Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 6.djvu/348

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Ⅻ, 26-35.
the qur′ân.

a witness from among her family bore witness : ‘ If his shirt be rent from in front, then she speaks the truth and he is of the liars ; but if his shirt be rent from behind, then she lies and he is of the truth tellers.’

And when he saw his shirt rent from behind he said, ‘ This is one of your tricks ; verily, your tricks are mighty ! Joseph ! turn aside from this. And do thou, woman, ask pardon for thy fault ; verily, thou wert of the sinners.’

30 And women in the city said, ‘ The wife of the prince desires her young man for his person ; he has infatuated her with love : verily, we see her in obvious error.’ And when she heard of their craftiness, she sent to them and prepared for them a banquet, and gave each of them a knife ; and she said, ‘ Come forth to them!’ And when they saw him they said, ‘ Great God!’ and cut their hands[1] and said, ‘ God forbid ! This is no mortal, this is nothing but an honourable angel.’ Said she, ‘ This is he concerning whom ye blamed me. I did desire him for his person, but he was too continent. But if he do not what I bid him he shall surely be imprisoned and shall surely be among the small !’ Said he, ‘ My Lord ! Prison is dearer to me than what they call on me to do ; and unless Thou turn from me their craftiness I shall feel a passion for them and shall be among the ignorant!’ And his Lord answered him and turned from him their craftiness; verily, He both hears and knows!

35 Then it appeared good to them, even after they had seen the signs[2], to imprison him until a time.

  1. In their sudden emotion at his beauty.
  2. Of his innocence.