29 Aralık 2012 Cumartesi

People of Book { Christians & Jews } and ( Jesus Christ [PBUH] in The Quran)



In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Chapter 1 – Opening
1. In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
C1. The Arabic words “Rahman and Rahim” translated “Most Gracious” and “Most Merciful” are both intensive forms referring to different aspects of Allah’s attributes of Mercy. The Arabic intensive is more suited to express Allah’s attributes than the superlative degrees in English. The latter implies a comparison with other beings or with other times or places, while there is no being like unto Allah, and He is independent of Time and Place. Mercy may imply pity, long-suffering, patience, and forgiveness, all of which the sinners need and Allah Most Merciful bestows in abundant measure. But there is a Mercy that goes before even the need arises, the Grace which is ever watchful, and flows from Allah Most Gracious to all His creatures, protecting them, preserving them, guiding them, and leading them to clearer light and higher life. For this reason the attribute Rahman (Most Gracious) is not applied to any but Allah, but the attribute Rahim (Merciful), is a general term, and may also be applied to Men. To make us contemplate these boundless gifts of Allah, the formula:  “In the name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful”; is placed before every Surah of Quran (except the ninth), and repeated at the beginning of every act by the Muslim who dedicates his life to Allah, and whose hope is in His Mercy. Opinion is divided whether the Bismillah should be numbered as a separate verse or not. It is unanimously agreed that it is a part of the Quran. Therefore it is better to give it an independent number in the first Surah. For subsequent Surahs it is treated as an introduction or headline, and therefore not numbered.
2. Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;
C2. The Arabic word Rabb, usually translated Lord, has also the meaning of cherishing, sustaining, bringing to maturity.  Allah cares for all the worlds He has created. There are many worlds; - astronomical and physical worlds, -  worlds of thought, - spiritual world, and so on. In every one of them, Allah is all-in-all. We express only one aspect of it when we say: "In Him we live, and move, and have our being." The mystical division between: 1. Nasut: the human world knowable by the senses. 2. Malakut: the invisible world of angels, and 3. Lâhut: the divine world of Reality, requires a whole volume to explain it
3. Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
4. Master of the Day of Judgment.
5. Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.
C3-4-5. On realizing in our souls God's love and care, His grace and mercy, and His power and justice (as Ruler of the Day of Judgment), the immediate result is that we bend in the act of worship, and see both our shortcomings and His all-sufficient power.  The emphatic form means that not only do we reach the position of worshipping Allah and asking for His help, but we worship Him alone and ask for His aid only. For there is none other than He worthy of our devotion and able to help us. The plural "we" indicates that we associate ourselves with all who seek Allah, thus strengthening ourselves and strengthening them in a fellowship of faith.
6. Show us the straight way,
C6. If we translate by the English word "guide," we shall have to say:  "Guide us to and in the straight Way."  For we many be wandering aimlessly, and the first step is to find the Way; and the second need is to keep in the Way: our own wisdom may fail in either case. The straight Way is often the narrow Way, or the steep Way, which many people shun (90:11). By the world's perversity the straight Way is sometimes stigmatized and the crooked Way praised. How are we to judge?  We must ask for God's guidance. With a little spiritual insight we shall see which are the people who walk in the light of Allah's grace, and which are those that walk in the darkness of Wrath. This also would help our judgment.
7. The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.
C7-1. Note that the words relating to Grace are connected actively with Allah; those relating to Wrath are impersonal. In the one case Allah's Mercy encompasses us beyondour deserts. In the other case our own actions are responsible for the Wrath, the negative of Grace, Peace, or Harmony.
C7-2. Are there two categories? - those who are in the darkness of Wrath and - those who stray?  The first are those who deliberately break Allah's law; the second those who stray out of carelessness or negligence. Both are responsible for their own acts or omissions. In opposition to both are the people who are in the light of Allah's Grace:  for His Grace not only protects them from active wrong (if they will only submit their will to Him) but also from straying into paths of temptation or carelessness. The negative gair should be construed as applying not to the way, but as describing men protected from two dangers by Allah's Grace.
Chapter 2 - The Heifer
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62. Those who believe (in the Qurán), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
C62-1. Latest researches have revealed a small remnant of a religious community numbering about 2,000 souls in Lower Iraq, near Basra.  In Arabic they are called Subbi (plural Subba). They are also called Sabians and Nasoraeans; or Mandaeans, or Christians of St. John.  They claim to be Gnostics, of Knowers of the Great Life. They dress in white, and believe in frequent immersions in water.  Their Book Ginza is in a dialect of Aramaic. They have theories of Darkness and Light as in Zoroastrianism.  They use the name Yardan (Jordan) for any river. They live in peace and harmony among their Muslim neighbors.  They resemble the Sabi'un mentioned in the Quran but are not probably identical with them. The pseudo-Sabians of Harran, who attracted the attention of Khalifah Ma'mun al Rashid in 830 A.C.  by their long hair and peculiar dress probably adopted the name as it was mentioned in the Quran, in order to claim the privileges of the People of the Book. They were Syrian Star-worshippers with Hellenistic tendencies, like the Jews contemporary with Jesus. There was another people called the Sabaens, who played an important part in the history of early Arabia, and are known through their inscriptions in an alphabet allied to the Phoenician and Babylonian. They had a flourishing kingdom in the Yemen tract in South Arabia about 800-700 B.C., though their origin may have been in North Arabia. They worshipped the planets and stars (Moon, Sun, Venus). Probably the Queen of Sheba is connected with them. They succumbed to Abyssinia about 350 A.C. and to Persia about 579 A.C. Their capital was near San'a. They had beautiful stone buildings, in which the pointed arch is noticeable. Cf. 5:69 and n. 779. (See Encyclopedia Britannica, on Sabaeans). (R).
C62-2.  CF. 2:38, where the same phrase occurs.  And it recurs again and again afterwards. The point of the verse is that Islam does not teach an exclusive doctrine, and is not meant exclusively for one people. The Jews claimed this for themselves, and the Christians in their own origin were a sect of the Jews. Even the modern organized Christian churches, though they have been, consciously or unconsciously, influenced by the Time-spirit, including the historical fact of Islam, yet cling to the idea of Vicarious Atonement, whichmeans that all who do not believe in it or who lived previously to the death of Christ are at a disadvantage spiritually before the Throne of Allah. The attitude of Islam is entirely different. Islam existed before the preaching of Muhammad (pbuh) on this earth: the Quran expressly calls Abraham a Muslim (3:67). Its teaching (submission to Allah's will) has been and will be the teaching of Religion for all time and for all peoples.
87. We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of messengers; We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit. Is it that whenever there comes to you a messenger with what ye yourselves desire not, ye are puffed up with pride?- Some ye called impostors, and others ye slay!
Not: For Explanation all We word (Which is Allah)

Why does Allah the Lord use the word "We" to refer to Himself?

by Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi
Question. We already know Allah our lord is One. As in Surah al-Ikhlas 112:1-4. But why does Allah the Lord use the word “We” to refer to Himself in many verse or ayat in the Qur’an? For example He says in Surah al-Anbiya’ 21:107 “And We did not send you (O Muhammad (pbuh)) except as a mercy to the world.” The word “we” is plural, more than one. Why does Allah use “We” instead of “I” to refer to Himself? (Izani Mahayudin bin Abd Aziz, Malaysia)
Answer. The Qur’an says very clearly that there is only One God, Allah. “There is no god but Allah” is the basic principle of Islam. There is no ambiguity about this fact in the Qur’an and there are hundreds of ayat or verses of the Qur’an that make this point very clear. Belief in more than one God is Shirk (polytheism) and a major sin according to the Qur’an.
Whenever in the Qur’an Allah is mentioned in the third person there are always singular pronouns used, such as He, him (Huwa or Hu). Whenever Allah is spoken to in the second person there are also singular pronouns, such as Thou, Thine and Thee (Anta, Ka). However only in the first person some times the pronouns I, My or Mine (Ana, Iyaya, ya) are used and sometimes We, Us and Our (Nahnu, Na) are used.
This is a style of speech. Sometime the speaker says I and sometime says we. We also use that in our conversations. In the Qur’an you will see that often the first person singular such as I or My is used, when Allah speaks about His love, care and closeness and forgiveness for His servants. In a similar way the first person plural is often used when Allah speaks about His power, majesty, glory, great deeds or when He speaks about His anger and wrath for the sinners and criminals. (This is, of course, the general use. Sometime the reverse is also the case, depending on the context of the Surah.)
See for example the verses where the first person singular is used: “When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me: that they may walk in the right way.” (al-Baqarah 2:186) Or “Verily, I am Allah: there is no god but I: so serve thou Me (only), and establish regular prayer for celebrating My praise.” (Taha 20:14) or “But, without doubt, I am (also) He that forgives again and again, to those who repent, believe, and do right, who, in fine, are ready to receive true guidance.” (Taha 20:82) or see another example where both pronouns are used side by side, “Before them the People of Noah rejected (their Messenger): they rejected Our servant, and said, “Here is one possessed!” and he was driven out. Then he called on His Lord: “I am one overcome: do Thou then help (me)!” So We opened the gates of heaven, with water pouring forth. And We caused the earth to gush forth with springs. So the waters met (and rose) to the extent decreed. But We bore him on an (Ark) made of broad planks and caulked with palm-fiber: She floats under Our eyes (and care): a recompense to one who had been rejected (with scorn)! And We have left this as a Sign (for all time): then is there any that will receive admonition? But how (terrible) was My Penalty and My Warning? (al-Qamar 54:9-16)
See also some verses where the first person plural is used: “We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).” (al-Hijr 15:9) or “We created not the heavens, the earth, and all between them, but for just ends. And the Hour is surely coming” (al-Hijr 15:85) or “And among His Signs is this: thou seest the earth barren and desolate; but when We send down rain to it, it is stirred to life and yields increase. Truly, He Who gives life to the (dead) earth can surely give life to (men) who are dead. For He has power over all things.” (Fussilat 41:39). Or “Already has Our Word been passed before (this) to Our Servants sent (by Us). That they would certainly be assisted. And that Our forces, they surely must conquer. So turn thou away from them for a little while. And watch them (how they fare), and they soon shall see. Do they wish (indeed) to hurry on our Punishment? But when it descends into the open space before them, evil will be the morning for those who were warned (and heeded not) (al-Saffat 37:171-177). There are many other examples.
Christian writers in their desperate desire to prove their doctrine of Trinity have sometime interpreted some Biblical passages where first person plural is used to suggest that this means the “Divine Trinity”. For example in the Bible it is mentioned, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image¦” (Genesis 1:26). Christian writers contend that this means that there is plurality in God (We seek Allah’s forgiveness for mentioning this blasphemy.) Sometime Christian missionaries also go to simple Muslims and try to confuse them by taking some verses from the Qur’an and tell them that the Qur’an also supports such doctrines. I tried to explain this point in some detail, because I have often heard this type of questions from some Christians.
C87-1. As to the birth of Jesus (pbuh), cf. 19:16-34. Why is he called the "Son of Mary"? What are his "clear signs"?  What is the "holy spirit" by which he was strengthened?  We reserve to a later state a discussion of the Quranic teaching on these questions.  See 3:62,
C87-2. Notice the sudden transition from the past tense in "some ye called imposters" to the present tense in "others ye slay."There is a double significance. - First, reviewing the long course of Jewish history, we have come to the time of Jesus (pbuh); they have often given the lie to Allah's Prophets, and even now they are trying to slay Jesus. - Secondly, extending the review of that history to the time of Muhammad (pbuh), they are even now trying to take the life of that holy Prophet. This would be literally true at the time the words were promulgated to the people. And this transitionleads on naturally to the next verse, which refers to the actual conditions before Muhammad (pbuh) in Medina in the second year of the Hijrah. Section 11-13 (2:87-121) refer to the people of Book generally, Jews and Christians. Even where Moses and the Law of Sinai are referred to, those traditions are common to both Jews and Christians. The argument is about the people who ought to have learnt from previous Revelations and welcomed Muhammad's teaching, and yet they both took up an attitude of arrogant rejection.
88. They say, "Our hearts are the wrappings (which preserve Allah's Word: we need no more)." Nay, Allah's curse is on them for their blasphemy: Little is it they believe.
C88-1. The Jews in their arrogance claimed that all wisdom and all knowledge of Allah were enclosed in their hearts. But there were more things in heaven and earth than were dreamt of in their philosophy. Their claim was not only arrogance but blasphemy.  In reality they were men without Faith.  I take Ghulfun here to be the plural of Ghilafun the wrapping or cover of a book, in which the book is preserved. As usual, there is much wider meaning. How many people at all times and among all nations close their hearts to any extension of knowledge or spiritual influence because of some little fragment which they have got and which they think is the whole of Allah’s Truth? Such an attitude shows really want of faith and is a blasphemous limitation of Allah’s unlimited spiritual gifts to His creatures. [According to another view the verse refers to the Jewish claim that a covering had been placed over their hearts which prevented them from grasping the message of the Prophet (peace be on him)]. See Ibn Kathir’s commentary on the verse. See also verse 4:155. [Eds].
C88-2. The root kafara has many shades of meaning: 1. to deny Allah's goodness, to be ungrateful, 2. to reject Faith, deny His revelation, 3. to blaspheme, to ascribe some limitation or attribute to Allah which is derogatory to His nature. In a translation, one shade or another must be put forward according to the context, but all are implied.
89. And when there comes to them a Book from Allah, confirming what is with them,- although from of old they had prayed for victory against those without Faith,- when there comes to them that which they (should) have recognized, they refuse to believe in it, but the curse of Allah is on those without Faith.
C89. The Jews, who pretended to be so superior to the people without Faith - the Gentiles - should have been the first to recognize the new Truth - or the Truthrenewed - which it was Muhammad's mission to bring because it was so similar in form and language to what they had already received. But they had more arrogance than faith. It is this want of faith that brings on the curse, i.e., deprives us (if we adopt such an attitude) of the blessings of Allah. Again the lesson applies to a much wider circle than the Jews. We are all apt, in our perverseness, to reject an appeal from our brother even more summarily than one from an outsider. If we have a glimmering of the truth, we are apt to make ourselves impervious to further truth, and thus lose the benefit of Allah's Grace.
90. Miserable is the price for which they have sold their souls, in that they deny (the revelation) which Allah has sent down, in insolent envy that Allah of His Grace should send it to any of His servants He pleases: Thus have they drawn on themselves Wrath upon Wrath. And humiliating is the chastisement of those who reject Faith.
C90. Racial arrogance made the Jews averse to the reception of Truth when it came through a servant of Allah, not of their own race.  Again the lesson is wider. Is that averseness unknown in our own times, and among other races?  Yet how can a race or a people set bounds to Allah's choice?  Allah is the Creator and Cherisher of all races and all worlds.
91. When it is said to them, "Believe in what Allah Hath sent down, "they say, "We believe in what was sent down to us:" yet they reject all besides, even if it be Truth confirming what is with them. Say: "Why then have ye slain the prophets of Allah in times gone by, if ye did indeed believe?"
C91. Even the race argument is often flimsy and hollow pretext. Did not the Jews reject Prophets of their own race who told them unpleasant truths? And do not other nations do likewise? The real trouble is selfishness, narrowness, a meandislike of anything which runs counter to habits, customs or inclinations.
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97. Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel - for he brings down the (revelation) to thy heart by Allah's will, a confirmation of what went before, and guidance and glad tidings for those who believe,-
C97. A party of the Jews in the time of Muhammad (pbuh) ridiculed the Muslim believe that Gabriel brought down revelations to Muhammad Mustafa (pbuh). Michael was called in their books "the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people": (Daniel 12:1). The vision of Gabriel inspired fear (Daniel, 8:16-17). But this pretence - that Michael was their friend and Gabriel their enemy - was merely a manifestation of their unbelief in angels, apostles, and Allah Himself; and such unbelief could not win the love of Allah. In any case it was disingenuous to say that they believed in one angel and not in another. Muhammad's inspiration was through visions of Gabriel. Muhammad (pbuh) had been helped to the highest spiritual light, and the message which he delivered and his spotless integrity and exemplary life were manifest Signs which every one could understand except those who were obstinate and perverse. Besides, the verses of the Quran were in themselves reasonable and clear.
98. Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and messengers, to Gabriel and Michael,- Lo! Allah is an enemy to those who reject Faith.
99. We have sent down to thee Manifest Signs (ayat); and none reject them but those who are perverse.
100. Is it not (the case) that every time they make a covenant, some party among them throw it aside?- Nay, Most of them are faithless.
101. And when there came to them a messenger from Allah, confirming what was with them, a party of the People of the Book threw away the Book of Allah behind their backs, as if (it had been something) they did not know!
C98-99-100-101. I think that by  "the Book of Allah" here is meant, not the Quran, but the Book which the People of the Book had been given, viz., the previous Revelations.The argument is that Muhammad's Message was similar to Revelations which they had already received, and if they had looked into their own Books honestly and sincerely, they would have found proofs in them to show that the new Message was true and from Allah. But they ignored their own Books or twisted or distorted them according to their own fancies. Worse, they followed somethings which was actually false and mischievousand inspired by the evil one.  Such was the belief in magic and sorcery. These are described in the next verse in terms referring to the beliefs and practices of the "People of the Book."
102. They followed what the Satans recited (falsely) over Solomon's kingdom. Solomon did not disbelieve, but the Satans disbelieved, teaching men magic, and such things as came down at Babylon to the angels Harut and Marut. But neither of these taught anyone (Such things) without saying: "We are only for trial; so do not blaspheme." They learned from them the means to sow discord between man and wife. But they could not thus harm anyone except by Allah's permission. And they learned what harmed them, not what profited them. And they knew that the buyers of (magic) would have no share in the happiness of the Hereafter. And vile was the price for which they did sell their souls, if they but knew!
C102-1. This is a continuation of the argument in 2:101. The People of the Book, instead of sticking to the plain Books of Revelations, and seeking to do the will of Allah ran after all sorts of occult knowledge, most of which was false and evil. Many wonderful tales of occult power attributed the power of Solomon (pbuh) to magic. But Solomon (pbuh) dealt in not arts of evil. It was the powers of evil that pretended to force the laws of nature and the will of Allah; such a pretense is plainly blasphemy.
C102-2. Harut and Marut lived in Babylon, a very ancient seat of science, especially the science of astronomy. The period may be supposed to anywhere about the time when the ancient Eastern Monarchies were strong and enlightened: probably even earlier, as Ma-ru-tu or Mandruk was a deified hero afterwards worshipped as a god of magic in Babylon. Being good men, Harut and Marut of course dabbled in nothing evil, and their evil hands were certainly clean of fraud. But knowledge and the arts, if learned by evil men, can be applied to evil uses. The evil ones, besides their fraudulent magic, also learnt a little of this true science and applied it to evil uses. Harut and Marut did not withhold knowledge, yet never taught anyone without plainly warning them of the trial and temptation of knowledge in the hands of evil men. Being men of insight, they also saw the blasphemy that might rise to the lips of the evil ones puffed up with science and warned them against it. Knowledge is indeed a trial or temptation: if we are warned, we know its dangers: if Allah has endowed us with free will, we must be free to choose between the benefit and the danger. Among the Jewish traditions in the Midrash (Jewish Tafsir) was a story of two angels who asked Allah's permission to come down to earth but succumbed to temptation, and were hung up by their feet at Babylon for punishment. Such stories about sinning angels who were cast down to punishment were believed in by the early Christians also. (See the Second Epistle of Peter, 2:4, and the Epistle of Jude, verse 6). (R).
C102-3. What the evil ones learnt from Harut and Marut (see last note) they turned to evil. When mixed with fraud and deception, it appeared as charms and spells of love potions. They did nothing but cause discord between the sexes.  But of course their power was limited to the extent to which Allah permitted the evil to work, for His grace protected all who sought His guidance and repented and returned to Him. But apart from the harm that these false pretenders might do to others, the chief harm which they did was to their own souls. They sold themselves into slavery to the Evil One, as is shown in the allegory of Goethe's Faust. That allegory dealt with the individual soul. Here the tragedy is shown to occur not only to individuals but to whole groups of people, for example, the People of the Book. Indeed the story might be extended indefinitely.
103. If they had kept their Faith and guarded themselves from evil, far better had been the reward from Allah, if they but knew!
104. O ye of Faith! Say not (to the Messenger) Ráìná, but say unthurna (i.e. say not words of ambiguous import, but words of respect); and hearken (to him): To those without Faith is a grievous punishment.
C103-104. The word disapproved is Raina, which is used by the Muslims meant “Please look at us, attend to us.” But it was ridiculed by enemies by a little twist to suggest some insulting meaning. So an unambiguous word “Unzurna,” with the same meaning is suggested. The general lesson is that we must guard ourselves against the cynical trick of using words which should complimentary to the ear but have a hidden barb in them. Not only must we be plain and honest in our words. We must respectfully hearken to the words of a Teacher whom we have addressed. Thoughtless people use vain words or put foolish questions, and straightaway turn their minds to something else.
105. It is never the wish of those without Faith among the People of the Book, nor of the polytheists, that anything good should come down to you from your Lord. But Allah will choose for His special Mercy whom He will - for Allah is Lord of grace abounding.
106. None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things?
C104-106. The word which I have translated by the word "revelations" is Ayat.  See C.41 and n. 15. It is not only used for verses of the Quran, but in a general sense for Allah's revelations, as in 2:39 and for other Signs of Allah in history or nature, or miracles, as in 2:61. It has even been used for human signs and tokens of wonder, as, for example, monuments or landmarks built by the ancient people of 'Ad (26:128).  What is the meaning here?  If we take it in a general sense, it means that Allah's Message from age to age is always the same, but that its form may differ according to the needs and exigencies of the time. That form was different as given to Moses (pbuh) and then to Jesus (pbuh) and then to Muhammad (pbuh). Some commentators apply it also to The Ayat of the Quran. There is nothing derogatory in this if we believe in progressive revelation. In 3:7 we are told distinctly about the Quran, that some of its versus are clear (and of established meaning), and others are not entirely clear,  and it is mischievous to treat the verses that are not entirely clear and to follow them (literally). On the other hand, it is absurd to treat such a verse as 2:115 as if it were abrogated by 2:144 about the Qiblah. There may be express abrogation, or there may be "causing or permitting to forget." How many good and wise institutions gradually become obsolete by afflux of time? Then there is gradual process of disuse or forgetting in evolution. This does not mean that eternal principles change. It is only a sign of Allah's infinite Power that His creation should take so many forms and shapes not only in the material world but in the world of man's thought and expression.
109. Quite a number of the People of the Book wish they could turn you (people) back to infidelity after ye have believed, from selfish envy, after the truth hath become manifest unto them: But forgive and overlook, till Allah brings about his command; for Allah Hath power over all things.
C109-1. Three words are used in the Quran, with a meaning akin to "forgive" but each with a different shade of meaning.-  Afa (here translated "forgive") means to forget, to obliterate from one's mind.  - Safaha (here translated "overlook") means to turn away from, to ignore, to treat a matter as if it did not affect one. - Gafara (which does not occur in this verse) means to cover up something as Allah does to our sins with His grace; this word is particularly appropriate in Allah's attribute of Gaffar, the One who forgives again and again.
C109-2. The word Amr is comprehensive and includes; - an order or command as in 96:12; or - a purpose, design, will as in 18:82; or - affairs, working doing, carrying out or execution of a design, as in 79:5. In many cases some of these meanings run together.
C109-3. Not how this phrase, seemingly repeated from 2:106, and occurring in many other places, has an appropriate signification in each place.  In 2:106 we were told about progressive revelation, how the same thing may take different forms and seeming human infirmity contribute to the fulfillment of Allah's design, for Allah's power is unlimited.  Here we are told to be patient and forgiving against envy and injustice: this too may be fulfilling Allah's purpose, for His power is infinite.
110. And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity: And whatever good ye send forth for your souls before you, ye shall find it with Allah. for Allah sees Well all that ye do.
C110. The phrase  "What their hands have sent on before them" frequently occurs in the Quran. Here, and in many places, it refers to sins.  In such passages as 78:40, or 81:14, it is implied that both good and bad deeds go before us to the Judgement seat of Allah before we do ourselves.   60 In 2:110, it is the good that goes before us. Our deeds are personified. They are witnesses for or against us, and they always go before us. Their good or bad influence to operate before we even know it. This is more general than the New Testament idea in the First Epistle of St. Paul to Timothy, 5:24: "Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.
111. And they say: "None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian." Those are their (vain) desires. Say: "Produce your proof if ye are truthful."
112. Nay,-whoever submits His whole self to Allah and is a doer of good,- He will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
C111-112-1. The word translated  "self" is Wajh, a comprehensive Arabic word.  It means; 1.      literally "face" but it may imply;  2. countenance or favour, as in 92:20; 3. honour, glory, Presence as applied to Allah, as in 2:115 and perhaps also in 55:27; 4. cause, sake ("for the sake of") as in 76:9; 5. the first part, the beginning as in 3:72; 6. nature, inner being, essence, self, as in 28:88, and perhaps also in 55:27. Here I understand meaning 6; the face expresses thepersonality or the whole inner self of man. (R).
C111-112-2. This phrase comes in aptly in its own context many times.  In this Surah it occurs in 11. 38, 62, 112, 262, 274, and 277. (R).
113. The Jews say: "The Christians have naught (to stand) upon; and the Christians say: "The Jews have naught (to stand) upon." Yet they (profess to) study the (same) Book. Like unto their word is what those say who know not; but Allah will judge between them in their quarrel on the Day of Judgment.
C113. It is a sure sign of ignorance and prejudice when you study the same book as another or a similar one and yet are absolutely intolerant of the meaning which the other draws from it. You should know better, but you speak like the ignorant. In this case the primary reference in the word "ignorant" may be to the Pagan Arabs.
114. And who is more unjust than he who forbids that in places for the worship of Allah, His name should be celebrated?-whose zeal is (in fact) to ruin them? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them except in fear. For them there is nothing but disgrace in this world, and in the world to come, an exceeding torment.
C114. There were actually Pagans in Makkah who tried to shut out the Muslim Arabs from the Ka'bah, the universal place of Arab worship. The Pagans themselves called it the House of Allah. With what face could they exclude the Muslims, who wanted to worship the true Allah instead of worshipping idols?  If these Pagans had succeeded, they would only have caused violent divisions among the Arabs and destroyed the sanctity and the very existence of the Ka'bah. This verse taken in a general sense, establishes the principle of freedom of worship in a public mosque or place dedicated to the worship of Allah. This is recognised in Muslim law. (R).
115. To Allah belong the East and the West: whithersoever ye turn, there is Allah's face. For Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing.
C115. That is, you will face Allah whichever direction you turn your face. See note to 2:112 above. (R)
116. They say: "(Allah) hath begotten a son" :Glory be to Him.-Nay, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth: everything renders worship to Him.
C116. It is a derogation from the glory of Allah - in fact it is blasphemy - to say that Allah begets sons, like a man or an animal. The Christian doctrine is here emphatically repudiated. If words have any meaning, it would mean an attribution of Allah of a material nature, and of the lower animal functions of sex. (R)
117. The Originator of the heavens and the earth: When He decreeth a matter, He saith to it: "Be," and it is.
C117. The previous verse told us that everything in heaven and earth celebrates the glory of Allah. Lest anyone should think that the heavens and the earth were themselves primeval and eternal, we are now told that they themselves are creatures of Allah's will and design. Cf. 6:101, where the word bada'a is used as here for the creation of the heavens and the earth, and khalaqa is used for the creation of all things. Bada'a goes back to the very primal beginning, as far as we can conceive it. The materialists might say that primeval matter was eternal; other things, i.e., the forms and shapes as we see them now, were called into being at some time or other, and will perish. When they perish, they dissolve into primeval matter again, which stands as the base of all existence. We go further back. We say that if we postulate such primeval matter, it owes its origin itself to Allah Who is the final basis of existence, the Cause of all Causes. If this is conceded, we proceed to argue that the process of Creation is not then completed. "All things in the heavens and on the earth" are created by gradual processes. In "things" we include abstract as well as material things.  We see the abstract things and ideas actually growing before us. But that also is Allah's creation, to which we can apply the word khalaqa, for in it is involved the idea of measuring, fitting it into a scheme of other things. Cf. 54:49; also 25:59. Here comes in what we know as the process of evolution. On the other hand, the  "amr" (Command, Direction, Design) is a single thing, unrelated to Time, "like the twinkling of an eye" (54:50). Another word to note in this connection is ja'ala"making" which seems to imply new shapes and forms, new dispositions, as the making of the Signs of the Zodiac in the heavens, or the setting out of the sun and moon for light, or the establishment of the succession of day and night (25:61-62). A further process with regard to the soul is described in the word sawwa, bringing it to perfection (91:7) but this we shall discuss in its place.  Fatara (42:11) implies, like bada'a, the creating of a thing out of nothing and after no preexisting similitude, but perhaps fatara implies the creation of primeval matter to which further processes have to be applied later, as when one prepares dough but leaves the leavening to be done after. Badaa (without the 'ain), 30:27, implies beginning the process of creation; this is made further clear in 32:7 where the beginning of the creation of pristine man from clay refers to his physical body, leaving the further processes of reproduction and the breathing in of the soul to be described in subsequent verses. Lastly,  bara'a is creation implying liberation from preexisting matter or circumstance, e.g., man's body from clay (59:24) or a calamity from previously existing circumstances (57:22). See also 6:94, n. 916; 6:98, n. 923; 59:24, notes. 5405-6.
120. Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion. Say: "The Guidance of Allah,-that is the (only) Guidance." Wert thou to follow their desires after the knowledge which hath reached thee, then wouldst thou find neither protector nor helper against Allah.
121. Those to whom We have given the Book study it as it should be studied: They are the ones that believe therein: Those who reject faith therein,- the loss is their own.
C.120-121-1 (The running Commentary, in Rhythmic Prose)(2:122-141)If the people of the Book rely Upon Abraham (pbuh), let them study His history. His posterity included Both Israel and Ismail (pbuh). Abraham (pbuh) Was a righteous man of Allah, A Muslim, and so were his children. Abraham (pbuh) and Ismail (pbuh) built The Ka'bah as the house of Allah, And purified it, to be a centre Of worship for all the world; For Allah is the God of all peoples.
C 120-121-2. The argument now proceeds on another line. Ye People of the Book who go back to Abraham (pbuh)! Not only is your claim to exclusive knowledge of Allah false and derogatory to the Lord of All the Worlds. If you must appeal to Abraham (pbuh), he was also the progenitor of the Arab race through Ismail. Indeed Abraham  (pbuh) and Ismail (pbuh) together built the House of Allah in Makkah (long before the Temple of Jerusalem was built). They purified it and laid the foundation of the universal religion, which is summed up in word Islam, or complete submission to the Will of Allah. Abraham (pbuh) and Ismail (pbuh) were thus true Muslims. Whence then your rancour against Islam? Historically the House of Allah at Makkah must have been far more ancient place of worship than the Temple of Jerusalem. Arab tradition connects various places in and around Makkah with the name of Abraham and identifies the well of Zamzam with the well in the story of the child Ismail (pbuh). Arab tradition also refers the story of the Sacrifice to Ismail (pbuh) and not to Isaac (pbuh), therein differing from the Jewish tradition in Gen, 22:1-19. (R).
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135. They say: "Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (to salvation)." Say thou: "Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with Allah."
C134. Hanif: inclined to right opinion, orthodox (in the literal meaning of the Greek words), firm in faith, sound and well-balanced, true.  Perhaps the last word, True, sums up most of the other shades. The Jews, though taught Unity, went after false gods, and the Christians invented the Trinity or borrowed it from Paganism. We go back to pure,  Hanif doctrine of Abraham (pbuh), to live and die in faith in the One True God.
136. Say ye: "We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we submit to Allah (in Islám)."
C136. Here we have the Creed of Islam: to believe in: 1. the One Universal God., 2. the Message to us through Muhammad (pbuh) and the Signs (Ayat) as interpreted on the basis of personal responsibility, 3. the Message delivered by other Teachers in the past. These are mentioned in three groups: - Abraham (pbuh), Ismail (pbuh), Isaac (pbuh), Jacob (pbuh) and the Tribes: of these Abraham (pbuh) had apparently a Book (87:19) and others followed his tradition: - Moses (pbuh) and Jesus (pbuh), who each left a scripture; these scriptures are still extant though not in their pristine form; and -other scriptures, Prophets, or Messengers of Allah, not specifically mentioned in the Quran. We make no difference between any of these. Their Message (in essentials) was one, and that is the basis of Islam.
137. So if they believe as ye believe, they are indeed on the right path; but if they turn back, it is they who are in schism; but Allah will suffice thee as against them, and He is the All- Hearing, the All-Knowing.
C137. We are thus in the true line of those who follow the one and indivisible Message of the One Allah, wherever delivered.  If others narrow it or corrupt it, it is they who have left the faith and created a division or schism. But Allah sees and knows all. And He will protect His own, and His support will be infinitely more precious than the support which men can give.
138. (Our religion) takes its hue from Allah. And who can give a better hue than Allah. And it is He Whom we worship.
C138. Sibghah: baptism: the root-meaning implies a dye or colour; apparently the Arab Christians mixed a dye or colour in the baptismal water, signifying that the baptized person got a new colour in life. We do not believe that it is necessary to be baptized to be saved. (Eds).
139. Say: Will ye dispute with us about Allah, seeing that He is our Lord and your Lord; that we are responsible for our doings and ye for yours; and that we are sincere (in our faith) in Him?
140. Or do ye say that Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Do ye know better than Allah. Ah! who is more unjust than those who conceal the testimony they have from Allah. But Allah is not unmindful of what ye do!
C139-140. The alternative is with the question in the last verse. Do you dispute with us although we worship the same God as you and claim that ours is the same religion as that of your ancestors?  Or do you really assert that Abraham (pbuh) and his son and his sons' sons, who founded the Tribes long before Moses (pbuh), followed your Jewish religion as you know it?  History of course proves that claim absurd. If the Christians claim that these Patriarchs knew of and followed the teaching of Jesus, the claim is still more absurd, - except in the sense of Islam that Allah's teaching is one in all ages.
141. That was a people that hath passed away. They shall reap the fruit of what they did, and ye of what ye do! Of their merits there is no question in your case:
C141. Verse 134 began a certain argument, which is now rounded off in the same words in this verse. To use a musical term, the motif is now completed. The argument is that it is wrong to claim a monopoly for Allah's Message: it is the same for all peoples and in all ages: if it undergoes local variations or variations according to times and seasons those variations pass away. This leads to the argument in the remainder of the Surah that with the renewal of the Message and the birth of a new People, a new symbolism and new ordinances become appropriate, and they are now expounded.
C.ADD (The running Commentary, in Rhythmic Prose)(2:142-167)But those people have passed away, Who promised to uphold the Law of Allah. Their progeny having been found Unworthy, their place was taken By a new people looking towards Makkah A new people, with a new Messenger, To bear witness to Allah's Law, To proclaim the truth, maintain His Symbols, and strive and fight For Unity in Allah's Way.
142. The fools among the people will say: "What hath turned them from the Qibla to which they were used?" Say: To Allah belong both East and West: He guideth whom He will to a way that is straight.
C142-1. Nas: People, the unthinking multitude that sway to and fro, instead of being firm in Allah's Way. The reference here is to the idolaters, the Hypocrites, and the party of Jews who were constantly seeking to "entangle in their talk" Mustafa and his disciples in Madinah even as the Pharisees and the Sadduceees of Jesus' day tried to entangle Jesus (pbuh) (Matt. 22:15, 23)
C142-1. Qiblah: The direction to which Muslims turn in prayer. Islam lays great stress on social prayer in order to emphasize our universal Brotherhood and mutual cooperation. For such prayer, order, punctuality, precision, symbolical postures, and a common direction are essential, so that the Imam (leader) and all his congregation may face one way and offer their supplications to Allah. In the early days, before they were organized as a people, they followed as a symbol for their Qiblah the sacred city of Jerusalem, scared both to the Jews and the Christians, the people of the Book. This symbolized their allegiance to the continuity of Allah's revelation. When, despised and persecuted, they were turned out of Makkah and arrived in Madinah. Al Mustafa under divine direction began to organize its people as an Ummah, an independent people, with laws and rituals of their own. At that stage the Ka'bah was established as Qiblah, thus going back to the earliest centre, with which the name of Abraham (pbuh) was connected, and traditionally also the name of Adam (pbuh). Jerusalem still remained (and remains) sacred in the eyes of Islam on account of its past, but Islam is progressive religion, and its new symbolism enabled it to shake off the tradition of a dead past and usher in the era of untrammeled freedom dear to the spirit of Arabia. The change took place about 16 1/2 months after Hijrah.
143. Thus, have We made of you an Ummah justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves; and We appointed the Qibla to which thou wast used, only to test those who followed the Messenger from those who would turn on their heels (from the Faith). Indeed it was (a change) momentous, except to those guided by Allah. And never would Allah Make your faith of no effect. For Allah is to all people Most surely full of kindness, Most Merciful.
C143-1. Thus:  By giving you a Qiblah of your own, most ancient in history, and most modern as a symbol of your organisation as a new nation (Ummah).
C143-2. Justly balanced: The essence of Islam is to avoid all extravagances on either side. It is a sober, practical religion. But the Arabic word (wasat) also implies a touch of the literal meaning of Intermediacy. Geographically Arabia is in an intermediate position in the Old World, as was proved in history by the rapid expansion of Islam, north, south, west and east.
C143-3. Witnesses: When two persons dispute, they advance extravagant claims. A just witness comes between them, and brings the light of reason to bear on them, pruning all their selfish extravagances. So the mission of Islam is to curb, for instance, the extreme formalism of the Mosaic law and the extreme "otherworldliness" professed by Christianity. The witness must be unselfish, equipped with first-hand knowledge, and ready to intervene in the cause of justice. Such is the position claimed by Islam among rival systems. Similarly, within Islam itself, the position of witness to whom disputants can appeal is held by Muhammad Al Mustafa (pbuh).
C143-4. The Qiblah of Jerusalem might itself have seemed strange to the Arabs, and the change from it to the Ka'bah might have seemed strange after they had become used to the other. In reality one direction or another, or east or west, in itself did no matter, as Allah is in all places, and is independent of Time and Place. What mattered was the sense of discipline, on which Islam lays so much stress: which of us is willing to follow the directions of the chosen Prophet of Allah? Mere quibblers about nonessential matters are tested by this. (R).
C143-5. What became of prayer with the Jerusalem Qiblah?  It was equally efficacious before the new Qiblah was ordained. Allah regards our faith: every act of true and genuine faith is efficacious with Him, even if formalists pick holes in such acts.
144. We see the turning of thy face (for guidance) to the heavens: now Shall We turn thee to a Qibla that shall please thee. Turn then thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque: Wherever ye are, turn your faces in that direction. The People of the Book know well that that is the truth from their Lord. Nor is Allah unmindful of what they do.
C144-1. This shows the sincere desire of Mustafa (pbuh) to seek light from above in the matter of the Qiblah. Until the organisation of his own People into a well-knit community, with its distinctive laws and ordinances, he followed a practice based on the fact that the Jews and Christians looked upon Jerusalem as a sacred city.  But there was no universal Qiblah among them. Some Jews turned towards Jerusalem as a sacred city. But there was no universal Qiblah among them. Some Jews turned towards Jerusalem, especially during the Captivity, as we shall see later. At the time of our Prophet, Jerusalem was in the hands of the Byzantine Empire, which was Christian. But the Christians oriented their churches to the East (hence the word "orientation") which is a point of the compass, and not the direction of any sacred place. The fact of the altar being in the East does not mean that every worshipper has his face to the east; for, according at least to modern practice, the seats in a church are so placed that different worshippers may face in different directions. The Preacher of Unity naturally wanted, in this as in other matters, a symbol of complete unity, and his heart was naturally delighted when the Qiblah towards the Ka'bah was settled. Its connection with Abraham gave it great antiquity; its character of being an Arab centre made it appropriate when the Message came in Arabic, and was preached through the union of the Arabs; at the time it was adopted, the little Muslim community was shut out of it, being exiles in Madinah, but it became a symbol of bore and eventual triumph, of which Muhammad (pbuh) lived to see the fulfilment; and it also became the centre and gathering ground of all peoples in the universal pilgrimage, which was instituted with it.
C144-2. The sacred Mosque: i.e. the mosque wherein the Ka'bah is located, in the sacred city of Makkah.  It is not correct to suggest that the command making the Ka'bah the Qiblah abrogates 2:115, where it is stated that East and West belong to Allah, and He is everywhere. This is perfectly true at all times, before and after the institution of the Qiblah. As if to emphasize this, the same words about East and West are repeated in thisvery passage; see 2:142 above. Where the Itqan mentions mansukh in this connection, I am sorry I cannot follow that opinion, unless mansukh is defined in a special way, as some of the commentators do. (R).
C144-3. Glimmerings of such a Qiblah were already foreshadowed in Jewish and Christian practice but its universality was only perfected in Islam.
145. Even if thou wert to bring to the People of the Book all the Signs (together), they would not follow thy Qibla; nor art thou going to follow their Qibla; nor indeed will they follow each other's Qibla. If thou after the knowledge hath reached thee, Wert to follow their (vain) desires,- then wert thou Indeed (clearly) in the wrong.
C145. See n. 147 to 2:144 above. The Jews and Christians had a glimmering of the Qiblah idea, but in their attitude of self-sufficiency they were not likely to welcome the Qiblah idea as perfected in Islam. Nor is Islam, after the fuller knowledge which it has received, likely to revert to the uncertain, imperfect, and varying ideas of orientation held previously. A very clear glimpse of the old Jewish practice in the matter of the Qiblah and the importance attached to it is found in the book of Daniel, 6:10. Daniel was a righteous man of princely lineage and lived about 506-538 B.C. He was carried off to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, the Assyrian, but was still living when Assyria was overthrown by the Medes and Persians. In spite of the “captivity” of the Jews, Daniel enjoyed the highest offices of state at Babylon, but he was ever true to Jerusalem. His enemies (under the Persian monarch) got a penal law passed against any one who “asked a petition of any god or man for 30 days” except the Persian King. But Daniel continued true to Jerusalem. “His windows being open in his chambers towards Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”
146. The People of the Book know this as they know their own sons; but some of them conceal the truth which they themselves know.
C146. The People of the Book should have known all this as well as  "they knew their own sons", as their past traditions and teaching should have made them receptive of the new message. Some commentators construe the demonstrative pronoun "this" to refer to the Prophet. In that case the interpretation would be:  The People of the Book know Muhammad (pbuh) as well as they know their own sons; they know him to be true and upright; they know him to be in the line of Abraham (pbuh); they know him to correspond to the description of the prophet foretold among themselves; but selfishness induces some of them to act against their own knowledge and conceal the truth.
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177. It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards East or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and give Zakat (regular charity); to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God fearing.
C177-1. As if to emphasize again a warning against deadening formalism, we are given a beautiful description of the righteous and God-fearing man. He should obey salutary regulation, but he should fix his gaze on the love of Allah and the love of his fellow-men. We are given four heads: 1. our faith should be true and sincere; 2. we must be prepared to show it in deeds of charity to our fellowmen; 3. we must be good citizens, supporting social organisation; and 4. our own individual soul must be firm and unshaken in all circumstances.  They are interconnected, and yet can be viewed separately.
C177-2. Faith is not merely a matter of words. We must realise the presence and goodness of Allah. When we do so, the scales fall form our eyes: all the falsities and fleeting nature of the Present cease to enslave us, for we see the Last Day as if it were today. We also see Allah's working in His world and in us; His Powers (angels), His Messengers and His Message are no longer remote from us, but come within our experience. (R).
C177-3. Practical deeds of charity are of value when they proceed from love, and from no other motive. In this respect, also, our duties take various forms, which are shown in reasonable gradation: - our kith and kin; - orphans (including any persons who are without support or help); - people who are in real need but who never ask (it is our duty to find them out, and they come before those who ask); - the stranger, who is entitled to laws of hospitality; - the people who ask and are entitled to ask, i.e., not merely lazy beggars, but those who seek our assistance in some form or another (it is our duty to respond to them); - and the slaves (we must do all we can to give or buy their freedom). Slavery has many insidious forms, and all are included.
C177-4. Charity and piety in individual cases do not complete our duties. In prayer and charity, we must also look to our organized efforts: where there is a Muslim State, these are made through the State, in facilities for public prayer, and public assistance, and for the maintenance of contracts and fair dealing in all matters.
C177-5. Then come the Muslim virtues of firmness and patience. They are to "preserve the dignity of man, with soul erect" (Burns). Three sets of circumstances are specially mentioned for the exercise of this virtue: 1. bodily pain or suffering, 2. adversities or injuries of all kinds, deserved and underserved and 3. periods of public panic, such as war, violence, pestilence, etc.
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213. Mankind was one single nation, and Allah sent Messengers with glad tidings and warnings; and with them He sent the Book in truth, to judge between people in matters wherein they differed; but the People of the Book, after the clear Signs came to them, did not differ among themselves, except through selfish contumacy. Allah by His Grace Guided the believers to the Truth, concerning that wherein they differed. For Allah guided whom He will to a path that is straight.
214. Or do ye think that ye shall enter the Garden (of Bliss) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? they encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: "When (will come) the help of Allah." Ah! Verily, the help of Allah is (always) near!
215. They ask thee what they should spend (In charity). Say: Whatever wealth ye spend that is good, is for parents and kindred and orphans and those in want and for wayfarers. And whatever ye do that is good, -Allah knoweth it well.
C213-214-215. Three questions arise in charity: - What shall we give? - to whom shall we give? and - how shall we give?  The answer is here. Give anything that is good, useful, helpful, valuable. It may be property or money; it may be a helping hand; it may be advice; it may be a kind word; "whatever ye do that is good" is charity. On the other hand, if you throw away what is useless, there is no charity in it. Or if you give something with a harmful intent, e.g., a sword to a madman, or a drug or sweets or even money to someone whom you want to entrap or corrupt, it is no charity but a gift of damnation. To whom should you give?  It may be tempting to earn the world's praise by a gift that will be talked about, but are you meeting the needs of those who have the first claim on you? If you are not, you are like a person who defrauds creditors: it is no charity. Every gift is judged by its unselfish character: the degree of need or claim is a factor which you should consider; if you disregard it, there is something selfish behind it. How should it be given?  As in the sight of Allah; thus shuts out all pretence, show, and insincerity.
252. These are the Signs of Allah. we rehearse them to thee in truth: verily thou art one of the messengers
253. Those messengers We endowed with gifts, some above others: To one of them Allah spoke; others He raised to degrees (of honor); to Jesus the son of Mary We gave clear (Signs), and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit. If Allah had so willed, succeeding generations would not have fought among each other, after clear (Signs) had come to them, but they (chose) to wrangle, some believing and others rejecting. If Allah had so willed, they would not have fought each other; but Allah Does what he wills.
C252-253. Different gifts and different modes of procedure are prescribed to Allah's Prophets in different ages, and perhaps their degrees are different through it is not for us mortals, with our imperfect knowledge to make any difference between one and another of Allah's Prophets (2:136). As this winds up the argument about fighting, three illustrations are given from the past, how it affected Allah's Messengers. - To Moses (pbuh) Allah spoke in clouds of glory; he led his men for forty years through the wilderness, mainly fighting against the unbelief of his own people; he organized them to fight with the sword for Palestine, but was raised to Allah's mercy before his enterprise ripened, and it fell to Joshua to carry out his plan. – David (pbuh), though a mere shepherd boy, was chosen by Allah. He overthrew the greatest warrior of his time, became a king, and waged successful wars, being also a prophet, a poet, and a musician. – Jesus (pbuh) was "strengthened with the holy spirit' he was given no weapons to fight and his mission was of a more limited character.  - In Muhammad's  (pbuh)mission these and other characters were combined. Gentler than Jesus (pbuh), he organized on a vaster scale than Moses (pbuh) and from Madinah he ruled and gave laws and the Quran has a vaster scope than the Psalms of David (pbuh). Moses (pbuh): see note above There is a two-fold sense: - they were raised to high posts of honour, - and they rose by degrees.  I take the reference to be to David (pbuh). "Holy Spirit" according to commentators signifies Gabriel. [Eds] If some power of choice was to be given to man, his selfishness inevitably caused divisions. It must not be supposed that it frustrates God's Plan.  He carries it out as He will.
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285. The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers. "We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His messengers." And they say: "We hear, and we obey: (we seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys."
C285. This Surah started with the question of Faith (2:3-4), showed us various aspects of Faith and the denial of Faith, gave us ordinances for the new People of Islam as a community, and now rounds off the argument again with a confession of Faith and of its practical manifestation in conduct  ("we hear and we obey"), and closes on a note of humility, so that we may confess our sins, ask for forgiveness, and pray for Allah's help and guidance. It is not for us to make any distinction between one and another of Allah's Prophets: we must honor them all equally, though we know that God in His wisdom sen them with different kinds of mission and gave them different degrees of rank. When our faith and conduct are sincere, we realize how far from perfection we are, and we humbly pray to Allah for the forgiveness of our sins. We feel that Allah imposes no burden on us that we cannot bear, and with this realization in our hearts and in the confession of our lips, we go to Him and ask for His help and guidance.
286. On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Pray:) "Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which Thou didst lay on those before us; Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. Thou art our Protector; Grant us victory over the unbelievers."
C286. Cf. 2:233.  In that verse the burden was in terms of material wealth: here it is in terms of spiritual duty. Assured by Allah that He will accept from each soul just such duty as it has the ability to offer, we pray further on for the fulfillment of that promise. We must not be arrogant, and think that because Allah has granted us His favor and mercy we have no need to exert ourselves, or that we are ourselves superior to those before us. On the contrary, knowing how much they failed, we pray that our burdens should be lightened, and we confess our realization that we have all the greater need for Allah's mercy and forgiveness. And so we end the whole argument of the Surah with a prayer for Allah's help, not in our own selfish ends, but in our resolve to uphold God's truth against all Unbelief.
Chapter 3 - The family of Imran (Mary Familly)
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7. He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established, clear meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are not entirely clear. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is not clear, seeking discord, and searching for hidden meanings in it, but no one knows its interpretation except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.
C7. This passage gives us an important clue to the interpretation of the Holy Quran. Broadly speaking it may be divided into two portions, not given separately, but intermingled: viz. 1.     the nucleus or foundation of the Book, literally "the mother of the Book". 2. the part which is not entirely clear. It is very fascinating to take up the latter, and exercise our ingenuity about its meaning, but it refers to such profound matters that are beyond human language and though people of wisdom may get some light from it, no one should be dogmatic, as the final meaning is known to Allah alone. The Commentators usually understand the verses  "of established meaning" (muhkam) to refer to the categorical orders of the Shariah (or the Law), which are plain to everyone's understanding. But perhaps the meaning is wider: -        the "mother of the Book" must include the very foundation on which all Law rests, the essence of Allah's Message, as distinguished from the various illustrative parables, allegories, and ordinances. (R).
19. The Religion before Allah is Islám (submission to His Will): Nor did the People of the Book dissent therefrom except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of Allah, Allah is swift in calling to account.
C19. Baghyan: - through envy, - through selfish contumacy or obstinacy, - through sheer contrary-mindedness, or desire to resist or rebel. Cf. 2:90, and 2:213.
20. So if they dispute with thee, say: "I have submitted my whole self to Allah and so have those who follow me." And say to the People of the Book and to those who are unlearned: "Do ye (also) submit yourselves?" If they do, they are in right guidance, but if they turn back, thy duty is to convey the Message; and in Allah's sight are (all) His servants.
C20. Wajh: whole self. See n. 114 to 2:112. The People of the Book may be supposed to know something about the previous religious history of mankind. To them the appeal should be easy and intelligible, as all Religion is one, and it is only being renewed in Islam. But the appeal is also made to the Pagan Arabs, who are unlearned, and who can well be expected to follow the example of one of their own, who received divine enlightenment, and was able to bring new knowledge to them. A great many of both these classes did so. But the few who resisted Allah's grace, and actually threatened and persecuted those who believed, are told that Allah will look after His own. Note the literary skill in the argument as it proceeds. The mystery of birth faintly suggests that we are coming to the story of Jesus (pbuh). The exposition of the Book suggests that Islam is the same religion as that of the People of the Book. Next we are told that the People of the Book made their religion one-sided, and through the priesthood of the family of Imran, we are brought to the story of Jesus, who was rejected by a body of the Jews as Muhammad was rejected by a body of both Jews and Christians.
21. As to those who deny the Signs of Allah and in defiance of right, slay the prophets, and slay those who teach just dealing with mankind, announce to them a grievous penalty.
C21. Right; haqq has many shades of meaning; 1. right, in the sense of having a right to something; 2. right, in the sense of straight conduct, as opposed to wrong; 3. truth; 4. justice. All these shades are implied here. Examples of the Prophets slain were: - "the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar": Matt. 23:35. Cf. 2:61. n. 75. - Again, John the Baptist (Yahya, noble, chaste, a prophet, of the goodly company of the righteous. 3:39), was bound, imprisoned, and beheaded, and his head presented to a dancing harlot: Matt. 14:1-11.
22. They are those whose works will bear no fruit in this world and in the Hereafter nor will they have anyone to help.
23. Hast thou not turned thy vision to those who have been given a portion of the Book? They are invited to the Book of Allah, to settle their dispute, but a party of them turn back and decline (the arbitration).
C22-23. Cf. 2:217 A portion of the Book: I conceive that Allah's revelation as a whole throughout the ages is "The Book". The Law of Moses, and the Gospel of Jesus were portions of the Book. The Quran completes the revelation and is par excellence the Book of Allah. A portion of the Book: I conceive that Allah's revelation as a whole throughout the ages is "The Book". The Law of Moses, and the Gospel of Jesus were portions of the Book. The Quran completes the revelation and is par excellence the Book of Allah. The Commentators mention a particular incident when a dispute was submitted by the Jews for arbitration to the Holy Prophet. He appealed to the authority of their own books, but they tried to conceal and prevaricate. The general lesson is that the People of the Book should have been the first to welcome in Muhammad (pbuh) the living exponent of the Message of Allah as a whole, and some of them did so: but others turned away from guilty arrogance, relying on corrupted texts and doctrinesforged out of their own fancies, though they were not conformable to reason and good sense.
24. This because they say: "The Fire shall not touch us but for a few numbered days": For their forgeries deceive them as to their own religion.
25. But how (will they fare) when We gather them together against a Day about which there is no doubt, and each soul will be paid out just what it has earned, without (favor or) injustice?
26. Say: "O Allah. Lord of Power (And Rule), Thou givest power to whom Thou pleasest, and Thou strippest off power from whom Thou pleasest: Thou enduest with honor whom Thou pleasest, and Thou bringest low whom Thou pleasest: In Thy hand is all good. Verily, over all things Thou hast power.
C24-25-26. Cf. 2:80. Another glorious passage, full of meaning. The governing phrase in it all is: "In Thy hand is all Good."What is the standard by which we may judge Good? It is Allah's Will. Therefore when we submit to Allah's Will, and real Islam illuminates us, we see the highest Good. There has been and is much controversy as to what is the Highest Good. To the Muslim there is no difficulty: it is the Will of Allah. He must ever strive to learn and understand that Will. But once in that fortress, he is secure. He is not troubled with the nature of Evil.

33. Allah did choose Adam and Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of Ìmrán above all people,-
34. Offspring, one of the other: And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.
C33-34. The Prophets in the Jewish-Christian-Muslim dispensation form one family literally. But the argument is wider. All men of God form spiritually one family. If you love and obey Allah, love and obey His Messenger; your love, obedience and discipline will be the test of your Faith.
35. Behold! a wife of Ìmrán said: "O my Lord! I do dedicate into Thee what is in my womb for Thy special service: So accept this of me: For Thou hearest and knowest all things."
C35. Now we begin the story of Jesus (pbuh). As a prelude we have the birth of Mary and the parallel story of John the Baptist, Yahya the son of Zakariya. Yahya's mother Elisabeth was a cousin of Mary the mother of Jesus (pbuh) (Luke 1:36), and therefore John and Jesus (pbuh) were cousins by blood, and there was a spiritual cousinhood in their birth and career. Elisabeth was of the daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5), of a priestly family which went back to Aaron the brother of Moses (pbuh) and son of Imran. Her husband Zakariya was actually a priest, and her cousin Mary was presumably also of a priestly family. By tradition Mary's mother was called Hannah (in Latin, Anna, and in English, Anne), and her father was called Imran. Hannah is therefore both a descendant of the priestly house of Imran and the wife of Imran,-"a woman of Imran" in a double sense, Muharrar: freed from all worldly affairs and specially dedicated to Allah's service. She expected a son, who was to be a special devotee, a miraculous son of the old age of his parents, but Allah gave her instead a daughter. But that daughter was Mary the mother of Jesus, the chosen one among the women: 3:42.
36. When she was delivered, she said: "O my Lord! Behold! I am delivered of a female child!"- and Allah knew best what she brought forth- "And no wise is the male like the female. I have named her Mary, and I commend her and her offspring to Thy protection from Satan, the Rejected."
C36. The mother of Mary expected a male child. Was she disappointed that it was a female child? No, for she had Faith, and she knew that Allah's Plan was better than any wishes of hers. Mary was no ordinary girl: only Allah knew what it was that her mother brought forth. The female child could not be devoted to Temple service under the Mosaic law, as she intended. But she was marked out for a special destiny as a miracle-child, to be the mother of the miracle-child Jesus (pbuh). She was content to seek Allah's protection for her against all evil. There is a certain sense of pride in the girl on the part of the mother.
37. Right graciously did her Lord accept her: He made her grow in purity and beauty: To the care of Zakariya was she assigned. Every time that he entered (her) chamber to see her, He found her supplied with sustenance. He said: "O Mary! Whence (comes) this to you?" She said: "From Allah. for Allah provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure."
C38. Mary grew under Allah's special protection. Her sustenance, under which we may include both her physical needs and her spiritual food, came from Allah, and her growth was indeed a "goodly growth" which I have tried to express in the Text by the words "purity and beauty". Some apocryphal Christian writings say that she was brought up in the Temple to the age of twelve like a dove, and that she was fed by angels.
38. There did Zakariya pray to his Lord, saying: "O my Lord! Grant unto me from Thee a progeny that is pure: for Thou art He that heareth prayer!"
C38. The birth of Mary, the mother of Jesus, of John the Baptist, the precursor of Jesus (pbuh), and of Jesus (pbuh),  the prophet of Israel, whom Israel rejected, occurred in that order chronologically, and are told in that order. They are all inter-connected. Zakariya prayed for no ordinary son. He and his wife were past the age of parenthood. Seeing the growth of Mary, he prayed for some child from Allah,-  "from Thee, a progeny that is pure".To his surprise, he is given a son in the flesh, ushered in by a special Sign. (R)
39. While he was standing in prayer in the chamber, the angels called unto him: "Allah doth give thee glad tidings of Yahyá, (John)witnessing the truth of a Word from Allah, and (be besides) noble, chaste, and a prophet,- of the (goodly) company of the righteous."
C39. Notice:  "a Word from Allah", not "the Word of Allah", the epithet that mystical Christianity uses for Jesus. As stated in 3:59 below, Jesus was created by a miracle, by Allah's word "Be", and he was.
40. He said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son, seeing I am very old, and my wife is barren?" "Thus," was the answer, "Doth Allah accomplish what He willeth."
41. He said: "O my Lord! Give me a Sign!" "Thy Sign," was the answer, "Shall be that thou shalt speak to no man for three days but with signals. Then celebrate the praises of thy Lord again and again, and glorify Him in the evening and in the morning."
42. Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah hath chosen thee and purified thee- chosen thee above the women of all nations.
C40-41-42. Mary the mother of Jesus was unique, in that she gave birth to a son by a special miracle, without the intervention of the customary physical means. This of course does not mean that she was more than human, any more than that her son was more than human. She had as much need to pray to Allah as anyone else. The Christian dogma, in all sects except the Unitarian, holds that Jesus was God and the son of God. The worship of Mary became the practice in the Roman Catholic Church, which calls Mary the Mother of God. This seems to have been endorsed by the Council of Ephesus in 431, in the century before Muhammad was born to sweep way the corruptions of the Church of Christ. For 'alamin as meaning all nations, see 3:96, n. 423.
43. "O Mary! worship thy Lord devoutly: Prostrate thyself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down."
44. This is part of the tidings of the things unseen, which We reveal unto thee (O Messenger.) by inspiration: Thou wast not with them when they cast lots with pens (or arrows), as to which of them should be charged with the care of Mary: Nor wast thou with them when they disputed (the point).
C383. Things unseen: belong to a realm beyond the reach of human perception and therefore it would be unseemly to dispute or speculate about them. (R) Literally, reeds: aqalam. For the Arab custom of casting lots with arrows, see 2:219, n. 241. Christian apocryphal writings mention the contention between the priests as to the honor of taking charge of Mary, and how it was decided by means of rods or reeds in favour of Zakariya.
45. Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah."
C45. Christ: Greek, Christos=anointed: kings and priests were anointed to symbolize consecration to their office. The Hebrew and Arabic form is Masih. Nearest to Allah: Muqarrabin. Cf. 56:11.
46. "He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous."
C46.  The ministry of Jesus lasted only about three years, from 30 to 33 years of his age, when in the eyes of his enemies he was crucified. But the Gospel of Luke (2:46) describes him as disputing with the doctors in the Temple at the age of 12, and even earlier, as a child, he was "strong in spirit, filled with wisdom" (Luke 2:40). Some apocryphal Gospels describe him as preaching from infancy.
47. She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so; Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, 'Be,' and it is!"
48. "And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel,"
49. "And (appoint him) as a messenger to the Children of Israel, (with this message): "'I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah's leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I bring the dead into life, by Allah's leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe;
C47-48-49. She was addressed by angels, who gave her Allah's message. In reply she speaks as to Allah. In reply, apparently an angel gives Allah's message. This miracle of the clay birds is found in some of the apocryphal Gospels; those of curing the blind and the lepers and raising the dead are in the canonical Gospels. The original Gospel (see 3:48) was not the various stories written afterwards by disciples, but the real Message taught direct by Jesus (pbuh). This clause refers generally to a prophetic knowledge of what is not known to other people.
50. " '(I have come to you), to attest the Torah which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (Before) forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear Allah, and obey me.
51. " 'It is Allah Who is my Lord and your Lord; then worship Him. This is a Way that is straight.'"
52. When Jesus found unbelief on their part he said: "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples: "We are Allah's helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims."
C50-51-52. The story of Jesus is told with special application to the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Note the word helpers (Ansar) in this connection, and the reference to plotters in 3:54. It was the one Religion-the Religion of Allah, which was in essence the religion of Abraham (pbuh), Moses (pbuh), and Jesus (pbuh). The argument runs: who do ye then now make divisions and reject the living Teacher? Islam is: bowing to the Will of Allah. All who have faith should bow to the Will of Allah and be Muslims.
53. "Our Lord! we believe in what Thou hast revealed, and we follow the Messenger. then write us down among those who bear witness."
54. And (the unbelievers) plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah.
C53-54. The Arabic Makara has both a bad and a good meaning, that of making an intricate plan to carry out some secret purpose. The enemies of Allah are constantly doing that. But Allah -in whose hands is all good- has His plans also, against which the evil ones will have no chance whatever.
55. Behold! Allah said: "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto Me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.
C55. Read this with 4:157, where it is said that "whereas they slew him not nor they crucified him but it was made dubious unto them. The guilt of the Jews remained, but Jesus (pbuh) was eventually taken up to Allah. Jesus (pbuh) was charged by the Jews with blasphemy as claiming to be Allah or the son of Allah. The Christians (except a few early sects which were annihilated by persecution, and the modern sect of Unitarians), adopted the substance of the claim, and made it the cornerstone of their faith. Allah clears Jesus of such a charge or claim. Those who follow thee refers to both Muslims (insofar as they truly follow the basic teachings of Jesus) and Christians (who claim to follow him). [Eds]. All the controversies about dogma and faith will disappear when we appear before Allah. He will judge not by what we profess but by what we are.
56. "As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with severe agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help."
57. "As to those who believe and work righteousness, Allah will pay them (in full) their reward; but Allah loveth not those who do wrong."
58. "This is what we rehearse unto thee of the Signs and the Message of Wisdom."
59. The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was.
C56-57-58-59. After a description of the high position which Jesus (pbuh) occupies as a prophet, we have a repudiation of the dogma that he was Allah, or the son of Allah, or anything more than a man. If it is said that he was born without a human father, Adam (pbuh) was also so born. Indeed Adam (pbuh) was born without either a human father or mother. As far as our physical bodies are concerned they are mere dust. In Allah's sight Jesus (pbuh) was as dust just as Adam (pbuh) was or humanity is. The greatness of Jesus (pbuh) arose from the divine command "Be": for after that he was-more than dust - a great Prophet and teacher.
60. The Truth (comes) from thy Lord alone; so be not of those who doubt.
C60. The truth does not necessarily come from priests, or from the superstitions of whole peoples. It comes from Allah, and where there is a direct revelation, there is no room for doubt.
61. If anyone disputes in this matter with thee, now after (full) knowledge Hath come to thee, say: "Come! let us gather together,- our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves: Then let us earnestly pray, and invoke the curse of Allah on those who lie!"
C61. In the year of Deputations, 10th of the Hijrah, came a Christian embassy from Najran (towards Yemen, about 150 miles north of Sanaa). They were much impressed on hearing this passage of the Quran explaining the true position of Christ, and they entered into tributary relations with the new Muslim State. But ingrained habits and customs prevented them from accepting Islam as a body. The Holy Prophet, firm in his faith, proposed a Mubahalah, i.e., a solemn meeting, in which both sides should summon not only their men, but their women and children, earnestly pray to Allah, and invoke the curse of Allah on those who should lie. Those who had a pure and sincere faith would not hesitate. The Christians declined, and they were dismissed in a spirit of tolerance with a promise of protection from the State in return for tribute.
62. This is the true account: There is no god except Allah. and Allah - He is indeed the Exalted in Power, the Wise.
C62. We are now in a position of deal with the questions which we left over at 2:87. Jesus is no more than a man. It is against reason and revelation to call him Allah or the son of Allah. He is called the son of Mary to emphasize this. He had no human father, as his birth was miraculous. But it is not this which raise him to his high position as a prophet, but because Allah called him to his office. The praise is due to Allah, Who by His word gave him spiritual strength-"strengthened him with the Holy spirit. The miracles which surround his story relate not only to the "Clear Signs" which he brought. It was those who misunderstood him who obscured hisclear Signs and surrounded him with mysteries of their own invention.  (R).
63. But if they turn back, Allah hath full knowledge of those who do mischief.
64. Say: "O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah." If then they turn back, say ye: "Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah's Will)."
C63-64. In the abstract the People of the Book would agree to all three propositions. In practice they fail. Apart from doctrinal lapses from the unity of the One True God, there is the question of a consecrated Priesthood (among the Jews it was hereditary also), as if a mere human being-Cohen, or Pope, or Priest, or Brahman, could claim superiority apart from his learning and the purity of his life, or could stand between man and Allah in some special sense. The same remarks apply to the worship of saints. They may be pure and sincere, but no one can protect us or claim Lordship over us except Allah. For Rabb, see note 20 to 1:2. Abraham was a true Prophet of Allah, but he could not be called a Jew or a Christian as he lived long before the Law of Moses or the Gospel of Jesus was revealed.
65. Ye People of the Book! Why dispute ye about Abraham, when the Torah and the Gospel Were not revealed till after him? Have ye no understanding?
66. Ah! Ye are those who fell to disputing (even) in matters of which ye had some knowledge! But why dispute ye in matters of which ye have no knowledge? It is Allah Who knows, and ye who know not!
C65-66. The number of sects among the Jews and Christians shows that they wrangled and disputed even about some of the matters of their own religion, of which they should have had some knowledge. But when they talk of Father Abraham, they are entirely out of court, as he lived before their peculiar systems were evolved.
67. Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but he was true in Faith, and bowed his will to Allah's (which is Islám), and he joined not gods with Allah.
68. Without doubt, among men, the nearest of kin to Abraham, are those who follow him, as are also this Prophet and those who believe: And Allah is the Protector of those who have faith.
69. It is the wish of a section of the People of the Book to lead you astray. But they shall lead astray (not you), but themselves, and they do not perceive!
70. Ye People of the Book! Why reject ye the Signs of Allah, of which ye are (yourselves) witnesses?
71. Ye People of the Book! Why do ye clothe truth with falsehood, and conceal the truth, while ye have knowledge?
C67-68-69-70-71. Cf. 2:135 and the whole argument in that passage. There are many ways of preventing the access of people to the truth. One is to temper with it, or trick it out in colours of falsehood: half-truths are often more dangerous than obvious falsehoods. Another is to conceal it altogether. Those who are jealous of a prophet of Allah, whom they actually see before them, do not allow his credentials or virtues to be known, or vilify him, or conceal facts which would attract people to him. When people do this of set purpose, against their own light ("of which ye are yourselves witnesses"), they are descending to the lowest depths of degradation, andthey are doing more harm to themselves than to anyone else.  (R).
72. A section of the People of the Book say: "Believe in the morning what is revealed to the believers, but reject it at the end of the day; perchance they may (themselves) turn back;
C72. Wajh here has the sense of "beginning", early part. The cynics who plotted against Islam actually asked their accomplices to join the believers and then repudiate them.
73. "And believe no one unless he follows your religion." Say: "True guidance is the Guidance of Allah. (Fear ye) lest a revelation be sent to someone (else) like unto that which was sent unto you? or that those (receiving such revelation) should engage you in argument before your Lord?" Say: "All bounties are in the hand of Allah. He granteth them to whom He pleaseth: And Allah careth for all, and He knoweth all things."
C73. The two clauses following have been variously construed, and some translations leave the sense ambiguous. I have construed the conjunction "an" to mean "lest", as it undoubtedly does in 7:172. 'an taqulu", etc. Cf. 2:76. The People of the Book were doubly annoyed at the Muslims: - that they should (being outside their ranks) receive Allah's revelations, and - that having received such revelations, they should be able to convict them out of their own scriptures before their Lord!
74. For His Mercy He specially chooseth whom He pleaseth; for Allah is the Lord of bounties unbounded.
75. Among the People of the Book are some who, if entrusted with a hoard of gold, will (readily) pay it back; others, who, if entrusted with a single silver coin, will not repay it unless thou constantly stoodest demanding, because, they say, "there is no call on us (to keep faith) with these ignorant (people)." But they tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it.
C74-75. Hoard of gold: qintar: a talent of 1,200 ounces of gold. See 3:14. n. 354.  (R). Silver coin: dinar. In the later Roman Empire, the denarius was a small silver coin. It must have been current in Syria and the markets of Arabia in the time of the Prophet. It was the coin whose name is translated in the English Bible by the word penny. Matt. 22:19: hence the abbreviation of penny is d (= denarius). The later Arabian coin dinar coined by the Umayyad, was a gold coin after the pattern of the Byzantine (Roman) denarius aureus and weighed about 66349 grains troy. Every race imbued with race arrogance resorts to this kind of moral or religious subterfuge. Even if its members are usually honest or just among themselves, they are contemptuous of those outside their circle, and cheat and deceive them without any qualms of conscience. This is a "lie against Allah."
76. Nay, - Those that keep their plighted faith and act aright,-verily Allah loves those who act aright.
77. As for those who sell the faith they owe to Allah and their own plighted word for a small price, they shall have no portion in the Hereafter: Nor will Allah (Deign to) speak to them or look at them on the Day of Judgment, nor will He cleans them (of sin): They shall have a grievous penalty.
C76-77. All our duties to our fellow creatures are referred to the service and faith we owe to Allah. But in the matter of truth an appeal is made to our self-respect as responsible beings: is it becoming that we should be false to our own word, to ourselves? And then we are reminded that the utmost we can gain by falsifying Allah's word or being untrue to ourselves is but a miserable price. We get at best something very paltry as the price for selling our very souls. Even on sinners -ordinary sinners- Allah will look with compassion and mercy: He will speak words of kindness and cleanse them of their sins. But those who are in active rebellion against Allah and sin against their own light, -what mercy can they expect?
78. There is among them a section who distort the Book with their tongues: (As they read) you would think it is a part of the Book, but it is no part of the Book; and they say, "That is from Allah," but it is not from Allah. It is they who tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it!
79. It is not (possible) that a man, to whom is given the Book, and Wisdom, and the Prophetic Office, should say to people: "Be ye my worshippers rather than Allah's": On the contrary (he would say) "Be ye worshippers of Him (Who is truly the Cherisher of all): For ye have taught the Book and ye have studied it earnestly."
80. Nor would he instruct you to take angels and prophets for Lords and patrons. What! would he bid you to unbelief after ye have bowed your will (to Allah in Islám)?
C78-79-80. It is not in reason or in the nature of things that Allah's messenger should preach against Allah. Jesus came to preach and convey the true message of Allah. (R). C415. Jesus was a prophet, and the Holy Spirit "with which he was strengthened" was the Angel who brought the revelations to him.
81. Behold! Allah took the covenant of the prophets, saying: "I give you a Book and Wisdom; then comes to you a messenger, confirming what is with you; do ye believe in him and render him help." Allah said: "Do ye agree, and take this my Covenant as binding on you?" They said: "We agree." He said: "Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses."
82. If any turn back after this, they are perverted transgressors.
83. Do they seek for other than the Religion of Allah? - while all creatures in the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His Will (accepted Islám), and to Him shall they all be brought back.
C81-82-83. Cf. 2:63. n. 78. The argument is: You (People of the Book) are bound by your own oaths, sworn solemnly in the presence of your own Prophets. In the Old Testament as it now exists, Muhammad is foretold in Deut. 18:18: and the rise of the Arab nation in Isaiah. 42:11. for Kedar was a son of Ismail and the name is used for the Arab nation: in the New Testament as it now exists. Muhammad is foretold in the Gospel of St. John. 14:16, 15:26, and 16:7: the future Comforter cannot be the Holy Spirit as understood by Christians, because the Holy Spirit already was present, helping and guiding Jesus. The Greek word translated "Comforter" is "Paracletos", which is an easy corruption from "Periclytos", which is almost a literal translation of "Muhammad" or "Ahmad": see 61:6. Further, there were other Gospels that have perished, but of which traces still remain, which were even more specific in their reference to Muhammad; e.g., the  Gospel of St. Barnabas, of which an Italian translation is extant in the State Library at Vienna. It was edited in 1907 with an English translation by Mr. Lonsdale and Laura Ragg. Allah's Truth is manifest, and all that is good and true and sane and normal accepts it with joy. But even where there is "disease in the heart" (2:10), or judgment is obscured by perversity, every creature must eventually see and acknowledge Allah and His power (2:167). Cf. R. Bridges: "Testament of Beauty": iv. 1419-22:- "For God's love is unescapable as nature's environment, which if a man ignore or think to thrust it off, he is the ill-natured fool that runneth blindly on death." All Nature adores Allah, and Islam asks for nothingpeculiar or sectarian; it but asks that we follow our nature and make our will conformable to Allah's Will as seen in Nature, history, and evelation. Its message is universal.
84. Say: "We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the Prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to Allah do we bow our will (in Islám)."
85. If anyone desires a religion other than Islám (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost.
C84-85. The Muslim position is clear. The Muslim does not claim to have a religion peculiar to himself. Islam is not a sect or an ethnic religion. In its view all Religion is one, for the Truth is one. It was the religion preached by all the earlier Prophets. It was the truth taught by all the inspired Books. In essence it amounts to a consciousness of the Will and Plan of Allah and a joyful submission to that Will and Plan. If any one wants a religion other than that, he is false to his own nature, as he is false to Allah's Will and Plan. Such a one cannot expect guidance, for he has deliberately renounced guidance.
...
98. Say: "O People of the Book! Why reject ye the Signs of Allah, when Allah is Himself witness to all ye do?"
99. Say: "O ye People of the Book! Why obstruct ye those who believe, from the path of Allah, seeking to make it crooked, while ye were yourselves witnesses (to Allah's Covenant)? But Allah is not unmindful of all that ye do."
100. O ye who believe! If ye listen to a faction among the People of the Book, they would (indeed) render you apostates after ye have believed!
101. And how would ye deny Faith while unto you are rehearsed the Signs of Allah, and among you lives the Messenger. Whoever holds firmly to Allah will be shown a way that is straight.
C98-99-100-101. Fear is of many kinds: 1. the abject fear of the coward; 2. the fear of a child or an inexperienced person in the face of an unknown danger; 3. the fear of a reasonable man who wishes to avoid harm to himself or to people whom he wishes to protect; 4. the reverence which is akin to love, for it fears to do anything which is not pleasing to the object of love. The first is unworthy of man; the second is necessary for one immature; the third is a manly precaution against evil as long as it is unconquered; and the fourth is the seed-bed of righteousness. Those mature in faith cultivate the fourth: at earlier stages, the third or the second may be necessary; they are fear, but not the fear of Allah. The first is a feeling of which anyone should be ashamed.
110. Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors.
C110. The logical conclusion to a Universal Religion is a non-sectarian, non-racial, non-doctrinal, religion, which Islam claims to be. For Islam is just submission to the Will of Allah. This implies 1. Faith, 2. doing right, being an example to others to do right, and having the power to see that the right prevails, 3. eschewing wrong, being an example to others to eschew wrong, and having the power to see that wrong and injustice are defeated. Islam therefore lives, not for itself, but for mankind. The People of the Book, if only they had faith, would be Muslims, for they have been prepared for Islam. Unfortunately there is Unfaith, but it can never harm those who carry the banner of Faith and Right, which must always be victorious.
111. They will do you no harm, barring a trifling annoyance; if they come out to fight you, they will show you their backs, and no help shall they get.
112. Shame is pitched over them (like a tent) wherever they are found, except when under a covenant (of protection) from Allah and from men; they draw on themselves wrath from Allah, and pitched over them is (the tent of) destitution. This because they rejected the Signs of Allah, and slew the prophets in defiance of right; this because they rebelled and transgressed beyond bounds.
C111-112. Duribat: I think there is a simile from the pitching of a tent. Ordinarily a man's tent is a place of tranquility and honour for him. The tent of the wicked wherever they are found is ignominy, shame, and humiliation. It is pity from Allah or from men that gives them protection when their pride has a fall. Using the same simile of tent in another way, their home will be destitution and misery.
113. Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (for the right): They rehearse the Signs of Allah all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration.
C113. In Islam we respect sincere faith and true righteousness in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah. This verse, according to Commentators, refers to those People of the Book who eventually embraced Islam.  (R).
184. Then if they reject thee, so were rejected messengers before thee, who came with Clear Signs, The Scriptures, and the Book of Enlightenment.
C184. The three things mentioned in the Text are: 1. Clear Signs (baiyinat); 2. zubur, and 3. kitab-il-Munir. The signification of 1, I have explained in the note to 3:62, as far as they relate to Jesus. In a more general sense, it means the clear evidence which Allah's dealings furnish about a Messenger of Allah having a true mission: e.g., Moses in relation to Pharaoh. As to 2, the word Zubur has been translated as scriptures. It comes from the root Zabara which implies something hard. The commentators are not agreed, but the prophetic writings which seemed to contemporaries difficult to understand may well be meant here. David's psalms (Zabur, 4:163) may also come under this description. As to 3, there is no doubt about the literal meaning of the words, "the Book of Enlightenment". But what does it precisely refer to? I take it to mean the fundamental guide to conduct,-the clear rules laid down in all Dispensations to help men to lead good lives.  (R).
185. Every soul shall have the taste of death: And only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have succeeded: For the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception.
C185. The soul will not die; but the death of the body will give a taste of death to the soul when the soul separates from the body. The soul will then know that this life was but a probation. And seeming inequalities will be adjusted finally on the Day of Judgment. Cf. Longfellow's Psalm of Life: "All this world's a fleeting show. For man's illusion given". The only reality will be when we have attained our final goal.
186. Ye shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves; and ye shall certainly hear much that will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship partners besides Allah. But if ye persevere patiently, and guard against evil,-then that will be of great resolution.
187. And remember Allah took a Covenant from the People of the Book, to make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it; but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And vile was the bargain they made!
C186-187. Not wealth and possessions only (or want of them), are the means of our trial. All our personaltalents, knowledge, opportunities, and their opposites, -in fact everything that happens to us and makes up our personality is a means of our testing. So is our Faith: we shall have to put up for it many insults from those who do not share it. Truth -Allah's Message- comes to any man or nation as a matter of sacred trust. It should be broadcast and published and taught and made clear to all within reach. Privileged priesthood at once erects a barrier. But worse, -when such priesthood tampers with the truth, taking what suits it and ignoring the rest, it has sold Allah's gift for a miserable ephemeral profit; how miserable, it will learn when retributive justice comes. A searching picture of the worldly wise! They may cause mischief and misery to others, but gloat over any glory it may bring them! They may trample down Allah's truths, and enthrone false standards of worship. They may take credit for virtues they do not possess and seeming successes that come in spite of their despicable deceptions.
199. And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book, those who believe in Allah, in the revelation to you, and in the revelation to them; bowing in humility to Allah: They will not sell the Signs of Allah for a miserable gain! For them is a reward with their Lord, and Allah is swift in account.
C199. The full meaning of  Sabr is to be understood here, viz.: Patience, perseverance, constancy, selfrestraint, refusing to be cowed down. These virtues we are to exercise for ourselves and in relation to others; we are to set an example, so that others may vie with us, and we are to vie with them, lest we fall short; in this way we strengthen each other and bind our mutual relations closer, in our common service to Allah.
Chapter 4 - Woman
44. Hast thou not turned thy thought to those who were given a portion of the Book? they traffic in error, and wish that ye should lose the right path.
45. But Allah hath full knowledge of your enemies: Allah is enough for a protector, and Allah is enough for a Helper.
46. Of the Jews there are those who displace words from their (right) places, and say: "We hear and we disobey"; and "Hear, may you not hear"; and "Ráìná"; with a twist of their tongues and a slander to Faith. If only they had said: "We hear and we obey"; and "Do hear"; and "Do look at us"; it would have been better for them, and more proper; but Allah hath cursed them for their Unbelief; and but few of them will believe.
47. O ye People of the Book! believe in what We have (now) revealed, confirming what was (already) with you, before We change the face and fame of some (of you) beyond all recognition, and turn them hindwards, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers, for the decision of Allah must be carried out.
48. Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin most heinous indeed.
C44-45-46-47-48. Cf. 3:23 and n. 366. See 2:93, n. 98. A trick of the Jews was to twist words and expressions, so as to ridicule the most solemn teachings of Faith. Where they should have said, "We hear and we obey,"they said aloud, "We hear," and whispered. "We disobey." Where they should have said respectfully. "We hear," they added in a whisper, "May you not hear," by way of ridicule. Where they claimed the attention of the Prophet, they used an ambiguous word apparently harmless, but in their intention disrespectful. (R). See 2:104, n. 106. "Raina"  if used respectfully in the Arabic way, would have meant "Please attend to us." With a twist of their tongue, they suggested an insulting meaning, such as "O thou that takest us to pasture!" or in Hebrew. "Our bad one!" Literally, "before We obliterate some features (or faces) and turn them front to back (or back to front)": an Arabic idiom, which must be translated freely to yield its proper meaning in English. The face is the chief expression of a man's own real essence; it is also the index of his fame and estimation. The People of the Book had been specially favoured by Allah with revelations. If they proved themselves unworthy, they lost their "face". Their eminence would, owing to their own conduct, be turned into degradation. Others would take their place. The first shall be last and the last shall be first: Matt. 19:30. Cf. 2:65 and n. 79. C569. Just as in an earthly kingdom the worst crime is that of treason, as it cuts at the very existence of the State, so in the Divine Kingdom, the unforgivable sin is that of contumacious treason against Allah by putting up Allah's creatures in rivalry against Him. This is rebellion against the Creator. It is what Plato would call the "lie in the soul." But even here, if the rebellion is through ignorance, and is followed by sincere repentance and amendment, Allah's Mercy is always open (4:17).
49. Hast thou not turned thy though to those who claim sanctity for themselves? Nay-but Allah doth sanctify whom He pleaseth. But never will they fail to receive justice in the least little thing.
C49. The sanctimonious or self-sanctified people are the farthest from sanctity or purity, which can only proceed from Allah. They cannot play with Allah's Truth and yet go on claiming to be guided and purified orjustified by Allah. Their falsehood in itself condemns them: no further proof is needed of their selfishness and evil. Literally, the small skin in the groove of a date stone, a thing of no value; fatila.
50. Behold! how they invent a lie against Allah. but that by itself is a manifest sin!
51. Hast thou not turned thy vision to those who were given a portion of the Book? they believe in sorcery and Tagut (Evil), and say to the Unbelievers that they are better guided in the (right) way than the believers!
52. They are (men) whom Allah hath cursed: And those whom Allah hath cursed, thou wilt find, have no one to help.
C50-51-52. Cf. 3:23 and n. 366. The phrase also occurs in 4:44. The word I have translated Sorcery is jibt, which may mean divination, sorcery, magic, or any false object of belief or worship, such as an idol. The word I have translated Evil (here and in 2:256) is Taghut, which means the evil one, the one who exceeds all bounds, Satan: or it may refer to some idol worshipped by the Pagan Arabs, with whom the Jews of Madinah were intriguing against the Holy Prophet. The Jews had taken much to sorcery, magic, divination, and such superstitions. The Jews were then seeking the aid of the Makkan Pagans against Muhammad, but far from getting any help from them, they and the Pagans were both overthrown. That was the immediate occasion, but the words have a perfectly general -a universal- meaning.
131. To Allah belong all things in the heavens and on earth. Verily We have directed the People of the Book before you, and you (O Muslims) to fear Allah. But if ye deny Him, lo! unto Allah belong all things in the heavens and on earth, and Allah is free of all wants, worthy of all praise.
C131. Notice the refrain: "To Allah belong all things in the heavens and on earth": repeated three times, each time with a new application. - In the first instance it follows the statement of Allah's universal providence and love. If two persons, in spite of every sincere desire to love and comfort each other, fail to achieve that end, and have to separate, Allah's all-reaching bounty never fails, for He is the Lord of all things. - In the second instance it is connected with Allah's Self-existence, Self-excellence, and independence of all creatures: all His commands are for our good, and they are given to all His creatures, according to their capacities. - In the third instance, it is connected with His universal power; for He could destroy any individual or nation and create a new one without any loss to Himself; but He gives a chance to all again and again, and even rewards them beyond their own ambitions. Allah's existence is absolute existence. It does not depend on any other person or any other thing. And it is worthy of all praise, for it is all-good and comprises every possible excellence. It is necessary to stress this point in order to show that the moral law for man is not a mere matter of transcendental commands, but really rests on the essential needs of mankind itself. If therefore such schools of thought as Behaviorism proved their theories up to the hilt, they do not affect the position of Islam in the least. The highest ethical standards are enjoined by Islam, not as dogmatic imperatives, but because they can be shown to follow from the needs of man's nature and the results of man's experience.
136. O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and the scripture which He hath sent to His Messenger and the scripture which He sent to those before (him). Any who denieth Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messenger, and the Day of Judgment, hath gone far, far astray.
137. Those who believe, then reject faith, then believe (again) and (again) reject faith, and go on increasing in unbelief,- Allah will not forgive them nor guide them on the Way.
C136-137. If your belief is by habit or birth or the example of those you love or respect or admire, make that belief more specific and personal to yourself. We must not only have faith, but realise that faith in our inmost being. The chief objects of our Faith are Allah. His Messenger, and His Revelations. To all these we must give a home in our hearts. The angels we do not see and realise as we realise Allah, who is nearer to us than the vehicle of our life-blood, and the Day of Judgment is for our future experience, but we must not deny them, or we cut off a part of our religious view. Those who go on changing sides again and again can have no real Faith at any time. Their motives are mere worldly double-dealing. How can they expect Allah's grace or forgiveness? Here is a clear warning against those who make their religion a mere matter of worldly convenience, True religion goes far deeper. It transforms the very nature of man. After that transformation it is as impossible for him to change as it is for light to become darkness.
156. That they rejected Faith; that they uttered against Mary a grave false charge;
C156. The false charge against Mary was that she was unchaste. Cf. 19:27-28. Such a charge is bad enough to make against any woman, but to make it against Mary, the mother of Jesus, was to bring into ridicule Allah's power itself. Islam is specially strong in guarding the reputation of women. Slanderers of women are bound to bring four witnesses in support of their accusations, and if they fail to produce four witnesses, they are to be flogged with eighty stripes and debarred from being competent witnesses: 24:4.
157. That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.";- But they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-
158. Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise;-
C157-158. The end of the life of Jesus on earth is as much involved in mystery as his birth, and indeed the greater part of his private life, except the three main years of his ministry. It is not profitable to discuss the many doubts and conjectures among the early Christian sects and among Muslim theologians. The Orthodox Christian Churches make it a cardinal point of their doctrine that his life was taken on the Cross, that he died and was buried, that on the third day he rose in the body with his wounds intact, and walked about and conversed, and ate with his disciples, and was afterwards taken up bodily to heaven. This is necessary for the theological doctrine of blood sacrifice and vicarious atonement for sins, which is rejected by Islam. But some of the early Christian sects did not believe that Christ was killed on the Cross. - The Basilidans believed that some one else was substituted for him. - The Docetae held that Christ never had a real physical or natural body, but only an apparent or phantom body, and that his Crucifixion was only apparent, not real. - The Marcionite Gospel (about A.D. 138) denied that Jesus was born, and merely said that he appeared in human form. The Gospel of St. Barnabas supported the theory of substitution on the, Cross. The Quranic teaching is that Christ was not crucified nor killed by the Jews, notwithstanding certain apparent circumstances which produced that illusion in the minds of some of his enemies: that disputations, doubts,  and conjectures on such matters are vain; and that he was taken up to Allah (see next verse and note). There is difference of opinion as to the exact interpretation of this verse. The words are: The Jews did not kill Jesus, but Allah raised him up (rafau) to Himself. One school holds that Jesus did not die the usual human death, but still lives in the body in heaven, which is the generally accepted Muslim view. Another holds that he did die but not when he was supposed to be crucified, and that his being "raised up" unto Allah means that instead of being disgraced as a malefactor, as the Jews intended, he was on the contrary honoured by Allah as His Messenger: see also next verse. The same word rafa'a is used in association with honour in connection with Mustafa in 94:4. (R).
159. And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment he will be a witness against them;-
C159. Before his death: Interpreters are not agreed as to the exact meaning. Those who hold that Jesus did not die refer the pronoun "his" to Jesus. They say that Jesus is still living in the body and that he will appear just before the Final Day, after the coming of the Mahdi, when the world will be purified of sin and unbelief. There will be a final death before the final Resurrection, but all will have believed before that final death. Others think that "his" is better referred, to "none of the People of the Book", and that the emphatic form "must believe"  (layu 'minanna)  denotes more a question of duty than of fact. (R). The ceremonial law of the Jews forbade the eating of the flesh of the camel, rabbit and hare (Leviticus 11:4-6), and the fat of oxen, sheep, and goats (Leviticus 7:23), and was in other respects very strict.
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162. But those among them who are well-grounded in knowledge, and the believers, believe in what hath been revealed to thee and what was revealed before thee: And (especially) those who establish regular prayer and pay Zakat (regular charity) and believe in Allah and in the Last Day: To them shall We soon give a great reward.
163. We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms.
164. Of some messengers We have already told thee the story; of others We have not;- and to Moses Allah spoke direct;-
C162-163-164. First we have a general statement: that inspiration was sent to many Messengers, and the inspiration was of the same kind as that sent to the Prophet Muhammad, for Allah's Message is one. Note that what is spoken of here is Inspiration, not necessarily a Book. Every nation or group of people had a messenger: 10:47. Some of these messengers have been mentioned by name in the Quran, and some not: 4:164. Cf. 2:136 and 3:84. The list here given is in three groups. - The first group, Abraham's family, is the same as in 2:136, (where see the note) and in 3:84. - Then we have the prophets Jesus, Job and Jonah, who symbolize patience and perseverance. - Then we have Aaron the priest and Solomon the King,both great, figures, but each subordinate to another primary figure, viz., Moses (mentioned in the next verse) and David (mentioned at the end of this verse), David's distinction was the Psalms, some of which are still extant. Though their present form is different from the original and they do undoubtedly include Psalms not written by David, the collection contains much devotional poetry of a high order. (R). Allah spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. Hence the title of Moses in Muslim theology: Kalim Allah: the one to whom Allah spoke.
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171. O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not "Three (Trinity)" : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is One God. Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.
172. Christ disdaineth not to serve and worship Allah, nor do the angels, those nearest (to Allah): those who disdain His worship and are arrogant,-He will gather them all together unto Himself to (answer).
C171-172. Just as a foolish servant may go wrong by excess of zeal for his master, so in religion people's excesses may lead them to blasphemy or a spirit the very opposite of religion. The Jewish excesses in the direction of formalism, racialism, exclusiveness, and rejection of Christ Jesus have been denounced in many places. Here the Christian attitude is condemned, which raises Jesus to an equality with Allah: in some cases venerates Mary almost to idolatry: attributes a physical son to Allah: and invents the doctrine of the Trinity, opposed to all reason, which according to the Athanasian Creed, unless a man believes, he is doomed to hell for ever. Let our Muslims also beware lest they fall into excesses either in doctrine or in formalism. Christ's attributes are mentioned: - that he was the son of a woman, Mary and therefore a man; - but a messenger, a man with a mission from Allah, and therefore entitled to honour; - a Word bestowed on Mary, for he was created by Allah's word "Be" (kun) and he was: 3:59; - a spirit proceeding from Allah, but not Allah: his life and his mission were more limited than in the case of some other Messengers, though we must pay equal honour to him as a Prophet of Allah. The doctrines of Trinity, equality with Allah, and sonship, are repudiated as blasphemies. Allah is independent of all needs and has no need of a son to manage His affairs. The Gospel of John (whoever wrote it) has put in a great deal of Alexandrian and Gnostic mysticism round the doctrine of the Word (Greek, Logos), but it is simply explained here. (R). Christ often watched and prayed, as a humble worshipper of Allah; and his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane was full of human dignity, suffering, and self-humiliation (see Matt. 26:36-45). The disdainful and the arrogant are the crew of Satan, who will be gathered together before the Supreme Throne for punishment.
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Chapter 5 - The Table Spread 
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5. This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time,- when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues. If any one rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good).
C5.  The question is for food generally, such as is ordinarily "good and pure": in the matter of meat it should be killed with some sort of solemnity analogous to that of the Takbir. The rules of Islam in this respect being analogous to those of the People of the Book, there is no objection to mutual recognition, as opposed to meat killed by Pagans with superstitious rites. In this respect the Christian rule is the same: "That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication." (Acts, 15:29). Notice the bracketing of fornication with things unlawful to eat. Islam is not exclusive. Social intercourse, including inter-marriage, is permitted with the People of the Book. A Muslim man may marry a woman from their ranks on the same terms as he would marry a Muslim woman, i.e., he must give her an economic and moral status, and must not be actuated merely by motives of lust or physical desire. A Muslim woman may not marry a non-Muslim man, because her Muslim status would be affected; the wife ordinarily takes the nationality and status given by her husband's law. Any man or woman, of any race or faith, may, on accepting Islam, freely marry any Muslim woman or man, provided it be from motives of purity and chastity and not of lewdness. As always, food, cleanliness, social intercourse, marriage and other interests in life, are linked with our duty to Allah and faith in Him. Duty and faith are for our own benefit, here and in the Hereafter
11. O ye who believe! Call in remembrance the favor of Allah unto you when certain men formed the design to stretch out their hands against you, but (Allah) held back their hands from you: so fear Allah. And on Allah let believers put (all) their trust.
12. Allah did aforetime take a covenant from the Children of Israel, and We appointed twelve chieftains among them. And Allah said: "I am with you: if ye (but) establish regular prayers, give Zakat (regular charity), believe in my messengers, honor and assist them, and loan to Allah a beautiful loan, verily I will wipe out from you your evils, and admit you to Gardens with rivers flowing beneath; but if any of you, after this, resisteth faith, he hath truly wandered from the path or rectitude."
C11-12. In the life-time of the Prophet it happened again and again that the enemies of Islam stretched out their hands against him, his people, and his teaching. The odds were, from a worldly point of view, in their favour, but their hands were rendered inert and powerless because they were fighting against the truth of Allah. So does it happen always, now as it did then. True faith must take heart, and at the same time humbly recognise Allah's favour and mercy, and be grateful. Cf. 2:63 and n. 78. "Moses... called for the elders of the people... and all the people answered together and said.’All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.'" (Exod. 19:7-8). This was under the towering height of Mount Sinai. The chieftains or elders or leaders of the people were selected, one from each of the twelve tribes (see 2:60 and n. 73). For census purposes the names of the elders of the tribes are given in Num. 1:4-16: they are called "every one the head of the house of his fathers". Later, twelve other "heads of the Children of Israel" were selected to spy but the land of Canaan: their names are mentioned in Num. 13:1-16. See also, below, 5:20-26 and notes. Cf. 2:245, n. 276. The phrase means "spending in the cause of Allah". Allah in His infinite grace looks upon this as a loan, for which He gives a recompense manifold. The path of rectitude: or the even way: see 2:108. n. 109
13. But because of their breach of their covenant, We cursed them, and made their hearts grow hard: they change the words from their (right) places and forget a good part of the message that was sent them, nor wilt thou cease to find them - barring a few - ever bent on (new) deceits: but forgive them, and overlook (their misdeeds): for Allah loveth those who are kind.
14. From those, too, who call themselves Christians, We did take a covenant, but they forgot a good part of the message that was sent them: so We stirred up enmity and hatred between the one and the other, to the Day of Judgment. And soon will Allah show them what it is they have done.
C13-14. Cursed them: that means that because of the breach of their Covenant, Allah withdrew His overflowing Grace from them. The withdrawal of Grace made their hearts grow hard in two ways: 1. they were no longer protected from the assaults of evil, and 2.     they became impervious even to the message of forgiveness and mercy which is open to all Allah's creatures. Israel, when it lost Allah's grace as above, began to sin against truth and religion in three ways: 1. they began to misuse Scripture itself, by either taking words out of their right meaning, or applying them to things for which they were never meant; 2. in doing so, they conveniently forgot a part of the Message and purpose of Allah: and 3. they invented new deceits to support the old ones. Cf. 2:109 and n. 110, where I have explained the different shades of meaning in the words for "forgiveness." The Christian Covenant may be taken to be the charge which Jesus gave to his disciples, and which the disciples accepted, to welcome Ahmad (56:6). Glimpses of this are to be found in the Gospel of St. John even as it exists now (John 15:26. 16:7). It is those who call themselves "Christians" who reject this. True Christians have accepted it. The enmity between those who call themselves Christians and the Jews will continue till the Last Day. The change from the First Person in the beginning of the verse to the Third Person here illustrates the change from the personal relationship of the Covenant, to the impersonal operation of Justice at Judgment. Cf. 35:9.
15. O people of the Book! There hath come to you our Messenger, revealing to you much that ye used to hide in the Book, and passing over much (that is now unnecessary): There hath come to you from Allah a (new) light and a perspicuous Book,-
C15. Mubin: I wish I could translate by a simpler word than "perspicuous". But "plain" may mean unadorned, the opposite of beautiful, and this Book is among the most beautiful that it is the privilege of mankind to read. "Clear" would be right as far as it means unambiguous, self-evident, not involved in mysteries of origin, history, or meaning, one which every one can understand as to the essentials necessary for him, without the intervention of priests or privileged persons". Mubin has all these meanings, but it suggests, besides, some quality of a shining light, by which we are able to make things clear, to distinguish the true from the false. This I think is suggested better by "perspicuous" than by the word "clear". Besides it is hardly good idiom to speak of "a clear Book."
16. Wherewith Allah guideth all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety, and leadeth them out of darkness, by His will, unto the light,- guideth them to a Path that is straight.
17. They disbelieved indeed those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary. Say: "Who then hath the least power against Allah, if His will were to destroy Christ the son of Mary, his mother, and every one that is on the earth? For to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between. He createth what He pleaseth. For Allah hath power over all things."
18. (Both) the Jews and the Christians say: "We are sons of Allah, and his beloved." Say: "Why then doth He punish you for your sins? Nay, ye are but men,- of the men He hath created: He forgiveth whom He pleaseth, and He punisheth whom He pleaseth: and to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between: and unto Him is the final goal (of all)"
19. O People of the Book! Now hath come unto you, making (things) clear unto you, Our Messenger, after the break in (the series of) our messengers, lest ye should say: "There came unto us no bringer of glad tidings and no warner (from evil)": But now hath come unto you a bringer of glad tidings and a warner (from evil). And Allah hath power over all things.
C16-17-18-19. The most honoured of the prophets of Allah are but men. All power belongs to Allah, and not to any man. Allah's creation may take many forms, but because in any particular form it is different from what we see daily around us, it does not cease to be Creation, or to be subject to the power of Allah. No creature can be God. Sons of Allah: Cf. Job, 38:7; "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." In the 29th Psalm, 1st verse, the authorized Translation "O ye mighty" should apparently be "O ye sons of Elim". El being a name of God, Cf. also Genesis, 6:2: "The sons of God saw the daughters of men." Beloved: Cf. Psalms, 127:2: "He giveth his beloved sleep." If used figuratively, these and like words refer to the love of Allah. Unfortunately, "son" used in a physical sense, or "beloved" in an exclusive sense as if Allah loved only the Jews, make a mockery of religion. This refrain in the last verse negatives the idea of sonship, and in this verse negatives the idea of an exclusive "Beloved". In both cases it means that Allah is independent of physical relationship or exclusive partiality. The six hundred years (in round figures) between Christ and Muhammad were truly the dark ages of the world. Religion was corrupted: the standard of morals fell low: many false systems and heresies arose; and there was a break in the succession of prophets until the advent of Muhammad.
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45. We ordained therein for them: "Life for life, eye for eye, nose or nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal." But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are wrong-doers.
46. And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Torah that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Torah that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.
47. Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel.
48. To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have we prescribed a Law and an Open Way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute;
C45-46-47-48. The retaliation is prescribed in three places in the Pentateuch, viz,. Exod. 21:23-25: Leviticus 24:18-21, and Deut, 19:21. The wording in the three quotations is different, but in none of them is found the additional rider for mercy, as here. Note that in Matt. 5:38. Jesus quotes the Old Law "eye for eye," etc,, and modifies it in the direction of forgiveness, but the Quranic injunction is more practical. Even where the injured one forgives, the State or Ruler is competent to take such action as is necessary for the preservation of law and order in Society. For crime has a bearing that goes beyond the interests of the person injured: the Community is affected: see 5:32. This is not part of the Mosaic Law, but the teaching of Jesus and of Muhammad. Notice how the teaching of Jesus is gradually introduced as leading up to the Quran. The seeming repetitions at the end of verses 44, 45 and 46 are not real repetitions. The significant words in the three cases are: - Unbelievers, - wrong-doers, and - rebellious; and each fits the context. - If the Jews tamper with their books they are Unbelievers; - if they give false judgments, they are wrong-doers.- If the Christians follow not their light, they are rebellious. Guidance and light: see n. 750 above. For the meaning of the Gospel (Injil), see Appendix III, "On the Injil", (printed at the end of this Surah). After the corruption of the older revelations, theQuran comes with a twofold purpose: 1. to confirm the true and original Message, and 2. to guard it, or act as a check to its interpretation. The Arabic word Muhaymin is very comprehensive in meaning. It means one who; - safeguards, - watches over, - stands witness, - preserves, and - upholds. The Quran safeguards "the Book", for it has preserved within it the teachings of all the former Books. It watches over these Books in the sense that it will not let their true teachings to be lost. It supports and upholds these Books in the sense that it corroborates the Word of Allah which has remained intact in them. It stands a witness because it bears testimony to the Word of Allah contained in these Books and helps to sort it out from the interpretations and commentaries of the people which were mixed with it: what is confirmed by the Quran is the Word of Allah and what is against it is that of the people. (R). Law: shirat,  rules of practical conduct. Open Way: Minhaj.  The finer things which are above the law, but which are yet available to everyone, like a sort of open highway. The light in verses 44 and 46 though laws and rules may take different forms among different People.
57. O ye who believe! take not for friends and protectors those who take your religion for a mockery or sport,- whether among those who received the Scripture before you, or among those who reject Faith; but fear ye Allah, if ye have faith (indeed).
58. When ye proclaim your call to prayer they take it (but) as mockery and sport; that is because they are a people without understanding.
59. Say: "O people of the Book! Do ye disapprove of us for no other reason than that we believe in Allah, and the revelation that hath come to us and that which came before (us), and (perhaps) that most of you are rebellious and disobedient?"
C57-58-59. It is not right that we should be in intimate association with those to whom religion is either a subject of mockery or at best is nothing but a plaything. They may be amused, or they may have other motives for encouraging you. But your association with them will sap the earnestness of your Faith, and make you cynical and insincere. There is the most biting irony in this and the next verse, You People of the Book! Do you hate us because we believe in Allah and not only our scripture, but yours also? Perhaps you hate us because we obey and you are in rebellion against Allah! Why hate us? There are worse things than our obedience and our Faith. Shall I tell you some of them? Our test will be: what treatment Allah meted out to the things I mention. Who were the people who incurred the curse of Allah? (See Deut. 11:28, and 28:15-68: and numerous passages like Hosea 8:14, and 9:1). Who provoked Allah's wrath? (See numerous passages like Deut. 1:34: Matt. 3:7). Who forsook Allah, and worshipped evil? (See Jeremiah, 16:11-13). That is your record. Is that why you hate us?'
60. Say: "Shall I point out to you something much worse than this, (as judged) by the treatment it received from Allah? those who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath, those of whom some He transformed into apes and swine, those who worshipped evil;- these are (many times) worse in rank, and far more astray from the even path!"
61. When they come to thee, they say: "We believe": But in fact they enter with a mind against Faith, and they go out with the same but Allah knoweth fully all that they hide.
62. Many of them dost thou see, racing each other in sin and transgression, and their eating of things forbidden. Evil indeed are the things that they do.
63. Why do not the rabbis and the doctors of Law forbid them from their (habit of) uttering sinful words and eating things forbidden? Evil indeed are their works.
64. The Jews say: "Allah's hand is tied up." Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for the (blasphemy) they utter. Nay, both His hands are widely outstretched: He giveth and spendeth (of His bounty) as He pleaseth. But the revelation that cometh to thee from Allah increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. Amongst them we have placed enmity and hatred till the Day of Judgment. Every time they kindle the fire of war, Allah doth extinguish it; but they (ever) strive to do mischief on earth. And Allah loveth not those who do mischief.
C60-61-62-63-64. For apes see 2:65. For men possessed by devils, and the devils being sent into swine, see Matt. 8:28-32. Or perhaps both apes and swine are allegorical; those who falsified Allah's scriptures became lawless like apes, and those who succumbed to filth, gluttony, or gross living became like swine. Eating of things forbidden: may be construed in a literal or a figurative sense. From its juxtaposition with sin and hatred, it is better to construe it in a figurative sense, as referring to their fraudulent misappropriations of other people's property or trust property. Cf. 5:12. and 2:245, for a "beautiful loan to Allah", and 3:181, for the blasphemous taunt, "Then Allah is poor!" It is another form of the taunt to say, "Then Allah's hands are tied up. He is close-fisted. He does not give!" This blasphemy is repudiated. On the contrary, boundless is Allah's bounty, and He gives, as it were, with both hands outstretched,-a figure of speech for unbounded liberality. Their jealousy-because Al-Mustafa is chosen for Allah's Message-is so great that it only confirms and strengthens their rebellion and blasphemy. Cf. 5:14. where the eternal warring of the Christian sects, among themselves and against the Jews, is referred to. The reference is to the whole of the People of the Book, Jews and Christians-their internal squabbles and their external disputes, quarrels, and wars. The argument of the whole verse may be thus stated. The Jews blaspheme and mock, and because of their jealousy, the more they are taught, the more obstinate they become in their rebellion. But what good will it do to them? Their selfishness and spite sow quarrels among themselves, which will not be healed till the Day of Judgment. When they stir up wars, especially against the innocent. Allah's Mercy is poured down like a flood of water to extinguish them. But their wickedness continues to devise ever new mischief. And Allah loves not mischief or those who do mischief.
65. If only the People of the Book had believed and been righteous, We should indeed have blotted out their iniquities and admitted them to Gardens of Bliss.
66. If only they had stood fast by the Torah, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have (enjoyed) eating both from above them and from below their feet. There is from among them a party on the right course: but many of them follow a course that is evil.
67. O Messenger! proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission. And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). For Allah guideth not those who reject Faith.
68. Say: "O People of the Book! Ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Torah, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord." It is the revelation that cometh to thee from thy Lord, that increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. But sorrow thou not over (these) people without Faith.
C65-66-67-68. The literal translation of this line would be: "They would have eaten from above them and from below their feet." To eat  (akala) is a very comprehensive word, and denotes enjoyment generally, physical, social, mental and moral, and spiritual. "To eat what is forbidden" in verses 62 and 63 referred to taking unlawful profit, from usury or trust funds or in other ways. Here  "eating" would seem to mean receiving satisfaction or happiness in this life as well as in the life to come. "From above them" may refer to heavenly or spiritual satisfaction, and "from below their feet" to earthly satisfaction. But it is better to take the words as a general idiom, and understand "satisfaction or happiness from every side." (R). Muhammad had many difficulties to contend with, many enemies and dangers to avoid. Hi; mission must be fulfilled. And he must-as he did-go forward and proclaim that Message and fulfil his mission, trusting to Allah for protection, and unconcerned if people who had lost all sense of right rejected it or threatened him. In 5:26, Moses was told not to sorrow over a rebellious people. Here Muhammad is told not to sorrow over people without Faith. The second situation is even more trying than the first. Rebellion may be a passing phase. Want of faith is an attitude of mind that is well-nigh hopeless. Yet the Prophet patiently reasoned with them and bore their taunts and insults. If. the argument runs, you do not believe in anything, even in the things that you may be expected to believe in, how can you receive in Faith Allah's Message that has come in another form? In fact your jealousy adds to your obstinacy and unbelief.
69. Those who believe (in the Qurán), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness,- on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
70. We took the covenant of the Children of Israel and sent them messengers, every time, there came to them an a messenger with what they themselves desired not - some (of these) they called impostors, and some they (go so far as to) slay.
71. They thought there would be no trial (or punishment); so they became blind and deaf; yet Allah (in mercy) turned to them; yet again many of them became blind and deaf. But Allah sees well all that they do.
72. Certainly they disbelieve who say: "Allah is Christ the son of Mary." But said Christ: "O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord." Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the Garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help.
73. They disbelieved who say: Allah is one of three (in a Trinity): for there is no god except One God. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous chastisement will befall the disbelievers among them.
74. Why turn they not to Allah, and seek His forgiveness? For Allah is Oft- forgiving, Most Merciful.
75. Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth!
76. Say: "Will ye worship, besides Allah, something which hath no power either to harm or benefit you? But Allah,- He it is that heareth and knoweth all things."
77. Say: "O people of the Book! exceed not in your religion the bounds (of what is proper), trespassing beyond the truth, nor follow the vain desires of people who went wrong in times gone by,- who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the even way.
78. Curses were pronounced on those among the Children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary: because they disobeyed and persisted in excesses.
C69-70-71-72-73-74-75-77-78. Here, as in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:62), the Quran underscores the importance of true and genuine faith, which is to be judged by a sincere belief in Allah and man's accountability to Him backed by a righteous conduct rather than by mere forms or labels. At both the places it repudiates the false claims of the People of the Book that they had a special relationship with Allah for they were the children of Abraham; that they were a chosen people with special privileges, and no matter what they did, their high status would remain unaffected. Here this false notion is refuted and the People of the Book are being reminded that it is through sincere belief and righteous conduct rather than pretentious claims that man can win his Lord's pleasure and achieve ultimate success. The verse does not purport to lay down an exhaustive list of the articles of faith. Nor does it seek to spell out the essentials of a genuine belief in Allah, which has no meaning unless it is accompanied by belief in His Prophets for it is through their agency alone that we know Allah's Will and can abide by it in our practical lives. This is especially true of His final Prophet, Muhammad (peace be on him) whose message is universal, and not confined to any particular group or section of humanity. Belief in the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be on him) is thus an integral part and a logical corollary of belief in Allah. Moreover, it is also an essential test of genuineness of such belief. This becomes clear when the verse is read in conjunction with other relevant verses of the Quran. See, for instance, 4:170, 5:15, 19, 7:157, 158, 21:107, 25:I, 33:40, 61:6. See also 2:40, 3:31-32, 4:150-151. (Eds). Cf. 2:87, and n. 91. That is, they turned away their eyes from Allah's Signs and they turned a deaf ear to Allah's Message. Cf. Matt. 4:10, where Christ rebukes Satan for desiring the worship of other than Allah: John 20:17, where Christ says to Mary Magdalene, "Go unto my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God."Cf. also Luke 18:19, where Christ rebukes a certain ruler for calling him Good Master: "Why callest thou me good? None is good, save One, that is, Allah." In Mark 12:29 Jesus says: "The first of all the commandments is, Hear 0 Israel; the Lord our God is One Lord." She never claimed that she was a mother of God, or that her son was God. She was a pious virtuous woman. Note how logically the argument has led up from Jewish back-sliding and want of faith, to blasphemies associated with the names of Jesus and Mary, and in the following verses to the worship of senseless stocks and stones. Allah is One; His Message is one; yet how people's perversity transforms truth into falsehood, religion into superstition! Excess, as opposed to moderation and reason, is the simplest test by which a hypocrite or a selfish man who "trades" on religion, is known from a sincere, pious, and truly religious man. Excess means that truth is sometimes concealed or trampled upon, that the fashions of ancestors or contemporaries are copied or overdone, and Allah's name is dishonoured by blasphemies or the setting up of false gods or fetishes, or that good (or even bad) men are deified and worshipped. The true path is the even path, the path of rectitude. (Cf. 2:108, and 5:13). The Psalms of David have several passages of imprecations against the wicked. Cf. Psalms 109:17-18; 78:21-22, "Therefore the Lord heard this and was wroth; so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel; because they believed not in God, and trusted not in His salvation"; Psalms 69:22-28, and Psalms 5:10. Cf. Matt. 23:33, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of Hell? also Matt. 12:34.

110. Then will Allah say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favor to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the Holy Spirit, so that thou didst speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught thee the Book and Wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel. And behold! thou makest out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and thou breathest into it and it becometh a bird by My leave, and thou healest those born blind, and the lepers, by My leave. And behold! thou bringest forth the dead by My leave. And behold! I did restrain the Children of Israel from (violence to) thee when thou didst show them the Clear Signs, and the unbelievers among them said: 'This is nothing but evident magic.'
C110. In a solemn scene before the Court of Judgment, Jesus is asked to recount all the mercies and favours shown to him, so that his followers should become ashamed of their ingratitude in corrupting that Message, when they could have done so much in profiting by its purity and spiritual truth. This argument continues to the end of the Surah. Cf. 2:87, and 3:62, n. 401. Cf. 3:46, and n. 388. Cf. 3:48 Cf. 3:49, and n. 390. Note how the words  "by My leave" are repeated with each miracle to emphasize the fact that they arose, not out of the power or will of Jesus, but by the leave and will and power of Allah, who is supreme over Jesus as He is over all other mortals. The Jews were seeking to take the life of Jesus long before their final attempt to crucify him: see Luke 4:28-29. Their attempt to crucify him was also foiled, according to the teaching we have received: 4:157. According to Luke (11:15) when Christ performed the miracle of casting out devils the Jews said he did it through the chief of the devils. i.e., they accused him of black magic. No such miracle of casting out devils is mentioned in the Quran. But Moses, Jesus and Muhammad were all accused of magic and sorcery, by those who could find no other explanation of Allah's power. (R).
111. "And behold! I inspired the Disciples to have faith in Me and Mine Messenger. They said, 'We have faith, and do thou bear witness that we bow to Allah as Muslims' ".
C823. "Thou"  refers to Jesus, who is being addressed by his Disciples. Cf. 3:52. Before or after Muhammad's life on this earth, all who bowed to Allah's Will were Muslims, and their religion is Islam. Cf. 3:52, and n. 392.
112. Behold! the Disciples, said: "O Jesus the son of Mary! can thy Lord send down to us a Table set (with viands) from heaven?" Said Jesus: "Fear Allah, if ye have faith!"
C112. The request of the Disciples savors a little of 1. want of faith, 2. too much attention to physical food, and 3. a childish desire for miracles or Signs. All these three can be proved from the Canonical Gospels. 1. Simon Peter, quite early in the story, asked Jesus to depart from him, as he (Simon) was a sinful man (Luke 5:8). The same Peter afterwards denied his Master three times shamelessly when the Master was in the power of his enemies. And one of the Disciples (Judas) actually betrayed Jesus. 2. Even in the Canonical Gospels, so many of the miracles are concerned with food and drink, e.g. the turning of the water into wine (John, 2:1-11); the conversion of five loaves and two small fishes into food for 5,000 men (John 6:5-13), this being the only miracle recorded in all the four Gospels; the miraculous number of fishes caught for food (Luke 5:4-11); the cursing of the fig tree because it had no fruit(Matt. 21:18-19); the allegory of eating Christ's flesh and drinking his blood (John 6:53-57). 3. Because the Samaritans would not receive Jesus into their village, the Disciples James and John wanted a fire to come down from heaven and consume them (Luke 9:54).
113. They said: "We only wish to eat thereof and satisfy our hearts, and to know that thou hast indeed told us the truth; and that we ourselves may be witnesses to the miracle."
114. Said Jesus the son of Mary: "O Allah our Lord! Send us from heaven a Table set (with viands), that there may be for us - for the first and the last of us - a solemn festival and a sign from Thee; and provide for our sustenance, for Thou art the best Sustainer (of our needs)."
C113-114. The words of the Prayer seem to suggest the Last Supper. Cf. also the vision of Peter in "The Acts of the Apostles." 10:9-16. As in Islam, so in Christ's Prayer,  sustenance should be taken for both physical and spiritual strength, especially the latter. "Give us this day our daily bread" seems the rendering of a literalist whose attention was fixed too much on bread.
115. Allah said: "I will send it down unto you: But if any of you after that resisteth faith, I will punish him with a penalty such as I have not inflicted on any one among all the peoples."
C115. It is a wicked generation that asks for Signs and Miracles. Usually they are not vouchsafed. But where they are, the responsibility of those who ask for them is increased. If, after that, they reject faith, invent lies, and go after false gods or false ideals, their penalty will be worse than that of other people. How this works out practically among those who call themselves Christians is exemplified in such books as the late Mr. W.T. Stead's "If Christ Came to Chicago?"
116. And behold! Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah.?" He will say: "Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.
C116. Jesus disclaims here any knowledge of the sort of things that are attributed to him by those who take his name. The worship of Mary, though repudiated by the Protestants, was widely spread in the earlier churches, both in the East and the West.
117. "Never said I to them aught except what Thou didst command me to say, to wit, 'Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord'; and I was a witness over them whilst I dwelt amongst them; when Thou didst take me up Thou wast the Watcher over them, and Thou art a witness to all things.
C117. Cf. 5:72 and n. 782. Jesus here acknowledges that he was mortal, and that his knowledge was limited like that of a mortal.
118. "If Thou dost punish them, they are Thy servant: If Thou dost forgive them, Thou art the Exalted in power, the Wise."
C118. A Master can justly punish His servants for disobedience: no one can say Him nay, for He is high above all. But if He chooses to forgive. He in His wisdom sees things that we mortals cannot see. This is the limit of intercession that men of God can make on behalf of sinners.
119. Allah will say: "This is a day on which the truthful will profit from their truth: theirs are Gardens, with rivers flowing beneath,- their eternal Home: Allah well-pleased with them, and they with Allah. That is the great salvation, (the fulfillment of all desires).
120. To Allah doth belong the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein, and it is He Who hath power over all things.
C119-12*. Fauz: Felicity, happiness, achievement, salvation, the attainment or fulfilment of desires. What a beautiful definition of salvation or the end of life! -that we should win Allah's good pleasure and that we should reach the stage at which His good pleasure is allin-all to us.
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Chapter 6 - The Cattle
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84. We gave him Isaac and Jacob: all (three) We guided: and before him, We guided Noah, and among his progeny, David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, and Aaron: thus do We reward those who do good:
85. And Zakariya and John, and Jesus and Elias: all in the ranks of the Righteous:
86. And Ismail and Elisha, and Jonah, and Lot: and to all We gave favor above the nations:
87. (To them) and to their fathers, and progeny and brethren: We chose them, and we guided them to a straight Way.
88. This is the Guidance of Allah. He giveth that guidance to whom He pleaseth, of His worshippers. If they were to join other gods with Him, all that they did would be vain for them.
89. These were the men to whom We gave the Book, and authority, and prophethood: if these (their descendants) reject them, Behold! We shall entrust their charge to a new People who reject them not.
C84-85-86-87-88-89. We have now a list of eighteen Prophets in four groups, covering the great Teachers accepted among the three great religions based on Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. The first group to be mentioned is that of Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaac's son Jacob. Abraham was the first to have a Book. His Book is mentioned in 87:19, though it is now lost. They were therefore the first to receive Guidance in the sense of a Book. In the second group, we have the great founders of families, apart from Abraham, viz., Noah of the time of the Flood; - David and Solomon, the real establishers of the Jewish monarchy; - Job, who lived 140 years, saw four generations of descendants, and was blessed at the end of his life with large pastoral wealth (Job 42:16,12); -Joseph, who as Minister of State did great things in Egypt and was the progenitor of two Tribes; and - Moses and Aaron, the leaders of the Exodus from Egypt. They led active lives and called "doers of good." The third group consists not of men of action, but Preachers of Truth, who led solitary lives. Their epithet is: "the Righteous." They form a connected group round Jesus. Zakariya was the father of John the Baptist as Elias, which was for to come" (Matt 11:14); and Elias is said to have been present and talked to Jesus at the Transfiguration on the Mount (Matt. 17:3). Elias is the same as Elijah. (R). This is the last group, described as those "favoured above the nations."  It consists of four men who had all great misfortunes to contend with, and were concerned in the clash of nations, but they kept in the path of Allah, and came through above the clash of nations. - Ismail was the eldest son of Abraham; when he was a baby, he and his mother had nearly died of thirst in the desert round Makkah; but they were saved by the well of Zamzam, and became the founder of the new Arab nation. - Elisha (Al-Yasa) succeeded to the mantle of the Prophet Elijah (same as Elias, see last note); he lived in troublous times for both the Jewish kingdoms (of Judah and Israel); there were wicked kings, and other nations were pressing in on them; but he performed many miracles, and some check was given to the enemies under his advice. - The story of Jonah (Yunus) is well-known: he was swallowed by a fish or whale, but was saved by God's mercy: through his preaching, his city (Nineveh) was saved (10:98). - Lut was a contemporary and nephew of Abraham: when the city of Sodom was destroyed for its wickedness, he was saved as a just man (7:80-84). I take verse 87 to refer back to all the four groups just mentioned. Them, i.e., the Book, and authority and Prophethood. They were taken away from the other People of the Book and entrusted to the Holy Prophet Muhammad and his People.
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154. Moreover, We gave Moses the Book, completing (Our favor) to those who would do right, and explaining all things in detail,- and a guide and a mercy, that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord.
155. And this is a Book which We have revealed as a blessing: so follow it and be righteous, that ye may receive mercy:
156. Lest ye should say: "The Book was sent down to two Peoples before us, and for our part, we remained unacquainted with all that they learned by assiduous study:"
157. Or lest ye should say: "If the Book had only been sent down to us, we should have followed its guidance better than they." Now then hath come unto you a Clear (Sign) from your Lord,- and a guide and a mercy: then who could do more wrong than one who rejecteth Allah's Signs, and turneth away therefrom? In good time shall We requite those who turn away from Our Signs, with a dreadful chastisement, for their turning away.
158. Are they waiting to see if the angels come to them, or thy Lord (Himself), or certain of the Signs of thy Lord! the day that certain of the Signs of thy Lord do come, no good will it do to a soul to believe in them then if it believed not before nor earned righteousness through its faith. Say: "Wait ye: we too are waiting."
C154-155-156-157-158. The revelation to Moses went into the details of people's lives, and thus served as a practical guide to the Jews and after them to the Christians. Admittedly the Message delivered by Christ dealt with general principles only and in no way with details. The message of Islam as in the Quran is the next complete guide in point of time after that of Moses. Because the diligent studies of the earlier People of the Book were in languages foreign to the new People of Islam, or because they were meant for circumstances different from those of the new world after Islam. The Quran and the life and the teaching of Muhammad the Messenger of Allah. There is no merit in faith in things that you are compelled to acknowledge when they actually happen. Faith is belief in things which you do not see with your own eyes but you understand with your spiritual sense: if your whole will consents to it, it results in deeds of righteousness, which are the evidence of your faith. The waiting in the two cases is in quite different senses: - the foolish man without faith is waiting for things which will not happen, and is surprised by the real things which do happen; - the righteous man of faith is waiting for the fruits of righteousness, of which he has an assured hope; in a higher state of spiritual elevation, even the fruits have no personal meaning to him, for Allah is to him in all: 6:162.
159. As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, thou hast no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah. He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.
160. He that doeth good shall have ten times as much to his credit: He that doeth evil shall only be recompensed according to his evil: no wrong shall be done unto them.
161. Say: "Verily, my Lord hath guided me to a Way that is straight,- a religion of right,- the Path (trod) by Abraham the true in Faith, and he (certainly) joined not gods with Allah."
162. Say: "Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds:
163. No partner hath He: this am I commanded, and I am the first of those who submit to His will.
164. Say: "Shall I seek for (my) Lord other than Allah, when He is the Cherisher of all things (that exist)? Every soul draws the meed of its acts on none but itself: no bearer of burdens can bear of burdens can bear the burden of another. Your return in the end is towards Allah. He will tell you the truth of the things wherein ye disputed."
165. It is He Who hath made you the inheritors of the earth: He hath raised you in ranks, some above others: that He may try you in the gifts He hath given you: for thy Lord is quick in punishment: yet He is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
C159-160-161-162-163-164-165. Divide their religion: farraqu: i.e., 1. make a distinction between one part of it and another, take the part which suits them and reject the rest; or 2.     have religion one day of the week and the world the rest of the six days; or 3. keep "religion in its right place," as if it did not claim to govern the whole life; make a sharp distinction between the secular and the religious; or 4. show a sectarian bias, seek differences in views, so as to break up the unity of Islam. Allah is just as well as generous. To the good the reward is multiplied ten times (i.e., far above the merits) on account of His generosity. To the evil, the punishment is no more than commensurate with their sin, and even so the door of mercy is always open to those who sincerely repent and show it by their conduct. The doctrine of personal responsibility again. We are fully responsible for our acts ourselves: we cannot transfer the consequences to someone else. Nor can any one vicariously atone for our sins. If people have honest doubts or differences about important questions of religion, they should not start futile disputes. All will be clear in the end. Our duty here is to maintain unity and discipline, and do the duty that comes to us. Cf. 2:30 and note, where I have translated "Khalifah" as "Vicegerent", it being Allah's Plan to make Adam (as representing mankind) His vicegerent on earth. In C.1 I have construed the same word by the word "Agent." Another idea implied in  "Khalifah" is that of "successor, heir, or inheritor," i.e., one who has the ultimate ownership after the present possessors, to whom a lifetenancy has been given by the owner, have passed away. In 15:23 occurs the striking word "heirs" (warithun) as applied to Allah: "We give life and death, and We are the Heirs (of Inheritors)." The same idea occurs in 3:180, where see n. 485. The translation here attempts to express both the ideas which I understand from the original.

Chapter 7 – The Heights
37. Who is more unjust than one who invents a lie against Allah or rejects His Signs? For such, their portion appointed must reach them from the Book (of Decrees): until, when Our messengers (of death) arrive and take their souls, they say: "Where are the things that ye used to invoke besides Allah." They will reply, "They have left us in the lurch," And they will bear witness against themselves, that they had rejected Allah.
38. He will say: "Enter ye in the company of the Peoples who passed away before you - men and Jinns, - into the Fire." Every time a new People enters, it curses its sister-People (that went before), until they follow each other, all into the Fire. Saith the last about the first: "Our Lord! it is these that misled us: so give them a double punishment in the Fire." He will say: "Doubled for all" : but this ye do not know.
39. Then the first will say to the last: "See then! No advantage have ye over us; so taste ye of the Chastisement for all that ye did !"
C37-38-39. It must not be supposed that the rebels against Allah would at once be cut off in this life for their sins. They will get the portion allotted to them, including the good things of life and the chance of repentance and reformation, during their probationary period on this earth. During that period they will have a full run. After that period expires, they will be called to account. They will themselves see that the false things, in which they put their trust, were false, and they will confess their sin, but it will be too late. The earlier generations committed a double crime: - their own sins, -the bad example they set for those that followed. We are responsible not only for our own misdeeds, but for those which our example and our teaching to our juniors may induce them to commit. But it does not lie in the mouth of the juniors to ask for a double punishment for seniors: the motive is not justice, but pure spite, which is itself a sin. Further, the later generations have to answer for two things: - their own sins, and - their failure to learn from the past, from the experiences of those who preceded them. They should have an advantage in this respect, being "in the foremost files of Time," but they did not learn. Thus there was nothing to choose between the earlier and later generations in the matter of guilt. But how few people understand this! In 6:160, we were told that good was rewarded tenfold, but evil was punished according to its guilt, in perfect justice. This verse is in no way inconsistent with it. Two crimes must have a double penalty. (R). Wrong-doers have really no sense of honour towards each other. "Honour among thieves" is an exceptional, not an ordinary, experience. In real life, guilt and crime are apt to indulge in mean spite and bitter recriminations against accomplices.
Chapter 9 - Repentance
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29. Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
C29. Jizyah: the root meaning is compensation. The derived meaning, which became the technical meaning, was a poll-tax levied from those who did not accept Islam, but were willing to live under the protection of Islam, and were thus tacitly willing to submit to its ideals being enforced in the Muslim State. There was no amount permanently fixed for it. It was in acknowledgment that those whose religion was tolerated would in their turn not interfere with the preaching and progress of Islam. Imam Shafi'i suggests one dinar per year, which would be the Arabian gold dinar of the Muslim States. The tax varied in amount, and there were exemptions for the poor, for females and children (according to Abu Hanifa), for slaves, and for monks and hermits. Being a tax on able-bodied males of military age, it was in a sense a commutation for military service. But see the next note. 'An Yadin: literally, from the hand, has been variously interpreted. The hand being the symbol of power and authority. I accept the interpretation "in token of willing submission." The Jizyah was thus partly symbolic and partly a commutation for military service, but as the amount was insignificant and the exemptions numerous, its symbolic character predominated. See the last note.
30. The Jews call Ùzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!
C30. In n. 718 to 5:18, 1 have quoted passages from the Old Testament, showing how freely the expression "sons of Allah" was used by the Jews. A sect of them called 'Uzair a son of Allah, according to Baidhawl. In Appendix II (Surah 5) I have shown that the constitution of Judaism dates from 'Uzair (Ezra). The Christians still call Christ the Son of God. Taking men for gods or sons of Allah was not a new thing. All ancient mythologies have fables of that kind. There was less excuse for such blasphemies after the Prophets of Allah had clearly explained out true relation to Allah than in the times of primitive ignorance and superstition. Cf. 5:75.
31. They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords beside Allah, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One God. there is no god but He. Praise and glory to Him: (Far is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him).
C31. Ahbar: doctors of law; priests; learned men. Cf. 5:44. where they are associated with Rabbis. Ruhban: monks, ascetics, anchorites, men who have renounced the world; where there is a celibate clergy, the term can be applied to them as well as to members of monastic orders. It is also permissible to apply the term to "saints", where they are deified or credited with divine powers, or where people pray to them as they do in the Roman Catholic Church. Priest worship, and the worship of saints and ascetics is a form of superstition to which men have been prone in all ages. The growth of Jewish superstition is shown in the Talmud, and of Christian superstition in the doctrine of papal infallibility and the worship of saints. The mere idea of a separate order of priesthood to stand between Allah and man and be the exclusive repository of Allah's secrets is derogatory to the goodness and all-pervading grace of Allah. The worship of "lords many and gods many" was not confined only to the Pagans. The deification of the son of Mary is put here in a special clause by itself, as it held (and still holds) in its thrall a large portion of civilized humanity. Cf. 6:100.
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Chapter 13 - The Thunder
36. Those to whom We have given the Book rejoice at what hath been revealed unto thee: but there are among the clans those who reject a part thereof. Say: "I am commanded to worship Allah, and not to join partners with Him. Unto Him do I call, and unto Him is my return."
C36. The Book: in a general sense, Revelation. "Those to whom the Book hath been given" are both; - the People of the Book of previous revelations, who study the new Revelation in Arabic without prejudice and find in it confirmation of what their ancestors had received and believed in it, and - the Muslims who receive the Quran with such joy. Ahzab (plural of hizb: parties, sects, troops, clans. The reference may be to the clans mentioned in 33:20 and 22 (that whole Surah is called Ahzab). But we can understand it in a perfectly general sense. Among all sections of the people there are persons who would receive a portion of Allah's truth but reject whatever does not suit them or fall in with their selfish aims or vain desires. The proper answer to them is: Surely, Allah's command is universal, -to worship and serve Him and refuse to bend the knee to any other; the man of God finds his staff and support in it; but he must invite all to share in its blessings; it came from  Allah, and to Allah shall we all return.
Chapter 16 - The Bee
43. And before thee We sent none but men, to whom We granted inspiration: if ye realize this not, ask of those who possess the Message.
44. (We sent them) with Clear Signs and Scriptures; and We have sent down unto thee (also) the Message; that thou mayest explain clearly to men what is sent for them, and that they may give thought.
C43-44. Allah's prophets were always men, not angels; and their distinction was the inspiration they received. If the Pagan Arabs, who were ignorant of religious and other history, wondered how a man from among themselves could receive inspiration and bring a Message from Allah, let them ask the Jews, who had also received Allah's Message earlier through Moses, whether Moses was a man, or an angel, or a god. They would learn that Moses was a man like themselves, but inspired by Allah. "Those who possess the Message" may also mean any men of Wisdom, who were qualified to have an opinion in such matters. As the People of the Book had received  "Clear Signs" and inspired Books before, so also Allah's Message came to the Prophet Muhammad through the Quran, which superseded the earlier revelations, already corrupted in the hands of their followers. (R).

Chapter 17 - The Night Journey

1. Glory to (Allah) Who did take His Servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).
C1. The reference is to the Isra' for which see the Introduction to this Surah. Masjid is a place of prayer: here it refers to the Ka'bah at Makkah. It had not yet been cleared of its idols and rededicated exclusively to the One True God. It was symbolical of the new Message which was being given to mankind. C2168. The Farthest Mosque must refer to the site of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem on the hill of Moriah, at or near which stands the Dome of the Rock, called also the Mosque of Hadhrat 'Umar. This and the Mosque known as the Farthest Mosque (Masjid-ul-Aqsa) were completed by the Amir 'Abd Allah Malik in A.H. 68. Farthest, because it was the place of worship farthest west which was known to the Arabs in the time of the holy Prophet: it was a sacred place to both Jews and Christians, but the Christians then had the upper hand, as it was included in the Byzantine (Roman) Empire, which maintained a Patriarch at Jerusalem. The chief dates in connection with the Temple are: - it was finished by Solomon about B.C. 1004; - destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar about 586 B.C.; - rebuilt under Ezra and Nehemiah about 515 B.C.; - turned into a heathen idol-temple by one of Alexander's successors, Antiochus Epiphanes, 167 B.C.; - restored by Herod, B.C. 17 to A.D. 29; - and completely razed to the ground by the Emperor Titus in A.D. 70. These ups and downs are among the greater Signs in religious history. Allah's knowledge comprehends all things, without any curtain of Time or any separation of Space. He can therefore see and hear all things, and the Mi'raj was a reflection of this knowledge. In this and the subsequent verses, the reference to Allah is generally in the first person and plural. But in the first and the last clause of this verse it is in the third person singular:  "Glory to Allah, Who did take His Servant ...... ; "He is the One ......." In each of these two instances, the clause expresses the point of view of Allah's creatures, who glorify Him, and whose hearing and seeing are ordinarily so limited that they can do nothing but glorify Him when one of His creatures is raised up to hear and see the Signs. It is they who glorify Him. (R).
2. We gave Moses the Book, and made it a Guide to the Children of Israel, (commanding): "Take not other than Me as Disposer of (your) affairs."
C2. The Book: the revelation that was given to Moses. It was there clearly laid down that those who followed Moses must consider Allah as the Only God. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me; thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image ...... thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God .... ;" etc. (Exod. 20:3-5). These are the words of the English Bible. As a matter of fact the spirit of the Mosaic teaching went further. It referred all things to the Providence of Allah: Allah is the Disposer of all affairs, and we are to look to none but Him. This is Islam, and the Mi'raj showed that it was the teaching of Allah from the most ancient times, and yet it was violated by the very people who claimed to be its custodians. Note the transition from "We" in the first clause to "Me" in the second clause. - The first clause refers to the majesty of Allah as the Heavenly King; - the second clause refers to His personal interest in all our affairs.
3. O ye that are sprung from those whom We carried (in the Ark) with Noah! Verily he was a devotee most grateful.
4. And We decreed for the Children of Israel in the Book, that twice would they do mischief on the earth and be elated with mighty arrogance (and twice would they be punished)!
C3-4. After the Deluge of the time of Noah the only descendants of Noah were those who were saved in the Ark with him. They had special reason to celebrate the praises of Allah. But they relapsed into idolatry, sin, and abominations. They are reminded of the true and sincere devotion of Noah himself, as contrasted with the unworthiness of Noah's descendants, especially the Children of Israel. The Book is the revelation given to the Children of Israel. Here it seems to refer to the burning words of Prophets like Isaiah. For example, see Isaiah, chap, 24. or Isaiah 5:20-30, or Isaiah 3:16-26. What are the two occasions referred to? It may be that  "twice" is a figure of speech for "more than once", "often". Or it may be that the two occasions refer to; - the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C., when the Jews were carried off into captivity, - and the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in A.D. 70, after which the Temple was never re-built. See n. 2168 above. On both occasions it was a judgment of Allah for the sins of the Jews, their backslidings, and their arrogance.

Chapter 19 - Mary
Introduction and Summary
The spiritual growth of man as an individual soul having been explained in Surah 17 as beginning with the first principles of moral conduct and in Surah 18 as being dependent upon our realization of the brevity and mystery of this life and the true use of power as in the story of Dhul al Qarnayn, we now pass on the story of individual Messengers of Allah in their personal relations with their environment: - Yahya with his father Zakariya, -Jesus with his mother Mary: - Abraham with his unbelieving father, - Moses with his brother Aaron,- Ismail with his family, - and Idris in the high station to which he was called. Seeing how these great ones fitted into the scheme of life, man is condemned for his want of faith, or for degrading his faith to superstition, and warned of the Hereafter. In chronology, it was revealed before the first resort of the batch of Muslims to Abyssinia, say seven years before Hijrah. Summery- Zakariya was anxious to have an heir to carry on Allah's work in a world of unrighteousness, and Yahya was given to him (19:1-15, and C. 138). Mary the mother of Jesus was maligned by her people, but Jesus comforted her and was good to her (19:16-40,  and C. 139). Abraham was persecuted for his Faith by his people, including his unbelieving father, but he withdrew from them,  and was blessed: Moses was helped by his brother Aaron, Ismail brought up his family in piety: and Idris was truthful and pious in a high station: they showed the way: yet men will not learn the good of life (19:41-65, and C. 140). Man should not disbelieve in the Hereafter, nor sully his faith by false notions about Allah (19:66-98, and C. 141).
(The running Commentary, in Rhythmic Prose)(19:1-15)
Men of God show their qualities, In their private relationships as much. As in their public ministry. Zakariya Was anxious, in a world of unrighteousness. To find a successor to continue his godly Errand. He was given a son, Yahya, Who heralded Jesus, and lived a life Of wisdom, gentle love, and purity.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
1. Káf. Há. Yá. Àin. Sád.
C1. This is the only Surah which begins with these five Abbreviated Letters, Kaf Ha Ya 'Ayn Sad. For Abbreviated Letters generally, see Appendix 1. As stated in my note 25, such Letters are Symbols of which the true meaning is known to Allah alone. We should not be dogmatic about any conjectures that we make. According to the interpretation of the last letter Sad, suggested in n. 989 to 7:1, I should be disposed to accept Sad with the meaning of Qasas, i.e. stories of the Prophets. The main figures referred to here are: - Zakariya, - Yahya, -Maryam, - ‘Isa(Jesus), and -Ibrahim: the others are mentioned but incidentally. The strong letter -         in ZaKariya is K; - in IbraHim, H; - in YahYa and perhaps MarYam, Y; and - in ‘Isa – ‘A ((‘Ayn). - H also comes in Harun (Aaron), and - the Arabic Ya’  comes in all the names including Ismail and Idris. I offer this suggestion with some difference. The suggestion of the Tafsir Kabir is that the letters stand for attributes of Allah; - K for Kafi (the One sufficient in Himself); - H for Hadi (He who guides); - Y for Yad (Hand as symbol of Power and Authority; Cf. 48:10. “The Hand of Allah is above their hands”); - ‘A for Alim (the All Knowing); and - S for Sadiq (The True One).
2. (This is) a mention of the Mercy of thy Lord to His servant Zakariya.
C2. The Mercy of Allah to Zakariya was shown in many ways: - in the acceptance of his prayer; - in bestowing a son like Yahya; and - in the love between father and son, in addition to the work which Yahya did as Allah's Messenger for the world. Cf. 3:38-41 and notes. There the public ministry was the point stressed; here the beautiful relations between the son and the father.
3. Behold! he cried to his Lord in secret,
C3. In secret: because he feared that his own family and relatives were going wrong (19:5), and he wanted to keep the lamp of Allah burning bright. He could not very well mention the fear about his colleagues (who were his relations) in public.
4. Praying: "O my Lord! infirm indeed are my bones, and the hair of my head doth glisten with gray: but never am I unblest, O my Lord, in my prayer to Thee!
C4. This preface shows the fervent faith of Zakariya. Zakariya was a prophet of the Most High Allah. His office was in the Temple, and his relatives were his colleagues. But he found in them no true spirit of the service of Allah and man. He was filled with anxiety as to who woulduphold the godly ideas he had in mind, which were strange to his worldly colleagues.
5. "Now I fear (what) my relatives (and colleagues) (will do) after me: but my wife is barren: so give me an heir as from Thyself,-
C5. His was not merely a desire for a son. If it had been, he would have prayed much earlier in his life, when he was a young man. He was too full of true piety to put merely selfish things into his prayers. But here was a public need, in the service of the Lord. He was too old, but could he perhaps adopt a child - who would be an heir "as from Allah?" (See n. 380 to 3:38).
6. "(One that) will (truly) inherit me, and inherit the posterity of Jacob; and make him, O my Lord! one with whom Thou art well-pleased!"
7. (His prayer was answered): "O Zakariya! We give thee good news of a son: His name shall be Yahyá: (John)on none by that name have We conferred distinction before."
C6-7. It is true that an heir inherits property, but his higher duty is to represent in everything the personality of him from whom he inherits. It is doubtful whether Zakariya had any worldly property. But he had character and virtue, as a man of God, and this he wanted to transmit to his heir as his most precious possession. It was almost the most precious possession of the posterity of Jacob. The people around him had fallen away from Allah's Message. Could his heir, like him, try and renew it? This was John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus. In accordance with his father's prayer he, and Jesus for whom he prepared the way, renewed the Message of Allah, which had been corrupted and lost among the Israelites. The Arabic form Yahya suggests "Life". The Hebrew form is Johanan, which means "Jehovah has been Gracious". Cf. Hananan in verse 13 below. It does not mean that the name was given for the first time, for we read of a Johanan the son of Careah in 4 Kings, 25:23, an otherwise obscure man. It means that Allah had, for the first time, called one of His elect by that name.
8. He said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son, when my wife is barren and I have grown quite decrepit from old age?"
9. He said: "So (it will be) thy Lord saith, 'That is easy for Me: I did indeed create thee before, when thou hadst been nothing!' "
C8-9. Who is the "He" in this clause? As I have construed it, following the majority of Commentators, it means the angel who brought the message from Allah. Cf. 19:21 below. But some Commentators construe it to refer to Zakariya. In that case the meaning will be: Zakariya after a little reflection said (in his wonder) "So!", i.e., "Can it really be so? Can I really have a son in my old age?" The speech following." Thy Lord saith," etc., will then be that of the angel-messenger. Every man was nothing just before he was created, i.e., his personality was called into being by Allah. Even if there are material processes in forming the body, in accordance with the laws of nature, the real creative force is the power of Allah. But here there is a subtler meaning. John was the harbinger of Jesus, preparing the way for him; and this sentence also prepares us for the more wonderful birth of Jesus himself, see verse 21 below. Everything is possible with Allah.
10. (Zakariya) said: "O my Lord! give me a Sign." "Thy Sign," was the answer, "Shall be that thou shalt speak to no man for three nights, although thou art not dumb."
C10. The "Sign", was in order to convince Zakariya that the Lord's promise was true, for he had faith; but it was a symbol by which he was to show in his conduct that he was to conform to his new destiny as the father of Yahya who was to come. Yahya was to take up the work, and Zakariya was to be silent, although the latter was sound in body and there was nothing to prevent him from speaking. Compare this verse with 3:41. The variations are interesting. Here it is  "for three nights": there it is "for three days". The meaning is the same, for a day is a period of 24 hours. But the point of view is different in each case. -There it was from the point of view of the Ummah or Congregation, among whom he worked by day; - here the point of view is that of his individual soul, which spent the nights in prayer and praise. Notice again that at the end of the next verse, we have here, "In the morning and the evening", and at the end of 3:41, "In the evening and in the morning" - showing again that the point of view is reversed.
11. So Zakariya came out to his people from him chamber. He told them by signs to celebrate Allah's praises in the morning and in the evening.
12. (To his son came the command): "O John! take hold of the Book with might": and We gave him Wisdom even as a youth,
C11-12. Time passes. The son is born. In this section of the Surah the centre of interest is Yahya, and the instruction is now given to him. 'Keep fast hold of Allah's revelation with all your might': for an unbelieving world had either corrupted or neglected it, and Yahya (John the Baptist) was to prepare the way for, Jesus, who was coming to renew and re-interpret it. Hukm, translated Wisdom, implies something more than Wisdom; it is the Wisdom or Judgment that is entitled to judge and command, as in the matter of denouncing sin.
13. And pity (for all creatures) as from Us, and purity: He was devout,
C13. John the Baptist did not live long. He was imprisoned by Herod, the tetrarch (provincial ruler under the Roman Empire), whom he had reproved for his sins, and eventually beheaded at the instigation of the woman with whom Herod was infatuated. But even in his young life, he was granted, - wisdom by Allah, for he boldly denounced sin; - gentle pity and love for all Allah's creatures, for he moved among the humble and lowly, and despised "soft raiment"; - and purity of life, for he renounced the world and lived in the wilderness. All his work he did in his youth. These things showed themselves in his conduct, for he was devout, showing love to Allah and to Allah's creatures, and more particularly to his parents (for we are considering that aspect of his life): this was also shown by the fact that he never used violence, from an attitude of arrogance, nor entertained a spirit of rebellion against divine Law. (R).
14. And kind to his parents, and he was not overbearing or rebellious.
15. So Peace on him the day he was born, the day that he dies, and the day that he will be raised up to life (again)!
C14-15. This is spoken as in the life-time of Yahya. Peace and Allah's Blessings, were on him when he was born; they continue when he is about to die an unjust death at the hands of a tyrant; and they will be specially manifest at the Day of Judgment.            (The running Commentary, in Rhythmic Prose) (19:16-40) Next comes the story of Jesus and his motherMary. She gave birth, as a virgin, to Jesus But her people slandered and abused her As a disagree to her lineage. Her son Did defend her and was kind to her. He Was a servant of Allah, a true Prophet, Blessed in the gifts of Prayer and Charity, But no more than a man to call him The son of Allah is to derogate from Allah's Majesty, for Allah is High above all His Creatures, the Judge of the Last Day.
16. Relate in the Book (the story of) Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place in the East.
C16. Cf. the story of Mary as related in 3:42-51. Here the whole theme is different: it is the personal side of the experiences of the worshippers of Allah in relation to their families or environment. To a private eastern chamber, perhaps in the Temple. She went into privacy, from her people and from people in general, for prayer and devotion. It was in this state of purity that the angel appeared to her in the shape of a man. She thought it was a man. She was frightened, and she adjured him not to invade her privacy.
17. She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects.
18. She said: "I seek refuge from thee to (Allah) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou dost fear Allah."
19. He said: "Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a pure son.
C17-18-19. Allah had destined her to be the mother of the Prophet Jesus Christ, and now had come the time when this should be announced to her.
20. She said: "How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?"
21. He said: "So (it will be): thy Lord saith, 'That is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us'. It is a matter (so) decreed."
C20-21. The mission of Jesus is announced in two ways: 1. he was to be a Sign to men; his wonderful birth and wonderful life were to turn an ungodly world back to Allah; and 2. his mission was similar to that of all prophets of Allah. But the point here is that the Israelites, to whom Jesus was sent, were a hardened race, for whom the message of Jesus was truly a gospel of Mercy. For anything that Allah wishes to create, He says "Be", and it is (Cf. 3:47). There is no interval between His decree and its accomplishment, except such as He imposes by His decree. Time may be only a projection of our own minds in this world of relativity.
22. So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place.
C22. The annunciation and the conception, we may suppose, took place in Nazareth (of Galilee), say 65 miles north of Jerusalem. The delivery took place in Bethlehem about 6 miles south of Jerusalem. It was a remote place, not only with reference to the distance of 71 miles, but because in Bethlehem itself the birth was in an obscure cornerunder a palm-tree, from which perhaps the babe was afterwards removed to a manger in a stable.
23. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree. She cried (in her anguish): "Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten!"
C23. She was but human, and suffered the pangs of an expectant mother, with no one to attend on her. The circumstances being peculiar, she had got far away from her people.
24. But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree): "Grieve not! for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee;
25. "And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree: It will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee.
C24-25. Unseen Providence had seen that she should not suffer from thirst or from hunger. The rivulet provided her with water also for ablutions.
26. "So eat and drink and cool (thine) eye. And if thou dost see any man, say, 'I have vowed a fast to (Allah) Most Gracious, and this day will I enter into no talk with any human being'"
C2478. Cool thine eye: An idiom for "comfort thyself and be glad". The literal meaning should not, however, be lost sight of. She was to cool her eyes (perhaps full of tears) with the fresh water of the rivulet and take comfort that a remarkable babe had been born to her. She was also to look around, and if any one came near, she was to decline all conversation. It was quite true: she was under a vow, and could not talk to any one. She was to decline all conversation with man or woman, on the plea of a vow to Allah. The "fast" here does not mean abstinence literally from eating and drinking. She has just been advised to eat the dates and drink of the stream. It means abstinence from the ordinary household meals, and indeed from human intercourse generally.
27. At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: "O Mary! truly a strange thing has thou brought!
C27. The amazement of the people knew no bounds. In any case they were ready to think the worst of her, as she had disappeared from her kin for some time. But now she comes, shamelessly parading a babe in her arms! How she had disgraced the house of Aaron, the fountain of priesthood! We may suppose that the scene took place in the Temple in Jerusalem, or in Nazareth.
28. "O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!"
29. But she pointed to the babe. They said: "How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?"
30. He said: "I am indeed a servant of Allah. He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet;
31. "And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live;
C28-29-30-31. Aaron the brother of Moses was the first in the line of Israelite priesthood. Mary and her cousin Elisabeth (mother of Yahya) came of a priestly family, and were therefore, "sisters  of Aaron" or daughters of 'Imran (who was Aaron's father). See n. 375 to 3:35. Mary is reminded of her high lineage and the unexceptionable morals of her father and mother. How, they said, she had fallen, and disgraced the name of her progenitors! What could Mary do? How could she explain? Would they, in their censorious mood, accept her explanation? All she could do was to point to the child, who, she knew, was no ordinary child. And the child came to her rescue. By a miracle he spoke, defended his mother, and preached-to an unbelieving audience. See 3:46, and n. 388. There is a parallelism throughout the accounts of Jesus and Yahya, with some variations. Both the parallelisms and the variations are interesting. For instance Jesus declares at the very outset that he is a servant of Allah, thus negativing the false notion that he was Allah or the son of Allah. The greatness of Yahya is described in 19:12-13 in terms that are not applied to Jesus, but the verses 19:14-15 as applied to Yahya are in almost identical terms with those applied to Jesus here (19:32-33). Devotion in Prayer and Charity is a good description of Christ at its best, and pity, purity, and devotion in Yahya are a good description of the ways leading to Prayer and Charity, just as John led to Jesus.
32. "(He hath made me) kind to my mother, and not overbearing or unblest;
C32. Overbearing violence is not only unjust and harmful to those on whom it is practised; it is perhaps even more harmful to the person who practices it, for his soul becomes turbid, unsettled, and ultimately unhappy and wretched,-the state of those in Hell. Here the negative qualities are "not overbearing or miserable." As applied to John they were "not overbearing or rebellious." John bore his punishment from the State without any protest or drawing back.
33. "So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)"!
C33. Cf. 19:15, and n. 2469. Christ was not crucified (4:157). (R).
34. Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute.
C34. The disputations about the nature of Jesus Christ were vain, but also persistent and sanguinary. The modem Christian churches have thrown them into the background, but they would do well to abandon irrational dogmas altogether.
35. It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, "Be", and it is.
C35. Begetting a son is a physical act depending on the needs of men's animal nature. Allah Most High is independent of all needs, and it is derogatory to Him to attribute such an act to Him. It is merely a relic of pagan and anthropomorphic materialist superstitions.
36. Verily Allah is my Lord and your Lord: Him therefore serve ye: this is a Way that is straight.
C36. As opposed to the crooked superstitions which take refuge in all sorts of metaphysical sophistries to prove three in one and one in three. In the Quran there is no crookedness (18:1). Christ's teaching was simple, like his life, but the Christians have made it crooked.
37. But the sects differ among themselves: and woe to the Unbelievers because of the (coming) Judgment of an awful Day!
C37. Judgment. the word in the original is Mashhad, which implies many things: - the time or place where evidence is taken, as in a Court of Judgment; - the time or place where people are produced (to be judged); and -the occasion for such production for the taking of evidence. A very expressive phrase for the Day of Judgment.
38. How plainly will they see and hear, the Day that they will appear before Us! but the unjust today are in error manifest!
C38. Cf. 50:22. and that whole passage, where the Resurrection is described.
39. But warn them of the Day of Distress, when the matter will be determined: for (behold,) they are negligent and they do not believe!
40. It is We Who will inherit the earth, and all beings thereon: to Us will they all be returned.
C39-40. Hasrat: Sighs, sighing, regrets, distress. Cf. 3:180. n. 485; 15:23,  n. 1964, Material property passes from one to another: when one dies, another inherits it. Allah gives life and death, and all that survives after physical death goes back to Allah, the original source of all things. (The running Commentary, in Rhythmic Prose) (19:41-65) Abraham pleaded with loving earnestness With his father to accept the truth of Allah: He was turned out, but he retained His gentleness and was blessed. Moses Asked for the aid of his brother AaronAnd was true to his people. Ismail Was loyal to his father and his God, and was A willing and accepted sacrifice to Allah. Idris in his highest station held fast To truth and integrity. Thus are the righteous Shown true in their personal environment, And inherit the Bliss in which the salutation Is Peace-perfect Peace, the reward of the Constant.
41. (Also) mention in the Book (the story of) Abraham. He was a man of Truth, a prophet.
42. Behold, he said to his father: "O my father! Why worship that which heareth not and seeth not, and can profit thee nothing?
43. "O my father! to me hath come knowledge which hath not reached thee: so follow me: I will guide thee to a Way that is even and straight.
C41-42-43. The reference to Abraham here is in relation to his tender solicitude for his father, who had not received the light of Unity, and to whom Abraham wanted to be a guide and friend. Some are more receptive of Light than others. It is their duty and privilege to guide and point to the right Way. Sawiyan: right, smooth, even; complete, perfect; hence the derived meaning: in 19:10, in full possession of all the physical senses'; in that context, 'not dumb': in 19:17, when the angel appears in the form of a man,'completely like' a man, a man 'in all respects.'
44. "O my father! serve not Satan: for Satan is a rebel against (Allah) Most Gracious.
C44. The rebellion is all the more heinous and inexcusable, considering that Allah is Most Just, Most Merciful, Most Gracious.
45. "O my father! I fear lest a Chastisement afflict thee from (Allah) Most Gracious, so that thou become to Satan a friend."
46. (The father) replied: "Art thou shrinking from my gods, O Abraham? If thou forbear not, I will indeed stone thee: Now get away from me for a good long while!"
C45-46. To entertain a feeling of friendliness, instead of aversion, to Evil, is in itself a degradation of our nature, a Penalty which Allah imposes on our deliberate rejection of the Truth. And the friendliness to Evil also implies the sharing of the outlawry of Evil. Note the gentle persuasive tone of Abraham in his speeches in 19:42-45 (for we may suppose those sentences to sum up a long course of arguments) and in 19:47-48, contrasted with the brusque and repellent tone of the father's reply in this verse. The one was the outcome of the true Light which had come to Abraham from Allah, as the other was the outcome of Pagan arrogance and the worship of brute force. The spiritual lesson from this episode of Abraham's life may be stated in four propositions: - the pious son is dutiful to his father and wishes him well in all things, material and spiritual, - if the father refuses Allah's Light, the son will do his utmost to bring such Light to the father; - having received the Light, the son will never renounce that Light, even if he has to forfeit his father's love and renounce his home; - even if the father repels him and turns him out, his answer will be a soft answer, full of love and forgiveness on the one hand, but firmness on behalf of Truth on the other.
47. Abraham said: "Peace be on thee: I will pray to my Lord for thy forgiveness: for He is to me Most Gracious.
48. "And I will turn away from you (all) and from those whom ye invoke besides Allah. I will call on my Lord: perhaps, by my prayer to my Lord, I shall be not unblest."
C47-48. Cf. 9:114. where this promise of Abraham to pray for his father is referred to, and its limitations pointed out. Abraham left his father and the home of his fathers (Ur of the Chaldees) and never returned. He left because he was turned out, and because it was not possible for him to make any compromise with what was false in religion. In return for abuse, he spoke gentle words. And he expressed his fervent hope that at least he (Abraham) would have Allah's blessing in reply to his prayers. Here was a prefigurement of another Hijrah many centuries later! In both cases the prayer was abundantly fulfilled.
49. When he had turned away from them and from those whom they worshipped besides Allah, We bestowed on him Isaac and Jacob, and each one of them We made a prophet.
C49. Isaac and Isaac's son Jacob are mentioned here as carrying on one line of Abraham's traditions. The other line was carried on by Isma'il, who is mentioned independently five verses lower down, as his line got special honour in the Holy Prophet of Islam. That is why his mention comes after that of Moses. Cf. 21:72.
50. And We bestowed of Our Mercy on them, and We granted them lofty honor on the tongue of truth.
C50. Abraham and his son and grandson Isaac and Jacob, and their fine, maintained the banner of Allah's truth for many generations, and they won deservedlyhigh praise-the praise of truth-on the tongues of men. Abraham prayed that he should be praised by the tongue of truth among men to come in later ages: 26:84. Ordinary praise may mean nothing: it may be due to selfish flattery on the part of others or artful management by the person praised. Praise on the tongue of sincere truth is praise indeed!
51. Also mention in the Book (the story of) Moses: for he was specially chosen, and he was a messenger (and) a prophet.
C2503. Moses was; - especially chosen, and therefore prepared and instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, in order that he might free his people from Egyptian bondage; there may also be a reference to Moses' title of Kalim Allah, the one to whom Allah spoke without the intervention of angels: see 4:164, and n. 670; - He was a prophet (nabi), in that he received inspiration; and - he was a messenger (rasul) in that he had a Book of Revelation, and an Ummah or organized Community, for which he instituted laws. (R).
52. And We called him from the right side of Mount (Sinai), and made him draw near to Us, for converse in secret.
C52. The incident here I think refers to the incidents described more fully in 20:9-36; a reference may also be made to Exod. 3:1-18 and 4:1-17. The time is when Moses (with his family) was traveling and grazing the flocks of his father-in-law Jethro, just before he got his commission from Allah. The place is somewhere near Mount Sinai (Jabal Musa). Moses sees a Fire in the distance, but when he goes there, he hears a voice that tells him it is sacred ground. Allah asked him to put off his shoes and to draw near, and when he went near, great mysteries were revealed to him. He was given his commission, and his brother Aaron was given to him to go with him and aid him. It is after that, that he and Aaron went and faced Pharaoh in Egypt, as narrated in 7:103-144, etc. The right side of the mountain may mean that Moses heard the voice from the right side of the mountain as he faced it; or it may have the figurative meaning of "right"in Arabic, i.e., the side which was blessed or sacred ground. (R).
53. And, out of Our Mercy, We gave him his brother Aaron, (also) a prophet.
C53. Moses was diffident, and reluctant to go to Pharaoh as he had an impediment in his tongue, and he asked that his brother Aaron should be associated with him in his mission. Allah in His Mercy granted his request; 20:25-36.
54. Also mention in the Book (the story of) Ismail: He was (strictly) true to what he promised, and he was a messenger (and) a prophet.
C54.  Isma'il was Dhabih Allah i.e., the chosen sacrifice for Allah in Muslim tradition. When Abraham told him of the sacrifice, he voluntarily offered himself for it, and never flinched from his promise, until the sacrifice was redeemed by the substitution of a ram under Allah's commands. He was the fountain-head of the Arabian Ummah, and in his posterity came the Prophet of Allah. The Ummah and the Book of Islam reflect back the prophethood on Isma'il.
55. He used to enjoin on his people prayer and charity, and he was most acceptable in the sight of his Lord.
C55. An acceptable sacrifice: see last note.
56. Also mention in the Book Idrís: he was a man of truth (and sincerity), (and) a prophet:
57. And We raised him to a lofty station.
58. Those were some of the prophets on whom Allah did bestow His Grace,- of the posterity of Adam, and of those who We carried (in the Ark) with Noah, and of the posterity of Abraham and Israel of those whom We guided and chose. Whenever the Signs of (Allah) Most Gracious were rehearsed to them, they would fall down in prostrate adoration and in tears.
C56-57-58. Idris is mentioned twice in the Quran, viz.; here and in 21:85, where he is mentioned among those who patiently persevered. His identification with the Biblical Enoch, who "'walked with God' (Gen. 5:21-24), may or may not be correct. Nor are we justified in interpreting verse 57 here as meaning the same thing as in Gen. 5:24 ("God took him"), that he was taken up without passing through the portals of death. All we are told is that he was a man of truth and sincerity, and a prophet, and that he had a high position among his people. It is this point which brings him in the series of men just mentioned; he kept himself in touch with his people, and was honoured among them. Spiritual progress need not cut us off from our people, for we have to help and guide them. He kept to truth and piety in the highest station. The earlier generations are grouped into three epochs from a religious point of view: - from Adam to Noah, - from Noah to Abraham, and - from Abraham to an indefinite time, say to the time when the Message of Allah was corrupted and the need arose for the final Messenger of Unity and Truth. Israel is another name for Jacob. The original is in the Aorist tense, implying that the "Posterity" alluded to includes not only the messengers but their worthy followers who are true to Allah and uphold His standard.
59. But after them there followed a posterity who missed prayers and followed after lusts soon, then, will they face Destruction,-
C59. This selfish godless posterity gains the upper hand at certain times, but even then there is always a minority who see the error of their ways, repent and believe, and live righteous lives. They are not penalized in the Hereafter because they were associated with the ungodly in time. They reap the full reward of their faith and righteousness.
60. Except those who repent and believe, and work righteousness: for these will enter the Garden and will not be wronged in the least,-
61. Gardens of Eternity, those which (Allah) Most Gracious has promised to His servants in the Unseen: for His promise must (necessarily) come to pass.
62. They will not there hear any vain discourse, but only salutations of Peace: And they will have therein their sustenance, morning and evening.
C60-61-62. Salam, translated  "Peace", has a much wide signification. It includes; - a sense of security and permanence, which is unknown in this life; - soundness, freedom from defects, perfection as in the word salim; - preservation, salvation, deliverance, as in the word sallama, - salutation, accord with those around us; - resignation, in the sense that we are satisfied and not discontented; - besides the ordinary meaning of Peace, i.e., freedom from any jarring element. All these shades of meaning are implied in the word Islam. (R). C2513. Rizq: literally sustenance or means of subsistence, the term covers all the means of perfect satisfaction of body and soul. Morning and evening, i.e., early and late, all the time, always. (R).
63. Such is the Garden which We give as an inheritance to those of Our servants who guard against evil.
64. (The angels say:) "We descend not but by command of thy Lord: to Him belongeth what is before us and what is behind us, and what is between: and thy Lord never doth forget,-
65. "Lord of the heavens and of the earth, and of all that is between them; so worship Him, and be constant and patient in His worship: knowest thou of any who is worthy of the same Name as He?"
C63-64-65. We are apt to be impatient of the evils we see around us. We may give of our best service to Allah, and yet see no results. In our human short-sightedness we may complain within ourselves. But we must not be impatient. The angels of Grace come not haphazard, but by command of Allah according to His Universal Will and Purpose. Allah does not forget. If things are delayed, it is in accordance with a wise providence, which cares for all. Our plain duty is to be patient and constant in His service. (R). The more we taste of the truth and mystery of life, the more do we realise that there is no one to be mentioned in the same breath as Allah. He is above all names. But when we think of His beautiful qualities, and picture them to ourselves by names which give us some idea of Him, we can searchthe whole wide world of our imagination, and we shall not find another to be compared with Him in name or quality. He is the One: praise be to Him! (The running Commentary, in Rhythmic Prose) (19:66-98) Why should man disbelieve in the Hereafter? We all must pass through the fire of temptation But Allah Most Gracious will save us If we accept Him and do right Sin May have its respite, but must run To its own destruction. We must not Dishonour Allah by holding false And monstrous ideas of Him. Glory To Him that He cares for all His creatures.
66. Man says: "What! When I am dead, shall I then be raised up alive?"
67. But does not man call to mind that We created him before out of nothing?
68. So, by thy Lord, without doubt, We shall gather them together, and (also) the Satans (with them); then shall We bring them forth on their knees round about Hell;
C66-67-68. The disbelief in a future life is not merely a philosophic doubt, but a warped will, a disingenuous obstinacy in face of our inner spiritual instincts and experiences. We were nothing before. Cannot the same Allah, Who created us out of nothing also continue our personality? But if we refuse to accept His light and guidance,  our state will grow worse and worse. We shall be deprived of His grace. We shall be herded with Satan. In utter humiliation we shall be faced with all theconsequences of our refusal of Truth. Round about Hell: There are many ways leading to evil, and people get to it from all round. Hence the mention of the seven Gates to Hell: see 15:44. and n. 1977. (R).
69. Then shall We certainly drag out from every sect all those who were worst in obstinate rebellion against (Allah) Most Gracious.
70. And certainly We know best those who are most worthy of being burned therein.
71. Not one of you but will pass over it: this is, with thy Lord, a Decree which must be accomplished.
72. But We shall save those who guarded against evil, and We shall leave the wrong-doers therein, (humbled) to their knees.
73. When Our Clear Signs are rehearsed to them, the Unbelievers say to those who believe, "Which of the two sides is best in point of position and fairer in assembly?"
C69-70-71-72-73. Three interpretations are possible, 1. The general interpretation is that every person must pass through or by or over the Fire. Those who have had Taqwa (see.  n. 26 to 2:2) will be saved by Allah's Mercy, while unrepentant sinners will suffer the torments in ignominy, 2. If we refer the pronoun "you" to those "in obstinate rebellion" in verse 69 above, both leaders and followers in sin, this verse only applies to the wicked, 3. Some refer this verse to the Bridge over Hell, the Bridge Sirat, over which all must pass to their final Destiny. This Bridge is not mentioned in the Quran.(R). The Unbelievers may, for a time, make a better show in worldly position, or in people's assemblages where things are judged by the counting of heads. But Truth must prevail even in this world, and ultimately the positions must be reversed.
74. But how many (countless) generations before them have We destroyed, who were even better in equipment and in glitter to the eye?
75. Say: "Whoever goes astray, (Allah) Most Gracious extends (the rope) to them, until, when they see the warning of Allah (being fulfilled) - either in punishment or in (the approach of) the Hour,- they will at length realize who is worst in position, and (who) weakest in forces!
76. "And Allah doth advance in guidance those who seek guidance: and the things that endure, Good Deeds, are best in the sight of thy Lord, as rewards, and best in respect of (their) eventual return."
C74-75-76. Allah's warning is that every evil deed must have its punishment, and that there will be a Hereafter, the Day of Judgment, or the Hour, as it is frequently called. The punishment of evil often begins in this very life. For instance, over-indulgence and excesses of all kinds bring on their Nemesis quite soon in this very life. But some subtler forms of selfishness and sin will be punished as every evil will be punished-in its own good time, as the Hour approaches. In either case, the arrogant boasting sinners will realise that their taunt-who is best in position and in forces? (19:73)-is turned against themselves. These lines are the same as in 18:46 (second clause), (where see n. 2387), except that the word maradd (eventual returns) is here substituted for amal (hope). The meaning is practically the same: but "hope" is more appropriate in the passage dealing generally with this world's goods, and  "eventual returns" in the passage dealing with the sinner's specific investments and commitments in worldly position and organized cliques.
77. Hast thou then seen the (sort of) man who rejects Our Signs, yet says: "I shall certainly be given wealth and children?"
C77. Besides the man who boasts of wealth and power in actual possession, there is a type of man who boasts of getting them in the future and builds his worldly hopes thereon. Is he sure? He denies Allah, and His goodness and Mercy. But all good is in the hands of Allah. Can such a man then bind Allah to bless him when he rejects faith in Allah? Or does he pretend that he has penetrated to the mysteries of the future? For no man can tell what the future holds for him.
78. Has he penetrated to the Unseen, or has he taken a contract with the Most Gracious?
79. Nay! We shall record what he says, and We shall add and add to his punishment.
C78-79. Such a man deserves double punishment,- for rejecting Allah, and - for his blasphemies with His Holy Name.
80. To Us shall return all that he talks of and he shall appear before Us bare and alone.
C80. Literally, "We shall inherit", Cf. 19:40. Even if the man had property and power, it must go back to the Source of all things, and the man must appear before the Judgment-seat, alone and unaccompanied, stripped of all the things from which he expected so much!
81. And they have taken (for worship) gods other than Allah, to give them power and glory!
C81. 'Izz: exalted rank, glory, power, might, the ability to impose one's will or to carry out one's will.
82. Instead, they shall reject their worship, and become adversaries against them.
C82. Cf. 10:28-30, where the idols deny that they knew anything of their worship, and leave their worshippers in the lurch; and 5:119, where Jesus denies that he asked for worship, and leaves his false worshippers to the punishment of Allah.
83. Seest thou not that We have set the Satans on against the Unbelievers, to incite them with fury?
C83. Under the laws instituted by Allah, when evil reaches a certain stage of rebellion and defiance, it is left to gather momentum and to rush with fury to its owndestruction. It is given a certain amount of respite, as a last chance: but failing repentance, its days are numbered. The godly therefore should not worry themselves over the apparent worldly success of evil, but should get on with their own duties in a spirit of trust in Allah.
84. So make no haste against them, for We but count out to them a (limited) number (of days).
85. The day We shall gather the righteous to (Allah) Most Gracious, like a band (presented before a king for honors,)
86. And We shall drive the sinners to Hell, (like thirsty cattle driven down to water,-)
C84-85-86. Note the contrast between the saved and the doomed. - The one march with dignity like honoured ones before a king, - and the other rush in anguish to their punishment like a herd of cattle driven down by thirst to their watering place. Note the metaphor of the water. They rush madly for water but are plunged into the Fire!
87. None shall have the power of intercession, but such a one as has received permission (or promise) from (Allah) Most Gracious.
88. They say: "The Most Gracious has begotten a son!"
89. Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous!
C87-88-89. The belief in Allah begetting a son is not a question merely of words or of speculative thought. It is a stupendous blasphemy against Allah. It lowers Allah to the level of an animal. If combined with the doctrine of vicarious atonement, it amounts to a negation of Allah's justice and man's personal responsibility. It is destructive of all moral and spiritual order, and is condemned in the strongest possible terms.
90. At it the skies are about to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin,
91. That they attributed a son for the Most Gracious.
92. For it is not consonant with the majesty of the Most Gracious that He should beget a son.
C90-91-92. This basic principle was laid down early in the argument (19:35). It was illustrated by a reference to the personal history of many messengers, including Jesus himself, who behaved justly as men to their kith and kin and humbly served Allah. The evil results of such superstitions were pointed out in the case of many previous generations which went to their ruin by dishonouring Allah. And the argument is now rounded off towards the close of the Surah.
93. Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come to the Most Gracious as a servant.
94. He does take an account of them (all), and hath numbered them (all) exactly.
C93-94. Allah has no sons or favorites or parasites, such as we associate with human beings. On the other hand every creature of His gets His love, and His cherishing care. Everyone of them, however humble, is individually marked before His Throne of Justice and Mercy, and will stand before Him on his own deserts.
95. And everyone of them will come to Him singly on the Day of Judgment.
96. On those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, will the Most Gracious bestow love.
C95-96. His own love, and the love of man's fellowcreatures, in this world and in the Hereafter. Goodness breeds love and peace, and sin breeds hatred and contention.
97. So have We made the (Qurán) easy in thine own tongue, that with it thou mayest give Glad Tidings to the righteous, and warnings to people given to contention.
98. But how many (countless) generations before them have We destroyed? Canst thou find a single one of them (now) or hear (so much as) a whisper of them?
C97-98. Cf. 19:74, from which this sentence is brought up as a reminiscence, showing the progress of sin, the Guidance which Allah gives to the good, the degradation of blasphemy, the respite granted, and the final End, when personal responsibility will be enforced.
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Chapter 21 - The Prophets
89. And (remember) Zakariya, when he cried to his Lord: "O my Lord! leave me not without offspring, though Thou art the best of inheritors."
C89. See 19:2-15, and 3:38-41. Zakariya was a priest; both he and his wife were devout and punctilious in their duties. They were old, and they had no son. He was troubled in mind, not so much by the vulgar desire to have a son to carry on his line, but because he felt that his people were not unselfishly devout, and there would be no sincere work for Allah unless he could train up someone himself. He was given a son Yahya (John the Baptist), who added to the devout reputation of the family, for he is called "noble, chaste, and a prophet," (3:39). All three, father, mother, and son, were made worthy of each other, and they repelled evil by their devout emulation in virtue. 'It is not that I crave a personal heir to myself: all things go back to Thee, and Thou art the best of inheritors: but I see no one around me sincere enough to carry on my work for Thee; wilt Thou give me one whom I can train?'
90. So We listened to him: and We granted him John: We cured his wife's (barrenness) for him. These (three) were ever quick in doing in good works; they used to call on Us with yearning and awe, and humble themselves before Us.
91. And (remember) her(Mary) who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her(Mary) of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples.
92. Verily, this Ummah of yours is a single Ummah, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore serve Me (and no other).
93. But (later generations) cut off their affair (of unity), one from another: (yet) will they all return to Us.
C90-91-92-93. Aslaha: to improve to mend, to reform, to make better. Here, with reference to Zakariya's wife, the signification is twofold: 1. that her barrenness would be removed, so that she could become a mother; and 2. her spiritual dignity should be raised in becoming the mother of John the Baptist; and by implication his also, in becoming the father of John. Mary the mother of Jesus. Chastity was her special virtue: with a son of virgin birth, she and Jesus became a miracle to all nations. That was the virtue with which they (both Mary and Jesus) resisted evil. Ummah: this is best translated by Brotherhood here. "Community", "race", and "nation." and "people" are words which import other ideas and do not quite correspond to "Ummah".  "Religion" and "Way of Life" are derived meanings, which could be used in other passages, but are less appropriate here. Our attention has been drawn to people of very different temperaments and virtues, widely different in time, race, language, surroundings, history, and work to be performed, but forming the closest brotherhood as being men and women united in the highest service of Allah. They prefigure the final and perfected Brotherhood of Islam. Allah's Message was and ever is one; and His Messengers treated it as one. It is people of narrower views who come later and trade on the earlier names, that break up the Message and the Brotherhood into jarring camps and sects.

Chapter 22 - The Pilgrimage
17. Those who believe (in the Qurán), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians, Christians, Magians, and Polytheists,- Allah will judge between them on the Day of Judgment: for Allah is witness of all things.
C17. For Sabians, see n. 76 to 2:62. They are also referred to in 5:69. In both those passages the Muslims are mentioned with the Jews, Christians, and Sabians, as receiving Allah's protection and mercy. Here, besides the four religions, there is further mention of Magians and Polytheists: it is not said that they would receive Allah's Mercy, but only that Allah will judge between the various forms of faith. (R). This is the only place where the Magians (Majas) are mentioned in the Quran. Their cult is a very ancient one. They consider Fire as the purest and noblest element, and worship it as a fit emblem of Allah. Their location was the Persian and Median uplands and the Mesopotamian valleys, their religion was reformed by Zardusht (date uncertain, about B.C. 600?). Their scripture is the Zend-Avesta, the bible of the Parsis. They were "the Wise men of the East" mentioned in the Gospels. (R).
67. To every People have We appointed rites which they must follow: let them not then dispute with thee on the matter, but do thou invite (them) to thy Lord: for thou art assuredly on the Right Way.
C67. Rites and ceremonies may appear to be an unimportant matter compared with "weightier matters of the Law" and with the higher needs of man's spiritual nature. But they are necessary for social and religious organisation, and their effect on the individual himself is not to be despised. In any case, as they are visible external symbols, they give rise to the most heated controversies. Such controversies are to be deprecated. That does not mean that our rites and ceremonies are to be made light of. Those in Islam rest on the highest social and religious needs of man, and if we are convinced that we are on the Right Way, we should invite all to join us, without entering into controversies about such matters. 'You are only wrangling about matters about which you have no knowledge nor any deep religious feeling. The springs of your conduct are all open before Allah, and He will judge you.'
78. And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive, (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the religion of your father Abraham. It is He Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this (Revelation); that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular prayer, give Zakat, and hold fast to Allah. He is your Protector - the Best to protect and the Best to help!
C78. As far as the striving is concerned with Jihad in the narrow sense, see the limitations in n. 204 to 2:190 and n. 205 to 2:191. But the words are perfectly general and apply to all true and unselfish striving for spiritual good. The Jews were hampered by many restrictions, and their religion was racial. Christianity, as originally preached, was a hermit religion: "sell whatsoever thou hast" (Mark 10:21); "take no thought for the morrow" (Matt. 6:34). Islam, as originally preached, gives freedom and full play to man's faculties of every kind. It is universal,  and claims to date from Adam: father Abraham is mentioned as the great Ancestor of those among whom Islam was first preached (Jews, Christians, and Arab Quraysh) Before: see Abraham's prayer in 2:128. In this revelation: in this very verse, as well as in other places. See 2:143, and notes 143 and 144. As the Prophet is a guide and exemplar among us, so Muslims ought to be exemplars amongst mankind. The best witness to Allah's Truth are those who show its light in their lives.
Chapter 23 - The Believers
49. And We gave Moses the Book, in order that they might receive guidance.
50. And We made the son of Mary and his mother as a Sign: We gave them both shelter on high ground, affording rest and security and furnished with springs.
Chapter 28 - Narration
43. We did reveal to Moses the Book after We had destroyed the earlier generations, (to give) Insight to men, and Guidance and Mercy, that they might receive admonition.
C43. Their habitations and their organisation have been wiped out. What remains is merely a vague story of their existence, a tale that is told. Where their name remains, which is not always the case, it is only a byword, suggesting all that is unstable and ephemeral,-"to point a moral and adorn a tale".
49. Say: "Then bring ye a Book from Allah, which is a better guide than either of them, that I may follow it! (Do), if ye are truthful!"
C49. Here the reference is to the second part of the mission of Moses, that to the Israelites, which the Israelites rendered ineffective by their want of faith. Moses and Aaron had a twofold mission: 1. to Pharaoh and his Court, which failed because of Egyptian arrogance; 2. to the Israelites, for whom the Law was received on Mount Sinai, but they repeatedly rebelled against Allah. In both cases there were miracles ("Clear Signs") and other proofs which showed that they came at Allah's command and were inspired by His authority. Racial arrogance made the Egyptians say, 'These men belong to a race which we hold in subjection as our slaves: how can we accept them as messengers of Allah?
50. But if they hearken not to thee, know that they only follow their own lusts: and who is more astray than one who follow his own lusts, devoid of guidance from Allah? For Allah guides not people given to wrong-doing.
C50. The virgin birth of Jesus was a miracle both for him and his mother. She was falsely accused of unchastity, but the child Jesus triumphantly vindicated her by his own miracles (19:27-33), and showed by his life the meanness of the calumny against his mother. There is no need to look far for the place where mother and child were given secure shelter. It is described in 19:22-26. It was the place to which she withdrew to be delivered when the time drew near. There was a fruitful palm-tree, evidently on high ground, for beneath it flowed a spring. She retired there in seclusion, and she and her child rested there until it was time for her to go to her people with her child.
51. Now have We brought them the, in order that they may receive admonition.
52. Those to whom We sent the Book before this,- they do believe in this (revelation):
53. And when it is recited to them, they say: "We believe therein, for it is the Truth from our Lord: indeed we have been Muslims (bowing to Allah's Will) from before this.
C51-52-53. Literally, "eat". See n. 776 to 5:66. The prophets of Allah do not pose as ascetics, but receive gratefully all Allah's gifts, and show their gratitude by their righteous lives. (R). Cf. 21:92-93. All prophets form one Brotherhood: their message is one, and their religion and teaching are one; they serve the One True God, Who loves and cherishes them; and they owe their duty to Him and Him alone. The people who began to trade on the names of the prophets cut off that unity and made sects; and each sect rejoices in its own narrow doctrine, instead of taking the universal teaching of Unity from Allah. But this sectarian confusion is of man's making. It will last for a time, but the rays of Truth and Unity will finally dissipate it.
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54. Twice will they be given their reward, for that they have persevered, that they avert Evil with Good, and that they spend (in charity) out of what We have given them.
C54. Worldly wealth, power, and influence may be but trials. Let not their possessors think that they are in themselves things that will necessarily bring them happiness.

Chapter 29 - The Spider
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45. Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to thee, and establish regular prayer: for prayer restrains from shameful and evil deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that ye do.
46. And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except in the best way, unless it be with those of them who do wrong: but say, "We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you. Our God and your God is One; and it is to Him we submit (in Islám)."
47. And thus (it is) that We have sent down the Book to thee. So the People of the Book believe therein, as also do some of these (pagan Arabs): and none but Unbelievers reject Our Signs.
C45-46-47. The tilawat of the Quran implies: - rehearsing or reciting it, and publishing it abroad to the world; - reading it to ourselves; - studying it to understand it as it should be studied and understood (2:121); - meditating on it so as to accord our knowledge and life and desires with it. When this is done, it merges into real Prayer, and Prayer purges us of anything (act, plan, thought, motive, words) of which we should be ashamed or which would work injustice to others. Such Prayer passes into our inmost life and being, for then we realize the Presence of Allah, and that is true zikr (or remembrance), for remembrance is the bringing to mind of things as present to us which might otherwise be absent to us. And that is the greatest thing in life. It is subjective to us: it fills our consciousness with Allah. For Allah is in any case always present and knows all. C3472. Mere disputations are futile. In order to achieve our purpose as true standard-bearers for Allah, we shall have to find true common grounds of belief, as stated in the latter part of this verse, and also to show by our urbanity, kindness, sincerity, truth, and genuine anxiety, for the good of others, that we are not cranks or merely seeking selfish or questionable aims. Of course those who are deliberately trying to wrong or injure others will have to be treated firmly, as we are guardians of each other. With them there is little question of finding common ground or exercising patience, until the injury is prevented or stopped. That is, the religion of all true and sincere men of Faith is, or should be, one; and that is the ideal of Islam.

Chapter 33 - The Confederates
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7. And remember We took from the Prophets their Covenant: As from thee: from Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus the son of Mary: We took from them a solemn covenant:
C7. Cf. 3:81. There is an implied covenant on all created things to follow Allah's Law, which is the law of their being; see 5:1. But there is a special implied covenant with all Prophets, strict and solemn, that they shall carry out their mission, proclaim Allah's Truth without fear or favour, and be ever ready in His service in all circumstances. That gives them their position and dignity as explained in the last verse, and their tremendous responsibility in respect of the people whom they come to instruct and lead to the right Path. The men to whom Allah's Truth has been committed for promulgation will be asked in the Hereafter as to how the Truth fared in the world-how it was received, who opposed it, and who assisted it. Like all trustees, they will have to give a full account of their trust. Allah knows all, and it will not add to His information. But it will be evidence for and against those to whom it was preached, so that the responsibility of those who dishonoured it may be duly enforced. The primary custodians of spiritual Truth are the Prophets, but in descending degrees all men to whom Allah's Message comes are included.
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Chapter 34 - The City of Sabá
Chapter 35 - The Originator
Chapter 45 - Bowing the Knee
Chapter 46 - Winding Sand-tracts
Chapter 59 - The Gathering
Chapter 66 - Holding (Something) to be Forbidden
Chapter 74 - One Wrapped Up
Chapter 87 - The Most High
Chapter 98 - The Clear Evidence
Introduction and Summary
This Surah was probably an early Madinah Surah, or possibly a later Makkan Surah. In subject matter it carries forward the argument of the last Surah. The mystic night of revelation is indeed blessed: but those who reject Truth are impervious to Allah's Message, however clear may be the evidence in support of it.
(The running Commentary, in Rhythmic Prose) But those who reject the light of Truth Are obstinate. Why should they persist In evil ways when the Clear Evidence Has come before? The straight Religion Is simple: to adore with a pure heart The God `of Truth, to draw nigh to Him In Prayer sincere, and to serve Our fellow-creatures in charity and love. To do aught else is to fall from Grace. But Faith and Good Life lead straight to the Goal--- The beauteous Gardens of Bliss Eternal, And the mutual good pleasure of the Soul in her Lord.

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31. The Unbelievers say: "We shall neither believe in this scripture nor in (any) that (came) before it." Couldst thou but see when the wrong-doers will be made to stand before their Lord, throwing back the word (of blame) on one another! Those who were deemed weak will say to the arrogant ones: "Had it not been for you, we should certainly have been believers!"
C31. To the Pagans all scriptures are taboo, whether it be the Quran or any Revelation that came before it. The people of the Book despised the Pagans, but in their arrogant assumption of superiority, prevented them, by their example, from accepting the latest and most universal Scripture when it came in the form of the Quran. This relative position, of men who fancy themselves on their knowledge, and men whom they despise but exploit and mislead, always exists on this earth. I have mentioned the people of the Book and the Pagan Arabs merely by way of illustration. One disbelief is as bad as another. There is little to choose between them. But when the final account will be taken, there will be mutual recriminations between the one and the other. The Pagans will naturally say to the people of the Book: "You misled us; you had previous Revelations, and you should have known how Allah sent His Messengers; had it not been for your bad example, we should have received Allah's Revelation and become Believers." Or the humble followers will say this to their leaders, or those less gifted will say to those by whom they were misled and exploited. The dichotomy is between such as pretentiously held their heads high in the world and such as they profited by but held in contempt. In the mutual reproaches between the misleaders and the misled ones, there will be a grain of truth on both sides, and yet both were guilty in not realising their own personal responsibility.
44. But We had not given them Books which they could study, nor sent messengers to them before thee as Warners.
C44. The ancestors (as in the case of the Arabs of the Times of Ignorance) had received no revelation of the dear kind which a messenger and a Book bring them. This is a reason for welcoming, not for rejecting new Truth.
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24. Verily We have sent thee in truth, as a bearer of glad tidings, and as a warner: and there never was a people, without a warner having lived among them (in the past).
25. And if they reject thee, so did their predecessors, to whom came their messengers with Clear Signs, Scriptures, and the Book illuminating.
C24-25. It is Allah Who sends the Revelation. While there is warning in it for the heedless, there is good news for those who listen and repent. The warning always came to all peoples before punishment. The three things here mentioned are also mentioned in 3:184, where I have explained the meaning in n. 490. All spiritual teaching centres round - the evidences of Allah in our lives, - the sublime teaching of Prophets of Allah, and - the rules and laws which guide holy living. (R).
31. That which We have revealed to thee of the Book is the Truth,- confirming what was (revealed) before it: for Allah is assuredly- with respect to His Servants - well acquainted and Fully Observant.
C31. All Revelation is one. The Quran therefore confirms the main and uncorrupted features of previous revelations. It must be so, because Allah is fully cognizant of the needs of every age and people; and therefore His Message, while it meets those needs, must in essence be the same. His Messengers did not meet each other as men; but their contact with Allah through inspiration unified their Message. And He cares for and watches over all men, and He knows fully what their needs are, even better than they know themselves.
32. Then We have given the Book for inheritance to such of Our servants as We have chosen: but there are among them some who wrong their own souls; some who follow a middle course; and some who are, by Allah's leave, foremost in good deeds; that is the highest Grace.
C3919. The force of "then" is that of finality. The Quran is that last Book revealed, Or it may be here to point the contrast between "to thee" in the last verse, i.e., the holy Prophet, in contradistinction to the People of Islam, who inherited the Book after him. The custodians of the Quran after the holy Prophet were the People of Islam. They were chosen for the Book, not in any narrow sense, but in the sense that the Book was given for their age and they were charged to obey it and preserve and propagate it, so that all mankind should receive the Message. But it does not follow that they are all true and faithful to their charge, as indeed we see too painfully around us to-day. Just as mankind was chosen collectively to be Vicegerents and yet some among mankind fell into evil,-even so, some in the house of Islam fail to follow the Light given to them, and thus  "wrong their own souls". But some follow a middle course: in their case "the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak": their intentions are good, but they have much to learn yet of the true Muslim life and Muslim virtues. Then there is a third class: they may not indeed be perfect, but both their intentions and their conduct are sound, and they form an example to other men: they are "foremost" in every good deed. They are so, not by their own merits, but by the Grace of Allah. And they have reached the highest Achievement,- the salvation, which is typified by the various metaphors that follow.
33. Gardens of Eternity will they enter: therein will they be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls; and their garments there will be of silk.
C33. "The Garden" signifies their environment: all they see about them will give them comfort, rest, and satisfaction, and a feeling of beauty and dignity. The jewels and clothes signify their personal external state: here, again, everything will give them a sense of beauty and dignity, comfort, rest, and satisfaction. And finally, most important of all, comes their internal state, where again they will have the same sense of beauty, dignity, comfort, rest, and satisfaction: this is indicated by their words of Praise (verses 34-35). Cf. above. 35:30. Note how beautifully the argument is rounded off. In verse 30 they were told that  "Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Ready to appreciate service". Now they have reached the Goal, and they have found the Promise profoundly true. All their hopes are fulfilled, and their sorrows ended

Chapter 40 - The Believer
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70. Those who reject the Book and the (revelations) with which We sent Our messengers: but soon shall they know,-
C4447. "The Book" may refer to the Holy Quran or to  the fundamental, Revelation the  "Mother of the Book"(13:39), while the Books revealed to the messengers are the definite Revelations that came down to men from time to time.
Chapter 41 – Fussilat
45. We certainly gave Moses the Book aforetime: but disputes arose therein. Had it not been for a Word that went forth before from thy Lord, (their differences) would have been settled between them: but they remained in suspicious disquieting doubt thereon.
C45. Callousness and self-sufficiency in religion are often illustrated by sects like the Pharisees and Sadducees among the Jews. Where there are honest differences of opinion, they can, in Allah's Plan, lead to greater enquiry and emulation. Where the differences are fractious, there is often even then time left for repentance. In any case the Word or Decree of God is for the best good of all, and should not disturb Faith. Cf. 10:19. A good life, of faith and truth, is in our own interests, and the opposite against our own interests. Allah is never unjust.
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Chapter 42 - Consultation
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13. The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah - the which We have sent by inspiration to thee - and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him).
C13. Allah's Religion is the same in essence, whether given, for example, to Noah, Abraham, Moses, or Jesus, or to our holy Prophet. The source of unity is the revelation from Allah. In Islam it is "established" as an institution, and does not remain merely a vague suggestion. Faith, Duty or Religion, is not a matter to dispute about. The formation of sects is against the very principle of Religion and Unity. What we should strive for is steadfastness in duty and faith, and unity among mankind. Unity, unselfishness, love for Allah and man,-these things are inconsistent with selfish aggrandizement, unjust suppression of our fellowcreatures, false worship, and false conduct to our brethren. Hence the Gospel of Unity, though it is in complete accord with the pure pattern after which Allah made us, is yet hard to those who love self and falsehood. But Grace is free to all, and in His wise Plan, He will specially select Teachers to show the Way to humanity, and no one who turns to Him will lack guidance.
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Chapter 43 - Gold Adornments
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57. When (Jesus) the son of Mary is held up as an example, behold, thy people raise a clamor thereat (in ridicule)!
C57. Jesus was a man, and a prophet to the Children of Israel, "though his own received him not." Some of the churches that were founded after him worshipped him as "God" and as "the son of God", as do the Trinitarian churches to the present day. The orthodox churches did so in the time of the holy Prophet. When the doctrine of Unity was renewed, and the false worship of others besides Allah was strictly prohibited, all false gods were condemned, e.g., at 21:98. The pagan Arabs looked upon Jesus as being in the same category as their false gods, and could not see why a foreign cult, or a foreign god, as they viewed him, should be considered better than their own gods or idols. There was no substance in this, but mere mockery, and verbal quibbling. Jesus was one of the greater prophets: he was not a god, nor was he responsible for the quibbling subtleties of the Athanasian Creed.
58. And they say, "Are our gods best, or he?" This they set forth to thee, only by way of disputation: yea, they are a contentious people.
59. He was no more than a servant: We granted Our favor to him, and We made him an example to the Children of Israel.
C58-59. A reference to the limited mission of the prophet Jesus, whose Gospel to the Jews only survives in uncertain fragmentary forms.
60. And if it were Our Will, We could make angels from amongst you, succeeding each other on the earth.
C60. If it were said that the birth of Jesus without a father sets him above other prophets, the creation of angels without either father or mother would set them still higher, especially as angels do not eat and drink and are not subject to physical laws. But angels are not higher.
61. And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way.
62. Let not the Satan hinder you: for he is to you an enemy avowed.
63. When Jesus came with Clear Signs, he said: "Now have I come to you with Wisdom, and in order to make clear to you some of the (points) on which ye dispute: therefore fear Allah and obey me.
64. "For Allah, He is my Lord and your Lord: so worship ye Him: this is a Straight Way."
C61-62-63-64. True wisdom consists in understanding the unity of the Divine purpose and the Unity of the Divine Personality. The man Jesus came to reconcile the jarring sects in Israel, and his true teaching was just the same as that which was expounded in a wider form by Islam. He did not claim to be God: why should not the Christians follow the doctrine of Unity rather than what has become their ancestral and traditional custom? - In verses 26-28 an appeal is made to the pagan Arabs, that Islam is their own religion, the religion of Abraham their ancestor; - in verses 46-54, an appeal is made to the Jews that Islam is the same religion as was taught by Moses, and that they should not allow their leaders to make fools of them; - in verses 57-65 an appeal is made to the Christians that Islam is the same religion as was taught by Jesus, and that they should give up their sectarianattitude and follow the universal religion, which shows the Straight Way.
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16. We did aforetime grant to the Children of Israel the Book the Power of Command, and Prophethood; We gave them, for Sustenance, things good and pure; and We favored them above the nations.
C16. The argument here is similar to that in 44:32-33 but; it is more particularized here. Israel had the Revelation given through Moses, the power of judgment and command through the Kingdom of David and Solomon, and numerous prophetic warnings through such men as Isaiah and Jeremiah. "Sustenance". The Mosaic Law laid down rules of diet, excluding things unclean, and it laid down rules for a pure and honourable life. In this way Israel became the standard-bearer of Allah's law, thus  "favoured above the nations".
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12. And before this, was the Book of Moses as a guide and a mercy: and this Book confirms (it) in the Arabic tongue; to admonish the unjust, and as Glad Tidings to those who do right.
C12. The last revealed Book which was a Code of Life (Shariah) was the Book of Moses; for that of Jesus was not such a Code, but merely moral precepts to sweep away the corruptions that had crept in. The Quran has the same attitude to it as the teaching of Jesus had to the Law. Jesus said (Matt. 5:17): "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." But the corruptions took new forms in Christian Churches: an entirely new Shariah became necessary,and this was provided in Islam.
29. Behold, We turned towards thee a company of Jinns (quietly) listening to the Qurán: when they stood in the presence thereof, they said, "Listen in silence!" When the (reading) was finished, they returned to their people, to warn them.
30. They said, "O our people! We have heard a Book revealed after Moses, confirming what came before it: it guides (men) to the Truth and to a Straight Path.
31. "O our people, hearken to the one who invites (you) to Allah, and believe in him: He will forgive you your faults, and deliver you from a Chastisement Grievous.
C29-30-31. A company of Jinns.  Nafar (company) may mean a group of from three to ten persons. For Jinns, see n. 929 to 6:100. They listened to the reading of the Quran with great respect. The next verse shows that they had heard of the Jewish religion, but they were impressed with the Message of Islam, and they seem to have gone back to their people to share the Good News with them. (R). The one who invites all to Allah is the holy Prophet. He invites us to Allah: if we believe in Allah and His Prophet, Allah will forgive us our sins on our repentance and amendment of our lives, and save us the Penalty of the future life.
Chapter 57 - Iron
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16. Has not the time arrived for the Believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the Truth which has been revealed (to them), and that they should not become like those to whom was given the Book aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors.
C16. Humility and the remembrance of Allah and His Message are never more necessary than in the hour of victory and prosperity. The men immediately referred to are the contemporary Jews and Christians. To each of these Ummahs was given Allah's Revelation, but as time passed, they corrupted it, became arrogant and hard- hearted, and subverted justice, truth, and the purity of Life. But the general lesson is far wider. No one is favoured of Allah except on the score of righteousness. Except on that score, there is no chosen individual or race. There is no blind good fortune or ill fortune. All happens according to the just laws and Will of Allah. But at no time is humility or righteousness more necessary than in the hour of victory or triumph.
26. And We sent Noah and Abraham, and established in their line Prophethood and Revelation: and some of them were on right guidance, but many of them became rebellious transgressors.
C26. Some of them: i.e., of their line, or posterity, or Ummah. When the Book that was given to them became corrupted, many of them followed their own fancies and became transgressors.
27. Then, in their wake, We followed them up with (others of) Our messengers: We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him Compassion and Mercy. But the Monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them: (We commanded) only the seeking for the Good Pleasure of Allah; but that they did not foster as they should have done. Yet We bestowed, on those among them who believed, their (due) reward, but many of them are rebellious transgressors.
C27.  The chief characteristic of the teaching in the Gospels is humility and other- worldliness. The first blessings in the Sermon on the Mount are on "the poor in spirit", "they that mourn", and they that are "meek" (Matt. 5:3-5). Christ's disciples were enjoined to "take no thought for the morrow", and told "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matt. 6:34). They were also commanded "that ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matt. 5:39). These are fragmentary presentments of an imperfect philosophy as seen through monastic eyes. In so far as they represent pity, sympathy with suffering, and deeds of mercy, they represent the spirit of Christ. But Allah's Kingdom requires also courage, resistance to evil, the firmness, law, and discipline which will enforce justice among men. It requires men to mingle with men, so that they can uphold the. standard of Truth, against odds if necessary. These were lost sight of in Monasticism, which was not prescribed by Allah. Allah certainly requires that men shall renounce the idle pleasures of this world, and turn to the Path which leads to Allah's Good Pleasure. But that does not mean gloomy fives, ("they that mourn"), nor perpetual and formal prayers in isolation. Allah's service is done through pure lives in the turmoil of this world. This spirit was lost, or at least not fostered by monastic institutions. On the contrary a great part of the "struggle and striving" for noble lives was suppressed. Many of them lost true Faith, or had their Faith corrupted by superstitions. But those who continued firm in Faith saw the natural development of Religion in Islam. Their previous belief was not a disadvantage to them, but helped them, because they kept it free from false and selfish prejudices. These are the ones who are further addressed at the beginning of verse 28 below. The corruptions in the Christian Church, the hair-splitting disputes, and mutual strife and hatred of sects had become a scandal by the time that the light of Islam came into the world. The pages of Gibbon's great History bear witness. Not only had the religion become void of grace, but the lives of the people, priests and laity, had fallen into great depths of degradation. See remarks in my Appendix V, and the general picture in Kingsley's Hypatia.
28. O ye that believe! Fear Allah, and believe in His Messenger, and He will bestow on you a double portion of His Mercy: He will provide for you a Light by which ye shall walk (straight in your path), and He will forgive you (your past): for Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful.
C28. From the context before (see n. 28 above) and after (see next note), this is held to refer to the Christians and People of the Book who kept their Faith true and undefiled. The double portion refers to the past and the future. As noted in the last note, this passage is addressed to the Christians and the People of the Book, who, when honestly facing the question of the new Revelation in Islam, find in it the fulfilment of previous revelations, and therefore believe in Allah's Messenger Muhammad, and walk by the new light. Their previous merits will be duly recognised, and they will be treated on fully equal terms in the new Ummah. This is their double share, not necessarily more in quantity than that of their brethren in Islam who passed through no other gate, but having a twofold aspect. As this refers to the Christians and the People of the Book, the following saying of Christ in his last days may interest them: "'Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you... While ye have the fight, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them". (John, 12:35-36). The light of Christ's Gospel soon departed; his Church was enveloped in darkness; then came the fight again, in the fuller light of Islam. And they are asked to believe in the light, and to walk in it. Cf. also 57:12. above. Any wrong they may have committed through ignorance or misconceptions in their previous religion will be forgiven them, as they have seen the new light and walk by it.
29. That the People of the Book may know that they have no power whatever 14e over the Grace of Allah, that (His) Grace is (entirely) in His Hand, to bestow it on whomsoever He wills. For Allah is the Lord of Grace abounding.
C29. Let not any race, or people, or community, or group, believe that they have exclusive possession of Allah's Grace, or that they can influence its grant or its withholding. Allah's Grace is free, and entirely controlled by Him, independently of any priests and privileged people. He dispenses it according to His own wise and holy Will and Plan; and to His Grace there is no limit.
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2. It is He Who got out the Unbelievers among the People of the Book from their homes at the first gathering (of the forces). Little did ye think that they would get out: and they thought that their fortresses would defend them from Allah! But the (Wrath of) Allah came to them from quarters from which they little expected (it), and cast terror into their hearts, so that they destroyed their dwellings by their own hands and the hands of the Believers. Take warning, then, O ye with eyes (to see)!
C2. This refers to the Jewish tribe of the Banu Nadir whose intrigues and treachery nearly undid the Muslim cause during the perilous days of the battle of Uhud in Shawwal, A.H. 3. Four months after, in Rabi, 1. A.H. 4 steps were taken against them. They were asked to leave the strategic position which they occupied, about three miles south of Madinah, endangering the very existence of the Ummah in Madinah. At first they demurred, relying on their fortresses and on their secret alliance with the Pagans of Makkah and the Hypocrites of Madinah. But when the Muslim army was gathered to punish them and actually besieged them for some days, their allies stirred not a finger in their aid, and they were wise enough to leave. Most of them joined their brethren in Syria, which they were permitted to do, after being disarmed. Some of them joined their brethren in Khaybar; see 33:27.  That is, without actual hostilities, and the shedding of precious Muslim blood. They had played a double game. Originally they were sworn allies of the Madinah Muslims under the holy Prophet, but they secretly intrigued with the Makkah Pagans under Abu Sufyan and the Madinah Hypocrites. They even tried treacherously to take the life of the Prophet while he was on a visit to them, breaking both the laws of hospitality and their own sworn alliance. They thought the Pagan Quraish of Makkah and the Hypocrites of Madinah would help them, but they did not help them. On the contrary the eleven days siege showed them their own helplessness. Their supplies were cut off; the exigencies of the siege necessitated the destruction of their outlying palm trees; and the unexpected turn in their fortunes disheartened them. The Banu Nadir richly deserved punishment, but their fives were spared, and they were allowed to carry away their goods and chattels. Their hearts were stack with terror and they capitulated. But they laid waste their homes before they left: see next note. Their lives were spared, and they were allowed ten days in which to remove themselves, their families, and such goods as they could carry. In order to leave no habitations for the Muslims they demolished their own houses and laid waste their property, to complete the destruction which the operations of war had already caused at the hands of the besieging force of the Muslims.
Chapter 61 - Battle Array
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6. And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: "O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Taurát (Law) (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad." But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, "This is evident sorcery!"
C6. The mission of Jesus was to his own people, the Jews. Cf. Matt. 10:5-6. See also Matt. 15:24: "I am not sent but to the lost sheep of Israel;" also Matt. 15:26: "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs."  Cf. Matt. 5:17. "Ahmad", or "Muhammad", the Praised One, is almost a translation of the Greek word Periclytos. In the present Gospel of John. 14:16, 15:26, and 16:7, the word  "Comforter" in the English version is for the Greek word "Paracletos", which means "Advocate", "one called to the help of another, a kind friend", rather than "Comforter". Our doctors contend that Paracleots is a corrupt reading for Periclytos, and that in their original saying of Jesus there was a prophecy of our holy Prophet Ahmad by name. Even if we read Paraclete, it would apply to the holy Prophet, who is "a Mercy for all creatures" (21:107) and "most kind and merciful to the Believers" (9:128). See also n. 416 to 3:81. Our holy Prophet was foretold in many ways; and when he came, he showed forth many Clear Signs, for his whole life from beginning to end was one vast miracle. He fought and won against odds. Without learning from men he taught the highest wisdom. He melted hearts that were hard, and he strengthened hearts that were tender and required support. In all his sayings and doings men of discernment could see the working of Allah's hand; yet the ignorant Unbelievers called it all Sorcery!-called that unreal which became the most solid fact of human history!
7. Who doth greater wrong than one who forges falsehood against Allah, even as he is being invited to Islám? And Allah guides not those who do wrong.
C7. It is wrong in any case to uphold falsehoods and debasing superstitions, but it is doubly wrong whenthese are put forward in rivalry or opposition to the light of eternal Unity and Harmony which is Islam. Allah sends His guidance freely, but withdraws His Grace from those who willfully do wrong.
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14. O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of Allah: as said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples, "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the Disciples, "We are Allah's helpers!" then a portion of the Children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved: But We gave power to those who believed against their enemies, and they became the ones that prevailed.
C14. If we seek Allah's help, we must first help Allah's Cause, i.e., dedicate ourselves to Him entirely and without reserve. This was also the teaching of Jesus, as mentioned in this verse. "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Matt. 16:24). . See 3:52, and n. 392; and for the Biblical reference, see the last note. The names of the twelve Disciples will be found in Matt. 10:2-4. C5448. A portion of the Children of Israel-the one that really cared for Truth-believed in Jesus and followed his guidance. But the greater portion of them were hard hearted, and remained in their beaten track of formalism and false racial pride. The majority seemed at first to have the upper hand when they thought they had crucified Jesus and killed his Message. But they were soon brought to their senses. Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus in A.D. 70 and the Jews have been scattered ever since. "The Wandering Jew" has become a bye-word in many literatures. On the other hand, those who followed Jesus permeated the Roman Empire, brought many new races within their circle, and through the Roman Empire, Christianity became the predominant religion of the world until the advent of Islam. So is it promised to the people of Islam: they must prevail if they adhere to the Truth. Badr (A.H. 2) was a landmark against Pagan Arabia; Qadisiya (A.H. 14) and Madain (A.H. 16) against the might of Persia: Yarmuk (A.H. 15) against the might of the Byzantine Empire in Christian Syria; and Heliopolis (A.H. 19) against the same Empire in Christian Egypt and Africa. These were symbols in external events. The moral and spiritual landmarks are less tangible, and more gradual, but none the less real. Mark how the arrogance and power of Priesthood have been quelled; how superstition and a belief in blind Fate have been checked; how the freedom of human individuals has been reconciled with the sanctity of marriage in the law of Divorce; how the civil position of women has been raised; how temperance and sobriety have been identified with religion; what impetus has been given to knowledge and experimental science; and how economic reconstruction has been pioneered by rational schemes for the expenditure and distribution of wealth.
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12. And Mary the daughter of Ìmrán, who guarded her chastity; and We breathed into (her body) of Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His Revelations, and was one of the devout (servants).
C12. 'Imran was traditionally the name of the father of Mary the mother of Jesus: see n. 375 to 3:35. She was one of the purest of women, though the Jews accused her falsely of unchastity:  Cf. 19:27-28. Cf. 21:91. As a virgin she gave birth to Jesus: 19:16-29. In 32:9, it is said of Adam's progeny, man, that Allah "fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him something of His spirit". In 15:29, similar words are used with reference to Adam. The virgin birth should not therefore be supposed to imply that Allah was the father of Jesus in the sense in which Greek mythology makes Zeus the father of Apollo by Latona or of Minos by Europa. And yet that is the doctrine to which the Christian idea of "the only begotten Son of God" leads. Mary had true faith and testified her faith in theprophet Jesus and in his revelation as well as in the revelations which he came to confirm (and to foreshadow). She was of the company of the Devout of all ages. The fact that Qanitin (devout) is not here in the feminine gender implies that the highest spiritual dignity is independent of sex. And so we close the lesson of this Surah, that while sex is a fact of our physical existence, the sexes should act in harmony and cooperation for in the highest spiritual matters we are all one.  "We made her and her son a Sign for all peoples. Verily this Brotherhood of yours is a single Brotherhood and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore serve Me and no other" (21:91-92).
31. And We have set none but angels as Guardians of the Fire; and We have fixed their number only as a trial for Unbelievers,- in order that the People of the Book may arrive at certainty, and the Believers may increase in Faith,- and that no doubts may be left for the People of the Book and the Believers, and that those in whose hearts is a disease and the Unbelievers may say, "What doth Allah intend by this ?" Thus doth Allah leave to stray whom He pleaseth, and guide whom He pleaseth: and none can know the forces of thy Lord, except He and this is no other than a reminder to mankind
C31. Cf. 66:6. There was a great volume of angelology in the religious literature of the People of the Book (i.e., the Jews and Christians) to whom (among others) an appeal is made in this verse. The Essenes, a Jewish brotherhood with highly spiritual ideas; to which perhaps the prophet Jesus himself belonged, had an extensive literature of angelology, In the Midrash also, which was a Jewishschool of exegesis and mystical interpretation, there was much said about angels. The Eastern Christian sects contemporary with the birth of Islam had borrowed and developed many of these ideas, and their mystics owed much to the Gnostics and the Persian apocalyptic systems. In the New Testament the relation of the angels with Fire is referred to more than once. In Rev. 9:11 we have "the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon". In Rev. 14:18 there is an "angel which had power over fire", and in Rev. 16:8 an angel has "power... given unto him to scorch men with fire". In the Old Testament (Daniel 7:9-10) the essence of all angels is fire: thousand thousands of them issued as a fiery strewn from before the Ancient of Days, whose"throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire". The mystic significance of numbers is a favourite theme with some writers, but I lay no. stress on it. In Christian theology the number of the Beast, 666, in Rev. 13:18 has given rise to much controversy, and may refer only to the numerical value of the letters in the name of the Roman Emperor Nero. In our own literature I think that we ought to avoid too much insistence on speculative conjectures. (R). There are four classes of people mentioned here. 1. The Muslims will have their faith increased, because they believe that all revelation is from Allah Most Merciful, and all His forces will work in their favour.  2. The People of the Book, those who had received previous revelations of an analogous character, the Jews and Christians, had numerous sects disputing with each other on minute points of doctrine; but they will now, if they believe, find rest from controversies in a broad understanding of scripture. 3. Those in whose hearts is a disease (see 2:8-10, notes 33-34), the insincere ones, the hypocrites, will only be mystified, because they believe nothing and have rejected the grace and mercy of Allah.  4. The Unbelievers have frankly done the same and must suffer similar consequences. (R). It is a necessary consequence of moral responsibility and freedom of choice in man, that he should be left free to stray if he chooses to do so, in spite of all the warning and the instruction he receives. Allah's channels of warning and instruction-His spiritual forces-are infinite, as are His powers. No man can know them. But this warning or reminder is addressed to all mankind. All things are referred to Allah. But we must not attribute evil to Him. In 4:79 we are expressly told that the good comes from Allah, and the evil from ourselves.
15. And remembers the name of his Guardian-Lord, and prays.
16. Nay (behold), ye prefer the life of this world;
17. But the Hereafter is better and more enduring.
18. And this is in the Books of the earliest (Revelation),-
19. The Books of Abraham and Moses.
C15-16-17-18-19. The law of righteousness and godliness is not a new law, nor are the vanity and short duration of this world preached here for the first time. But spiritual truths have to be renewed and reiterated again and again. No Book of Abraham has come down to us. But the Old Testament recognises that Abraham was a prophet (Gen. 20:7). There is a book in Greek, which has been translated by Mr. G.H. Box, called the Testament of Abraham (published by the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, London, 1927). It seems to be a Greek translation of a Hebrew original. The Greek Text was probably written in the second Christian century, in Egypt, but in its present form it probably goes back only to the 9th or 10th Century. It was popular among the Christians. Perhaps the Jewish Midrash also refers to a Testament of Abraham. The original Revelation of Moses, of which the Present Pentateuch is a surviving recension. See Appendix II. The present Gospels do not come under the definition of the "earliest- Books. Nor could they be called "Books of Jesus': they were written not by him, but about him, and long after his death.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
1. Those who disbelieve, among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, were not going to depart (from their ways) until there should come to them Clear Evidence,-
C1. The People of the Book immediately referred to are the Jews and the Christians, who had received scriptures in the same line of prophecy in which came our holy Prophet. Their scriptures should have prepared them for the advent of the greatest and last of the Prophets. For the Jewish scriptures promised to the Jews, cousins or brethren to the Arabs, a prophet like Moses: "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken" (Deut, 18:15). And Christ promised a Comforter (John. 14:16; 15:26; and 16:7; see my n. 5438 to 56:6) almost by name. The People of the Book fell from the true, straight, and standard religion, into devious ways, and would not come to the true Path until (they said) they were convinced by the arrival of the promised Prophet. But when the promised Prophet came in the person of Muhammad, they rejected him, because they really did not seek for Truth but only followed their own fancies and desires. The Polytheists, the Pagans, had not previously believed in any scriptures. But yet, when clear evidence came to them, they should have believed. Yet they rejected the holy Prophet because they were not really searching for Truth, but were only following their own fancies and desires. The Clear Evidence was the holy Prophet himself, his life, his personality, and his teaching.
2. Messenger from Allah, rehearsing scriptures kept pure and holy:
C1. Cf.  2:151 and Cf. 80:13-16. The argument is that in the grant of the Ka'bah Qiblah, Allah was perfecting religion and fulfilling the prayer for the future made by Abraham. That prayer was threefold:  1. That Makkah should be made a sacred Sanctuary (2:126); 2. that a truly believing (Muslim) nation should be raised, with places of devotion there (2:128); and 3.     that an Apostle should be sent among the Arabs with certain qualities (2:129), which are set out there and again repeated here to complete the argument. At the time this Surah was revealed, there were perhaps only about 42 or 45 Surahs in the hands of the Muslims. But it was a sufficient body of Revelation of high spiritual value, to which the description given here could be applied. It was held in the highest honor; its place in the hearts of Muslims was more exalted than that of anything else; as Allah's Word, it was pure and sacred; and those who transcribed it were men who were honorable, just and pious. The legend that the early Surahs were not carefully written down and preserved in books is a pure invention. The recensions made later in the time of the first and the third Khalifahs were merely to preserve the purity and safeguard the arrangement of the text at a time when the expansion of Islam among non-Arabic-speaking people made such precautions necessary.
3. Wherein are books right and straight.
C3.  Qayyimah: straight, as opposed to crooked; standard as opposed to irregular; definite and permanent, as opposed to casual or temporary. Cf. Cf. 9:6; 12:40; etc.
4. Nor did the People of the Book make schisms, until after there came to them Clear Evidence.
C4.  The responsibility of the People of the Book is greater than that of Pagans, because the People of the Book had been prepared for the standard and straight Religion by the revelations which they had already received. Yet, when the clear evidence came in Islam, they resisted it. And what is this standard and straight Religion, free of all ambiguity, and free of all casual rights and ceremonies?  They are summed up in three eternal principles, as explained in the next verse and the next note.
5. And they have been commanded no more than this: to worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to give Zakat; and that is the Religion Right and Straight.
C5. The three eternal principles of Religion are: 1. sincere devotion to Allah; 2. Prayer and Praise as drawing man nearer to Allah; and 3. the service of Allah's creatures by deeds of practical charity. Hanif: inclined to right opinion, orthodox (in the literal meaning of the Greek words), firm in faith, sound and well-balanced, true.  Perhaps the last word, True, sums up most of the other shades. The Jews, though taught Unity, went after false gods, and the Christians invented the Trinity or borrowed it from Paganism. We go back to pure,  Hanif doctrine of Abraham, to live and die in faith in the One True God.
6. Those who disbelieve, among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein (for aye). They are the worst of creatures.
C6.  To be given the faculty of discrimination between right and wrong, and then to reject truth and right, is the worst folly which a creature endowed with will can commit. It must necessarily bring its own punishment, whether the creature calls himself one of the children of Abraham or one of the redeemed of Christ, or whether he goes by the mere light of nature and reason as a Pagan. Honour in the sight of Allah is not due to race or colour, but to sincere and righteous conduct (49:13).
7. Those who have faith and do righteous deeds,- they are the best of creatures.
C7. Contrast this with the preceding verse. Human beings who live a life of faith and good deed justify the purpose of their probation here. They attain the fulfilment of their highest hopes. (R).
8. Their reward is with Allah. Gardens of Eternity, beneath which rivers flow; they will dwell therein for ever; Allah well pleased with them, and they with Him: all this for such as fear their Lord and Cherisher.
C8.  The Good Pleasure of Allah is the final Bliss of Salvation. The good pleasure is mutual; the truly saved is he whose will has become completely identified with Allah's universal will. (R). The fear of Allah is the fear to offend against Hisholy law, the fear to do anything which is against His holy Will. Such fear is akin to love; for with it dawns the consciousness of Allah's loving-care for all His creatures.



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