Unto Him [alone] is due all prayer aiming at the Ultimate Truth,* since those [other beings or powers] whom men invoke instead of God* cannot respond to them in any way - [so that he who invokes them is] but like one who stretches his open hands* towards water, [hoping] that it will reach his mouth, the while it never reaches him. Hence, the prayer of those who deny the truth amounts to no more than losing oneself in grievous error.
And [thus it happened:] his fruitful gardens were encompassed [by ruin], and there he was, wringing his hands over all that he had spent on that which now lay waste, with its trellises caved in; and he could but say, "Oh, would that I had not attributed divine powers to any but my Sustainer!"
O you who have attained to faith! Surrender yourselves wholly unto God,* and follow not Satan's footsteps, for, verily, he is your open foe.
BEHOLD, the number of months, in the sight of God, is twelve months, [laid down] in God's decree on the day when He created the heavens and the earth; [and] out of these, four are sacred:* this is the ever-true law [of God]. Do not, then, sin against* yourselves with regard to these [months]. And fight against those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God, all together-just as they fight against you, [O believers,] all together* -and know that God is with those who are conscious of Him.
With all this, it is not desirable that all of the believers take the field [in time of war]. From within every group in their midst, some shall refrain from going forth to war, and shall devote themselves [instead] to acquiring a deeper knowledge of the Faith. and [thus be able to] teach their home-coming brethren, so that these [too] might guard themselves against evil.*
NOW [as for thee, O Muhammad,] We have not sent thee otherwise than to mankind at large, to be a herald of glad tidings and a warner; but most people do not understand [this],
ART THOU NOT aware of those who have been told, "Curb your hands,* and be constant in prayer, and render the purifying dues"? But as soon as fighting [in God's cause] is ordained for them, lo, some of them stand in awe of men as one should stand in awe of God - or in even greater awe - and say, "O our Sustainer! Why hast Thou ordained fighting for us? If only Thou hadst granted us a delay for a little while!" Say: "Brief is the enjoyment of this world, whereas the life to come is the best for all who are conscious of God - since none of you shall be wronged by as much as a hair's breadth.
Fight thou,* then, in God's cause - since thou art but responsible for thine own self - and inspire the believers to overcome all fear of death.* God may well curb the might of those who are bent on denying the truth: for God is stronger in might, and stronger in ability to deter.
You will find [that there are] others who would like to be safe from you as well as safe from their own folk, [but who,] whenever they are faced anew with temptation to evil, plunge into it headlong.* Hence, if they do not let you be, and do not offer you peace, and do not stay their hands, seize them and slay them whenever you come upon them: for it is against these that We have clearly empowered you [to make war].*
O you who have attained to faith! Remember the blessings which God bestowed upon you when [hostile] people were about to lay hands on you* and He stayed their hands from you. Remain, then, conscious of God: and in God let the believers place their trust.
Lo!* God will say: "O Jesus, son of Mary! Remember the blessings which I bestowed upon thee and thy mother-how I strengthened thee with holy inspiration,* so that thou couldst speak unto men in thy cradle, and as a grown man; and how I imparted unto thee revelation and wisdom, including the Torah and the Gospel;* and how by My leave thou didst create out of clay, as it were, the shape of [thy followers'] destiny, and then didst breathe into it, so that it might become, by My leave, [their] destiny ;* and how thou didst heal the blind and the leper by My leave, and how thou didst raise the dead by My leave;* and how I prevented the children of Israel from harming thee when thou camest unto them with all evidence of the truth, and [when] those of them who were bent on denying the truth were saying, `This is clearly nothing but deception!"'
If they but knew - they who are bent on denying the truth - [that there will come] a time when they will not be able to ward off the fire from their faces, nor from their backs, and will not find any succour!
[O you who believe!] God has promised you many war-gains which you shall yet achieve; and He has vouchsafed you these [worldly gains] well in advance,* and has stayed from you the hands of [hostile] people, so that this [your inner strength] may become a symbol to the believers [who will come after you* ] , and that He may guide you all on a straight way.
And He it is who, in the valley of Mecca , stayed their hands from you, and your hands from them, after He had enabled you to vanquish them; and God saw indeed what you were doing.*