Studies Contributing to Criticism and Exegesis of the Koran

The following studies are in the main not concerned with establishing the chronological sequence of the individual suras and the circumstances that occasioned them-matters which form the substance of the enquiries of Sprenger and Muir, and of Noldeke's Geschichte des Qorans,l of Weil's Historisch-kritischer Einleitung in den Koran,2 of Grimme's Muhammad,3 and other studies.

Instead, the present author is concerned to examine the internal coherence of the suras for possible evidence of insertions, and to make other critical (also text-critical) comments. Where the coherence has been disturbed, this must have already occurred by the time of the collection and redaction of the Koran, either under Abu Bakr or under `Uthman; for we cannot assume that, after this, and after `Uthman's dispatch of the official redactions to the four provinces, there was any displacement of textual items in the Koran. On the other hand, when its individual parts were first put together-inscribed as they originally were on parchments, palm leaves, shoulder bones, broad stones, and other primitive writing mate- rial4-and also in the case of the further collection under `Uthman, it is obvious that sizable and smaller elements were inserted (as Muslims have to some extent themselves acknowledged) into passages with which they did not originally connect, so that they now disturb the pattern of the earlier sequence of ideas. Because `Uthman ordered that all earlier copies should be burned, so that only the versions he sponsored have reached posterity, we can adduce only internal evidence in our inquiries. Previous research into the Koran has indeed pointed to such evidence, but its main concern has nevertheless been to assign the proper chronological place to each of the suras.

So as not to have to begin with the later suras, those of Medina, the present study keeps to the sequence proposed in Noldeke's Geschichte des Qorans, except that, for our present purpose, the division of the Meccan suras into three stages was not necessary.

Exegesis of the Koran is not possible without an accompanying criticism of the transmission. At times there are insertions in a single verse that interrupt its construction. Sometimes the same idea is stated twice in succession in such a way that the second mention does not presuppose the first. Again, with longer, anaphorically constructed periods, alien verses have been inserted between the indentical beginnings of the verses; and the same verses have been repeated in several suras, sometimes even in the same sura, even though they are apposite only in the one context, and in the other are left with no connection (see below on suras XXVIII and XL); and so on.

More often there are corruptions in individual words. Sometimes their nature is such that, instead of the sense to be expected, they give its very opposite. In such cases Muslims have themselves made some modest criticisms, without admitting as much (see below XIII. 30; 111.147; LVII.29) One major cause of such obscurities is that the diacritical points that distinguish identical letters in the writing were lacking in the old script of the Koran, and were added only toward the end of the first century.5 The necessary result was a series of errors in the transmission, since not many Muslims knew the text by heart (and not too much confidence can be placed in the reliability of their memories in individual instances).6 Additionally, the written representation of the long vowels a, a, u, was left to be effected in a number of different forms.?

In many instances what the context requires can be reconstituted with greater or less plausibility from what we know of Arabic linguistic usage, in particular the usage of the Koran. In many other cases the original tradition has been lost because of textual uncertainty. There is no ground for considerably greater confidence in the Muslim redaction of the text and in the earliest oral tradition, right up to the final fixation of the text, than is extended to other ancient textual witnesses of like kind, nor for accepting the text, in the Muslim manner, as canonically unimpeachable, and abandoning all criticism of it-although this is what is usually done. Admittedly, the desultory style of the Koran, the fact that there are few instances of its voicing an idea in one single passage only, and that much in it is incomplete-all this puts limits to what we are able to achieve. But although we must keep these limitations in mind, we are not entitled to ignore breaks in the nexus and insertions into close-knit sequences of ideas, or to accept obvious textual corruptions without critical comment.

For such work, help from the Arabic commentators is naturally not forthcoming. For them the canonical text of the Koran is sanctified and not to be touched. Where, in the interest of completeness, I quote the traditional Arab explanations, it was impossible to take cognizance of all, or even of the majority of, the existing commentaries for each passage. Considerations of space forbade this, as did also the regrettable imperspicuity of these editions, which often makes the hunting down of individual passages intolerably burdensome. I have therefore limited myself, for my purposes, which seldom involve reproducing the opinions of the Arabs, to three outstanding commentaries: that of Baghawi, (died 516), that of Baydawi (died 685), and the Tafsir of Al-Jalalain (whose two authors died in 864 and 911, respectively).8 In these are compiled what the Arabs have to offer by way of explaining critical passages. Baghawi in particular conscientiously and with circumspection collects the earlier accounts given by Arabic scholars.



As is well known, this ancient sura, regarded by the Arabs as the oldest, consists of two parts that originally did not necessarily belong together,9 namely, verses 1-8 and 9-19.

In the first part, verse 1: 'igra' bismi rabbika, which is given various interpretations, should in my view be rendered as: "Read in the name of thy God (the Koran, revealed to you herewith)." 10 As a parallel, Sura LXXXVIL• 6 can be adduced, sanugri'uka fa-la tansd ... , "we give thee the Koran to read, thou wilt not forget it"; and also Sura XCVIII.2: rasulun yatlu suhufan mutahharatan....... a messenger who reads pure pages." Hence verses 3 f. have "Thy Lord is the sublime one, who has taught (the Koran) by means of the pen." That this is how `allama is to be understood is evidenced by Sura LIII. 4f.: "It is only a revelation which is revealed," 'allama-hu shadidu al-quwa, "which he who is terrible in his powers has taught," namely, by a visible revelation when he appeared to Muhammad bi-l-'ufugi al-'a`la. (the same in verse 7). Here likewise 'allama means God's revealing of the Koran. Sura LXXV. 18: fa-'idha gara'na-hu fa-ttabi' qur'anahu also helps to explain the first words-God or Gabriel recites the revelation to Muhammad from the divine book. He is to "follow suit," in that he likewise reads it, as indeed Baydawi renders this as fa-ttabi' gira'atahu wa takarrar fhi hatta yarsukha fi dhihnika. In the second part, Noldeke refers verses 9-10, alladhi yanha 'abdan 'idha sally to a slave being prevented by a powerful person from praying. But on this view, since the prophet would be in no way involved in this incident, verse 19 would not fit into the context, for here he himself is admonished, "Do not follow him (the oppressor), but bow down and draw near (to God)." Hence `abdan in verse 10 must be understood, in line with Arab commentators (Baydawi, Baghawi, al Jalalain), as Muhammad himself; compare fa-'awha 'ila 'abdihi ma 'awha in Sura LIII.10, and also Sura XVII.1; lamma gama 'abdu llahi yad'u: Sura LXXII.19.11 An unknown powerful opponent had prevented the prophet from praying and preaching (verse 12). This opponent had a considerable following nadiyahu (verse 17) behind him. But Muhammad is instructed (verse 19) "Follow him not, bow down and draw near!" In verse 11 the 'a-ra`ayta is an erroneous addition that has found its way here from verse 9 or 13; for verse 11 is a continuation of 9 f.: "when he prays (verse 10), when he12 is on the right path or enjoins fear of God [i.e., "preaches"]." So verse 13 speaks again of Muhammad's opponent: "Just say, when he calls (the one who proclaims) a liar [or is `cowardly' (cf. Aghani, V 148, 22, XV 77 ult.)], does he not know that God sees it?" Thus, the second part may well come from a quite ancient time, as there is no talk of a believing slave.


Verses II ff. are spoken by a distinguished, well-situated Meccan. In the words introducing them, namely dharnf wa-man khalaqtu wahidan, wahidan is inappropriate; for neither "that God alone has created him" (Baydawi), nor "that God has created him alone" ("who has no children nor wealth" Baydawi), makes any sense. The latter is plainly contradicted by verse 12-what must be read is wajidan, "whom I have created as a well-to do [man] [12] and to whom I have given extensive wealth [13] and children." Cf. wujdun: Sura LXV.6, I.Hisham 631 M., Ma'n I, 39 and jidatun "riches" Ham. 521, 4: wajidun "rich" Ham.698, 2 Kml. 199, 11 and other examples-with the old Koran script, this cannot even be called an alteration. Even the form wajid need cause no surprise, in view of faqir wa-ghaniyy. (cf. also `agyr [rich]; `aniy [poor] [Hebrew]; -t -r [Syriac])

Sura CXI

It seems unlikely to me that this sura, directed against Abu Lahab, the prophet's uncle, is among the oldest. Admittedly, the perfect tense tabbat in verse 1 may be a wish or a curse; but ma 'aghna 'anhu maluhu in verse 2 points-in accordance with standard linguistic usage of the Koran-to something that has already happened (cf. Suras VII.46, XV.84, and XXVI.207, among others), whereas the imperfect yughni is always used in the case of future events. For a perfect representing a curse, la 'aghna would have been used.

The sura therefore includes an expression of triumph over the death of Abu Lahab, which was already past. According to Ibn Hisham, it is supposed to have occurred about seven days after the battle of Badr.13 Furthermore, a few Islamic authors date the sura in a fairly late period, some of them even put it in the eighth year of the Hijra (when, however, Abu Lahab was long since dead), others put it in other years.14

Sura XC

This has undergone manifold disruptions. To my mind, verse 2, wa 'anta hillun bi-hadha 1-baladi, refers to the capture of Mecca and excuses it,15 and is consequently a Medinan interpolation from some time after the year 8 of the Hijra. That this is so is clear from the formal feature that in verses 1 and 2 the same al-baladi is used in immediate succession as a rhyming word.16 Whether verses 5-7 originally belonged in this context is questionable; for the continuation to verse 4 ("We have created man in trouble") is given by verses 8-10 (and then by 11-16):17 "Did we not give him two eyes and a tongue and two lips, etc.?"

In verse 17, thumma kana min is a later inserion made in order to link the verse with what preceded it-to which, however, it does not belong. Moreover, the predicate of verse 17 clearly follows only in verse 18. Rather are verses 17 f. and 19 f. a small independent unit of two parts, constructed parallel and conformably to each other. The original is: verses 17, 18: alladhina 'amanu wa- tawasa w ... 'ula'ika 'ash abu 1-maymanati; as opposite to this come verses 19, 20: wa lladhina kafaru bi-'ayatina hum 'ashabu l-mash'amati ['Ikh /etc.]. This little unit differs from the other contents of the sura and may have been originally independent.


Verse 1. The object of . . . 'inna 'anzalnahu does not refer to the Koran (as is generally supposed), so that this verb would here for the first time designate the revealing of the Koran (Noldeke). It refers to the angel Gabriel as the carrier of the revelation; for the nazala is immediately repeated in tanazzalu l-mala'ikatu wa-l-ruhu fiha of verse 4 as an explanation of verse 1. What follows these words in verse 4 namely, min kulli 'amrin, cannot be construed. They can neither mean bi- kulli 'amrin ... (Baghawi), nor "on account of everything" (Baydawi, al Jalalain), for this would be represented by min. They do not belong in this context. But everything falls into place if the final words of verse 4 and verse 5 are transposed, so that they read, for verse 4, `tanazzalu l-mala'ikatu wa-l- ruhufiha hatta matla`i l fajri, and verse 5, salamun hiya min kulli 'amrin, "it [she] is not contested18 by any [every] (evil) thing."

Sura XCI

The subject "he" of verse 15, wa-la yakhafu `ugbaha... , has no linkage with the preceding verse 14, "God destroyed them because of their sin." Rather does it connect with verse 12: "When the unfortunate one (of the Thamud) rose up, (15) and did not fear the consequence."


Muhammad is censured for turning grimly away from a poor blind man who had sought from him instruction about the revelation. "If (verse 5) someone is rich (6) then you turn to him." Verse 7 continues this with: wama calayka 'alla yazzaka. It conflicts with the sequence of the ideas, to have here "it is not your concern and it does not harm you if he (the rich man) does not become pious" (... laysa 'alayka ba'san ft an la yatazakka.)19 Baydawi. On the other hand, verse 7 forms a good sequel to verse 10: (8) "Whoever comes to you (9) because he fears (God), (10) with him you do not bother; (7) and you don't care whether he becomes pious."


This sura cannot belong among the older of the Meccan ones, for the command to get up at night and recite the Koran (verse 4) already presupposes the existence in writing of a number of suras. Consonant with this is that verse 15 already designates Muhammad as "ambassador" (rasulan) to his people, as was Moses to the Egyptians (All this quite apart from verse 20, which is recognized as being Medinan).


Verse 19. The preceding verses 9-18 all rhyme on in. We cannot assume that the rhyme was lacking only in the emphatic final verse. In verse 19: li-llahi has dropped out after rabbi l-'alamina20 which is found, for example in Sura LXXXI.29; LXXXIII.6.

Sura CI

A. Fischer's21 assumption that verses 7-8 are interpolated is not tenable; for it presupposes that the genuine threat at the end of the sura stated: verse 6 "he whose balance shall be light his mother will be childless" or "he dies." However that is an unheard of thought in the Koran, quite apart from the fact that, if it refers to the Last Judgment, it would be senseless. In the Koran, the usual punishment of the wicked is hellfire. The combination of saliya l-nara (al-jahima, saqara) occurs twenty-four times. Never is anything threatened that would correspond to the hawat 'ummuhu as used in the general indeterminate sense by the poets. From this follows that the conclusion of the sura, narun ha miyatun, is genuine. The preceding, fa -'ummuhu hawiyatun, is based on the traditional formula hawat 'ummuhu22 and means "he is in a bad way." This general threat is then explained more precisely in verses 6, 7 as a roasting in hell. This is indicated by the ma hiyah, whereas, otherwise after ma 'adra-ka ma ... an explanatory individual name follows (al-gari'a in this sura, verse 2; al-hutamatu CIV.5; al-haggatu: LXIX.3) Here, however, it is not a name but the phrase 'ummuhu hawiyatun that has to be explained, and moreover not in some general, unspecific sense but in the sense of burning in the fires of hell.


Verse 6. Among the phenomenon of the Last Judgment-in which all that now exists will be changed into its opposite, so that the stars will be darkened and the mountains will move (verses 2, 3) and so on-there is here mention of wa -'idha l-biha ru sujjirat (also sujirat), which is explained as "be set on fire"23 (Baydawi,al Jalalain). In Sura LXXXII.3, wa-'idha lbiha ru sujirat appears in the same context, "when the seas are broken through and made to run into each other," which yields a more natural hyperbole. Hence in LXXXI.6 the same textual reading must be restored as the original. That is more probable than that two quite different hyperbolic statements were made for the same wa-'idha l-biharu .... with two sounds identical in their final radicals. It is still possible to indicate what occasioned the corrupted portion of the text. In Sura LII.6, God is called rabbu al-bahri al-masjuri, "the Lord of the fully swollen sea," that is, of the sea that exists now in its natural fulness. From here, the sajirat will have, perversely, been imported into LXXXI.6, where, however, the topic is the complete change of the nature of the sea at a future time. The words of LII.6 testify that sujirat at LXXXI.6, is wrong; for if this verb designates, in the former passage, the present natural condition of the sea, it cannot, at LXXXI.6, express the sea's complete transformation.


After verse 5 the addition to the different 'idha has probably been lost, which in the corresponding passages LXXXI. 14 and LXXXII.5 on both occasions begins with 'alimat nafsun. That it is given in verse 2 with yd 'ayyuha 1-'insanu would be quite unusual. A new idea begins with this sentence. In verse 13, masruran ... is objectionable, for it cannot be alleged, as an earlier misdemeanor of the wicked man that he "was joyful among his people," when in verse 9 the pious are offered the prospect of the same thing as future happiness in verse 6. Probably masruran of verse 9 is wrong and should be a participle that forbodes ill such as shirriran shariran ... or something similar.


Verse 8. Instead of wujuhun, which is opposed to wujuhun ... in verse 2 read ... wa-wujuhun as in Sura LXXV.24; LXXX.40.


Verses 7-9; 18-21. Here the "book" in which the deeds of the godless (7-9) are recorded, and the one that gives the deeds of the pious (18-2 1), are named in contrast to each other. Verses 20, 21 call the latter kitabun marqumun yashhaduhu l-mugarrabuna; verse 9 calls the former only kitabun marqumun. In verse 9 an addition, yashhadu 1... una, is obviously missing, the opposite of yashhaduhu 1-mugarrabuna, which perhaps went "with whom the low or wicked angels are found." Otherwise precisely the characteristic and necessary counterpart to verse 21 would not be expressed. The `illiyuna of verse 18, with whom the book of the pious is to be found must be envisaged as living creatures. So much is proved by the outer plural. They are the same as the al-mugarrabuna of verse 21. From this it follows that theft sijjinin ... of verse 7, which is a counterpart to fi 'illiyyina ... of verse 18,24 was originally likewise an outer plural. As such, possibly an tahtiyyina can be inferred. Its original written form without diacritical points rasm] could easily lead to sijjin as a corruption.25 In the Koran itself, nineteen angels are recorded in one of the oldest suras (LXXIV.30 f.) as guardians of hell and overseers of the punishment of sinners; and these are therefore likewise lower angels. Moreover, according to Sura XLIII.35, a Shaitan is assigned to each sinner, and is linked (qarin) to him. The contrast between good and evil angels already appears in the late religious literature of the Jews and in Christian writings; for example Tobit 12, 15, "I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who carry up the prayers of the holy ones." (There is no need for further examples.) On the other side there is the evil angel Asmadaj (Tobit 3, 8), the avenging angel in the Revelation of John 51, 1, and the evil spirits in the epistle of James, 2, 19, and more besides.

Sura LVI

Since verse 66 includes the words of the penitents 'inna la-mughramun 'lkh ((N.B. 'lkh = etc.), the preceding tafakkahuna of verse 65, which introduces these words, probably represents an ancient error, for it means "to refresh oneself by means of something." The meanings Arab expositors read into it-"you will be surprised (tata`ajjabuna)," or "regret" (tandamuna), or "reproach each other" (mutaldwinuna), or "be downcast" (tahzanuna), or "coverse with each other" (tatahaddathuna)26 are obviously contrived merely to meet the needs of the passage. A word like talaffahuna ... , "you will feel pain at it," would fit the context. In verses 82 ff. and 85 if., there are two periods corresponding to each other in parallel, fa-lawld 'idhd and fa -lawld 'in. The latter has, as its added element, the tarji'unahd of verse 86. But the addition to verse 82 has been lost, and verse 84 has replaced it.


This sura is uniformly constructed from quite short sentences with the same rhyme. Verse 30 interrupts the answer that those who are leading astray give to those being led astray-an answer given in verses 29 and 31. Verse 30 belongs after 31. The erstwhile misleading ones say (29): "You (yourselves) were not believing; you (yourselves) were wanton; (31) hence we have led you into error; for we ourselves were in error." Only after this is verse 30 appropriate: "Hence the word of our Lord afflicts us, that we shall taste (the punishment)" (refers to verse 37: "Behold, you shall taste the painful punishment").

Verse 56. The 'a fa-ma nahnu bi-mayyitana is a countersense. The believer (verse 54) must, on the contrary, say ma nahnu bi-mayyitina 'illy mawtatand al-'ula, "we die but one death (i.e., only in this world) and will not be punished (as you will be)." This is in truth what is said in Sura XLIV.56 of believers: la yadhuquna fihaal-mawta 'illa mawtata al-'ula. Hence one must read ma instead of 'a fa-ma. Verse 159 is disruptive between 'innahum la-muhdaruna ... in verse 158 and the appropriate exception, 'illd 'ibdda llahi, in 160. It will originally have been placed before wa-la-qad c alimat in 158 as the conclusion of the preceding section, that the possession of daughters is attributed to God (153-157).

Verse 76. In my view there is a very ancient error in the fourfold repeated wa-tarakna 'alayhi fz al-'akhirina (verses 76, 108, 119, 129) (in Nuh, Ibrahim, etc.), which, according to Baghawi, Jalalain is suposed to mean wa -'abgayna 'alayhi thana'an hasanan, "we left him a fine reputation from the later ones." But this sense cannot be comprised in the simple taraka `alayhi. The combination taraka `alayhi without an object in the accusative is against all Arabic usage, even against that of the Koran. Moreover salamun 'ala cannot be construed as this object (as ... hikaya; an explanation given by Baghawi, Baydawi); for it would be a decidedly feeble reward for these "prophets" that later generations say of them: salamun `ala Nuh, and so on "Behold, thus do we reward those who act well" would be almost grotesque. For this language would require not (tarakna) 'alayhi but only lahu. Throughout one must read, wa-barakna `alayhi fi al-'akhirina, "we blessed him still among the later generations," as actually stands in verse 113 in Ishaq, completely consonant with this is that, in all four passages there follow 'Ibrahima or, as the case may be, salamun 'ala Nuhin etc. In Arabic, the combination ... baraka `alayhi is quite regular, as is well known.27 The sense is what is to be expected here. The defective rendition of a in the oldest Koran script is attested for a great number of instances, also regularly for fa`iluna, fa`ilina.28 The diacritical points were lacking in this writing until the second half of the first century.29 False resolution of the written signs thus goes back to an earlier period. Muhammad doubtless envisaged the promise to Abraham Gen. 22:18 (Hebrew: w-h-t-b-r-k-w b-z-r-`-k k-l g-w-y-y h-'-r "and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed . . ."), and the same promise to Isaac, Gen. 26:4.


In verse 2, nabtalihi between the "we created man from mixed semen" and the "and have made him able to hear and see" does not suit the context. It belongs rather in the next verse: (3) "We led him onto the (right) path, in that we tested him" ("tried" to recognize him)30 either as some one grateful or ungrateful, that is, whether he would be grateful or ungrateful.

Sura XX

Verse 6 ("When you speak aloud"). fa-'innahu ya `lamu llahu al-sirra wa- 'akhfa, "he (God) knows (in any case) what is secret and what is more concealed." The combination of a specific object with one that is not specific is most unnatural. It would be just as off-putting that there should be something "more concealed" ('akhfa) than the secret. Read ... al-sirra wa-al-khafa, "God knows what is secret and hidden," khafan is, according to the lexicographers, equivalent to khafin, khafiyatun. A parallel to this is ... 'innahu ya`lamu al-jahra wa-ma yakhfa, Sura LXXXVII.7, which at the same time testifies to the alteration of our text.

Sura XV

Verse 12 clearly does not belong after verse 11; for both the kadhalika ... and the suffix naslukuhu bear no relation to verse 11. On the other hand, verse 12 follows nicely after 9: (9) "Behold, we send the warning and protect it; (12) in this way we let it enter the hearts of the evildoers."

Verse 47b. 'Ikhwanan follows immediately from ... 'dminina in verse 46; what stands between them, naza`nd upto min ghillin, is a disturbing intrusion.

Verse 56. Qala is to be deleted. The verse continues the address of the angels. Abraham does not speak until verse 57.

Verse 72. The ... la- `amruka 'innahum, in Lut's direct speech to the Sodomites with the singular suffix ka and the third person plural hum referring to the Sodomites, does not fit this context. But it follows nicely after verse 66: (66) "We (God) imported this decision to him, that the back of these (people) would be cut off in the morning (i.e., they would be exterminated); (72) (saying) on your life, they are perplexed in their drunkenness."

Sura XIX

The son of Zakariyya is named yahya in verses 7 and 13, with the observation (verse 8): "We have previously not given (allowed to arise) anyone of this same name." As John the Baptist is meant, I presume that yahya is a false reading from an original, yuhanna, which was then not known to the Arabs as a name.31 Since the diacritical points were lacking in the oldest Koran script, the misreading of a strange name is understandable. The immediately following ... wa-hananan (verse 14) is probably an interpretation of the name Johanna.32 Before verse 13 it seems that something has dropped out that concerned John's birth and early life; cf. verses 22 if. in the case of Jesus.


In the narrative about Job, verses 40-44, there is some displacement. Verse 41 gives God's injunction that Job should strike the ground with his foot to assuage his pain. This belongs, without interruption, with verse 43: "and group a bundle with your hand and beat (namely your body)33 with it" and do not sin [cf.... hinthun "sin," Sura LVI.45].We found him (also really) patiently persisting. Verse 42 fits (as a reward) only after this: "We gave him his family and as many gain as then (had been) with them." The Arabs misinterpreted the ... wa-la tahnath verse 43, in accordance with normal Arab usage (but not the usage of the Koran), as "do not break your oath." Thereby there arose the absurd legend that Job had sworn to reprimand his wife because she remained absent until very late. The ridiculousness of this is already apparent from the continuation of the verse, "we found him resolute [perhaps in beating his wife?]."

Concerning the final section, verses 67 ff., Noldeke suspected that it did not belong with the earlier ones; in addition it has a different rhyme. But this section is not itself a unity. Verses 86-88 connect with their ma 'as'alukum 'alayhi min 'ajrin, directly with 67, 68: "It (the Koran) is a great proclamation but you turn away from it." Then, after this (86): "I require for it no reward from you." In the part preceding verse 86, the 'alayhi of verse 86 has, according to Noldeke, no antecedent, and the whole verse cannot be explained. Verses 69-85 have been inserted, forming a piece complete in itself.


Verse 4 (where tanzili must be vocalized) belongs after verse 1; for verse 4 cannot refer to "you" (the prophet). Then follow 2 and 3, to which verse 5 connects ("you are sent so as to warn"). Likewise verse 46 is to be put before 45, for it terminates the three series that begin with ... wa-'ayatun lakum (verses 33, 37, 41)with the words: "But none of these signs ('ayatun ...) reaches them without their turning away from him." Only then do there follow two parallel units that both begin with wa-'idha gi1a lahum ... ,verses 45 and 47. Of these, 47a has its continuation in 47 b; but the continuation of 45 has been lost.

Verses 69, 70 (that Muhammad is not a poet, and the Koran is a heavenly warning) are foreign to the context of this pericope. Verse 71 takes up the heavenly 'ayatun ... of verses 33, 37, and 41 again. On the other hand, verses 69, 70 could belong before verse 70, which otherwise stands isolated. The chain of thought would be: (69) "Muhammad is not a poet, rather is the Koran an admonition (70) and a warning for unbelievers. (76) May their chatter (that you are poet) not upset you," and so on.


Verses 15 and 18 are doublets. Hence, verse 18 cannot originally have followed so soon after 15. Its immediate continuation is, however, given by verse 20. The pair of questions 'ashhidu khalqahum, verse 18, and 'am 'ataynahum kitaban .... verse 20, belong together. Between them, verse 19 breaks the construction.

Verse 23. Instead of qul, read gala as in 22b. For the following gala ... and fa-natagamna minhum .... 24a shows that here the objection of the earlier generations is mentioned, to whom a warner, verse 22, was once sent.

Verses 25-27 do not belong here. Before them, in verses 22-24, there was talk of unbelieving generations, on whom God has avenged himself. Verse 28 accounts for why Allah has sustained the lives of the present unbelievers and their fathers, that is, those earlier ones. The two belong together. But the reminiscence of Abraham in 25-27 breaks the connection.

Verse 37 follows on with its singular 'idha ja'ana directly after verse 35 and its singular: wa-man ... lahu. Even if the idea of man can designate a plural, it is formally hardly tolerable that between, in wa-'innahum la-yasuddunahum . . . , both the subject and the object are plural and then the singular reappears in verse 37. Verse 36 is perhaps an early insertion to justify verse 37.

Verse 51. The 'am must be changed to 'a-ma ('ama is said to occur in Mughni according to Lane I, 93), so that only the Fath would have to be added: "Am I not better than this man ?"; it is a continuation of the 'a- laysa li ... in verse 50.

Verses 79, 80. It is very doubtful whether both questions began with 'am ... or rather verse 79 only with 'a .... as is the rule (e.g., Sura LXVII.16-17) Admittedly, according to Abu `Ubayda (see Lane), 'am may occur with a simple question, but only by way of exception.

Verse 88. Noldeke notes that some words must have dropped out before 88, because wa-galihi ... cannot be linked with verse 87 in a satisfactory way. But verse 89 connects-over the head of verse 88-well with 87. The whole of verse 88 probably belongs elsewhere.


Verse 24 forms the immediate continuation of verse 21; that is: (21) "Speak, I cannot (effect) either damage to you or proper leading for you, but only the bringing (of the revelation) of God." The 'illy of verse 24 connects directly with the negative of in of verse 21. Hence verses 22, 23 do not belong here. They have found a place here only because of the same qul 'inns in verses 21 and 22. Verse 26 also begins with qul in, so that the verses 21, 22 will belong to our sura but to another place in it.


Verses 16, 17, 20, 21, 22 belong with their identical question figures 'a ... 'am in uninterrupted succession. Between verses 17 and 20, verses 18, 19 are out of place. Rather is the chain of thought: "Are you secure from Him who is in heaven, that he will let the earth perish with you? (17) Or are you secure from him that he will rain stones upon you? (20) Can this thing34 that is your army help you in the face of the All-Merciful One? (21) Or (rather) he who nourishes you (i.e., God against this army)." Likewise the further double question, verses 22 a and b with: 'a fa ... 'am.

That verses 18, 19 are misplaced here is clear also from the fact that here the unbelievers are addressed in the third person, whereas both before and after (verses 17, 20, 21) the second person is used for this purpose.


In verse 54 one must read wa-'inna ... with the Kufian (see Baydawi) as a continuation of 'inni ... in verse 53 b. Verse 69 is not construable; bihi has nothing governing it, and the Hal samiran no singular in the form of dhu l-hal. The correct reading must be biha ... (sc. bi-'ayata.... verse 68) and with the variant ... summuran.

Verse 70. Instead of 'am ja'ahum ... read 'idh ja'ahum. The 'am has been erroneously placed earlier from verse 71. The further question sentences after 'a fa-lam ... follow only in verse 71a, 72a; whereas here the ground is given, because of which they would have to "heed." The sense is (70): "Do they not heed the word (of God), in spite of the fact that what did not come to their earlier fathers has come to them; (71) or did they not know the (prophet) sent to them?" and so on.

In verses 89, 91 one must put the variant of many readers of the Koran, namely Allahu, in place of li-llahi as answer to man; see Baydawi on this passage. The lillahi is an erroneous repetition from verse 87.

Verse 101 has, with its own hatta 'idha, no connection with 100. There must have been mention earlier of the evil deeds or evil talk of the unbelievers.

Verse 118 and its wa-qul ... must have been immediately preceded by a direct address to the prophet, to which the wa was linked, as in verse 95 or 99, 100.

Sura XXI

Verse 42 is isolated here. It belongs after verse 37: "When the unbelievers see you, they mock you; (42) but the ambassadors have also been mocked before you. Then punishment encompassed the mockers for their mockery." After verse 42 at this point verses 43, 44 fit well. For after, it was said in verse 37b that they "deny the mention of Rahman," verse 44 asks: "Say, who protects you day and night from the Rahman? (44) Do they have gods who can protect them from us?" On the other hand, once verses 43, 44 are moved up from their position, verse 45 fits well to 38-4 1. In 38- 41 they had asked why the threatened punishment does not come; and they had received the answer (41), it will suddenly and inescapably befall them. (45) "But [they ask mockingly only] because we have given them and their fathers enjoyment of life, so that their lives were long."

The direct continuation of verses 49, 50 (Reminiscence of Musa, etc.) is given by verse 52. Verse 51 disturbs the connection.


In verse 106, the words wa-bi-l-haqqi 'anzalnahu wa-bi-l-hagqi nazala. .. up to the end do not in any way belong here. The suffix in "we have sent it down" refers to the Koran, but it is not mentioned until verse 107. Those words can have stood only at some point after 107a. The rhyme here offers no lead, as it seems not to have been carried through in these verses.


Already N6ldeke35 noted that there must be a gap before wa-'utina ... , verse 42 (since these words cannot belong to the queen of Saba). In verse 68, the first bal ... has been wrongly taken in advance from b. The sense demands something like hal 'adraka `ilmuhum ma fi al-'akhirati (or iddaraka), "do you perhaps know what is happening in posterity?"36

Sura XXV

Muhammad here comes to terms firstly with objections to his status as prophet and with the way his enemies put it in question. These objections are mentioned in verses 5, 8, 9, 23a, 34a; verse 43 also, from its content, belongs here. They are introduced with the stereotype: "and the unbelievers speak" and similar phrases (5, 23, 34); "and they speak" (8). The answer to this follows for verse 5, in verse 7 with qul. The suffix in 'anzalahu referring to the Koran, refers back to verse 5 (iftarahu, `alayhi). Verse 6 surely did not belong between 5 and 7; for here the 'asatiru al- 'awwalina are newly introduced and feminine pronouns are used for them. The verse belongs in the whole context as an argument of the unbelievers. Its continuation is probably 8b (which disrupts the connection in its present position), namely, (6) "They say, these are only old tales, which are dictated to him morning and evening [by human beings]"; (8b) "Why is no angel sent down to him, etc.?" The answer to this has apparently been lost.

Verse 8. To the objection: "Why does this ambassador [messenger] eat food and walk about in the markets? (9) Or why is no treasure alloted to him, or has he a garden, from which he can eat?" and so on. This is answered, apart from verse 11, also in verse 22: "We have sent no messenger before you who did not eat food and walk about in the markets." This characteristic repetition shows that this is to be placed with the question in verse 8.

In verse 19, nuttakhada is to be read, with the old Koran readers (see Baydawi); but then the min must be deleted. It originated from a misinterpretation of this verse. The speakers are the idols (ma ya'buduna, verse 18), not their worshipers. The latter are spoken of in b in the third person (hum, nasu). In verse 20 one suspects, because of the rhyme elsewhere, that nusu ran37 (infinitive) should replace nasran.

After the historical reminiscence in verses 37-41 and the polemics against the enemies in verses 43-46, there follow proofs for the true faith in God, verses 47-51, 55, 56, 63. The verses 49, 50 f., 55, 56, 63 are shown by the anaphora of wa-huwa alladhi to belong together.

Verses 52-54 do not fall within this context. Verse 54, with its bihi ... strikes back directly to sarrafnahu in verse 52. The suffix refers to the Koran. Verse 53 cannot originally belong between them, for otherwise the bihi ... would, against all sense, refer to nadhiran.

Verse 61 belongs more closely to 57. Verse 60 is worded in the tone of verses that elsewhere conclude suras. Its original ending was surely khablran. This rhyme suits its surround.

Verse 67b. For wa-kana, which would have no subject, read wa-kanu ... "and they are just between the two (the one giving too much and the one giving too little), standing quite in the middle."

Verses 64-76 give a coherent depiction of the essential nature of the believers. Something has dropped out before verse 77, for it addresses the unbelievers, and that with "Ye," while previously they and the believers were treated in the third person. The very abrupt lawla du`a'ukum between "my lord will not concern himself with you" and the "since you have designated (my messenger) a liar" is surely incorrect.38 Perhaps we should read wa-la bi-du'a'ikum, "God will not concern himself with you, nor with your cries (in hell), since you have declared (prophet) a liar. It (the punishment) will seize you firmly."


In verse 4 something seems to be missing before thumma ya`ruju 'ilayhi 'lkh, and so on. For "god" cannot very well be the subject here, too, as if he needed one thousand years to climb up to heaven. Probably there was first some mention of an angel who was sent down.39 In verse 23, the words "be not in doubt about meeting with him" were already recognized as a foreign element by Noldeke. But verses 23-24 are surely as a whole alien intrusions. For verse 25 presupposes, with its ... baynahum in 'inna rabbaka huwa yafsilu baynahum, that the two classes of believers and unbelievers came immediately before it, and these are treated in verses 18-22. Verses 26-29 speak again of the unbelievers. Hence there is no room for the reminiscence of Moses and other imams between verses 22 and 25.

Sura XLI

Verse 7 does not belong here; for the apostrophe to the Mushrikun (verse 5, end) in verse 6 is continued in verse 8. Between these two, the promise of reward for the believers would be an interruption. In verse 11, wa- hifzan is fragmentary; the min kulli shaytanin maridin is lacking, which follows in Sura XXXVII.7. For wa-zayyana is to be read wa-zayyana (transferred from Sura XXXVII.7); cf.fa-qadahunna in a. In verse 34, the end, from fa-'idha to hamimun, has come in from elsewhere. For (1) the suffix of wa- baynahu has no antecedent in what precedes it; (2) the suffix in yulaggaha ... verse 35a goes over the head of 34b, to the hiya of 34a; (3) the content is alien here. On the other hand, the first part stands quite appropriately and more completely in Sura XXIII.98, idfa' bi-llata hiya 'ahsanu al-sayyi'ata, and has surely been transposed from there to our passage. In verse 41, the predicate sentence, 'inna, has been lost.

Sura XVI

Verse 9. Instead of the difficult wa-lala llahi gasdu al-sabili ... ,40 read wa-'ila llahi, "the straight path leads on to God."

Verse 35, whose subject "then" refers immediately to the unfaithful, does not connect with 32-34, which treat of the faithful. Rather does it connect with verse 31.

Verses 43, 44 were already expunged as Medinan by Noldeke. Verse 45 connects directly with 40-41 and refutes the objection to Muhammad's prophetic status therein contained: (40) "they swear to God, send no one who is mortal; oh yes ! etc. (41) So that he makes clear to them what it is they are quarrelling about. (45) We have indeed sent only men before you to those to whom we gave revelation," and so on.

Verse 42 is also alien in this context.

Verse 49b. At least the fa-'inna is an error, unless something earlier has dropped out. Because of the contrast with the first unit, one would expect lakinna or something similar. Verses 59 and 64, are from their sense, doublets; for in the ma yakrahuna of 64a, the same as ... al- banatu in verse 59 is comprised (see Baydawi; Jalalain). It is unlikely that in the same piece the same pronouncement with wa-yaj `aluna ... followed twice in quick succession.

Verse 103. The insertion of wa-llahu ya'lamu bima yunazzalu between the protasis and sequel of wa-'idha is very strange. The words belong after muftarin: "If we insert a verse, they say, you are a liar. God knows better what he reveals. But most of them do not know it." The Allahu ya`lamu ... and the 'aktharuhum la ya'lamuna ... belong together as opposites.

Verse 108. The overloading of the verse with a double subject, man kafara bi-llahi ... and wa-lakin man sharaha bi-l-kufri sadran... , shows that here a correction has been worked in. It comprises the words 'illa man 'ukriha up to sadran, whereby those who have been forced into infidelity by the Meccans are exempted from the "wrath of God," which is threatened only to those who (without compulsion) "expand their chest with unbelief."

Verse 117a. Some corruption is probably included in the words wa-lima tasifu 'alsinatukumu al-kadhiba, which yield no understandable sense. The superfluous first al-kadhib, followed asyndetically41 by a second, may be an anticipation of the same word, which follows twice more in our verse.

Sura XXX

Verse 29. The address to Muhammad with "thou" (fa-'agim) belongs more closely together with fa-'ati (37), fa-'agim (42), and also fa-nzur ... (49), if the latter is original. But in verses 49 and 53 the rhyme is ar, whereas at other points, and also elsewhere throughout, un, in, so that perhaps these two verses were only secondarily positioned here. Before verse 30, where after the singular imperative the plurals wa-'agimu, wa- ttaquhu, munibina, abruptly follow, at least one verse with the imperative in the plural must have dropped out, to which these plural sentences were attached.

Verses 32 and 35 cannot originally have belonged to the same speech because the same double case is varied in both: "When what is good comes to people ... then . . . , when what is bad comes to them, then ..."

Verse 45. The wa-min 'ayatihi belongs to the fourfold anaphora42 of the same words in verses 21-24. The verse can be taken from its present place without introducing any disruption. Indeed, it must be put aside here, since in verse 47 the same good deed of God is repeated.

Verse 48. The min qabli an and the immediately following min qablihi are not compatible in the same verse. The latter is a variant of the former sentence.

Sura XI

In this sura, the kernel of which is the narratives of the older prophets, alterations or insertions seem to have occurred at the beginning between verses 6 and 16 because of the irregular rhyme.

Verse 20 includes a corrupted element. The sequel (which Baydawi and Jalalain want to add),43 necessary to the rhetorical question 'a fa-man kana, is missing. This addition, however, is not feasible, as it is not selfevident. One should read simply man kana, which forms the contrast to wa-man yakfur in b: "Those who have a clear proof from their Lord, and who are followed by a witness from him (God) etc., they believe in him, but those of the multitudes who deny him, for them the fire of purgatory is their place of assembly."

Verse 37 does not belong here. For 36 and 38 are about Noah (Nuh), but verse 37 in between is about the Koran (iftara-hu), and this has no linkage with what precedes or what follows.

Verse 90. After `a-ra'ayna-hum in kuntu `ala there must follow, according to the usage of the Koran, a rhetorical question44 or the imper- ative.45 But here the addition is completely lacking. However, a similar case occurs in Sura XLVI.9, so a judgment on the matter is difficult. The wa-la 'anha-kum shows, because of its wa, that at some time a pronouncement clause preceded that is now lacking. Moreover, the thought "I will not, in opposition to you, myself do that from which I am trying to deter you" is abstruse and alien to the Koran. The text is obviously corrupt.

Verse 113. The lama (according to Tor Andrae, lamma, which is supposedly = lamin ma; according to Andrae, lumman = jams `an) is not construable and is probably to be struck out.

Already Schwally rightly noted that verses 99 and 112 collide, since both treat of Moses; likewise that the review is already comprised in 102-111.

The imperative fa-staqim (114), wa-la tarkunu (115), wa-'agim (116), wa-sbir (117) surely belonged originally more closely to wa-qul (122); while the review of the narratives about the destroyed towns (verses 118, 119, 121) goes parallel to verses 103-105 and belonged closer to them.

Sura XII

Several things in this Joseph sura are so disjointed that one must suspect that something has been lost. Is, for example, Joseph's going down into Egypt to remain unmentioned before verse 100?

Verse 94. Between wa-lamma fasalati l- iru and the "then their father said, I sense the smell of Joseph" attached to it, there is lacking the section about their coming to their father with the coat, on which he smells something of Joseph. Only in verse 96 does "the proclaimer" bring the coat to the father. There seems to be some displacement here. Incidentally, the detail that the father smells on the coat a trace of the son is a reminiscence from the biblical story of Isaac (Gen. 27:27).

Verse 9. For the yakhlu lakum wajhu 'abikum, "the face of your father will be free for you, will alone be there,"46 I suspect yajlu lakum, "then there will (again) look at you, clear and bright,47 the face of your father." The Muslims already felt that the sense would have to be yakhlusu lakum wa-yasifu lakum (Baydawi, Baghawi) but tried to insert in yakhlu.

Verse 62. The double na`allahum is burdensome. That they perhaps will later recognize their tools (utensils) yields no sense. Perhaps the first la'allahum has come in prematurely because of the second identical word.

Verse 64. The 'illy before kama 'amintukum is to be deleted. Translate as: "Am Ito offer you my confidence in regard to him just as I previously trusted in regard to his brother?"

Verse 68. Before 'illy ha jatan something has probably dropped out. Perhaps ma kana: "It (the advice) was nothing but a need in Jacob's soul which he satisfied."

Verse 75. There is some error in the repetition of the words jaza'uhu man wujida ft rahlihi fa-huwa jaza'uhu. The second jaza'uhu is an erroneous repetition of the first. The following clause presumably had originally something like fa-huwa riqqun la orfa-huwa -`abdun U. "let him be a slave to me" (= Gen. 44:17: h-w-' y-h-y-h l-y '-b-d: he shall be my servant. Hebrew.)

Verses 83 ff. The mechanical repetition of the same words bal sawwalat lakum 'anfusukum 'amran fa-sabrun jamilun here, at the loss of Benjamin, as above, verse 18, at that of Joseph, makes one suspect that they are repeated here in place of a lost answer by Jacob. The immediately following woe cries and the "becoming white" of the eyes also do not fit the fa-sabrun jamilun. All this is missing in verse 18 above, and also that he here weeps over Joseph (verse 84), when he should now be mourning for Benjamin. At the very least, something about Benjamin must have stood here, before he speaks in 84 of Joseph alone and in verse 87 of both sons.

Sura XL

The seemingly general statement in verse 37a interrupts Pharoah's conversation with the believer from his people, which extends from verses 29-36 before this, and from verses 38-48 after it. Moreover, the singular kabura in the predicate does not match the subject alladina in a. One really expects kaburu. Then this offensive half-clause, alladhina yujadiluna fi 'ayati llahi bi-ghayri sultani 'atahum, is strikingly repeated verbatim in verse 58a, where the predicate also fits well. It has presumably at some time been dragged from there also to verse 37. If it is deleted here, then verse 37 follows 36 perfectly: (36) man huwa musrifun murtabun (37) kabura maqtan 'inda llahi 'lkh /and so on, and no longer forms a disturbing enclave.


Verse 74 repeats verse 62, and so does not originally belong here. Its continuation can also not have consisted in the words wa-naza `na min kulli 'ummatin shahidan (verse 75), for these have no reference to the previ- ousn questioning about the "associates" of God, the idols. The piece about Qarun verses 76-82 need not originally have belonged to the remaining part of the sura, as Schwally already noted.


Verses l la and 50 agree in their thought and their expression, even in the rare khawwalahu ni'matan (elsewhere only VI.94 is similar) to such an extent that they originally could not have belonged to the same piece. Both 11 and 50 can be absent without detriment to the present context.

Verses 12, with ...'amman huwa, 20 'a fa-man haqqa; 23 'a-fa-man sharaha; 25, 'a fa-man yattaqi, belong by dint of their identical question form to a coherent construction that was not originally separated, as it is now, by a series of other verses. If verse 12 was clearly the first link in this series, then 'a-man is probably to be read instead of 'amman (for the first link in a chain of questions does not have 'am.) The subject man is taken up again by alladhina ya`lamuna: "Is perchance he who honors God at night .... are they same, those who know and those who do not know?" (20), or he for whom the word of punishment stands firm; can you save him who is in hellfire ? (23) or he whose heart God has expanded to Islam ... ? (Woe unto Them, whose heart is hard [cf.verse 20]) (25), or perhaps he who protects himself with his countenance from the grievous punishment on resurrection day (predicate is lost), while the wicked are told, taste what you have brought upon yourselves. (For ... wa-gfla one must presumably read 'idha gala or something similar. The link with wa to a is hardly feasible.) The predicates to verses 23a and 25a are now missing. Should they be supplied from the hal yastawi of verse 12? Perhaps "Are the pious and the wicked equal to each other (12) or those whose sentence of punishment stands determined (20) or those whose heart God has broadened to Islam (23), or those who fear the terrible punishment" (25) (are these perhaps the same as those worthy of punishment [verse 20] ?) But whether the verses belong together in this way is uncertain, given the nature of the tradition.

Verse 21 forms the immediate contrast to verses 17b and 18: (18) the unbelievers have tents of hellfire lahum minfawqihim ;ulalun min al-nari wa-min tahtihim zulalun, (21) but the believers galleries lahum ghurafun min fawgiha ghurafun under which rivers flow.

This contrasting reference is furthermore made visible by Lakin (21). It is hardly a contrasting reference to verse 20. Verses 19 and 20 probably did not originally intervene.

On the position of verse 20, cf. above, verse 73. After hand idha the sequel must begin without wa, as in verse 7, which corresponds to our verse; thus, futihat.


Already Noldeke had cast doubt on verses 18-22 because of their present position, for they seem to interrupt the address of Abraham to his people (16) and their reply (23). But he then took the remarkable qul (19) as addressed to Abraham (as in XI.37 to Noah), and withdrew his reservations about these verses. My view is that verse 17, and 18-22 with it, have been inserted here. The reference to "peoples before you who have called [their ambassadors] liars" is appropriate only on the lips of Muhammad, not on those of Abraham.

Similarly, the al-rasulu ... suits the former very well, but not the latter, who would be designated with al-nabiyyu. Moreover, in verse 18 the third person plural yaraw is out of context, when hitherto Abraham has apostrophied his enemies in the second person plural. There is also the qul in verse 19, which normally refers to Muhammad. And the verse in Sura XI.37 seems to me, because of its 'am yaquluna ffarahu, to refer to the Koran, and so to Muhammad and not to Noah, and to have been interpolated there, together with its qul.

In verse 22, we must surely assume an original min rahmatihi, instead of min rahmati, because of the preceding bi-'ayati llahi wa-liga'ihi.

In verse 45 the words 'ilia lladhina zalamu minhum must, with Schwally, be taken as a later insertion because of the double exception, and because wa-qulu doesnot presuppose them. When this verse originated is uncertain.


For verse 5, the reading li-yadilla (see Baydawi) is to be preferred, for it is not about one man who misleads others, but-according to verse 6about one man who himself goes astray.

Verse 9. The transition from the threefold third person baththa, 'alga, khalaqa to the twofold first person plural 'anzalna ... fa-'anbatna is admittedly abrupt, the more so since, with hadha khalqu llahi in verse 10, the third person reappears. (However, the same thing occurs in, for instance, Sura XXXV. 10; XLIII. 10.)

Something similar is the change in the same persons in Sura XLII. 11. But there, wa-lladhi 'awhayna 'ilayka (between the revelation to Noah and to Ibrahim the one to Muhammad!) has been inserted later and then subsequently the following wassayna remodelled.

Already Noldeke stressed that verses 13 and 14 are obviously displaced. They could perhaps, in his view, belong after verse 18.


On verse 11, see above to XXXI.9.

Sura X

Verse 78. The object to 'a-taquluna li-l-haqqi is missing. Either hadha... has perhaps been dropped out between the two, or possibly after ja'a-kum a sihrun before the similar 'ashirun has been lost.


Verse 9 is not in order; for the intermediate clause, from fa-'inna llaha to man yasha'u intrudes forcibly between the first and the last part of ...'afa-man zuyyina. Either the intermediate clause should be deleted, or placed after the final part, with fa-man instead of 'a fa-man, to be read at the beginning.

Translate as: "And if someone's evil behavior is decked out, and he thinks it fine, let not your soul expend itself in sighing about him; for God leads astray whom he will, and leads aright whom he will. Behold, God knows what they do." From the sense, man can refer to `alayhim; cf., for instance, Sura VII.17.

Verses 10, 12, 14 f., 16-18, which speak of God's omnipotence, belong together. But verse 13, which is inappropriate here, should, with its wa-ma yastawi 'ilkh/and so on; be put with verses 20 and 21, which begin in the same way. The sense is: as in nature a sweet and a bitter ocean are not the same (verse 13), so it is with the good and the bad among mankind (20, 21).

Sura VII

Verse 28, or at least the words "and direct your countenances to every mosque" upto al-din is surely a Medinan insertion, like verses 156-158, recognized as such by Noldeke.

Verse 41. The words tajri min tahtihimi l-'anharu, inappropriate here, connect with khdliduna of verse 40 and should follow it. Only then can wa-naza Ind, and so on, follow.

Verse 55. Thigalan here belongs, as in Sura X111.13, to sahaban, which is considered to be plural. All the more striking is the masculine bihi,48 which twice refers to it.


Verse 10b. The appropriate ending to the clause is missing to wa-'idh, for .. fa-sayaquluna speaks of what the unbelievers will in the future say, whereas in the first clausal unit, with wa-gala lladhina, it is reported what they are now saying.

Verse 27. The combination of the two words qurbanan 'alihatan is surely an error, and the 'alihah is an explanatory gloss to qurbanan. On the meaning "close friends," cf. Iqd' III 53, 9 garabinu llahi bang Qusayyin.

In our passage, the singular (if indeed present) would be a collective.

Verse 32. The bi in bi-gadirin has nothing governing it and goes against the usage of the language.49 There is some corruption here.

Verse 35. The word balaghun stands quite unconnected, and cannot belong here. (The Arab exegesists have nothing decisive to say.)

Sura VI

Verses 12 and 20. Very noticeable is, on both occasions, the unconnected alladhina khasiru 'anfusahum, which must, in the present text, be the subject of fa-hum la yu'minuna. And this linking of the predicate with fa is also strange. Also, one would rather expect some statement about their punishment. Perhaps there is some corruption.

In verses 17 and 18, the rhyme on it between those on un, in, is offputting. These verses could be missing, with no disturbance to the context.

Verse 35 has been disturbed in some ways, with its double wa-'in fa'in and the following wa-law with no clausal completions to them. The first clausal unit "and if you (yourself) should seek an exit into the earth" was surely originally followed by t he now-missing "then they would still not believe you."

In verses 66 and 69, bihi refers to the Koran, which, however, was not what the preceding verses were about. Verses 66 and 69 belong to some position like that after verse 92 wa-hadha kitabun, or somewhere similar.

Verse 87. Wa-min 'aba'ihim and so on lacks any governing verb to which wa jtabaynahum would connect. The simplest reading would perhaps be ijtabayna.

Verse 109. There is surely an error in wa-ma yush'irukum, which has no object. The 'annaha ... la yu'minuna is not suitable as an object for it.


Verse 30a is defective. The essential clausal termination lam yu'minu or something like it, is missing to wa-law 'anna qur 'anan 'lkh/and so on.

In 30b, 'a fa-lam yay'asi is a countersense. Already old authorities read here yatabayyani, "recognize," for those who do not believe that ... ? (so, allegedly, `Ali, and Ibn `Abbas, see Baydawi ad. loc., and this is probably correct). (Baghawi, Jalalain, explain yay'as with ya'lamu and say this is what it means in dialect).

In verse 33, two sentences have been run together. The continuation of the beginning of the interrogative clause ...a fa-man huwa ga'imun `ala kulli nafsin bi-ma kasabat is missing, but may be comprised in the words separated from it:... tunabbi'unahu bima la ya'lamu fi al-'ardi. "Will you give to him, who stands beside every soul (and sees) what it does, news of what he does not know about the occurrences on earth?"

The other part presumably went wa ja`alu li-llahi shuraka'a qul sammuhum bi-zahirin mina l-qawli, "they put participants at God's side. Speak, name them by name in open speech !" The 'am ...'am presumably came in as a result of the running together of two sentences, so as to yield a superficial linkage.


Sura II

Verse 19. After qadirun a new verse begins. Perhaps a part containing the rhyme has dropped out.

Verse 36a is a doublet to 34, inappropriately inserted after 35.

Verse 61. The verse ends with al-khasirina; as verse 63 does likewise, with al jahilina.

Verse 66. For wa-la tasqi read wa-tasqi; in accordance with general usage.

Verse 79. The words wa-'in ya'tukum 'usara tufdu-hum break the connection; for the wa-huwa muharramun ... goes over their head back to bi-l-'ithmi wa-l-`udwani. Those words were, then, inserted later, and only because of them was the explanation of wa-huwa by 'ikhrajuhum (which is very striking) made necessary as a further interpolation.

Verse 145a. The verbatim repetition of wa-min haythu up to al-haram is based on an error. The scribe wanted to continue the parallel wa-haythu ma kuntum and stumbled anew into the sentence already written in verse 144.

Verse 261. The comparison word ka of 'aw ka-lladhi does not link up with a similar preceding one ka, as one would expect it to do. Admittedly, the verse is about reanimation, like 260 and 262. But these two verses tell of Abraham, while 261 gives the legend of someone who slept for one hundred years.

Because of its reference to coming to life again after death, the verse seems to have been inserted here from another context in the course of the redaction of the Koran.


Verse 17b. Before kaman huwa, which has no connection with what precedes it, a sentence has dropped out, on the lines of 'amman huwa ft hadha al-na`imi,50 if indeed that half sentence belongs here at all.

Sura III

Verse 66. The words qul 'inna al-huda huda llahi are interpolated, for they break the connection, and another qul 'inna 'lkh/and so on follows immediately in the second half verse. Once it is eliminated, the verse has "some of those who possess scriptures" (see verse 65a) saying: "Believe only such a one as follows your religion! (they say this from fear) that something like what has been given to you (the possession of the scriptures) may be given to someone, or that they could argue against you in front of your Lord."

Verse 147b. The words "and he rewarded you with trouble upon trouble" cannot be appropriately followed by "so that you may not be troubled at what you have missed (what has escaped you), nor at what has come to you."s 1

These words surely belong in the middle of the next verse, 148, after yaghsha ta'ifatan minkum: "Then he (God) sent security upon you, so that you might not be chagrined at what has escaped you," and so on.


Verse 17. A relative clause with alladhina and a perfect have presumably dropped out before the harsh wa-'agradu llahu ilkh/and so on.

Verse 20. The wa-maghfiratun connects not with verse 19 but with verse 17, wa-lahum 'ajrun karimun; verses 18 and 19 stand loosely in their present position and did not originally belong there.

Verse 29. Instead of li-'alla ya'lama there must be its opposite, "so that those possessing the scriptures know"; as the Arabs also explain this. Others actually read li-ya'lama (see Baydawi, Baghawi,and Jalalain). The textual error was occasioned by the immediately following 'ally yagdiruna, the la of which came prematurely through the scribe's pen.

Sura IV

Verse 75. Between the words "if you experience something good, they say" and "if only I had been with them and had attained great gain" come the words, quite unscrutable here, "as if there had been no love between you and them." One would expect "as if there had been love between you and them." But the lam is attested by the Modus apocopatus takun. The intervening sentence belongs in verse 74:

"When a misfortune strikes you, says he [the remnant after the battle], (75) as if between you and him there had been no love, (74b) God has done good to me, that I was not present with them there."

Verse 103. This is confused, with individual portions of the verse distorted. The original goes something like ("If you say the prayer too for them") fa-l-taqum ta'ifatun minhum ma`aka fa-l-yusallu ma'aka wa-l-ta'ti ta'ifatun 'ukhra lam yusallu wa-l-ya'khudhu 'aslihatahum fa-'idha sajadu fa-l-yadunu min wara'ikum wa-l-ya'khudhu hidhrahum: "then some of them are to stand at your side and pray with you; others, who do not pray, are to come and hold their weapons in their hand, and when they (those praying) bow down, then (the others) are to stand behind you and be on their guard." The situation is as in Neh. 4:15.


There is an error in yurid of verse 26, because no bi (as in bi-'ilha din) would govern it. The variant yarid (see Bayclawi) is better. Bi-zulmin is either a gloss to bi-'ilhddin (the more probable explanation), or wa-bi- zulmin must be read.

Verse 41b. The half sentence from wa-lawla daf `u to kathiran or to the end of the verse is a later addition. For it disrupts the connection of the li-lladhina in verse 40, on the one hand, and of the two alladhina of verse 41 a and 42, on the other.


Verse 25. The wa-lawla, which has no final part to the clause and is followed in same verse once again by law tazayyalu, has lost its termination. What is missing is not sufficiently self-evident to constitute an apo- siopese.52 The following li-yudkhala may have been dependent on the missing termination.

Sura IX

Verse 113. The al-sd'ihuna, which stands between al-'dbiduna alha miduna and al-raki`una al-sdjiduna and which must designate some behavior of service to God, is explained by Muslim tradition as "fasting ones" (al-sa'imuna);53 similarly with women, sa'ihatin in Sura LXV1.5, which there follows after ... qa 'itatin td'itatin `abiddtin. A supposed pronouncement of Muhammad is produced: siydhatu 'ummati al-sawmu. This explanation is all the more to be rejected as in verse 2 of our sura itself (the only other place where it occurs) it, with fasihu fi al-'ardi, stands with the quite different meaning "wander too and fro."s4

I suspect that, in taking in mind the neighboring verbs in both suras, one should read al-sdbihu na. Or, as the case may be, sdbihatin "who praise God." The word for "praise" admittedly always occurs, as in Aramaic, in the second conjugation. Also from the subadnun one mayagainst the Taj al -`Arus just as little infer the existence of the first conjugation as a Pe'al from . -w-b-h-' = "praise" in Syriac. But Mufaddal in Karmani (quoted in TA) gives an example of sabaha "praise" with a verse: qabaha al-'ilahu wuj uha Taghliba / kullama sabaha al-Haj if u wa-kabbaru 'ihlala

[Noldeke also found the first conjugation-as he stated in a letter - in Jarir, 1151.4. I cannot find the passage in my edition, Cairo 1313]. This poet, constrained by the meter, could, because of the adjacent parallel participles of the first conjugation, have formed a corresponding participle of the first conjugation; and Muhammad might have done the same. This would fit very well in the context, and in the general train of thought of the Koran, with "praising ones."

For the Koran repeatedly says "what is in heaven and on earth praises (sabbaha) God (LVII.1, LXII.1, LIX.24, etc.) and what is in them (does so too) (XVII.46), mankind in the houses of God (XXIV.36), the thunder and the angels (XIII.14), the mountains (XXI.79, XXXVIII.17) and so on" It would be unnatural if the otherwise so frequently mentioned tasbih were to be omitted in our two passages when the most diverse pious activities are mentioned.


1. T. Noldeke, Geschichte des Qorans, 2d ed., pp. 58-234.

2. Weil, Historisch-Kritischer Einleitung in den Koran, 2d ed., pp. 51-97.

3. Grimme, Muhammed, II, pp. 18-29.

4. Suyuti, Itgan in Noldeke, Geschichte des Qorans, p. 191; Weil, Historisch-Kritischer, pp. 55 f.; Caetani, Annali, II, 1, p. 211.

5. Noldeke, Geschichte des Qorans, as cited, p. 309

6. This indeed was what was alleged as the reason for collecting the Koran and determining its text.

7. Cf. details in Noldeke, Geschichte des Qorans, pp. 248 ff.

8. The only copy of the Kashshaf of Zamakhshari that the royal library here possesses could not be borrowed, as it stands in the reading room.

9. Tor Andrae in Le monde oriental, 15 assumes that the sura is all of one piece.

10. In this I agree independently with Wellhausen, Reste, p. 241 n. 3.

11. It would not be said of a slave that he "enjoins fear of God," verse 12.

12. Perhaps 'idha should be read instead of ' in, as in 'idha salla, verse 10. The ' in can have intruded because of verse 13.

13. Cf. my article "Abu Lahab" in the Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol. 1, pp. 103 f.: "The sequence (i.e., verses 1-4) shows that verse 4 means that in Hell she must gather the wood for the glowing fire (comp. Baydawi, ad. loc.), and not that in her lifetime she was carrying wood, that is to say, thorns, and strewing them in the way of the Prophet (as some commentators explain it; comp. for example Tabari, Tafsir, xxx. 192, and Baydawi, ad. loc.), nor that in her lifetime she used to spread insults on Muhammad's poverty.... The sura is generally considered as a Meccan one (the preterit tabbat used for the prediction of the future perdition; comp. Baydawi to Koran, XI.17) Noldeke counts it amongst the oldest Meccan Suras. Still the wording of verse 2: Ma aghna 'anhu maluhu shows, according to the unexceptional way of expression in the Koran, something that had already happened (comp. VII.46; XV.84; XXVI.207, passim), for in case of future events the imperfect tense (yaghni) is always used; neither is there any parallel to the usage of Ma aghna as a preterite future. According to such a wording this sura contains consequently a triumphant outcry over the already happened death of Abu Lahab, and could be composed only some time after the battle of Badr."

14. Cf. Noldeke, Geschichte des Qorans, p. 90 n. 3, and my own article already mentioned.

15. Thus also: Baghawi/Jalalain. This is already one of the alternatives suggested as explanations by Baydawi. Cf. the address by Muhammad on the day after the conquest, lam tahlil li-' ahadin kana qabli wa-la tahillu li-' ahadin yakunu ba'di wa-lam tahlil li 'illa hadhihi l-sa'a.... I.Hisham 823.

16. Different from the magic formula CXIV.1, 2, 3, where the repetition is deliberate emphasis. However, the same rhyme follows twice in Sura XCVIII.5, 6, too.

17. If the attestation in verse 11 is correct, fa-la gtahama l-`agabata constitutes a use of la in the aorist perfect (instead of ma), which deviates from its usage elsewhere.

18. Cf. the expression corresponds exactly with Job 21:9: b-t-y-h-m 9-l-wm. m-p-p-h-d: their houses are safe from fear. Also by the Arab lexicographers salamun is presented as the infinitive of: salima min al-'afati wa-l-bala'i wa-l- 'amri. Lane I. 1412.

19. Likewise Baghawi: "Nothing but the bringing (of the revelation) is your concern"-Jalalain give no explanation.

20. The same in Sura LIII:62. Cf. the rhyme in verses 59-61.

21. August Fischer, "Eine Qoran-Interpolation," in Orientalische Studien Theodor Noldeke zum 70. Geburtstag, I Band, Giessen 1906, pp. 33-55; chapter 6.2 of present volume.

22. Documentary evidence for it is given by Fischer in ibid.

23. For this meaning, cf. I.Hisham 521, 7.

24. The Arab expositors are as much at a loss with this singular as we ourselves are. They interpret it as "the book which contains the deeds of the satans and unbelievers," or the "seventh and deepest earth," or "the location of the armies of Satan," or "a rock under the depths of the earth" or equivalent to khassar wa -dallal; cf. Jalalain, Baghawi (Baydawi gives only the first of these alternatives). These are obviously merely conjectures from the context.

25. The ending.. .-iyyin is rendered in the oldest Koran script only with v., (rasm); cf. Itqan 11167, 12 (Cairo), Noldeke, Geschichte Des Qorans, p. 250. Of course, some other outer synonymous plural with corresponding letters could have stood there.

26. Baghawi instances expositors who suggest these diffferent possibilities. Cf. also Baydawi

27. In the Koran, too; e.g., in verse 113 (in the same context as here): XXI.71, 81; XXXIV.17.

28. Details in Noldeke, Geschichte des Qorans, pp. 248 if. In the facsimile of a page of an old Q-manuscript in Caetani, Annali II, I, 712, which of course is not to be identified with the oldest script, . . . is given for masakin, al-' amthal, ...: al wahid, ...: balagh,...: al-asfad. In the Papyri Schott-Reinh. ed. _ C. H.Becker (from the years after 90 A.D.) ... = sahib.... = 'ashab ........ kitab, salam, and other examples, too.

29. Cf. Noldeke, Geschichte des Qorans, pp. 306 ff.

30. Cf. TA wa-btalaytuhu imtahantuhu wa-khtabartuhu ... ; al Raghiba, as cited, gives as one of the meanings of the words: ta'arrufu halihi wa-al-wuqufu `ala ma yujhalu min 'amrihi

31. Grimme, Muhammad II, 96 n. 4, observes about the name: "Probably arose from Jochai, the Aramaic diminutive from John." But one would first have to establish that Jochai really belonged to Jochanan as a diminutive, and also that that very unusual name was used for the Baptist in Arabia or somewhere else.

32. Cf. also Sprenger, II, p. 184 n. 3.

33. To assuage your pain; cf. Job 2:8: "He took him a potsherd with which to scrape himself."

34. Read surely 'aman as the first part of the question, to which 'aman ... in verse 21 forms the second part.

35. Noldeke, Geschichte des Qorans, p. 106.

36. Jalalain gives bal bi-ma'na hal as an explanation!

37. Cf. TA and similar words nasara nasran wa-nusu ran ka-qu`udin; and in the verse of the khidash ... in Lisan VII 66, 7 fa-tilka al jawar 'agquha wa- nusuruha ... ; here the parallelism shows that it is infinitive.

38. How much the Arabs themselves felt this difficulty is evidenced by, for instance, the many strained interpretations in Baghawi: (du`a'ukum) 'iyyahu wa- gi1a lawla 'aymanukum wa-gila lawla 'ibadatukum wa-qua lawla du'a'uhu 'iyyakum'ila al-'islam ('lkh /etc.)

39. Cf. Sura LXX.4, a passage that is close to ours: ta'ruju al-mala'ikatu wa-al-ruhu 'ilayhi ft yawmin kana migdaruhu khamsina 'alfa sanatin. In Sura LVII.4, the angels are designated with ... ma ya`ruju fiha

The variant thumma yu`raju 'ilayhi ... of our passage (Baydawi) gives the sense correctly, but is insufficient because it lacks the active subject.

40. It would mean "the right path is the duty of God." Baydawi, Baghawi, and Jalalain explain this as "explaining the right path."

41. [asyndeton (rhet.) n. a figure in which the conjunctions are omitted. - adj. Asyndetic.]

42. [anaphora. n. the rhetorical device of beginning successive sentences, lines, etc. , with the same word or phrase. In this instance, the phrase wa-min 'ayatihi)

43. Baydawi and Baghawi: "(Is he) like him who aspires to life here below"; Jalalain: "Like him who is not like this."

44. Thus verse 30: 'a-nulzimukumuha; verse 66: fa-man yansuruni; likewise man, fa-man. in Sura XLI.52; LXVII.28, 30.

45. 'Aruni 35, 38:46, 3.

46. In this way it would mean the same as yafrughu lakum; as if Jacob had until then been occupied with other things and only became free again for them only afterwards.

47. Compare jala al-'amru li-l-nasi ... wadaha (Misbah), tajallati al- shamsu (TA according to a tradition) in the Koran itself wa- l-naharu 'idha tajalla. Sura XCII.2.

48. Baydawi justifies it by saying it is constructed ad vocem (bi-`tibari al- lafz)

49. According to the expositors, it is either za'idah ... (Baydawi, Baghawi), or there is a negative question: "Is he not powerful?" (Jalalain, other expositors in Baydawi, Baghawi). Ja `qub reads yaqdiru.

50. This is what Baydawi and Jalalain propose as what preceded. Cf. verse 15 which is constructed in this way.

51. If the words fa-'athabakum ghamman bi-ghammin here are excised, there would be adequate coherence. But they must have come somewhere before verse 148, which refers back to them.

52. [aposiopesis: a sudden breaking off in the midst of a sentence.]

53. Baghawi (together with other explanations), Baydawi, Jalalain. This interpretation is ascribed to Ibn Masud and Ibn Abbas-Ata' in Baghawi explains al-ghuzatu al-mujahiduna ft sabili llahi. -IIkrima: talabatu al-`ilmi. But how, according to these two explanations could the women in Sura LXVI.5 have been called sa'iha tun ? The explanation "fasting ones" is an ad hoc invention. To designate this, sama is always (fourteen times) used in the Koran; and the meaning "fasting ones" for sama is not attested elsewhere.

54. For this reason Noldeke (in a communication by letter) suggested a reference to itinerant monks here. In this case al-sa'iha to ... would have to designate female itinerant monks. But, as Prof. G. Grutzmacher tells me, he knows nothing of female itinerant monks, neither in general nor for Arabia in particular. Moreover, the itinerant monks were mockingly called Gyrovagi, and despised for their sensual, indulgent way of living even in Christian circles, and synods promulgated prohibitions against their behavior (Grutzmacher in Protest. Realen- zykl. 3 VII, 271 -3, I am grateful to him for what he has told me).

Even without this, one could not assume that their behaviour would have been recommended as holy to Muslims.

A passage in Clement, de virginitate I 10, 1 (Prof. Seeberg has kindly shown that it is there) speaks of "shameless people (monks) who under pretext of godfearing, cohabit with virgins and thereby incur the risk of going alone with them on paths and in the wilderness (Syriac: they go into the wilderness all alone ...) a course which is replete with with dangers, objectionableness, traps and pits." Here nothing more than walking together in unfrequented places is meant. In no instance is the lifestyle of these monks anywhere regarded as to be recommended or as holy. Sura LXVI.5 is also decisive in that it says "God can give you women/wives muslimatin ... sa'ihatin"; here only a Muslim, not a Christian, institution can be meant.

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