O ye folk! fear your Lord, who created you from one soul, and created therefrom its mate, and diffused from them twain many men and women. And fear God, in whose name ye beg of one another, and the wombs; verily, God over you doth watch.1
And give unto the orphans their property, and give them not the vile in exchange for the good, and devour not their property to your own property; verily, that were a great sin. But if ye fear that ye cannot do justice between orphans, then marry what seems good to you of women, by twos, or threes, or fours; and if ye fear that ye cannot be equitable, then only one, or what your right hands possess.2 That keeps you nearer to not being partial.
But do not give up to fools4 their property which God has made you to stand by; but maintain them from it, and clothe them, and speak to them with a reasonable speech. Prove orphans until they reach a marriageable age, and if ye perceive in them right management, then hand over to them their property, and do not devour it extravagantly in anticipation of their growing up. And he who is rich, let him abstain; but he who is poor, let him devour in reason, and when ye hand over to them their property, then take witnesses against them; but God sufficeth for taking account.
Men should have a portion of what their parents and kindred leave, and women should have a portion of what their parents and kindred leave, whether it be little or much, a determined portion. And when the next of kin and the orphans and the poor are present at the division, then maintain them out of it, and speak to them a reasonable speech. And let these fear lest they leave behind them a weak seed, for whom they would be afraid; and let them fear God, and speak a straightforward speech. Verily, those who devour the property of orphans unjustly, only devour into their bellies fire, and they shall broil in flames.
God instructs you concerning your children; for a male the like of the portion of two females, and if there be women above two, then let them have two-thirds of what (the deceased) leaves; and if there be but one, then let her have a half; and as to the parents, to each of them a sixth of what he leaves, if he has a son; but if he have no son, and his parents inherit, then let his mother have a third, and if he have brethren, let his mother have a sixth after payment of the bequest he bequeaths and of his debt.
Your parents or your children, ye know not which of them is nearest to you in usefulness:an ordinance this from God; verily, God is knowing and wise! And ye shall have half of what your wives leave, if they have no son; but if they have a son, then ye shall have a fourth of what they leave, after payment of the bequests they bequeath or of their debts. And they shall have a fourth of what ye leave, if ye have no son; but if ye have a son, then let them have an eighth of what ye leave, after payment of the bequest ye bequeath and of your debts.
And if the mans or the womans (property) be inherited by a kinsman who is neither parent nor child, and he have a brother or sister, then let each of these two have a sixth; but if they are more than that, let them share in a third after payment of the bequest he bequeaths and of his debts, without prejudice,5an ordinance this from God, and God is knowing and clement!
Against those of your women who commit adultery, call witnesses four in number from among yourselves; and if these bear witness, then keep the women in houses6 until death release them, or God shall make for them a way.
God is only bound to turn again towards those who do evil through ignorance and then turn again. Surely, these will God turn again to, for God is knowing, wise. His turning again is not for those who do evil, until, when death comes before one of them, he says, Now I turn again; nor yet for those who die in misbelief. For such as these have we prepared a grievous woe.
O ye who believe! it is not lawful for you to inherit womens estates against their will; nor to hinder them,8 that ye may go off with part of what ye brought them, unless they commit fornication manifestly; but associate with them in reason, for if ye are averse from them, it may be that ye are averse from something wherein God has put much good for you.
And do not marry women your fathers married,except bygones,for it is abominable and hateful, and an evil way; unlawful for you are your mothers, and your daughters, and your sisters, and your paternal aunts and maternal aunts, and your brothers daughters, and your sisters daughters, and your foster mothers, and your foster sisters, and your wives mothers, and your step daughters who are your wards, born of your wives to whom ye have gone in; but if ye have not gone in unto them, then it is no crime in you; and the lawful spouses of your sons from your own loins, and that ye form a connexion between two sisters,except bygones,verily, God is forgiving, merciful; and married women, save such as your right hands possess,Gods Book against you!but lawful for you is all besides this, for you to seek them with your wealth, marrying them and not fornicating; but such of them as ye have enjoyed, give them their hire as a lawful due; for there is no crime in you about what ye agree between you after such lawful due, verily, God is knowing and wise.
But whosoever of you cannot go the length of marrying marriageable women who believe, then take of what your right hands possess, of your maidens who believe;though God knows best about your faith. Ye come one from the other; then marry them with the permission of their people, and give them their hire in reason, they being chaste and not fornicating, and not receivers of paramours.
But when they are married, if they commit fornication, then inflict upon them half the penalty for married women; that is for whomsoever of you fears wrong; but that ye should have patience is better for you, and God is forgiving and merciful.
God wishes to explain to you and to guide you into the ordinances of those who were before you, and to turn towards you, for God is knowing, wise. God wishes to turn towards you, but those who follow their lusts wish that ye should swerve with a mighty swerving! God wishes to make it light for you, for man was created weak.
And do not covet that by which God has preferred one of you over another. The men shall have a portion of what they earn, and the women a portion of what they earn; ask God for His grace, verily, God knows all.
Men stand superior to women in that God hath preferred some of them over others, and in that they expend of their wealth: and the virtuous women, devoted, careful (in their husbands) absence, as God has cared for them. But those whose perverseness ye fear, admonish them and remove them into bed-chambers and beat them; but if they submit to you, then do not seek a way against them; verily, God is high and great.
And if ye fear a breach between the two,11 then send a judge from his people and a judge from her people. If they wish for reconciliation, God will arrange between them; verily, God is knowing and aware.
And serve God, and do not associate aught with Him; and to your parents show kindness, and to kindred, and orphans, and the poor, and the neighbour who is akin, and the neighbour who is a stranger, and the companion who is strange, and the son of the road, and what your right hands possess,12 verily, God loves not him who is proud and boastful; who are miserly and bid men be miserly too, and who hide what God has given them of His grace;but we have prepared for the misbelievers shameful woe.
How then when we bring from every nation a witness, and bring thee as a witness against these on the day when those who misbelieve and rebel against the Apostle would fain that the earth were levelled with them? but they cannot hide the news from God.
O ye who believe! approach not prayer while ye are drunk, until ye well know what ye say; nor yet while polluted,unless ye be passing by the way,until ye have washed yourselves. But if ye are sick, or on a journey, or one of you come from the privy, or if ye have touched a woman, and ye cannot find water, then use good surface sand and wipe your faces and your hands therewith; verily, God pardons and forgives.
Do ye not see those who have been given a portion of the Book? they buy error, and they wish that ye may err from the way! But God knows best who your enemies are, and God suffices as a patron, and sufficient is God as a help.
And those who are Jews, and those who pervert the words from their places, and say, We hear but we rebel, and do thou listen without hearing, and (who say) râhinâ,13 distorting it with their tongues and taunting about religion. But had they said, We hear and we obey, so listen and look upon us, it would have been better for them and more upright;but may God curse them in their misbelief, for they will not believe except a few.
O ye who have been given the Book! believe in what we have revealed, confirming what ye had before; ere we deface your faces and turn them into hinder parts, or curse you as we cursed the fellows of the Sabbath14 when Gods command was done.
Do ye not see those to whom a portion of the Book has been given? They believe in Gibt16 and Tâghût,17 and they say of those who misbelieve, These are better guided in the way than those who believe. These are those whom God has cursed, and whom God has cursed no helper shall he find.
Do they envy man for what God has given of His grace? We have given to Abrahams people the Book and wisdom, and we have given them a mighty kingdom. And of them are some who believe therein, and of them are some who turn from it, but Hell is flaming enough for them.
Verily, those who disbelieve in our signs, we will broil them with fire; whenever their skins are well done, then we will change them for other skins, that they may taste the torment. Verily, God is glorious and wise.
But those who believe and do aright, we will make them enter gardens beneath which rivers flow, and they shall dwell therein for ever and aye, for them therein are pure wives, and we will make them enter into a shady shade. Verily, God bids you pay your trusts to their owners, and when ye judge between men to judge with justice. Verily, God, excellent is what He admonishes you with; verily, God both hears and sees.
O ye who believe! obey God, and obey the Apostle and those in authority amongst you; and if ye quarrel about anything, refer to God and the Apostle, if ye believe in God and the last day; that is better and fairer as a settlement.
Do ye not see those who pretend that they believe in what has been revealed to them, and what was revealed before thee; they wish to refer their judgment to Tâghût, but they are bidden to disbelieve therein, and Satan wishes to lead them into a remote error. And when it is said to them, Come round to what God has sent down and unto the Apostle, thou seest the hypocrites turning from thee, turning away.
How then when there befalls them a mischance through what their hands have sent on before? then will they come to you, and swear by God, We meant naught but good and concord. These, God knows what is in their hearts. Turn thou away from them and admonish them, and speak to them into their souls with a searching word.
We have never sent an apostle save that he should be obeyed by the permission of God; and if they, when they have wronged themselves, come to thee and ask pardon of God, and the Apostle asks pardon for them, then they will find God easy to be turned, compassionate.
But no! by thy Lord! they will not believe, until they have made thee judge of what they differ on; then they will not find in themselves aught to hinder what thou hast decreed, and they will submit with submission. But had we prescribed for them, Kill yourselves, or go ye forth out of your houses, they would not have done it, save only a few of them; but had they done what they are admonished, then it would have been better for them, and a more firm assurance.
O ye who believe! take your precautions and sally in detachments or altogether. Verily, there is of you who tarries behind, and, if a mischance befalls you, says, God has been gracious to me, since I am not with them a martyr.
But if there befalls you grace from God, he would sayas though there were no friendship between you and himO would that I had been with thee to attain this mighty happiness! Let those then fight in Gods way who sell this life of the world for the next; and whoso fights in Gods way, then, be he killed or be he victorious, we will give him a mighty hire.
What ails you that ye do not fight in Gods way, and for the weak men and women and children, who say, Lord, bring us out of this town19 of oppressive folk, and make for us from Thee a patron, and make for us from Thee a help?
Do ye not see those to whom it is said, Restrain your hands, and be steadfast in prayer and give alms; and when it is prescribed for them to fight then a band of them fear men, as though it were the fear of God or a still stronger fear, and they say, O our Lord! why hast thou prescribed for us to fight, couldst thou not let us abide till our near appointed time? Say, The enjoyment of this world is but slight, and the next is better for him who fears;but they shall not be wronged a straw.
Wheresoeer ye be death will overtake you, though ye were in lofty towers. And if a good thing befall them, they say, This is from God, but if a bad thing, they say, This is from thee. Say, It is all from God. What ails these people? they can hardly understand a tale.
They say, Obedience! but when they sally forth from you, a company of them brood by night over something else than that which thou hast said; but God writes down that over which they brood. Turn then from them and rely on God, for God sufficeth for a guardian. Do they not meditate on the Qurân? if it were from other than God they would find in it many a discrepancy.
And when there comes to them a matter of security or fear they publish it; but if they were to report it to the Apostle and to those in authority amongst them, then those of them who would elicit it from them would know it; but were it not for Gods grace upon you and His mercy ye had followed Satan, save a few.
Fight, then, in the way of God; impose not aught on any but thyself, and urge on the believers; it may be that God will restrain the violence of those who misbelieve, for God is more violent and more severe to punish.
Why are ye two parties about the hypocrites, when God hath overturned them for what they earned? Do ye wish to guide those whom God hath led astray? Whoso God hath led astray ye shall not surely find for him a path. They would fain that ye misbelieve as they misbelieve, that ye might be alike; take ye not patrons from among them until they too flee in Gods way; but if they turn their backs, then seize them and kill them wheresoever ye find them, and take from them neither patron nor help,save those who reach a people betwixt whom and you is an allianceor who come to you while their bosoms prevent them from fighting you or fighting their own people. But had God pleased He would have given you dominion over them, and they would surely have fought you. But if they retire from you and do not fight you, and offer you peace,then God hath given you no way against them.
Ye will find others who seek for quarter from you, and quarter from their own people; whenever they return to sedition they shall be overturned therein: but if they retire not from you, nor offer you peace, nor restrain their hands, then seize them and kill them wheresoever ye find them;over these we have made for you manifest power.
It is not for a believer to kill a believer save by mistake; and whosoever kills a believer by mistake then let him free a believing neck;20 and the blood-money must be paid to his people save what they shall remit as alms. But if he be from a tribe hostile to you and yet a believer, then let him free a believing neck. And if it be a tribe betwixt whom and you there is an alliance, then let the blood-money be paid to his friends, and let him free a believing neck; but he who cannot find the means, then let him fast for two consecutive monthsa penance this from God, for God is knowing, wise.
O ye who believe! when ye are knocking about in the way of God be discerning, and do not say to him who offers you a salutation, Thou art no believer, craving after the chances of this worlds life,21 for with God are many spoils! So were ye aforetime, but God was gracious to you, be ye then discerning; verily, God of what ye do is well aware.
Not alike are those of the believers who sit at home without harm, and those who are strenuous in Gods way with their wealth and their persons. God hath preferred those who are strenuous with their wealth and their persons to those who sit still, by many degrees, and to each hath God promised good, but God hath preferred the strenuous for a mighty hire over those who sit still,degrees from him, and pardon and mercy, for God is forgiving and merciful.
Verily, the angels when they took the souls of those who had wronged themselves,22 said, What state were ye in? they say, We were but weak in the earth; they said, Was not Gods earth wide enough for you to flee away therein? These are those whose resort is hell, and a bad journey shall it be!
Whosoever flees in the way of God shall find in the earth many a spacious refuge; and he who goes forth from his house, fleeing unto God and His prophet, and then death catches him up,his hire devolves on God, and God is forgiving and merciful.
When thou art amongst them, and standest up to pray with them, then let a party of them stand up with thee, and let them take their arms; and when they adore, let them go behind you, and let another party who have not yet prayed come forward and pray with thee; and let them take their precautions and their arms.
Fain would those who misbelieve that ye were careless of your arms and your baggage, that they might turn upon you with a single turning. And it is no crime to you if ye be annoyed with rain or be sick, that ye lay down your arms; but take your precautions,verily, God has prepared for those who misbelieve a shameful woe.
But when ye have fulfilled your prayer, remember God standing and sitting and lying on your sides; and when ye are in safety then be steadfast in prayer; verily, prayer is for the believers prescribed and timed!
Verily, we have revealed to thee the Book in truth that thou mayest judge between men of what God has shown thee; so be not with the treacherous a disputant; but ask Gods pardon: verily, God is forgiving, merciful.
And wrangle not for those who defraud themselves; for God loves not him who is a fraudulent sinner. They hide themselves from men; but they cannot hide themselves from God, for He is with them while they brood at night over speeches that please Him not;but God doth compass what they do!
Were it not for Gods grace upon thee, and His mercy, a party of them would have tried to lead thee astray; but they only lead themselves astray; they shall not hurt you in aught: for God hath sent down upon thee the Book and the wisdom, and taught thee what thou didst not know, for Gods grace was mighty on thee.
There is no good in most of what they talk in private; save in his who bids almsgiving, or kindness, or reconciliation between men; and whoso does this, craving the good pleasure of God, we will give to him a mighty hire.
But he who severs himself from the prophet after that we have made manifest to him the guidance, and follows other than the way of the believers, we will turn our backs on him as he hath turned his back; and we will make him reach hell, and a bad journey shall it be.
God curse him! for he said, I will take from thy servants a portion due to me; and I will lead them astray; and I will stir up vain desires within them; and I will order them and they shall surely crop the ears of cattle; and I will order them and they shall surely alter Gods creation23; but he who takes the devil for his patron instead of God, he loses with a manifest loss. He promises them, and stirs up vain desires within them; but the devil promises only to deceive.
These, their resort is hell; they shall not find an escape therefrom! But those who believe, and do what is right, we will make them enter into gardens beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein for aye,Gods promise in truth; and who is truer than God in speech? Not for your vain desires, nor the vain desires of the people of the Book. He who doeth evil shall be recompensed therewith, and shall not find for him beside God a patron, or a help. But he who doeth good works,be it male or female,and believes, they shall enter into Paradise, and they shall not be wronged a jot.
They will ask thee a decision about women; say, God decides for you about them, and that which is rehearsed to you in the Book; about orphan women to whom ye do not give what is prescribed for them, and whom ye are averse from marrying; and about weak children; and that ye stand fairly by orphans;and what ye do of good, verily, that God knows.
And if a woman fears from her husband perverseness or aversion, it is no crime in them both that they should be reconciled to each other, for reconciliation is best. For souls are prone to avarice; but if ye act kindly and fear God, of what ye do He is aware.
Ye are not able, it may be, to act equitably to your wives, even though ye covet it; do not however be quite partial, and leave one as it were in suspense; but if ye be reconciled and fear, then God is forgiving and merciful; but if they separate, God can make both independent out of His abundance; for God is abundant, wise.
Gods is what is in the heavens and what is in the earth! We have ordained to those who have been given the Book before you, and to you too that ye fear God;but if ye misbelieve, verily, Gods is what is in the heavens and what is in the earth, and God is rich and to be praised!
O ye who believe! believe in God and His apostles, and the Book which He hath revealed to His Apostles, and the Book which He sent down before; for whoso disbelieves in God, and His angels, and His Apostle, and the last day, has erred a wide error.
He hath revealed this to you in the Book, that when ye hear the signs of God disbelieved in and mocked at, then sit ye not down with them until they plunge into another discourse, for verily, then ye would be like them. Verily, God will gather the hypocrites and misbelievers into hell together.
Those who lie in wait for you, and if the victory be yours from God, say, Were we not with you? and if the misbelievers have a chance, they say, Did we not get the mastery over you, and defend you from the believers? But God shall judge between you on the resurrection day; for God will not give the misbelievers a way against believers.
Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive God, but He deceives them; and when they rise up to pray, they rise up lazily to be seen of men, and do not remember God, except a few; wavering between the two, neither to these nor yet to those! but whomsoever God doth lead astray thou shall not find for him a way.
Verily, those who disbelieve in God and His apostles desire to make a distinction between God and His apostles, and say, We believe in part and disbelieve in part, and desire to take a midway course between the two: these are the misbelievers, and we have prepared for misbelievers shameful woe! But those who believe in God and His apostles, and who do not make a distinction between any one of them,to these we will give their hire, for God is forgiving and merciful!
The people of the Book will ask thee to bring down for them a book from heaven; but they asked Moses a greater thing than that, for they said, Show us God openly; but the thunderbolt caught them in their injustice. Then they took the calf, after what had come to them of manifest signs; but we pardoned that, and gave Moses obvious authority. And we held over them the mountain24 at their compact, and said to them, Enter ye the door adoring; and we said to them, Transgress not on the Sabbath day, and we took from them a rigid compact.
But for that they broke their compact, and for their misbelief in Gods signs, and for their killing the prophets undeservedly, and for their saying, Our hearts are uncircumcised,nay, God hath stamped on them their misbelief, so that they cannot believe except a few,and for their misbelief, and for their saying about Mary a mighty calumny, and for their saying, Verily, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the apostle of God,… but they did not kill him, and they did not crucify him, but a similitude was made for them. And verily, those who differ about him are in doubt concerning him; they have no knowledge concerning him, but only follow an opinion. They did not kill him, for sure! nay, God raised him up unto Himself; for God is mighty and wise!25
And for the injustice of those who are Jews have we forbidden them good things which we had made lawful for them, and for their obstructing so much the way of God, and for their taking usury when we had forbidden it, and for their devouring the wealth of people in vain,but we have prepared for those of them who misbelieve a grievous woe.
But those amongst them who are firm in knowledge, and the believers who believe in what is revealed to thee, let what is revealed before thee, and the steadfast in prayer, and the givers of alms, and the believers in God and the last day,unto these we will give a mighty hire.
Verily, we have inspired thee as we inspired Noah and the prophets after him, and as we inspired Abraham, and Ishmael, and Jacob, and the tribes, and Jesus, and Job, and Jonas, and Aaron, and Solomon; and to David did we give Psalms.
O ye folk! the Apostle has come to you with truth from your Lord: believe then, for it is better for you. But if ye misbelieve, then Gods is what is in the heavens and the earth, and God is knowing, wise.
O ye people of the Book! do not exceed in your religion, nor say against God aught save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, is but the apostle of God and His Word, which He cast into Mary and a spirit from Him; believe then in God and His apostles, and say not Three. Have done! it were better for you. God is only one God, celebrated be His praise that He should beget a Son! His is what is in the heavens and what is in the earth; and God sufficeth for a guardian.
But as for those who believe and do what is right, He will pay their hire and will give increase to them of His grace. But as for those who disdain and are too proud, He will punish them with a grievous woe, and they shall not find for them other than God a patron or a help.
O ye folk! proof has come to you from your Lord, and we have sent down to you manifest light. As for those who believe in God, and take tight hold of Him, He will make them enter into mercy from Him and grace; and He will guide them to Himself by a right way.
If a man perish and have no child, but have a sister, let her have half of what he leaves; and he shall be her heir, if she have no son. But if there be two sisters, let them both have two thirds of what he leaves; and if there be brethren, both men and women, let the male have like the portion of two females. God makes this manifest to you lest ye err; for God all things doth know.
Note 3. The Arabic idiom for the enjoyment of property being to eat it up, Mohammed here gives the men permission to enjoy such portion of their wives dowries as the latter might be pleased to remit, and adds, with a sort of humour, the colloquial expression used by the Arabs when any one is eating. The sentence might be paraphrased and if they are kind enough to remit any portion of it of their own accord, then enjoy it, and much good may it do you! [back]
Note 6. Women taken in adultery or fornication were at the beginning of Islâm literally immured. [back]
Note 7. The commentators are not agreed as to the nature of the offence here referred to. The text, however, speaks of two of the masculine gender. The punishment to be inflicted is also the subject of dispute, the original merely saying, as I have translated it, hurt them. [back]
Note 21. Because a believer might not be attacked and plundered as an infidel might be. [back]
Note 22. Alluding to some half-hearted Muslims, slain at Bedr. [back]
Note 23. The pagan Arabs used to cut off the ears of cattle, and mutilate their slaves by branding, and filing their teeth, partly that they might recognise them and partly as a superstitious ceremony. [back]
Note 24. The Mohammedan legend is that this was done by the angel Gabriel to terrify the people into obedience. [back]