Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": MUHAMMAD PROCLAIMS THE PRESCRIPTIONS OF ISLAM


('Qur'an,' II, 166-75, 180-2, 186-93)

0 believers, eat of the good things wherewith

We have provided you, and give thanks

to God, if it be Him that you serve.

These things only has He forbidden you;

carrion, blood, the flesh of swine,

what has been hallowed to other than God.

Yet whoso is constrained, not desiring,

nor transgressing, no sin shall be on him;

God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.

Those who conceal what of the Book God has sent down

on them, and sell it for a little price-they shall eat naught

but the Fire in their bellies; God shall not

speak to them on the Day of Resurrection

neither purify them; there awaits them

a painful chastisement.

Those are they that have bought error at

the price of guidance, and chastisement at

the price of pardon; how patiently they

shall endure the Fire!

That, because God has sent down the Book

with the Truth, and those that are

at variance regarding the Book

are in wide schism.

It is not piety, that you turn your faces

to the East and to the West.

True piety is this:

to believe in God, and the Last Day,

the angels, the Book, and the Prophets,

to give of one's substance, however cherished,

to kinsmen, and orphans, the needy, the traveller, beggars,

and to ransom the slave,

to perform the prayer, to pay the alms,

And they who fulfil their covenant

when they have engaged in a covenant,

and endure with fortitude

misfortune, hardship and peril,

these are they who are true in their faith,

these are the truly godfearing.

0 believers, prescribed for you is

retaliation, touching the slain;

freeman for freeman, slave for slave,

female for female. But if aught is pardoned

a man by his brother, let the pursuing

be honourable, and let the payment be

with kindliness. That is a lightening

granted you by your Lord, and a mercy;

and for him who commits aggression

after that-for his there awaits

a painful chastisement.

In retaliation there is life for you,

men possessed of minds; haply you

will be godfearing.

0 believers, prescribed for you is

the Fast, even as it was prescribed for

those that were before you-haply

you will be godfearing-

for days numbered; and if any of you

be sick, or if he be on a journey,

then a number of other days; and for those

who arc able to fast, a redemption

by feeding a poor man. Yet better

it is for him who volunteers good,

and that you should fast is better for you,

if you but know;

the month of Ramadan, wherein the Qur'an

was sent down to be a guidance

to the people, and as clear signs

of the Guidance and the Salvation.

So let those of you, who are present

at the month, fast it; and if any of you

be sick, or if he be on a journey,

then a number of other days; God desires

ease for you, and desires not hardship

for you; and that you fulfil the number, and

magnify God that He has guided you, and haply

you will be thankful.

Permitted to you, upon the night of

the Fast, is to go in to your wives;

they are a vestment for you, and you are

a vestment for them. God knows that you have been

betraying yourselves, and has turned to you

and pardoned you. So now lie with them,

and seek what God has prescribed for you.

And eat and drink, until the white thread

shows clearly to you from the black thread

at the dawn; then complete the Fast

Unto the night, and do not lie with them

while you cleave to the mosques. Those are

God's bounds; keep well within them. So God

makes clear His signs to men; haply they

will be godfearing.

And fight in the way of God with those

who fight with you, but aggress not: God loves

not the aggressors.

And slay them wherever you come upon them,

and expel them from where they expelled you;

persecution is more grievous than slaying.

But fight them not by the Holy Mosque

until they should fight you there;

then, if they fight you, slay them

such is the recompense of unbelievers

but if they give over, surely God is

All-forgiving, All-compassionate.

Fight them, till there is no persecution

and the religion is God's, then if they

give over, there shall be no enmity

save for evildoers.

The holy month for the holy month;

holy things demand retaliation.

Whoso commits aggression against you,

do you commit aggression against him

like as he has committed against you;

and fear you God, and know that God is

with the godfearing.

And expend in the way of God;

and cast not yourselves by your own hands

into destruction, but be good-doers;

God loves the good-doers.

Fulfil the Pilgrimage and the Visitation

unto God, but if you are prevented,

then such offering as may be feasible.

And shave not your heads, till the offering

reaches its place of sacrifice. If any

of you is sick, or injured in his head,

then redemption by fast, or freewill offering,

or ritual sacrifice. When you are secure,

then whosoever enjoys the Visitation

until the Pilgrimage, let his offering

be such as may be feasible; or if he

finds none, then a fast of three days

in the Pilgrimage, and of seven when

you return, that is ten completely;

that is for him whose family are not

present at the Holy Mosque. And fear

God, and know that God is terrible

in retribution.


Translation by A. J. Arberry

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