either the violent irruption of Gog and Magog, or the tumultuous assembly of all creatures, men, genii, and brutes, at the resurrection."- Sale.

See the Prelim. Disc., pp. 145, 146.

(102) We have prepared hell, &c. Other passages of the Quran declare that God made many men and genii for hell; see chap. xi.


of the infidels. (103) Say, Shall we declare unto you those whose works are vain, (104) whose endeavour in the present life hath been wrongly directed, and who think they do the work which is right? (105) These are they who believe not in the signs of their LORD, or that they shall be assembled before him; wherefore their works aie vain, and we will not allow them any weight on the day of resurrection. (106) This shall be their reward, namely, hell: for that they have disbelieved, and have held my signs and apostles in derision. (107) But as for those who believe and do good works, they shall have the gardens of Paradise for their abode: (108) they shall remain therein for ever; they shall wish for no change therein. (109) Say, If the sea were ink to write the words of my LORD, verily the sea would fail, before the words of my LORD would fail; although we added another sea like unto it as a further supply. (110) Say, Verily I ain only a man as ye are. It is revealed unto me that your GOD is one only GOD: let him therefore who hopeth to meet his LORD work a righteous work; and let him not make any other to partake in the worship of his LORD.

119, xxxii. 13, 14, and 1. 29. The Scripture statement is that God prepared hell for the devil and his angels; see Matt. xxv 41; 2 Pet. ii. 4; and Jude 6.

(109) Compare John xxi. 25.

(110) Compare with Christ's teaching as to himself, John x. 31-38, xv. 1-7, &c.

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