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- The Koran - 100/136 -


from their works shall they be able to gain; for God guideth not the unbelieving people.

And the likeness of those who expend their substance from a desire to please God, and for the stablishing of their souls, is as a garden on a hill, on which the heavy rain falleth, and it yieldeth its fruits twofold; and even if a heavy rain fall not on it, yet is there a dew: God beholdeth your actions.

Desireth any one of you a garden of palms and vines through which rivers flow, in which he may have every fruit, and that old age should surprise him there, and that his offspring should be weakly, and that then a fiery violent wind shall strike it so that it shall be burned? Thus God maketh plain his signs to you that ye may reflect.

O ye who believe! bestow alms of the good things which ye have acquired, and of that which we have brought forth for you out of the earth, and choose not the bad for almsgiving,

Such as ye would accept yourselves only by connivance: and know that God is Rich, Praiseworthy.

Satan menaceth you with poverty,108 and enjoineth base actions: but God promiseth you pardon from himself and abundance: God is All-bounteous, Knowing.

He giveth wisdom to whom He will: and he to whom wisdom is given, hath had much good given him; but none will bear it in mind, except the wise of heart.

And whatever alms ye shall give, or whatever vow ye shall vow, of a truth God knoweth it: but they who act unjustly shall have no helpers. Give ye your alms openly?109 it is well. Do ye conceal them and give them to the poor? This, too, will be of advantage to you, and will do away your sins: and God is cognisant of your actions.

Their guidance is not thine affair, O Muhammad; but God guideth whom he pleaseth. And the good that ye shall give in alms shall redound unto yourselves; and ye shall not give but as seeking the face of God; and whatever good thing ye shall have given in alms, shall be repaid you, and ye shall not be wronged. There are among you the poor, who being shut up to fighting for the cause of God, have it not in their power to strike out into the earth for riches. Those who know them not, think them rich because of their modesty. By this their token thou shalt know them-they ask not of men with importunity: and of whatever good thing ye shall give them in alms, of a truth God will take knowledge.

They who give away their substance in alms, by night and day, in private and in public, shall have their reward with their Lord: no fear shall come on them, neither shall they be put to grief.

They who swallow down usury, shall arise in the resurrection only as he ariseth whom Satan hath infected by his touch. This, for that they say, "Selling is only the like of usury:" and yet God hath allowed selling, and forbidden usury. He then who when this warning shall come to him from his Lord, abstaineth, shall have pardon for the past, and his lot shall be with God. But they who return to usury, shall be given over to the fire; therein shall they abide for ever.

God will bring usury to nought, but will increase alms with usury, and God loveth no infidel, or evil person. But they who believe and do the things that are right, and observe the prayers, and pay the legal impost, they shall have their reward with their Lord: no fear shall come on them, neither shall they be put to grief.

O believers! fear God and abandon your remaining usury, if ye are indeed believers.

But if ye do it not, then hearken for war on the part of God and his apostle: yet if ye repent, ye shall have the principal of your money. Wrong not, and ye shall not be wronged.

If any one find difficulty in discharging a debt, then let there be a delay until it be easy for him: but if ye remit it as alms it will be better for you, if ye knew it.

Fear the day wherein ye shall return to God: then shall every soul be rewarded according to its desert, and none shall have injustice done to them.

O ye who believe! when ye contract a debt (payable) at a fixed date, write it down, and let the notary faithfully note between you: and let not the notary refuse to note, even as God hath taught him; but let him note it down, 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 himself, let his friend dictate for him with fairness; and call to witness two witnesses of your people: but if there be not two men, let there be a man, and two women of those whom ye shall judge fit for witnesses: if the one of them should mistake, the other may cause her to recollect. And the witnesses shall not refuse, whenever they shall be summoned. And disdain not to put the debt in writing, be it large or small, with its time of payment: this will be more just for you in the sight of God, better suited for witnessing, and the best for avoiding doubt. But if the goods be there present, and ye pass them from hand to hand-then it shall be no fault in you not to write it down. And have witnesses when ye sell, and harm not writer or witness: it will be a crime in you to do this. But fear God and God will give you knowledge, for God hath knowledge of all things.

And if ye be on a journey and shall find no notary, let pledges be taken: but if one of you trust the other, let him who is trusted, restore what he is trusted with, and fear God his Lord. And refuse not to give evidence. He who refuseth is surely wicked at heart: and God knoweth your deeds.

Whatever is in the Heavens and in the Earth is God's: and whether ye bring forth to light what is in your minds or conceal it, God will reckon with you for it; and whom He pleaseth will He forgive, and whom He pleaseth will He punish; for God is All-powerful.

The apostle believeth in that which hath been sent down from his Lord, as do the faithful also. Each one believeth in God, and His Angels, and His Books, and His Apostles: we make no distinction between any of His Apostles.110 And they say, "We have heard and we obey. Thy mercy, Lord! for unto thee must we return."

God will not burden any soul beyond its power. It shall enjoy the good which it hath acquired, and shall bear the evil for the acquirement of which it laboured. O our Lord! punish us not if we forget, or fall into sin; O our Lord! and lay not on us a load like that which thou hast laid on those who have been before us; O our Lord! and lay not on us that for which we have not strength: but blot out our sins and forgive us, and have pity on us. Thou art our protector: give us victory therefore over the infidel nations.

_______________________

1 The greater part of this, the oldest of the Medina Suras, was revealed in the early part of the second year of the Hejira and previously to the battle of Bedr.-The Hejira took place in the beginning of Muharram, or middle of April, A.D. 622. The numbers who emigrated with Muhammad at first, were about 150 persons. Medina is 250 miles north of Mecca, and ten days' journey.

2 Said to mean A mara li Muhammad, i.e. at the command of Muhammad; but see Sura 1xviii. p. 32.

3 Death, Resurrection, Judgment, etc.

4 The Jews.

5 The Jews and Christians, hostile to the mission of Muhammad.

6 Lit. the similitude of them is as the similitude of, etc.

7 The people of Medina are generally addressed with "O ye who believe;" the Meccans, with "O men." Hence it has been inferred that from verse 19 (O men) to 37 inclusively, is of the Meccan period. The subjects treated of also lead to this conclusion.

8 The statues of false gods.

9 It will be an agreeable surprise to the blessed to have fruits, which at first sight resemble those of earth, but are infinitely more delicious,.

10 Muhammad had been reproached for having drawn illustrations from the Ant, Bee, Spider, etc.

11 Concerning faith in Muhammad. See verse 39 below, note.

12 The number of the Heavens is borrowed from the Talmud, or traditions based upon it; but the idea probably has its root in the Scriptural expression, "Heaven of Heavens."

13 Lit. a caliph, vicegerent. "When the Holy One, Blessed be He, would create man, He took counsel with the Angels and said to them, We will make man in our image." Midr. Rabbah on Numb. iv. par. 19. Comp. Midr. on Gen. 1, par. 8, 17. Sanhedr. 38.

14 "God said to the Angels, 'His wisdom is greater than yours.' Then brought he before them beasts, cattle, and birds, and asked for their names, but they knew them not. But when he had created man," etc. Midr. as above.

15 Or, if ye are truthful, or can make good a better claim to the vicegerency.

16 In the name Eblis (diabolos) and in the honour claimed for Adam as a kind of Godman, there are traces of a Christian original, as well as in the identification of the serpent with Satan. Comp. Ps. civ. 4; Heb. i. 6. The Talmudists also enlarge on the honour paid to Adam. "Adam sat in the garden and the Angels brought him flesh and cooling wine." Sanhedr. 29. "In the hour when the Holy One, Blessed be He, created man, the Angels went astray in regard to him, and essayed to say before him, 'O Holy One!' then God permitted sleep to fall on him, and all knew that he was of earth." Midr. Rabbah on Gen. par. 8. It is possible that the Arabic word balas, a profligate, wicked person, may have influenced Muhammad in the formation of the word Eblis. See note, p. 185. Eblis is used in the Arabic version of the New Testament, for the probable date of which, see Tischendorf, Prol. p. 78.

17 Observe the change from Eblis, the calumniator, to Satan, the hater.

18 Muhammad rarely accused the Jews and Christians of corrupting, but often of misinterpreting, their Sacred Books, in order to evade his claims. His charges, however, are always very vaguely worded, and his utterances upon this subject are tantamount to a strong testimony in favour of the unimpeachable integrity of the sacred books, both of the Jews and Christians, so far as he knew them. See Sura [lxxxvii.] vii. 168, and v. 73 below.

19 See Sura [lxv.] xxi. 49.

20 Lit. slay one another.

21 The Talmudists relate how the Israelites who had died, on hearing the divine voice, etc., were restored by the intercession of the Law itself. Sanh. 5.


The Koran - 100/136

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