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K O R A N, 















Nulla falsa doctrina est, quse non aliquid veri perinisceat. 

AUGUSTIN. QUiEST. EVANG. 1. 2, C. 40. 




SAVARY's version of the KORAN. 

VOL. I. 








Notwithstanding the great honour and re- 
spect generally, and deservedly, paid to the 
meinories of those who have founded states, or 
obliged a people by the institution of laws which 
have made them prosperous and considerable in 
the world, yet the legislator of the Arabs has 
been treated in so very different a manner by 
all who acknowledge not his claim to a divine 
mission, and by Christians especially, that were 
not your Lordship's just discernment sufficiently 
known, I should think myself under a necessity 
of making an apology for presenting the follow- 
ing translation. 


The remembrance of the calamities brought 
on so many nations by the conquests of the 
Arabians may possibly raise some indignation 
against him who formed them to empire ; but 
this being equally applicable to all conquerors, 
could not, of itself, occasion all the detestation 
with which the name of Mohammed is loaded. 
He has given a new system of religion, which 
has had still greater success than the arms of 
his followers, and to establish this religion made 
use of an imposture ; and on this account it is 
supposed that he must of necessity have been a 
most abandoned villain, and his memory is be- 
come infamous. But as Mohammed gave his 
Arabs the best religion he could, as well as the 
best laws, preferable, at least, to those of the 
ancient pagan lawgivers, I confess I cannot see 
why he deserves not equal respect, though not 
with Moses or Jesus Christ, whose laws came 
really from heaven, yet with IVIinos or Numa, 
notwithstanding the distinction of a learned 
writer, who seems to think it a greater crime 
to make use of an imposture to set up a neze) 
religion, founded on the acknowledgment of one 
true God, and to destroy idolatry, than to use 
the same means to gain reception to rules and 
regulations for the more orderly practice of 
heathenism already established. 


To be acquainted with the various laws and 
constitutions of civilized nations, especially of 
those who flourish in our own time, is, perhaps, 
the most useful part of knowledge; wherein 
though your Lordship, who shines with so much 
distinction in the noblest assembly in the world, 
peculiarly excels ; yet as the law of Mohammed, 
by reason of the odium it lies under, and the 
strangeness of the language in which it is written, 
has been so much neglected, I flatter myself some 
things in the following sheets may be new even 
to a person of your Lordship's extensive learn- 
ing ; and if what I have written may be any way 
entertaining or acceptable to your Lordship, I 
shall not regret the pains it has cost me, 

I join with the general voice in wishing your 
Lordship all the honour and happiness your 
known virtues and merit deserve, and am with 
perfect respect. 

My Lord, 
Your Lordship's most humble 

And most obedient servant, 




I IMAGINE it almost needless either to make an apo- 
logy for publishing the following translation, or to go 
about to prove it a work of use as well as curiosity. 
They must have a mean opinion of the Christian reli- 
gion, or be but ill grounded therein, who can appre- 
hend any danger from so manifest a forgery : and if 
the religious and civil institutions of foreign nations 
are worth our knowledge, those of Mohammed, the 
lawgiver of the Ai-abians, and founder of an empire 
which in less than a century spread itself over a greater 
part of the world than the Romans were ever masters 
of, must needs be so ; whether we consider their ex- 
tensive obtaining, or our frequent intercourse with 
those who are governed thereby. I shall not here in- 
quire into the reasons why the law of Mohammed has 
met with so unexampled a reception in the world (for 
they are greatly deceived who imagine it to have been 
propagated by the sword alone), or by what means it 
came to be embraced by nations which never felt the 
force of the Mohammedan arms, and even by those 
which stripped the Arabians of their conquests, and 
put an end to the sovereignty and very being of their 
Khalifs : yet it seems as if there was something more 
than what is vulgarly imagined, in a religion which 


has made so surprising a progress. But whatever use 
an impartial version of the Koran may be of in other 
respects, it is absokitely necessary to undeceive those 
who, from the ignorant or unfair translations which 
have appeared, have entertained too favourable an opi- 
nion of the original, and also to enable us effectually to 
expose the imposture ; none of those who have hitherto 
undertaken that province, not excepting Dr. Prideaux 
himself, having succeeded to the satisfaction of the ju- 
dicious, for want of being complete masters of the con- 
troversy. The ^vl•iters of the Romish communion, in 
particular, are so far from having done any service in 
their refutations of Mohammcdism, that by endeavour- 
ing to defend their idolatry and other superstitions, 
they have rather contributed to the increase of that 
aversion which the Mohammedans in general have to 
the Christian religion, and given them great advan- 
tages in the dispute. The protestants alone are able 
to attack the Koran with success ; and for them, I trust. 
Providence has reserved the glory of its overthrow^ In 
the mean time, if I might presume to lay down rules 
to be observed by those who attempt the conversion of 
the IMohammedans, they should be the same which the 
learned and worthy bishop Kidder* has prescribed for 
the conversion of the Jews, and which may, mutatis 
mutandis, be equally applied to the former, notwith- 
standing the despicable opinion that wa-iter, for want 
of being better acquainted with them, entertained of 
those people, judging them scarce fit to be argued with. 
The first of these rules is. To avoid compulsion ; which 
though it be not in our power to employ at present, I 
hope will not be made use of when it is. The second 
is, To avoid teaching doctrines against common sense ; 
the Mohammedans not being such fools (whatever we 
may think of them) as to be gained over in this case. 
The worshipping of images and the doctrine of tran- 
substantiation are great stumbling blocks to the Mo- 

■f 111 ills Dcinonbt. ot ilie Messias, pail III. cliaii. '_'. 


hammedans, and the church which teacheth them is 
very unfit to bring those people over. The third is. 
To avoid weak arguments : for the Mohammedans are 
not to be converted with these, or hard words. We 
must use them with humanity, and dispute against 
them with arguments that are proper and cogent. It 
is certain that many Christians, who have written 
against them, have been very defective this way ; many 
have used arguments that have no force, and advanced, 
propositions that are void of truth. This method is 
so far from convincing that it rather serves to harden 
them. The Mohammedans will be apt to conclude we 
have little to say, when we urge them with arguments 
that are trifling or untrue. We do but lose ground 
when w^e do this ; and instead of gaining them, we ex- 
pose ourselves and our cause also. We must not give 
them ill words neither ; but must avoid all reproachful 
language, all that is sarcastical and biting : this never 
did good from pulpit or press. The softest words will 
make the deepest impression ; and if we think it a fault 
in them to give ill language, we cannot be excused 
when we imitate them. The fourth rule is. Not to 
quit any article of the Christian faith to gain the Mo- 
hammedans. It is a fond conceit of the Socinians, that 
we shall upon their principles be most like to prevail 
upon the Mohammedans : it is not true in matter of 
fact. We must not give up any article to gain them : 
but then the church of Rome ought to part with many 
practices and some doctrines. We are not to design to 
gain the Mohammedans over to a system of dogmas, 
but to the ancient and primitive faith. I believe no 
body will deny but that the rules here laid down 
are just : the latter part of the third, which alone my 
design has given me occasion to practise, I think so 
reasonable, that I have not, in speaking of Mohammed 
or his Koran, allowed myself to use those opprobrious 
appellations, and unmannerly expressions, which seem 
to be the strongest arguments of several who have 
written against them. On the contrary, I have thought 


m yself obliged to treat both with conunon decency, and 
even to aj)prove such j)articiihirs as seemed to nie to 
deserve ajiprobation : for how criminal soever Moham- 
med may have been in imposing a false religion on 
mankind, the praises due to his real virtues ought not 
to be denied him ; nor can I do otherwise than applaud 
the candour of the pious and learned Spanhemius, who, 
though he owned him to have been a wicked impostor, 
yet acknowledged him to have been richly furnished 
with natural endowments, beautiful in his person, of a 
subtle wit, agreeable behaviour, showing liberality to 
the poor, courtesy to every one, fortitude against his 
enemies, and above all a high reverence for the name 
of God ; severe against the perjured, adulterers, mur- 
derers, slanderers, prodigals, covetous, false witnesses, 
&c. a great preacher of patience, charity, mercy, bene- 
ficence, gratitude, honouring of parents and superiors, 
and a frequent celebrator of the divine praises*. 

Of the several translations of the Koran now extant, 
there is but one wdiich tolerably represents the sense 
of the original ; and that being in Latin, a new ver- 
sion became necessary, at least to an English reader. 
AVhat Bibliander published for a Latin translation of 
that book deserves not the name of a translation ; the 
unaccountable lil)erties therein taken, and the number- 
less faults, both of omission and commission, leaving 
scarce any resemblance of the original. It was made 
near six hundred years ago, being finished in 1143, by 
Ilobertus Retenensis, an Englishman, with the assist- 
ance of Hermannus Dalmata, at the request of Peter 
abl)ot of Clugny, who i)aid them well for their ])ains. 

From this Latin version Avas taken the Italian of 
Andrea Arrivabene, notwithstanding the pretences in 

• Id ccrtum, natiiralibu'; (^cgic dotibus instructum IMuhammedeui, Ibrina prae- 
staiui, ingenio callido, nioribus f'acctis, ac pra> se t'crcntciii lilieralitatem in egenos, 
coniitatcm in singulos, tbrtitudineni in liostes, ac praj ca>tcris rcvcrfnliam divini no- 
jiiinis. — Severus t'uit in perjuros, adultcms, boniicidas, obtrcctalores, ))rodigos, ava- 
ros, t'alsos testes, ^c. iMagnus idem paticntia-, diarilatis, niiscricordias bcncficientia, 
gratitudinib, honoris -in parcntPs ac snpcriorcs jmpco, lit cl divinaruni laiiduni. — Ilht. 
Hecks. Sec. 7, f. 7, Icm. 5, it 7 . 


his dedication of its being done immediately from the 
Arabic * ; wherefore it is no wonder if the transcript 
be yet more faulty and absurd than the copyt. 

About the end of the fifteenth century, Johannes 
Andreas, a native of Xativa in the kingdom of Valencia, 
who from a Mohammedan doctor became a Christian 
priest, translated not only the Koran, but also its glosses, 
and the seven books of the Sonna, out of Arabic into 
the Arragonian tongue, at the command of Martin 
Garcia t, bishop of Barcelona, and inquisitor of Arragon. 
Whether this translation were ever published or not I 
am wholly ignorant ; but it may be presumed to have 
been the better done for being the work of one bred up 
in the Mohammedan religion and learning ; though his 
refutation of that religion, which has had several edi- 
tions, gives no great idea of his abilities. 

Some years within the last century, Andrew du Ryer, 
who had been consul of the French nation in Egypt, 
and was tolerably skilled in the Turkish and Arabic 
languages, took the pains to translate the Koran into 
his own tongue : but his performance, though it be 
beyond comparison preferable to that of Retenensis, is 
far from being a just translation ; there being mistakes 
in every page, besides frequent transpositions, omissions, 
and additions §, faults unpardonable in a worlc of this 
nature. And what renders it still more incomplete 
is, the want of notes to explain a vast number of 
passages, some of which are difficult, and others impos- 
sible to be understood, without proper explications, were 
they translated ever so exactly ; which the author is so 
sensible of that he often refers his reader to the Arabic 
commentators ||. 

* His words are : " Questo libro, che gia havevo a commune utilita di molti fatto 
dal proprio teste Arabo tradurre nella nostra volgar lingua Italiana," &c. And 
afterwards : " Questo e I'Alcorano di I\Iacometto, il quale, come ho gia detto, ho 
fatto dal suo idioma tradurre," &c. 

-|- v. Joseph. Scalig. Epist. 3G1 et 362 ; et Selden. de Success, ad Leges Ebraeor. 
p. 9. 

J J. Andreas, in Proef. ad Tractat. suum de Confusione Sects Mahometanae. 

§ V. Windet. de Vita Functorum statu, sect. 9. 

11 '• If," says Savary, " the Koran, which is extolled throughout the East for the 
perfection of its style, and the magnificence of its imagery, stems, under the pen of 
du Ryer, to be only a dull and tiresome rliapsody, the blame must be laid on his 


Tlie English version is no other than a translation 
of Du Ryer's, and that a veiy bad one ; for Alexander 
Ross, who did it, being utterly unacquainted with the 
Arabic, and no great master of the French, has added 
a number of fresh mistakes of his own to those of du 
Ryer ; not to mention the meanness of his language, 
which would make a better book ridiculous. 

In 1698, a Latin translation of the Koran, made by 
Father Lewis Marracci, who had been confessor to Pope 
Innocent XI. was published at Padua, together with the 
original text, accompanied by explanatory notes and a 
refutation. This translation of Marracci's, generally 
speaking, is very exact; but adheres to the Arabic 
idiom too literally to be easily understood, unless I am 
much deceived, by those who are not versed in the 
Mohammedan learning*. The notes he has added are 
indeed of great use ; but his refutations, which swell 
the work to a large volume, are of little or none at all, 
being often unsatisfactory, and sometimes impertinent. 
The work, however, with all its faults, is very valuable, 
and I should be guilty of ingratitude, did I not acknow- 
ledge myself much obliged thereto ; but still, being in 
Latin, it can be of no use to those who understand not 
that tongue. 

Having therefore undertaken a new translation, I 
have endeavoured to do the original impartial justice, 

manner of translating. This book is di\'ided into verses, like the Psalms of David. 
This kind of writing, which was adopted by tlie prophets, enables prose to make use 
of the bold tenns and the figurative expressions of poetrj'. Du Ryer, paying no re- 
spect whatever to the text, has connected the verses together, and made of them a 
continuous discourse. To accomplish this misshapen assemblage, he has had recourse 
to frigid conjunctions, and to trivial phrase.s, which, destroying the dignity of tlie 
ideas, and the charm of tlie diction, render it impossible to recognize the original. 
While reading his translation, no one would ever imagine that tlie Koran is the 
masterpiece of the Arabic language, which is fertile in fine writers ; yet this is tlie 
judgment which antiquity has passed on it." 

• Of INIarracci's translation Savary says : " IVIarracci, that learned monk, who 
spent forty years in translating and refuting the Koran, proceeded on tlie right system. 
He divided it into verses, according to the text ; but, n^ecting the precepts of a 
great master, 

" Ncc verbuni verbo curabis redderc, fidus 
Interpres," &c. 

he translated it literally. He has not expressed the idea.s of the Koran, but tra- 
vestied the words of it into barbarous Latin. Yet, though all the beauties of tlie ori- 
ginal are lost in this translation, it is preferable to that by du Ryer." 


not having, to the best of my knowledge, represented 
it, in any one instance, either better or worse than it 
really is. I have thought myself obliged, indeed, in a 
piece which pretends to be the Word of God, to keep 
somewhat scrupulously close to the text ; by which 
means the language may, in some places, seem to ex- 
press the Arabic a little too literally to be elegant 
English : but this, I hope, has not happened often ; and 
I flatter myself that the style I have made use of will 
not only give a more genuine idea of the original than 
if I had taken more liberty (which would have been 
much more for my ease) but will soon become familiar : 
for we must not expect to read a version of so extraor- 
dinary a book with the same ease and pleasure as a 
modern composition. 

In the notes my view has been briefly to explain the 
text, and especially the difficult and obscure passages, 
from the most approved commentators, and that gene- 
rally in their own words, for whose opinions or ex- 
pressions, where liable to censure, I am not answerable ; 
my province being only fairly to represent their ex- 
positions, and the little I have added of my own, or from 
European writers, being easily discernible. Where I 
met with any circumstance which I imagined might be 
curious or entertaining, I have not failed to produce it. 

The Preliminary Discourse will acquaint the reader 
with the most material particulars proper to be known 
previously to the entering on the Koran itself, and 
which could not so conveniently have been thrown into 
the notes. And I have taken care, both in the Preli- 
minary Discourse and the notes, constantly to quote my 
authorities and the writers to whom I have been be- 
holden ; but to none have I been more so than to the 
learned Dr. Pocock, whose Specimen Historian Arabum 
is the most useful and accurate work that has been 
hitherto published concerning the antiquities of that 
nation, and ought to be read by every curious inquirer 
into them. 

As I have had no opportunity of consulting public 
libraries, the manuscripts of which I have made use 


throughout the whole work Iiave been such as I had in 
my own study, except only the Commentary of al Bei- 
diiwi, and the Gospel of St. Barnabas. The first belongs 
to the library of the Dutch church in Austin Friars, 
and for the use of it I have been chiefly indebted to 
the Reverend Dr. Bolton, one of the ministers of that 
church : the other was very obligingly lent nie by the 
Reverend Dr. Holme, rector of Hedley in Hampshire ; 
and I take this opportunity of returning both those 
gentlemen my thanks for their favours. The merit of 
al Beidiiwi's Commentary will appear from the frequent 
quotations I have made thence ; but of the gospel of 
St. Barnabas (which I had not seen when the little I 
have said of it in the Preliminary Discourse *, and the 
extract I had borrowed from Mr. de la Monnoye and 
Mr. Tolandt, were printed off), I must beg leave to 
give some further account. 

The book is a moderate quarto, in Spanish, written 
in a very legible hand, but a little damaged towards 
the latter end. It contains two hundred and twenty- 
two chapters of unequal length, and four hundred and 
twenty pages ; and is said, in the front, to be translated 
from the Italian, by an Arragonian Moslem, named Mos- 
tafa de Aranda. There is a preface prefixed to it, wherein 
the discoverer of the original MS. who was a Christian 
monk, called Fra Marino, tells us, that having acci- 
dentally met with a writing of Irenaeus (among others), 
wherein lie speaks against St. Paul, alleging, for his 
authority, the Gospel of St. Barnabas, he became ex- 
ceedingly desirous to find this gospel ; and that God, 
of his mercy, having made him very intimate with Pope 
Sixtus v., one day, as they were together in that Po])e's 
library, his holiness fell asleep, and he, to employ him- 
self, reaching down a book to read, the first he laid his 
hand on proved to be the very gospel he wanted ; over- 
joyed at the discovery, he scrupled not to hide his prize 
in his sleeve, and on the Pope's awaking, took leave of 
him, carrying with him that celestial treasure, by read- 
ing of which he became a convert to Mohannnedism. 

* !} IV. p. 102, Vol. I. t In not. ad cap. :?, p. 61. Vol. 1. 


This Gospel of Barnabas contains a complete history 
of Jesus Christ from his birth to his ascension ; and 
most of the circumstances of, the four real Gospels are 
to be found therein, but many of them turned, and some 
artfully enough, to favour the Mohammedan system. 
From the design of the whole, and the frequent inter- 
polations of stories and passages wherein Mohammed is 
spoken of and foretold by name, as the messenger of 
God, and the great projjhet who was to perfect the 
dispensation of Jesus, it appears to be a most barefaced 
forgery. One particular I observe therein induces me 
to believe it to have been dressed up by a renegade 
Christian, slightly instructed in his new religion, and 
not educated a Mohammedan (unless the fault be im- 
puted to the Spanish, or perhaps the Italian translator, 
and not to the original compiler), I mean the giving to 
Mohammed the title of Messiah, and that not once or 
twice only, but in several places ; whereas the title of 
the Messiah, or, as the Arabs write it, al Masih, i. e. 
Christ, is appropriated to Jesus in the Koran, and is 
constantly applied by the Mohammedans to him, and 
never to their own prophet. The passages produced 
from the Italian MS. by Mr. de la Monnoye are to be 
seen in this Spanish version almost word for word. 

But to return to the following work. Though I 
have freely censured the former translations of the Koran, 
I would not therefore be suspected of a design to make 
my own pass as free from faults : I am very sensible it 
is not ; and I make no doubt but the few who are able 
to discern them, and know the difficulty of the under- 
taking, will give me fair quarter. I likewise flatter 
myself that they, and all considerate persons, will ex- 
cuse the delay which has happened in the publication 
of this work ; when they are informed, that it was 
carried on at leisure times only, and amidst the neces- 
sary avocations of a troublesome profession. 

VOL. 1. 




Of the life of George Sale, a man of extensive learn- 
ing, and considerable literary talent, very few particu- 
lars have been transmitted to us by his contemporaries. 
He is said to have been born in the county of Kent, 
and the time of his birth must have been not long pre- 
vious to the close of the seventeenth century. His edu- 
cation he received at the King's School, Canterbury. 
Voltaire, who bestows high praise on the version of the 
Koran, asserts him to have spent five and twenty years 
in Arabia, and to have acquired in that country his 
profound knowledge of the Arabic language and cus- 
toms. On what authority this is asserted, it would now 
be fruitless to endeavour to ascertain. But that the 
assertion is an erroneous one, there can be no reason to 
doubt ; it being opposed by the stubborn evidence of 
dates and facts. It is almost certain that Sale was 
brought up to the law, and that he practised it for 
many years, if not till the end of his career. He is 
said, by a co-existing writer, to have quitted his legal 
pursuits, for the purpose of applying himself to the 


study of the Eastern and other tongues, both ancient 
and modern. His guide through the labjiinth of the 
oriental dialects was j\Ir. Dadiclii, the kiiig's inter- 
preter. If it be true that he ever relinquished the prac- 
tice of the law, it would appear that he must have re- 
sumed it before his decease ; for, in his address to the 
reader, prefixed to the Koran, he pleads, as an apology 
for the delay which had occurred in publishing the 
volume, that the work " was carried on at leisure times 
only, and amidst the necessary avocations of a trouble- 
some profession." This alone would suffice to prove 
that Voltaire was in error. But to this must be added, 
that the existence of Sale was terminated at an early 
period, and that, in at least his latter years, he was 
engaged in literary labours of no trifling magnitude. 
The story of his having, during a quarter of a century, 
resided in Arabia, becomes, therefore, an obvious im- 
possibility, and must be dismissed to take its place 
among those fictions by which biography has often 
been encumbered and disgraced. 

Among the few productions of which Sale is known 
to be the author is a part of " The General Diction- 
ary," in ten volumes, folio. To the translation of 
Bayle, which is incorporated with this voluminous 
work, he is stated to have been a large contributor. 

When the plan of the Universal History was arranged. 
Sale was one of those who were selected to carry it 
into execution. His coadjutors were Swinton, eminent 
as an antiquary, and remarkable for absence of mind ; 
Shelvocke, originally a naval officer ; the well-informed, 
intelligent, and laborious Campbell ; that singular cha- 
racter, Geor.(]je Psalninnazar ; and Archibald Bo\\er, who 


afterwards became an object of unenviable notoriety. 
The portion of the history which was supplied by Sale 
comprises " The Introduction, containing the Cosmo- 
gony, or Creation of the World ;" and the whole, or 
nearly the whole, of the succeeding chapter, which 
traces the narrative of events from the Creation to the 
Flood. In the performance of his task, he displays a 
thorough acquaintance with his subject ; and his style, 
though not polished into elegance, is neat and perspi- 
cuous. In a French biographical dictionary, of anti- 
liberal principles, a writer accuses him of having adopted 
a system hostile to tradition and the Scriptures, and 
composed his account of the Cosmogony with the view 
of giving currency to his heretical opinions. Either 
the accuser never read the article which he cen- 
sures, or he has wilfully misrepresented it ; for it af- 
fords the fullest contradiction to the charge, as does 
also the sequent chapter ; and he must, therefore, be 
contented to choose between the demerit of being a 
slanderer through blundering and reckless ignorance, 
or through sheer malignity of heart. 

Though his share in these publications affords proof 
of the erudition and ability of Sale, it probably would 
not alone have been sufficient to preserve his name 
from oblivion. His claim to be remembered rests 
principally on his version of the Koran, which appeared 
in November 1734, in a quarto volume, and was in- 
scribed to Lord Carteret. The dedicator does not dis- 
grace himself by descending to that fulsome adulatory 
style which was then too frequently employed in ad- 
dressing the great. As a translator, he had the field 
almost entirely to himself; there being at that tune 


110 English translation of the Mohammedan civil 
and spiritual code, except a bad copy of the de- 
spicable French one by Du Ryer. His performance 
was universally and justly approved of, still remains 
in repute, and is not likely to be superseded by any 
other of the kind. It may, perhaps, be regretted, that 
he did not preserve the division into verses, as Savary 
has since done, instead of connecting them into a con- 
tinuous narrative. Some of the poetical spirit is un- 
avoidably lost by the change. But this is all that can 
be objected to him. It is, I believe, admitted, that he 
is in no common degree faithful to his original ; and 
his numerous notes, and Preliminary Discourse, mani- 
fest such a perfect knowledge of Eastern habits, man- 
ners, traditions, and laws, as could have been acquired 
only by an acute mind, capable of submitting to years 
of patient toil. 

But, though his work passed safely through the or- 
deal of criticism, it has been made the pretext for a 
calumny against him. It has been declared, that he 
puts the Christian religion on the same footing with the 
Mohammedan ; and some charitable persons have even 
supposed him to have been a disguised professor of the 
latter. The origin of this slander we may trace back 
to the strange obliquity of principles, and the blind 
merciless rage, which are characteristic of bigotry. 
Sale was not one of those who imagine that the end 
sanctifies the means, and that tlie best interests of 
mankind can be advanced by violence, by railing, or by 
deviating from the laws of tiaith, in order to blacken 
an adversary. He enters into the consideration of the 
character of Mohammed with a calm philosophic spirit ; 


repeatedly censuring his imposture, touching upon his 
subterfuges and inventions, but doing justice to him on 
those points on which the jn-etended prophet is really 
worthy of praise. The rules which, in his address to 
the reader, he lays down for the conversion of Moham- 
medans, are dictated by sound sense and amiable feel- 
ings. They are, however, not calculated to satisfy 
those who think the sword and the faggot to be the 
only proper instruments for the extirpation of heresy. 
That he places Islamism on an equality with Chris- 
tianity is a gross falsehood. " As Mohammed," says 
he, " gave his Arabs the best religion he could, prefer- 
able, at least, to those of the ancient Pagan lawgivers, 
I confess I cannot see why he deserves not equal re- 
spect, though not with Moses or Jesus Christ, whose 
laws came really from heaven, yet with Minos or Numa, 
notwithstanding the distinction of a learned writer, 
who seems to think it a greater crime to make use of 
an imposture to set up a iietv religion, founded on the 
acknowledgment of one true God, and to destroy idola- 
try, than to use the same means to gain reception to 
rules and regulations for the more orderly practice of 
heathenism already established." This, and no more, 
is " the very head and front of his offending;" and 
from this it would, I think, be difficult to extract any 
proof of his belief in the divine mission of Mohammed. 
If the charge brought against him be not groundless, 
he must have added to his other sins that of being a 
consummate hypocrite, and that, too, without any ob- 
vious necessity ; he having been, till the period of his 
decease, a member of the Society for the promoting of 
Christian Knowledge. 


In 1736 a society was established for the encourage- 
ment of learning. It comprehended many noljlemen, 
and some of the most eminent literary men of that day. 
Sale was one of the founders of it, and appointed 
on the first committee. The meetings were held weekly, 
and the committee decided upon what works should be 
printed at the expense of the society, or with its assist- 
ance, and what should be the price of them. ^Mien 
the cost of printing was repaid, the jjroperty of the 
work reverted to the author. Tliis establishment did 
not, I imagine, exist for any length of time. The at- 
tention of the public has been recently called to a plan 
of a similar kind. 

Sale did not long survive the carrying of this scheme 
into effect. He died of a fever, on the 13th of Novem- 
ber, 1736, at his house in Surrey-street, Strand, after 
an illness of only eight days, and was buried at St. 
Clement Danes. He was under the age of forty when 
he was thus suddenly snatched from his family, which 
consisted of a wife and five children. Of his sons, one 
was educated at New College, Oxford, of which he 
became Fellow, and he was subsequently elected to a 
Fellowship in Winchester College. Sale is described 
as having had " a healthy constitution, and a commu- 
nicative mind in a comely person." His library was 
valuable, and contained many rare and beautiful manu- 
scripts in the Persian, Turkish, Arabic, and other lan- 
guages ; a circumstance which seems to show that po- 
verty, so often the lot of men whose lives are devoted 
to literary pursuits, was not one of the evils with which 
he Nvas compelled to encounter. 



The present Edition of Sale's Translation of 
the Koran will, it is hoped, be found to possess 
some advantages over every other. Many useful 
notes, and several hundred various readings, are 
added from the Erench version by Savary. Of the 
various readings, the major part give a different 
meaning from that which is adopted by the 
English translator ; while the others, though 
agreeing with his idea of the text, are more 
poetically expressed. Great care has been taken 
to prevent the work from being disfigured by 
typographical errors, which are peculiarly objec- 
tionable in a work of this kind, because they 
render it unsafe to be consulted. A Sketch of 
the Life of Sale is also prefixed, which, thougli 
brief, contains several particulars not hitherto 
stated by any of his biographers, and vindicates, 
and it is believed satisfactorily, his memory from 
some aspersions that have been illiberally cast 
upon it by the prejudiced or the ignorant. 

VOL. I, 



Sect. P«g« 

1 . Of the Arabs before Mohammed ; or, as they express 

it, in the Time of Ignorarice ; their History, Reli- 
gion, Learning, and Customs .... 1 

2. Of the State of Christianity, particularly of the Eastern 

Churches, and of Judaism, at the time of Moham- 
med's appearance ; and of the methods taken by 
him for the establishing his Religion, and the cir- 
cumstances which concurred thereto . . 45 

3. Of the Koran itself, the Peculiarities of that Book ; 

the Manner of its being written and published, 
and the general Design of it . . . .77 

4. Of the Doctrines and positive Precepts of the Koran 

which relate to Faith and Religiotis Duties . 96 

5. Of certain negative Precepts in the Koran . .168 

6. Of the Institutions of the Koran in Civil AiFairs . 182 

7. Of the Months commanded by the Koran to be kept 

sacred ; and of the setting apart of Friday for the 
especial service of God ..... 202 

8. Of the principal Sects among the Mohammedans ; and 

of those who have pretended to Prophecy among 
the Arabs, in or since the time of Mohammed 208 




Chap. Page 

1. Intitled, The Preface, or Introduction; containing 

7 verses I 

2. Intitled, The Cow ; cont. 286 verses . . . 2 

3. Intitled, The Family of Imran ; cont. 200 (199) verses 51 

4. Intitled, Women ; cont. 175 verses ... 84 

5. Intitled, The Table ; cont. 120 verses . . 116 

6. Intitled, Cattle; (F/ocA-5); cont. 165 verses . 142 

7. Intitled, Al Araf; cont. 206 (205) verses . .168 

8. Intitled, The Spoils ; cont. 76 verses .• . . 200 

* The titles and figures within parentheses arc those whiih are cjiveii iri tlic trans- 
lation by Savahy. 



Of the Arabs before Mohammed, or, as they express 
it, in the time of ignorance; their history, re- 
ligion, learning, and customs. 

The Ai-abs, and the country they inhabit, which 
themselves call Jezirat al Arab, or the Peninsula of 
the Arabians, but we Arabia, were so named^ from 
Araba, a small territory in the province of Tehama ' ; 
to which Yarab the son of Kahtan, the father of the 
ancient Arabs, gave his name, and where, some ages 
after, dwelt Ismael the son of Abraham by Hagar. 
The Christian writers for several centuries speak of 
them under the appellation of Saracens ; the most 
certain derivation of which word is from shark, the 
east, where the descendants of Joctan, the Kahtan 
of the Arabs, are placed by Moses', and in which 
quarter they dwelt in respect to the Jews^ 

The name of Arabia (used in a more extensive 
sense) sometimes comprehends all that large tract of 
land bounded by the river Euphrates, the Persian 
Gulf, the Sindian, Indian, and Red Seas, and part 
of the Mediterranean: above two-thirds of which 

> Pocock, Specim. Hist. Arab. ;}3. - Genes, x. SO. ^ See Pocock. 

Specim. 3,J, 34. 

yoL. I. B 


country, that is, Arabia properly so called, the Arabs 
have possessed almost from the flood ; and have 
made themselves masters of the rest, either by set- 
tlements, or continual incursions ; for which reason 
the Turks and Persians at this day call the ^vhole 
Arabistan, or the country of the Arabs. 

But the limits of Arabia, in its more usual and 
proper sense, are much narroAver, as reaching no 
farther northward than the Isthnuis, which runs 
from Aila to the head of the Persian Gulf, and the 
borders of the territory of Ciifa ; which tract of 
land the Greeks nearly comprehended under the 
name of Arabia the Happy. The eastern geogra- 
phers make Arabia Petra>a to belong partly to 
Egypt, and j)artly to Sham or Syria, and the desert 
Arabia they call the deserts of Syria'. 

Proper Arabia is by the oriental writers generally 
divided into five provinces', viz. Yamau. Hejaz, 
Tehama, Najd, and Yamama; to which some add 
Bahrein, as a sixth, but this province the more 
exact make part of Irak ' : others reduce them all to 
two, Yaman and Hejaz, the last including the three 
other provinces of Tehama, Najd, and Yamama. 

The province of Yaman, so called either from its 
situation to the right hand, or south of the temple 
of Mecca, or else from the happiness and verdure of 
its soil, extends itself along the Indian ocean from 
Aden to cape Rasalgat ; part of the Red Sea bounds 
it on the west and south sides, and the province of 
Hejaz on the north'. It is subdivided into several 
lesser provinces, as Hadramaut, Shihr, Oman, Na- 
jran, &c. of which Shihr alone produces the fi*anli- 
incense '. The metropolis of Yaman is Sanaa, a 
very ancient city, in former times called Ozal, and 
much celebrated for its delightful situation ; but tiie 
prince at j)resent resides about five leagues north- 

Golius ad AHV,i,:an. 78, 7!). ' Strabo says Arabia Felix was in bis 

,► divided into five kiiiRdom-., 1. If,, p. 1 129. ^ Gol. iid Alfra;:an. 7!^. 

•• La Roquc, Voyage dc 1' Arab. hc>ir. 121. Gol. ad Alfr:igaii. 7f). .'ij- 


ward from thence, at a place no less pleasant, called 
Hisn almawfdieb, or the Castle of delights . 

This country has been famous from all antiquity 
for the happiness of its climate, its fertility and 
riches-, \vhich induced Alexander the Great, after 
his return from his Indian expedition, to form a de- 
sign of conquering it, and fixing there his royal 
seat; but his death, which happened soon after, 
prevented the execution of this project'. Yet in 
reality, great part of the riches which the ancients 
imagined were the produce of Arabia, came really 
from the Indies, and the coasts of Africa ; for the 
Egyptians, who had engrossed that trade, which was 
then carried on by way of the Red Sea, to them- 
selves, industriously concealed the truth of the mat- 
ter, and kept their ports shut to prevent foreigners 
penetrating into those countries, or receiving any 
information thence : and this precaution of theirs 
on the one side, and the deserts, impassable to 
strangers, on the other, were the reason why Arabia 
was so little known to the Greeks and Romans. 
The delightfulness and plenty of Yaman are owing 
to its mountains ; for all that part which lies along 
the Red Sea is a dry, barren desert, in some places 
ten or twelve leagues over, but in return bounded 
by those mountains, which being well watered, enjoy 
an almost continual spring, and besides coffee, the 
peculiar produce of this country, yield great plenty 
and variety of fruits, and in particular excellent 
corn, grapes, and spices. There are no rivers of 
note in this country, for the streams which at cei'- 
tain times of the year descend from the mountains, 
seldom reach the sea, being for the most part drunk 
up and lost in the burning sands of that coast ^ . 

The soil of the other provinces is much more bar- 
ren than that of Yaman ; the greater part of their 
territories being covered with dry sands, or rising 

' Voyage de 1' Arab. henr. 23-2. ' V. Dionys. Perieges. v. 927, &c. 

^ Strabo, 1. Ifi. p. 1 132. Arrian. 161 . •• Voy. de V Arab. heur. 121. 123. 153. 

B 2 


into rocks, interspersed here and there with some 
fruitful spots, which receive their greatest advantages 
from their water and palm trees. 

The province of Hejaz, so named because it divides 
Najd from Tehama, is bounded on the south by 
Yaman and Tehama, on the west by the Red Sea, on 
the north by the deserts of Syria, and on the east by 
the province of Najd '. I'his province is famous for 
its two chief cities, Mecca and Medina, one of wliich 
is celebrated for its temple, and having given birth 
to Mohammed ; and the other for being the place of 
his residence, for the last ten years of his life, and of 
his interment. 

Mecca, sometimes also calledBecca, wliich words are 
synonymous, and signify a place of great concourse, is 
certainly one of the most ancient cities in the \v'orld : 
it is by some - thought to be the Mesa of the scripture', 
a name not unknown to the Arabians, and supposed 
to be taken from one of Ismael's sons \ It is seated 
in a stony and barren valley, sm'roundcd on all sides 
with mountains \ The length of Mecca, from south 
to north, is about two miles, and its breadth, from 
the foot of the mountain Ajj^ad, to the top of another 
called Koaikaan, about a mile . In the midst of this 
space stands the city, built of stone cut from the 
neighbouring mountains '. There being no springs 
at Mecca % at least none but what are bitter and unfit 
to drink ", except only the well Zemzem, the water 
of which, though far the best, yet cannot be drank 
for any continuance, being brackish, and causing 
eruptions in those who drink plentifully of it '", the 
inhabitants are obliged to use rain water which they 
catch in cisterns". But this not being sufficient, 
several attempts were made to bring water thither 

' V. Gol. ad Alfrag. 9fi. Abiilfcda Dc-cr. Arab. p. r>. 2 r. Saadias in 

version. Arab. Pentat. Scfer Juchasin. 135. b. ^ Gen. x.30. ^ Gol. ad 

Alfrag. 82. See Gen. xxv. 15. '■ Gol. ib. f)}!. See Pitts* account of the 

1 i.ligion and manners of the JNInhammcdans, p. 96. '^ Sharif id Edrisi 

apud Poc. Spcrim. 122. ' Ibid. " Gol. ad Alfragan. Hi). 

^ Sharif al Edrisi ubi supra, 121. "• Ibid, and Pitts ubi supra, p. 107- 

" Gol. ad Alfrag. 99. 


from other places by aqueducts; and particularly 
about Mohammed's time, Zobair, one of the principal 
men of the tribe of Koreish, endeavoured at a great 
expense to supply the city with water from mount 
Arafat, but without success ; yet this was effected 
not many years ago, being begun at the charge of a 
wife of Soliman the Turkish emperor '. But, long 
before this, another aqueduct had been made from a 
spring at a considerable distance, which was, after 
several years labour, finished by the Khalif al Mok- 
tader '^ 

The soil about Mecca is so very barren as to pro- 
duce no fruits but what are common in the deserts, 
though the prince or Sharif has a garden well planted 
at his castle of Marbaa, about three miles westward 
from the city, where he usually resides. Having 
therefore no corn or grain of their own growth, they 
are obliged to fetch it from other places ^ ; and Ha- 
shem, Mohammed's great-grandfather, then prince 
of his tribe, the more effectually to supply them with 
provisions, appointed two caravans to set out yearly 
for that purpose, the one in summer, and the other 
in winter ^ ; these caravans of purveyors are men- 
tioned in the Koran. The provisions brought by 
them were distributed also twice a year, viz. in the 
month of Rajeb, and at the arrival of the pilgrims. 
They are supplied with dates in great plenty from 
the adjacent country, and with grapes from Tayef, 
about sixty mJles distant, very few growing at Mecca. 
The inhabitants of this city are generally very rich, 
being considerable gainers by the prodigious con- 
course of people of almost all nations at the yearly 
pilgrimage, at which time there is a great fair or 
mart for all kinds of merchandise. They have also 
great numbers of cattle, and particularly of camels : 
however, the poorer sort cannot but live very indif- 
ferently in a place where almost every necessary of 

' Gol. ad Alfrag. 9!>. - Sharif al Edrisi ubi supr. "' Idem ib. 

■> Poc. Spec. 51. 


life must be purchased with money. Notwithstand- 
ing this great sterility near Mecca, yet you are no 
sooner out of its territory than you meet on all sides 
with plenty of good springs and streams of running 
water, with a great many gardens and cultivated 
lands '. 

The temple of Mecca, and the reputed holiness of 
this territory, will be treated of in a more projier 

Medina, which till Mohammed's retreat thither 
Avas called Yathreb, is a walled city about half as big 
as Mecca -, built in a plain, salt in many places, yet 
tolerably fruitful, particularly in dates, but more 
especially near the mountains, two of A\hich, Ohod 
on the north, and Air on the south, are about two 
leagues distant. Here lies Mohammed interred ' in 
a magnificent building, covered with a cupola, and 
adjoining to the east side of the great temple, which 
is built in the midst of the city \ 

The province of Tehama was so named from the 
vehement heat of its sandy soil, and is also called 
Gaur from its lo\v situation ; it is bounded on the 
west by the Red Sea, and on the other sides by Hejaz 
and Yaman, extending almost from Mecca to Aden \ 

' Sharif al Edrisi ubi supra, l"2r>. - Id. Vulgo Geogr. Nubieusis, 5. 

^ Though the notion of 3Iohammed's King buried at IMecca has been so long 
exploded, yet several modern writers, whetlier througli ignorance or negligence I 
will not determine, have fallen into it. I shall here take notice only of two ; one 
is Dr. Smith, who liaving lived sonic time in Turl'.cy, seems to be inexcusable : 
that gentleman in his Epistles de moribus ac institutis Turcarum, no less than 
thrice mentions the Mohammedans visiting the tomb o( their prophet at Mecca, 
and once his being born at flledma, the reverse of which is true (see Ep. 1. p. 22, 
Ep. 2. p. (y,i and G4). The other is the publisher of the l.'-t edition of Sir J. 
Mandevile's travels, who, on his author's saying very truly (p. o(>.) tliat thesaid tomb 
was at Metlione (i. c. Medina), undertakes to correct the name of the town, which 
is something corrupted, l)y putting at the bottom of tlic page, Mecca. The 
Abbot de Vertot in his history of the order of IMalta (vol. i. p. 410. ed. flvo.) 
seems also to have confounded these two cities together, though lie had before 
mentioned Mohammed's sepulclire at Medina. However, lie i.^ certainly mistaken, 
when he says that one point of the religion, both of the Christians and Moham- 
medans, w;is to visit, at least once in their lives, the tomb i^f the auilior of their 
respective faith, ^\'hateve^ may be the opinion of some Christians, I am well 
assured the Mohammedans think tlicmselves under no manner of obligation in 
ihai respect. ' Gol. ad Alfrugan. !»7- Abulfcda Dcscr. Arab. p. 40. 

^ (lol. ubi .sup. !)."). 


The province of Najd, wliicli word signifies a rising- 
country, lies between those of Yamania, Yaman, and 
Ilejaz, and is bounded on the east by Irak '. 

Tlie province of Yamama, also ^called Arud from 
its oblique situation, in respect of Yaman, is sur- 
rounded by the provinces of Najd, Tehama, Bahrein, 
Oman, Shihr, Hadraniaut, and Saba. The chief 
city is Yamama, which gives name to the province ; 
it was anciently called Jaw, and is particularly famous 
for being the residence of Mohammed's competitor, 
llie false prophet Moseilama ^ 

1 lie Arabians, the inhabitants of this spacious 
country, which they have possessed from the most 
remote antiquity, are distinguished by their own 
writers into two classes, viz. the old lost Arabians, 
and the present. 

The former were very numerous, and divided into 
several tribes, which are now all destroyed, or else 
lost and swalloM^ed up among the other tribes, nor 
are any certain memoirs or records extant concerning 
thelu ' ; though the memory of some very remark- 
able events and the catastrophe of some tribes have 
been preserved by tradition, and since confirmed by 
the authority of the Koran. 

The most famous tribes amongst these ancient 
Arabians were Ad, Thamud, Tasm, Jadis, the for- 
mer Jorham, and Amalek. 

The tribe of Ad were descended from Ad, the son 
of Aws^, the son of Aram', the son of Sem, the son 
of Noah, who after the confusion of tongues settled 
in al Ahkaf, or the winding sands, in the province 
of Hadramaut, where his posterity greatly multiplied. 
Their first king was Shedad the son of i\d, of whom 
the eastern writers deliver many fabulous things, 
particularly that he finished the magnificent city his 
father had begun, wherein he built a fine palace, 

' Gol. ubi sup. ;M. ' lb. 95. ^ Abulfarag. p. 15!>. 

■» Or Uz. Gen. x. 22, 23. ^ V. Ivor. c. 89. Some make Ad the son of 

Amalek, the son of Ham; but the other is the received opinion. See D'Her- 
bel. 51. 


adorned with delicious gardens, to embellish which 
he spared neither cost nor labour, j)urposing thereby 
to create in his subjects a superstitious veneration 
of himself as a God . This garden or paradise was 
called the garden of Irem, and is mentioned in the 
Koran ', and often alluded to by the oriental writers. 
The city, they tell us, is still standing in the deserts 
of Aden, being })reserved by providence as a mo- 
nument of divine justice, though it be invisible, un- 
less very rarely, when God permits it to be seen ; a 
favour one Colabah pretended to have received in 
the reign of the Khalif Moawiyah, who sending for 
him to know the truth of the matter, Colabah related 
his whole adventure ; that as he was seeking a camel 
he had lost, he found himself on a sudden at the 
gates of this city, and entering it saw not one in- 
habitant, at M'hich being terrified, he stayed no longer 
than to take with liim some fine stones which he 
showed the Khalif '. 

The descendants of Ad in ju-ocess of time falling 
from the worship of the true (jod into idolatry, Gotl 
sent the prophet Hud (who is generally agreed to 
be Heber") to preach to and reclaim them. But 
they refusing to acknowledge his mission, or to obey 
him, God sent a hot and suffocating wind, which 
blew seven nights and eight days together, and en- 
tering at their nostrils passed through their bodies \ 
and destroyed them all, a very few only excepted, 
M'ho had believed in Hud, and retired with him to 
another j)lace'. That prophet after^^■ards returned 
into Hadramaut, and was buried near Hasec, where 
there is a small town now standing called Kabr Hud, 
or the sepulchre of Hiid. Before the Adites were 
thus severely })unished, God to humble them, and 
incline them to hearken to the i)reaching of his 
j)rophet, afflicted them \\ith a drought for lour years, 

I V. Kuiu'. 4y8. - Cap. H!». ^ DHcibcl. .M. •< Tiu Jtw.-i 

acknowledge Hcbcr lo liuvc bucn a great j>r()j)liet. Setlcr Oluni. i>. 'J. ' A\ 

Hcidawi. * I'oe. Spec. 3."), &.c. 


SO that all their cattle perished, and themselves were 
very near it ; upon which they sent Lokman (dif- 
ferent from one of the same name M^ho lived in 
David's time) with sixty others to Mecca to beg* rain, 
which they not obtaining, Lokman with some of his 
company stayed at Mecca, and thereby escaped de- 
struction, giving rise to a tribe called the latter Ad, 
who were afterward changed into monkeys '. 

Some commentators on the Koran" tell us these 
old Adites were of prodigious stature, the largest 
being a hundred cubits high, and the least sixty ; 
which extraordinary size they pretend to prove by 
the testimony of the Korfm \ 

The tribe of Thamud were the posterity of 
Thamud the son of Gather' the son of Aram, who 
falling into idolatry, the prophet Saleh was sent to 
bring them back to the worship of the true God. 
This prophet lived between the time of Hud and "of 
Abraham, and therefore cannot be the same with 
the patriarch Selah, as Mr. d'Herbelot imagines'. 
The learned Bochart with more probability takes 
him to be Phaleg '. A small number of the people 
of Thamud hearkened to the remonstrances of Saleh, 
but the rest requiring, as a proof of his mission, 
that he should cause a she-camel big with young to 
come out of a rock in their presence, he accordingly 
obtained it of God, and the camel was immediately 
delivered of a young one ready weaned ; but they, 
instead of believing, cut the hamstrings of the camel 
and killed her ; at which act of impiety God being 
highly displeased, three days after struck them dead 
in their houses by an earthquake and a terrible noise 
from heaven, which, some' say, was the voice of 
Gabriel the archangel crying aloud, Die all of you. 
Saleh, with those who were reformed by him, were 
saved from this destruction ; the prophet going into 

' Poc. Spec. Mi. " Jallalo'ddin ct Ziimakhsliari. Kor. c. 7. 

•< Or Geiher. V. Gen. x. 23. = D'Heibcl. Bibl. Oiient. 74U. <^ Bochart 

Gco<rr. Sac. ' See D'Heibcl. 366. 


Palestine, and from thence to Mecca', where he 
ended his days. 

This tribe first dv/elt in Yanian, but being ex- 
pelled thence by Hainyar the son of Saba", they 
settled in the territory of Hejr in the jirovince of 
Ilejaz, where their habitations cut out of the rocks, 
mentioned in the Koran ^ are still to be seen, and 
also the crack of the rock whence the camel issued, 
Avhich, as an eye witness ^ hath declared, is sixty 
cubits wide. These houses of the Thamuditcs being- 
<!f the ordinary proportion, are used as an argument 
to convince those of a mistake who make this pe()i)le 
to have been of a ffiffantic stature \ 

The tragical destructions of these two potent 
tribes are often insisted on in the Koran, as instances 
of (rod's judgment on obstinate unbelievers. 

The tribe of Tasm were the posterity of Lud the 
son of Sem, and Jadis of the descendants of Jether". 
These two tribes dwelt promiscuously together under 
llic government of Tasm, till a certain tyrant made 
a law, that no maid of the tribe of Jadis should 
marry, unless first defloured by him ■ ; which the 
Jadisians not enduring, formed a conspiracy, and 
inviting the king and chiefs of Tasm to an enter- 
tainment, privately hid their swords in the sand, 
and in the midst of their mirth fell on them and 
slew them all, and extir])ated the greatest i)art of 
that tribe ; hoAvever, the few who escaped obtaining 
aid of the king of Yaman, then (as is said) Dhn 
Habshan Ebn Akran " assaulted the Jadis and 
utterly destroyed them, there being scai'ce any 
mention made from that time of either of those 
tribes . 

The former tribe of Jorham (whose ancestor some 

' Ebn Shohnah. - Poc. Spec. .')7- ' Kcr. rnp. I.i. •• Abu 

jVIusa al Afchuri. ■■ V. Poc. Spec 37- '■ Abulfctla. ■Alike 

cu.stoiu is said to liavc been in t.oinc manors in Knj^land, and also in So>ilan(l. 
where it was called rulli.ij^c or ( 'ullage, liaving been c.slabli.'-bcd by K. Dwen, 
and a'nclislud by IMikolm HI. Sec JiayWV Diet. Art. Sixte IV. Hcni. H. 
>■ Pee. Spec. O'O. " lb. 37, ^f. 


pretend was one of the eighty persons saved in the 
ark with Noah, according to a Molmnimedan tra- 
dition') was contemporary with Ad, and utterly 
perished". The tribe of Amalek were descended 
from Amalek the son of Eliphaz the son of Esau', 
though some of the oriental authors say Amalek was 
the son of Ham the son of Noah^, and others the son 
of Azd the son of Sem\ The posterity of this 
person rendered themselves very powerful '', and 
before the time of Joseph, conquered the lower Egypt 
under their king Walid, the first who took the name 
of Pharaoh, as the eastern writers tell us^ ; seeming 
by these Amalekites to mean the same people which 
the Egyptian histories call Phoenician shepherds ^ 
But after they had possessed the throne of Egypt 
for some descents, they Vv'^ere expelled by the natives, 
and at length totally destroyed by the Israelites ". 

The })resent Arabians, according to their own 
historians, are sprung from two stocks, Kahtan, the 
same with Joctan the son of Eber '", and Adnan 
descended in a direct line from Ismael the son of 
Abraham and Ilagar ; the posterity of the former 
they call al Arab al Ariba ", i. e. the genuine or 
pure Arabs, and those of the latter al Arab al mo- 
stareba, i. e. naturalized or insititious Arabs, though 
some reckon the ancient lost tribes to have been the 
only pure Arabians, and therefore call the posterity 
of Kahtan also Mctareba, which word likewise 
signifies insititious Arabs, though in a nearer degree 
than Mostareba ; the descendants of Ismael being 
the more distant graif. 

The posterity of Ismael have no claim to be ad- 
mitted as pure Arabs ; their ancestor being by origin 

' Poc.Spec. 38. - Ebn Shohnah. ^ Gen. xxxvi. 12. ' V. D'Herbslot, 
p. 11 0. 5 Eijn Shohnah. « V. Numb; xxiv. 20. • Mirat C;unat. 

* v. Joseph, cont. Apion. 1. i. '' V. Exod. xvii. 18, &c. 1 Sam xv. 2. 

&c. lb. xxvii. 8, 9- 1 Chron. iv. 43. "• R. San,cl. in vers. Arab. PciUat. 

Gen. X. 25. Some writers make Kahtan a descendant of Isnuid, but against the 
current of oriental historians. See Poc. Spec. 3.9. " An expression some- 

thing hkc that of St. Paul, who calls himself an Hebrew of the Hebrews. Philipp. 


and language an Hebrew, but having made an alli- 
ance w'itli the Jorliamites, by marrying a daughter 
of Modad, and accustomed himself to their manner 
of living and language, his descendants became 
blended with them into one nation. Tlie uncer- 
tainty of the descents between Ismael and Adnan, 
is the reason Avhy they seldom trace their genealogies 
higher than the latter, whom they acknowledge as 
father of their tribes ; the descents from him down- 
M'ards being pretty certain and uncontro verted '. 

The genealogy of these tribes being of great use 
to illustrate the Arabian history, I have taken tlie 
pains to form a genealogical table from their most 
approved authors, to which I refer the curious. 

Besides these tribes of Arabs, mentioned by their 
own authors, who were all descended from the race 
of Sem, others of them were tlie posterity of Ham by 
his son Cush, which name is in scripture constantly 
given to the Arabs and their country, though our 
version renders it Ethiopia ; but strictly speaking, 
the Cushites did ncjt inhabit Arabia properly so 
called, but the banks of the Euphrates and the Per- 
sian Gulf, wliither they came from Chuzestan or 
Susiana, the original settlement of their father-. 
They might probably mix themselves in process of 
lime with the Arabs of the other race, but the 
eastern writers take little or no notice of them. 

The Arabians were for some centuries under the 
government of the descendants of Kahtan ; Yarab, 
one of his sons, founding the kingdom of Yaman, 
and Jorham, another of them, that of Hejaz. 

The province of Yaman, or the better ])art of it, 
particularly the i)rovinces of Saba and Hadrainaut, 
was governed by princes of the tribe of Hamyar, 
though at length the kingdom was translated to the 
descendants of Cahlan his brother, who yet retained 
the title of king of Hamyar, and had all of them tlie 
general title of Tobba, which signifies successor, and 

' Toi. Spci. [1. 10. - v. n yilc Rcl. vctcr. Ttrjar p. .■{7^ A.c. 


was affected to this race of princes, as that of Caesar 
was to the Roman emperors, and Khali f to the suc- 
cessors of Mohammed. There were several lesser 
princes who reigned in other parts of Yaman, and 
were mostly, if not altogether, subject to the king of 
Hamyar, whom they called the great king, but of 
these history has recorded nothing remarkable or 
that may be depended upon '. 

The first great calamity that befell the tribes set- 
tled in Yaman was the inundation of Aram, which 
happened soon after the time of Alexander the Great, 
and is famous in the Arabian history. No less than 
eight tribes were forced to abandon their dwellings 
upon this occasion, some of which gave rise to the 
two kingdoms of Ghassan and Hira. And this was 
probably the time of the migration of those tribes or 
colonies which were led into Mesopotamia by three 
chiefs, Beer, Modar, and Rabia, from whom the 
three provinces of that country are still named Diyar 
Beer, Diyar Modar, and Diyar Rabia'. Abdshems, 
surnamed Saba, having built the city from him called 
Saba, and afterwards Mareb, made a vast mound or 
dam" to serve as a bason or reservoir to receive tlie 
water which came down from the mountains, not 
only for the use of the inhabitants, and watering 
their lands, but also to keep the country they had 
subjected in greater awe by being masters of the 
water. This building stood like a mountain above 
their city, and was by them esteemed so strong, that 
they were in no apprehension of its ever failing. 
The water rose to the height of almost 20 fathoms, 
and was kept in on every side by a work so solid, 
that many of the inhabitants had their houses built 
upon it. Every family had a certain portion of this 
water distributed by aqueducts. But at length God 
being highly displeased at their great pride and inso- 
lence, and resolving to humble and disperse them, 

' Poc. Spec, p. 65, 06. - V. Gol. ad Alfrag. p. 232. ' Poc. 

Spec. p. 57. 


sent a mighty flood, whicli broke down the inoimd 
by night while the inhabitants were asleej), and 
carried away the whole city with the neighbouring 
towns and people'. 

The tribes which remained in Yaman after this 
terrible devastation still continued under the obe- 
dience of the former princes, till about 70 years be- 
fore Mohammed, when the king of Ethiopia sent 
over forces to assist the Christians of Yaman against 
the cruel persecution of their king Dhu Nowas, a 
bigoted Je^v, whom they <lrove to that extremity, 
that he forced his horse into the sea, and so lost his 
life and crown - ; after which the country was go- 
verned by four Ethiopian princes successively, till 
Self the son of Dhu Yazan of the tribe of Ham}'ar 
obtaining succours from Khosru Anushirwan king 
of Persia, which had been denied him by the em- 
peror Heraclius, recovered the throne and drove out 
the Ethiopians, but was himself slain by some of 
them who were left behind. The Persians aj)- 
pointed the succeeding ])rinces till Yaman fell into 
the hands of Mohammed, to whom Bazan, or rather 
Badhan, the last of them, submitted, and embraced 
his new religion \ 

This kingdom of the Hamyarites is said to have 
lasted 2020 years ', or as others say above 3000 ; 
tlie length of the reign of each prince being very 

It has been already observed that two kingdoms 
were founded by those who left their country on ac- 
casion of the inundation of Aram : they were both 
out of the proper limits of Arabia. One of them 
was the kingdom of Ghassan. The founders of this 
kingdom were of the tribe of Azd, who settling in 
Syria Damascena near a water called Ghassan, thence 
took their name, and drove out the Dajaaniiaii 

'• Geogr. Niibiens. p. 52. • Sie I'litleaiix's life of IMahoiiitt, p. CI. 

■* Pc)C. Spur. ji. ("^, fil. ' Abulfcil.n. Al Jnnnabi ami Alinicd 

I'^bn Yuscf. 


Arabs of the tribe of Salih, who before possessed the 
country'; where they mamtained then* king-dom 
400 years, as others say 600, or as Abulfeda more 
exactly computes 616. Five of these princes were 
named Hareth, which the Greeks write Aretas : and 
one of them it was whose governor ordered the 
gates of Damascus to be watched to take St. Paul^ 
This tribe were Christians, their last kino- beins: 
Jabalah the son of al Ayham, who on the Arabs' 
successes in Syria professed Mohammedism under 
the Khalif Omar ; but receiving a disgust from hiin, 
returned to his former faith, and retired to Constan- 

The other kingdom was that of Hira, which was 
founded by Malec of the descendants of Cahlan ^ in 
Chaldea or Irak ; but after three descents the throne 
came by marriage to the Lakhmians, called also the 
Mondars (the general name of those princes), who 
preserved their dominion, notwithstanding some 
small interruption by the Persians, till the Khalifat 
of Abubecr, when al Mondar al Maghrur, the last 
of them, lost his life and crown by the arms of 
Khaled Ebn al Walid. This kingdom lasted 622 
years eight months '. Its princes were under the 
protection of the kings of Persia, whose lieutenants 
they ^vcre over the Arabs of Irak, as the kings of 
Ghassan were for the Roman emperors over those 
of Syrian 

Jorham the son of Kahtan reigned in Hejaz, 
where his posterity kept the throne till the time of 
Ismael, but on his marrying the daughter of Modad, 
by whom he had twelve sons, Kidar, one of them, 
had the crown resigned to him by his uncles the 
Jorhamites^ though others say the descendants of 
Ismael expelled that tribe, who retiring to Johainah, 

' Poc. Spec. p. 7». ^ 2 Cor. xi. .^2. Acts ix. 24. ^ V. Ocklev's 

Hist, of the Saracens. Vol. i. p. 174. ■" Poc. Spec, p (>(i. ' ib. p. 74. 

'^ Ib. and Procop. in Pers. apud Photium. p. 71, &c. ^ Poc. Spec. p. 45. 


were, after various fortune, at last all destroyed by 
an inundation '. 

Of the kings of Haniyar, Hira, Ghassan, and Jor- 
ham, Dr. Pocock has given us catalogues tolera!)ly 
exact, to which I refer the curious '-. 

After the expulsion of the Jorhamites, the govern- 
ment of Hejaz seems not to have continued for many 
centuries in the hands of one prince, but to have 
been divided among the heads of tribes ; almost in 
the same manner as the Arabs of the desert are go- 
verned at this day. At Mecca an aristocracy pre- 
vailed, where the chief management of affairs till the 
time of Mohammed was in the tribe of Koreish ; 
especially after they had gotten the custody of the 
Caaba from the tribe of Khozaah '. 

Besides the kingdoms which have been taken notice 
of, there were some other tribes, which, in latter 
times, had princes of their own, and formed states of 
lesser note ; particularly the tribe of Kenda * : but 
as I am not writing a just history of the Arabs, and 
an account of them would be of no great use to my 
present purpose, I shall wave any further mention of 

xlfter the time of Mohammed, Arabia was for 
about three centuries under the Khalifs his successors. 
But in the year 325 of the Hejra, great pai't of that 
country was in the hands of the Karmatians % a new 
sect who had committed great outrages and disorders 
even in Mecca, and to whom the Klialifs were obliged 
to pay tri])ute, that the pilgrimage thither might be 
performed : of this sect I may have occasion to speak 
in another place. Afterwards Yaman was governed 
by the house of Thabateba, descended from Ali tlie 
son-in-law of Mohammed, whose sovereignty in 
Arabia some place so high as the time of Charle- 
magne. However, it was the posterity of Ali, or 

' Poc. Spec. p. 7!). - Ii». p. 5."i. scq. ' V. lb. ]>. 41, and Prideaux's 

Life of IMahoniet, p. -'. * V. Poc. Spec p. IH, &(•. '- V. Elmacin. in 

vita al Kfidi. 


pretenders to be such, who reigned in Yanian and 
Egypt so early as the tenth century. The present 
reigning family in Yaman is probably that of Ayul), 
a branch of which reigned there in the thirteenth 
century, and took the title of Khalif and Imam, which 
they still retain '. They are not possessed of the 
whole province of Yaman -, there being several other 
independent kingdoms there, particularly that of 
Fartach. The crown of Yaman descends not re- 
gularly from father to son, but the prince of the blood 
royal who is most in favour with the great ones, or 
has the strongest interest, generally succeeds '. 

The governors of Mecca and Medina, who have 
always been of the race of Mohammed, also threw off 
their subjection to the Khalifs, since which time four 
principal families, all descended from Hasan the son 
of Ali, have reigned there under the title of Sharif, 
which signifies noble, as they reckon themselves to be 
on account of their descent. These are Banu Kader, 
Banu M usa Thani, Banu Hashem, and Banu Kitada ' ; 
which last family now is, or lately was, in the throne 
of Mecca, where they have reigned above 500 years. 
The reigning family at Medina are the Banu Hashem, 
who also reigned at Mecca before those of Kitada \ 

The kings of Yaman, as well as the princes of 
Mecca and Medina, are absolutely independent '', and 
not at all subject to the Turk, as some late authors 
have imagined '. These princes often making cruel 
wars among themselves, gave an opportunity to 
Selim I. and his son Soliman, to make themselves 
masters of the coasts of Arabia on the Red sea, and 
of part of Yaman, by means of a fleet built at Sues : 
but their successors have not been able to maintain 
their conquests ; for, except the port of Jodda, where 
they have a Basha whose authority is very small, 
they possess nothing considerable in Arabia ". 

> Voyage de TArab. heuv. p. 25.5. "- Ih. 153. 273. ^ lb. 254. 

< lb. 143. ■ lb. 145. e lb. 14.5. 14«. ■ V. D'Herbcl. Bibl. 

Orient, p. 477. * Voy. ilo I'Avab. lieur. p. 148. 

VOL. I. C 


Thus have the Arabs preserved their liberty, of 
M'hich few nations can produce so ancient monuments, 
with very little interruption from the veiy deluge ; 
for though very great armies have been sent against 
them, all attempts to subdue them were luisuccess- 
ful. The Assyrian or Median empires never got 
footing amono- them '. The Persian monarchs. though 
they were their friends, and so far respected by them 
as to have an aimual present of frankincense -, yet 
could never make them tributary ' ; and were so far 
from being their masters, that Cambyses, on his ex- 
pedition against Egypt, was obliged to ask their leave 
to pass through their territories ' ; and when Alex- 
ander had subdued that mighty empire, yet the 
Arabians had so little apprehension of him, that they 
alone, of all the neighbouring nations, sent no am- 
bassadors to him, either first or last ; which, with 
a desire of possessing so rich a country, made him 
form a design against it, and had he not died Ijefore 
he could put it in execution \ this people might pos- 
sibly have convinced him that he was not invincible ; 
and I do not find that any of his successors either in 
Asia or Egypt, ever made any attempt against them ' . 
The Romans never conquered any part of Arabia 
properly so called ; the most they did was to make 
some tribes in Syria tributary to them, as Pompey 
did one commanded by Sampsiceramus or Shams' al- 
keram who reigned at Hems or Emesa ' ; but none 
of the Romans, or any other nations that we know 
of, ever penetrated so far into Arabia as iElius Gallus 
under Augustus Ciesar " ; yet he was so far from 
subduing it, as some authors pretend , that lie was 
soon obliged to return without effecting any thing 
considerable, having lost the best part of hi>; army 

• Piodor. Sic. 1. 7. p. 131. ' Herodot. 1. .S. c. t)?- Idem ib. c 01. 

Biodor. ubi sup. ' Herodot. 1. 3 c. R and 5)8. fetrabo, I. 16. p. 1076- 

■ lo2. * v. Diodor. Sic. ubi supra. ■ Strabo, 1. 16. p. inp->. " Dion 

Oasiivis, 1. 53. p. m. 516. ' Hitet Hist. d\i commerce et ds la :iavigation 

dc£ anciois, c. 00. 


by sickness and other accidents '. This ill success 
probably discouraged tlie Romans from attacking- 
them any more ; for Trajan, notwithstanding the 
flatteries of the historians and orators of his time, 
and the medals struck by him, did not subdue the 
Arabs ; the province of Arabia, which it is said he 
added to the Roman empire, scarce reaching farther 
than Arabia Petra^a, or the very skirts of the country. 
And we are told by one author ', that this prince 
marching against the Agarens, who had revolted, 
met with such a reception that he was obliged to 
return without doing any thing. 

The religion of the Arabs before Mohammed, 
which they call the state of ignorance, in opposition 
to the knowledge of God's true worship revealed to 
them by their prophet, was chiefly gross idolatry ; 
the Sabian religion having almost overrun the whole 
nation, though there were also great numbers of 
Christians, Jews, and Magians, among them. 

I shall not here transcribe what Dr. Prideaux ' has 
written of the original of the Sabian religion ; but 
instead thereof insert a brief account of the tenets 
and worship of that sect. They do not only believe 
one God, but produce many strong arguments for 
his unity ; though they also pay an adoration to the 
stars, or the angels and intelligences which they sup- 
pose reside in them, and govern the world under the 
supreme Deity. They endeavour to perfect them- 
selves in the four intellectual virtues, and believe the 
souls of wicked men will be punished for 9000 ages, 
but will afterwards be received to mercy. They are 
obliged to pray three times ' a day, the first, half an 
liour or less before sun-rise, ordering it so that they 
may, just as the siui rises, finish eight adorations, 
each containing three prostrations ' ; the second 

' See tlie whole expedition described at larye by Strabo, I. HJ, p. 112fi, &c. 

2 Xiphilin. epit. •• Connect, of the Hist, of the Old and New Test. p. 1. 
b. 3. ■> Some say seven. See D'Herbelot, p. 726. and Hyde de rel. vet. 

Pers. p. 128. = Others say they use no incurvations or prostrations at all. 

v. Hyde, ib. 

c 2 


prayer they end at noon, when the sun begins to de- 
cline, in saying which they perform five such adoi'a- 
tions as the former ; and the same they do the third 
time, ending just as the sun sets. They fast three 
times a year, the first time thirty days, the next nine 
days, and the last seven. They offer many sacrifices. 
l)ut eat no part of them, burning them all. They 
abstain from beans, garlick, and some other jmlse and 
vegetables '. As to the Sabian Kebla, or part to 
which they turn their faces in praying, autliois 
greatly differ; one will have it to be the north . 
another the south, a third Mecca, and a fourth the 
star to which they pay their devotions - ; and perhaps 
there may be some variety in their practice in this 
respect. They go on pilgrimage to a place near tl'.e 
city of Harran in IMesopotamia, where great numbers 
of them dwell, and they have also a great respect for 
the temple of Mecca, and the pyramids of Egypt ' ; 
fancying these last to be the sepulchres of Seth, and 
of Enoch and Sabi his two sons, whom they look on 
as the first propagators of their religion ; at these 
strnctures they sacrifice a cock and a black calf, and 
offer up incense '. Besides the book of Psahns, the 
only true scripture they read, they have other books 
which they esteem equally sacred, particularly one 
in the Chaldee tongue which they call the book of 
Seth, and is full of moral discourses. This sect say, 
they took the name of Sabians from the above-men- 
tioned Siibi, though it seems rather to be derived from 
t^2^ Saba ' or the host of heaven, which they wor- 
ship '. Travellers commonly call them Christians of 
St. John the J3aptist, Avhose disciples also they pre- 
tend to be, using a kind of baptism, which is the 
greatest mark they bear of Christianity. This is one 

' Abullariig, Hist. Dyn;ist. p. 281, &c. - Idem ib. » jjyjp^ u),j 

supr. p. 124, 6iC. ' D'Hcrbel. ubi supr. ■• See Greavc's Pyranii- 

dogr. p. f>, 7. " V. Toe. Spec, p 130. ? Tliahct Ebn Korrah, a 

famous aatronomer, and himself a Sabian, wrote a treatise in Syriac, concerning 
the (I fctrines, rites, and ceremonies of this sect; from wliich, if it could be re- 
covered, we might expect mucli better information than any taken from the 
Arabian writers. V. Abulfarag, ubi sup. 


of the religions, the practice of which Mohammed 
tolerated (on paying tribute), and the professors of 
it are often included in that expression of the Koran, 
those to whom the scriptures have been given, or 
literally, people of the book. 

" The idolatry of the Arabs then, as Sabians, chiefly 
consisted in worshipping the fixed stars and planets, 
and the angels and their images, which they honoured 
as inferior deities, and whose intercession they 
begged, as their mediators with God. For the Arabs 
acknowledged one supreme God, the Creator and 
Lord of the universe, whom they called Allah Taala, 
the most high God, and their other deities, who were 
subordinate to him, they called simply al Ilahat, i. e. 
the goddesses; which words the Grecians not un- 
derstanding, and it being their constant custom to 
resolve the religion of every other nation into their 
own, and find out gods of theirs to match the 
others, they pretend the Arabs worshipped only 
two deities, Orotalt and Alilat, as those names are 
corruptly written, whom they will have to be the 
same with Bacchus and Urania; pitching on the 
former as one of the greatest of their own gods, and 
educated in Arabia, and on the other, because of the 
veneration shown by the Arabs to the stars '. 

That they acknowledged one supreme God, appears, 
to omit other proof, from their usual form of ad- 
dressing themselves to him, which was this, " I de- 
dicate myself to thy service, O God ! I dedicate my- 
self to thy service, O God ! Thou hast no companion, 
except thy companion of >vhom thou art absolute 
master, and of whatever is his ." So that they sup- 
posed the idols not to be sui juris, though they offered 
sacrifices and other offerings to them, as well as to 
God, who was also often put off with the least por- 
tion, as Mohammed upbraids them. Thus, when 
they planted fruit trees, or sowed a field, they divided 

1 V. Hcniilot. 1. :]. c. 8. Aniiin, p. Itll, 162. and Stiab. 1. IC 
" Al Shalirestani. 

22 THK PlU,l,iMlNAKY DISCOUKSK. [Sect. 1. 

it by a line into two parts, setting one apart for their 
idols, and the other for God ; if any of the fruits 
happened to fall from the idol's part into God's, they 
made restitution ; but if from God's part into the 
idol's, they made no restitution. So when they 
watered the idol's grounds, if the water broke over 
the channels made for that purpose, and ran on God's 
part, they dammed it up again ; but if the contrary, 
they let it run on, saying, they Avanted what was 
God's, but he wanted nothing '. In the same man- 
ner, if the offering designed for God happened to 
be better than that designed for the idol, they made 
an exchange, but not otherwise \ 

It was irom this gross idolatry, or the worship of 
inferior deities, or companions of God, as the Arabs 
continue to call them, that Mohammed reclaimed his 
countrymen, establishing the sole worship of the 
true God among them ; so that how much soever 
the Mohammedans are to blame in otlier points, they 
are far from being idolaters, as some ignorant writers 
have pretended. 

The worship of the stars the Arabs might easily 
be led into, from their observing the changes of 
weather to happen at the rising or setting of certain 
of them ', which, after a long course of experience, 
induced them to ascribe a divine jjower to those stars, 
and to think themselves indebted to them for their 
rains, a very great benefit and refreshment to their 
parched country : this superstition the Koran par- 
ticularly takes notice of \ 

The ancient Arabians and Indians, between which 
two nations was a great conformity of religions, had 
seven celebrated temples, dedicated to the seven 
planets ; one of which in particular, called Beit 
Ghoindan, was built in Sanaa the metropolis of 
Yamau, by Daiiac, to the honour of al Zoharah or 
the i)lanet Venus, and \\'as demolished by the Khalif 

' Nodliin al dorr. - Al Inidawi. • V". PonI. ' V. Voc. Spci". 

p. !(;;{. 


Othman ' ; by whose murder was fulfilled the pro- 
phetical inscription set, as is reported, over this 
temple, viz. Ghomdan, he who destroyeth thee, shall 
be slain ". The temple of Mecca is also said to have 
been consecrated to Zohal or Saturn '. 

Though these deities were generally reverenced 
by the whole nation, yet each tribe chose some one 
as the more peculiar object of their worship. 

Thus, as to the stars and planets, the tribe of Ham- 
yar chiefly M^orshipped the sun ; Misam \ al Debaran 
or the bull's eye ; Laklim and Jodam, al Moshtari or 
Jupiter ; Tay, Sohail or Canopus ; Kais, Sirius or 
the dog-star; and Asad, Otared or Mercury'. Among 
the worshippers of Sirius, one Abu Cabsha was very 
famous ; some will have him to be the same with 
Waheb, Mohammed's grandfather by the mother, but 
others say he was of the tribe of Khozaah. This 
man used his utmost endeavours to persuade the 
Koreish to leave their images and worship this star ; 
for which reason Mohammed, who endeavoured also 
to make them leave their images, was by them nick- 
named the son of Abu Cabsha ^ The worship of 
this star is particularly hinted at in the Koran \ 

Of the angels or intelligences which they woi- 
shipped, the Koran ** makes mention only of three, 
which were worshipped under female names " ; Allat, 
al Uzza, and Manah. These were by them called 
goddesses, and the daughters of God ; an appellatft^n 
they gave not only to the angels, but also to their 
images, which they either believed to be inspirtvi" 
with life by God, or else to become \h tabernack^ 
of the angels, and to be animated by them ; and they 
gave them divine worship, because they imagmpd 
they interceded for them with God.' 

Allat was the idol of the tribe of Tho^cif wlio 
dwelt at Tayef, and had a temple consecrated to hei 

' Shahrestani. 2 w Jannabi. Shahrestani, ■* This nam* 

seems to be corrupted, there being no such inong the Arih tribes. Poc. Spec, 

p. 130. ■■ Abulfarag, p. 160. » oc. Spec r. J32. ^ Cap. 63. 
f Ibid. 9 Ibid. 


ill a place called Nakhlali. 'i'liis idol al Mogheirah 
destroyed by Mohammed's order, who sent him and 
Abu Sofian on that commission in the ninth year of 
the Hejra '. The inhabitants of Tayef, especially the 
women, bitterly lamented the loss of this their deity, 
which they were so fond of, that they begged of 
Mohammed, as a condition of peace, that it might 
not be destroyed for three years, and not obtaining 
that, asked only a month's respite ; but he absolutely 
denied it-. There are several derivations of this 
word Avhich the curious may learn from Dr. Pocock \ 
It seems most probably to be derived from the same 
root with Allah, to which it may be a feminine, and 
will then signify the goddess. 

Al Uzza, as some affirm, was the idol of the tribes 
of Koreish and Kenanah \ and part of the tribe of 
Salim '" : others '^ tell us it was a tree called the 
Egyptian thorn, or Acacia, worshipped by the tribe 
of Ghatfan, first consecrated by one Dhalem, who 
built a chapel over it, called Boss, so contrived as to 
give a sound M'hen any person entered. Khaled Ebn 
l\''alid being sent by Mohammed in the eighth year 
of the Hejra to destroy this idol, demolished the 
chapel, and cutting down this tree or image, burnt 
it : he also slew the priestess, who ran out with her 
hair dishevelled, and her hands on her head as n 
si\ppliant. Yet the author who relates this, in another 
place says, the chapel was pulled down, and Dhalem 
liim.self killed by one Zohair, because he consecrated 
this chapel w ith design to draw the pilgrims thither 
fioin Mecca, and lessen the reputation of the Caaba. 
Thi' name of this deity is derived from the root azza, 
vud signifies the most mighty. 

Maiiah was the object of worship of the tribes of 

' Dr. Piideaiix mentions tliis expedition, l)\it names diily Abii Sofian, and 
niislakiii|! the name of the idol for an appellative, supposes he went only to disarm 
tlic Taycfians of their weapons and inbti uments of war. Sec ids I/ile of Malioniet, 
p. !)K. Abuli'cda, Vit. Moliani. p. 127- ' Spec. p. !J(>. ' Al.Jauliari, 

apud eund. : ''' • Al S'l ilirc.stani. ib. " .Vl Firau/abridi. ib. 



Hodhail and Khozaah ', who dwelt between Mecca 
and Medina, and, as some say -, of the tribes of Aws, 
Khazraj, and Thakif also. This idol was a large 
stone °, demolished by one Saad in the eighth year 
of the Hejra, a year so fatal to the idols of Arabia. 
Tlie name seems derived from mana to flow, from 
the flowing of the blood of the victims sacrificed to 
tlie deity ; w^hence the valley of Mina * near Mecca 
had also its name, where the pilgrims at this day 
slay their sacrifices \ 

Before we proceed to the other idols, let us take 
notice of five more, which, with the former three, are 
all the Koran mentions by name, and they are Wadd, 
Sav/a, Yaghiith, Yaiik, and Nasr. These are said 
to have been antediluvian idols, which Noah preached 
against, and were afterwards taken by the Arabs for 
gods, having been men of great merit and piety in 
their time, whose statues they reverenced at first 
with a civil honour only, which, in process of time, 
became heightened to a divine worship ". 

Wadd was supposed to be the heaven, and was 
worshipped under the form of a man by the tvibe of 
Calb in Baumat al Jandal '. 

Sawa was adored, under the shape of a w^om.Mi, by 
the tribe of Hamadan, or, as others '^ write, of Hod- 
hail in Rohat. This idol, lying under water for. 
some time after the deluge, was at length, it is saiuV 
discovered by the devil, and was worsh'oped by those 
of Hodhail; who instituted pilgrimages to it ". 

Yaghuth was an idol in the shape of a lion, and 
was the deity of the tribe of Madliaj and others who 
dwelt in Yaman '". Its name seems to be derived 
from ghatha, which signifies to help. 

• Yauk was worshipped by the tribe of Morad, or 
according to others, by that of Hamadan ' ' under the 

' Al Jaubaii. ^ Al Shahrestani, Abulfeda, &c. AI Bcidawi. al 

Zamakhshari. •• Poc. Spec. 91, &c. ' Ibi(' • Koran, c. 71- 

Comment. Persic. V. Hyde de rel, vet. Pers. p. liil. ' AI Jauliari. al 

Shahrestani. « Idem, al Firauzabadi, and Safio'ddin. ^ Al Firauzab. 
-'' Shahrestani. •' Al Jauhari. 


figure of a liorse. It is said he was a man of great 
piety, and his death much regretted ; wliereupon the 
devil appeared to his friends in a human form, and 
undertaking to represent him to the life, persuaded 
them, by way of comfort, to place iiis effigies in their 
temples, that they might have it in view when at 
their devotions. This was done, and seven others 
of extraordinary merit had the same honours shown 
them, till at length their jwsterity made idols of 
them in earnest '. The name Yiiuk probably comes 
from the verb aka to prevent or avert '. 

Nasr was a deity adored by the tribe of Hamyar, 
or at Dhii'l Khalaah, in their territories, under the 
image of an eagle, which the name signifies. 

There are, or were, two statues at Bamiyan, a 
city of Cabul in the Indies, fifty cubits high, which 
some writers suppose to be the same with Yaghuth 
and Yiii'ik, or else with Manah and Allat ; and they 
also speak of a third standing near the others, but 
something less, in the shape of an old woman, called 
Nesrem or Nesr. 'iliese statues were hollow within 
for the secret giving of oracles ' ; but they seem to 
have been different from the Arabian idols. There 
was f*lso an idol at Sumenat in the Indies, called 
Lat (A' al Lat, whose statue Avas fifty fathoms high, 
of a single stone, and placed in the midst of a temple 
supported by fifty-six pillars of massy gold ; this 
idol Mahmiid Ebn Sebecteghin, who concpiered that 
j)art of India, broke to pieces with, his own hands '. 

Besides the idols we have mentioned, the Ara])s 
worshipped als( great numbers of others, Avhich 
would take u; too much time to have distinct ac- 
counts givt»" of them, and not being named in the 
Koran, are Aot so much to our present purpose : for 
oesidcs tliat every house-keeper had his household 
god, or t(ods, which he last took leave of, and first 
saluted at his going abroad and returning home \ 

' Al Fitauzabad. -' Poc. Spec. U-J. ^ Sec Hyde i\e rcl. vet. Pcrs. 

r- i:V2. ■• D'Hcrbclot, Bibl. Orient, p. 612. • Al .Mos-tairaf. 


there were no less than three hundred and sixt\^ 
idols ', equalling- in number the days of their year, 
in and about the Caaba of Mecca ; the chief of whom 
was Hobal S brought fromBelka, in Syria, into Arabia 
by Anu'u Ebn Lohai, pretendiiig it would procure 
them rain when they wanted it '. It was the statue 
of a man made of red agate, which having by some 
accident lost a hand, the Koreish repaired it with 
one of gold : he held in his hand seven arrows with- 
out heads or feathers, such as the Arabs used in di- 
vination \ Ihis idol is supposed to have been the 
same with the image of Abraham % found and de- 
stroyed by JMohammed in the Caaba, on his entering 
it, in the eighth year of the Hejra, when he took 
Mecca', and surrounded with a great number of 
angels and prophets, as inferior deities ; among 
whom, as some say, was Ismael with divining arrows 
in his hand also '. 

Asaf and Nayelah, the former the image of a man, 
the latter of a woman, were also two idols brought 
with Hobal from Syria, and placed the one on mount 
Safa, and the other on mount Merwa. They tell us 
Asaf was the son of Amru, and Nayelah the daughter 
of Sahal, both of the tribe of Jorham, who commit- 
ting whoredom together in the Caaba, were by God 
converted into stone % and afterwards worshipped by 
the Koreish, and so much reverenced by them, that 
though this superstition was condemned by Mo- 
hammed, yet he was forced to allow them to visit 
those mountains as monuments of divine justice '. 

I shall mention but one idol more of this nation, 
and that was a lump of dough ^vorshipped by the 
tribe of Hanifa ; who used it with more respect than 
the papists do theirs, presuming not to eat it till 
they were compelled to it by famine '". 

' Al Jannab. « Abulfed. Shahrest, &c •* Poc. Spec. f>5. 

■• Safio'ddin. ^ Poc. Spec. 97- ** Abulfcda. ' Ebn al Atliir. al 

Jannab. <^c. ^ Poc. Spec. !)8. " Koran, ciip. 2. '" Al Mos- 
tatraf, al Jaiiliaii. 

28 THE I'llELnilNARY DISCOURSE. [Sect. 1. 

Several of their idols, as Manah in particular, 
AV'ere no more than larj^e rude stones, the worship of 
Mhich the posterity of Isniael first introduced ; for 
as they multiplied, and the territory of Mecca grew 
too strait tor them, great niunbers were obliged to 
seek new abodes ; and on such migrations it was 
usual for them to take with them some of tlie stones 
of that re})uted holy land, and set them up in the 
places A\ here they fixed ; and these stones they at 
first only compassed out of devotion, as they had 
accustomed to do the Caaba. But this at last ended 
in rank idolatry, the Ismaelites forgetting the re- 
ligion left them by their father so far, as to pay di- 
vine worship to any fine stone they met with '. 

Some of the pagan Arabs believed neither a crea- 
tion past, nor a resurrection to come, attributing the 
origin of things to nature, and their dissolution to 
age. Others believed both ; among whom were 
tliose wlio when they died had their camel tied hy 
their sepulchre, and so left without meat or drink to 
perish, and accompany them to the other world, lest 
they should be obliged, at the resurrection, to go on 
foot, which was reckoned "very scandalous". Some 
believed a metempsychosis, and that of the blood 
near the dead person's brain, was formed a bird 
named Hamah, wliich once in a hundred years 
visited the sepulchre ; though others say, this bird 
is animated b3^the soul of him that is unjustly slain, 
and continually cries, " Osciini, Oscuni," that is, 
" Give me to drink," meaning of the murderer's 
blood, till his death be revenged ; and then it flies 
away. This was forbidden by Mohannned to be 
believed \ 

I miglit here mention several superstitious rites 
and customs of the ancient Arabs, some of which 
were abolished, and otliers retained by Mohammed ; 
])ut I apprehend it will be more convenient to take 

> Al Mobtatarf. al Janiuibi. -' Abull'arag. p. KiO. ^ Y. Tor. 

SjHT. p. Ki.'t. 


notice of them hereafter, occasionally, as the nega- 
tive or positive precepts of the Koran, forbidding or 
allo^ving such practices, shall be considered. 

Let us now turn our view from the idolatrous 
Arabs, to those among them, who had embraced 
more rational religions. 

The Persians had, by their vicinity and frequent 
intercourse with the Arabians, introduced the Ma- 
gian religion among some of their tribes, particularly 
that of Tamin ', a long time before Mohannned, who 
Avas so far from being unacquainted with that re- 
ligion, that he borrowed many of his own institu- 
tions from it, as will be observed in the progress of 
this v/ork. I refer those who are desirous to have 
some notion of Magism to Dr. Hyde's curious ac- 
count of it' ; a succinct abridgment of which may be 
read with much pleasure, in another learned per- 

The Jews, who fled in great numbers into Arabia 
from the fearful destruction of their country by the Ro- 
mans, made proselytes of several tribes, those of Kena- 
nah, al Hareth Ebn Caaba, and Kendall Mn particular, 
and in time became very powerful, and possessed of 
several towns and fortresses there. But the Jewish re- 
ligion was not unknown to the Arabs, at least above 
a century before ; Abu Carb Asad, taken notice of 
in the Koran ^ who was king of Yaman, about 7 00 
years before Mohammed, is said to have introduced 
Judaism among the idolatrous Hamyarites. Some 
of his successors also embraced the same religion, 
one of whom, Yusef, surnamed Dhu Nowas ", was 
remarkable for his zeal, and terrible persecution of 
all who would not turn Jews, putting them to death 
by various tortures, the most common of which was 
throwing them into a glowing pit of fire, whence he 
had the opprobrious appellation of the " Lord of the 

' Al Jlostcitraf. - In his Hist, relig vet. Persar. ^ Dr. Pri- 

deaux's Connect, of the Hist, of tlie Old and New Test. Part I. Book 4. 
^ Al IMostatraf. '• Cliap. 50. ^ See before p. 14, and Baronii annal. 

ad sec, (j. 

30 THE PREI.I^riNATJV DTSCOi:ESE. [Sect. 1. 

pit." This persecution is also mentioned in the 
Kornn '. 

Cliristianity had likewise made a very great pro- 
gress among this nation, before Mohammed. Whe- 
ther St. Paul preached in any part of" Arabia, pro- 
perly so called ', is uncertain ; but the persecutions 
and disorders which happened in the eastern church 
soon after the beginning of the third century, obliged 
great numbers of Christians to seek for shelter in 
that country of liberty ; who being for the most 
part of the Jacobite communion, that sect generally 
prevailed among the Arabs ', The principal tribes 
that embraced Christianity, were Ilamyar, Ghassan, 
Rabia, i aghlab, Bahra, Tonuch ', j)art of the tribes 
of Tay and Kodaa, the inhabitants of Najran, and 
the Arabs of Hira '. As to the two last, it may be 
observed, that those of Najran became Christians in 
the time of Dhu Nowas' ; and very probably, if the 
story be true, were some of those who were con- 
verted on the following occasion, which happened 
about that time, or not long before. The Jews of 
Hamyar challenged some neighbouring Christians 
to a public disputation, which was held sub dio for 
three days, before the king and his nobility, and all 
the people : the disputants being Gregentius, bishoj) 
of 'rephra (which I take to be Dhafar) for the 
C-hristians, and Herbanus for the Jews. On the 
third day, Herbanus, to end the dispute, demanded 
that Jesus of Nazareth, if he were really living, and 
in heaven, and could hear the prayers of his wor- 
shippers, should appear from heaven in their sight, 
and they would then believe in him ; the Jews cry- 
ing out with one voice, " Show us your Christ, alas, 
and we will l)ecome Christians." >\'liereupon. after 
a terrible storm . of thunder and lightning. Jesus 
Christ appeared in the air surrounded with rays of 

■ Chap. lib. 

- See (i.ilat. i 

. 17. 

' .•\l)uiranip. p. 14!>. ■• Al 


• v. I\)i-. SjK'c. !> 

. i:>.7. 

'■ ,\1 Jaiinal). apud Poc. Spec. 

p. 63. 


glory, walking on a purple cloud, having a sword in 
his hand, and an inestimable diadem on his head, 
and spake these words over the heads of the as- 
sembly — " Behold I appear to you in your sight, I, 
who was crucified by your fathers." After which 
the cloud received him from their sight. The 
Christians cried out " Kyrie eleeson," that is, " Lord, 
have mercy upon us !" but the Jews were stricken 
blind, and recovered not, till they were all bap- 

The Christians at Hira received a great accession 
by several tribes, who fled thither for refuge from 
the persecution of Dhu Nowas. Al Nooman, sur- 
named Abu Kabiis, king of Hira, who was slain a 
few months before Mohammed's birth, professed 
himself a Christian on the following occasion. This 
prince, in a drunken fit, ordered two of his intimate 
companions, who overcome with liquor had fallen 
asleep, to be buried alive. When he came to him- 
self, he was extremely concerned at what he had 
done, and to expiate his crime, not only raised a 
monument to the memory of his friends, but set 
apart two days, one of which he called the inifortu- 
nate, and the other the fortunate day ; making it a 
perpetual rule to himself, that whoever met him on 
the former day shoidd be slain, and his blood 
sprinkled on the monument, but he that met him on 
the other day should be dismissed in safety with 
magnificent gifts. On one of those unfortunate days, 
there came before him accidentally an Arab, of the 
tribe of Tay, who had once entertained this king, 
when fatigued with hunting, and separated from 
his attendants. The king, who could neither dis- 
charge him, contrarj'" to the order of the day, nor 
put him to death, against the laws of hospitality, 
which the Ai'abians religiously observe, proposed, as 
an expedient, to give the unhappy man a year's re- 
spite, and to send him home with rich gifts, for the 

' V. Gregentii disput. cum Herbano Judapo. 


support of liis family, on condition that he found a 
sm-ety for his returning at the year's end, to suffer 
death. One of the prince's court, out of compassion, 
offered himself as his surety, and the Arab was dis- 
charged. ^Vhen the last day of the term came, and 
no news of the Arab, the king, not at all displeased 
to save his host's life, ordered the surety to prei)are 
himself to die. Those who were by represented to 
the king that the day was not yet expired, and there- 
fore he ought to have patience till the evening : but 
in the middle of their discourse, the Arab appeared. 
The king, admiring the man s generosity, in offering 
himself to certain death, which he might have 
avoided by letting his siu*ety suffer, asked him, what 
was his motive for his so doing ? to which he an- 
swered, that he had been taught to act in that man- 
ner, by the religion he professed; and al Nooman 
demanding what religion that was, he replied the 
Christian. ^Vhereupon the king desiring to have 
the doctrines of Christianity explained to him, was 
baptized, he and his subjects ; and not only par- 
doned the man and his surety, but abolislied his bar- 
barous custom'. This prince, ho\vever, was not the 
first king of Hira who embraced Christianity ; al 
Mondar, his grandfather, having also professed the 
same faith, and built large churches in his capital \ 

Since Christianity had made so great a jwogress 
in Arabia, we may consequently suppose they had 
bishops in several parts, for the more orderly go- 
verning of the churches. A bishop of Dliafar has 
been already named, and we are told that Najraii 
was also a bishop's see . The Jacobites (of which 
sect we have observed the Arabs generally were) 
had two bishops of the Arabs subject to their Ma- 
frian, or metroi)olitan of the east ; one was called 
the ])ishop of the Arabs absolutely, whose seat was 
for the most part at Akula, \vhich some autliors 

' Al Meitlani ,incl Ahmed Ebn Yusef, apuil Poc. Spec. p. 7-- - Abul- 

feda .ip. eiind, p. 7 '• ■' S:ilio\Uliii apud Poc. Spec. p. 137- 



make the same with CCifa', others a different town 
near Baghdad '. The other had the title of Bishop of 
the Scenite Arabs, of the tribe of Thaalab in Hira, or 
Hirta, as the Syrians call it, whose seat was in that 
city. The Nestorians had but one bishop, who pre- 
sided over both these diocesses, of Hira and Akula, 
and was immediately subject to their patriarch '\ 

These were the principal religions which obtained 
among the ancient Arabs ; but as freedom of tliought 
was the natural consequence of their political liberty 
and independence, some of them fell into other dif- 
ferent opinions. The Koreish, in particular, were 
infected with Zendicism\ an error supposed to have 
very near affinity with that of the Sadducees among 
the Jews, and, perhaps, not greatly different from 
Deism ; for there were several of that tribe, even 
before the time of Mohammed, who worshipped one 
God, and were free from idolatry ', and yet embraced 
none of the other religions of the country. 

The Arabians before Mohammed were, as they 
yet are, divided into two sorts, those who dwell in 
cities and towns, and those who dwell in tents. 
The former lived by tillage, the cultivation of palm 
trees, breeding and feeding of cattle, and the exercise 
of all sorts of trades °, particularly merchandizing \ 
wherein they were very eminent, even in the time 
of Jacob. The tribe of Koreish were much addicted 
to commerce, and Mohammed, in his younger years, 
was brought up to the same business ; it being cus- 
tomary for the Arabians to exercise the same trade 
that their parents did ^ The Arabs who dwelt in 
tents employed themselves in pasturage, and some- 
times in pillaging of passengers ; they lived chiefly 
on the milk and flesh of camels ; they often changed 

• Abulfarag. in Chron. Syriac, MS. " Abulfeda in descr. Iraca;. 

3 Vid. Assemani Bibl. Orient. T. 2. in Dissert, de Monopliysitis ; and p. 459. 
* Al Mostatraf, apud Poc Spec. p. 136. ^ V. Reland. de Relig. INIoham. 

p. 270, and Milliuni de Mohamniedismo ante Moham. p. 311. ^' These 

seem to be the same whom Mr. La Roque calls Moors. Voy. dans la Palestine, 
p. 1 10. 7 See Prideaux's Life of Mahomet, p. G. ^ Strabo, 1. 16, p. 1129. 

VOL. I. D 


their habitations, as the convenience of water and of 
j)asture for their cattle invited them, staying in a 
place no longer than that lasted, and then removing 
in search of other '. They generally wintered in 
Irak, and the confines of Syria. This way of life is 
what the greater part of Ismael's posterity have used, 
as more agreeable to the temper and way of life 
of their father ; and is so well described by a late 
author -, that I cannot do better than refer the reader 
to his account of them. 

The Arabic language is undoubtedly one of the 
most ancient in the world, and arose soon after, if 
not at, the confusion of Babel. There were several 
dialects of it, very different from each other : the 
most remarkable were that spoken by the tribe of 
Hamyar and the other genuine Arabs, and that of 
the Koreish. The Hamyaritic seems to haA'e ap- 
proached nearer to the purity of the Syriac than 
the dialect of any other tribe ; for the Arabs ac- 
knowledge their father Yarab to have been the first 
whose tongue deviated from the Syriac (which was 
his mother tongue, and is almost generally acknow- 
ledged by the Asiatics to be the most ancient) to the 
Arabic. The dialect of the Koreish is usually termed 
the pure Arabic, or, as the Koran, which is written 
in this dialect, calls it, the perspicuous and clear 
Arabic ; perhaps, says Dr. Pocock, because Ismael, 
their father, brought the Arabic he had learned of 
the Jorhamites nearer to the original Hebrew. But 
the })oliteness and elegance of the dialect of the 
Koreish is rather to be attributed to their having the 
custody of the Caaba, and dwelling in Mecca, the 
centre of Arabia ; as well more remote from in- 
tercourse with foreigners, avIio might corrupt their 
language, as frequented by the Arabs from the 
country all around, not only on a religious account, 
but als(j for the composing of their differences, from 

' Strabo, 1. Hi, \\ ^Ofil. '' La Roque, \\nagc dans la Palestine, p. 

iOd, vSii-. 


whose discourse and verses they took whatever 
words or phrases they judged more pure and elegant; 
by which means the beauties of the whole tongue 
became transfused into this dialect. The Arabians 
are full of the commendations of their language, and 
not altogether without reason ; for it claims the pre- 
ference of most others in many respects, as being- 
very harmonious and expressive, and withal so copi- 
ous, that they say no man, without inspiration, can 
be perfect master of it in its utmost extent ; and yet 
they tell us, at the same time, that the greatest part 
of it has been lost ; which will not be thought strange 
if we consider how late the art of writing was prac- 
tised among them. For though it was known to 
Job ', their countryman, and also to the Hamyarites 
(who used a perplexed character called al Mosnad, 
wherein the letters were not distinctly separate, and 
which was neither publicly taught, nor suffered to 
be used without permission first obtained) many 
centuries before Mohammed, as appears from some 
ancient monuments said to be remaining in their 
character ; yet the other Arabs, and those of Mecca 
in particular, were, for many ages, perfectly ignorant 
of it, unless such of them as were Jews or Chris- 
tians ^ : Moramer Ebn Morra of Anbar, a city of 
Irak, who lived not many years before Mohammed, 
was the inventor of the Arabic character, which 
Bashar the Kendian is said to have learned from 
those of Anbar, and to have introduced at Mecca 
but a little while before the institution of Moham- 
medism. These letters of Moramer were different 
from the Hamyaritic ; and though they were very 
rude, being either the same with or very much like 
the Cufic \ which character is still found in inscrip- 
tions, and some ancient books, yet they were those 
which the Arabs used for many years, the Koran 

1 Job xix. 23, 24. ' See Prideaux's Life of Mahomet, p. 29, 30. 

^ A specimen of the Cufic character may be seen in Sir J. Chardin's travels, 
vol. III. p. 119. 

D 2 

SG THE pPiEI-i:mixatiy discourse. [Sect. 1. 

itself being at first written therein ; for the beautiful 
cliaracter they now use was first formed from the 
Cufic by Ebn Moklah, Wazir (or Visir) to the Khalifs 
al Moktader, al Kaher, and al Radi, who lived about 
300 years after Mohammed, and was brought to 
great perfection by Ali Ebn Bowab ', who flourished 
in the following century, and whose name is yet 
famous among them on that account ; yet it is said, 
the person who completed it, and reduced it to its 
present form, was Yakut al IMostasemi, secretary to 
al Mostasem, the last of the Khalifs of the family of 
Abbas, for which reason he was surnamed al Khattat, 
or the scribe. 

The accomplishments the Arabs valued themselves 
chiefly on were, 1. Eloquence, and a perfect skill in 
their own tongue ; 2. Expertness in the use of arms 
and horsemanship ; and, 3. Hospitality -. The first 
they exercised themselves in by composing of ora- 
tions and poems. Their orations were of two sorts, 
metrical, or prosaic, the one being compared to pearls 
strung, and the other to loose ones. They endea- 
voured to excel in both, and whoever was able, in 
an assembly, to persuade the people to a great enter- 
prise, or dissuade them from a dangerous one, or 
gave them other wholesome advice, was honoured 
with the title of Khateb, or orator, which is now 
given to the Mohammedan preachers. They pursued 
a method very different from that of the Greek and 
Roman orators ; their sentences being like loose 
gems, without connexion, so that this sort of com- 
position struck the audience chiefly by the fulness of 
the periods, the elegance of the expression, and the 
acuteness of the proverbial sayings ; and so persuaded 
were they of their excelling in this way, that they 
would not allow any nation to understand the art of 

' Ebn Khalicim. Vet otliCrs attribute tlic honour of the invention of this 
character to Ebn Moklah's brother, Abdallah al Hasan; and the perfecting of 
it to Ebn Amid al Kateb, after it had been reduced to near the present form by 
/iSa'alhaniid. V. D'Herbcl. Bibl. Orient, p. TiDO. lOJI, and lf>4. 

• Poc. Orat. ante Carmen Tograi. ]'. 10. 


speaking in public except themselves and the Per- 
sians, which last were reckoned much inferior in 
that respect to the Arabians '. Poetry was in so 
great esteem among them, that it was a great ac- 
complishment, and a proof of ingenuous extraction 
to be able to express one's self in verse with ease and 
elegance on any extraordinary occurrence, and even in 
their common discourse they made frequent applica- 
tions of celebrated passages of their famous poets. 
In their poems were preserved the distinction of de- 
scents, the rights of tribes, the memory of great 
actions, and the propriety of their language ; for 
which reasons an excellent poet reflected an honour 
on his tribe, so that as soon as any one began to be 
admired for his performances of this kind in a tribe, 
the other tribes sent publicly to congratulate them 
on the occasion, and themselves made entertainments, 
at which the women assisted, dressed in their nuptial 
ornaments, singing to the sound of timbrels the 
happiness of their tribe, who had now one to protect 
their honour, to preserve their genealogies and the 
purity of their language, and to transmit their actions 
to posterity ' ; for this was all performed by their 
poems, to which they were solely obliged for their 
knowledge and instructions, moral and oeconomical, 
and to w^hich they had recourse, as to an oracle, in 
all doubts and differences '. No wonder then that a 
public congratulation was made on this account, 
which honour they yet were so far from making 
cheap, that they never did it but on one of these 
three occasions, which were reckoned great points 
of felicity ; viz. on the birth of a boy, the rise of a 
poet, and the fall of a foal of generous breed. To 
keep up an emulation among their poets, the tribes 
had, once a year, a general assembly at Ocadh ', a 
place famous on this account, and where they kept 
a weekly mart or fair, which was held on our Sun- 

' Poc. Spec. 161. 2 Ebn Rashik, apud Poc. Spec. WO ' Poc. 

Orat. pislix. Garm. Tcgiai, ubi supra. '' Idem, Spec. p. 15P. 


day '. This annual meeting lasted a whole month, 
during which time they employed themselves, not 
only in trading, but in repeating their poetical com- 
positions, contending and vying with each other for 
the prize ; whence the place, it is said, took its name \ 
The poems that were judged to excel were laid up 
in their king's treasuries, as were the seven cele- 
brated poems, thence called al Moallakat, rather than 
from their being hung up on the Caaba, which 
honour they also had by public order, being written 
on Egyptian silk, and in letters of gold ; for which 
reason they had also the name of al Modhahabat, or 
the golden verses '. 

The fair and assembly at Ocadli were suppressed 
by Mohammed, in whose time, and for some years 
after, poetry seems to have been in some degree 
neglected by the Arabs, who were then employed in 
their conquests ; which being completed, and them- 
selves at peace, not only this study was revived ', 
but almost all sorts of learning Avere encouraged and 
greatly improved by them. This interruption, how- 
ever, occasioned the loss of most of their ancient 
pieces of poetry, which were then chiefly preserved 
by memory, the use of writing being rare among 
them in their time of ignorance \ Though the 
Arabs were so early acquainted with poetry, they 
did not at first use to write poems of a just length, 
but only expressed themselves in verse occasionally ; 
nor was their prosody digested into rules till some 
time after Mohammed ''' ; for this was done, as it is 
said, by al Khalil Ahmed al Farahidi, who lived in 
the reimi of the Khalif Harun al Rashid '. 


> GeogT. Nub. p. 51. ^ Poc. Spec. 159. ■■ Ibid, and p. 3R1. Et 

in cake Notar. in Carmen Tograi, p. 2.'i3. * Jallalo'ddin al Soyiiti, apud, 

Poc Spec. p. 159, &c. ■ lb. KiO. •> lb. IGI. Al S;ifadi conKrms 

this by a story of a grammarian, named Abu Jaafar, who sitting by the Mikyas 
or Nilometer in Egj'pt, in a year when the Nile did not rise to its usual height, 
so that a famine was apprehended, and dividing apiece of poetry into its parts or 
feet, to examine them by the rules of art, some who passed by, not understand- 
ing him, imagined he was uttering a cliarni to hinder tlic rise of tlic river, and 
pushed liini tlic water, wlierciie lost his lil'e. " V. Clericum de Pro- 

sod. Arab. p. 2. 


The exercise of arms and horsemanship they were 
in a manner obliged to practise and encourage by 
'reason of the independence of their tribes, whose fre- 
quent jarrings made wars abiiost continual ; and 
they chiefly ended their disputes in field battles ; it 
being an usual saying among them, that God had 
bestowed four peculiar things on the Arabs, that 
their turbands should be to them instead of diadems, 
their tents instead of walls and houses, their swords 
instead of intrenchments, and their poems instead of 
written laws '. 

Hospitality was so habitual to them, and so much 
esteemed, that the examples of this kind among them 
exceed whatever can be produced from other nations. 
Hatem of the tribe of Tay ^ and Hasn of that of 
Fezarah \ were particularly famous on this account ; 
and the contrary vice was so much in contempt, that 
a certain poet upbraids the inhabitants of Waset, as 
with the greatest reproach, that none of their men 
had the heart to give, nor their women to deny \ 

Nor Avere the Arabs less prepense to liberality 
after the coming of Mohammed than their ancestors 
had been. I could produce many remarkable in- 
stances of this commendable quality among them % 
but shall content myself with the following. Three 
men were disputing in the court of the Caaba which 
was the most liberal person among the Arabs. One 
gave the preference to Abdallah, the son of Jaafar, 
the uncle of Mohammed ; another to Kais Ebn Saad 
Ebn Obadah ; and the third gave it to Arabah of 
the tribe of Aws. After much debate, one that was 
present, to end the dispute, proposed that each of 
them should go to his friend and ask his assistance, 
that they might see what every one gave, and form 

• Pocock, in cake Notar. ad Carmen Tograi. - V. Gentii Notas in 

Gulistan Sheildi Sadi, p. 4o(J, &c. ^ pp,., gpej., p. 4<], < Ebn ;il Ilo- 

beirah, apud Poc. in Not. ad Carmen Tograi, p. I07. ' Several may be 

found in D'Hcrbelot's Bibl. Orient particularly in the articles of Hasan the son 
of Ali, Maan, Fadliel, and Ebn Yahya. 


a judgment accordingly. This was agreed to ; and 
Abdallah's friend going to him, found him with his 
foot in the stirrup, just mounting his camel for a 
journey, and thus accosted him : Son of the uncle of 
t'.ie apostle of God, I am travelling and in necessity. 
Upon Avhich Abdaliah alighted, and bid him take the 
camel with all that was upon her, but desired him 
not to part with a sword which happened to be fixed 
to the saddle, because it had belonged to Ali, the son 
of Abutaleb. So he took the camel, and found on her 
some vests of silk, and four thousand pieces of gold ; 
but the thing of greatest value was the sword. The 
second went to Kais Ebn Saad, whose servant told 
him that his master was asleep, and desired to know 
his business. The friend answered that he came to 
ask Kais's assistance, being in want on the road. 
Whereupon the servant said, that he had rather 
supply his necessity than wake his master, and gave 
him a purse of seven thousand pieces of gold, assuring 
him that it was all the money then in the house. He 
also directed him to go to those Avho had the charge 
of the camels, with a certain token, and take a camel, 
and a slave, and return home with them. When 
Kais awoke, and his servant informed him of what 
he had done, he gave him his freedom, and asked 
him why he did not call him, for, says he, I would 
have given him more. The third man went to 
Arabah, and met him coming out of his house, in 
order to go to prayers, and leaning on two slaves, 
because his eye-sight failed him. The friend no 
sooner made known his case, but Arabah let go 
the slaves, and clapping his hands together, loudly 
lamented his misfortune in having no money, but 
desired him to take the two slaves ; which the man 
refused to do, till Arabah protested tliat if he would 
not accept of them, he gave them their liberty ; and, 
leaving the slaves, groped his way along by the wall. 
On the return of the adventurers, judgment was 


unanimously, and with great justice, given by all 
who were present, that Arabah was the most ge- 
nerous of the three. 

Nor were these the only good qualities of the 
Arabs ; they are commended by the ancients for being- 
most exact to their words ', and respectful to their 
kindred". And they have always been celebrated 
for their quickness of apprehension and penetration, 
and the vivacity of their wit ; especially those of the 
desert \ 

As the Arabs had their excellencies, so have they, 
like other nations, their defects and vices. Their 
own writers acknowledge that they have a natural 
disposition to war, bloodshed, cruelty, and rapine ; 
being so much addicted to bear malice, that they 
scarce ever forget an old grudge ; which vindictive 
temper some physicians say is occasioned by their 
frequent feeding on camels' flesh (the ordinary diet 
of the Arabs of the desert, who are therefore ob- 
served to be most inclined to these vices), that crea- 
ture being most malicious and tenacious of anger ^ ; 
which account suggests a good reason for a distinc- 
tion of meats. 

The frequent robberies committed by these people 
on merchants and travellers have rendered the name 
of an Arab almost infamous in Europe ; this they 
are sensible of, and endeavour to excuse themselves 
by alleging the hard usage of their father Ismael, 
who being turned out of doors by Abraham, had the 
open plains and deserts given him by God for his 
patrimony, with permission to take whatever he 
could find there. And on this account they think 
they may, with a safe conscience, indemnify them- 
selves, as well as they can, not only on the posterity 
of Isaac, but also on every body else ; always sup- 
posing a sort of kindred between themselves and 

■ Herodot. 1. 3, c. 8. = Strabo, 1. 16, p. 1129. ^ y. U'llerhtl. 

Bibl. Orient, p. 121. " V. Poc. Spec. p. 87. Bochart. Hicrozoic. I. 2, c. 1. 


those they plunder. And in relating their adven- 
tures of this kind, they think it sufficient to change 
the expression, and instead of, I robbed a man of 
such or such a thing, to say, I gained it '. We must 
not, however, imagine that they are the less honest 
for this among themselves, or towards those Avhom 
they receive as friends ; on the contrary, the strictest 
probity is observed in their camp, where every thing 
is open, and nothing ever known to be stolen ". 

The sciences the Ai*abians chiefly cultivated belbre 
Mohammedism were three ; that of their genealo- 
gies and history, such a knowledge of the stars as to 
foretel the changes of weather, and the interpreta- 
tion of dreams \ They used to value themselves 
excessively on account of the nobility of their 
families, and so many disputes happened on that 
occasion, that it is no wonder if they took great 
pains in settling their descents. What knowledge 
they had of the stars was gathered from long ex- 
perience, and not from any regular study, or astro- 
nomical rules \ The Arabians, as the Indians also 
did, chiefly ai)plied themselves to observe the fixed 
stars, contrary to other nations, whose observations 
were almost confined to the planets ; and they fore- 
told their effects from their influences, not their 
nature ; and hence, as has been said, arose the dif- 
ference of the idolatry of the Greeks and Chaldeans, 
■who chiefly worshi})ped the planets, and that of the 
Indians, who worshipped the fixed stars. The stars 
or asterisms they most usually foretold the weather 
by were those they call Anwa, or the houses of the 
moon. These are twenty-eight in number, and divide 
the zodiac into as many })arts, through one of which 
the moon passes every night ' ; as some of them set 

■ Voyage iliins la Palest, j). 220, &c. - Ibid. p. 213, &c. ^ Al 

Sli;il»rcstani, apuil I'ocock Oiat. ubi sup. \>. 0, and Spec. I(i4. •" Abiil- 

larag. p. Kil. ^ V. Hyde, in not. ad Tabuhis stellar, lixar. Ulugli Beij;'!, 

p. Ti. 


in the morning, others rise opposite to them, which 
happens every thirteenth night, and from their 
rising and setting, the Arabs, by long experience, 
observed what changes happened in the air ; and at 
length, as has been said, came to ascribe divine power 
to them, saying, that their rain was from such or 
such a star ; which expression Mohammed con- 
demned, and absolutely forbade them to use it in 
the old sense, unless they meant no more by it thai 
that God had so ordered the seasons, that when tht 
moon was in such or such a mansion or house, or 
at the rising or setting of such and such a star, it 
should rain or be windy, hot or cold '. 

The old Arabians, therefore, seem to have made 
no farther progress in astronomy, which science they 
afterwards cultivated with so much success and ap- 
plause, than to observe the influence of the stars on 
the weather, and to give them names ; and this it 
was obvious for them to do by reason of their pas- 
toral way of life, lying night and day in the open 
plains. The names they imposed on the stars gene- 
rally alluded to cattle and flocks, and they were so 
nice in distinguishing them, that no language has 
so many names of stars and asterisms as the Arabic ; 
for though they have since borrowed the names of 
several constellations from the Greeks, yet the far 
greater part are of their own growth, and much 
more ancient, particularly those of the more con- 
spicuous stars, dispersed in several constellations, 
and those of the lesser constellations which are con- 
tained within the greater, and were not observed or 
named by the Greeks ■. 

Thus have I given the most succinct account I 
have been able, of the state of the ancient Arabians 
before Mohammed, or, to use their expression, in 
the time of ignorance. I shall now proceed briefly 

1 V. Poc. Spec. p. I{i3, &c. 2 V. Hyde ubi sup. p. 1. 


to consider the state of religion in the east, and of 
the two great empires which divided that part of 
the world between them, at the time of Mohammed's 
setting uj) for a prophet, and what Avere the con- 
ducive circumstances and accidents that favoured his 



Of the state of Christianity, particularly of the 
eastern churches, and of Judaism, at the time of 
Mohammed's appearance ; and of the methods 
taken by him for the establishing his religion, and 
the circumstances which concurred thereto. 

If we look into the ecclesiastical historians even 
from the third century, we shall find the Christian 
world to have then had a very different aspect from 
what some authors have represented ; and so far 
from being endued with active grace, zeal, and de- 
votion, and established within itself with purity of 
doctrine, union, and firm profession of the faith ', that, 
on the contrary, what by the ambition of the clergy, 
and what by drawing the abstrusest niceties into 
controversy, and dividing and subdividing about 
them into endless schisms and contentions, they had 
so destroyed that peace, love, and charity from 
among them, which the Gospel was given to pro- 
mote ; and instead thereof continually provoked each 
other to that malice, rancour, and every evil work ; 
that they had lost the whole substance of their re- 
ligion, while they thus eagerly contended for their 
own imaginations concerning it; and in a manner 
quite drove Christianity out of the world by those 
very controversies in which they disputed with each 
other about it". In these dark ages it was that 
most of those superstitions and corruptions we now 
justly abhor in the church of Rome were not only 

' Ricaut's state of the Ottoman empire, p. ISJ. ^ Prideaux's pref. to 

his life of IMahomet. 


broached, but established ; which gave great advan- 
tages to the propagation of Mohammedism. The 
worship of saints and images, in particular, was then 
arrived at such a scandalous pitch, that it even sur- 
passed whatever is now practised among the Ro- 
manists '. 

After the Nicene council, the eastern church was 
engaged in perpetual controversies, and torn to 
pieces by the disputes of the Arians, Sabellians, 
Nestorians, and Eutychians : the heresies of the two 
last of which have been shown to have consisted 
more in the words and form of expression than in 
the doctrines themselves"; and were rather the pre- 
tences than real motives of those frequent councils, 
to and from which the contentious prelates were 
continually riding post, that they might bring every 
thing to their own will and pleasure '. And to sup- 
port themselves by dependants and bribery, the 
clergy in any credit at court undertook the protec- 
tion of some officer in the army, under the colour of 
which justice was publicly sold, and all corruption 

In the western church, Damasus and Ursicinus 
carried their contests at Rome for the episcopal seat 
so high that they came to open violence and mur- 
der, which Viventius the governor not being able to 
suppress, he retired into the country, and left them 
to themselves, till Damasus prevailed. It is said that 
on this occasion, in the church of Sicininus, there were 
no less than a hundred and thirty-seven found killed in 
one day. And no wonder they were so fond of these 
seats, when they became by that means enriched by 
the presents of matrons, and went abroad in their 
chariots and sedans in great state, feasting sump- 
tuously even beyond the luxury of princes, quite 
contrary to the way of living of the country pre- 

' v. La vie dc ^Mahomed, par Boulainvillicrs, p. 219, &c. ^ V. Simon, 

Hist. Crit. de la creance, &c.'des nations du Levant. ^ Ammian. Mar- 

cellin. 1. 21. V. etiani Euseb. Hist. Eccles. 1. 8, c. 1. Sozom. 1. 1, c 14, &.c. 
Hilar, and Sulpic. Sever, in Hist. Sacr. p. 112, &c. 


lates, who alone seemed to have some temperance 
and modesty left'. 

These dissensions were greatly owing to the em- 
perors, and particularly to Constantius, who, con- 
founding the pure and simple Christian religion with 
anile superstitions, and perplexing it with intricate 
questions, instead of reconciling different opinions, 
excited many disputes, which he fomented as they 
proceeded with infinite altercations-. This grew 
worse in the time of Justinian, who not to be behind 
the bishops of the fifth and sixth centuries in zeal, 
thought it no crime to condemn to death a man of a 
different persuasion from his own '. 

This corruption of doctrine and morals in the 
princes and clergy was necessarily followed by a 
general depravity of the people + ; those of all con- 
ditions making it their sole business to get money 
by any means, and then to squander it away, when 
they had got it, in luxury and debauchery \ 

But, to be more particular as to the nation we are 
now writing of, Arabia was of old famous for here- 
sies'^; which might be in some measure attributed 
to the liberty and independency of the tribes. Some 
of the Christians of that nation believed the soul 
died with the body, and was to be raised again with 
it at the last day': these Origen is said to have 
convinced ^ Among the Arabs it was that the 
heresies of Ebion, Beryllus, and the Nazarseans", 
and also that of the Collyridians, were broached, or 
at least propagated ; the latter introduced the Virgin 
Mary for God, or worshipped her as such, offering 
her a sort of twisted cake called colly riSy whence the 
sect had its name '°. 

' Ammian. Marcellin. lib. 27- ^ Idem, 1. 21. 3 Procop. in 

Anecd. p. 60. ^ See an instance of the wickedness of the Christian armj' 

even wlien they were under the terror of the Saracens, in Ockley's Hist, of the 
Sarac. V. i. p. 23!). '■ V. Boulainvill. Vie de IMahom. ubi sup. " V. 

Sozomen. Hist. Eccles. 1. 1, c. IG, IJ. Sulpic. Sever, ubi supra. " Euseb. 

Hist. Eccles. 1. fi, c. 33. » Idem, ibid. c. 37. ^ Epiphan. de Hferesi, 

1. 1. Haer. 40. " Idem, ibid. 1. 3. Haeres. 7o. 79. 

48 THE PREI-OriNAltY DISCOURSE. [Sect. 2. 

This notion of the divinity of the Virgin Mary 
was also believed by some at the council of Nice, 
who said there were two gods besides the Father, 
viz. Christ and the Virgin Mary, and were thence 
named Mariamites '. Others imagined her to be 
exempt from humanity, and deified ; which goes but 
little beyond the Popish superstition in calling her 
the complement of the Trinity, as if it were imper- 
fect without her. This foolish imagination is justly 
condemned in the Koran - as idolatrous, and gave a 
handle to Mohammed to attack the Trinity itself. 

Other sects there were of many denominations 
within the borders of Arabia, which took refuge 
there from the proscriptions of the imperial edicts ; 
several of whose notions Mohammed incorporated 
with his religion, as may be observed hereafter. 

Though the Jews were an inconsiderable and 
despised people in other parts of the world, yet in 
Arabia, whither many of them fled from the destruc- 
tion of Jerusalem, they grew very powerful, several 
tribes and princes embracing their religion ; whicli 
made Mohammed at first show great regard to them, 
adopting many of their opinions, doctrines, and cus- 
toms ; thereby to draw them, if possible, into his 
interest. But that people, agreeably to their wonted 
obstinacy, were so far from being his proselytes, 
that they were some of the bitterest enemies he had, 
waging continual war with him, so that their reduc- 
tion cost him infinite trouble and danger, and at last 
his life. This aversion of theirs created at length 
as great a one in him to them, so that he used them, 
for the latter part of his life, much worse than he 
did the Christians, and frequently exclaims against 
them in his Koran ; his followers to this day ob- 
serve the same difference between them and the 
Christians, treating the former as the most abject 
and contemptible people on earth. 

It has been observed by a great politician ', that 

' Rlmacin. Eutycli. - Cap. 5. ' Madiiavclli, Priiic. c. 6, p. 1!). 


it is impossible a person should make himself a 
prince and found a state without opportunities. If 
the distracted state of religion favoured the designs 
of Mohammed on that side, the weakness of the Ro- 
man and Persian monarchies might flatter him with 
no less hopes in any attempt on those once for- 
midable empires, eitlier of which, had they been in 
their full vigour, must have crushed Mohammedism 
in its birth ; whereas nothing nourished it more 
than the success the Arabians met with in their en- 
terprises against those powers, which success they 
failed not to attribute to their new religion and the 
divine assistance thereof. 

The Roman empire declined apace after Constan- 
tine, whose successors were for the generality re- 
markable for their ill qualities, especially cowardice 
and cruelty. By Mohammed's time, the western 
half of the empire was overrun by the Goths ; and 
the eastern so reduced by the Huns on the one side, 
and the Persians on the other, that it was not in a 
capacity of stemming the violence of a powerful in- 
vasion. The emperor Maurice paid tribute to the 
Khagan or king of the Huns ; and after Pliocas had 
murdered his master, such lamentable havoc there 
was among the soldiers, that when Heraclius came, 
not above seven years after, to muster the army, 
there were only two soldiers left alive, of all those 
who had borne arms when Phocas first usurped the 
empire. And though Heraclius was a j^rince of 
admirable courage and conduct, and had done what 
possibly could be done to restore the discipline of 
the army, and had had great success against the Per- 
sians, so as to drive them not only out of his own 
dominions, but even out of part of their ov/n ; yet 
still the very vitals of the empire seemed to be mor- 
tally wounded ; that there could no time have hap- 
pened more fatal to the empk'e, or more favourable 
to the enterprises of the Arabs ; who seem to have 
been raised up on purpose by God, to be a scourge 

YOL. I. E 


to the Christian chiirdi, for not living answerably 
to that most holy religion whidi they had re- 

The general luxury and degeneracy of manners 
into which the Grecians were sunk, also contributed 
not a little to the enervating their forces, Avhich 
were still further drained by those two great de- 
stroyers, monachism and persecution. 

The Persians had also been in a declining condi- 
tion for some time before Mohammed, occasioned 
chiefly by tlicir intestine broils and dissensions ; 
great part of which arose from the devilish doctrines 
of Manes and IMazdak. The opinions of the former 
are tolerably well known : the latter lived in the 
reigii of Khosru Kobad, and pretended himself a 
prophet sent from God to preach a community of 
women and possessions, since all men were brothers 
and descended from the same common parents. 
This he imagined would put an end to all feuds and 
quarrels among men, which generally arose on ac- 
count of one of the two. Kobad himself embraced 
the opinions of this impostor, to whom he gave 
leave, according to his new doctrine, to lie with the 
queen his wife ; which permission Anushirwan, his 
son, with much difficulty prevailed on Mazdak not 
to make use of. These sects had certainly been the 
immediate ruin of the Persian empire, had not Anu- 
shirwan, as soon as he succeeded his father, put 
Mazdak to death with all his followers, and tlie 
Maniclieans also, restoring the ancient Magian re- 

In the reign of this prince, deservedly surnamed 
the just, Moliammed was born. He was the last 
king of Persia who deserved the throne, which 
after him was almost perpetually contended for, till 
subverted by the Arabs. His son Hormiiz lost the 
love of his su]>Jects by his excessive cruelty : having 
had his eyes put out l^y his wife's brothers, he was 

' Ockley's Hist, of the Saracens, vol. i. p. ly, &c. ■-' V. Poc Spec. p. "JO. 


obliged to resign the crown to his son Khosru Par- 
v'iz, who at the instigation of Bahram Chubin had 
rebelled against him, and was afterwards strangled. 
Parviz was soon obliged to quit the throne to Bah- 
ram ; but obtaining succours of the Greek emperor 
Maurice, he recovered the crown : yet towards the 
latter end of a long reign he grew so tyrannical and 
hateful to his subjects, that they held private cor- 
respondence with the Arabs ; and he was at length 
deposed, imprisoned, and slain by his son Shiruyeh '. 
After Parviz no less than six princes possessed the 
throne in less than six years. These domestic 
broils effectually brought ruin upon the Persians ; 
for though they did, rather by the weakness of the 
Greeks than their own force, ravage Syria and sack 
Jerusalem and Damascus under Khosrii Parviz ; 
and, while the Arabs were divided and independent, 
had some power in the province of Yaman, where 
they set up the four last kings before Mohammed ; 
yet when attacked by the Greeks under Heraclius, 
they not only lost their new conquests, but part of 
their own dominions, and no sooner were the Arabs 
united by Mohammedism, than they beat tliem in 
every battle, and in a few years totally subdued 

As these empires were weak and declining, so 
Arabia, at Mohammed's setting up, was strong and 
flourishing ; having been peopled at the expense of 
the Grecian empire, wlience the violent proceedings 
of the domineering sects forced many to seek refuge 
in a free country, as Arabia then was, where they, 
who could not enjoy tranquillity and their con- 
science at home, found a secure retreat. The Ara- 
bians were not only a populous nation, but unac- 
quainted with the luxury and delicacies of the 
Greeks and Persians, and inured to hardships of all 
sorts ; living in a most parsimonious manner, sel- 
dom eating any flesh, drinking no wine, and sitting 

' v. Tcixeira, Relaciones <lc los Reyes dc Persia, o. IPo, S:!". 

E 2 


on the gi-oiind. Their political governineiit was also 
such as favoiired the designs of Moliammed; for the 
division and independency of their trihes were so 
necessary to the first propagation of his religion, and 
the foundation of his power, that it would have been 
scarce possible for liini to have eflected either, had 
the Arabs been united in one society. But when 
they had embraced liis religion, the consequent 
union of their tribes was no less necessary and con- 
ducive to their future conquests and grandeur. 

This posture of public ailairs in the eastern world, 
both as to its religious and political state, it is more 
than probable JVIohamined was well acquainted with ; 
he having had sufficient opportunities of informing 
himself in those particulars, in his travels as a mer- 
chant in his younger years : and though it is not to 
be supposed his views at first were so extensive as 
afterwards, when they were enlarged by his good 
fortune, yet he might reasonably promise himself 
success in his first attempts from thence. As he was 
a man of extraordinary parts and address, he knew 
how to make the best of every incident, and turn 
what might seem dangerous to another to his own 

IVIohammed came into the world under some dis- 
advantages, which he soon siu-mounted. His father 
Abd'allah was a younger son^ of Abd'almotalleb, and 
dying very young and in his father's lifetime, left 
his widow and infant son in very mean circum- 
stances ; his M^hole substance consisting but of five 
camels and one Ethiopian she-slave'. Abd'ahno- 
talleb was therefore obliged to take care of his 
grandchild Ivlohammed, which he not only did during 
his life, but at his death enjoined his eldest son Abu 
Talel), who was brother to Abd'allah by the same 

> lie was not his eldest son. as Dr. Prideaux tells us ; whose reflections built 
on that foundation must necessarily fail (see his life of Mahomet, p. .9.) ; r.or 
yet his younj^Cot son, as M. d(^ Bmilainvillicrs (\'ic dc 3I;ilioniii:cd, p. 182, Sec.) 
supposes ; for Ilamza and al Abbas wore both younger than Abd'allah. 

» Abulfeda, Vit. Mohani. p. 2. 


mother, to provide for him for the future ; which 
he very affectionately did, and instructed him in the 
business of a merchant, which he followed ; and to 
that end he took him with him into Syria when he 
was but thirteen, and afterward recommended liim 
to Khadijah, a noble and rich widow, for her factor, 
in whose service he behaved himself so well, that by 
making him her husband she soon raised him to an 
equality with the richest in Mecca. 

After he began by this advantageous match to live 
at his ease it was that he formed the scheme of esta- 
blishing a new religion, or, as he expressed it, of 
replanting the only true and ancient one, professed 
by Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and all 
the prophets ', by destroying the gross idolatry into 
which the generality of his countiymen had fallen, 
and weeding out the corruptions and superstitions 
which the latter Jews and Christians had, as he 
thought, introduced into their religion, and reducing 
it to its original purity, which consisted chiefly in 
the worship of one only God. 

Whether this was the effect of enthusiasm, or only 
a design to raise himself to the supreme government 
of his country, I will not pretend to determine. The 
latter is the general opinion of Christian writers, 
who agree that ambition and the desire of satisfying 
his sensuality were the motives of his undertaking. 
It may be so ; yet his first views perhaps were not 
so interested. His original design of bringing the 
pagan Arabs to the knowledge of the true God was 
certainly noble, and highly to be commended ; for I 
cannot possibly subscribe to the assertion of a late 
learned writer-, that he made that nation exchange 
their idolatry for another religion altogether as bad. 
Mohammed was no doubt fully satisfied in his con- 
science of the truth of his grand point, the unity of 
God, which was what he chiefly attended to ; all his 

' See Koiin, c. 2. « Prideaux's Life of Mahomet, r- 7('. 


other doctrines and institutions being- rather acci- 
dental and unavoidable, than premeditated and de- 

Since then jMohamnied was certainly liimself per- 
suaded of his grand article of faith, which in his 
opinion was violated by all the rest of the world ; 
not only by the idolaters, but l)y the Christians, as 
Avell those who rightly worshipped Jesus as God, as 
those who superstitiously adored the Virgin Mary, 
saints, and images ; and also by the Jev\'s, who are 
accused in the Koran of taking Ezra for the Son of 
God ' ; it is easy to conceive that he might think it 
a meritorious work to rescue the world from such 
ignorance and superstition ; and by degrees, with 
the help of a warm imagination, Avhich an Arab sel- 
dom wants', to suppose himself destined by Pro- 
vidence for the effecting that great reformation. And 
this fancy of his might take still deeper root in his 
mind, tluring the solitude he thereupon affected, 
usually retiring for a month in the year to a cave in 
Mount Hara near Mecca. One thing which may be 
probably urged against the enthusiasm of this pro- 
phet of the Arabs, is the wise conduct and great 
prudence lie all along showed in pursuing his design, 
which seem inconsistent with the wild notions of a 
hot-brained religionist. But though all enthusiasts 
or madmen do not behave with the same gravity and 
circumspection that he did, yet he will not be the 
first instance, by several, of a person who has been 
out of the way only quoad /ioc, and in all other re- 
spects acted Avith the greatest decency and precau- 

The terrible destruction of the eastern churclies, 
once so glorious and flourishing, by the sudden 
spreading of Mohannnedism, and the great successes 
of its professors against the Christians, necessarily 
inspire a horror of that religion in those to whom it 

•Koriin, c. 9. - Sec Casaub., p. 118. 

Sect. 2.] THE I'llELIMINAllY DlSCOUllSE. 55 

has been so fatal ; and no wonder if they endeavour 
to set the character of its founder, and its doctrines, 
in the most infamous light. But the damage done 
by Mohammed to Christianity seems to have been 
rather owing to his ignorance than malice ; for his 
great misfortune was, his not having a competent 
knowledge of the real and pure doctrines of the 
Christian religion, which was in his time so abomi- 
nably corrupted, that it is not surprising if he went 
too far, and resolved to abolish what he might think 
incapable of reformation. 

It is scarce to be doubted but that Mohammed 
had a violent desire of being reckoned an extraordi- 
nary person, which he could attain to by no means 
more effectually than by pretending to be a mes- 
senger sent from God, to inform mankind of his will. 
This might be at first his utmost ambition, and had 
his fellow citizens treated him less injuriously, and 
not obliged him by their persecutions to seek refuge 
elsewhere, and to take up arms against them in his 
own defence, he had perhaps continued a private 
person, and contented himself with the veneration 
and respect due to his prophetical office ; but being 
once got at the head of a little army, and encouraged 
by success, it is no wonder if he raised his thoughts 
to attempt what had never before entered into his 

That Mohammed was, as the Arabs are by com- 
plexion ', a great lover of women, we are assured by 
his own confession ; and he is constantly upbraided 
vrith it by the controversial writers, who fail not to 
urge the number of women with whom he had to do 
as a demonstrative argument of his sensuality, which 
they think sufficiently proves him to have been a 
wicked man, and consequently an impostor. But it 
must be considered, that polygamy, though it be for- 
bidden by the Christian religion, was in Mohammed'^ 

' Ammian, MarccU. 1. 14, c. 4. 


time frequently practised in Arabia and other parts 
of the East, and was not counted an inniiorality, nor 
Avas a man the worse esteemed on that account ; for 
which reason Mohammed permitted the pkiralitj'- of 
wives, with certain limitations, among his own fol- 
lowers, who argue for the lawfulness of it from 
several reasons, and particularly from the examples 
of persons alloAved on all hands to have been good 
men ; some of whom have been honoured with the 
divine correspondence. The several laws relating to 
marriages and divorces, and the peculiar privileges 
granted to Mohammed in his Koran, were almost all 
taken by him from the Jev/ish decisions, as will ap- 
pear hereafter ; and therefore he might think those 
institutions the more just and reasonable, as he found 
them practised or approved by the professors of a 
religion which was confessedly of divine original. 

But whatever ^vere his motives, JNIohammed had 
certainly the personal qualifications which were ne- 
cessary to accomplish his undertaking. The JNIo- 
hammedan authors are excessive in their commenda- 
tions of him, and speak much of his religious and 
moral virtues ; as his piety, veracity, justice, libe- 
rality, clemency, humility, and abstinence. His 
charity in particular, they say, was so conspicuous, 
that he had seldom any money in his house, keeping 
no more for his own use than was just sufficient to 
maintain his family ; and he frequently spared even 
some part of his own provisions to supply the neces- 
sities of the poor ; so that before the year's end he 
had generally little or nothing left ' : " God," says al 
Bokliari, " olfered him the keys of the treasures of 
the earth, but he would not accept them." Though 
the eulogies of these writers are justly to be sus- 
pected of partiality, yet thus much, I think, may 
be inferred from thence, that for an Arab who had 
been educated in paganism, and had but a very im- 

• V. Abu'lfetla \'n. Moliaiii. p. Ml, .S;c. 


perfect knowledge of his duty, lie was a man of at 
least tolerable morals, and not such a monster of 
wickedness as he is usually represented. And, in- 
deed, it is scarce possible to conceive that a Av^retch 
of so profligate a character should ever have suc- 
ceeded in an enterprise of this nature ; a little 
hypocrisy and saving of appearances, at least, must 
have been absolutely necessary; and the sincerity 
of his intentions is what I pretend not to inquire 

He had indisputably a very piercing and sagacious 
wit, and was thoroughly versed in all the arts of in- 
sinuation'. The eastern historians describe him to 
have been a man of an excellent judgment, and a 
happy memory ; and these natural parts were im- 
proved by a great experience and knowledge of men, 
and the observations he had made in his travels. 
They say he was a person of few words, of an equal, 
cheerful temper, pleasant and familiar in conversa- 
tion, of inoffensive behaviour towards his friends, 
and of great condescension towards his inferiors'. 
To all which were joined a comely, agreeable person, 
and a polite address ; accomplishments of no small 
service in preventing those in his favour whom he 
attempted to persuade. 

As to acquired learning, it is confessed he had 
none at all ; having had no other education than 
what was customary in his tribe, who neglected, and 
perhaps despised, what we call literature ; esteem- 
ing no language in comparison with their own, their 
skill in which they gained by use and not by books, 
and contenting themselves with improving their pri- 
vate experience by committing to memory such jiass- 
ages of their poets as they judged might be of use 
to them in life. This defect was so far from being 
prejudicial or putting a stop to his design, that 
he made the greatest use of it; insisting that the 

> V. Prid. Lite of Mahomet, p. \0o. ^ V. Abult'ed. ubi sup. 


writings whicli lie produced as revelations from God, 
could not possibly be a forgery of his own ; because 
it was not conceivable that a person who could neither 
write nor read should be able to compose a book of 
such excellent doctrine, and in so elegant a style ; and 
thereby obviating an objection that might have carried 
a great deal of weight \ And for this reason his fol- 
lowers, instead of being ashamed of their master's 
ignorance, glory in it as an evident proof of his divine 
mission, and scruple not to call him (as he is indeed 
called in the Koran itself ) the illiterate prophet. 

The scheme of religion which Mohammed framed, 
and the design and artful contrivance of those written 
revelations (as he pretended them to be) which com- 
pose his Koran, shall be the subject of the following 
sections : I shall, therefore, in the remainder of this 
relate, as briefly as possible, the steps he took to- 
wards the eifecting of his enterj^rise, and the accidents 
which concurred to his success therein. 

Before he made any attempt abroad, he rightly 
judged that it was necessary for him to begin by the 
conversion of his own household. Having therefore 
retired with his family, as he had done several times 
before, to the above-mentioned cave in mount Hara, he 
there opened the secret of his mission to his wife Kha- 
dijah; and acquainted her that the angel Gabriel had 
just before appeared to him, and told him that he M^as 
appointed the apostle of God : he also repeated to 
lier a passage^ which he pretended had been revealed 
to him by the ministry of the angel, with those other 
circumstances of his first appearance which are re- 
lated by the Mohammedan writers. Khadijah re- 
ceived the news with great joy'; swearing by him 
in wliose hands her soul was, that she trusted he 
would be the prophet of his nation : and innnediately 

" Sec Koran, chnp. 2f). Prid. Life of I\Iah. p. 2C, &.c. ^ Chap. 7- 

•^ This passage is gcncndly aj^ced to be the first five verses of the Dfith chapter. 
■• I do not remember to have read in any eastern author, that Khadijali ever ic- 
jci-led her liiisband's pretences as I'.chisions, or suhpeeted him of any imposture. 
Vet bCC I'rideaux's Life of iVJaliomct, p. 11, &:c. 


communicated Vv^hat she had heard to her cousin 
Warakah Ebn Nawfal, who, being a Christian, could 
write in the Hebrew character, and was tolerably- 
well versed in the Scriptures ^ ; and he as readily 
came into her opinion, assuring her that the same 
anp-el who had formerly appeared unto Moses was 
now sent to Mohammed'. This first overture the 
prophet made in the month of Ramadan, in the 
fortieth year of his age, which is therefore usually 
called the year of his mission. 

Encouraged by so good a beginning, he resolved 
to proceed, and try for some time what he could do 
by private persuasion, not daring to hazard the whole 
affair by exposing it too suddenly to the public. He 
soon made proselytes of those under his own roof, 
viz. his wife Khadijah, his servant Zeid Ebn Hare- 
tha (to whom he gave his freedom' on that occasion, 
which afterwards became a rule to his followers), 
and his cousin and pupil Ali, the son of Abu Taleb, 
though then very young : but this last, making no 
account of the other two, used to style himself the 
first of believers. The next person Mohammed ap- 
plied to was Abdallah Ebn Abi Kohafa, surnamed 
Abu Beer, a man of great authority among the 
Koreish, and one whose interest he well knew would 
be of great service to him, as it soon appeared ; for 
Abu Beer being gained over, prevailed also on 0th- 
man Ebn Affan, Abd'alrahman Ebn Awf, Saad 
Ebn Abi Wakkas, al Zobeir Ebn al Awam, and Telha 
Ebn Obeid allah, all principal men in Mecca, to follow 
his example. These men were the six chief com- 
panions, who, with a few more, were converted in 
the space of three years ; at the end of which Mo- 
hammed having, as he hoped, a sufficient interest to 
support him, made his mission no longer a secret, 
but gave out that God had commanded him to ad- 

1 v. Poc. Spec. p. 157. - V. Abulfed. Vit. Moham. p. IG. Where llie 

learned translator has mistaken the meaning of this passage. ^ For he was 

his purchased slave, as Abult'wla expressly tells us; and not his ccusm german, 
as Sir. de Boulainvilliers asserts (Vic de Mah. p. '-'73). 



monish liis near relations', and in order to do it with 
more convenience and prospect of success, he directed 
Ali to prepare an entertainment, and invite the sons 
and descendants of Abd'ahnotalleb, intending tlien to 
open his mind to them ; this A^as done, and about 
forty of them came, but Abu Lalieb, one of his uncles, 
making the company break up before INlohammed 
had an opportunity of speaking, obliged hiui to give 
them a second invitation the next day ; and when 
they were come, he made them the following speech: 
" I know no man in all Arabia who can oiler his 
kindred a more excellent thing than I now do you ; 
I offer you happiness both in this life, and in that 
which is to come : God Almighty hath commanded 
me to call you unto him ; who, therefore, among you 
will be assisting to me herein, and become my brother, 
and my vicegerent ?" All of them hesitating, and 
declining the matter, Ali at length rose up, and de- 
clared that he vrould be his assistant ; and vehemently 
threatened those who should oppose him. Mohannned 
upon this embraced Ali with great demonstrations of 
affection, and desired all \\'ho were present to hearken 
to and obey him as his deputy ; at which the com- 
pany broke out into great laughter, telling Abu Taleb 
that he must now pay obedience to his son. 

This repulse, however, was so far from discouraging 
Mohammed, that he began to preach in public to the 
people, who heard him with some patience, till he 
came to upbraid them with the idolatry, obstinacy, 
and perverseness of themselves and their fathers ; 
which so highly provoked them, that they declared 
themselves his enemies, and would soon have pro- 
cured his ruin, had he not been protected by Abu 
Taleb. Tlie chief of the Koreish warmly solicited 
this person to desert his nephew, making frequent 
remonstrances against the innovations he was at- 
tempting ; which ])roving ineffectual, they at length 
threatened him with an open rupture if he did not 

' Koran, c. 74. See tlie notes thereon. 


prevail on Mohammed to desist. At this Abu Taleb 
was so far moved that he earnestly dissuaded his 
nephew from pursuing the affair any farther, repre- 
sentino' the great danger he and his friends must 
othervvise run. But Mohammed was not to be in- 
timidated, telling his uncle plainly, that if they set 
the sun against him on his right hand, and the moon 
on his left, he would not leave his enterprise : and 
Abu Taleb, seeing him so firmly resolved to proceed, 
used no further arguments, but promised to stand by 
him against all his enemies '. 

The Koreish finding they could prevail neither by 
fair words nor menaces, tried what they could do by 
force and ill treatment ; using Mohammed's followers 
so very injuriously that it was not safe for them to 
continue at IMecca any longer ; whereupon Moham- 
med gave leave to such of them as had not friends 
to protect them to seek for refuge elsewhere. And 
accordingly in the fifth year of the prophet's mission, 
sixteen of them, four of whom were women, fled into 
Ethiopia ; and among tliem Othman Ebn Affan and 
his wife Rakiali, Mohammed's daughter. This was 
the first flight ; but afterwards several others followed 
them, retiring one after another, to the number of 
eighty-three men and eighteen women, besides chil- 
dren'-. These refugees were kindly received by the 
Najaslii ', or king of Ethiopia, who refused to deliver 
them up to those whom the Koreish sent to demand 
them, and as the Arab writers unanimously attest, 
even professed the Mohammedan religion. 

In the sixth year of his mission^ Mohammed had 
the pleasure of seeing his party strengthened by the 
conversion of his uncle Hamza, a man of great valour 
and merit, and of Omar Ebn al Khattab, a person 
highly esteemed, and once a violent opposer of the 
prophet. As persecution generally advances rather 

> Abulia ubi supra. ^ Idem, Ebn Shchnah. ^ ^^^F^TIT^J^^Z 

I take tms worci tor a pro 
every king of this country. 

to take tWs word for a proper name, but it is only the title the Arabs give to 
country. See his Life of Blahomet, p. 55. < hb-A bhohnah. 


than obstructs the spreading of a relii^ion, Islaniisiu 
made so great a progress among the Arab tribes, that 
the Koreish, to suppress it effectually, if possible, in 
the seventh year of Mohammed's mission ', made a 
solemn league or covenant against the Hashemites 
and the family of Al Motalleb, engaging themselves 
to contract no marriages with any of them, and to 
have no communication with them ; and to give it 
the greater sanction, reduced it into writing, and laid 
it up in the Caaba. Upon this the tribe became di- 
vided into two factions ; and the family of Hashem 
all repaired to Abu Taleb, as their head, except only 
Abd'al Uzza, surnamed Abu Lalieb, who, out of his 
inveterate hatred to his nephew and his doctrine, 
went over to the opposite party, v/hose chief was 
Abu Soiian Ebn Harb, of the family of Onnneya. 

The families continued thus at variance for three 
years ; but in the tenth year of his mission, Mo- 
hammed told his uncle Abu Taleb, that God had 
manifestly showed his disapprobation of the league 
which the Koreish had made against them, by send- 
ing a worm to eat out every word of the instrument 
except the name of God. Of this accident Mohannned 
had probably some private notice, for Abu Taleb 
went immediately to the Koreish and acquainted 
them with it ; offering, if it proved false, to deliver 
his nephew up to them ; but in case it were true, he 
insisted that they ought to lay aside their animosity, 
and annul the league they had made against the 
Hashemites. To this they acquiesced, and, going to 
inspect the writing, to their great astonishment found 
it to be as Abu Taleb had said ; and the league Avas 
thereupon declared void. 

In the same year Abu Taleb died, at the age of 
above fourscore ; and it is the general o])inion that 
he died an infidel, though others say, that when he 
A\'as at the point of death he embraced Moham- 
medism, and produce some passages out of his poetical 

' Al Jaimabi. 


compositions to confirm their assertion. About a 
month, or, as some write, three days after the death 
of this great benefactor and patron, Mohammed had 
the additional mortification to lose his wife Khadijah, 
who had so generously made his fortime. For which 
reason this year is called the year of mourning i. 

On the death of these two persons, the Koreish 
began to be more troublesome than ever to their 
prophet, and especially some who had formerly been 
his intimate friends ; insomuch that he found him- 
self obliged to seek for shelter elsewhere, and first 
pitched upon Tayef, about sixty miles east from 
Mecca, for the place of his retreat. Thither there- 
fore he went, accompanied by his servant Zeid, and 
applied himself to two of the chief of the tribe of 
Thakif, v/ho were the inhabitants of that place, but 
they received him very coldly. However, he stayed 
there a month ; and some of the more considerate 
and better sort of men treated him with a little re- 
spect : but the slaves and inferior people at length 
rose against him, and bringing him to the wall of 
the city, obliged him to depart, and return to Mecca, 
where he put himself under the protection of al Mo- 
taam Ebn Adi '. 

This repulse greatly discouraged his followers : 
however, Mohammed was not wanting to himself, 
but boldly continued to preach to the public assem- 
blies at the pilgrimage, and gained several proselytes, 
and among them six of the inhabitants of Yathreb of 
the Jewish Tribe of Khazraj, who, on their return 
home, failed not to speak much in commendation of 
their new religion, and exhorted their fellow-citizens 
to embrace the same. 

In the twelfth year of his mission it was that 
Mohammed gave out that he had made his night 
journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, and thence to 
heaven % so much spoken of by all that write of him. 

• Abulfed. p. 28. Ebn Shohnah. = Ebn Shohnah. ^ See the notes 

on the 17th chap, of the Koran. 


Dr. Prideaux ' thinks he invented it either to ans\ver 
the expectations of those who demanded some miracle 
as a jjroof of his mission ; or else, by pretending to 
have conversed witli God, to establish the authority 
of whatever he should think fit to leave behind by 
Vv'ay of oral tradition, and make his sayings to serve 
the same purpose as the oral law of the Jews. J5ut 
I do not find that Mohammed himself ever expected 
so great a regard should be paid to his sayings as 
his followers have since done : and seeing he all 
along disclaimed any power of performing miracles, 
it seems rather to have been a fetch of policy to raise 
his reputation, by pretending to have actually con- 
versed Avith God in heaven, as Moses had heretofore 
done on the mount, and to have received several in- 
stitutions immediately from him, 'whereas before he 
contented himself with persuading them that he had 
all by the ministry of Gal)riel. 

However, this story seemed so absurd and in- 
credible that several of his followers left him upon 
it, and it had probably ruined the whole design, had 
not Abu Beer vouched for its veracit}% and declared 
that if Mohammed affirmed it to be true, he verily 
believed the whole. Which happy incident not only 
retrieved tlie prophet's credit, but increased it to such 
a degree, that he \vas secure of being able to make 
his disciples swallow whatever he j^leased to impose 
on them for the future. And I am apt to think this 
fiction, notwithstanding its extravagance, was one of 
the most artful contrivances IMohammed ever put in 
practice, and what chiefly contributed to the raising 
of his reputation to that great height to which it 
afterwards arrived. 

In this year, called by the Mohammedans the ac- 
cepted year, twelve men of Yathreb or Medina, of 
whom ten were of the tribe of Khazraj, and the other 
two of that of Am's, came to Mecca, and took an oath 
of fidelity to Mohammed at al Akaba, a hill on the 

' Life of Mahomet, p. 41, 51, &c. 


north of that city. This oath was called the wo- 
meiis' oath ; not that any women were present at 
this time, but because a man was not thereby obliged 
to take up arms in defence of Mohammed or his re- 
ligion ; it being the same oath that was afterwards 
exacted of the women, the form of which we have 
in tlie Koran', and is to this effect, viz. — " That 
they should renounce all idolatry ; that they should 
not steal, nor commit fornication, nor kill their chil- 
dren (as the pagan Arabs used to do when they ap- 
prehended they should not be able to maintain them -), 
nor forge calumnies ; and that they should obey the 
prophet in all things that were reasonable." When 
they had solemnly engaged to do all this, Moham- 
med sent one of his disciples, named Masiib Ebn 
Omair, home with them, to instruct them more fully 
in the grounds and ceremonies of his new religion. 

Masab, being arrived at Medina, by the assistance 
of those who had been formerly converted, gained 
several proselytes, particularly Osaid Ebn Hodeira, 
a chief man of the city, and Saad Ebn Mo:idh, prince 
of the tribe of Aws ; Mohammedism spreading so 
fast, that there was scarce a house wherein there 
were not some who had embraced it. 

The next year, being the thirteenth of Moham- 
med's mission, Masab returned to Mecca, accom- 
panied by seventy-three men and two women of 
Medina who had professed Islamism, besides some 
others who were as yet unbelievers. On their 
arrival, they immediately sent to Mohammed, and 
offered him their assistance, of which he was now 
in great need, for his adversaries were by this time 
grown so powerful in Mecca, that he could not stay 
there much longer without imminent danger. Where- 
fore he accepted their proposal, and met them one 
night, by appointment, at al Akaba above men- 
tioned, attended by his uncle al Abbas, who, though 

' Cap. CO. ^ V. Korau, c. 6. 

VOL. I. F 


he was not then a believer, wished his nephew well, 
and made a speech to those of Medina, M'herein he 
told them, that as Mohammed was obliged to quit 
his native city, and seek an asylum else\vhere, and 
they had offered him their protection, they would do 
well not to deceive him ; and that if they were not 
firmly resolved to defend and not ])etray him, they 
had better declare their minds, and let him provide 
for his safety in some other manner. Upon their 
protesting their sincerity, Mohammed swore to be 
faithful to them ; on condition that they should pro- 
tect him against all insults, as heartily as they would 
their own wives and families. They then asked 
him what recompense they were to expect if they 
should happen to be killed in his quarrel ; he an- 
swered paradise. Whereupon they pledged their 
faith to him, and so returned home ' ; after Moham- 
med had chosen twelve out of their number, who 
were to have the same authority among them as the 
twelve apostles of Christ had among his disciples'-. 

Hitherto Mohammed had propagated his religion 
by fair means, so that the -whole success of his enter- 
prise before his flight to Medina must be attributed 
to persuasion only, and not to compulsion. For be- 
fore this second oath of fealty or inauguration at al 
Akaba, he had no permission to use any force at all ; 
and in several places of the Koran, Avhich he pre- 
tended were revealed during his stay at Mecca, he 
declares his business was only to preach and ad- 
monish, that he had no authority to compel any 
person to embrace his religion ; and that whether 
people believed, or not, was none of his concern, but 
belonged solely unto God. And he was so far from 
allowing his followers to use force, that lie exliorted 
them to bear patiently those injuries wliich were 
offered them on account of their faith ; and when 
persecuted himself, chose rather to quit the place of 

• Ahulfeda. Vit. :\rohmii. p. 40, ^:c. - Ebn Isliak. 


his birth and retire to Medina, than to make any 
resistance. But this great passiveness and modera- 
tion seems entirely owing to his want of power, and 
the great superiority of his opposers for the first 
twelve years of his mission ; for no sooner was he 
enabled, by the assistance of those of Medina, to 
make head against his enemies, than he gave out, 
that God had allowed him and his followers to de- 
fend themselves against the infidels ; and at length, 
as his forces increased, he pretended to have the 
divine leave even to attack them ; and to destroy 
idolatry, and set up the true faith by the sword ; 
finding, by experience, that his designs would other- 
wise proceed very slowly, if they were not utterly 
overthrown ; and knowing on the other hand that 
innovators, when they depend solely on their own 
strength, and can compel, seldom run any risk; 
from whence, the politician observes, it follows, that 
all the armed prophets have succeeded, and the un- 
armed ones have failed. Moses, Cyrus, Theseus, 
and Romulus would not have been able to establish 
the observance of their institutions for any length of 
time, had they not been armed'. The first passage 
of the Koran which gave Mohammed the permission 
of defending himself by arms is said to have been 
that in the twenty-second chapter ; after which a 
great number to the same purpose were revealed. 

That Mohammed had a right to take up arms for 
his own defence against his unjust persecutors, may 
perhaps be allowed; but whether he ought after- 
wards to have made use of that means for the esta- 
blishing of his religion is a question I will not here 
determine. How far the secular power may or 
ought to interpose in affairs of this nature, mankind 
are not agreed. The method of converting by the 
sword gives no very favourable idea of the faith 
which is so propagated, and is disallowed by every 

' Machiavelli, Princ. c. (i. 

F 2 


body in those of another religion, though the same 
persons are willing to admit of it for the advance- 
ment of their own ; supposing that though a false 
religion ought not to be established by authoi'ity, yet 
a true one may; and accordingly force is almost as 
constantly employed in these cases by those who 
have the power in their hands, as it is constantly 
complained of by those who suffer the violence. It 
is certainly one of the most convincing proofs that 
Mohammedism was no other than a human inven- 
tion, that it owed its progress and establishment 
almost entirely to the SAvord ; and it is one of the 
strongest demonstrations of the divine original of 
Christianity, that it prevailed against all the force 
and jwwers of the world by the mere dint of its own 
truth, after having stood the assaults of all manner 
of persecutions, as well as other oppositions, for three 
hundred years together, and at length made the Ro- 
man emperors themselves submit thereto ' ; after 
which time indeed this proof seems to fail, Chris- 
tianity being then established and Paganism abolished 
by public authority, which has had great influence 
in the propagation of the one and destruction of the 
other ever since". But to return. 

Mohammed having provided for tlie security of 
bis companions as well as his own, by the league 
offensive and defensive which he had now concluded 
with those of Medina, directed them to repair thither, 
which they accordingly did ; but himself with Abu 
Beer and Ali staid behind, having not yet received 
the divine permission, as he pretended, to leave 
Mecca. The Koreish fearing the consequence of this 
new alliance, began to think it absolutely necessary 
to prevent Mohammed's escape to Medina, and having 
held a council thereon, after several milder expe- 
dients had been rejected, they came to a resolution 
that he should be killed ; and agreed that a man 

' Sec Prideaux's Letter to the Deists, p. 220, A:c. '^ See IJayle's Diet. 

Hist. Art. MalioiDct, Rem. O. 


should be chosen out of every tribe for the execution 
of this design, and that etich man should have a 
blow at him with his sword, that the guilt of his 
blood might fall equally on all the tribes, to whose 
united power the Hashemites were much inferior, 
and therefore durst not attempt to revenge their kins- 
man's death. 

This conspiracy was scarce formed when by some 
means or other it came to Mohammed's knowledge, 
and he gave out that it was revealed to him by the 
angel Gabriel, who had now ordered him to retire 
to Medina. Whereupon, to amuse his enemies, he 
directed Ali to lie down in his place and wrap him- 
self up in his green cloak, which he did, and Mo- 
hammed escaped miraculously, as they pretend ', 
to Abu Beer's house, unperceived by the conspira- 
tors, who had already assembled at the prophet's 
door. They in the mean time, looking through the 
crevice and seeing Ali, whom they took to be Mo- 
hammed himself, asleep, continued watching there 
till morning, when Ali arose and they found them- 
selves deceived. 

From Abu Beer's house Mohammed and he went 
to a cave in mount Thur, to the south-east of Mecca, 
accompanied only by Amer Ebn Foheirah, Abu 
Beer's servant, and Abd'allah Ebn Oreikat, an idola- 
ter, whom they had hired for a guide. In this 
cave they lay hid three days to avoid the search of 
their enemies, which they very narrowly escaped, 
and not without the assistance of more miracles than 
one ; for some say that the Koreish were struck 
with blindness, so that they could not find the cave ; 
others, that after Mohammed and his companions 
were got in, two pigeons laid their eggs at the 
entrance, and a spider covered the mouth of the 
cave with her web ', which made them look no far- 

' See the notes to chap. C, and 3(J. - It is observable that the Jews 

have a like tradition concerning David, when he fled from Saul into the cave ; 
and the Targum paraphrases these words of the second verse of Psalm Ivii, 


ther '. Abu Beer seeing the prophet in such imminent 
danger became very sorrowful, whereupon Moham- 
med comforted him with these words, recorded in the 
Koran-, — " Be not grieved, for God is with us." 
Their enemies being retired, they left the cave and 
set out for Medina, by a by-road, and having fortu- 
nately, or as the Mohammedans tell us, miraculously, 
escaped some who were sent to pursue them, ar- 
rived safely at that city; v/hither Ali followed them 
in three days, after he had settled some affairs at 
Mecca '. 

The first thing Mohammed did after his arrival 
at Medina was to build a temple for his religious 
worship ; and a house for himself, which he did on 
a parcel of ground which had before served to put 
camels in, or as others tell us, for a burying ground, 
and belonged to Sahal and Soheil the sons of Amru, 
who were orphans'. This action Dr. Prideaux ex- 
claims against, representing it as a flagrant instance 
of injustice, for that, says he, he violently dispos- 
sessed these poor orphans, the sons of an inferior 
artificer (whom the author he quotes^ calls a car- 
penter) of this ground, and so founded the first 
fabric of his worship with the like wickedness as he 
did his religion". But to say nothing of the im- 
probability that Mohammed should act in so im- 
politic a manner at his first coming, the IMoham- 
medan writers set this affair in a quite different light ; 
one tells us that he treated with the lads about the 
price of the ground, but they desired he would accept 
it as a present' ; however, as historians of good 
credit assure us, he actually bought it', and the 
money was paid by Abu Beer '. Besides, had Mo- 

(which was composed on occasion of that deliverance) " I will pray before tlie 
most high God that performeth all things for me," in this manner ; "■ I will pray 
before the most high God, who called a spider to weave a web for my sake in the 
mouth of the cave." ' Al Beidawi in Kor. c. !). V. d'Hcrbel. Bibl. Orient, 

p. 445. - Cap. 9. ^ Abulfeda Vit. Moh. p. 50, 6cc. Ebn Shohnah. 

" Abulfeda, ib. p. 52, o'A. ■ Disputatio Christiaiii contra Saracen, c. 4. 

'■■ Pridcaux's hfe of ]\Iahoniet, p. 58. ' Al Bokhiiri in Sonna. « Al 

Jannabi. ' Ahmed Ebn Yusef. 

Sect. 2.] THE rilELIMINAllY DISCOURSE. 71 

hammed accepted it as a present, the orphans were 
in circumstances sufficient to have afforded it ; for 
they were of a very good family, of the trihe of 
Najjar, one of the most iUustrious among the Arabs, 
and not the sons of a carpenter, as Dr. Prideaux's. 
author writes, who took the word Najjar, v/hich sig- 
nifies a carpenter, for an appellative, whereas it is a 
proper name\ 

Mohammed being securely settled at Medina, and 
able not only to defend himself against the insults of 
his enemies, but to attack them, began to send out 
small parties to make reprisals on the Koreish ; the 
first party consisting of no more than nine men, who 
intercepted and plundered a caravan belonging to 
that tribe, and in the action took two prisoners. 
But what established his affairs very much, and was 
the foundation on which he built all his succeeding 
greatness, was the gaining of the battle of Bedr, 
which was fought in the second year of the Hejra, 
and is so famous in the Mohammedan history '. As 
my design is not to write the life of Mohammed, but 
only to describe the manner in which he carried on 
his enterprise, I shall not enter into any detail of his 
subsequent battles and expeditions, which amounted 
to a considerable number. Some reckon no less 
than twenty-seven expeditions v/herein Mohammed 
was personally present, in nine of which he gave 
battle, besides several other expeditions in which he 
was not present': some of them however will be 
necessarily taken notice of in explaining several pass- 
ages of the Koran. His forces he maintained 
partly by the contributions of his followers for this 
purpose, which he called by the name of Zacat or 
alms, and the paying of which he very artfully made 
one main article of his religion ; and partly by 
ordering a fifth part of the plunder to be brought 
into the public treasury for that purpose, in which 

' v. Gasnicr, Not. in Abulfcd. de Vita IMoh. p. 52, 53. " Sec the notes 

on the Koran, chap. ;j. p 52. '^ V. Abulfed. Vit. Moh. p. 158. 


matter he likewise pretended to act by the divine di- 

In a few years, by the success of his arms (not- 
withstanding he sometimes came off by the worst), 
he considerably raised his credit and power. In the 
sixth year of the Hejra he set out with one thousand 
four hundred men to visit the temple of Mecca, not 
with any intent of committing liostilities, but in a 
peaceable manner. However when he came to al 
Hodeibiya, which is situate partly within and partly 
without the sacred territory, the Koreish sent to let 
him know that they would not permit him to enter 
Mecca, unless he forced his way ; whereupon he 
called his troops about him, and they all took a solemn 
oath of fealty or homage to him, and he resolved to 
attack the city ; but those of Mecca sending Arwa 
Ebn Masud '^ , prince of the tribe of Thakif, as their 
embassador to desire peace, a truce was concluded 
between them for ten years, by which any person 
was allowed to enter into league either with Mo- 
hammed or with the Koreish as he thought fit. 

It may not be improper, to show the inconceivable 
veneration and respect the Mohammedans by this 
time had for their prophet, to mention the account 
which the above-mentioned embassador gave the 
Koreish, at his return, of their behaviour. He said 
he had been at the courts both of the Roman emperor 
and of the king of Persia, and never saw any prince so 
highly respected by his subjects as Mohannned was 
by his companions ; for whenever he made the ablu- 
tion, in order to say his prayers, they ran and catched 
the water that he had used ; and whenever he spit, 
they immediately licked it up, and gathered up every 
hair that fell from him with great superstition '. 

In the seventh year of the Hejra Mohannned 
began to think of j)ropagating his religion beyond 

* This is erroiicoiis. Tlie ambassador wn^ Sohail Ebn Aniru. Sec note, 
chap. -IS. 

' Abulfcda Vit. Moh p. i>o. 


the bounds of Arabia, and sent messengers to the 
neighbouring princes with letters to invite them to 
Mohammedism. Nor was this project without some 
success. Khosru Par viz, then king of Persia, re- 
ceived his letter with great disdain, and tore it in a 
passion, sending away the messenger very abruptly ; 
which, when Mohammed heard, he said, God shall 
tear his kingdom. And soon after a messenger came 
to Mahommed from Badhan king of Yaman, who 
was a dependant on the Persians ^ to acquaint him 
that he had received orders to send him to Khosru. 
Mohammed put off his answer till the next morning, 
and then told the messenger it had been revealed to 
him that night that Khosru was slain by his son 
Shiruyeh ; adding that he was well assured his new 
religion and empire should rise to as great a height 
as that of Khosru ; and therefore bid him advise his 
master to embrace Mohammedism. The m.essens:er 
being returned, Eadhan in a few days received a letter 
from Shiruyeh informing him of his father's death, 
and ordering him to give the prophet no further dis- 
turbance. Whereupon Badhan and the Persians 
with him turned Mohammedans -. 

The emperor Heraclius, as the Arabian historians 
assure us, received Mohammed's letter with great 
respect, laying it on his pillow, and dismissed the 
bearer honourably. And some pretend that he would 
have professed this n@w faith, had he not been afraid 
of losing his crown '. 

Mohammed wrote to the same effect to the king 
of Etliiopia, though he had been converted before, 
according to the Arab writers ; and to Mokawkas, 
governor of Egypt, wlio gave the messenger a very 
favourable reception, and sent several valuable pre- 
sents to Mohammed, and among the rest two girls, 
one of which, named Mary ', became a great favourite 

' See before, p. 14. " Abulfeda Vit. J\io!i. p. 92, &c. ^ Al Jannabi: 

* It is however a diflfereiU name from that of the Virgin I\Iary, which the Ori- 
entals always write Ptlaryam or Miriam, whereas t!;is is written 3Iariya. 


watli hini. He also sent letters of the like purport 
to several Arab princes, particularly one to al Haretli 
Ebn Abi Shainer ' king of Ghassan, who returning 
for answer that he would go to IMohanimed himself, 
the prophet said, May his kingdom perish ; another 
to Hawdha Ebn Ali, king of Yamama, \v^ho was 
a Christian, and having some time before professed 
Islamism, had lately returned to his former faith ; 
this j)rince sent back a very rough answer, upon 
which, Mohammed cursing him, he died soon after ; 
and a third to al Mondar Ebn Sawa, king of Bahrein, 
who embraced Mohammedism, and all the Arabs of 
that country followed his example \ 

The eighth year of the Hejra was a very fortunate 
year to Mohammed. In the beginning of it Khaled 
Ebn al Walid and Amru Ebn al As, both excellent 
soldiers, the first of whom afterwards conquered Syria 
and other countries, and the latter, Egypt, became 
proselytes of Mohammedism. And soon after the 
prophet sent three thousand men against the Grecian 
forces, to revenge the death of one of his embassa- 
dors, who being sent to the governor of Bosra on the 
same errand as those who went to the above-men- 
tioned princes, was slain by an Arab of the tribe of 
Gliassan at Muta, a town in the territory of Balka 
in Syria, about three days' journey eastward from 
Jerusalem, near which town they encountered. The 
Grecians being vastly su})erior in number (for, in- 
cluding the auxiliary Arabs, they had an army of 
one hundred thousand men), the Mohammedans were 
repulsed in the first attack, and lost successively three 
of their generals, viz. Zeid Ebn Haretha, Moham- 
med's freed man, Jaafar the son of Abu Taleb, and 
Abdallah Ebn Rawaha ; but Khaled Ebn al Walid 
succeeding to the command overthrew the Greeks 
with a great slaughter, and brought away abundance 
of rich spoil ; on occasion of which action Moham- 

' This prince is oniiltal in Dr. Pocock's list of the kings of Ghassun, Spec, 
p. 77. - Abulfcda, ubi sup. p. Ul, iJcC. ^ Idem ib. p. 1)9, 100, &c. 


med gave him the honourable title of Self min soyuf 
Allah, one of the swords of God '. 

In this year also Mohammed took the city of 
Mecca, the inhabitants whereof had broken the truce 
concluded on two years before. For the tribe of 
Beer, who were confederates of the Koreish, attack- 
ing those of Khozaah, who were allies of Mohammed, 
killed several of them, being supported in the action 
by a party of the Koreish themselves. The conse- 
quence of this violation was soon apprehended ; and 
Abu Sofian himself made a journey to Medina on 
purpose to heal the breach and renew the truce ' ; 
but in vain; for Mohammed, glad of this opportunity, 
refused to see him ; whereupon he applied to Abu 
Beer and Ali, but they giving him no answer, he was 
obliged to return to Mecca as he came. 

Mohammed immediately gave orders for prepara- 
tions to be made, that he might surprise the Meccans 
while they were unprovided to receive him : in a 
little time he began his march thither, and by that 
time he came near the city his forces were increased 
to ten thousand men. Those of Mecca being not in 
a condition to defend themselves against so formida- 
ble an army, surrendered at discretion ; and Abu 
Sofian saved his life by turning Mohammedan. About 
twenty-eight of the idolaters were killed by a party 
under the command of Khaled; but this happened 
contrary to Mohamm.ed's orders, who, when he 
entered the town, pardoned all the Koreish, on their 
submission, except only six men and four women, 
wlio were more obnoxious than ordinary (some of 
them having apostatized), and were solemnly pro- 
scribed by the prophet himself ; but of these no more 
than three men and one woman were put to death, 
the rest obtaining pardon on their embracing Mo- 
hammedism, and one of the women making lier 
escape '. 

' Al Bokhari in Sonna. 2 'f his circumstance is a plsin proof' that the 

Koreish had actually broken the truce, and that it was not a mere pretence of 
Jlohanimed's, as Dr. Prideaux insinuates. Life of Muh. p. 94. 

^' V. Abulfed. ubi sup. c. 51, 62. 


The remainder of this year Mohammed employed 
ill destroying' tlie idols in and round aboiit Mecca, 
sending several of his generals on expeditions for that 
purpose, and to invite the Arabs to Islamism; wherein 
it is no wonder if they now met with success. 

The next year, being the ninth of the Hejra, the 
Mohammedans call the year of embassies : for the 
Arabs had been hitherto exnectino' the issue of tlie 
war between Mohammed and the Koreish ; but so 
soon as that tribe, the principal of the whole nation, 
and the genuine descendants of Ismael, whose prero- 
gatives none offered to dispute, had submitted, they 
were satisfied that it was not in their power to oppose 
Mohammed, and therefore began to come in to him 
in great numbers, and to send embassies to make 
their submissions to him, both to Mecca while he 
staid there, and also to Medina whither he returned 
this year ^ Among the rest five kings of the tribe 
of Hainyar professed Mohammedism, and sent em- 
bassadors to notify the same ". 

In the tenth year Ali was sent into Yam an to pro- 
pagate the Mohammedan faith there, and, as it is 
said, converted the whole tribe of Haindan in one 
day. Their example was quickly followed by all the 
inhabitants of that province, except only those of 
Najran, who, being Christians, chose rather to pay 
tribute '. 

Thus was ]\Iohammcdism established, and idolatry 
rooted out, even in Mohammed's life-time (for he 
died the next year) throughout all Arabia, except 
only Yamama ; where Moseilama, who set u]) also 
for a prophet as Mohammed's competitor, had a great 
party, and was not reduced till the Khalifat of Abu 
Beer. And the Arabs being then united in one faith 
and under one prince, found themselves in a condi- 
tion of making those conquests which extended the 
Mohammedan faith over so great a part of the world. 

1 V (iagnier, Not. ail Abulftd. p. 121. » Abulfed. iibi sup. p. 128. 

J Abulfcda, ib. p. U<). 



Of the Koran itself, the peculiarities of that book ; 
the manner of its being written and published^, and 
the general design of it. 

The word Koran, derived from the verb karaa, to 
read, signifies properly in Arabic, the reading, or 
rather, that which ought to be read ; by which name 
the Mohammedans denote not only the entire book or 
volume of the Koran, but also any particular chapter 
or section of it ; just as the Jews call either the whole 
Scripture, or any part of it, by the name of Karah, 
or Mikra ', words of the same origin and import. 
Which observation seems to overthroAV the opinion 
of some learned Arabians, who wovdd have the Koran 
so named, because it is a collection of the loose chaji- 
ters or sheets which compose it ; the verb karaa 
signifying also to gather or collect-: and may also, 
by the way, serve as an answer to those who object^ 
that the Koran must be a book forged at once, and 
could not possibly be revealed by parcels at different 
times, during the course of several years, as the Mo- 
hammedans affirm ; because the Koran is often men- 
tioned, and called by that name, in the very book 
itself. It may not be amiss to observe, that the 
syllable Al in the word Alkoran is only the Arabic 
article, signifying the ; and therefore ought to be 
omitted when the English article is prefixed. 

Beside this peculiar name, the Koran is also ho- 
noured with several appellations common to other 

' Tliib name was at first given to the Pentateuch only. Nehem. viii. V- Sin.on. 
Hist. Crit. du Vieux Test. 1. I. c. f». -V. Erpen. Not. ad Hist. Joseph, p. 3. 
' Marracc. de Alcor- p. 41. 


books of scripture : as, al Forkaii, from the verb 
faraka, to divide or distinguish ; not, as the Moham- 
medan doctors say, because those books are divided 
into chapters or sections, or distinguish between 
good and evil, but in the same notion that the Jews 
use the word Perek, or Pirka, from the same root, to 
denote a section or portion of Scripture '. It is also 
called al Moshaf, the volume, and al Kitab, the book, 
by way of eminence, which answers to the Biblia of 
the Greeks ; and al Dhikr, the admonition, which 
name is also given to the Pentateuch, and Gospel. 

The Koran is divided into one hundred and four- 
teen larger portions of very imequal length, which 
we call chapters, but the Arabians Sowar, in the 
singular Sura, a word rarely used on any other oc- 
casion, and properly signifying a row, order, or re- 
gular series ; as a course of bricks in building, or a 
rank of soldiers in an army ; and is the same in use 
and import with the Sura, or Tora of the Jews, who 
also call the fifty-three sections of the Pentateuch 
Sedarim, a word of the same signification -. 

These chapters are not in the manuscript copies 
distinguished by their numerical order, though, for 
the reader's ease, they are numbered in this edition, 
but by particular titles, which (except that of the first, 
which is the initial chapter, or introduction to the 
rest, and by the old Latin translator not numbered 
among the chapters), are taken sometimes from a 
particular matter treated of, or person mentioned 
therein ; but usually from the first word of note, 
exactly in the same manner as the Jews have named 
their Sedarim ; though the word from which some 
chaj)ters are denominated be very far distant, to- 
wards the middle, or perhaps the end of the chapter, 
which seems ridiculous. But the occasion of this 
seems to have been, that the verse or passage wherein 

' v. Gol. in append, ad (irain. Arab. Erpcn. 175. A chapter or sub-division 
of the IVIassictoth of the I\Iishna is also called Pcrck. iVIaimon. pra^f. in Seder 
Zeraini, p. 57. • V. Gol. ubi t.up. 177- Each of the six prand divisions 

of the Mishna is also called Seder. Mainion. ubi suj). p. 'i^t. 


such word occurs was, in point of time, revealed and 
committed to writing before the other verses of the 
same chapter which precede it in order ; and the title 
being given to the chapter before it was completed, 
or the passages reduced to their present order, the 
verse from whence such title was taken did not al- 
ways happen to begin the chapter. Some chapters 
have two or more titles, occasioned by the difference 
of the copies. 

Some of the chapters having been revealed at 
Mecca, and others at Medina, the noting this diifer- 
ence makes a part of the title : but the reader will 
observe that several of the chapters are said to have 
been revealed partly at Mecca, and partly at Medina ; 
and as to others, it is yet a dispute among the com- 
mentators to which place of the two they belong. 

Every chapter is subdivided into smaller portions, 
of very unequal length also, which we customarily 
call verses ; but the Arabic word is Ayat, the same 
with the Hebrew Ototh, and signifies signs, or 
wonders ; such as are the secrets of God, his attri- 
butes, works, judgments, and ordinances, delivered 
in those verses ; many of which have their parti- 
cular titles also, imposed in the same manner as those 
of the chapters. 

Notwithstanding this sub-division is common, and 
well known, yet I have never yet seen any manu- 
script wherein the verses are actually numbered ; 
though in some copies the number of verses in each 
chapter is set down after the title, which we have 
therefore added in the table of the chapters. And 
the Mohammedans seem^ to have some scruple in 
making an actual distinction in their copies, because 
the chief disagreement between their several editions 
of the Koran consists in the division and number of 
the verses ; and for this reason I have not taken 
upon me to make any such division. 

Having mentioned the different editions of the 
Koran, it may not be amiss here to acquaint the 


reader, that there are seven principal editions, if I 
may so call them, or ancient copies of that book ; 
two of ^^'hich were published and used at IVIedina, a 
third at JMecca, a fourth at Cufa, a fifth at Basra, a 
sixth in Syria, and a seventh called the common or 
vulgar edition. Of these editions, the first of Medina 
makes the whole number of the verses six thousand ; 
the second and fifth, six thousand two hundred and 
fourteen ; the third, six thousand two hundred and 
nineteen ; the fourth, six thousand two hundred and 
thirty-six ; the sixth, six thousand two hundred and 
twenty-six ; and the last, six thousand two hundred 
and twenty-five. But they are all said to contain the 
same number of words, namely, seventy-seven thou- 
sand six hundred and thirty-nine * ; and the same 
number of letters, viz. three hundred and twenty-three 
thousand and fifteen-: for the Mohammedans have 
in this also imitated the Jews, that they have suj)er- 
stitiously numbered the very words and letters of 
their law ; nay, they have taken the pains to com- 
pute (how exactly I kncvv^ not) the number of times 
each particular letter of the alphabet is contained in 
the Koran '. 

Besides these unequal divisions of chapter and 
verse, the Mohammedans have also divided their 
Koran into sixty equal portions, which they call 
Ahzab, in the singular Hizb, each sub-divided into 
four equal parts ; which is also an imitation of the 
Jews, who have an ancient division of their Mishna 
into sixty portions called Massictoth^ : but the Koran 
is more usually divided into thirty sections onl}', 
named Ajza, from the singular Joz, each of twice 
the length, of the former, and in the like maimer sub- 
divided into four parts. These divisions are for the 
use of the readers of the Koran in the royal temples, 

' Or as others reckon them, ninety-nine thousand four hundred and sixty-four. 
Roland, de Hel. ]\Ioh. p. 25. - Or according to anotiier computation, three 

hundretl and thirty thousand one hundred and thirteen. Ibid. V. Gol. ubi sup. 
)i. 17«. D'Herbdot, Ribl. Orient, p. H7. ' V. Roland, de Kelii^. MM\. 

p. 25. •• v. (Jol. ul)i sup. p. 1711. Mainioii. prajf. in Seder Ztr;iim, p. 57- 


or in the adjoining chapels where the emperors and 
great men are interred. There are thirty of these 
readers belonging to every chapel, and each reads 
his section every day, so that the whole Koran is 
read over once a day'. I have seen several copies 
divided in this manner, and bound up in as many 
volumes ; and have thought it proper to mark these 
divisions in the margin of this translation by nu- 
meral letters. 

Next after the title, at the head of every chapter 
except only the ninth, is prefixed the following 
solemn form, by the Mohammedans called the Bis- 
millah, " In the name of the most merciful God ;" 
which form they constantly place at the beginning 
of all their books and writings in general, as a 
peculiar mark or distinguishing characteristic of 
their religion, it being counted a sort of impiety to 
omit it. The Jews for the same purpose make use 
of the form. In the name of the Lord, or, in the 
name of the great God : and the eastern Christians 
that of. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Ghost. But I am apt to believe 
Mohammed really took this form, as he did many 
other things, from the Persian Magi, who used to 
begin their books in these words, Benam Yezdan 
bakhshaishgher dadar, that is. In the name of the 
most merciful, just God*. 

This auspicatory form, and also the titles of the 
chapters, are by the generality of the doctors and 
commentators believed to be of divine original, no 
less than the text itself; but the more moderate are 
of opinion they are only human additions, and not 
the very word of God. ^ ^ 

There are twenty-nine chapters of the Koran, 
which have this peculiarity, that they begin with 
certain letters of the alphabet, some with a single 

1 V. Smith, De Moribus et Instit. Turcar. p. 58. « Hyde, Hist. Rel. Vet. 
Pars. p. 11. 

VOL. I. *^ 


one, others with iiiorc. These letters the Moham- 
medans believe to be the peculiar marks of the 
Koran, and to conceal several profound mysteries, 
the certain understanding of which;, the more intel- 
ligent confess has not been communicated to any 
mortal, their prophet only excepted. Notwithstand- 
ing which some will take the liberty of guessing 
at their meaning by that species of Cabbala called 
by the Jews Notarikon^ and supjiose the letters to 
stand for as many words expressing the names and 
attributes of God, his works, ordinances, and decrees ; 
and therefore these mysterious letters, as well as the 
verses themselves, seem in the Koran to be called 
signs. Others explain the intent of these letters 
from their nature or or^an, or else from their value 
in numbers, according to another species of the 
Jewish Cabbala called Gematria ' ; the uncertainty 
of which conjectures sufficiently appears from their 
disagreement. Thus for example, five chapters, one 
of which is the second, begin with these letters, 
A. L. M. which some imagine to stand for Allah 
latif magid ; God is gracious and to be glorified ; or. 
Ana li minni, to me and from me, viz. belongs all 
])crfection, and proceeds all good : or else for Ana 
Allah alam, I am the most wise God, taking the 
first letter to mark the beginning of the first word, 
the second the middle of the second word, and the 
third the Inst of the third word ; or for Allah, Ga- 
briel, Mohammed, the author, revealer, and preacher 
of the Koran. Others say, that as the letter A 
belongs to the lower part of the throat, the first of 
the organs of speech ; L to the palate, the middle 
organ ; and M to the lips, which are the last organ ; 
so these letters signify that God is the l)eginning, 
middle, and end, or ought to be praised in the begin- 
ning, middle, and end, of all our words and actions : 
or, as the total value of those three letters in numbers 

' v. r.uxtnrf. Lexicon Uablnn. - V. lb. See ;Jso Scliickauli licchiniii 

linpj)crii;;liiin, p. (12, I'ic. 


ivS seventy-one, they signify that in the space of so 
many years, the religion preached in the Koran 
should be fully established. The conjecture of a 
learned Christian ' is at least as certain as any of the 
former, who supposes those letters were set there by 
the amanuensis, for Amar li Mohammed, i. e. At the 
command of Mohammed, as the five letters prefixed 
to the nineteenth chapter seem to be there written 
by a Jewish scribe, for Cob yaas, i. e. Thus he com- 

The Koran is universally allowed to be written 
with the utmost elegance and purity of language, in 
the dialect of the tribe of Koreish, the most noble 
and polite of all the Arabians, but with some mix- 
ture, though very rarely, of other dialects. It is 
confessedly the standard of the Arabic tongue, and 
as the more orthodox believe, and are taught by the 
book itself, inimitable by any human pen (though 
some sectaries have been of another opinion-), and 
therefore insisted on as a permanent miracle, greater 
than that of raising the dead^, and alone sufficient 
to convince the world of its divine original. 

And to this miracle did Mohammed himself 
chiefly appeal for the confirmation of his mission, 
publicly challenging the most eloquent men in Ara- 
bia, which was at that time stocked with thousands 
whose sole study and ambition it was to excel in 
elegance of style and composition *, to produce even 
a single chapter that might be compared with it\ 
I will mention but one instance out of several, to 
show that this book was really admired for the 
beauty of its composure by those who must be 
allowed to have been competent judges. A poem of 

» Golius in append, ad Gram. Erp. p. 182. • See after. J Ahmed 

Abd'alhalim, apud IMarracc. de Ale. p. 43. * A noble writer therefore mis- 

takes the question when he says these eastern religionists leave their sacred wi it 
the sole standard of literate performance by extinguishing all true learning. For 
thougli they were destitute of what we call learning, yet they were far from being 
ignorant, or unable to compose elegantly in their own tongue. See Iv. Siiaftes- 
bury's Characteristics, Vol. 3. n, 23r». s Al GazalJ, apud Poc. Spec. I'M. 

See Koriln, c. 17, and also c. 2. p. 4. and ell, &c, 

(J 2 


Labid Ebn Rabia, one of the greatest wits in Arabia 
in Mohammed's time, being fixed up on the gate of 
the temple of Mecca, an honour allowed to none but 
the most esteemed performances, none of the other 
poets durst offer any thing of their own in compe- 
tition with it. But the second chapter of the Koran 
being fixed up by it soon after, Labid himself (then 
an idolater) on reading the first verses only, was 
struck with admiration, and immediately professed 
the religion taught thereby, declaring that such 
words could proceed from an inspired person only. 
This Labid was afterwards of great service to Mo- 
hammed, in writing answers to the satires and in- 
vectives that were made on him and his religion 
by the infidels, and particularly by Amri al Kais ', 
prince of the tribe of Asad', and author of one of 
those seven famous poems called al Moallakat^ 

The style of the Koran is generally beautiful and 
fluent, especially where it imitates the prophetic 
manner, and scripture phrases. It is concise, and 
often obscure, adorned with bold figures after the 
eastern taste, enlivened with florid and sententious 
expressions, and in many places, especially where 
the majesty and attributes of God are described, 
sublime and magnificent ; of which the reader can- 
not but observe several instances, though he must 
not imagine the translation comes up to the original, 
notwithstanding my endeavours to do it justice. 

Though it be written in prose, yet the sentences 
generally conclude in a long continued rhyme, for 
the sake of which the sense is often interrupted, 
and unnecessary repetitions too frequently made, 
which appear still more ridiculous in a translation, 
where the ornament, such as it is, for whose sake 
they were made, cannot be perceived. However the 
Arabians are so mightily delighted with this jin- 
gling, that they employ it in their most elaborate 

' D'Herbel. Bibl. Orient, p. 5)2, 4c. * Poc. Spec. p. 80. > See 

before, p. olj. 


compositions, which they also embellish with frequent 
passages of and allusions to the Koran, so that it is 
next to impossible to understand them without being 
well versed in this book. 

It is probable the harmony of expression which 
the Arabians find in the Koran might contribute 
not a little to make them relish the doctrine therein 
taught, and give an efficacy to arguments which had 
they been nakedly proposed without this rhetorical 
dress, might not have so easily prevailed. Very 
extraordinary effects are related of the power of 
words well chosen and artfully placed, which are no 
less powerful either to ravish or amaze than music 
itself; wherefore as much has been ascribed by the 
best orators to this part of rhetoric as to any other \ 
He must have a very bad ear, who is not uncom- 
monly moved with the very cadence of a well-turned 
sentence ; and Mohammed seems not to have been 
ignorant of the enthusiastic operation of rhetoric on 
the minds of men ; for which reason he has not only 
employed his utmost skill in these his pretended 
revelations, to preserve that dignity and sublimity 
of style, which might seem not imworthy of the 
majesty of that Being, whom he gave out to be the 
author of them ; and to imitate the prophetic man- 
ner of the Old Testament ; but he has not neglected 
even the other arts of oratory ; wherein he succeeded 
so well, and so strangely captivated the minds of his 
audience, that several of his opponents thought it 
the effect of witchcraft and enchantment, as he 
sometimes complains". 

*' The general design of the Koran," (to use the 
words of a very learned person), " seems to be this. 
To unite the professors of the three different reli- 
gions then followed in the populous country of 
Arabia, who for the most part lived promiscuously, 
and wandered without guides, the far greater number 

' See Casaubon of Enlhubiasm, chap. 4. = Koran, chaj). lo, 21, &c. 

86 THE PUKI-IMIN'AHV discourbe. [Sect. 3. 

beiijg idolaters, and the rest Jews and Christians 
mostly of erroneous and heterodox Ijclief, in the 
knowledge and worship of one eternal, invisible God, 
by whose jx)wer all things were made, and those 
which are not, may be, the suju'eme Governor, 
Judge, and absolute Lord of the creation ; established 
under the sanction of certain laws, and the outward 
signs of certain ceremonies, partly of ancient and 
partly of novel institution, and enforced by setting 
before them rewards and punishments, both tem- 
poral and eternal; and to bring them all to the 
obedience of Mohammed, as the prophet and am- 
bassador of God, who after the repeated admonitions, 
promises, and threats of former ages, was at last to 
establisli and propagate God's religion on earth by 
force of arms, and to be acknowledged chief pontiff 
in spiritual matters, as well as supreme prince in 

The great doctrine then of the Koran is the unity 
of God ; to restore which point Mohammed pretended 
was the chief end of his mission ; it being laid down 
by him as a fundamental truth, that there never was 
nor ever can be more than one triie orthodox religion. 
For though the particular laws or ceremonies are 
only temporary, and subject to alteration according 
to the divine direction, yet the substance of it being 
eternal truth, is not liable to change, but continues 
immutably the same. And he taught that when- 
ever this religion became neglected, or corrupted in 
essentials, God had the goodness to reinform and 
readmonish mankind tliereof, by several prophets, 
of ■whom Moses and Jesus were the most distin- 
guished, till the appearance of Mohannned, who is 
their seal, no other being to be expected after him. 
And the more effectually to engage people to hearken 
to him, great part of the Koran is employed in 
relating examples of dreadful punishments formerly 

' Golius. in append, ati Gram. trp. p. 116. 

Sect. 3.] THE rREl,IMINAR\' DISCOUHSE. 87 

inflicted by God on those who rejected and abused 
his messengers; several of which stories or some 
circumstances of them are taken from the Old and 
New Testament, but many more from the apocry- 
phal books and traditions of the Jews and Christians 
of those ages, set up in the Koran as truths in 
opposition to the Scriptures, which the Jews and 
Christians are charged with having altered ; and I 
am apt to believe that few or none of the relations 
or circumstances in the Koran were invented by 
Mohammed, as is generally supposed, it being easy 
to trace the greatest part of them much higher, as 
the rest might be, were more of those books extant, 
and it was worth while to make the inquiry. 

The other part of the Koran is taken up in giving 
necessary laws and directions, in frequent admoni- 
tions to moral and divine virtues, and above all to 
the worshipping and reverencing of the only true 
God, and resignation to his will ; among which are 
many excellent things intermixed, not unworthy even 
a Christian's perusal. 

But besides these, there are a great number of 
passages which are occasional, and relate to particular 
emergencies. For whenever any thing happened which 
perplexed and gravelled Mohammed, and which he 
could not otherwise get over, he had constant re- 
course to a new revelation, as an infallible expedient 
in all nice cases ; and he found the success of this 
method answer his expectation. It was certainly an 
admirable and jwlitic contrivance of his to bring 
down the whole Koran at once to the lowest heaven 
only, and not to the earth, as a bungling prophet 
would probably have done ; for if the whole had 
been published at once, innumerable objections might 
have been made, which it would have been very 
hard, if not impossible, for him to solve : but as he 
pretended to have received it by parcels, as God saw 
proper that they should be published for the conversion 
and instruction of the people, he had a sure way to 


answer all emergencies, and to extricate himself with 
honour from any difficulty which might occur. If 
any objection be hence made to that eternity of the 
Koran, which the IMohammedans are taught to 
believe, they easily answer it by their doctrine of 
absolute predestination ; according to which all the 
accidents for the sake of M'hicli these occasional 
passages were revealed were predetermined by God 
from all eternity. 

That Mohammed was really the author and chief 
contriver of the Koran, is beyond dispute ; though 
it be highly probable that he had no small assistance 
in his design from others, as his countrymen failed 
not to object to him^; however they differed so much 
in their conjectures as to the particular persons who 
gave him such assistance", that they were not able, 
it seems, to prove the charge ; IMohammed, it is to 
be presumed, having taken his measures too well to 
be discovered. Dr. Prideaux^ has given the most 
probable account of this matter, though chiefly from 
Christian writers, who generally mix such ridiculous 
fables with what they deliver, that they deserve not 
much credit. 

However it be, the Mohammedans absolutely deny 
the Koran was composed by their prophet himself, 
or any other for him ; it being their general and 
orthodox belief that it is of divine original, nay that 
it is eternal and uncreated, remaining, as some 
express it, in the very essence of God ; that the first 
transcript has been from everlasting by God's throne, 
written on a table of vast bigness, called the pre- 
served table, in which are also recorded the divine 
decrees past and future ; that a copy from this table, 
in one volume on paper, was by the ministry of the 
angel Gabriel sent down to the lowest heaven, in the 
month of Ramadan, on the night of power^: from 

• v. Kor. c. Hi. and c. 2o. ' Sec the notes on those pjissagcs. ' Life 

«if Mahomet, p. 31, &c. " V. Kor. c. I)/, and not. ibid. 


whence Gabriel revealed it to Mohammed by parcels, 
some at Mecca and some at Medina, at different 
times, during the space of twenty-three years, as 
the exigency of affairs required : giving him however 
the consolation to show him the whole (which they 
tell us was bound in silk, and adorned with gold and 
precious stones of paradise) once a year ; but in the 
last year of his life he had the favour to see it twice. 
They say that few chapters were delivered entire, 
the most part being revealed piece-meal, and written 
down from time to time by the prophet's amanuensis 
in such or such a part of such or such a chapter till 
they were completed, according to the directions of 
the angeP. The first parcel that was revealed is 
generally agreed to have been the first five verses of 
the ninety-sixth chapter \ 

After the new revealed passages had been from 
the prophet's mouth taken down in writing by his 
scribe, they were published to his followers, several 
of whom took copies for their private use, but the 
far greater number got them by heart. The originals, 
when returned, were put promiscuously into a chest, 
observing no order of time, for which reason it is 
uncertain when many passages were revealed. 

When Mohammed died, be left his revelations in 
the same disorder I have mentioned, and not digested 
into the method, such as it is, which we now find 
them in. This was the work of his successor Abu 
Beer, who considering that a great number of pass- 
ages were committed to the memory of Mohammed's 
followers, many of whom were slain in their wars, 
ordered the whole to be collected, not only from the 
palm-leaves and skins on which they had been 
written, and which were kept between two boards or 
covers, but also from the mouths of such as had 

' Therefore it is a mistake of Dr. Prideaux to say it was brought him chapter 
by chapter. Life of JMahomet, p. G. The Jews also say the law was given 
to IMoscs by parcels. V. i^filliuni, flc Mohumiucdisnio ante Moliam. p, o(J5. 
^ Not tlie whole chapter, as Golius says. Append, ad Or. Erp. p. 180. 


gotten tliem by heart. And this transcript when 
completed he committed to the cnstody of Hafsa 
the daughter of Omar, one of the prophet's widows'. 
From this relation it is generally imagined that 
Abu Beer was really the compiler of the Koran ; 
though for aught appears to the contrary Mo- 
hammed left the chapters complete as we now have 
them, excepting such passages as his successor might 
add or correct from those who had gotten them by 
heart; what Abu Beer did else l>eing perhaps no 
more than to range the chapters in their present 
order, which he seems to have done without any 
regard to time, having generally placed the longest 

However in the thirtieth year of the Hejra, 
Othman being then Khalif, and observing the 
great disagreement in the copies of the Koran in 
the several provinces of the empire, those of Irak, 
for example, following the reading of Abu Musa al 
Ashari, and the Syrians that of Macdad Ebn Aswad, 
he, by advice of the companions, ordered a great 
number of copies to be transcribed from that of Abu 
Beer, in Hafsa s care, under the inspection of Zeid 
Ebn Thabet, Abd'allah Ebn Zobair, Said Ebn al As, 
and Abd'alrahman Ebn al Hareth the Makhzumite ; 
whom he directed that wherever they disagreed 
about any word, they should AV^rite it in the dialect 
of the Koreish, in which it was at first delivered '-. 
These co])ies when made were disi)ersed in the 
several provinces of the empire, and the old ones 
burnt and suppressed. Though many things in 
Hafsa*s copy were corrected by the abovementioned 
supervisors, yet some few various readings still 
occur ; the most material of which will be taken 
notice of in their proper places. 

The want of vowels'* in the Arabic character 

' l^lmacin. in Vita Abu llccr. Abullcda. "^ Abultida, in Vitis Abubccr 

ami Oihrnlii. 3 The characters or marks of Uic Arabic vowels were not 

used till several years after INIohanimcd. Sonic ascribe the invention of them to 


ma^le Mokris, or readers, whose peculiar study and 
profession it was to read tlie Korfm with its proper 
vowels, absolutely necessary. But these differing 
in their manner of reading, occi^sioned still further 
variations in the copies of the Koran, as they are 
now v/ritten with the vowels ; and herein consist 
much the greater part of the various readings 
throughout the book. The readers whose authority 
the commentators chiefly allege, in admitting these 
various readings, are seven in number. 

There being some passages in the Koran which 
are contradictory, the Mohammedan doctors obviate 
any objection from thence, by the doctrine of abroga- 
tion ; for they say, that Cxod in the Koran com- 
manded several things which were for good reasons 
afterward revoked and abrogated. 

Passages abrogated are distinguished into three 
kinds: the first, where the letter and the sense are 
both abrogated ; the second, where the letter only is 
abrogated, but the sense remains ; and the third, 
where the sense is abrogated, though the letter 

Of the first kind were several verses, which by 
the tradition of Malec Ebn Ans were in the pro- 
phet's lifetime read in the chapter of repentance, 
but are not now extant, one of v/hich, being all he 
remembered of them, was the following, " If a son 
of Adam had two rivers of gold, he would covet yet 
a third ; and if he had three, he would covet yet a 
fourth (to be added) unto them; neither shall the 
belly of a son of Adam be filled, but with dust. 
God will turn unto him who shall repent." Another 
instance of this kind we have from the tradition of 
Abd'allah Ebn Masud, who reported that the pro- 
phet gave him a verse to read which he wrote down ; 

Yaliya Ebn Yaiirer, some to Nasr Ebn Asam, surnamed al Leithi, and others to 
Abu'laswad al Dili; ali three oi" whom were doctors uf Basra, and imnitdiately 
succtcdcd tlie companions. See D'lierbcl. 13ibl. Orient, p. 87. 


but the next morning looking in his book, he found 
it was vanished, and the leaf blank : this he ac- 
quainted IMohammed with, who assured him the 
verse was revoked the same night. 

Of the second kind is a verse called the verse of 
stoning, wliich according to the tradition of Omar, 
afterwards Khallf, was extant while Mohammed 
was living, though it be not now to be found. The 
words are these, " Abhor not your parents, for this 
would be ingratitude in you. If a man and woman 
of reputation commit adultery, ye shall stone them 
both ; it is a punishment ordained by God ; for God 
is mighty and wise." 

Of the last kind are observed several verses in 
sixty-three different chapters, to the number of 225. 
Such as the precepts of turning in prayer to Je- 
rusalem ; fasting after the old custom ; forbearance 
towards idolaters ; avoiding the ignorant, and the 
like '. The passages of this sort have been care- 
fully collected by several writers, and are most of 
them remarked in their proper places. 

Though it is the belief of the Sonnites or orthodox 
that the Koran is uncreated and eternal, subsisting 
in the very essence of God, and Mohammed himself 
is said to have pronounced him an infidel who as- 
serted the contrary ', yet several have been of a 
different opinion ; particularly the sect of the M6- 
tazalites ^, and the followers of Isa Ebn Sobeih Abu 
Musa, surnamed al Mozdar, who stuck not to accuse 
those who held the Koran to be uncreated of in- 
fidelity, as assertors of two eternal beings \ 

This point was controverted Avith so much heat 
that it occasioned many calamities under some of 
the Khalifs of the family of Abbas, al Mam Cm ^ 
making a public edict declaring the Koran to be 

' Abu Hashcm Hcbatallah, apud Ularracc. de Ale. p. 42. ' Apud. Poc. 

Spec. 220. ' See after, in Sect. 8. ♦ V. Poc. Spec p. 2l;>, &c. 

5 Anno Hej. '21)f. Abulfarag. p. 24.'i. v. cliam Elmacin. in Vita »1 ]\IaniOn. 


created, which was confirmed by his successors 
al Motasem ' and al Wathek \ who whipt, impri- 
soned, and put to death those of the contrary 
opinion. But at length al Motawakkel ^ who suc- 
ceeded al Wathek, put an end to these persecutions, 
by revoking the former edicts, releasing those that 
were imprisoned on that account, and leaving every 
man at liberty as to his belief in this point ^ 

Al Ghazali seems to have tolerably reconciled 
both opinions, saying, that the Koretn is read and 
pronounced with the tongue, written in books, and 
kept in memory ; and is yet eternal, subsisting in 
God's essence, and not possible to be separated thence 
by any transmission into mens' memories or the 
leaves of books ' ; by which he seems to mean no 
more than that the original idea of the Koran only 
is really in God, and consequently co-essential and 
co-eternal with him, but that the copies are created, 
and the work of man. 

The opinion of al Jahedh, chief of a sect bearing 
his name, touching the Koran, is too remarkable to 
be omitted : he used to say it was a body, which 
might sometimes be turned into a man % and some- 
times into a beast ^ ; which seems to agree with the 
notion of those who assert the Koran to have two 
faces, one of a man, the other of a beast ** ; thereby, 

> In the time of al Motasem, a doctor named Abu Harun Ebn al Baca found 
out a distinction to screen himself, by affirming that the Koran was ordained, 
because it is said in that book, " And I have ordained thee the Koran." He 
went still farther to allow that what was ordained was created, and yet he denied 
it thence followed that the Koran was created. Abulfarag. p. 253. * Ibid, 

p. 257. ^ Anno Hej. 242. " Abulfarag. p. 262. ^ Al Ghazali, 

in prof. fid. ^ The Khalif al Walid Ebn Yazid, who was the eleventh of 

the race of Ommeya, and is looked on by the Mohammedans as a reprobate, and 
one of no religion, seems to have treated this book as a rational creature. For 
dippbg into it one day, the first words he met with were these; " Every re- 
bellious perverse person shall not prosper :" Whereupon he stuck it on a lance 
and shot it to pieces with arrows, repeating these verses ; 

" Dost thou rebuke every rebeUious perverse person ? behold, I am that 
rebellious perverse person. 

" When thou appearest before thy Lord on the day of resurrection, say, O 
Lord, al Walid has torn me thus."--Ebn Shohnah. v. Poc- Spec. 223. " Poc. 
Spec. p. 222. 8 Herbelot. p. 87- 


at) I conceive, intimating the double interpretation 
it will admit of, according to the letter or tiie spirit. 
As some have held the Koran to be created, so 
there have not been wanting those who liave asserted 
that there is nothing miraculous in that book in 
respect to style or composition, excepting only the 
prophetical relations of things past, and predictions 
of things to come; and that had God left men to 
their natural liberty, and not restrained them in 
that particular, the Arabians could have composed 
something not only equal, but superior to the Koran 
in eloquence, method, and purity of language. This 
was another opinion of the Motazalites, and in 
particular of al Mozdar abovementioned and al 
Nod ham '. 

The Koran being the Mohannnedans' rule of faith 
and i}ractice, it is no wonder its expositors and com- 
mentators are so very numerous. And it may not 
be amiss to take notice of the rules they observe in 
expounding it. 

One of the most learned commentatoi's ^ distin- 
guishes the contents of the Koran into allegorical 
and literal. The former comprehends the more ob- 
scure, parabolical, and cenigmatical passages, and 
such as are repealed or abrogated ; the latter those 
which are plain, perspicuous, liable to no doubt, and 
in full force. 

To explain these severally in a riglit manner, it 
is necessary from tradition and study to know the 
time when each passage was revealed, its circum- 
stances, state, and history, and the reasons or par- 
ticular emergencies for the sake of which it was re- 
vealed ^ Or, more explicitly, whether the passage 
was revealed at Mecca, or at Medina ; whether it be 
abrogated, or does itself abrogate any other passage ; 

' Abulfcda, ShaliresUini, ^c. apud. Poc, Spec. p. 222, ct Marracc ilc Kor. 
p. 44. » Al Zamakhsliari. V. Koriln, chup. .i, p. 51. ' Ahmed Ebn 

Moh. al Tlialcbi, in Princip. Expos. Ale. 


whether it be anticipated in order of time, or post- 
poned ; whether it be distinct from the context, or 
depends thereon ; whether it be particular or ge- 
neral ; and lastly whether it be implicit by intention, 
or explicit in words \ 

By what has been said the reader may easily be- 
lieve this book is in the greatest reverence and 
esteem among the Mohammedans. They dare not 
so much as touch it without being first washed or 
legally purified * ; which lest they should do by in- 
advertence, they write these words on the cover or 
label, " Let none touch it, but they who are clean." 
They read it with great care and respect, never 
holding it below their girdles. They swear by it, 
consult it in their weighty occasions \ carry it with 
them to war, write sentences of it on their banners, 
adorn it with gold and precious stones, and know- 
ingly suffer it not to be in the possession of any of 
a different persuasion. 

The Mohammedans, far from thinking the Koran 
to be profaned by a translation, as some authors 
have written ^ have taken care to have their scrip- 
tures translated not only into the Persian tongue, 
but into several others, particularly the Javan and 
Malayan % though out of respect to the original 
Arabic, these versions are generally (if not always) 

• Yahya Ebn a) Salam al Basri, in Princip. Expos. Ale. ^ The Jews 

have the same veneration for their law ; not daring to touch it with unwashed 
hands, nor then neither without a cover. V. Millium, dc Mohammedismo ante 
Moh. p. 3GG. 3 This they do by dipping into it, and taking an omen from 

the words which they first light on : wliich practice they also learned of tlie Jews, 
who do the same with the scripture. V. Millium, ubi sup. * Sionita, de 

Urb. Orient, p. 41. et Marracc. de Ale. p. 33. s Reland, de Rel. Moh. 




Of the Doctrines and positive Precepts of the Koran, 
which relate to Faith and religious Duties. 

It has been already observed more than once, 
that the fundamental position on which Mohammed 
erected the superstructure of his religion was, that 
from the beginning to the end of the world there 
has been, and for ever will be, but one true orthodox 
belief; consisting, as to matter of faith, in the ac- 
knowledging of the only true God, and the believing 
in and obeying such messengers or prophets as he 
should from time to time send, with proper cre- 
dentials to reveal his will to mankind ; and as to 
matter of practice, in the observance of the immu- 
table and eternal laws of right and wrong, together 
with such other precepts and ceremonies as God 
should think fit to order for the time being, according 
to the different dispensations in different ages of the 
world : for these last he allowed were things indif- 
ferent in their own nature, and became obligatory 
by God's positive precept only ; and were therefore 
temporary and subject to alteration according to his 
will and pleasure. And to this religion he gives the 
name of Islam, which word signifies resignation, or 
submission to the service and commands of God ' ; 
and is used as the proper name of the IVIohammedan 
religion, which they will also have to be the same 
at bottom with that of all the prophets from Adam. 

» The root Salama, from wlicnce Islam is formed, in die first and fourth con- 
jugations, signifies also to he saved, or to inter into a state of salvation ; according 
to which, Islikm may be translated tlie religion or state of salvation : but the 
otlier sense is more approved by the Mohammedans, and alluded te in the Koran 
itself. See c. 2. p. L'3, and c. 3. p. ri;i. 


Under pretext that this eternal religion was in 
his time corrupted, and professed in its purity by- 
no one sect of men, Mohammed pretended to be a 
prophet sent by God, to reform those abuses which 
had crept into it, and to reduce it to its primitive 
simplicity; with the addition however of peculiar 
laws and ceremonies, some of which had been used 
in former times, and others were now first instituted. 
And he comprehended the whole substance of his 
doctrine under these two propositions, or articles of 
faith ; viz. that there is but one God, and that him- 
self was the apostle of God ; in consequence of which 
latter article, all such ordinances and institutions as 
he thought fit to establish must be received as ob- 
ligatory and of divine authority. 

The Mohammedans divide their religion, which 
as I just now said they call Islam, into two distinct 
parts ; Iman, i. e. faith, or theory, and Bin, i. e. re- 
ligion, or practice ; and teach that it is built on five 
fundamental points, one belonging to faith, and the 
other four to practice. 

The first is that confession of faith which I have 
already mentioned ; that " there is no god but the 
true God; and that Mohammed is his apostle." 
Under which they comprehend six distinct branches ; 
viz. 1. Belief in God; 2. In his angels; 3. In his 
scriptui-es ; 4. In his prophets ; 5. In the resurrec- 
tion and day of judgment ; and, 6. In God's absolute 
decree and predetermination both of good and evil. 

The four points relating to practice ai*e, 1. Prayer, 
under which are comprehended those washings or 
purifications which are necessary preparations re- 
quired before prayer: 2. Alms; 3. Fasting; and, 
4. The pilgrimage to Mecca. Of each of these I 
shall speak in their order. 

That both Mohammed and those among his fol- 
lowers who are reckoned orthodox had and continue 
to have just and true notions of God and his at- 
tributes (always excepting their obstinate and im- 

VOL. I. H 


pious rejecting of the Trinity) appears so plain from 
the Koran itself and all the Mohammedan divines, 
that it would be loss of time to refute those who 
suppose the God of Mohammed to be different from 
the true God, and only a fictitious deity or idol of 
his own creation '. Nor shall I here enter into any 
of the Mohammedan controversies concerning the 
divine nature and attributes, because I shall have a 
more proper opportunity of doing it elsewhere -. 

The existence of angels and their purity are ab- 
solutely required to be believed in the Koran ; and 
he is reckoned an infidel who denies there are such 
beings, or hates any of them ', or asserts any di- 
stinction of sexes among them. They believe them 
to have pure and subtil bodies, created of fire ' ; 
that they neither eat nor drink, nor propagate their 
species ; that they have various forms and oflfices ; 
some adoring God in different postures, others singing- 
praises to him, or interceding for mankind. They 
hold that some of them are employed in writing 
down the actions of men ; others in carrying the 
throne of God and other services. 

The four angels whom they look on as more 
eminently in God's favour, and often mention on 
account of the offices assigned them, are Gabriel, to 
whom they give several titles, particularly those of 
the hoh/ spi?'it\ and the angel of revelations '\ suj)- 
posing him to be honoured by God with a greater 
confidence than any other, and to be employed in 
writing down the divine decrees " ; Michael, tlie 
friend and protector of the Jews"; Azriiel, the 
angel of death, who separates men*s souls from 
their bodies'^; and Israfil, whose office it will be 
to sound the trumpet at the resurrection'". The 

' Marracc. in A]c. p. 102. - Sect. VIII. ^ Koran, c. 2. p. 18. 

< lb c. 7, iiml .'Jli. ^ lb. c. 2. p. 10". ^ See die nous, ib. p. 1;!. 

^ V. Ilydc, Hist Kel. Vet. Pers. p. 202. » V. ib. p. 2/1. and not. in Kor. 

p. If?. fi V^. not. ib. p. .'f. '" Kor. c. H, l.'i, and JUi. The offices of 

these four angels arc described almost in the same manner in the apocryplial 
S5ospcl of Barnab.xs ; wlicre it is said that Gabriel reveals the H'crcts of God, 


Mohammedans also believe that two guardian angels 
attend on every man, to observe and write doAvn 
his actions \ being changed every day, and therefore 
called al Moakkibat, or the angels who continually 
succeed one another. 

This whole doctrine concerning angels Mohammed 
and his disciples have borrowed from the Jews, who 
learned the names and offices of those beings from 
the Persians, as themselves confess '^ The ancient 
Persians firmly believed the ministry of angels, and 
their superintendence over the affairs of this world 
(as the Magians still do), and therefore assigned 
them distinct charges and provinces, giving their 
names to their months and the days of their months. 
Gabriel they called Sorush and Re van bakhsh, or 
the </iver ofsonls,m opposition to the contrary office 
of the angel of death, to whom among other names 
they gave that of Mordad, or the giver of death ; 
Michael they called Beshter, who according to them 
provides sustenance for mankind I The Jews teach 
that the angels were created of fire ^ ; that they have 
several offices ^ ; that they intercede for men % and 
attend them^. The angel of death they name Duma, 
and say he calls dying persons by their respective 
names at their last hour ^. 

The devil, whom Mohammed names Eblis, from 
his despair, was once one of those angels who are 
nearest to God's presence, called Azazil ^, and fell, ac- 
cording to the doctrine of the Koran, for refusing to 
pay homage to Adam at the command of God ^'^. 

Besides angels and devils, the Mohammedans are 
taught by^the Koran to believe the existence of an 

Rlichael combats against his enemies, Raphael receives the souls of those who 
die, and Uriel is to call every one to judgment on the last day. See the IMc- 
nagiana, Tom. 4, p. 333. 

» Kdr. c. 10. " Talmud Hieros. in Rosli hashana. ^ V Hyde, 

ubi sup. c. 19, and 20. < Gcmar. in Hagig. and Bereshit rabbah. Slc. V. 

Psalm civ. 4. '• Valkut had:<sh. « Gemar. in Shebet, and Rava 

Bathra, &c. ' Midrash, Yalknt vShemuri. * Corrn-:- L;er:ichoflu 

- V, Rcland. ik Rtl. I\ p. l^lfji, &v;. '" Koran, c. 2. p. 7- See also 

c. 7, 3{3, &J, 

n 2 


intermediate order of creatures, which they call Jin 
or Genii, created also of fire ', but of a grosser fabric 
than angels : since they eat and drink, and propagate 
their species, and are subject to death". Some of 
these are supposed to be good, and others bad, and 
capable of future salvation or damnation, as men 
are; Avhence Mohammed pretended to be sent for 
the conversion of Genii as well as men'. The Ori- 
entals pretend that these Genii inliabited the world 
for many ages before Adam was created, under the 
government of several successive princes, who all 
bore the common name of Solomon ; but falling at 
length into an almost general corruption, Eblis was 
sent to drive them into a remote part of the earth, 
there to be confined : that some of that generation 
still remaining, were by Tahmurath, one of the 
ancient kings of Persia, who waged war against 
them, forced to retreat into the famous mountains of 
Kaf. Of which successions and wars they have 
many fabulous and romantic stories. They also 
make different ranks and degrees among these beings 
(if they be not rather supposed to be of a different 
species), some being called absolutely Jin, some Peri 
or fairies, some Div or giants, others Tacwins or 

The Mohammedan notions concerning these Genii 
agree almost exactly with what the Jews write of a 
sort of daemons, called Shedim, whom some fancy to 
have been begotten by two angels named Aza and 
Azael, on Naamah the daughter of Lamecli, before 
the flood '. However the Shedim, they tell us, agree 
in three things with the ministering angels ; for that 
like them, they have wings, and fly from one end of 
the world to the other, and have some knowledge of 
futurity ; and in three things they agree with men, 
like whom they eat and drink, are propagated, and 

' Koran, c. 5.'». See the notes tlierc. - Jallalo'iklin, in Ivor. c. 2, & 10. 

■i v. K<n;.n. c. rir>, 7-', ^ 74. " See D'Herbclot. Bihl. Orient, p. 'Mi'), 820, 

iVc. ' In libro Zuhur. 


die'. They also say that some of them believe in 
the law of Moses, and are consequently good, and 
that others of them are infidels and reprobates'. 

As to the Scriptures, the Mohammedans are 
taught by the Koran that God, in divers ages of the 
world, gave revelations of his will in writing to 
several prophets, the whole and every word of which 
it is absolutely necessary for a good Moslem to 
believe. The number of these sacred books was, 
according to them, 104. Of which ten were given 
to Adam, fifty to Seth, thirty to Edris or Enoch, 
ten to Abraham; and the other four, being the 
Pentateuch, the Psalms, the Gospel, and the Koran, 
were successively delivered to Moses, David, Jesus, 
and Mohammed ; which last being the seal of the 
prophets, those revelations are now closed, and no 
more are to be expected. All these divine books; 
except the four last, they agree to be now entirely 
lost, and their contents unknown ; though the Sa- 
bians have several books which they attribute to 
some of the antediluvian prophets. And of those 
four, the Pentateuch, Psalms, and Gospel, they say, 
have undergone so many alterations and corruptions, 
that though there may possibly be some part of the 
true word of God therein, yet no credit is to be given 
to the present copies in the hands of the Jews and 
Christians. The Jews in particular are frequently 
reflected on in the Koran for falsifying and corrupt- 
ing their copies of their law ; and some instances 
of such pretended corruptions, both in that book 
and the two others, are produced by Mohammedan 
writers ; wherein they merely follow their own pre- 
judices, and the fabulous accounts of spurious le- 
gends. Whether they have any copy of the Penta- 
teuch among them different from that of the Jews 
or not, I am not entirely satisfied, since a person 
who travelled into the east was told, that they had 

• Gemara, in Hagiga. - Igrat Baalc liayyini. c. 15. 

102 THE riiELiivriNAiiv Discoi^RSE. [Soct. 4. 

the books of Moses, though very much corrujitcd ' ; 
but I know nobody that has ever seen them. How- 
ever they certainly have and privately read a book 
which they call the Psalms of David, in Arabic and 
Persian, to which are added some jn-ayers of Moses, 
Jonas, and others ^ This Mr. Reland supposes to be 
a translation from our co})ies (though no doubt 
falsified in more places than one) ; but Mr. D'Her- 
belot says it contains not the same Psalms which are 
in our Psalter, being no more than an extract from 
thence mixed with other very diil'ereiit pieces '. The 
easiest way to reconcile these two learned gentlemen 
is to presume that they speak of difilrent copies. 
The Mohammedans have also a Gospel in Arabic, 
attributed to St. Barnabas, wherein the liistory of 
Jesus Christ is related in a manner very diflerent 
from what we find in the true Gospels, and corre- 
spondent to those traditions which Mohammed has 
followed in his Koran. Of this Gospel the IMoriscoes 
in Africa have a translation in Si)anisli • ; and there 
is in the library of prince Eugene of Sa^^oy a ma- 
nuscript of some antiquity, containing an Italian 
translation of the same Gosi)er, made, it is to be 
sui)posed, for the use of renegades. 1'his book ap- 
j)ears to be no original forgery of the ]\iohammedans, 
though they have no doubt interjK)lated and altered 
it since, the better to serve their purpose ; and in 
particular, instead of the Paraclete or Comforter", 
they have in this apocryi)lial gospel inserted the 
AV'ord Periclyte, that is the famous or illustrious, by 
>vhich they ])retend their proj)het was foretold l)y 
name, that being the signification of Mohannued in 
Arabic': and this they say to justify that i)assage 
of the Koriin', where Jesus Christ is formally as- 
serted to have foretold his coming, under his other 

' Terry's Voyage to the East Indies, p. 277- ' De Rcl. i\Io!iani. p. ^'.'i. 

^ A copy of this kind lie tells us is in the library of the I'uke o( Tuscanvi Bihl. 
Orient, p. !»_M. ' Heland, iilii sup. ■ IMena-iar.. T. -1, p. 321, <S.c. 

•• John xiv. 1(», '2ii. xv. 2(i, and xvi. 7» tomparetl with Luke, xxiv. -i'J. ' Sec 
Tolaiid's NJ»2arenu^, the first tight diaptcrti. '■ C'liap. <!1. 


name of Ahmed ; which is derived from the same 
root as Mohammed, and of'the same import. From 
these or some other forgeries of the same stamp it 
is that the Mohammedans quote several passages, of 
which there are not the least footsteps in the New 
Testament. But after all we must not hence infer 
that the Mohammedans, much less all of them, hold 
these copies of theirs to be the ancient and genuine 
Scriptures themselves. If any argue, from the cor- 
ruption which they insist has happened to the Pen- 
tateuch and Gospel, that the Koran may possibly 
be corrupted also ; they answer, that God has pro- 
mised that he will take care of the latter, and preserve 
it from any addition or diminution^; but that he 
left the two other to the care of men. However 
they confess there are some various readings in the 
Koran % as has been observed. 

Besides the books above mentioned, the Moham- 
medans also take notice of the writings of Daniel 
and several other prophets, and even make quotations 
thence : but these they do not believe to be divine 
scripture, or of any authority in matters of religion ^. 
The number of the prophets, which have been 
from time to time sent by God into the world, 
amounts to no less than 224,000, according to one 
Mohammedan tradition, or to 124,000, according to 
another; among whom 313 were apostles, sent with 
special commissions to reclaim mankind from in- 
fidelity and superstition ; and six of them brought 
new laws or dispensations, which successively abro- 
gated the preceding : these were Adam, Noah, Abra- 
ham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed. All the jn'o- 
phets in general the Mohammedans believe to have 
been free from great sins, and errors of consequence, 
and professors of one and the same religion, that is 
Islam, notwithstanding the different laws and insti- 
tutions which they observed. They allow of degrees 

' Kor. c. 15, = Rekntl, ubi sap. p. 21, 27. 3 IJem, ib. p. 41. 

104 THE I'llELIMINAllV DISCOUllSE. [Soct. 4-. 

among them, and hold some of them to be more 
excellent and honoui'able than others'. Tlie fust 
place they give to the revealers and establishers of 
new dispensations, and the next to the apostles. 

In this great number of prophets, they not only 
reckon divers i)atriarchs and persons named in scrip- 
ture, but not recorded to have been propliets, 
(vvlierein the Jewish and Christian writers have 
sometimes led the way^), as Adam, Seth, Lot, Isuiael, 
Nun, Joshua, &c. and introduce some of them under 
different names, as Enoch, Heber, and Jetlivo, who 
are called in the Koran Edris, Hud, and Shoaib; 
but several others, whose very names do not ai)])ear 
in Scripture (though they endeavour to find some 
l)ersons there to fix them on), as Saleh, Khedr, 
Dhu'lkefl, &c. Several of their fabulous traditions 
concerning these propliets we shall occasionally 
mention in the notes on the Koran. 

As Mohammed acknowledged the divine authority 
of the Pentateuch, Psalms, and Gospel, he often ap- 
l)eals to the consonancy of the Koran with those 
writings, and to the prophecies which he i)retended 
were therein concerning himself, as proofs of his 
mission, and he frecpiently charges the Jews and 
Christians with stifling the passages which bear wit- 
ness to him '. His followers also fail not to produce 
several texts even from our ])resent coj)ies of the 
Old and New Testament, to support their master's 

The next article of faith required by the Koran 
is the belief of a general resurrection and a futiu'e 
judgment. But before we consider the Mohammedan 
tenets in those i)oints, it will be proper to mention 
what they are taught to believe concermng the in- 

' Kor. c. 2, p. 4 1, &c. - Thus Ilcber is said to have been a prophet by 

the Jews; (SeUer Olain. p. 2.) and Adam by Kpiphaiiius. (Adv. Ila-res. p. <».) 
Sec also J()si[)li. Ant. 1. 1, c. 2. -i Kin.'in, c. 2, ji. <;, 17, 2(i, c. .'{. i\;i-. 

* Some ol' lliche texts are protluccd by Ur. Pride.iux at tlic tiul of liii Lil'e of 
3Iali0)net, and more by Murracci in Alu>r. p. 2(>, lV.c. 

Sect. 4.] THE rilEI.IMINAIlY DISCOURSE. 105 

termediate state, both of the body and of the soul, 
after death. 

When a corpse is laid in the grave, they say he is 
received by an angel, who gives him notice of the 
coming of the two Examiners ; which are two black 
livid angels, of a terrible appearance, named Monker 
and Nakir. These order the dead person to sit up- 
right, and examine him concerning his faith, as to 
the unity of God, and the mission of Mohammed : 
if he answer rightly, they suffer the body to rest in 
peace, and it is refreshed by the air of paradise ; but 
if not, they beat him on the temples with iron maces, 
till he roars out for anguish so loud, that he is heard 
by all from east to west, except men and genii. 
Then they press the earth on the corpse, which is 
gnawed and stung till the resurrection by ninety-nine 
dragons with seven heads each : or, as others say, 
their sins will become venomous beasts, the grievous 
ones stinging like dragons, the smaller like scorpions, 
and the others like serpents : circumstances which 
some understand in a figurative sensed 

This examination of the sepulchre is not only 
founded on an express tradition of Mohammed, but 
is also plainly hinted at, though not directly taught, 
in the Koran', as the commentators agree. It is 
therefore believed by the orthodox Mohammedans 
in general, who take care to have their graves made 
hollow, that they may sit up with more ease while 
they are examined by the angels^; but is utterly re- 
jected by the sect of the Motazalites, and perhaps 
by some others. 

These notions Mohammed certainly borrowed 
from the Jews, among whom they were very an- 
ciently received ^ They say that the angel of death 
coming and sitting on the grave, the soul immediately 
enters the body and raises it on its feet ; that he then 

1 Al Ghazali. V. Poc. not. in Port. MolU, p. 241, c\:c. - Ciip. «, and 

■17, &c. 3 Smith, Dc Morib. ct Instit Tiircur. Ep. 2, p. 57- •• V.Hydc. 

in nolis adUobov. dc Visit, jligrot. p. I'J. 


examines tlie (lej)arte(l person, and strikes him with 
a chain half of iron and half of fire ; at the first 
blow all his limbs are loosened, at the second his 
bones are scattered, M'hich are gathered together 
again by angels, and the third stroke reduces the 
body to dust and ashes, and it returns into the grave. 
This rack or torture they call Hii)but hakkeber, or 
the beating of the sepulchre, and ])retend that all 
men in general must undergo it, except only those 
Avho die on the evening of the sabbath, or have 
dwelt in the land of Israel'. 

If it be objected to the Mohammedans that the 
cry of the persons under such examination has been 
never heard ; or if they be asked how those can 
undergo it whose bodies are burnt or devoured by 
beasts or birds, or otherwise consumed Avithout 
burial ; they answer, that it is very possible not\vith- 
standing, since men are not able to perceive what is 
transacted on the other side the grave ; and that it 
is sufficient to restore to life any part of the body 
Avhich is capable of understanding the questions put 
by the angels ^ 

As to the soul, they hold that when it is separated 
from the body by the angel of death, who })erforms 
his office with ease and gentleness towards the good, 
and with violence towards the wicked ', it enters into 
that state which they call al Berzakh% or the interval 
between death and the resurrection. If the dej^arted 
person was a believer, they say two angels meet it, Avho 
convey it to heaven, that its place there may be as- 
signed, according to its merit and degree. For they 
distinguish the souls of the faithful into three classes ; 
the first of prophets, whose souls are admitted into 
paradise immediately ; the second of mart}'rs, whose 
spirits, according to a tradition of Mohammed, rest in 
the crops of green birds which eat of the fruits and 

' R. Elias, in TishbL Sec also I3ux tort". Synag. Judaic. <Sc Lcxi;:. Talniuil. 
' V. Poc. ubi sup. 3 Koran, c. 7!). Tlie Jews say the same, in Nishniat 

bayini. f. 77- ^ V. Kor. c. 23, and not. ib. 


drink of the rivers of paradise ; and the third of other 
believers, concerning the state of whose souls before 
the resurrection there are various opinions. For, 1 . 
Some say they stay near the sepulchres, with liberty 
however of going wherever they please ; which they 
confirm from Mohammed's manner of saluting them 
at their graves, and his affirming that the dead heard 
those salutations as well as the living, though they 
could not answer. Whence perhaps proceeded the 
custom of visiting the tombs of relations, so common 
among the Mohammedans ^ 2. Others imagine they 
are with Adam, in the lowest heaven ; and also sup- 
port their opinion by the authority of their prophet, 
who gave out that in his return from the upper 
heavens in his pretended night journey, he saw there 
the souls of those who were destined to paradise on 
the right hand of Adam, and of those Avho were 
condemned to hell on his left". 3. Others fancy the 
souls of believers remain in the well Zemzem, and 
those of infidels in a certain well in the province 
of Hadramaut, called Borbiit ; but this opinion is 
branded as heretical. 4. Others say they stay near 
the graves for seven days ; but that whither they go 
afterwards is vmcertain. 5. Others that they are 
all in the trumpet, whose sound is to raise the dead. 
And, 6. Others that the souls of the good dwell in 
the forms of white birds, under the throne of God '. 
As to the condition of the souls of the wicked, be- 
sides the opinions that have been already mentioned, 
the more orthodox hold that they are offered by the 
angels to heaven, from whence being repulsed as 
stinking and filthy, they are offered to the earth, and 
being also refused a place there, are carried down to 
the seventh earth, and thrown into a dungeon, which 
they call Sajin, under a green rock, or according to 
a tradition of Mohammed, under the devil's jaw *, 

' Poc. ubi sup. p. 247. -' lb. p. 248. ConsoiKint liereto are the Jewish 

notions or the souls of the just beinj; on hii^h, umler the throne of glory. 
V. lb. p. loO. 3 lb. p. 250. ^ Al Eeitlawi. V. Poc. ubi sup. p. 252. 


to be there tormented, till they are called up to be 
joined again to their bodies. 

Though some among the Mohammedans have 
thought that the resurrection will be merely spi- 
ritual, and no more than the returning of the soul 
to the place whence it first came (an opinion defended 
by Ebn Sina^ and called by some the opinion of the 
philosophers*) ; and others, who allow man to con- 
sist of body only, that it will be merely corporeal ; 
the received opinion is, that both body and soul will 
be raised, and their doctors argue strenuously for 
the possibility of the resurrection of the body, and 
dispute with great subtilty concerning the manner 
of it'. But Mohammed has taken care to preserve 
one part of the body, whatever becomes of the rest, 
to serve for a basis of the future edifice, or rather a 
leaven for the mass which is to be joined to it. For 
he taught, that a man's body was entirely consumed 
by the earth, except only the bone called al Ajb, 
Avhich we name the os coccygis, or rump-bone ; and 
that as it was the first formed in the human body, 
it will also remain uncorrupted till the last day, as a 
seed from whence the whole is to be renewed : and 
this he said would be effected by a forty days' rain 
which God should send, and which would cover the 
earth to the height of twelve cubits, and cause the 
bodies to sprout forth like plants \ Herein also is 
Mohammed beholden to the Jews ; who say the same 
things of the bone Luz^ excepting that what he 
attributes to a great rain will be effected according 
to them by a dew, impregnating the dust of the 

The time of the resurrection the Mohammedans 
allow to be a perfect secret to all but God alone ; the 
angel Gabriel himself acknowledging his ignorance 
in this point when Mohammed asked him about it. 

' Or, as wo corrujidy naniu him, Aviccnim. '•' Kciiz al iifrar. 3 V. Poc. 
ubi sup. p. 251. ^ Idem, ib. p. 2J5, itC. ' Bercbhit. rabbali, \c. 

v. I'dc. ubi sup. p. 117i ^i:. 


However they say the approach of that day may be 
known from certain signs which are to precede it. 
These signs they distinguish into two sorts, the 
lesser, and the greater ; which I shall briefly enu- 
merate after Dr. Pocock^ 

The lesser signs are, 1. The decay of faith among 
men ^ 2. The advancing of the meanest persons to 
eminent dignity. 3. That a maid-servant shall be- 
come the mother of her mistress (or master) ; by 
which is meant either that towards the end of the 
world men shall be much given to sensuality, or 
that the Mohammedans shall then take many cap- 
tives. 4. Tumults and seditions. 5. A war with 
the Turks. 6. Great distress in the world, so that 
a man when he passes by another's grave shall say. 
Would to God I were in his place ! 7- That the 
provinces of Irak and Syria shall refuse to pay their 
tribute. And, 8. That the buildings of Medina 
shall reach to Ahab, or Yahab. 

The greater signs are, 

1. The sun's rising in the west. Which some 
have imagined it originally did ^ 

2. The appearance of the beast, which shall rise 
out of the earth, in the temple of Mecca, or on 
mount Safa, or in the territory of T^ef, or some 
other place. This beast they say is to be sixty 
cubits high ; though others, not satisfied with so 
small a size, will have her reach to the clouds and 
to heaven, when her head only is out ; and that she 
will appear for three days, but show only a third 
part of her body. They describe this monster, as to 
her form, to be a compound of various species ; 
having the head of a bull, the eyes of a hog, the 
ears of an elephant, the horns of a stag, the neck of 
an ostrich, the breast of a lion, the colour of a tiger, 
the back of a cat, the tail of a ram, the legs of a 
camel, and the voice of an ass. Some say this beast 

' Bereshit. rabbah, &c. V. Poc. ubi sup. p. 258, &c. ^ See Luke, xviiL 8. 
3 See M^'histon's Theory of the Earth, Book 2, p. 98, &c. 


is to appear three times in several places, aud that 
she will bring with her the rod of Moses, and the 
seal of Solomon ; and being so swift that none can 
overtake or escape her, will with the first strike 
all the believers on the face, and mark them with 
the word Mnmen, i. e. believer; and with the latter 
will mark the nnl)elievers on the face likewise, witli 
the word Cafer, i. e. inJidcU that every person may 
be known for what he really is. They add that the 
same beast is to demonstrate the vanity of all re- 
ligions except Islam, and to speak Arabic. All this 
stuff seems to be the result of a confused idea of the 
beast in the Revelations ^ 

3. War with the Greeks, and the taking of Con- 
stantino])le l)y seventy thousand of the posterity of 
Isaac, who sliall not win that city by force of arms, 
but the walls shall fall down while they cry out, 
There is no <sod Imt God: God is most i>;rca( ! As 
they are dividing the spoil, news will come to them 
of the appearance of Antichrist ; whereupon they 
shall leave all, and return back. 

4. The coming of Antichrist, whom the Moham- 
medans call al Masih al Dajjal, i. e. the false or 
lying C/irisl, and simply al Dajjal. He is to be 
one-eyed, and marked on the forehead with the 
letters C. F. R. signifying Cafer, or infidel. They 
say that the Jews give him the name of Messiali 
Ben David, and pretend he is to come in the last 
days, and to be lord both of land and sea, and that 
he will restore the kingdom to them. According to 
the traditions of Mohammed, he is to appear first 
between Irak and Syria, or according to others, in 
the province of Khorasan ; they add that he is to 
ride on an ass ; that he will be followed by seventy 
thousand Jews of Ispahan, and continue on earth 
forty days, of \vhicli one \v\\\ be equal in lengtli to 
a year, another to a month, another to a week, and 

' Chnp. xiii. 


the rest will be common days ; that he is to lay waste 
all places, but will not enter Mecca or Medina, which 
are to be guarded by angels ; and that at length he 
will be slain by Jesus, who is to encounter him at 
the gate of Lud. It is said that Mohammed foretold 
several Antichrists, to the number of about thirty; 
but one of greater note than the rest. 

5. The descent of Jesus on earth. They pretend 
that he is to descend near the white tower to the 
east of Damascus, when the people are returned 
from the taking of Constantinople ; that he is to 
embrace the Mohammedan religion, marry a wife, 
get children, kill Antichrist, and at length die after 
forty years', or according to others twenty-four 
years' \ continuance on earth. Under him they say 
there will be great security and plenty in the world, 
all hatred and malice being laid aside ; when lions 
and camels, bears and sheep, shall live in peace, and 
a child shall play with serpents unhurt '-. 

6. War with the Jews ; of whom the Moham- 
medans are to make a prodigious slaughter, the very 
trees and stones discovering such of them as hide 
themselves, except only the tree called Gharkad, 
which is the tree of the Jews. 

7. The eruption of Gog and Magog, or, as they 
are called in the east, Yajuj and Majuj ; of whom 
many things are related in the Koran ^, and the tra- 
ditions of Mohammed. These barbarians, they tell 
us, having passed the lake of Tiberias, which the 
vanguard of their vast army will drink dry, will 
come to Jerusalem, and there greatly distress Jesus 
and his companions ; till at his request God will de- 
stroy them, and fill the earth with their carcasses, 
which after some time God will send birds to carry 
away, at the prayers of Jesus and his followers. 
Their bows, arrows, and quivers the Moslems will 
burn for seven years together^; and at last God 

' Al Thalabi, in Kor. c. 4. ■= See Isaiah xi. 6, &c. 3 Chap. 18, 

and 21. 4 See Ezek. xxxix. i). Revel, xx. 8. 


will send a rain to cleanse the earth, and to make it 

8. A smoke, which shall fill the whole earth '. 

9. An eclipse of the moon. IMohammed is re- 
ported to have said, that there would be three 
eclipses before the last hour ; one to be seen in the 
east, another in the west, and the third in Arabia. 

10. The returning of the Arabs to the worship 
of Allat and al Uzza, and the rest of their ancient 
idols ; after the decease of every one in whose heart 
there was faith equal to a grain of mustard seed, 
none but the very worst of men being left alive. 
For God, they say, will send a cold odoriferous wind, 
blowing from Syria Damascena, which shall sweep 
away the souls of all the faithful, and the Koran 
itself, so that men will remain in the grossest ig- 
norance for an hundred years. 

11. The discovery of a vast heap of gold and 
silver by the retreating of the Euphrates, which will 
be the destruction of many. 

12. The demolition of the Caaba, or temple of 
Mecca, by the Ethiopians ?. 

13. The speaking of beasts and inanimate things. 

14. The breaking out of fire in the province of 
Hejaz ; or, according to others, in Yaman. 

15. The appearance of a man of the descendants 
of Kahtiin, who shall drive men before him with 
his staff. 

16. The coming of the Mohdi, or director ; con- 
cerning whom Mohammed prophesied, that the 
world should not have an end till one of his own 
family should govern the Arabians, whose name 
should be the same with his own name, and whose 
father's name should also be the same with his 
father's name ; and who should fill the earth with 
righteousness. This person the Shiites believe to 
be now alive, and concealed in some secret place, 

' See Koran, c. 14, :uul the notes thereon. Compare also Joel ii. 30, anil 
Revel, ix. 2. ■■■ Sec after, in this section. 


till the time of his manifestation ; for they suppose 
him to be no other than the last of the twelve 
Imams, named Mohammed Abu'lkasem, as their 
prophet was, and the son of Hassan al Askeri, the 
eleventh of that succession. He was born at Ser- 
manrai in the 255th year of the Hejra\ From this 
tradition, it is to be presumed, an opinion pretty 
current among the Christians took its rise, that the 
Mohammedans are in expectation of their prophet's 

IT. A wind which shall sweep away the souls of 
all who have but a grain of faith in their hearts, as 
has been mentioned under the tenth sign. 

These are the greater signs, which, according to 
their doctrine, are to precede the resurrection, but 
still leave the hour of it uncertain : for the imme- 
diate sign of its being come will be the first blast 
of the trumpet ; which they believe will be sounded 
three times. The first they call the blast of con- 
stemation ; at the hearing of which all creatures in 
heaven and earth shall be struck with terror, except 
those Avhom God shall please to exempt from it. 
The effects attributed to this first sound of the 
trumpet are very wonderful : for they say, the earth 
will be shaken, and not only all buildings, but the 
very mountains, levelled ; that the heavens shall 
melt, the sun be darkened, the stars fall, on the 
death of the angels, who, as some imagine, hold 
them suspended between heaven and earth, and the 
sea shall be troubled and dried up, or, according to 
others, turned into flames, the sun, moon, and stars 
being thrown into it: the Koran, to express the 
greatness of the terror of that day, adds that women 
who give suck shall abandon the care of their infants, 
and even the she-camels which have gone ten months 
with young (a most valuable part of the substance 
of that nation) shall be utterly neglected. A farther 

' V. D'Herbel. Bibl. Orient, p. 531. 
VOL. I. 


effect of this blast ^\111 be that concourse of beasts 
mentioned in the Koran ', though some doubt wlie- 
ther it be to precede the resurrection or not. They 
who suppose it will precede, think that all kinds of 
annuals, forgetting their respective natural fierce- 
ness and timidity, will run together into one place, 
being terrified by the sound of the trumpet and the 
sudden shock of nature. 

The Mohammedans believe that this first blast 
will be followed by a second, wliich they call the 
blast of exanimafioii'^ ; when all creatures both in 
heaven and earth shall die or be annihilated, except 
those which God shall please to exempt from the 
common fate ' ; and this, they say, shall hajipen in 
the twinkling of an eye, nay in an instant ; nothing 
surviving except God alone, with paradise and hell, 
and the inhabitants of those two places, and the 
throne of glory \ The last who shall die vdW be 
the angel of death. 

Forty years after this will be heard the blast of 
resiirrectio7i, when the trumpet shall be sounded the 
third time by Israfil, who, together with Gabriel and 
Michael, will be previously restored to life, and 
standing on the rock of the temple of Jerusalem % 
shall at God's command call together all the dry 
and rotten bones, and other dispersed parts of tlie 
bodies, and tlie very hairs, to judgment. Tliis angel 
having, by the divine order, set the trumpet to his 
mouth, and called together all the souls from all 
parts, will tlirow them into his trumpet, from 
whence, on his giving the last sound, at the com- 
mand of God, they will fly forth like bees, and fill 

' Cliap. 81. - Several writers Ijowcver make no distinction between tliLs 

blast and the first, supposing the trumpet will sound but twice. See the notes 
to Kor. cliap. 3!>. ^ Kor. chap. 'i!>. » To these some add the spirit 

who bears the waters on which the throne is placed, the preserved Table, wherein 
the decrees of (Jod are registered, and tlie pen wherewith they are written ; all 
which things the Mohammedans imagine were created before the world. •'> In 
this circumstance the IMohainmedans follow the .Jews, who also agree that the 
trumpet will sound more than once. V. R. Bcchai in Biur hfittorah, and Otiotli 
shel R. Akiba. 


the whole space between heaven and earth, and then 
repair to their respective bodies, which the opening- 
earth will suffer to arise ; and the first who shall so 
arise, according to a tradition of Mohammed, will 
be himself. For this birth the earth will be pre- 
pared by the rain abovementioned, which is to fall 
continually for forty years \ and will resemble the 
seed of a man, and be supplied from the water under 
the throne of God, which is called livi7ig water; by 
the efficacy and virtue of which the dead bodies shall 
spring forth from their graves, as they did in their 
mother's womb, or as corn sprouts forth by common 
rain, till they become perfect; after which, breath 
will be breathed into them, and they will sleep in 
their sepulchres till they are raised to life at the last 

As to the length of the day of judgment, the 
Koran in one place tells us that it will last one thou- 
sand years -, and in another fifty thousand \ To re- 
concile this apparent contradiction, the commentators 
use several shifts : some saying, they know not what 
measure of time God intends in those passages; 
others, that these forms of speaking are figurative, 
and not to be strictly taken, and were designed onl)^ 
to express the terribleness of that day, it being usual 
for the Arabs to describe what they dislike as of 
long continuance, and what they like as the con- 
trary ; and others suppose them spoken only in re- 
ference to the difficulty of the business of the day, 
which if God should commit to any of his creatures, 
they would not be able to go through it in so many 
thousand years ; to omit some other opinions which 
we may take notice of elsewhere. 

Having said so much in relation to the time of 
the resurrection, let us now see who are to be raised 
from the dead, in what manner and form they shall 

' Elsewhere (see before, p. 108.) this rain is said to continue only forty days; 
but it rather seems that it is to fall during the whole interval between the second 
and third blasts. '^ Kor. chap. 32. 3 lb. chap. 70. 

I 2 


be raised, in what place they shall be assembled, 
and to what end ; according to the doctrine of the 

That the resurrection will be general, and extend 
to all creatures, both angels, genii, men and animals, 
is the received opinion, which they support by the 
authority of the Koran ; though that passage which 
is produced to prove the resurrection of brutes be 
otherwise interpreted by some '. 

The manner of their resurrection will be very 
different. Those who are destined to be partakers 
of eternal happiness will arise in honour and security ; 
and those who are doomed to misery, in disgrace 
and under dismal apprehensions. As to mankind, 
they say, that they will be raised perfect in all their 
parts and members, and in the same state as they 
came out of their mothers' wombs, that is, bare- 
footed, naked, and uncircumcised ; which circum- 
stances when IMohammed was telling his wife Ayesha, 
she, fearing the rules of modesty might be thereby 
violated, objected that it would be very indecent for 
men and women to look upon one another in that 
condition : but he answered her, that the business of 
the day would be too weighty and serious to allow 
them the making use of that liberty. Others how- 
ever allege the authority of their prophet for a 
contrary opinion as to their nakedness, and pretend 
he asserted that the dead should arise dressed in 
the same clothes in which they died - ; unless we in- 
terpret these words, as some do, not so much of the 
outward dress of the body, as the inward clothing of 
the mind ; and understand thereby that every person 
will rise again in the same state as to his faith or 
infidelity, his knowledge or ignorance, his good or 
bad works. Mohammed is also said to have farther 

' See the notes to Kor. chap. SI. and the jjieceding page. '^ In this also 

they follow their old guides, the Jews ; who say that if tlie wheat which is sown 
naked rise clothed, it is no wonder the pious who are buried in their clothes should 
rise with them. Oemar. Sanhedr. fol. 90. 


taught, by another tradition, that mankind shall be 
assembled at the last day, distinguished into three 
classes. The first, of those who go on foot : the 
second, of those who ride ; and the third, of those 
who creep groveling with their faces on the ground. 
The first class is to consist of those believers v^hose 
good works have been few ; the second of those who 
are in greater honoiu* with God, and more acceptable 
to him ; whence Ali affirmed that the pious, when 
they come forth from their sepulchres, shall find 
ready prepared for them white winged camels, ^vith 
saddles of gold : wherein are to be observed some 
footsteps of the doctrine of the ancient Arabians ^ ; 
and the third class, they say, will be composed of 
the infidels, whom God shall cause to make their 
appearance with their faces on the earth, blind, 
dumb and deaf. But the ungodly will not be thus 
only distinguished ; for, according to a tradition of 
the prophet, there will be ten sorts of wicked men 
on whom God shall on that day fix certain discretorv 
marks. The first will appear in the form of apes ; 
these are the professors of Zendicism : the second in 
that of swine ; these are thev who have been ereedv 
ot filthy lucre, and enriched themselves by public 
oppression : the third will be brought with their 
heads reversed, and their feet distorted ; these are 
the usurers : the fourth will wander about blind ; 
these are unjust judges : the fifth will be deaf, 
dumb, and blind, understanding nothing ; these are 
they who glory in their own works : the sixth will 
gnaw their tongues, M^hich will hang down upon 
their breasts, corrupted blood flowing from their 
mouths like spittle, so that every body shall detest 
them ; these are the learned men and doctors, whose 
actions contradict their sayings : the seventh will 
have their hands and feet cut off; these are they 
who have injured their neighbours : the eighth will 

See before, Sect. I. p. 2S. 


be fixed to the trunks of palm-trees or stakes of 
wood ; these are the false accusers and informers : 
the ninth will stink worse than a corrupted corpse ; 
these are they who have indulged their passions and 
voluptuous appetites, but refused God such part of 
their wealth as was due to him : the tenth will be 
clothed with garments daubed with pitch ; and these 
are the proud, the vainglorious, and the arrogant. 

As to the place where they are to be assembled to 
judgment, the Koran and the traditions of Mohammed 
agree that it will be on the earth, but in what part 
of the earth it is not agreed. Some say their pro- 
phet mentioned Syria for the place ; others, a white 
and even tract of land, without inhabitants or any 
signs of buildings. Al Ghazali imagines it will be 
a second earth, which he supposes to be of silver ; 
and others an earth which has nothing in common 
with ours, but the name; having, it is possible, 
heard something of the new hea-^^ens and new earth 
mentioned in scripture : whence the Koran has this 
expression, " on the day wherein the earth shall be 
changed into another earth '." 

The end of the resurrection the Mohammedans 
declare to be, that they who are so raised may give 
an account of their actions, and receive the reward 
thereof. And they believe that not only mankind, 
but the genii jnd irrational animals also ^ shall be 
judged on this gi-eat day ; when the unarmed cattle 
shall take vengeance on the horned, till entire satis- 
faction shall be given to the injured \ 

As to mankind, they hold that when they are all 

' Chap. IJ. 1 Kor. chap. (!. V. Maimonid. I\Iore Nev. part '.i. c. 1?. 

3 Tills opinion the learned Greaves supposed to have taken its rise from the 
following words of Ezekiel, wrongly understood; '' And as for ye, O my flock, 
thus saitli the Lord (Jod, Behold I judge between cattle and cattle, between the 
rams and the he-goats.— Behold I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle, and 
between the lean cattle ; because ye have tluust with side and with shoulder, and 
pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad ; 
therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a i)rey. and I willjndge 
between cattle and cattle, Sec." p:zek. xxxiv. 17, &c. 'JO, 21, '22. I\Iuch might 
be said concerning brutes dcocrving future reward and punishment. Sec Bayle, 
Diet. Hibt. Art. Horarius, Rem. D. &c. 


assembled together, they will not be immediately 
brought to judgment, but the angels will keep them 
iu their ranks and order while they attend for that 
purpose : and this attendance some say is to last 
forty years, others seventy, others three hundred, 
nay some say no less than fifty thousand years, each 
of them vouching their prophet's authority. During 
this space they will stand looking up to heaven, but 
without receiving any information or orders thence, 
and are to suffer grievous torments, both the just 
and the unjust, though with manifest difference. 
For the limbs of the former, particularly those parts 
which they used to wash in making the ceremonial 
ablution before prayer, shall shine gloriously, and 
their sufferings shall be light in comparison, and 
shall last no longer than the time necessary to say 
the appointed prayers ; but the latter will have their 
faces obscured with blackness, and disfigured with 
all the marks of sorrow and deformity. What will 
then occasion not the least of their pain, is a won- 
derful and incredible sweat, which will even stop 
their mouths, and in which they will be immersed 
in various degrees according to their demerits, some 
to the ankles only, some to the knees, some to the 
middle, some so high as their mouth, and others as 
their ears. And this sweat, they say, will be pro- 
voked not only by that vast concourse of all sorts of 
creatures mutually pressing and treading on one 
another's feet, but by the near and unusual approach 
of the sun, which will be then no farther from them 
than the distance of a mile, or (as some translate 
the word, the signification of which is ambiguous), 
than the length of a bodkin. So that their skulls 
will boil like a pot ', and they will be all bathed in 
sweat. From this inconvenience, however, the good 
will be protected by the shade of God's throne ; but 
the wicked will be so miserably tormented with it. 

1 Al Ghazali. 


and also \vith hunger and thirst, and a stifling air, 
that they w ill cry out, Lord, deliver us from this 
anguish, though thou send us into htll^ire '. What 
they fable of the extraordinary heat of the sun on 
this occasion, the Mohammedans certainly borrowed 
from the Jews, who say that, for the punishment of 
the wicked on the last day, that planet shall be drawn 
forth from its sheath, in which it is now put up, lest 
it should destroy all things by its excessive heat -. 

When those who have risen shall have waited the 
limited time, the Mohammedans believe God will at 
length appear to judge them ; Mohammed under- 
taking the office of intercessor, after it shall have 
been declined by Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Jesus, 
who shall beg deliverance only for their own souls. 
They say that on this solemn occasion God will come 
in the clouds, surrounded by angels, and will produce 
the books wherein the actions of every person are 
recorded by their guardian angels ", and will com- 
mand the prophets to bear witness against those 
to whom they have been respectively sent. Then 
every one will be examined concerning all his words 
and actions, uttered and done by him in this life ; 
not as if God needed any information in those re- 
spects, but to oblige the person to make public con- 
fession and acknowledgment of God's justice. The 
particulars of which they shall give an account, as 
Mohammed himself enumerated them, are ; of their 
time, how they spent it ; of their wealth, by what 
means they acquired it, and how they employed it ; 
of their bodies, wherein they exercised them ; of 
their knowledge and learning, what use they made 
of them. It is said however that Mohammed has 
affirmed tliat no less than seventy thousand of his 
followers should be permitted to enter paradise 
^v•ithout any previous examination ; which seems to 
be contradictory to \vhat is said above. To the 

' '^1 fihazali. » V. Pocock, Not. in Port. Mo&is, p. 277. 3 See 

before, p. OJ). 


questions we have mentioned each person shall an- 
swer, and malce his defence in the best manner he 
can, endeavouring to excuse himself by casting the 
blame of his evil deeds on others ; so that a dispute 
shall arise even between the soul and the body, to 
which of them their guilt ought to be imputed : the 
soul saying, " O Lord, my body I received from 
thee ; for thou createdst me without a hand to lay 
hold with, a foot to walk with, an eye to see with, 
or an understanding to apprehend with, till I came 
and entered into this body ; therefore punish it 
eternally, but deliver me." The body on the other 
side will make this apology, " O Lord, thou createdst 
me like a stock of wood, having neither hand that I 
could lay hold with, nor foot that I could walk with, 
till this soul, like a ray of light, entered into me, 
and my tongue began to speak, my eye to see, and 
my foot to walk ; therefore punish it eternally, but 
deliver me." But God will propound to them the 
following parable of the blind man and the lame 
man, which, as well as the jjreceding dispute, was 
borrowed by the Mohammedans from the Jews \ A 
certain king having a pleasant garden, in which were 
ripe fruits, set two persons to keep it, one of whom 
was blind, and the other lame, the former not being 
able to see the fruit, nor the latter to gather it ; the 
lame man, however, seeing the fruit, persuaded the 
blind man to take him upon his shoulders ; and by 
that means he easily gathered the fruit, which they 
divided between them. The lord of the garden 
coming some time after, and inquiring after his 
fruit, each began to excuse himself; the blind man 
said he had no eyes to see with ; and the lame man 
that he had no feet to approach the trees. But the 
king ordering the lame man to be set on the blind, 
passed sentence on and punished them both. And 
in the same manner will God deal with the body 

' Gemara, Sanhedr. c. 11. R. Jos. Albo, Serm. IV. c. 33. See also Epiphan, 
in Ancorat. Sect. 89. 


and the soul. As these apologies will not avail on 
that (lay, so -will it also be in vain for any one to 
deny his evil actions, since men and angels and his 
own members, nay the very earth itself, will be ready 
to bear witness against him. 

Though the iVIohammedans assign so long a space 
for the attendance of the resuscitated before their 
trial, yet they tell us the trial itself will be over in 
much less time, and, according to an expression of 
Mohammed, familiar enough to the Arabs, Avill last 
no longer than while one may milk an ewe, or than 
the space between the two milkings of a she-camel i. 
Some, explaining those words so frequently used in 
the Koran, " God will be swift in taking an account," 
say that he will judge all creatures in the space of 
half a day, and others that it will be done in less 
time than the twinkling of an eye -. 

At this examination they also believe that each 
person will have the book wherein all the actions of 
his life are written delivered to him ; which books 
the righteous will receive in their right hand, and 
read with great pleasure and satisfaction ; but the 
ungodly will be obliged to take them against their 
wills in their left 3, which will be bound behind 
their backs, their right hand being tied up to their 
necks ^. 

To show the exact justice which will be observed 
on this great day of trial, the next thing they de- 
scribe is the balance, wherein all things shall be 
weighed. They say it will be held by Gabriel, and 
that it is of so vast a size, that its two scales, one 
of which hangs over paradise, and the other over 
hell, are capacious enough to contain both heaven 
and earth. Though some are willing to understand 
what is said in the Koran concerning this balance 

' The Arabs use, after they have drawn some milk from the camel, to wait 
awhile, ami let her younj; one suck a little, that she may give down her milk 
mure ijlentifuUy at the secoiul inilkiuj^. ■' I'ocock, Not. in I'ort. JMosis, 

]). 27«--2Jf2. Sec also Kor. c. i!. p. \\\. i Kor. c. 17, 1<!, W, and 84. 

4 Jallalo'ddin. 


allegorically, and only as a figurative representation 
of GocVs equity, yet the more ancient and orthodox 
opinion is that it is to be taken literally ; and since 
words and actions, being mere accidents, are not 
capable of being themselves weighed, they say that 
the books wherein they are written will be thrown 
into the scales, and according as those wherein the 
good or the evil actions are recorded shall prepon- 
derate, sentence will be given ; those whose balances 
laden with their good works shall be heavy will be 
saved, but those whose balances are light will be 
condemned \ Nor will any one have cause to com- 
plain that God suffers any good action to pass unre- 
warded, because the wicked for the good they do have 
their reward in this life, and therefore can expect no 
favour in the next. 

The old Jewish writers make mention as well of 
the books to be produced at the last day, wherein 
men's actions are registered ", as of the balance 
wherein they shall be weighed ^ ; and the scripture 
itself seems to have given the first notion of both ', 
But what the Persian Magi believe of the balance 
comes nearest to the Mohammedan opinion. They 
hold that on the day of judgment two angels, named 
Mihr and Sorush, will stand on the bridge we shall 
describe by and by, to examine every person as he 
passes ; that the former, who represents the divine 
mercy, will hold a balance in his hand, to weigh the 
actions of men ; that according to the report he shall 
make thereof to God, sentence will be pronounced, 
and those whose good v/orks are found more pon- 
derous, if they turn the scale but by the weight of a 
hair, will be permitted to pass forward to paradise ; 
but those whose good works shall be found light 
will be by the other angel, who represents God's 
justice, precipitated from the bridge into hell \ 

> Kor. c. 23, 7, &e. '^ Midrash, Yalkut Sheniuni, f. 153. c. 3. 3 Geinar. 
Sanhedr. f. [)\, ^c. 4 Exod. xxxii. 32, 33. Dan. vii. 10. Revel, xx. 12, 

&c. and Dan. v. 27. s Hyde, de Rel. Vet. Pers. p. 245, 401, &c. 


This examination being i)ast, and every one's 
works weiglied in a just balance, that mutual re- 
taliation will follow, according- to which every crea- 
ture will take vengeance one of another, or have 
satisfaction made them for the injuries which they 
have suffered. And since there will then be no other 
way of returning like for like, the manner of giving 
this satisfaction will be, by taking away a proportion- 
able part of the good works of him who offered the 
injury, and adding it to those of him who suffered 
it. AVhich being done, if the angels (by whose mi- 
nistry this is to be performed) say, " Lord, we have 
given to every one his due ; and there remaineth of 
this person's good works so much as equalleth the 
weight of an ant," God will of liis mercy cause it 
to be doubled unto him, that he may be admitted 
into paradise ; but if on the contrary his good Avorks 
be exliausted, and there remain evil works only, and 
there be any who have not yet received satisfaction 
from him, God will order that an equal weight of 
their sins be added unto his, that he may be punished 
for them in their stead, and he will be sent to liell 
laden with both. This \vill be the method of God's 
dealing with mankind. As to brutes, after they shall 
liave likewise taken vengeance of one another, as we 
have mentioned above, he will command them to be 
clianged into dust ^ ; wicked men being reserved to 
more grievous punishment : so that they shall cry 
out, on hearing this sentence passed on the brutes, 
" Would to God that we were dust also !" As to the 
genii, many Mohammedans are of o})inion that such 
of them as are true believers will undergo the same 
fate as the irrational animals, and have no other re- 
ward than the favour of being converted into dust ; 
and for this they quote the authority of their pro- 
phet. But this, however, is judged not so very 

' Vet tliey say the dog of the seven sleepers, and Ezra's ass, which was raised 
to life, will, by pecuhar favour, be admiitetl into paradise. See Kor. c. \li, and 
c. 3. p. 45. 


reasonable, since the genii, being capable of putting 
themselves in the state of believers as well as men, 
must consequently deserve, as it seems, to be re- 
warded for their faith, as well as to be punished for 
their infidelity. Wherefore some entertain a more 
favourable opinion, and assign the believing genii a 
place near the confines of paradise, where they will 
enjoy sufficient felicity, though they be not admitted 
into that delightful mansion. But the unbelieving 
genii, it is universally agreed, will be punished eter- 
nally, and be thrown into hell with the infidels of 
mortal race. It may not be improper to observe, 
that under the denomination of unbelieving genii, 
the Mohammedans comprehend also the devil and 
his companions \ 

The trials being over and the assembly dissolved, 
the Mohammedans hold, that those who are to be 
admitted into paradise will take the right hand way, 
and those who are destined to hell-fire will take the 
left, but both of them must first pass the bridge, 
called in Arabic, al Sirat, which they say is laid over 
the midst of hell, and describe to be finer than a hair, 
and sharper than the edge of a sword ; so that it 
seems very difficult to conceive how any one shall 
be able to stand upon it : for which reason most of 
the sect of the Motazalites reject it as a fable, though 
the orthodox think it a sufficient proof of the truth 
of this article, that it was seriously affirmed by him 
who never asserted a falsehood, meaning their pro- 
phet ; who, to add to the difficulty of the passage, has 
likewise declared that this bridge is beset on each 
side with briers and hooked thorns ; which will 
however be no impediment to the good, for they 
shall pass with wonderful ease and swiftness, like 
lightning, or the wind, Mohammed and his Moslems 
leading the way ; whereas the wicked, what with 
the slipperiness and extreme narrowness of the path, 

' V. Koran, c. 18. 

126 THE PRELnilNArvY DISCOURSE. [Sect. 4. 

the entangling- of the thorns, and the extinction of 
the light which directed the former to paradise, will 
soon miss their footing, and fall down headlong into 
hell, which is gaping beneath them \ 

This circumstance Mohammed seems also to have 
borrowed from the Magians, who teach that on the 
last day all mankind will be obliged to pass a bridge 
which they call Pnl Chinavad, or Chinavar, that 
is, the strait bridge, leading directly into the other 
world ; on the midst of which they suppose the 
angels, appointed by God to perform that office, ^\•ill 
stand, who will require of every one a strict account 
of his actions, and weigh them in the manner we 
have already mentioned '. It is true the Jews speak 
likewise of the bridge of hell, which they say is no 
broader than a thread ; but then they do not tell 
us that any shall be obliged to pass it, except the 
idolaters, who will fall thence into perdition ^. 

As to the punishment of the wicked, the Moham- 
medans are taught that hell is divided into seven 
stories, or apartments, one below another, designed 
for the reception of as many distinct classes of the 
damned \ The first, which they call Jehennam, they 
say will be the receptacle of those who acknowledged 
one God, that is, the wicked Mohammedans, who 
after having there been punished according to their 
demerits, will at length be released. The second, 
named Ladha, they assign to the Jews ; the third, 
named al Hotama, to the Christians ; the fourth, 
named al Siiir, to the Sabians ; the fifth, named 
Sakar, to the Magians ; the sixth, named al Jahim, 
to the idolaters ; and the seventh, which is the lowest 
and worst of all, and is called al Hawiyat, to the 
hypocrites, or those who outwardly professed some 
religion, but in their hearts were of none \ Over 

' Pocock, ubi sup. p. 'JH'i— 2.">!). - Hyde, de Rel. Vet. Pers. p. 245, 402, &c. 
3 Midrash, Yalkut Ueubcni, ^ Gdiinnoni. ^ Kor. c. 15. ** Others 

fill these apartments witli tlifterent company. Some place in the second, the 
idolaters ; in the third, (Jog and Ulagog, &c. ; in tlie fourth, the devils ; in the 
fifth, those who neglect alms and prayers; and crowd tlic Jews, C'hristians, and 


each of these apartments they believe there will be 
set a guard of angels % nineteen in number- ; to 
whom the damned will confess the just judgment 
of God, and beg them to intercede with him for some 
alleviation of their pain, or that they may be de- 
livered by being annihilated ^. 

Mohammed has, in his Koran and traditions, been 
very exact in describing the various torments of hell, 
which, according to him, the wicked will suffer both 
from intense heat and excessive cold. We shall 
however enter into no detail of them here, but only 
observe that the degrees of these pains will also vary, 
in proportion to the crimes of the sufferer, and the 
apartment he is condemned to ; and that he who is 
punished the most lightly of all will be shod with 
shoes of fire, the fervour of which will cause his skull 
to boil like a caldron. The condition of these vm- 
happy wretches, as the same prophet teaches, cannot 
be properly called either life or death; and their 
misery will be greatly increased by their despair of 
being ever delivered from that place, since, accordino- 
to that frequent expression in the Koran, " they must 
remain therein for ever." It must be remarked, how- 
ever, that the infidels alone will be liable to eternity 
of damnation, for the Moslems, or those who have 
embraced the true religion, and have been guilty of 
heinous sins, will be delivered thence after they shall 
have expiated their crimes by their sufferings. The 
contrary of either of these opinions is reckoned he- 
retical ; for it is the constant orthodox doctrine of 
the Mohammedans that no unbeliever or idolater 
will ever be released, nor any person who in his 
lifetime professed and believed the unity of God be 

Magians together in the sixth. Some again will have tlie first to be prepared for 
the Dahnans, or those who deny the creation, and believe the eternity of the 
world ; the second, for the Dualists, or IManichees, and the idolatrous Arabs ; 
the third, for the Bramins of the Indies ; the fourth, for the Jews ; the fifth for 
the Christians ; and the sixth, for the Magians. But all agree in assigning the 
seventh to the hypocrites. V. Millium, de Mohammedismo ante Moham. p. 412. 
D'Herbel. Bibl, Orient, p. 368, &c. 

' Kor. chap. 40, 43, 74, &c. ^ lb. c. 74. 3 Jb, c. 40, 43. 


condemned to eternal punishment. As to the time 
and manner of tlie deliverance of those believers 
whose evil actions sliall outweigh their good, there is 
a tradition of Mohammed that they shall be released 
after they shall have been scorched and their skins 
burnt black, and shall afterwards be admitted into 
paradise ; and when the inhabitants of that place 
shall, in contempt, call them ii.Jernah, God will, on 
their j)rayers, take from them that opprobrious ap- 
pellation. Others say he taught that while they 
continue in hell they shall be deprived of life, or (as 
his words are otherwise interpreted) be cast into 
a most i^rofound sleep, that they may be the less 
sensible of their torments ; and that they shall after- 
wards be received into paradise, and there revive on 
their being washed with the water of liji ; though 
some suppose they will be restored to life before 
they come fortli from their place of punishment, 
that at their bidding farewell to their pains, they 
may have some little taste of them. The time which 
these believers sliall be detained there, according to 
a tradition handed down from their prophet, will 
not be less than nine hundred years, nor more than 
seven thousand. And as to the manner of their de- 
livery, they say that they shall be distinguished by 
the marks of prostration on those parts of their 
bodies with which they used to touch the ground in 
prayer, and over which the fire will therefore have 
no power ; and that being known by this charac- 
teristic, they will be released by the mercy of God, 
at the intercession of Mohammed and the blessed ; 
whereupon those who shall have been dead will be 
restored to life, as has been said ; and those whose 
bodies shall have contracted any sootiness or filth 
from the flames and smoke of hell will be immersed 
in one of the rivers of paradise, called the river of 
If/e, whicli will wash them whiter than pearls '. 

> Poc. Nou in Port. Mosis, p. 28!(-291. 


For most of these circumstances relating to hell 
and the state of the damned, Mohammed was like- 
wise in all probability indebted to the Jews, and in 
part to the Magians ; both of whom agree in making 
seven distinct apartments in hell \ though they 
vary in other particulars. The former place an 
angel as a guard over each of these infernal apart- 
ments, and suppose he will intercede for the miser- 
able wretches there imprisoned, who will openly ac- 
knowledge the justice of God in their condemnation '. 
They also teach that the wicked will suffer a diver- 
sity of punishments, and that by intolerable cold ' as 
well as heat, and that their faces shall become black '; 
and believe those of their own religion shall also be 
punished in hell hereafter, according to their crimes, 
(for they hold that few or none will be found so ex- 
actly righteous as to deserve no punishment at all), 
but will soon be delivered thence, when they shall 
be sufficiently purged from their sins, by their father 
Abraham, or at the intercession of him or some other 
of the prophets \ The Magians allow but one angel 
to preside over all the seven hells, who is named 
by them Vanand Yezad, and, as they teach, assigns 
punishments proportionate to each person's crimes, 
restraining also the tyranny and excessive cruelty 
of the devil, who would, if left to himself, torment 
the damned beyond their sentence '. Those of this 
religion do also mention and describe various kinds 
of torments, wherewith the wicked will be punished 
in the next life ; among which though they reckon 
extreme cold to be one, yet they do not admit fire, 
out of respect, as it seems, to that element, which 
they take to be the representation of the divine na- 
ture ; and therefore they rather choose to describe 

• Nishmat hayim, f. 32. Oeniar. in Arubin, f. l!>. Zohar. ad Exod. xxvi. 2, 
&c. and Hyde, de Rel. Vet. Pers. p. 245. > Midrash, Yalkut Shemuni, 

part 11, f. 116. 3 Zohar, ad Exod. xix. 4 Yalkut Shemuni, ubi 

sup. f. 86. 5 Nishmat hayim, f. 82. Gemar. Arubin, f. 19. V. Kor. c. 2, 

p. 15, and .3, p. 54, and notes there. 6 Hyde, de Rel. Vet. Pers. p. 182. 

VOL. I. K 

130 THE rilELIMINAllY DISCOURSE. [Sect. 4. 

the damned souls as suffering by other kinds of 
punishments : such as an intolerable stink, the sting- 
ing and biting of serpents and wild beasts, the cut- 
ting and tearing of the flesh b}' the devils, excessive 
hunger and thirst, and the like '. 

Before we proceed to a description of the Moham- 
medan paradise, \ve must not forget to say something 
of the wall or j3artition which they imagine to be 
between that place and hell, and seems to be copied 
from the great gulf of separation mentioned in 
scripture \ They call it al Orf, and more frequently 
in the plural, al Araf, a word derived from the verl) 
araja, which signifies to dist'i7Vi,ui'<h bet\\'een things, 
or to ]):,r! them ; though some commentators give 
another reason for the imposition of this name, be- 
cause, say they, tliose who stand on this partition 
will l^noxv and distinguish the blessed from the 
damned, by their respective marks or characteristics ' : 
and others say the word properly intends any thing 
that is high rai'^'cd or ekvafcd, as such a wall of 
separation must be supposed to be *. The Moham- 
medan writers greatly differ as to the persons v.ho 
are to be found on al Araf. Some imagine it to be a 
sort of limbo, for the patriarchs and prophets, or for 
the martyrs and those \\ho have been most emi- 
nent for sanctity, among whom they say there will 
be also angels in the form of men. ()thers place 
here such whose good and evil works are so equal 
that they exactly counterpoise each other, and there- 
fore deserve neither rev^'ard nor punishment ; and 
these, they say, M'ill on the last day be admitted into 
paradise, after they shall have ])erformed an act of 
adoration, which will be im])uted to them as a merit, 
and will make the scale of their good works to over- 
balance. Others suppose this intermediate space will 
be a receptacle for those who have gone to war. 

> v. Eundcm, ib. p. .If)!), &c. - Luke xvi. Sfi. ' Jallalo'ddin, 

V. Kor. c. 7- * Al neidavi. 


without their parents' leave, and therein suffered 
martyrdom ; being excluded paradise for their dis- 
obedience, and escaping hell because they are martyrs. 
The breadth of this partition wall cannot be sup- 
posed to be exceeding great, since not only those who 
shall stand thereon will hold conference Math the in- 
habitants both of paradise and of hell, but the blessed 
and the damned themselves will also be able to talk 
to one another K 

If Mohammed did not take his notions of the par- 
tition we have been describing from scripture, he 
must at least have borrov/ed it at second-hand from 
the Jews, who mention a thin wall dividing paradise 
from hell -. 

The righteous, as the Mohammedans are taught to 
believe, having surmounted the difficulties, and passed 
the sharp bridge above-mentioned, before they enter 
paradise will be refreshed by drinking at the j)o?id 
of their prophet, who describes it to be an exact 
square, of a month's journey in compass ; its water, 
which is supplied by two pipes from al Cawthar, one 
of the rivers of paradise, being whiter than milk or 
silver, and more odoriferous than musk, with as many 
cups set around it as there are stars in the firmament ; 
of which water whoever drinks will thirst no more 
for ever \ This is the first taste which the blessed 
will have of their future and now near approaching 

Though paradise be so very frequently mentioned 
in the Koran, yet it is a dispute among the Mo- 
hammedans whether it be already created, or be to be 
created hereafter ; the Motazalites and some other sec- 
taries asserting that there is not at present any such 
place in nature, and that the paradise which the 
righteous will inhabit in the next life will be differ- 
ent from that from which Adam was expelled. How- 

• Koran, ubi sup. V. D'Herbel. Bibl. Orient, p. 121, &c. ' ]\Iidrash, 

Yalkut Sioni, f. 11. 3 Al Gliaitali. 

K 2 


ever the orthodox profess the contrary, inaiiitaiiiiiig 
that it Mas treated even before the \vorld, and de- 
scribe it, from their ])rophet's traditions, in the fol- 
h)\ving manner. 

'J^hey say it is situate above the seven heavens (or 
in the seventh heaven), and next under the throne 
of God ; and to express the amenity of the place 
tell us, tiiat the earth of it is of the finest \\heat 
flour, or of the purest musk ; or, as others will 
have it, of saffron ; that its stones are j)carls and 
jacinths, the walls of its buildings enriched with gold 
and silver, and that the trunks of all its trees are of 
ffold ; amon«: which the most remarkable is the tree 
called Tuba, or the tree of lutppiness. Concerning 
this tree they fable that it stands in the palace of 
Mohammed, though a branch of it will reach to the 
house of every true believer ' ; that it will be loaden 
with pomegranates, grapes, dates, and other fruits of 
surprising bigness, and of tastes unknown to mortals. 
So that if a man desire to eat of any particular kind 
of fruit, it will immediately be presented him, or if 
he choose flesh, birds ready dressed will be set before 
him, according to his wish. They add, that the 
boughs of this tree will spontaneously ])end down to 
the hand of the })erson who would gather of its fruits, 
and that it will supply the blessed not only Mith 
food, but also with silken garments, and beasts to 
ride on ready saddled and bridled, and adorned with 
rich trappings, which will burst forth from its fruits ; 
and that this tree is so large, that a person mounted 
on the fleetest horse would not be able to gallop 
from one end of its shade to the other in a hundred 
years -. 

As plenty of water is one of the greatest additions 
to the pleasantness of any place, the Koran often 
speaks of the rivers of paradise as a j)rincipal orna- 
ment thereof: some of these rivers, they say, i\o\y 

' Valiv;u in Kor. c. 13. ' Jallalo'cUliii, ib. 


with water, some with milk, some with wine, and 
others with Iioney ; all taking their rise from the 
root of the tree Tuba ; two of which rivers, named 
al Cawthar and the riv(^r of life, we have already 
mentioned. And, lest these should not be suf- 
ficient, we are told this garden is also watered by a 
great number of lesser springs and fountains, whose 
pebbles are rubies and emeralds, their earth of cam- 
phire, their beds of musk, and their sides of saffron ; 
the most remarkable among them being Salsabil and 

]3ut all these glories will be eclipsed by the re- 
splendent and ravishing girls of paradise, called, 
from their large black eyes. Hiir al oyim, the enjoy- 
ment of whose company will be a principal felicity 
of the faithful. These, they say, are created, not of 
clay, as mortal women are, but of pure musk ; being, 
as their prophet often affirms in his Koran, free from 
all natural impurities, defects, and inconveniences 
incident to the sex, of the strictest modesty, and 
secluded from public view in pavilions of hollow 
pearls, so large, that, as some traditions have it, 
one of them will be no less than four parasangs (or, 
as others say, sixty miles) long, and as many broad. 

The name which the Mohammedans usually give 
to this happy mansion is al Jannat, or the garden; 
and sometimes they call it, with an addition, Jannat 
al Ferdaws, tlie garden of paradise, Jannat Aden, 
the garden of Eden (though they generally inter- 
pret the word Eden, not according to its acceptation 
in Hebrew, but according to its meaning in their 
own tongue, wherein it signifies a settled or perj)e- 
tiial habilation), Jannat al Mawa, the garden of 
abode, Jannat al Naim, the garden of pleasure, and 
the like ; by which several appellations some under- 
stand so many different gardens, or at least places of 
different degrees of felicity (for they reckon no less 
than a hundred such in all), the very meanest 
whereof will aflbrd its inhabitants so many pleasures 


and delights, that one would conclude they must 
even sink under them, had not Mohannned declared, 
that in order to qualify the blessed for a full enjoy- 
ment of them, God will give to every one the abilities 
of a hundred men. 

We have already described Mohammed's pond, 
Avhereof the righteous are to drink before their ad- 
mission into this delicious seat ; besides which some 
authors • mention two fountains, springing from under 
a certain tree near the gate of paradise, and say 
that the blessed will also drink of one of them, to 
purge their bodies and carry oft' all excrementitious 
dregs, and will wash themselves in the other. When 
they are arrived at the gate itself, each person will 
there be met and saluted by the beautiful youths 
appointed to serve and wait upon him, one of them 
running before, to carry the news of his arrival to 
the wives destined for him ; and also by two angels, 
bearing the presents sent him by God, one of whom 
will invest him with a garment of paradise, and the 
other will put a ring on each of his fingers, with in- 
scriptions on them alluding to the happiness of his 
condition. By which of the eight gates (for so many 
they suppose paradise to have) they are respectively 
to enter, is not worth inquiry ; but it must be ob- 
served that Mohammed has declared that no person's 
good works will gain him admittance, and that even 
himself shall be saved, not by his merits, but merely 
by the mercy of God. It is, however, the constant 
doctrine of the Koran, that the felicity of each per- 
son will be proportioned to his deserts, and that there 
will be abodes of different degrees of l!a])piness ; the 
most eminent degree being reserved for the prophets, 
the second for the doctors and teachers of God's 
worship, the next for the martyrs, and the lower for 
the rest of the righteous, according to their several 
merits. There will also some distinction be nuule in 

' A\ (Jhazali, Kenz al Afrar. 


respect to the time of their admission ; Mohammed 
(to whom, if you will believe him, the gates will first 
be opened) having affirmed, tliat the poor will enter 
paradise five hundred years before the rich : nor 
is this the only privilege which they will enjoy in 
the next life ; since the same prophet has also de- 
clared, that when he took a view of paradise, he saw 
the majority of its inhabitants to be the poor, and 
when he looked down into hell, he saw the greater 
part of the wretches confined there to be women. 

For the first entertainment of the blessed on their 
admission, they fable that the whole earth will then 
be as one loaf of bread, which God will reach to 
them with his hand, holding it like a cake ; and that 
for meat they will have the ox Balam, and the fish 
Niin, the lobes of whose livers will suffice seventy 
thousand men, being, as some imagine, to be set 
before the principal guests, viz. those who, to that 
number, will be admitted into paradise without exa- 
mination ' ; though others suppose that a definite 
number is here put for an indefinite, and that nothing 
more is meant thereby than to express a great mul- 
titude of people. 

From this feast every one will be dismissed to the 
mansion designed for him, where (as has been said) 
he will enjoy such a share of felicity as will be pro- 
portioned to his merits, but vastly exceed compre- 
hension or expectation ; since the very meanest in 
paradise (as he who, it is pretended, must know best, 
has declared) will have eighty thousand servants, 
seventy-two wives of the girls of paradise, besides 
the Vvives he had in this world, and a tent erected 
for him of pearls, jacinths, and emeralds, of a very 
large extent ; and, according to another tradition, 
will be ^raited on by three hundred attendants while 
he eats, will be served in dishes of gold, whereof 
three hundred shall be set before him at once, con- 

' See bdore, p. 129. 


tainiiig each a different kind of food, tlie last morSel 
of which will be as grateful as the first ; and will 
also be sui)plied with as many sorts of liquors in 
vessels of the same metal : and, to complete the en- 
tertainment, there will be no want of wine, which, 
though forbidden in this life, will yet be freely 
allowed to be drank in the next, and without danger, 
since the wine of paradise will not inebriate, as that 
we drink here. The flavour of this wine we may 
conceive to be delicious without a descrij)tion, since 
the water of Tasnim, and the other fountains which 
will be used to dilute it, is said to be wonderfully 
sweet and fragrant. If any object to these pleasures, 
as an impudent Jew did to Mohammed, that so much 
eating and drinking must necessarily require proper 
evacuations, we answer, as the prophet did, that the 
inhabitants of paradise will not need to ease them- 
selves, nor even to blow their nose, for that all su- 
perfluities will be discharged and carried off by per- 
spiration, or a sweat as odoriferous as musk, after 
which their appetite shall return afresh. 

The magnificence of the garments and furniture 
promised by the Koran to the godly in the next life 
is answerable to the delicacy of their diet : for they 
are to be clothed in the richest silks and brocades, 
chiefly of green, which \vi\\ burst forth from the 
fruits of ])aradise, and will be also supplied by the 
leaves of the tree Tuba ; the)^ will be adorned with 
bracelets of gold and silver, and crowns set with 
pearls of incomparable lustre ; and will make use of 
silken carpets, litters of a prodigious size, couches, 
pillows, and other rich furniture embroidered with 
gold and precious stones. 

That we may the more readily believe Avhat has 
been mentioned of the extraordinary abilities of the 
inhabitants of paradise to taste these pleasures in 
their height, it is said they will enjoy a perpetual 
j'outh ; that in whatever age they lia])])en to die, 
they M ill be raised in their prijnc and vigour, that 


is, of about thirty years of age, which age they will 
never exceed (and the same they say of the damned), 
and that when they enter paradise they Avill be of 
the same stature with Adam, who, as they fable, was 
no less than sixty cubits high. And to this age and 
stature their children, if they shall desire any (for 
otherwise their wives will not conceive), shall imme- 
diately attain ; according to that saying of their pro- 
phet, " If any of the faithful in paradise be desirous 
of issue, it shall be conceived, born, and grown up, 
within the space of an hour. And in the same 
manner, if any one shall have a fancy to employ 
himself in agriculture (which rustic pleasure may 
suit the wanton fancy of some), what he shall sow 
will spring up and come to maturity in a moment. 

Lest any of the senses should want their proper 
delight, we are told the ear will there be entertained, 
not only with the ravishing songs of the angel 
Israfil, who has the most melodious voice of all 
God's creatures, and of the daughters of paradise ; 
but even the trees themselves will celebrate the 
divine praises with a harmony exceeding whatever 
mortals have heard ; to which will be joined the 
sound of the bells hanging on the trees, which will 
be put in motion by the wind proceeding from the 
throne of God, so often as the blessed wish for 
nnisic : nay, the very clashing of the golden-bodied 
trees, whose fruits are pearls and emeralds, will sur- 
pass human imagination ; so that the pleasures of 
this sense will not be the least of the enjoyments of 

The delights we have hitherto taken a view of, it 
is said, will be common to all the inhabitants of para- 
dise, even those of the lowest order. What then, 
think we, must they enjoy who shall obtain a supe- 
rior degree of honour and felicity ? To these, they 
say, there are prepared, besides all this, " such things 
as eye hath not seen, nor hath ear heard, nor hath it 
entered into the heart of man to conceive ;" an ex- 


pressioii most certainly borrowed from scripture '. 
That we may know wherein the felicity of those who 
shall attain the highest degree vvill consist, Moham- 
med is reported to have said, that the meanest of the 
inhabitants of })aradise will see his gardens, wives, 
servants, furniture, and other possessions, take up 
the space of a thousand years' journey (for so far 
and farther vdll the blessed see in tlie next life) ; 
but that he will be in the highest honour Avith God, 
M'ho shall behold his face morning and evening : 
and this favour al Ghazali supposes to be that addi- 
t'umal or swpcr abundant, promised in the 
Koran % which will give such exquisite delight, that 
in respect thereof all the other pleasures of paradise 
will be forgotten and lightly esteemed ; and not 
without reason, since, as the same autlior says, every 
other enjoyment is equally tasted by the very brute 
beast who is turned loose into luxuriant pasture '. 
The reader will observe, by the way, that this is a 
full confutation of those who pretend the Moham- 
medans admit of no spiritual pleasure in the next life, 
but make the liappiness of the blessed to consist 
wholly in corporeal enjoyments '. 

Whence iviohammed took the greatest part of his 
paradise, it is easy to s1iom\ The Jews constantly 
describe the future mansion of the just as a deli- 
cious garden, and make it also reach to the seventh 
heaven ; they also say it has three gates'', or, as 
others will have it, two', and four rivers (which last 
circumstance they copied, to be sure, from those of 
the garden of Eden "), flowing with milk, wine, bal- 
sam, and honey . Their Behemoth and Leviathan, 
which they pretend will be slain for the entertain- 
ment of the blessed '", are so apparently the Balam 

' Isaiah, Ixiv. -J. I Ci>ri:,th. ii. !>. '^ Lhap. x. &c ^ V. Poc. in 

not. ad Port. Mo?is, p. 30i.. -i V. Rdra.d. tk- Rel. 3Ioh. 1. 2. § 17- 

s V. Geninr. Taiiiih, f. '2b. IJeracoth, f ^4, and RJidrash sabboth, f. Ii7. 
'* Megillah, A'l.kttlli, p. 1%. ' Midrat-h, Yalkut Slieniuni. ** Geneai-, 

ii. 10, ^c. " 31iilrasli, Yalk. Sheni. "■ Gcniar. B.iva Bathra. 

f. 78 Ra-lii, in J<ib i. 


and Nun of Mohammed, that his followers them- 
selves confess he is obliged to them for both '. The 
Rabbins likewise mention seven different degrees of 
felicity-, and say that the highest will be of those 
who perpetually contemplate the face of God '. The 
Persian Magi had also an idea of the future happy 
estate of the good, very little different from that of 
Mohammed. Paradise they call Behisht, and Minu, 
Avhich signifies ay/slal, where they believe the righte- 
ous shall enjoy all manner of delights, and particu- 
larly the company of the Hurani behisht, or blach- 
eytd nymph\ of paradise \ the care of whom they 
say is committed to the angel Zamiyad ^ ; and hence 
Mohammed seems to have taken the first hint of 
his paradisiacal ladies. 

It is not improbable, however, but that he might 
have been obliged, in some respect, to the Christian 
accounts of the felicity of the good in the next life. 
As it is scarce possible to convey, especially to the 
apprehensions of the generality of mankind, an idea 
of spiritual pleasures without introducing sensible 
objects, the scriptures have been obliged to repre- 
sent the celestial enjoyments by corporeal images ; 
and to describe the mansion of the blessed as a glo- 
rious and magnificent city, built of gold and precious 
stones, with twelve gates ; through the streets of 
which there runs a river of water of life, and having 
on either side the tree of life, which bears twelve 
sorts of fruits, and leaves of a healing virtue '^. Our 
Saviour likewise speaks of the future state of the 
blessed as of a kingdom, where they shall eat and 
drink at his table '. But then these descriptions 
have none of those puerile imaginations which reign 

' V. Poc. not. in Port. Mosis, p. 298. - Nishmat hayiui, f. 32. 

3 Midrash, Tehillim, f. 1 1. 4 Sadder, porta 5. 5 Hyde, de Rel. 

Vet. Pers. p. 265. « Revel, xxi. 10, &c. and xxii. 1,2. 7 Luke, 

xxii. 29, 30, (Sec. « I Vvould not, however, undertake to defend all the 

Christian writers in this particular ; witness that one passage of Irentcus, wherein 
he introduces a tradition of St. John, that our liord should say, TItc days shall 
come ill wJiirh f/irrr shall be vines, which shall have each (en ilunisand branches. 


throughout that of Mohammed, much less any the 
most distant intimation of sensual delights, which he 
was so fond of; on the contrary, we are expressly as- 
sured, that " in the resurrection they will neither 
marry nor be given in marriage, but Mill be as the 
angels of God in heaven '. ^lohammed, however, to 
enhance the value of paradise with his Arabians, chose 
rather to imitate the indecency of the Magians than 
the modesty of the Christians in this particular, and 
lest his beatified Moslems should complain that any 
thing was \vanting, bestows on them wives, as well 
as the other comforts of life ; judging, it is to 
be presumed, from his own inclinations, that like 
Panurgus's ass ', they would think all other enjoy- 
ments not worth their acceptance if they were to be 
debarred from this. 

Had Mohannned, after all, intimated to his fol- 
lowers that what he had told them of paradise Avas 
to be taken, not literally, but in a metaphorical sense, 
(as it is said the Magians do the description of Zo- 
roaster's '), this might, perhaps, make some atone- 
ment ; but the contrary is so evident from the whole 
tenor of the Koran, that although some Moham- 
medans, whose understandings are too refined to admit 
such gross concej)tions, look on their prophet's de- 
scriptions as parabolical, and are willing to receive 
them in an allegorical or spiritual acceptation \ yet 
the general and orthodox doctrine is, that the Avhole 
is to be strictly believed in the obvious and literal 

mid cvvnj of those hramhcs shall hair Un thousand lesser hnnichet', una (\. / // of 
these l}raiielies shall hare ten thousand ircif^s, and eirri/ one of these txeigs shall 
have ten thousand chisteis of grapes, and in every one of these elusiers there shall 
he ten thousand grapes, and every one of these grapes being pressed shall yield 
two hundred and sevatty-fivc gallons of wine; and when a man shall take hold 
oj'one of these saered hunches, another hunch shall cry out, I am a better hunch, 
take Die, and bless the Lord by we, &c. Tren. 1. 5. c '6li. 

' i\Iatth. xxii. lU). - V. Riibelais, l'ant;:i;r. 1. .'). c. 7. A better au- 

thority than this niii^ht liowevcr be allt-giil in I'uvoiir of Mohaniimd's jiulgnicnt 
in this respect; I mean that of Plato, who is said to have proposed, in l)is ideal 
commonwealth, as the reward of valiant men and consummate soldiers, the 
kisses of boys and l)eamcous damsels. V. Cell Noet. Att. 1. 18. c "J. 3 V. 

Hyde, de lid. \'ct. IVt;-. p. 'J6G- * V. Eund. in not. ad l>obov. Lit. 

Tiircar. p. 21. 

Sect. 4.] THE niELIMlMARY DTSCOUllSE. 141 

acceptation ; to prove which I need only urge the 
oath they exact from Christians (who they know ab- 
hor such fancies) when they would bind them in the 
most strong and sacred manner ; for in such a case 
they make them swear that if they falsify their en- 
gagement they will affirm that there will be black- 
eyed girls in the next world, and corporeal plea- 
sures \ 

Before we quit this subject, it may not be impro- 
per to observe the falsehood of a vulgar imputation 
on the Mohammedans, wdio are by several writers = 
reported to hold that women have no souls, or, if 
they have, that they will perish, like those of brute 
beasts, and will not be rewarded in the next life. 
But whatever may be the opinion of some ignorant 
people among them, it is certain that Mohammed 
had too great a respect for the fair sex to teach such 
a doctrine; and there are several passages in the 
Koran which affirm that women, in the next life, 
will not only be punished for their evil actions, but 
will also receive the rewards of their good deeds, as 
well as the men, and that in this case God will make 
no distinction of sexes '. It is true, the general no- 
tion is, that they will not be admitted into the same 
abode as the men are, because their places will be 
supplied by the paradisiacal females (though some 
alloAV that a man will there also have the company 
of those who were his wives in this world, or at 
least such of them as he shall desire ') ; but that good 
women will go into a separate place of happiness, 
where they will enjoy all sorts of delights'; but 
whether one of those delights will be the enjoy- 
ment of agreeable paramours created for them, to 
complete the economy of the Mohammedan system, 

1 Poc. ad Port. Mos. p. [i05. '^ Hornbek, Sum. Contr. p. KJ. Grelot, 

Voyage de Constant, p. 275. Ricaut's Present State of the Ottoman Empire, 
1. 2. c. 21. 3 See Kor. c. 3. p. 83. c. 4, p. 107- And also c. 13, 16, 40, 

48, 57, &c. V. etiam Reland. de Rel. Moh. 1. 2. § 18. and Hyde, in Not. ad 
Bobov. de Visit. yEgr. p. 21. <» See before, p. 135. 5 V. Char- 

din, Vov. tom. ii. p. 3'28. and Bayle, Diet. Hist. Art. Mahomet, Rem. Q. 


is what I have nowhere found decided. One cir- 
cumstance relating to these beatified females, con- 
formable to what he had asserted of the men, he 
acquainted his followers with in the answer he re- 
turned to an old woman ; who desiring him to in- 
tercede with God, that she might be admitted into 
paradise, he told her that no old woman would enter 
that place ; which setting the poor woman a crying, 
he explained himself by saying, that Ciod would then 
make her young again '. 

The sixth great point of faith, which the Mo- 
hammedans are taught by the Koran to believe, is 
God's absolute decree, and predestination both of 
good and evil. For the orthodox doctrine is, that 
whatever hath or shall come to pass in this ^^orld, 
whether it be good, or whetlier it be bad, proceedeth 
entirely from the divine will, and is irrevocably 
fixed and recorded from all eternity in the preserved 
table'-; God having secretly predetermined not only 
the adverse and prosperous fortune of every person 
in this world, in the most minute particulars, but 
also his faith or infidelity, his obedience or disobe- 
dience, and consequently his everlasting happiness 
or misery after death ; which fate or predestination 
it is not possible, by any foresight or wisdom, to 

Of this doctrine Mohammed makes gi'eat use in 
his Koran, for the advancement of his designs : en- 
couraging his followers to fight without fear, and 
even desperately, for the propagation of their faith, 
by representing to them that all their caution could 
not avert their inevitable destiny, or prolong their 
lives for a moment'; and deterring them from dis- 
obeying or rejecting him as an impostor, by setting 
before them the danger they might thereby incur of 
being, by the just judgment of God, abandoned to 

' See Koran, c. r>fi, and the notes there ; aid Gagnicr. not. in Abulfeda? Vit. 
Moll. p. 146. » See before, p. «R. 3 Kor. c 3, p. 74, 70, and 

c. 1, p. f».'», <Scc. 


seduction, hardness of heart, and a reprobate mind, 
as a punishment for their obstinacy '. 

As this doctrine of absohite election and reproba- 
tion has been thought by many of the Mohammedan 
divines to be derogatory to the goodness and justice 
of God, and to make God the author of evil ; several 
subtle distinctions have been invented, and disputes 
raised, to explicate or soften it ; and different sects 
have been formed, according to their several opi- 
nions, or methods of explaining this point : some of 
them going so far as even to hold the direct contrary 
position, of absolute free will in man, as we shall see 
hereafter '. 

Of the four fundamental points of religious prac- 
tice required by the Koran, the first is prayer, under 
which, as has been said, are also comprehended those 
legal washings or purifications which are necessary 
preparations thereto. 

Of these purifications there are two degrees, one 
called Ghost, being a total immersion or bathing of 
the body in water ; and the other called JJ'odu (by 
the Persians, abdesf), which is the washing of their 
faces, hands, and feet, after a certain manner. The 
first is required in some extraordinary cases only, 
as after having lain with a woman, or iDeen polluted 
by emission of seed, or by approaching a dead body ; 
women also being obliged to it after their courses or 
childbirth. The latter is the ordinary ablution in 
common cases, and before prayer, and must neces- 
sarily be used by every person before he can enter 
upon that duty '. It is performed with certain formal 
ceremonies, which have been described by some 
writers, but are much easier apprehended by seeing 
them done than by the best description. 

These purifications were perhaps borrowed by 
Mohammed of the Jews, at least they agree in a 

> Kor. c. 4, p. 95 and 112 13. And e. 2, p. 3, &c. passim. * Sect. VIIL 

3 Kor. c. 4, p. 94, and c. 5, p. 1 18. V. Reland. de Rel. IMoh. 1. I.e. 8. 

144 THE PKELiMiXAUv DiscouitsK. [Sect. 4, 

great measure with those used by that nation ^ who 
in process of time burthened the precepts of Moses 
in this point with so many traditionary ceremonies, 
that whole books have been written about them, and 
who were so exact and superstitious therein even in 
our Saviour's time, that they are often reproved by 
him for it '. But as it is certain that the pagan 
Arabs used histrations of this kind', long before 
the time of Mohammed, as most nations did, and 
still do in the east, where the warmth of the climate 
requires a greater nicety and degree of cleanliness 
than these colder parts ; perhaps Mohammed only 
recalled his countrymen to a more strict observance 
of those purifying rites, which had been probably 
neglected by them, or at least performed in a care- 
less and perfunctory manner. The ]\lohannnedans, 
however, will have it that they are as ancient as 
Abraham ', who, they say, was enjoined by God to 
observe them, and was showed the manner of making 
the ablution by the angel Gabriel, in the form of 
a beautiful youth . Nay some deduce the matter 
higher, and imagine that these ceremonies were 
taught our first ])arents by the angels ". 

That his followers might be the more punctual in 
this duty, Mohannned is said to have declared, that 
i/ie praclkc of reUgioii is Jhimchd on cleanliness^ 
which is the one half of the Jaith, and tlw hey of 
'prayer, without which it will not be heard by God'. 
That these expressions may be the better under- 
stood, al Ghazali reckons four degrees of purifica- 
tion ; of which the first is, the cleansing of the body 
from all pollution, filth, and excrements ; the second, 

' Poc. not. in Port. 3Iosis, p. 3.">f;, iS:c. » I\Iark vii. M, &c. 3 V. He- 

rodot. I. ;{, c. 19}!. ' Al .Tannabi in Vita Abrali. \ . Poc. Spec. p. 303. 

■■ Herewith agrees tlic spurious Gospel of S. lianiJiha*, the translation 
of which (chap. 29.) lias these words. D'lxo Abraliani Que Ituri. yo jxira scrvir 
al D'los (k Ids sanrto.i y prophctas ? Jicyioiidid cl (/iiffcl, Vc a tiqitflUi fttcntc y 
hnuU; pon/iii: Dion ijitirrr Itahhir cuiitigu. Abraliam, Cmiio iriiffO dc la- 
varvif ? Liirffd rl iitigtl sr Ir apparcnb como una licUo manccbo, y sc Uivo en la 
fiu-ntf, y It:, Abniliam, liti:: ctmio yo. V Abraliani sf laiii, &c. ^ Al 

Kessrti. V. Kcland. de Kel. Mohaniin. p. 81. ' Al Ghazali, Ebn al Athir. 


the cleansing of the members of the body from all 
wickedness and unjust actions ; the third, the cleans- 
ing of the heart from all blamable inclinations, and 
odious vices ; and the fourth, the purging of a man's 
secret thoughts from all affections which may divert 
their attendance on God : adding, that the body is 
but as the outward shell in respect to the heart, 
which is as the kernel. And for this reason he 
highly complains of those who are superstitiovisly 
solicitous in exterior purifications, avoiding those 
persons as unclean who are not so scrupulously 
nice as themselves, and at the same time have their 
minds lying waste, and overrun with pride, ignorance, 
and hypocrisy '. Whence it plainly appears with 
how little foundation the Mohammedans have been 
charged, by some writers', with teaching or ima- 
gining that these formal washings alone cleanse them 
from their sins \ 

Lest so necessary a preparation to their devotions 
should be omitted, either where water cannot be 
had, or when it may be of prejudice to a person's 
health, they are allowed in such cases to make use 
of fine sand or dust in lieu of it ^ ; and then they 
perform this duty by clapping their open hands on 
the sand, and passing them over the parts, in the 
same manner as if they were dipped in water. But 
for this expedient Mohammed was not so much in- 
debted to his own cunning ', as to the example of 
the Jews, or perhaps that of the Persian Magi, al- 
most as scrupulous as the Jews themselves in their 
lustrations, who both of them prescribe the same 
method in cases of necessity '; and there is a famous 

' V. Poc. Spec. p. 302, &.c. * Barthol. Edessen. Confut. Hagaien. 

p. 360. G. Sionita and J. Hesronita, in Tract, de Urb. et 3Iorib. Orient, ad 
Calcem. Geogr. Nubians, c- 15. Du Ryer, dans le Sommaire de la I^el. des 
Turcs, mis a la Tete de sa Version de I'Alcor. St. Olon, Descr. du Royavune de 
Maroc, c. 2. Hyde, in Not. ad Bobov. de Prec. Moh. p. 1. Smith, de jiiorib. et 
Instit. Turcar. Ep. 1. p. 32. 3 V. Reland. de Rel. Moh. 1. 2. c. 11. 

4 Koran, c. 3. p. 91. and 5. p. 118. s V. Smith, ubi sup. '' Gemar. 

lierachoth. c. 2. V. Poc. not. ad Port, IMo.v,?, p. 38y. Sadder, porta iH. 

VOL. I. h 

146 Tin: pkkllminarv discourse. [Sect. 4. 

instance, in ecclesiastical history, of sand being used, 
for the same reason, instead of \vater, in the admi- 
nistration of the Christian sacrament of baptism, 
many years before Mohammed's time '. 

Neither are the jVIoliammedans contented with 
bare washing, but think themselves obliged to seve- 
ral other necessary points of cleanliness. Avhich they 
make also parts of this duty ; sucli as combing the 
hair, cutting the beard, paring the nails, pulling out 
the hairs of their arm-pits, shaving tlieir private 
parts, and circumcision ' ; of which last I v.ill add 
a word or two, lest I should not find a more proper 

Circumcision, though it be not so much as once 
mentioned in the Koran, is yet held by the Moham- 
medans to be an ancient divine institution, confirmed 
by the religion of Islam, and though not so abso- 
lutely necessary but that it might be dispensed with 
in some cases \ yet highly proper and exi)edient. 
The Arabs used this rite for many ages before Mo- 
hammed, having j)robably learned it from Ismael, 
though not only his descendants, but the Hamva- 
rites % and other tribes, practised the same. The 
Ismaelites, we are told ', used to circumcise their 
children, not on the eighth day, as is the custom of 
the Jews, but when about twelve or thirteen years 
old, at which age their father underwent that opera- 
tion : and the Mohammedans imitate them so far 
as not to circumcise children before they be able, at 
least, distinctly to jn-onounce that profession of their 
faith, There is no God bu/ God, Mohammed is the 
apostle 0/ God ' ; but pitch on what age tliev please 
for the ])urpose between six and sixteen, or there- 
abouts . 'J'hough the Moslem doctors are generally 
of opinion, conformably to the Scripture, that this 

' Cedrcn. p. •>-,(). ■' V. Poc Spec. p. ."{O.?. 3 V. Bobov. de Cir- 

ciimcis p. '2-2. J Philostorg. Hist. EccJ. lib. X 5 Joseph. Ant. 1. 1, 

c. 2.3. fi Genes, xvii. 2'). 7 V. Bobov. ubi sup. and For. Spec, 
p. .3.«. « v. Rcland. de Rcl. Mob. I. I. p. "Jo. 


precept was originally given to Abraham, yet some 
have imagined that Adam was taught it by the 
angel Gabriel, to satisfy an oath he had made to cut 
off that flesh which, after his fall, had rebelled against 
his spirit ; whence an odd argument has been drawn 
for the universal obligation of circumcision \ Though 
I cannot say the Jews led the Mohammedans the 
way here, yet they seem so unwilling to believe any 
of the principal patriarchs or prophets before Abra- 
ham were really uncircumcised, that they pretend 
several of them, as well as some holy men who lived 
after his time, were born ready circumcised, or 
without a foreskin, and that Adam, in particular, 
was so created-; whence the Mohammedans affirm 
the same thing of their prophet \ 

Prayer was by Mohammed thought so necessary 
a duty, that he used to call it the pillar of religio//, 
and the kez/ of paradise ; and when the Thakifites, 
who dwelt at Tayef, sending in the ninth year of the 
Hejra to make their submission to that prophet, 
after the keeping of their favourite idol had been 
denied them^ begged, at least, that they might be 
dispensed with as to their saying of the appointed 
prayers, he answered, That there could be no good 
in that religion wlicrein icas no prayer". 

That so important a duty, therefore, might not be 
neglected, Mohammed obliged his followers to pray 
five times every twenty-four hours, at certain stated 
times ; viz. 1. In the morning, before sunrise : 2. 
When noon is past, and the sun begins to decline 

» This is the substance of the followiiis; passage of the Gospel of Barnabas, 
(chap. 23.) viz. Enioncrs d'l.vo Jesus ; Adam el prime}- homhre avkndo comido 
par enganu del demmiio la com'ida proliihida por Dio.s en el paraijso, se le rcbelb 
m carnc a su espiritu ; por lu qiial juro dlrkiido, Por Dios que yo te qiiiero 
cortar; y rompiendo una plcdra tomo su came para cortarla con el carte de la 
piedra. Por loqual fue reprchendido del angel Gabriel, y el le dixo ; Yo he 
jurado por Dios que lo he de cortar, y mcntiroso no le sere jamas. Ala hora cl 
angel le enseno la supcrfluidud de su came, y a qneila cortb. De manera qm 
ansi coma todo homhre toma came de Adam, ansi esta ohligado a cumplir aquello 
que Adam con juramento promctib. - Shalsliel. hakkabala. V. Poc. 

Spec. p. 320. Gagnier, Not. in Abulfed. Vit. Moh. p. 2. 3 V. Poc. Spec 

p 304. 4 See before, p. 23, 24. s Abulfed. Vit. Moh. p. 127- 

L 3 

14S rHK I'Hl'.l.miXAKY DISCOURSE. [Sect. 4. 

from the iiiericlian : 3. In the afternoon, before sun- 
set : 4. In the evening, after sun-set, and before day 
be shut in : and, 5. After the day is shut in, and be- 
fore the first watch of the night '. For this institu- 
tion he pretended to have received tlie divine com- 
mand from the throne of God himself, \A'hen he took 
Jiis niglit journey to heaven : and the observing of 
the stated times of prayer is frequently insisted on in 
the Koran, though they be not particularly j)rcscribed 
therein. Accordingly, at the aforesaid times, of 
which public notice is given by the Muedhdhins, or 
Criers, from the steeples of their ISIosques (for they 
use no bells), every conscientious Moslem prepares 
himself for prayer, Avhich he performs either in the 
Mosque or any other place, provided it be clean, 
after a prescribed form, and with a certain number 
of praises or ejaculations (which the more scrupulous 
count by a string of beads), and using certain pos- 
tures of worship ; all which have been particularly 
set down and described, though with some few mis- 
takes, by other writers , and ouglit not to be abridged 
unless in some special cases ; as on a journey, on 
preparing for battle, &c. 

For the regular performance of the duty of prayer 
among the Mohammedans, besides the particulars 
above-mentioned, it is also requisite that tiiey turn 
their faces, while tliey pray, towards the temi)le 
of Mecca ; the quarter where the same is situate 
being, for that reason, pointed out \\ithin their 
Mosques by a niche, which they call al IMehrAb, and 
without, by the situation of the doors opening into 
the galleries of the steeples : there are also tables 
calculated for the ready finding out their Keblah, or 
part tOAvards which they ought to pray, in places 
where they have no other direction'. 

• V. Abulfed. Vit. I\Ioh. p. 38, :i9. ^ V. Hotting. Hit,t. EccLs. Tom. «. 

J). 470 — i>2i}. lidboy. in Liturg. Turcic. p. 1, Ac. Grtlct, Voyage de Constant. 
p. 2^)3— 2«;4. (hardin, \'oy. tie Perse, Tom. II. p. S8«, kc. and Smith, ilo 
MoribuK ac Instit. Tuicar. Ep. 1, p. 33, &c. J Koian, chap. 2, p. *24. 

See the notes there « V. Hyde, de Ivol. Vet. P>.ms. p. !!, !), and l'2G. 


But what is principally to be regarded in the dis- 
charge of this duty, say the Moslem doctors, is the 
inward disposition of the heart, which is the life and 
spirit of prayer ' ; the most punctual observance of 
the external rites and ceremonies before-mentioned 
being of little or no avail, if performed without due 
attention, reverence, devotion, and hope ' : so that 
we must not think the Mohammedans, or the consi- 
derate part of them at least, content themselves with 
the mere opus operatuin, or imagine their whole reli- 
gion to be placed tlier(?in '. 

I had like to have omitted two things which in 
my mind deserve mention on this head, and may, 
perhaps, be better defended than our contrary ])rac- 
tice. One is, that the Mohammedans never address 
themselves to God in sumptuous apparel, though 
they are obliged to be decently clothed ; but lay 
aside their costly habits and pompous ornaments, if 
they wear any, when they approach the divine pre- 
sence, lest tliey should seem proud and arrogant '. 
The other is, that they admit not their women to 
pray with them in public ; that sex being obliged to 
perform their devotions at home, or if they visit tlic 
mosques, it must be at a time when the men are not 
there : for the Moslems are of opinion that their 
presence inspires a different kind of devotion frciii 
that which is requisite in a place dedicated to the 
worship of God \ 

' A\ Giiazali. 2 V. Poc. Spec. p. 305. 3 V. Smith, ubi sun p. 40. 

4 Relanil, de Rel. Moh. p. 90. See Kor. chap. 7- * A Sloor, named 

Ahmed Ebu Abdalla, in a Latin epistle by him written to IMaurice prince of 
Orange, and Emanuel prince of Portugal, contiiining a censure of the Christian 
religion (a coj>y of v/hich once belonging to Mr. Selden, who has thence tran- 
scribed a consiclci able passage in his Treatise De Synedriis Vett. Ebrjsor. 1. 1, c. 
12, is now in the i'odleian libary), finds great fault with the unedifying manner 
in which mass is said among the Roman Catholics, for tliis very reason among 
others. His words are : UMciniqiie congreganiur simul viri et fcpminfF. ihi 
mens non est intcnta et devota : nam inter celehrandum niissam et .iacrtftc:a, 
fwmince'et viri imituis aspcctihiis, signis, ac nutibiis acveinhint pravoriim npje- 
tltum. et desiderioritm suorum ignrs : rt quando hoc non Jlctet, saltern humana 
fragilitas delectatur mutuo ct rcriproco aspcciti ; et itn wm potent esse mem 
qnieta, atienta, c! dcvotn. 

150 THE I'UELl.AIIXAllV DISCOI'USE. [Sect. 4. 

The greater part of the particulars comprised in 
the Mohainiiiedau institution of prayer their pro- 
phet seems to have copied from others, and espe- 
cially the Jews ; exceeding their institutions only iu 
the number of daily prayers'. The Jews are di- 
rected to pray three times a day , in the morning, 
in the evening, and within night ; in imitation of 
Abraham ^ Isaac , and Jacob': and the practice 
was as early, at least, as the time of Daniel ' . T'he 
several postures used by the Mohammedans in their 
prayers are also the same with those prescribed by 
tlie Jewish Rabbins, and particularly the most so- 
lemn act of adoration by prostrating themselves so 
as to touch the ground with their forehead ' ; not- 
withstanding the latter pretend the practice of the 
former, in this respect, to be a relic of their ancient 
manner of paying their devotions to Baal-Peor^ 
The Jews likewise constantly pray with their faces 
turned towards the temple of Jerusalem , which has 
been their Keblah from the time it was first dedicated 
by Solomon ' ; for which reason Daniel, praying in 
Chaldea, had the windows of his chamber open 
toAvards that city ^^ : and the same was the Keblah 
of Mohammed and his followers for six or seven 
months ■, and till he found himself obliged to change 
it for the Caaba. The Jews moreover are obliged 
by the precepts of their religion to be careful that 
the place they pray in, and tlie garments they have 
on Avhen they perform their duty be clean *^ ; the 
men and women also among them pray apart (in 
which particular they were imitated by the eastern 
Christians) ; and several other conformities miglit 

' The Sabians, according to some, exceed the 3Iohammedans in this point, 
praying seven times a day. See before, p. 1!). - Gemar. Berachoth. 

3 Genes, xix. 27. ' Genes, xxiv. ii'A. s Genes, xxviii. II, &c. 

'• Dan. vi. 10. ' \'\<\c 3Iillium, de INIohimimcdisiiio ante Moham. p. 427, 

&c. and Hyde, de Kel. \'e(. Pers. p. ."), ti.c. " ."\Iaimonid. in l^pist. ad 

Prosclyt. Reliji;. V. I'oc. Spec p. ."0(1. '-' (Jemav. Hava Hathra. and Berachoth. 
'" 1 Kings, viii. 2[), &c. " Dan. vi. 10. ''^ Some say eighteen months. 

V. Abulftd. Vit. Moh. p. 54. '3 .Maimon. in Halachi'ith.'Tephilla, c. !>, 

tj <f, y. .Alcniir.i luniinicor, I'ol. 'Jit. 2. 


be remarked between the Jewish public worship and 
that of the Mohammedans \ 

The next point of the Mohammedan religion is 
the giving of alms ; which are of two sorts, legal 
and voluntary. The legal alms are of indispensable 
obligation, being commanded by the law, which di- 
rects and determines both the portion which is to be 
given, and of what things it ought to be given ; but 
the vohuitarij alms are left to every one's liberty, to 
give more or less, as he shall see fit. The former 
kind of alms some think to be properly called Zacat, 
and the latter Sadakat ; though this name be also 
frequently given to the legal alms. They are called 
Zacat, either because they increase a man's store, by 
drawing down a blessing thereon, and produce in his 
soul the virtue of liberality ", or because they purijij 
the remaining part of one's substance from ])ollution, 
and the soul from the filth of avarice ; and Sadakat, 
because they are a proof of a man's smceriiij in the 
worship of God. Some writers have called the legal 
alms tj/thes, but improperly, since in some cases they 
fall short, and in others exceed that proportion. 

The giving of alms is frequently connnanded in 
the Koran, and often recommended therein jointly 
with prayer ; the former being held of great efficacj'' 
in causing the latter to be heard of God : for which 
reason the Khalif Omar Ebn Abd'alaziz used to say, 
" that prayer carries us half way to God, fasting 
brings us to the door of his palace, and alms pro- 
cure us admission \" The Mohammedans therefore 
esteem almsdeeds to be highly meritorious, and many 
of them have been illustrious for the exercise thereof. 
Hasan the son of Ali, and grandson of Mohammed, 
in particular, is related to have thrice in his life 
divided his substance equally between himself and 

' V. Miilium, iibi supra, p. 424, et scq. ^ Al Beidiiwi. See Kor. 

chap. 2. p. 4fi — -IK. ^ Idem. Compare tiiis with what our Saviour says, Luke 
xi. 41. " Give ahns of such things as yc have ; and behold, all things are clean 
unto you." ■» D'llerbci. Bibl. Orient, p. 5. 


the poor, and twice to have given nU'ay all he had ^: 
and the generality are so addicted to the doing of 
good, that they extend their cliarity even to hrutes*. 

Alms, according to the prescrii)tions of the Mo- 
hammedan law, are to be given of five things ; 1 . Of 
cattle, that is to say, of camels, kiiie, and sheep. 
2. Of money. 3. Of corn. 4. Of fruits, liz. dates 
and raisins. And 5. Of wares sold. Of each of 
these a certain portion is to he given in alms, being 
usually one part in forty, or two and a half per 
cenl. of the value. But no alms are due for them, 
unless they amount to a certain quantity or number ; 
nor until a man has been in possession of them eleven 
months, he not being obliged to give alms thereout 
before the twelfth month is begun: nor are alms 
due for cattle employed in tilling the ground, or in 
carrying of burdens. In some cases a much larger 
])ortion than the before-mentioned is reckoned due 
for alms : thus of what is gotten out of mines, or 
the sea, or by any art or profession over and above 
what is sufficient for the reasonable support of a 
man's family, and especially where there is a mixture 
or suspicion of unjust gain, a fifth part ought to be 
given in alms. Moreover, at the end of the fast of 
Ramadan, every Moslem is obliged to give in alms 
for himself and for every one of his family, if he has 
any, a measiu-e ' of ^^'heat, barley, dates, raisins, rice, 
or other provisions commonly eaten '. 

The legal alms were at first collected by Mo- 
hannned himself, who employed them as he thought 
fit, in the relief of his poor relations and followers, 
but chiefly applied them to the maintenance of those 
who served in his wars, and fought, as he termed it, 
in the way of God. His successors continued to do 

' D'llerbcl. Bibl. Orient p. A12. ^ V. Uuhbcq. Epist 3. p. 178. Smith, 

Dc Morib. Turc. i;p. 1. p. (iC, &c. Compare Eccles. xi. 1. and Prov. xii. 10. 
3 This measure is a Sau. and contains about six or seven pounds weight. ■» V. Re- 
l;md. dc Uel. Mohammed. I. 1. p. 9!>, &c. Chardin, Vov. de Perse, t. II. p. 
41,-), J. c. 


the same, till, in process of time, other taxes and 
tributes being imposed for the support of the go- 
vernment, they seem to have been weary of acting 
as almoners to their subjects, and to have left the 
paying them to their consciences. 

In the foregoing rules concerning alms, we may 
observe also footsteps of what the Jews taught and 
practised in respect thereto. Alms, which they also 
call Sedaka, i. e. justice, or riL(]iieousii3Ss \ are greatly 
recommended by their Rabbins, and preferred even 
to sacrifices - ; as a duty the frequent exercise whereof 
will effectually free a man from hell fire ', and merit 
everlasting life * : wherefore, besides the corners of 
the field, and the gleanings of their harvest and 
vineyard, commanded to be left for the poor and 
the stranger by the law of Moses \ a certain portion 
of their corn and fruits is directed to be set apart 
for their relief, which portion is called the tithes of 
the poor '. The Jews likewise were formerly very 
conspicuous for their charity. Zaccheus gave the 
half of his goods to the poor 7; and we are told that 
some gave their whole substance : so that their doc- 
tors, at length, decreed that no man should give 
above a fifth part of his goods in alms^ There 
WQve also persons publicly appointed in every syna- 
gogue to collect and distribute the people's con- 
tributions •'. 

The third point of religious practice is fasting; 
a duty of so great moment, that Mohammed used to 
say it was " the gate of religion," and that " the 
odour of the mouth of him who fasteth is more 
grateful to God than that of musk ;" and al Ghaziili 
reckons fasting " one-fourth part of the faith." Ac- 
cording to the Mohammedan divines, there are three 

' Hence alms are in the New Testament termed A:xj;ocrJv^. Matth. vi. 1. 
(Ed. Steph.) and 2 Co. ix. 10. 2 Geinar. in Bava batlira. ^ Ibid, in 

Gittin. 4 Ibid, in Rosli liashana. ■■ Levit xix. *), 10. Dent. xxiv. 

^^■> &-'=• "^ V. Gemar. Hierosol. in Peah, and illainion. in Halaclioth 

niatanoth Aniyyim. c. G. Confer Pirke Avoth. v. 0. 7 Luke xix. <!. 

* v. Kdaiul. Ant. Sacr. Vet. Hcbr. p. 402. = V. ibid. p. 13.'!. 


degrees of fasting- : 1. The restraining the belly and 
other parts of the body from satisfying their lusts ; 
2. The restraining the ears, eyes, tongue, hands, 
feet, and other members, from sin ; and 3. The 
fasting of the lieart from worldly cares, and re- 
fraining the tlioughts from every thing besides God'. 
The Mohanmiedans are obliged, by the express 
command of the Koran, to fast the whole month of 
Ramadan, from the time the ne^v moon first appears, 
till the appearance of the next new moon ; during 
which time they must abstain from eating, drinking, 
and women, from daybreak till night , or sunset. 
And this injunction they observe so strictly, that 
\vhile they fast they suffer nothing to enter their 
mouths, or other parts of their body, esteeming the 
fast broken and null if they smell perfumes, take a 
clyster or injection, bathe, or even purposely swallow 
their spittle ; some being so cautious that they will 
not open their mouths to speak, lest they should 
breathe the air too freely ^ : the fast is also deemed 
void if a man kiss or touch a woman, or if he vomit 
designedly. But after sunset they are allowed to 
refresh themselves, and to eat and drink, and enjoy 
the company of their wives till daybreak : though 
the more rigid begin the fast again at midnight \ 
This fast is extremely rigorous and mortifying when 

'\11 Ghazali, al Mostatraf. - Koran, chap. 2. p. 30, 31. 3 Hence 

we read that the Virgin i\Iary, to avoid aiiswering the reflections cast on her Ibr 
bringing home a cliild, was advised by the angel tiabriel to feign she liad vowed 
a fabt, and tlicrefore ought not to speak. See Koran, chap. 1 i). ^ The words 

of the Koran (chap. 2, p. 31.) are, " Until ye can distinguish a white thread 
from a black tliread by the daybreak ;" a form of speaking borrowed by i\Io- 
hamnied i'roni the Jev.-s, who determine tlie tinie when they are to begin their 
morning lesson to be to soon as a man can discern blue from white, i. e. the 
blue threads from the white threads in the fringes of their garments. But this 
explication the connuentators do not approve; pretcndiig that by the "■ white 
thread ai:d the black thread" are to be understood tlie light and dark streaks of 
the daybreak : and they say tl'.e passage was at first revealed without the words 
" of tlie daybreak ;" but JMchammed's followers t;iking the expression in the 
first sense, regulated their jjractice accordingly, and roiuinucd eating and drinking 
till they couhl distinguish a white thread from a blaik thread, as they lay before 
them ; to prevent which for the future, the words " of the daybreak" were added 
as explanatory of the former. Al Beid'iwi. V. I'ocock Nou in Carmen 'i'ograi, 
p. !!f), &c. ( hardin, ^^>y. de Pcrsc, t- 11. p. 423. s V. Chardiu, ib. p. 421, 

&c. IWaiid. dc Kelig. Aioli. p. 109. &c. 


the month of Ramadan happens to fall in summer, 
(for the Arabian year being lunar \ each month rims 
through all the different seasons in the course of 
thirty-three years), the length and heat of the days 
making the observance of it much more difficult and 
uneasy then than in winter. 

The reason given why the month of Ramadan 
Avas pitched on for this purpose is, that on that 
month the Koran wns sent down from heaven'^. 
Some pretend that Abraham, Moses, and Jesus 
received their respective revelations in the same 
month ^. 

From the fast of Ramadan none are excused, 
except only travellers and sick persoris (under which 
last denomination the doctors comprehend all whose 
health would manifestly be injured by their keeping 
the fast ; as women with child, and giving suck, 
ancient people, and young children) ; but then they 
are obliged, so soon as the impediment is removed, 
to fast an equal number of other days : and the 
breaking the fast is ordered to be expiated by giving 
alms to the poor \ 

Mohammed seems to have followed the guidance 
of the Jews in his ordinances concerning fasting, no 
less than in the former particulars. That nation, 
when they fast, abstain not only from eating and 
drinking, but from women, and from anointing 
themselves ', from daybreak until sunset, and the 
stars begin to appear ; spending the night in taking 
what refreshments they please^. And they allow 
women Math child and giving suck, old persons, and 
yoimg children, to be exempted from keeping most 
of the public fasts '". 

Though my design here be briefly to treat of those 
points only v.'hich are of indispensable obligation on 

' See hereafter, 5:5 VI. - Kc-an, chap. 2. p. .j1. See also chap. 97- 

3 Al Beidawi, ex Trad. Moharnniedis. -i See Koran, chap. 2. p. 81. sSiphra, 
fol. 252. 2. 6 Tosephoth ad Gemar. ^'oma, £ 34. ' V. Gemar. 

Yoma, f. 40, and Mamion. in Halachoth Tauioth, c. 5. § j. » V., (Tcniar. 

Tiinith, f. 12, and Yoma, fol. 83, and EsHayini, Tanitli, c. 1. 


a Moslem, and expressly required by the Koran, 
without entering into their practice as to vohintary 
and supcreroo-at(jry works ; yet to sho\\^ li()\\' closely 
Mohannned's institutions follow the Jewish, I shall 
add a word or two of the voluntary fasts of the 
JMohammcdans. 71iese are such as have been re- 
commended either by the example or approbation 
of their prophet ; and especially certain days of those 
months wliich they esteem sacred : there beino; a 
tradition that he used to say, That a fast of one 
day in a sacred month was better than a fast of 
thirty days in another month ; and that tlie fast of 
one day in Ramadan was more meritorious than a 
fast of thirty days in a sacred mouth . Among the 
more commendable days is that of Ashura, the tenth 
of Moharram ; vrhich, though some writers tell us 
it was observed by the Arabs, and particularly the 
tribe of Koreish, before Mohammed's time S yet, as 
others assure us, that pro])het borroA\ ed both the 
name and the fast from the Jews ; it being, with 
them, the tenth of the seventh month, or Tisri. and 
the great day of expiation conunanded to be kept by 
the law of Moses '. Al Kazwini relates, that when 
IVIohammed came to Medina and found the Jews 
there fasted on the day of Ashura, he asked them 
the reason of it ; and they told him, it was because 
on that day Pharaoh and his people were drowned, 
Moses, and those who were witli him, escaping : 
vvliereu])on he said, that he bore a nearer relation to 
Moses than they ; and ordered his followers to fast 
on that day. However, it seems, afterwards he Avas 
not so M'ell pleased in having imitated the Jews 
herein : and therefore declared, that if he lived an- 
other year, he Avould alter the day, and fast on the 
ninth, .-ibhorring so near an ao-reement with them ''. 

The ])ilgrimage to Mecca is so necessary a point 
of practice, that, according to a tradition of ]\Io- 

' Al Giiazali. - Al l>arezi. in Coninient. ad < )rat. Kbn Nobaiic. s Lcvii. 

xvi. '2'.) aiul xxiii. '2"/. l>bn al Atliir. \'. I'oioik. Spec. p. ;>'•:'. 


hammed, he who dies without performing it may 
as well die a Jew or a Christian * ; and the same 
is expressly commanded in the Koran ". Before I 
speak of the time and manner of performing this 
pilgrimage, it may ha proper to give a short account 
of the temple of Mecca, the chief scene of the Mo- 
hammedan worship ; in doing which I need be the 
less prolix, because that ediiice has been already de- 
scribed by several writers ">, though they following 
different relations have been led into some mistakes, 
and agree not with one another in several parti- 
culars : nor, indeed, do the Arab authors agree in 
all things, one great reason whereof is their speak- 
ing of different times. 

The temple of Mecca stands in the midst of the 
city, and is honoured with the title of Masjad al 
alharam, i. e. the sacred or i/iriulabie temple. What 
is principally reverenced in this place, and gives 
sanctity to the whole, is a square stone building, 
called the Caaba, as some fancy from its he'iiijit, 
which surpasses that of the other buildings in Mecca \ 
but more probably from its quadran-i:idcir form, and 
Beit Allah, i. e. the house o/God, being peculiarly 
hallowed and set apart for his worship. The length 
of this edifice, from north to south, is twenty-four 
cubits, its breadth from east to west twenty-three 
cubits, and its height twenty-seven cubits : the door, 
which is on the east side, stands about four cubits 
from the ground ; the floor being level with the 
bottom of the door \ In the corner next this door 
is the black stone, of which I shall take notice by 
and by. On the north side of the Caaba, within a 
semicircular enclosure fifty cubits long, lies the white 
stone, said to be the sepulchre of Ismael, which re- 

' Al Ghazali. '- Chap. 3. p. (JJ. See also chap. 22, and chap. 2, p. 22, 

&c. 3 Chardin, Yoj. de Perse, T. II. p. 428, &c. Bremond, Descrit- 

tioni dell 'Egitto, &c. 1. 1. c. 29. Pitt's Account of the Rel. &c. of the I\Ioha- 
metans, p. 98, &c. and Boulainviliiers, Via de Mahomed, p. 54, &c. which last 
author is the most particular. 4 Ahmed Ebn Yusef. 5 Sharif al Edrisi, 

and Kitab Ma^alec, apud Poc. Spec. p. 125, &c. 


ceives the raiji-water that falls oil' the Caaba by a 
spout, formerly of woodi, but now of gold. The 
Caaba has a double roof, supported ^^■ithill by three 
octaugular pillars of aloes wood : between which, on 
a bar of iron, hang some silver lamps. The outside 
is covered with I'ich black damask, adorned with an 
embroidered band of gold, which is changed every 
year, and was formerly sent by the Khalifs, after- 
wards by the Soltans of Egypt, and is now provided 
by the Turkish emperors. At a small distance from 
the Caaba, on the east side, is the station or place of 
Abraliam, where is another stone much respected by 
the Mohammedans, of which something \\'ill be said 

The Caaba, at some distance, is surrounded, but 
not entirely, by a circular enclosure of pillars joined 
towards the bottom by a low balustrade, and towards 
the top by bars of silver. Just without this inner 
enclosure, on the south, north, and west sides of the 
Caaba, are three buildings, which are the oratories 
or places where three of the orthodox sects assemble 
to perform their devotions (the fourth sect, viz. that 
of al Shafei, making use of the station of Abraham 
for that purpose) ; and towards the south-east stands 
the edifice which covers the well Zemzem. the trea- 
sury, and the cupola of al Abbas . 

All these buildings are enclosed, at a considerable 
distance, by a magnificent piazza, or square colon- 
nade, like that of the Royal Excliange in London, 
but much larger, covered with small domes or 
cupolas ; from the four corners whereof rise as many 
Minarets or steeples, with double galleries, and 
adorned with gilded spires and crescents, as are the 
cupolas which cover the piazza and tiie other build- 
ings. Between the pillars of both enclosures hang 
a great number of lamps, M'hich are constantly 
lighted at night. The first foundations of this 

' Sharif al Edrisi, ibid. ' Idem, ibid. 


outward enclosure were laid by Omar, the second 
Khalif, who built no more than a low wall, to 
prevent the court of the Caaba, which before lay 
open, from being encroached on by private buildings ; 
but the structure has been since raised, by the 
liberality of many succeeding princes and great men, 
to its present lustre ^ 

This is properly all that is called the temple, but 
the whole territory of Mecca being also Haram or 
sacred, there is a third enclosure, distinguished at 
certain distances by small turrets, some five, some 
seven, and others ten miles distant from the city ', 
Within this compass of ground it is not lawful to 
attack an enemy, or even to hunt or fowl, or cut a 
branch from a tree ; which is the true reason why 
the pigeons at Mecca are reckoned sacred, and not 
that they are supposed to be of the race of that 
imaginary pigeon which some authors, who should 
have known better, would persuade us Mohammed 
made pass for the Holy Ghost ^. 

The temple of Mecca was a place of worship, and 
in singular veneration with the Arabs from great 
antiquity, and many centuries before Mohammed. 
Though it was most probably dedicated at first to an 
idolatrous use% yet the Mohammedans are generally 
persuaded that the Caaba is almost coeval with the 
world ; for they say that Adam, after his expulsion 
from paradise, begged of God that he might erect a 
building like that he had seen there, called Beit al Ma- 
mur, or the frequented house, and al Dorah, towards 
which he might direct his prayers, and which he 
might compass, as the angels do the celestial one. 
Whereupon God let down a representation of that 

• Pol. Spec. p. UG. 2 Gol. Not. in Alfrag. p. 99. ' Gab. Sionita, et 

Joh. Ilesionita, de noninillis Orient. Urbib. ad Calc. Geogr. Nub. p. 21. Al 
Mogholtai, in )iis life of Mohammed, says the pigeons of the temple of 3Iecca 
are of the breed of those which laid their eggs at the mouth of the cave where 
the prophet and Abu Beer hid themselves, when they fled from that city. See 
before, p. (J9. * See before, p. 23. 

160 THE rilEM.MIXAHV DISCOURSE. [Sect. 4. 

house in curtains of light ', and set it in Mecca, 
perpendicularly under its original', ordering the 
patriarch to turn towards it when he prayed, and 
to con]j)ass it by way of devotion". After Adam's 
death, his son Seth built a house in the same form, 
of stones and clay, which being destroyed by the 
deluge, rebuilt by Abraham and Ismael\ at 
God's command, in the place M'liere the former had 
stood, and after the same model, they being directed 
therein by revelation'. 

After this edifice had undergone several repara- 
tions, it M'as a few years after the birth of Mo- 
hammed rebuilt by the Koreish on the old founda- 
tion", and afterwards repaired by Abd'allah Ebn 
Zobeir, the Khalif of Mecca, and at length again 
rebuilt by Yusof, surnamed al Hejaj Ebn Yiisff, 
in the seventy-fourth year of the Hejra, with some 
alterations, in the form wherein it now remains". 
Some years after, however, the Khalif Harun al 
Rashid (or, as others write, his father al Mohdi, or 
his grandfather al Mansur), intended again to change 
what had been altered by al Hejaj. and to reduce the 
Caaba to the old form in which it A\'as left by 
Abd'allah ; but was dissuaded from meddling with 
it, lest so holy a place should become the sport of 
princes, and being new-modelled after every one's 
fancy, should lose that reverence which was justly 
paid it\ But notwithstanding the antiquity and 

' Some say that ihj Beit al ^lamiir itself was the Caaba of Adam, which, 
having been let c'own to him from heaven, was, at the flood, tiiken up again into 
heaven, and is there kept. Al Zamakh. in Kor. c. 2- * Al Jiizi, ex Trad. 

Ebn Abbas. It has been observed, that the primitive Christian church held a 
parallel opinion as to the situation of the celestial .Jerusalem with respect to the 
terrestial : for in the apocryphal book of the revelations of S. Peter, (chap, xxvii.) 
after Jesus has mentioned unto Peter the creation of the seven heavens (wlieiuv, 
by the way, it appears tliat this number of heavens wfis not devised by JMo- 
hanimed), and of the angels, begins the desciiption of the heavenly .Jerusalem 
in these words : JCc liair cnaled the upper Jerusalem above the -caters -which 
are aboxe the third heaven, hanffinff d'lreelhj over the hrwer Jcriisnleiii, i^-c. 
V. Gagnier. Not. ad Abulfed. Vit. ^loh. ]>. 28. 3A1 Shahrestani. * V. Kor. 
chap. 2, p. 22, 2a. s Al Jannibi, in \'ita Abrah. 6 y, Abulfed. Vit. 3Ioh. 
p. \:i. ' Idem, in Hist. Gen. Al Jannabi, &c. " Al Jannabi. 

Sect. 4.] THE raELI?.riNARY DISCOURSE. I6l 

holiness of this building, they have a prophecy, by 
tradition from Mohammed, that in the last times the 
Ethiopians shall come and utterly demolish it ; after 
which it will not be rebuilt again for ever^ 

Before we leave the temple of Mecca, tv/o or 
three particulars deserve further notice. One is the 
celebrated black stone, which is set in silver, and 
fixed in the south-east corner of the Caaba, being 
that which looks toward Basra, about two cubits 
and one-third, or, which is the same thing, seven 
spans from the ground. This stone is exceedingly 
respected by the Mohammedans, and is kissed by 
the pilgrims with great devotion, being called by 
some the right hand of God on earth. They fable 
that it is one of the precious stones of paradise, and 
fell down to the earth with Adam, and being taken 
up again, or otherwise preserved at the deluge, the 
angel Gabriel afterwards brought it back to Abraham 
when he was building the Caaba. It was at first 
whiter than milk, but grew black long since by the 
touch of a menstruous woman, or, as others tell us, 
by the sins of mankind ^ or rather by the touches 
and kisses of so many people ; the superficies only 
being black, and the inside still remaining white'. 
When the Karmatians^ among other profanations 
by them offered to the temple of Mecca, took away 
this stone, they could not be prevailed on for love or 
money to restore it, though those of Mecca offered 
no less than five thousand pieces of gold for \t\ 
However, after they had kept it twenty-two years, 
seeing they could not thereby draw the pilgrims 
from Mecca, they sent it back of their own accord ; 
at the same time bantering its devotees by telling 
them it was not the true stone : but, as it is said, it 

» Idem, Ahmetl Ebn Yusef. V. Poc. Spec. p. 1 \b, &c. "■ Al Zamakh, 

&c. in Kor. Ahmed Ebn Yusef. ^ po^.. Spec. p. 117, &c. 4 These 

Karmatians were a sect which arose in the year of the ilejra 278, and whose opi- 
nions overturned the fundamental points of Mohammedism. See D'Herbelot's 
Bibl. O-iient. Art. Carmath, and hereafter, g VIII. 5 D'Herbe'. p 40 
VOL. I. M 


was proved to be no counterfeit ])y its peculiar qua- 
lity of swimming on water'. 

Another thing observable in this temple is the 
stone in Abraham's place, A^herein they pretend to 
show his footsteps, telling us he stood on it when he 
built the Caaba , and that it served him for a 
scaffold, rising and falling of itself as he had occa- 
sion'; though another tradition says he stood upon 
it while the wife of his son Ismael, whom he paid a 
visit to, washed his head '. It is now enclosed in an 
iron chest, out of which the pilgrims drink the 
water of Zemzem , and are ordered to pray at it by 
the Koran . The officers of the temjMe took care 
to hide this stone when the Karmatians toolc the 

The last thing I shall take notice of in the temple 
is the well Zemzem on the east side of the Caaba, 
and which is covered with a small building and 
cupola. The Mohammedans are persuaded it is the 
very spring which gushed out for the relief of Ismael, 
when Hagar his mother wandered with him in the 
desert"; and some pretend it was so named from her 
calling to him, when she spied it, in the Egyi)tian 
tongue, Zem, zem, that is, Stay, stay'-, though it 
seems rather to have had the name from the mur- 
muring of its waters. Tlie water of this well is 
reckoned holy, and is highly reverenced ; being not 
only drank with particular devotion by the })ilgrims, 
but also sent in bottles, as a great rarity, to most 
parts of the Mohammedan dominions. Abd'allah, 
surnamed al Hafedh, from his great memory, par- 
ticularly as to the traditions of Mohammed, gave 
out that he acquired that faculty by drinking large 
draughts of Zemzem water", to which I reall}' 

' Ahmed Ebii Yusef, Abulfeda. V. Poc. Spec. p. 1 19. « Abulfed. 

3 v. Hyde, de Kcl. Vet. Pers. p. 35. * Ahmed Ebn Vu?cf, Safio'ddin. 

5 Ahmed Kbn Yusef. « Chap. 2, p. 22. ' V. Poe. Spec. p. 120. .<ic. 

■ Genes, xxi. 19- ' O. Sionit. et J. Hesr. denonnuU. I'rb. Orient, p. l!). 

•» D'Herbel p. .".. 


believe it as efficacious as that of Helicon to the 
inspiring of a poet. 

To this temple every Moliammedan, who has 
health and means sufficients ought once, at least, in 
his life to go on pilgrimage ; nor are women excused 
from the performance of this duty. The pilgrims 
meet at different places near Mecca, according to the 
different parts from whence they come", during tlie 
months of Shawal and Dhu'lkaada ; being obliged 
to be there by the beginning of Dhu'lhajja ; which 
month, as its name imports, is peculiarly set apart 
for the celebration of this solemnity. 

At the places above-mentioned the pilgrims pro- 
perly commence such ; when the men put on the 
Ihram or sacred habit, which consists only of two 
woollen wrappers, one wrapped about their middle 
to cover their privities, and the other thrown over 
their shoulders, having their heads bare, and a kind 
of slippers which cover neither the heel nor the 
instep, and so enter the sacred territory in their way 
to Mecca. While they have this habit on they must 
neither hunt nor fowP (though they are allowed to 
fish^), which precept is so punctually observed, that 
they will not kill even a louse or a flea, if they find 
them on their bodies : there are some noxious ani- 
mals, however, which they have permission to kill 
during the pilgrimage, as kites, ravens, scorpions, 
mice, and dogs given to bite '. During the pilgrim- 
age it behoves a man to have a constant guard over 
his words and actions, and to avoid all quarrelling, 
or ill language, and all converse with women, and 
obscene discoui-se, and to apply his whole intention 
to the good work he is engaged in. 

The pilgrims, being arrived at Mecca, immediately 
visit the temple, and then enter on the performance 
of the prescribed ceremonies, which consist chiefly 

' See Kor. chap. 3, p. 67, and the notes thereon. - V. Bobov. de Peregr, 

Mecc. p. 12, &c. 3 Koran, chap. 5. * Ibid. 5 Al Beid. 

M 2 


ill going in procession round the Caaba, in running 
between the mounts SafVi and I\Ier^^•a, in making 
the station on mount Arafat, and shiying the victims, 
and shaving their heads in the valley of JMiiia. 
These ceremonies have been so particularly described 
by others', that 1 may be excused if I but just men- 
tion the most material circumstances theretjf. 

In compassing the Caaba, which they do seven 
times, beginning at the corner where the black st(me 
is fixed, they use a short quick pace the three first 
times they go round it, and a grave ordinary pace 
the four last ; which, it is said, was ordered by IMo- 
hammed, that his followers might show themselves 
strong and active, to cut oft' the hopes of the in- 
fidels, who gave out that the immoderate heats of 
Medina liad rendered tlieni weak'. But the afore- 
said quick pace they are not obliged to use every 
time they perform this piece of devotion, but onh' at 
some particular times'. So often as they pass by 
the black stone they either kiss it, or touch it with 
their hand, and kiss that. 

The runnino; bet^veen Safa and Merwa ' is also 
performed seven times, partly A\'ith a slow pace, and 
partly running': for they walk gravely till they 
come to a place between two pillars ; and there they 
run, and afterwards walk again ; sometimes looking 
back, and sometimes stopi)iiig, like one who has 
lost something, to represent Hagar seeking water for 
her son ' : for the ceremony is said to be as ancient 
as her time^ 

On the ninth of Dhuriiajja, after morning })rayer, 
the pilgrims leave the valley of JNlina, whither tliey 
come the day before, and proceed in a tumultuous 
and rushing manner to mount Arafat, where they 

' Bobov. lie Percgr. Mccc. p. 11, &i". Chardin. Voy. de Ptrsc, T. 2, p. 4'1(>, 
&c. See also Pius's account of the vel. <Scc. of the Jlchamnicilans, p. !)2, iScc. 
Ga^micr, Vic de iMah. t 2, p. 258, &c. Abulfed. Vit. Moli. p. 130, &c. and 
Rcland. de Kel. iAk h. p. 113, &c. ' Ebii al Athir. 3 V. Por. Spec. p. 31 4. 
* See before, p. 27. * Al Ghazali. « Roland, dc Hcl. Moh. ]>. 121. 

" Ebn al Athir. ' Sec Kor. chap. 2. p. X\. 


stay to perforin their devotions till sunset : then 
they !2'o to Mozdalifa, an oratory between Arafat 
and Mina, and there spend the night in prayer, and 
reading' the Koran. The next morning by day- 
break they visit al Masher al harani, or the saered 
moiuunenti, and departing thence before sunrise, 
haste by Batn Mohasser to the valley of Mina, 
where they tlirow seven stones- at three marks or 
pillars, in imitation of Abraham, who meeting the 
devil in that place, and being by him disturbed in 
his devotions, or tempted to disobedience, when he 
was going to sacrifice his son, was commanded by 
God to drive him away by throwing stones at him ' ; 
though others pretend this rite to be as old as 
Adam, who also put the devil to flight in the same 
place, and by the same means \ 

This ceremony being over, on the same day, the 
tenth of Dhu'lhajja, the pilgrims slay their victims 
in the said valley of Mina ; of which they and their 
friends eat j)art, and the rest is given to the poor. 
These victims must be either sheep, goats, kine, or 
camels ; males, if of either of the two former kinds, 
and females if of either of the latter, and of a fit 
age\ The sacrifices being over, they shave their 
heads and cut their nails, burying them in the same 
place ; after which the pilgrimage is looked on as 
completed ' : though they again visit the Caaba, to 
take their leave of that sacred building. 

The above-mentioned ceremonies, by the confession 
of the Mohammedans themselves, were almost all of 
them observed by the pagan Arabs many ages be- 
fore their prophet's appearance ; and particularly the 
compassing of the Caaba, the running between Safil 
and Merwa, and the throwing of the stones in Mina ; 

' See Ivor. chap. 2, p. 33. Mr. Gagnier has been twice guilty of a mistake in 
confounding this monument with the sacred enclosure of the Caaba. V. Gagn. 
Not. ad Abulfed. Vit. Moh. p. 131, et Vie de Mah. t. 2, p. 2ri2. "- Dr. 

Pococlc, from al Ghazali, says seventy, at different times and places. Spec. p. 315. 
3 Al Ghazuli, Aliwx'd Ebn Vuscf. i Ebn al Athir. s V. Rcland, ubi 

sup. p. 1 17- " Sfc Kor. chap. 2, p. o.i, 34. 


and were confirmed by Mohammed, with some alter- 
ations in such points as seemed most exceptionable : 
thus, for example, he ordered that when they com- 
passed the Caaba, tliey should ha vlthed^ ; whereas 
before his time they performed that piece of devotion 
naked, throwing oif their clothes as a mark that they 
had cast off their sins -, or as signs of tlieir disobe- 
dience towards God . 

It is also acknowledged that the greater part of 
these rites are of no intrinsic worth, neither affecting 
the soul, nor agreeing with natural reason, but alto- 
gether arbitrary, and commanded merely to try the 
obedience of mankind, ^vithout any farther view ; 
and are therefore to be complied with, not that they 
are good in themselves, but because God has so ap- 
pointed \ Some, however, have endeavoured to find 
out some reasons for the arbitrary injunctions of this 
kind ; and one writer \ supposing men ought to imi- 
tate the heavenly bodies, not only in their purity, 
but in their circular motion, seems to argue the pro- 
fession round the Caaba to be therefore a rational 
practice. Reland ' has observed that the Romans 
had something like this in their worship, being or- 
dered by Numa to use a circular motion in the adora- 
tion of the gods, either to represent the orbicular 
motion of the world, or the perfecting the whole 
office of prayer to that Ciod who is maker of the uni- 
verse, or else in allusion to the Egyptian wheels, 
which were hieroglyphics of the instability of human 
fortune '. 

The pilgrimage to Mecca, and the ceremonies pre- 
scribed to those who perform it, are, perhaps, liable 
to greater exception than any other of Mohammed's 

' Kor. chap 7. '^ A\ Fa'ik, de Tempore Ignor. Arabum, apuil 

Millium (Ic 3I(>h:i<nniedsinio ante I\Ioh. p. 322. Compare Isaiah Ixiv. (J. 
3 Jallal. id IJeid. This notion comes very near, if it be not the same, with that 
of the Adamites. 4 Al Gha/'di. V. Abulfar. Hist. Dyn. p. 171- * Abu 

Jaafar Hbn Tofail, in Vita Ilai Ebn Yokdhan, p. 131. See .Mr. Ockley's En- 
glish translation thereof, p. II 7. •• De Rel. iMah. p. I'J.'t. ■ Plutarch, 
in Numa. 


institutions ; not only as silly and ridiculous in them- 
selves, but as relics of idolatrous superstition '. Yet 
^vhoe\"ei" seriously considers liow difficult it is to make 
people submit to the abolishing of ancient customs, 
Iiow unreasonable soever, which they are fond of, 
especially where the interest of a considerable party 
is also concerned, and that a man may with less 
danger change many things than one great one ', 
must excuse Mohammed's yielding some points of 
less moment, to gain the principal. The temple of 
Mecca was held in excessive veneration by all the 
Arabs in general (if we except only the tribes of Tay, 
and Khathaam, and some of the posterity of al Hareth 
Ebn Caab ', w ho used not to go in pilgrimage thereto), 
and especially by those of Mecca, who had a parti- 
cular interest to support that veneration ; antl as the 
most silly and insignificant things are generally the 
objects of the greatest superstition, Mohammed found 
it much easier to abolish idolatry itself than to era- 
dicate the superstitious bigotry with which they were 
addicted to that temple, and the rites performed 
there : wlierefore, after several fruitless trials to 
wean them therefrom % he thought it best to compro- 
mise the matter, and, rather than to frustrate his 
whole design, to allow them to go on pilgrimage 
thither, and to direct their prayers thereto ; content- 
ing himself with transferring the devotions there paid 
from their idols to the true God, and changing such 
circumstances therein as he judged might give scan- 
dal. And herein he followed the example of the 
most famous legislators, who instituted not such laws 
as were absolutely the best in themselves, but the 
best their people were capable of receiving : and we 
find God himself had the same condescendence for 

' i\Iaimonides (in Epist. ad Prosel. Rel. ) pretends that the worsliip of Mercury 
WHS pertbrmed by throwing of stones, and that of Chcinosh by making bare the 
head, and piUtinp; on unsown garments. '^ According to the maxim, Tui'ins r.ft 
niulta mutarc qudiu iinum nuigmim. ^ Al Shahrcslani. -1 Sec 

Kor. chap. 2, p. 24. 


the Jews, whose hardness of heart lie humoured in 
many things, giving them therefore statutes that were 
oiot good, a /id judgments whereOi/ tJiey sliuuld not 
live \ 


Of certain negative Precepts in the Koran. 

Haying in the preceding section spoken of the 
fundamental points of the Mohammedan religion, 
relating both to faith and to practice, I shall, in this 
and the two following discourses, speak in the same 
brief method of some other precepts and institutions 
of the Koran which deserve peculiar notice, and first 
of certain things which are thereby prohibited. 

The drinking of wine, under which name all sorts 
of strong and inebriating liquors are comi)reliended, 
is forbidden in the Koran in more places than one '^. 
Some, indeed, have imagined that only excess therein 
is forbidden, and that the moderate use of wine is 
allowed by two passages in the same book ' : but the 
more received opinion is, that to drink any strong 
liquors, either in a lesser quantity or in a greater, is 
absolutely unlawful ; and thoiigh libertines indulge 
themselves in the contrary practice % yet the more 
conscientious are so strict, especially if they have 
performed the pilgrimage to Mecca \ that they hold 
it unlawful not only to taste wine, but to press grapes 
for the making of it, to buy or to sell it, or even to 
maintain themselves with tlie money arising by the 

' Ezek. XX. 2.'i. V. Spencer, dc Uriiii ar.d Thuinniim, cap. 4, $ 7- " Sec 

Chap. 2, p. Sfi, and chap. "». 3 Chap, 2, p. 'Mi, and chap. IK. V. 

n'Hcrbel. Hihl. Orient, p. ()!)(>. ■* \. Sniitli, de ."Morib. et Instiu 

Tiircar. Ep. 2, [•. 2}>, &c. s V. Chardin, ubi supra, p. 212. 


sale of that liquor. The Persians, however, as -well 
as the Turks, are very fond of wine ; and if one asks 
them how it comes to i)ass that they venture to drink 
it, when it is so directly forbidden by their religion, 
they answer, that it is with them as with the 
Christians, whose religion prohibits drunkenness and 
whoredom as great sins, and who glory, notwith- 
standing, some in debauching girls and married 
women, and others in drinking to excess '. 

It has been a question whether coffee comes not 
imder the above-mentioned prohibition ', because the 
fumes of it have some effect on the imagination. 
This drink, which was first publicly used at Aden, in 
Arabia Felix, about the middle of the ninth century 
of the Hejra, and thence gradually introduced into 
Mecca, Medina, Egypt, Syria, and other parts of the 
Levant, has been the occasion of great disputes and 
disorders, having been sometimes publicly condemned 
and forbidden, and again declared lawful and al- 
lowed . At present the use of coffee is generally to- 
lerated, if not granted, as is that of tobacco, though 
the more religious make a scruple of taking the lat- 
ter, not only because it inebriates, but also out of re- 
spect to a traditional saying of their prophet (which, 
if it could be made out to be his, would prove him a 
prophet indeed), That in the latter days there should 
be men xcho should bear the name o/" Moslems, but 
should not be really such; and that they should 
smoke a certain weed, Xi^hich should be called to- 
bacco : however, the eastern nations are generally 
so addicted to both, that they say, a dish of coffee 
and a pipe of tobacco are a complete entertainment ; 
and the Persians have a proverb, that coffee without 
tobacco is meat without salt\ 

\ thardin, ubi sup. p. 344. -^ ALd'alkader Mohatr.nicd al An^ari has 

^^T.^,';, ^,tf •■*'-'=^e concerning coffee, wherein he argues for its lawfulness. 
V. D Hei-bcl. Art. Cahvah. 3 V. Le Trait6 Historique de rOrigine et du 

Progres du Cafe a la Fin du Voy. de 1' Arabic Hcur. de la Roque. "i Keland, 

Dissert. Miscell. T. 2, p. 280. V. Cliardin, Voy. de Perse, T. 2, j). 14, and Gfi. 


Opium and beiig (which hitter is the leaves of 
hemp ill pills or conserve) are also by the rigid Mo- 
hammedans esteemed unlawful, though not mentioned 
in the Koran, because they intoxicate and disturl) 
the understanding as wine does, and in a more extra- 
ordinary manner : yet these drugs are now commonly 
taken in the east ; but they ^vho are addicted to them 
are generally looked upon as debauchees '. 

Several stories have been told as the occasion of 
Mohammed's prohibiting the drinking of wine : but 
the true reasons are given in the Koran, viz. because 
the ill qualities of that liquor surpass its good ones, 
the common effects thereof being quarrels and dis- 
turbances in company, and neglect, or at least inde- 
cencies, in the performance of religious duties \ For 
these reasons it was, that the priests were, by the 
Levitical law, forbidden to drink wine or strong- 
drink when they entered the tabernacle \ and that 
the Nazarites ' and Rechabites ' , and many pious 
jiersons among the Jews and jnimitive Christians, 
wholly abstained therefrom ; nay, some of the latter 
w^eiit so far as to condemn the use of wine as sin- 
ful '. But Mohammed is said to have had a nearer 
examj)le than any of these, in the more devout per- 
sons of his own tribe \ 

Gaming is prohibited by the Koriiii in the same 
passages, and for the same reasons, as wine. The 
w^ord id AIcha)\ w'hich is there used, signifies a 
particular maimer of casting lots by arrows, much 
practised by the })agaii Arabs, and performed in 
the following manner. A young camel being 
bought and killed, and divided into ten, or twenty- 

' v. Chardin, ibid. p. (>«, &c. and D'HcrbeL p. 200. '^ V. Prid. 

Life of 3Iah. p. <!J, iS:c. Biu.beq. Epist. 3. p. ■Jo."*, andrtlaundeville's Travels, 
p. 170. 3 Kor. chap. 'J, p. 'M't, chap. .">. and ch:ip. 4. p. '^'^. See 

Prov. xxiii. 29, &.c ^ Lcvit. x. 9. '■ Numb. vi. 2. ^ Jcmrn. 

XXXV. ."i, &C. ' This was the heresy of those called Encratitje, and Aquarij. 

Khwaf, a ."\Iaj^ian heretic, also declared wine uiilaw^ful; bill fhis was after 
.^loliannued's time. Hyde, dc Kcl. Vet. Ptrs. p. ."JuO. » V. Keland. de Kel. 
Moh. p. 27 1 . ^ t'hap. 2. p. 'Ml chip. .">. 


eight parts, the persons who cast lots for them, to 
the number of seven, met for that purpose ; and 
eleven arrows were provided, without heads of 
feathers, seven of which were marked, the first 
with one notch, the second with two, and so on, 
and the other four had no mark at all ' ; these 
arrows were put promiscuously into a bag, and then 
drawn by an indifferent person, who had another 
near him to receive them, and to see he acted fairly; 
those to whom the marked arrows fell won shares 
in proportion to their lot, and those to whom the 
blanks fell were entitled to no part of the camel at 
all, but were obliged to pay the full price of it. The 
winners, however, tasted not of the flesh, any more 
than the losers, but the whole was distributed among 
the poor ; and this they did out of pride and ostenta- 
tion, it being reckoned a shame for a man to stand 
out, and not venture his money on such an occasion'. 
This custom, therefore, though it was of some use to 
the poor, and diversion to the rich, was forbidden by 
Mohammed', as the source of greater inconveniences, 
by occasioning quarrels and heart-burnings, which 
arose from the winners insulting of those v/ho lost. 

Under the name of lots the commentators agree 
that all other games whatsoever, which are subject 
to hazard or chance, are comprehended and forbidden ; 
as dice, cards, tables, &c. And they are reckoned 
so ill in themselves, that the testimony of him who 
plays at them is, by the more rigid jiulged, to be of 
no validity in a court of justice. Ciiess is almost 
the only game which the Mohammedan doctors allow 
to be lawful (though it has been a doubt with 
some '), because it depends wholly on skill and ma- 
nasrement, and not at ail on chance : but then it is 

' Some writers, as al Zamakh. and al Shirazi, mention but three blark ar- 
rows. "^ Auctores Nodhm al dorr, aild Nothr al dorr, al Zar.iakh. al 
Firauzabadi, al Shirazi in Orat. al Hariri, al Beidawi, &c. V. i'oc. Spec, 
p. 324, &c. 3 Koian, than. 5. p. 177- ' V'. IlytU, de Liidis 
Oriental, in Proles;, ad Siiahiliidiuni. 

17'>i Tin: I'ltKLIMlNAUY DISCOURSE. [Sect. 5. 

allowed under certain restrictions, viz. that it be no 
liinderance to the regular performance ot" their de- 
votions, and that no money or other thing- be played 
for or betted ; which last the Turks and Sonnites 
religiously observe, but the Persians and Mogols do 
not \ But what Mohannned is supposed chiefly to 
have disliked in the game of chess, was the carved 
pieces, or men, with which the Pagan Arabs played, 
being little figures of men, elepliants, horses, and 
dromedaries - ; and these are thought, by some com- 
mentators, to be truly meant by the images prohi- 
bited in one of the passages of the Koran ' quoted 
above. That the Ara!)s in Mohannned's time ac- 
tually used such images for chessmen appears from 
what is related, in the Sonna, of Ali, who passing 
accidentally by some who were playing at chess, 
asked, IVhat images they were which they xvere so 
intent upon' ? for they were perfectly new to liim, 
that game having been but very lately introduced 
into Arabia, and not long before into Persia, w hither 
it was first brought from India in the reign of Khosrii 
Nushirwan^ Hence the Mohammedan doctors infer 
that the game was disapi)roved only for tlie sake 
of the images : wherefore the Sonnites always play 
with plain pieces of wood or ivory ; but the Per- 
sians and Indians, who are not so scrupulous, con- 
tinue to make use of the carved ones '. 

The iMohammedans comply with the prohibition 
of gaming much better than they do with that of 
wdne ; for though the common people, among the 
Turks more frequently, and the Persians more rarely, 
are addicted to play, yet the better sort are seldom 
guilty of it '. 

Gaming, at least to excess, has been forbidden in 

' v. Eunil. ibUI. - V. Eundoni, ibid, and in Hi>t. Slialjiludij, 

p. i;{5, &c. 3 Chap. .5. 4 Sokeiker ul Dimi.shki, and 

..Vuctor Hbri al IMobtatraf, apud Hyde, iibi sup. ji. ?!. .■> Khondcmir, apu«l 

fund. il). p. 41. •' V. Hyde, iibi sup. p. 9. 7 V. cundcni, 

in Piolc.^. and ( hnrdin, Vny. dc I'tr^jc, T. '2,. p. Ki. 


all well-ordered states. Gaming-houses were reck- 
oned scandalous places among the Greeks, and a 
gamester is declared by Aristotle ^ to be no better 
than a tJiief: the Roman senate made very severe 
laws against playing at games of hazard % except 
only during the SahiniaUa ; though the people played 
often at other times, notwithstanding the prohi- 
bition : the civil law forbade all pernicious games ' ; 
and though the laity were, in some cases, permitted 
to play for money, provided they kept within rea- 
sonable bounds, yet the clergy were forbidden to 
play at tables (which is a game of hazard), or even 
to look on while others played \ Accvirsius, indeed, 
is of opinion they may play at chess, notwithstand- 
ing that law, because it is a game not subject to 
chance ', and being but newly invented in the time 
of Justinian, was not then known in the western 
parts. However the monks for some time were not 
allowed even chess ". 

As to the Jews, Mohammed's chief guides, they 
also highly disapprove gaming: gamesters being 
severely censured in the Talmud, and their testi- 
mony declared invalid ^ 

Another practice of the idolatrous Arabs, forbidden 
also in one of the above-mentioned passages ^ was that 
of divining by arnncs. The arrows used by them for 
this purpose were like those with which they cast 
losts, being without heads or feathers, and were kept 
in the temple of some idol, in whose presence they 
were consulted. Seven such arrows were kept at 
the temple of Mecca " ; but generally in divination 
they made use of three only, on one of which was 

' Lib. 4. ad Niconi. -^ V. Horat. 1. 3. Carm. Od. 24. 3 De 

Aleatoiibus. Novell. Just. 123, &c. V. Hyde, ubi sup. in Hist. Alea, p. 119. 
4 Authent. interdicimus, c. de episcopis. 5 In Com. ad Legem Prred. 

" Du Fresne, in Gloss. 7 Bava Mesia, 84. I. Rosh hashana, and Sanhedr. 

'24. 2. v. etiam Maimon. in Tract. Gezila. Among the modern civilians, 
Mascardus thought common gamesters were not to be admitted as witnesses, 
being infamous persons. V. Hyde, ubi s-up. in Proleg. et in Hist. Aleje, ^IIL 
** Kor. chap. 5. ^ ggc before, p. 27. 


written, My Lordhatli commanded me ; on another, 
Mjij lAxrd lialh forbidden -ivc ; and the third was 
blank. If the first was drawn, they looked on it as 
an approbation of the enterprise in question ; if the 
second, they made a contrary conclusion ; but if the 
third happened to be drawn, they mixed them and 
drew over again, till a decisive answer was given by 
one of the others. These divining arrows were ge- 
nerally consulted before any thing of moment was 
undertaken ; as v»^hen a man ^vas about to marry, 
or about to go a journey, or the like '. This super- 
stitious practice of divining by arrows was used by 
the ancient Greeks', and other nations ; and is par- 
ticularly mentioned in scripture \ where it is said, 
that " the king of Babylon stood at the parting of 
the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divina- 
tion ; he made his arrows bright," (or, according to 
the version of the vulgate, which seems preferable 
in this place, lie mixed together, or shook the arruic.s), 
he considted ivith images, &c. : the commentary of St. 
Jerome on which passage wonderfully agrees with 
what we are told of the aforesaid custom of the old 
Arabs : " He shall stand," says he, " in the high- 
way, and consult the oracle after the manner of his 
nation, that he may cast arrows into a quiver, and 
mix them together, being written upon or marked 
with tlie names of each people, that he may see 
whose arrow will come forth, and which city he 
ought first to attack *." 

A distinction of meats was so generally used by 
the eastern nations, that it is no wonder that Mo- 
hammed made some regulations in that matter. 
The Koran, therefore, prohibits the eating of blood, 
and swine's flesh, and whatever dies of itself, or is 
slain in the name or in honour of any idol, or is 

> Ebn al Athir, al Zaniakh, and al Beid. in Kor. c. .■;. Al Mostatraf, &c. 
v. Poc. Spec. p. ;}27, kc. and D'llerbcl. Bibl. Orient. Art. Acdali. » V, Pot- 
ter, Antiq. of Greece, Vol. 1. p. 334. 3 E/ek. xxi. '.'1. i V. Poc. 

Spec. p. yi'J, \c. 


strangled, or killed by a blow, or a fall, or by any 
other beast ^ In which particulars Mohammed 
seems chiefly to have imitated the Jews, b}^ whose 
law, as is well known, all those things are forbidden ; 
but he allowed some things to be eaten which Moses 
did not ", as camel's flesh ^ in particular. In cases 
of necessity, however, where a man may be in dan- 
ger of starving, he is allowed by the Mohammedan 
law to eat any of the said prohibited kinds of food - ; 
and the Jewish doctors grant the same liberty in the 
like case \ Though the aversion to blood and what 
dies of itself may seem natural, yet some of the 
Pagan Arabs used to eat both : of their eating of the 
latter some instances will be given hereafter ; and as 
to the former, it is said they used to pour blood, 
which they sometimes drew from a live camel, into 
a gut, and then broiled it on the fire, or boiled it, and 
ate it '^ : this food they called moswadd, from aszcad, 
which signifies black j the same nearly resembling 
our black-puddini^-s in name as well as composition'. 
The eating of meat offered to idols I take to be com- 
monly practised by all idolaters, being looked on as 
a sort of communion in their worship, and for that 
reason esteemed by Christians, if not absolutely un- 
lawful, yet as what may be the occasion of great 
scandal "" : but the Arabs w^ere particularly super- 
stitious in this matter, killing what they ate on 
stones erected on purpose round the Caaba, or near 
their own houses, and calling, at the same time, on 
the name of some idol • . Swine's flesh, indeed, the 
old Arabs seem not to have eaten ; and their pro- 
phet, in prohibiting the same, appears to have only 
confirmed the comm.on aversion of the nation. 

• Chap. 2, p. 28. chap. 5. p. II7. chap. 6. and chap. 16. ^ Lev. xi. 4. 

3 See Kor. chap. 3. pp. CO, 67, and chap. 6. 4 Kor. chap. 5. p. 117- 

and in the other passages last quoted. 5 V. IMaivnon. in Halachoth 

Melachim. chap. ?.. $ 1, &c. ^ Nothr. al dorr, al Firauz. al Zamakh. 

and al Beid. 7 Poc. Spec. p. 320. * Compare Acts xv. 29, witli 

1 Cor. viii. 40. &f. '' See the fifth chap, of the Kor. p. 1 lf». and the note.<; 


176 THE riiEi-nriNAiiY Discf)rusE. [Sect. 5. 

Foreign writers tell us that the Arabs wliolly ab- 
stained from swine's flesh \ thinking it unlawfnl to 
feed thereon ', and that very few, if any, of those 
animals are found in their country, because it pro- 
duces not proper food for them ^ ; which has made 
one writer imagine that if a hog were carried thither, 
it would immediately die '. 

In the i)rohil)ition of usury ' I presume Moham- 
med also followed the Jews, \vho are strictly for- 
bidden by their law to exercise it among one an- 
other, though they are so infamously guilty of it in 
their dealing with those of a different religion : but 
I do not find the prophet of the Arabs has made any 
distinction in this matter. 

Several superstitious customs relating to cattle, 
which seem to have been peculiar to the Pagan 
Arabs, were also abolished by Mohammed. The 
Koran " mentions four names by them given to cer- 
tain camels or sheep, which for some particular 
reasons were left at free liberty, and were not made 
use of as other cattle of the same kind. These 
names are Bahira, Saiba, "Wasila, and Hami : of each 
whereof in their order. 

As to the first it is said that when a she-camel, or 
a sheep, had borne young ten times, they used to 
slit her ear, and turn her loose to feed at full liberty ; 
and when she died, her flesh was eaten by the men 
only, the women being forbidden to eat thereof: 
and such a camel or sheep, from the slif/i/ti^- of her 
ear, they called Baiiira. Or the Bahira was a she- 
camel, which was turned loose to feed, and whose 
fifth young one, if it proved a male, was killed and 
eaten by men and women promiscuously ; but if it 
proved a female, had its car slit, and was dismissed 
to free pasture, none being permitted to make use of 

' Solin. ik' Arab. cap. 'X\. ' Ilieronyiv. in Jovin. 1. 2. c. 6. 

3 Id. ib. ^ Solinus, ubi supra. s Kor. chap. 2. p. •!?{, -19. 

« Chap. 5. 


its flesh or milk, or to ride on it ; though the women 
were allowed to eat the flesh of it, when it died : or 
it was the female young of the Saiba, which w^as 
used in the same manner as its dam ; or else an ewe, 
which had yeaned five times \ These, however, are 
not all the opinions cqncerning the Bahira : for some 
suppose that name was given to a she-camel, which 
after having brought forth young five times (if the 
last w^as a male), had her ear slit, as a mark thereof, 
and was let go loose to feed, none driving her from 
pasture or water, nor using her for carriage ■ ; and 
others tell us, that when a camel had newly brought 
forth, they used to slit the ear of her young olie, 
saying, " O God, if it live, it shall be for our use,' 
but if it die, it shall be deemed rightly slain ;" and 
when it died, they ate it '. 

Saiba signifies a she-camel /unied hose to go 
where she will. And this was done on various ac- 
counts : as when she had brought forth females ten 
times together ; or in satisfaction of a vow ; or when 
a man had recovered from sickness, or returned safe 
from a journey, or his camel had escaped some signal 
danger either in battle or otherwise. A camel so 
turned loose was declared to be Saiba, and, as a mark 
of it, one of the vertebrco or bones was taken out of 
her back, after which none might drive her from 
pasture or water, or ride on her \ Some say that 
the Saiba, when she had ten times together brought 
forth females, was suffered to go at liberty, none 
being allowed to ride on her, and that her milk was 
not to be drank by any but her young one, or a 
guest, till she died ; and then her flesh was eaten 
by men as well as women, and her last female young 
one had her ear slit, and was called Bahira, and 
turned loose as her dam had been \ 

This appellation, however, was not so strictly 
proper to female camels, but that it was given to 

' Al Firaiizabadi. 2 a1 Zamakh. al Bcidawi, al Aiostatiaf. 3 Ebii 

al Athii . 4 Al Firauzab. al Zamakh. 5 Al Jawhari. Ebn al Athir. 

VOL. I. ;[^ 


the male wlien his young one liad begotten another 
young one ' : nay a servant set at liberty and dis- 
missed by liis master was also called Saiba - ; and 
some are of opinion that the word denotes any 
animal which the Arabs used to turn loose in ho- 
nour of their idols, allowing none to make use of 
them thereafter, except women only \ 

Wasila is, by one author ', explained to signify a 
she-camel which had brought forth ten times, or an 
ewe which had yeaned seven times, and every time 
twins ; and if the seventh time she brought forth a 
male and a female, they said, Wosilat akhaha, i. e. 
A.S7/6' is joined, or icas Jn-ou^litjhrlli xdth her hrolJier, 
after which none might drink the dam's milk, except 
men only ; and she was used as the Saiba. Or AVa- 
sila was particularly meant of sheep ; as when an 
ewe brought forth a female, they took it to them- 
selves, but when she brought forth a male, they con- 
secrated it to their gods, but if both a male and a 
female, they said, She is Joined to her hro/he?; and 
did not sacrifice that male to their gods : or Wasila 
was an ewe which brought forth first a male, and 
then a female, on whose account, or because shefi-l- 
lowed her brother, the male was not killed ; but if 
she brought forth a male only, they said, Lid this 
he an offering to our gods '. Another " writes, that 
if an ewe brought forth twins seven times together, 
and the eighth time a male, they sacrificed that male 
to their gods ; but if the eighth time she brought 
both a male and a female, they used to say. She is 
jomed to her brother, and for the female's sake they 
spared the male, and permitted not the dam's milk 
to be drank by women. A third writer tells us, 
that Wasila was an ewe, which having yeaned seven 
times, if that which she brought forth the seventh 
time was a male, they sacrificed it, but if a female, 
it was suffered to go loose, and was made use of by 

' Al Firauz. - Idem, al .Fawhari, &c. 3 Notlir al dorr, and Nodhni 

al dorr. < Al Firauz. 5 Idem, al Zamakh. " Al Jawhari. 


women only ; and if the seventh time she brought 
forth both a male and a female, they held them 
both to be sacred, so that men only were allowed 
to make any use of them^ or to drink the milk of 
the female : and a fourth ' describes it to be an ewe 
which brought forth ten females at five births one 
after another, i. e. every time twins, and whatever 
she brought forth afterwards was allowed to men, 
and not to women, &c. 

Hami was a male camel used for a stallion, which, 
if the females had conceived ten times by him, was 
2dieYW2iYAs freed from labour, and let go loose, none 
driving him from pasture or from water ; nor was 
any allowed to receive the least benefit from him, 
not even to shear his hair -. 

These things were observed by the old Arabs in 
honour of their false gods ', and as part of the wor- 
ship which they paid them, and were ascribed to the 
divine institution ; but are all condemned in the 
Koran, and declared to be impious superstitions \ 

The law of Mohammed also put a stop to the in- 
human custom, which had been long practised by 
the pagan Arabs, of burying their daughters alive, 
lest they should be reduced to poverty by providing 
for them, or else to avoid the displeasure and dis- 
grace which would follow, if they should happen to 
be made captives, or to become scandalous by their 
behaviour '; the birth of a daughter being, for these 
reasons, reckoned a great misfortune ', and the death 
of one as great a happiness '. The manner of their 
doing this is differently related : some say that when 
an Arab had a daughter born, if he intended to bring 
her up, he sent her, clothed in a garment of wool or 
hair, to keep camels or sheep in the desert ; but if 
he designed to put her to death, he let her live till 

' Al Motarrezi. J Al Firauz. al Jawhari. 3 Jallal. in Kor. 

4 Kor. chap. 5. p. 137, and chap. 6. V. Poc. Specira. p. 330—334. s Al 

Beidawi, al Zamakh. al :Mostatraf. 6 See Koran, chap. 16. 7 Al 


N 2 


she became six years old, and then said to her mo- 
ther, " Perfume her, and adorn her, that I may carry 
her to her mothers ;" which hein<^ done, the father 
led her to a well or ])it dug for that purpose, and 
having bid her to look down into it, pushed her in 
headlong, as he stood behind her, and then filling up 
the pit, levelled it \vith the rest of the ground : but 
others say, that when a ^\•oman was ready to fall 
in labour, they dug a pit, on the brink m hereof she 
was to be delivered, and if the child happened to be 
a daughter, they threw it into the pit, but if a son, 
they saved it alive '. This custom, though not ob- 
served by all the Arabs in general, was yet very 
common among several of their tribes, and parti- 
cularly those of Koreish and Kendah ; the former 
using to bury their daughters alive in mount Aim 
Dalama, near Mecca ". In the time of ignorance, 
while they used this method to get rid of their 
daughters, Sasaa, grandfather to the celebrated poet 
al Farazdak, frequently redeemed female children 
from death, giving for every one two she-camels big 
Avith young, and a he-camel ; and hereto al Farazdak 
alluded when, vaunting himself before one of the 
Klialifs of the family of Omeyya, he said, " I am 
the son of the giver of life to the dead ;" for which 
expression being censured, he excused himself by 
alleging the following words of the Koran', " He 
who saveth a soul alive shall be as if he had saved 
the lives of all mankind '." The Arabs, in thus mur- 
dering of their children, were far from being sin- 
gular ; the practice of exposing infants and putting 
them to death being so common among the ancients, 
that it is remarked as a thing very extraordinary in 
the Egyptians, that they brought up all their chil- 
dren ■ ; and by the laws of Lycurgus ' no child \\as 
allowed to be brought up, without the approbation 

' Al Zaniakh. -^ Al Mostatraf. 3 Chap. T). p. Vl'X * Al Mos- 

latruf. \. Khalckaii, in \'iia al Farazdak, and I'oc Spec. )>. '.VM. s Stralio, 
1. 17. V. l>iodor. Sic. 1. 1. c. fiO. •• V. Philarch. in Lycurgo. 

Sect. 5.] THE niELIMlNAllY DISCOURSE. 181 

of public officers. At this day, it is said, in China, 
the poorer sort of people frequently put their chil- 
dren, the females especially, to death, with impunity i. 
This wicked practice is condemned by the Koran 
m several passages - ; one of which, as some com- 
mentators ' judge, may also condemn another custom 
of the Arabians, altogether as wicked, and as com- 
mon among other nations of old, viz. the sacrificing 
of then- children to their idols ; as was frequently 
done, m particular, in satisfaction of a vow they 
used to make, that if they had a certain number of 
sons born, they would offer one of them in sacrifice. 
Several other superstitious customs were likewise 
abrogated by Mohammed ; but the same being of 
less moment, and not particularly mentioned in the 
Koran, or having been occasionally taken notice of 
elsewhere, I shall say nothing of them in this place. 

• 7; P"''™dorf. de Jure Nat. et Gent. 1. 6. c. 7. S C. The Grecians also 
treated dausklcrs especially in this n.anner ; whence thit saying of PoSSus 

''• A man though poor will not expose his son, 
But if lie 's rich, will scarce preserve his daughter." 
See Potter's Antiq. of Greece, Vol. 2. p. 33.3. i fhAn a n\. ir 

and chap. I7. , See also chap. 81. ^ 3 ^1 Za.nakh. al Bad!'" ^"^' ''' 



Of the Institutions of the Koran in Civil Affairs. 

The Mohammedan civil law is founded on the 
precepts and determinations of the Koran, as the 
civil laws of the Jews were on those of the Penta- 
teuch ; yet being variously interpreted, according to 
the different decisions of their civilians, and espe- 
cially of their four great doctors, Abu Hanifa, Ma- 
lec, al Shafei, and Ebn Hanbal ', to treat thereof 
fully and distinctly, in the manner the curiosity and 
usefulness of the subject deserves, would require a 
large volume : wherefore the most that can be ex- 
pected here is a summary view of the principal in- 
stitutions, without minutely entering into a detail 
of particulars. We shall begin with those relating 
to marriage and divorce. 

That 2X)lijgainy, for the moral lawfulness of which 
the Mohammedan doctors advance se\'eral argu- 
ments -, is allowed by the Koran, every one knows ; 
though few are acquainted with the limitations with 
which it is allowed. Several learned men have 
fallen into the vulgar mistake, that Mohannned 
granted to his followers an unbounded plurality ; 
some pretending that a man may have as many 
wives ', and others as many concubines % as he can 
maintain : whereas, according to the express words 

' See ^ it. * Sec before, ^11. p. ifJ. 3 Nic. Cusanus, in 

Cribrat. Alcor. 1. 2. cap. 1!). Olearius, in Kincrar. P. Orcjj;. Tholosanus, in 
SyiU. Juris, 1. 9- c. 2. 5 22. Septenicastrensis (de iSIorib. Tun-, p. 24.) says 
the Mohammedans may liave twelve lawful wives, and r.o more. Ric.iut falsely 
asserts the restraint of the number of thiir wives to be no precept of their reli- 
gion, but a ruL- biii)eriiuliiCv.'il o,; ;i poliiie consideratiiin. Pros. State of the Ot- 
toman Empire, book '.\. k\\\\\i. 21. 1 IVf anacc. in Pifulr. ad Uefut. Alcor. 


of the Koran \ no iiiau can have more than four, 
whether wives or concubines ' ; and if a man appre- 
hend any inconvenience from even that number of 
ingenuous wives, it is added, as an advice (which 
is generally followed by the middling and inferior 
people '), that he marry one only, or if lie cannot be 
contented with one, that he take up with his she- 
slaves, not exceeding, however, the limited number*; 
and this is certainly the utmost Mohammed allowed 
his followers : nor can we urge, as an argument 
against so plain a precept, the corrupt manners 
of his followers, many of whom, especially men of 
quality and fortune, indulge themselves in criminal 
excesses ' ; nor yet the example of the prophet him- 
self, who had peculiar privileges in this and other 
points, as will be observed hereafter. In making 
the above-mentioned limitation, Mohammed was di- 
rected by the decision of the Jewish doctors, who, 
by way of counsel, limit the number of wives to 
four", though their law confines them not to any 
certain number '. 

Divorce is also well known to be allowed by the 
Mohammedan law, as it was by the Mosaic, with 
this difference only, that according to the latter a 
man could not take again a woman whom he had 
divorced, and who had been married or betrothed 
to another ' ; whereas Mohammed, to prevent his 
followers from divorcing their wives on every light 

part 4. p. 52, & Tl. Priclcaux, Life of Mah. p. 114. Chartliu, Voy. de Perse, 
'i\ 1, p. Ida. Dii Ryer, Sommaire de la Rel. des Turcs, mis a la tetc de sa 
version de TAlcor. Ricaut, ubi supra. Pufendorf, de Jure Nat. et Gent. 1. 0. c. 

' Cliap. 4. p. 'id. - v. Gagnier, in notis ad Abiilfeda; Vit. Moh. 

p. 150. RelaiHl, de Rel. Moh. p. 243, &c. and Selden. Ux. Hebr. 1. 1. cap. 9. 
3 V. Reland. ubi sup. p. 244. • Kor. chap. 4. p. 85. ^ Sir J. 

Maundeville (who, exceptins; a fcv/ silly stories he tells from hear-say, deserves 
more credit than some travellers of better reputation), speaking of the Koran, 
observes, among several other truths, that INIahomet therein commanded a man 
should have two wives, or three, or four ; though the Mahometans then took 
nine wives, and lemans as many as tliey might sustain. Maundev. Travels, 
]i. Hi4. « JMaimon. in Halachoth Ishoth, c. 14. ^ Idem, ib. 

V. Selden. Uxor. Hebr. 1. 1. c. 0. » Deut. xxiv. 3, 4. Jerem. iii. 1. V. Sel- 
den, ubi sup. 1. I.e. 11. 


occasion, or out of an inconstant humour, ordained 
that if a man divorced his wife the third time (for 
he mis;ht divorce her twice without being obliged to 
j)art with lier, if he repented of wliat he had done), 
it shoukl not be lawful for him to take lier again, 
until she had been first married and bedded by an- 
other, and divorced by such second husband '. And 
this precaution has had so good an effect, that the 
Mohammedans are seldom known to proceed to 
the extremity of divorce, notwithstanding the liberty 
given them ; it being reckoned a great disgrace so 
to do : and there are but few, besides those who 
have little or no sense of honour, that will take a 
wife again, on the condition enjoined ". It must be 
observed that though a man is allowed by the ]\Io- 
hammedan, as by the Jewish law % to repudiate his 
wife even on the slightest disgust, yet the women 
are not allowed to separate themselves from their 
husbands, unless it be for ill usage, want of ])roper 
maintenance, neglect of conjugal duty, impotency, 
or some cause of equal import ; but then she gene- 
rally loses her dowry -, which she does not, if di- 
vorced by her husband, unless she has been guilty 
of impudicity, or notorious disobedience '. 

When a woman is divorced, she is obliged, by the 
direction of the Koran, to wait till she hath had her 
courses thrice, or, if there be a doubt whether she 
be subject to them or not, by reason of her age, 
three months, before she marry another ; after which 
time expired, in case she be found not with child, 
she is at full liberty to dispose of herself as she 
j)leases : but if she ])rove witli child, she must wait 
till she l)e delivered : and during her whole term of 
waiting, she may continue in the husband's house, 

' Koian, clisip. 2. p. 39. » V. S' klen. uLi sup. 1. .'?. rap. 21. and 

Hicnut's Slate of the Ottoman Empire, b. 2. chap. 21. 3 Deut. xxiv. 1. Lc« 
IVImlcna, Hii.t. de gli Uiti Iltlr. part 1. c. (>. V. Seidell, ubisiip. * V. Bus- 
1)0(1. ''!'• •'• P- "'^- Smitli, do Morib. .ic Iiutit. 'i'lircar. Kp. 2. p. 52. and 
Chardin, \oy. de I'crsc, T. 1. p. l(i!>. s Koruii, chap. 1. p. JJJi, liO. 


and is to be maintained at his expense ; it being 
forbidden to turn a woman out before the expiration 
of the term, unless she be guilty of dishonesty'. 
Where a man divorces a woman before consumma- 
tion, she is not obliged to wait any particular time^; 
nor is he obliged to give her more than one half of 
her dower . If the divorced woman have a young 
child, she is to suckle it till it be two years old ; the 
father, in the mean time, maintaining her in all re- 
spects : a widow is also obliged to do the same, and 
to wait four months and ten days before she marry 
again ^ 

These rules are also copied from those of the 
Jews, according to whom a divorced woman, or a 
widow, cannot marry another man till ninety days 
be past, after the divorce or death of the husband": 
and she who gives suck is to be maintained for two 
years, to be computed from the birth of the child ; 
within which time she must not marry, unless the 
child die, or her milk be d]'ied up". 

Whoredom, in single Avomen as well as married, 
was, in the beginning of Mohammedism, very se- 
verely ijunished ; such being ordered to be shut up 
in i)rison till they died : but afterwards it was or- 
dained by the Sonna, that an adulteress should be 
stoned', and an unmarried woman guilty of fornica- 
tion scourged with an hundred stripes, and banished 
for a year". A she-slave, if convicted of adultery, is 
to suffer but half the punishment of a free woman ^, 
viz. fifty stripes, and banishment for six months ; but 
is not to be put to death. To convict a woman of 
adultery, so as to make it capital, four witnesses are 

' Koran, chap. 2. p. 38, and 30, and chap. 65. ^ jb, chap. 33. 

3 lb. chap. 2. p. 3!7. •» lb. chap. 2. p. 38. and chap. 05. s Mishna, 

tit. Yabinioth, c. 4. Gemar. Babyl. ad euud. tit. Maimon. in Halach. Girushin, 
Sliylhan Aruch, part 3. ^ Mishna, and Geniara, and Maimon. ubi supra, 

Gem. Babyl. ad tit. Cetuboth, c. 5. and Jos. Karo, in Shylhan Aruch, c. 50, 
§2. v. Seldeni Ux. Hebr. 1, 2. c. 11, andl. 3. c. lOinlin. 7 And 

the adulterer also, according to a passage once extant in tlie Koran, and still in 
force as some suppose. Sec the notes to Kor. c. 3. p. 51. and the Prcl. Disc. p. t>2, 
* Kor. chap. 4. p. 88. See the notes there. » Ibid. p. 'JO. 


expressly required ', and those, as the commentators 
say, ought to be men : and if a man falsely accuse a 
woman of reputation of whoredom of any kind, and 
is not able to support the charge by that number of 
witnesses, he is to receive fourscore stripes, and his 
testimonj'' is to be held invalid for the future-. For- 
nication, in either sex, is by the sentence of the Koran 
to be punished with an hundred stripes \ 

If a man accuse his wife of infidelity, and is not 
able to prove it by sufficient evidence, and will swear 
four times that it is true, and the fifth time imprecate 
God's vengeance on him if it be false, she is to be 
looked on as convicted, unless she will take the like 
oaths, and make the like imprecation, in testimony 
of her innocency ; which if she do, she is free from 
punishment, though the marriage ought to be dis- 
solved \ 

In most of the last-mentioned particulars, the de- 
cisions of the Koran also agree with those of the 
Jews. By the law of Moses, adultery, whether in a 
married woman or a virgin betrothed, was punished 
with death ; and the man who debauched them was 
to suffer the same punishment"-. The penalty of 
simple fornication was scourging, the general punish- 
ment in cases where none is particularly appointed : 
and a betrothed bond-maid, if convicted of adultery, 
underwent the same punishment, being exempted 
from death, because she was notfrce^. By the same 
law, no person was to be put to death on the oath 

• Kor. ch. 4. p. Ko. See notes there. '^ Ivor. chap. 24. 3 Ibid. Tliis 

law relates not to married people, as Selden suposes ; Ux. Hcb. 1. 3. c. 12. 
4 Ibid. Sec the notes there. 5 Lev. xx. 10. Dent. xxii. 22. Tlic 

kind of death to be infiiclcd on adulterers in connnon cases beinj: not exprcssai, 
the Tidnnidists generally Mippose it to be slninglhif: ; vhieh they tl'.ink is de- 
signed wherever the phrase s/iall be put io deaths or shall die the death, is used, 
as they iniaj^ine tton'uig is by the expression hh blood shall Ir upon him : and 
hence it has been concluded by some, tliat the woman taken in adultery, Uicn- 
fioned in the gosjicl (.John viii.) was a betrothed iiiaiden, because such a one and 
her accomplice were phiinly ordered to be stoned. (Deut. xxii. 23, 21.) I'ut the 
ancients .seem to have been of a different opinion, and to have understood stoning 
to be the punishment of adulterers in general. V. Selden. Ux. Hcbr. 1. '.i. c. 11, 
and 12. ' Lcvit. xix. 20. 


of one witness i: and a man who slandered his wife 
was also to be chastised, that is scourged, and fined 
one hundred shekels of silver^ The method of try- 
ing a woman suspected of adultery, where evidence 
was wanting, by forcing her to drink the bitter water 
of jealousy ^ though disused by the Jews long before 
the time of Mohammed \ yet, by reason of the oath 
of cursing with which the woman was charged, and 
to which she was obliged to say Ame>!, bears great 
resemblance to the expedient devised by that prophet 
on the like occasion. 

The institutions of Mohammed relating to the 
pollution of women during their courses % the taking 
of slaves to wifeS and the prohibiting of marriage 
within certain degrees', have likewise no small af- 
finity with the institutions of Moses' ; and the parallel 
might be carried farther in several other particulars. 
As to the prohibited degrees, it may be observed, 
that the pagan Arabs abstained from marrying their 
mothers, daughters, and aunts both on the father's 
side and on the mother's, and held it a most scandal- 
ous thing to marry two sisters, or for a man to take 
his father's wife'; which last was notwithstanding 
too frequently practised '', and is expressly forbidden 
in the Koran ^K 

Before I leave the subject of marriages, it may be 
proper to take notice of some peculiar privileges 
in relation thereto, which were granted by God to 
Mohammed, as he gave out, exclusive of all other 
Moslems. One of them was, that he might lawfully 
marry as many wives and have as many concubines 
as he pleased, without being confined to any parti- 
cular number^-; and this he pretended to have been 

> Deut.xix. 15. xvii. G, and Numb. xxxv. 30. - Deut. xxii. 13—11). 

3 Numb. v. 1] , &c. 4 V. Selden, ubi supr. 1. 3. c. 15. and Leon. Modena, 

de' Riti Hebraici, parte 4. c. G. s Kor. chap. 2. p. 37- '^ lb- chap. 

4. p. «5, and <J0, &c. ' Chap. 4. p. SO. 8 See Lev. xy. 24. 

xviii. 19. and xx. 18. Exod. xxi. 8-11. Deut. xxi. 10-14. Levit. xvui.and 
XX ^ Abulfed. Hist. Gen. ;il Shahrestani, apud Poc. Spec p. 321, and 

'•« V. Poc. ib. p. 337, &c. '• Chap. 4. p. fly. '' Kor. chap. 33. 

See also chap, (ifi, and the noleo tliere. 


the privilege of the prophets before him. Another 
was, that he might alter the turns of his wives, and 
take such of them to his bed as he thought fit, with- 
out being tied to that order and equality which others 
are obliged to observe'. A third privilege was, that 
no man might marry any of his wives ', either such 
as he should divorce during his lifetime, or such as 
he should leave widows at his death : which last par- 
ticular exactly agrees with uhat the Jewish doc- 
tors have determined concerning the wives of their 
princes ; it ])c'ing judged by them to be a thing very 
indecent, and for that reason unlawful, for another 
to marry either the divorced wife or the widow of a 
king"'; and ]Mohammed. it seems, thought an equal 
respect, at least, due to the prophetic as to the regal 
dignity, and therefore ordered that his relicts should 
pass the remainder of their lives in perpetual widow- 

The laws of the Koran concerning inheritances 
are also in several respects conformable to those of 
the Jews, though principally designed to abolish 
certain practices of the pagan Arabs, who used to 
treat widows and orphan children with great injus- 
tice, frequently denying them any share in the inhe- 
ritance of their fathers or their husbands, on pretence 
that the same ought to be distributed among those 
only who were able to bear arms, and disposing of 
the widows, even against their consent, as part of 
their husbands' possessions ^ To prevent such inju- 
ries for the future, Mohammed ordered that women 
should be respected, and orphans have no wrong 
done them ; and in particular that women should 
not be taken against their wills, as by right of inhe- 
ritance, but should themselves be entitled to a distri- 
butive part of what their parents, husbands, and 

' Kor. chap. 33. See tlie notes there. '' Kor chap. W'A. 3 Mi&hnu, 

tit. S;inlicdr. c 2. and Gcmar. in cund. tit. Mainion. ITilachoth Mclachim, c. 2. 
V. Seldcn. I'x. llcbr. 1. 1. c 10. Prid. Life <>f Mah. p. 118. * Sec 

chap. \. p. o4, }ifi, and liJi, and the notes tlurc. V. ctiam Poc. Spec. p. 337- 


near relations, should leave behind them, in a certain 
proportion \ 

The general rule to be observed in the distri- 
bution of the deceased's estate is, that a male shall 
have twice as much as a female - ; but to this rule 
there are some few exceptions ; a man's parents, for 
example, and also his brothers and sisters, where 
they are entitled not to the v/hole, but a small part 
of tile inheritance, being to have equal shares with 
one another in the distribution thereof, -v^ithout 
making any difference on account of sex '\ The 
particular proportions, in several cases, distinctly 
and sufficiently declare the intention of Mohammed ; 
whose decisions expressed in the Koran * seem to be 
pretty equitable, preferring a man's children first, 
and then his nearest relations. 

If a man dispose of any part of his estate by will, 
two witnesses, at the least, are required to render 
the same valid ; and such witnesses ought to be of 
his own tribe, and of the Mohammedan religion, if 
such can be had \ Though there be no express law 
to the contrary, yet the Mohammedan doctors reckon 
it very wrong for a man to give away any part of 
his substance from his family, unless it be in lega- 
cies for pious uses ; and even in that case a man 
ought not to give all he has in charity, but only a 
reasonable part in proportion to his substance. On 
the other hand, though a man make no will, and 
bequeath nothing for charitable uses, yet the heirs 
are directed, on the distribution of the estate, if the 
value will permit, to bestow something on the poor, 
especially such as are of kin to the deceased, and to 
the orphans '. 

The first law, however, laid down by Mohammed 
touching inheritances was not very equitable ; for 
he declared that those who had fled with him from 

' Kor. chap. 4. ubi supra. "^ Ibid. p. 86, and 115. V. Chardin, Voy. 

de Perse, T. 2. p. 293. 3 Kor. Ibid. p. 86, 8?. 4 Ibid, and p. 115. 

5 Kor. chap. 5. p. 138. •> Kor. chap. 4. p. 86. 


Mecca, and those who had received and assisted him 
at Medina, should be deemed the nearest of kin, and 
consequently heirs to one anotlier, preferably to and 
in exclusion of their relations by blood ; nay, though 
a man were a true believer, yet if he had not fled his 
country for the sake of religion and joined the pro- 
phet, he was to be looked on as a stranger ' : but 
this law continued not long in force, being quickly 
abrogated -. 

It must be observed that among the Moham- 
medans the children of their concubines or slaves 
are esteemed as equally legitimate with those of their 
legal and ingenuous wives ; none being accounted 
bastards, except such only as are born of common 
^vomen, and whose fathers are unknown. 

As to private contracts between man and man, 
the conscientious performance of them is frequently 
recommended in the Koran '. For the preventing 
of disputes, all contracts are directed to be made be- 
fore witnesses ' ; and in case such contracts are not 
immediately executed, the same ought to be reduced 
into writing in the presence of two witnesses "■ at 
least, who ought to be Moslems and of the male sex ; 
but if two men cannot be conveniently had, then 
one man and two women may suffice : tlie same 
method is also directed to be taken for the security 
of debts to be paid at a future day ; and where a 
writer is not to be found, pledges are to be taken*"'. 
Hence, if people trust one another without writing, 
witnesses, or pledge, the party on whom the demand 
is made is always acquitted if he denies the charge 
on oath, and swears that he owes the plaintiff nothing, 
unless the contrary be proved by very convincing 
circumstances ''. 

> Chap. B. ■> Ibid, and chap. ;i:$. 3 (hap. 5. p. UG. 

chap. 17. chap. 2. p. 4!), &c. * Chap. 2. p. 41). s The 

same seems to have been required by the Jewish law, even in cises where life 
was not concerned. See Deut. xix. 15. JNIatth. xviii. l(i. John viii. 17- 2 Cor. 
xiii. 1. ^ Kor. c. 2. p. i>0. " V. Chardiii, Perse, 

T. 2. p. 21)4, &c. and tiie notes to Kor. chap. .'>. p. 1;JJ>. 


Wilful murder, thougli forbidden by the Koran 
under the severest penalties to be inflicted in the 
next life \ is yet by the same book allowed to be 
compounded for, on payment of a fine to the family 
of the deceased, and freeing a Moslem from cap- 
tivity : but it is in the election of the next of kin, or 
the revenger of blood, as he is called in the Penta- 
teuch, either to accept of such satisfaction, or to re- 
fuse it ; for he may, if he pleases, insist on having 
the murderer delivered into his hands, to be put to 
death in such manner as he shall think fit '. In this 
particular Mohammed has gone against the exjwess 
letter of the PvJosaic law, which declares that no sa- 
tisfaction shall be taken for the life of a murderer ^ ; 
and he seems, in so doing, to have had respect to the 
customs of the Arabs in his time, who, being of a 
vindictive temper, used to revenge murder in too 
unmerciful a manner ', whole tribes frequently en- 
gaging in bloody wars on such occasions, the natural 
consequence of their independency, and having no 
common judge or superior. 

If the Mohammedan laws seem light in case of 
murder, they may perhaps be deemed too rigorous 
in case of manslaughter, or the killing of a man un- 
designedly ; which must be redeemed by fine (un- 
less the next of kin shall think fit to remit it out of 
charity), and the freeing of a captive : but if a man 
be not able to do this, he is to fast two months to- 
gether, by way of penance \ The fine for a man's 
blood is set in the Sonna at a hundred camels''; 
and is to be distributed among the relations of the 
deceased, according to the laws of inheritances ; but 
it must be observed, that though the person slain be 
a Moslem, yet if he be of a nation or party at enmity, 
or not in confederacy with those to whom the slayer 

' Kor. ch. 4. p. 102. ^^ Chap. 2. p. 28, 29. chap. 17. V. Char- 

din, ubi sup. p. 299, &c. 3 Numb. xxxv. .31. 4 This is par- 

ticularly forbidden in the Koran, chap. 17- s Kor. chap. 4. p. 102. 

^ See the notes to chap. 37- 


belongs, he is not then bound to pay any fine at all ; 
the redeeming a cajitive being, in such case, declared 
a sufficient penalty '. I imagine that Mohammed, 
by these regulations, laid so heavy a punishment on 
involuntary manslaughter, not only to make peoj)le 
beware incurring the same, but also to luunour, in 
some degree, the revengeful temper of his country- 
men, which might be with difficulty, if at all, j)re- 
vailed on to accept a lighter satisfaction. Among 
the Jews, who seem to have been no less addicted to 
revenge than their neighbours, the manslayer who 
had escaped to a city of refuge was obliged to keep 
himself within that city, and to abide there till the 
death of the person who was high priest at the time 
the fact was committed, that his absence and time 
might cool the passion and mitigate the resentment 
of the friends of the deceased ; but if he quitted his 
asylum before that time, the revenger of blood, if 
he found him, might kill him without guilt ; nor 
could any satisfaction be made for the slayer to re- 
turn home before the prescribed time . 

Theft is ordered to be punished by cutting off 
the offiending part, the hand * ; which, at first sight, 
seems just enough : but the law of Justinian, for- 
bidding a thief to be maimed % is more reasonable : 
because stealing being generally the effi^ct of indi- 
gence, to cut off that limb would be to deprive him 
of the means of getting his livelihood in an honest 
manner'. The Sonna forbids the inflicting of this 
punishment, unless the thing stolen be of a certain 
value. I have mentioned in another place the fur- 
ther penalties which those incur who continue to 
steal, and of those who rob or assault people on the 
road ' . 

As to injuries done to men in their persons, the 

• Kor. chap. 4. p. 102. ^ See Numb. xxxv. I'C, 27, 2n. 3 Ibid, 

vcr. ;{2. 4 Koran, diap. 5. p. 124. "> Novell. i:<4. c. l.'t. ^ V. Piifcn- 
dorf, dc Jure Nat. ct (iciu. 1. }{. c. ."{. ^ 2(i. ' Sec the notes to chap. f>. 

p. 124. 


law of retaliation, which was ordained by the law 
of Moses', is also approved by the Koran': but 
this law, which seems to have been allowed by Mo- 
hammed to his Arabians for the same reason as it 
was to the Jews, viz. to prevent particular revenges, 
to which both nations were extremely addicted \ 
being neither strictly just, nor practicable in many 
cases, is seldom put in execution, the punishment 
being generally turned into a mulct or fine, which 
is paid to the party injured \ Or rather Moham- 
med designed the words of the Koran relating 
thereto should be vuiderstood in the same manner as 
those of the Pentateuch most probably ought to be ; 
that is, not of an actual retaliation, according to the 
strict literal meaning, but of a retribution propor- 
tionable to the injury : for a criminal had not his 
eyes put out, nor was a man mutilated, according to 
the law of Moses, which, besides, condemned those 
who had wounded any person, where death did not 
ensue, to pay a fine only^; the expression eye for 
eye, and tooth for tooth, being only a proverbial 
manner of speaking, the sense whereof amounts to 
this. That every one shall be punished by the judges, 
according to the heinoiisness (f the fact '^. 

In injuries and crimes of an inferior nature, where 
no particular punishment is provided by the Koran, 
and where a pecuniary compensation will not do, the 
Mohammedans, according to the practice of the Jews 
in the like case ", have recourse to stripes or drubbing, 
the most common chastisement used in the east at 
this day, as well as formerly ; the cudgel, which, for 
its virtue and efficacy in keeping their j^eople in good 

' Exod. xxi. 24, &c. Levit. xxiv. 20. Dcut. six. 21. ' Chap. 5. p. 

126. 2 v. Grotiuni, de Jure BeUi et Pads, 1. 1. c. 2. (^ 3. •• V. Cliar- 

din, T. 2. p. 2D.9. The talio, likewise established among tiie old Romans 
by the laws of the twelve tables, was not to be inflicted, unless the delinquent 
could not agree wth the person injured. V. A. Gell. Noct. Attic. 1. 20. c. 1. 
and Festum, in voce tallo. s See Exod. xxi. 18, 19, and 22. 6 Bar- 

beyrac, in Grot, ubi supra. V. Cleric, in Exod. xxi. 24, and Deut. xix. 21. 
" See Deut. xxv. 2, ?>. 

YOL. I. O 


order, and within the bounds of duty, they say came 
down from heaven, being the instrument wherewith 
the judge's sentence is generally executed'. 

Notwithstanding the Koran is by the Moham- 
medans in general regarded as the fundamental part of 
their civil law, and the decisions of the Sonna, among 
the Turks, and of the Imams, among those of the 
Persian sect, with the explications of their several 
doctors, are usually followed in judicial determina- 
tions, yet the secular tribunals do not think them- 
selves bound to observe the same in all cases, but 
frequently give judgment against those decisions, 
which are not always consonant to equity and rea- 
son ; and therefore distinction is to be made between 
the written civil law, as administered in the ecclesi- 
astical courts, and the law of natm-e or connnon law 
(if I may so call it) which takes place in the secular 
courts, and has the executive power on its side . 

Under the head of civil laws may be compre- 
hended the injunction of warring against infidels, 
which is repeated in several passages of the Koran •, 
and declared to be of high merit in the sight of God, 
those who are slain fighting in defence of the faith 
being reckoned martyrs, and promised immediate ad- 
mission into i)aradise '. Hence this duty is greatly 
magnified by the Mohammedan divines, who call the 
sword the keij of licaven and lai/, and persuade their 
people that the least drop of blood spilt /// tlicxicaij of 
God, as it is called, is most acceptable unto him, and 
that the defending the territories of the JMoslems for 
one night is more meritorious than a fast of two 
months : on the other hand, desertion, or refusing to 
serve in these holy wars, or to contribute towards 
the carrying them on, if a man has ability, is ac- 

' V. Grelot, Voy. de Constant, p. 220, and Cluinlin, ubi supra, p. .'502. 
2 V. C'haidin, ubi supra, p. 290, &c. 3 Chap. 22. diap. 2, p. 32. chap. 4, 

p. 98, <tc. chap. 8. chaj). !». chap. 4?. and cliap. (H, &c. 4 Chap. 2, p. Id. 
chap. 3, p. 73, 7«. chap. 47- and cl.ap. (51., s Reknd. dc .lure Milit. :\Io- 

hani. p. 5, &c. 

Sect. 6.] THE niELIMINAliY DISCOURSE. 195 

counted a most heinous crime, being frequently de- 
claimed against in the Koran \ Such a doctrine, 
which Mohammed ventured not to teach till his cir- 
cumstances enabled him to put it in practice", it 
must be allo\i'ed, was well calculated for his purpose, 
and stood him and his successors in great stead : for 
what dangers and difficulties may not be despised 
and overcome by the courage and constancy which 
these sentiments necessarily inspire ? Nor have the 
Jews and Christians, how much soever they detest 
such principles in others, been ignorant of the force 
of enthusiastic heroism, or omitted to spirit up their 
respective partisans by the like arguments and pro- 
mises. " Let him who has listed himself in defence 
of the /^/rr," says Maimonides', "rely on him who is 
the hope of Israel, and the savioiu* thereof in the time 
of trouble^; and let him know that he fights for the 
profession of the divine unity : wherefore let him put 
his life in his hand ', and think neither of wife nor 
children, but banish the memory of them from his 
heart, having his mind wholly fixed on the war. 
For if he should begin to waver in his thoughts, he 
would not only confound himself, but sin against the 
law ; nay the blood of the whole people hangeth on 
his neck : for if they are discomfited, and he has not 
fought stoutly with all his might, it is equally the 
same as if he had shed the blood of them all ; accord- 
ing to that saying, let him return, lest his brethrens' 
heart fail as his own' . To the same purpose doth 
the Kabala accommodate that other passage. Cursed 
be he who doth the work of the Lord negligently, 
and cursed be he who keepeth back his sword from 
blood". On the contrary, he who behaveth bravely 
in battle, to the utmost of his endeavour, without 
trembling, with intent to glorify God's name, he 
ought to expect the victory with confidence, and to 

> V. chap. 9. and chap. 3, p. 74, &c, ^ See before, p. 06. 3 Halach. 

Melachim, c. 7- < Jerem. xiv. 8. s Job xiii. 14. ^ Deut. >:x. o. 

" Jerenv. xlviiL 10. 

o 2 


apprehend no danger or misfortune, but may be as- 
sured tliat he will have a house built him in Israel, 
a})proi)riated to him and his children for ever ; as 
it is said, God shall certainly make my lord a sure 
house, because he hath fought the battles of the 
Lord, and his life shall be bound up in the bundle of 
life with the Lord his God'." More passages of this 
kind might be produced from the Jewish writers ; 
and the Christians come not far behind them. " We 
are desirous of knowing," says one" writing to the 
Franks engaged in the holy war, " the charity of 
you all ; for that every one (\A'hich we speak not be- 
cause w^e wish it) who shall faithfully lose his life in 
this warfare shall be by no means denied the king- 
dom of heaven :" And another^ gives the following 
exhortation ; " Laying aside all fear and dread, en- 
deavour to act effectually against the enemies of the 
holy faith, and the adversaries of all religions : for 
the Almighty knoweth, if any of you die, that he 
dieth for the truth of the faith, and the salvation 
of his country, and the defence of Christians ; and 
therefore he shall obtain of him a celestial reward." 
The Jews, indeed, had a divine commission, extensive 
and explicit enough, to attack, subdue, and destroy 
the enemies of their religion ; and Mohammed pre- 
tended to have received one in favour of himself and 
his Moslems, in terms equally plain and full ; and 
therefore it is no wonder that they should act con- 
sistently with their avowed principles : but that 
Christians should teach and practise a doctrine so 
opposite to the temper and whole tenour of the 
gospel, seems very strange ; and yet the latter have 
carried matters farther, and sho\\'n a more violent 
spirit of intolerance, than either of the former. 

The laws of war according to the Mohammedans 
have been already so exactly set down by the learned 

' 1 Sam. XXV. 28, 2!). ^ Nicolaus, in .Jure Canon, c. Omnium, 2.3. 

qua-st. .5. 3 Leo W. ib. qu.Tsl. if. 


Relaiid', that I need say very little of them. I shall 
therefore only observe some conformity between their 
military laws and those of the Jews. 

^Vhile Mohammedism was in its infancy, the 
oi)posers thereof taken in battle were doomed to 
death, withont mercy ; but this was judged too severe 
to be put in practice when that religion came to be 
sufficiently established, and past the danger of being 
subverted by its enemies'. The same sentence was 
jH-onounced not only against the seven Canaanitish 
nations ', whose possessions were given to the Israel- 
ites, and without whose destruction, in a manner, 
they could not have settled themselves in the country 
designed them, but against the Amalekites '■ and Mi- 
dianites ', who had done their utmost to cut them oft' 
in their i)assage thither. When the Mohammedans 
declare war against people of a different faith, they 
give tliem their choice of three offers, viz, either 
to embrace Mohammedism, in which case they be- 
come not only secure in their persons, families, and 
fortunes, but entitled to all the privileges of other 
Moslems; or to submit and pay tribute', by doing 
v/hich they are allowed to profess their own religion, 
provided it be not gross idolatry, or against the 
moral law ; or else to decide the quarrel by the 
sword, in which last case, if the Moslems prevail, the 
women and children which are made captives become 
absolute slaves, and the men taken in the battle may 
either be slain, unless they turn Mohammedans, or 
otherwise disposed of at the pleasure of the prince'. 
Herewith agree the laws of war given to the Jews, 
which relate to the nations not devoted to destruc- 
tion^; and Joshua is said to have sent even to the 
inhabitants of Canaan, before he entered the land. 

■ In his treatise De Jure Militari Mohammedaiior. in the third vol. of his Dis- 
sertationes JMiscdlanea?. -^ See Kor. chap. 47, and the notes there ; and 

chap. 4, p. 102. chap. .5. p. 124. 3 Deut. xx. 16 -1«. 4 lb. chap. xxv. 

17—19. 5 xXunib. sxxi. I7. 6 See chap, i), and the notes there. 

■ See the nolts to chap. 47. » Deut. xx. 10—15. 


three schedules, in one of which was written, JjCt 
himjiij, icho zcill ; in the second, Lei /lim surrender, 
ivho will; and in the third, Let liim fight, who wilP; 
though none of those nations made peace with the 
Israelites (except only the Gibeonites, who obtained 
terms of security by stratagem, after they had refused 
those offered by Joshua), it being of the Lord to 
harden their hearts, that he might destroy them ut- 

On the first considerable success of Mohammed 
in war, the dispute which happened among his fol- 
lowers, in relation to the dividing of the spoil, 
rendered it necessary for him to make some regu- 
lation therein : he therefore .pretended to have re- 
ceived the divine commission to distribute the spoil 
among his soldiers at his own discretion ', reserving 
thereout, in the first place, one fifth part ■ for the 
uses after mentioned ; and in consequence hereof, he 
took himself to be authorized on extraordinary oc- 
casions to distribute it as he thought fit, without 
observing an equality. Thus he did, for example, 
with the spoil of the tribe of Hawazen taken at the 
battle of Honein, which he bestowed by way of 
presents on the Meccans only, passing by those of 
Medina, and highly distinguishing the principal 
Korashites, that he might ingratiate himself with 
them, after he had become master of their city^ He 
was also allowed in the expedition against those of 
al Nadir to take the whole booty to himself, and to 

' Talmud. Hierosol. apud ?.!ainionid. Halach. Melachim, c (]. ^ 5. R. 
lierhai, tx lib. Siphre. V. Selden. de Jure Nat. ct Gent, sec Hebr. L G. c. 13 
and 14, and Schickardi Jus Rej;iuni IJebr. c. 5. Theor. 10. "Josh. xi. 

2(i. The Jews, however, say that the (Sirgashites, believing they could not escape 
tlie destruction with which thoy were threatened by God, if they persisted to 
defend themselves, fled into Africa in great numbers; (V. Talm. Hieros. ubi 
sup.) Ai.d this is assigned as the veason why lire Girj^ashites are not mentioned 
among the other Canaanitish rations who aiiscmbled to light against Joshua, 
(Josh. ix. 1.) and who were doomed to utter extirpation (Deut. xx. 17-) l^ut 
it is obsetvahle, that the (iirgashites are not omitted by tlie Septuagint in either 
of tliose texts, and that tlieir name appears in tlie latter of them in the Sama- 
litan Pentateuch: they arc also joined wiih tlie oilier Can.ianites as liaving 
fought against Israel, in Josh. xxi/. 11. 3 Kor. c. 8. » lb. ■■ A bulled, 

in Vit. -iloh. p. IIJJ. &c. V. Kor. c. 1», and the notes there. 


dispose thereof as he pleased, because no horses or 
call! els were made use of in that expedition 1, but the 
whole army went on foot ; and this became thence- 
forM^ard a law^: the reason of which seems to be, 
that the spoil taken by a party consisting- of infantry 
only should be considered as the more immediate 
gift of God', and therefore properly left to the dis- 
position of his apostle. According to the Jews, the 
spoil ought to be divided into two equal parts, one 
to be shared among the captors, and the other to be 
taken by the prince ', and by him employed for his 
own support and the use of the public. Moses, it 
is true, divided one half of the plunder of the Midi- 
anites among those who went to battle, and the 
other half among all the congregation': but this, 
they say, being a peculiar case, and done by the 
express order of God himself, must not be looked on 
as a precedents It should seem, however, from the 
'»vords of Joshua to the two tribes and half, when he 
sent them home into Gilead after the conquest and 
division of the land of Canaan, that they were to 
divide the spoil of their enemies with their brethren, 
after their return': and the half which was in suc- 
ceeding times taken by the king was in all proba- 
bility taken by him as head of the community, and 
representing the whole body. It is remarkable that 
the dispute among Mohammed's men about sharing 
the booty at Eedr" arose on the same occasion as 
did that among David's soldiers in relation to the 
spoils recovered from the Amalekites^; those who 
had been in the action insisting that they who 
tarried by the stuff should have no part of the spoil ; 
and that the same decision was given in both cases, 
which became a law for the future, to wit, that they 
should part alike. 

The fifth part directed by the Koran to be taken 

' Kor. chap. 59, and the notes there. 2 V. Abulfed. ubi sup. p. 1)1 . 

» V. Kor. c. 59, ubi supra. " flemar. Babyl. ad tit. Sanhedr. c. 2. V. Selden. 
dc .Jure Nat. et Gent. sec. Hebr. lib. (J, c. 1(J. 5 Numb. xxxi. 27. 6 V. Maim. 
Halaih. 3Ielach. c. 4. 7 Josh, xxii (i. « Sec Kor. c. H, and the notes 

there. ' 1 Sam. xxx. 21—25. 


out of the si)oil before it be divided among ttie 
captors is declared to belong to God, and to the 
apostle, and his kindred, and the orphans, and the 
poor, and the traveller ' : which Avords are variously 
understood. Al Shafei was of opinion that the 
whole ought to be divided into five parts ; the first, 
which he called God's part, to go to the treasury, 
and be employed in building and repairing fortresses, 
bridges, and other jmblic works, and in paying 
salaries to magistrates, civil officers, professors of 
learning, ministers of public worship, &c. : the second 
part to be distributed among the kindred of Mo- 
hammed, that is, the descendants of his grandfather 
Hashem, and of his great uncle al Motalleb-, as well 
the rich as the poor, the children as the adult, the 
women as the men ; observing only to give a female 
but half the share of a male : the third part to go 
to the orphans : the fourth part to the poor, who 
have not wherewithal to maintain themselves the 
year roiuid, and are not able to get their livelihood : 
and the fifth part to travellers, who are in want on 
the road, notwithstanding they may be rich men in 
their own country '. According to Malec Ebn Ans, 
the whole is at the disposition of the Imam or 
prince, who may distribute the same at his own 
discretion, where he sees most need '. Abu'l Aliya 
went according to the letter of the Koran, and 
declared his opinion to be that the whole sliould be 
divided into six parts, and that God's part should be 
applied to the service of tlie Caaba : while others 
suppose God's j)art and the apostle's to be one and 
the same '. Abu Hanifa thought that the share of 
Mohammed and his kindred sank at that prophet's 
death, since which the whole ought to be divided 
among the orphans, the poor, and the traveller". 
Some insist that the kindred of Mohammed entitled 
to a share of the spoils are the posterity of Hashem 

' Koniii, clia|). •'!. ' Note, al Sh.'ilVi liiiuhclt' was ilesccmlcd from this 

latter. ^ Al lieid. V. Reland. dc Jure iMilit. .'Moliani. p. 42, &c. ' Idem, 

s Idem. ^- Idem. 

Sect. 6.] THE rilELlMlNAIlY DISCOURSE. 201 

only ; but those who think the descendants of his 
brother al Motalleb have also a right to a distributive 
part allege a tradition in their favour, purporting 
that Mohammed himself divided the share belonging 
to his relations among both families, and when 0th- 
man Ebn Assan and Jobeir Ebn Matam (who were 
descended from Abdshams and Navv^fal, the other 
brothers of Hashem), told him that, though they 
disputed not the preference of the Flashemites, they 
could not help taking it ill to see such difference 
made between the family of al Motalleb and them- 
selves, who were related to him in an equal degree, 
and yet had no part in the distribution, the prophet 
replied, that the descendants of al Motalleb had 
forsaken him neither in the time of ignorance, nor 
since the revelation of Islam ; and joined his fingers 
together in token of the strict union between them 
and the Hashemites'. Some exclude none of the 
tribe of Koreish from receiving a part in the division 
of the spoil, and make no distinction between the poor 
and the rich ; though, according to the more reasonable 
opinion, such of them as are poor only are intended 
by the text of the Koran, as is agreed in the case of 
the stranger : and others go so far as to assert that 
the whole fifth commanded to be reserved belongs to 
them only, and that the orphans, and the poor, and 
the traveller, are to be understood of such as are of 
that tribe . It must be observed, that immoveable 
possessions, as lands, &c. taken in war, are subject 
to the same laws as the moveable ; excepting only, 
that the fifth part of the former is not actually 
divided, but the income and profits thereof, or of the 
price thereof, if sold, are applied to public and pious 
uses, and distributed once a year, and that the 
prince may either take the fifth part of the land 
itself, or the fifth part of the income and produce of 
the whole, as he shall make his election. 

' Al Bekl. v. Reland, de Jure Milit. Mohan . p. 42, &c. ^Hcir.. 

2()!2 THE I'llELIIMlXAliY DKSCOUIiSE. [Sect. 7. 


Of the Months commanded by the Koran to be kept 
sacred ; and of the setting apart of Friday for the 
especial Service of God. 

It was a custom among the ancient Arabs to 
observe four months in the year as sacred, during 
which they held it unlawful to wage Avar, and took 
off the heads from their spears, ceasing from in- 
cursions and other hostilities. During those months 
whoever was in fear of his enemy lived in full 
security ; so that if a man met the murderer of his 
father br his brother, he durst not ofTtr him any 
violence^ : a great argument, says a learned writer, 
of a humane disposition in that nation ; who being, 
by reason of the independent governments of their 
several tribes, and for the preservation of their just 
rights, exposed to frequent quarrels with one an- 
other, had yet learned to cool their inflamed breasts 
with moderation, and restrain the rage of war by 
stated times of truce". 

This institution obtained among all the Arabian 
tribes, except only those of Tay and Khathaam, and 
some of the descendants of al Haretli Ebn Caab, 
(who distinguished no time or place as sacred'), and 
was so religiously observed, that there are but few 
instances in history (four, say some, six, say others ), 
of its having been transgressed ; the Avars Avhich 
were carried on without regard thereto being there- 
fore termed impious. One of those instances \vas 

' Al Kaswini, apiid Golium in notis ad Alt'rag. p. 4, (Sec Al Shahrestaiii, 
apud I'oc. Sj)cc. p. 311. Al Jawhari, :d Firauzub. ^ (iolius, ubi sup. p. 5. 

-» Al Shahrestaiii, ubi sup. Slc before, p. l'>7. ' Al Mo{dioItai. 

Sect. 7.] THE niELIMIKAllY DISCOUKSE. 203 

in the war between the tribes of Koreish and Kais 
Allan, wherein Mohammed himself served under his 
uncles, being then fourteen ^ or, as others say, 
twenty" years old. 

The months which the Arabs held sacred were al 
Moharram, Rajeb, Dhu'lkaada, and Dhu'lhajja ; the 
first, the seventh, the eleventh, and the twelfth 
in the )^ear \ Dhu'lhajja being the month wherein 
they performed the pilgrimage to Mecca, not only 
that month, but also the preceding and the following 
were for that reason kept inviolable, that every 
one might safely and without interruption pass and 
repass to and from the festival '. Rajeb is said to 
have been more strictly observed than any of the 
other three", probably because in that month the 
pagan Arabs used to fast ' ; Ramadan, which was 
afterwards set apart by Mohammed for that purpose, 
being in the time of ignorance dedicated to drinking 
in excess'. By reason of the profound peace and 
security enjoyed in this month, one part of the 
provisions brought by the caravans of purveyors 
annually set out by the Koreish for the supply of 
Mecca" was distributed among the people ; the other 
part being, for the like reason, distributed at the 
pilgrimage '. 

The observance of the aforesaid months seemed 
so reasonable to Mohammed, that it met with his 
approbation ; and the same is accordingly confirmed 
and enforced by several passages of the Koran ^°, 
which forbid war to be waged during those months 

' Abulfeda, Vit. Moh. ij, 11. ■^ Al Eodai, al Firauz. apud Pec. Spec. p. 174. 
Al Mogholta'i nieiitioris both opir.iojiS. 3 Mr. Bayle (Diet. Kisr. et Crit. Art. 
la M:icque, Rem. F.) accuses Dr. Prideaux of an inconsistency for saying in one 
place (Life of J\lali. p. G4.) that these sacred months were the first, the seventh, 
the eleventh, and the twelfth, and intimating in another place (lb. p. SD.) that 
three of them were contiguous. But this must be mere absence of mind in Mr. 
liayle: for are not the eleventh, the twelfth", and the first months contiguous? 
The two learned pvofessors, Gciius and Reland, have also made a small slip in 
speaking of these sacred months, v/hich, they tell us, are the two first and the two 
last in the j'ear. V. (iolii Lex. Arab. col. 6()1, et Reland. de Jure TlIiHt. Mo- 
haimiiedanor. p. 5. •» V. Gol. in Alfrag. p. 9. 5 V. ibid. p. G. ^ ^1 

Walcrizi, apud Poc. ubi supra. 7 Idem, et Auctor Neshk al Azhar, ibid. 

** See Koran, chap. lOG. ^ Al Edrisi apud Poc. Specim. p. 127- '" Cliap. 
f>. chap. 2, p. 32. chap. 1, p. \\(j. chap. 5, p. 136, <S:c. 

204 THE rKi:M311NAKY DISCUUllSE. [Sect. 7. 

against such as acknowledge tlieni to be sacred, but 
grant, at the same time, full permission to attack 
those M^ho make no such distinction, in the sacred 
months as well as in the profane'. 

One practice, however, of the pagan Arabs, in 
relation to these sacred months, Mohammed thought 
proper to reform : for some of them, weary of 
sitting quiet for three months together, and eager 
to make their accustomed incursions for plunder, 
used, by way of expedient, whenever it suited their 
inclinations or conveniency, to put oft' the observing 
of al Moharram to the following month Safar-, 
thereby avoiding to keep the former, Avhich they 
supposed it lawful for them to profane, pro\ided 
they sanctified another month in lieu of it, and gave 
public notice thereof at the preceding pilgrimage. 
This transferring the observation of a sacred month 
to a profane month is what is truly meant by the 
Ara])ic word al Nasi, and is absolutely condemned, 
and declared to be an impious innovation, in a 
passage of the Koran' which Dr. Prideaux', misled 
by Golius % imagines to relate to the prolonging of 
the year, by adding an intercalary month thereto. 
It is true, the Arabs, who imitated the Jews in their 
manner of computing by lunar years, had also 
learned their method of reducing them to solar 
years, by ijitercalating a month sometimes in the 
third, and sometimes in the second year' ; by which 
means they fixed the pilgrimage of JMecca (contrary 
to tlie original institution) to a certain season of the 
year, viz. to autumn, as most convenient for the 
pilgrims, by reason of the temperateness of the 
weather, and the plenty of provisions"; and it is 
also true that Mohammed forbade such intercalation 
by a passage in the same chapter of the Koran : 
but then it is not the passage abovementioued, which 

' Chap. U. chap. 2, p. 32. ' Sec the notes to chap. If, ubi supra. 

3 Chap. ;), ibid. * Life of Mah. p. (iC. s In AUrag. p. 12. « Sec 

Prid. Preface to the Htst vol. of his Connect, p. vi. &e. ' V. G;>1. ubi 



prohibits a different thing, but one a little before it, 
wherein the number of months in the year, accord- 
ing to the ordinance of God, is declared to be twelve^; 
whereas, if the intercalation of a month were allowed, 
every third or second year would consist of thirteen, 
contrary to God's appointment. 

The setting apart of one day in the week for the 
more peculiar attendance on God's worship, so strictly 
required by the Jewish and Christian religions, 
appeared to Mohammed to be so proper an insti- 
tution, that he could not but imitate the professors 
thereof in that particular ; though, for the sake of 
distinction, he might think himself obliged to order 
his followers to observe a different day from either. 
Several reasons are given why the sixth day of the 
week was pitched on for this purpose-; but Mo- 
hammed seems to have preferred that day chiefly 
because it was the day on which the people used to 
be assembled long before his time^, though such 
assemblies were had, perhaps, rather on a civil 
than a religious account. However it be, the Mo- 
hammedan writers bestoAv very extraordinary enco- 
miums on this day, calling it the prince of days, and 
the most excellent day on which the sun rises '; 
pretending also that it will be the day whereon the 
last judgment will be solemnized' : and they esteem 
it a peculiar honour to Islam, that God has been 
pleased to appoint this day to be the feast-day of the 
Moslems, and granted them the advantage of having 
first observed it '. 

Though the Mohammedans do not think them- 
selves bound to keep their day of public worship so 
holy as the Jews and Christians are certainly obliged 
to keep theirs, there being a permission, as is ge- 
nerally supposed, in the Koran', allowing them to 

' Kor. chap. 9. See also chap. 2, p. 32. - See chap. G'.i, and the notes there. 
^ Al BeidSwi. 4 Ebn al Athir, et al Ghazali, apud Poc. Spec. p. 317. 

5 lideiii. <■' Al Ghazali, ibid. 7 Chap. f>3, ubi supra. 


return to their employments or diversion after divine 
service is over ; yet the more devout disapprove the 
applying of any part of that day to worldly affairs, 
and require it to be wholly dedicated to the business 
of the life to come \ 

Since I have mentioned the Mohammedan weekly 
feast, I beg leave just to take notice of their two 
Beirams ', or principal annual feasts. The first of 
them is called, in Arabic, Id al fetr, i. e. The feast of 
breaking the fast, and begins the first of Shawiil, 
immediately succeeding the fast of Ramadan ; and 
the other is called Id al korban, or Id al adha, i. e. 
The feast of the sacrifice, and begins on the tenth 
of Dhu'lhajja, when the victims are slain at the 
pilgrimage of Mecca'. The former of these feasts 
is properly tlie lesser Beiram, and the latter the 
greater Beiram' : but the vulgar, and most authors 
who have written of the Mohammedan affairs', ex- 
change the epithets, and call that which follows 
Ramadan the greater Beiram, because it is observed 
in an extraordinary manner, and kept for three days 
together at Constantinople and in other parts of 
Turkey, and in Persia for five or six days, by the 
common people at least, with great demonstrations 
of public joy, to make themselves amends, as it 
were, for the mortification of the preceding month ; 
whereas the feast of sacrifices, though it be also kept 
for three days, and the first of them be the most 
solemn day of the pilgrimage, the principal act of 
devotion among the Mohammedans, is taken much 
less notice of by the generality of people, who are 
not struck therewith because the ceremonies with 
which the same is observed are performed at Mecca, 
the only scene of that solemnity. 

' Al (ihaziili, ubi sup. p. .'J18. » The word Beiiiini is Turkish, and pro- 

perly signifies a feast-day or holiday. 3 Sec chap. !», and before. ^ IV. p. 1 (>.'). 

4 v. Rcland, dc Rclig. IMoh. p. lOJ), et D'Herbcl. Bibl. Orient. Art. BeirAni. 

5 Hyde, in notis ad Bobov. p. Hi. Chardin, \'oy. de I'crsc, Tom. II. p. ^."(O. 
Ricaut's State of tliu Ottoman Empire, 1. 2, c. 24, \e. « \'. Cliardin, et 
Ricaut, ubi sujjra. 

Sect. 8.] THE rREi-i]\riNAriY discourse. 207 


Of the principal Sects among the Mohammedans ; 
and of those who have pretended to Prophecy 
among the Arabs, in or since the Time of Mo- 

Before we take a view of the sects of the Mo- 
hammedans, it will be necessary to say something 
of the two sciences by which ail disputed questions 
among them are determined, viz. their Scholastic 
and Practical Divinity. 

Their scholastic divinity is a mongrel science, 
consisting of logical, metaphysical, theological, and 
philosophical disquisitions, and built on principles and 
methods of i-easoning very different from what are 
used by those who pass among the Mohammedans 
themselves for the sounder divines or more able 
philosophers ', and therefore in the partition of the 
sciences this is generally left out, as unworthy a 
place among them-. The learned Maimonides^ has 
laboured to expose the principles and systems of the 
scholastic divines, as frequently repugnant to the 
nature of the world and the order of the creation, 
and intolerably absurd. 

This art of handling religious disputes was not 
known in the infancy of Mohammedism, but was 
brought in when sects sprang up, and articles of 
religion began to be called in question, and was at 
first made use of to defend the truth of those arti- 

. '1/°"' M V^"' ?Vr r^^- • ' ^P""^ ^''" ^"^^' •" ^'^^^° de Divisione Scientiar. 
et ^asirodchn al Tusi, m prsfut. ad Ethic. 3 More Nevoch. 1. 1, c. 71, 


cles against innovators ^ ; and while it keeps within 
those bounds is allowed to be a commendable study, 
being necessary for the defence of the faith : but 
when it proceeds farther, out of an itch of disputa- 
tion, it is judged worthy of censure. 

This is the o])inion of al Ghazali-, who observes 
a medium between those who have too hi^h a value 
for this science, and those who absolutely reject it. 
Among the latter was al Shafei, who declared that, 
in his judgment, if any man employed his time that 
way, he deserved to be fixed to a stake, and carried 
about through all the Arab tribes, with the following 
proclamation to be made before him : This is the 
reward of him who, leaving the Koran and the 
Sonna, applied himself to the study of scholastic 
divinity. Al Ghazali, on the other hand, thinks 
that as it was introduced by the invasion of heresies, 
it is necessary to be retained in order to quell them : 
but then in the person who studies this science he 
requires three things, diligence, acuteness of judg- 
ment, and probity of manners ; and is by no means 
for suffering the same to be publicly explained \ 
This science, therefore, among the Mohammedans, 
is the art of controversy, by ^\'hich they discuss 
points of faith, concerning the essence and attributes 
of God, and the conditions of all possible things, 
either in respect to their creation, or final restora- 
tion, according to the rules of the religion of Islam '. 

The other science is practical divinity or juris- 
prudence, and is the knowledge of the decisions 
of the law^ which regard practice, gathered from di- 
stinct proofs. 

Al Ghazali declares that he had nuich the same 
opinion of this science as of the former, its original 
being owing to the corruption of religion and mo- 
rality ; and therefore judged l)oth sciences to be 

' Al Ghazali, iipiul Poc. ubi supra. •= Ibid. 3 V. Vol: ib. p. l!t7- 

* Al Ghazil. ibid. s Ebn al Kossii. apud ciind. 'bid. p. llt.'i. 


necessary not in themselves, but by accident only, to 
curb the irregular imaginations and passions of man- 
kind (as guards become necessary in the highways 
by reason of robbers) ; the end of the first being the 
suppressing of heresies, and of the other the decision 
of legal controversies, for the quiet and peaceable 
living of mankind in this world, and for the pre- 
serving the rule by which the magistrate may pre- 
vent one man from injuring another, by declaring 
what is lawful and what is unlawful, by determining 
the satisfaction to be given, or punishment to be in- 
flicted, and by regulating other outward actions ; and 
not only so, but to decide of religion itself and its 
conditions, so far as relates to the profession made 
by the mouth, it not being the business of the civilian 
to inquire into the heart ' : the depravity of men's 
manners, however, has made this knowledge of the 
laws so very requisite, that it is usually called the 
science, by way of excellence, nor is any man reck- 
oned learned who has not applied himself thereto -. 

The points of faith, subject to the examination 
and discussion of the scholastic divines, are reduced 
to four general heads, which they call the four bases, 
or great fundamental articles ^. 

The first basis relates to the attributes of God, and 
his unity consistent therewith. Under this head are 
comprehended the questions concerning the eternal 
attributes, which are asserted by some, and denied 
by others ; and also the explication of the essential 
attributes, and attributes of action ; what is proper 
for God to do, and what may be affirmed of him, 
and what it is impossible for him to do. These 
things are controverted between the Asharians, the 
Keramians, the Mojassemians or Corporalists, and 
the Motazalites ^. 

The second basis^ regards predestination, and the 
justice thereof: which comprises the questions con- 

' Al Ghazali. V. ibid. p. 108—204. ^ V. ib. p. 201. 3 V. Abu'lfarag. 

Hist. Dynast, p. lG(i. 4 Al Shahrestani, apud Poc. ubi sup. p. 204, ^c 

VOX,. I. r 

210 THE PREl.miNAllY DISCOURSE. [Sect. B. 

cerning God's purpose and decree, man's compulsion 
or necessity to act, and his co-operation in producing 
actions, by which lie may gain to himself good or 
evil ; and also those which concern God's willing 
good and evil, and what things are subject to his 
j)ower, and what to his knowledge; some main- 
taining the affirmative, and others the negative. 
These points are disputed among the Kadarians, the 
Najarians, the Jabarians, the Asharians, and the 
Keramians '. 

The third basis concerns the promises and threats, 
the precise acceptation of names used in divinity, 
and the divine decisions ; and comprehends ques- 
tions relating to faith, repentance, promises, threats, 
forbearance, infidelity and error. The controversies 
under this head are on foot between the Morgians, 
the Waidians, the Motazalites, the Asharians, and 
the Ker^lmians^ 

The fourth basis regards history and reason, that 
is, the just weight they ought to have in matters 
belonging to faith and religion ; and also the mission 
of prophets, and the office of Imam, or chief pontiff. 
Under this head are comprised all casuistical ques- 
tions relating to the moral beauty or tm'pitude of 
actions ; inquiring whether things are allowed or 
forbidden by reason of their own natiu'e, or by the 
positive law ; and also questions concerning the pre- 
ference of actions, the favour or grace of God, the 
innocence which ought to attend the prophetical 
office, and the conditions requisite in the office of 
Imam ; some asserting it depends on right of suc- 
cession, others on the consent of the faithful, and 
also the method of transferring it, with the former, 
and of confirming it, with the latter. These mat- 
ters are the subjects of dispute between the Shiites, 
the Motazalites, the Keramians, and the Asharians'. 

The different sects of Mohammedans may be di- 

» Al Shahrestini, apud Poc. ubi sup. p. 205. ' IdetD, ib. p. 206. 

Idem, ibid. 


stingiiished into two sorts ; those generally esteemed 
orthodox, and those which are esteemed heretical. 

The former, by a general name, are called Son- 
nites or Traditionists ; because they acknowledge 
the authority of the Sonna, or collection of moral 
traditions of the sayings and actions of their pro- 
phet, which is a sort of supplement to the Koran, 
directing the observance of several things omitted in 
that book, and in name, as well as design, answering 
to the Mishna of the Jews \ 

The Sonnites are subdivided into four chief sects, 
which, notwithstanding some diiferences as to legal 
conclusions in their interpretation of the Koran, and 
matters of practice, are generally acknowledged to 
be orthodox in radicals, or matters of faith, and 
capable of salvation, and have each of them their 
several stations or oratories in the temple of Mecca -. 
The founders of these sects are looked upon as the 
great masters of jurisprudence, and are said to have 
been men of great devotion and self-denial, well 
versed in the knowledge of those things which be- 
long to the next life and to man's right conduct here, 
and directing all their knowledge to the glory of 
God. This is al Ghazali's encomium of them, who 
thinks it derogatory to their honour that their names 
should be used by those who, neglecting to imitate 
the other virtues which make up their character, 
apply themselves only to attain their skill, and 
follow their opinions in matters of legal practice ^ 

The first of the four orthodox sects is that of the 
Hanefites, so named from their founder, Abu Hanifa 
al Noman Ebn Thabet, who was born at Cufa, in 
the eightieth year of the Hejra, and died in the one 
hundred and fiftieth, according to the more pre- 
ferable opinion as to the time *. He ended his life 
in prison at Baghdad, where he had been confined 

' V. Poc. Spec. p. 298. Prid. Lifeof Mah. p. 51, &c. Reland. de ReL Moh. 
p. 68, &c. Millium, de Mohammedismo, ante Moh. p. 368, 3C9. * See 

before, p. 158. 3 V. Poc. Spec. p. 293. * Ebn Khalecan. 


212 THE rRF.i,i:\rTXA-RY DT.scon^sF.. [Sect. 8. 

because he refused to be made KAdi or judge ' ; on 
which account he was very hardly dealt with by his 
superiors, yet could not be prevailed on, either by 
threats or ill treatment, to undertake the charge, 
choosing rather to be punished by them than by God, 
says al Ghazali ; who adds, that when he excused 
himself from accepting the office by alleging that he 
was unfit for it, being asked the reason, lie replied, 
" If I speak the truth, I am unfit ; but if I tell a lie, 
a liar is not fit to be a judge." It is said that he 
read over the Koran in the prison where he died, no 
less than seven thousand times ". 

The Hanefites are called by an Arabian writer" 
the followers of reason, and those of the three other 
sects, followers of tradition; the former being prin- 
cipally guided by their own judgment in their de- 
cisions, and the latter adhering more tenaciously to 
the traditions of Mohammed. 

The sect of Abu Hanifa heretofore obtained chiefly 
in Irak ', but now generally prevails among the 
Turks and Tartars : his doctrine was brought into 
great credit by Abu Yusof, chief justice under the 
Khalifs al Iladi and Harun al Rashid \ 

The second orthodox sect is that of Mfdec Ebn 
Ans, who was born at Medina, in the year of the 
Hejra, 90, 93, 94', or 95', and died there in 177 \ 
178', or 179 ^'^ (for so much do authors differ). 
This doctor is said to have paid great regard to the 
traditions of Mohannned''. In his last illness, a 
friend going to visit him found him in tears, and 
asking him the reason of it, he answered, " How 
should I not weep? and who has more reason to 

> This was the true cause of his imprisonnicnt and death, and not his refusing 
to subscribe to the opinion of absolute predestination, as D'Herbelot writes 
(Bibl. Orient p. 21.), misled by the dubious .icccptation of the word Kada, 
which signifies not only God's decree in particular, but also the givinjj sentence 
as a judge in general : nor could Abu Hanifa have been reckoned orthodox had 
he denied one of the principal articles of faith. ' Poc. Spec p. '2'Ju 298. 

3 Al Shahrcstkni, ibid. •» Idem. s V. D'Herbel. Bibl. Orient, p. 21, 

22. *> Abulfeda. . t Ebn Khakciin. 8 idem. ' Ahul- 

feda. "> Elmacinus, p. 114. " El)n Khalcc. V. Poc. Spec. p. 2!I4. 


^yeep than I ? Would to God that for every ques- 
tion decided by me according to my own opinion I 
had received so many stripes ! then would my ac- 
coimts be easier. Would to God I had never given 
any decision of my own ' !" Al Ghazali thinks it a 
sufficient proof of Malec's directing his knowledge to 
the glory of God, that being once asked his opinion 
as to forty-eight questions, his answer to thirty-two 
of them was, that he did not know ; it being no easy 
matter for one who has any other view than God's 
glory to make so frank a confession of his ignorance -. 
The doctrine of Malec is chiefly followed in Bar- 
bary and other parts of Africa. 

The author of the third orthodox sect was Mo- 
hammed Ebn Edris al Shafei, born either at Gaza 
or Ascalon m Palestine, in the year of the Hejra 
one hundred and fifty, the same day (as some will 
have It) that Abu Hanifa died, and was carried to 
Mecca at two years of age, and there educated \ 
He died in two hundred and four \ in Egypt, whither 
he went about five years before \ This doctor is 
celebrated for his excellency in all parts of learning, 
and was much esteemed by Ebn Hanbal his con- 
temporary, who used to say that " he was as the 
sun to the Avorld, and as health to the body." Ebn 
Hanbal, however, had so ill an opinion of al Shafei 
at first, that he forbade his scholars to go near him • 
but some time after one of them, meeting his master 
trudging on foot after al Shafei, who rode on a mule 
asked him how it came about that he forbade them to' 
tollow him, and did it himself? to which Ebn Han- 
bal replied, " Hold thy peace ; if thou but attend his 
mule thou wilt profit thereby °." 

Al Shafei is said to have been the first who dis- 
coursed of jurisprudence, and reduced that science 
into a method 7; one wittily saying, that the re- 

' Ebn Khalec. V. Poc. Spec. p. 294. ^ ai Gha?ali ibid j n 


lators of the traditions of Moliammed were asleep 
till al Shafei came and waked them '. He was a 
great enemy to the scholastic divines, as has been 
already observed -. Al Ghazali tells us that al Shafei 
used to divide the night into three parts, one for 
study, another for prayer, and the third for sleep. 
It is also related of him that he never so much as 
once swore by God, either to confirm a truth, or to 
affirm a falsehood ; and that being once asked his 
opinion, he remained silent for some time, and when 
the reason of his silence was demanded, he answered, 
" I am considering first whether it be better to speak 
or to hold my tongue." The following saying is also 
recorded of him, viz, " Whoever pretends to love the 
world and its Creator at the same time is a liar ^" 
The followers of this doctor are from him called 
Shafei tes, and were formerly spread intoMawara'lnahr 
and other parts eastward, but are now chiefly of 
Arabia and Persia. 

Ahmed Ebn Hanbal, the founder of the fourth 
sect, was born in the year of the Hejra one hundred 
and sixty-four ; but as to the place of his birth there 
are two traditions : some say he was born at Merii 
in Khorasan, of which city his parents were, and 
that his mother brought him from thence to Bagh- 
dad at her breast ; while others assure us that she 
was with child of him when she came to Baghdad, 
and that he was born there \ Ebn Hanbal in pro- 
cess of time attained a great reputation on account 
of his virtue and knowledge ; being so well versed 
in the traditions of Mohammed, in particular, that 
it is said he could repeat no less than a million of 
them \ He was very intimate with al Shafei, from 
whom he received most of his traditionary know- 
ledge, being his constant attendant till his departure 
for Egypt ''. Refusing to acknowledge the Koran to 

' Al Zafariiii, «pud Poc. Spec. p. 201',. a See before, p. 20!). 3 V, Poc. 
Spec. p. 295— 2!»7- •• El)n Khakcrm. i Idem. " Idem. 


be created S he was, by order of the Khalif al M6- 
tasem, severely scourged and imprisoned-. Ebn 
Hanbal died at Baghdad, in the year two hundred 
and forty-one, and was followed to his grave by 
eight hundred thousand men, and sixty thousand 
women. It is related, as something very extraor- 
dinary, if not miraculous, that on the day of his 
death no less than twenty thousand Christians, Jews, 
and Magians, embraced the Mohammedan faith '. 
This sect increased so fast, and became so powerful 
and bold, that in the year three hundred and twenty- 
three, in the Khalifat of al Radi, they raised a great 
commotion in Baghdad, entering people's houses, and 
spilling their wine, if they found any, and beating 
the singing-women they met with, and breaking their 
instruments ; and a severe edict was published against 
them, before they could be reduced to their duty * : 
but the Hanbalites at present are not very numerous, 
few of them being to be met with out of the limits 
of Arabia. 

The heretical sects among the Mohammedans are 
those which hold heterodox opinions in fundamentals 
or matters of faith. 

The first controversies relating to fundamentals 
began when most of the companions of Mohammed 
were dead * : for in their days was no dispute, unless 
about things of small moment, if we except only the 
dissensions concerning the Imams, or rightful suc- 
cessors of their prophet, which were stirred up and 
fomented by interest and ambition ; the Arabs' con- 
tinual employment in the wars, during that time, 
allowing them little or no leisure to enter into nice 
inquiries and subtle distinctions : but no sooner was 
the ardour of conquest a little abated than they began 
to examine the Koran more nearly ; whereupon dif- 

' See before, sect. III. p. 92, &c. Ebn Khalecan, Abu'lfarag. Hist. 

Dyn. p. 252, &c 3 Ebn Khalecan. * Abu'lfar. ubt sup. p. 301, &c. 

5 Al Shahrestani, apud Poc. Spec. p. 194. Auctor Sharh al IMawakef, apud 
eund. p. 210. 


ferences in opinion became unavoidable, and at length 
so greatly multiplied, that the number of their sects, 
according to the common opinion, are seventy-three. 
For the INIohammedans seem ambitious that their re- 
ligion should exceed others even in this respect ; 
saying, that the Magians are divided into seventy 
sects, the Jews into seventy-one, the Christians into 
seventy-two, and the Moslems into seventy-three, 
as Mohammed had foretold': of which sects they 
reckon one to be always orthodox, and entitled to 
salvation \ 

The first heresy was that of the Kharejites, who 
revolted from Ali in the thirty-seventh year of the 
Hejra ; and not long after, Mabad al Johni, Ghailan 
of Damascus, and Jonas al AswAri broached hete- 
rodox opinions concerning predestination, and the 
ascribing of good and evil unto God ; whose opinions 
were followed by ^Vasel Ebn Ata ^. This latter was 
the scholar of Hasan of Basra, in whose school a 
question being proposed, whether he who had com- 
mitted a grievous sin was to be deemed an infidel or 
not, the Kharejites (who used to come and dispute 
there) maintaining the affirmative, and the orthodox 
the negative, AVasel, without waiting his master's 
decision, withdrew abruptly, and began to publish 
among his fellow-scholars a new opinion of his own, 
to wit, that such a sinner was in a middle state ; 
and he was thereupon expelled the school ; he and 
his followers being thenceforth called Motazalites, or 
Separatists '. 

The several sects which liave arisen since this time 
are variously compounded and decompounded of the 
opinions of four chief sects, the JMotazalites, the Se- 
fatians, the Kharejites, and the Shiites \ 

• V. Poc. Spec. p. 104. '^ Al Shahrestiini, apud eund. p 211. 3 Idem, 

and Auctor Sharli al Mawakef, ubi sup. •> lideni, ib. j). 211,212. Et Ebn 

Khaleciin, in A'ita A^'aseli. s .Al SIlal^^e^t^lni, wlio also reduces thcni to four 

chief sects, puts tlie Kadarians in the j)lace of the Motazalites. Abu'Ifanagius 
(Hist. Dyn. p. Kit!.) reckons six piincipal sects, adding the Jab.arians and the 
Morgians; and the author of Sha:h al JMawakcf, eight, viz. the Motazalites, the 


I. I'lie Motazalites were the followers of the be- 
fore-mentioned Wasel Ebn Ata. As to their chief 
and general tenets, 1. They entirely rejected all 
eternal attributes of God, to avoid the distinction of 
persons made by the Christians ; saying that eternity 
is the proper or formal attribute of his essence ; that 
God knows by his essence, and not by his knowledge ^ ; 
and the same they affirmed of his other attributes '^ 
(though all the Motazalites do not understand these 
words in one sense) ; and hence this sect were also 
named Moattalites, from their divesting God of his 
attributes ^ : and they went so far as to say, that to 
affirm these attributes is the same thing as to make 
more eternals than one, and that the unity of God 
is inconsistent with such an opinion * ; and this was 
the true doctrine of Wasel their master, who de- 
clared that whoever asserted an eternal attribute 
asserted there were two Gods K This point of spe- 
culation concerning the divine attributes was not 
ripe at first, but was at length brought to maturity 
by Wasel's followers, after they had read the books 
of the philosophers ^ a. They believed the word of 
God to have been created in subjecto (as the school- 
men term it), and to consist of letters and sound; 
copies thereof being written in books, to express or 
imitate the original. They also went farther, and 
affirmed that whatever is created in subjecto is also 
an accident, and liable to perish \ 3. They denied 
absolute predestination, holding that God was not 
the author of evil, but of good only ; and that man 
was a free agent ^ : which being properly the opinion 

Shiites, the Kharejiles, tlie IMorgians, the Najarians, the Jabarians, the Mosh- 
abbehites, and the sect which he calls al Najia, because that alone will be saved, 
being according to him the sect of the Asharians. V. Poc. Spec. p. 200. 

' Maimonides teaches the same, not as the doctrine of the Motazalites, but his 
own. v. More Nev. 1. 1. c. 57- ^ Al Shahrestani, apud Poc. Spec p. 214. 
Abu'lfarag. p. 167. ^ V. Poc. Spec. p. 224. " Sharh al Mawikef, 

and al Shahrest. apud Poc. p. 21G. Rlaimonides (in Proleg. ad Pirke Aboth, 
§ viii.) asserts the same thing. s V. Poc. ibid. « Al Shahrest. ib. 

p. 213. 7 Abiu'lfarag. and al Shahrest. ubi sup. p. 217- See before, sect. 

III. p. 92. 8 V. Poc. Spec. p. 240. 


of the Kadarians, we defer what may be farther said 
thereof till we come to sj)eak of that sect. On ac- 
count of this tenet and the first, the Mutazalites look- 
on themselves as the defenders of the unity and 
justice of God '. 4. They held that if a professor 
of the true religion be guilty of a grievous sin, and 
die without repentance, he will be eternally damned, 
though his punishment will be lighter than that of 
the infidels "". 5. They denied all vision of God in 
paradise by the corporeal eye, and rejected all com- 
parisons or similitudes applied to God \ 

This sect are said to have been the first inventors 
of scholastic divinity \ and are subdivided into several 
inferior sects, amounting, as some reckon, to twenty, 
which mutually brand one another with infidelity ' : 
the most remarkable of them are, 

1. The Hodeilians, or followers of Hamdan Abu 
Hodeil, a Motazalite doctor, who differed something 
from the common form of expression used by this 
sect, saying that God knew by his knowledge, but 
that his knowledge was his essence ; and so of the 
other attributes : which opinion he took from the 
philosophers, who affirm the essence of God to be 
simple, and without multiplicity, and that his at- 
tributes are not posterior or accessory to his essence, 
or subsisting therein, but are his essence itself; and 
this the more orthodox take to be next kin to making 
distinctions in the deity, which is the thing they so 
much abhor in the Christians ". As to the Koran's 
being created, he made some distinction ; holding 
the word of God to be partly not in su})jecto (and 
therefore uncreated), as when he spake the word 
Klin, i. e. Fiat, at the creation, and partly m sub- 
jec/o, as the precepts, prohibitions, &c. ' Marracci" 
mentions an opinion of Abu HodeiFs concerning pre- 

' Al Shahrest and Sharh al Mawakef, apud Poc. ubi sup. p. 214. ' Mar- 
race. Prodr. ad Ruf. Alcor. part. III. p. 74. 3 Idem, ib. •» V. Poc. 
Spec. p. 2i;$. and D'llerbcl. Ait. MoUizdali. s Auctor al Ulawakcf. apud 
Poc. ib. « Al Shaluestiui, apud Poc. p. 2lr., 21(i, 217- ^ Idem, 
apud cund. p. 217, &c. " In Prodr. part 3. p. 74. 


destination, from an Arab writer \ which being by 
him expressed in a manner not very intelligible, I 
choose to omit. 

2. The Jobbaians, or followers of Abu Ali Mo- 
hammed Ebn Abd al Wahhab, surnamed al Jobbai, 
whose meaning when he made use of the common 
expression of the Motazalites, that God knows by 
his essence, &c. was, that God*s being knowing is 
not an attribute, the same with knowledge, nor such 
a state as rendered his being knowing necessary -. 
He held God's word to be created in subjecto, as in 
the preserved table, for example, the memory of 
Gabriel, Mohammed, &c. ^ This sect, if Marracci 
has given the true sense of his author, denied that 
God could be seen in paradise without the assistance 
of corporeal eyes ; and held that man produced his 
acts by a power superadded to health of body and 
soundness of limbs ; that he who was guilty of a 
mortal sin was neither a believer nor an infidel, but 
a transgressor (which was the original opinion of 
Wasel), and if he died in his sins would be doomed 
to hell for eternity ; and that God conceals nothing 
of whatever he knows from his servants *. 

3. The Hashemians ; who were so named from 
their master Abu Hashem al Salam, the son of Abu 
Ali al Jobbai, and whose tenets nearly agreed with 
those of the preceding sect \ Abu Hashem took 
the Motazalite form of expression, that God knows 
by his essence, in a different sense from others, sup- 
posing it to mean, that God hath or is endued with 
a disposition, which is a known property, or quality, 
posterior or accessory to his existence ^ His fol- 
lowers were so much afraid of making God the 
author of evil, that they would not allow him to be 
said to create an infidel; because, according to their 
way of arguing, an infidel is a compound of infidelity 

' Al Shahrest. * Idem, apud Poc. Spec. p. 215. 3 Idem, and 

Auctor al fllawakef, ib. p. 218. 4 Marracci, ubi sup. p. 75. ex al Shahrest. 

5 v. Eund. ib. « Al Shahrest. apud Poc. p. 215. 

220 THE pju:li3iixakv Discuuusi:. [Sect. 8. 

and man, and God is not the creator of infidelity'. 
Abu Ilaslieni, and liis father Abu Ali al Jobbiii, 
were both celebrated for their skill in scholastic 
divinity '. 

4. The Nodhamians, or followers of Ibrahim al 
Nodham ; who having read books of philosopliy, set 
up a new sect, and imagining he could not suf- 
ficiently remove God from being the author of evil, 
without divesting him of his power in respect 
thereto, taught that no power ought to be ascribed 
to God concerning evil and rebellious actions : but 
this he affirmed against the opinion o fhis own dis- 
ciples, who allowed that God could do evil, but did 
not, because of its turpitude'. Of his opinion as to 
the Koran being created we have spoken elsewhere \ 

5. The Hayetians, so named from Ahmed Ebu 
Hayet, who had been of the sect of the Nodhamians, 
but broached some new notions on reading the phi- 
losophers. His peculiar opinions were, 1. That 
Christ was the eternal word incarnate, and took a 
true and real body, and will judge all creatures in 
the life to come': he also farther asserted, that there 
are two Gods, or Creators ; the one eternal, viz. the 
most high God, and the other not eternal, viz. Christ"; 
which oijinion, though Dr. Pocock urges the same 
as an argument that he did not rightly understand 
the Christian mysteries', is not much different from 
that of the Arians and Socinians. 2. That there is 
a successive transmigration of the soul from one 
body into another ; and that the last body will enjoy 
the reward or suffer the punishment due to each 
soul"; and 3. That God will be seen at the resur- 
rection, not with the bodily eyes, but those of the 
understanding ". 

> Al Slialiiest. apud Poc. p. 242. » Ebn Khalecan, in vitis eorum. * Al 
Shahrest. ubi sup- p. 211,242. V. Marracc. Prod, part 3, p. 74. « Sec 

before, Sect. III. p. ill. s Al Slialirest. ubi sup. p. 21ff. Abu'lfarag. p. 1<»7. 
' Al Sliabrrst. al i\l;iwalaf, ct Ebu Kosta, apud l*oc. ubi sup. p.21'J. 7 V.Poc. 
ib. * 3Iarracc. ct al Shahrest. ubi sup. ^ Marracc. ib. p. 7^. 


6. The Jahedhians, or followers of Amru Ebn 
Bahr, surnamed al Jahedh, a great doctor of the 
Motazalites, and very much admired for the elegance 
of his composures ' ; who differed from his brethren 
in that he imagined the damned would not be eter- 
nally tormented in hell, but would be changed into 
the nature of fire, and that the fire would of itself 
attract them, without any necessity of their going 
into it"-. He also taught that if a man believed 
God to be his Lord, and Mohammed the apostle of 
God, he became one of the faithful, and was obliged 
to nothing further'. His pecvdiar opinion as to the 
Koran has been taken notice of before \ 

7. The Mozdarians, who embraced the opinions 
of Isa Ebn Sobeih al Mozdar, and those very absurd 
ones : for, besides his notions relating to the Koran \ 
he went so directly counter to the opinion of those 
who abridged God of the powder to do evil, that he 
affirmed it possible for God to be a liar, and unjust*^. 
He also pronounced him to be an infidel who thrust 
himself into the supreme government' : nay he went 
so far as to assert men to be infidels while they said, 
There is no God but God, and even condemned all 
the rest of mankind as guilty of infidelity ; upon 
which Ibrahim Ebn al Sendi asked him w^hether 
paradise, whose breadth equals that of heaven and 
earth, was created only for him and two or three more 
who thought as he did ? to which it is said he could 
return no answer ^ 

8. The Basharians, wdio maintained the tenets of 
Bashar Ebn Motamer, the master of al Mozdar ', 
and a principal man among the Motazalites. He 
differed in some things from the general opinion of 
that sect, carrying man s free agency to a great 
excess, making it even independent: and yet he 

' v. D'Herbel. Blbl. Orient, art. Giahedh. ^ Al Shalircst. ubi sup. p. 200 
3 Marracc. ubi sup. 4 Sect. III. p. 94. 5 V. ib. et )). Vi'.i. « Al Shahrest. 
•npud Poc. p. 241. ^ Marracc. ubi sup. p. 75. •• Al t^haliresUuii, ubi sup. 

p. 220. " Poc. Spec. p. 221. 


thought God might doom an infant to eternal pu- 
nishment, but granted he would be unjust in so 
doing. lie taught that God is not always obliged to 
do tliat which is best, for, if he pleased, he could 
make all men true believers. These sectaries also 
held, that if a man repent of a mortal sin, and after- 
wards return to it, he will be liable to suffer the 
punishment due to the former transgression'. 

9. The Thamamians, who followed Thamama 
Ebn Bashar, a chief Motazalite. Their peculiar 
opinions were, 1. That sinners should remain in hell 
for ever. 2. That free actions have no producing 
author. 3. That at the resurrection all infidels, 
idolaters, atheists, Jews, Christians, Magians, and 
heretics, shall be reduced to dust\ 

10. The Kadarians ; which is really a more ancient 
name than that of Motazalites ; Mabad al Johni and 
his adherents being so called, who disputed the 
doctrine of predestination before Wasel quitted his 
master'; for which reason some use the denomina- 
tion of Kadarians as more extensive than the other, 
and comprehend all the Motazalites under it\ This 
sect deny absolute predestination, saying that evil 
and injustice ought not to be attributed to God, but 
to man, who is a free agent, and may therefore be 
rewarded or punished for his actions, which God has 
granted him power either to do or to let alone*. 
And hence it is said they are called Kadarians, 
because they deny al Kadr, or God's absolute decree ; 
though others, thinking it not so proper to affix a 
name to a sect from a doctrine which they combat, 
will have it come from Kadr, or Kodrat, i. e. power, 
because they assert man's power to act freely*'. 
Those, liowever, who give the name of Kadarians 
to the Motazalites are their enemies, for they dis- 
claim it, and give it to their antagonists the Jaba- 

' IVIarracc. ubi sup. ^ Idem, ib. 3 ,V1 Sliahrcst. * A\ Firauzab. 

v. Pou Spec. p. 2:il, 2.'52, et 214. s Al Shr.hrest. V. Poc Spec p. 235, e( 

240, &c. « V. Poc. ib. p. 2H8. 


rians, who likewise refuse it as an infamous appella- 
tion \ because Mohammed is said to have declared 
the Kadarians to be the Magians of his followers'. 
But what the opinion of these Kadarians in Mo- 
hammed's time w^as is very uncertain : the Motaza- 
lites say the name belongs to those who assert 
predestination, and make God the author of good 
and evil % viz. the Jabarians ; but all the other Mo- 
hammedan sects agree to fix it on the Motazalites, 
who they say are like the Magians in establishing 
two principles, light, or God, the author of good, 
and darkness, or the Devil, the author of evil : but 
this cannot absolutely be said of the Motazalites, for 
they (at least the generality of them) ascribe men's 
good deeds to God, but their evil deeds to themselves ; 
meaning thereby that man has a free liberty and 
power to do either good or evil, and is master of his 
actions ; and for this reason it is that the other 
Mohammedans call them Magians, because they 
assert another author of actions besides God*. And, 
indeed, it is a difficult matter to say what Moham- 
med's own opinion was in this matter ; for on the 
one side the Koran itself is pretty plain for absolute 
predestination, and many sayings of Mohammed are 
recorded to that purpose^, and one in particular, 
wherein he introduces Adam and Moses disputing 
before God in this manner : Thou, says Moses, art 
Adam ; whom God created, and animated with the 
breath of life, and caused to be worshipped by 
the angels, and placed in paradise, from whence 
mankind have been expelled for thy fault : whereto 
Adam answered. Thou art Moses ; whom God chose 
for his apostle, and entrusted with his word, by 
giving thee the tables of the law, and whom he 
vouchsafed to admit to discourse with himself: how 
many years dost thou find the law was written 

' Al Motarrezi, al Shahrest. V. ib. p. 232. » liJera, &c. ibid. 3 lidem, ib. 
4 V. Poc. ib. p. 233, &c. s V. ib. p. 237- 


before I was created? Says Moses, Forty: And 
dost thou not find, replied Adam, these words 
therein ; And Adam rebelled against his Lord and 
transgressed? which Moses confessing, Dost thou 
therefore blame me, continued he, for doing that 
which God wrote of me that I should do, forty years 
before I was created ; nay, for what was decreed 
concerning me fifty thousand years before the cre- 
ation of heaven and earth ? In the conclusion of 
which dispute Mohammed declared that Adam had 
the better of Moses '. On the other side, it is urged 
in the behalf of the Motazalites, that Mohammed 
declaring that the Kadarians and Magians had been 
cursed by the tongues of seventy prophets, and 
being asked who the Kadarians were, answered. 
Those who assert that God predestinated them to be 
guilty of rebellion, and yet punishes them for it : al 
Hasan is also said to have declared, that God sent 
Mohammed to the Arabs while they were Kadarians, 
or Jabarians, and laid their sins upon God : and to 
confirm the matter this sentence of the Koran is 
quoted^; When they commit a filthy action, they 
say, We found our fathers practising the same, and 
God hath commanded us so to do : Say, A'^erily God 
commandeth not filthy actions \ 

II. The Sefatians held the opposite opinion to 
the Motazalites in respect to the eternal attributes 
of God, which they affirmed ; making no distinction 
between the essential attributes and those of opera- 
tion : and hence they were named Sefatians, or 
Attributists. Their doctrine was that of the first 
Mohammedans, who were not yet acquainted with 
these nice distinctions : but this sect afterwards in- 
troduced another species of declarative attributes, or 
such as were necessarily used in historical narration, 
as hands, face, eyes, &c. which they did not ofi'er to 

• Ebn al Athir, al Bokhari, apud Poc. p. 23(;. ■> Chap. 7- " Al I\Iotar. 
r?zi, apud e ind. p. 2:{7, 23». 


explain, but contented themselves with saying they 
were in the law, and that they called them declarative 
attributes ^ However, at length, by giving various 
explications and interpretations of these attributes, 
they divided into many different opinions : some, by 
taking the words in the literal sense, fell into the 
notion of a likeness or similitude between God and 
created beings ; to which it is said the Karaites 
among the Jews, who are for the literal interpretation 
of Moses's law, had shown them the way": others 
explained them in another manner, saying that no 
creature was like God, but that they neither under- 
stood, nor thought it necessary to explain the precise 
signification of the words which seem to affirm the 
same of both ; it being sufficient to believe that God 
hath no companion or similitude. Of this opinion 
was Malec Ebn Ans, who declared as to the expres- 
sion of God's sitting on his throne, in particular, 
that though the meaning is known, yet the manner 
is unknown ; and that it is necessary to believe it, 
but heresy to make any questions about it'. 

The sects of the Sefatians are, 

1. The Asharians, the followers of Abu'l Hasan 
al Ashari, who was first a Motazalite, and the 
scholar of Abu Ali al Jobbai, but disagreeing from 
his master in opinion as to God's being bound (as 
the Motazalites assert) to do always that which is 
best or most expedient, left him, and set up a new 
sect of himself. The occasion of this diffi^rence was 
the putting a case concerning three brothers, the first 
of whom lived in obedience to God, the second in 
rebellion against him, and the third died an infant. 
Al Jobbai being asked what he thought would 
become of them, answered, that the first would be 
rewarded in paradise, the second punished in hell, and 
the third neither rewarded nor punished : but what. 

' Al Shahrest. apud Poc. Spec. p. 223- * V. Foe. ib. p. 224. ' V. eund. 

VOL. I. Q 


objected al Asluiri, if the third say, O Lord, if thou 
hadst given me longer life, that I might have entered 
paradise with my believing brother, it would have 
been better for me ; to which al Jobbai replied, that 
God would answer, I knew that if thou hadst lived 
longer, thou wouldst have been a wicked person, and 
therefore cast into hell. Then, retorted al Ashari, 
the second will say, O Lord, why didst thou not 
take me away while I was an infant, as thou didst 
my brother, that 1 might not have deserved to be 
punished for my sins, nor be cast into hell? To 
which al Jobbai could return no other answer, than 
that God prolonged his life to give him an oppor- 
tunity of obtaining the highest degree of perfection, 
which was best for him : but al Ashari demanding 
farther, why he did not for the same reason grant 
the other a longer life to whom it would have been 
equally advantageous ; al Jobbai was so put to it, 
that he asked whether the devil possessed him ? No, 
says al Ashari, bu.t the master's ass will not pass the 
bridge ' ; i. e. he is posed. 

The opinions of the Asharians were, 1. That they 
allowed the attributes of God to be distinct from his 
essence, yet so as to forbid any comparison to be 
made between God and his creatures'. This was 
also the opinion of Ahmed Ebn Haubal, and David 
al Ispahani, and others, who herein followed IMalec 
Ebn Ans, and were so cautious of any assimilation 
of God to created beings, that they declared whoever 
moved his hand while he read these words, I have 
created with my hand, or stretched forth his finger, 
in repeating this saying of Mohammed, The heart 
of the believer is between two fingers of the Merciful, 
ought to have his hand and finger cut off'; and the 
reasons they gave for not explaining any such words 
were, that it is forbidden in the Koran, and that 

' Auctor al IMawalaf, et al Safadi, apud Poc. ubi sup. p. 2;i0, &c Ebn 
Khalec. in Vita al .Tobbui. ■' Al Shahrest. apiul I'oc. Spec. p. 2'M). ^ Idem, 
apud eiind. p. 22t!, ^:l•. 


such explications were necessarily founded on con- 
jecture and opinion, from which no man ought to 
speak of the attributes of God, because the words 
of the Koran might by that means come to be 
understood differently from the author's meaning: 
nay some have been so superstitiously scrupulous in 
this matter as not to allow the words hand, face, and 
the like, when they occur in the Koran, to be ren- 
dered into Persian or any other language, but require 
them to be read in the very original words, and this 
they call the safe way '. 2. As to predestination, 
they held that God hath one eternal will, which is 
applied to whatsoever he willeth, both of his own 
actions and those of men, so far as they are created 
by him, but not as they are acquired or gained by 
them ; that he willeth both their good and their evil, 
their profit and their hurt, and as he willeth and 
knoweth, he willeth concerning men that which he 
knoweth, and hath commanded the pen to write the 
same in the preserved Table : and this is his decree, 
and eternal immutable counsel and purpose-. They 
also went so far as to say, that it may be agreeable 
to the way of God that man should be commanded 
what he is not able to perform". But while they 
allow man some power, they seem to restrain it to 
such a power as cannot produce any thing new; 
only God, say they, so orders his providence, that he 
creates, after, or under, and together with every 
created or new power, an action which is ready 
whenever a man wills it, and sets about it : and this 
action is called Cash, i. e. Acquisition, being in 
respect to its creation, from God, but in respect to 
its being produced, employed, and acquired, from 
man \ And this being generally esteemed the or- 
thodox opinion, it may not be improper farther to 
explain the same in the words of some other 

' V. Poc. ib. - Al Shahrest. apud eund. p. 245, &c 3 Idem, ib. p. 

24(5. " Al Shahrest. apud Poc. p. 245, &c. 

Q 2 


writers. Tlic electiv^e actions of men, says one, fall 
under the poAver of God alone ; nor is their own 
power effectual thereto : but God causeth to exist 
in man power and choice ; and if there be no im- 
pediment, he causeth his action to exist also, subject 
to his power, and joined with that and his choice ; 
which action, as created, is to be ascribed to God, but 
as produced, employed, or acquired, to man. So that 
by the acquisition of an action is properly meant a 
man's joining or connecting the same with his power 
and will, yet allowing herein no impression or influ- 
ence on the existence thereof, save only that it is 
subject to his powers Others, however, \vho are also 
on the side of al Ashari, and reputed orthodox, ex- 
plain the matter in a different manner, and grant 
the impression or influence of the created power of 
man on his action, and that this power is what is 
called Acquisition -. But the point will be still clearer, 
if we hear a third author, a\ ho rehearses the various 
opinions, or explications of the opinion of this sect, 
in the following words, viz. Abu'l Hasan al Ashari 
asserts all the actions of men to be subject to the 
power of God, being created by him, and that the 
power of man hath no influence at all on that which 
he is empowered to do ; but that both the power, 
and what is subject thereto, fall under the power of 
God : al Kadi Abu Beer says that the essence or 
substance of the action is the effect of the power of 
God, but its being either an action of obedience, as 
prayer, or an action of disobedience, as fornication, 
are qualities of the action, which proceed from the 
power of man : Abd'almalec, known by the title of 
Imam al Haramein, Abu'l Hosein of Basra, and 
other learned men, held that the actions of men are 
effected by the power which God hath created in 
man, and that God causeth to exist in man both 

' Aurtor Sliarh al Mawakef, apud eund. p. 247- " Al Shahrest. ib. 

p. 248. 


power and M'ill, and that this power and will do 
necessarily produce that which man is empowered to 
do : and Abu Ishak al Isfarayeni taught, that that 
which maketh impression, or hath influence on an 
action, is a compound of the power of God and the 
power of mani. The same author observes, that 
their ancestors, perceiving a manifest difference be- 
tween those things which are the effects of the elec- 
tion of man, and those things which are the necessary 
effects of inanimate agents, destitute both of know- 
ledge and choice, and being at the same time pressed 
by the arguments which prove that God is the 
Creator of all things, and consequently of those things 
which are done by men, to conciliate the matter, 
chose the middle way, asserting actions to proceed 
from the power of God, and the acquisition of man ; 
God's way of dealing with his servants being, that 
when man intendeth obedience, God createth in 
him an action of obedience, and when he intendeth 
disobedience, he createth in him an action of disobe- 
dience ; so that man seemeth to be the effective pro- 
ducer of his action, though he really be not'\ But 
this, proceeds the same writer, is again pressed with 
its difficulties, because the very intention of the mind 
is the work of God, so that no man hath any share 
in the production of his own actions ; for which 
reason the ancients disapproved of too nice an inquiry 
into this point, the end of the dispute concerning the 
same being, for the most part, either the taking away 
of all precepts positive as well as negative, or else the 
associating of a companion with God, by introducing 
some other independent agent besides him. Those, 
therefore, who would speak more accurately, use this 
form : There is neither compulsion nor free liberty, 
but the way lies between the two ; the power and will 
in man being both created by God, though the merit 

' Auctor Sharh ;il Tawalca. apiid cund. ib. p. 248, &c. ^ Idem, ib. 

p. 241), 250. 


or guilt be imputed unto man. Yet, after all, it is 
judged the safest way to follow the steps of the pri- 
mitive Moslems, and, avoiding subtle disputations 
and too curious inquiries, to leave the knowledge 
of this matter wholly unto God'. 3. As to mortal 

' Idem, ib. p. 250, 251. I trust the reader will not be offended if, 
as a farther illustration of what has been said on this subject (in producing 
of whicli I have purposely kept to the original I\Ioliammcdan expressions) 
I transcribe a passage or two from a postscript subjoined to the epistle I have 
quoted above (§ iv. p. 149.) in which the point of free-will is treated c.r professo. 
Therein the Moorish author, having mentioned the two opposite opinions of the 
Kadiirians, who allow free-will, and the Jabarians, who make man a necessary 
agent (the former of wliich opinions, he says, seems to apjjroach nearest to that 
of the greater part of Christians, and of the Jews) declares the true opinion to be 
that of the Sonnites, who assert that man hath power and will to choose good and 
evil, and can moreover know he shall be rewarded if he do well, and shall be 
punished if he do ill ; but that he depends notv/ithstanding on God's power, and 
willeth, if God wilhth, but not otherwise. Then he proceeds briefly to refute 
the two extreme opinions, and first to prove tliat of the Kadariar.s, though it be 
agreeable to (iod's justice, inconsistent with his attributes of wisdom and power : 
" Sapientia enini Dei," says he, " comprehendit quicquid fuit et futurum est ab 
aeternitate in finem usque mundi et postea. Et ita novit ab feterno omnia opera 
creaturarum, sive bona, sive mala, qua; fuerint creata cum potcntia Dei, et ejus 
libera et determinata voluntate, sicut ipsi visum fuit. Denique novit eum qui 
futurus erat malus, ettamen crcavit eum, et similiter bonum, quern etiani creavit : 
neque negari potest quin, si ipsi libuissct, potuisset omnes creare bonos: placuit 
tamen Deo creare bonos et malos, cum Deo soli sit abioluta et libera voluntas, et 
perfects electio, et non homini. Itaenim Salomon in suisproverbiis dixit, Vitam 
et mortem, bonum et malum, divitias et paupertatem, esse et venire a Deo. 
Christian! etiam dicunt S. Paulum dixisse in suis epistolis ; Dicet etiam lutum 
figulo, quare facis unum vas ad honorem, et aliud vas ad contumrliam ? Cum 
igitur miser homo fuerit creatus a voluntate Dei et potentia, nihil aliud potest 
tribui ipsi quam ipse sensus cognoscendi et sentiendi an bene vel male faciat. 
Qua; unica causa (id est, sensus cognoscendi) crit ejus glori.T? vel pcenic causa : 
per talem enim sensum novit quid boni vel mali adversus Dei pracepta fecerit. 
The opinion of tlie Jabarians, on the other hand, he rejects as contrary to man's 
consciousness of his own power and choice, and inconsistent witli God's justice, 
and his having given mankind laws, to the observiiig or transgressing of which 
he has annexed rewards and punishments. After this he proceeds to explain the 
third opinion in the following words: " Tertia opinio Zunis ('. c. Sonnitarum), 
qua; vera est, affirmat homini potestatem esse, sed lin.itatam a sua causa, id est, 
dependentem a Dei potentia et voluntate, et propter illam cognitionem qua deli- 
berat bene vel male facere, essedignum poena vel pramiio. Manifestum est in aster- 
nitate non fuissealiam potentiam pra;ter Dei nostri omnipotentis, e cujus potentia 
pendebant omnia possibUia, id est, qiuepoterant esse, cum ab i])so fuerint creata. 
Sapientia vero Dei novit etiam qu;c non sunt futura; et potcntia ejus, etsi non 
creaverit ca, potuit tamen, si ita Deo placuissct. Ita novit sapientia Dei qu;e 
erant impossibilia, id est, qure non poterant esse ; qu;c tamen nullo pacto pendent 
ab ejus potentia : ab ejus enim potentia nulla pendent nisi possibUia. — Dicinuis 
enim a Dei potentia non pendere creare Deum alium ipsi siniilem, nee creare ali- 
quid quod movcatur et quiescat simul eodcm tempore, ciim hxc sint ex impossi- 
bilibus : comjirehendit tamen sua sapientia tale aliquid non pendere ab ejus po- 
tentia. — A potentia igitur Dei pendet solum quod jwtest esse, etpossibile est esse; 
qua; semper j)arala est dare esse possibilibus. Et si hoc penitus cognoscamus, 
cognosccmus parilu: (uuiic quod est, sen fuluiuni est. sive sint opera nostra, sive 


sin the Asliarians taught, that if a believer guilty of 
such sin die without repentance, his sentence is to 
be left to God, whether he pardon him out of his 
mercy, or whether the prophet intercede for him, 
(according to that saying recorded of him, " My in- 
tercession shall be employed for those among my 
people who shall have been guilty of grievous 
crimes,") or whether he punish him in proportion 
to his demerit, and afterwards, through his mercy, 
admit him into paradise : but that it is not to be sup- 
posed he will remain for ever in hell with the in- 
fidels, seeing it is declared that whoever shall have 
faith in his heart but of the weight of an ant shall 
be delivered from hell-fire ^ And this is generally 
received for the orthodox doctrine in this point, and 
is diametrically opposite to that of the Motazalites. 

These were the more rational Sefatians, but the 
ignorant part of them, not knowing how otherwise 
to explain the expressions of the Koran relating to 
the declarative attributes, fell into most gross and 

quidvis aliud, pendere a sola potentia Dei. Et hoc non privatim intelligitur, seu 
in genere de omni eo quod est et movetur, sive in ca?lis sive in terra ; et nee ali- 
qua potentia potest impediri Dei potentia, cum nulla alia potentia absoluta sit, 
prsDter Dei ; potentia vero nostra non est a se, nisi a Dei potentia : et cum po- 
tentia nostra dicitur esse a causa sua, ideo dicimus potentiam nostram esse stra- 
minis comparatam cum potentia Dei : eo enim modo quo stramen movetur a 
motu maris, ita nostra potentia et voluntas a Dei potentia. Itaque Dei potentia 
semper est parata etiam ad cccidendum aliquem ; ut si quis hominem occidat, non 
dicimus potentia hominis id factum, sed asterna potentia Dei : error enim est id 
tribuere potentiae hominis. Potentia Dei, cum semper sit parata, et ante 
ipsum hominem, ad occidendum ; si sola hominis potentia id factum esse dicere- 
mus, et moreretur, potentia sane Dei (qua; ante erat) jam ibi esset frustra ; quia 
post mortem non potest potentia Dei eum iterum occidere ; ex quo sequeretur 
potentiam Dei impediri a potentia hominis, et potentiam hominis anteire et ante- 
cellere potentiam Dei ; quod est absurdum et impossibile. Igitur Deus est qui 
operatur Eetema sua potentia,: si vero homini injiciatur culpa, sive in tali homi- 
cidio, sive in aliis, hoc est quantum ad prsecepta et legem. Homini tribuitur 
solum opus externe, et ejus electio, quje est a voluntate ejus et potentia ; non 
vero interne. — Hoc est punctum illud indivisibile et secretum, quod a paucissimis 
capitur, ut sapientissimus Sidi Abo Hamet Elgaceli (i. c. Dominus Abu Hamed 
al Ghazali) affirmat (cujus spiritui Deus concedat gloriam, Amen !) sequentibus 
verbis : Ita abditum et profundum et abstrusum est intelligere punctum illud 
Liberi Arbitrii, ut neque characteres ad scribendum, neque uUas rationes ad ex- 
priniendum sufFiciant, et omnes, quotquot de hac re locuti sunt, heeserunt coni'usi 
in ripa tanti et tam spaciosi maris. 

' Al Shahrest. apud Poc Spec. p. 2o8. 


absurd opinions, making God corporeal, and like 
created beings '. Such were, 

2. The Moshabbehites, or assiniilators ; who al- 
lowed a resemblance between God and his creatures*, 
supposing him to be a figure composed of members 
or parts, either spiritual or corporeal, and capable 
of local motion, of ascent and descent, &c.^ Some 
of this sect inclined to the opinion of the Hoi Lilians, 
who believed that the divine nature might be united 
with the human in the same person ; for they granted 
it possible that God might appear in a human form, 
as Gabriel did : and to confirm their opinion they 
allege Mohammed's words, that he saw his Lord in 
a most beautiful form, and Moses talking with God 
face to face '. And 

3. The Keramians, or followers of JMohammed 
Ebn Keram, called also IMojassemians, or Corpo- 
ralists ; who not only admitted a resemblance be- 
tween God and created beings, but declared God to 
be corporeal \ The more sober among them, in- 
deed, when they applied the word body to God, 
would be understood to mean that he is a self-sub- 
sisting being, which with them is the definition of 
body : but yet some of them aflSrmed him to be 
finite, and circumscribed either on all sides, or on 
some only (as beneath, for exami)le), according to 
different opinions ' ; and others allowed that he 
might be felt by the hand, and seen by the eye. 
Nay, one David al Jawari went so far as to say, that 
his deity was a body composed of flesh and blood, and 
that he had members, as hands, feet, a head, a tongue, 
eyes, and ears ; but that he was a body, however, 
not like other bodies, neither was he like to any 
created being: he is also said farther to have af- 
firmed that from the crown of the head to the breast 

' V. I'oc. ib. p. 'ioj, iS.c. Abiilfar. p. 1()'7, ^c. - Al IVIawakcf, 
apiid Pof. ib. 3 Al Shahrcst. apiid cunil. ih p. T2(i. < V. Mar- 
race. I'roclr. part iii. p. 11). .i Al Sliahrcbl ubi bupra. •> Idtm. 
ib. p. 225. 

Sect. 8.] THE niELIMlNAllY DISCOURSE. 238 

he was hollow, and from the breast downward soHd, 
and that he had black curled hair ^ These most 
blasphemous and monstrous notions were the conse- 
quence of the literal acceptation of those passages in 
the Koran which figuratively attribute corporeal ac- 
tions to God, and of the words of Mohammed, when 
he said, that God created man in his own image, 
and that himself had felt the fingers of God, which 
he laid on his back, to be cold : besides which, this 
sect are charged with fathering on their prophet a 
great number of spurious and forged traditions to 
support their opinion, the greater part whereof they 
borrowed from the Jews, who are accused as na- 
turally prone to assimilate God to men, so that they 
describe him as weeping for Noah's flood till his 
eyes were sore -. And indeed, though we grant the 
Jews may have imposed on Mohammed and his fol- 
lowers in many instances, and told them as solemn 
truths things which themselves believed not or had 
invented, yet many expressions of this kind are to 
be found in their writings ; as when they introduce 
God roaring like a lion at every watch of the night, 
and crying, " Alas ! that I have laid waste my house, 
and suffered my temple to be burnt, and sent my 
children into banishment among the heathen," &c. ^ 

4. The Jabarians ; who are the direct opponents 
of the Kadarians, denying free agency in man, and 
ascribing his actions wholly unto God *. They take 
their denomination from al Jabr, which signifies 
necessity or compulsion ; because they hold man to 
be necessarily and inevitably constrained to act as he 
does, by force of God's eternal and immutable de- 
cree \ This sect is distinguished into several spe- 
cies ; some being more rigid and extreme in their 
opinion, who are thence called pure Jabarians, and 
others more moderate, who are therefore called middle 

' Idem, ib. p. 22fi, 227. " Idem, ib. p. 227, 228. ^ Talni. 

Berachotli, c. 1. V. Poc. ubi supra, p. 22}{. 4 V. Abult'arag. p. lb'8. 

5 Al Shahiest. al ]\lawakef, et Ebn al Kobta, apud Poc. ib. p. 238, &c. 


Jabarians. The former will not allow men to be 
said either to act, or to have any power at all, either 
operative or acquiring ; asserting that man can do 
nothing, but produces all his actions by necessity, 
having neither power, nor will, nor choice, any more 
than an inanimate agent : they also declare that re- 
warding and punishing are also the effects of ne- 
cessity ; and the same they say of the imposing of 
commands. This was the doctrine of the Jahmians, 
the followers of Jahm Ebn Safwan, who likewise held 
that paradise and hell will vanish, or be annihilated, 
after those who are destined thereto respectively shall 
have entered them, so that at last there will remain 
no existing being besides God ^ ; supposing those 
words of the Koran, which declare that the inha- 
bitants of paradise and of hell shall remain therein 
for ever, to be hyperbolical only, and intended for 
corroboration, and not to denote an eternal duration 
in reality -. The moderate Jabarians are they who 
ascribe some power to man, but such a power as hath 
no influence on the action : for as to those who grant 
the power of man to have a certain influence on the 
action, which influence is called Acquisition, some "' 
will not admit them to be called Jabarians ; though 
others reckon those also to be called middle Jaba- 
rians, and to contend for the middle opinion bet\^'een 
absolute necessity and absolute liberty, who attribute 
to man acquisition, or concurrence, in producing the 
action, whereby he gaineth connnendation or blame, 
(yet without admitting it to have any influence on 
the action), and therefore make the Asharians a 
branch of this sect \ Having again mentioned the 
term Acquisition, we may perhaps have a clearer 
idea of what the Mohammedans mean thereby, when 
told, that it is defined to be an action directed to the 
obtaining of profit, or the removing of hurt, and for 

' Al Shahrest. jj r»Iotareizi, et Ebn al Koss-u. apud eund. p. 23!), 21'i, &c. 
^ Idem, ib. p. 260. 3 Al Shahrest. ■* Ebn ;d Kossa, et al 



that reason never applied to any action of God, who 
acquireth to himself neither profit nor hurt K Of 
the middle or moderate Jabarians, were the Naja- 
rians, and the Derarians. The Najarians were the 
adherents of Al Hasan Ebn Mohammed al Najar, 
who taught that God was he who created the actions 
of men, both good and bad, and that man acquired 
them, and also that man's power had an influence 
on the action, or a certain co-operation, which he 
called acquisition; and herein he agreed with al 
Ashari'. The Derarians v^ere the disciples of 
Derar Ebn Amru, who held also that men's actions 
are really created by God, and that man really ac- 
quired them'. The Jabarians also say, that God 
is absolute Lord of his creatures, and may deal with 
them according to his own pleasure, without render- 
ing account to any, and that if he should admit all 
men without distinction into paradise, it would be 
no impartiality, or if he should cast them all into hell 
it would be no injustice *. And in this particular 
likewise they agree with the Asharians, who assert 
the same', and say that reward is a favour from 
God, and punishment a piece of justice ; obedience 
being by them considered as a sign only of future 
reward, and transgression as a sign of future punish- 
ment \ 

■ Ebn al Kos^a, apud Poc. ubi sup. p. 240. ^ Al Shahrest. apud 

eund p. 245. 3 Idem, ib. 4 Abulfarag, p. 168, &c. 5 Al 

Shahrestani, ubi sup. p. 252, &c. 6 Sharh al Tawalea, ib. To tne 

same effect writes the Moorish author quoted above, from whom I will venture to 
transcribe tlie following passage, with which he concludes his discourse on Free- 
will. " Intellectus fere lumine naturali novit Deum esse rectum judicem et jus- 
tuni, qui non aliter afficit creaturam quam juste: etiam Deum esse absolutum 
Dominum, et banc orbis machinam esse ejus, et ab eo creatam ; Deum nulhs 
debere rationem reddere, cum quicquid agat, agat jure projirio sibi : et ita abso- 
lute poterit afficere prsemio vel poena quern vult, cum omnis creatura sit ejus, 
facit cuiquam injunam, etsi earn tormentis et poenis aternis afficiat : plus enim 
boni et commodi accepit creatura quando accepit esse a suo creatore, quam in- 
commodi et damni quando ab eo damnata est et affecta tormentis ct prenis. Hoc 
autem intelligitur si Deus absolute id facerct. Quando enim Deus, pietate et 
misericordia motus, eligit aliquos ut ipsi serviant, Dcminus Deus gratia suA id 
facit ex infinita bonitate ; et quando aliquos derelinquit, et poenis et tormentis af- 
ficit, ex justitia et rectitudine. Et tandem dicimas omnes pcenas esse justas qua 
a Deo veniunt, et nostra tantuui culpa, et omnia bona esse a pietate et misericor- 
dia ejus infinita." 


5. The Morgiaiis; who are said to be derived 
from the Jabarians \ These teach that the judg- 
ment of every true believer, who hath been guilty of 
a grievous sin, will be deferred till the resurrection ; 
for which reason they j)ass no sentence on him in 
this world, either of absolution or condemnation. 
They also hold that disobedience with faith hurteth 
not; and that, on the other hand, obedience with 
infidelity profiteth not '. As to the reason of their 
name the learned differ, because of the different sig- 
nifications of its root, each of Mhich they acconnno- 
date to some opinion of the sect. Some think them 
so called because they postpone works to intention, 
that is, esteem works to be inferior in degree to in- 
tention and profession of the faith ; others, because 
they allow hope, by asserting that disobedience with 
faith hurteth not, &c. ; others take the reason of the 
name to be, their deferring the sentence of the 
heinous sinner till the resurrection^; and others, 
their degrading of Ali, or i-emoving him from the 
first degree to the fourth ' : for the iMorgians, in 
some points relating to the office of Imam, agree 
with the Kharejites. This sect is divided into four 
species : three of M'hich, according as they haj)pen 
to agree in particular dogmas with the Kharejites, 
the Kadarians, or the Jabarians, are distinguished as 
Morgians of those sects, and the fourth is that of the 
pure Morgians ; which last species is again sub- 
divided into five others ". The opinions of IMokatel 
and Bashar, both of a sect of the Morgians called 
Thaubanians, should not be omitted. The former 
asserted that disobt'dience hurts not him who })ro- 
fesses the unity of God, and is endued with faith ; 
and that no true believer shall be cast into hell : he 
also taught that God will surely forgi\e all crimes 
besides infidelity ; and that a disobedient believer 

' Al Sluhrcst. ubi sup. p. tTih". ' iVbult'ar. p. lOf). s Al 

Firuuz. 4 i^bii al Atliir, Al Motarruzi. s Al i;lla!lrt•^l. ubi 

sup. p. 254, &c. ^ Idem, ibid. 


will be punished, at the day of resurrection, on the 
bridge ' laid over the midst of hell, where the flames 
of hell-fire shall catch hold on him, and torment him 
in proportion to his disobedience, and that he shall 
then be admitted into paradise '^. The latter held, 
that if God do cast the believers guilty of grievous 
sins into hell, yet they will be delivered thence after 
they shall have been sufficiently punished ; but that 
it is neither possible nor consistent with justice, that 
they should remain therein for ever : which, as has 
been observed, was the opinion of al Ashari. 

III. The Kharejites are they who depart or revolt 
from the lawful prince established by public consent ; 
and thence comes their name, which signifies revolters 
or rebels \ The first who were so called were twelve 
thousand men who revolted from Ali, after they had 
fought under him at the battle of Seffein, taking 
offence at his submitting the decision of his right to 
the Khalifat, which Moawiyah disputed with him, to 
arbitration, though they themselves had first obliged 
him to it \ These were also called Mohakkemites, or 
Judiciarians; because the reason which they gave for 
their revolt was, that Ali had referred a matter con- 
cerning the religion of God to the judgment of men, 
whereas the judgment, in such case, belonged only 
unto God\ The heresy of the Kharejites consisted 
chiefly in two things. 1. In that they affirmed a man 
might be promoted to the dignity of Imam, or prince, 
though he was not of the tribe of Koreish, nor even 
a freeman, provided he was a just and pious person, 
and endued with the other requisite qualifications ; 
and also held, that if the Imam turned aside from the 
truth, he might be put to death or deposed ; and that 
there was no absolute necessity for any Imam at all 
in the world. 2. In that they charged Ali with sin, 
for having left an affair to the judgment of men, 

' See before, § IV. p. 125. « Al Shahrest. ubi supra, p. 257. 3 Idem, 

ib. p 269. * See Ockley's Hist, of tlie Sarac. V. I. p. CO &c. s Al 

fcihahrest. ubi sup. p. 270. 


which ought to have been deteriMined by God alone ; 
and went so far as to declare him guilty of infidelity, 
and to curse him on that account ^ In the ci8th 
year of the Hejra, which was the year following the 
revolt, all these Khiirejites who persisted in their 
rebellion, to the number of foiu- thousand, were cut 
to pieces by Ali, and as several historians- write, 
even to a man : but others say nine of them escaped, 
and that two fled into Oman, two into Kerman, two 
into Sejestan, two into Mesopotamia, and one to Tel 
Mawriin ; and that these propagated their heresy in 
those places, the same remaining there to this day'. 
The principal sects of the Kharejites, besides the 
Mohakkemites above mentioned, are six ; which, 
though they greatly differ among themselves in other 
matters, yet agree in these, viz. that they absolutely 
reject Othmaii and Ali, preferring the doing of this 
to the greatest obedience, and allowing marriages to 
be contracted on no other terms ; that they account 
those who are guilty of grievous sins to be infidels ; 
and that they hold it necessary to resist the Imam 
when he transgresses the law. One sect of them de- 
serves more particular notice, viz. 

The Waidians ; so called from al Waid, which 
signifies the threats denounced by God against the 
wicked. These are the antagonists of the Morgians, 
and assert that he who is guilty of a grievous sin 
ought to be declared an infidel or apostate, and will 
be eternally punished in hell, though he were a true 
believer^: which opinion of theirs, as has been ob- 
served, occasioned the first rise of the Motazalites. 
One Jaafar Ebn Mobashshar, of the sect of the 
Nodhamians, was yet more severe than the Waidians, 
pronouncing him to be a reprobate and an apostate 
who steals but a grain of corn \ 

IV. The Shiites are the opponents of the Kha- 

> Idem, ib. • Abu'lfeda, al Jannabi, Elmadnus, p. 40. ' A 1 

Shahrestani. Sec Ockley's Hist, of the Saracens, ubi sup. p. 63. « Abult'ar. 

J). !(!!>. AlShahrest. aputl Poc. Spec. p. 250. s \'. Poc. ib. p. 257. 


rejites : their name properly signifies sectaries or 
adherents in general, but is peculiarly used to denote 
those of Ali Ebn Abi Taleb ; who maintain him to 
be lawful Khalif and Imam, and that the supreme 
authority, both in spirituals and temporals, of right 
belongs to his descendants, notwithstanding they may 
be deprived of it by the injustice of others, or their 
own fear. They also teach, that the office of Imam 
is not a common thing, depending on the will of the 
vulgar, so that they may set up v/hom they please ; 
but a fundamental affair of religion, and an article 
which the prophet could not have neglected, or left 
to the fancy of the common people ^ : nay some, 
thence called ImamianSj go so far as to assert, that 
religion consists solely in the knowledge of the true 
Imam". The principal sects of the Shiites are five, 
which are subdivided into an alm.ost innumerable 
number ; so that some understand Mohammed's pro- 
phecy of the seventy odd sects, of the Shiites only. 
Their general opinions are, 1. That the peculiar de- 
signation of the Imam, and the testimonies of the 
Koran and Mohammed concerning him, are necessary 
points. 2. That the Imams ought necessarily to keep 
themselves free from light sins as well as more 
grievous. 3. That every one ought publicly to de- 
clare who it is that he adheres to, and from whom he 
separates himself, by word, deed, and engagement ; 
and that herein there should be no dissimulation. 
But in this last point some of the Zeidians, a sect so 
named from Zeid, the son of Ali, surnamed Zein al 
abedin, and great grandson of Ali, dissented from the 
rest of the Shiites^. As to other articles, wherein 
they agreed not, some of them came pretty near to 
the notions of the Motazalites, others to those of the 
Moshabbehites, and others to those of the Sonnites^. 
Among the latter of these, Mohammed al Baker, an- 

• Al Shahrest, ib. p. 2G1. Abulfar. p. 169. ^ Al Shahrest. ib. p. 2 

3 Idem, ib. V. D'Herbel. Bibl. Orient. Art. Schiah. 4 V. Poc. ib. 


otlier son of Zoiii al a])ediirs, seems to claim a place: for 
his opinion as to the will of God was, that God willeth 
somethin*^ in us, and something from us, and that 
what he willeth from us he hath revealed to us ; for 
which reason he thought it preposterous that w^e 
should employ our thoughts ahout those things which 
God willeth in us, and neglect those which he willeth 
from us : and as to God's decree, he held that the 
way lay in the middle, and that there was neither 
compulsion nor free liberty'. A tenet of the Khat- 
tiibians, or disciples of one Abu'l Khattib, is too 
peculiar to be omitted. These maintained paradise 
to be no other than the pleasures of this world, 
and hell-fire to be the pains thereof, and that the 
world will never decay : which proposition being first 
laid down, it is no w^onder they w'ent farther, and 
declared it lawful to indulge themselves in drinking 
wine and whoring, and to do other things forbidden 
by the law, and also to omit doing the things com- 
manded by the law*. 

Many of the Shiites carried their veneration for 
Ali and his descendants so far, that they transgressed 
all bounds of reason and decency ; though some of 
them were less extravagant than others. The Gho- 
laites, who had their name from their excessive zeal 
for their Imams, were so highly transported there- 
with, that they raised them above the degree of 
created beings, and attributed divine properties to 
them ; transgressing on either hand, by deifying of 
mortal men, and by making God corporeal : for one 
while they liken one of their Imams to God, and 
another while they liken God to a creatui'e''. The 
sects of these are various, and have various appella- 
tions in different countries. Abd'allah Ebn Saba 
(who had been a Jew, and had asserted the same 
thing of Joshua the son of Nun) was the ringleader 

' Al Shahrest. ib. ji. 2<!.^. » Idem, et Kbn al Kossa, ib. p. 2fJ0, &c. 

3 Idem, ibid. 


of one of them. This man gave the following sa- 
lutation to Ali, viz. Thou art thou, /. e. Thou art 
God: and hereupon the Gholaites became divided into 
several species ; some maintaining the same thing, or 
something like it, of Ali, and others of some one of 
his descendants ; affirming that he was not dead, but 
would return again in the clouds, and fill the earth 
with justice \ But how much soever they disagreed 
in other things, they unanimously held a metemp- 
sychosis, and what they call al Holul, or the descent 
of God on his creatures ; meaning thereby that God 
is present in every place, and speaks with every 
tongue, and appears in some individual persons : and 
hence some of them asserted their Imams to be 
prophets, and at length gods^. The Nosairians and 
the Ishakians taught that spiritual substances appear 
in grosser bodies ; and that the angels and the devil 
have appeared in this manner. They also assert that 
God hath appeared in the form of certain men ; and 
since, after Mohammed, there hath been no man more 
excellent than Ali, and, after him, his sons have 
excelled all other men, that God hath appeared in 
their form, spoken with their tongue, and made use 
of their hands, for which reason, say they, we attri- 
bute divinity to them*. And, to support these blas- 
phemies, they tell several miraculous things of Ali, 
as his moving the gates of Khaibar '% which they urge 
as a plain proof that he was endued with a particle 
of divinity and with sovereign power, and that he 
was the person in whose form God appeared, with 
whose hands he created all things, and with whose 
tongue he published his commands ; and therefore 
they say he was in being before the creation of 
heaven and earth". In so impious a manner do they 
seem to wrest those things which are said in scripture 

' Idem, ib. p. 264. V. Blarracc. Prodr. part iii. p. 80, &c. ^ idem, ib. 

p. 265. 3 V. D'Herbel. Bibl. Or. Art. Hakem beamrillah. * Idem, 

ib. Abulfar. p. 169. i See Prid. Life of I\Iah, p. 93. « Al Shah, ubi 

supr. p. 266. 

VOL. I. Pv 


of Christ, by applying them to Ali. These extra- 
vagant fancies of the Shiites, however, in making 
their Imams partakers of the divine nature, and the 
impiety of some of those Imams in laying claim 
thereto, are so far from being peculiar to this sect, 
that most of the other Mohammedan sects are tainted 
with the same madness ; there being many found 
among them, and among the Sufis especially, who 
pretend to be nearly related to heaven, and who boast 
of strange revelations before the credulous people ». 
It may not be amiss to hear what al Ghazali has 
written on this occasion. " Matters are come to that 
pass," says he, '* that some boast of an union with 
God, and of discoursing familiarly with him, without 
the interposition of a vail, saying, It hath been thus 
said to us, and We have thus spoken ; affecting to 
imitate Hosein al Hallaj, who was put to death for 
some words of this kind uttered by him, he having 
said (as was proved by credible witnesses), I am the 
Truth % or Abu Yazid al Bastami, of whom it is 
related that he often used the expression, Sobhani, 
i. e. Praise be unto me' ! But this way of talking 
is the cause of great mischief among the common 
people; insomuch that husbandmen, neglecting the 
tillage of their land, have pretended to the like pri- 
vileges ; nature being tickled with discourses of this 
kind, which furnish men with an excuse for leaving 
their occupations, under pretence of purifying their 
souls, and attaining I know not what degrees and 
conditions. Nor is there any thing to hinder the 
most stupid fellows from forming the like pretensions, 
and catching at such vain expressions : for whenever 
what they say is denied to be true, they fail not to 
reply, that our unbelief proceeds from learning and 
logic ; affirming learning to be a vail, and logic the 
work of the mind ; whereas what they tell us appears 

• Pocock. Spec. p. 267. ' V. D'Herbel. Bibl. Orient, Art. Hullage. 

3 v. Ibid. Art. Bastham. 


only within, being- discovered by the light of truth. 
But this is that truth the sparks whereof have flown 
into several countries, and occasioned great mischiefs ; 
so that it is more for the advantage of God's true 
religion to put to death one of those who utter such 
things than to bestow life on ten others ^" 

Thus far have we treated of the chief sects among 
the Mohammedans of the first ages ; omitting to say 
any thing of the more modern sects, because the 
same are taken little or no notice of by their own 
writers, and would be of no use to our present 
design". It may be proper, however, to mention a 
word or two of the great schism at this day subsisting 
between the Sonnites and the Shiites, or partisans of 
Ali, and maintained on either side with implacable 
hatred and furious zeal. Though the difference arose 
at first on a political occasion, it has notwithstanding 
been so well improved by additional circumstances, 
and the spirit of contradiction, that each party detest 
and anathematize the other as abominable heretics, 
and farther from the truth than either the Christians 
or the Jews'. The chief points wherein they differ 
are, 1. That the Shiites reject Abu Beer, Omar, and 
Othman, the three first Khalifs, as usurpers and 
intruders ; whereas the Sonnites acknowledge and 
respect them as rightful Imams. 2. The Shiites 
prefer Ali to Mohammed, or, at least, esteem them 
both equal ; but the Sonnites admit neither Ali nor 
any of the prophets to be equal to Mohammed. 

3. The Sonnites charge the Shiites with corrupting 
the Koran, and neglecting its precepts ; and the 
Shiites retort the same charge on the Sonnites. 

4. The Sonnites receive the Sonna, or book of tradi- 
tions of their prophet, as of canonical authority ; 
whereas the Shiites reject it as apocryphal and un- 

' Al Ghazali, apud Poc. ubi sup. ' The reader may meet with some 

account of them in Rycaut's State of the Ottom. Emjiire, 1. 2. chap. 12. 
^ v. ib. ch. 10. et Chardin. Voy. de Perse, T. II. p. 169, 170, &c. 

c o 


worthy of credit. And to these disputes, and some 
others of less moment, is principally owin;^ the anti- 
pathy which lias long reigned between the Turks, 
who are Sonnites, and the Persians, M'ho are of the 
sect of Ali. It seems strange that Spinosa, had he 
known of no other schism among the Mohammedans, 
should yet never have heard of one so publicly noto- 
rious as this between the Turks and Persians ; but 
it is plain he did not, or he v.ould never have assigned 
it as the reason of his preferring the order of the 
Mohammedan church to that of the Roman, that 
there have arisen no schisms in the former since its 

As success in any project seldom fails to draw in 
imitators, Mohammed's having raised himself to such 
a degree of power and reputation by acting the pro- 
phet induced others to imagine they might arrive 
nt the same height by the same means. His most 
considerable competitors in the prophetic office were 
Moseilama and al Aswad, whom the Mohammedans 
usually call the two liars. 

The former was of the tribe of Honeifa, who in- 
habited the province of Yamama, and a principal 
man among them. He headed an embassy sent by 
his tribe to Mohammed in the ninth year of the 
Hejra, and professed himself a Moslem': but on his 
return home, considering that he might possibly 
share with ]\Iohammed in his power, the next year 
he set up for a prophet also, pretending to be joined 
with him in the commission to recal mankind from 
idolatry to the worship of the true God ' ; and he 
published written revelations, in imitation of the 
Koran, of which Abu'lfaragius* has preserved the 
following passage, viz. Now hath God been gracious 

•The words of Spinosa are; Ordinem Romanae ecclesia; politicum et 

plurimis lucrosuni esse fatcor ; nee ad decipiendam plcbem, et honiinum animos 
coercenduni commodiorem isto crederem, ni ordo Mahumedana; ecclesia csset, 
qui longe eundcm antecellit. Nam a quo tempore ha!C superstitio incrpit, nulla 
in eorum ecclesia schismata orta sunt. Opera Posth. p. G13. * Abulfed. 

p. KiO. ' Idem, Elmac. p. 9. J Hist. Dynast, p. IGl. 


unto her that was with child, and hath brought forth 
from her the soul which runneth between the perito- 
naeum and the bowels. Moseilama, having formed a 
considerable party among those of Honeifa, began 
to think himself upon equal terms with Mohammed, 
and sent him a letter, offering to go halves with him ', 
in these vrords : From Moseilama the apostle of 
God, to Mohammed the apostle of God. Now let 
the earth be half mine, and half thine. But Moliam- 
med, thiddng himself too well established to need a 
partner, wrote him this answer : From Mohammed 
the apostle of God, to Moseilama the liar. The earth 
is God's : he giveth the same for inheritance unto 
such of his servants as he pleaseth ; and the happy 
issue shall attend those who fear him". During the 
few months which Mohammed lived after this revolt, 
Moseilama rather gained than lost ground, and grew 
very formidable ; but Abu Beer, his successor, in the 
eleventh year of the Hejra, sent a great army against 
him, under the command of that consummate general 
Khaled Ebn al Walid, who engaged Moseilama in a 
bloody battle, wherein the false prophet happening to 
be slain by Wahsha, the negro slave who had killed 
Hamza at Ohod, and by the same lance ', the Moslems 
gained an entire victory, ten thousand of the apostates 
being left dead on the spot, and the rest returning to 

Al Aswad, whose name was Aihala, was of the 
tribe of Ans, and governed that and the other tribes 
of Arabs descended from Madhhaj \ This man was 
likewise an apostate from Mohammedism, and set 
up for himself the very year that Mohammed died ". 
He was surnamed Dhu'lhemar, or the master of the 
ass, because he used frequently to say. The master 

' Abulfed. ubi sup. ^ Al Beklawi, in Kor. c. 5. 3 Abulfed. ubi 

sup. 4 Idem, ib. Abulfarag. p. 173. EIniac. p. 16, &c. SeeOckley s 

Hist, of the Sarac. Vol. I. p. 15, &c. 5 Al Soheili, apud Gagnier. in 

not. ad Abulf. Vit. Moh. p. 158. « Elmac. p. 9. 


of the ass is coming unto me ' ; and pretended to re- 
ceive his revelations from two angels named Sohaik 
and Shoraik -. Having a good hand at legerdemain, 
and a smooth tongue, he gained mightily on the 
multitude by the strange feats which he showed 
them, and the eloquence of his discourse ^ : by these 
means he greatly increased his power, and having 
made himself master of Najran and the territory of 
al Tayef \ on the death of Badhan, the governor of 
Yaman for Mohammed, he seized that province also, 
killing Shahr, the son of Badhan, and taking to wife 
his widow, whose father, the uncle of Firuz the Deila- 
mite, he had also slain K These news being brought to 
Mohammed, he sent to his friends, and to those of 
Hamdan ; a party of whom, conspiring with Kais Ebn 
Abd' al Yaghuth, who bore al Aswad a grudge, and 
with Firuz and al Aswad's wife, broke by night into 
his house, where Firuz surprised him and cut off his 
head. While he was despatching he roared like a 
bull ; at which his guards came to the chamber door, 
but were sent away by his wife, who told them the 
prophet was only agitated by the divine inspiration. 
This was done the very night before Mohammed 
died. The next morning the conspirators caused 
the following proclamation to be made, viz. I bear 
witness that Mohammed is the apostle of God, and 
that Aihala is a liar ; and letters were immediately 
sent away to Mohammed, with an account of what 
had been done : but a messenger from heaven out- 
stripped them, and acquainted the prophet with the 
news, which he imparted to his companions but a 
little before his death ; the letters themselves not 
arriving till Abu Beer was chosen Khalif. It is said 
that Mohammed on this occasion told those who at-^ 
tended him, that before the day of judgment thirty 
more impostors, besides Moseilama and al Aswad, 

I Abulfed. ubi sup. « Al Soheili, ubi supra. ■ Abulfed. ubi supr. 

* Idem, & Elmac. ubi supr. s Idem, al Jannabi, ubi sup. 


should appear, and every one of them set up for a 
prophet. The whole time from the beginning of 
al Aswad's rebellion to his death was about four 
months *. 

In the same eleventh year of the Hejra, but after 
the death of Mohammed, as seems most probable, 
Toleiha Ebn Khowailed set up for a prophet, and 
Sej^j Bint al Mondar - for a prophetess. 

Toleiha was of the tribe of Asad, which adhered 
to him, together with great numbers of the tribes 
of Ghatfan and Tay. Against them likewise was 
Khaled sent, who engaged and put them to flight, 
obliging Toleiha with his shattered troops to retire 
into Syria, where he staid till the death of Abu 
Beer : then he went to Omar and embraced Moham- 
medism in his presence, and having taken the oath 
of fidelity to him, returned to his own country and 
people '. 

Sejaj, surnamed 0mm Sader, was of the tribe of 
Tamim, and the wife of Abu Cahdala, a soothsayer 
of Yamama. She was followed not only by those of 
her own tribe, but by several others. Thinking a 
prophet the most proper husband for her, she went 
to Moseilama, and married him ; but after she had 
staid with him three days, she left him, and returned 
home*. What became of her afterwards I do not 
find. Ebn Shohnah has given us part of the conversa- 
tion which passed at the interview between those 
two pretenders to inspiration; but the same is a 
little too immodest to be translated. 

In succeeding ages several impostors from time 
to time started up, most of whom quickly came to 
nothing : but some made a considerable figure, and 
propagated sects which continued long after their 

' Idem, ibid, 2 Ebn Shohnah and Elmacinus call her the daughter 

of al Hareth. 3 Elmac. p. 16. al Beidawi, in Kor. c 5. * Ebn Shohnah. 

V. Elmac. p. 10. 

248 THE FIir.LIMlNAIlV DISCOURSE. [Sect. 8. 

decease. I shall give a brief account of the most 
remarkable of them, in order of time. 

In the reign of al Mohdi, the third Khalif of the 
race of al Abbas, one Hakem Ebn Hashem \ origin- 
ally of Meru in Khorasan, who had been an under- 
secretary to Abu Moslem, the governor of that pro- 
vince, and afterwards turned soldier, passed thence 
into Marwara'lnahr, where he gave himself out for 
a prophet. He is generally named by the Arab 
writers al Mokanna, and sometimes al Borkai, that 
is the vailed, because he used to cover his face with 
a vail, or a gilded mask, to conceal his deformity, 
having lost an eye in the wars, and being otherwise 
of a despicable appearance ; though his followers 
pretended he did it for the same reason as Moses 
did, viz. lest the splendour of his countenance should 
dazzle the eyes of the beholders. He made a great 
many proselytes at Nakhshab and Kash, deluding 
the people with several juggling performances, which 
they swallowed for miracles, and particularly by 
causing the appearance of a moon to rise out of a 
well for many nights together ; >vhence he was also 
called, in the Persian tongue, Sazendeh mah, or the 
moon-maker. This impious impostor, not content 
with being reputed a prophet, arrogated divine 
honours to himself, pretending that the deity re- 
sided in his person : and the doctrine whereon he 
built this was the same with that of the Gholaites 
above mentioned, who affirmed a transmigration or 
successive manifestation of the divinity through and 
in certain prophets and holy men, from Adam to 
these latter days (of which opinion was also Abu 
Moslem himself?); but the particular doctrine of 
al Mokanna was, that the person in whom the deity 

' Or Ebn Ata, according to Ebn Shohnah. "> This explains a doubt 

of I\fr. Baylc concerning a passage of Elmncinuf, as traiislafed by Erpenius, 
»nd corrected by Btspicr. V. Baylc, Diet. Hibt. Art. Abumuslirauo, vers la 
m, ct Rem. B. 


had last resided was the aforesaid Abu Moslem, and 
that the same had, since his death, passed into him- 
self. The faction of al Mokanna, who had made 
himself master of several fortified places in the 
neighbourhood of the cities above mentioned, grow- 
ing daily more and more powerful, the Khalif was 
at length obliged to send an army to reduce him ; at 
the approach whereof al Mokanna retired into one 
of his strongest fortresses, which he had well pro- 
vided for a siege, and sent his emissaries abroad to 
persuade people that he raised the dead to life, and 
knew future events. But being straitly besieged 
by the Khalif 's forces, when he found there was no 
possibility for him to escape, he gave poison in wine 
to his whole family and all that were with him in 
the castle, and when they were dead he burnt their 
bodies, together with their clothes and all the pro- 
visions, and cattle ; and then, to prevent his own 
body's being found, he threw himself into the 
flames, or, as others say, into a tub of aqua fortis, 
or some other preparation, which consumed every 
part of him, except only his hair ; so that when the 
besiegers entered the place they found no creature in 
it, save one of al Mokanna's concubines, who, sus- 
pecting his design, had hid herself, and discovered 
the whole matter. This contrivance, however, failed 
not to produce the effect which the impostor de- 
signed among the remaining part of his followers ; 
for he had promised them that his soul should trans- 
migrate into the form of a grey-headed man, riding 
on a greyish beast, and that after so many years, he 
would return to them, and give them the earth for 
their possession : the expectation of which promise 
kept the sect in being for several ages after \ under 
the name of Mobeyyidites, or, as the Persians call 

' They were a sect in the days of Abu'lfaragius, who lived about five hun- 
dred years aftsr this extraordinary event ; and niav, for aught I know, be so 


them, Sefid juinehghian, /. e. the clothed in white, 
because they wore their garments of that colour, in 
opposition, as is supposed, to the Khalifs of the fa- 
mily of Abbas, whose banners and habits were black. 
The historians place the death of al Mokanna in the 
l62d or I63d year of the Hejra \ 

In the year of the Hejra ^01, Babec, surnamed 
al Khorremi, and Khorremdin, either because he was 
of a certain district near Adherbijan, called Khor- 
rem, or because he instituted a merry religion, which 
is the signification of the word in Persian, began to 
tal<:e on him the title of a prophet. I do not find 
what doctrine he taught ; but it is said he professed 
none of the religions then known in Asia. He gained 
a great number of devotees in Adherbijan and the 
Persian Irak, and grew powerful enough to wage 
war with the Khalif al Mamiin, whose troops he 
often beat, killing several of his generals, and one of 
them with his own hand ; and Ijy these victories he 
became so formidable that al Motasem, the successor 
of al Mamum, was obliged to employ the forces of 
the whole empire against him. The general sent to 
reduce Babec was Afshid, who having overthrown 
liim in battle, took his castles one after another with 
invincible patience, notwithstanding the rebels gave 
him great annoyance, and at last shut up the im- 
postor in his principal fortress ; which being taken, 
Babec found means to escape thence in disguise, 
with some of his family and principal followers ; 
but taking refuge in the territories of the Greeks, 
was betrayed in the following manner. Sahel, an 
Armenian officer, happening to know Babec, enticed 
him, by offers of service and respect, into his power, 
and treated him as a mighty j)rince, till, when he 
sat down to eat, Sahel clapt himself down by him ; 

' Ex Abu'lfarag. Hist. Dyn. p. 226. Lobb al Tawarikh, Ebn Shohnali, 
al Tabari, ct Khondauiir. V. D'Hcrbcl. Bibl. Orient. Art. llakcm Ben Ilas- 


at which Babec being surprised, asked him how he 
dared to take that liberty unasked ? " It is true, 
great king," replied Sahel, " I have committed a 
fault ; for who am I, that I should sit at your ma- 
jesty's table ?" And immediately sending for a smith, 
he made use of this bitter sarcasm, " Stretch forth 
your legs, great king, that this man may put fetters 
on them," After this Sahel sent him to Afshid, 
though he had offered a large sum for his liberty, 
having first served him in his own kind, by causing 
his mother, sister, and wife, to be ravished before his 
face ; for so Babec used to treat his prisoners. Afs- 
hid, having the arch-rebel in his power, conducted 
him to al Motasem, by whose order he was put to 
an ignominious and cruel death. This man had 
maintained his ground against the power of the 
Khalifs for twenty years, and had cruelly put to 
death above two hundred and fifty thousand people ; 
it being his custom never to spare man, woman or 
child, either of the Mohammedans or their allies \ 
The sectaries of Babec which remained after his 
death seem to have been entirely dispersed, there 
being little or no mention made of them by histo- 

About the year 235, one Mahmiid Ebn Faraj 
pretended to be Moses resuscitated, and played his 
part so well that several people believed in him, and 
attended him when he was brought before the Khalif 
al Motawakkel. That prince, having been an ear- 
witness of his extravagant discourses, condemned 
him to receive ten buffets from every one of his fol- 
lowers, and then to be drubbed to death ; which was 
accordingly executed ; and his disciples were impri- 
soned till they came to their right minds *. 

The Karmatians, a sect which bore an inveterate 

• Ex Abulfarag. p. 252, &c. Elmacin. p. 141, &c. and Khondaniir. V. 
U'Hcrbcl. Art. Babec. " Ebn Shohnah. V. D'llcrbel. p. 537. 


malice against the Mohammedans, began first to 
raise distiu'bances in the year of the Hejra 278, and 
the latter end of the reign of al Motamed. Their 
origin is not well known ; but the common tradition 
is, that a poor fellow, whom some call Karmata, came 
from Khuzistan to the villages near Cufa, and there 
feigned great sanctity and strictness of life, and that 
God had enjoined him to pray fifty times a day, pre- 
tending also to invite people to the obedience of a 
certain Imam of the family of Mohammed : and this 
way of life he continued till he had made a very 
great party, out of whom he chose twelve, as his 
apostles, to govern the rest, and to propagate liis 
doctrines. But the governor of the province, finding 
men neglected their work, and their husbandry in 
particular, to say those fifty prayers a day, seized the 
fellow, and having put him in prison, swore that he 
should die ; w^hich being overheard by a girl be- 
longing to the governor, she, pitying the man, at 
night took the key of the dungeon from under her 
master's head as he slept, and having let the prisoner 
out, returned the key to the place whence she had 
it. The next morning the governor found the bird 
flown ; and the accident being publicly know^n raised 
great admiration, his adherents giving it out that 
God had taken him into heaven. Afterwards he ap- 
peared in another province, and declared to a great 
number of people he had got about him, that it was 
not in the power of any to do him hurt ; notwith- 
standing which, his courage failing him, he retired 
into Syria, and was not heard of any more. His 
sect, however, continued and increased, pretending 
that their master had manifested himself to be a true 
prophet, and had left them a new law% -wherein he 
had changed the ceremonies and form of prayer used 
by the Moslems, and introduced a new kind of fast ; 
and that he had also allowed them to drink wine, 
and dispensed with several things commanded in the 
Koran. They also turned the precepts of that book 


into allegory ; teaching that prayer was the symbol 
of obedience to their Imam, and fasting that of si- 
lence, or concealing their dogmas from strangers : 
they also believed fornication to be the sin of in- 
fidelity ; and the guilt thereof to be incurred by those 
who revealed the mysteries of their religion, or paid 
not a blind obedience to their chief. They are said 
to have produced a book, wherein was written (among 
other things), " In the name of the most merciful 
God. Al Faraj Ebn Othman, of the town of Nasrana, 
saith, that Christ appeared unto him in a human 
form, and said, Thou art the invitation : thou art the 
demonstration: thou art the camel: thou art the 
beast : thou art John the son of Zacharias : thou art 
the Holy Ghosts" From the year above mentioned 
the Karmatians, under several leaders, gave almost 
continual disturbance to the Khalifs and their Mo- 
hammedan subjects for several years ; committing 
great disorders and outrages in Chaldea, Arabia, 
Syria, and Mesopotamia, and at length establishing 
a considerable principality, the power whereof was 
in its meridian in the reign of Abu Dhaher, famous 
for his taking of Mecca, and the indignities by him 
offered to the temple there, but which declined soon 
after his time, and came to nothing'. 

To the Karmatians the Ismaelians of Asia were 
very near of kin, if they were not a branch of them : 
for these, who were also called al Molahedah, or the 
Impious, and by the writers of the history of the holy 
wars, Assassins, agreed with the former in many 
respects; such as their inveterate malice against 
those of other religions, and especially the Moham- 
medan ; their unlimited obedience to their prince, at 
whose command they were ready for assassinations, 
or any other bloody and dangerous enterprise ; their 
pretended attachment to a certain Imam of the house 

> Apud Abulfar. p. 275. » Ex Abulfar. ibid. Elmacino, p. 174, &c 

Ebn Shohnah, Khondamir. V. D'Herbel. Art. Carmath. 


of Ali, &c. These Ismaelians, in the year 488, pos- 
sessed themselves of al Jebal, in the Persian Irak, 
under the conduct of Hasan Sabah ; and that prince 
and his descendants enjoyed the same for a hundred 
and seventy-one years, till the whole race of them 
was destroyed by Holagu the Tartar ^ 

The Batenites, which name is also given to the 
Ismaelians by some authors, and likewise to the 
Karmatians", were a sect which professed the same 
abominable principles, and were dispersed over se- 
veral parts of the East \ The word signifies Esoterics, 
or people of inward or hidden light or knowledge. 

Abu'l Teyyeb Ahmed, surnamed al Motanabbi, 
of the tribe of J6fa, is too famous on another account 
not to claim a place here. He was one of the most 
excellent poets among the Arabians, there being none 
besides Abu Temam who can dispute the prize with 
him. His poetical inspiration was so warm and ex- 
alted, that he either mistook it, or thought he could 
persuade others to believe it to be prophetical, and 
therefore gave himself out to be a prophet indeed ; 
and thence acquired his surname, by which he is 
generally known. His accomplishments were too 
great not to have some success ; for several tribes of 
the Arabs of the deserts, particularly that of Kelab, 
acknowledged him to be what he pretended. But 
Lulu, governor in those parts for Akhshid king of 
Egypt and Syria, soon put a stop to the further 
progress of this new sect, by imprisoning their pro- 
phet, and obliging him to renounce his chimerical 
dignity ; which having done, he regained his liberty, 
and applied himself solely to his poetry, by means 
whereof he got very considerable riches, being in high 
esteem at the courts of several princes. Al INIotan- 
abbi lost his life, together with his son, on the bank 

• v. Abulfar. p. 505, &c. D'Hcrbel. p. 101, 437, •''tV"), fi20, and 7«4. » V. El- 
niacin. p. 174, and 28(;. D'llerb. p. 194. J V. Abulfar. p. 361, 374, 

380, 483. 


of the Tigris, in defending the money which had been 
given him by Adado'ddawla, solt^n of Persia, against 
some Arabian robbers who demanded it of him ; 
with which money he was returning to Cufa, his na- 
tive city. This accident happened in the year 354 ^ 

The last pretender to prophecy I shall now take 
notice of is one who appeared in the city of Amasia, 
in Natolia, in the year 638, and by his wonderful 
feats seduced a great multitude of people there. He 
was by nation a Turkman, and called himself Baba, 
and had a disciple named Isaac, whom he sent about 
to invite those of his own nation to join him. Isaac 
accordingly, coming to the territory of Someisat, 
published his commission, and prevailed on many to 
embrace his master's sect, especially among the Turk- 
mans ; so that at last he had six thousand horse at 
his heels, besides foot. With these Baba and his 
disciple made open war on all who would not cry out 
with them. There is no God but God ; Baba is the 
apostle of God ; and they put great numbers of Mo- 
hammedans, as well as Christians, to the sword in 
those parts ; till at length both Mohammedans and 
Christians, joining together, gave them battle, and 
having entirely routed them, put them all to the 
sword, except their two chiefs, who being taken alive, 
had their heads struck off by the executioner^. 

I could mention several other impostors of the 
same kind, which have arisen among the Moham- 
medans since their prophefs time, and very near 
enough to complete the number foretold by him : 
but I apprehend the reader is by this time tired as 
well as myself, and shall therefore here conclude this 
discourse, which may be thought ah'eady too long for 
an introduction. 

» Praef. in Opera Motanabbis MS. V. D'Herbel. p. 638, &c. « Abulfar. 

p. 479. Ebn Shohnah, D'Herb. Art. Baba. 

Uu Tribe of [jiu-named^ KOREISH 



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(^t'this FandJy / 








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Of this ^__[y F'"" i fv 

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and AhuJahl 


\Fivm hiiii was Descended 
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, \Bamzd\ 

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S^meyvaWroin whom we/r Descended 

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r/i£ DcnvnU from Ismael to Adnan are conte/scdh' iifKerttiin.nw jiiost tf/tpiovt- 
series enumerdtes eitfhf Generations between those two Fersons in tfw followim/ or 
recfcons om- Generation h'/'s, {fi/ter/m/ a/so in t/te Jfa/nes. in this ///r/«//^/;Tsuiael,T^al 
YasHiab,Yarab,Yarali,\ahur,al Molciwviuu, Odad.Atbiaii^///' Moliamed himselt.ifo 
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■ rif 1,,'iMin 10 riif ,i//"'l,i oliil.lhlni 



Intitled, the Preface, or Introduction" ; revealed at 

In the name of the most merciful God *. 

Praise be to God, the Lord of all creatures'"; 
the most merciful, the king of the day of judgment. 
Thee do we worship, and of thee do we beg assist- 
ance. Direct us in the right way, in the way of those 

* In Arabic al Fatlhat. This chapter is a prayer, and held in great veneration 
by the Mohammedans, who give it several other honourable titles ; as the cliapter of 
prayer, oi praise, of thcmksgivbf^, of treasure, &c. They esteem it as the quintes- 
sence of the whole Koran, and often repeat it in their devotions both public and 
private, as the Christians do the Lord's Prayer '. 

• " This formula is prefixed to all the chapters (with the exception of one). It 
is expressly recommended in the Koran. The Mahometans pronounce it whenever 
they slaughter an animal, and at the commencement of their reading, and of all 
important actions. It is with them that which the sign of the cross is with Christians. 
Giaab, one of their celebrated authors, says, that when these words were sent down 
from heaven, the clouds fled on the side of the east, the winds were lulled, the sea 
was moved, the animals erected their ears to listen, the devils were precipitated from 
the celestial spheres," SLC—Savary. 

^ The original words are Rahbi 'Idlamiiia, which literally signify Lord of the 
worlds ; but dlamina, in this and other places of the Koran, properly means the 
three species of rational creatures, Men, Genii, and Angels. Father Marracci has 
endeavoured to prove from this passage that Mohammed believed a plurality of 
worlds, which he calls the error of the JManichees, &c.'': but this imputation the 
learned Reland has shown to be entirely groundless^. Savary translates it " Sove- 
reign of the worlds." 

' v. Bobovium de Precib. Mohammed, p. 3, et seq. - In Prodromo ad Refut. 

Alcorani, Part IV. p. TG, et in Notis ad Ale. cap. 1. ^ De Religion. IMohammed. 
p. 262. 

VOL. I. B 

2 AL KOKAN. [Chap. 2. 

to whom thou hast been gracious ; not of those 
against whom thou art incensed, nor of those who go 
astray '. 


Intitled, the Cow''; revealed partly at Mecca, and 
partly at Medina. 

In tlie name of the most merciful God. 

Ai.. M.' There is no doubt in this book ; it is a 
direction to the pious, who believe in the m}^steries'' 
ofjaith, who observe the appointed times of prayer, 
and distribute alms out of what we have besto^ved on 
them ; and who Ijelieve in that revelation, which hath 
been sent down unto thee, and that which hath been 
sent down unto the propliets before thee*", and have 

" This last sentence contains a petition, that Gon wouhl lead the supplicants into 
the true religion, by which is meant the IMohaninicdan, in the Koran often called 
the right wai/ ; in this place more particularly defined to be, iJic iccuf of those to 
whom God hnfh heen priieion.i, that is, of the prophets and faithful who preceded 
fllohammed ; under which appellations are also comprehended the Jews and Chris- 
tians, such as they were in the times of their primitive purity, before they liad deviatetl 
from their respective institutions ; not the tcai/ of the modern Jews, whose signal 
calamities are marks of the just auger of God against them for their obstinacy and 
disobedience; 7i07' <;/■ ///c Christians o/" //;(« age^ who have departed from the true 
doctrine of Jesus, and are bewildered in a labyrinth of error '. 

This is the common exposition of the passage ; though al Zaniaklishari, and some 
others, by a diflerent application of the negatives, refer the whole to the tnie be- 
lievers; and then the sense wiU run thus: The waij of those to u-hom thou hast 
been gracious, against whom thou art not incensed, and xeho have not erred. ^^Tiich 
translation the original will very well bear. 

'• This title was occasioned by the story of the red heifer, mentioned p. 13. 

'- As to the meaning of these letters, see the Preliminary Discourse, Sect. 3. 

■^ The Arabic word is gheih, which properly signifies a thing that is alisent, at a 
great distance, or invisible, such as die resurrection, paradise, and licll. And this is 
agreeable to the language of scripture, which defines faith to be the evidence of things 
not seen -. 

"^ The Mohammedans believe that God gave written revelations not only to Moses, 
Jesus, and Mohanmied, but to several other prophets^; though they acknowledge 

' Jallalo'ddin. Al Beidawi, &c. ' Heb. xi. 1. See abo Rom. xxiv. 25. 

2 Corinth, iv. Irt, and v. 7. ' V. Reland. Dc Reli?,. Moham. p. 34, et Dissert, dc 
Saniaritanis, p. 34, &c. 

Chap. 2.] AL KORAN. 3 

firm assurance in the life to come ': these are directed 
by their Lord, and they shall prosper. As for the 
unbelievers, it will be equal to them whether thou 
admonish them, or do not admonish them ; they will 
not believe. God hath sealed uj) their hearts and 
their hearing ; a dimness covereth their sight, and they 
shall suffer a grievous punishment. There are some 
who say. We believe in God, and the last day ; but 
are not y^eally believers : they seek to deceive God, 
and those who do believe, but they deceive them.selves 
only, and are not sensible thereof. There is an in- 
firmity in their hearts, and God hath increased that 
infirmity''; and they shall suffer a most painful pu- 
nishment, because they have disbelieved. When one 
saith unto them, Act not corruptly " in the earth ; 
they reply, Verily we are men of integrity '^. Are not 
they themselves corrupt doers ? but they are not sen- 
sible thereof. And when one saith unto them. Believe 
ye as others" believe ; they answer. Shall we believe 
as fools believe ? Are not they themselves fools ? but 
they know it not. When they meet those who believe, 
they say, We do believe : but ^vhen they retire privately 
to their devils \ they say. We really hold with you, and 
only mock at those people : God shall mock at them, and 
unl^inue them in their impiety ; they shall wander in 

^Qfi^ of those which preceded the Koran to be now extant, except the Pentateuch of 
Moses, the Psalms of David, and the Gospel of Jesus ; which yet they say were even 
before Mohammed's time altered and corrupted by the Jews and Christians ; and 
therefore will not allow our present copies to be genuine. 

" The original word al-akherat properly signifies the latter part of any thing, 
and by way of excellence, the 7iext life, the latter ot future state after death ; and 
is opposed to al-donya, litis world ; and al-oula, the former or present life. The 
Hebrew word ahharith, from the same root, is used by Moses in this sense, and is 
translated latter end '. 

** Mohammed here, and elsewhere frequently, imitates the truly inspired writers, 
in making God, by operation on the minds of reprobates, to prevent their conversion. 
This fatality or predestination, as believed by the fllohammedans, hath been suf- 
ficiently treated of in the Preliminary Discourse. 

•^ Literally corrupt not in the earth, by which some expositors understand the 
sowing of false doctrine, and corrupting people's principles. 

■1 According to the explication in the preceding note, this word must be translated 
reformers, who promote true piety by their doctrine and example. 

<= The first companions and followers cf rtloliammed \ 

f The prophet, making use of the liberty zealots of all religions have, by 
prescription, of giving ill language, bestows this name on the Jewish rabbins and 
Christian priests ; though he seems chiefly to mean the former, against v^-lioni lie hatl 
by much the greater spleen. 

' Numb. xxiv. 20. Deut. viii. 10. - Jallnlo'ddin. 

B 2 

4 AL KOiiAN. [Chap. 2. 

confusion. These are Uic men who ha\ e purchased error 
at the price of true direction : but their traffick hath not 
been gainful, neither have they been r'lghllij directed. 
They are like unto one who kindleth a fire% and when it 
hath enlightened all around him'', God taketh away 
their light' and leaveth them in darkness, they shall 
not see ; theij are deaf, dundj, and blind, therefore will 
they not repent. Or like a stormy cloud from heaven, 
fraught with darkness, thunder, and lightning*', they 
put their fingers in their ears, because of the noise of 
the thunder, for fear of death ; God enconipasseth the 
infidels : the lightning wanteth but little of taking 
away their sight; so often as it enlighteneth them, 
they walk therein, but when darkness cometh on 
them, they stand still ; and if God so pleased, he 
would certainly deprive them of their hearing and 
their sight, for God is almighty. O men uf Mecca, 
serve your Lord wdio hath created you, and those 
AV'ho have been ])efore you : perad venture ye will fear 
him ; who hath spread the earth as a bed for \o\\. and 
the heaven as a covering, and hath caused w\ater to de- 
scend from heaven, and thereby produced fruits for your 
sustenance. Set not up therefore any equals unto God, 
against your own knowledge. If ye be in doubt concern- 
ing that revelation which we have sent down nut" *^^JjJ^^' 
servant, produce a chapter like unto it, and call v.,viate<i 
your witnesses, besides God % if ye say truth. But if ye 

■' In this passage, I\Ioliammccl compares those vlio believed not in him to a iviaii 
who wants to kindle a fire, but as soon as it burns up. and the flames give a iij;lu, 
shuts his eyes, lest he should see. As if he had said ; You, O Arabians, have lonu; 
desired a prophet of your own nation, and now I .1111 sent untoycni, and have plainly 
proved my mission by the excellence of my doctrine and revelation, you resist con- 
viction, and refuse to believe in mc; therefore sh;dl (ion leave you in your ignorance. 

•> The sense seems to be here imperfect, and may be completed, by adding the 
words, he turns from it, sliiits liis r?/('.«, or the like. 

"^ That is of the unbelievers, to whom the word lluir being in the plural, seems 
to tefer; though it is not unusual for Bloluimmed, in aflectation of the prophetic 
style, suddenly to change the number against all rules of grammar. 

'' Here he compares the unbelieving Arabs to people caught in a violent storm. 
To perceive the beauty of this comparison, it must be observed, that the IMoham- 
medan doctors say, this tempest is a type or image of the Koran itself: the thunder 
signifying the threats therein contained ; the lightning, the promises ; and tlie dark- 
ness, the mysteries. The terror of the threats makes them stop their cars, unwilling 
to hear truths so disagreeable ; when tlie promises .ire read to them they attend with 
pleasure; but when any thing mysterious or difficult of belief occurs, they stand 
stock still, and will not submit to be directed. 

^ i. r. Vour false gods and idol^. 

Chap. 2.] AL KORAN. 5 

do it not, nor shall ever be able to do it ; justly fear 
the fire whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the 
unbelievers. But bear good tidings unto those who 
believe, and do good works, that they shall have gar- 
dens watered by rivers ; so often as they eat of the 
fruit thereof for sustenance, they shall say, This is 
what we have formerly eaten of; and they shall be 
supplied with several sorts of fruit having a mutual 
resemblance to one another '. There shall they enjoy 
wives subject to no impurity, and there shall they 
continue for ever. Moreover, Goi) will not be ashamed 
to propound in a parable a gnat*, or even a more 
despicable thing'': for they who believe will know it 
to be the truth from their Lord ; but the unbelievers 
will say. What meaneth God by this parable ? he will 
thereby mislead many, and will direct many thereby : but 
he will not mislead any thereby, except the trans- 
gressors, who make void the covenant of GoD after 
the establishing thereof, and cut in sunder that which 
God hath commanded to be joined, and act corruptly 
in the earth ; they shall perish. How is it that ye 
believe not in God ? Since ye were dead, and he gave 
you life''; he will hereafter cause you to die, and 
will again restore you to life ; then shall ye return 
unto him. It is he who hath created for you what- 
soever is on earth, and then set his mind to the creation 
of heaven, and formed it into seven heavens ; he 
knoweth all things. When thy Lord said unto the 
angels, I am going to place a substitute on earth''; 

" Some commentators ' approve of this sense, supposing the fruits of i)aradise, 
though of various tastes, are ahke in colour and outward appearance : but otliers ^ 
think the meaning to be, that the inhabitants of tjiat iilace will iind there fruits of 
the same or the like kinds, as tliey used to eat while on earth. 

* " God is no more ashamed to propound a gnat as a parable, than to use a more 
dignified illustration." — Savary. 

b This was revealed to take ofF an objection made to the Koran by the infidels, for 
condescending to speak of such insignificant insects, as the spider, the pismire, the 
bee, &c. ^ 

<= i. c. Ye were dead while in the loins of your fathers, and he gave you life in 
your mothers' wombs ; and after death ye shall be again raised at the resurrection ". 

d Concerning the creation of Adam, here intimated, the ]\Ioha;nmedans have se- 
veral peculiar traditions. They say the angels Gabriel, Micliael, anil Israfil were 
sent by Gou, one after another, to fetch for that purpose seven lumdfuls of earth 

» Jallalo'ddin. - Al Zamakhbhaii. ^ Yahya. " Jallalo'ddin. 

6 Ai> KoiiAX. [Chap. 2. 

they said, Wilt thou place there one wlio will do evil 
therein, and shed blood ? but we celebrate thy praise, 
and sanctify thee. God answered, Verily I know that 
which ye know not ; and he taught Adam the names 
of all things, and then proposed them to the angels, 
and said, Declare unto me the names of these things 
if ye say truth. They answered. Praise be unto thee ; 
we have no knowledge but what thou teachest us, for 
thou art Icnowing and wise. God said, () Adam, tell 
them their names. And when he had told them their 
names, God said, Did I not tell you that I know the 
secrets of heaven and earth, and know that which ye 
discover, and that which ye conceal"? And when we 
said unto the angels. Worship '' Adam ; they ell wor- 
shipped hhn, except Eblis, ic/io refused, and was puffed 
up with pride, and became of the number of unbe- 

from different depths, and of different colours (whence some account for the various 
complexions of mankind ' ) ; but the earth being apprehensive of the consequence, 
and desiring them to represent her fear to (/OD, that the creature he designed to 
fonn would rebel against hiiji, and draw dowu his curse upon her, they returned 
without performing (tod's command ; whereupon he sent Azra'il on the same errand, 
who executed his commission without remorse ; for which reason, God appointed 
that angel to separate the souls from the bodies, being therefore called ihc aiigcl of 
death. Tlie earth he had taken was carried into Araljia, to a place between IMecca 
and Tayef, where being first kneaded by the angels, it was afterwards fashioned by 
God himself iiito a human form, and left to dry- for the space of fortj- days, or, as 
others say, as many ye^irs; the angels in the mean time often visiting it, and Eblis 
(then one of the angels who are nearest to God's presence, afterwards the devil) 
among the rest ; but he, not contented vvith looking on it, kicked it wiili his foot till 
it rung, and knowing God desigr.ed that creature to be his superior, took a secret 
resolution never to acknowledge him as such. After this, God animatetl the figure 
of clay, and endued it with an intelligent soul, and when he had placed him in pa- 
radise, formed Eve out of his left side '. 

» This story INIohammed borrowed from the Jewish traditions ; which say, that 
the angels having spoken of man with some contempt, when God consulted them 
about liis creation, God made answer, that the man was wiser than they ; and to 
convince them of it, he brought all kinds of animals to them, and asked them their 
names ; which they not being able to tell, lie put th.e same question to the man, who 
named tiiem one after another; and being asked his own name, and God's name, 
he answeretl very justly, and gave (JoD the name of Jehovali '. The angels adoring 
of Adam is also mentioned in the Tulnnid '•. 

^ The original word signifies properly to prostrate one's self, till the forehead 
touches the ground, wiiich is the humblest posture of adoration, and strictly due to 
God only; but it is sometimes, as in this place, used to express that civil worship 
or homage, which may be paid to creatures ^ 

' Al Termed), from a tradition of Abu Musa al Ashari. * Koran, c. 5.'. 

' Khond amir. Jallalo'ddin. Comment, in Koran, I've. V. D'Hcrhclot, Bibliotli. 
Orient, p. 55. < V. Kivin. Scrpc;it. Seluct. p. 5G. ' R. 31oscs Iladdai- 

shan, in Bcrcsbit rabbiili. '•'ddiii. 

Chap. 2.] AL KURAN. 7 

lievers '. And we said, O Adam, dwell thou and thy 
wife in the garden^ and eat of the fruit thereof plen- 
tifully wherever ye will ; but approach not this tree% 
lest ye become of the number of the transgressors. But 
Satan caused them to forfeit paradise'\ and turned 
them out of the state of happiness wherein they had 
been; whereupon we said, Get ye down% the one of 
you an enemy unto the other ; and there shall be a 
dwelling place for you on earth*, and a provision for a 
season. And Adam learned words of prayer from his 
Lord, and God turned unto him, for he is easy to be 
reconciled and merciful. We said. Get ye ail down 
from hence; hereafter shall there come unto you a 

» This occasion of the devil's fall has some affinity with an opinion which has been 
pretty much entertamed among Christians •, viz. that tlie angels being informed of 
God's intention to create man after his own image, and to dignify human nature by 
Christ's assuming it, some of them, tliinking their glory to be eclipsed tliercby, envied 
man's happiness, and so revolted. 

^ Mohammed, as appears by what presently follows, does not place this garden 
or paradise on earth, but in the seventh heaven 2. 

<• Concerning this tree, or the forbidden fruit, the Slohammedans, as well as the 
Christians, have various opinions. Some say it was an ear of wheat ; some ^vill have 
it to have been a fig-tree, and others a vine 3. The story of the fall is told, with 
some further circumstances, in the beginning of the seventh chapter. 

<! They have a tradition that the devil, offering to get into paradise to tempt Adam, 
was not admitted by the guard ; whereupon he begged of the Janimals, one after an- 
other, to carry him in ,that he might speak to Adam and his wife ; but they all refused 
him, except the serpent, who took him between two of his teeth, and so introduced 
him. They add, that the serpent was then of a beautiful form, and not m the 
shape he now bears ". 

e The Mohammedans say, that when they were cast down from paradise, Adam 
fell on the isle of Ceylon or Serendib, and Eve near Joddah (the port of Mecca), m 
Arabia ; and that, after a separation of 200 years, Adam was, on his repentance, 
conducted by the angel Gabriel to a mountain near Mecca, where he found and knew 
his wife, the moimtain being thence nanned Arafat ; and that he afterwards retired 
with her to Ceylon, where they continued to propagate their species \ _ _ 

It may not be improper here to mention another tradition concerning the gigantic 
stature of our first parents. Their prophet, they say, affirmed Adam to have been 
as tall as a high palm-tree « ; but this would be too muc"!i in prnpcrtion, if that were 
really the print of his foot, which is pretended to be such, on the top of a mountam 
in the isle of Ceylon, thence named Pico de Adam, and by the Arab writers Rahun, 
being somewhat above two spans long "! (though others say it is seventy cubits long, 
and that when Adam set one foot here, he had the other in the sea «) ; and too little, 
if Eve were of so enormous a size, as is said, that when her head lay on one hUl near 
iMecca, her knees rested on two others in the plain, about two musket shots asunders. 
* " We said to them, Get ye down. You have been mutual enemies. The 
earth shall be your habitation, and your inheritance, till the time." — Savory. 

' Irentcus, Lact. Greg. Nyssen. &c. "^ Vid, Marracc. in Ale. p. 24. 

3 V. ibid. p. 22. " V. ib. ^ D'Herbelot, Bibl. Orient, p. 5o. « Yahya. 

" Monconys' Voyage, part 1. p. 372, cSlC. See Knox's ilccount of Ceylon. •' An- 
cicnncs Relations des Indcs, &c. p. 3. ^ Monconys, ubi sup. 

8 AL KORAN. [Chap. 2. 

direction from me ^, and whoever shall follow my 
direction, on them shall no fear come, neither shall 
they be grieved ; but they who shall be unbelievers, 
and accuse our signs ^ of falsehood, they shall be the 
companions of he/l fire, therein shall they remain for 
ever. O children of Israel', remember my favour 
wherewith I have favoured you; and perform i/uur 
covenant Avith me, and I will perform my covenant 
with you ; and revere me : and believe in the revela- 
tion which I have sent down, confirming that which 
is with you, and be not the first who believe not 
therein, neither exchange my signs for a small price*; 
and fear me. Clothe not the truth with vanity, 
neither conceal the truth against your own knowledge ; 
observe the stated times of prayer, and pay your legal 
alms, and bow down yourselves with those who bow 
down. Will ye command men to do justice, and for- 
get your own souls? yet ye read the book of the law : 
do ye not therefore understand ? Ask help with per- 
severance and prayer ; this indeed is grievous, vmless 
to the humble, who seriouslij think they shall meet 
their Lord, and that to him they shall return. O 
children of Israel, remember my favour Avlierewith I 
have favoured you, and that I have preferred you 
above all nations : dread the day ivJierein one soul 
shall not make satisfaction for another soul, neither 
shall any intercession be accepted from them, nor shall 

" God here promises Adam that his will should be revealed to him and his 
posterity; which promise the IMohanmicdans believe was fulfilled at several times 
by the ministry of several prophets from Adam himself, who was the first, to JMo- 
hanimed, who was the last- The number of books revealed unto Adani they say 
was ten '. 

'' This word has various significations in the Koran ; sometimes, as in this pass- 
age, it signifies d'tvbic rcirlafioti, or scripture in general; sometimes the verses 
of the Korfin in particular ; and at other times vli'ihlc viiraclcs. But the sense is easily 
distinguished by the context. 

•-' The Jews are here called upon to receive the Koran, as verifying and confirm- 
ing the Pentateuch, particularly witli respect to the unity of God and the mission of 
Blohammed''. And they are exhorted not to conceal the passages of their law, 
which bear witncs to those truths, nor to corrupt them by publishing false copies 
of the Pcntaleucli, for which the writers were but poorly paid 3. 

• " Corrupt not my doctrine for vile gain. Fear me." — Savary. 

' V. Hottingcr Ili^.!. Orient, p. II. KcLiud. de Rclig. Molianr.utd. p. 21. 
-' Vahya, •' Jalliilo'ddin. 

Chap. 2.] AL KOllAN. 9 

any compensation be received, neither shall they be 
helped. Remember when we delivered you from the 
people of Pharaoh, who grievously oppressed you, they 
slew your male childi-en, and let your females live : 
therein was a great trial from your Lord. And when 
we divided the sea for you and delivered you, and 
di-owned Pharaoh's people while ye looked on". And 
when we treated with Moses forty nights ; then 
ye took the calf'^b/' your God, and did evil; yet 
afterwards we forgave you, that peradventure ye 
might give thanks. And when we gave Moses the 
book of the law, and the distinction between good and 
evil, that peradventure ye might be directed. And 
when Moses said unto his people, O my people, verily 
ye have injured your own souls *, by your taking the 
calf /or your God ; therefore be turned unto your 
Creator, and slay those among you "vcJio have been 
guilly of til at crime %• this will be better for you in 
the sight of your Creator : and tJtereiipon he turned 
unto you, for he is easy to be reconciled, and merciful. 

^ See the story of Moses and Pharaoh more particularly related chap. vii. and 
XX. &c. 

'' The person who cast this calf, the Mohammedans say, was (not Aaron, but) al 
Sameri, one of the principal men among the children of Israel, some of whose 
descendants, it is pretended, still inhabit an island of that name in the Arabian 
Gulf'. It was made of the rings - and bracelets of gold, silver, and other materials, 
which the Israelites had borrowed of the Egyptians ; for Aaron, who commanded 
in his brother's absence, having ordered al Sameri to collect those ornaments from the 
people, who carried on a -n-icked commerce with them, and to keep them together till 
the return of Closes; al Sameri, understanding the founder's art, put them altogedier 
into a furnace, to melt them down into one mass, which came out in the form 
of a calf. The Israelites, accustonied to the Egyptian idolatrj', paying a religious 
worship to this image, al Sameri went further, and took some dust from the 
footsteps of the horse of the angel Gabriel, who marched at the head of the people, 
and threw it into the mout'n of the calf, which immediately began to low, and be- 
came animated^ ; for such v/as the \'irtue of that dust 5, One writer says that all 
the Israelites adored this calf, except only 12,000^. 

* ^ O my people, why did ye give yourselves up to wickedness, by worship- 
ing a calf?" — Senary. 

*-' In this particular, the narration agrees with that of Moses, who ordered tlie 
Levites to slay every man his brotlwr'': but the scripture says, there fell of the peo- 
ple that (lay about .iOOO (the vulgate says 21^,000) 7}ieii^; whereas the commentators 
of the Koran make the number of the slain to amount to 70,000 ; and add, that 
God sent a daik cloud which hindered them from seeing one another, lest the sight 
should move those wlio executed the .-etitence to com.passicn ?. 

1 Geogr. Nubiens. p. 45. ^ Koran, c. 7- '" See Exoil. xxxii. 24. 

^ Koran, c. 7. ' Jallalo'ddin, V. D'Herbclct Bibl. Orient, p. G50. « Abu'I- 
fedu. ' Exod. xxxii. I'G, 27- ^ Ibid. 2o. '■> Jallalo'ddin, &c. 

10 Ai> KoiiAX. [Chap. 2. 

And when ye said, O Moses, we will not believe thee, 
iintil we see GoD manifestly ; therefore a punishment 
came upon you, while ye looked on ; then we raised 
you to life after ye had been dead, that peradventure 
ye might give thanks''. And we caused clouds to 
overshadow you, and manna and (piails ** to descend 
upon you, saying. Eat of the good things which we 
have given you for food : and they injured not us *, 
but injured their own souls. And when we said. 
Enter into this city^ and eat of the provisions thereof 
plentifully as ye will ; and enter the gate worshipping, 
and say, Forgiveness '' ! Vv^e will pardon you your sins, 
and give increase unto the well-doers. But the un- 
godly changed the expression into another", different 
from Avhat had been spoken unto them ; and we sent 
down upon the ungodly indignation from heaven '^, be- 
cause they had transgressed. And "when Moses asked 
drink for his people, v/e said, Strike the rock ^ with thy 

" I'he persons here meant are said to have been seventy men, v;ho were made 
choice of by Moses, and licard the voice of God talking with him. But not being 
satisfied with that, they demanded to see God ; whereupon they were all struck 
dead by lightning, and on IMoses's intercession restored to life'. 

^ The eancrn writers say, these quails were of a pce\diar kind, to be t'ound no- 
where but in Yaman, from whence they were brought by a south wind iu great 
numbers to tlie Israelites' camp in tlie desert '2. The Arabs call these birds Salwa, 
whicli is plainly the same with the Hebrew Salwim, and say they have no bones, but 
arc eaten whole '• 

" "■ Your murmurs have been injurious only to yourselves." — Suvurij. 

'' Some conunentaiors suppose it to be Jericho ; others, Jerus;dem. 

•^ The Arabic word is IlUtaton ; which some tiikc to signify that profession of the 
unity of God, so freijucntly used by tJie IMolianmiedans, La ild/ia ilia H<ih(>, 
There in no god hut God. 

*= According to Jallalo'ddin, instead of H'lHaton, they cried Hahh/it J! shdirat, 
i. e- a ffruiii in an car of hurkij ; and in ridicule of the divine conmiand to enter 
the city in an h.unihlo posture, they indecently crept in upon tlieir breech. 

f A pestilence wliieli carried off near 7"',<*f'0 of them *. 

K Tlie say this a stone which Moses brought from IMount 
Sinai, and the same that ficd away with his garments which he laid upon it one 
day, while he washed : they add that Moses ran after tlie stone naked, till he 
found himself, ere he was aware, in the midst of tlie people, who on tliis accident 
were convinced of tlic falsehood of a report, which had been raised of their prophet, 
that he was bursten, or, as others write, an hermaphrodites. 

They describe it to be a square piece of white marble, shaped like a man's head ; 
wherein they differ not much from the accounts of European travellers, who say thb 
rock stands among several lesser ones, about 100 paces from Mount Horcb, and ap- 
pears to have been Ijoscncd froin the neighbouring mountains, having no coherence 

> Ismacl Ebn ali. ' See Psahii Ixxviii. 2G. 3 V. D'llcrbclot Bibl. 

Orient, p. 477- " Jallalo'ddin. ■ Jallalo'ddin, Yaliya. 

Chap. 2.] AL KORAN. 11 

rod; and there gushed thereout twelve fountains" ac- 
cording to the number of the tribes^ and all men knew 
their i^e spec live drinking-place. Eat and drink of the 
bounty of God, and commit not evil on the earth, act- 
ing unjustly. And when ye said, O Moses, we will by 
no means be satisfied with one kind of food ; pray 
unto thy Lord therefore for us, that he would pro- 
duce for us of that which the earth bringeth forth, 
herbs, and cucumbers, and garlick, and lentils, and 
onions''; Moses answered*. Will ye exchange that 
which is better, for that which is worse ? Get ye down 
into Egypt, for thei^e shall ye find what ye desire : and 
they were smitten with vileness and misery, and drew 
on themselves indignation from God. This thej/ svf- 
J'ered, because they believed not in the signs of God, 
and killed the prophets unjustly ; this, because they 
rebelled and transgressed. Surely those who believe, 
and those who Judaize, and Christians, and Sabians% 

with the others ; that it is a huge mass of red granite, almost round on one side, 
and flat on the other ; twelve feet high, and as many thick, but broader than it is high, 
and about fifty feet in circumference '. 

" Marracci thinks this circumstance looks like a Rabbinical fiction, or else that 
Mohainmed confounds the water of the rock at Horeb, with the twelve wells at Elim » ; 
for he says, several who have been on the sjiot, affirm there arc but three orifices 
whence the water issued 3. But it is to be presumed that lUohanmied had better 
means of information in this respect, than to fall into such a mistake ; for the rock 
stands within the borders of Arabia, and some of his countrymen must needs have 
seen it, if he himself had not, as it is most probable he had- And in effect he 
seems to be in the right. For one who went into those parts in the end of the fif- 
teenth century tells us expressly, that the water issued from twelve places of the 
rock, according to the number of the tribes of Israel ; fgrcsscc sunt aquie larg'is. 
simce in duodecim locis pctrce, juxta numcrum duodccim tribuum Israel*. A late 
curious travellers observes, that there are twenty four holes in the stone, which may 
be easily counted ; that is to say, twelve on the flat side, and as many on the opposite 
round side, every one beuig a foot deep, and an inch wide ; and he adds, that the 
holes on one side do not communicate with those on the other; which a less accurate 
spectator not perceiving (for tliey are placed horizontally, within two feet of the top 
of the rock) might conclude they pierced quite through the stone, and so reckon them 
to be but twelve. 

^ See Numb. xi. 5, &c. 

* " Moses replied. Do ye wish to enjoy a more advantageous lot ? Return to 
Egypt ; you will find there that which you desire." — Savary. 

'= From these words, which are repeated in the 5th chapter, several writers "^ Jiavc 
wrongly corxluded that the JMohar.micdans hold it to be the doctrine of their pro- 

' Breydenbacli. Itinerar. charta m. p. I. Sicard, dans les Mcmoires des Slis- 
sions, vol. 7- P- 54. 2 Exod. xv. 27. Numb, xxxiii. I). ^ Marracc. 

Prodr. part iv. p. 80. •* Breydenbach, ubi sup. "> Sicard, ubi sup. 

* Selden. de Jure Nat. et Gentium sec. Hcbr. 1. G, c. 12. Angel, a S. Joscpli. 
(iazophylac. Persic, p. 365. Nic. Cutanus in Ciibratione Akcrani, 1. i^, c. 2, &c. 

12 Al, KORAN. [Chap. 2. 

whoever believeth in God, and the last day, and doth 
that which is right, they shall have their reward Avith 
their Lord ; there shall come no fear on them, neither 
shall they be grieved. Call to mind also when we ac- 
cepted your covenant, and lifted up the mountain of 
Sinai over you", sayings Receive the lazv which we 
have giyen you, with a resolution to keep it, and re- 
member that which is contained therein, that ye may 
beware. After this ye again turned back, so that if it 
had not been for God's indulgence and mercy towards 
you, ye had certainly been destroyed. Moreover ye 
know xvliat befell those of your nation who transgressed 
on the sabbath day""; We said unto them. Be ye 
changedinto apes, driven av/ayJro7n the society of men. 
And Ave made them an example unto those who were 

phct, that every man may bo saved in his own religion, provided he be sincere and 
lead a good lite. It is true, some of their doctors do agree this to be tlie purport ol' 
the words ' ; but then tliey say the latitude hereby granted was soon revoked, for that 
tliis passage is abrogated by several others in the Koran, which crcpressly declare, 
tliat none can be saved who is not of the iMohammedan faith ; and particularly by 
those words of the 3d chapter. Whoever foUowtth unij other reli^-iun than Islam 
(j. c. the Moliammedan), it shall not he accepted ofhhii, and at the last day he shall 
be of those who perish ^. However, others are of opinion that this passage is not 
abrogated, but interpret it differently ; taking the meaning of it to be, that no man, 
whether he be a Jew, a Christian, or a Sabian, shall be excluded from salvation, 
provided he quit his erroneous religion and become a Moslem, which tlicy say is in- 
tended by the following words. Whoever helieveth in God and the last day, and doth 
that which is right. And this interpretation is approved by 31 r. Reland, who thinks 
tlie words here impoi: no more than those of the apostle, In every nation he that 
feareth God, and '.c'orhrth righteonsiicss, is accepted with liim"^ ; from which it must 
not be inferred, that tlie religion of nature, or any other, is sufficient to save, without 
faith in Christ ■*. 

" The Mohammedan tradition is, that the Israelites refusing to receive the law of 
Moses, God tore up the mi,iUitain by the roots, and shook it over their heads, to ter- 
rify them into a compliance s. 

^ The story to which tliis passage refers is as follows. In the days of David some 
Israelites dwelt at Ailah, or Elath, on the Red Sea, where on the night of the sab- 
bath the lish used to c ime in great numbers to the sliorc, and stay there all the 
sabbath, to tempt tliem ; but tlie night following they returned into the sea again. 
At length, some of the inhabitants, neglecting (iod's command, catched Hsh on the 
sabbath, and dressed and ate them ; and afterwards cut canals from tlie sea, for the 
fish to enter, with tluices, which tliey shut on the sabbath, to prevent their return to 
the sea. The other part of the inhabitants, who strictly observed the sabbath, used 
both persuiision and force to stop this impiety, but to no purpose, the offenders grow- 
in" only more and more obstinate ; whereupon David cursed the sabbath-breakers, 
antl God transformed them into apes. It is said, that one going to see a friend of 
his that was among tliem, found him in the shape of an ape, moving his eyes about 
wildly, and asking him whether he was not such a one ? the ape made a sign with 

' Sec Chardin's Voyages, vol. 2, p. 326. :»31. = Abu'lkaiwn Ilebatallah 

dc Abrogantc ct Abrogato. ^ Acts x. 35. ' V. Rclund, de Rel. .Moham. 

p. 12S, &c. ^ Jallalo'ddin. 

Chap. 2.] AL KOKAN. 13 

contemporary with them, and unto those wlio came 
after them, and a warning to the pious. And when 
Moses said unto his people. Verily God commandeth 
you to sacrifice a cow''; they answered, Dost thou 
make a jest of us ? Moses said, God forbid that I 
should lie U7ic of the foolish. They said, Pray for us 
unto thy Loud, that he would show us what cow it is. 
Moses answered, He saith, She is neither an old cow, 
nor a young heifer, but of a middle age between both : 
do ye therefore that which ye are commanded. They 
said, Pray for us mito thy Loud that he ^vould shew 
us what colour she is of. Moses answered, He saith. 
She is a red cow ^ intensely red, her colour rejoiceth 
the beholders. They said, Pray for us unto thy 
Lord, that he would further shew us what core it is, 
for several cows with us are like one another, and we, 

his head, that it was he ; whereupon the friend said to liim, Did not I advise you to 
desist ? at which the ape wept. Tiicy add, that these unhappy people remained three 
days in this condition, and were afterwards destroyed by a wind which swept them 

;J1 into the sea '. i ■ , , i r 

'» The occasion of this sacrifice is thus related. A certain man at his death lelt 
his son, then a child, a cow-calf, which wandered in the desert till he came to age ; 
at which time his mother told him the heifer was his, and bid hmi fetch her, and sell 
her for three pieces of gold. When the young man came to the market with his 
lieifer, an angel in the shape of a man accosted him, and bid him six pieces of gold for 
her ; but he would not take the money till he had asked his mother's consent ; which 
when he had obtained, he returned to'the market-place, and met the angel, who now 
offered him twice as much for the heifer, provided he would say nothing of it to his 
mother ; but the young man refusing, went and acquainted her with the additional 
offer. The woman perceiving it was an angel, bid her son go back and ask him what 
must be done with the heifer ; whereupon the angel told the young man, that, in a 
little time, the children of Israel would buy that heifer of him at any price. And 
soon after it happened that an Israelite, named Hammiel, was killed by a relation of 
his, who, to prevent discovery, conveyed the body to a place considerably distant from 
that where the fact was committed. The friends of the slain man accused some other 
persons of the murther before Moses ; but they denying the fact, and there being no 
evidence to convict them, God commanded a cow, of such and such particular marks, 
to be killed ; but there being no other which answered the description, except the 
orphan's heifer, they were obliged to buy her for as much gold as her hide would 
hold ; according to some, for her full weight in gold, and as others say, for ten times 
as much. This heifer they sacrificed, and the dead body being, by divine direction, 
struck with a part of it, revived, and standing up, named the person who had killed 
him ; after which it immediately fell down dead again 2. The whole story seems to 
be borrowed from the red heifer, which was ordered by the Jewish law to be burnt, 
and the ashes kept for purifying those who happened to touch a dead corpse ^ ; and 
from the heifer directed to be slain for the expiation of an uncertain murder. See 
Deut. xxi. 1 — 9. 

•> The epithet in the original is yellow ; but this word we do not use in speaking 
of the colour of cattle. 

1 Abu'lfeda. - Idem. ^ Numb. xix. 

14 AL KORAN. [Chap. 2. 

if God jolease, will be directed. Moses answered, He 
saith, She is a cow not broken to 2)loiigh the earth, or 
water the field, a sound one *, there is no blemish in 
her. They said, Now hast thou brought the truth. 
Then they sacrificed her ; yet they wanted but little 
of leaving it undone*. And when ye slew a man, 
and contended among yourselves concerning him, God 
brouglit forth to light that which ye concealed. For 
we said, Strike tJie dead body with part of the sacri- 
Jiced CGXv^ : so God raiseth the dead to life, and 
sheweth you his signs, that peradventure ye may un- 
derstand. Then were your hearts hardened after this, 
even as stones, or exceeding them in hardness : for 
from some stones have rivers bursted forth, others 
have been rent in sunder, and water hath issued from 
them, and others have fallen down for fear of God. 
But God is not regardless of that which ye do. Do 
ye therefore desire that tJie Je:cs should believe you ? 
yet a part of them heard the word of God, and then 
perverted it, after they had understood it, against their 
own conscience. And when they meet the true be- 
lievers, they say. We believe : but when they are pri- 
vately assembled together, they say, AVill ye acquaint 
them Avith what God hath revealed unto you, that 
they may dispute with you concerning it in the pre- 
sence of 5^our Lord? Do ye not therefore t under- 
stand ? Do not they know that God knoweth that 
wliich they conceal as well as that which they publish ? 
But there are illiterate men among them, who know 
not the book o/" the Imw^, but only lying stories, 
although they think otherwise. And woe unto them 
who transcribe comqyllij the book of the laxc" with 
their hands, and then say. This is from God : that 

" " That hath not suffered the approach of the mn\c."—Siixnrij. 
■ Because of the exorbitant price which they were obliged to pay for the heifer. 
'' i. c. Her tongue, or the end of her tail i. 
■f- " See we not tlie consequences thereof?" — Savary. 

X " Among tlieni the vulgar know the Pentateuch only by tradition. They have 
but a blind belief." —Savarij. 

*■ Mohammed jigain accuses the Jews of corrupting their scripture. 

' Jallalo'ddin. 

Chap. 2.] AL KORAX. 15 

they may sell it for a small price. Therefore woe 
unto them because of that which their hands have 
written ; and woe unto them for that which they have 
gained. They say, The fire i)f^hell shall not touch us 
but for a certain number of days'*. Answer, Have ye 
received any promise from God to that purpose ? for 
God will not act contrary to his promise : or do ye 
speak concerning God that which ye know not? 
Verily whoso doth evil **, and is encompassed by his 
iniquity, they shall he the companions of //<?// fire, they 
shall remain therein for ever : but they who believe 
and do good works, they shall be the companions of 
paradise, they shall continue therein for ever. Re- 
member also, when we accepted the covenant of the 
children of Israel, saying, Ye shall not worship any 
other except GoD, and yc shall shezc kindness to your 
parents and kindred, and to orphans, and to the poor, 
and speak that which is good unto men, and be con- 
stant at prayer, and give alms. Afterwards ye turned 
back, except a few of you, and retired afar off. And 
when we accepted your covenant, saying, Ye shall not 
shed your brothers' blood, nor dispossess one another 
of your habitations ; then ye confirmed it, and were 
witnesses thereto. Afterwards ye were they who slew 
one another % and turned several of your brethren out 

•'' That is, says Jallalo'ddin, forty; being the number of days that their forefathers 
worshipped the golden calf; after which they gave out that their punishment should 
cease. It is a received opinion among the Jews at present, that no person, be he ever 
so wicked, or of whatever sect, shall remain in hell above eleven morths, or at most 
a year ; except Dathan and Abirani, and atheists, who will be tormented there to all 

'' By evil in this place the commentators generally understand polytheism or ido- 
latry ; which sin, the Mohammedans believe, unless rcijented of in this life, is unpar- 
donable, and will be punished by eternal damnation ; but all other sins they hold will 
at length be forgiven. This therefore is that irremissible impiety, in their opinion, 
which in the New Testament is called ihc sin against the Holy Ghost. 

•^ This passage was revealed on occasion cf some quarrels which arose between the 
Jews of the tribes of Koreidha, and those of al Aws, al Nadhir, and al Khazraj, and 
came to that height that they took arms and destroyed one another's habitations, and 
turned one another out of their houses ; but when any were taken captive, they 
redeemed them. When they were asked the reason of their acting in this manner, 
they answered. That they '.^ere commanded by their law to redeem the captives, but 
that they fought out of shame, lest their chiefs should be despised '2. 

1 Vid. Bartoloccii Biblioth. Rabbinic, torn. 2, p. 128, et t. 3, p. 421. ^ Jal- 



i6 AL KOKAX. [Chap. 2 

of their lioiises, uiutually assisting eacli other against 
them with injustice and enmity; but if they come cap- 
tives unto you, ye redeem them : yet it is eqv.aVi) un- 
lawful for you to dispossess them. Do ye therefore 
believe in part of the book of Ihe Ucu:, aiT^' reject other 
part thereof? But whoso among you doth this, shall 
have no other reward than shame in this life, and on 
the day of resurrection they shall be sent to a most 
grievous punishment; for God is not regardless of 
that which ye do. These are they who have pur- 
chased this present life, at the price of that which is 
to come; wherefore their punishment shall not be 
mitigated, neither shall they be helped. ^Ve formerly 
delivered the book of the law unto Moses, and caused 
apostles to succeed him, and gave evident miracles to 
Jesus the son of Mary, and strengthened him with the 
holy spirit ^ Do ye therefore, wheneA^er an apostle 
Cometh unto you with that which your souls desire 
not, proudly reject Jiim, and accuse some of imposture, 
and slay others ? The Jens say. Our hearts are un- 
circumcised: but God hath cursed them with their 
infidelity*; therefore few shall believe. And when a 
book came unto them from God, confirming the scrip- 
tures which were with them, although they had before 
prayed for assistance against those who believed not^, 
yet when that came unto them which they Icnew to he 
from God, they would not believe therein : therefore 
the curse of God shall be on the infidels. For a vile 
price have they sold their souls, that they should not 
believe in that which God hath sent down*^; out of 
envy, because God sendeth down his favours to such 
of his servants as he pleaseth : therefore they brought 

» We must not imagine IMohammed here means the Holy Ghost, in the Christian 
acceptation. The commentators say, this spirit was the angel Gabriel, who sanctifietl 
Jesus, and constantly attended on liim '. 

• " God hath cursed them because of tlieir perfidy. O how small is tlie number 
of the true believers I" — Savary. 

^ The Jews, in expectation of the coming of Mohami\^cd (according to the tradi- 
tion of his followers) used this prayer, God, help vs against Ihc unhdkvcrs, h;/ the 
prophet who is to he usiit in the last timcs^. 

<^ The Koran. 

' Jallalo'ddin. - Idem. 

Chap. 2.] AL KOKAX. 17 

on themselves indignation on indignation ; and tlie 
unbelievers shall suffer an ignominious punishment. 
When one saith unto them, Believe in that which God 
hath sent down ; they answer, We believe in that 
which hath been sent down unto US'*: and they reject 
what hclii been revealed since, although it be the 
truth, confirming that which is with them. Say, Why 
therefore have ye slain the prophets of GoD in times 
past, if ye be true believers ? Moses formerly came 
unto you with evident signs, but ye afterwards took 
the cdli Jor your god and did wickedly. And when 
we accepted your covenant, and lifted the mountain of 
Sinai over you'', saying. Receive the law which we 
have given you, with a resolution to 'perform it, and 
hear ; they said, We have heard, and have rebelled : 
and they were made to drink down the calf into their 
hearts "^ for their unbelief. Say, A grievous thing hath 
your faith commanded you, if ye be true believers ^. 
Say, if the future mansion with God be prepared pe- 
culiarly for you. exclusive of the rest of mankind, wish 
for death, if ye say truth : but they will never wish for 
it, because of that which their hands have sent before 
them''; GoD knoweth the wicked-doers ; and thou shalt 
surely find them of all men the most covetous of life, even 
more than the idolaters : one of them would desire his life 
to be prolonged a thousand years, but none shall reprieve 
himself from punishment, that his life may be pro- 
longed : God seeth that which they do. Say, Who- 

* The Pentateuch. 

>> See before p. 12. 

= Moses took the calfrthkh tliey had made, and burnt it in thejire, and ground 
it to powder, and strexved it upon the -water (of the brook that descended from the 
mount), and jnade the children (rf Israel drink ofit^. 

^ Mohammed here infers from their forefathers' disobedience in worshipping the 
calf, at the same time that they pretended to believe in the law of iVIoses, that the 
faith of the Jews in his time was as vain and hypocritical, since they rejected liim, 
who was foretold therein, as an impostor ^2. 

" That is, by reason of the wicked forgeries which they have been guilty of in re- 
spect to the scriptures. An expression much hke that of St. Paul, where he says, 
that some mcn\ sins arc open heforelunid, going before tojudgment^. 

> Exod. xxxii. 20. Dcut. ix. 21. ^ Jallalu'ddin. Yah3'a, al Beidawi. 

3 1 Tim. V. 24. 

VOL. I. C 

18 AL KOKAX. [Cliap. 2. 

ever is an enemy to Gabriel " (for he hath caused 
tJie Koran to descend on thy heart, by the permission 
of God, confirming that ^\llich was before revealed^ a 
du'ection, and good tidings to the faithful) ; whosoever 
is an enemy to God, or his angels, or his apostles, or 
to Gabriel, or Michael, verily God is an enemy to the 
unbelievers. And now we have sent down unto thee 
evident signs '', and none will disbelieve them but the 
evil-doers. Whenever they make a covenant, will 
some of tliem reject it ? yea the greater part of them 
do not believe. And when there came unto them an 
apostle from God, confirming that scripture which was 
with them, some of those to \v'hom the scriptm'es were 
given cast the book of God behind their backs, as if 
they knew it not : and they followed the device which 
the devils devised against the kingdom of Solomon '' ; 
and Solomon was not an unbeliever ; but the devils 
believed not, they taught men sorcery, and that which 
was sent down to the two angels at Babel*, Harut, 

• The commentators say, tliat the Jews af,ked, what angel it was that brought the 
divine revelations to IMohammed; and being told that it was Gabriel, they replied, 
that he was their enemy, and the messenger of wrath and punishment: but if it had 
been Michael, they would have believed in him, because that angel was tlieir friend, 
and the messenger of peace and plenty. And on this occasion, they say, this passage 
was revealed '. 

That Michael was really the protector or guardian angel of the Jews, we know 
from scripture'-; and it seems that (iabriel was, as the I'ersians rail him, the angel 
of revelations, being frequently sent on messages of that kind 3 ; for whicli reason, it 
is probable, l\Iohamined pretended he was the angel from whom he received the 

^ i. c. Tlie revelations of this book. 

•■ The devils ha\'ing, by God's permission, tempted Solomon without success, they 
made use of a trick to blast his character. For they wrote scvcxal books of magic, 
and hid them under that prince's throne, and after his death told the chief men diat 
if they wanted to know by wliat means Solomon had obtained his absolute power over 
men, genii, and the winds, tliey should dig under his throre ; which having done, 
they found the afojesaid books, which contained impious superstitions. The better 
sort refused to learn the evil arts therein delivered, but the connnon people did ; and 
the priests pubHshed this scandalous story of Solomon, which obtained credit among 
the .Jews, till (Jod, say the Mihanmiedans, cleared tliat king by the mouth of their 
prophet, declaring that Solomon was no idolater '. 

• " He (the devil taught unto men magic and the science of the two angels, 
Ilariit and JMarut, who are condemned to remain at Babylon." — Saiari/, 

' .lallalo'ddin. al Zamakh. Yahya. ' Dan. xii. 1. ribid. ch. viii. 16. 

and ix. 21. l^uke i. 19, 2fi. Sec Hyde dc Rel. Vet. Pcrsar. p. 263. * Vr.hya. 


Chap. 2.] AL KORAN. 19 

and Marut * : yet those two taught no man until they 
had said, Verily we are a temptation, therefore be not 
an unbeliever. So men learned from those two a charm 
by which they might cause division between a man 
and his wife * ; but they hurt none thereby, unless by 
God's permission ; and they learned that which would 
hurt them, and not profit them ; and yet they knew 
that he who bought that art should have no part in 
the life to come, and woful is the price for which they 
have sold their souls, if they knew it. But if they had 
believed, and feared God, verily the reward theij would 
have had from God would have been better, if they had 
known it. O true believers, say not to pur apostle, 
Raina ; but say Ondhorna '' ; and hearken : the infidels 
shall suffer a grievous punishment. It is not the desire 
of the unbelievers, either among those unto whom the 
scriptures have been given, or among the idolaters, 
that any good should be sent down unto you from 
your Lord : but God will appropriate his mercy unto 

■ Some say only that these were two magicians or angels sent by God to teach 
men magic, and to tempt them '. But others tell a longer fable ; that the angels 
expressing their surjirise at the wickedness of the sons of Adam, after prophets had 
been sent to them with divine commissions, God bid them choose two out of their 
own number to be sent down to be judges on earth. Whereupon they pitched upon 
Harut and Marut, who executed their office witli integrity for some time, till Zohara, 
or the planet Venus, descended and appeared before them in the shape of a beautiful 
woman, bringing a complaint against her husband (though others say she was a real 
woman.) As soon as they saw her, they fell in love with her, and endeavoured to 
prevail on her to satisfy their desires ; but she flew up again to heaven, whither the 
two angels also returned, but were not admitted. However, on the intercession of a 
certain pious man, they were allowed to choose whether they would be punished in 
this life, or in the other ; whereupon they chose the former, and now suffer punish- 
ment accordingly in Babel, where they are to remain till the day of judgment. They 
add that if a man has a fancy to learn magic, he may go to them, and hear their 
voice, but cannot see them *• 

This story IMohammed took directly from the Persian Magi, who mention two 
rebellious angels of the same names, now hung up by the feet, with their heads 
downwards, in the territory of Babel ^. And the Jews have something like this, 
of the angel Shamhozai, who havnng debauched himself with women, repented, and 
by way of penance, hung himself up between heaven and earth ■*. 

* " They taught the difference between man and woman." — Savary. 

•> Those two Arabic words have both the same signification, viz. Look on us ; and 
are a kind of salutation. Mohammed had a great aversion to the first, because the 
Jews frequently used it in derision, it being a word of reproach in their tongue 5. 
They alluded, it seems, to the Hebrew verb j;n rud, which signifies to be bad or 

' Jallalo'ddin. "^ Yahya, &c. s V. Hyde, ubi sup. cap. 12. " Bereshit 

rabbah, in Genes, vi. 2. s Jallalo'ddin. 

C 2 

20 AL KOiiAX. [Chap. 2. 

whom he pleaseth ; for God is exceeding beneficent. 
Whatever verse we shall abrogate, or cause thee to 
forget, we will bring a better than it, or one like unto 
it. Dost thou not know that God is almighty ? Dost 
thou not know that unto God belongcth the kingdom 
of heaven and earth ? neither hav'e ye any protector 
or helper excei)t God. Will ye require of your apostle 
according to that M'hich was formerly re({uired of 
Moses"? but he that hath exchanged faith for in- 
fidelity, hath already erred from the strait way. Many 
of those untu whom the scri})tures have been given, 
desire to render you again unbelievers, after ye have 
believed ; out of envy from their souls, even after the 
truth is become manifest unto them ; but forgive them, 
and avoid t.'wm, till God shall send his command ; for 
God is omnipotent. Be constant in ])rayer, and give 
alms ; and what good ye have sent before for your 
souls, ye shall find it with God ; surely God seeth 
that which ye do. They say. Verily none shall enter 
paradise, except they who are Jews or Christians ^ : 
this is their wish. Say, Produce your proof oj this, 
if ye speak truth. Nay, but he who resigneth himself'' 
to God, and doth that which is right '', he shall have 
his reward with his Lord ; there shall co7}.e no fear 
on them, neither shall they be grieved. The Jews 
say, The Christians are gyounded on nothing^; and 
the Christians say, The Jews are grounded on no- 
thing ; yet they both read the scriptures. So likewise 
say they who Icnow not the scriptwe, according to 
their saying. But GoD shall judge between them on 
the day of the resiu-rection, concerning that about which 

» Namely, to sec <ind manifestly '. 

*• This passai^e was revealed on occasion ol' a dispute wliicli Moiiamnu'd had with 
the .Jews of I\Icdina, and the Christians of Najran, each of them asserting that those 
of their religion only should be saved*. 

■^ Literallvi nwi^mth /lis fi.rc, Kc 

"* That is-, assertetli the unity of God '. 

« The .Jews and Christians arc here accused of denying the truth of e;ich other's 
religion, notwithstanding tlicy rer.d the scriptures. 'Whereas ilic Pentateuch bears 
testimony to Jesus, and the (iospcl bokrs testijnony to Moses '. 

' Sec before, p. 1(1. * Jallalo'ddin. 3 Idem. * Idem. 

Chap. 2.] AL KORAN. 21 

they now disagree. Who is more unjust than he who 
prohibiteth the temples of God % that his name should 
be remembered therein, and who hasteth to destroy 
them ? Those men cannot enter therein, but with 
fear : they shall have shame in this world, and in the 
next a grievous punishment. To God bcUrngcth the 
east and the west ; therefore whithersoever ye turn 
yourselves to pray, there is the face of God ; for God 
is omnipresent and omniscient. They say, God hath 
begotten children ^ : GoD forbid ! To him bdoD^elh 
whatever is in heaven, and on earth ; all is possessed 
by him, the Creator of heaven and earth ; and when 
he decreeth a thing, he only saith unto it, Be, and it 
is. And they who know not the scriptures say, Unless 
God speak unto us, or thou show us a sign, ice "will 
not believe. So said those before them, according to 
their saying : their hearts resemble each other. We 
have already shown manifest signs unto people who 
firmly believe ; Ave have sent thee in truth, a bearer of 
good tidings, and a preacher ; and thou shalt not be 
questioned concerning the companions of hell. But 
the Jews will not be pleased with thee, neither the 
Christians, until thou follow their religion ; say. The 
direction of God is the true direction. And verily if 
thou follow their desires, after the knowledge which 
hath been given thee, thou shalt find no patron or pro- 
tector against God. They to whom we have given 
the book of the Koran, and who read it with its true 
reading, they believe therein ; and whoever believeth 
not therein, they shall perish. O children of Israel, 
remember my favour wherewith I have favoured you, 
and that I have preferred you before all nations ; and 

* Or hindereth men from paying their adorations to God in those sacred places. 
This passage, says Jallalo'ddin, was revealed on news being broughi, that the 
Romans had spoiled the temple of Jerusalem ; or else when the idolatrous Arabs 
obstructed Mohammed's visiting the temple of Mecca, in the expedition of al Ho- 
deibiya, which happened in the sixth year of the Hejra '. 

'' This is spoken not only of the Christians, and of the Jews (for they are accused 
of holding Ozair, or Ezra, to be the son of God), but also the pagan Arabs, who 
imagined the angels to be daughters of God. 

• V. Abu'lfedae Vit. Moham. p. 84, &c. 

S3 AL KORAN. [Chap. 2. 

dread the day wherein one soul shall not make satisfac- 
tion for another soul, neither shall any compensation 
be accepted from them, nor shall any intercession avail, 
neither shall they be helped. Remember when the 
Loud tried Abraham by certain words % which he 
fulfilled : God said, ^\-rily I will constitute thee a 
model of religion ^ * unto mankind ; he answered, And 
also of my posterity; God said. My covenant doth 
not comprehend the ungodly. And when we appointed 
the hofij house "^ of Mecca to be a place of resort for 
mankind, and a place of security ; and said. Take the 
station of Abraham'' for a place of prayer; and we 
covenanted with Abraham and Ismael, that they should 
cleanse my house for those who should compass it\, and 
those who should be devoutly assiduous there, and 
those who should bow down and worship. And when 
Abraham said. Lord, make this a territory of security, 
and bounteously bestow fruits on its inhabitants, such 
of them as believe in God and the last day ; God an- 
swered, And whoever believeth not, I will bestow on 
him little X, afterwards I will drive him to the punish- 
ment of Jiell fire ; an ill journey shall it be ! And 

» God tried Abraham chiefly by commanding him to leave his native country, and 
to offer his son. But the commentators suppose the trial here meant related only to 
some particular ceremonies, such as circumcision, pilgrim;!ge to the Caaba, several 
rites of purification, and the like '. 

^ I have rather expressed the meaning, than truly translated the Arabic word 
Imam, which answers to the Latin Antistes This title the Mohammedans give to 
their priests, who begin the jjrayers in their Mosques, and whom all the congregation 

• " I will establish thee the leader of the people." — Savary. 

<= That is the Caaba, which is usually called, by way of eminence, the House. Of 
the sanctity of this building and other particulars relating to it, see the Preliminary 
Discourse, sect. iv. 

^ A place so called within the inner enclosure of the Caaba, where they pretend 
to show the print of his foot in a stone'*. 

f " Purify my temple 3 from the idols which arc around it, and from those which 
are within it, and from their worshippers." — Savari/. 

+ " I will extend, replied the Lord, my gifts even to the unbelievers, but they 
shall enjoy little. They shall be condemned to the flames, and deplorable shall be 
their end." — Savary. 

» Jallalo'ddin. ' See the Prelim. Disc. § IV. 

' The descendants of Abraham andoflshmael lost the belief of an only God. They 
still reverenced the temple of 31ccca as the work of iliese two patriurchs, but around 
it and within it they had placed idols, to which they paid divine worship. Mahomet 
overthrew them, r.nd restored the worship of the only God. — S^imry. 

Chap. 2.] AL KORAN. 23 

when Abraham and Ismael raised the foundations of 
the house, saying. Lord, accept it from us, for thou 
art he who lieareth and knoweth : Lord, make us 
also resigned '"■ unto thee, and of our posterity a people 
resigned unto thee, and show us our holj^ ceremonies, 
and be turned unto us, for thou art easy to be recon- 
ciled, and merciful : Lord, send them likewise an 
apostle from among them, who may declare thy signs 
unto them, and teach them the book of the Koran 
and wisdom, and may purify them ; for thou art 
mighty and Vvdse. Who will be averse to the religion 
of Abraham, but he whose mind is infatuated ? Surely 
we have chosen him in this world, and in that which 
is to come he shall be one of the righteous. When his 
Lord said unto him. Resign thyself unto me ; he 
answered, I have resigned myself unto the Lord of 
all creatures. And Abraham bequeathed this religion 
to his children, and Jacob did the same, saying. My 
children, verily God hath chosen this religion for you, 
therefore die not, unless ye also be resigned. Were 
ye present when Jacob was at the point of death? 
when he said to his sons. Whom will ye v/orship after 
me ? They answered, We will worship thy God, and 
the God of thy fathers Abraham, and Ismael, and 
Isaac, one God, and to him will we be resigned. That 
people are now passed away, they have what they 
have gained *", and ye shall liave what ye gain ; and 
ye shall not be questioned concerning that which they 
have done. They say. Become Jews or Christians 
that ye may be directed. Say, Nay, we Jolhw the 
religion of Abraham the orthodox, who was no idolater. 
Say, We believe in God, and that which hath been 
sent down unto us, and that which hath been sent 
down unto Abraham, and Ismael, and Isaac, and Jacob, 
and the tribes, and that which was delivered unto Moses, 

* The Arabic word is Moslemuna, in the singular Moslem, which the i\Ioham- 
raedans take as a title peculiar to themselves. The Europeans generally write and 
pronounce it Musulm^an. 

•> Or deserved. The Mohammedan notion, as to the imputation of moral actions 
to man, which they caU ff.^in, or argnisifion, is sufficiently explained in the Pre- 
liininary Discourse. 

24 AL KORAN. [Chap. 2. 

and Jesus, and that which was delivered unto the pro- 
phets from their Lord : We make no distinction be- 
tween any of them, and to God are we resigned. Now 
if they believe according to what ye believe, they are 
surely directed, but if they turn back, they are in schism. 
God sliall support thee against them, for he is the 
hearer, the wise. The baptism of God " have we re- 
ceived^ and who is better than God to baptize? him 
do we worship. Say, AVill ye disj)ute with us con- 
cerning God ^ who is our Loud, and your Lord ? we 
have our works, and ye have your works, and unto him 
are we sincerely devoted. Will ye say, truly Abraham, 
and Ismael, and Isaac, and Jacol), and the tribes were 
Jews or Christians ? Say, Are ye wiser, or God ? And 
who is more unjust than he who hideth the testimony 
which he hath received from God '^ ? But God is not 
regardless of that which ye do. That people are passed 
a:vay, they have what they have gained, and ye shall 
liave what ye gain, nor shall ye be questioned 
concerning that which they have done.* The IL 
foolish men will say. What hath turned thein 
^ from their Keblah, towards which they formerlyy^rr/z/erf '^? 
Say, Unto God hdougetJi the east and the west : he 
' directeth whom he pleaseth into the right way. Thus 


* By hnptism is to be understood the religion which God instituted in the beginning ; 
because the signs of it appear in tlie person who it, as the signs of water 
appear in the clothes of him that is baptized '. 

" These words were revealed, because tlie Jews insisted, that they first received the 
scriptures, that their Keblah was more ancient, and that no prophets could arise 
among the Arabs; and therefore if Mohammed was a prophet, he must have been 
of thL'ir nation ». 

•^ The Jews are again accused of corrupting and suppressing the prophecies in the 
Pentateuch relating to Mohammed. 

'' At first, Mohanmied and his followers observed no particular rite in turning their 
faces tow:irds any certain place, or quarter of the world, wlicn they prayed ; it being 
declared to be perfectly indifferent-'. Afterwards, when the prophet fled to Medina, 
he directed thom to turn towards the tem]jle of JcTasa!c:ii (prcbably to ingratiate 
himself with tlie Jewr.). wliich continued to be thoir Keblah for six or seven months ; 
but either finding the Jews too intractable, or despairing otherwise to gain the pagan 
Arabs, wiio could not forget their respect to tlie temple of .Alccca, he ordered that 
prayers for the future should be towards the last. This change was made in the 
second year of the Hejra'', and occasioned many to fall from him, taking oftcnce at 
his inconstancy \ 

• Jallalo'ddin. « Idem. ' See before p. 21. • V. Abulf. Vit. 

Mohani. p. o-l. s Jallalo'ddin. 

Chap. 2.] ■ AL KORAN. 25 

have we placed you, Arabians an intermediate 
nation^*, that ye may be witnesses against tJie ix-st of 
mankind, and that the apostle may be a witness against 
you. We appointed the Keblah towards which thou 
didst formerly pray, only that we might know him who 
followeth the apostle, from him who turneth back on 
his heels '' ; though this change seem a great matter, 
unless unto those whom God hath directed. But God 
will not render your faith of none effect " ; for God is 
gracious and merciful unto man. We have seen thee 
turn about thy face towards heaven inth uncertainty, 
but we will cause thee to turn thyself towards a Keblah 
that will please thee. Turn, therefore, thy face towards 
the holy temple of Mecca ; and wherever ye be, turn 
your faces towards that place. They to whom the 
scripture hath been given, know this to be truth from 
their Lord. God is not regardless of that which ye 
do. Verily although thou shouldest show unto those 
to whom the scripture hath been given all kinds of 
signs, yet they will not follow thy Keblah, neither shalt 
thou follow their Keblah ; nor will one part of them 
follow the Keblah of the other. And if thou follow 
their desires, after the knowledge which hath been 
given thee, verily thou wilt become one of the ungodly. 
They to whom we have given the scripture know our 
apostle, even as they know their own children ; but 
some of them hide the truth, against their own know- 
ledge. Truth is from thy Lord, therefore thou shalt 
not doubt. Every sect hath a certain tract oj heaven 
to which they turn themselves in prayer ; but do ye 
strive to run after good things : wherever ye be, God 
will bring you all back at the resurrection, for God is 
almighty. And from what place soever thou comest 

» This seems to be the sense of the words ; though the commentators • will have 
the meaning to be, that the Arabians are here declared to be a most just and good 

* " We have established you, O chosen people, to bear witness against the rest of 
the nation, as your apostle will bear it against you."— Savary. 

^ i. e. Returneth to Judaism. 

■■ Or will not siifier it to go without its reward, while ye prayed towards Jerusalem. 

' Jallalo'ddin, Vahya, &c. 

36 Ai. KoiiAN. [Chap. 2. 

forth, turn thy face towards the holy temple ; for this 
is truth from thy Lord ; neither is God regardless of 
that which ye do. From what phice soever thou comest 
forth, turn thy face towards the holy temple ; and 
wherever ye be, thitherward turn your faces, lest men 
have matter of dispute against you ; but as for those 
among them who are luijust doers, fear them not, but 
fear me, that I may accomplish my grace upon you, and 
that ye may be directed. As we have sent unto you 
an apostle from among you % to rehearse our signs unto 
you, and to purify you, and to teacli you the book of 
the Koran and wisdom, and to teach you that which 
ye knew not : therefore remember me, and I will re- 
member you, and give thanks unto me, and be not 
unbelievers. O true believers, beg assistance with pa- 
tience and prayer, for God is with the patient. And 
say not of those who are slain in fight for the religion 
of God ^ that Iheij are dead; yea, they are living": 
but ye do not understand. We will surely prove you 
by aJfUct'ing you in some measure with fear, and hunger, 
and decrease of wealth, and /o6.y of lives, and scarcity of 
fruits : but bear good tidings unto the patient, who 
when a misfortune befalletli them, say. We are God's, 
and unto him shall we surely return ''. Upon them shall 
be blessings from their Lord and mercy, and they are 
the rightly directed. Moreover Safa and Merwah are 
two of the monuments of God : whoever therefore goeth 
on pilgrimage to the temple of Mecca or visiteth it*, 
it shall be no crime in him if he compass them both ^ 

» That is, of your own nation. 

^ The original words are literally, who arf slain in ihc way of God; by which 
expression, frequently occurring in the Koran, is always meant war undertaken 
against unbelievers for the propagation of the I\Iohanimedan faith. 

<= The souls of martyrs (for such they esteem those who die in battle against in- 
fidels) says Jallalo'ddin, are in the crops of green birds, which have liberty to fly 
wherever they please in paradise, and feed on the fruits thereof. 

•* An expressi'vn frequently in the mouths of the 3Iohanimcdans, when under any 
great affliction, or in any imminent danger. 

* " He who shall have performed the pilgrimage of Mecca, and shall have visited 
the holy house, shall be exempted from offering an expiatory victun, provided that 
he makcth the circuit of those two mountains. He who goeth beyond what the pre- 
cept requircth shall experience the gratitude of the Lord."— Saiffry. 

' Safa and IMerwa are two mountains near IMccca, whereon were anciently two 

Chap. 2.] AL KORAN. 27 

And as for him who vohmtarily performeth a good 
work; verily God is grateful and knowing. They 
who conceal any of the evident signs, or the direction 
which we have sent down, after what we have mani- 
fested unto men in the scriptvire, God shall curse them ; 
and they who curse shall curse them ". But as for 
those who repent and amend, and make known what 
thei) concealed, I will be turned unto them, for I am 
easy to be reconciled and merciful. Surely they who 
believe not, and die in their unbelief, upon them shall 
be the curse of God, and of the angels, and of all 
men ; they shall remain under it for ever, their punish- 
ment shall not be alleviated, neither shall they be re- 
garded ''. Your God is one God ; there is no God but 
He, the most merciful. Now in the creation of heaven 
and earth, and the vicissitude of night and day, and 
in the ship which saileth in the sea, loaclen with what 
is profitable for mankind, and in the rain water which 
God sendeth from heaven, quickening thereby the 
dead earth, and replenishing the same with all sorts 
of cattle, and in the change of winds, and the clouds 
that are compelled to do service " between heaven and 
earth, are signs to people of understanding : yet some 

idols, to which the pagan Arabs used to pay a superstitious veneration '. Jallalo'ddin 
says this passage was revealed because the followers of Mohammed made a scruple 
of going round these mountains, as the idolaters did. But the true reason of his 
allowing this relic of ancient superstition seems to be the difficulty he found in pre- 
venting it. Abu'J Kasem Hebato'llah thinks these last words are abrogated by those 
other, Who will reject the religion 0/ Abraham, except he who hath infatuated his 
soul^9 So that he will have the meaning to be quite contrary to the letter, as if it 
had been, it shall be no crime in him if he do not compass them. However, the ex- 
positors are all against him 3, and the ceremony of running between these two hills is 
still observed at the pilgrimage '. 

* That is, the angels, the believers, and all things in general 5. But Yahya in- 
terprets it of the curses which will be given to the wicked, when they cry out because 
of the punishment of the sepulchre '', by all who hear them, that is by all creatures 
except men and genii. 

^ Or, as Jallalo'ddin expounds it, God will not wait for their repentance. 

= The original word signifies properly that are pressed or compelled to do personal 
service without hire ; which kind of service is often exacted by the eastern princes 
of their subjects, and is called by the Greek and Latin writers, Angaria. The scrip- 
ture often mentions this sort of compulsion or force '. 

• See the Prelim. Disc. p. 27- ^ See before p. 23. 3 V. JMarracc. in 
Ale. p. 69, &c. ■< See the Prelim. Disc. sect. IV. 5 Jallalo'ddin. ^ See 
Prelim. Disc. sect. IV. " iMatt. v. 41- xxvii. 32, &c. 

^g AL KORAN. [Chap. 2. 

men take idols beside God, and love them as with the 
love due to God ; but the true believers are more fer- 
vent in love towards God. Oh that they who act 
unjustly did perceive", when they behold their punish- 
ment, that all power belongeth unto God, and that he 
is severe in punishing ! ^^^hen those ^vho have been 
followed shall separate themselves from their fol- 
lowers ^ and shall see the punishment, and the cords 
of relation between them shall be cut in sunder ; the 
followers shall say, If we could return to life, we would 
separate ourselves from them, as they have now sepa- 
rated themselves from us. So God will show them 
their works ; they shall sigh grievously, and shall not 
come forth from the fire oj' hell. O men, eat of that 
which is lawful and good on the earth ; and tread not 
in the steps of the devil, for he is your open enemy. 
Verily he commandeth you evil and wickedness, and 
that ye should say that of God which ye know not. 
And when it is said unto them tc7/o believe not, Follow 
that which God hath sent down ; they answer. Nay, 
but w^e will follow that which we found our fathers 
practise. What ? though their fathers knew nothing, 
and were not rightlij directed ? The unbelievers are 
like unto one who crieth aloud to that which heareth 
not so much as his calling*, or the sound of his voice. 
They are deaf, dumb, and blind, therefore do they not 
understand. O true believers, eat of the good things 
which we have bestowed on you for food, and return 
thanks unto God, if ye serve him. Verily he hath 
forbidden you to eat that which dieth of itself, and 
blood, and swine's flesh, and that on which any other 
name but God's hath been invocated ^ But he who is 

• Or it may be translated, Although Ihc ungodly will perceive, &c. But some 
copies instead of yara, in the third person, read tara, in the second ; and then it 
must be rendered, Oh if thou didst sec uficn the ungodly behold their punUh- 
nient, &c. 

*• That is, when the broachers or heads of new sects shall at the last day forsake or 
wash their hands of tlieir disciples, as if they were not accomplices in dieir super- 

" The unbelievers are like unto him who heareth the sound of tlie voice without 
comprehending any thing. Deaf, dumb, and blind, they have no understanding." 
— Savary. 

' For this reason, whenever the Mohammedans kill any animal for food, they 

Chap. 2.] AL KORAN. 29 

forced by necessity, not lusting, nor returning to trans- 
gress, it shall be no crime in him if he eat of those 
thino-s, for God is gracious and merciful. Moreover 
they" who conceal aiiy fart of the scripture which God 
hath sent down unto them, and sell it for a small price, 
they shall swallow into their bellies nothing but fire ; 
God shall not speak unto them on the day of resurrec- 
tion, neither shall he purify them, and they shall suffer ^. 
a grievous punishment. These are they who have sold 
direction for error, and pardon for punishment: but 
how great will their suffering be in the fire ! This 
theij shall endure, because God sent down the book 
of the Koran with truth, and they who disagree con- 
cerning that book are certainly in a wide mistake. It 
is not righteousness that ye turn your faces in prayer 
towards the east and the west, but righteousness is of 
him who believeth in God and the last day, and the 
angels, and the scriptures, and the prophets; who 
giveth money for God's sake unto his kindred, and 
unto orphans, and the needy, and the stranger, and 
those who ask, and for redemption of captives ; who is 
constant at prayer, and giveth alms ; and of those who 
perform their covenant, when they have covenanted, 
and who behave themselves patiently in adversity, and 
hardships, and in time of violence : these are they who 
are true, and these are they who fear God. O true 
believers, the law of retaliation is ordained you for the 
slain : the free shall die for the free, and the servant for 
the servant, and a woman for a woman ^ : but he whom 
his brother shall forgive maybe prosecuted*, andobligcd 
to make satisfaction according to what is just, and a 

always say BlsmVttah, or In the name of God.', which if it be neglected, they think 
it not lawt'ul to eat of it. 

" This is not to bs strictly taken ; for, according to the Sonna, a man also is to be 
put to death for the murder of a woman. Regard is also to be had to difference in 
religion, so that a 3Iohammedan, though a slave, is not to be put to death for an 
infidel, though a freeman '. But the civil magistrates do not think themselves always 
obUo'ed to conform to this last determination of the Sonna. 

• '•' He who forgiveth the murderer of his brother, shall have the right of requiring 
a reasonable reparation, which shall be thankfully \>2.\A:'—Savary. 

> Jallalo'ddin. 

30 AL KORAN. [Chap. 2. 

fine shall be set on him^ with humanity. This is in- 
dulgence from your Lord, and mercy. And he who 
shall transgress after this, by killing the murthercr, 
shall suffer a grievous punishment. And in this law 
of retaliation ye have life, O ye of understanding, that 
peradventure ye may fear. It is ordained you, when 
any of you is at the point of death, if he leave any 
goods, that he bequeath a legacy to his parents, and 
kindred, according to what shall be reasonable ''. This 
is a duty incumbent on those who fear God. But he 
who shall change the legacy, after he hath heard it 
bequeathed by the dying person, surely the sin thereof 
shall be on those who change it, for God is he who 
heareth and knoweth. Howbeit he who apprehendeth 
from the testator any mistake or injustice, and shall 
compose the matter between them, that shall be no 
crime in him, for God is gracious and merciful. O 
true believers, a fast is ordained you, as it was ordained 
unto those before you, that ye may fear GoD. A cer- 
tain number of days shall ye fast : but he among you 
who shall be sick, or on a journey, shall Jast an equal 
number of other days. And those who can*" keep it, 
and do not, must redeem their neglect by maintaining 

• This is the common practice in Mohammedan countries, particularly in Persia " ; 
where the relations of the deceased may take their choice, either to have the mur- 
therer put into their hands to be put to death ; or else to accept of a pecuniary 

'' That is, the legacy was not to exceed a tiiird part of the testator's substance, 
nor to be given where there was no necessity. But this injunction is abrogated by 
the law concerning inheritances. 

^ The expositors differ much about the meaning of this pa.ssage, thinking it very 
improbable that peo})le should be left entirely at liberty either to fast or not, on 
compounding for it in tliis manner. .lallalo'ddin therefore supposes the negative 
particle nut to be understood, and that tliis is allowed only to those who are not able 
to fast, by reason of age or dangerous sickness : but afterwards he says, that in the 
beginning of IMohammcdism it was free for them to choose whether they would fast 
or maintain a poor man ; which liberty was soon after taken nway, and this passage 
abrogated by the following, Therefore let him icho shall he present in this month, 
fast the same /noiifh. Yet this abrogation, he says, docs not extend to women with 
chUd, or that give suck, lest the infant suffer. 

Al Zamakhshari, having first given an explanation of Ebn Abbas, who by a dif- 
ferent interpretation of the Arabic word Yotikunaho, which signifies am or are able 
to fast, renders it. Those who find great difficnlt;/ therein, &c. adds an exposition of 
his own, by supposing something to be imderstood ; according to which the sense will 
be, Those uho can fast and yet have a legal excuse to break it,must redeem it, &c. 

' V. Chardin, Voyage de Perse, t. ii. p. 299, && 

Chap. 2.] AL KORAN. 31 

of a poor man\ And he who voluntarily dealeth better 
with the poor man than lie h obliged, this shall be 
better for him. But if ye fast it will be better for you, 
if ye knew it. The month of Ramadan shall ye fast, 
in which the Koran was sent down from heaven^, a 
direction unto men, and declarations of direction, and 
the distinction between good and evil. Therefore, let 
him among you who shall be present'' in this month, 
fast the same month ; but he who shall be sick, or on 
a journey, shall fast the like number of other days. 
God would make this an ease unto you, and would not 
make it a difficulty unto you ; that ye may fulfil the 
number of days, and glorify God, for that he hath 
directed you, and that ye may give thanks. When 
my servants ask thee concerning me. Verily I am near ; 
I will hear the prayer of him that prayeth, when he 
prayetli unto me : but let them hearken unto me, and 
believe in me, that they may be rightly directed. It is 
lawful for you, on the night of the fast, to go in unto 
your wives''; they are a garment* unto you, and ye 
are a garment unto them. God knoweth that ye de- 
fraud yourselves therein, wherefore he turneth unto 
you, and forgiveth you. Now, therefore, go in unto 
them ; and earnestly desire that which God ordaineth 
you, and eat and drink, until ye can plainly distinguish 
a white thread from a black thread by the day-break : 
then keep the fast until night, and go not in unto them, 
but be constantly present in the places of worship. 
These are the prescribed bounds of God, therefore 
draw not near them to transgress them. Thus God 
declareth his signs unto men, that ye may fear him. 
Consume not your wealth among yourselves in vain ; 

» According to the usual quantity which a man eats in a day, and the aistom of 
the country •• 

^ See the Prelim. Disc. Sect. IV. 

•^ i. c. At home, and not in a strange country, where the fast cannot be performed, 
or on a journey. 

^ In the beginning of Mohammedism, during the fast, they neither lay with 
their wives nor ate nor drank after supper. But both are permitted by this passage ". 

* A metaphorical expression, to signify the mutual comfort a man and his wife 
find in each other. 

' Jallalo'ddin. « Idem. 

32 AL KORAN- [Chap. 2. 

nor present it unto judges, that ye may devour part of 
men's substance unjustly, against your own consciences. 
They will ask thee concerning the phases of the moon : 
Answer, They are times appointed unto men, and to 
sherd: the season oy the pilgrimage to Mecca. It is not 
righteousness that ye enter your houses by the back 
parts thereof % but righteousness is of him who feareth 
God. Therefore enter yoin^ houses by their doors ; 
and fear God, that ye may be happy. And fight for 
the religion of God against those who fight against 
you, but transgress not by attaching iheni Jirst, for 
God loveth not the transgressors. And kill them 
wherever ye find them, and turn them out of that 
whereof they have dispossessed you ; for temptation 
to idolatry is more grievous than slaughter : yet fight 
not against them in the holy temple, until they attack 
you therein ; but if they attack you, slay them thei^e. 
This shall be the reward of infidels. But if they 
desist, God is gracious and merciful. Fight therefore 
against them, until there be no temptation to idolatinj^ 
and the religion be God's : but if they desist, then let 
there be no hostility, except against the ungodly. A 
sacred month for a sacred month ^ and the holy limits 
of Mecca, if they attack you therein, do ye also attack 
them therein in retaliation ; and whoever transgresseth 
against you by so doing, do ye transgress against him 
in like manner as he hath transgressed against you, 
and fear God, and know that God is with those who 
fear Jiim. Contribute out of your substance toward 
the defence of the religion of God, and throw not 
yourselves with your own hands into perdition"; and 
do good, for God loveth those who do good. Perform 
the pilgrimage of Mecca, and the visitation of God : 
and if ye be besieged, send that offering which shall be 

• Some of the Arabs had a superstitious custom after they had been at Mecca (in 
pilgrimage, as it seems) on their return home, not to enter their house by the old 
door, but to make a hole through tlie back part for a passage, which practice is here 

'' As to these sacred montlis, wherein it was unlawful for the ancient Arabs to 
attack one another, see the Prelim. Disc. Sect. VII. 

•^^ t. c. Be not accessary to your own destruction, by neglecting your contributions 
towards the wars against inKdels, and thereby suffer them to gather strength. 

Chap. 2.] AL KORAN. 33 

the e<asiest; and shave not your heads', until your 
offering reacheth the place of sacrifice. But whoever 
among yovi is sick, or is troubled with any distemper of 
the head, must redeem the shaving his head by fasting, 
or alms, or some offering \ When ye are seciu-e /ro;y^ 
enemie.^, he who tarrieth' in the visitation of tJie temple 
of Mecca until the pilgrimage, shall bring that offering 
which shall be the easiest. But he who findeth not 
anif thing to offei\ shall fast three days in the pilgrim- 
age, and seven when ye are returned : they shall be ten 
days complete. This is incumbent on him, whose fa- 
mily shall not be present at the holy temple. And 
fear GoD, and know that God is severe in punishing. 
The pilgrimage must he 'performed in the known 
months'*; whosoever therefore purposeth to go on pil- 
grimage therein, let him not know a woman, nor 
transgress, nor quarrel in the pilgrimage. The good 
which ye do, God knoweth it. Make provision /o?- 
your journnj ; but the best provision is piety : and 
fear me, O ye of understanding. It shall be no crime 
in you, if ye seek an increase from your Lord, l)y 
trading during the pilgrimage. And when ye go in 
procession' from Arafat' remember GoD near the holy 
monument^; and remember him for that he hath di- 

» For this was a sign they had completed their vow, and performed all the cere- 
monies of the pilgrimage '. 

i* That is, eitlier by fasting three days, or feeding six poor people, or sacrificing 
a sheep. 

■^ This passage is somewhat obscure. Yahya interprets it of him who marries a 
wife during the \isitation, and performs the pilgrimage the year following. But 
Jallalo'ddiii expounds it of him who stays within the sacred inclosures, in order to 
complete the ceremonies, which (as it should seem) he had not been able to do 
within the prescribed time. 

^ i. e. Shawal, Dhu'lkaada, and Dhu'lhajja. See the Preliminary Discourse, § IV. 

^ The original word signifies to rush forward impetuozisly ; as the pilgrims do 
when they proceed from Arafat to Mozdalifa. 

f A mountain near INIecca, so called, because Adam there met and knew his wife, 
after a long separation ». Yet others say that Gabriel, after lie had instructed Abra- 
ham in all the sacred ceremonies, coming to Arafat, there asked him if he kiieiv the 
ceremonies which had been sh.own him ; to wliich Abraham answering in the affirm- 
ative, the mountain had thence its name 3. 

K In Arabic, al Masher al haram. It is a mountain in the farther part of ]>Ioz- 
tlalifa, where it is said Slohammed stood praying and praising God, till his face 
became extremely shining*. Bobovius calls it Forkh \ but the true name seems to 
be Kazah ; the variation being occasioned only by the different pointing of the 
Arabic letters. 

'• Jallalo'ddin. - Sec before p. ?• not. e. ^ Al Hasan. ■• Jallalo'ddin. 

'■ Bobov. de peregr. IMeccana, p. 15. 

VOL. I. D 

34 AL KORAN. [Chap. 2. 

reeled you, although ye were before this of the number 
of those who go astray. Therefore go in procession 
from \\hence the people go in procession, and ask 
pardon of God, for God is gracious and merciful. 
And when ye have finished your holy ceremonies, re- 
member God, according as ye remember your fathers, 
or with a more reverent connnemoration. There are 
some men who say, O Lord, give us our portion in 
this vi^orld ; but such shall have no portion in the next 
life ; and there are others who say, () Lord, give us 
good in this world, and also good in the next world, 
and deliver us from the torment of hell fire. They 
shall have a portion of that which they have gained : 
God is swift in taking an accounts Remember God 
the appointed munber of days*': but if any haste to 
depart from the valley o/Mina in two days, it shall be 
no crime in him. And if any tarry longer, it shall be 
no crime in him, in him who feareth God. Therefore 
fear God, and know that unto him ye shall be ga- 
thered. There is a man who causeth thee to marvel' 
by his speech concerning this present life, and calleth 
God to witness that which is in his heart, yet he is 
most intent in opi)osing thee ; and when he turneth 
awayjrom thee, he hasteth to act corruptly in the earth, 
and to destroy that which is sown, and springeth up'': 
but God loveth not corrupt doing. And if one say 
unto him. Fear God ; pride seizetli him, together with 
wickedness ; but hell shall be his reward, and an un- 
happy couch shall it be. There is also a man who 
selleth his soul for the sake of those things which are 
pleasing unto God'; and God is gracious unto his 
servants. O frtte believers, enter into the true religion 
wholly, and follow not the steps of Satan, for he is your 

' For lie will jiulge all creatures, says Jallalo'tldin, in the sp:»ce of half a day. 

'' i. r. Three days .after slaying ilvj sacrifices. 

•^^ This person was al Akhnas Ebn Shoraik, a fair-spoken dissembler, who swore 
that he believed in IVIohamnied, and pretended to be one of his friends, and to con- 
temn this world. But Gon here to the prophet his hypocrisy and wickedness '. 

■' 'Setting fire to Iiis neighbour's corn, and killing his asses by night '^. 

'i The person here meant was one Sohcib, who being pcrsecutetl by the idolaters 
of Mecca, forsook all he had, iiul ilrd to Medina '. 

■ JalhdoMdii. = Idem. ■ Idei:,. 

Chap. 2.] AL KORAN. 35 

open enemy. If ye have slipped after the declarations 
of our xdlt have come unto you, know that God is 
mighty and wise. Do the hrfidcls expect less than that 
God should come down to them overshadowed with 
clouds, and the angels also ? but the thing is decreed, 
and to God shall all things return. Ask the children 
of Israel how many evident signs we have showed 
them ; and whoever shall change the grace of God, 
after it shall have come unto him, verily God will be 
severe in punishing Imn. The present life was or- 
dained for those who believe not *, and they laugh the 
faithful to scorn ; but they who fear God shall be 
above them, on the day of the resurrection : for God 
is bountiful unto whom he pleaseth without measure. 
Mankind was of one faith, and God sent prophets 
bearing good tidings, and denouncing threats, and sent 
down with them the scripture in truth, that it might 
judge between men of that concerning which they 
disagreed : and none disagreed concerning it, except 
those to whom the same scriptures were delivered, 
after the declarations of God's will had -come unto 
them, out of envy among themselves. And God di- 
rected those who believed, to that truth concerning 
which they disagreed, by his will : for God directeth 
whom he pleaseth into the right way. Did ye think 
ye should enter paradise, when as yet no such thing 
had happened unto you, as hath happened unto those 
who have been before you ? They suffered calamity, 
and tribulation, and were afflicted ; so that the apostle, 
and they who believed with him, said ; When will the 
help of God come ? Is not the help of God nigh ? 
They will ask thee what they shall bestow in alms : 
Answer, The good which ye bestow, let it be given to 
parents, and kindred, and orphans, and the poor, and 
the stranger. Whatsoever good ye do, God knoweth 
it. War is enjoined you against the Infidels ; but this 
is hateful unto you : yet perchance ye hate a thing 

* •' The life of this world is strewed with flowers for the unbelievers. They 
make ;i scoft" of the faithful. Tliose who have the fear of the Lord shall b2 raised 
above them at the day of resurrection. God dispenseth as he pleaseth liis innumer- 
able .i;i!'ts." — Suviiry. 

D 2 

36 AL KOKAX. [Chap. 2. 

which is better for you, and perchance ye love a thing 
which is worse for you: but God knoweth and ye 
Icnow not. 1'hey will ask thee concerning the sacred 
month, xvhetlwr ihcij r.iaij war therein : Answer, To 
war tlierein is grievous ; but to obstruct the way of 
God, and infidelity towards him, and to keep men from 
the holy temple, and to drive out his people from 
thence, is more grievous in the sight of GoD, and the 
temptation to idulatn/ is more grievous than to kill in 
the saered months. They will not cease to war against 
you, until they turn you from your religion, if they be 
able : but whoever among you shall turn back from 
his religion, and die an infidel, their works shall be 
vain in this world, and the next ; they shall be the 
companions of hell fire, they shall remain therein for 
ever. But they who believe, and who fly for the sake 
of religion, and fight in God's cause, they shall hope 
for the mercy of God ; for God is gracious and mer- 
ciful. They will ask thee concerning wine" and lots^': 
Answer, In both there is great sin, and cdso some 
things of use unto men*^ ; but their sinfulness is greater 
than their use. They will ask thee also what they 
shall bestow in alms : Answer, What ye have to spare. 
Thus God showeth his signs unto you, that peradven- 
ture ye might seriously think of this present world, 
and of the next. They will also ask thee concerning 
orphans : Answer, To deal righteously with them is 
best ; and if ye intermeddle with the management of 
ichat belongs to them, do them no ta-ong ; they are 
your brethren : God knoweth the corrupt dealer from 

" Under tlie name of wine all sorts of strong and inebriating liquors are conipre- 
ht;ndcd '. 

•* The original word . al Mciscr, properly signifies a particular game jicrfornied 
with arrows, and much in use with the pagan Arabs. But by /(•/.? we are here to 
understand all games whatsoever, wliich are subject to chance or hazard, as dice, 
cards, &c. * 

'■■ From these words some suppose that only drinking to excess, ar.d too frecjucnt 
galling are prohibited 3. And the moderate use of wine they also tiiink is allowed 
ijy these words of the ICth chapter. And of tht: fruits nj' jxihii-lnr.s ami /^n-ajics t/c 
ohtniii infill intiiifs drink, and also i^ood vourisliincnt. But the nude received opinion 
)s, that both drinking wine or other strong liquors in any quantity, and playing at 
any gauiQ of cliance, are absolutely forbidden '. 

' S.'e rl-.c Prolan. Disc >^ V. - S.-e ibid. ' V. .Inllalo'ddin ct al Zamakh- 

shari. ' See the Pnlim. Disc, ubi sup. 

Chap. 2.] AL KOKAN. 37 

the righteous ; and if God please, he will surely dis- 
tress you'', for God is mighty and wise. Marry not 
zvo7nen ic/io are idolaters, until they believe : verily a 
maid-servant who believeth, is better than an idola- 
tress, although she jjlease you 7no7e. ■ And give not 
xvomeii xvho believe in marriage to the idolaters, 
until they believe : for verily a servant, who is a true 
believer, is better than an idolater, though he please 
you more. They invite unto hell fire, but God in- 
viteth unto paradise and pardon through his will, 
and declareth his signs unto men, that they may re- 
member. They will ask thee also concerning the 
courses of women : Answer, They are a pollution : 
therefore separate yourselves from women in their 
courses, and go not near them, until they be cleansed. 
But when they are cleansed, go in unto them as 
God hath commanded you'', for God loveth those 
who repent, and loveth those ^vllo are clean. Your 
wives are your tillage ; go in therefore unto your 
tillage in what manner soever ye wilP: and do first 
some act ih'tt maij he profitable unto your souls'*; and 
fear God, and know that ye must meet him ; and 
bear good tidings unto the faithful. Make not God 
the object of your oaths % that ye will deal justly, and 
be devout, and make peace among men'^; for God is 
he who heareth and knoweth. God will not punish 
you for an inconsiderate word*' in your oaths; but he 

'^ viz. By his curse, which will certainly bring to notliing what ye shall wrong the 
orphans of. 

^ But not while they have their courses, nor by using preposterous venery '. 

•^ That is in any posture ; either standing, sitting, lying, forwards, or backwards. 
And this passage, it is said, was revealed to answer the Jews, who pretended that if 
a man lay with his wife backwards, he would get a more witty child ■«. It has been 
iniiigined that these words allow that preposterous lust, which the commentators say 
is forbidden by the preceding ; but I question whether this can be proved. 

'' i. c. Perform some act of devotion or charity. 

" So as to swear frequently by him. The word translated object, properly signifies 
a butt to shoot at with arrows ^. 

f Some commentators '' expound this negatively, That ye will not deal justly., nor 
he devout, &c. For such wicked oaths, tliey say, were customary among the idola. 
trous inhabitants of Mecca; which gave occasion to the following saying of Mo- 
hammed ; Wlien you swear to do a thing, and afterwards fnd it letter to do other- 
wise ; do that whieh is better., and make void your oath. 

K When a man swears inadvertently, and witliout design. 

' Ebn Abbas, Jallalo'ddin. - Jallalo'ddin, Yahya, Al Zamakhshari. Vid. 

Lucret. de Ver. Nat. 1. iv. v. 12ri}i, &c." Jallalo'ddir. ■• Idem. Yahva. 

38 Ai. KOUAX. [Chap. 2. 

will punish you for that which your hearts have as- 
sented unto : God is merciful and gracious. They 
who vow to abstain from their wives, are allowed to 
wait four months": but if they go back yro??^ their voxc, 
verily God is gracious and merciful^; and if they re- 
solve on a divorce, God is he who heareth and knoweth. 
The women who arc divorced shall wait concernina: 
themselves vmtil they have their courses thrice", and it 
shall not be lawful for them to conceal that which God 
hath created in their wombs'', if they believe in God 
and the last day ; and their husbands will act more 
justly to bring them back at this timCy if they desire a 
reconciliation. The women ought also to behave to- 
wards their husbands in like manner as their husbands 
shoidd behave towards them, according to what is just : 
but the men ought to have a superiority over them. 
God is mighty and wise. Ye may clivorce your wives 
twice ; and then either retain thein with humanity, or 
dismiss t/iejn with kindness. But it is not lawful for 
you to take away any thing of what ye have given 
them, unless both fear that they cannot observe the 
ordinances of God ^ And if ye fear that they cannot 
observe the ordinances of God, it shall be no crime in 
either of them on account of that for which the wife 
shall redeem herself*. These are the ordinances of 

" Tliat is, they may take so mvicli time to consider ; and shall not, by a rash oath, 
be obliged actually to divorce them. 

'' i.e. If tl»ey be reconciled to their wives within four months, or after, they may 
retain them ; and (ioD will dispense with their oath. 

•^ Tliis is to be understood of those only with whom the marriage has bctn con- 
summated ; for as to the others there is no time limited. Tliose who arc not quite 
past childbearing (which a woman is reckoned to be after her courses cease, and she 
is fifty-five lunar years, or about fifty-three solar years old) and tliosc wlio are too 
young to have children, arc allowed three montlis only ; but they who arc with child 
must wait till they be delivered '. 

'' That is, they shall tell the real truth, whether they have their courses, or be 
with child, or not ; and shall not, by deceiving their husband, obtain a separation 
from him before the term be accomplished : lest the first husband's child slioukl, by 
that means, go to the second ; or the wife, in case of tlie first iiusband's death, should 
set up her child as his heir, or demand her maintenance during the time she went 
with such child, and the expenses of her lying-in, under pretence that she waited not 
licr full prescribed time -. 

"^ For if there be a settled aversion on either side, their continuing togetiicr may 
liavc very ill, and perhaps fatal consequences. 

' i. (. If siic prevail on her husband to dismiss her, by releasing part ot licr 

' Jitll;.1.,\Idu;. - Vidivr.. 

Chap. 2.] AL KoiiAN. 39 

God ; therefore transgress them not ; for whoever 
transgresseth the ordinances of God, they are unjust 
doers. But if the husband divorce her a third time, 
she shall not be lawful for him again, until she marry 
another husband*. But if he (ilso divorce her, it shall 
be no crime in them, if they return to each other, if 
they think they can observe the ordinances of God ; 
and these are the ordinances of God, he declareth 
them to people of understanding. But when ye di- 
vorce women, and they have fulfilled their prescribed 
time, either retain them with humanity, or dismiss 
them with kindness ; and retain them not by violence, 
so that ye transgress''; for he who doth this, surely 
injureth his own soul. And make not the signs of 
God a jest : but remember God's favour towards you, 
and that he hath sent down unto you the book of the 
Koran, and wisdom, admonishing you thereby ; and 
fear God, and know that God is omniscient. But 
when ye have divorced your wives, and they have 
fulfilled their prescribed time, hinder them not from 
marrying their husbands, when they have agreed 
among themselves according to what is honourable. 
This is given in admonition unto him among you who 
believeth in God, and the last day. This is most 
righteous for you, and most pure. God knoweth, but 
ye know not. Mothers after they are divorced shall 
give suck unto their children two full years, to him 
who desireth the time of giving suck to be completed ; 
and the father shall be obliged to maintain them and 
clothe them in the mean time, according to that which 
shall be reasonable. No person shall be obliged beyond 
his ability. A mother shall not be compelled to what 

* " 'I'he RIaliometan who has thrice sworn to divorce his wife, religion punishes 
by not allowing him to take her again till she has shared the bed of another man. 
The faulty person, who is thus unpleasantly circumstanced, endeavours to elude the 
law. I!e chooses i friend, on whose discretion he can reckoii ; shuts her up with his 
wife in the presence of witnesses, and tremblingly awaits the result. The trial is a 
dangerous one. If, when he quits the room, the obliging friend declares that he di- 
vorces her, the first husband has a right to resume her; but if, having forgotten 
fricndsliip in the arms of love, he sliould say that he acknowledges her as liis wife, 
he takes her away with liini, and the marriage is valid." — Savarii. 

" vb:. By obliging ihem to purchase their liberty witli part of their dawiy. 

40 AL KORAN. [Chap. 2. 

is unreasonable on account of her child, nor a father 
on account of his child. And the heir of the father 
shall be obliged to do in like manner. But if they 
clioose to wean tlie child Ifejore the end of txco i/ears, 
by common consent, and on mutual consideration, it 
shall be no crime in them. And if ye have a mind to 
provide a nurse for your children, it shall be no crime 
in you, in case ye fully pay what ye offer her, accord- 
ing to that which is just. And fear God, and know 
that God seeth whatsoever ye do. Such of you as 
die, and leave wives, their w/re^ must v/ait concerning 
themselves four months and ten days''\ and when they 
shall have fulfilled their term, it shall be no crime in 
you, for that w^hich they shall do with themselves'', 
according to what is reasonable. God well kno\veth 
that which ye do. And it shall be no crime in you, 
whether ye make public overtures of marriage unto 
such women, ivilliin the said Jour months and ten days, 
or whether ye conceal such your designs in your minds : 
God knoweth that ye will remember them*. But 
make no promise unto them privately, unless ye speak 
honourable words ; and resolve not on the knot of 
marriage until the prescribed time be accomplished ; 
and Icnow that God know^eth that w^hicli is in your 
minds, therefore beware of him, and know that God 
is gracious and merciful, it shall be no crime in you, 
if ye divorce your wives, so long as ye have not touched 
them, nor settled any dowry on them. And provide 
for tliem (he who is at his ease must provide according 
to his circumstances, and he who is straitened according 
to his circumstances) necessaries, according to what 
shall be reasonable. TIds is a duty iacumberit on the 
righteous. But if ye divorce them before ye have 
touched them, and have already settled a dowry on 

* That is to say, before they marry again ; and this not only for decency sake, 
but that it may be known whctliev they be with child by the dccc;i.sed or not. 

'' That is, if they leave ofT their mourning weeds, and look out for new husbands. 

• " The desire of marryinj^a wife, whetlier you show it openly, nr conceal it in 
your own breasts, sliall not render you guilty in the sight of (lon. He knoweih 
iliat yj t'amiot prevent yourselves from thinking of women; but make to ilicm no 
promise in secret, unless ye veil your love in decorous language," — Sautn/. 

Chap. 2.] AL KOiiAX. 41 

them, ye shall give them half of what ye have settled, 
unless they release cuif i^art^ or he release part in 
whose hand the knot of marriage is''; and if ye release 
the whole, it will approach nearer unto piety. And 
forget not liberality among you, for God seeth that 
which ye do. Carefully observe the apponiled prayers, 
and the middle prayer '', and be assiduous therein, with 
devotion towards God. But if ye fear anij danger^ 
pray on foot or on horseback ; and when ye are safe, 
remember God, how he hath taught you what as yet 
ye knew not. And such of you as shall die and leave 
wives, ought to bequeath their wives a years mainte- 
nance, without putting them out -jf their houses : but 
if they go out voluntarily, it shall be no crime in you, 
for that which they shall do with themselves, accord- 
ing to what shall be reasonable ; God is mighty and 
wise. And unto those who are divorced, a reasonable 
provision is also due; this is a duty incumbent on 
those who fear God. Thus God declareth his signs 
unto you, that ye may understand. Hast thou not 
considered those, who left their habitations, (and they 
^vere thousands) for fear of death *'? And God said 

» i. e. Unless the wife agree to take less than half her dowry, or unless the hus- 
band be so generous as to give her more than half, or the whole ; which is here ap- 
proved of as most commendable. 

'' Yahya interprets this from a tradition of Mohammed, who being asked wliich 
^vas the iniddlc praijci\ answered, The evening prayer, which was instituted by the 
prophet Solomon. But JaUalo'ddin allows a greater latitude, and supposes it may 
be the afternoon prayer, the morning prayer, the noon prayer, or any other. 

'' These were some of the children of Israel, wlio abandoned their dwelHngs be- 
cause of a pestilence ; or, as others say, to avoid serving in a religious war : but as 
they fled, God struck them all dead in a certain valley. About eight days or more 
after, when their bodies were corrupted, the prophet Ezekiel, the son of i3azi, hap- 
])ening to pass that way, at tlie sight of their bones, wept ; whereupon God said to 
liim. Call to them, O Ezekiel, and I will restore them to life. And accordingly on 
tlic prophet's call tliey all arose, and lived several years after ; but tliey retained the 
colour and stench of dead corps, as long as they lived, and the clothes they wore 
changed as black as pitch; which qualities they transmitted to their posterity'. As 
to the number of these Israelites, the commentators are not agreed ; they who reckon 
Ijast say they were ;5000, and they who reckon most, 70,000. This story seems to 
have been taken from Ezeldel's vision of the resurrection of dry bones *. 

Some of the IMohammedan writers will have Ezekiel to have been one of the 
juilges of Israel, and to have succeeded Othoniel, the son of Caleb. They also call 
this prophet Ehii al ajiiz, or t/ic son of the old xvoman ; because they say his mother 
obtained him by her prayers in her old age ^. 

' Jallalo'ddin, Vahya, Abulfcda, &c. ^ Ezuk. xxxvii. 1— 10. 3 Al 

Thalabi, Abu Ishak, Sec. 

42 Ai. KOKAN. [Chap. 2. 

unto thein, Die ; then he restored them to hi'e, for God 
is gracious towards mankind ; hut the greater part of 
men do not give thanks. Fight for the religion of 
God, and know that God is he who heareth and 
knoweth. AVho is he that will lend unto God on 
good usuiy**? verily he will double it unto him mani- 
fold ; for God contracteth and extendeth Iiis hand as 
he pleaseth, and to liim shall ye return. Hast thou 
not considered the assembly of the children of Israel, 
after the time <;/ Moses ; when they said unto their 
prophet Samuel, Set a king over us, that we may fight 
for the religion of God. The prophet answered*, If 
ye are enjoined to go to war, Avill ye be near refusing 
to fight ? They answered, And what should ail us 
that we should not fight for the religion of God, seeing 
we are dispossessed of our habitations, and deprived 
of our children ? But when they were enjoined to go 
to war, they turned back, except a few of them : and 
God knew the ungodly. And their prophet said unto 
them, Verily God hath set Talut'', king over you: 
they answered. How shall he reign over us, seeing we 
are more worthy of the kingdom than he, neither is 
he possessed of great riches? Samuel said. Verily 
God hath chosen him before you, and hath caused 
him to increase in knowledge and stature t, for God 
giveth his kingdom unto whom he pleaseth ; God is 
bounteous and wise. And their prophet said unto 
them. Verily the sign of his kingdom shall be, that 
the ark shall come unto you': therein shall be tran- 

» 17.7. F.y contributing towards the cstablislinicnt of his true religion. 

• " Will you be reaify to t;o forth to tiftht (said die proiihct to them) when the 
time shall be come ? And wh.i, replied tliey, could prevent Uo from marching under 
the banner of the failli ?" — Sdiari/. 

^ So tlic I\Iolianmiedans name Saul. 

-f- "■ The Lord, replied Samuel, hath ciioseu him to be your leader. He hath 
enlightened his mind, and strcngtliencd his arm." — Savai;/. 

<■ This ark, says Jcllalo'ddin, contained the images of die prophets, and was sent 
down from heaven to Adam, and at length came to die Israelites who put great 
confidence diercin, and continually carried it in die front of their army, till it was 
taken by the Aniidekites. But on this occasion die angels brought it back, in die 
sight of all the peoiilc, and placed it at the feet of Talut, who was dicrcupoii una- 
nimously acknowledged for their king. 

This relation seenii to have arisen from some imperfect tradition of the taking and 
scniUiig Lack the aik by the Philisuncs '. 

' 1 Warn, iv, v., and vi. 

Chap. 2.] AL KOiiAK. 43 

quillity from your Lord', and the relics'' which have 
been left by the family of Moses, and the family of 
Aaron ; the angels shall bring it. Verily this shall be 
a sign unto you, if ye believe. And when Talut de- 
parted with his soldiers, he said. Verily God will 
prove you by the river : for he who drinketh thereof 
shall not be on my side (but he who shall not taste 
thereof he shall be on my side), except he who drinketh 
a draught out of his hand. And they drank thereof, 
except a few of them \ And when they had passed 
the river, he and those who believed with him,^they 
said, We have no strength to-day, against Jalut '' and 
his forces. But they who considered that they should 
meet God at the resurrection, said. How often hath a 
small army discomfited a great army, by the will of 
God ! and God is with those who patiently persevere. 
And when they went ibrth to battle against Jalut and 
his forces, they said, O Lord, pour on us patience, and 
confirm our teet, and help us against the unbelieving 
people. Therefore they discomfited them, by the will 
of God, and David slew Jalut. And God gave him 
the kingdom and wisdom, and taught him his will*^; 
and if God had not prevented men, the one by the 
other, verily the earth had been corrupted : but God 
is beneficent towards his creatures. These are the 
signs of God : we rehearse them unto thee with truth, 

a That is, because of the great confider.ce the Israelites placed in it, having v/on 
several battles by its miraculous assistance. I imagine, however, that the Arabic 
word Suktnaf, which signifies iranqidUUy or sccurUy ofmhul, and is so understood 
by the commentators, nmy not improbably mean the divhu: prcsnicc or glory, wlmh 
used to appear on the ark, and which the Jews express by the same word Shcchuiah. 

^ These were the shoes and rod of Moses, the mitre ot Aaron, a pot of manna, 
a)id the broken pieces of the two tables of the law '. 

e The number of tliosc who drank out of their hands was about 318^ U seems 
that ftlohammed has here confounded Saul with Gideon, who by the divme direction 
took with him against the Midianites such of his army only as lapped water out ot 
their hands, which were 300 men 3. 

-i Or Goliah. . „ , it, 

e Or x,hat he pleased to teach him. Yahya most rationally understands hereby 
the divine revelations which David received from God; but Jallalo ddm die art ot 
making coats of mail (which the IMohammcdans believe was that prophet s peculiar 
trade) and the knowledge of the language of birds. 

' Jallalo'dvhn. ■' Idem, Yahya. " Judges vn. 

44 AL KOKAN. [Chap. 2. 

and thou art siirc4y owe of those who have been 
sent hi/ God. * These are the apostles ; we III. 
have preferred some of them before others : 
some of them hath God spoken unto,, and hath exalted 
the degi-ee of othei-sof them. And we gave unto Jesus 
the son of ]Mary manifest signs, and strengthened him 
with the holy spirit ^ And if God had pleased, they 
who came after those (ipostles would not have contended 
among themselves, after manifest signs had been shown 
unto them. But they fell to variance ; therefore some 
of them believed, and some of them believed not : and 
if God had so pleased, they would not have contended 
among themselves, but God doth what he will. O 
true believers, give ahn< of that which we have be- 
stowed on you, before the day cometh wherein there 
shall be no merchandising, nor friendship, nor inter- 
cession. The infidels are unjust doers. God I there 
is no God but he ^ ; the living, the self-subsisting : 
neither slumber nor sleep seizeth him ; to him be-^ 
longetli whatsoever is in heaven, and on earth. VCho 
is he that can intercede with him, but through his 
good pleasure ? He knoweth that which is past, and 
that which is to come unto them, and they shall not 
comprehend any thing of his knowledge, but so far as 
he pleaseth. His throne is extended over heaven and 
earth % and the preservation of both is no burthen 
unto him. He is the high, the mighty. Let there 
be no violence in religion '*. Xow is right dii'ection 

■ See before p. 16, Note a. 

•• The following seven lines contain a magnificent description of the «li\-iDe majesty 
and providence ; but it must not be supposed the translation comes up to the dignity 
of the originaL This pai>sage is justly admired by the Mohammedans, who recite it 
in their prayers ; atd some of them wear it about them, engraved on an agate or 
other precious stone '. 

"^ This throne, in Arabic called Corsi, is by the ^lohammedons supposed to be 
God's tribunal, or seat of justice ; being placed under that other called al Arsh, 
which they say is his imperial throne. The Corsi allcgorically signifies the divine 
prondence, which sustains and governs the heaven and the earth, and is infinitely 
above human comprcher»sion -. 

•* This passage was particularly directed to some of 3Iohainmed's first proselytes, 
who having sons that had been brought up in idolatry or Judaisnii would oblige 
them to embrace ilohammedism by force'. 

' v. Bob-jv. de Prec Moham. p. 5, et RelantL Dissert, de Gemmis Arab. pp. 23o, 
230. 2 ViiU D'lleibeloL BibL Orient. Art. Corsi. 3 Jallalo'ddin. 

Chap. 2.] AL KORAX. 45 

manifestly distinguished from deceit : Avlioever there- 
fore shall deny Tagut % and believe in God, he shall 
surely take hold on a strong handle, which shall not 
be broken : God is he who heareth and seeth. God is 
the patron of those who believe ; he shall lead them 
out of darkness into light : but as tn those who believe 
not, their patrons are Tagut ; they shall lead them 
from the light into darkness : they shall be the com- 
panions of hell fire, they shall remain therein for ever. 
Hast thou not considered him who disputed with 
Abraham concerninoc his Lord '", because GoD had 
given him the kingdom ? ^\"hen Abraham said, My 
Lord is he who giveth life, and killeth : he answered, 
I give life, and I kill. Abraham said. Verily God 
bringeth the sun from the east, now do thou bring it 
from the west. ^\Tiereupon the infidel was confounded : 
for God directeth not the ungodly people. Or /hlsI 
iiiuu not considered how he behaved who passed by a 
city which had been destroyed, even to her founda- 
tions ''? He said. How shall God quicken this c'llij, 
after she hath been dead ? And God caused liim to 
die for an hundi'ed years, and afterwards raised him to 
life. And God said. How long hast thou tarned here ? 
He answered, A day, or part of a day. God said, Nay, 
thou hast tarried here an himdred vears. Now look 

* This word properly signifies an idol, or whatever is worshipped besides God ; 
particularly the two idols of the Mercans, Allat, and al Uzza ; and also the devil, or 
any seducer. 

* This was Nimrc-d ; who, as the commentators say, to prove his power of life and 
death by ocular demonstration, caused two men to be brought before him at the 
same time, one of whom he slew, ar.d saved die other alive. As to this tyrant's 
persecution of Abraham, see chap. 21, and the notes thereon. 

« The person here meant was Ozair or Ezra, who riding on an ass br the ruins of 
Jerusalem, after it had been destroyed by the Chaldeans, doubted in his mind by 
what means God could raise the rity and its inhabitants again ; whereupon God 
caused him to die, and he remained in that condition 100 years; at the end of 
which God restored him to hfe, a::d he found a basket of figs and a cruse of wine he 
haJ with him, not in the least spoUed or corrupted, but his ass was dead, Ll:e bones 
only remaining ; and these, wiule the prophe: leaked on, were raised and clothed 
with flesli, becoming an ass again, which being inspired with life, began immediately 
to bray '. 

This apocryphal story may perhaps have taken its rise firom Nehemiah's viewing 
of tlie ruins of Jerusalem -. 

' Jallalo'ddin, Yahva. &c. See D'Herbel. Bibl. Orient. .\rt. Ozair. - Xehem. 
ii. 1-2. .^c. 

46 AL KORAN. [Chap. 2. 

on thy food and tliy drink, they arc not yet corrupted ; 
and look on thine ass : and this Jiave xve clone that we 
might make thee a sign unto men. And look on the 
bones ojl/iinc ass, how we raise them, and afterwards 
clothe them with flesh. And when /I/is was shown 
unto him, he said, I know that God is able to do all 
things. And when Abraham said, O Lord, show me 
how thou wilt raise the dead " ; God said, Dost thou 
not yet believe ? He answered, Yea ; but / ask tliis 
that my heart may rest at ease. God said, take there- 
fore four birds, and divide them '' ; then lay a part of 
them on every mountain ; then call them, and they 
shall come swiftly unto thee : and know that God is 
mighty and wise. The similitude of those who lay 
out their substance for advancing the religion of God, 
is as a grain oj' corn which produceth seven ears, and 
in every ear an hundred grains ; for God giveth two- 
fold unto whom lie pleaseth : GoD is bounteous and 
wise. They wlio lay out their substance for the re- 
ligion of God, and afterwards follow not w^hat they 
have so laid out by reproaches or mischief, they shall 
have their reward with their Lord ; upon them shall 
no fear come, neither shall they be grieved. A fair 
speech, and to forgive *, is better than alms followed 
by mischief. God is rich and merciful. C) true be- 
lievers, make not your alms of none effect by reproach- 

" The occasion of this request of Abraham is said to have been on a doubt pro- 
posed to him by the devil, in human form, how it was possible for the several parts 
of th-. forjjse of a mai; which lay on the sea shore, and had been partly devoured by 
the wild beasts, the birds, and the fish, to be brought together at the resurrection '. 

'' These birds, pccovding to the commentators, were an eagle (a dove, say others) 
a peacock, a raven, and a cock ; which ^Vbraham cut to pieces, and mingled their 
flesh and feathers together, or, as some tell u£, pounded all in a mortar, and dividing 
the mass into four parts, laid them on so many mountains, but kept the heads, which 
lie had preserved wholj, in his hand. Then he called them each by their name, and 
immediately one ]5art flew to the otiicr, till they all recovered their first shape, and 
then came to be joined to their resjiectivc heads''. 

This seems to be taken from Abraham's sacrifice of birds mentioned by Moscs3, 
v/ilh some additional circumstances. 

<; i. e. Either by reproaching the person whom ihey have relieved, with what they 
have done for them ; or by exposing his poverty to his prejudice'. 

» " Humanity in word's and actions is better than alms after injustice."— iS^iv/;//. 

1 See D'llerbelot. ji. \'.\. - Jallulo'ddin. Sec J)Tlcrbelot, ubi supra. •' Gen. xv. 
' Jallalii'ddin. 

Chap. 2.] AL KORAN. 47 

ing, or miscliief, as he who layeth out what he hath to 
appear unto men to give alms, and helieveth not in 
God and the last day. The likeness of such a one is 
as a flint covered with earth, on Avhich a violent rain 
falleth, and leaveth it hard. They cannot prosper in 
any thing which they have gained, for God directeth 
not the unbelieving people. And the likeness of those 
who lay out their substance from a desire to please 
God, and for an establishment for their souls, is as a 
garden on a hill, on which a violent rain falleth, and 
it bringeth forth its fruits twofold ; and if a violent 
rain falleth not on it, yet the devf falleth thereon : and 
God seeth that which ye do. Doth any of you desire 
to have a garden of palm trees and vines % through 
which rivers flow, wherein he may have all lands of 
fruits, and that he may attain to old age, and have a 
weak offspring ? then a violent fiery wind shall strike 
it, so that it shall be burned*. Thus God declareth 
his signs unto you, that ye may consider. O true be- 
lievers, bestow alms of the good things which ye have 
gained, and of that which we have produced for you 
out of the earth, and choose not the bad thereof, to 
give it in alms, such as ye would not accept yourselves, 
otherwise than by connivance '' ; and know that God is 
rich and worthy to be praised. The devil threateneth 
you with poverty, and commandeth you filthy covetous- 
ness ; but God promiseth you pardon from himself 
and abundance : God is bounteous and wise. He 
giveth wisdom unto whom he pleaseth ; and he unto 
whom wisdom is given hath received much good : bvit 
none will consider, except the wise of heart. And 
whatever alms ye shall give, or whatever vow ye shall 

■■> This garden is an emblem of alms given out of hypocrisy, or attended with 
reproaches, which perish, and will be of no service hereafter to the giver '. 

* " Who among you would desire to possess a garden planted with palm-trees, 
adorned with vines, intersected by rivulets, and enriched witli all the fruits of the 
earth ; and to be then seized by old age, to leave infants in the cradle, and to see 
this garden devastated by a whirlwind of flame ? Thus doth God reveal his mysteries 
unto you, that you may turn your thoughts unto him." — Savary. 

^ That is, on having some amends made by the seller of such goods, either by 
abatement of the price, or giving something else to the buyer to make up the value. 

' Jallalo'Jdin. 

48 Ai. KORAN. [Chap. 2. 

vow, verily God knoweth it ; but the ungodly shall 
have none to helj) them. If ye make your alms to 
appear, it is well ; but if ye conceal them, and g-ive 
them unto the poor, this x^Ul be better for you, and 
will atone for your sins : and God is well informed of 
that M'hicli ye do. The direction of them belongeth 
not unto thee ; but God directeth whom he pleaseth. 
The good that ye shall give in alms shall redound unto 
yourselves ; and ye shall not give unless out of desire 
of seeing the face of God '\ And what good thing ye 
shall give in alms, it shall be repaid you, and ye shall 
not be treated unjustly ; luito the poor ^\'ho are wholly 
employed in fighting for the religion of God, and can- 
not go to and fro on the earth ; whom the ignorant 
man thiuketh rich, jjecause of their modesty : thou 
shalt know them by this mark, they ask not men with 
importunity ; and what good ye shall give in alms, 
verily God knoweth it. They who distribute alms of 
their substance night and day, in private and in public, 
shall have their reward with their Lord ; on them 
shall no fear come, neither shall they be grieved. They 
who devour usury shall not ariseyro?/^ the dead, but as 
he ariseth whom vSatan hath infected by a touch *': this 
shall happen to them because they say. Truly selling is 
but as usury : and yet God hath permitted selling and 
forbidden usury. He therefore avIio when there cometh 
unto him an admonition from his Lord abstaineth 
J'rom usury for the future, shall have what is past,/or- 
gixx-n him, and his affair belongeth unto God. But 
whoever returneth to usury, they shall be the com- 
panions of hell fire, they shall continue therein for 
ever. God shall take liis blessing from usury, and 
shall increase alms : for God loveth no infidel, or un- 
godly person. But they who believe and do that 
which is right, and observe the stated times of prayer, 

" i. c. For the sake of a reward hereafter, and not for any worldly consideration '. 
•• vis. Like ihrmoniacs or possessed persons, that is, in great horror and distraction 
of mind and convulsive agitation of body. 

' Jallalo'ddin. 

Chap. 2.] AL koran! 49 

and pay their legal alms, they shall have their reward 
with their Loud : there shall come no fear on them, 
neither shall they be grieved. O true believers, fear 
God, and remit that which remaineth of usury", if 
ye really believe ; but if ye do it not, hearken unto 
war, XV Inch is declared against you from God and his 
apostle : yet if ye repent, ye shall have the capital of 
your money. Deal not unjustly xdth others, and ye 
shall not be dealt with unjustly. If there be any 
debtor under a difficulty of paying his debt, let his 
creditor wait till it be easy Jbr him to do it ; but if ye 
remit it as alms, it will be better for you, if ye knew 
it. And fear the day wherein ye shall return unto 
God ; then shall every soul be paid what it hath gained, 
and they shall not be treated unjustly. O true be- 
lievers, when ye bind yourselves one to the other in a 
debt for a certain time, write it down ; and let a writer 
^^Tite between you according to justice, and let not the 
writer refuse writing according to what God hath 
taught him ; but let him write, and let him who oweth 
the debt dictate, and let him fear God his Lord, and 
not diminish aught thereof. But if he who oweth the 
debt be foolish, or weak, or be not able to dictate him- 
self, let his agent *" dictate according to equity; and 
call to witness two witnesses of your neighbouring 
men ; but if there be not two men, let there be a man 
and two women of those whom ye shall choose for wit- 
nesses : if one of those 'women should mistake, the 
other of them will cause her to recollect. And the 
witnesses shall not refuse, whensoever they shall be 
called. And disdain not to write it down, be it a large 
debt, or be it a small one, until its time of payment : 
this will be more just in the sight of God, and more 
right for bearing witness, and more easy, that ye may 
not doubt. But if it be a present bargain which ye 

* Or the interest due before usury was prohibited. For this some of Mohammed's 
followers exacted of their debtors, supposing they lawfully might '. 

'' Whoever manages his affairs, whether his father, heir, guardian, or interpreter '. 

> Jallalo'ddin. ^ Idem. 

VOL. I. E 

50 AL KORAN. [Chap. 2. 

transact between yourselves, it shall be no crime in 
you, if ye write it not down. And take witnesses 
when ye sell one to the other, and let no harm be done 
to the writer, nor to the witness ; u/iick if ye do, it 
will surely be injustice in you : and fear God, and God 
will instruct you, for God knoweth all things. And 
if ye be on a journey, and find no writer, let pledges be 
taken : but if one of you trust the other, let him who 
is trusted return what he is tinisted with, and fear God 
his Loud. And conceal not the testimony, for he who 
concealeth it hath surely a wricked heart : God knoweth 
that which ye do. Whatever is in heaven and on 
earth is God's : and whether ye manifest that which 
is in your minds, or conceal it, God will call you to 
account for it, and will forgive whom he pleaseth, and 
will punish whom he pleaseth ; for God is almighty. 
The apostle believeth in that which hath been sent 
down unto him from his Lord, and the faithful also. 
Every one of them believeth in God, and his angels, 
and his scriptures, and liis apostles : we make no di- 
stinction at all between his apostles ''. And they say, 
We have heard, and do obey : we implore thy mercy, 
O Lord, for unto thee must we return. God will 
not force any soul beyond its capacity : it shall have 
the good which it gaineth, and it shall suffer the evil 
which it gaineth. O Lord, punish us not, if Ave forget, 
or act sinfully : O Lord, lay not on us a burthen like 
that which thou hast laid on those who have been 
before us ** ; neither make us, O Lord, to bear what 
we have not strength to heat\ but be favourable unto 
us, and spare us, and be merciful unto us. Thou art 
our patron, help us therefore against the unbelieving 

» But tliis, say the Mohammedans, the Jews do, who receive Moses, but reject 
Jesus ; and the Christians, who receive both those prophets, but reject jMohanimed '. 

•" That is, on the Jews, who, as the commentators tell us, were ordered to kill a 
man by way of atonement, to give one fourth of their substance in alms, and to cut 
off an unclean ulcerous part -, and were forbidden to eat fat, or animals that divided 
the hoof, and were obliged to observe the sabbath, and other particulars wherein the 
Mohammedans are at liberty 3. 

» Jallalo'ddin. » Idem. ^ Yahya. 

Chap. 3.] AL KOiiAN. 51 

Intitled, the Family of Imran^ ; revealed at Medina. 

In the name of the most merciful God. 

Al. M^. There is no God but God, the living, the 
self-subsisting : he hath sent dovi^n unto thee the book 
of the Koi'chi with, truth, confirming that which was 
revealed before it ; for he had formerly sent down the 
law, and the gospel, a direction unto men ; and he had 
also sent down the distinction between good and evil. 
Verily those who believe not the signs of God shall 
suffer a grievous punishment ; for God is mighty, able 
to revenge. Surely nothing is hidden from God, of 
that which is on earth, or in heaven : it is he who 
formeth you in the wombs, as he pleaseth ; there is no 
God but he, the mighty, the wise. It is he who hath 
sent down unto thee the book, wherein are some verses 
clear to be understood, they are the foundation of the 
book ; and others are parabolical \ But they whose 
hearts are perverse will follow that which is parabolical 
therein, out of love of schism, and a desire of the in- 
terpretation thereof; yet none knoweth the interpreta- 

» This name is given in the Koran to the father of the Virgin Mary. See below, 
p. 56. 

^' For the meaning of these letters, the reader is referred to the Preliminary Dis- 
course, Sect. III. 

<^ This passage is translated according to the exposition of al Zamakhshari and 
al Beidawi, which seems to be the truest. 

The contents of the Koran are here distinguished into such passages as are to be 
taken in the literal sense, and such as require a figurative acceptation. The former 
being plain and obvious to be understood, compose the fundamental part, or, as the 
original expresses it, the mother of the book, and contain the principal doctrines and 
precepts ; agreeably to, and consistently with which, those passages which are wrapt 
up in metaphors, and delivered in an enigmatical, allegorical style, are always to be 
interpreted '. 

' See the Prelim. Disc. § III. 

E 2 

52 AL KORAN. [Chap. 3. 

tioii thereof, except God. ]5ut they who are M-ell 
grounded in knowledge say, We believe therein, the 
whole is from our Lord ; and none will consider except 
the prudent *. O Lord, cause not our hearts to swerve 
fi'oyn truth, after thou hast directed vis : and give us 
from thee mercy, for thou art he who giveth. O 
Lord, thou shalt surely gather mankind together, 
unto a day of resurrection : there is no doubt of it, for 
God will not be contrary to the promise. As for the 
infidels, their wealth shall not profit them any thing, 
nor their childi'en, against God : they shall be the 
fuel of hcU fire. According to the wont of the people 
of Pharaoh, and of those who went before them, they 
charged our signs with a lie ; but God caught them 
in their wickedness, and God is severe in punishing. 
Say unto those who believe not. Ye shall be overcome, 
and thrown together into hell ; an unhappy couch shall 
it he. Ye have already had a miracle shoxni you in 
two armies, which attacked each other '' : one army 
fought for God's true religion, but the other ^vere in- 
fidels ; they saw the faithjhl twice as many as them- 

• " This language is that of the wise." — Savary. 

" The sign or miracle here meant was the victory gained by INIohammed in tiie 
second year of the Hejra, over the idolatrous Meccans, headed by Abu Sofian, in 
the valley of Bedr, which is situate near the sea between Mecca and Medina. ]\Io- 
hammed's forces consisted of no more than three hundred and nineteen men, but tlie 
enemies* army of near a thousand ; notwithstanding wliich odds, he put tliem to 
flight, having killed seventy of the principal Koreish, and taken as many prisoners, 
with the loss of only fourteen of his own men >. This was the first \-ictory obtained 
by the prophet, and though it may seem no very considerable action, yet it was of 
great advantage to him, and the foundation of all his future power and success. For 
which reason it is famous in tlie Arabian history, and more than once vaunted in the 
Koran-, as an effect of the divine assistance. The miracle, it is said, consisted in 
three things ; 1 . Mohammed, by the direction of the angel Gabriel, took a handful 
of gravel and threw it towards the enemy in the attack, saying, ]\Iiuj their faces lu: 
confounded i whereupon they immediately turned their backs and fled. But, though 
the prophet seemingly threw the gravel himself, yet he is told in the Koran ■', that it 
was not he, but (iod, who threw it ; that is to say, by the ministry of his angel. 
2. The Mohammedan troops seemed to the infidels to be twice as many in number 
as themselves, which greatly discouraged them. And, 3. Gotl sent down to their 
assistance first a thousand, and afterwards three thousand angels, led by (iabriel, 
mounted on his horse Haiziim ; and according to the Koran', these celestial auxiliaries 
really did all the execution, though Mohammed's men imagined themselves did it, 
and fought stoutly at the same time. 

' See Elmacin. p. 5. Hottinger. Hist. Orient. 1 2. c. 4. Abulfed. Vit. Moham. 
p. 56, &c. Prideaux's Life of IMoham. p. 71, &c. ' See this chap, below, and 

chapters 8 and 32. ^ (hap. 8, not far from the begiiming. * Il)id. 

Chap. 3.] AL KORAN. 53 

selves in t/ieir eye-sight ; for God strengtheneth with 
his help whom he pleaseth. Surely herein was an 
example unto men of understanding. The love and 
eager desire of wives, and children, and sums heaped 
up of gold and silver, and excellent horses, and cattle, 
and land, is prepared for men : this is the provision of 
the present life * ; but unto God shall be the most 
excellent return. Say, Shall I declare unto you better 
tilings than this ? For those who are devout are pre- 
pared with their Lord, gardens through which rivers 
flow ; therein shall they continue for ever : and they 
shall enjoy wives free from impurity, and the favoiu' 
of God ; for God regardeth his servants ; who say, 
O Lord, we do sincerely believe ; forgive us therefore 
our sins, and deliver us from the pain of hell fire : the 
patient, and the lovers of truth, and the devout, and 
the almsgivers, and those who ask pardon early in the 
morning. God hath borne witness that there is no 
God but he ; and the angels, and those who at^e en- 
dowed with wisdom, profess the same ; who executeth 
righteousness ; there is no God but he ; the mighty, 
the wise. Verily the true religion in the sight of 
God is Islam "^ ; and they who had received the scrip- 
tures dissented not therefrom^ until after the know- 
ledge of God's unity had come unto them, out of 
envy among themselves ; but whosoever believeth not 
in the signs of God, verily God will be swift in 
bringing him to account. If they dispute with thee, 
say, I have resigned myself unto God, and he who 
folio weth me doth the same : and say unto them who 
have received the scriptures, and to the ignorant ^ 
Do ye profess the religion of Islam ? now if they 

• " Such are the enjoyments of this earthly life ; but the asylum which is pre- 
pared by God is far more delectable." — Savari/. 

=» The proper name of the Mohammedan religion, which signifies the resigning or 
devoting one's self entirely to God, and his service. This they say is the religion 
which all the prophets were sent to teach, being founded on the imity of God '. 
'' i. c. The pagan Arabs, who had no knowledge of the scriptures =. 

» Jallalo'ddin, Al Beidawi. ^ Idem. 

54 AL KORxVX. [Chap. 3. 

embrace Islam, they are surely directed ; but if they 
turn their backs, verily unto thee helongeth preaching 
only; for God regardetli his servants. And unto 
those who believe not in the signs of GoD, and slay 
the pro])hets without a cause, and put those men to 
death who teach justice ; denounce unto them a painful 
punishment. These are they whose works perish in 
this world, and in that which is to come ; and they 
shall have none to help them. Hast thou not observed 
those unto whom part of the scripture was given ^? 
They were called unto the book of God, that it might 
judge between them''; then some of them turned their 
backs, and retired afar off. This they did because 
they said, The fire of hell shall by no means touch us, 
but for a certain number of days'': and that which 
they had falsely devised hath deceived them in their 
religion. How then uill it be mth them, when we 

* That is, the Jews. 

•* This passage was revealed on occasion of a dispute Mohammed had with some 
Jews, which is differently related by the commentators. 

Al Beidawi says, that Mohammed going one day into a Jewish synagogue, NaVm 
Ebn Amru and al Hareth Ebn Zeid asked him what religion he was of? To whicli 
he answering. Of the religion of Abraham ; tliey replied, Abraham was a Jew ; but 
on Mohammed's proposing that the Pentateucb might decide the question, they 
would by no means agree to it. 

liut Jallalo'ddin tells us, Tliat two persons of the Jewish religion having com- 
mitted adultery, their punishment was referred to Mohammed, who gave sentence 
that they should be stoned, according to the law of Moses. This the Jews refused 
to submit to, alleging there was no such command in the Pentateuch : but on i\Io- 
hanimed's appealing to the book, the said law was found therein. Whereupon tlie 
criminals were stoned, to the great mortification of the Jews. 

It is very remarkable that this law of IVIoses concerning the stoning of adulterers 
is mentioned in tlie New Testament ' (though I know some dispute the authenticity 
of that whole passage), but is not now to be found, either in the Hebrew or Sama- 
ritan Pentateuch, or in the Septuagint ; it being only said that such s/tall be put to 
death '. Tliis omission is insisted on by the Mohammedans as one instance of the 
corruption of the law of JMoscs by the Jews. 

It is also observable that there was a verse once extant in the Koran, commanding 
adulterers to be stoned ; and the commentators say the words only are abrogated, the 
sense or law still remaining in force ^. 

« i.e. Forty; the time their forefathers worshipped the calf'. Al Beidawi adds, 
that some of tliem pretended tlicir punishment was to last but seven days, that is a 
day for every thousand years which they supposed tlie world was to endure ; and that 
they imagined they were to be so mildly dealt witli, eitlicr by reason of the inter- 
cession of their fathers the prophets, or because GoD had promised Jacob, that his 
offspring should be punithed but slightly. 

' Jolm viii. r». • Lev. xx. 10. See Whiston's Ess-iy towards restoring the 

true Text of the Old Test. p. 9!), 100. » gee the Prelim. Disc, t? 3. ^ See 

before p. !.'>. 

Chap. 3.] Ai- KOiiAN. 55 

shall gather tiiein together at the day qfjudgme/il^ of 
which there is no doubt ; and every soul shall be paid 
that which it hath gained, neither shall they be treated 
unjustly? Say, O God, who possessest the kingdom ; 
thou givest the kingdom unto whom thou wilt, and 
thou takest av/ay the kingdom from whom thou wilt : 
thou exaitest whom thou wilt, and thou humblest 
whom thou wilt : in thy hand is good, for thou art 
almighty. Thou makest the night to succeed the day : 
thou bringest forth the living out of the dead, and 
thou bringest forth the dead out of the living''; and 
providest food for whom thou wilt without measure. 
Let not the faithful take the infidels for their pro- 
tectors, rather than the faithful: he who doth this 
shall not be jjrotccted of God at all ; unless ye fear 
any danger from them : but God warneth you to be- 
ware of himself; for unto God must ye return. Say, 
Whether ye conceal that which is in your breasts, or 
whether ye declare it, God knoweth it ; for he knoweth 
whatever is in heaven, a^id whatever is on earth : God 
is almighty. On the last day every soul shall find the 
good which it hath wrought, present; and the evil 
which it hath wrought, it shall wish that between itself 
and that were a wide distance : but God warneth you 
to beware of himself * ; for God is gracious unto his 
servants. Say, If ye love God, follow me : tlien God 
shall love you, and forgive you your sins ; for God is 
gracious, and merciful. Say, Obey GoD, and his apo- 
stle : but if ye go back, verily God loveth not the 
unbelievers. God hath surely chosen Adam, and 
Noah, and the family of Abraham, and the family of 
Imran*" above the rest of the world; a race descending 
the one from the other : God is he who heareth and 

" The Mohammedans have a tradition^ that the first banner of the infidels that 
shall be set up, on the day of judgment, will be that of the Jews ; and that God 
will first reproach them with their wickednes?, over the heads of tliose who are pre- 
sent, and then order them to hell ^ 

'' As a man from seed, and a bird from an egg ; and vice versa '^. 

* " The Lord exhorteth you to^dread his anger. He looketh on his servants with 
a propitious eye." — Savary. 

'^ Or Amran, is the name of two several persons, according to the BJohammedan 

> Al Beidawi. ^ Jallalo'ddin. 

56 AL KORAN. [Chap. 3. 

knoweth. Remember when the wife of Imran* said. 
Lord, verily I have vowed unto thee that which is in 
my womb, to be dedicated /o tJiij service ^ : accept it 
therefore of me ; for thou art lie who heareth and 
knoweth. And when she was delivered of it, she said, 
Lord, verily I have brought forth a female (and God 
well knew what she had brought forth), and a male is 
not as a female'^*. I have called her Mary: and I 

tradition. One was the fiither of Moses and Aaron ; and the other was tlie father of 
tlie Virgin Mary ' ; but lie is called by some Christian writers Joachim. The com- 
mentators suppose the first, or rather both of them, to be meant in this place; how- 
ever the per«)n intended in the next passage, it is agreed, was the latter; who besides 
Mary the mother of Jesus, had also a son named j\aron ', and a sister named Isha 
(or Elizabeth;, who n^.anied Zacharias, and was the mother of John the liaptist; 
whence that prophet and are usually called by the Mohammedans The two 
sons of ilic aunt, or the cousins german. 

From the identity of names it has been generally im.agined by Christian viTitcrs^ 
that the Koran here confounds 3Iary the mother of Jesus with i\Iary or Miriam, 
the sister of Moses and Aaron ; which intolerable anachronism, if it were certain, is 
sufficient of itself to destroy the pretended authority of this book. But though lilo- 
hamnied may be supposed to have been ignorant enough in ancient history and chro- 
nology, to have committed so gross a blunder ; yet I do not see how it can be made 
out from the words of the Kor.'m. For it does not follow, because two persons have 
the same name, and have each a father and brother who bear the same names, that they 
nmst therefore necessarily be the same person : besides such a mistake is inconsistent 
with a number of other places in the Koran, whereby it manifestly appears that 
JMohammed well knew and asserted that Moses preceded Jesus several ages. And 
the commentators accordingly fail not to tell us, that there had passed about one 
thousand eight hundred years between Amran the father of JMoses, and Amran the 
father of the Virgin Mary : they also make them the sons of different persons ; the 
first, they say, was the son of Yeshar, or Izhar (ihough he was really his brother)'' 
the son of Kahath, the son of Len; and the other was tlie son of Mathan'', whose 
genealogy they trace, but in a very corrupt and imperfect manner, up to David, and 
thence to Adam^ 

It must be observed, that though the Virgin ]\Iary is called in tlie Koran ', the 
sister of Aaron, yet she is nowhere called the sister of IMoses ; however some I\Io- 
hammedan writers have imagined that the same individual Marj', the sister of Moses, 
was miraculously preserved ahve from his time till that of Jesus Christ, purposely to 
become the mother of the latter ". 

" The Imran here mentioned was the father of the Virgin IMary, and his wife's 
name was Hannah or Ann, the daughter of Fakudli. This woman, say the com- 
mentators, being aged, and barren, on seeing a bird feed her young ones, became 
very desirous of issue, and begged a child of (Jon, promising to consecrate it to his 
service in the temple ; whereupon she had a child, but it proved a daughter ». 

•' The Arabic word is fire; but here signifies particularly one that is //•(■<■ or de- 
tached from all worldly deshes and occupations, and wholly devoted to God's service '". 

= Because a female could not minister in the temple as a male could ". 

" '• OoD knew to what she had given birth. Obvious characters distinguish 
the two sexes." — Suvary. 

' iVl Zamakhshari, al Beidawi. « Koran, c. 19. 3 V. Rcland, de Rcl. 

Moh. p. 211. IMarracc. in Ale. p. 115, <S:c. I'ridcaux, Letter to the Deists, p. IHo. 
•" E.xod. vi. 18. ' Al Zamakh. al Beidawi. •* V. Kcland, ubi sup. D'llcr- 

belot, Btbl. Orient, p. r>}i:>. "Chap. 19. » V. Guadiignol, Apolog. pro Hil, 

Christ, contra Ahmed Ebn Ztin al Abedin, p. 279. ^ Al Beidawi, al Thalabi. 

''' Jallalo'ddin, al Zamakhshari. "' Jjillalo'ddin. 

Chap. 3.] AL KORAN. 57 

commend her to thy protection, and also her issue, 
against Satan driven away with stones \ Therefore 
the Lord accepted her with a gracious acceptance'', 
and caused her to bear an excellent offspring. And 
Zacharias took care of the child ; whenever Zacharias 
went into the chamber to her, he found provisions with 
lier'': cmd he said, O Mary, whence hadst thou this? 
she answered, This is from GoD : for God provideth 
for whom he pleaseth without measure''. There Za- 
charias called on his Lord, and said, Lord, give me 
from thee a good offspring, for thou art the hearer of 
prayer. And the angels^ called to him, while he stood 
praying in the chamber, sayings Verily God promiseth 
thee a son named John, who shall bear witness to the 
Word*^ "dchlch cometh from God ; an honourable person, 

» This expression alludes to a tradition, that Abraham, when the devil tempted 
him to disobey God in not sacrificing his son, drove the fiend away by throwing 
stones at him ; in memory of which the Blohammedans, at the pilgrimage of Ulecca, 
throw a certain number of stones at the devil, with certain ceremonies, in the valley 
of Mina '. 

It is not improbable that the pretended immaculate conception of the Virgin fliary 
is intimated in this passage. For according to a tradition of fllohammed, every per- 
son that comes into the world is touched at his birth by the devil, and therefore cries 
out, IMary and her son only excepted ; between whom and the evil spirit God placed 
a veU, so that his touch did not reach them '2. And for this reason, they say, neither 
of them were guilty of any sin, like the rest of the children of Adam ^ ; which pe- 
culiar grace they obtained by virtue of this recommendation of them by Hannah to 
God's protection. 

'' Though the child happened not to be a male, yet her mother presented her to 
the priests who had the care of the temple, as one dedicated to God ; and they 
having received her, she was committed to the care of Zacharias, as will be observed 
by and by, and he built her an apartment in the temple, and supplied her with ne- 
cessaries '. 

"= The commentators say that none went into Mary's apartment but Zacharias 
himself, and that he locked seven doors upon her ; yet he found she had always win- 
ter fruits in summer, and summer fruits in winter ^. 

^ There is a story of Fatema, fllohammed's daughter, that she once brought two 
loaves and a piece nf flesh to her father, who returned them to her, and having called 
for her again, when she uncovered the dish, it was fuU of bread and meat ; and on 
Mohammed's asking her whence she had it ? she answered in the words of this pass- 
age. This is from God; for God provideth for xvhom he picascth idthoid measure. 
Whereupon he blessed God, who thus favoured her, as he had the most excellent 
of the daughters of Israel ''. 

« Though the word be in the plural, yet the commentators say it was the angel 
Gabriel only. The same is to be understood where it occurs in the following passages. 

f That is Jesus ; who, al Beidawi says, is so called, because he was conceived by 
the word or command of God, without a father. 

1 Sec the Prelim. Disc. § 4. " Jallalo'ddin. Al Beidawi. ^ Kitada. 

■> Jallalo'ddin. Al Beidawi. V. Lud. de Dieu, in not. ad Hist. Christi Xaverii, p, 
542. ^ Al Beidawi. V. de Dieu, ub. supr. p. 548. « Al Beidawi. 

58 AL KORAN. [Chap. 3. 

chaste", and one of tlie righteous prophets. He an- 
swered, Lord, how shall 1 have a son, when old age 
hath overtaken me'*, and my wife is barren? The 
angel said, So God doth that which he pleaseth. Za- 
charias answered, Lord, give me a sign. The angel 
said. Thy sign shall be, that thou shalt speak unto no 
man' for three days, otherwise than by gesture : re- 
member thy Lord often, and praise him evening and 
morning. And when the angels said, O Mary, verily 
God hath chosen thee, and hath purified thee, and 
hath chosen thee above all the women of the world : 
O Mary, be devout towards thy Lord, and worship, 
and bow down with those who bow down. This is a 
secret history : we reveal it unto thee, although thou 
wast not present with them when they threw in their 
rods to cast lots which of them should have the edu- 
cation of Mary'* ; neither wast thou with them, when 
they strove among themselves. When the angels said ; 
O Mary, verily God sendeth thee good tidings, that 
thou shalt hear the Word, jjroceedhig from himself; 
his name shall be Christ Jesus the son of Mary, 
honourable in this world and in the world to come, 
and 07ie of those who approach near to the presence of 
God ; and he shall speak unto men in the cradle", and 

•■• The original word signifies one who refrains not only from women, but from all 
other worldly dehghts and desires. Al Bcidawi mentions a tradition, that during his 
cliildhood some boys invited him to play, but he refused, saying that he was not cre- 
ated to play. 

^ Zacharias was then ninety-nine years old, and his wfe eighty-nine'. 

<" Though he could not speak to any body else, yet his tongue was at liberty to 
praise ( Jod ; as he is directed to do by the following words. 

■' AVhen IVIary was first brought to the temple, the priests, because she was the 
daughter of one of their chiefs, disputed among themselves, who should have the 
education of her. Zacharias insisted that he ought to be preferreil, because he had 
married her aunt; but the others not consenting; that it should be so, tliey agreed to 
decide the matter by casting of lots : whereupon twenty-seven of them went to the 
river Jordan, and threw in tlicir rods (or arrows without heads or feathers, such as 
the Arabs used for the same purpose), on which they had written some passages of 
the law, but they all sunk, except that of Zacharias, which floated on the water ; and 
he had thereupon the care of the child committed to him". 

>•• Besides an instance of this given in the Koran itself \ which I shall not here an- 
ticipate, a ftlohanmicdan writer (of no very great credit indeed) tells two stories, one 
of Jesus's speaking while in his mother's womb, to reprove her cousin Joseph for his 
unjust suspicions of her* ; and another of his giving an answer to the same person 

> AlBeidawa. ^ Idem. Jallalo'ddin, &c. ^ Chap. 19. ■• V. Sikii 

notas in Evang. Infant, p. 5. 

Chap. 3.] AL KORAN. 59 

when he is grown up**; and he shall be one of the 
righteous : she answered, Lord, how shall I have a 
son, since a man hath not touched me ? the angel said. 
So God createth that which he pleaseth : when he 
decreeth a thing, he only saith unto it. Be, and it is : 
God shall teach him the scripture, and wisdom, and 
the law, and the gospel; and shall appoint him his 
apostle to the children of Israel; and he shall say. 
Verily I come unto you with a sign from your Lord ; 
for I will make before you, of clay, as it were the figure 
of a bird""; then I will breathe thereon, and it shall 
become a bird, by the permission of God'': and I will 
heal him that hath been blind from his birth ; and the 
leper : and I will raise the dead'^ by the permission of 

soon after he was born. For Joseph being sent by Zacharias to seek fllary (who 
had gone out of the city by night to conceal her delivery), and having found her, 
began to expostulate with her, but she made no reply ; whereupon the child spoke 
these words : Ryoicc, Joseph, and he of good cheer; for God hath brought me 
forth from the darkness of the xeoinh, to the light of the world ; and I shall go to 
the children of Israel, and invite them to the obedience of God '. 

These seem all to have been taken from some fabulous traditions of the eastern 
Christians, one of which is preserved to us in the spurious gospel of the Infancy of 
Christ ; where we read that Jesus spoke while yet in the cradle, and said to his 
mother, Verily I am Jesus the son of God, the word -which thou hast brought forth, 
as the angel Gabriel did declare unto thee ; and my Father hath sent mc to save the 

» The Arabic word properly signifies a man in full age, that is, between thirty 
or thirty-four and fifty-one ; and the passage may relate to Christ's preaching here 
on earth. But as he had scarce attained this age when he was taken up into heaven, 
the commentators choose to understand it of his second coming 3. 

^ Some say it was a bat ^, though others suppose Jesus made several birds of dif- 
ferent sorts •■'. 

This circumstance is also taken from the following fabulous tradition, which may 
be found in the spurious gospel abovementioned. Jesus being seven years old, and 
at play with several cliildren of his age, they made several figures of birds and 
beasts, for their diversion, of clay ; and each preferring his own workmanship, Jesus 
told them that he would make his walk and leap ; which accordingly, at his com- 
mand, they did. He made also several figures of sparrows and other birds, which 
flew about or stood on his hands as he ordered them, and also ate and drank when he 
offered them meat and drink. The children telling this to their parents, v/ere for- 
bidden to play any more with Jesus, whom they held to be a sorcerer^. 

"^ The commentators observe that these words are added here, and in the nest sen- 
tence, lest it should be thought Jesus did these miracles by his own power, or was 

•* Jallalo'ddin mentions three persons whom Christ restored to life, and who lived 
several years after, and had children ; viz. Lazarus, the widow's son, and the pub- 
lican's Cl suppose he means the ruler of the synagogue's) daughter. He adds that 
he also raised Shem the son of Noah, who, as another writes ^ thinking he had been 

' Al Kessai, apud eundem. "^ Evang. Infant, p. 5. ^ Jallalo'ddin. Al 

Beidawi. ^ Jallalo'ddin. ^ Al Thalabi. ^' Evang. Infant, p. Ill, 

\c. ' Al Beidawi, &c. « Al Thalabi. 

Go AL KORAN. [Chap. i3. 

God : and I will prophesy unto you what ye eat, and 
what ye lay up for store in your houses. Verily herein 
^v'ill be a sign unto you, if ye believe. And / come to 
confirm the law which was revealed before me, and to 
allow unto you as lawful part of that wliich hath been 
forbidden you": and I come unto you with a sign from 
your Lord*; therefore fear God, and obey me. Ye- 
rily God is my Lord, and your Lord : therefore 
serve him. This is the right way. But when Jesus 
perceived their unbelief, he said, "Who idll be my 
helj)ers towards God? The apostles'* answered. We 
liill he the helpers of God ; we believe in God, and do 
thou bear witness that we are true believers. O Lord, 
we believe in that which thou hast sent down, and we 
liave followed thy apostle ; \vrite us down therefore 
with those who bear witness of him. And Ihe Jews 
devised a stratagem against him" ; but God devised a 
stratagem against themf'^; and God is the best deviser 

ciilled to judgment, came out of his <^rave with his head half grey, whereas men did 
not grow grey in liis days ; after which he immediately died again. 

"■ Such as the eating of fish that have neither fins nor scales, the cawl and fat of 
animals, and camels' flesh, and to work on the sabbadi. These things, say the com- 
mentators, being arbitrary institutions in the law of Moses, were abrogated by Jesus; 
as several of the same kind instituted by the latter have been since abrogated by 
Mohammed '. 

* " God has given unto me the power of miracles." — Savary, 

^ In Arabic, al Huxvarhjun ; which v.'ord they derive from Hara, to he u-IiUe, and 
suppose the apostles were so called either from tlie candour and siinriifi/ of tlieir 
minds, or because tliey were princes and wore wiiite garments, or else because tlicy 
were by trade fi/lkrs''. According to which last opinion, their vocation is thus re- 
lated : That as Jesus passed by the sea side, he saw some fullers at work, and ac- 
costing them, said, Yc cUuiixc ifusc clot/is, hut ckuusc not your Itcarts ; upon which 
they believed on liim. But the true etymology seems to be from the Etliiopic verb 
Ha-u'yia, to ffo ; wlicnce Nawarya signifies one that is sent, a viessenf^er or (ipostle\ 

•^ i. e. Tliey laid a design to take away his life. 

■f " The Jews were treacherous unto Jesus. God fruscrated their treacherj'. He 
is more powerful than the deceivers.'''' — Savary. 

•^ This stratagem of God's was the taking of Jesus up into heaven, and stamping 
his likeness on another person, who was apprehended and cnicified in liis stead. For 
it is the constant doctrine of the Mohammedans, that it was not Jesus himself who 
underwent that ignominious death, but somebody else in his shape and resemblance'. 
The person crucified some will have to be a spy that was sent to entrap him ; otlicrs 
that it was one Titian, who by the direction of .Tudas entered in at a window of tlie 
house where .Jesus was, to kill him ; and oUiers tliat it was Judas lumself, whoagrcctl 
with the rulers of tlie Jews to betray him for thirty pieces of silver, and led those 
who were sent to take him. 

They add s, that Jesus after his crucifixion in ejigie was sent down again to tlic 

' Al Beidawi. Jallalo'ddin. ^ lideni. ^ y. Ludolfi Lexic. yEthiop. 

col. 40. ct Golii notJis ad cap. (!1. Kor.'mi, p. tido. J See Koran, c. 4. * V. Mar- 
race, in Ale. p. 113, &c. et in Protlr. part 3, p. 03, Cxc. 

Chap. 3.] AL KORAN. 61 

of stratagems. When God said, O Jesus, verily I 
will cause thee to die'', and I will take thee up unto 

earth, to comfort his mother and disciples, and acquaint them how the Jews were de- 
ceived ; and was then taken up a second time into heaven. 

It is supposed by several that this story was an original invention of fllohammed's ; 
but they are certainly mistaken : for several sectaries held the same opinion, long 
before his time. The Basilidians ', in the very beginning of Christianity, denied that 
Christ himself suffered, but that Simon the Cyrenean was crucified in his place. 
The Cerinthians before them, and the Carpocratians next (to name no more of those, 
who affirmed Jesus to have been a mere man) did believe the same thing ; that it 
was not himself but one of his followers, very like him, that was crucified. Photius 
tells us, that he read a book entitled The journeys of the apostles, relating the acts 
of Peter, John, Andrew, Thomas, and Paul, and among other things contained 
therein, this was one, that Christ was not crucified, hut another in his stead, and that 
therefore lie hiugJied at his crucijicrs-, or those who thought they had crucified him -'. 

I have in another place ' mentioned an apocryphal gospel of Barnabas, a forgery 
originally of some nominal Christians, but interpolated since by IMohammedans ; 
which gives tliis part of the history of Jesus with circumstances too curious to be 
omitted. It is therein related, that the moment the Jews were going to apprehend 
Jesus in the garden, he was snatched up into the third heaven, by the ministry of 
four angels, Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and Uriel ; that he wUl not die till the end 
of the world, and that it was Judas who was crucified in his stead ; God having per- 
mitted that traitor to appear so like his master, in the eyes of the .Tews, that they took 
and delivered him to Pilate. That this resemblance was so great, that it deceived the 
Virgin INIary and the apostles themselves ; but that Jesus Christ afterwards obtained 
leave of God to go and comfort them. That Barnabas having then asked him, why 
the divine goodness had suffered the mother and disciples of so holy a prophet to 
believe even for one moment that he had died in so ignominious a manner ? Jesus 
returned the following answer. " O Barnabas, believe me that every sin, how small 
soever, is punished by God with great torment, because God is offended with sin. JMy 
motlier therefore and faithful disciples, having loved me with a mixture of earthly 
love, die just God has been pleased to punish this love with their present grief, that 
they might not be punished for it liereafter in the flames of heU. And as for me, 
though I have myself been blameless in the world, yet other men having called me 
God, and the son of God ; therefore God, that I might not be mocked by the devils 
at the day of judgment, has been pleased that in this world I should be mocked by 
men with the death of Judas, making every body believe that I died upon the cross. 
And hence it is that this mocking is still to continue till the coming of Mohammed, 
the messenger of God ; who, coming into the world, will undeceive every one who 
shaU believe in the law of God, from this mistake ^" 

" It is the opinion of a great many Mohammedans, that Jesus was taken up into hea- 
ven without dying : which opinion is consonant to what is delivered in the spurious 
gospel aoovementioned. Wherefore several of the commentators say that there is a 
hysterou proteron in these words, / xvill cause thee to die, and I •will take thee up 
nnto me ; and tliat the copulative does not import order, or that he died before his 
assumption ; the meaning being this, t'(:r. that God would first take Jesus up to 
heaven, and deliver him from the infidels, and afterwards cause him to die: which 
they suppose is to happen when he shall return into the world again, before the last 
day ". Some, thinking the order of the words is not to be changed, interpret them 
figuratively, and suppose their signification to be that Jesus was lifted up while he 
was asleep, or that God caused him to die a spiritual death to all worldly desires. But 
others acknowledge that he actually died a natural death, and continued in that state 
three hours, or, according to another tradition, seven hours; after which he was re- 
stored to life, and then taken up to heaven ". 

• Irenseus, 1. 1 , c. 2'd, &c. Epiphan. Ha;res. 24, num. 3. '^ Photius, Bibh 

Cod. 114, col. 291. 3 Toland's Nazarenus, p. 17, &c. " Prelim. Disc. 

§ IV. p. 102. s See the Menagiana, Tom. 4, p. 32G, &c. « See the 
Prelim. Disc. § IV. p. 111. ? Al Beidawi, 

62 AL KOKAN. [Chap. 3. 

me^, and I will deliver thee from the unbelievers; 
and I will place those who follow thee above the un- 
believers, until the day of resurrection'': then unto 
me shall ye return, and I will judge between you of 
that concerning which ye disagree. Moreover, as for 
the infidels, I will punish them witli a grievous pu- 
nishment in this world, and in that which is to come ; 
and there shall be none to help them. But they who 
believe, and do that which is right, he shall give them 
their reward : for God loveth not the wicked doers. 
These signs and this prudent admonition do we re- 
hearse unto thee. Verily the likeness of Jesus in the 
sight of God is as the likeness of Adam : he created 
him out of the dust, and then said unto him. Be ; and 
he was'^*. This is the truth from thy Lord ; be not 
therefore 0}2e of those who doubt : and whoever shall 
dispute with thee concerning him '^, after the knowledge 
which hath been given thee, say icnto them, Come, let 
us call together our sons, and your sons, and our wives, 
and your wives, and ourselves, and yourselves ; then 
let us make imprecations, and lay the curse of God on 
those who lie". Verily this is a true history: and 

" Some Mohammedans say this was done by die ministry of Gabriel : but others 
that a strong whirlwind took him up from mount Olivet '. 

■' That is, they who beUeve in Jesus (among whom the Mahommedans reckon 
themselves) shall be for ever superior to the Jews, both in arguments and in arms. 
And accordingly, says al Beidawi, to this very day the Jews have never prevailed 
either against the Christians or Moslems, nor have they any kingdom or established 
government of their own. 

= He was like to Adam in respect of his miraculous production by the immediate 
power of (rod -. 

* " In the sight of the Highest, Jesus is a man like unto Adam. Adam was 
created out of the dust. God said unto him, Be ! and he was." — Suvari/. 

•^ Namely, Jesus. 

•^ To explain this passage the commentators tell the following story. That some 
Christians, with their bishop named Abu Hareth, coming to 3Iohammed as ambas- 
sadors from the inhabitants of Najran, and entering into some disputes with him 
touching religion and the history of Jesus Clirist, they agreed the next morning to 
abide the trial here mentioned, as a quick way of deciding which of them were in the 
wrong. IMohammed met them accordingly, accompanied by his daughter Fatima, 
his son-in-law All, and his two grandsons, Hasan and Hosein, and desired tliem to 
wait till he had said liis prayers. But when they saw him kneel down, dieir resolu- 
tion failed tliem, and they durst not venture to curse him, but submitted to pay him 
tribute '. 

• Al Thalabi. See 2 Kings ii. 1, 11. ' Jallalo'ddin, &c 3 Jal- 
lalo'ddin. Al Beidawi. 

Chap. 3.] AL KORAN. 63 

there is no God, but God ; and God is most mighty 
and wise. If they turn back, God well knoweth the 
evil doers. Say, O ye who have received the scripture, 
come to a just determination between us and you"; 
that we worship not any except God, and associate no 
creature with him ; and that the one of us take not 
the other for lords'", beside God. But if they turn 
back, say. Bear witness that we are true believers. O 
ye to whom the scriptures have been given, why do ye 
dispute concerning Abraham ^ since the Law and the 
Gospel were not sent down until after him ? Do ye 
not therefore understand ? Behold ye are they Avho 
dispute concerning that Mdiicli ye have some knowledge 
in ; why therefore do ye dispute concerning that which 
ye have no knowledge of '^P God knoweth, but ye know 
not. Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian ; but he 
was of the true religion, one resigned unto God, and was 
not of the number of' the idolaters. Verily the men who 
are the nearest of kin unto Abraham are they who follow 
him ; and this prophet, and they who believe on him : 
God is the patron of the faithful. Some of those who 
have received the scriptures desire to seduce you*"; but 
they seduce themselves only, and they perceive it not. 
O ye who have received the scriptures, why do ye not 
believe in the signs of God, since ye are witnesses of 
them ? O ye who have received the scriptures, why 
do ye clothe truth with vanity, and knowingly hide 
the truth*? And some of those to whom the scrip- 

" That is, to such terms of agreement as are indisputably consonant to the doc- 
trine of all the prophets and scriptures, and therefore cannot be reasonably rejected '. 

•• Besides other charges of idolatry on the Jews and Christians, Mohammed ac- 
cused them of paying too implicit an obedience to their priests and monks, who took 
upon them to pronounce what things were lawful, and what unlawful, and to dis- 
pense with the laws of God ^ 

<^ viz. By pretending him to have been of your religion. 

** i. c. Ye perversely dispute even concerning those things which ye find in the 
Law and the Gospel, whereby it appears that they were both sent down long after 
Abraham's time : why then will ye offer to dispute concerning such points of Abra- 
ham's religion, of which your scriptures say nothing, and of which ye consequently 
can have no knowledge ^ ? 

« This passage was revealed when the Jew.-i endeavoured to pervert Hodheifa, 
Ammar, and Moadh to their religion ''. 

f The Jews and Christians are again accused of corrupting the scriptures, and 
stifling the prophecies concerning Blohammed. 

1 Jallalo'ddin. Al Beidawi. '^ lidem. ^ Al Beidawi. ^ Idem. 

64 AL KORAN. [Chap. 3. 

tures were given say, Believe in that whicli hath been 
sent down imto those who believe, in the beginning of 
the day; and deny if in the end thereof; tljat they 
may go back_/ro/w their Jaitli '" : and believe him only 
who followeth your religion. Say, Verily the tri/c di- 
rection is the direction of God, that there may be 
given unto some other a revelation like unto A\diat hath 
been given unto you. "Will they dispute with you 
before your Loud ? Say, Surely excellence is in the 
hand of God, he giveth it unto whom he pleaseth ; 
God is bounteous and wise : he will confer peculiar 
mercy on ^vllom he pleaseth ; for God is endued with 
great beneficence. There is of those who have received 
the scriptures, inito whom if thou trust a talent, he 
will restore it unto thee''; and there is also of them, 
vmto whom if thou trust a dinar, he will not restore 
it unto thee, unless thou stand over him continually 
tvith great urgency". This theij do, because they say, 

* The commentators to explain this ])assage say, that Caab Ebn al Ashraf and 
Malec Ebn al Seif (two Jews of Medina) advised their companions, when the Kebla 
■was changed ', to make as if they believed it was done by the divine direction, and 
to pray towards the Caaba in the morning, but that in the evening they should pray 
as formerly towards the temple of Jerusalem ; that Mohammed's followers, imagining 
the Jews were better judges of this matter than tliemselves, might imitate their ex- 
ample. But others say these were certain Jewisli priests of Khaibar, who directed 
some of their people to pretend in the morning that they had embraced IVloham- 
medisni, but in the close of the day to say that they had looketl into their books of 
scripture, and consulted their Rabbins, and could not find that Mohammed was the 
person described and intended in the law ; by which trick tliey hoped to raise doubts 
in the minds of the Mohammedans '2. 

'' As an instance of this, the commentators bring Abd'aUali Ebn Salam, a Jew, 
very intimate with Mohammed^, to whom one of the Koreish lent 1200 ounces of 
gold, which he very punctually paid at the time appointed ■*. 

"^ Al Beidawi produces an example of sucli a piece of injustice in one Phineas 
Ebn A z lira, a Jew, who borrowed a diiiAr, which is a gold coin worth about ten 
shillings, of a Koreishite, and afterwards had the conscience to deny it. 

But the person more directly struck at in this passage was the abovementionctl 
Caab Ebn al Ashraf, a most inveterate enemy of INIohammed and his religion, of 
whom Jallalo'ddin relates the same story as al Beidawi does of Phineas. This C:uib 
after the battle of Bedr went to Mecca, and there, to excite the Koreish to revenge 
themselves, made and recited verses lamenting the death of those who were slain in 
that battle, and reflecting very severely on 31ohammed; and he afterwards returned 
to Medina, and had the boldness to repeat them publicly there also ; at which 3Io- 
hammed was so exceedingly provoketl, that he proscribed him, and sent a party of men 
to kill him, and he was circumvented and slain by Mohammed Ebn Moslema in the 
third year of the Hejra '. Dr. Prideaux <" has confounded tlie Caab we are now 

' See before c. 2, p. 24. ^ Al Beidawi. ^ See Prideaux's Life of 

Mahom. p. .33. < A 1 Beidawi. Jallalo'ddin. ■ Al Jannabi. Elmacin. 

« Life of Mahom. p. 78, &c 

Chap. 3.] AL KORAN. 65 

We are not obliged to observe justice with the heathen : 
but they utter a lie against God, knowingly. Yea, 
whoso keepeth his covenant, and feareth God, God 
surely loveth those who fear him. But they who make 
merchandize of God's covenant, and of their oaths, for 
a small price, shall have no portion in the next life, 
neither shall God speak to them or regard them on the 
day of resurrection, nor shall he cleanse them ; but 
they shall suffer a grievous punishment. And there 
are certainly some of them, who read the scriptures 
perversely, that ye may think n^hat they read to be 
really in the scriptures, yet it is not in the scripture ; 
and they say, This is from God ; but it is not from 
God : and they speak that which is false concerning 
God, against their own knowledge. It is not ft for a 
man, that God should give him a book of revelations, 
and wisdom, and prophecy ; and then he should say 
unto men, Be ye worshippers of me, besides God ; but 
he ought to say. Be ye perfect in knowledge and in 
works, since ye know the scriptures, and exercise your- 
selves therein". God hath not commanded yau to take 
the angels and the prophets for your Lords : Will he 
command you to become infidels, after ye have been 
true believers? And remember when God accepted 
the covenant of the prophets ^ saying. This verily is 

speaking of, with another very different person of the same name, and a famous poet, 
but who was the son of Zohair, and no Jev/; as a learned gentleman has already 
observed '. In consequence of whicli mistake, the doctor attributes what the Arabian 
historians write of the latter, to the former, and wrongly affirms that he was not put 
to death by Mohammed. 

Some of the commentators however suppose that in the former part of this passage 
the Christians are intended, who, they say, are generally people of some honour and 
justice ; and in the latter part the Jews, who they think are more given to cheating 
and dishonesty -. 

" This passage was revealed, say the comvnentators, in answer to the Christians, 
who insisted that Jesus had commanded them to worship him as God. Al Beidawi 
adds that two Christians, named Abu Rafe al Koradhi and al Seyid al Najrani, 
offered to acknowledge Mohammed for their Lord, and to worship him ; to which he 
answered, God jorUcl that ttv; should worship any besides God. 

^ Some commentators interpret this of the children of Israel themselves, of whose 
race the prophets were. But others say the souls of all the prophets, even of those 
who were not then born, were present on mount Sinai, when God gave the law to 
Moses, and that they entered into the covenant here mentioned with him. A story 
borrowed by Mohammed from the Talmudists, and therefore most probably his true 
meaning in this place. 

• V. Gagnier, in Not. ad Abulfcd. Vit. IMoh. p. 04, et 122. ^ Al Beidawi. 

VOL. I. F 

66 AL KoiiAN. [Chap. 3. 

the scripture and the wisdom whicli I have given you : 
hereafter shall an apostle come unto you, confirming 
the trutli of that scriplure whicli is with you; ye 
shall surely believe in him, and ye shall assist him. 
God said. Are ye firmly resolved, and do ye accept my 
covenant on this condition ? They answered, AAV are 
firmly resolved : God said, Be ye therefore witnesses ; 
and I also bear witness with you : and Avhosoever 
turnetli back after this, they are surely the trans- 
gressors. Do they therefore seek any other religion 
but God's ? since to him is resigned whosoever is in 
heaven or on earth, voluntarily, or of force : and to 
him shall they return. Say, We believe in God, 
and that which hath been sent down unto us, and 
that which was sent down unto Abraham, and 
Ismael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the- tribes, and 
that which was delivered to Moses, and Jesus, and the 
prophets, from their Lord ; we make no distinction 
between any of them ; and to him are we resigned. 
Whoever followeth any other religion than Islam, it 
shall not be accepted of him : and in the next life he 
shall be of those who perish '\ How shall God direct 
men who have become infidels after they had believed, 
and borne witness that the apostle was true, and ma- 
nifest declarations of the divine xcill had come unto 
them? for God directeth not the ungodly people. 
Their reward shall be, that on them shaUjall the curse 
of God, and of angels, and of all mankind : they shall 
remain under the same for ever ; their torment shall 
not be mitigated, neither shall they be regarded ; except 
those who repent after this, and amend ; for God is 
gracious and merciful. Moreover they who become 
infidels after they have believed, and yet increase in 
infidelity, their repentance shall in no wise be accepted, 
and they are those who go astray. Verily they who 
believe not, and die in their unbelief, the world full of 
gold shall in no wise be accepted from any of them, 
even though he should give it for his ransom ; they 

» See before, cli. 2. p. 11, not. c. 

Chap. 3.] AL KOUAX. 67 

shall suffer a grievous punishment, and they 
shall have none to help them. * Ye will never IV. 
attain unto righteousness, until ye give in alms 
of that which ye love: and whatever ye give, God 
knoweth it. All food was permitted unto the children 
of Israel, except what Israel forbad unto himself % before 
the Pentateuch was sent down ^ Say unto the Jeu\% 
Bring hither the Pentateuch and read it, if ye speak 
truth. Whoever therefore contriveth a lie against 
God after this, they will be evil doers. Say, God is 
true : follow ye therefore the religion of Abraham the 
orthodox; for he was no idolater. Verily the first 
house appointed unto men to u-orship in was that which 
is in Becca"^ ; blessed, and a direction to all creatures ''. 
Therein are manifest signs": the place where Abraham 
stood; and whoever entereth therein, shall be safe. 
And it is a duty towards God, incumbent on those 
who are able to go thither ^, to visit this house ; but 

» This passage was revealed on ths Jews reproaching IVIohammed and his followers 
with their ealii°g of tlis flesh and milk of cnmels ', which they said was forbidden 
Abraham, whose religion JMohammed pretended to follow. In answer to which lie 
tells them, that God ordained no distinction cf meats before he gave the law to 
Moses, though Jacob voluntarily abstained from the flesh and milk of camels ; which 
some commentators say was the consequence of a vow made by that patriarch, when 
afflicted witli the sciatica, that if he were cured he would eat no more of that meat 
which he liked best; and that was camel's flesh: but otliers suppose he abstained 
from it by tlie advice of physicians only-. 

This exposition seems to be taken from the children of Israel's not eating of tlie 
sinew on the hollow of the thigh, because the angel, with whom Jacob wrestled at 
Peniel, touched the IwUoic' of Ms thigh in the sinew that shrank^. 

•> Wherein the Israelites,' because of their wickedness and perverseness, were for. 
bidden to eat certain animals which had been allowed their predecessors^^. 

"^ Mohammed received this passage, when the Jews said that their Kebla, or the 
temple of Jerusalem, was more ancient than that of the Mohammedans, or the 
Caaba 5. Becca is another name of Mecca «. Al Beiduwi observes that the Arabs 
used the M and B promiscuously in several words. 

d L e. The Kebla, towards which they are to turn their faces in prayer. 

« Such as the stone wherein they show tlie print of Abraham's feet, and the in- 
violable security of the place, immediately mentioned ; that the birds light not on 
the roof of the Kaaba, and wild beasts put off their fierceness there ; that none who 
came against it in a hostile manner ever prospered ', as appeared particularly in tlie 
unfortunate expedition of Abraha al Ashram >* ; and other fables of the same stamp 
which the ]\Iohammedans are taught to believe. 

f According to an exposition of this passage, attributed to Jlohammed, he is sup- 

> See Lev. xi. 4. Deut. xiv. 7. - Al Bcidawi, Jallalo'ddin. ^ Gen. xxxii. 
;V2. ^ Koran, c. 4. See the notes there. ■' Al Beidawi, Jallalo'ddin. 

6 See the Prelim. Disc. § 1. p. 4. ? Jallalo'ddin, Al Beidawi. » See 

Koran, c. lOo. 

F 2 

68 AL KORAN. [Chap. 3. 

whosoever disbelieveth, verily God needeth not the 
service of any creature. Say, O ye who have received 
the scriptures, why do ye not believe in the signs of 
God ? Say, O ye who have received the scriptures, 
why do ye keep back from the way of God, him who 
believeth? Ye seek to make it crooked, and yet are 
witnesses fl/at it is tJie rigid : but God will not be 
unmindful of what ye do. O true believers, if ye obey 
some of those who have received the scripture, they 
will render you infidels, after ye have believed " : and 
liow can ye be infidels, when the signs of God are 
read unto you, and his apostle is among you? But 
he who cleaveth firmly unto God, is already directed 
into the right way. O believers, fear God with his 
true fear ; and die not vmless ye also be true believers*. 
And cleave all oj you unto the covenant'' of God, and 
depart wot from it, and remember the favour of God 

posed to be able to perform the pilgrimage, who can supply himself with pronsions 
for the journey, and a beast to ride upon. Al Sliafei has decided that those who 
have money enouirh, if they caiiJiot go themselves, must hire some other to go in 
their room. IMaLc Ebn Ans thinks lie is to be reckoned ithh\ who is stroni; and 
healthy, and can bear the fatigue of tlie journey on foot, if he has no beast to ride, 
and can also cam his living by the way. But Abu Hanifa is of opinion that botli 
money sufncient and health of body are requisite to make the pilgrimage a duty '. 

" 'J'iiis passage was revealed on occasion of a quarrel excited between the tribes of 
al Aws and al Khazraj, by one Shas Ebn Kais, a Jew; who passing by some of 
both tribes as they were sitting and discoursing familiarly together, and being in- 
wardly vexed at the friendship and harmony which reigned among them on their 
embracing I\Iohammedism, whereas ihey had been, for 120 years before, most in- 
veterate and mortal enemies, though descendants of two brothers ; in order to set 
them at variance, sent a young man to sit down by them, directing him to relate the 
stoiy of the battle of IJoath (a place near Medina), wherein, iifter a bloody fight, 
al Aws had the better of al Khr.zr.aj, and to repeat some verses on that subject. The 
young man executed liis ordeiv ; whereupon those of each tribe began to magnify 
themselves, and to reflect on and irritate the other, till at length tliey ciUlcd to arms, 
and great numbers getting together on each side, a dangerous battle had ensued, if 
IMohammcd had not stcpt in and reconciled them ; by representing to them how 
uui.ji tliey would be to Mame if they returned to paganism, and revivetl those 
animosities which IslAm had compobcd ; arid telling then;, that what had happened 
was a trick of the devil to disturb their present tranquUlity '-. 

• " O believers! have a righteous fear of God, and ye will die in the faith.'' — 
So vary. 

** Literally, Hold fast h>/ thr cord of God. That is, Sfcinr your/tdven hy adhering 
to Islam, whicli is here mctaphovically expressed by a con/, because it is as sure a 
me.ans of saving those who profess it from perishing hereafter, as holding by a rope 
is to prevent one's falling into a well, or other like place. It is sai>l that Moliammed 
used for tile same reason to call the Korim, llabl Allah al matin, i. e. the sun: cord 
o/God '. 

' Al UeidiWi. ^ Idem. ' Idem. 

Chap. 3.] AL KORAN. 69 

towards you : since ye were enemies, and he reconciled 
your hearts, and ye became companions and brethren 
by his favour : and ye were on the brink of a pit of 
fire, and he delivered you thence. Thus God declareth 
unto you his signs, that ye may be directed. Let there 
be people among you, who invite to the best religion ; 
and command that which is just, and forbid that which 
is evil ; and they shall be happy. And be not as they 
who are divided, and disagree in matters of religion % 
after manifest proofs have been brought unto them : 
they shall suffer a great torment. On the day of re- 
surrection some faces shall become white, and other 
faces shall become black ''. And unto them whose 
faces shall become black, God xvill say. Have ye re- 
turned unto your unbelief, after ye had believed? 
therefore taste the punishment, for that ye have been 
unbelievers : but they whose faces shall become white 
shall be in the mercy of God, therein shall they remain 
for ever. These are the signs of God : we recite them 
unto thee with truth. God will not deal unjustly 
with his creatures. And to God hehngeth whatever 
is in heaven and on earth ; and to God shall all things 
return. Ye are the best nation that hath been raised 
up unto mankind : ye command that which is just, 
and ye forbid that which is unjust, and ye believe in 
God. And if they who have received the scriptures 
had believed, it had surely been the better for them ; 
there are believers among them \ but the greater part 
of them are transgressors. They shall not hurt you, 
unless with a slight hurt; and if they fight against 
you, they shall turn their backs to you ; and they shall 
not be helped''. They are smitten with vileness where- 

" i. e. As the Jews and Christians, who dispute concerning the unity of God, the 
future state, &c. '. 

'' See the Preliminary Discourse, § IV. 

'^ As Abd'allah Ebn Salam and his companions ^, and those of the tribes of al Aws 
and al Khazraj who had embraced ]\Iohammedism. 

•• This verse, al Beidawi says, is one of those whose meaning is mysterious, and 
relates to something future ; intimating the low condition to which the Jewish tribes 
of Koreidha, Nadir, Banu Kainoka, and those who dwelt at Khaibar, were after- 
wards reduced by IMohammed. 

' Al Beidawi. - Idem. 

70 AL KOiiAX. [Chap. 3. 

soever they are found ; unless they obtain security by 
entering into a treaty with God, and a treaty with 
men '^ : and they draw on themselves indignation from 
God, and they are afflicted with poverty. This they 
suffer, because they disbelieved the signs of God, and 
slew the prophets unjustly ; this, because they were 
rebellious, and transgressed. Yet they are not all 
alike : there are of those who have received the scrip- 
tures, upright people ^ ; they meditate on the signs of 
God " in the night season, and worship ; they believe 
in God, and the last day ; and command that which is 
just, and forbid that which is unjust, and zealously 
strive to excel in good works : these are of the 
righteous. And ye shall not be denied the reward oj 
the good whicli ye do '' ; for God knoweth the pious. 
As for the unbelievers, their wealth shall not profit 
them at all, neither their children, against God : they 
shall be the companions of hell fire ; they shall continue 
therein for ever. The likeness of that which they lay 
out in this present life *, is as a wind wherein there is 
a scorching cold : it falleth on the standing corn of 
those men who have injured their own souls, and 
destroyeth it. And God dealeth not unjustly with 
them ; but they injure their own souls. O true be- 
lievers, contract not an intimate friendship nith any 
besides yourselves '^ : they will not fail to corrupt you. 
They wish for that which may cause you to perish : 
their hatred hath already appeared from out of their 
mouths ; but what their breasts conceal is yet more 
inveterate. We have already shown you signs of their 
ill "dull towards you, if ye understand. Behold, ye 
love them, and they do not love you : ye believe in all 
the scriptures, and when they meet you, they say, We 

" i. c. Unless they either profess tlie fliohammedan reli^on, or submit to pay 

'' Those namely who have embraced Islam. 

" That is the Kor;\n. 

<* Some copies have a different reading in tliis passage, wliich they express in the 
third person ; The;/ shall not be dciiud, &c. 

• " Their alms are like unto an icy wind, wliich blowclh on the fields of the 
perverse, and destroyeth tiair productions." — Savuti/. 

' i. t: Of u chflfercnt religion. 

Chap. 3.] AL KORAN. 71 

believe ; but when they assemble privately together, 
they bite their fingers' ends out of wrath against you. 
Say unto them, Die in your wrath : verily God knowetli 
the innermost part of your breasts. If good happen 
unto you, it grieveth them ; and if evil befal you, they 
rejoice at it. But if ye be patient, and fear God, their 
subtilty shall not hurt you at all ; for God compre- 
liendeth whatever they do. Call to rnind when thou 
wentest forth early from thy family, that thou mightest 
prepare the faithful a camp for war ^ ; and God heard 
and knew it ; v/hen two companies of you were 
anxiously thoughtful, so that ye became faint-hearted'' ; 
but God was the supporter of them both ; and in God 
let the faithful trust. And God had already given 
you the victory at Bedr% when ye were inferior hi 
member; therefore fear God, that ye may be thankful. 
When thou saidst unto the faithful, Is it not enough 

» This was at the battle of Ohod, a mountain about four miles to the north of 
Medina. The Koreish, to revenge their loss at Bedr ', the next year, being the third 
of the Hejra, got together an army of 3000 men, among whom there were 200 horse, 
and 700 armed with coats of mail. These forces marched under I'lc conduct of 
Abu Sofian and sat down at Dhu'lholeifa, a village about six miles fiom Jlcdina. 
JVIohammed being much inferior to his enemies in nun^ber, at first determined to 
keep himself within the town, and receive them there ; but afterwards, tlie advice of 
some of his companions prevailing, he marched out against them at the head of lOOO 
men (some say he had 1050 nien and others but JJOO), of whom 100 were armed 
with coats of mail, but he had no more than one horse, besides his own, in his whole 
army. ^\^ith these forces he formed a camp in a village near Ohod, which mountain 
he contrived to have on his back ; and the better to secure his men from being sur- 
rounded, he placed fifty archers in the rear, with strict orders not to quit their post. 
When they came to engage, Mohanmied had the better at first, but afterwards by the 
fault of his archers, who left their ranks for the sake of the plunder, and suftered the 
enemies' horse to encompass the JMohammedans and attack them in the rear, he lost 
the day, and was very near losmg his life ; being struck down by a shower of stones, 
and wounded in the face with two arrows, on pulling out of wiiich his two foreteeth 
dropped out. Of the IMoslems 70 men were slain, and among them Hamza the 
uncle of Blohammed, and of the infidels 22 2. To excuse the ill success of this 
battle, and to raise the drooping courage of his followers, is I\lohammed's drift in the 
remaining part of this chapter. 

^ These were some of the families of Banu Salma of the tribe of al Khazraj, and 
Banu'l Ilareth of the tribe of al Aws, who composed the two wings of Mohammed's 
army. Some ill impression had been made on them by Abda'Uah Ebn Obba Soldi, 
then an infidel, wlio having drawn off 300 men, told them that they were going to 
certain death, and advised them to return back witli him ; but he could prevail on 
but a few, the others being kept firm by the divine influence, as the following words 
intimate 3. 

'^ See before, p. 52. 

> See before, p. 52. - Abuifcda, in Vita ]\Ioham. p, Gl, Sec. Elmacin. I. 1. 

Pridcdux's Life of Mah. p. HO. ^ Al Ceidawi. 

72 Ai. KOUAN. [Chap. 3. 

for you, that your Loud should assist you with three 
thousand angels, sent down /row? heaven ? Verily if ye 
persevere, and fear God, and i/oiir enanics come upon 
you suddenly, your Lord will assist you with five 
thousand angels, distinguished by their horses and 
a/lire ". And this God designed only as good tidings 
for you '' that your hearts might rest secure : for victory 
is from God alone, the mighty, the wise. That he 
should cut olf the uttermost part of the unbelievers, or 
cast them down, or that they should be overthrown and 
unsuccessful *, is notliing to thee. It is no business of 
thine ; whether God be turned unto them, or whetlitr 
lie punish them ; they are surely unjust doers *. To 
God belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth : 
he spareth whom he pleaseth, and he punisheth whom 
he pleaseth ; for God is merciful. O true believers, 
devour not usury, doubling it tw ofold ; but fear God, 
that ye may prosper : and fear the fire which is i)re- 
pared for the unbelievers ; and obey God, and Ids 
apostle, that ye may obtain mercy. And run witli 
emulation to obtain remission from your Lord, and 
paradise, whose breadth equalleth the heavens and the 
earth, which is prepared for the godly ; who give alms 
in prosperity and adversity; who bridle their anger, 
and forgive men : for God loveth the beneficent "'. 

" The an2;el.s wIjo assisted the Mohammedans at Bedr, rode, say the commentators, 
on black and white horses, and had on their heads white and yellow sashes, the ends 
of which liir.ig down between their shoulders. 

'' i. c. As an earnest of future success. 

• " lie, at '.lis pleasure, can overthrow the infidels, put them to flight, or exter- 
minate tliem." — Savary. 

* Tiiis passage was revealed when Mohammed received the wounds abovemcntioncd 
at the battle of Ohod, and cried out ILkv shall thut inoplc prosper uho have slahird 
ifnir prophet's fiicc -c'ltii lilovd, -while he ealled them to their Lord? The person 
who wounded him was Otha the son of Abu Wakkas '. 

'' It is related of Hasan the son of Ali, that a slave having once thrown a dish on 
him boihng liot, as he sat at table, and fearing his master's resentment, fell innnc- 
diately on his knees, and repeated these words, Paradise is for those -u-hn Iridic their 
aiiger: Hasan answered, / atn not ouixnj. The slave procecdetl, and for those rcho 
forffive men : I forgive i/oii, said Hasan. Tlie slave however finished the verse, 
adding,,/br GoD loveth the hencjiccut. Since it is so, replied Hasan, / f,nre yon 
i/onr tiherty, and fonr hnndred pieces of silver-. A noble insumce of moderation 
and generosity. 

' Al Ikidawi. Abulted. ubi supra. ^ V. D'Hcrbelot, Bibl. Orient. Art. 


Chap. 3.] AL KOiiAX. ' 73 

And wlio, after tliey have committed a crime, or dealt 
imjustly with their own souls, remember God, and ask 
pardon for their sins, (for who forgiveth sins except 
God?) and persevere not in what they have done 
knowingly : their reward shall be pardon from their 
Loud, and gardens wherein rivers flow, they shall 
remain therein for ever : and how excellent is the 
reward of those who labour ! There have already been 
before you examples of punishment qfhifidels*, there- 
fore go through the earth, and behold what hath been 
the end of those who accuse Go^'^ «/JO-5//<?5 of imposture. 
This book is a declaration unto men, and a direction, 
and an admonition to the pious. And be not dis- 
mayed, neither be ye grieved ; for ye shall be superior 
to the unbeliever's if ye believe. If a wound hath hap- 
pened unto you in war % a like wound hath already 
happened unto the unbelieving people ^ : and we cause 
these days of dijferent success interchangeably to suc- 
ceed each other among men ; that God may know 
those who believe, and may have martyrs from among 
you : (God loveth not the workers of iniquity ;) and 
that God might prove those who believe, and destroy 
the infidels. Did ye imagine that ye should enter 
l)aradise, when as yet God knew not those among you 
who fought strenuously in his cause ; nor knew those 
who persevered with patience ? Moreover ye did some- 
time wish for death before that ye met it'; but ye 
have now seen it, and ye looked on, but retreated from 
it. Mohammed is no more than an apostle ; the otlier 
apostles have already deceased before him : if he die, 

* " God had given precepts before thy time. Go through the earth, and behold 
what has been the end of those who accused us of falsehood." — Savary. 

" That is, by your being worsted at Ohod. 

^ When they were defeated at Bedr. It is observable that the number of Moham- 
medans slain at Ohod was equal to that of the idolaters slain at Bedr ; which was so 
ordered by God for a reason to be given elsewhere '. 

<: Several of Mohammed's followers who were not present at Bedr, wished for an 
opportimity of obtaining, in another action, the like honour as those had gained who 
fell martyrs in that battle ; yet were discouraged on seeing the superior numbers of 
the idolaters in the expedition of Ohod. On which occasion this passage was 
revealed ^. 

' In not. ad cap. 8. '^ Al Bcidawi. 

74 AL KOiiAN. [Chap. 3. 

therefore, or be slain, will ye turn back on your heels"? 
but he who turneth back on his heels, will not hurt 
God at all ; and God will surely reward the thankful. 
No soul can die unless by the pennission of God, ac- 
cording to nhat is written in the book containing the 
determinations of things ^ And \yhoso chooseth the 
reward of this world, we will give him thereof: but 
whoso chooseth the reward of the world to come, we 
will give him thereof; and we will surely reward the 
thankful. How many prophets have encountered those 
who had many myriads of troops : and yet they desponded 
not in their mind for what had befallen them in figliting 
for the religion of God ; and were not weakened, neither 
behaved themselves in an abject manner ? God loveth 
those who persevere patiently. And their speech was 
no other than that they said. Our Lord forgive us our 
offences, and our transgressions in our business ; and 
confirm our feet, and help us against the unbelieving 
people. And God gave them the reward of this world, 
and a glorious reward in the life to come ; for God 
loveth the \y ell-doers. O ye who believe, if you obey 
the infidels, they will cause you to turn back on your 
heels, and ye Avill be turned back and perish': but God 
is your Loud ; and he is the best helper. We will 

* These words were revealed when it was reported in the battle of Ohod, that 
Blohammed was slain : whereupon the idolaters cried out to his follower's, Since ijoiir 
]))c>})?irt issldiii, rdurn to >/oiir auchnit rcUgUm, iiiid to ijoiir J'l'icitds ; (/'MohamiTicd 
had been a prophet he hud not been xhiin. It is relatetl that a Moblcm named Ans 
Ebn al Nadar, uncle to JMalec Ebn Ans, hearing these words, said aloud to his 
companions, Mi/ friends, thongli Mohammed be .iluin, eertainlij MolKnnined'.i Lord 
Viveth and dieth not ; therefore value not your live.'! xinec the prophet is dead, hut 
fight for the cause Jhr whieh he fought: then he cried out, O God I am excused 
before thee, and acquitted in thi/ sight of 'u'hat they say ; a:id drawing his sword 
fouglit valiantly till he was killed '. 

^ JMoliauimed, t'ne more effectually to still the murmurs of his party on their de- 
feat, represents to them that the time of every man's dcat'n is dccreetl and prede- 
termined by God, and that those who fell in the battle could not liave avoided tlieir 
fate, had they staid at home ; whereas they had now obtained the glorinis advantage 
of dying martyrs for the faith. Of the JMohammcdan doctrine of absolute prede- 
stination I liave spoken in another place '^. 

•^ This passage was also occasioned by the endeavours of the Korcish to seduce 
Uic Mohannnedans to their old idolatry, as they fled in tiie battle of Ohod. 

Al Bcidawi. ^ Prelim. Disc. ^ IV 

Chap. 3.] AL KoiL'xN. 75 

surely cast a dread into the hearts of the unbelievers % 
because they have associated with God that concerning 
which he sent them down no power : their dwelling- 
shall be the fire of hell ; and the receptacle of the 
wicked shall be miserable. God had already made 
good unto you his promise, when ye destroyed them by 
his permission'', until ye became faint-hearted, and dis- 
puted concerning the command of the apostle^ and 
were rebellious''; after God had shown you what ye 
desired. Some of you chose this present world, and 
others of you chose the world to come''. Then he 
turned you to flight from before them, that he might 
make trial of you : (but he hath now pardoned you : 
for God is endued with beneficence towards the faith- 
ful ;) when ye went up as ye fled, and looked not back 
on any*: while the apostle called you% in the utter- 
most part of you. Therefore God rewarded you with 
affliction on affliction, that ye be not grieved hereafter 
for the spoils which ye fail of, nor for that which be- 
falleth you*"; for God is well acquainted with what- 

" To this Mohammed attributed the sudden retreat of Abu Sofian and his troops, 
without making any farther advantage of their success ; only giving IMohammed a 
challenge to meet them next year at Bedr, wliich he accepted. Others say, that as 
they were on their march home, they repented they had not utterly extirpated the 
Mohammedans, and began to think of going back to Medina for that purpose ; but 
were prevented by a sudden consternation or panic fear, which fell on them from God '. 

'' i. c. In the beginning of the battle, when the Aloslems had the advantage, put- 
ting the idolaters to flight, and killing several of them. 

'•■ That is, till the bow-men, who were placed beliind to prevent their being sur- 
rounded, seeing the enemy fly, quitted their post, contrary to ]\Iohammed's express 
orders, and dispersed themselves to seize the plunder ; whereupon Khaled Ebn al 
Walid, perceiving their disorder, fell on their rear with the horse which he com- 
manded, and turned the fortune of the day. It is related that though Abda'llah Ebn 
Johair, their captain, did all he could to make them keep their ranks, he had not 
ten tiiat staid \vith him out of the whole fifty '. 

'' The former were they who, tempted by the spoil, quitted their post ; and the 
latter they who stood firm by their leader. 

* " When you took to disorderly flight, you no longer listened to the voice of the 
apostle, who called you back to the combat. Heaven chastised you for your disobedi- 
ence. Let not your disgrace, and the loss of booty, render you inconsolable ; all your 
actions are known unto God." — Savary. 

•= Crying aloud, Conic hither to me, O servants of God; I am the apostle of God: 
he who retiirneth back shall enter paradise. But notwithstanding all his endeavours 
to rally his men, he could not get above thirty of them about him. 

f i. c. God punished your avarice and disobedience by suffering you to be beaten 
by your enemies, and to be discouraged by the report of your prophet's death ; that 
ye might be inured to patiente under adverse fortune, and not repine at any loss or 
disappointment for the future. 

' Al Beidawi. ' Idem. V. Abulfcd. Vit. Moh. p. 65, 60, ct not, ib. 

76 AL KORAN. [Chap. 3. 

ever ye do. Then he sent down upon you after affliction 
security ; a soft sleep which fell on some part of you ; 
but other part were troubled by their own souls'**; 
falsely thinking of GoD a foolish imagination, saying, 
Will any thing of the matter Imppen unto us^? Say, 
Veril}'^ the matter belori^eth wholly unto God. They 
concealed in their minds what they declared not unto 
thee ; saying ^ If any thing of the matter had hap- 
pened unto us*^, we had not been slain here. Answer, 
If ye had been in your houses, verily they would have 
gone forth to fight, whose slaughter was decreed, to the 
places where they died, and this came to jmss that God 
might try what was in your breasts, and might discern 
what was in your hearts ; for God knoweth the inner- 
most parts of the breasts of men. \'^erily they among 
you who turned their backs on the day whereon the 
two armies met each other at Oliod, Satan caused them 
to slij), for some crime which they had committed'': 
but now hath God forgiven them ; for God is gracious 
and merciful. O true believers, be not as they who 
believed not, and said of their brethren, when they had 
journeyed in the land or had been at war. If they had 
been with us, those had not died, nor had these been 
slain : ivhereas niiat bejel them was so ordained that 
God might make it matter of sighing in their hearts. 
God giveth life, and causeth to die : and God seeth 
that which ye do. Moreover if ye be slain, or die in 

* After the action, those who had stood firm in the battie were refreshed, as they 
lay in the field, by falling into an ;'.t;reeable sleep, so that the swords fell out of their 
hands ; but those who had behaved themselves ill were troubled in their minds, 
imagining they were now given over to destruction '. 

* " After this disastrous event (lod caused security and .dumber to descend upon 
a part of you. The others, disturbed in mind, dared, in their wild imaginations, to 
attribute falsehood unto Ooti. Are these, said they, the promises of the prophet ? 
Answer to them, The Highest is the author of this calamity." — Savary. 

*> That is. Is there any appearance of success, or of the divine favour and assist, 
ance which we have been promised * ? 

"^ I. c. To themselves, or to one another in private. 

J If God had assisted us according to his promise; or, as others interpret tlie 
words, if we had taken the advice of Abdullah Ebn Obba Solid, and had kept within 
the town of Jledina; our companions had not lost their livcs3. 

* Tiiz. For their covetousness in quitting their post to seize the plunder. 

' Al Beidawi. J.dlalo'ddiii. - li.leni. ' lidcm. 

Chap. 3.] AL KORAN. 77 

defence of the religion of God ; verily pardon from 
God, and mercy, is better than what they heap toge- 
ther of' 'worlcUij riches. And if ye die, or be slain, 
verily unto God shall ye be gathered. And as to the 
mercy granted unto the disobedient from God, thou O 
Mohammed hast been mild towards them ; but if thou 
hadst been severe, and hard-hearted, they had surely 
separated themselves from about thee. Therefore for- 
give them, and ask pardon for them : and consult them 
in the affair of ivar ; and after thou hast deliberated, 
trust in God ; for God loveth those who trust in him. 
If God help you, none shall conquer you ; but if he 
desert you, who is it that wdll help you after him ? 
Therefore in God let the faithful trust. It is not the 
part of a prophet to defraud'', for he who defraudeth, 
shall bring with him what he hath defrauded any one 
of, on the day of the resurrection ^. Then shall every 
soul be paid what he hath gained ; and they shall not 
be treated unjustly. Shall he therefore who followeth 
that which is well-pleasing unto God be as he who 
bringeth on himself wrath from God, and whose re- 
ceptacle is hell? an evil journey shall it be thither. 
There shall be degrees of renmrds and pimishments 
v/ith God, for God seeth what they do. Now hath 
God been gracious unto the believers when he raised 
up among them an apostle of their own nation % who 
should recite his signs unto them, and purify them, 
and teach them the book of the Koran and wisdom'^; 

" Tins passage was revealed, as some say, on the division of the ?poil at Cedr; 
when some of the soldiers suspected Bli^hammed of having privately taken a scarlet 
carpet made all of silk and very rich, which was missing '. Others suppose the 
archers, who occasioned the loss of the battle of Ohod, left their station because they 
imagined Mohanmied would not give them their share of the plunder ; because, as 
it h related, he once sent out a party as an advanced guard, and in the mean time 
attacking the enemy, took some spoUs which he divided among those who were witli 
him in tlie action, and gave nothing to the party that was absent on duty^. 

^ According to a tradition of IMohammed, whoever cheateth another will on the 
day of judgment carry his fraudulent purchase publicly on his neck. 

'' Some copies instead of 711 in anfusihim, i. e. of ihemschcs, read vii7i anfasihim, 
i. e. of the noblest among than ; for such was the tribe of Koreish, of wliich Mo- 
hammed was descended 3. 

"* (. e. The Sonna''. 

' Al Bciuawi, Jallalo'ddin. 2 ^\ Beidawi. 3 Idem. -^ Idem. 

78 AL Kor.AX. [Chap. 3. 

whereas they were before in manifest error. After a 
misfortune hath l)efallen you at Oliod, (ye had ah-eady 
obtained two equal advantages*) do ye say, Whence 
Cometh this? Answer, This is from yourselves'*: for 
God is almighty. And Avhat happened unto you, on 
the day whereon the two armies met, was certainly by 
the permission of GoD ; and that he might know the 
faithful, and that he might know the ungodly. It was 
said vnito them. Come, fight for the religion of God, 
or drive back the enemy : they answered. If we had 
known ye xceiit cut to fight, we had certainly followed 
you*". They were on that day nearer unto unbelief, 
than they were to faith ; they spake with their mouths, 
what was not in their hearts : but God perfectly knew 
what they concealed ; Avho said of their brethren, xch'ile 
tJiemselves stayed at home, if they had obeyed us, they 
had not been slain. Say, Then keep back death from 
yourselves, if ye say truth. Thou shalt in no wise reckon 
those who have been slain at Ohocl, in the cause of God, 
dead ; nay, they are sustained alive with their LoiiD"^, re^ 
joicing for what God of his favour hath granted them : 
and being glad for those, who coming after them, have 
not as yet overtaken them^; because there shall no fear 
come on them, neither shall they be grieved. They are 
filled with joy for the favour rchich ihey hare received 
from God, and his bounty ; and for that God suffereth 
not the reward of the faithful to perish. They who 
hearkened unto God and his apostle, after a wound 
had befallen them at ()}iod\ such of them as do good 

» viz. In the battle of Bcdr, where ye slew seventy of the enemy, equalling the 
number of those who lost their hves at Ohod, and also took as many prisoners '. 

'' It was the consequence of your disobeying the orders of tlie prophet, and aban- 
doning your post for the sake of plunder. 

<^ That is, if we had conceived tlie least hopes of success when ye marched out of 
Medina to encounter tlie infidels, and iiad not known that ye went rather to certain 
destruction than to battle, we had gone with you. But this IVIohammed here tells 
them was only a feigned excuse ; the true reason of their staying behind being their 
want of faith and tirmness in their religion'. 

'^ See before, p. 2(i. 

« i. c. Rejoicing also for their ?akes, who are destined to suffer martyrdom, but 
have not as yet attained it ^ 

f The conunentators differ a little as to the occasion of tliis passage. M'hcn news 

> See before, p. 52. - Al Ceidawi. * V. Revel, vi. 11. 

Chap f3.] AL KOiiAX. 79 

works, and fear God^ shall have a great reward ; unto 
whom certain men said. Verily the men <f Mecca have 
already gathered forces against you, be ye therefore 
afraid of them'': but this increased their faith, and 
they said, God is our support, and the most excellent 
patron. Wherefore they returned with favour from 
God, and advantage'': no evil befel them: and they 
followed what was well pleasing unto God : for God 
is endowed with great liberality. Verily that devir 
would cause you to fear his friends : but be ye not afraid 
of them ; but fear me, if ye be true believers. They 
shall not grieve thee, who emulously hasten imto in- 
fidelity ; for they shall never hurt God at all. God 
will not give them a part in the next life, and they 
shall suffer a great punishment. Surely those who 
purchase infidelity with faith* shall by no means hurt 

was brought to Mohammed, after the battle of Ohod, that the enemy, repenting of 
their retreat, were reiiiriiing towards JMedina, he called about him those who had 
stood by him in the battle, and marched out to meet the enemy as far as Homara al 
Asad, about eight miles from that town, notwithstanding several of his men were so 
ill of their wounds that they were forced to be carried ; but a panic fear liaving seized 
the army of the Koreiih, ihey changed their resolution, and continued their marcli 
Iion;e ; of which Dlohanimed having received intelligence, he also went back to ]Me« 
dina : and according to some commentators tlie Koran here approves the faith and 
courage of those who attended the prophet on this occasion. Others say the persons 
intentled in this passage were those who went with 3Iohamnied the next year, to 
meet Abu Sofian and the Eoreish, according to their challenge, at Bedr ', where they 
waited some time for the enemy, and then returned home ; for the Koreish, though 
they set out from Mecca, yet never came so far as the place of appointment, their 
hearts failing them on their march ; which Blohammed attributed to their being 
struck with "a terror from God 2. Tliis expedition the Arabian histories call the 
second, or lesser expedition of Eedr. 

" The persons who thus endeavoured to discourage the Blohammedans were, ac- 
cording to one tradition, some of the tribe of Abd Kais, who going to Medina were 
bribed by Abu Sofian with a camel's load of dried raisins ; and according to another 
tradition, it was Noaim Ebn ]\Iasdd al Ashjai, who was also bribed with a slie camel 
ten months gone with young (a valuable present in Arabia). This \oaim, tliey say, 
finding ]\Iohammed and his men preparing for tlie expedition, told them that Abu 
Sofian, to spare them the pains of coming so far as Bedr, would seek them in their 
own houses, and that none of them could possibly escape otherwise than by timely 
flight. Upon which Mohammed, seeing his followers a little dispirited, swore that 
he would go himself though not one of them went with him. And accortlingly he 
set out with seventy horsemen, everyone of them crying out Haslina Allah, i. e, God 
is our support^. 

^ \^'hile they staid at Bedr expecting the enemy, they opened a kind of fair there, 
and traded to very considerable profit *. 

'^ lileaning either Noaim, or Abu Sofian himself. 

* "• Those who apostatise from interest do not hurt the Highest. Hell shall be 
their abode." — Suvary. 

• See before, p. 75, not. a. - Al Beidawi. ^ Idem. Jallalo'ddin. " Al Beidawi. 

80 AL KORAX. [Chap. 3. 

God at all, but they shall siifTer a grievous punisiiment. 
And let not the unbelievers think, because we grant them 
lives long and prosperous, that it is better for their souls : 
we grant them long and prosperous lives only that their 
iniquity may be increased ; and they shall suffer an 
ignominious punishment. God is not disposed to leave 
the faithful in the condition which }'e are now in ', until 
he sever the wicked from the good*; nor is GoD dis- 
posed to make you acquainted with what is a hidden 
secret, but God chooseth such of his apostles as he 
pleaseth, to reveal //is mil) d unto ^ : believe therefore in 
God, and his apostles ; and if ye believe, and fear God, 
ye shall receive a great reward. And let not those 
who are covetous of what God of his bounty hath 
granted them imagine that their avarice is better for 
them : nay, rather it is v/orse for them. That which 
they have covetously reserved shall be bound as a collar 
about their neck ", on the day of the resurrection : 
unto God helongeth the inheritance of heaven and 
earth ; and God is well acquainted with what ye do. 
God hath already heard the saying of those who said. 
Verily God is poor, and we are rich'': we will surely 
write down what they have said, and the slaughter 
which they have made of the prophets without a 
cause ; and we will say unto them, Taste ye the pain 

" That is, he will not suffer the good and sincere among you to continue indis- 
criminately mixed with the wicked and hypocritical. 

" " God leaveth the believers in the state which they now are, only till he shall 
have discriminated the wicked from the righteous." — Suvari/. 

^ This passage was revealed on the rebellious and disobedient IMohammcdans 
telling Blohammcd, that if he was a true prophet, he could easily distinguish those 
who sincerely believed fiOm the disscmblrrs '. 

■^ Blohammed is said to have declared, that whoever pays not his legal contiibution 
of alms duly shall have a servient twisted about his neck at the resurrection -. 

•* It is related that JMoliammed, ■miting to the Jews of the tribe of Kainoka to 
invite them to Islam, and exhorting them, among other things, in the words of the 
Koran 3, to Inid unto God on f^ood usury, Phineas Ebn Aziira, on hearing that 
expression, said. Surely God is poor, s'liid' they usk to burrow for htm. AV here- 
upon Abu Deer, who was the bearer of that letter, struck him on the face, and told 
him, tliat if it had not been for the truce between them he would have struck off his 
head : and on Phineas's complaining to Mohammed of Abu Beer's ill usage, this 
passage was revealed i. 

' Al Beidawi. - Idem. .Tallaio'ddin. 3 Chap. 2. p. 42. ■" A I 


Chap. 3.] AL KORAN. 81 

of burning. This shall they suffer for the evil which 
their hands have sent before them, and because God is 
not unjust towards mankind; who also say, Surely 
God hath commanded us, that we should not give 
credit to any apostle, until one should come unto us 
with a sacrifice, which should be consumed by fire ^ 
Say, Apostles have already come unto you before me ^ 
with plain proofs, and with the miracle which )^e 
mention : why therefore have ye slain them, if ye speak 
truth ? If they accuse thee of imposture, the apostles 
before thee have also been accounted impostors, who 
brought evident demonstrations, and the scriptures, 
and the book which enlighteneth the under standiyig. 
Every soul shall taste of death, and ye shall have your 
rewards on the day of resurrection ; and he who shall 
be far removed from hell fire, and shall be admitted 
into paradise, shall be happy : but the present life is 
only a deceitful provision *. Ye shall surely be proved 
in your possessions, and in your persons ; and ye shall 
hear from those unto whom the scripture was delivered 
before you, and from the idolaters, much hurt : but if 

a The Jews, say the commentators, insisted that it was a peculiar proof of the 
mission of all the prophets sent to them, that they could, by their prayers, bring 
down fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice, and therefore they expected Mo- 
hammed should do the like. And some Mohammedan doctors agree that God 
appointed this miracle as the test of all their prophets, except only Jesus and ]\Io- 
hammed > ; though others say any other miracle was a proof full as sufficient as the 
bringing down fire from heaven *. 

The Arabian Jews seem to have drawn a general consequence from some particular 
instances of this miracle in the old Testament 3. And the Jews at this day say, that 
first the fire which fell from heaven on the altar of the tabernacle ^, after the con- 
secration of Aaron and his sons, and afterwards that which descended on the altar of 
Solomon's temple, at the dedication of that structure ^, was fed and constantly main- 
tained there by the priests, both day and night, without being suffered once to go 
out ; tUl it was extinguished, as some think, in the reign of JManasses % but according 
to the more received opinion, when the temple was destroyed by the Chaldeans. 
Several Christians '' have given credit to this assertion of the Jews, with what reason 

1 shall not here inquire ; and the Jews, in consequence of this notion might probably 
expect, that a prophet who came to restore God's true religion should rekindle for 
them this heavenly fire, which they have not been favoured with since the Babylonish 

*• Among these the commentators reckon Zacharias and John the Baptist. 
• " Human life is no more than a deceitful enjoyment." — Savary. 

' Jallalo'ddin. ^ Al Beidawi. ^ Lev. ix. 24. 1 Cliron, xxi. 26. 

2 Chron. vii. 1. 1 Kings xviii. 3». ' Levit. ix. 24. 5 2 Chron. vii. 1. 
« Talmud, Zebachim, c. 6. '' See Prideaux's Connect, part 1. book 3. p. 158. 

VOL. I. G 

82 AL KORAN. [Chap. 3. 

ye be patient, and fear God, this is a matter that is 
absokitely determined. And wlien God accepted tlie 
covenant of those to whom the book of tlie law was 
given, saying. Ye shall surely publish it unto man- 
kind, ye shall not hide it : yet they threw it behind 
their backs, and sold it for a small price ; but woful 
is the price for which they have sold it ". Think not 
that they who rejoice at what they have done, and 
expect to be praised for what they have not done ^ ; 
think not, O prophet, that they shall escape from pu- 
nishment, for they shall suffer a painful punishment ; 
and unto God helongeth the kingdom of heaven and 
earth : GoD is almighty. Now in the creation of 
heaven and earth, and the vicissitude of night and day, 
are signs unto those who are endued with understand- 
ing; who remember God standing, and sitting, and 
lying on their sides *^ ; and meditate on the creation 
of heaven and earth, saying, C) Lord, thou hast not 
created this in vain ; fsu' be it from thee : therefore 
deliver us from tlie torment of hell fire: O Lord, 
surely whom thou shalt throw into the fire, thou w ilt 
also cover with shame : nor shall the ungodly have 
any to help them. O Lord, \vq have heard a preacher'' 
inviting ns to the faith, and saying. Believe in your 
Lord: and we believed. O Lord, forgive us there- 
fore our sins, and expiate our evil deeds from us, and 
make us to die with the righteous. O Lord, give us 

» i. c. Dearly shall tliey pay licreaftcr for taking bribes to stifle the truth. Who- 
ever cnticrahfh the lim-dcdgc -.vliir/i God /la.i ir'ixrn /I'nn, says IMohamracd, God 
shall put oil him a hiidlc ofjirr on the (hiy of rrsiiircclioii, 

'' i. c. Who think they have done a commendable deed in concealing and dis- 
sembling the testimonies in tlie Pentateuch concerning 3Iohanimcd, and in disobeying 
God's conmiaiids to the contrary. It is said that 3Iohainnied once asking some 
Jews concerning a passage in their law, tliey gave hiiii an answer very different from 
the truth, and were mightily pkas'jd that they liiid, as they thought, deceived him. 
Others however think this passage relates to some pretended INIohamnicdans v.ho 
rejoiced in their hypocrisy, and expected to be commended for their wickedness '. 

"^ via. At all times and in all iuistures. Al Beidawi mentions a saying of Mo- 
hammed to one Imriin Khn Iloscin, to this purjiose; jnan slancliuff, if thou art 
able ; If not, sil/iiiff ; and if thou canst not sit up, then us thou Ucst along. Al 
Shafei directs that the sick should pray lying on their right side. 

'' Namely ^lohammcd, with the Koran. 

' Al Beidawi. 

Chap. 3.] Ai. KORAX. 83 

also the f^eward which thou hast promised by thy 
apostles ; and cover us not with shame on the day of 
resurrection ; for thou art not contrary to the promise *. 
Their Lord therefore answereth them, saying, I will 
not suffer the work of him among you who worketh to 
be lost, whether he be male, or female " : the one of 
you is from the other. They therefore who have left 
their country, and have been tvu-ned out of their houses, 
and have suffered for my sake, and have been slain in 
battle ; verily I will expiate their evil deeds from them, 
and I will surely bring them into gardens watered by 
rivers ; a reward from God : and with God is the most 
excellent reward. Let not the prosperous dealing of 
the unbelievers in the land deceive thee '' : it is hut a 
slender provision "^ ; and then their receptacle shall be 
hell ; an unhappy couch shall it be. But they who 
fear their Lord shall have gardens through which 
rivers flow, they shall continue therein for ever : this 
is the gift of God t ; for what is with God shall be 
better for the righteous than short-lived ivorldly pros- 
perity. There are some of those who have received 
the scriptures, who believe in God, and that which 
hath been sent down unto you, and that which hath 
been sent down to them, submitting themselves unto 
God '^ ; they sell not the signs of God for a small 

" * Since thou failest not in thy promises." — Snvary. 

" These words were added, as some relate, on 0mm Salma, one of the prophet's 
wives, telHng him that siie had observed God often made mention of the men who 
fled their country for the sake of their faith, but took no notice of the women '. 

'' The original word properly signifies success in the affairs of life, and particularly 
in trade. It is said that some of Mohammed's follov/ers observing the prosperity the 
idolaters enjoyed, expressed their regret that those enemies of God should live in 
such ease and plenty, while themselves were perishing for hunger and fatigue; 
whereupon this passage was revealed •^. 

"^ Because of its short continuance. 

-f- " Tliey who fear the Lord shall dwell in the gardens of delights. They shall 
dwell in tliem eternally. They shall be the guests of the Lord. Who is more able 
than he to load with favours the just 't" — Sacanj. 

'• The persons here meant, some will have to be Abdallah Ebn Salam 3 and his 
companions ; others suppose they were forty Arabs of Najran, or thirty-two Ethio- 
pians, or else eight Greeks, who were converted from Christianity to Mohammedism ; 
and others say this passage was revealed in the ninth year of the Hejra, when ]\Io- 
hammcd, on Gabriel's bringing him the news of t'ne death of Ashama king of 

' Al Bcidawi. = Idem. 3 See before, p. (i4. 


84 AL KORAN. [Chap. 4. 

price : these shall have their reward with their Lord ; 
for God is swift in taking: an account ^ O true be- 
lievers, be patient, and strive to excel in patience, and 
be constant-minded, and fear God, that ye may be 

Intitled, Women ^' ; revealed at Medina. 

In the name of the most merciful God. 

O INIEN, fear your Lord, who hath created you out 
of one man, and out of him created his wife, and from 
them two hath multiplied many men, and women*: 
and fear God by whom ye beseech one another " ; and 
7'espect women "^ ivho have home you, for God is 
watching over you. And give the orphans Xi'lien ihey 
come to age their substance ; and render them not in 
exchange bad for good ^ : and devour not their sub- 
stance, by adding it to your own substance ; for this 
is a great sin. And if ye fear that ye shall not act 

Ethiopia, who had embraced the IMohamniedan religion some years before ', prayed 
for the soul of the departed ; at wliich some of his hypocritical followers were dis- 
pleased, and wondered that he should pray for a Christian proselyte whom he had 
never seen ». 

" See before, p. .34, and the Preliminary Discourse, § 4. 

^ This title was given to this chapter, because it chiefly treats of matters relating 
to women ; as, marriages, divorces, dower, proliibited degrees, &c 

* fllortals ! fear the Lord, who created you all from one man, of whom lie formed 
a woman, and who has covered the earth with their posterity. Fear the Lord, in 
the name of whom ye beseech each other. Revere tlie tics of consanguinity. Gotl 
observeth your actions."— Savari/. 

'■ Saying, I beseech thee for God's sake ^. 

■^ Literally, the ti'd/wi,?. 

« That is, take not wliat ye find of value among their effects to your own use, and 
give them worse in its stead. 

' See the Prelim. Discourse, yi. 01. - Al Beidawi. ' Idem. 

Chap. 4.] AL KORAN. S5 

with equity towards orphans of the female sex*, take 
in marriage of such other women as please you, two, 
or three, or four, mid not more ^. But if ye fear that 
ye cannot act equitably toivards so many, marrtj one 
only, or the slaves which ye shall have acquired''' 
This will be easier, that ye swerve not from righteous- 
7iess. And give women their dowry freely; but if 
they voluntarily remit unto you any part of it, enjoy 
it with satisfaction and advantage. And give not unto 
those who are weak of understanding the substance 
which God hath appointed you to preserve/or theyn ; 
but maintain them thereout, and clothe them, and speak 
kindly unto them. And examine the orphans ' until 
they attain the age of marriage '' : but if ye perceive 
they are able to manage their affairs well, deliver their 
substance unto them ; and waste it not extravagantly, 

* " If ye fear to be unjust unto orphans, fear also to be unjust unto your wives. 
Marry only two, three, or four '." — Suvanj. 

" The commentators understand this passage differently. The true meaning seems 
to be, as it is here translated ; JMohammed advising his followers that if tliey found 
they should wrong the female orphans under their care, either by marrying thera 
against their inclinations, for the sate of their riches or beauty, or by not using or 
maintaining them so well as they ought, by reason of their having already several 
wives, they should rather choose to marry other women, to avoid all occasion of sin -. 
Others say that when this passage was revealed, many of the Arabians, fearing 
trouble and temptation, refused to take upon them the charge of orphans, and yet 
multiplied wives to a great excess, and used them iU ; or, as others write, gave 
themselves up to fornication ; which occasioned the passage. And according to 
these its meaning must be either, that if they feared they could not act justly towards 
orphans, they had as great reason to apprehend they could not deal equitably witli so 
many wives, and therefore are commanded to marry but a certain number ; or else, 
tliat since fornication was a crime as well as a wronging of orphans, they ought to 
avoid that also, by marrying according to their abilities '. 

*> For slaves requiring not so large a dower, nor so good and plentiful a main- 
tenance as free women, a man might keep several of the former, as easily as one of 
the latter. 

<^ i. c. Try whether they be well-grounded in the principles of religion, and have 
sufficient prudence for the management of their affairs. Under this expression is also 
comprehended the duty of a curator's instructing his pupils in those respects. 

<^ Or age of maturity, which is generally reckoned to be fifteen ; a decision sup- 
ported by a tradition of their prophet ; though Abu Hanifah thinks eighteen the 
proper age^. 

> Wlien this verse was sent down from heaven, the greatest part of the Arabs had 
^each of them eight or ten wives ; and they often treated them badly. Polygamy has 
always been established in the East. IMahomet restrained it witliin narrower bounds." 
— Savary. 

2 Al BeidawL 3 Idem, Jallalo'ddin. « Al Beidawi. 

86 AL KORAN. [Chap. 4-. 

or hastily '*, because they grow up ". Let him who is 
rich abstain entirelij from the orphans* estates ; and 
let him who is poor take tJiercnf according to what 
shall be reasonable ^ And when ye deliver their sub- 
stance unto them, call witnesses thereof in their pre- 
sence : God taketh sufficient account of your actions. 
Men ought to have a part of what their parents and 
kindred leave behind them when they die : and women 
also ought to have a part of what their parents and 
kindred leave % whether it be little, or whether it be 
much ; a determinate part is due to them. And when 
they who are of kin are present at the dividing of 
what is left, and also the orphans, and the poor ; dis- 
tribute unto them some part theveoi \ and if the estate 
he too small, at least speak comfortably unto them. 
And let those fear to abuse orphans, who if they leave 
behind them a weak offspring, are solicitous for them : 
let them therefore fear God, and speak that which is 
convenient '^. Surely they who devour the possessions 
of orphans unjustly shall swallow down nothing but 
fire into their bellies, and shall broil in raging flames. 
God hath tJius commanded you concerning your chil- 
dren. A male shall have as much as the share of two 
females^: but if they be females only, and above two 
in number, they shall have two-third parts of what 
the deceased shall leave ^ ; and if there be but one, she 
shall have the half ^ And the parents of the deceased 

• " Beware of dissipating it b)' prodigality, or by hastening to entrust them with 
it, when tliey are too young." — Savanj. 

" i. c. Because they will shortly be of age, to receive what belongs to them. 

•• That is. no more than what shall make sufficient recompense for the trouble of 
their education. 

' Tiiis law was given to abolish a custom of the pagan Arabs, who suffered not 
women or children to have any part of their husband's or father's inheritance ; on 
pretence that they only should inherit who were able to go to war '. 

•^ ilr.. Either to comfort the children, or to assure the dying father tliey shall be 
justly dealt by-. 

*= This is the general rule to be followed in the distribution of the estate of the 
deceased, as may be observed in the following cases 3. 

' Or if there be two and no more, tliey will have the same share. 

1 yVnd the remaining third part, or the remaining moiety of the estate, whidi is 

' AI Bcidawi. -• Idem. ' V. Pithm. Disc, ij VI. 

chap. 4.] AL KORAN. 87 

shall have each of them a sixth part of what he shall 
leave, if he have a child : but if he have no child, and 
his parents be his heirs, then liis mother shall have 
the third part ^ And if he have brethren, his mother 
shall have a sixth part, after the legacies '' vdiich he 
shall bequeath, and his debts he paid. Ye know not 
whether youi' parents or your children be of greater 
use unto you. Tliis is an ordinance from God, and 
God is knowing and wise. Moreover ye may claim 
half of what your wives shall leave, if they have no 
issue ; but if they have issue, then ye shall have the 
fourth part of what they shall leave, after the legacies 
which they shall bequeath, and the debts be paid. 
They also shall have the fourth part of what ye shall 
leave, in case ye have no issue ; but if ye have issue, 
then they shall have the eighth part of what ye shall 
leave, after the legacies which ye shall bequeath, and 
your debts be paid. And if a man or woman's sub- 
stance be inherited by a distant relation % and he or 
she have a brother or sister ; each of them two shall 
have a sixth part of the estate '\ But if there be more 
than this number^ they shall be equal sharers in a third 
part, after payment of the legacies which shall be be- 
queathed, and the debts, without prejudice to the heirs. 
This is an ordinance from God : and God is knowing 
and gracious. These are the statutes of God. And 

not here expressly disposed of, if the deceased leaves behind him no son, nor a father, 
goes to the public treasury. It must be obsen-ed that IMr. Selden is certainly mis- 
taken, when in explaining tliis passage of the Koran, he says, that where there is a 
son and an only daughter, each of them will have a moiety ' : for the daughter can 
have a moiety but in one case only, that is, where there is no son ; for if there be a 
son, she can have but a third, according to the abovementioned rule. 

^ And his father consequently the other two-thirds ^. 

^ By legacies in this and the following passages are chiefly meant those bequeathed 
to pious uses; for the Mohammedans approve not of a person's giving away his 
substance from his family and near relations on any odier account. 

"^ For this may happen by contract, or on some other special occasion. 

•■ Here, and in the next case, the brother and sister are made equal sharers, which 
is an exception to the general rule, of giving a male twice as much as a female ; and 
the reason is said to be, because of Uie smallness of the portions, which deserve not 
such exactness of distribution ; for in other cases the rule holds between brother and 
sister, as well as other relations '. 

' Selden, de Success, ad Leges Ebraeor. 1. 1, c. 1. - Al Beidawi. "' Sec 

this chap, near the end. 

88 AL KORAN. [Chap. 4. 

whoso obeyeth God and his apostle, God shall lead him 
into gardens wherein rivers flow, they shall continue 
therein for ever ; and this shall be great happiness. But 
whoso disol)eyeth God, and his apostle, and transgresseth 
his statutes, God shall cast him into liell fire ; he shall 
remain therein for ever, and he shall suffer a shameful 
j)unishment. If any of yoiu- women be guilty of whore- 
dom % produce four witnesses from among you against 
them, and if they bear witness against them, imprison 
them in separata apartments until death release them, 
or God affordeth them a way to escape ''. And if two 
of you commit the like xvickedness^ punish them 
both'* : but if they repent and amend, let them both 
alone ; for God is easy to be reconciled and merciful. 
Verily repentance idlt be accepted with God, from 
those who do evil ignorantly, and then repent speedily ; 
unto them will God be turned : for God is knowing 
and wise. But no repentance shall be accepted from 
those who do evil until the /i;??^ when death presenteth 
itself unto one of them, and he saith, Verily I repent 
now ; nor unto those who die unbelievers : for them 
have we prepared a grievous punishment. O true be- 
lievers, it is not lawful for you to be heirs of women 
against their wiir, nor to hinder ili^m. from marrying 

" Either adultery or fornication. 

'' T?ieir punishment in the beginning of Mohammedism was to be immured till 
they died, but afterwards this cruel doom was mitigated, and they might avoid it by 
undergoing the punishment ordained in its stead by the Sonna ; according to wiiich 
the maidens are to be scourged with a hundred stripes, and to be banished for a full 
year; and the married women to be stoned '. 

« The commentators are not agreed wlicther the text speaks of fornication or so- 
domy. Al Zamakhhhari, and, from him, al Beidawi supposes the former is here 
meant : but .Jallalo'ddin is of opinion iliat the crime intended in tliis passage must be 
committed between two men, and not between a man and a woman ; not only because 
the pronouns are in the masculine gender, but because both are ordered to suffer tlie 
same sligiit punishment, and are both allowed the same repentance and indulgence ; 
and especially for tliat a ditlerent and much severer punishment is appointed for the 
women in the preceding words. Abu'l Kasem Hebatallah takes simple fornication 
to be the crime intended, and that tliis passage is abrogated by that of tlic 24th chapter, 
where the man and the woman who shall be guilty of fornication are ordered to be 
scourged with a hundred stripes each. 

■^ The original is, Do them sonu' hurt or datna^r : by which some understand that 
they are only to reproach tlicm in public'', or strike them on the head with tlieir slip- 
pers^, (a great indignity in the east ;) thougli some imagine they may be scourged •". 

« It was customary among the pagan Arabs, when a man died, for one of liis ro- 

' .Jallalo'ddin. = Ibid, Yahya, Abul Kasem, Hebatallah, Al Beidawi. 

3 Jalhdo'ddin, Al Beidawi. ' Al Beidawi. 

Chap. 4.] AL kohan. 89 

others'", that ye may take away part of what ye have 
given them m doivry ; unless they have been guilty of 
a manifest crime'': but converse kindly with them. 
And if ye hate them, it may happen that ye may hate 
a thing wherein God hath placed much good. If ye 
be desirous to exchange a wife for another wife% and 
ye have already given one of them a talent '*; take not 
away any thing therefrom ^ : will ye take it by slander- 
ing her, and doing her manifest injustice ? And how 
can ye take it, since the one of you hath gone in unto 
the other, and they have received from you a firm co- 
venant ? Marry not women, whom your fathers have 
had to wife ; (except what is already past :) for this is 
uncleanness, and an abomination, and an evil way. 
Ye are forbidden to marry your mothers, and your 
daughters, and your sisters, and your aunts both on the 
father's and on the mother's side, and your brothers' 
daughters, and your sisters' daughters, and your mo- 
thers who have given you suck, and yoiu- foster-sisters, 
and your wives' mothers, and your daughters-in-law 
which are under your tuition, horn of your wives unto 
whom ye have gone in, (but if ye have not gone in 
unto them, it shall be no sin in you to marry them,) and 
the wives of your sons who proceed out of your loins ; 
and ye are also forhiddan to take to wife two sisters*, 
except what is already past : for God is gracious 
and merciful. * Ye are slso forbidden to take V. 
to wife free women who are married, except 

lations to claim a right to liis widow, which he asserted by throwing his garment over 
her : and then he either married her himself, if he thought fit, on assigning her the 
same dower that her former husband had done, or kept her dower and married her to 
another, or else refused to let her marry unless she redeemed herself by quitting what 
she might claim of her husband's goods •. This unjust custom is abolished by this 

» Some say these words are directed to husbands who used to imprison their wives 
without any just cause, and out of covetousness, merely to make them relinquish 
their dower or tlieir inheritance ''. 

•• Such as disobedience, ill-behaviour, immodesty, and the like \ 

*= That is, by divorcing one, and marrying another. 

•^ i. c. Ever so large a dower. 

« See chap. 2, p. 38, 39. 

' The same was also prohibited by the Levitical law <. 

' AlBeidawi. ^ Idem. ' Idem. ■* Levit. xviii. 18. 

90 AL KORAN. [Chap. 4. 

those 'women whom your right hands shall possess ^5 
slaves'^. This is ordahied you from Go I). AVhatever 
is beside this, is allowed you ; that ye may with your 
substance provide wives for yourselves, acting that 
which is right, and avoiding whoredom. And for the 
advantage which ye receive from them, give them their 
reward'', according to what is ordained : but it shall be 
no crime in you to make any other agreement among 
yourselves"", after the ordinance shall be cumpUed with; 
for God is knowing and wise. Whoso among you 
hath not means sufficient that he may marry free 
women, who are believers, let him marry with such of 
your maid-servants whom your right hands possess, as 
are true believers ; for God well knoweth your faith. 
Ye are the one from the other "^i therefore marry them 
with the consent of their masters ; and give them their 
dower according to justice ; such as are modest, not 
guilty of whoredom, nor entertaining lovers. And 
wlien they are married, if they be guilty of adultery, 
they shall suffer half the punishment which is ap- 
pointed for the free women \ This is alloxved unto him 
among you, who feareth to sin by marrying free xco- 
me?i; but if ye ahsttimjrujn marrying slaves, it will be 
better for you ; God is gracious and merciful. God 
is willing to declare these things unto you, and to 
direct you according to the ordinances of those wlio 
have gone before you ', and to be merciful unto 
you. God is knowing and wise. God desireth to be 

» According to this passage it is not lawful to marry a free woman is already 
married, be she a IMolianimedan or not, unless she be legally parted from her hus- 
band l)y divorce; but it is lawful to marry tliose who are slaves, or taken in war, 
after tliey sliall have gone tlirough tlie proper purifications, tliough their husbands be 
living. Yet, according to the decision of Abu llanifah, it is not lawful to marry 
such wliosc husbands shall be taken, or in actual slavery with them '. 

'' That is, assign them their dower. 

^ That is, either to increase the dower, or to abate some part or even the wliole of it. 

^ Heing alike descended from Adam, and of the same faith '. 

•^ Tlie reason of this is because tliey are not presumed to have had so good edu- 
cation. A slave therefore, in such a case, is to have fifty stripes, and to be banishetl 
for half a year ; but she shall not be stoned, because it is a punishment which cannot 
be inflicted by halves ^. 

f viz. Of the prophets, and other holy and prudent men of former ages ■. 

' Al Beidawi. 2 Idem. ^ Idfin. 1 Jallalo'ddin. Al Bcidawi. 

Chap. 4.] AL KORAN. 91 

gracious unto you ; but they who follow tJieir lusts ^ 
desire that ye should turn aside yro?» the truth with 
great deviation. God is minded to make his religion 
light unto you : for man was created weak ''. O true 
believers, consume not your wealth among yourselves 
in vanity '^; unless there be merchandizing among you 
by mutual consent : neither slay yourselves '' ; for God 
is merciful towards you : and whoever doth this ma- 
liciously^ and wickedly, he will surely cast him to be 
broiled in hell fire ; and this is easy with God. If ye 
turn aside from the grievous sins*^^, of those which ye 
are forbidden to cormnit, we will cleanse you from your 
smaller faults ; and will introduce you i?ito paradise 
with an honourable entry. Covet not that which God 
hath bestowed on some of you preferably to others^. 
Unto the men shall be given a portion, of what they 
shall have gained, and unto the women shall be given 
a portion, of what they shall have gained ' : therefore 

" Some commentators suppose that these words have a particular regard to the 
Magians, who formerly were frequently guilty of incestuous marriages, their prophet 
Zerdusht having allowed them to take their mothers and sisters to wife ; and also to 
the Jews, who likewise might marry \vithin some of the degrees here prohibited '. 

^ Being unable to refrain from women, and too subject to be led away by carnal 
appetites 'K 

= That is, employ it not in things prohibited by God ; such as usury, extortion, 
rapine, gaming, and the like 3. 

•^ Literally, ,y/fl;/ not your souls ; i. c. says Jallalo'ddin, by committing mortal sins, 
or such crimes as will destroy them. Others however are of opinion that self-mur- 
der, which the gentile Indians did, and still do, often practise in honour of their idols, 
or else the taking away the life of any true believer, is hereby forbidden ■^, 

* See Wisdom, xvi. 14, ii> the vulgate. 

f These sins al Beidawi, from a tradition of Mohammed, reckons to be seven 
(equalling in number the sins called deadly by Christians), that is to say, idolatry, 
murder, falsely accusing modest women of adultery, wasting the substance of orphans, 
taking of usury, desertion in a religious expedition, and disobedience to parents. But 
Ebn Abbas says they amount to near seven hundred; and others suppose that idolatry 
only, of different kinds, in worshipping idols or any creature, either in opposition to, 
or jointly with the true God, is here intended ; that sin being generally esteemed by 
Mohammedans, and in a few lines after declared by the Koran itself, to be tlie only 
one which God will not pardon"'. 

s Such as honour, power, riches, and other worldly advantages. Some however 
understand this of the distribution of inheritances according to the preceding deter- 
minations, whereby some have a larger share than others''. 

■» That is, they shall be blessed according to tlieir deserts ; and ought therefore, 
instead of displeasing God by envying of others, to endeavour to merit his favour by 
good works, and to apply to hmi by prayer. 

> Al Beidawi. 2 idem, Jallalo'ddin. ^ lidem. " AI Beidawi. 

- Idem. See before, chap. 2, p. 15. " Idem, .Jallalo'ddin. 

98 AL KORAN. [Chap. 4. 

ask God of his bounty : for God is omniscient. We 
have appointed unto every one kindred, to inherit part 
of what their parents and relations shall leave at tJicir 
deal lis. And unto those with whom your right hands 
have made an alliance, give their part oj' the inherit- 
ance'' ; for God is witness of all things. Men shall 
liave the pre-eminence above women, because of those 
advantages wlierein God hath caused the one of them 
to excel the other '', and for that which they expend of 
their substance in maintaining their icives. The honest 
women are obedient, careful in the absence of their 
husbands", for that God preserveth them, hij commit- 
ting them to the care and protection of the men *. But 
those, whose perverseness ye shall be apprehensive of, 
rebuke; and remove them into separate apartments'', 
and chastise them^ But if they shall be obedient 
unto you, seek not an occasion of quarrel against them : 
for God is high and great. And if ye fear a breach 
between the husband and 'a.'ife, send a judge '^ out of 
his family, and a judge out of her family : if they 
shall desire a reconciliation, God will cause them to 
agree ; for God is knowing and wise. Serve God, 
and associate no creature with him ; and shoxv kindness 
unto parents, and relations, and orphans, and the poor. 

" A precept conformable to an old custom of tlie Arabs, that where persons mu- 
tually entered into a strict friendship or confederacy, the surviving friend should have 
a sixth part of tlie deceased's estate. But this was afterwards abrogated, according 
to Jallalo'ddin and al Zamakhshari, at least as to infidels. The passage may like- 
wise be understood of a private contract, whereby the survivor is to inlierit a certain 
part of the substance of him that dies first '. 

'' Such as superior understanding and strength, and the other privileges of the 
male sex, which enjoys the dignities in church and state, goes to war in defence of 
God's true religion, and claims a double share of tlieir deceased ancestors' estates'-. 

■= Both to preserve tlieir husbands' substance from loss or waste, and tliemselves 
from all degrees of immodesty 3. 

• " Wives ought to be obedient, and keep the secrets of their husbands, because 
tliat Heaven hath entnisted tliem to tlieir care." — Savari/. 

"^ That is, banish tlicm from your bed. 

« By tliis passage tlic Mohammedans are in plain terms allowed to beat tlieir wives, 
in case of stubborn disol)edience ; but not in a violent or dangerous manner-". 

' i. ('. Let tlic magistrate first send two arbitrators or mediators, one on each side, 
to compose the difference, and prevent, if possible, tlie ill consequences of an open 

' v. Al Beidawi. " Idem. ^ Idem, Jallalo'ddin. '■ AI Beidawi. 

Chap. 4.] AL KORAN. 93 

and your neighbour who is of kin to yoii% and also 
your neighbour who is a stranger, and to your familiar 
companion, and the traveller, and the capt'wes whom 
your right hands shall possess ; for God loveth not the 
proud or vain glorious, who are covetous, and recom- 
mend covetousness unto men, and conceal that which 
God of his bounty hath given them''; (we have pre- 
pared a shameful punishment for the unbelievers ;) and 
who bestow their wealth in charity to be observed of 
men, and believe not in God, nor in the last day ; and 
whoever hath Satan for a companion, an evil com- 
panion hath he ! And what harm would bejal them if 
they should believe in God, and the last day, and give 
alms out of that which God hath bestowed on them ? 
since God knoweth them who do this. Verily God 
will not wrong any one even the weight of an ant'' : 
and if it be a good action, he will double it, and will 
recompense it in his sight with a great reward. How 
will it be with the unbelievers when we shall bring a 
witness out of each nation against itself^, and shall 
bring thee, Mohammed, a witness against these 
people^? In that day they who have not believed, 
and have rebelled against the apostle of God, shall 
wish the earth was levelled with them*; and they 
shall not be able to hide any matter from God. O 
true believers, come not to prayers when ye are 
drunk ^, until ye understand what ye say; nor when 

* Either of your own nation or religion. 

^ Whether it be wealth, knowledge, or any other talent whereby they may help 
their neighbour. 

■= Either by diminishing the recompense due to his good actions, or too severely 
punishing his sins. On the contrary, he will reward the former in the next life, far 
above their deserts. The Arabic word dharra, which is translated an mit, signifies a 
very small sort of tliat insect, and is used to denote a tiling that is exceeding small, 
as a mite. 

^ When the prophet, who was sent to each nation in particular, shall on the last 
day be produced to give evidence against such of them as refused to believe in huii, 
or observed not the laws which he brought. 

"= That is, the Arabians, to whom JMohammed was, as he pretended, more pecu- 
liarly sent '. 

• " In that terrible day they shall wish to be reduced unto dust." — Savary. 

f It is related, that before the prohibition of wine, Abd'alrahman Ebn Awf made 
an entertainment, to wliich he invited several of the apostle's companions ; and after 

' See before, c. 2, p. 25. 

94 Ai. KORAN. [Chap. 4. 

ye are polluted by emission of seed, unless ye be tra- 
velling on the road, until ye Avasli yourselves. But 
if ye be sick, or on a journey, or any of you come 
from easing nature, or have touched women, and find 
no M'ater ; take fine clean sand and rub your faces and 
your hands tliereuitJi" ; for God is merciful and in- 
clined to forgive. Hast thou not observed those unto 
whom part of the scripture^ was delivered? they sell 
error, and desire that ye may wander from the rig lit 
way ; but God well knoweth your enemies. God is a 
sufficient patron, and God is a sufficient helper. Of 
the Jews there are some who pervert words from their 
places'"; and say. We have heard, and have disobeyed ; 
and do thou hear without understanding our 7nea?ihig'\ 
and look upon us *" : perplexing with their tongues, and 
reviling the true religion. But if they had said. We 
have heard, and do obey ; and do thou hear, and regard 
us*; certainly it were better for them, and more right. 
But God hath cursed them by reason of their in- 
fidelity ; therefore a few oj'them only shall believe. () 
;i/e to whom the scriptures have been giv(^n, believe in 
the revelation which we have sent down, confirming 
that which is with you ; before we deface ijour coun- 
tenances, and render them as the back parts thereof-; 
or curse them, as we ciu'sed those who transgressed on 

they had eaten and drank plentifully, the hour of evening prayer being come, one of 
tlie company rose up to pray, but being overcome with liquor, made a shameful 
blunder in reciting a passage of tlie Koran ; whereupon to prevent the danger of any 
such indecency for tlie future, this passage was revealed'. 

» See the Prelim. Disc. § IV. 

•* Meaning the Jews, and particularly their Rabbins. 

<^ That is, (according to the commentators,) who change the true sense of the Pen- 
tateucli by dislocating passages, or by wresting the words according to their own 
fancies and lusts -. But Mohammed seems diiefly to intend here the .lews bantering 
of him in their addresses, by making use of equivocal words, seeming to bear a good 
sense in Arabic, but spoken by them in derision according to tlieir acceptation in He- 
brew ; an instance of which he gives in the following words. 

'' Literally, -wilfioii/ hrinfc madf 1o liaii\ or apprelicnd what we say. 

<^ The original word is lidina^ which being a term of reproach in Hebrew, IVIo- 
hanmied forbad tlieir using to him ^. 

f In Arabic, Oiidhoma ; wliich having no ill equivocal meaning, the propliet 
ordered them to use instead of the former. 

8 That is, perfectly plain, witliout eyes, nose, or mouth. The original however 
may also be translated, ok] turn them behind, by wringing tlieirnecks backward. 

' Al Beidawi. ' Idem, .lallalo'ddin. ' Sec before, c. 2, p. \0. 

Chap. 4.] AL KOUAN. 95 

the sabbath day^; and the command of God was ful- 
filled. Surely God will not pardon the giving him an 
equal''; but will pardon any other sin, except that, to 
whom he pleaseth": and whoso giveth a companion 
unto God, hath devised a great wickedness. Hast 
thou not observed those who justify themselves''? But 
God justifieth whomsoever he pleaseth, nor shall tliei/ 
be wronged a hair^ Behold, how they imagine a lie 
against GoD ; and therein is iniquity sufficiently ma- 
nifest. Hast thou not considered those to whom part 
of the scripture hath been given? They believe in 
false gods and idols*, and say of those who believe not, 
These are more rightly directed in the way of truth, 
than they who believe on Mohammed. Those are the 
men whom God hath cursed; and imto him whom 
God shall curse, thou shalt surely find no helper. 
Shall they have a part of the kingdom"*, since even 
then they would not bestow the smallest matter "^ on 

* And were therefore clianged into apes >. 

b That is, idolatry of all kinds. 

•^ viz. To those who repents /. ^ , 

d i. e. The Christians and Jews, who called themselves fltc clnldrcn of God, and 
his beloved people K ,^03 i • i 

<^ The ori'nnal word signifies a little skin in the cleft of a date-stone, and is useit 
to express a tiling of no value. , , . u 

f The Arabic is, in Jibt and Taghut. The former is supposed to have been the 
proper name of some idol ; but it seems rather to signify any false deity in general. 
The latter we have explained already '. _ 

It is said that this passage was revealed on the following occasion. Hoyai Ebn 
Aklitab and Caab Ebn al Ashraf % two chief men among the Jews, with several others 
of that rehgion, went to IMecca, and offered to enter into a confederacy with the Ko- 
reish, and to join their forces against Mohammed. But the Koreish, entertaining 
some jealousy of them, told them, that the Jews pretended to have a written revelation 
from heaven, as well as Mohammed, and their doctrines and worship approached 
much nearer to what he taught than the religion of their tribe ; wherefore, said they, 
if you would satisfy us that you are sincere in the matter, do as we do, and worship^ 
our gods. Which proposal, if the story be true, these Jews complied with, out of 
their inveterate hatred to IMohammede. 

s For the Jews gave out that they should be restored to their ancient power and 
grandeur ? ; depending, it is to be presumed, on the victorious Messiali whom they 
expected. u i 

* " Shall they have a portion in the kingdom of heaven, they who would grudge 
a farthing bestowed on their fellow creatures ?" — Savanj. 

h The original word properly signifies a small dent on the back of a date-stone ; 
and is commonly used to express a thing of little or no value. 

> See before, c. 2, p. 2. ^ a1 BeidawL ^ ide^^ Jallalo'ddin. See c. 5, not 
far from the beginning. ' See p. 45, note a. ^ See before, p. (54, note c. 

'5 Al Beidawi. " Idem. 

96 AL KORAN. [Chap. 4. 

men ? Do they envy other men that which God of 
his bounty hath given them"? We formerly gave 
unto the family of Abraham a book of revelations and 
wisdom ; and we gave them a great kingdom ^ There 
is of them who believeth on him"; and there is of them 
who turneth aside from him : but the raging fire of 
hell is a suflEicient punishment. Verily those who dis- 
believe our signs, we will surely cast to be broiled in 
hell fire ; so often as their skins shall be well burned, 
we will give them other skins in exchange, that they 
may taste the sharper torment ; for God is mighty 
and wise. But those who believe and do that which 
is right, we will bring into gardens watered by rivers, 
therein shall they remain for ever, and there shall they 
enjoy wives free from all impurity ; and we will lead 
them into perpetual shades. Moreover God com- 
mandeth you to restore what ye are trusted with, to 
the owners'': and when ye judge between men, that ye 
judge according to equity: and surely an excellent 
virtue it is to which God exhorteth you; for God 
both heareth and seeth. O true believers, obey God, 
and obey the apostle ; and those who are in authority 
among you : and if ye differ in any thing, refer it unto 
God'' and the apostle, if ye believe in God, and the 
last day : this is better, and a fairer metJiod of deter- 
mination. Hast thou not observed those who pretend 
they believe in what hath been revealed unto thee, and 

" viz. The spiritual gifts of prophecy, and divine revelations ; and the temporal 
blessings of victory and success, bestowed on I\Ioliamnicd and his followers. 

•" Wherefore God will doubtless show equal favour to this prophet, (a descendant 
also of Abraham,) and those who believe on him '. 

•= Namely, on Mohammed. 

^ This passage, it is said, was revealed on the day of the taking of Blecca, the 
primary design of it being to direct Mohammed to return the keys of the Caaba to 
Othman Ebn Telha Ebn Abdaldar, who had then the honour to be keeper of that 
holy place 2, and not to deliver them to his uncle al Abbas, who having already the 
custody of the well Zemzem, would fain have had also tliat of the ('aaba. The prophet 
obeying the di\'ine order, Othman was so affected with the justice of the action, not- 
withstanding he had at first refused him entrance, that he immediately embraced 
Blohammedism ; whereupon the guardianship of the Caaba was confirmed to this 
Othman and his heirs for ever 3. 

*= i. c. To the decision of the Koran. 

> Al Beidawi. - See Pridcaux's Life of Mahom. p. 2. 3 Al Bcidiiwi. 

Sec D'Hcrbcl. Bibl. Orient, p. 220, 221. 

Chap. 4.] AL KORAN. 97 

what hath been revealed before thee ? They desire to 
go to judgment before Taghut% although they have 
been commanded not to believe in him ; and Satan 
desireth to seduce them into a wide error. And when 
it is said unto them, Come unto the book which God 
hath sent down, and to the apostle ; thou seest the 
ungodly turn aside from thee, with great aversion. 
But how ivill tliey liehave when a misfortune shall 
befal them, for that which their hands have sent before 
them ? Then will they come unto thee, and swear by 
God, saymg^ If we intended any other than to do 
good, and to reconcile the parties^. God knoweth 
what is in the hearts of these men ; therefore let them 
alone, and admonish them, and speak unto them a 
word which may aifect their souls. We have not sent 
any apostle, but that he might be obeyed by the per- 
mission of God : but if they, after they have injured 
their own souls ^ come unto thee, and ask pardon of 
God, and the apostle ask pardon for them, they shall 
surely find God easy to be reconciled and merciful. 
And by thy Lord they will not pe^fectlij believe, until 
they make thee judge of their controversies ; and shall 
not afterwards find in their own minds any hardship 
in what thou shalt determine, but shall acquiesce 
therein with entire submission. And if we had com- 

^ That is, before the tribunals of infidels. This passage was occasioned by the 
following remarkable accident. A certain Jew having a dispute with a wicked Mo- 
hammedan, the latter appealed to the judgment of Caab Ebn al Ashraf, a principal 
Jew, and the former to 31ohammed. But at length they agreed to refer the matter 
to tlie prophet singly, who giving it in favour of the Jew, the Mohammedan refused 
to acquiesce in his sentence, but would needs hav« it re-heard by Omar, afterwards 
Khalif. When they came to him, the Jew told liim that Mohammed had already 
decided the affair in'his favour, but that the other would not submit to his determina- 
tion ; and the Mohammedan confessing this to be true, Omar bid them stay a little, 
and fetching his sword, struck eft' the obstinate Moslem's head, saying aloud. This 
is the reward of him who refusetli to submit to tht'jnilgment of God and his apostk. 
And from this action Omar had the surname of al Fariik, which alludes both to his 
scparutiiig that knave's head from his body, and to his distinguishing between truth 
and falsehood '. The name of Taghut" therefore in this place seems to be given to 
Caab Ebn al Ashraf. 

^ For this was the excuse of the friends of the Mohammedan whom Omar slew, 
when they came to demand satisfaction for liis blood 3. 

•^ Viz. By acting wickedly, and appealing to the judgment of infidels. 

' Jallalo'ddin, Al Beidawi. See D'Herbel. Bibl. Orient, p. 688, and Ockley's 
Hist, of the Sarac. v. i. p. 365. ■^ See before, p. 45. ' Al Beidawi. 

VOL. I. H 

98 AL KORAN. [Chap. 4. 

m.-inded them, saying. Slay yourselves, or depart from 
your houses"; they would not have done it, except a 
few of them. And if they had done what they were 
admonished, it would certainly have been better for 
them, and more efficacious for confirming their faith ; 
and we should then have surely given them in our 
sight an exceeding great reward, and we should have 
directed them in the right way. Whoever obeyeth 
God and the apostle, they shall he with those unto 
whom God hath been gracious, of the prophets, and 
the sincere, and the martyrs, and the righteous ; and 
these are the most excellent company. This is bounty 
from God ; and God is sufficiently knowing. O true 
believers, take your /'^ctc'^.st??;?/ precaution "^ aixa'insl ifour 
enemies, and either go forth to x^ar in separate parties*, 
or go forth all together in a body. There is of you 
who tarrieth behind'; and if a misfortune befal you, 
he saith. Verily God hath been gracious unto me, that 
I was not present with them : but if success attend you 
from God, he will say (as if there was no friendship 
between you and him''), Would to God I had been 
with them, for I should have acquired great merit. 
Let them therefore fight for the religion of God, who 
part with the present life in exchange for that AA'hich 
is to come*"; for whosoever fighteth for the religion of 
God, whether he be slain, or be victorious*, we will 
surely give him a great reward. And what ails you, 

» Some understand these words of their venturing their lives in a religious expe- 
dition ; and others, of their undergoing the same punishments which the Israelites 
did, for their idolatry in worshipping the golden calf'. 

'' j. c. Be vigilant, and provide yourselves with arms and necessaries. 

* " O believers, be prutlent in battle, whether you attack separately, or in a 
body." — Sir.ari/. 

•^ IMohamnied here upbraids the hypocritical Moslems, who for want of faith and 
constancy in their religion were backward in going to war for its defence. 

'I i. i: As oiiK who attendeth not to the public, but his own private interest. Or 
else these may be the words of (he hypocritical Mohammedan himself, insinuating 
that he staid not behind the rest of the army by his own fault, but was left by Mo- 
hammed, who those to let the others share in his good fortune, preferably to him '. 

*= By venturing their lives and fortunes in defence of the faith. 

' For no man ought to quit the field, till he either fall a martyr, or gain some ad- 
vantage for the cause''. 

' Al Reidawi. See before, p. 9. '' Al Bcidawi. ■' Idem. 

Chap. 4.] AL KOP.AN. , 99 

that ye fight not for Gou's true religion, and m defence 
of the weak among men, women, and children'', who 
say, O Lord, bring us forth from this city, whose 
inhabitants are wicked ; grant us from before thee a 
protector, and grant us from before thee a defender''. 
They who believe fight for the religion of God ; but 
they who believe not fight for the religion of Taghut^ 
Fight therefore against the friends of Satan, for the 
stratagem of Satan is weak. Hast thou not observed 
those unto whom it was said. Withhold your hands 
from wci}-, and be constant at prayers, and pay the legal 
alms'^? But when war is commanded them, behold, 
a part of them fear men as they should fear GoD, or 
with a greater fear, and say, O Lord, wherefore hast 
thou commanded us to go to war, and hast not suffered 
us to wait our approaching end"? Say unto them, 
The provision of this life is hut small ; but the future 
shall be better for him who feareth God*; and ye shall 
not be in the least injured at the day of judgment. 
Wheresoever ye be, death will overtake you, althovigh 
ye be in lofty towers. If good befal them, they say. 
This is from God ; but if evil befal them, they say. 
This is from thee, O Mohammed^: say, All is from 
God ; and what aileth these people, that they are 
so far from understanding what is said unto them ? 

* viz. Those believers who staid behind at Mecca, being detained there either 
forcibly by the idolaters, or for want of means to fly for refuge to Medina. Al Bei- 
dawi observes, that children are mentioned here to sliow the inhumanity of the 
Koreish, who persecuted even that tender age. 

'• This petition, die coranisntators say, was heard. For God afforded several of 
them an opportunity and means of escaping, and delivered the rest at the taking of 
Mecca by I\Iohammed, who left Otab Ebn Osaid governor of the city : and under 
his care and protection those who had suffered for tlieir religion became tlie most 
considerable men in the place. 

<^ See before, p. 45. 

'' These were some of Mohammed's followers, who readily performecj. the duties 
of their religion, so long as they were commanded nothing that might endanger their 

» That is, a natural death. 

* " Say unto them. The enjoyments of this world are transient ; the future life is 
the real treasure for those who fear God." — Savary. 

f As the Jews in particular, who pretended that their land was grown barren, and 
provisions scarce, since Mohammed came to JMedina '. 

' Al Beidawi. 

H 2 

100 AL KORAN. [Chai). 4. 

Whatever good befalleth thee, O man, it is from God ; 
and whatever evil befalletli thee, it is from thyself \ 
We have sent thee an apostle unto men, and God is a 
sufficient witness thercoj'. Whoever obeyeth the apostle, 
obeyeth God ; and whoever turneth back, we liave not 
sent thee to be a keeper over them''. They say, Obe 
dience : yet when they gc fcith from ihee, part of them 
meditate by night a moUcr different from what thou 
speakest ; but God shall write down what they medi- 
tate by night : therefore let them alone, and trust in 
God, for God is a sufficient protector. Do- they not 
attentively consider the Koran? if it had been from 
any besides God, they would certainly have found 
therein many contradictions. When any news cometh 
unto them, either of security or fear, they immcdialeh/ 
divulge it ; but if they told it to the apostle and to 
hose who are in authority among them, such of them 
Avould understand tJie Iruth of the matter, as inform 
themselves thereof /i'owi the apostle and his chiefs. 
And if the favour of God and his mercy had not heen 
upon you. ye had followed the devil, except a few of 
ifou". Fight therefore for the religion of God, and 
oblige not any to what is difficult'', except thyself; 
however excite the faithful to icar, perhaps God A\'ill 
restrain the courage of the unbelievers; for God is 

» These words are not to be understood as contradictory to tlie preceding, That all 
proceeds from God ; since the evil which befals mankind, though ordered by God, is 
yet the consequence of tlieir own wicked actions. 

'' Or, to take an account of their actions ; for this is God's part. 

" That is, if (iod liad not sent iiis apostle with the Koran to instruct you in your 
duty, ye had continued in idolatry and been doomed to destruction ; except only those 
who, by God's favour, and their superior understanding, should have true notions of 
the divinity ; such, for example, as Zeid Ebn Amru Ebn Nofail ', and M'araka Ebn 
Nawfal », who left idols, and acknowledged but one God, before tlie mission of AIo- 
hammec'. 3. 

•* It is said this passage was revealed when the Mohammalans refused to follow 
their prophet to the lesser expedition of Bedr, so that he was obliged to set out with 
no more than seventy '. Some copies vary in this place, and instead of la iohallafo, 
in the second person singular, read la iwkallafo, in the first person plural, 11 V do'iiot 
oblige, ^r. The meaning being, that the prophet only was under an indispensable 
necessity of obeying God's commands, however difficult, but others might choose, 
though at their peril. 

' V. Alilliimi, dc Mohammedismo ante Mob. p. ;U1. = See the Prelim. 

Disc p. 5f). J Al Beidawi. ■* See before, ch. :?. p. 7«. 

Chap. 4.] AI. KORAN. 101 

stronger than tlieij, and more able to punish. He who 
intercedeth hettveen men with a good intercession" 
shall have a portion thereof; and he who intercedeth 
wiih. an evil intercession shall have a portion thereof; 
for God overlooketh all things. ^Vhen ye are saluted 
with a salutation, salute the person with a better sa- 
lutation '\ or at h'-'!st return the same ; for God taketh 
an account of all things. God ! there is no GoD but 
lie ; he will surely gather you together on the day of 
resurrection ; there is no doubt of it : and who is more 
true than God in what he saith? Why are ye divided 
concerning the ungodl}' into two parties'"; since God 
hath overturned them for what they have committed ? 
Will ye direct him whom God hath led astray ; since 
for him whom God shall lead astray, thou shalt find 
no true path ? They desire that ye should become 
infidels, as they are infidels, and that ye should be 
equally wicled "with tJicinsclves. Therefore take not 
friends from among them, until they fly tlieir cuantrj/ 
for the religion of God ; and if they turn back from 
the^ faith, take them, and kill them wherever ye find 
them ; and take no friend from among them, nor any 
helper, except those who go unto a people who are in 
alliance with you'', or those who come unto you, their 
hearts forbidding them either to fight against you, or 
to fight against their own people^ And if God pleased 
he would have permitted them to have prevailed against 

^ i. r. To main tain the right of a believer, or to prevent his being wronged. 

^ By adding something farther. As when one salutes another by this form, Peace 
br upon thcc. he ought not only to return the salutation, but to add, uiid the mcrciiof 
<iod, and his bles-s'niff. 

"^ Tins passage was revealed, acC'irding to some, when certain of Mohammed's 
followers, pretending not to like IMedina, desired leave to go elsewhere, and having 
obtained it, went farther and farther, till they joined the idolaters; or, as others say, 
on occasion of some deserters at the battle of Ohod ; concerning whom the IMoslems 
were divided in opinion whether they should be slain as infidels, or not. 

•^ The people here meant, say some, were the tribe of Khozaah, or, according to 
others, the Aolamians, whose chief, named Helal Ebn Owaimar, agreed with Mo- 
liammed, when he set out agamst Alecca, to stand neuter ; or, as others rather think, 
Uanu Beer Ebn Zcid >. 

" These, it is said, were the tribe of 3Iodlaj, who came in to Mohammed, but 
would not he obliged to assist him in war. 

' Al Bcidawi, Jallalo'ddin. 

102 AL KOiiAX. [Chap. 4. 

you, and they would have fought against you. But if 
they depart from you, and fight not against you, and 
offer you peace, God doth not allow you to take or 
kill them. Ye shall find others who are desirous to 
enter into a confidence with you*, and at the same time 
to preserve a confidence with their own people': so 
often as they return to sedition, they shall be subverted 
therein ; and if they depart not from you, and offer 
you peace, and restrain their hands /row xvarinug 
against you, take them and kill them wheresoever ye 
find them ; over these have we granted you a manifest 
power. It is not laujld for a believer to kill a believer, 
unless it liappen by mistake''; and whoso killeth a 
believer by mistake, the 'penaUij shall be the freeing of 
a believer from slavery, and a fine to be paid to the 
family of tlie deceased % unless they remit it as alms : 
and if the slain person be of a people at enmity with 
you, and be a true believer, the penally shall be the 
freeing of a believer''; but if he be of a people in con- 
federacy with you, a fine to be paid to his family, and 
the freeing of a believer. And he who findeth not 
wherewith to do this shall fast two months consecu- 
tively as a penance eiijoined from God ; and God is 
knowing and wise. But whoso killeth a believer de- 
signedly, his reAvard shall be hell; he shall remain 
therein for ever'' ; and God shall be angry with 

* '• Tliere are others who wish to ally your belief with that of their own nation." 
— Suvary. 

» The persons hinted at here were the tribes of A sad and Ghatfan, or, as some 
say, Banu Abdaldiir, who came to Medina and pretended to embrace 3Iohammedism, 
that they miglit be trusted by the Moslems, but when they returned, fell back to tlieir 
old idolatry '. 

^ That is, by accident and without design. This passage was revealed to decide 
the case of Ayash Ebn Abi Rabia, the brother, by the mother's side, of Abu Jahl, 
who meeting Ilareth Ebn Zeid on the road, and not knowing that he had embraced 
Mohammedism, slew him-. 

•^ 'Which line is to be distributed according to the laws of inheritances given in the 
beginning of this chapter^. — •' The sum fixed by the law is the price of a hundred 
camels." — Savari/. 

•' And no fine shall be paid, because in such case his relations, being infidels and at 
open war with the Moslems, have no right to inherit wiiat he leaves. 

••' That is, unless he ropent. Others however understand not here an eternity of 
damnation (for it is the general doctrine of the Mohanmiedans that none who profess 
tliat faith sliall continue in hell for ever), bi\tonly along space of time'. 

I Al Beidi'iwi. - Idem. 3 idem. ' Idem. 

Chap. 4.] AL KORAN. 103 

him, and shall curse him, and shall prepare for him a 
great punishment. O true believers, when ye are on 
a march in defence of the true religion, justly dis- 
cern siich as ye shall ha'ppen to meet, and say not 
unto him who saluteth you, thou art not a true be- 
liever '"^ ; seeking the accidental goods of the present 
life ^ ; for with God is much spoil. Such have ye 
formerly been ; but God hath been gracious unto 
you *^ ; therefore make a just discernment, for God is 
well acquainted with that which ye do. Those be- 
lievers who sit still at liome, not having any hurf^, 
and those who employ their fortunes and their per- 
sons for the religion of God, shall not be held equal. 
God hath preferred those who employ their fortunes 
and their persons in that cause to a degree of honour 
above those who sit at home : God hath indeed pro- 
mised every one paradise, but God hath preferred 
those who fight Jor thejaith before those who sit still, 
by adding unto them a great reward, by degrees (v/' 
honour conferred on them from him, and by granting 
them forgiveness, and mercy; for God is indulgent 
a7id merciful. Moreover unto those whom the angels 
put to death, having injured their own souls % the 

" On pretence that he only feigns to be a Moslem, that he might escape from 
you. The commentators mention more instances than one of persons slain and 
plundered by Mohammed's men under this pretext, notwithstanding they declared 
themselves JMosleras by repeating the usual form of words, and saluting them ; 
for which reason this passage was revealed, to prevent such rash judgments for the 

^ That is, being willing to judge him an infidel, only that ye may kill and 
plunder him. 

•^ viz. At your first profession of Islamism, before ye had given any demonstra- 
tions of your sincerity and zeal thciein. 

^ i, c. Not being disabled from going to war by sickness, or other just impedi- 
ment. It is said that vjhen the passage was first revealed, there was no such ex- 
ception therein, which occasioned Ebn Omm Mactum, on his hearing it repeated, 
to object, And what tJiough I he blind? Whereupon Mohamm.ed, falling into a 
kind of trance, which was succeeded by strong agitations, pretended he had re- 
ceived the divine direction to add these words to the text'. 

* These were certain inhabitants of Mecca, who held with the hare and ran with 
the hounds ; for though they embraced Mohammedism, yet they would not leave 
that city to join the prophet, as the rest of the Bloslcms did, but on the contrary, 
went out with the idolaters, and were therefore slain with thein at the battle of 
Bedr "-. 

' Al Beidawi. ^ Idem, Jallalo'ddin. 

104 AL KOKAN. [Chap. 4. 

angels said, Of what religion were ye? they answered, 
We were weak in tlie earth ". Tlie angel'i replied, 
Was not God's earth wide enough, that ye might fly 
therein to a place of refuge^? Therefore their ha- 
bitation shall be hell ; and an evil journey shall it he 
thither : except the weak among men, and women, and 
children, who were not able to find means, and were 
not directed in the way ; these peradventure God will 
pardon, for (ioD is ready to forgive, and gracious. 
Whosoever flieth from his ca/tntry for the sake of 
God's true religion, shall find in the earth many forced 
/(> do the same, and plenty ^/ jn-i visions. And who- 
ever departeth from his house, and flieth unto God 
and his apostle, if death overtake him in I he xcai/'', 
(jod will be obliged to re\Aard him, for God is gra- 
cious a?id merciful. When ye march /V; tear in the 
earth, it shall be no crime in you if ye shorten yom* 
prayers, in case ye fear the infidels may attack you ; 
for the infidels are your open enemy. But when thou, 
O pri phef, shalt be among them, and shalt pray with 
them, let a party of them arise to prayer with thee, 
and let them take their arms ; and when they shall 
have worshipped, let them stand behind you '', and let 
another party come that hath not prayed, and let them 
pray with thee, and let them be cautious and take 
their arms. The unbelievers would that ye should 
neglect your arms and your baggage while ye projj, 
that they might turn upon you at once. It shall be 
no crime in you, if ye be incommoded by rain, or be 
sick, that ye lay down your arms; but take your i.e- 
eessary precaution'': God hath prepared for the un- 
believers an ignominious punishment. And when ye 
shall have ended /,/o?<rr prayer, remember God, stand- 

« lieing unable to fly, and coiiipelled to follow the inlidcls to war. 

'' As they did who fied to Ikhiopia and to Medina. 

•^ This passable was revcilcd, says al Bt'iih\wi, on account of Jondob Ebn 
Danira. This person beirfr sick, was, in his Hij^ht, carried by his sons on a couch, 
and before he arrived at Ijicdina, jiinceiving his end approached, he dai)iied his 
right hand on liis left, and soleninjy ph'ghting his faiih to Goi) and his jipostlc, 

^ To defend these who are at prayers, and to face tlie enemy. 

' By keeping strict ;;iiard. 

Chap. 4.] AL KOiJAN. 105 

ing, and sitting, and lying on your sides \ But when 
ye are secmejrovi dans^er, complete your prayers ; for 
'prayer is commanded the faithful, and appointed to be 
mid at the stated times. Be not negligent in seeking 
out the laibdicving people, though ye suffer some i/i- 
conveniencf ; for they also shall suffer as ye suffer, and 
ye hope for a rexvard from God which they cannot 
hope for ; and God is knowing and wise ^ We have 
sent down unto thee the book of the Koran with truth, 
that thou mayest judge between men through that 
wisdom which God showeth thee therein; and be not 
an advocate for the fraudulent'; but ask pardon of 
God for thy XiTong intention, since God is indulgent 
and merciful. Dispute not for those who deceive one 
another, for God loveth not him who is a deceiver or 
unjust '\ Such conceal themselves from men, but they 
conceal not themselves from God; for he is with them 
when they imagine by night a saying which pleaseth 
him not% and God comprehendeth what they do. 
Behold, ye are they who have disputed for them in 
this present life ; but who shall dispute with God for 
them on the day of resurrection, or who will become 
their patron ? yet he who doth evil, or injureth his 

« That is, in such posture as ye .shall be able '. 

1* This verse was revealed on occasion of the unwillingness of JMohammetrs 
men to accompany him in the lesser expedition of Bedr". 

<= Tima Ebn Obeirak of the sons of Dhafar, one of Mohammed's companions, 
stole a coat of mail from his neighbour Kitada Ebn al Nonian, in a bag of meal ; 
and hid it at a Jew's, named Zeid Ebn al Saniin : Tima being suspected, the coat 
of mail was demarded of him, but he denying he knew any thing of it, they fol- 
lowed the track of the meal, wiiich had run cut through a hole in the bag, to the 
Jew's hovise. and there seized it, accusing him of the theft; but he producing wit- 
nesses of his own religion that he had it of Tima, the sons of Dhafer came to Mo- 
hammed, and desired him to defend his companion's reputation, and condemn the 
Jew ; which he having some thoughts of doing, this passage was revealed, repre- 
hending him for his rash intention, and commanding him to judge not according 
to his own prejudice and opinion, but according to the merit of the cases. 

^ Al Beiuawi, as an instance of the divine justice, adds, that Tima, after the fact 
above mentioned, fled to Mecca, and returned to idolatry; and there undermining 
the wall of a house, in ovder to conr.iiit a robbery, the wall fell in upon him and 
crushed him to death. 

^ That is, when they secretly contrive means, by false evidence or otlierwise, to 
lay their crimes on innocent persons. 

' See before, ch. IJ, p. 82. ■'- Al Beidiiwi. ' Idem, Jullalo'ddin, 


106 AL KORAN. [Chap. 4. 

own soul, and afterwards asketh pardon of God, shall 
find God gracious and merciful. Whoso committeth 
wickedness, committeth it against his own soul : God 
is knowing and wise. And \vhoso committeth a sin 
or iniquity, and afterwards layeth it on the innocent, 
he shall surely bear llic ^idlt of cahmmy and manifest 
injustice. If the indulgence and mercy of God had 
not been upon thee, surely a part of them had studied 
to seduce thee '' ; but they shall seduce themselves 
only*, and shall not hurt thee at all. God hath sent 
down unto thee the book of the Koran and wisdom, 
and hath taught thee that which thou knewest not ^ ; 
for the favour of God hath been great towards thee. 
There is no good in the multitude of their private 
discourses, unless in the disccnrsc of him who recom- 
mendeth alms, or that which is right, or agreement 
amongst men : whoever doth this out of a desire to 
please God, v/e will surely give him a great reward. 
But whoso separateth himself from the apostle, after 
true direction hath been manifested unto him, and fol- 
loweth any other way than that of the true believers, 
we will cause him to obtain that to which he is in- 
clined ", and will cast him to be burned in hell ; and 
an unhappy journey shall it be thitlicr. Verily GoD 
will not pardon the giving him a companion, but he 
will pardon (my crime besides that, unto whom he 
pleaseth : and he who giveth a companion unto (^OD 
is surely led aside into a wide mistake ; the infideh 
invoke beside him only female deilics ''; * and only in- 
voke rebellious Satan, (^od cursed him; and he said, 

• ^Meaning the sons of Dhafar. 

• " A part of the unbelievers conspired thy niin ; but ihej' brought ruin on them- 
selves, 'i'he divine goodness watched over thy safety. They had not power to 
hurt thee." — Savarij. 

•> By instructing thee in the knowledge of right and wrong, and the rules of jus- 

•= viz. Error, and false notions of religion. 

«* Namely, AUat, al Uzza, and Ulenat, the idols of the Meccans; or the an- 
gels, whom they called ihe d a ug/i I ers ofiiov '. 

• " They have goddesses for divinities; but Satan is the object of tlicir worship." 
— Siivary. 

' See the Prelim. Disc. § 1. p. 23, &c. 

Chap. 4.] AL KORAN. 107 

Verily I will take of thy servants a part cut off from 
the rcst% and I will seduce them, and will insinuate 
vai7i desires into them, and I will command them and 
they shall cut off the ears of cattle '-and I will com- 
mand them and they shall change God s creature ^. 
But whoever taketh Satan for his patron, besides l.OD , 
shall surely perish with a manifest destruction. He 
maketh them promises, and insinuateth into them vam 
desires ; yet Satan maketh them only deceitful pro- 
mises The receptacle of these shall be hell, they 
shall find no refuge from it. But they who believe, 
and do good works, we will surely lead them into 
gardens, through which rivers flow, they shall con- 
tinue therein for ever, according to the true promise 
of God ; and who is more true than God m what he 
saith^ It shall not be according to your desires, nor 
according to the desires of those who have received 
the scriptures ^ Whoso doth evil shall be rewarded 
for it; and shall not find any patron or helper, be- 
side God ; but whoso doth good works, whetner he 
be male or female, and is a true believer; they shall 
be admitted into paradise, and shall not in the least 
be uniustly dealt with. Who is better m point of 
religion than he who resigneth himself unto God, and 
is a worker of righteousness, and foUoweth the law ot 

a Or, as the original may be tianslated, a part destined or prcdetermmcd to be 

"t^^^,?/h wts clone out of superstition by the old pagan Arabs. See more of this 

^"^XSrtS^Sgt^lSrit to uses not designed by the Creator Al 
BeidSi «pi "he tlxt'to intend not only the superstitious amputaUons of the 
ears ami other parts of cattle, but the castration of slaves, the marking their bod 
wTth fij.res, by^pricking and dyeing them with woad or indigo (as the Arabs d^ 
r 1 ^m do , the dinrpening their teeth by filing; and also sodomy, and the un- 
natural amiurs between thote of the female sex, the worship of the sun, moon, and 
ether parts of nature, and the like. /. ^i, i -i 

<> i \. By leaving the service of God, and doing the works of the devil. 

e That il, the promises of God are not to be gained by actmg after your own 
fancies nor yet after the fancies of th. Jews or Christians but by obeying the 
commi'ncl of God. This passage, they say, was revealed on a dispute which 
Tr beiecn those of the thL rigions, each preferring ^^r^:'-^^^^^ 
ing the others. Some however suppose the persons here spoken .o in the second 
person were not the Mohammedans, but the idolaters '. 

1 Al Beidawi, Jallalo'ddin, Yahya. 

108 AL KOliAX. [Chap. 4. 

Abraham the (jrtliodox ? since God took Abraham 
for his friend " : and to God bdon<s,eth whatsoever is 
in lieaven and on eartli ; ^^od compreliendeth all 
things. 'J'hey will consult thee concerning women''; 
Answer, (ion instructeth you concerning them'", and 
that which is read unto you in tlie book of the Koran 
concerning female (H'plians, to wliom ye give not that 
which is ordained theju, neither will ye marry them '', 
and concer!!ing weak infants % and that ye observe jus- 
tice towards orphans : whatever good ye do, God 
knowetli it. If a woman fear ill usage *, or aversion 
from lier husband, it shall be no crime in tliem if they 
agree the matter amicably between themselves'; for a 
reconciliation is better iiuiii a s/parcdion. MaCs souls 

" Thcrtfore the IMohainmedans usually call that patriarch, ai the Scripture also 
docs, Khalil Allah, the ,//7r;/r/ o/' OoD, and simply al Khalil; and they tell the 
following story:— That Abraham in a time of dearth sent to a friend of his in 
Egypt for a supply of corn ; but the friend denied him, saying in his excvise, that 
though there was a famine in their country also, yet had it been fur Abraham's 
own family, he would have sent what he desired, but he knew he wanted it only to 
entertain his guests and give away to the poor, according to his usual hospitality. 
The sei'vants whom Abraham had sent on this message, being ashamed to return 
empty, to conceal the matter from their neighbours, filled their sacks with fine 
white sand, wliich in th.e East pretty much resembles meal. Abraham being in- 
formed by his servants, on their return, of their ill success, the concern he was un- 
der threw liim into a sleep ; and in the mean time Sarah, knowing nothing of what 
had happened, opening one of the sacks, found good flour in it, and inmiediately 
set out about making of bread. Abiaham awaking and smelling the new bread, 
asked her whence she had the flour ? Wloj^ says she, from your fr'tcud in Egypt ; 
Ndij, replied the patriarch, it must have coniffrom no other than viy friend Gou 
Abii'ighty '. 

*• /. c. As to the share they are to have in the distribution of the iiihcrilances of 
their deceased relations ; for it seems the Arabs were not :;atisfied with I\Iohanniicd's 
decision on this point, against the old customs. 

•^ i. r. lie hath already luade knowr. his will unto you, by reve:Jing the passages 
concerning inheritances in the beginning of this chapter. 

'' Or the words may be rendered in the affirmative, and uho/ii yc dcshr to viurry. 
For the pagan Arabs used to wrong their female orphans in both instances ; obliging 
them to marry against their inclinations, if they were beautiful or rich ; or else not 
suftering them to many at all, that th.ey might keep what belonged to them ^. 

•^ That is, male children of tender years, to whom the Arabs, in the time of pa- 
ganism, used to allow no share in the distribution of their parent's estates. 

" " If the harshness and aversion of her husband cause a woman lo fear that he 
will divorce her, she ought to endeavour to bring him back to mildness. I\lut«al 
reconciliation is the wisest plan to adopt. 31 an has a leaning towards avarice. Be 
beneficent, and fear to be unjust. God is witness of your actions." — Savary. 

' I>y the wife's remitting part of her dower or other dues. 

' Al Ilcidilwi. See l)'lk:bil. I'.ibl. Orient, p. 14. and .'Morgan's ."Mahomciisui 
E.\plained, vol. i. p. K52. Al Beidiuvi. -i See before ]•. Vi6. Note c 

Chap. 4.] AL KOiiAX. 109 

are naturally inclined to covetousness "" : but if ye be kind 
toccarcls xcomcn, and fear fo icronL( tliem, God is well ac- 
quainted with what ye do. Ye can by no means carry 
yourselves equally between women in all respects^ al- 
though ye study to do it ; therefore turn wot from a 
■irij'e with all manner of aversion '', nor leave her like 
one in suspense '' : if ye agree, and fear to abuse your 
zcives, God is gracious a7id merciful ; but if they sepa- 
rate, God will satisfy t/iejn both of his abundance'^; for 
God is extensive and wise, and unto God bclongeth 
whatsoever is in heaven and on earth. We have al- 
ready commanded those unto \vhom the scriptures 
were given before you, and ire command you also, say- 
ing. Fear God ; but if ye disbelieve, unto God belong- 
etli whatsoever is in heaven and on earth ; and God 
is self-sufficient", a) id to be praised ; for unto God bc~ 
longetJi whatsoever is in heaven and on earth, and God 
is a sufficient protector. If he pleasetli he will take 
you away, O men, and will produce otliers ^ in your 
sfcad ; for God is able to do this. Whoso desireth 
the reward of this world, verily with God is the re- 
ward of this world, and a /so of that which is to come ; 
God both heareth and seeth, O true believers, observe 
justice when ye bear witness before God, although it 
be against yourselves, or ijour parents, or relations ; 
whether the party be rich, or uhetlier he be poor ; for 
God is more worthy than them both : therefore follow 
not your oini lust in bearing testimony, so that ye 
swerve from justice. And whether ye wrest your evi- 

^ So that the woman, on the one side, is unwilling to part with any of her right, 
and the husband, on the other, cares not to retain one he has no affection for ; or, if 
he should retain lier, slie can scarce expect he will use her in all respects as he 
ought 1. 

** i. c. Though you cannot use lier equally well with a beloved wife, yet observe 
some measures of justice towards her ; for if a man is not able perfectly to perform 
his duty, he ought not, for that reason, entirely to neglect it 2. 

'^ Or like one that neither has a husband, nor is divorced and at liberty to marry 

^ That is, either will bless thsrn with a better and more advantageous match, or 
with peace and tranquillity of mind 3. 

•= \Vanting the service of r,o creature. 

' Either another race of men, or a different species of creatures. 

' Al LJeidawi. ^ Idem. s Idem. 

110 Ai. KORAN. [Chap. 4. 

dence, or decline giving if, God is well acquainted with 
that which ye do. O true believers, believe in God 
and his apostle, and the book which he hath caused to 
descend unto his apostle, and the book which he hath 
formerly sent down ^. And whosoever belie veth not in 
God, and his angels, and his scriptures, and his apostles, 
and the last day, he surely erreth in a wide mistake. 
Moreover they who believed, and afterwards became 
infidels, and then believed again, and after that disbe- 
lieved, and increased in infidelity*', God will by no 
means forgive them, nor direct them into the right way. 
Declare unto the ungodly '^ that they shall suffer a 
painful punishment. They who take the unbelievers 
for their protectors, besides the faithful, do they seek 
for power with them ? since all power belongeth unto 
God. And he hath already revealed unto you, in the 
book of the Koran ^, tlie jolloiving passage — When ye 
shall hear the signs of God, they shall not be believed, 
but they shall be laughed to scorn. Therefore sit not 
with them who believe not, until they engage in different 
discourse ; for if ye do ye will certainly become like 
unto them. God will surely gather the ungodly and 
the unbelievers together in hell. They who wait to 
observe xchat befaUetJi you, if victory be granted you 
from God, say. Were we not with you ^ ? But if any 
advantage happen to the infidels, they say unto theni. 
Were we not superior to you ', and have we not de- 

" It is said that Abdallali Ebii Salam and his coir.panions told IVIohammcd that 
they believed \\\ him, and his Koran, and in Closes, and the jientateucli, and in 
Ezra, but no farther ; whereupon this pjissagc was revealed, declaring that a par- 
tial faith is little better than none at all, and that a true believer must believe in all 
God's prophets and revelations without exception '. 

'' These were tlie Jews, who first believed in IMoses, and afterwards fell into ido- 
latry by worshipping the golden calf; and though they repented of that, yet in after 
ages rejected the prophets who were sent to theui, and particularly Jesus the son of 
Mary, and now filled up the measure of their unbelief by rejecting of I^iohammcd 2. 

^" Mohammed here meaiis lliose who hypocritically pretended to believe in him 
but really did not, and by tlieir treachery did great mischief to his party 3. 

•* In the Koran, chap. (J. 

" i. c. Did we not assist you ? therefore give us a part of the spoil ■}. 

' ^Vould not our army liavc cut you off, if it had not been for our faint assistance, 
or rather desertion, of the IMoslcms, and our disheartening thems? 

' Al IJcidawi. -' Idem. a Idem. ■« Idem. s Idem. 

Chap. 4.] AL KOUAN. Ill 

fended you against the believers? God shall judge 
between you on the day of resurrection ; and God will 
not grant the unbelievers means to prevail over the 
faithful. The hypocrites act deceitfully with God, but 
he will deceive them ; and when they stand up to pray, 
they stand carelessly, affecting to be seen of men, and 
remember not God, unless a little % wavering between 
faith and infidelity, and adhering neither unto these 
nor unto those ^ : and for him whom God shall lead 
astray thou shalt find no true path. O true believers, 
take not the unbelievers for your protectors, besides 
the faithful. Will ye furnish God with an evident 
argument of impiety against you ? Moreover the hy- 
pocrites shall be in the lowest bottom of hell fire ^ and 
thou shalt not find any to help them thence. But they 
who repent and amend, and adhere firmly unto God, 
and approve the sincerity of their religion to God, they 
shall be numbered with the faithful; and God will 
surely give the faithful a great revv^ard. And how 
should God go about to punish you, if ye be thank- 
ful and believe ? for God is grateful and wise. 
^' God loveth not the speaking ill of any one in VI. 
public, unless he who is injured call for assist- 
ance ; and God heareth and knoweth : whether ye 
publish a good action, or conceal it, or forgive evil, 
verily God is gracious and powerful. They who be- 
lieve not in God, and his apostles, and would make a 
distinction between God and his apostles'", and say. We 
believe in some of the prophets and reject others of 
them, and seek to take a middle way in this matter ; 
these are really unbelievers : and we have prepared for 
the unbelievers an ignominious punishment. But they 
who believe in God and his apostles, and make no di- 
stinction between any of them, unto those will we surely 

* That is, with the tongue, and not with the heart. 

'^ Halting between two opinions, and being stanch friends neither to the Moslems 
nor the infidels. 

<= See the Prelim. Disc. § 4. p. 126. 
'' See chap. 2. p. 50. note a. 

112 AL KOKAX. [Chap. 4. 

give their reward ; and God is gracious and merciful. 
They who have received the scriptures ^ will demand 
of thee, that thou cause a book to descend unto them 
from heaven : they formerly asked of Moses a greater 
tliii}^ than this ; for they said, Show us God visibly ^ 
^Vherefore a storm of fire from heaven destroyed them, 
because of their iniquity. Then they took the calf/or 
their God \ after that evident proofs oj'the divine iinitif 
had come unto them : but we forgave tliem that, and 
gave Moses a manifest power to punisJi tJiem '\ And 
we lifted the mountain oj' Sinai over them % xcJieii xve 
exacted jrom them their covenant*; and said unto 
them, Enter the gate of the citij worshipping '. We 
also said unto them. Transgress not on the Sabbath day. 
And we received from them a firm covenant, //.'.// (Iiey 
would observe these things. Therefore for thaf^ they 
have made void their covenant, and have not believed in 
the signs of God, and have slain the prophets unjustly, 
and have said. Our hearts are uncircumcised ; (but God 
hath sealed them up, because of their unbelief; there- 
fore they shall not believe, except a few of them .) and 
for that they have not believed in Jesus, and have 
sjioken against Mary a grievous calumny''; and have 
said. Verily we have slain Christ Jesus the son of Mary, 
the apostle of God ; yet they slew him not, neither 
crucified him, but he was represented hij or,e in his 

•■' That is, the Jews, who (leiiianded of Mohaninied, as a proof of his mission, 
that they might see a book of revelations descend to him from heaven, or that he 
would produce one written in a celestial character, like tlie two tables of Moses. 

*> See chap. 2. p. 10. 

This story seems to be an addition to what Moses says of the seventy elders, wlio 
went up to the mountain with liim, and with Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and saw 
the God of Israel '. 

<^ See chap. 2. p. 9. 

•* See ibid. p. fj. Mote c. 

« See ibid. p. 12. 

" " \Ve raised up Mount Sinai as a pledge of our covenant " — S^rcanj. 

f See ibid. p. 10. 

K There being nothing in the following words of this sentence to answer to the 
casual for thai, JalLilo'ddin supposes something to be understood to complete the 
sense, as, thcirforc 7'.c have cursed i/iciu, or the like. 

'' By accusing her of fornication -• 

' Exod. xxiv. 9, 10, 11. ^ See the Koran, ch. 19, and tliat virulent book 

entitled Toldoth Jesu. 

Chap. 4.] AL KORAX. 113 

likeness''; and verily they who disagreed concerning 
him ^ were in a doubt as to this matter, and had no 
sure knowledge thereof, but followed only an uncertahi 
opinion. They did not really kill him ; but God took 
him up unto himself: and God is mighty and wise. 
And there shall not he one of those who have received 
the scriptures, who shall not believe in him, before his 
death " ; and on the day of resurrection he shall be a 
witness against them^ Because of the iniquity of 
those who judaize, we have forbidden them good things, 
which had been formerl?/ allowed them" ; and because 
they shut out many from the way of God, and have 
taken usury, which was forbidden them bi/ the law, and 
devoured men's substance vainly: we have prepared 
for such of them as are unbelievers a painful punish- 
ment. But those among them who are well grounded 
in knowledge ^, and the faithful, who believe in that 
which hath been sent down unto thee, and that which 
hath been sent down imto the prophets before thee, and 

■^ See chap. 3, p. 60, and the notes there. 

'' For some maintained that he was justly and really crucified ; some insisted that 
it was not Jesus who suffered, but another who resembled him in the face, pretend- 
ing the other parts of his body, by their unlikeness, plainly discovered the imposi- 
tion ; some said he was taken up into heaven ; and others, that his manhood only 
suffered, and that his godhead ascended into heaven >. 

"^ This passage is expounded two ways. 

Some, referring the relative his, to the first antecedent, take the meaning to be, 
that no Jew or Christian shall die before he believes in Jesus ; for tliey say, that 
when one of either of those religions is ready to breathe his last, and sees the angel 
of death, before him, he shall then believe in that prophet as he ought, though his 
faith will not then be of any avail. According to a tradition of Hejaj, when a Jew 
is expiring, the angels will strike him on the back and face, and say to him, O i/io/i 
enemy oJ^G(xI, Jesus was sent as a prophet unto thee and thou didst not helicve in 
him '; to which he will answer, / now believe him to he the servant of God : and to 
a dying Christian they will say, Jesus was sent as a prophet unto thee, and thou hast 
imoffinrd hhn to he God or the Son of God ; whereupon he will believe him to be 
the servant cf God only, and his apostle. 

Others, taking the abovementioned relative to refer to Jesus, suppose the intent of 
the passaa;e to be, that all Jews and Christians in general shall have a right faith in 
that prophet before his death ; that is, when he descends from heaven and returns 
into the world, where he is to kill Antichrist, a'.id to establish the Mahomedan re- 
ligion, and a most perfect tranquillity and security on earth 2. 

<> i. e. Against the Jews, for rejecting him : and against the Christians, for calling 
him God, and the Son of God 3. 

e Sse chap. 3. p. 60 and 67, and the Notes there. 

f As Abdallah Ebn Salam, and his companions 4. 

' Al Beidawi. '^ Jallalo'ddin, Yahya, Al Zam.akhshari. nr.d Al Beidawi. 

See the Prelim. Disc. § iv. p. HI. ^ Al Beidawi. ■• Idem. 

VOL. I. i 

114 AL KOiiAX. [Chap. 4. 

wlio observe the stated times of prayer, and give alms, 
and believe in God and the last day ; unto these will 
we give a great reward. Verily we have revealed our 
iviJf unto thee, as we have revealed // unto Noah and 
the prophets who succeeded him ; and as we revealed 
it unto Abraham, and Ismael, and Isaac, and Jacob, 
and the tribes, and unto Jesus, and Job, and Jonas, and 
Aaron, and Solomon ; and ive have given thee the 
Koran, as we gave the psalms unto David : some 
apostles }iave xce sent, whom we have formerly men- 
tioned unto thee, and other apostles have xve sent, whom 
we have not mentioned unto thee; and God spake 
unto Moses, discoursing with him ; apostles declaring 
good tidings, and denouncing threats, lest men should 
have an argument of eaxuse against God, after the 
apostles ]iad been sent unto them; God is mighty and 
wise. God is witness of that revetatioti which he hath 
sent down unto thee ; he sent it down with his special 
knowledge : the angels also are witnesses thereof; but 
God is a sufficient witness. They who believe not, 
and turn aside others from the way of God, have erred 
in a wide mistake. Verily those who believe not, and 
act unjustly, God will by no means forgive, neither 
will he direct them into am/ other way, than the way 
of hell ; they shall remain therein for ever : and this is 
easy with God. O men, now is the apostle come unto 
you, with truth from your Lord ; believe therefore, it 
idll he better for you. But if ye disbelieve, verily 
unto God belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on 
earth ; and God is knowing and wise. O ye who have 
received the scriptures, exceed not the just bounds in 
your religion ", neither say of God any other than the 
truth. Verily Christ Jesus the son of Mary is the 
apostle of (jOD, and his Word, which he conveyed into 
Mary, and a spirit proceeding from him. Believe 

^ Either by rejecting and contemning of Jesus, as the Jews do ;' or raising him 
to an equality with God, as do the Christians '. 

' Al Bcidawi. 

Chap. 4.] AL KORAN. 115 

therefore in God, and his apostles, and say not, There 
are three GoDS\- forbear this; it will be better for 
you. God is but one God. Far be it from him that 
he should have a son ! unto him belongeth whatsoever 
is in heaven and on earth ; and God is a sufficient 
protector*. Christ doth not proudly disdain to be a 
servant unto God ; neither the angels who approach 
near to his presence : and whoso disdaineth his service, 
and is puffed up with pride, GoD will gather them all 
to himself, on the last day. Unto those who believe, 
and do that which is right, he shall give their rewards, 
and shall super abundantlij add unto them of his libe- 
rality : but those who are disdainful and proud, he will 
punish with a grievous punishment ; and they shall not 
find any to protect or to help them, besides God. O 
men, now is an evident proof come unto you from your 
Lord, and we have sent down unto you manifest light ''. 
They who believe in God and firmly adhere to him, he 
will lead them into mercy from him, and abundance ; 
and he will direct them in the right way to himself ^ 
They will consult thee Jo?' thy decision in certain cases; 
say unto them, God giveth you these determinations, 
concerning the more remote degrees of kindred '^. If a 
man die without issue, and have a sister, she shall have 
the half of what he shall leave ' : and he shall be lieir 
to her ^, in case she have no issue. But if there be two 

» Namely, God, Jesus, and Mary '. For the eastern writers mention a sect ot 
Christians which held die Trinity to be composed of those three '^ ; but it is allowed 
that this heresy has been long since extinct 3. The passage, however, is equally 
levelled against the Holy Trinity, according to the doctrine of the orthodox Chris- 
tians, who, as Al Beidawi acknowledges, believe the divme nature to consist of three 
persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost ; by the Father, understanding 
God's essence, by the Son, his knowledge, and by the Holy Ghost, his life. 

• " Far from having a son, he govemeth alone the heaven and the earth. He is 
sufficient unto himself." — Savary. 

^ That is, Mohammed and his Koran. 

" Viz. Into the religion of Islam, in this world, and the way to paradise in the 
next -1. 

'' See the beginning of this chapter, p. 86, 87- 

= And the other half will go to the public treasury. 

' That is, he shall inherit her whole substance. 

■ Al Beidawi, Jallalo'ddin, Yahya, ' Elmacin, p. 227. Eutycli. p. 120. 

See the Prelim. Disc. § II. p. 48. i Ahmed Ebn Abd'al Halim. •» Al 



116 AL KOiiAX. [Chap. 4. 

siste?'S, they shall have hctxcccn iliem two tliird parts 
of what he shall leave ; and if there be several, both 
hrotliers and sisters, a male shall have as much as the 
l)ortion of two females. God dedareth unto you these 
jvTCcpts, lest ye err: and God knoweth all things. 


Intitled, The Table "^ ; revealed at Medina. 

In the name of the most merciful God. 

O TRUE believers, perform your contracts. Ye are 
allowed to eat the brute cattle ^, other than what ye are 
commanded to abstain J]'o?n; except the game which 
ye are allowed at other times, but not while ye are on 
pilgrimage to Mecca ; God ordaineth that which he 
pleaseth. O true believers, violate not the holy rites 
of God % nor the sacred month '', nor the offering, nor 
the ornaments hung thereon % nor those who are tra- 
velling to the holy house, seeking favour from their 
Loud, and to please ///??/. But when ye shall have 
finished 7/otir pilgrimage ; then hunt. And let not 
the malice of some, in that they hindered you from 

• This title is taken from the Table, which, towards the end of the chapter, is 
fabled to have been let down from heaven to Jesus. It is sometimes also called 
the chaj)ter of Contracts, which word occurs in the first verse. 

•* As camels, oxen, and sheep ; and also wild cows, antelopes, &c. > : but not 
swine, nor what is taken in hunting during the pilgrimage. 

' The ceremonies used in the pilgrimage of INIecca. 

•• See the Prelim. Disc, y V'll. 

*= The offering here meant is the sheep led to Mecca, to be there sacrificed ; alxmt 
the neck of which they use to hang garlands, green boughs, or some other ornament, 
that it may be distinguished as a thing sacred -. 

' Jallalo'ddin, AI Beidawi. " See tlie Prelim. Disc. $ IV. 

Chap. 5.] AL KOKAN. 117 

entering the sacred temple ", provoke you to transgress, 
by talcing revenge on them in the sacred months. 
Assist one another according to justice and piety, but 
assist not one another in injustice and malice : there- 
fore fear God ; for God is severe in punishing. Ye 
are forbidden to eat that which dieth of itself, and 
blood, and swine's flesh, and that on which the name 
of any besides God hath been invocated '' ; and that 
which hath been strangled, or killed by a blow, or by 
a fall, or by the horns of another beast, and that which 
hath been eaten by a wild beast ^ except what ye shall 
kill yourselves'^ ; and that which hath been sacrificed 
unto idols ^ It is likeivise unlawful for you to make 
division by casting lots with arrows ^ This is an im- 
piety. On this day ^, wo be unto those who have 
apostatized from their religion ; therefore fear not 
them, but fear me. This day have I perfected your 
religion for you '', and have completed my mercy upon 
you'; and I have chosen for you Islam, to be your 
religion. But whosoever shall be driven by necessity 
through hunger, to eat of 'what we have Jbr hidden, not 
designing to sin, surely God will be indulgent and 
merciful unto him. They will ask thee what is allowed 
them as lawful to eat? Answer, Such things as are 

* In the expedition of Al Hodeibiya '. 

^ For the idolatrous Arabs used, in killing any animal for food, to consecrate it, 
as it were, to their idols, by saying. In the name of AUivt, or al Uzza ^. 

•^ Or by a creature trained up to hunting 3. 

^ That is, unless ye come up time enough to find life in the animal, and to cut 
its throat. 

•= The word also signifies certain stones, which the pagan Arabs used to set up 
near their houses, and on which they superstitiously slew animals, in honour of 
their gods *. 

^ See the Prelim. Disc. § V. 

e This passage, it is said, was revealed on Friday evening, being the day of the 
pilgrims visiting mount Arafat, the last time Mohammed visited the temple of 
Mecca, therefore called the pilgi-bnage of valediction ^. 

h And therefore the commentators say that after this time no positive or negative 
precept was given ^. 

i By having given you a true and perfect religion ; or, by the taking of Mecca, 
and the destruction of idolatry. 

» See the PreUm, Disc. § II. p. 72. ^ gee ch. 2, p. 28. ^ Al 

Beidawi. * Idem. 5 Idem. See Prid. Life of 3Ialiom. p. 99. 

■^ V. Abulfed. Vit, Moh. p. 131. 

118 AL KORAN. [Chap. 5. 

good " are allowed you ; and v.hat ye shall teach ani- 
mals of prey to catch '', training them up for hunting 
after the manner of dogs, and teaching them according 
to the sli'ill which God hath taught you. Eat there- 
fore of that which they shall catch for you ; and com- 
memorate the name of God thereon " ; and fear God, 
for God is swift in taking an account. This day are 
ye allowed to eat such things as are good, and the food 
of those to whom the scriptures were given ** is also al- 
lowed as lawful unto you ; and your food is allowed as 
lawful unto them. And yc are aho allutced to mai^rjj 
free women that are believers, and also free women of 
those who have received the scriptures before you, 
when ye shall have assigned them their dower ; living 
chastly xdili them, neither committing fornication, nor 
taking them for' concubines. Whoever shall renounce 
the faith, his work shall be vain, and in the next 
life he shall be of those who perish. O true believers, 
when ye prepare yourselves to pray, wash your faces, 
and your hands unto the elbows ; and rub your heads, 
and your feet unto the ankles ; and if ye be polluted by 
having lain with a woman, wash yourselves all over. 
But if ye be sick, or on a journey, or any of you cometh 
from the privy, or if ye have touched women, and ye 
find no water, take fine clean sand, and rub your faces 
and your hands therewith ; God would not put a diffi- 
culty upon you ; but he desireth to purify you, and to 
comj)lete his favour upon you, that ye may give thanks. 
Remember the favour of God towards you, and his 
covenant which he hath made with you, when ye said, 
We liave heard, and will obey*. Therefore fear God, 
for God knoweth the innermost parts of the breasts of 

" Not such as are filthy, or unwholesome. 

•* Whether beasts or birds. 

"^ Either when ye let go the bound, hawk, or other animal, after the game, or 
when ye kill it. 

<• Viz. Slain or dressed by Jews or Christians. 

•■ These words are the form used at the inauguration of a prince; and Blohani- 
mc.l here intends the oatli of fidelity which his followers had taken to him at al 
Akaba '. 

' y. Abullcd. A'jt. Mrh. p. 1."., and tlic Prelim. Disc i II. p. Go. 

Chap. 5.] AL KORAN. 119 

men. O true believers, observe justice when ye appear 
as witnesses before God, and let not hatred towards any 
induce you to do wrong : but act justly ; this will ap- 
proach nearer unto piety ^ ; and fear God, for God is 
fully acquainted with what ye do. God hath promised 
unto those who believe, and do that which is right, 
that they shall receive pardon and a great reward. But 
they who believe not, and accuse ovu' signs of falsehood, 
they shall be the companions of hell. O true believers, 
remember God's favour towards you, when certain men 
designed to stretch forth their hands against you, but he 
restrained their hands from hurting you"; therefore 
fear God, and in God let the faithful trust. God for- 
merly accepted the covenant of the children of Israel, 
and w^e appointed out of them twelve leaders : and God 
said. Verily I am with you " : if ye observe prayer, and 

* " Justice is the sister of piety."— ■S'fliY//)/. 

^ The commentators tell several stories as the occasion of this passage. One 
says, that Alohammed and some of his followers being at Osfan (a place net far 
from Mecca, in the way to I\Icdina) and performing their noon devotions, a comjiany 
of idolaters, who were in view, repented they had not taken that ojiportunity of at- 
tacking them, and therefore waited till the hour of evening prayer, intending to fall 
upon them then: but God defeated tlieir design, by revealing the verse of/car. 
Another relates, that the prophet going to the "tribe of Koreidha (who were Jews) 
to levy a fine for the blood of two ]\IosIems, who had been killed by mistake, by 
Amru Ebn Ommeya al Dimri, they desired him to sit down and eat with them, 
and they would pay the fine; Mohammed complying with their request, while he 
was sitting, they laid a design against his life, one Ainru Ebn Jahash undertaking 
to throw a mill-stone upon him; but God withheld his hand, and Gabriel inmie- 
diately descended to acquaint the prophet with their ti-eathcry, upon which he rose 
up and went his way. A third story is, that Mohammed having hung up Ijis arms 
on a tree, under which he was resting himself, and his companions being dispersed 
some distance from him, an Arab of the desart came up to him, and drew his 
sword, saying. Who hhidcreth vie from killing thee 9 To which Mohammed an- 
swered God : and Gabriel beating the sword out of the Arab's hand, Mohammed 
took it up, and asked him the same question. Who hinders vie from killing thee % 
the Arab replied. No body ; and immediately professed ]\Iahonmiedanism '. 
Abidfeda-^ tells the same story, with some variation of circumstances. 

•> After the Israelites had escaped from Pharaoh, God ordered them to go 
against Jericho, which v/as then inhabited by giants, of the race of the Canaanites, 
promising to give it into their liands ; and Moses, by the divine direction, appointed 
a prince or captain over each tribe, to lead them in that expedition 3, and when they 
came to the borders of the land of Canaan, sent the captains as spies to get informa- 
tion of the state of the country, enjoining diem secrecy ; but they being terrified at 
tlie prodigious size and strength of the inhabitants, disheartened the people by pub- 
licly telling what they had seen, except only Caleb the son of Yufanna (Jephunnch) 
and Joshua the son of Nun 4. 

> Al Beidawi. ' Vit. Moh. p. 73. ^ See Numb. i. 4, 5. 4 Al 

Bcidawi. See Numb. xiii. and xiv. 

120 AL KORAN. [Chap. 5. 

give alms, and believe in my apostles, and assist them, 
and lend unto God on good usury ',* I will surely ex- 
])iate your evil deeds from you, and I will lead you into 
gardens, wherein rivers flow : but he among you who 
disbelieveth after this, erreth from the strait path. 
\Vherefore because they have broken their covenant, 
we have cursed them, and hardened their hearts ; 
they dislocate the words of the Fe?itateucli from their 
places, and have forgotten part of what they were 
admonished ; and wilt thou not cease to discover de- 
ceitful practices among them, except a few of them. 
But forgive them ^ and pardon them, for God loveth 
the beneficent. And from those who say, We are 
Christians, we have received their covenant ; but they 
have forgotten part of what they were admonished ; 
Avherefore we have raised up enmity and hatred among 
them, till the day of resurrection ; and God will thai 
surely declare unto them what they have been doing. O 
ye who have received the scriptures, now is our apostle 
come unto you, to make manifest unto you many iliings 
which ye concealed in the scriptures''; and to pass over "^ 
many things. Now is light and a perspicuous book 
of revelations come unto you from God. Thereby 
v.ill God direct him who shall follow his good plea- 
sure, into the paths of peace ; and shall lead them 
out of darkness into light, by his will, and shall direct 
them in the right way. They are infidels, who say, 
Verily God is Christ the son of Mary. Say unto 
them. And who could obtain any thing from God to 
the contrary, if he pleased to destroy Christ the son 
of Mary, and his mother, and all those who are on the 
earth ? For unto God belongeth the kingdom of 

* By contributing towards this holy war. 

» " Euipby your riches in the defence of the holy religion." — Sitvanj. 

'' That is, if they repent and beheve, or submit to pay tribute. Some, however, 
think these words are abrogated by the verse of ihe sxcord '. 

' Such as tiie verse of stoning adulterers «, the description of Mohanuncd, and 
Christ's prophecy ol' iiini by tlie name of Ahincd 3. 

^ i. c. Those which it was not necessary to restore. 

' Al Bcidawi. - Sec Chap. 3, p. 54. •) Al Beidiwi. 

Chap. 5.] AL KOKAN. 121 

heaven and earth, and whatsoever is contamed be- 
tween them ; he createth what he pleaseth, and God 
is ahnighty. The Jews and the Christians say, We 
are the children of God, and his beloved. Answer, 
Why therefore doth he punish you for your sins? 
Nay, but ye are men, of those whom he hath created. 
He forgiveth whom he pleaseth, and punisheth whom 
he pleaseth ; and unto God belongeth the kingdom of 
heaven and earth, and of what is contained between 
them both ; and unto him shall all things return. O 
ye who have received the scriptures, now is our apostle 
come unto you, declaring unto you the true religion, 
during the cessation of apostles % lest ye should say, 
There came unto us no bearer of good tidings, nor 
any warner : but now is a bearer of good tidings, and 
a warner come unto you ; and God is almighty. Call 
to fnind when Moses said unto his people, O my 
people, remember the favour of God towards you, 
since he hath appointed prophets among you, and 
constituted you kings '', and bestowed on you what he 
hath given to no other nation in the world ". O my 
people, enter the holy land, which God hath decreed 
you, and turn not your backs, lest ye be subverted 
and perish. They answered, O Moses, verily there 
are a gigantic people in the land '^ ; and we will by no 
means enter it, until they depart thence ; but if they 
depart thence, then will we enter therein. And two 
men * of those who fear.ed God, unto whom God had 

" The Arabic word al Fatra signifies the intermediate space of time between two 
prophets, during which no new revelation or dispensation was given ; as the interval 
between Moses and Jesus, and between Jesus and Mohammed, at the expiration of 
whicli last, Mohammed pretended to be sent. 

^' This was fulfilled either by God's giving them a kingdom, and a long series 
of princes ; or by his having made them kings or masiers of themselves, by de- 
livering thenr from the Egyptian bondage. 

•^ Having divided the red sea for you, and guided you by a cloud, and fed you 
with quails and manna, &c. '. 

^ The largest of these giants, the commentators say, was Og the son of Anak ; 
concerning whose enormous stature, his escaping the flood, and the manner of his 
being slain by Moses, the Mohammedans relate several absurd fables '-. 

^ Namely, Caleb, and Joshua. 

' Al Beidawi. ^ V. Marracc. in Akor. p. 231, &.z. D'Herbcl. Bibl. Orient. 
p. 336. 

122 Ai. KORAN. [Chap. 5. 

been gracious, said, Enter ye u])on tliein suddcnhi hi/ 
the gate of the cUif ; and when ye shall have entered 
the same, ye shall surely be victorious : therefore trust 
in God, if ye are true believers. They replied, O 
IMoses, we will never enter t/ic land, while they remain 
therein : go therefore thou, and thy Lord, and fight ; 
for we will sit here. Moses said, O Lord, surely I 
am not master of any except myself, and my brother ; 
therefore make a distinction between us and the un- 
godly people. God answered. Verily the land shall 
be forbidden them forty years ; durnrj; ivhich lime 
they shall wander like men astonished on the earth''; 
therefore be not thou solicitous for the ungodly people. 
Relate also unto them the history of the two sons of 
Adam '*, with truth. When they offered their offering', 
and it was accepted from one of tliem '', and was not 
accepted from the other. Cain said to his hruthe?-, I 
will certainly kill thee. Abel answered, God only ac- 
cepteth the offering of the pious ; if thou stretchest 

» The commentators pretend that the Israelites, while they thus wandered in the 
desert, were kept within the compass of about eighteen (or as some say twenty- 
seven) miles; and tliat though they travelled from morning to night, yet they con- 
stantly found themselves the next day at the place from wlicncc they set out '. 

^ vh. Cain and Abel, whom tlie Mohanuiiedan? call Kabil and Habil. — " Cain 
is denominated Cabel by all the Arabian authors. This word, whicli means 
the ///■•</, is probably his proper name. The surname of Cain, which signifies 
traitor, may have been subsequently given to him. It appears, in hke manner, that 
Habel is only a surname. In fact, it alludes to that melancholy event which 
plunged the family of Adam into grief, and really signifies by his death he has left 
It motlirr in tears." — Siivari/. 

''■ Tlic occasion of their making this oficriftg is thus related, according to the 
common tradition in the east ■^. Each of them being born with a twin sister, when 
they were grown up, Adam, by God's direction, ordered Cain to marry Abel's 
twin-sister, and that Abel should marry Cain's; (for it being the common opinion 
that marriages ought not to be had in the nearest degrees of consanguinity, since 
tliev nuist necessarily marry their sisters, it seemed reasonable to suppose tlicy ought 
to take those of the remoter degree) but this Cain refusing to agree to, because his 
own sister was llie handsomest, Adam ordered them to make their ofterings to 
Gixl, thereby referring the dispute to his determination '. The commentators say 
Cain's offering was a sheaf of the very worst of his corn, but Abel's a fat lamb, of 
the best of his flock. 

'' Namely from Abel ; whose sacrifice God dcclaretl his acceptance of in a 
visible manner, by causing fire to descend from lieaven and consume it, without 
touching tliat of Cain 4. 

' A\ Reidawi, Jallalo'ddin. - V. Abu'lfarag, p. C 7- Eutych. annal. p. 

»:.. l«i,andD'Herbelot,Bibl. Orient. Art. Cabil. 3 Al Bciduwi. < Idem, 


Chap. 5.] AL KORAN. 123 

forth thy hand against me, to slay me, I will not 
stretch forth my hand against thee, to slay thee ; for I 
fear God the Loed of all creatures \ I choose that 
thou shouldest bear my iniquity and thine own ini- 
quity ; and that thou become a companion of hell fire ; 
for that is the reward of the unjust \ But his soul 
suffered him to slay his brother, and he slew him"; 
wherefore he became of the nurnber of those who 
perish. And God sent a raven, w^hich scratched the 
earth, to show him how he should hide the shame of his 
brother \ and he said, Wo is me ! am I unable to be 
like this raven, that I may hide my brothers shame ? 
and he became one of those v/ho repent. Wherefore 
we commanded the children of Israel, that he who 
slayeth a soul, without having slain a soul *, or com- 
mitted wickedness in the earth % shall be as if he had 
slain all manl^ind * : but he who saveth a ^oul alive, 
shall be as if he had saved the lives of all mankind. 
Our apostles formerly came unto them, w^ith evident 
miracles; then were many of them, after this, trans- 
gressors on the earth. But the recompense of those 
who fight against God and his apostle, and study to 

a To enhance Abel's patience, al Beidawi tells us, tliat he was the stronger of 
the two, and could easily have prevailed against his brother. 

•^ The conversation between the two brothers is related somewhat to the same 
purpose in the Jerusalem Targum and that of Jonathan ben Uzziel. 

'' Some say he knocked out his brains with a stone ' ; and pretend that as Cam 
was considering which way he should effect the murder, the devil appeared to him 
in a human shape, and showed him how to do it, by crusliing the head of a bird 
between two stones'^. 

•t i. e. His dead corpse. For Cain, having committed this fratricide, became ex- 
ceedingly troubled in his mind, and carried the dead body about on his shoulders 
for a considerable time, not knowing where to conceal it, till it stank horridly ; and 
then God taught him to bury it by the example of a raven, who having killed 
another raven in his presence, dug a pit with his claws and beak, and buried him 
tl;jrein 3. For this circumstance of the raven Jlohammed was beholden to the Jews, 
who tell the same story, except only that they make the raven to appear to Adam, 
and that he thereupon buried his son 4. 

* " He who shall slay a man, without havuig suffered violence from him. sliall 
be guilty of the blood of all the human race ; and he who shall save the life of a 
man shall be rewarded as if he had saved it to all the human race."— &rff;v/. 
<= Such as idolatry, or robbing on the high-way s. 

f Having broken the commandment which forbids the ?hedding of blood. 

' V. Eutych. nil siqmi. » V. D'Herbelot, uhi supra. ^ Jallalo'ddin, 

Al Bciduwi. ^ V. R. Eliezei, Pirke, c 20. ^ Al Beidawi. 

124 AL KOiiAX. [Chap. 5. 

act corruptly in the earth, sluill be, tliat they shall be 
slain, or crucified, or have their hands and their feet 
cut off on the opposite sides, or be banished the land ". 
This shall be their disgrace in this world, and in the 
next world they shall suffer a grievous punishment ; 
except those w^ho shall repent, before ye prevail against 
them ; for know that God is inclined to forgive, (nid 
merciful. O true believers, fear Gou, and earaestly 
desire a near conjunction with him, and fight for his 
religion, that ^-e may be ha])py. Moreover they who 
believe not, although they had whatever is in the earth, 
and as much more withal, that they might therewith 
redeem themselves from punishment on the day of re- 
surrection ; it shall not be accepted from them, but 
they shall suffer a painful punishment. They shall 
desire to go forth from the fire, but they shall not go 
forth from it, and their punishment shall be perma- 
nent. If a man or a woman steal, cut off their hands "*, 
in retribution for that which they have committed; 
if lis is an exemplary punishment appointed by God ; 
and God is mighty and wise. But whoever shall re- 
pent after his iniquity, and amend, verily God will be 
turned unto him'', for God is inclined to forgive, atid 

■» The lawyers are not agreed as to the applying of these punishments. But tlie 
commentators suppose, that they who commit murder only, are to be put to death 
in tljc ordinary way ; those who murder and rob too, to be crucified ; those who 
rob without committing murder, to have tlieir right hand and their left foot cut off; 
andtlicy who assault persons and put them in fear, to be banished'. It is aho a doubt 
whether they who are to be crucified shall be crucified alive, or be first put to death, 
or whellier they shall hang on the cross till tlicy die -'. 

^ But this punishment, according to the Sonnu, is not to be inflicted, unless tlie 
value of the thing stolen amount to four dir.ars, or about forty shillings. For the 
first oflTence the criminal is to lose his right hand, wliich is to be cut off at the 
wrist ; for the second oft'encc, his left foot, at the ankle ; for the third, his left 
hand; for the fourtli, his riglit foot; and if he continue to oflend, he shall be 
scourged at the discretion of the judge 3.—" This law is no longer in use among the 
Turks. The bastonade is tlie usual punishment for tlieft. Robbers are also often 
beheaded. This crime is very rare in Turkish towns ; but the defective state of 
the police renders it common on the high roads, and especially in the deserts."— 

= That is, God will not punish him for it hereafter; but his repentance does 
not supersede the execution of the law here, nor e.\cusc him from making restitution. 
Yet, according to al Shafei, he shall not be punished if the party wronged forgive 
him before he be carried before a magistrate ■». 

' Al Beidawi. Jallalo'ddin. ^ Al Beidawi. 3 Jallalo'ddin, Al Bcidawi. 

•) Idem. 

Chap. 5.] AL KORAN. 125 

merciful. Dost thou not know that the kingdom of 
heaven and earth is God's ? He punisheth whom he 
pleaseth, and he pardoneth whom he pleaseth ; for 
God is almighty. O apostle, let not them grieve thee, 
who hasten to infidelity % either of those who say, We 
believe, with their mouths, but whose hearts believe 
not""; or of the Jews, who hearken to a lie, arid 
hearken to other people"; xvho come not unto thee: 
they pervert the words of the law from their true 
places '\ and say, If this be brought unto you, receive 
it ; but if it be not brought unto you, beware of re- 
ceiving aught else ^ ; and in behalf of him whom God 
shall resolve to seduce, thou shalt not prevail with God 
at all. They whose hearts God shall not please to 
cleanse shall suffer shame in this world, and a grievous 
punishment in the next : who hearken to a lie, and 
eat that which is forbidden *. But if they come unto 
thee Jor judgment, either judge between them, or leave 
them ^ ; and if thou leave them, they shall not hurt 

* i. e. Who take the first opportunity to throw off the mask, and to join the un- 

'' viz. The hypocritical Alohammedans. 

•= These words are capable of two senses ; and may either mean that they at- 
tended to the lies and forgeries of their Rabbins, neglecting the remonstrances of 
Mohammed ; or else, that they came to hear Mohammed as spies only, that they 
might report wliat he said to their companions, and represent him as a liar '. 

<> See Chap. 4. p. 94. Note c. 

^ That is, if what Mohammed tells you agrees with scripture, as corrupted and 
dislocated by us, then you may accept it as the word of God, but if not, reject it. 
These words, it is said, relate to the sentence pronounced by that prophet, on an 
adulterer and an adulteress 2, both persons of some figure among the Jews. For 
they, it seems, though they referred the matter to Mohammed, yet directed the 
persons who carried the criminals before him, that if he ordered them to be scourged, 
and to have their faces blackened (by way of ignominy) they should acquiesce in 
his determination, but in case he condemned them to be stoned, they should not. 
And Mohammed pronouncing the latter sentence against them, they refused to exe- 
cute it, till Ebn SCiriya (a Jew), who was called upon to decide the matter, acknow- 
ledged the law to be so. Whereupon they were stoned at the door of the mosque 3. 

' Some understand this of unlawful meats ; but others of taking or devouring^ 
as it is expressed, of usury and bribes 4. 

s i, e. Take thy choice, whether thou wilt determine their differences or not. 
Hence al Shafe'i was of opinion that a judge was not obliged to decide causes be- 
tween Jews or Christians ; though if one or both of them be tributaries, or under 
the protection of the Mohammedans, they are obliged : this verse not regarding 

Al Beidawi. - See ch. 3, p. 54, Note b. 3 Al Beidawi. * Idem. 

126 AL KuiiAN. [Chap. 5. 

thee at all. But if thou iinderlake to judge, judge be- 
tween them with equity ; for God lovetli those who 
observe justice. And how will they submit to thy 
decision, since they have the law, containing the judg- 
ment of God " ? Then will they turn their backs *, 
after this '' ; but those are not true believers \ AVe 
have surely sent down the law, containing direction, 
and light : thereby did the prophets, who professed the 
true religion, judge those who judaized ; and the doc- 
tors and priests a/sojudiied by the book of God, which 
had been committed to their custody ; and they were 
witnesses thereof''. Therefore fear not men, but fear 
me ; neither sell my signs for a small price. And 
whoso judgeth not according to what God hath re- 
vealed, they are infidels. We have therein commanded 
them, that tliei/ should give life for life ', and eye 
for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, and tooth 
for tooth; and that wounds sJiould also be punished hij 
retaliation': but whoever should remit it as alms, it 
should he accepted as an atonement for him. And 
whoso judgeth not according to what God hath re- 
vealed, they are unjust. We also caused Jesus the 
son of Mary to follow the footsteps of the prophets, 
confirming the law which was sent doivn before him ; 

tliem. Abu Hanifa however thought that the magistrates were obliged to judge all 
cases which were submitted to them '. 

* In tlie following passage, IMoliamnicd endeavours to answer tlie objections of the 
Jews and Christians, who insisted that they ought to be judged, the former by the 
law of Closes, and the latter by the gospel. lie allows that the law was the proper 
rule of jiulging till the coming of Jesus Christ, after which the gospel was the rule; 
but pretends that both are set a.-ide by the revelation of the Koran, whidi is so far 
from being contradictory to cither of the former, tlint it is more full and explicit ; 
declaring several points which had been stifled, or corrupted therein, and requiring a 
rigorous execution of the precepts in both, which iiad been too remissly observed, or 
rather neglected, by the latter professors of diose religions. 

* " But they fluctuate in doubt, and believe not." — Suvurii. 

*" That is, notwithstanding their outward submission, they will not abide by thy 
sentence, though conformable to the law, if it contradict their own false and loose 

■" As gainsaying the doctrine of the books, wliich diey acknowledge for scripture. 

■' That is, vigilant, to prevent any corruptions therein. 

'■ The original word is xonl. 

' See Exod. xxi. 24, &c. 

' Al Beidiiwi. 

Chap. 5.] AL KORAN. 127 

and we gave him the gospel, containing direction and 
light ; confirming also the law which was given before 
it, and a direction and admonition unto those who fear 
God: that they who have received the gospel might 
judge according to what God hath revealed therein : 
and whoso judgeth not according to what God hath 
revealed, they are transgressors. We have also sent 
down unto thee the book of the Koran with truth, 
confirming that scripture which was revealed before 
it*; and preserving the same safe from corruptioii. 
Judge therefore between them according to that which 
God hath revealed ; and follow not their desires, by 
swey^ving from the truth which hath come unto thee. 
Unto every of you have we given a law, and an open 
path ; and if God had pleased, he had surely made 
you one people "^ ; but he hath thought Jit to give you 
different laws, that he might try you in that which he 
hath given you respectively. Therefore strive to excel 
each other in good works : unto God shall ye all return, 
and then will he declare unto you that concerning 
which ye have disagreed. Wherefore do thou, O pro- 
phet, judge between them according to that which God 
hath revealed, and follow not their desires ; but beware 
of them, lest they cause thee to err ^ from part of those 
jyrecepts which God hath sent down unto thee ; and if 
they turn back "", know that God is pleased to punish 
them for some of their crimes ; for a great number of 
men are transgressors. Do they therefore desire the 

* " We have sent thee down the book of truth, which confirmeth the scriptures 
that came before it, and beareth witness to them." — Savary. 

'^ i. c. He had given you the same laws, which should have continued in force 
through all ages, without being abolished or changed by new dispensations ; or he 
could have forced you all to embrace the Mohammedan religion ». 

•> It is related, that certain of the Jewish priests came to Mohainmed with a design 
to entrap him ; and having first represented to him, that if they acknowledged him 
for a prophet, the rest of the Jews would certainly follow their example, made this 
proposal ; that if he would give judgment for them in a controversy of moment which 
they pretended to have with their own people, and which was agreed to be referred 
to his decision, they would believe in him : but this Mohammed absolutely refused 
to comply with ". 

<= Or refuse to be judged by the Koran. 

1 Al Beidawi. ^ Idem. 

128 AL KORAX. [Chap. .5. 

judgment of the time (?/ ignorance '? but who is better 
than God, to judge between people who reason aright ? 
O true believers, take not the JeWvS or Christians for 
your friends ; they are friends the one to the other ; 
but whoso among you taketh them for his friends, he 
is surely one of them : verily God directeth not unjust 
people. Thou shalt see those in whose hearts there is 
an infirmity, to hasten unto them, saying, ^Ve fear lest 
some adversity befal us*"; but it is easy for God to 
give victory, or a command from him ', that they may 
repent of that ^vhich they concealed in their minds. 
And they who believe will say, Are these the men who 
have sworn by God, with a most firm oath, that they 
surely held with you*^? their works are become vain, 
and they are of those who perish. O true believers, 
whoever of you apostatizeth from his religion, God 
will certainly bring other people to supply his place % 

» That is, to be judged according to the customs of paganism, which indulge tJie 
passions and vicious appetites of mankind : for this, it seems, was demanded by the 
Jewish tribes of Koreidha and al Nadir '. 

^ These were the words of Ebn Obba, who, when Obadah Ebn al Samat publicly 
renounced the friendship of the infidels, and professed that he took God and his 
apostle for his patrons, said that he was a man apprehensive of the fickleness of 
fortune, and therefore would not throw off liis old friends, wlio might be of service to 
him hereafter 2. 

'^ To extirpate and banish the Jews ; or to detect and punish the hypocrites. 

•^ These words may be spoken by the Mohammedans either to one another,, or to 
the Jews : since these hypocrites had given their oaths to both '. 

•= This is one of those accidents which, it is pretended, were foretold by the Koran 
long before they came to pass. For in the latter days of Mohammed, and after liis 
death, considerable numbers of the Arabs quitted his religion, and returned to 
Paganism, Judaism, or Christianity. Al Beidawi reckons them up in the following 
order. 1. Three companies of Ban u Modlaj, seduced by Dhu'lhamar al Aswad al 
Ansi, who set up for a prophet in Yaman, and grew very powerful there 4. 2. Banu 
Iloneifa, who followed the famous false proplict Moseilania''. o. Banu Asad, who 
acknowledged Toleiha Ebn Khowailed, anodier pretender to ciivine revelation ^ for 
their prophet. All these fell off" in Mohammed's lifetime. The following, except 
only the last, apostatized in the reign of Abu Beer. 4. Certain of the tribe of 
Fezarah, headed by Oyeyma Ebn Hosein. 5. Some of the tribe of (ihatfan, whose 
leader was Korrah Ebn Salma. C. Banu Soleim, who followed al Fajaah Ebn Abd 
Valil. 7- Banu Yarbu, whose captain was JMalcc Ebn Noweirah Ebn Kais. 8. Part 
of the tribe of Tamim, the proselytes of Sajaj the daughter of al i\Iondhar, wlio gave 
herself out for a prophetess'. !>. The tribe of Kendah, led by al Ashath Ebn Kais. 
10. Banu Beer Ebn al Wayel in the province of Bahrein, headed by al llotam Ebu 
Zeid. And, 11. Some of the tribe of Ghassan, who, with tlieir prince Jabalali Ebn 
al Aysham, renounced Iilohammedism in the time of Omar, and returned to thcii 
former profession of Cliristianity ". 

But as the persons who fulfilled the other part of this prophecy, by supplying 

' Al Bciddwi. 2 ijcn. 3 Idem. " See the Prelim. Disc. § VIII. 

s See ib. '^ See ib. ' See ib. « See ib, § I. p. 14. 

Chap. 5.] AL KORAN. 129 

whom he will love, and who will love him ; "wJio shall 
be humble towards the believers*, hut severe to the 
unbelievers : they shall fight for the religion of God, 
and shall not fear the obloquy of the detractor. This 
is the bounty of God, he bestoweth it on whom he 
pleaseth : God is extensive cmd wise. Verily your 
protector is God, and his apostle, and those who be- 
lieve, who observe the stated times of prayer, and give 
alms, and who bow down to worship. And whoso 
taketh God, and his apostle, and the believers for his 
friends, theij are the party of God, and they sltall be 
victorious. O true believers, take not such of those to 
whom the scriptures were delivered before you, or of 
the infidels, for your friends, who make a laughing- 
stock, and a jest of your religion * ; but fear God, if 
ye be true believers ; nor^ those icho, when ye call to 
prayer, make a laughingstock and a jest of it '' ; this 
thei/ do, because they are people who do not under- 
stand. Say, O ye who have received the scriptures, 
do ye reject us Jbr any other reason than because we 
believe in God, and that revelation which hath been 
sent down unto us, and that which was formerly sent 
down, and for that the greater part of you are trans- 
gressors ? Say, Shall I denounce vmto you a worse 
thing than this, as to the rew^ard wliich ye are to 

the loss of so many renegates, the comiuentators are not agreed. Some will have 
them to be the inhabitants of Yaman, and others the Persians; the authority of 
Mohammed himself being vouched for both opinions. Others, however, suppose 
them to be two thousand of the tribe of a! Nakha (who dwelt in Yaman), five thou- 
sand of those of Kenda and Bajilah, and three thousand of unknown descent, who 
were present at the famous battle of Kadesia ', fought in the Khalifat of Omar, and 
which put an end to the Persian empire 2. 

* " If they are inferior to the believers, they shall be superior to the infidels." 
— Savanj. 

» This passage was primarily intended to forbid the Moslems entering into a 
friendship with two hypocrites named Refaa Ebn Zeid, and Soweid Ebn al Hareth, 
who though they had embraced IMohammedism, yet ridiculed it on all occasions, 
and were notwithstanding greatly beloved among the prophet's followers. 

*> These words were added on occasion of a certain Christian, who hearing the 
Muadhdhin, or crier, in calling to prayers, repeat this part of the usual form, 
I profess that iMohammed is the apostle of God, said aloud, Mai/ God bu/ji the liar : 
but a few nights after his own house was accidentally set on fire by a servant, and 
himself and his family perished in the flames 3. 

' V. D'llerbel. Bibl. Orient, p. 2-2f>. ' Al Boidawi. 3 Idem. 

VOL. I. K 

130 AL KORAN. [Chap. 5. 

cx2Kct with God * ? He whom God hath cursed, and 
with whom he hath heeii angry, having changed some 
of them into apes and swine % and who worship Ta- 
ghut '', they are in the worse condition, and err more 
rcidehj from the straitness of the path. AVhen they 
came unto you, they said. We believe : yet they entered 
mto your companij with infidelity, and went forth //-o?;? 
ijou with the same ; but Ood well knew what they 
concealed. Thou shalt see many of them hastening 
unto iniquity and malice, and to eat tilings forbidden '' ; 
and Avo unto t'lLem for what they have done. Uidess 
their doctors and priests forbid them uttering wicked- 
ness, and eating things forbidden; wo unto tlicm for 
what they shall have connnitted. The Jews say. The 
hand of God is tied up '^. Their hands shall be tied 
up % and they shall be cursed for that which they have 
said. Nay, his hands are both stretched forth ; he 
bestoweth as he pleaseth : that which hath been sent 
down unto thee from thy Lord ^ shall increase the 
transgression and infidelity of many of them ; and we 
have put enmity and hatred between them, until the 
day of resurrection. So often as they shall kindle a 

* " What can I describe unto you more terrible than the vengeance which God 
hath exercised against you ? He huth cursed you in his anger. Some of you hath 
he transformed into apes and into swine, because that ye have burned incense before 
idols, and that ye have been plunged into utter darkness." — Savary. 

" The former were the Jews of Ailah, who broke tlic sabbatli ' ; and the latter 
those who believed not in tlie miracle of the Table which was let down from heaven 
to Jesus'^. Some, however, imagine that the Jews of Ailali only are meant in this 
place, pretending that the young men among them were metamorphosed into apes, 
and the old men into swine 3. 

*• Sec chap. 2. p. 45. 

•^ See before, p. 124. 

•' That is, he is become niggardly and closefisted. These were the words of Phineas 
Ebn Aziira (another indecent expression of whom, almost to the same purpose, is 
mentioned elsewhere <), when the Jews were much impoverished by a dearth, which 
the conmientators will have to be a judgment on them for their rejecting of Mo- 
hammed ; and the other Jews who heard him, instead of reproving him, expressed 
their approbation of what he had said s. 

= i. c. Tliey shall be punislicd with want and avarice. The words may also allude 
to tlie manner wherein the reprobates shall appear at the last day, having their right 
hands tied up to their necks •• ; which is the proper signification of tlic Arabic word. 

' vi;:. Tile Koran. 

' See chap. 2. p. 12. ' See towards the end of this chapter. ^ AI 

Beiduwi. * Chap. 3. p. 80. * Al Beidiwi. " Sec the Prelim. 

Disc. § IV. p. 122. 

Chap. 5.] AL KORAN. 131 

fire for war, God shall extinguish it ' ; and they shall 
set their minds to act corruptly in the earth, but God 
loveth not the corrupt doers. Moreover, if they who 
have received the scriptures believe, and fear God, we 
will surely expiate their sins from them, and we will 
lead them into gardens of pleasure ; and if they observe 
the law, and the gospel, and the other scriptures which 
have been sent down unto them from their Lord, they 
shall surely eat of good things both from above them, 
and from under their feet ^ Among them there are 
people who act uprightly ; but how evil is that which 
many of them do work ! O apostle, publish the whole 
o/that which hath been sent down unto thee from thy 
Lord : for if thou do not, thou dost not in effect 
publish any part thereof^; and God will defend 'thee 
against wicked men " ; for God directeth not the un- 
believing people. Say, O ye who have received the 
scriptures, ye are not grounded on any thing, until ye 
observe the law and the gospel, and that which hath 
been sent down unto you from your Lord. That 
which hath been sent down unto thee from thy Lord 
shall surely increase the transgression and infidelity of 
many of them : but be not thou solicitous for tlie un- 
believing people. Verily they who believe, and those 
who judaize, and the Sabians, and the Christians, who- 
ever of them believeth in God and the last day, and 
doth that which is right, there shall come no fear on 

r f' ■ ' .' 

_ » Either by raising feuds and quarrels among themselves, or by grantino- the 
victory to the Moslems. Al Beidawi adds, that on the Jews neglecttno- the true 
observance of their law, and corrupting their religion, Gotl has successively delivered 
tlicnr into the hands, first of Bakht Nasr or Nebuchadnez!zar, then of Titus the 
Kflman, and afterwards of the Persians, and has now at last subjected them to the 

"* ^^'"-^ ^*'' ^'■'^y s'^^^1 ^^i^y the blessings both of heaven and earth. 

' That IS if thou do not complete the publication of all thy revelations without 
exception, thou dost not answer the end for which they were revealed ; because the 
conceahng of any part renders the system of religion which God has thought fit to 
publisn to mankind by thy ministry lame and imperfect '. 

_ «' Until this verse was revealed, fllohammcd entertained a guard of armed men for 
ins security'; but on his receiving this assurance of God's protection, he immediatelv 
dismissed them 2. ^ ■'' 

Al Beidawi, Jallalo'ddiii. ^ lidem. • 

K 2 

132 AL KORATs\ [Chap. 5. 

them, neither shall they be grieved ''. We formerly 
accepted the covenaDt of the children of Israel, and 
sent apostles unto them. So often as an apostle came 
unto them with that which their souls desired not, they 
accused some of them of imposture, and some of them 
they killed : and they imagined that there should be 
no punishmentyor those crimes, and they became blind, 
and deaf''. Then was God turned unto them ' ; after- 
wards many of them again became blind and deaf; 
but God saw Avhat they did. They are surely infidels, 
who say, Verily God is Christ the son of Mary ; since 
Christ said, O children of Israel, serve God, my Lord 
and your Lord ; whoever shall give -a companion unto 
God, God shall exclude him from paradise, and his 
habitation shall be hell fire ; and the ungodly shall 
have none to help them. They are certainly infidels, 
who say, God is the third of three '^ : for there is no 
God, besides one God ; and if they refrain not from 
what they say, a painful torment shall surely be in- 
flicted on such of them as are unbelievers. Will they 
not therefore be turned unto God, and ask pardon of 
him ? since God is gracious and merciful. Christ the 
son of Mary is no more than an apostle ; other^ apostles 
have preceded him ; and his mother was a woman of 
veracity * : they both ate food K Behold, how we de- 
clare vmto them the signs oJ'GocTs unity ; and then 
behold, how they turn aside //•o??z the truth. Say unto 
them. Will ye worship, besides GoD, that which can 
cause you neither harm nor profit ? God is he who 
heareth aiid seeth. Say, O ye who have received the 
scriptures, exceed not the just bounds in your religion S 

■ See chap. 2. p. 12. 

'• Shutting their eyes and ears against conviction and the remonstrances of the law ; 
as when they worshipped the calf. 

•^ I. c. Upon tlieir repentance. 

'' See chap. 4. p. 115. 

' Never pretending to partake of the divine nature, or to be the mother of Go<l '. 

' Being obliged to support their lives by the same means, and being subject to the 
same necessities and inlirmitics as the rest of mankind, and therefore no Gods '. 

K See chap. 4. p. 114. But here the words are prindpally directed to the ChristianB. 

> Jallalo'ddin. ' Idem, Al Beidawi. 

Chap. .5.] AL KORAN. 133 

by speaking beside the truth ; neither follow the desires: 
of people who have heretofore erred, and who have 
seduced many, and have gone astray from the straight 
path "■. Those among the children of Israel who be- 
lieved not were cursed by the tongue of David, and 
of Jesus the son of Mary ^ This bejel them because 
they were rebellious and transgressed : they forbade 
not one another the wickedness which they committed ; 
and wo imlo them for what they committed. Thou 
shalt see many of them take for their friends those 
who believe not. Wo imlo them for what their souls 
have sent before them % for that GoD is incensed 
against them, and they shall remain in torment for 
ever. But, if they had believed in God, and the pro- 
phet, and that which hath been revealed unto him, 
they had not taken them for their friends ; but many 
of them are evil doers. Thou shalt surely find the 
most violent of all men in enmity against the true 
believers to he the Jews, and the idolaters : and thou 
shalt surely find those among them to be the most 
inclinable to entertain friendship for the true believers, 
who say. We are Christians. This cometh to pass, be- 
cause there are priests and monks among them ; 
and because they are not elated with pride '' : * VII. 
and when they hear that \^ hich hath been sent 
down to the apostle j^ead unto the^n. thou shalt see their 
eyes overflow with tears, because of the truth which 
they perceive therein % saying, O Lord, we believe ; 

* That is, of their prelates and predecessors, who erred in ascribing divinity to 
Christ, before the mission of Mohannned '. 

'' See before, p. 130. not. a. 

•^ See chap. 2. p. 17- not. e. 

"^ Having not that high conceit of themselves, as the Jews have; but being 
humble and well disposed to receive the truth ; qualities, says al Beidawi, wliich are 
to be commended even in infidels. 

•^ Tlie persons directly intended in this passage were, either Ashama, king of 
Ethiopia, and several bishops and priests, wlio, beiiig assc.nbled for that purpose, 
heard Jaafar Ebn Abi Taleb, who fled to tliat country ia the first ilight -, read the 
29th and 30th, and afterwards the iSth and 19th chapters of the Koran ; on hearing 
of which the king and the rest of the company burst into tears, and confessed what 
was delivered tlierein to be conformable to truth ; that prince himself, in particular, 

lallalo'ddin, Al Beidawi. - See the Prelim. Disc. p. Gl. 

134 AL KOiiAN. [Chap. 5 

write us down therefore with tliose who bear witness 
to the truth : and what sJiould hinder us from be- 
lieving in God, and the truth which hath come unto 
us, and from earnestly desiring that our LoiiD would 
introduce us into paradise with the righteous people? 
Therefore hath God rewarded them, for what they 
liave said, with gardens through which rivers flow ; 
they shall continue therein for ever ; and this is the 
reward of the righteous. But they who believe not, 
and accuse our signs of falsehood, they shall be the 
comi)anions of hell. O true believers, forbid not the 
good things which God hath allowed you " ; but trans- 
gress not, for God loveth not the transgressors. And 
eat of what God hath given you for food that rchich is 
lawful and good : and fear God, in whom ye believe. 
God will not punish you for an inconsiderate Avord 
in your oaths '' ; but he will punish you for what ye 
solemnly swear uith deliberation. And the expiation 
of such an oath shall be the feeding of ten poor men 
with such moderateyooc/ as ye feed your own families 
withal ; or to clothe them " ; or to free the neck of a 
true believer from captivity : but he who shall not find 
xvheremth to perform one of these three things shall 
fast three days ^. This is the expiation of your oaths, 
when ye swear inadvertently. Therefore keep youi' 

becoming a proselyte to ISIohainmedism ' : or else, thirty, or as others say, seventy 
persons, sent ambassadors to IVIoliamnied by the same king of Ethiopia, to whom 
the prophet himself read the thirty-sixth chapter, intitlcd Y. 8. ^Vhercupon they 
began to weep, saying, Ihnv Hl:c Istliix to that u-hich 7cas mealed inilo Jesus I and 
immediately professed themselves Moslems'^. 

* These words were revealed, when certain of Hlohammal's comjianions agreed to 
oblige themselves to continual fasting and watching, and to abstain from women, 
eating flesh, sleeping on beds, and other lawful enjo)-mcnts of life, in imitation of 
some self-denying Christians; but this the prophet disapproved, declaring, that lie 
would have no iii<niL:i in his religion^. 

^ See chap. 2. p. 37. 

•■ The connnentators give us the different opinions of (he doctors, as to the quantity 
of food and clothes to be given in this case ; wliicli I think scarce worth transcribing. 

■' Tliat is, tlircc days together, says Abu Ilaiiifa. lUit tliis is not observcil in 
practice, being neither explicitly commanded in the Kornn, nor ordered in tlic 
Sonna '. 

' Al I5cid^^vi, al Thalabi. V. Abulfed. Vit. Mc-li. ]\ 25, &c. Marracc. Prodr, 
ad Ucfut. Alcor. ]):irt. I. p. 4'). ' Al IJLidi.wi, Jiillalo'dUiti. V. ]\larracc.ubi 

sup. ^ .lallalo'ddin, Al IJeidawi. * Al J>eid;iwi. 

Chap. 5.] xiL KORAN. 135 

oaths. Thus God declareth unto you his signs, that 
ye may give thanks. O true believers, surely wine, 
and lots '\ and images '', and divining arrows % at^e an 
abomination of the work of Satan ; therefore avoid 
them, that ye may prosper. Satan seeketh to sow 
dissension and hatred among you, by means of wine 
and lots, and to divert you from remembering God, and 
from prayer : will ye not therefore abstain Jrom them ? 
Obey God, and obey the apostle, and take heed to 
yourselves : but if ye turn back, know that the duty 
of our apostle is only to preach publicly*^. In those 
who believe and do good works, it is no sin that they 
have tasted 'wine or gaming before iliey 'were Jbrbidden ; 
if they fear God, and believe, and do good works, and 
shall for the future fear God, and believe, and shall 
'persevere to fear him, and to do good " ; for God loveth 
those who do good. O true believers, God will surely 
prove you in offering you plenty of game, which ye 
may take with your hands or your lances ^, that God 
may know who feareth him in secret; but whoever 
transgresseth after this shall suffer a grievous punish- 
ment. O true believers, kill no game vdiile ye are on 

" That is, all inebriating liquors, and games of chance. See the Prelim. Disc. 
§ V. and chap. 2. p. 37- 

'' Al Beidawi and some other commentators expound this of idols ; but others, 
with more probability, of the carved pieces, or men, with which the pagan Arabs 
played at chess, being little figures of men, elephants, horses, and dromedaries ; and 
this is supposed to be the only thing which Mohammed disliked in that game : for 
which reason the Sonnites play with plain pieces of wood, or ivory ; but the Persians 
and Indians, who are not so scrupulous, still make use of the carved ones '. 

" See the Prelim. Discourse, § V. 

•' See ibid. § II. p. G6, &c. 

<^ The commentators endeavour to excuse the tautology of this passage, by sup- 
posing the threefold repetition o{ fearing and bclicvhtg refers either to the three parts 
of time, past, present, and future, or to the threefold duty of man, towards God, 
himself, and his neighbour, &c. '^ 

^ This temptation or trial was at al Hodeibiya, where I\Iohammed's men, who had 
attended him thither with an intent to perform a pilgrimage to the Caaba, and had 
initiated themselves with the usual rites, were surrounded by so great a number of 
birds and beasts, that they impeded their march ; from which unusual accident, some 
of them concluded that God had allowed them to be taken ; but this passage was to 
convince them of the contrary ^. 

1 V. Prel. Disc. § V. ^ Al Beidawi, ^ Idem, Jallalo'udiii. 

136 AL KORAN. [Chap. 5. 

pilgrimage " ; whosoever among you shall kill any de- 
signedly shall restore the like of what he shall have 
killed *, in domestic animals ^, according to the deter- 
mination of two just persons among you, to be brought 
as an offering to the Caaba ; or in atonement thereof 
shall feed the poor ; or instead thereof shall fast, that 
he may taste the heinousness of his deed. God hath 
forgiven what is past, but whoever returneth to trans- 
gress, God will take vengeance on him ; for God is 
mighty and able to avenge. It is lawful for you to 
fish in the sea ", and to eat "dchat ye shall catch, as a 
provision for you and for those w^ho travel ; but it is 
unlawful for you to hunt by land, while ye are per- 
forming the rites of pilgrimage '' ; therefore fear God, 
before whom ye shall be assembled at the last day. 
God hath appointed the Caaba, the holy house, an 
establishment^ for mankind; and hath ordained the 
sacred month '^, and the offering, and the ornaments 
hung thereon ". This hatJi he done that ye might 
know that God knoweth whatsoever is in heaven and 

• Literally, ivhUc ye are I\fohrims, or have actually initiated yourselves as pilgrims, 
by putting on the garment worn at that solemnity. Hunting and fowling are hereby 
absolutely forbidden to persons in this state; though they are allov/ed to kill certain 
kinds of noxious animals '. 

* " He who violatetli this prohibition shall be punished as though he had killed 
a domestic animal." — Suvary. 

^ That is, he shall bring an offering to the temple of IMecca, to be slain there and 
distributed among the poor, of some domestic or tame animal, equal in value to what 
he shall liave killed ; as a sheep, for example, in lieu of an antelope, a pigeon for a 
partridge, Ace. And of this value two prudent persons were to be judges. If the 
offender was not able to do this, lie was to give a certain quantity of food to one or 
more poor men ; or, if he could not afford that, to fast a proi)ortionable number of 

= This, says Jallalo'ddin, is to be understood of fish that live altogether in tlie sea, 
and not of those that live in the sea and on land both, as crabs. Sec. The Turks, 
who are Ilanifitcs, never eat this sort offish; but the sect of iMalec Ebn Ans, and 
perhaps some others, make no scruple of it. 

"* See above, note a. 

' lliat is, the place where the practice of their religious ceremonies is chiefly 
estabhshctl ; wliere those who arc under any apprehension of danger may find a sure 
aai/l/ini, and the merchant certain gain, &c. 3 

' AI l?cidi\wi understands this of the month of Dhu'lhajja, wherein the ceremonies 
of the pili^rimage are performed ; but Jallalo'ddin supposes all the four sacred months 
are here intended 4. 

K See before, p. 116. 

' See the Prelim. Disc. ^ V. » Jallalo'ddin, Al Beidawi. 3 I idem. 

* See the Pn lim. Disc. § VII. 

Chap. 5.] AL KORAN. 137 

on earth, and that God is omniscient. Know that 
God is severe in punishing, and that God is also 
ready to forgive aiid merciful. The duty of our apostle 
is to preach only ^ ; and God knoweth that Avhich ye 
discover, and that which ye conceal. Say, Evil and 
good shall not be equally esteemed of, though the 
abundance of evil pleaseth thee '' ; therefore fear God, 
O ye of understanding, that ye may be happy. O true 
believers, inquire not concerning things, which, if they 
be declared unto you, may give you pain " ; but if ye 
ask concerning them when the Koran is sent down, 
they will be declared unto you : God pardoneth t/oic 
as to these matters ; for God is ready to forgive, a?id 
gracious. People who have been before you formerly 
inquired concerning them ; and afterwards disbelieved 
therein. God hath not ordained an?/ thing concerning 
Bahira, nor Saiba, nor Wasila, nor Hami '^ ; but the 
unbelievers have invented a lie against GoD : and the 
greater part of them do not understand. And when 
it was said unto them, Come unto that which God 
hath revealed, and to the apostle ; they answered. 
That religion which we found our fathers to follow is 
sufficient for us. What, though their fathers knew 
nothing, and were not rightly AivQciQ^'^ O true be- 
lievers, take care of your souls. He v/ho erreth shall 

» See the Prelim. Discourse, § II. p. CG. 

•* For judgment is to be made of things not from their plenty or scarcity, but from 
their intrinsic good or bad qualities '. 

•^ The Arabs continually teazing their prophet with questions, which probably he 
was not always prepared to answer, they arc here ordered to wait, till God should 
think fit to declare his pleasure, by some farther revelation : and, to abate their 
curiosity, they are told, at the same time, that very likely tlie answers would not be 
agreeable to their inclinations. Al Beidawi says, that when the pilgrimage was first 
x;ommanded, Soraka Ebn Malec asked IMohammed whether they were obliged to 
perform it every year ? To this question the prophet at first turned a deaf ear ; but 
being asked it a second, and a third time, he at last said. No : bid if I had said yes, 
it rvould have become a duty, and if it were a duty, ye ■would not be able to perform 
it ; therefore give me no trouble as to things wJiei ein I give you none : whereupon 
this passage was revealed. 

'' Tliese were the names given by the pagan Arabs to certain camels or sheep which 
were turned loose to feed, and exempted from common services, in some particular 
cases ; having their ears slit, or some other mark, that they might be known ; and 
this they did in honour of their gods 2. Which superstitions are here declared to be 
jio ordinances of God, but the inventions of foolish men . 

' Al Beidawi. - bcc ilie I'ielim. Disc, i? V. 

138 AL KORAN. [Chap. 5. 

not hurt you, while ye are 7ightlij directed": unto 
God shall ye all return, and he Avill tell you that which 
ye have done. O true believers, let witnesses be taken 
between you, when death approaches any of you, at 
the time of making the testament ; let there be two 
xvitiiesses, just men, from among you ^ ; or two others 
of a different tribe or J hit] i from yourselves *", if ye 
be journeying in the earth, and the accident of death 
befal you. Ye shall shut them both up, after the 
afternoon prayer'', and they shall swear by God, 
if ye doubt iliein, and they shall say. We will not 
sell our evidence for a bribe, although the person 
concerned be one who is related to lis, neither will 
we conceal the testimony of God, for then should we 
certainly be of. the number of the wicked. But if it 
appear that both have been guilty of iniquity, two 
others shall stand up in their place, of those who have 
convicted them of falsehood, the two nearest in blood, 
and they shall swear by God, saying, Verily our testi- 
mony is more true than the testimony of these two, nei- 
ther have we prevaricated ; for the7i should we become 
of the number of the unjust. This will be easier, that 
onen may give testimony according to the plain inten- 
tion thereof, or fear lest a different oath be given, after 
their oath. Therefore fear God, and hearken ; for 
God directeth not the unjust people ^ On a certain 

This was revealed when the infidels reproached those who embraced IMoham- 
mcdisni and renounced their old idolatry, tliat by so doing they arraigned the wisdom 
of their forefathers '. 

'' That is, of your kindred, or religion. 

"^ They who interpret these words of persons of another religion say they are abro- 
gated, and that the testimony of such ought not to be received against a Moslem '^. 

'' In case there was any doubt, the witnesses were to be kept apart from company, 
lest they should be corrupted, till they gave their evidence, which they generally did 
when the afternoon prayer was Over ; because that was the time of people's assembling 
in public, or, say some, because the guardian angels then relieve each otlier, so that 
there would be four angels to witness against them if tliey gave false evidence. But 
others suppose they might be examined after the hour of any other prayer, when there 
Tvfas a sufficient assembly 3. 

<= The occasion of the preceding passage is said to have been this. Tamim al 
Dari and Addi Ebn Yazid, both Christians, took a journey into Syria to trade, in 
company with Boduil, the frecdman of Amru Ebn nl As, ,who was a IMoslem. 
^Vhcn they came to Damascus, Botkil fell sick, and died ; having first wrote down 

' Al Beidiiwi. ' Idem. ■* Idem. 

Chap. 5.] AL KORAN. 139 

day'' shall God assemble the apostles, and shall say 
unto them, What answer was returned you, ivhen ye 
preached unto the people to zvhom ye Xfere sent ? They 
shall answer, We have no knowledge, but thou art the 
knower of secrets ^ When God shall say, O Jesus 
son of ]\Iary, remember my favour towards thee, and 
towards thy mother ; when I strengthened thee with 
the holy spirit % that thou shouldest speak unto men in 
the cradle, and when thou wast grown up*^ ; and when 
I taught thee the scripture, and wisdom, and the law, 
and the gospel ; and when thou didst create of clay as 
it were the figure of a bird, by my permission, and 
didst breathe thereon, and it became a bird by my per- 
mission ; and thou didst heal one blind from his birth, 
and the leper, by my permission ; and when thou didst 
bring forth the dead,/ro??2 their graves by my permis- 
sion*' ; and when I withheld the children of Israel from 
liilling thee^, when thou hadst come unto them with 
evident miracles, and such of them as believed not 
said. This is nothing but manifest sorcery. And when 
I commanded the apostles of Jesns saying. Believe in 
me, and in my messenger ; they answered, We do be- 

a list of his effects on a piece of paper, which he hid in his baggage, without acquaint- 
ing his companions with it, and desired them only to deliver what he had to his 
friends of the tribe of Sahm. The survivors however searching among his goods, 
found a vessel of silver of considerable weight, and inlaid with gold, which they con- 
cealed, and on then- return delivered the rest to the deceased's relations ; who finding 
the list of Bodeil's writing, demanded the vessel of silver of them, but they denied 
it ; and the affair being brought before Mohammed, these words, viz. O true hdlevcrs 
take ■witnesses, c^c. were revealed, and he ordered them to be sworn at the pulpit in 
the mosque, just as afternoon prayer was over, and on their making oath that they 
knew nothing of the plate demanded, dismissed them. But afterwards the vessel 
being found in their hands, the Sahmites, suspecting it was Bodeil's, charged them 
with it, and they confessed it was his, but insisted that they had bought it of him, 
and that they had not produced it, because they had no proof of the bargain. Upon 
this they went again before JMohammed, to whom these words, Ajid if it appear, ^-c. 
were revealed ; and thereupon Amru Ebn al As and al Motalleb Ebn Abi Kefaa, 
both of the tribe of Sahm, stood up, and were sworn against them ; and judgment 
was given accordingly •. 

" That is, on the day of judgment. 

^ Tliat is, We are ignorant whether our proselytes were sincere, or whether they 
apostatized after our deaths ; but thou well knowest not only what answer they gave 
us, but the secrets of their hearts, and whether they have since continued firm in their 
religion or not. 

" See chap. 2, p. 10. '• See chap. 3, p. 59. « See ibid. ' Sec 

ibid. pp. CO, (il. 

■ Al Beidawi. 

140 AL KOKAX. [Chap, 5. 

lieve ; and do thou bear witness that we are resigned 
unto thee. Remember when the apostles said, O Jesus 
son of Mary, is thy Lord able to cause a table to 
descend unto us from heaven"? He answered. Fear 
God, if ye be true believers. They said, We desire to 
eat thereof, and that our hearts may rest at ease, and 
that we may know that thou hast told us the truth, 
and that we may be witnesses thereof. Jesus the son 
of Mary said, O God our Lord, cause a table to de- 
scend unto us from heaven, that tJie (lay of its descent 
may become a festival day'' unto us, unto the first of 
us, and unto the last of us, and a sign from thee ; and 
do thou provide food for us, for thou art the best pro- 
vider. God said, Verily I will cause it to descend 
unto you ; but whoever among you shall disbelieve 
hereafter, I will surely punish him with a punishment, 

" This miracle is thus related by the commentators. .Tcsus having, at tlie request 
of his followers, asked it of God, a red table inmicdiatcly descended, in dieir sight, 
between two clouds, and was set before them ; whereupon he rose up, and having 
made the ablution, prayed, and then took oft' the cloth which covered the table, say- 
ing. In tlic name vf God, i/ie best provider of food. AVhat the prorisions were, wiili 
which this table was furnished, is a matter wherein the expositors are not agreed. 
One will have them to be nine cakes of bread, and nine fishes ; another, bread and 
flesli ; another, all sorts of food except flesli ; another, all sorts of food, except bread 
and flesh ; another, iJI except bread and fish ; anollier, one fish which had the taste 
of all manner of food ; and another, fruits of paradise : but the most received tradi- 
tion is, that when the table was uncovered, tliere appeared a fish ready drest, without 
scales or prickly fins, dropping witli fat, having sdt placed at its head, and vinegar 
at its tail, and round it all sorts of herbs, except leeks, and five loaves of bread, on 
one of which there were olives, on the second honey, on the third butter, on the 
fourth cheese, and on the fifth dried flesh. They add, that Jesus, at tlie request of 
the apostles, showed them anotiier miracle, by restoring the fish to life, and causing 
its scales and fins to return to it ; at which the standers-by being affrighted, he caused 
it to become as it was before : that one thousand three hundred men and women, all 
afllirtcd with bodily infirmities or poverty, ate of these provisions, and were satisfied; 
tlie fish remaining whole as it was at first : that then the table flew up to heaven in 
the sight of all; and every one wiio liad partaken of this food were delivered from 
their infirmities and misfortunes: and that it continued to descend for forty days to- 
gether, at dinner-time, and stood on the ground till the sun declined, and was tlien 
taken up into the clouds. Some of tlie iMohammcdan writers are of opinion that 
this table did not really descend, but that it was only a parable ; but most think the 
words of the Koran are plain to the C!aitr;iry. A further tradition is, that several 
men were changed into swine for disbelieving this miracle and attributing it to magic 
art; or, as others pretend, for stealing some of tlie victuals from oft' it '. Several 
otlicr fabulous circumstances are also told, which are scarce worth transcribing". 

^ Some say tiie tabic descended on a Sunday, wliich was the reason of the Chris- 
tians observing that day as sacred. Others protend tins day is still kept among thein 
.is a very great festival : ar.d it seems as if the story had its rise from an imperfect 
notion of Christ's last supper, and die institution of the Eucharist. 

' Al Bcidawi, al Thalabi. ' \. Marrncc. in Ale. p. 238, &c. 

Chap. 5.] AL KORAN. 141 

wherewith I will not punish any other creature. And 
when God shall say nnlo Jesus, at the last day, O 
Jesus son of Mary, hast thou said unto men, Take me 
and my mother for two gods, beside GoD ? He shall 
answer. Praise be unto thee ! it is not for me to say 
that which I ought not ; if I had said so, thou wouldest 
surely have known it : thou knowest what is in me, 
but I know not what is in thee; for thou art the 
knower of secrets. I have not spoken to them any 
other than what thou didst command me; namely. 
Worship God, my Lord and your Lord : and I was 
a witness of their actions while I staid among them ; 
but since thou hast taken me to thyself % thou hast 
been the watcher over them ; for thou art witness of 
all things. If thou punish them, they are svu'ely thy 
servants ; and if thou forgive them, thou art mighty 
and wise. God will say, This day shall their veracity 
be of advantage unto those who speak truth; they 
shall have gardens wherein rivers flow, they shall re- 
main therein for ever : God hath been well pleased in 
them, and they have been well pleased in him. This 
shall be great felicity. Unto God belongeth the king- 
dom of heaven and of earth, and of whatever therein 
is ; and he is almighty. 

» Or, since thou hast caused mc to die ; but as it is a dispute among Moham- 
medans whether Christ actually died or not, before his assumption ', and the original 
may be translated either way, I have chosen tlie former expression, which leaves tlie 
matter undecided. 

» See chap. 3, p. 61. 

142 AL KORAX. [Chap. G. 


Iiititled, Cattle'': revealed at Mecca ^ 

In the uame of the most merciful God. 

PiiAiSE be unto God, who hath created the heavens 
and the earth, and hath ordained the darkness and the 
liglit ; nevertheless they -who believe not in the Loud 
equalize othei^ <i'()ds xcitli him. It is he -svlio hath created 
you of clay; and then decreed the term of your lives; 
and the prefixed term is with him'': yet do ye doubt 
thereof. He is God in heaven and in earth ; he 
knoweth what ye keep secret, and what ye publish, 
and knoweth what ye deserve. There came not unto 
them any sign, of the signs of their Loud, but they 
retired from tlie same ; and they have gainsaid the 
truth, after that it hath come unto them : but a message 
shall come unto them, concerning that which they have 
mocked at''. Do they not consider how many ge- 
nerations we have destroyed before them ? We had 
established them in the earth in a manner wherein we 
have not established you " ; we sent the heaven to rain 
abundantly upon them, and we gave them rivers which 

* This chapter is so intitled, because some superstitious customs of the Meccans, 
as to certain cattle, are therein incidentally mentioned. 

'' Except only six verses, or, say others, three verses, which are taken notice of in 
the notes. 

"= By tlie last term some understand the time of the resurrection. Others think 
that by the first term is intended the space between creation and death, and by the 
latter, that between death and the resurrection. 

^ That is, they shall be convinced of the truth which they have made a jest of, 
when they see the punishment which they shall suffer for so doing, both in this world 
and the next ; or when they shall sec the glorious success of i\Iohanmicdism. 

'• (. <•. We had blessed tliem with greater power and length of prosperity than we 
have granted you, O men of IMecca '. IMohamnied seems here to mean the ancient 
and potent tribes of Ad, and Thamud, &c. '^ 

' AlBeidawi. ■> Seethe Prelim. l>i>c. i; I. p. /. ^r. 

Chap. 6.] AL KORAN. 14S 

flowed under iheirfeet : yet we destroyed them in their 
sins, and raised up other generations after them. Al- 
though we had caused to descend unto thee a book 
written on paper, and they had handled it with their 
hands, the unbelievers had surely said, This is no other 
than manifest sorcery*. They said. Unless an angel 
be sent down unto him, "cce xdll not believe. But if we 
had sent down an angel, verily the matter had been 
decreed % and they should not have been borne with, 
by having time granted them to repent And if we had 
appointed an angel ^or our messenger, we should have 
sent him in the form of a man^, and have clothed him 
before them, as they are clothed. Other apostles have 
been laughed to scorn, before thee, but the judgment 
which they made a jest of encompassed those who 
laughed them to scorn. Say, Go through the earth, 
and behold what hath been the end of those, who 
accused our prophets of imposture. Say, Unto whom 
belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and earth ? Say, 
Unto God. He hath prescribed unto himself mercy. 
He will surely gather you together on the day of re- 
surrection ; there is no doubt of it. They who destroy 
their own souls are those xvho will not believe. Unto 
him is oxoing whatsoever happeneth by night or by 
dayt; itis\\e who heareth and knoweth. Say, Shall 
I take any other protector than God, the creator of 
heaven and earth, who feedeth all and is not fed by 
any? Say, Verily I am commanded to be the first 
who professeth Islam *", and it was said unto me, Thou 
shalt by no means be one of the idolaters. Say, Verily 

* " It is an imposture." — Savory. 

» That is to say, As they would not have believed, even if an angel had descended 
to them from heaven, God has shown liis mercy in not complying with their de- 
mands ; for if he had, they would have suffered immediate condemnation, and would 
have been allowed no time for repentance. 

^ As Gabriel generally appeared to Mohammed ; who, though a prophet, was not 
able to bear the sight of him when he appeared in his proper form, much less would 
others be able to support it, 

f " He possesscth all that night veileth, all that day enlightencth. He knoweth 
and heareth all things." — Savcn >/. 

' That is, the first of my nation '. 

' Al Beidawi. 

Ii4< AL KORAN. [Chap. 6. 

I fear, if I should rebel against my Lord, the punish- 
ment of the great day : from whomsoever it shall be 
averted on that day, God will have been merciful unto 
him ; this xcill be manifest salvation. If God afflict 
thee with any hurt, tliere is none ^vho can take it off 
Jrom tJiee^ excei)t himself ; but if he cause good to befal 
thee, he is almighty ; he is the supreme Lord over his 
servants ; and he is wise and knowing. Say, What 
thing is the strongest in bearing testimony"? Say, 
God ; lie is witness between me and you. And this 
Koran was revealed unto me, that I should admonish 
you thereby, and also those unto whom it shall reach. 
Do ye really profess that there are other gods together 
Avith God ? Say, I do not profess this. Say, W'rily 
he is one God ; and I am guiltless of what ye associate 
icith him. They unto whom we have given the scrip- 
ture know 0U7' apostle, even as they know their own 
children''; but they who destroy their own souls will 
not believe. ^Vho is more unjust than he who in- 
venteth a lie against God% or chargeth his signs with 
imposture ? Surely the unjust shall not prosper. And 
on the day of resurrection we will assemble them all; 
then will we say unto those who associated others tvith 
God, Where are your companions'^, whom ye imagined 
to be those oj' God? But they shall have no other 
excuse, than that they shall say. By God our Lord, 
we have not been idolaters. Behold, how they lie 
against themselves, and what they have blasphemousli/ 
imagined to be the comjoanioii of God flieth from 
them^ There is of them who hearkeneth unto thee 

» This passage was revealed when the Koreish told Mohammed that they had 
asked the Jews and Christians concerning him, who assured them they found no men- 
tion or description of liini in their books of scripture ; T/icrrJ'orc, said they, t^'ho 
hears witness to thee, that thou art the ajwstU of God^ .* 

^ See chap. 2, p. 25. 

<= Saying the angels are the daughters of God, and intercessors for us with him, 

<• t. e. Your idols and false gods. 

« That is, their imaginary deities prove to be nothing, and disappear like \ain 
phantoms and chimaras. 

' Al Beidnwi, Jallalo'ddin. ' AJ Beidawi. 

Chap. 6'.] AL KORAN. 145 

rvJtcn thou rcadcst the Koran'' ; but we have cast veils 
over their hearts, that they slioiild not iiiKlerstand it, 
and a deafness in their ears : and though they should 
see all hinds of signs, they will not believe therein ; 
and their injiddity uill arrive to that height that they 
will even come unto thee, to dispute with thee. The 
unbelievers will say. This is nothing but silly fables of 
ancient time!^. And they will forbid others from he- 
lieving therein, and will retire afar oft' from it ; but 
they will destroy their own souls only, and they are 
not sensible thereof. If thou didst see, when they 
shall be set over the fire of hell! and they shall say, 
Would to God we might be sent back into the world ; 
we would not charge the signs of our Lokd with im- 
posture, and we would become true believers : nay, but 
that is become manifest unto them, which they for- 
merly concealed''; and though they should be sent 
back into the ivorld, they would surely return to that 
which was forbidden them ; and they are surely liars. 
And they said, There is no other life than our present 
life ; neither shall we be raised again. But if thou couldst 
see, when they shall be set before their Lord'! He 
shall say unto them. Is not this in truth come to pass ? 
They shall answer. Yea, by our Lord. God shall say, 
Taste therefore the punishment due unto you, for that 
ye have disbelieved. They are lost who reject as a 
falsehood the meeting of God in the ne.rt life, until the 
hour'' Cometh suddenly upoQ them. Then will they 
say, Alas! for that we have behaved ourselves neg- 
ligently in our lifeti?ne; and they shall carry their 

, » The persons herem8ant were Abu Sofian al Waltd, al Ncdar, Clba. Abu Jalil, 
and their comrades, who went to hear fllohamined repeat some of the Koran ; and 
Nodar being asked what he said, answered, with an oath, that he knew not,' only 
that he moved his tongue, and told a parcel of foolish stories, as he had done to 
them '. 

_ ^ viz. Their hypocrisy and vile actions : nor does their promise proceed from any 
sincere intention of amendment, but from the anguisli and misery of their condition*. 

'^ viz. In order for judgment. 

•* The last day is here called the Hour, as it is in scriptures; and the preceding 
expression otmerting God on that day is also agreeable to the !:ame4. 

' Al BeidSwi. ' Idem. 3 1 John v. 25, &c. • 1 Thes. iv. I7. 

VOL.. I. L 

146 Ai. K oil AX. [Chap. 6. 

burthens on their backs'; will it not be evil which 
they shall be loaden with? This present life is no 
other than a play and a vain amusement ; but surely 
the future mansion shall be better for those who fear 
God : will they not therefore understand ? Now we 
know that what they speak grieveth thee : yet they do 
not accuse thee of falsehood ; but the ungodly con- 
tradict the signs of God''. And apostles before thee 
have been accounted liars : but they patiently bore 
their being accounted liars, and their being vexed, 
until our help came unto them ; for there is none who 
can change the words of Goi) : and thou hast received 
some information concerning those who have been 
Jormerly sentj}'07n Iiim\ If their aversion to thy ad- 
monitions be grievous unto thee, if thou canst seek out 
a den ivhei^ebif thou maijest penetrale into the imvard 
parts of the earth, or a ladder by which thou mayest 
ascCiid into heaven, that thou mayest show them a 
sign, do sOy but thy search xvill be fruitless; for if God 
pleased he would bring them all to the true du'ection : 
be not therefore 07ie of the ignorant '^ He will give a 
favourable answer unto those only who shall hearken 

" When an infidel comes forth from his grave, says Jallalo'ildin, his works shall 
be represented to him under the ugliest form that ever he beheld, having a most de- 
formed countenance, a filthy smell, and a disagreeable voice : so that he shall cry out, 
God defend mcfruvt. thee, wJial art ihoit ? / never saw ainj thing more detestable ! 
To which the figure will answer, Wliy dost tJiou -vender at mi/ ns-liness ? I am tluj 
evil works' ; thou didst ride upon me, while thou wast in the world, hut now will I 
ride upon thee, and thou shall earri/ me. And immediately it shall get upon him ; 
and whatever he shall meet shall terrify him, and say, Ilail, thou enemi/ of God, 
thou art he who was meant hij (these words of the Koran) and they shall carry their 
burthens, ^-c'. 

*" That is, it is not thou but God whom they injure by their impious gainsaying 
of what has been revealed to thee. It is said that Abu Jahl once told fllohammcd, 
tliat they did not accuse liim of falsehood, because he was known to be a man of ve- 
racity, but only they did not behevc tlie revelations wliich he brought tliem ; which 
occasioned tliis passage 3. 

<^ i. c. Thou hast been acquainted with the stories of several of the preceding pro- 
phets ; what persecutions they suffered from those to whom they were sent, and in 
what manner (iod supported tliem and punished their enemies, according to his un- 
alterable promise*. 

■' In this passage IMohammcd is reproved for his impatience, in not bearing with 
the obstinacy of his countrymen, and for his indiscreet desire of effecting what (iod 
hatli not decreed, namely, the conversion and salvation of all mens. 

' Sec IMilton's Paradise Lost, book II. v. 737, «Scc. » Sec also ch. 3, p. 77- 

i Al IJeiduwi. •» Idem. * Idem. 

Chap. 6.] AL KORAN. 147 

xvit]i attention: and God will raise the dead; then 
unto him shall they return. The injidels say, Unless 
some sign be sent down unto him from his Lord, ire 
will not believe: answer. Verily God is able to send 
down a sign : but the greater part of them know it 
not ^ There is no kind of beast on earth, nor fowl 
which flieth with its wings, but the same is a people 
like unto you''; we have not omitted any thing in the 
book'' of our decrees*: then unto their Lord shall 
they return'*. They who accuse our signs of falsehood 
are deaf and dumb, "walking in darkness : God will 
lead into error whom he pleaseth, and whom he 
pleaseth he will put in the right way. Say, What 
think ye ? if the punishment of God come upon you, 
or the hour of the 7^esurrection come upon you, will ye 
call upon any other than God, if ye speak truth ? yea, 
him shall ye call upon, and he shall free you from that 
which ye shall ask him to deliver yon from^ if he 
pleaseth ; and ye shall forget that which ye associated 
xmth him^. We have already sent 7nessengers unto 
sundry nations before thee, and we afflicted them with 
trouble and adversity that they might humble them- 
selves : yet when the affliction which tee sent came 
upon them, they did not humble themselves ; but their 
hearts became hardened f, and Satan prepared for them 
that which they committed. And when they had for- 

* Being both ignorant of God's almighty power, and of the consequence of what 
they ask, which might prove their utter destruction. 

'' Being created and preserved by the same omnipotence and providence as ye are. 

■^ That is, in the preserved fable, wherein God's decrees are written, and all things 
which come to pass in the world, as well the most minute as the more momentous, 
are exactly registered i. 

* " The beasts which cover the earth, the birds which traverse the air, are crea- 
tures like yourselves. All are written in the book. They will appear again before 
him." — Savary. 

^ For, according to the Mohammedan belief, the irrational animals will also be 
restored to life at the resurrection, that they may be brought to judgment, and have 
vengeance taken on tliem for the injuries they did one another while in this world 2. 

"= That is. Ye shall then forsake your false gods, when ye shall be efftjctually con- 
vinced that God alone is able to deliver you from eternal punishment. But others 
rather think that this forgetting wiU be the effect of the distress and terror which 
they will then be in 3, 

■f " Their hearts grew hard, and Satan caused them to find charms in rebellion." 
— Savary. 

« Sec the Prelim. Disc. § IV. p. 142. ^ See ib. p. 118. 3 Al Beidiwi. 

L 2 

148 AT, KORAN. [Chap. 6. 

gotten tliat concerning which they had heen admo- 
nished, we opened unto them the gates of all things"; 
until, wliile they were rejoicing for that which had 
been given them, we suddenly laid hold on them, and 
behold, they zcere seized with despair ; and the utmost 
part of the people which had acted wickedly was cut 
off: praise be unto God, the Lokd of all creatures! 
Say, What think ye ? if (ioD should take away your 
liearing and your sight, and should seal U}) 3^our hearts ; 
What god besides Goi) will restore them unto you? 
See how variously we show forth the signs of God^s 
iinify^; yet do they turn aside J fom thtnn. Say unlo 
iJtem, What think ye? if the punishment of Gou come 
upon you suddenly, or in open view"^; \\ill uiiy perish, 
except the ungodly people ? We send not our mes- 
sengers otherwise than bearing good tidings and 
denouncing threats. Whoso therefore shall believe 
and amend, on them shall no fear come, neither shall 
they be grieved : but whoso shall accuse our signs of 
falsehood, a punishment shall fall on them, because 
they have done wickedly. Say, I say not unto you. 
The treasures of God are in my power : neither do I 
say, I know the secrets of God: neither do I say unto 
you. Verily I am an angel : I follow only that which is 
revealed unto me. vSay, Shall the blind and the seeing 
be held equal ? do ye not therefore consider ? Preach 
it unto those who fear that they shall be assend)led 
before their Loed : they shall have no patron nor 
intercessor, except him ; that peradventure they may 
take heed to themselves. Drive not awav those who 
call upon tlieir Lord morning and evening, desiring 
to see his face**; it belongeth not unto thee to pass any 

" Tliat is, we Q;avc them .ill manner of plenty ; that since they took no warning 
by their alllictions. their prosperity iiiij^ht become a snare to tlieni, and they n)ight 
bring down upon themselves swifter destruction. 

'* Laying them before you in different views, and making use of arguments and 
motives drawn from various con>iileralions. 

« Tliat is, says al Bcidiwi, either without any previous notice, or after some warn- 
ing given. 

•" These words were occasioned when the Koreish desired jNTohammcd not to admit 
the poor or more inferior peopk-, sui-h as Ammar, Solieib, Kliobbab, and Salman, 
iiuo his company, pretending tliat then they would come and discourse with him ; 

Chap. 6.] AL KORAN. 149 

judgment on them% nor doth it belong unto them to 
pass any judgment on thee : therefore if thou drive 
them away, thou wilt become one of the unjust. Thus 
have we proved some part of them by other part, that 
they may say, Are these tJie people among us unto 
whom God hath been gracious''? Doth not God most 
truly know tliose rcho are thankful ? And when they 
who believe in our signs shall come unto thee, say. 
Peace be upon yoy. Your Lord hath prescribed unto 
himself mercy ; so that whoever among you worketh 
evil through ignorance, and afterwards repenteth and 
amendeth ; imto liim will he surely be gracious a?id 
merciful. Thus have we distinctly propounded our 
signs, that the path of the wicked might be made 
known. Say, Verily I am forbidden to worship the deities which ye invoke, besides God. Say, I 
will not follow your desires ; for then should I err, 
neither should I be o?ie of those who are rightly 
directed. Say, I behave according to the plain de- 
claration which I have received from my Lord ; but 
ye have forged lies concerning him. That which ye 
desire should be hastened, is not in my power'': judg- 
ment belons^eth only unto God ; he will determine the 
truth ; and he is the best discerner. Say, If what 
ye desire should be hastened were in my power, the 
matter had been determined between me and you'': 

but he refusing to tarn away any believers, they insisted at least that he should order 
them to rise up and withdraw when they came, which he agreed to do. Others say, 
that the chief men of Mecca expelled all the poor out of their city, bidding them go 
to JMcliammed j which they did, and offered to embrace his religion ; but he made 
some difficulty to receive them, suspecting their motive to be necessity, and not real 
conviction ' ; whereupon this passage was revealed. 

■ i. e. Raahly to decide whether their intentions be sincere or not ; since thou 
canst not know their heart, and their faith may possibly be more lirm than that of 
those who would persuade thee to discard them. 

^ That is to say, the noble by those of mean extraction, and the rich by the poor ; 
in tha. God chose to call the latter to the faith before the former 2, 

* This passage is an answer to the audacious defiances of the infidels, who bid Mo- 
hammed, if he were a true prophet, to call for a shower of stones from heaven, or 
some other sudden and miraculous punishment, to destroy them 3. 

^ For I should ere now have destroyed you, out of zeal for God's honour, had it 
been in my power 4. 

» Al Bcidawi, Jallalo'ddin. ' lidcm. 1- Al Beidawi. * Idem- 

150 AL KORAN. [Chap. 6. 

but God well knoweth the unjust. With him are the 
keys of the secret things; none knoweth them besides 
himself: he knoweth that which is on the dry land 
and in the sea ; there falleth no leaf, but he knoweth 
it ; neither is there a single grain in the dark parts of 
the earth, neither a green thing, nor a dry thing, but 
it is iL-rittcn in the perspicuous book\ It is he who 
causeth you to sleep by night, and knoweth what ye 
merit by day ; he also awaketh you therein, that the 
prefixed term of your lives may be fulfilled : then unto 
him shall ye return, and he shall declare unto you that 
which ye have wrought. He is supreme over his 
servants, and sendeth the guardian angels to :ratch 
over you'', until, when death overtaketh one of you, 
our messengers^ cause him to die: and they will not 
neglect ota^ commands. Afterwards shall they return 
unto God, their true Lord : doth not judgment 
belong unto him? he is the most quick in taking 
an account ''. Say, Who delivereth you from the dark* 
ness* of the land, and of the sea, iclien ye call upon 
him humbly and in private, saying. Verily if thou 
deliver us*^ from these dangers, we will surely l>e 
thankful? Say, God delivereth you from them, and 
from every grief of mind ; yet afterwards ye give him 
companions ^ Say, He is able to send on you a 
punishment from above you'', or from under your 
feet', or to engage you in dissension, and to make some 
of you taste the violence of others. Observe liow 
variously we show forth our signs, that peradventure 

'■ i. r. The preserved table, or register of God's decree?. 

*• Seethe Prelim. Disc. Sect. IV. p. 120, 121. 

" Tliat is, the angel of death and his assistants '. 

'• Sec the Prelim. Di^c. Sect- IV. p. 121, 122. 

•■ That is, the dangers and distresses. 

f The Cufic copies read it in tlie third person, if he deliver m, ^c. 

K Returning to ynur old idolatry. 

•■ That is, by storms from Iieaven, as he destroyed tlie unbelieving penplc of Noah, 
and of Lot, and the army of Abralia, tlie lord of tlie ckphanf^. 

1 Either by drowning you, as he did Pharaoh and his liost, or causing the earth 
to open and swallow you up, as happened to Korah, or (as the Mohammedans Jiame 
him) Karun\ 

' .Sec the Prelim. Disc § IV. p. flS. = Al Ccidawi. 3 Idem. 

Chap. 6.] AL KORAN. 151 

they may understand. This people hath accused the 
revelation xoliich thou hast brought of falsehood, al- 
though it be the truth. Say, I am not a guardian 
over you : every prophecy hath its fixed time of accom- 
plishment ; and ye will hereafter know it. When thou 
seest those who are engaged in cavillinfr at, or jidi- 
ciding our signs ; depart from them, until they be 
engaged in some other discourse * : and if Satan cause 
thee to forget tJiis 'precept, do not sit with the ungodly 
people, after recollection. They who fear God are not 
at all accountable for them, but their duty is to re- 
member, that they may take heed to themselves'*. 
Abandon those who make their religion a sport and a 
jest ; and whom the present life hath deceived : and 
admonish them by the Koran, that a soul becometh 
liable to destruction for that which it committeth : it 
shall have no patron nor intercessor besides God ; and 
if it could pay the utmost price of redemption, it 
would not be accepted from it. They who are delivered 
over to perdition for that which they have committed 
shall have boiling water to drink, and shall suffer a 
grievous punishment, because they have disbelieved. 
Say, Shall we call upon that, besides God, which can 
neither profit us, nor hurt us ? and shall we turn back 
on our heels, after that God hath directed us ; like 
him whom the devils have infatuated, wandering 
amazedly in the earth, and yet having companions 
who call him to the true direction, saying, Come unto 
us ? Say, The direction of God is the true direction : 
we are commanded to resign ourselves unto the Lord 
of all creatures ; and it is also commanded us, saying. 
Observe the stated times of prayer, and fear him ; for 

* " Fly from those who revile religion, until they change their discourse." — 

"■ And therefore need not be troubled at the indecent and impious talk of the 
infidels ; provided they take care not to be infected by them. M'hen the preceding 
passage was revealed, the Moslems told their prophet, that if they were obliged to 
rise up whenever the idolaters spoke irreverently of the Koran, they could never .sit 
quietly in the temple, nor perfonn their devotions there ; whereupon these words 
were added '. 

' AlBeidawi, Jallalo'ddin. 

153 AL KORAN. [Chap. 6. 

it is lie before whom ye shall be assembled. It is he who 
liath created the heaveius and the earth in truth ; and 
whenever he saith nnto a thing, Be, it is. His word is 
the truth ; and his will be the kingdom on the day 
whereon the trumpet shall be sounded": he knoweth 
whatever is secret, and whatever is public ; he is the wise, 
the knowin^^. Call to mind when Abraham said unto his 
father Azer^ Dost thou take images for gods''? Ve- 
rily I perceive that thou and thy people are in a 
manifest error. And thus did we show unto Abraham 
the kingdom of heaven and earth, that he might 
become one of those who firmly believe''. And when 

» See the Prelim. Disc. Sect. IV. p. 98, and 11.3, &c. 

^ Tliisis ihe name which tlie iMohan.nietlans give to Abraham's father, named in 
scripture Terali. However some of thoir writers pretend that Azer was the son of 
Terah ', ,ind D'Herbelot says that the Arabs always distinguish them in their ge- 
nealogies as difflrent persons ; but that because Abraham was the son of Terah accord- 
ing t<) Moses, it is therefore supposed (by European writers) that Terah is tlie same 
with the Aaer of the Arabs'*. How true this observation may be, in relation to some 
autliors, I cannot say, but I am sure it cannot be true of fJl; for Bcveral Arab aj;d 
Turkish writers expressly make Azer and Terah the same persons. Azer, in ancient 
times, was the name of the planet JMars, and the month of March was so called by 
the most ancient Persians ; for the word originally signif}'ing7?/c (as it still does), it 
was ilierefore given by them and the Chaldeans to that planet*, which partaking, as 
was supposed, of a tiery nature, was acknowledged by the Chaldeans and Assyrians 
as a gcd or planetary deity, whom in old times they worshipped under the form of a 
pillar : wlience Azer became a name among the nobility, who esteemed it honour- 
able to be denominated from their gods^, and is found in the composition of several 
Babylonish names. For these reasons a learned author supposes Azer to have been 
the heathen name of Terah, and that the other was given him on his conversion". 
Al Hcidawi confirms this conjecture, saying that Azer was tlie name of tlie idol which 
he worshipped. It m.iy be observed that Abraham's father is also called Zarah in 
the Talmud, and Athar by Eusebius. (The surname of Azer was given to him in 
consequence of his idolatr)'. It is derived from i.irrtr, " O thou who art in error." 
— Sarar}/.) 

•^ That Azer or Terah was an idolater, is allowed on all hands ; nor can it be denied, 
«incc he is expressly said in scripture to have served strange gods ". The eastem 
autliors unanimously agree that he was a statuary, or carver of idols ; and he is re- 
presented as the first who made images of clay, pictures only having been in use 
before", and taught tliat they were to be adored as gods'. However we are told his 
employment v.-as a very honourable one'", and that he was a great lord, and in high 
favour with Ninirod, whose son-in-law he was", because lie made his idols for him, 
and was excellent in his art. Some of the Rabbins say Terah was a priest, and cliicf 
of tlie order ''^. 

■^ That is, we gave him a right apprehension of the government of tlie world and 
of the heavenly bodi-.s, that he mi,'ht know them all to be ruled by God, by putting 
him on making Uie fullowing reflections. 

■ Tarikh i^Iontakliab, .ipud D'Herbcl. Bibl. Orient, p. 12. ' D'Herbel. ibid. 
3 Al Heidiiwi, .Jall:do'ddin, Yahya, Ebn Shohnah, 31irat Kainat, \r. V. etiain 
Pharliang Jehanghiri, apud Hyde de liel. Vet. Persar. p. (>U. 4 Hyde, ibid. p. Cili, 
5 Idem, ib. p. (>4. "^ Idem, ibid. j-. (i'2. ' .Io.ih. xxiv. 2, 14. " E]nphari. 

adv. Ilipr. 1. 1, p. 7, "• " Suidas in Lexico, voce ^i ny. " V. Hyde, ubi 

pipra, p. 63. " r'Hcrbel. ubi aip. >- ShaUhd. iiakkab. p. 91. 

Chap. 6.] Ai. KUKAX. 155 

the night overshadowed him, he saw a star, and he 
said,. This is mv Loed ' : but when it set, he said, I 
like not gods which set. And when he saw the moon 
rising, he said, This is my Lord : bnt when he saw it 
set, he said, ^"erily if my Lord direct me not, I shall 
become ewe of the people who go astray. And when 
he saw the sun rising, he said. This is my Lord, this 
is the greatest : but when it set, he said, O my people, 
verily I am clear of that which ye associate •:^lth God: 
I direct my face unto him who hath created the 
heavens and the earth : / am orthodox, and am not 
one of the idolaters. And his people disputed with 
him : ond he said, Wul ye dispute with me concerning 
God ? since he hath now directed me, and I fear not 
that which ye associate drith k'trriy unless that mv Lord 
vriileth a thing: jor my Lord comprehendeth all 
things by his knowledge": will ve not therefore con- 

• Si3« Abs«ha:n*i pare- ts »-£rs idils;:^?, h sseci; :c br s resss-nr cr^secTieas 
Aat hnBs^ was r>t>e ai?o is his t- - — ^ j ft res^ ; ibe scrrpmre T>:r c>bsrz?e}T ' '. '. . - .x . **. 
as H!iidi>; aad the Jevs thacsdTss &;±i:;-a-l^ h -. A: ^Lii see be cars n* dbe 
kao«ie^>e of Ae true God siA lefi ii^Ia^T, » yri.-^i a^ Tsaaas. S«i^ Jevish 
vritetsidn as, he vas Abb fast ilsce jvaas'dkkK and the XafaHBBe^^ Bc«k 
sBfpose him Toy toei^ aad that heaskEd lasfidMS' ^A nalfe- aevod dhesai 
qBCfdccs vhea a ciaidi. Others hovevo'aBw him to have bees a Ei^fe^eed^n 
af flat thncA. Ifanncmdes. ai fartiodir, ad R. Ahr Au m ^tsih Aip*^ ha » 
have bean iattf j&xs old. which age is abo laestiaBed ia de KoaE. Btt sfe «c>- 
neral c^peiikn rf the MohacoBedHS is, that he w« ahest &leeB or sxtscE*. ^Ae 

id^ fflan w hcem Atoiam ^rrtrfl irtw ihi SuTiai, ahiih n«i iiad oniy b 

the voEJEp of the heansfy ba&sT, he is intndnoed eoBn^g ^a a^KC aad ai»> 
perties, to see vfaeiher A^had ai^ totewaidi^vhiAvKpMdtheBerBK; 
and the first which he obsenedTas the flaaet Yens, (K,»«thas«9lBtc it. Jm- 
pi»r8 This method of AlBaham''s ^^t'^-^ «b tfe J a whilgL of dhe snreae 
CrealBrqfanA«gsis «arfiamalih. <Bmhat J asqlMe wntes. gfc. TWlfeAevis 
■olioQs £(Cm die thnges which he had flfascned B &e eaA aid the sea, Md ■ ^ 
am aad AemooB, anddieicstflf Ac cdeslial bo&s; oowiB&g ^ dii^ wcie 
mbjett to d^ cxonsDd of a gupe our power, to wfaora ^ooe all hnaoar ^id «'T~t - i 
aiedae*. Tre s^jit kseif is certaiuhr takoi fitaadKl^hmd*. SaneafdecaM- 
EXBtators however ssqipose diis Tcasmi!^ of AhedaEB whh hiBE^WKBM Ae ftst 
mcaascfhscBBTosian, bat dtst heasedit cnlf by wxf sfasgao^Bttaaannpik 
idollams asMBg whom he Aen fived. 

^ That i^ I an Dot afiaid of jozr fib g^ which camst hnt a^ azzst Gad 
penniaetfa it, cr is pieced to iflict nehaa^ 

' v. Josh isdr. 2, 14, aad Hvde, abi sap. p. SlL ' Jooah. Ant L 1. c J. 

3Ian;xir. Mr-? Xer. p&n 3. 1 29, et Tad Haixah, & Id. c I, Ac s Taixfe- 
ir», Tah-BcL Nc-3siiin. 32, 1, ct ^aad MaBocc Yad Han. ^i air. « V. II>Uer. 
bd. KbL O ier:. Ait. Abnhaic. 5 llaBna. ■»»».£. Abe. Zacaih a 

Scter .TaA-sfc. Sa-bfcd. hakksh. &c « V. Hj^ ahi am. p. 6», 61. a Hottias. 
^-=^nJa C>Te=t. p. :2»e, &c. Gecdx. ia Chrto. r See the ftAc. Disc- § L 

p- la ^AlBeidaci. » Jc6«ph. Aat L 1, c. 7. »B.Bte^ia: ^ 
V. Bvm4ooc. &U. Kafcb. pan 1. p. 640. 

154 AL KORAN. [Chap. 6. 

sider ? And how should I fear that which ye associate 
rvith God, since ye fear not to have associated with 
God that concerning which lie hath sent down unto 
you no authority ? which therefore of the two parties 
is the more safe, if ye understand aright? They who 
believe, and clothe not their faith with injustice % they 
shall enjoy security, and they are rightly directed. 
And this is our argument wherewith w^e furnished 
Abraham tJiat he might make use of it against his 
people: we exalt unto degrees of xcisdom and hwd-- 
ledge whom we please ; for thy Lord is wise and 
knowing. And we gave unto him Isaac and Jacob ; 
we directed them both : and Noah had we before 
directed, and of his posterity'' David and Solomon; 
and Job% and Joseph, and Moses, and Aaron : thus do 
we reward the righteous : and Zacharias, and John, and 
Jesus, and Elias''; all of tJiem tvere upright men : and 
Ismael, and Elisha% and Jonas', and Lot^; all tJiese 
have we favoured above tJie rest of the world ; and 
also divers of their fathers, and their issue, and their 
brethren ; and we chose them, and directed them into 
the right way. This is the direction of God, he 
directeth thereby such of his servants as he pleaseth ; 
but if they had been guilty of idolatry, that which 
they wrought would have become utterly fruitless unto 
them. Those xtere the persons unto whom we gave 
the scripture, and wisdom, and prophecy ; but if these'' 
believe not therein, we will commit the care of them 

» By injustice, in tliis place, the commentators understand idolatry, or open re- 
bellion against God. 

•> Sonic refer the relative //J.v to Abraham, the person chiefly spoken of in this 
passage ; some to Noiih, the next antecedent, because Jr.n;is and Lot were not (say 
they) of Abraliam's seed : and others suppose the persons named in this and the next 
verse are to be understood as tlie descendants of Abraham, and those in the following 
verse as these of Noah '. 

' The j^Iohammedans say he was of the race of Esau. See chap. 21, and 38. 

•^ See chap. Tt^. 

^ This was tlie successor of Elias, and as the commentators will liave it, 
the son of Okhtiib ; tiiou<;li th.e scripture makes him tlic son of Shaphat. 

' See chap. 10,21, and^SJ- 

K See chap. 7, •'vc. 

'■ That is, tlicKotcisU^. 

' Al riculawi. ^ Idem. 

Chap. 6.] AL KORAN. 155 

to a people Vv'ho shall not disbelieve the same. Those 
ivef^e the persons whom God hath directed, therefore 
follow their direction. Say unto the inhabitants of 
Mecca ^ I ask of you no recompense for preaclmig the 
Koran; it is no other than an admonition unto all 
creatures. They make not a due estimation of God% 
when they say, God hath not sent down unto man any 
thing at all'': Say, Who sent down the book which 
Moses brought, a light and a direction unto men; 
which ye transcribe on papers, whereof ye publish 
some pari, and great part xvliereof ye conceal ? and ye 
have been taught by Mohammed what ye knew not, 
neither your fathers. Say, God sent it down: then 
leave them to amuse themselves with their vain dis- 
course. This book which we have sent down is 
blessed ; confirming that which was revealed before it ; 
and is delivered unto thee that thou mayest preach // 
unto the metropolis of Mecca and to those who are 
round about it. And they who believe in t