Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 9.djvu/163

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ⅩⅩⅩⅢ, 53-55.
the chapter of the confederates.

O ye who believe ! do not enter the houses of the prophet, unless leave be given you, for a meal, — not watching till it is cooked ! But when ye are invited, then enter ; and when ye have fed, disperse, not engaging in familiar discourse. Verily, that would annoy the prophet and he would be ashamed for your sake[1], but God is not ashamed of the truth[2].

And when ye ask them[3] for an article, ask them from behind a curtain[4]; that is purer for your hearts and for theirs. It is not right for you to annoy the prophet of God, nor to wed his wives after him ever ; verily, that is with God a serious thing.

If ye display a thing or conceal it, verily, God all things doth know.

55 There is no crime against them[3] (if they

  1. He would be reluctantly obliged to ask you to leave.
  2. The tent of an Arab chief is looked upon as a place of general entertainment, and is always besieged by visitors. The advent of a stranger, or indeed any occasion that demands the preparation of food or any form of entertainment, is the signal for every adult male of the encampment to sit round it, and wait for an invitation to partake of the meal. This becomes a very serious tax upon the sheikh, as the laws of Arab hospitality imperatively require every person present to be invited to join in the repast. The translator has often witnessed scenes— especially among the Arabs of Edom and Moab— which gave a very living significance to these words of the Qurʼân. Mohammed’s exceptionally prominent position exposed him in a peculiar manner to these irruptions of unbidden guests. Another saying bearing upon the point is traditionally ascribed to him, zur ghibban tazdâd ʼhubban, ‘ visit seldom and you will get more love.’
  3. 3.0 3.1 The prophet’s wives.
  4. The women to the present day always remain behind a curtain which screens off their part of the tent from the rest, but freely converse with their husband and his guests, and hand over the dishes and any other articles that may be required by the company.

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