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- The Koran - 50/136 -


But when it is said to them, "Bow down before the God of Mercy," they say, "Who is the God of Mercy? Shall we bow down to what thou biddest?" And they fly from thee the more.

Blessed be He who hath placed in the Heaven the sign of the Zodiac!19 who hath placed in it the Lamp of the Sun, and the light-giving Moon!

And it is He who hath ordained the night and the day to succeed one another for those who desire to think on God or desire to be thankful.

And the servants of the God of Mercy are they who walk upon the Earth softly; and when the ignorant20 address them, they reply, "Peace!"

They that pass the night in the worship of their lord prostrate and standing:-

And that say, "O our Lord! turn away from us the torment of Hell, for its torment is endless: it is indeed an ill abode and resting place!

Those who when they spend are neither lavish nor niggard, but keep the mean:-

Those who call on no other gods with God, nor slay whom God hath forbidden to be slain, except for a just cause, and who commit not fornication (for he who doth this shall meet the reward of his wickedness:

Doubled to him shall be the torment on the day of Resurrection; and in it shall he remain, disgraced, for ever:-

Save those who shall repent and believe and do righteous works-for them God will change their evil things into good things, for God is Gracious, Merciful-

And whose turneth to God and doeth what is right, he verily will convert with a true conversion):

And they who bear not witness to that which is false, and when they pass by frivolous sport, pass on with dignity:-

And they who, when monished by the signs of their Lord, fall not down thereat, as if deaf and blind:-

And who say, "O our Lord! give us in our wives and offspring the joy of our eyes, and make us examples to those who fear thee:"

These shall be rewarded with the High Places of Paradise for their steadfast endurance, and they shall meet therein with-Welcome and Salutation:-

For ever shall they remain therein: a fair abode and resting-place!

SAY: Not on your account doth my Lord care if ye call not on Him! ye have treated his Apostle as an impostor: but bye and bye a punishment shall cleave to them.

_______________________

1 See Sura [lxv.] xxi. 49.

2 Comp. Sura [lxxiii.] xvi. 105. The frequency with which Muhammad feels it necessary to rebut this charge by mere denial is strongly indicative of its truth.

3 "The meaning may possibly be that the teachers of Muhammad were persons who had taken refuge in Arabia for offences and heresies." Sprenger, Life of M. p. 96, n. Or, but they utter an injustice and a falsehood. Nöldeke combats Dr. Sprenger's supposition that "Tales of the ancients" (verse 6) is a book. Hist. of Qoran, p. 13.

4 Supply, we will not believe.

5 In your ascriptions of divinity to them. Beidh.

6 Or, far, far be they removed. The same words occur at the end of verse 55. The Commentators doubt whether they are spoken by the wicked of the impossibility of their attaining Paradise, or by the angels to the wicked.

7 Said by Beidh. to be the polytheist Okbeh, the son of Abu Mo'eyt, who by Muhammad's persuasion professed Islam, but afterwards retracted to please Ubei ben Khalaf. See Gagnier's Vie de Mahom. i. 362.

8 Ar. fulani (whence the Spanish fulano) identical with the Heb. p. 155, used of a person only in Ruth iv. 1, but by the Rabbinic writers, constantly.

9 Or, abandoner.

10 This verse shews that the Koran was of gradual growth in the time of Muhammad himself.

11 Lit. parables.

12 Lit. vizier.

13 It is uncertain whether Rass is the name of a city in Yemama; or merely, as some interpret it, of a well near Midian; or, according to others, in the territory of Hadramont.

14 Geiger is mistaken in supposing that this passage alludes to 2 Kings xx. 9 12, and his translation is inaccurate.

15 Lit. quiescent, i.e. always the same.

16 According to some commentators, Muhammad here speaks of the waters of the Tigris, which do not mingle with the salt water of the sea till they have reached a considerable distance from the river-mouth. See Zech. xiv. 8.

17 See Sura [cv.] xxiv. 44, n.

18 "Thou art taught that whoever would make a profit by the Law depriveth himself of life." Pirke Aboth, i. 4. This precept is of frequent occurrence in the Talmud.

19 Comp. Sura [xc.] xiii. 29; and the following Sura xvii. 109, n.

20 The idolaters.

SURA XVII.-THE NIGHT JOURNEY [LXVII.]

MECCA.1-111 Verses

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

GLORY be to Him who carried his servant by night2 from the sacred temple of Mecca to the temple3 that is more remote, whose precinct we have blessed, that we might shew him of our signs! for He is the Hearer, the Seer.

And4 we gave the Book to Moses and ordained it for guidance to the children of Israel-"that ye take no other Guardian than me."

O posterity of those whom we bare with Noah! He truly was a grateful servant!

And we solemnly declared to the children of Israel in the Book, "Twice surely will ye enact crimes in the earth, and with great loftiness of pride will ye surely be uplifted."

So when the menace for the first crime5 came to be inflicted, we sent against you our servants endued with terrible prowess; and they searched the inmost part of your abodes, and the menace was accomplished.

Then we gave you the mastery over them6 in turn, and increased you in wealth and children, and made you a most numerous host.

We said, "If ye do well, to your own behoof will ye do well: and if ye do evil, against yourselves will ye do it. And when the menace for your latter crime7 came to be inflicted, then we sent an enemy to sadden your faces, and to enter the temple as they entered it at first, and to destroy with utter destruction that which they had conquered.

Haply your Lord will have mercy on you! but if ye return, we will return:8 and we have appointed Hell-the prison of the infidels.

Verily, this Koran guideth to what is most upright; and it announceth to believers

Who do the things that are right, that for them is a great reward;

And that for those who believe not in the life to come, we have got ready a painful punishment.

Man prayeth for evil as he prayeth for good; for man is hasty.

We have made the night and the day for two signs: the sign of the night do we obscure, but the sign of the day cause we to shine forth, that ye may seek plenty from your Lord, and that ye may know the number of the years and the reckoning of time; and we have made everything distinct by distinctiveness.

And every man's fate9 have we fastened about his neck: and on the day of resurrection will we bring forth to him a book which shall be proffered to him wide open:

-"Read thy Book:10 there needeth none but thyself to make out an account against thee this day."

For his own good only shall the guided yield to guidance, and to his own loss only shall the erring err; and the heavy laden shall not be laden with another's load. We never punished until we had first sent an apostle:

And when we willed to destroy a city, to its affluent ones did we address our bidding; but when they acted criminally therein, just was its doom, and we destroyed it with an utter destruction.

And since Noah, how many nations have we exterminated! And of the sins of his servants thy Lord is sufficiently informed, observant.

Whoso chooseth this quickly passing life, quickly will we bestow therein that which we please-even on him we choose; afterward we will appoint hell for him, in which he shall burn-disgraced, outcast:

But whoso chooseth the next life, and striveth after it as it should be striven for, being also a believer,-these! their striving shall be grateful to God:

To all-both to these and those-will we prolong the gifts of thy Lord; for not to any shall the gifts of thy Lord be denied.

See how we have caused some of them to excel others! but the next life shall be greater in its grades, and greater in excellence.

Set not up another god with God, lest thou sit thee down disgraced, helpless.11


The Koran - 50/136

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