Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of The Glorious Koran. An Explanatory Translation (1930)


Maryam takes its name from v. 16 ff. That it is of quite early Meccan revelation is established by the following tradition:

In the fifth year of the Prophet’s mission (the ninth before the Hijrah, or Flight, to Al-Madînah) a number of the poorer converts were allowed by the Prophet to emigrate to Abyssinia, a Christian country where they would not be subject to persecution for their worship of the One God. This is known as the first Hijrah. The rulers of Mecca sent ambassadors to ask the Negus for their extradition, accusing them of having left the religion of their own people without entering the Christian religion, and of having done wrong in their own country. The Negus (against the wish of the envoys) sent for the spokesmen of the refugees and, in the presence of the bishops of his realm, questioned them of their religion. Ja‘far ibn Abî Ṭâlib, cousin of the Prophet, answered: (I translate from the account given by Ibn Isḥâq.)1

“We were folk immersed in ignorance, worshipping idols, eating carrion, given to lewdness, severing the ties of kinship, bad neighbours, the strong among us preying on the weak; thus were we till Allah sent to us a messenger of our own, whose lineage, honesty, trustworthiness and chastity we knew, and he called us to Allah that we should acknowledge His unity and worship Him and eschew all the stones and idols that we and our fathers used to worship beside Him; and ordered us to be truthful and to restore the pledge and observe the ties of kinship, and be good neighbours, and to abstain from things forbidden, and from blood, and forbade us lewdness and false speech, and to prey upon the wealth of orphans, and to accuse good women; and commanded us to worship Allah only, ascribing no thing unto Him as partner, and enjoined upon us prayer and legal alms and fasting. (And he enumerated for him the teachings of Islâm.)

“So we trusted him and we believed in him and followed that which he had brought from Allah, and we worshipped Allah only, and ascribed no thing as partner unto Him. And we refrained from

1 Ibn Hishâm Sîrah (Cairo Edition), Part 1, p. 116.

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Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of The Glorious Koran. An Explanatory Translation, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, Consulted online at “Quran Archive - Texts and Studies on the Quran” on 02 Oct. 2022: