BEHOLD, as for those who are bent on denying the truth* - it is all one to them whether thou warnest them or dost not warn them: they will not believe.
And they say, "The fire will most certainly not touch us for more than a limited number of days."* Say [unto them]: "Have you received a promise from God - for God never breaks His promise - or do you attribute to God something which you cannot know?"
Would you, perchance, ask of the Apostle who has been sent unto you what was asked aforetime of Moses? But whoever chooses to deny the [evidence of the] truth, instead of believing in it,* has already strayed from the right path.
Nay, but you [yourselves, O children of Israel ,] bear witness* that when death was approaching Jacob, he said unto his sons: "Whom will you worship after I am gone?" They answered: "We will worship thy God, the God of thy forefathers Abraham and Ishmael* and Isaac, the One God; and unto Him w;1l we surrender ourselves."
"Do you claim that Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and their descendants were `Jews' or `Christians'?"* Say: "Do you know more than God does? And who could be more wicked than he who suppresses a testimony given to him by God?* Yet God is not unmindful of what you do.
[But] do you think that you could enter para-dise without having suffered like those [believers] who passed away before you?* Misfortune and hardship befell them, and so shaken were they that the apostle, and the believers with him, would exclaim, "When will God's succour come?"* Oh, verily, God's succour is [always] near!
Do you think that you could enter paradise unless God takes cognizance of your having striven hard [in His cause], and takes cognizance of your having been patient in adversity?*
Have they, perchance, a share in [God's] dominion?* But [if they had], 1o, they would not give to other people as much as [would fill] the groove of a date-stone!
Do they, perchance, envy other people for what God has granted them out of His bounty?* But then, We did grant revelation and wisdom unto the House of Abraham, and We did bestow on them a mighty dominion:
Oh, you might well argue in their behalf in the life of this world: but who will argue in their behalf with God on the Day of Resurrection, or who will be their defender?
[His followers would have it that, in certain cases, any of these] four kinds of cattle of either sex [is unlawful to man]: either of the two sexes of sheep and of goats.* Ask [them]: "Is it the two males that He has forbidden, or the two females, or that which the wombs of the two females may contain? Tell me what you know in this respect,* if what you say is true."
And [likewise they declare as unlawful] either of the two sexes of camels and of bovine cattle.* Ask [them]: "Is it the two males that He has forbidden, or the two females, or that which the wombs of the two females may contain? Is it, perchance, that you [yourselves] were witnesses when God enjoined [all] this upon you?" And who could be more wicked than he who, without any [real] knowledge, attributes his own lying inventions to God, and thus leads people astray'?* Behold, God does not grace [such] evildoing folk with His guidance.
and, if you pray to them for guidance, do not respond to you?* As far as you are concerned, it is all one whether you invoke them or keep silent.
Have these [images], perchance, feet on which they could walk? Or have they hands with which they could grasp? Or have they eyes with which they could see? Or have they ears with which they could hear? Say [O Prophet]: "Summon to your aid all those to whom you ascribe a share in God's divinity,* and thereupon contrive [anything you may wish] against me, and give me no respite!
Do you [O believers] think that you will be spared* unless God takes cognizance of your having striven hard [in His cause]* without seeking help from any but God and His Apostle and those who believe in Him?* For, God is aware of all that you do.
Which. then, is the better: he who has founded his building on God-consciousness and [a desire for] His goodly acceptance-or he who has founded his building on the edge of a water-worn, crumbling river-bank, so that it [is bound to] tumble down with him into the fire of hell? For, God does not grace with His guidance people who [deliberately] do wrong:
SAY: "Who is it that provides you with sustenance out of heaven and earth,* or who is it that has full power over [your] hearing and sight? And who is it that brings forth the living out of that which is dead, and brings forth the dead out of that which is alive? And who is it that governs all that exists?" And they will [surely] answer: "[It is] God.* , Say, then: "Will you not, then, become [fully] conscious of Him-
Say: "Does any of those beings to whom you ascribe a share in God's divinity guide unto the truth?" Say: "It is God [alone] who guides unto the truth. Which, then, is more worthy to be followed - He who guides unto the truth, or he who cannot find the right way unless he is guided?* What, then, is amiss with you and your judgment?"*
And yet,* they [who are bent on denying the truth] assert, "[Muhammad] has invented it!" Say [unto them]: "Produce, then, a surah of similar merit; and [to this end] call to your aid whomever you can, other than God, if what you say is true !*
Say: "Have you ever considered all the means of sustenance which God has bestowed upon you from on high* -and which you thereupon divide into 'things forbidden' and 'things lawful?* Say: "Has God given you leave [to do this] -or do you, perchance, attribute your own guesswork to God?"
and so they assert, "[Muhammad himself] has invented this [Qur'an)!"* Say [unto them]: "Produce, then, ten surahs of similar merit, invented [by yourselves], and [to this end] call to your aid whomever you can, other than, God, if what you say is true!*
DO SOME, perchance, assert, "[Muhammad] has invented this [story]"?* Say [O Prophet]: "If I have invented it, upon me be this sin; but far be it from me to commit the sin of which you are guilty."*
"O my companions in imprisonment! Which is more reasonable:* [belief in the existence of numerous divine] lords, each of them different from the other"* -or [in] the One God, who holds absolute sway over all that exists?
Say: "Who is the Sustainer of the heavens and the earth?" Say: "[It is] God." Say: "[Why,] then, do you take for your protectors, instead of Him, such as have it not within their power to bring benefit to, or avert harm from, themselves?" Say: "Can the blind and the seeing be deemed equal? -or can the depths of darkness and the light be deemed equal?" Or do they [really] believe that there are, side by side with God, other divine powers* that have created the like of what He creates, so that this act of creation appears to them to be similar [to His]?* Say: "God is the Creator of all things; and He is the One who holds absolute sway over all that exists."
IS, THEN, HE who has every living being* in His almighty care, [dealing with each] according to what it deserves* -[is, then, He like anything else that exists]? And yet, they ascribe to other beings a share in God's divinity! Say: "Give them any name [you please]:* but do you [really think that you could] inform Him of anything on earth that He does not know-or [do you] but play with words ?,* Nay, goodly seems their false imagery* to those who are bent on denying the truth, and so they are turned away from the [right] path: and he whom God lets go astray can never find any guide.*
And all [mankind] will appear before God [on the Day of Judgment]; and then the weak* will say unto those who had gloried in their arrogance: "Behold, We were but your followers: can you, then, relieve us of something of God's chastisement?" [And the others] will answer: "If God would but show us the way [to salvation], we would indeed guide you [towards it].* It is [now] all one, as far as we are concerned, whether we grieve impatiently or endure [our lot] with patience: there is no escape for us!"
avoiding all people because of the [alleged] evil of the glad tiding which he has received, [and debating within himself:] Shall he keep this [child] despite the contempt [which he feels for it]-or shall he bury it in the dust? Old, evil indeed is whatever they decide!*
Or can you, perchance, feel sure that He will not make you put back to sea* once again, and then let loose upon you a raging tempest and cause you to drown in requital of your ingratitude - whereupon you would find none to uphold you against Us?
[AND SINCE the life of this world is but a test,* dost thou [really] think that [the parable of] the Men of the Cave and of [their devotion to] the scriptures could be deemed more wondrous than any [other] of Our messages?*
Has he, perchance, attained to a realm which is beyond the reach of a created being's perception?* or has he concluded a covenant with the Most Gracious?
Thereupon Moses returned to his people full of wrath and sorrow, [and] exclaimed: "O my people! Did not your Sustainer hold out [many] a goodly promise to you? bid, then, [the fulfilment of] this promise seem to you too long in coming?* Or are you, perchance, determined to see your Sustainer's condemnation fall upon you,* and so you broke your promise to me?"
And yet* some people choose to worship certain earthly things or beings as deities* that [are supposed to] resurrect [the dead; and they fail to realize that],
and yet,* they choose to worship [imaginary] deities instead of Him! Say [O Prophet]: Produce an evidence for what you are claiming:* this is a reminder [unceasingly voiced] by those who are with me, just as it was a reminder [voiced] by those who came before me."* But nay, most of them do not know the truth, and so they stubbornly turn away [from it]*
Do they [really think that they] have deities that could shield them from Us? Those [alleged deities] are not [even] able to succour themselves: hence, neither can they [who worship them hope to] be aided [by them] against Us.
They asked: Hast thou come unto us [with this claim] in all earnest - or art thou one of those jesters?''
But if they turn away, say: I have proclaimed this in equity unto all of you alike;* but I do not know whether that [judgment] which you are promised [by God] is near or far [in time].
Have they, then, never tried to understand this word [of God]? Or has there [now] come to them something that never came to their forefathers of old?*
Or is it, perchance, that they have not recognized their Apostle, and so they disavow him?
Or do they say. There is madness in him"? Nay, he has brought them the truth - and the truth do most of them detest!*
Or dost thou [O Muhammad] ask of them any worldly recompense? But [they ought to know that] recompense from thy Sustainer is best, since He is the best of providers!*
Is there disease in their hearts? Or have they begun to doubt [that this is a divine writ]? Or do they fear that God and His Apostle might deal unjustly with them?* Nay, it is [but] they, they who are doing wrong [to themselves]!
Say: Which is better - that, or the paradise of life abiding which has been promised to the God-conscious as their reward and their journey's end
BUT [as for people who are oblivious of thy Sustainer's oneness -]* one Day He will gather them together with all that they [now] worship instead of God, and will ask [those to whom divinity was falsely ascribed]:* Was it you who led these My creatures astray, or did they by themselves stray from the right path?"
Or dost thou think that most of them listen [to thy message] and use their reason? Nay, they are but like cattle - nay, they are even less conscious of the right way!*
[But] they answered. It is all one to us whether thou preachest [something new] or art not of those who [like to] preach.
And [one day] he looked in vain for [a particular one of] the birds; and so he said: How is it that I do not see the hoopoe? Or could he be among the absent?
Said [Solomon]: We shall see whether thou hast told the truth or art one of the liars!
Answered he who was illumined by revelation:* [Nay,] as for me - I shall bring it to thee ere the twinkling of thy eye ceases!"* And when he saw it truly before him, he exclaimed:* This is [an outcome] of my Sustainer's bounty, to test me as to whether I am grateful or ungrateful!* However, he who is grateful [to God] is but grateful for his own good; and he who is ungrateful [should know that], verily, my Sustainer is self-sufficient, most generous in giving!"
[And] he continued: Alter her throne so that she may not know it as hers: let us see whether she allows herself to be guided [to the truth] or remains one of those who will not be guided."*
SAY: All praise is due to God, and peace be upon those servants of His whom He chose [to be His message-bearers]!" Is not God far better than anything to which men [falsely] ascribe a share in His divinity?*
Nay - who is it that has created the heavens and the earth, and sends down for you [life-giving] water from the skies? For it is by this means that We cause gardens of shining beauty to grow - [whereas] it is not in your power to cause [even one single of] its trees to grow! Could there be any divine power besides God? Nay, they [who think so] are people who swerve [from the path of reason]
Nay - who is it that has made the earth a fitting abode* [for living things], and has caused running waters [to flow] in its midst, and has set upon it mountains firm, and has placed a barrier between the two great bodies of water?* Could there be any divine power besides God? Nay, most of those [who think so] do not know [what they are saying]!
Nay - who is it that responds to the distressed when he calls out to Him, and who removes the ill [that caused the distress], and has made you inherit the earth?* Could there be any divine power besides God? How seldom do you keep this in mind!
Nay - who is it that guides you in the midst of the deep darkness of land and sea,* and sends forth the winds as a glad tiding of His coming grace?* Could there be any divine power besides God? Sublimely exalted is God above anything to which men may ascribe a share in His divinity!
Nay - who is it that creates [all life] in the first instance, and then brings it forth anew?* And who is it that provides you with sustenance out of heaven and earth?* Could there be any divine power besides God? Say: [If you think so,] produce your evidence - if you truly believe in your claim!"*
until such a time as they shall come [to be judged. And] He will say: Did you give the lie to My messages even though you failed to encompass them with [your] knowledge?* Or what was it that [you thought] you were doing?"
Or do they think - they who do evil deeds [while claiming to have attained to faith] - that they can escape Us? Bad, indeed, is their judgment!
Have We ever bestowed upon them from on high a divine writ* which would speak [with approval] of their worshipping aught beside Us?*
and yet,* they [who are bent on denying the truth] assert, [Muhammad] has invented it!" Nay, but it is the truth from thy Sustainer, enabling thee to warn [this] people to whom no warner has come before thee, so that they might follow the right path.
Does he [knowingly] attribute his own lying inventions to God - or is he a madman?" Nay, [there is no madness in this Prophet -] but they who will not believe in the life to come are [bound to lose themselves] in suffering and in a profound aberration.*
Say: Have you ever [really] considered those beings and forces to whom you ascribe a share in God's divinity,* [and] whom you invoke beside God? Show me what it is that they have created on earth - or do [you claim that] they have a share in [governing] the heavens?" Have We ever vouchsafed them* a divine writ on which they could rely as evidence [in support of their views]?* Nay, [the hope which] the evildoers hold out to one another [is] nothing but a delusion.*
thus, it is all one to them whether thou warnest them or dost not warn them: they will not believe.
AND NOW ask those [who deny the truth] to enlighten thee: Were they more difficult to create than all those [untold marvels] that We have created? - for, behold, them have We created out of [mere] clay commingled with water!*
Is such [a paradise] the better welcome - or the [hellish] tree of deadly fruit?*
- or is it that We have created the angels female, and they [who believe them to be divine] have witnessed [that act of creation]?
Or have you, perchance, a clear evidence [for your assertions]?
Or do they [think that they] own the treasures of thy Sustainer's grace - [the grace] of the Almighty, the Giver of Gifts?*
Or [that] the dominion over the heavens and the earth and all that is between them is theirs? Why, then, let them try to ascend [to God-like power] by all [conceivable] means!*
[For,] would We treat those who have attained to faith and do righteous deeds in the same manner as [We shall treat] those who spread corruption on earth? Would We treat the God-conscious in the same manner as the wicked?*
[and] whom we made the target of our derision?* Or is it that [they are here, and] our eyes have missed them?"
Said He: O Iblis! What has kept thee from prostrating thyself before that [being] which I have created with My hands?* Art thou too proud [to bow down before another created being], or art thou of those who think [only] of themselves as high?"*
Or [dost thou deem thyself equal to] one who devoutly worships [God] throughout the night, prostrating himself or standing [in prayer], ever- mindful of the life to come, and hoping for his Sustainer's grace?"* Say: Can they who know and they who do not know be deemed equal?" [But] only they who are endowed with insight keep this in mind!
And yet,* they choose [to worship], side by side with God, [imaginary] intercessors!"* Say: Why - even though they have no power over anything, and no understanding?"*
VERILY, they who distort the meaning of Our messages are not hidden from Us: hence, which [of the two] will be in a better state - he that is [destined to be] cast into the fire, or he that shall come secure [before Us] on Resurrection Day? Do what you will: verily, He sees all that you do.
Did they, perchance, [think that they could] choose protectors other than Him? But God alone is the Protector [of all that exists], since it is He alone who brings the dead to life, and He alone who has the power to will anything.
Is it that they [who care for no more than this world] believe in forces supposed to have a share in God's divinity,* which enjoin upon them as a moral law something that God has never allowed?* Now were it not for [God's] decree on the final judgment,* all would indeed have been decided between them [in this world]:* but, verily, grievous suffering awaits the evildoers [in the life to come].
DO THEY, perchance, say, "[Muhammad] has attributed his own lying inventions to God"? But then, had God so willed, He could have sealed thy heart [forever]: for God blots out all falsehood, and by His words proves the truth to be true.* Verily, He has full knowledge of what is in the hearts [of men];
Or [do you think], perchance, that out of all His creation He has chosen for Himself daughters, and favoured you with sons?*
Or have We, perchance, vouchsafed them, before this one, a revelation [to the contrary,] to which they are still holding fast?*
Am I not better than this contemptible man who can hardly make his meaning clear?*
and say, Which is better - our deities or he?"* [But] it is only in the spirit of dispute that they put this comparison before thee: yea, they are contentious folk!*
Why - can they [who deny the truth ever] determine what [the truth] should be?*
Or do they, perchance, think that We do not hear their hidden thoughts and their secret confabulations?* Yea, indeed, [We do,] and Our heavenly forces* are with them, recording [all].
Are they, then, better than the people of Tubba and those before them, whom We destroyed because they were truly lost in [the same] sin?*
Now as for those who indulge in sinful doings - do they think that We place them, both in their life and their death, on an equal footing with those who have attained to faith and do righteous deeds? Bad, indeed, is their judgment:*
Say: Have you [really] given thought to what it is that you invoke instead of God? Show me what these [beings or forces] have created anywhere on earth! Or had they, perchance, a share in [creating] the heavens? [If so,] bring me any divine writ preceding this one, or any [other] vestige of knowledge - if what you claim is true!"*
Or do they say, He has invented all this"? Say [O Muhammad]: Had I invented it, you would not be of the least help to me against God.* He is fully aware of that [slander] into which you so recklessly plunge: enough is He as a witness between me and you! And [withal,] He alone is truly-forgiving, a true dispenser of grace."*
Will they not, then, ponder over this Qur'an? - or are there locks upon their hearts?
Or do they in whose hearts is disease think, perchance, that God would never bring their moral failings to light?*
Was it, then, a delusion* or is it that you failed to see [its truth]?
Or do they say, [He is but] a poet - let us wait what time will do unto him"?*
Is it their minds that bid them [to take] this [attitude] - or are they [simply] people filled with overweening arrogance?*
Or do they say, He himself has composed this [message]"? Nay, but they are not willing to believe!
[Or do they deny the existence of God?]* Have they themselves been created without anything [that might have caused their creation]?* or were they, perchance, their own creators?
[And] have they created the heavens and the earth?* Nay, but they have no certainty of anything!
[How could they?] Are thy Sustainer's treasures with them?* Or are they in charge [of destiny]?
Or have they a ladder by which they could [ascend to ultimate truths and] listen [to what is beyond the reach of human perception]? Let, then, any of them who have listened [to it] produce a manifest proof [of his knowledge]!
Or, [if you believe in God, how can you believe that] He has [chosen to have] daughters, whereas you yourselves would have [only] sons?*
Or is it that [they who reject thy message, O Muhammad, fear lest] thou ask of them a reward, so that they would be burdened with debt [if they should listen to thee]?
Or [do they think] that the hidden reality [of all that exists] is almost within their grasp, so that [in time] they can write it down?*
Or do they want to entrap [thee in contradictions]? But they who are bent on denying the truth - it is they who are truly entrapped!*
Have they, then, any deity other than God? Utterly remote is God, in His limitless glory, from anything to which men may ascribe a share in His divinity!
Does man imagine that it is his due to have* all that he might wish for,
Or has he never yet been told of what was [said] in the revelations of Moses,
ARE, THEN, those of you who [now] deny the truth* better than those others - or have you, perchance, [been promised] immunity in the [ancient] books of [divine] wisdom?*
Or do they say, We are a group united, [and therefore] bound to prevail"?*
Is it you who create it - or are We the source of its creation?
Is it you who cause it to grow - or are We the cause of its growth?
Is it you who cause it to come down from the clouds - or are We the cause of its coming down?
Is it you who have brought into being the tree that serves as its fuel* - or are We the cause of its coming into being?
As for them it is all the same whether thou dost pray that they be forgiven or dost not pray for them: God will nor forgive them - for, behold, God does not bestow His guidance upon such iniquitous folk.*
Or can you ever feel secure that He who is in heaven will not let loose against you a deadly stormwind,* whereupon you would come to know how [true] My warning was?
[And] is there any, besides the Most Gracious, that could be a shield* for you, and could succour you [against danger]? They who deny this truth are but lost in self- delusion!
Or is there any that could provide you with sustenance if He should withhold His provision [from you]? Nay, but they [who are bent on denying the truth] stubbornly persist in their disdain [of God's messages] and in their headlong flight [from Him]!
But then, is he that goes along with his face close to the ground* better guided than he that walks upright on a straight way?
Or have you, perchance, a [special] divine writ which you study,
Or have you received a solemn promise, binding on Us till Resurrection Day, that yours will assuredly be whatever you judge [to be your rightful due]?
Or have they, perchance, anys ages to support their views?* Well, then, if they are sincere in this their claim, let them produce those supporters of theirs
Or is it that [they fear lest] thou ask them for a reward, [O Prophet,] so that they would be burdened with debt [if they listened to thee]?
Or [do they think] that the hidden reality [of all that exists] is within their grasp, so that [in time] they can write it down?*
"'And [now we have become aware] that we [created beings] may not know whether evil fortune is intended for [any of] those who live on earth, or whether it is their Sustainer's will to endow them with consciousness of what is right:*
Say: "I do not know whether that [doom] of which you were forewarned is near, or whether my Sustainer has set for it a distant term."
[O MEN!] Are you more difficult to create than the heaven which He has built?*