Imagens das páginas

GRacious AND MEaciful] The words Rahmān and Rahim being from the same root, it is supposed that one indicates quantity and the other quality, or measure and manner. Baizawi. [Note. From the many expla– nations given of these words, it would appear that the Muhammadans are exceedingly sensitive regarding the liability of the book to be charged with tautology at its commencement.] Isr WERse) Hazifa Ibn ul Yeman says, the prophet said there was a tribe on whom God sent down great torment, in which they continued till a child was born among them who repeated this first verse, which God hearing, he removed their punishment for 40 years. Baizawi. [Nore. This indicates a previous revelation of the verse.] PRAise]. The word Hamd indicates the praise of those moral perfections which are brought into exercise by the operation of the will. Baizawi. The words Al hamdu lillah contain eight letters answering to the eight gates of paradise. This compound word is of great excellence, and should be spoken only in suitable places. Thus it is related by Siri Saqti who says, I have been much downcast for 30 years, when I uttered the word Alhamdu lillah, and ever since I crave pardon of God. In the city of Bagdad the shops and houses took fire and all were burned except mine. Meanwhile a man came to me saying, All the market has been burned except your shop. I then said, praised be God; but on consideration I understood that it was not proper to say so at such a time, because the loss to the people was great, though my little property was saved. It is related that when the spirit of Adam, being breathed into him, reached down to his navel, he sneezed and said Al hamdu lillahe rabbil 4lamin. This word is the chief exercise of those who are in paradise. Tafsir Fathul Azis. LoRD] The creator, provider, protector, and teacher, and the doer of all work in the worlds of angels, genii and men, and of wild animals, fowls, beasts of prey, and the living things of the waters and all else. Tafsir Hosaini. The word Rab is appropriated as a name of God, and it is never used but in this way. Baizawi. "[Note. The Musalmáns argue that the apostles considered our Lord as only a human master or teacher, because when he was called Rabbi, these words are annexed to indicate its meaning. This objection is forcibly urged in a recent work called Marghāb, but it is sufficiently refuted by their own books.] All worlds]—Pharaoh asked Moses, who is the Lord of all worlds? He replied, the Lord of heaven and earth, and of whatever is between. Pharaoh was astonished at this. Then Moses again said, “He is thy Lord and the Lord of thy forefathers. From the first declaration it was shewn, that He is the Lord of every place, and from the second, that He is the Lord of every era.” When Pharaoh understood this, he was surprised how one Being should exercise dominion in all places, and in every time. Then he supposed that Moses was a madman. Moses spoke the third time and said, “He is the Lord of the east and of the west, and of whatever is between,” meaning that his dominion was ubiquitary. Hence it appears that the word is appropriated to God. Fathul Azis. The meanings of the word Rab are owner, inventor and creator, chief, guardian, and regulator. Fathul Azis. The words, the worlds, mean all creatures and their properties; but some restrict the term to intelligent beings, as angels and mortals (men and genii), and include the rest only as subordinate to them, and others hold that only mankind are intended. Bizawi. [Worlds, systems of beings, vide Johnson.] W.2. The oracious, &c.] “There is a great difficulty in this, for if God be gracious and merciful, why were things evil and grievous created, and wicked works and improper habits, and sorrow and care, given unto us?" In reply to this it is argued, that all things work together for our WOL. I. 2 D

good, as illustrated by the severities to which a child is subjected for its benefit. Vide Fathul Ans.

V. 3. Master] The people of the sacred places (Makka and Madina) read instead of the word nialik (master or owner), malak (director or king). Baizawi. The conservator of the works of his servants, so that in receiving and delivering the reports of the angels there may be no mistake. Hosaini. [note. The additional hamzn in this word, is one of the instances in which the Quran has been altered.]

V. 4. We Worship] Certain abandoned persons inquire how it is, that when God is superior to necessity, lie should require worship; why men should be put to so much useless trouble, and what advantage results from acts of devotion, which are alike observed in every religion? The answer to this is, that the Almighty being perfect in his nature, attributes and works, requires that whatever is not devoid of imperfection shall be abased before him and exalt his greatness. Therefore, as each should have his due, submission in devotion is a mark of true wisdom ; but it is not designed to supply any wants or necessities in God. It is evident that what is perfect, must have what is inferior, subordinate ; otherwise perfection and imperfection would be equal, which is contrary to right reason. Hence perfection of character is respected in this world. Fathul Azit. The pronoun We applies to the speaker and those who may be with him. Baizawi. ScrPi.icatk] Two objections have been raised to thi3. First, if worship be predestined, help must be supplied; where then is the need of supplication? We reply, those will receive assistance who ask it, as has been experienced, and what is a matter of experience is no longer questionable. Secondly, they say, that supplication should be made for aid to worship aright, before the worship be commenced, not afterwards. We answer, devotion is the medium and supplication is the requisite; and the medium must pre-exist. Besides, supplication is the end of devotion, and the completion is naturally subsequent to the commencement; therefore the word tufiplicate occurs after that of worship. Fathul Azit.

Supplicate] There are in this world three classes; the first, Jalrian, who say we have no will, but are like stocks and stones, our actions not being the result of volition. The second, Qiidrian, whosay we have perfect will, our actions and works being the effect of our own designs. Both of these are heterodox, and approve not the right way, because the former reject the ordinances and austerities, and the latter claim to be partners in the workhouse of creation. Hence this word is given to confute them. The right way belongs to tin- third class, that is the Suniiis. Fathul Azit. Shekh Sufian Suri once at the time of evening prayer acted as Imam, and when he repeated this verse, he fainted. When he recovered, the rest asked him the cause, and he said, When I repeated the verse, I was alarmed lest others would accuseine of falsehood, saying to me,Oh liar, say you this,and yet ask physic from the physician, provision from the great, and help from the king? FutliulAzit.

V. 5. Right Way, &c] The way in which Musalmans go; some say it is that of the prophets; others that of the followers of Moses and Christ, before they grew corrupt. Jinizawi.

V. 6. In some copies, instead of the words Al Azin the word man hai been inserted, which would make it, "him thou hast favored," and thus refer to Muhammad. Baizawi.

Favored] The favors were: light, prophecy, sanctity, righteousness, martyrdom and peace. Hosaini.

The persons spoken of, are the prophets, or the followers of Moses and Jesus, before they were perverted and corrupted. Baizawi unAAbdul Q&dir. [.note. I never find the Christiana culled Isui in the Muhammadan books; indeed great cavilling is employed regarding our use of the name. The proper term, they say, is Nazarenes, for which they supply various derivations. r

V. }. WRAthl They who, before they existed, were under the wrath of God, and on that account progressed in infidelity; or the Jews, who by their rebellion, slaying the prophets, and perverting the Scriptures, were seized by the wrath of God. BewildenED.] They who after they had come into existence fell into courses of contrariety; or the Tursa (Christians) who have gone astray in their endeavors to add to the rites of Christ, and to lessen those of the friend [i. e. Muhammad]. Hosaint. The Jews and Christians; Baizawi, Abdul Qidir, &c.

It is related by Hátim Tai named Adi, that he asked the prophet, to whom these words referred 2 and he replied, that the Maghzāb are the Jews, and the Zalin are the Christians. Baizawi.

AMENT One party says that whatever is within the cover of the Qurán are the words of God; therefore they omit the writing of the word Amen at the end of the Surah Fatihah. Ibn Abbas relates that he questioned the prophet about the sense of this word, and was told it meant, God shew mercy unto men. Baizawi. The word Amen means, Let the prayer be approved, or, Be it so. Muntakhab Rashiae. The prophet said, Gabriel taught me the word Amen, when I completed the Surat ul Fátihah, and said, It is by way of conclusion to Scripture ; and Ali also stated that that Surah and every prayer should be so finished. Baizawi. Abu Hanifa declares that the prophet never used the word. Ibid.


III.-Short Description of the Netherlands' territory on the West Coast of Sumatra. 1837.

[Translated for the Calcutta Christian Observer, from the Journal of the Netherlands' India.]


Before proceeding to a description of the extent and boundaries of this territory, I have thought it useful to give a brief account of the position, the extent and political government of the island of Sumatra, to present the particulars of the west coast of this island in a more succinct form with the other parts of it and the subjects to be treated of.

It is well known that the island of Sumatra is situated under the equator, and extends itself from N. W. to S. E. 5° 40' northern, to 5° 3' southern, latitude, and 95° 30' and 105° 40' longitude east of Greenwich, making a length of 1004 English miles, and a breadth of 142 English miles ; equal to a surface of 136,800 square English miles, which shews Sumatra to be by 93,056 square English miles larger than Java.

The boundaries of this island are: the straits of Sunda to the south-east, the straits of Banka to the east, the straits of Malacca to the north-west, and the Indian sea to the south and west, which with many natural advantages, give it a more advantageous situation for general trade, than the other islands of the Indian archipelago.

In the ancient descriptions of this island it is mentioned, that when the princes governed Menangkabau, it was divided into three part9, named Bataugharie, Menangkabau and Batta.

Bataugharie was the south-eastern part of this island, and contained the states of Palembang, Samponys, Basang-an, (probably Radjaug-an,) Sitlebar and Bencoolen.

Menangkabau contained all the country between Palembang, and Sine to the east, and Mandjutta and Sinkel on the west coast, and was subdivided into the states of Djambie, Indragiri, Siac, Menangkabau and Indrapura.

Batta constituted the states of Acheen, Pedir, Pahan and Dellie.

Of this early division, however, mention is only made by the ancient historians, and nothing can be said of the present division hut that the island consists of many independant states and districts, with different constitutional institutions, languages, morals and usages.

The population of Sumatra is estimated, after that of Palembang, Sampongs and Bencoolen, at about four millions and a half of souls, giving 33 souls to every geographical square mile, and consequently 67 souls per mile less than Java.

It is beyond the limits of this work to search after the causes, why Sumatra, which possesses so many natural advantages over Java, is inferior in population and prosperity. I consider it, however, useful to make a few observations regarding this.

The climate is one of the natural causes which promote the increase of population.

Sumatra is supposed to possess a climate equally destructive to Europeans as to natives; experience has however taught us, that this is not the case. Java and Sumatra may be considered the same in this respect. Unevenuesses in the surface of the soil, and extensive marshes and wildernesses on the east coast of Sumatra, where the water is stagnant, may infect the air in some places, and occasion local diseases; it may however be observed, that in general it does not influence the increase of population in Sumatra. It may also be taken as a proof that seldom a general mortality reigns in this island. The thermometer sometimes rises to 92° Fahrenheit in the low lands, and descends to 55° in the higher; but usually it may be considered from 80 to 90° for the low lands, and for the high lands from 65 to 70°. Neither the climate, nor the natural causes of disease in the island, are the reasons for its small population; it can be ascribed to nothing else than the deficient social institutions of the different tribes of Sumatra, whereby the increase of population is impeded. If the whole of this island were to come into the possession and under the direction of a wise government, then it would soon rise to a higher degree of welfare and population than Java; and although such a prospect is yet distant, this prediction may perhaps be fulfilled at some future period. The entire population of Sumatra may be considered as of one origin, which, however, through the circling of time and other local circumstances, is divided and formed into different tribes, and from mingling with strangers, has given to their language and morals such a direction, that in consequence five large tribes are found on this island, which appear to be of distinct origin, namely: 1st. Acheenese inhabiting the coast of Baroos to Siac, numbering 600,000 souls. 2nd. Battas, inhabiting the interior of Acheen to Rau, numbering 1,200,000 souls. 3rd. Malays, inhabiting the coasts of Baroos to Indrapura on the west, and of Siac to Palembang on the east, numbering 2,000,000 souls. 4th. Medjangers and Passamas, inhabiting the country of Palembang and the coast of Bencoolen to Cawor, numbering 600,000 souls. 5th. Lampongers, inhabiting the south-east portion of Sumatra, numbering 150,000 souls: making together 4,550,000 souls. The territory of the Netherlands on the west coast of Sumatra, consists of a great portion of this interesting island, reaching, on the coast, from Tanajong Blimbing on the flat corner to the south-east, as far as Sinkel on the north-west, having in the interior the country of Siac on the east, and the independant districts of Siegablas, Pottas, Sungie, Pagoo, Corintjie on the south, and several others, which are so many hindrances in the way of connecting this territory to that of Palembang. A chain of mountains, or the well known Bookiet Barissan, which crosses the island, gives to this territory a natural division into two regions, which are named by us the high and low lands, and are distinguished by the inhabitants by the names of Tana Dare and Mataun. These mountains pass along the west coast, at a distance of 15 to 25 geographical miles in the interior, with many turns and windings, which reach the sea at a distance and impede communication by land along the coast.

« AnteriorContinuar »