Suras 51-63

December 2020

Sura 51. Adh-Dhariyat  (The Winds that Scatter) Mecca

The Title: The name of the chapter comes from the oath found in the first four verses: “By the (winds) that scatter broadcast; and those that lift and bear away heavy weights; and those that flow with ease and gentleness; and those that distribute and apportion by command” ——– Are the winds greater than Allah that he has need to swear by them? —– Allah declares on oath that judgement is coming yet the unbelievers remain suspicious (c/f v 12-14) while the believers are assured they will be safe (v 15-18).

Abraham’s faith and the sign of the destruction of Sodom: Muhammad claims he is in the line of earlier prophets who he believed were called a madman or a magician like himself. Examples of the destruction of unbelievers who rejected the signs of the earlier messengers are cited as Muhammad turns away from his ministry in Mecca. “Has the story reached thee, of the honoured guests of Abraham? Behold, they entered his presence, and said: “Peace!” He said, “Peace!” and thought, “These seem unusual people.” …………… They said, “Fear not,” and they gave him glad tidings of a son endowed with knowledge.  But his wife came forward (laughing) aloud: she smote her forehead and said: “A barren old woman!” They said, “Even so has thy Lord spoken: and He is full of wisdom and knowledge.” (Abraham) said: “And what, O ye Messengers, is your errand (now)?”  They said, “We have been sent to a people in sin; “To bring on them, (a shower of) stones of clay (brimstone),  “Marked as from thy Lord for those who trespass beyond bounds.” Then We evacuated those of the believers who were there, But We found not there any just persons except in one house: And We left there a sign for such as fear the grievous penalty” (v 24-37).

The sign of destruction of Pharaoh: “And in Moses (was another sign): Behold, We sent him to Pharaoh, with authority manifest. But (Pharaoh) turned back with his chiefs, and said, “A sorcerer, or one possessed!” So We took him and his forces, and threw them into the sea; and his was the blame” (v 38-40).

The sign of the destruction of ‘Ad and Thamud: “And in the ‘Ad: Behold, We sent against them the devastating wind: It left nothing whatever that it came up against, but reduced it to ruin and rottenness. And in the Thamud (was another sign): Behold, they were told, “Enjoy (your brief day) for a little while!” but they insolently defied the command of their Lord: So the stunning noise (of an earthquake) seized them, even while they were looking on. Then they could not even stand (on their feet), nor could they help themselves” (v 41-45)

The sign of the destruction of Noah’s people: “So were the people of Noah before them for they wickedly transgressed” (v 46)

Muhammad considers he is like these previous prophets: “Hasten ye then to Allah: I am from Him a warner to you, clear and open! And make not another an object of worship with Allah: I am from Him a warner to you, clear and open! Similarly, no messenger came to the peoples before them, but they said (of him) in like manner, “A sorcerer or one possessed”! (v 50-52)

Muhammad told to withdraw from Mecca: “So turn away from them: not thine is the blame. But teach (thy message) for teaching benefits the believers” (v 54-55). ——— Due to outright rejection by the Meccans Muhammad fled to Medina in A.D.622.

Sura 52. At-Tur (The Mountain) Mecca

The Title, the Oaths and the Punishment: The chapter is probably named from the mention of a mountain in verse 1 “By the Mount” Doom pronounced by oaths: “By the Mount, By a decree inscribed In a scroll unfolded; By the much-frequented fane; By the canopy raised high; And by the ocean filled with swell Verily, the doom of thy Lord will indeed come to pass; There is none can avert it.” (v 1-8)

The God of the Bible swears only by Himself yet in the Quran Allah swears by things less than Himself. Here the ‘the mountain’ could be a place loved and honoured by the Meccan Arabs and therefore appealed to, or it may well refer to Mount Sinai; the ‘scroll unfolded’ is either the book where all men’s actions are recorded or the book of God’s decrees or the law of Moses which was declared at Sinai or even the Quran itself; the ‘frequent fane’ (the frequented house), is generally thought to be the Ka’aba (even while it had 360 idols in it). By all these oaths Allah assures the Qurraish that punishment would descend.

Heaven and Hell: (v 12, 13) Muslim mystics and philosophers after being influenced by Christian thought and western culture believe that these words should not be taken literally. Yet Muhammad’s mind was intensely practical and not in the least given to mysticism for him the punishments of hell and the bliss of heaven were material and no orthodox Muslim attempts to allegorise them.

Judgement of unbelievers: Judgement is coming because the Meccans continue to reject Muhammad. The Qurraish are becoming more violent and plotting against Muhammad. “That day shall they be thrust down to the fire of hell, irresistibly. “This: it will be said, “Is the fire, which ye were wont to deny! “Is this then a fake, or is it ye that do not see? “Burn ye therein: the same is it to you whether ye bear it with patience, or not: Ye but receive the recompense of your deeds.” (v 13-16)

Bliss of the believers: For the encouragement of the discouraged and dispirited believers the chief delight of Paradise are set forth bridal couches, choice wines, and the perfume of musk, robes of silk. The trials of Hell have been earlier set forth in order to terrify their opponents. “As to the righteous, they will be in gardens, and in happiness, Enjoying the (bliss) which their Lord hath bestowed on them, and their Lord shall deliver them from the penalty of the fire. (To them will be said:) “Eat and drink ye, with profit and health, because of your deeds.” They will recline on thrones arranged in ranks; and We shall join them to companions, with beautiful big and lustrous eyes.” (v 17-20, v 28). ————- In respect of the anticipation of sharing a future with the ‘beautiful wide-eyed Huris we must reflect on the matter that Muhammad was living a chaste life at the time of this sura. He was undoubtedly fond of Khadiajah, yet he was subject to her. She was the master, she had raised him from poverty, given him a position, placed him in comparative affluence; but she kept her fortune in her own hands. Even if Muhammad had wanted to take another wife he did not have the necessary dowry. That his moderation then was compulsory seems to some critics evident from the fact that as soon as he was free he gratified his wishes to the full. Two months after the death of Khadijah he was married to Sauda and betrothed to ’Ayesha (Sell).

Muhammad faces ridicule: “Thou art no soothsayer, nor art thou one possessed. Or do they say: “A poet! we await for him some calamity (hatched) by time!” (v 29, 30, c/f v 33)

A plot against Muhammad: “Or do they intend a plot? But those who defy Allah are themselves involved in a plot!” (v 42)

Muhammad to wait patiently for their judgement: “So leave them alone until they encounter that day of theirs, wherein they shall swoon. The day when their plotting will avail them nothing and no help shall be given them……. Now await in patience the command of thy Lord: for verily thou art in Our eyes ………” (v 45-48).

Sura 53. An-Najm (The Star) Mecca

Muhammad asserts that the Quran is not his work but Allah’s: “By the star when it goes down “Your companion is neither astray nor being misled. Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him” (v 1-4). Allah here swears by a star that Muhammad is not deceived and does not speak his own words; the Quran it is claimed is inspiration sent down.

In assessing Muhammad’s character Dr Wherry says “How often do men start out with noble purposes in life only to end their lives in disgrace or infamy! That much of sincerity characterised the conduct of Muhammad cannot be denied. That he enunciated much of what is taught in the Quran, believing it to be true, we do not deny. That he wrought great reforms amongst his countrymen, we do not question. That he was earnest and honest in his hatred of idolatry, we do not dispute. We have no desire to deny to Muhammad any praise to him honestly due as a man, reformer, statesman, a general or a hero. What we do deny is that he was unconscious of deception in the production and proclamation of that ‘revelation’ which he called the Quran. What we deliberately assert, after having studied this subject for well nigh twenty years, is that the prophet of Islam did consciously fabricate speeches and palm them off upon the people as the very word of God.”

Muhammad claims to be taught by the angel Gabriel: A description is given of the visit of the angel Gabriel and the inspiration which he bestowed: “He was taught by one mighty in power, endued with wisdom: for he appeared (in stately form); While he was in the highest part of the horizon: Then he approached and came closer, And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer; so did (Allah) convey the inspiration to His servant what He (meant) to convey. The (Prophet’s) heart in no way falsified that which he saw. Will ye then dispute with him concerning what he saw?” (v 5-12). Ibn Mas’ud narrated that Muhammad had seen Gabriel with six hundred wings.

Muhammad claims to have ascended up to the seventh heaven: In Muhammad’s so called, Night Journey (Mi’raj) he claims he saw Gabriel by the Lote tree (Sidrat-ul-Muntaha) which marks the boundary where neither man nor angel can pass, near the throne of Allah: “For indeed he saw him at a second descent, Near the Lote-tree beyond which none may pass: Near it is the garden of abode. Behold, the Lote-tree was shrouded (in mystery)(His) sight never swerved, nor did it go wrong!” (v 13-18) Its leaves are fabled to be as numerous as the members of the whole human family, and each leaf is said to bear the name of an individual. The tree is shaken on the fifteenth night of Ramadan every year a little after sunset, when the leaves on which are inscribed the names of those who are to die in the ensuing year fall. They are either wholly withered or they have yet some green remaining according to the months or weeks the person has yet to live.

The Satanic Verses: “Have ye seen Lat. and ‘Uzza, and another, the third (goddess), Manat? What! for you the male sex, and for Him, the female? Behold, such would be indeed a division most unfair! These are nothing but names which ye have devised, ye and your fathers” (v 19-23)   —————- While Muhammad recited the above words, he added ‘These are the exalted females and verily their intercession is to be hoped for.’ These words were enthusiastically received by the idolaters but next day he recanted, saying that Satan had put these words in his mouth, and then he gave the passage as it now stands. Al-Lat was the idol of the tribe Thakif at Nakhlah while Al-Uzza was said to be an idol of the Kinnah tribe.

Allah the cause of all things judged the ancient idolatrous tribes who rejected his signs:
“That it is He Who granteth laughter and tears; That it is He Who granteth death and life; That He did create in pairs,- male and female,” (43-45) …. “And that it is He Who destroyed the (powerful) ancient ‘Ad. And the Thamud nor gave them a lease of perpetual life. And before them, the people of Noah, for that they were most unjust and most insolent transgressors, And He destroyed the overthrown cities (of Sodom and Gomorrah).” (v 50-53)

Muhammad was a warner of the coming day of Judgement: “This is a warner, of the (series of) warners of old! The (judgement) ever approaching draws nigh: The threatened hour is nigh. No (soul) but Allah can lay it bare. Do ye then wonder at this recital? And will ye laugh and not weep, Wasting your time in vanities? But fall ye down in prostration to Allah, and adore.” (v 56-62)! —– Muhammad is said to come from a series of warners. The often repeated topic, that he was ‘only a warner’, is mentioned 28 times in the first 79 chapters of the Quran.

Sura 54 Al-Qamar (The Moon)  Mecca

The moon split into two: The title of this chapter owes its name to the statement in verse one that the moon will be split as a sign of judgement:“The hour (of judgement) is nigh, and the moon is cleft asunder.” The hostility of the Quarraish continued (v 2-3), and they requested that Muhammad justify his divine mission by showing them a miracle. He responded by claiming that the moon was miraculously cleft in two (c/f Bukhari Volume 4, Book 56, Number 830 and 831). However, this is opposed to the teaching of the Quran where the demand for a sign is always distinctly disclaimed. The usual explanation is the natural one that the expression merely refers to one of the signs of the coming day of judgement.

Consequences resulting from the rejection of the earlier prophets: The tribe of the ‘Adites was destroyed with the refrain “Yea, how (terrible) was My penalty and My warning!”  (v 18-22) Muslims teach that as the ‘Adites holding fast to one another sought shelter in the clefts of the rocks and in pit’s but the wind tore them away and threw them down dead. The tribe of Thamud were like wise destroyed again calling forth the refrain “Ah! how (terrible) was My penalty and My warning!” (v 20-32) Lot’s people were destroyed with the words “So taste ye My wrath and My warning.” (v 33-40) The people of Pharaoh also rejected the signs of Allah and “We seized them with such penalty (as comes) from One exalted in power, able to carry out His will” (v 41-42).

Future consequences for the Qurraish if they reject the message of Muhammad: They will fare no better: “Are your unbelievers, (O Qurraish), better than they? Or have ye an immunity in the sacred books? ……. Nay, the hour (of judgement) is the time promised them: And that hour will be most grievous and most bitter” (v 43-46). This may be their temporal punishment for on the day of the Battle of Badr Muhammad is said to have repeated verse 46 as he was putting on his coat of mail. Be that as it may there seem to be eternal consequences for their rejection of the Quran for they will be dragged through the fire on their faces “Taste ye the touch of hell!” (v 48) The Hell of the Quran casts a lurid light on the Arab love of revenge. Muhammad seems to make Allah himself gloat over the misery of the lost.

Surah 55 Al-Rahman (The Most Gracious) Mecca

The Title: The title comes from verse 1 “(Allah) Most Gracious!” This is one of the most popular chapters of the Quran. It reads like a psalm of praise which enumerates the power of Allah in creation, verses about the Muslim heaven and the re-occurring refrain “Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?”

Enumeration of the works of Allah: “It is He who has taught the Quran” (v  2); “He has created man” (v 3); “The sun and the moon follow courses (exactly) computed” (v 4);  “and the herbs and the trees both (alike) prostrate in adoration”  (v 5, 6); “It is He Who has spread out the earth for (His) creatures” (v 10); “He created man from sounding clay like unto pottery” (v 14); “And He created Jinns from fire free of smoke” “Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?” (16)

Judgement of jinn and men: “On that day no question will be asked of man or jinn as to his sin……….. The sinners will be known by their marks: and they will be seized by their forelocks and their feet……………….This is the hell which the sinners deny: In its midst and in the midst of boiling hot water will they wander round!………..” (v 39-44)

Description of the Muslim heaven: “But for such as fear the time when they will stand before their Lord, there will be two gardens ………… Containing all kinds (of trees and delights) …….In them (each) will be two springs flowing (free) ……….In them will be fruits of every kind, two and two …………….. They will recline on carpets, whose inner linings will be of rich brocade: the fruit of the gardens will be near……….In them will be (maidens), chaste, restraining their glances, whom no man or jinn before them has touched …….. ………. And besides these two, there are two other gardens ………..Dark-green in colour (from plentiful watering)…………. In them (each) will be two springs pouring forth water in continuous abundance ………..In them will be fruits, and dates and pomegranates ……………. In them will be fair (companions), good, beautiful ……………..Companions restrained (as to their glances), in (goodly) pavilions ………..Whom no man or jinn before them has touched ………..Reclining on green cushions and rich carpets of beauty. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?……………. ” (v 46-78) ————- Four gardens are mentioned. Some suppose that the first two are for men and jinn of a high order, and the other two for those of an inferior character.———- It has been noted that the promise of the Houries of Paradise are almost exclusively found in suras written at a time when Muhammad had only a single wife of sixty years of age, and that in all the ten years subsequent to the Hijrah, women are only twice mentioned as part of the reward of the faithful in heaven.  The proper wives of the faithful are spoken of as accompanying their husbands into the gardens of bliss in several suras for example Al-Isra 17:23.

Sura 56 Al Waqiah (The Event)

The Title: “When the Event inevitable cometh to pass” (v 1) The chapter takes its name from the first verse with the statement that the coming day of judgement is inevitable. The chapter therefore goes on to describe the rewards of the righteous and the punishment of the wicked at the judgement day and at the resurrection of the dead. The judgement affects both the believers and the unbelievers and they are to be distinguished as to whether the books will be delivered to them into the right hand or the left.

The three distinct classes: “And ye shall be sorted out into three classes” (v 7-11).
The three distinct classes are: 1. Those on the right hand who will be happy; 2. Those on the left hand who will be miserable; 3 Those who preceded others in the faith, either the first of Muhammad’s converts or the prophets.

Those foremost in the faith: “And those foremost (in Faith) will be foremost (in the Hereafter). These will be those nearest to Allah: In gardens of bliss: A number of people from those of old, and a few from those of later times. (They will be) on thrones encrusted (with gold and precious stones), Reclining on them, facing each other. With goblets, (shining) beakers, and cups (filled) out of clear-flowing fountains: No after-ache will they receive there from, nor will they suffer intoxication: And with fruits, any that they may select: And the flesh of fowls, any that they may desire. And (there will be) companions with beautiful, big, and lustrous eyes,  Like unto pearls well-guarded. A reward for the deeds of their past ……..” (v 12-26).

Companions on the Right-Hand: “The Companions of the Right Hand,- what will be the Companions of the Right Hand? (They will be) among Lote-trees without thorns, Among Talh trees with flowers (or fruits) piled one above another, In shade long-extended, By water flowing constantly ……. And on thrones (of dignity), raised high. We have created (their companions) of special creation. And made them virgin pure (and undefiled), Beloved (by nature), equal in age, For the companions of the right hand ……” (v 27-40).

The Companions of the left-hand: (the deniers of the Resurrection) “The companions of the left hand, what will be the companions of the left hand? (They will be) in the midst of a fierce blast of fire and in boiling water, And in the shades of black smoke: Nothing (will there be) to refresh, nor to please ….. Ye will surely taste of the Tree of Zaqqum. “Then will ye fill your insides therewith, “And drink boiling water on top of it: “Indeed ye shall drink like diseased camels raging with thirst!” Such will be their entertainment on the day of requital!” (v 41-56)

The Creator will judge the unbelievers on the Day of Resurrection: “It is We Who have created you: why will ye not witness the truth? …………. See ye the seed that ye sow in the ground? Is it ye that cause it to grow, or are We the cause? ………. See ye the water which ye drink? Do ye bring it down (in rain) from the cloud or do We? ……. See ye the fire which ye kindle? Is it ye who grow the tree which feeds the fire, or do We grow it?” (v 57-76)

The Quran should be highly esteemed: “this is indeed a Quran most honourable, In a book well-guarded, Which none shall touch but those who are clean: A revelation from the lord of the worlds Is it such a message that ye would hold in light esteem? And have ye made it your livelihood that ye should declare it false?” (v 77-82) —— The words ‘none shall touch but those who are clean’ are often written on the cover of Qurans’. Respect is expressed with both purity of body and mind.

57 Sura Al-Hadid (Iron) Medina

The Title: This chapter takes its name from iron which is mentioned in verse 25 “and We sent down iron, in which is (material for) mighty war, as well as many benefits for mankind, that Allah may test who it is that will help.”  “We have sent down iron’, means we taught men how to dig it out of mines.

Allah omniscient and omnipresent: “Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, let it declare the praises and glory of Allah ………………………. He has power over all things. He is the first and the last, the evident and the immanent: and He has full knowledge of all things” (v 1-3).

Victory for the war effort: Muslims are urged to contribute towards the spread of their faith: “And what cause have ye why ye should not spend in the cause of Allah?………… Not equal among you are those who spent (freely) and fought, before the victory, (with those who did so later). Those are higher in rank than those who spent (freely) and fought afterwards…………………… Who is he that will loan to Allah a beautiful loan? For (Allah) will increase it manifold to his credit, and he will have (besides) a liberal reward” (v 10, 11). ———— Although a number of Orientalist scholars believe these verses refer to the victory at Badr, Baidawi and a good number of Muslim commentators say the victory referred to is that of the taking of Mecca. Those who took an active role in this campaign and shared in the victory are ranked higher than those who fought campaigns afterwards.

Reproof of hypocrites who hesitate to make war on unbelievers: “One day will the hypocrites men and women say to the believers: “Wait for us! Let us borrow from your light!” …………….. (Those without) will call out, “Were we not with you?” (The others) will reply, “True! But ye led yourselves into temptation; ye looked forward (to our ruin); ye doubted (Allah’s promise); and (your false) desires deceived you; until there issued the command of Allah. And the deceiver deceived you in respect of Allah …………………. Your abode is the fire ……….. ” (v 13-15)

Apostles sent to former nations: “We sent aforetime our messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the book and the balance (of right and wrong), that men may stand forth in justice ………. 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. 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” (v 25-27). ———— ‘Balance’ may mean a rule of justice, but some think it was an actual balance. Both the Old Testament and the Gospel are here acknowledged to be given by God. We are not to understand by the word Gospel the actual volume of the New Testament or any one of its component parts, but rather the revelation made to Jesus by God himself, which Muhammad may have imagined to have been committed to writing subsequently, in the same way as his own Quran.

Sura 58 Al-Mujadilah (The Disputation) Medina

The Title: The title of this chapter is taken from the first verse “Allah has indeed heard the statement of the woman who pleads (disputes) with thee.” The title verse deals with the abolition of an idolatrous custom.

The Disputation: “Allah has indeed heard the statement of the woman who pleads with thee concerning her husband and carries her complaint to Allah: and Allah hears the arguments between both sides among you: for Allah hears and sees. If any men among you divorce their wives by Zihar (calling them mothers), they cannot be their mothers: None can be their mothers except those who gave them birth……………. But those who divorce their wives by Zihar, then wish to go back on the words they uttered, should free a slave before they touch each other and etc:” (v 1-4)

Khawla bint Thalaba came to Muhammad after being divorced under the Zihr system before the time of Islam. Muhammad told her that it was not lawful for her to live with her husband anymore. The woman went home very concerned about this decision because she had small children and made her complaint to Allah. Then this passage was revealed allowing a man to take his wife again, despite the divorce, as long as he performed acts of charity.

Resisting Allah and Muhammad His Messenger: “Those who resist Allah and His messenger will be humbled to dust, as were those before them ……………………. ” (v 5, 6).

Allah knows all things: “Seest thou not that Allah doth know (all) that is in the heavens and on earth? There is not a secret consultation between three, but He makes the fourth among them, Nor between five but He makes the sixth, nor between fewer nor more, but He is in their midst, wheresoever they be …………. ” (v 7)

The issue of secret counsels: the secret plotting of the hypocrites unbelievers against Muhammad is described: “Turnest thou not thy sight towards those who were forbidden secret counsels yet revert to that which they were forbidden (to do)? And they hold secret counsels among themselves for iniquity and hostility, and disobedience to the messenger…………………….. Enough for them is hell: In it will they burn, and evil is that destination!………….. “Secret counsels are only (inspired) by the Evil One, in order that he may cause grief to the believers; but he cannot harm them in the least, except as Allah permits” (v 8-10). ————– The hypocrite Muslims privately derided Muhammad and even though they were prohibited to hold clandestine meetings they still continued.

Showing respect to Muhammad: “O ye who believe! When ye are told to make room in the assemblies, (spread out and) make room: (ample) room will Allah provide for you. And when ye are told to rise up, rise up Allah will rise up, to (suitable) ranks (and degrees), those of you who believe and who have been granted (mystic) knowledge………O ye who believe! When ye consult the messenger in private, spend something in charity before your private consultation. That will be best for you, and most conducive to purity (of conduct)…………………… ” (v 11, 12) —————- Muslims are commanded to make room for the prophet and the more honourable of his companions. They are not to crowd him as they once used to do to hear his discourses. This conduct was thought to be appropriate in order to honour the prophet.

Sura 59 Al-Hashr (The Emigration) Medina

The Title: The title is taken from the second verse which refers to the expulsion of the Jewish tribe Bani Nadhir from their fortress and lands three miles from Medina: “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 ……………” (v 2-4)

The Bani Nadhir were a wealthy tribe and one of their leaders, Ka’b ibn Ashraf, had been on friendly terms with Muhammad until the change of the Qibla. He was assassinated with the connivance of Muhammad. The Jews of Nadhir had promised to be neutral in the conflict between Muhammad and Mecca. but he claimed that not only had they gone over to supporting the Meccans after Muhammad’s defeat at the battle of Uhud but were also plotting to kill him.

Cutting down of the date-palms belonging to Bani Nadhir: “Whether ye cut down (O ye Muslim!)The tender palm-trees, or ye left them standing on their roots, it was by leave of Allah, and in order that He might cover with shame the rebellious transgresses.” (v 5) ——————— For fifteen days the quarters of the Bani Nadhir was besieged and then Muhammad gave the order to cut down their date palms. The Jews in their quarter cried out: “Muhammad, you have prohibited wanton destruction and blamed those guilty of it. Why then are you cutting down and burning our palm-trees?” (Ibn Ishaq, Sira Rasulullah)  This action was not only contrary to Arab warfare practice but it was prohibited in the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 20:19). The Bani Nadhir were exiled and settled at the Jewish stronghold of Khaibar to the north of Medina. They were the second Jewish tribe to be exiled the first being the Banu Qaynuqa.

The spoiling of Bani Nadhir’s wealth: “What Allah has bestowed on His messenger (and taken away) from them for this ye made no expedition with either cavalry or camelry: but Allah gives power to His messengers over any He pleases: and Allah has power over all things. What Allah has bestowed on His messenger (and taken away) from the people of the townships, belongs to Allah, to His messenger and to kindred and orphans, the needy and the wayfarer; In order that it may not (merely) make a circuit between the wealthy among you. So take what the messenger assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you ……………… They (The Jews) will not fight you together, except in fortified townships, or from behind walls. Strong is their fighting amongst themselves: thou wouldst think they were united, but their hearts are divided: that is because they are a people devoid of wisdom…………………….. ” (v 6 – 15) ————- Because the spoils of war were gained without the intervention of horses or camels Muhammad said that God had given them entirely to him for disposing of, and that they should not to be divided in the usual manner of the law found in Al-Anfal 8:41. The exiled Jews were liars and now both Banu Qaynuqa and Bani Nadhir were exiled for they had failed to keep their promise of supporting one another.

The power of the Quran: “Had We sent down this Quran on a mountain, verily, thou wouldst have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allah.” (v 21). ————– Such is the power of the Quran viewed by Muhammad, that if the Quran had been sent down on a mountain, it would have split!

Attributes of Allah: “Allah is He, than whom there is no other god; Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Allah is He, than whom there is no other god; the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace, the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him” (v 22, 23). ———— This is one of the few passages in which God is called holy however, the meaning is not associated with morality but rather that there is ‘none beside Him’.

60 Sura Al-Mumtahinah (She who is examined) Medina

The Title: refers to the testing of former female idolaters to see whether they were sincere “O ye who believe! When there come to you believing women refugees, examine (and test) them” (v 10).

The legal position of these female converts: “if ye ascertain that they are believers, then send them not back to the unbelievers. They are not lawful (wives) for the unbelievers, nor are the (unbelievers) lawful (husbands) for them. But pay the unbelievers what they have spent (on their dower), and there will be no blame on you if ye marry them on payment of their dower to them” (v 10, 11). ——— According to the Treaty of Hudaibiya each side was expected to send back anything that came into their possession. Muhammad in not sending back the believing women therefore felt obliged to send some sort of compensation in order to not break the treaty (v 10).

The believing womens’ oath of allegiance: “When believing women come to thee to take the oath of fealty to thee, that they will not associate in worship any other thing whatever with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit adultery (or fornication), that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood, and that they will not disobey thee in any just matter, then do thou receive their fealty …….. ” (v 12) —————- The oath of allegiance and the admittance into Islam for these women involved: Acknowledge God is one and that idols are nothing; Promise that they shall not steal; Promise that they shall not commit adultery; Promise that they shall not kill their children; Promise that they shall not make any false accusations; Promise that they shall not disobey God.

Exhortation not to meet secretly with former Qurraish family members and friends: “O ye who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as friends (or protectors), offering them (your) love, even though they have rejected the truth that has come to you, and have driven out the Prophet and yourselves (from your homes), because ye believe in Allah your Lord!” (v 1) —————— A Muslim hearing that Muhammad was going to make a surprise attack on Mecca sent a letter to warn the Qurraish. It was not because he wanted to return to idolatry but rather that he was concerned for his relatives who still lived in Mecca. In the future all such activity was forbidden. However, It seemed that Muhammad expressed some hope of reconciliation (v 7) especially with those idolaters who have not borne arms against them (v 8).

Example of Abraham’s contacts with unbelieving friends: “There is for you an excellent example in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people: “We are clear of you and of whatever ye worship besides Allah: we have rejected you, and there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred for ever, unless ye believe in Allah and Him alone” (v 4) ——– Muhammad looks to support this separation by stating that Abraham completely disowned his former friends and idolaters and that only enmity remained between them.

Final reminder not to make friends with unbelievers: “O ye who believe! Turn not (for friendship) to people on whom is the wrath of Allah, of the hereafter they are already in despair, just as the unbelievers are in despair about those (buried) in graves” (v 13).

61 Sura As-Saff (The Battle Array) Mecca

The Title: The title is taken from the fourth verse “Truly Allah loves those who fight in His cause in battle array as if they were a solid cemented structure” The chapter contains exhortations to Muslims to spend their money and their lives in defence of Islam.

Jesus foretells Muhammad by the name Ahmed: “And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: “O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving glad tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.” (v 6) ———— Muhammad had no doubt heard that Jesus had promised a parakletos. Probably because of the similarity of sound, he applied periklytos to himself. The name Muhammad means praised and is from the same root and of the same meaning as Ahmed which was also one of the Prophet’s names. Therefore, Muslims hold that in John 16:7 where it is said, ’the Paraclete shall come’, that the reference is to Muhammad they do so by changing the Greek word parakletos into periklytos. This perversion of the scripture cannot be allowed. Manuscripts written centuries before Muhammad and all ancient translations of the scriptures contain ‘paracletos.’ The context from the Bible shows that it cannot apply to Muhammad. The disciples of Jesus Christ were to remain in Jerusalem until the Comforter came, which the Injil says took place forty days after Jesus Christ went up to heaven; whereas Muhammad did not come until several centuries later in this chapter.

The disciples claim to be Allah’s helpers: 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!”

62 Sura Al-Jumu’ah (The Friday Congregation)  Medina

The Title: concerns the observance of worship on Friday: “O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off business ………. And when the prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the bounty of Allah: and celebrate the praises of Allah often that ye may prosper” (v 9, 10). According to Muslims, Friday is the day on which Muhammad made his first entry into Medina, and the day on which creation was finished.

On one occasion Muhammad was leading Friday prayers when a caravan from Syria arrived. The people flocked towards it to check out the merchandise and there was need for an expedient revelation “when they see some bargain or some amusement, they disperse headlong to it, and leave thee standing…………… ” (v 11 c/f Muslim Book 4 Number 1877).

Muhammad the Apostle to the Arabs: “It is He who has sent among the unlettered a messenger from among themselves, to rehearse to them His signs, to sanctify them, and to instruct them in scripture and wisdom, although they had been, before, in manifest error” (v 2)

The Jews rebuked for unbelief: “The similitude of those who were charged with the Mosiac Law, but who subsequently failed in those (obligations), is that of a donkey which carries huge tomes (but understands them not).” ( v 5 c/f v 8) ——- The Jews are rebuked because just like an ass has no understanding of the books it carries neither do the Jews have any understanding of the prophecies of Muhammad which are found in their own law.

63 Sura Al-Munafiqun (The Hypocrites) 

Most commentators connect this sura with the campaign against the Banu Mustaliq in 5/6 AH when Muhammad took many prisoners.

The Title:  Who were the hypocrites? The Arab Muslim historian Ibn Ishaq describes them in the following way as men: ‘who were in reality little removed from the idolatry of their fathers and the rejecters of the true faith; only that Islam had by its prevalence overpowered them, the mass having already gone over to it. They to save themselves from death, were compelled to accept Islam, at least in appearance, but in secret they were traitors and their hearts were with the Jews in the rejection of the Prophet (Koelle ‘Muhammad and Muhammedanism’).

Others are of the opinion that the term ‘hypocrites’ refers to those who lived in Medina but on whom Muhammad could not rely. The word ‘waverer’ more accurately describes them, particularly when they are contrasted with the believers. The Quran uses the expression ‘those who in whose heart there is a sickness’ as an apt description. They were hoping that they could exploit the situation in Medina being representatives of the true aristocracy and secretly hoped that Muhammad’s power would dwindle so that they could replace him. Some had joined Muhammad under compulsion others reluctantly while still others had joined Muhammad enthusiastically but could not retain their belief or enthusiasm. —— The Quran condemns them for being lazy in their prayers; refusing to take part in fighting and not contributing to the cause of Allah by using their own means. Privately they spoke maliciously about Muhammad and his revelations but were superstitious fearing he would become aware of their private discussions.

The hypocrites are liars: “When the Hypocrites come to thee, they say, “We bear witness that thou art indeed the Messenger of Allah.” Yea, Allah knoweth that thou art indeed His messenger, and Allah beareth witness that the Hypocrites are indeed liars” (v 1).

The hypocrites changed their minds: “That is because they believed, then they rejected faith: So a seal was set on their hearts: therefore they understand not. When thou lookest at them, their exteriors please thee; and when they speak, thou listenest to their words. They are as (worthless as hollow) pieces of timber propped up, (unable to stand on their own). They think that every cry is against them. They are the enemies; so beware of them. The curse of Allah be on them!…………..” (v 3, 4) —— They were impressive in appearance and speech and their leaders often used to spend time with Muhammad and initially he was favourably impressed.

The hypocrites did not want to help the true believers in Medina: “They are the ones who say, “Spend nothing on those who are with Allah’s Messenger, to the end that they may disperse (and quit Medina).” But to Allah belong the treasures of the heavens and the earth; but the Hypocrites understand not.” (v 7).

Individual Eschatology concerns the condition of the individual between his death and the general resurrection at the close of the age.

December 2020

The Mahdi literally means “the guided one”, and has come to mean in an individual way, the divinely guided one. While Allah himself is called al-Hadi in the Quran (Al-Hajj 22:54; Al-Furqan 25:31) the figure of al-mahdi or mahdi, and his mission is not mentioned at all. Islam uses the term of certain individuals in the past and of an eschatological individual in the future. The Mahdi is interpreted differently by Sunnis and Shi’a although both look for one who will arise to restore the purity of Islam and usher in a Golden Age in which Islamic revelation will reign in the ideal community, the umma.

There is a general belief amongst Muslims that the living Muhammad intercedes for them at the throne of God. The Wahhabi’s state that the intercession of their Prophet is only by the permission of Allah on the Last Day and that there will be no intercession for sins until the Day of Judgement. In principle the Quran denies that there is an intercessor with Allah. However, there are a few passages which suggest that under certain circumstances Allah does allow someone to intercede. It seems that Muhammad’s intercession is available for the Muslim as he/she invokes the blessings of Allah upon the Prophet.

The appearance of the Anti-Christ (ad-Dajjal)

Resurrection and the Last Judgement Al-Qiyama

December 2020

Questions and Answers about the Second Coming of Christ which are held by orthodox Muslims

Both the Quran and Tradition present their picture of ‘Isa. They give him a high place among the prophets; they affirm his sinless-ness; they affirm he had power to work miracles but all this does not distinguish Him in any way as to its nature from the other prophets who came before him.

The Quran recognises that David glorified and praised God. The mountains and the birds alternated with him in these praises (Al-Anbiya 21:79, Saba’ 34:10, Sa’d 38:18). Muhammad, it seems, took literally the passages where creatures and elements joined David in their praises so it seems that when David was fatigued Allah caused other parts of nature, both animate and inanimate to relieve him. David is presented as a model Muslim, praising Allah, fasting, prostrating, acting justly and fighting for the honour of Allah

The title Tawrat is given in the Quran and all Muslim works for the Book of Moses (in Hebrew Torah stands for ‘the Law’). The term tawrat is found in the Medina period. Muslim scholars accept that the Tawrat teaches the unity of God yet believe it falls short of the full revelation as it does not give an account of the stated method of prayers (Al-Fath 48:29), the fast, a detailed description of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem and alms-giving, nor is there anything regarding heaven and hell. For these reasons the Tawrat is said to have been altered by the Jews.