Posted on 05/20/2012 by __socrates

Wikis > Dictionary of Islam > Al-Ma'idah
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AL-MA’IDAH الماىدة
Lit. “The table.” The title of the vth Surah of the Qur’in, in the 114th verge of which the word occurs: “O Jesus, son of Mary I is thy Lord able hr send down to us a table?”
“This miracle is thus related by the commentators. Jesus having at the request of his followers asked it of God, a red table immediately descended, in their sight, between two clouds, and was set before them; whereupon he rose up, and, having made the ablution, prayed, and then took off the cloth which covered the table, saying. ‘in the name of God, the best provider of food!’ What the provisions were with which this table was furnished, is a matter wherein the expositor are not agreed. One will have them to be nine cakes of bread and nine fishes; another, bread and flesh; another, all sorts of food except flesh; another, all sorts of food except bread and flesh; another, all except bread and fish another, one fish which had the taste of all manner of food; and another, fruits of paradise, but the most received tradition is that when the table was uncovered, there appeared a fish ready dressed, without scales or prickly fins, dropping with fat, having salt placed at its head and vinegar at its tail, and round it all sorts of herbs except leeks, and fine loaves if bread, on one of which there were olives, on the second honey, on the third butter, on the. fourth cheese, and on the fifth dried flesh. They add that Jesus, at the request of the Apostles, showed them another miracle, by restoring the fish to life, and causing its scales and fins to return to it, at which the standers-by being affrighted, he caused it to become as it was before; that one thousand three hundred men and women, all afflicted with bodily infirmities or poverty ate of these provisions, and were satisfied, the fish remaining whole as it was at first; that then the table flew up to heaven in the sight of all: and every one who had partaken of this food were delivered from their infirmities and misfortunes; and that it continued to descend for forty days together, at dinner-time, and stood on the ground till the sun declined, and was then taken up into the clouds. Some of the Muslim writers are of opinion that this table did not really descend, but that it was only a parable; but most think the words of the Qur’an are plain to the contrary. A. further tradition is that several men were changed into swine for disbelieving this miracle, and attributing it to magic art; of, as others pretend, far stealing some of the victuals from off it. Several other fabulous circumstances are also told, which are scarce worth transcribing. Some say the table descended on a Sunday, which was the reason of the Christian observing that day as sacred. Others pretend that this day is still kept among them as very great festival, and it seems as if the story and its rise from an imperfect notion of Christ’s last supper and the institution of the Eucharist.” (Sale’s Qur’an.)

Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam

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