“Appointed we gods beside the God of Mercy whom they should worship?”
Of old sent we Moses with our signs to Pharaoh and his nobles: and he said, “I truly am the Apostle of the Lord of the worlds.”
And when he presented himself before them with our signs, lo! they laughed at them,
Though we shewed them no sign that was not greater than its fellow: and therefore did we lay hold on them with chastisement, to the intent that they might be turned to God.
Then they said, “Magician! call on thy Lord on our behalf to do as he hath engaged with thee, for truly we would fain be guided.”
But when we relieved them from the chastisement, lo! they broke their pledge.
And Pharaoh made proclamation among his people. Said he, “my people! is not the kingdom of Egypt mine, and these rivers which flow at my feet? Do ye not behold?
Am I not mightier than this despicable fellow,
And who scarce can speak distinctly?
Have bracelets of gold then been put upon him, or come there with him a train of Angels?”
And he inspired his people with levity, and they obeyed him; for they were a perverse people:
And when they had angered us, we took vengeance on them, and we drowned them all.
And we made them a precedent and instance of divine judgments to those who came after them.
And when the Son of Mary was set forth as an instance of divine power, lo! thy people cried out for joy thereat:
And they said, “Are our gods or is he the better?” They put this forth to thee only in the spirit of dispute. Yea, they are a contentious people.
Jesus is no more than a servant whom we favoured, and proposed as an instance of divine power to the children of Israel.
- This verse is said (see Nöld. p. 100, n.) to have been revealed in the temple at Jerusalem on the occasion of the night journey thither. See also Weil's Muhammed der Prophet, p. 174.
- Lit. sister.
- See Sura [lxxix.] xxviii. 39, n.
- Comp. Gen. xli. 42.
- This was a captious objection made to Muhammad bv the idolaters of Mecca when he condemned their gods (Sura xxi. 98), as if they had said, “Jesus is worshipped as a God by the Christians: does he come under your anathema equally with our idols? we shall be content for our gods to be with him.”