The Jews say, 'Ezra ('Uzair) is a son of God,' and the Christians say, 'The
Messiah is a son of God.' Such the sayings in their mouths. They resemble the
saying of the infidels of old! God do battle with them!1 How are they
Rodwell translates these words as 'God do battle with them;' Palmer
as 'God fought them;' Sale as 'May God resist them'. The opinion of the
commentators is much the same, for Shah Wali Ullah Muhaddath translates them by
لعنت كرد ايشان را خدا 'God cursed them.' Ibn 'Abbas says
لعنهم الله 'God cursed them.' Husain says
لعنت كناد خداى بر ايشان 'May God curse them.'
The Khalasatu't-Tafasir also has
هلاك كرى ا كو الله May God destroy them.'
Baidawi gives the following explanation:
دعاء عليه بالاهلاك فان من قاتلة الله هللت او تعجّب من شناعة قولهم
'A prayer for their destruction for he whom God fights against is destroyed,
or astonishment at the odiousness of their sayings.'
Nadhir Ahmad in his Urdu translation of the Qur'an says:
خدا ان كو غارت كرى 'May God make
havoc of them.' Shah 'Abdu'l-Qadir's Urdu translation has
مارذالى ان كو الله'May God kill
them.' Ahmad Shah translates the words thus:'May God kill them'
الله ان كو مارى
'Ali is reported to have said it means 'curse them.' Zamakhshari's comment on
these words is: 'they deserve to have this saying applied to them out of
amazement at their abominable language.'
Zamakhshari was a Mu'tazili, and his view is generally adopted by Muslims of
broader views. To them the words mean 'May God confound them' or some such term;
but the sterner view is common.
The words in the Qur'an are literally:
قَاتَلَهُمُ اللهُ'kill them.' All this is not in
accordance with the kindly tone of a passage in the fifth Sura:
Thou wilt find the nearest in love to those who believe to be those who say,
'We are Christians.' This is, because there are amongst them priests and monks,
and because they are not proud. Sura Al-Ma'idah (v) 85.
It must, however, be borne in mind that these words are followed by a verse
showing the readiness of these Christians to embrace Islam
And when they hear what hath been revealed to the Prophet, you will see their
eyes gush with tears at what they recognize as truth therein; and they will say,
'O our Lord, we believe, write us down with those who bear witness.' Sura Al-Ma'idah
[Footnote continued onto next page]
JEWS AND CHRISTIANS
They take their teachers and their monks and their Messiah, son of Mary, for
lords besides God1 though bidden to worship one God only. There is no
god but He. Far from His glory be what they associate with Him.
[Footnote continued from previous page]
In any case, these two verses, just quoted in this note, do not deal with the
general subject of the relation of Muslims to Christians, and are limited in
their application. Again, they do not express the matured and final feelings of
the Prophet, for though they occur in the latest Sura of all, the fifth, they
themselves belong to the earlier period. They are antecedent to the fiercer
verses of the ninth Sura quoted in the text. As a proof of this, we find that
the commentator Husain says that they refer to seventy persons sent to Muhammad
by Najashi, the king of Abyssinia, who had shown great kindness to the Meccan
refugees. (Ante, p. 30.) This was about the seventh year of the Hijra.
So, assuming that these Christians did not come till this late period, it was
still some two years before the stricter order in Sura Al-Ma'idah (v) 56,
absolutely prohibiting friendship with Jews or Christians, was given, and this
is the final word on the subject:
O Believers take not the Jews or Christians as friends. If any one of you
taketh them for his friends, he surely is one of them! God will not guide the
evil-doer. Sura Al-Ma'idah (v) 56.
Husain says that the Prophet read the Sura YaSin (xxxvi) to these Christian
visitors, who were delighted and said to one another, 'What perfect similarity
it has to that which came to Jesus.' They then accepted Islam.
احكام اسلام وايمان قبول كردة با يكديكر كفتند كة قران جة مشابهت تمام دارد يانجة بر عيسىا نازل شدة
فرا كرفتند يهود ونصارى علماى شود را وعُباد خود را خديان
The Jews and Christians take their learned and pious men to be gods.' The
اَرْبَابًاis here the plural of
رَبَّ. It is an allusion to the word
(ربى) Rabbi, used
by the Jews and Christians of their priests, but in Arabic of God only. See
Rodwell's Qur'an, p. 616 ; Palmer's Qur'an, vol. i, p. 177.
There was no harm in a Jew's calling a learned man or a religious leader a
rabbi, but Muhammad made a blunder and altogether mistook the meaning of the
word. This is accounted for by his ignorance of Hebrew. But another difficulty
arises, for, it is not, according to the orthodox view of inspiration, Muhammad
who speaks in the Qur'an, but God through him. It seems clear that this verse
overthrows the idea of the verbal, or wahi inspiration of the Qur'an.