Their parable is that of people who kindle a fire: but as soon as it has illumined all around them, God takes away their light and leaves them in utter darkness, wherein they cannot see:
Said He: "O Adam, convey unto them the names of these [things]." And as soon as [Adam] had conveyed unto them their names, [God] said: "Did I not say unto you, `Verily, I alone know the hidden reality of the heavens and the earth, and know all that you bring into the open and all. that you would conceal'?"
And whenever there came unto them a [new] revelation from God, confirming the truth already in their possession-and [bear in mind that] aforetime they used to pray for victory over those who were bent on denying the truth -: whenever there came unto them something which they recognized [as the truth], they would deny it. And God's rejection is the due of all who deny the truth.
And [even now,] when there has come unto them an apostle from God, confirming the truth already in their possession, some of those who were granted revelation aforetime cast the divine writ behind their backs as though unaware [of what it says],*
Art thou not aware of those elders of the children of Israel , after the time of Moses, how they said unto a prophet of theirs,* "Raise up a king for us, [and] we shall fight in God's cause"? Said he: "Would you, perchance, refrain from fighting if fighting is ordained for you?" They answered: "And why should we not fight in God's cause when we and our children have been driven from our homelands?"* Yet, when fighting was ordained for them, they did turn back, save for a few of them; but God had full knowledge of the evildoers.
And when Saul set out with his forces, he said: "Behold, God will now try you by a river: he who shall drink of it will not belong to me, whereas he who shall refrain from tasting it - he, indeed, will belong to me; but forgiven shall be he* who shall scoop up but a single handful." However, save for a few of them, they all drank [their fill] of it. And as soon as he and those who had kept faith with him had crossed the river, the others said: "No strength have we today [to stand up] against Goliath and his forces!" [Yet] those who knew with certainty that they were destined to meet God, replied: "How often has a small host overcome a great host by God's leave! For God is with those who are patient in adversity."
And when they came face to face with Goliath and his forces, they prayed: "O our Sustainer! Shower us with patience in adversity, and make firm our steps, and succour us against the people who deny the truth!"
Or [art thou, O man, of the same mind] as he* who passed by a town deserted by its people, with its roofs caved in, [and] said, "How could God bring all this back to life after its death?"* Thereupon God caused him to be dead for a hundred years; where after He brought him back to life [and] said: "How long hast thou remained thus?" He answered: "I have remained thus a day, or part of a day." Said [God]: "Nay, but thou hast remained thus for a hundred years! But look at thy food and thy drink-untouched is it by the passing of years - and look at thine ass!* And [We did all this so that We might make thee a symbol unto men. And look at the bones [of animals and men] - how We put them together and then clothe them with flesh!"* And when [all this] became clear to him, he said: "I know [now] that God has the power to will anything!"
But when she had given birth to the child,* she said: "O my Sustainer! Behold, I have given birth to a female" - the while God had been fully aware of what she would give birth to, and [fully aware] that no male child [she might have hoped for] could ever have been like this female* - "and I have named her Mary. And, verily, I seek Thy protection for her and her offspring against Satan, the accursed."
And when Jesus became aware of their refusal to acknowledge the truth,* he asked: "Who will be my helpers in God's cause?" The white-garbed ones* replied: "We shall be [thy] helpers [in the cause] of God! We believe in God: and bear thou witness that we have surrendered ourselves unto Him!
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?*
AND DO YOU, now that a calamity has befallen you after you had inflicted twice as much [on your foes],* ask yourselves, "How has this come about?" Say: "It has come from your own selves."* Verily, God has the power to will anything:
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.
Nothing did I tell them beyond what Thou didst bid me [to say]: `Worship God, [who is] my Sustainer as well as your Sustainer.' And I bore witness to what they did as long as I dwelt in their midst; but since Thou hast caused me to die, Thou alone hast been their keeper:* for Thou art witness unto everything.
and so they give the lie to this truth now that it has come unto them. In time, however, they will come to understand what it was that they were wont to deride.*
Then, when they had forgotten all that they had been told to take to heart, We threw open to them the gates of all [good] things* until -even as they were rejoicing in what they had been granted - We suddenly took them to task: and lo! they were broken in spirit;*
Then, when the night overshadowed him with its darkness, he beheld a star;., [and] he exclaimed, "This is my Sustainer!" -but when it went down, he said, "I love not the things that go down."
Then, when he beheld the moon rising, he said, "This is my Sustainer!"-but when it went down, he said, "Indeed, if my Sustainer guide me not. I will most certainly become one of the people who go astray!"
Then, when he beheld the sun rising, he said, "This is my Sustainer! This one is the greatest [of all]!" - but when it [too] went down, he exclaimed: "O my people! Behold, far be it from me to ascribe divinity, as you do, to aught beside God!
-and thus he led them on with deluding thoughts. But as soon as the two had tasted [the fruit] of the tree, they became conscious of their nakedness; and they began to cover themselves with pieced-together leaves from the garden. And their Sustainer called unto them: "Did I not forbid that tree unto you and tell you, `Verily, Satan is your open foe'?"
He answered: "You throw [first]." And when they threw down [their staffs], they cast a spell upon the people's eyes, and struck them with awe, and produced mighty sorcery.
for thou takest vengeance on us only because we have come to believe in our Sustainer's messages as soon as they came to us. O our Sustainer! Shower us with patience in adversity, and make us die as men who have surrendered themselves unto Thee!"
And whenever a plague struck them, they would cry: "O Moses, pray for us to thy Sustainer on the strength of the covenant [of prophethood] which He has made with thee! If thou remove this plague from us, we will truly believe in thee. and will let the children of Israel go with thee!"
But whenever We removed the plague from them, giving them time to make good their promise,* lo, they would break their word.
And when Moses came [to Mount Sinai] at the time set by Us, and his Sustainer spoke unto him, he said: "O my Sustainer! Show [Thyself] unto me, so that I might behold Thee!" Said [God]: "Never canst thou see Me. However, behold this mountain: if it remains firm in its place, then - only then - wilt thou see Me.* And as soon as his Sustainer revealed His glory to the mountain, He caused it to crumble to dust; and Moses fell down in a swoon. And when he came to himself, he said: "Limitless art Thou in Thy glory! Unto Thee do I turn in repentance; and I shall [always] be the first to believe in Thee!"*
although [later,] when they would smite their hands in remorse,* having perceived that they had gone astray, they would say, "Indeed, unless our Sustainer have mercy on us and grant us forgiveness, we shall most certainly be among the lost!"*
And when Moses returned to his people, full of wrath and sorrow, he exclaimed: "Vile is the course which you have followed in my absence! Have you forsaken* your Sustainer's commandment?" And he threw down the tablets [of the Law], and seized his brother's head, dragging him towards himself. Cried Aaron: "O my mother's son! Behold, the people brought me low* and almost slew me: so let not mine enemies rejoice at my affliction, and count me not among the evildoing folk!"
And when Moses' wrath as stilled, he took up the tablets, in the writing whereof there was guidance and grace for all who stood in awe of their Sustainer.*
And Moses chose out of his people seventy men to come [and pray for forgiveness] at a time set by Us. Then, when violent trembling seized them,* he prayed: "O my Sustainer! Hadst Thou so willed, Thou wouldst have destroyed them ere this, and me [with them]. Wilt Thou destroy us for what the weak-minded among us have done? (All] this is but a trial from Thee, whereby Thou allowest to go astray whom Thou willest, and guidest aright whom Thou willest. Thou art near unto us: grant us, then, forgiveness and have mercy on us - for Thou art the best of all forgivers!
And thereupon, when those [sinners] had forgotten all that they had been told to take to. heart, We saved those who had tried to prevent the doing of evil,* and overwhelmed those who had been bent on evildoing with dreadful suffering for all their iniquity;
and then, when they disdainfully persisted in doing what they had been forbidden to do, We said unto them: "Be as apes despicable!"*
IT IS HE who has created you [all] out of one living entity, and out of it brought into being its mate, so that man might incline [with love] towards woman.* And so, when he has embraced her, she conceives [what at first is] a light burden, and continues to bear it. Then, when she grows heavy [with child], they both call unto God, their Sustainer, "If Thou indeed grant us a sound [child], we shall most certainly be among the grateful!"
And yet, as soon as He has granted them sound [offspring], they begin to ascribe to other powers beside Him a share in bringing about what He has granted them !* Sublimely exalted, however, is God- above anything to which men may ascribe a share in His divinity!
And, lo, Satan made all their doings seem goodly to them, and said, "No one can overcome you this day, for, behold, I shall be your protector !"* but as soon as the two hosts came within sight of one another, he turned on his heels and said, "Behold, I am not responsible for you: behold, I see something that you do not see: behold, I fear God-for God is severe in retribution !"*
But as soon as He has given them [aught] out of His bounty. they cling to it niggardly, and turn away in their obstinacy [from all that they have vowed]:
And Abraham's prayer that his father be forgiven was but due to a promise which he had given the latter [in his lifetime];* but when it was made clear unto him that he had been God's enemy, [Abraham] disavowed him - [although;] behold, Abraham was most tender-hearted. most clement.
For [thus it is:] when affliction befalls man, he cries out unto Us, whether he be lying on his side or sitting or standing;* but as soon as We have freed him of his affliction, he goes on as though he had never invoked Us to save him from the affliction* that befell him! Thus do their own doings seem goodly unto those who waste their own selves.*
And, indeed, We destroyed before your time [whole] generations when they [persistently] did evil although the apostles sent unto them brought them all evidence of the truth; for they refused to believe [them]. Thus do We requite people who are lost in sin.*
Yet as soon as He has saved them from this [danger], lo! they behave outrageously on earth, offending against all right !* O men! All your outrageous deeds are bound to fall back upon your own selves!* [You care only for] the enjoyment of life in this world: [but remember that] in the end unto Us you must return, whereupon We shall make you truly understand all that you were doing [in life].
And all human beings that have been doing evil's* would surely, if they possessed all that is on earth, offer it as ransom [on Judgment Day];* and when they see the suffering [that awaits them], they will be unable to express their remorse.* But judgment will be passed on them in all equity; and they will not be wronged.
And so, when the truth came to them from Us, they said, "Behold, this is clearly nothing but sorcery!"*
Said Moses: "Do you speak thus of the truth after it has been brought to you? Can this be sorcery? But sorcerers can never come to a happy end!"*
And when the sorcerers came, Moses said unto them: "Throw whatever you may [wish to] throw!"
And when they threw down [their staffs and cast a spell upon the people's eyes* ], Moses said unto them: "What you have contrived is [but] sorcery which, verily, God will bring to nought! Verily, God does not further the works of spreaders of corruption -
For, alas,* there has never yet been any community that attained to faith [in its entirety,] and thereupon benefited by its faith, except the people of Jonah.* When they came to believe, We removed from them the suffering of disgrace [which otherwise would have befallen them even] in the life of this world, and allowed them to enjoy their life during the time allotted to them.*
And so, when Our judgment came to pass,* by Our grace We saved Hud and those who shared his faith; and We saved them [too] from suffering severe [in the life to come].*
And so, when Our judgment came to pass, by Our grace We saved Salih and those who shared his faith; and [We saved them, too,] from the ignominy of [Our rejection on] that Day [of Resurrection]. Verily, thy Sustainer alone is powerful, almighty!
But when he saw that their hands did not reach out towards it, he deemed their conduct strange and became apprehensive of them.* [But] they said: "Fear not! Behold, we are sent to the people of Lot.*
And when the fear had left Abraham, and the glad tiding had been conveyed to him, he began to plead with Us for Lot's people:*
AND WHEN Our messengers came unto Lot, he was sorely grieved on their account, seeing that it was beyond his power to shield them;* and he exclaimed: "This is a woeful day!"
And so, when Our judgment came to pass, We turned those [sinful towns] upside down, and rained down upon them stone-hard blows of chastisement pre-ordained.* one upon another,
And so, when Our judgment came to pass, by Our grace We saved Shu'ayb and those who shared his faith, whereas the blast [of Our punishment] overtook those who had been bent on evildoing: and then they lay lifeless, in their very homes, on the ground,*
for, no wrong did We do to them, but it was they who wronged themselves. And when thy Sustainer's judgment came to pass, those deities of theirs which they had been wont to invoke instead of God proved of no avail whatever to them, and brought them no more than utter perdition.
And, verily, unto each and all will thy Sustainer give their full due for whatever [good or evil] they may have done: behold, He is aware of all that they do!
And so, when they went away with him, they decided to cast him into the dark depths of the well. And We revealed [this] unto him: "Thou wilt yet remind them of this their deed at a time when they shall not perceive [who thou art] !"*
And when he reached full manhood, We bestowed upon him the ability to judge [between right and wrong], as well as [innate] knowledge: for thus do We reward the doers of good.
And when (her husband] saw that his tunic was torn from behind, he said: "Behold, this is [an instance] of your guile, O womankind! Verily, awesome is your guile!
Thereupon, when she heard of their malicious talk, she sent for them, and prepared for them a sumptuous repast,* and handed each of them a knife and said [to Joseph]: "Come out and show thyself to them!" And when the women saw him, they were greatly amazed at his beauty,* and [so flustered were they that] they cut their hands [with their knives], exclaiming, "God save us! This is no mortal man! This is nought but a noble angel!"
And [as soon as Joseph's interpretation. was conveyed to him,] the King said: "Bring him before me!" But when the [King's] messenger came unto him, [Joseph] said: "Go back to thy lord and ask him [first to find out the truth] about those women who cut their hands-for, behold, [until now it is] my Sustainer [alone who] has full knowledge of their guile!"
And the King said: "Bring him unto me, so that I may attach him to my own person." And when he had spoken with him, [the King] said: "Behold, [from] this day thou shalt be of high standing with us, invested with all trust!"
And when he had provided them with their provisions, he said: "[When you come here next,] bring unto me that brother of yours from your father's side.* Do you not see that I have given [you] full measure and have been the best of hosts?
And so, when they returned to their father, [Joseph's brothers] said: "O our father! All grain* is [to be] withheld from us [in the future unless we bring Benjamin with us]: send, therefore, our brother with us, so that we may obtain our measure (of grain]; and, verily, we shall guard him well!"
Thereupon, when they opened their packs, they discovered that their merchandise had been returned to them; [and] they said: "O our father! What more could we desire? Here is our merchandise: it has been returned to us! [If thou send Benjamin with us,] we shall (again] be able to bring food for our family, and shall guard our brother [well], and receive in addition another camel-load of grain* That [which we have brought the first time] was but a scanty measure."
Said [Jacob]: "I will not send him with you until you give me a solemn pledge, before God, that you will indeed bring him back unto me, unless you yourselves be encompassed [by death]!" And when they had given him their solemn pledge, [Jacob] said: "God is witness to all that we say!"
But although* they entered [Joseph's city] in the way their father had bidden them, this proved of no avail whatever to them against [the plan of] God* [His request] had served only to satisfy Jacob's heartfelt desire [to protect them]:* for, behold, thanks to what We had imparted unto him, he was indeed endowed with the knowledge [that God's will must always prevail* ]; but most people know it not.
AND WHEN [the sons of Jacob] presented themselves before Joseph, he drew his brother [Benjamin] unto himself, saying [to him in secret]: "Behold, I am thy brother! So grieve thou not over their past doings!"*
And [later,] when he had provided them with their provisions, he placed the [King's] drinking-cup in his brother's camel-pack. And [as they were leaving the city,] a herald* called out: "O you people of the caravan! Verily, you are thieves!*
And so, when they lost all hope of [moving] him, they withdrew to take counsel [among themselves]. The eldest of them said: "Do you not remember* that your father has bound you by a solemn pledge before God - and how, before that, you had failed with regard to Joseph? Hence, I shall not depart from this land till my father gives me leave or God passes judgment in my favour:* for He is the best of all judges.
[AND THE SONS of Jacob went back to Egypt and to Joseph;] and when they presented themselves before him, they said: "O thou great one! Hardship has visited us and our folk, and so we have brought but scanty merchandise;* but give us a full measure [of grain], and be charitable to us: behold, God rewards those who give in charity!"
AND AS SOON as the caravan [with which Jacob's sons were travelling] was on its way,* their father said [to the people around him]: "Behold, were it not that you might consider me a dotard, [I would say that] I truly feel the breath of Joseph [in the air]!"
But when the bearer of good tidings came [with Joseph's tunic], he laid it over his face; and he regained his sight, [and] exclaimed: "Did I not tell you, `Verily, I know, from God, something that you do not know'?"*
AND WHEN they [all arrived in Egypt and] presented themselves before Joseph, he drew his parents unto himself,* saying, "Enter Egypt! If God so wills, you shall be secure [from all evil]!"
And when everything will have been decided, Satan will say: "Behold, God promised you something that was bound to come true!* I, too, held out [all manner of] promises to you -but I deceived you. Yet I had no power at all over you: I but called you-and you responded unto me. Hence, blame not me, but blame yourselves.* It is not for me to respond to your cries, nor for you to respond to mine:* for, behold, I have [always] refused to admit that there was any truth in your erstwhile belief that I had a share in God's divinity."* Verily, for all evildoers* there is grievous suffering in store.
AND WHEN the messengers [of God] came to the house of Lot,
And whenever danger befalls you at sea, all those (powers] that you are wont to invoke forsake you, [and nothing remains for you] save Him: but as soon as He has brought you safe ashore, you turn aside [and forget Him]-for, indeed, bereft of all gratitude is man!
as [was the case with all] those communities that We destroyed when they went on and on doing wrong:* for We had set a time-limit for their destruction.
But when they reached the junction between the two [seas], they forgot all about their fish, and it took its way into the sea and disappeared from sight.*
And after the two had walked some distance, [Moses] said to his servant: "Bring us our mid-day meal; we have indeed suffered hardship on this [day of] our journey!"
And after he had withdrawn from them and from all that they were worshipping instead of God, We bestowed upon him Isaac and Jacob, and made each of them a prophet;
But when he came close to it, a voice called out:* "O Moses!
And [every time,] as soon as they began to feel Our punishing might, lo! they tried to flee from it
And [think of] the people of Noah: when they gave the lie to [one of] the apostles, We caused them to drown, and made them a symbol for all mankind: for, grievous suffering have We readied for all who [knowingly] do wrong!
and I fled from you because I feared you. But [since] then my Sustainer has endowed me with the ability to judge [between right and wrong], and has made me one of [His] message-bearers.*
Now when the sorcerers came, they said unto Pharaoh: Verily, we ought to have a great reward if it is we who prevail.*
and as soon as the two hosts came in sight of one another, the followers of Moses exclaimed: Behold, we shall certainly be overtaken [and defeated]!"
But when he came close to it, a call was sounded: Blessed are all who are within [reach of] this fire, and all who are near it!* And limitless in His glory is God, the Sustainer of all the worlds!"
[And then He said:] Now throw down thy staff!"* But when he saw it move rapidly, as if it were a serpent, he drew back [in terror], and did not [dare to] return.* [And God spoke to him again:] O Moses! Fear not - for, behold, no fear need the message-bearers have in My Presence,
But when Our light-giving messages came unto them, they said, This is clearly [but] spellbinding deception!"*
Now when [the Queen's messenger] came unto Solomon, he said: Do you people mean to add to my wealth? But that which God has given me* is [so much] better than all that He has given you! Nay, it is [only such as] you* that would rejoice in this gift of yours!
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 so, as soon as she arrived, she was asked: Is thy throne like this?" She answered: It is as though it were the same!"* [And Solomon said to his nobles: She has arrived at the truth without any help from us,]* although it is we who have been given [divine] knowledge before her, and have [long ago] surrendered ourselves unto God!
[After a while] she was told: Enter this court!" - but when she saw it, she thought that it was a fathomless expanse of water, and she bared her legs.* Said he: Behold, it is [but] a court smoothly paved with glass!"* Cried she: O my Sustainer! I have been sinning against myself thy worshipping aught but Thee]: but [now] I have surrendered myself, with Solomon, unto the Sustainer of all the worlds!"
Now when [Moses] reached full manhood and had become mature [of mind]. We bestowed upon him the ability to judge [between right and wrong] as well as [innate] knowledge: for thus do We reward the doers of good.*
But then* as soon as he was about to lay violent hands on the man who was their [common] enemy, the latter exclaimed: O Moses, dost thou intend to slay me as thou didst slay another man yesterday? Thy sole aim is to become a tyrant in this land, for thou dost not care to be of those who would set things to rights!"
And as he turned his face towards Madyan, he said [to himself]: It may well be that my Sustainer will [thus] guide me onto the right path"*
NOW WHEN he arrived at the wells* of Madyan, he found there a large group of men who were watering [their herds and flocks]; and at some distance from them he came upon two women who were keeping back their flock. He asked [them]: What is the matter with you?" They answered: We cannot water [our animals] until the herdsmen drive [theirs] home - for [we are weak and] our father is a very old man."
[Shortly] afterwards, one of the two [maidens] approached him, walking shyly, and said: Behold, my father invites thee, so that he might duly reward thee for thy having watered [our flock] for us." And as soon as [Moses] came unto him and told him the story [of his life], he said: Have no fear! Thou art now safe from those evildoing folk!"
And when Moses had fulfilled his term and was wandering with his family [in the desert], he perceived a fire on the slope of Mount Sinai;* [and so] he said to his family: Wait here. Behold, I perceive a fire [far away]; perhaps I may bring you from there some tiding,* or [at least] a burning brand from the fire, so that you might warm yourselves.
But when he came close to it, a call was sounded from the right-side bank of the valley, out of the tree [burning] on blessed ground:* O Moses! Verily, I am God, the Sustainer of all the worlds!"
And [then He said]: Throw down thy staff!" But as soon as [Moses] saw it move rapidly, as if it were a snake, he drew back [in terror], and did not [dare to] return.* [And God spoke to him again:] O Moses! Draw near, and have no fear - for, behold, thou art of those who are secure [in this world and in the next]!*
But as soon as Moses came unto them with Our clear messages [Pharaoh and his great ones] said: All this is nothing but spellbinding eloquence devised [by man]:* and never did we hear [the like of] this, [nor has it ever been heard of] in the time of our forebears of old!"
And yet, now that the truth has come unto them from Us, they say, Why has he not been vouchsafed the like of what Moses was vouchsafed?"* But did they not also, before this, deny the truth of what Moses was vouchsafed? [For] they do say, Two examples of delusion, [seemingly] supporting each other!"* And they add, Behold, we refuse to accept either of them as true!"
And so, when Our [heavenly] messengers came to Abraham with the glad tiding [of the birth of Isaac],* they [also] said, Behold, we are about to destroy the people of that land, for its people are truly evildoers!"*
And when Our messengers came unto Lot, he was sorely grieved on their account, seeing that it was beyond his power to shield them;* but they said: Fear not, and grieve not! Behold, we shall save thee and thy household - all but thy wife: she will indeed be among those that stay behind.
And so, when they embark on a ship [and find themselves in danger], they call unto God, [at that moment] sincere in their faith in Him alone; but as soon as He has brought them safe ashore, they [begin to] ascribe to imaginary powers a share in His divinity:
And who could be more wicked than he who attributes his own lying inventions to God,* or gives the lie to the truth when it comes unto him [through revelation]? Is not hell the [proper] abode for all who [thus] deny the truth?
For [thus it is with most men:] when the waves engulf them like shadows [of death], they call unto God, sincere [at that moment] in their faith in Him alone: but as soon as He has brought them safe ashore, some of them stop half-way [between belief and unbelief]* Yet none could knowingly reject Our messages unless he be utterly perfidious, ingrate.
and [as] We raised among them leaders who, so long as they bore themselves with patience and had sure faith in Our messages, guided [their people] in accordance with Our behest* [so, too, shall it be with the divine writ revealed unto thee, O Muhammad.]*
And [so,] when the believers saw the Confederates [advancing against them], they said, This is what God and His Apostle have promised us!"- and, Truly spoke God and His Apostle !* and all this but increased their faith and their readiness to surrender themselves unto God.
AND LO,* [O Muhammad,] thou didst say unto the one to whom God had shown favour and to whom thou hadst shown favour,* Hold on to thy wife, and remain conscious of God!" And [thus] wouldst thou hide within thyself something that God was about to bring to light* for thou didst stand in awe of [what] people [might think], whereas it was God alone of whom thou shouldst have stood in awe!* [But] then, when Zayd had come to the end of his union with her,* We gave her to thee in marriage, so that [in future] no blame should attach to the believers for [marrying] the spouses of their adopted children when the latter have come to the end of their union with them.* And [thus] God's will was done.
Yet [even Solomon had to die; but] when We decreed that he should die, nothing showed them that he was dead except an earthworm that gnawed away his staff.* And when he fell to the ground, those invisible beings [subservient to him] saw clearly that, had they but understood the reality which was beyond the reach of their perception,* they would not have continued [to toil] in the shameful suffering [of servitude]*
But those who had been weak will say unto those who had gloried in their arrogance: Nay, [what kept us away was your] devising of false arguments, night and day, [against God's messages- as you did]* when you persuaded us to blaspheme against God and to claim that there are powers that could rival Him!"* And when they see the suffering [that awaits them], they will [all] be unable to express [the full depth of] their remorse:* for We shall have put shackles around the necks of those who had been bent on denying the truth:* [and] will this be aught but a [just] requital for what they were doing?
For [thus it is:] whenever Our messages are conveyed unto them in all their clarity, they [who are bent on denying the truth] say [to one another], This [Muhammad] is nothing but a man who wants to turn you away from what your forefathers were wont to worship!" And they say, This [Qur'an] is nothing but a falsehood invented [by man]!" And [finally,] they who are bent on denying the truth speak thus of the truth when it comes to them: This is clearly nothing but spellbinding eloquence!"*
As it is, they [who are averse to the truth often] swear by God with their most solemn oaths that if a warner should ever come to them, they would follow his guidance better than any of the communities [of old had followed the warner sent to them]:* but now that a warner has come unto them, [his call] but increases their aversion,
and [that] all of them, all together, will [in the end] before Us be arraigned?
And [one day,] when [the child] had become old enough to share in his [father's] endeavours,* the latter said: O my dear son! I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice thee: consider, then, what would be thy view!" [Ishmael] answered: O my father! Do as thou art bidden: thou wilt find me, if God so wills, among those who are patient in adversity!"
But as soon as the two had surrendered themselves to [what they thought to be] the will of God,* and [Abraham] had laid him down on his face,
Now [as for Pharaoh and his followers,] when he came to them, setting forth the truth from Us, they said, Slay the sons of those who share his beliefs,* and spare [only] their women!" - but the guile of those deniers of the truth could not lead to aught but failure.
Say: Since all evidence of the truth has come to me from my Sustainer, I am forbidden to worship [any of] those beings whom you invoke instead of God; and I am bidden to surrender myself to the Sustainer of all the worlds."
for when their apostles came to them with all evidence of the truth, they arrogantly exulted in whatever knowledge they [already] possessed:* and [so, in the end,] they were overwhelmed by the very thing which they were wont to deride.*
And then, when they [clearly] beheld Our punishment,* they said: We have come to believe in the One God, and we have renounced all belief in that to which we were wont to ascribe a share in His divinity!"*
But their attaining to faith after they had beheld Our punishment could not possibly benefit them* such being the way of God that has always obtained for His creatures -: and so, then and there, lost were they who had denied the truth.*
Verily, they who are bent on denying the truth of this reminder as soon as it comes to them - [they are the losers]: for, behold, it is a sublime divine writ:
AND [thus it is:] he whom God lets go astray* has henceforth no protector whatever: and so thou wilt see such evildoers* [on Judgment Day, and wilt hear how] they exclaim as soon as they behold the suffering [that awaits them], "Is there any way of return?"*
but now that the truth has come to them, they say, All this is mere spellbinding eloquence" - and, behold, we deny that there is any truth in it!"*
But as soon as he came before them with Our [miraculous] signs,* lo! they derided them,
But whenever We removed the suffering from them, lo! they would break their word.
But when they continued to challenge Us, We inflicted Our retribution on them, and drowned them all:
NOW WHENEVER [the nature of] the son of Mary is set forth as an example, [O Muhammad,] lo! thy people raise an outcry on this score,
NOW WHEN Jesus came [to his people] with all evidence of the truth, he said: I have now come unto you with wisdom,* and to make clear Unto you some of that on which you are at variance:* hence, be conscious of God, and pay heed unto me.
But whenever Our messages are conveyed to them in all their clarity, they who are bent on denying the truth speak thus of the truth as soon as it is brought to them: This is clearly nothing but spellbinding eloquence!"*
And so, when they beheld it* in the shape of a dense cloud approaching their valleys, they exclaimed, This is but a heavy cloud which will bring us [welcome] rain!" [But Hud said:] Nay, but it is the very thing which you [so contemptuously] sought to hasten - a wind bearing grievous suffering,
AND LO!* We caused a group of unseen beings to incline towards thee, [O Muhammad,]* so that they might give ear to the Qur'an; and so, as soon as they became aware of it,* they said [unto one another], Listen in silence!" And when [the recitation] was ended, they returned to their people as warners.*
Nay, but they [who refuse to believe in resurrection] have been wont to give the lie to this truth whenever it was proffered to them; and so they are in a state of confusion.*
the like of [what happens] when Satan says unto man, Deny the truth!" - but as soon as [man] has denied the truth, [Satan] says, Behold, I am not responsible for thee: behold, I fear God, the Sustainer of all the worlds!"*
Now when Moses spoke to his people, [it was this same truth that he had in mind:] "O my people! Why do you cause me grief,* the while you know that I am an apostle of God sent unto you?" And so, when they swerved from the right way, God let their hearts swerve from the truth:* for God does not bestow His guidance upon iniquitous folk.
And [this happened, too,] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said: "O children of Israel! Behold, I am an apostle of God unto you, [sent] to confirm the truth of whatever there still remains* of the Torah, and to give [you] the glad tiding of an apostle who shall come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad."* But when he [whose coming Jesus had foretold] came unto them* with all evidence of the truth, they said: "This [alleged message of his] is [nothing but] spellbinding eloquence!"*
And lo!* [It so happened that] the Prophet told something in confidence to one of his wives; and when she thereupon divulged it, and God made this known to him, he acquainted [others] with some of it and passed over some of it.* And as soon as he let her know it, she asked, "Who has told thee this?"* - [to which] he replied, "The All-Knowing, the All-Aware has told me."
Yet in the end, when they shall see that [fulfilment] close at hand, the faces of those who were bent on denying the truth will be stricken with grief; and they will be told, "This it is that you were [so derisively] calling for!"
But as soon as they beheld [the garden and could not recognize] it, they exclaimed, "Surely we have lost our way!"
Hence, [be patient,] even though they who are bent on denying the truth would all but kill thee with their eyes whenever they hear this reminder, and [though] they say, "[As for Mubammad,] behold, most surely he is a madman!"
[And] behold: when the waters [of Noah's flood] burst beyond all limits, it was We who caused you* to be borne [to safety] in that floating ark,
Hence, as soon as we heard this [call to His] guidance, we came to believe in it: and he who believes in his Sustainer need never have fear of loss or injustice.
Yet [thus it is] that whenever a servant of God stands up in prayer to Him, they [who are bent on denying the truth] would gladly overwhelm him with their crowds.*