The lightning well-nigh takes away their sight; whenever it gives them light, they advance therein, and whenever darkness falls around them, they stand still. And if God so willed, He could indeed take away their hearing and their sight:* for, verily, God has the power to will anything.
And thou wilt most certainly find that they cling to life more eagerly than any other people, even more than those who are bent on ascribing divinity to other beings beside God: every one of them would love to live a thousand years, although the grant of long life could not save him from suffering [in the hereafter]: for God sees all that they do.
and follow [instead] that which the evil ones used to practice during Solomon's reign - for it was not Solomon who denied the truth, but those evil ones denied it by teaching people sorcery* -; and [they follow] that which has come down through the two angels in Babylon, Hurut and Marut-although these two never taught it to anyone without first declaring, "We are but a temptation to evil: do not, then, deny [God's] truth!"* And they learn from these two how to create discord between a man and his wife; but whereas they can harm none thereby save by God's leave, they acquire a knowledge that only harms themselves and does not benefit them - although they know; indeed, that he who acquires this [knowledge] shall have no share in the good of the life to come.* For, vile indeed is that [art] for which they have sold their own selves -had they but known it!
And had they but believed and been conscious of Him, reward from God would indeed have brought them good-had they but known it!
Out of their selfish envy, many among the followers of earlier revelation would like to bring you back to denying the truth after you have attained to faith - [even] after the truth has become clear unto them. None the less, forgive and forbear, until God shall make manifest His will: behold, God has the power to will anything.
And yet there are people who choose to believe in beings that allegedly rival God,* loving them as [only] God should be loved: whereas those who have attained to faith love God more than all else. If they who are bent on evildoing could but see - as see they will when they are made to suffer* [on Resurrection Day] -that all might belongs to God alone, and that God is severe in [meting out] punishment!
And then those followers shall say: "Would that we had a second chance [in life],* so that we could disown them as they have disowned us!" Thus will God show them their works [in a manner that will cause them] batter regrets; but they will not come out of the fire.*
But when they are told, "Follow what God has bestowed from on high," some answer, "Nay, we shall follow [only] that which we found our forefathers believing in and doing." Why, even if their forefathers did not use their reason at all, and were devoid of all guidance?
on this world and on the life to come. And they will ask thee about [how to deal with] orphans. Say: "To improve their condition is best." And if you share their life, [remember that] they are your brethren:* for God distinguishes between him who spoils things and him who improves. And had God so willed, He would indeed have imposed on you hardships which you would not have been able to bear:* [but,] behold, God is almighty, wise!
AND DO NOT marry women who ascribe divinity to aught beside God ere they attain to [true] belief: for any believing bondwoman [of God]* is certainly better than a woman who ascribes divinity to aught beside God, even though she please you greatly. And do not give your women in marriage to men who ascribe divinity to aught beside God ere they attain to [true] belief: for- any believing bondman [of God] is certainly better than a man who ascribes divinity to aught beside God, even though he please you greatly. [Such as] these invite unto the fire, whereas God invites unto paradise, and unto [the achievement of] forgiveness by His leave; and He makes clear His messages unto mankind, so that they might bear them in mind.
Some of these apostles have We endowed more highly than others: among them were such as.were spoken to by God [Himself], and some He has raised yet higher.'* And We vouchsafed unto Jesus, the son of Mary, all evidence of the truth, and strengthened him with holy inspiration.* And if God had so willed, they who succeeded those [apostles] would not have contended with one another after all evidence of the truth had come to them; but [as it was,] they did take to divergent views, and some of them attained to faith, while some of them came to deny the truth. Yet if God had so willed, they would not have contended with one another: but God does whatever He wills.*
On the Day when every human being will find himself faced with all the good that he has done, and with all the evil that he has done, [many a one] will wish that there were a long span of time between himself and that [Day]. Hence, God warns you to beware of Him; but God is most compassionate towards His creatures.
Some of the followers of earlier revelation would love to lead you astray: yet none do they lead astray but themselves, and perceive it not.
Verily, as for those who are bent on denying the truth and die as deniers of the truth - not all the gold on earth could ever be their ransom.* It is they for whom grievous suffering is in store; and they shall have none to succour them.
YOU ARE indeed the best community that has ever been brought forth for [the good of] mankind: you enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and you believe in God. Now if the followers of earlier revelation had attained to [this kind of] faith, it would have been for their own good; [but only few] among them are believers, while most of them are iniquitous:
Then, after this woe, He sent down upon you a sense of security, an inner calm which enfolded some of you,* whereas the others, who cared mainly for themselves, entertained wrong thoughts about God - thoughts of pagan ignorance - saying, "Did we, then, have any power of decision [in this matter]?"* Say: "Verily, all power of decision does rest with God"* - [but as for them,] they are trying to conceal within themselves that [weakness of faith] which they would not reveal unto thee, [O Prophet, by] saying, "If we had any power of decision, we would not have left so many dead behind."* Say [unto them]: "Even if you had remained in your homes, those [of you] whose death had been ordained would indeed have gone forth to the places where they were destined to lie down." And [all this befell you] so that God might put to a test all that you harbour in your bosoms, and render your innermost hearts* pure of all dross: for God is aware of what is in the hearts [of men].
O you who have attained to faith! Be not like those who are bent on denying the truth and say of their brethren [who die] after having set out on a journey to faraway places* or gone forth to war, "Had they but remained with us, they would not have died," or, "they would not have been slain" - for God will cause such thoughts to become* a source of bitter regret in their hearts, since it is God who grants life and deals death. And God sees all that you do.
And it was by God's grace that thou [O Prophet] didst deal gently with thy followers:* for if thou hadst been harsh and hard of heart, they would indeed have broken away from thee. Pardon them, then, and pray that they be forgiven. And take counsel with them in all matters of public concern; then, when thou hast decided upon a course of action, place thy trust in God: for, verily, God loves those who place their trust in Him.*
and mark out those who were tainted with hypocrisy and, when they were told, "Come, fight in God's cause" - or, "Defend yourselves"* - answered, "If we but knew [that it would come to a] fight, we would indeed follow you." Unto apostasy were they nearer on that day than unto faith, uttering with their mouths something which was not in their hearts,* the while God knew fully well what they were trying to conceal:
they who, having themselves held back [from fighting, later] said of their [slain] brethren, "Had they but paid heed to us, they would not have been slain." Say: "Avert, then, death from yourselves, if what you say is true!"
And let them stand in awe [of God], those [legal heirs] - who, if they [themselves] had to leave behind weak offspring, would feel fear on their account - and let them remain conscious of God, and let them speak [to the poor] in a just manner.
And what would they have to fear* if they would but believe in God and the Last Day, and spend [in His way] out of what God has granted them as sustenance - since God has indeed full knowledge of them?
Those who were bent on denying the truth and paid no heed to the Apostle will on that Day wish that the earth would swallow them:* but they shall not [be able to] conceal from God anything that has happened.
Among those of the Jewish faith there are some who distort the meaning of the [revealed] words, taking them out of their context and saying, [as it were,] "We have heard, but we disobey," and, "Hear without hearkening,"* and, Hearken thou unto us, (O Muhammad)" - thus making a play with their tongues, and implying that the [true] Faith is false.* And had they but said, "We have heard, and we pay heed," and "Hear [us], and have patience with us," it would indeed have been for their own good, and more upright: but God has rejected them because of their refusal to acknowledge the truth - for it is in but few things that they believe.*
for We have never sent any apostle save that he should be heeded by God's leave.* If, then, after having sinned against themselves, they would but come round to thee and ask God to forgive them - with the Apostle, too, praying that they be forgiven - they would assuredly find that God is an acceptor of repentance, a dispenser of grace.
Yet if We were to ordain for them,* "Lay down your lives," or, "Forsake your homelands," only a very few of them would do it* - although, if they did what they are admonished to do, it would indeed be for their own good and apt to strengthen them greatly [in faith],
Wherever you may be, death will overtake you - even though you be in towers raised high. "Yet, when a good thing happens to them, some [people] say, "This is from God," whereas when evil befalls them, they say, "This is from thee [O fellowman]!"* Say: "All is from God." What, then, is amiss with these people that they are in no wise near to grasping the truth of what they are told?*
Will they not, then, try to understand this Qur'an? Had it issued from any but God, they would surely have found in it many an inner contradiction!*
AND IF any [secret] matter pertaining to peace or war comes within their ken, they* spread it abroad - whereas, if they would but refer it unto the Apostle and unto those from among the believers* who have been entrusted with authority, such of them as are engaged in obtaining intelligence* would indeed know [what to do with] it And but for God's bounty towards you, and His grace, all but a few of you would certainly have followed Satan.
They would love to see you deny the truth even as they have denied it, so that you should be like them. Do not, therefore, take them for your allies until they forsake the domain of evil* for the sake of God; and if they revert to [open] enmity, seize them and slay them wherever you may find them. And do not take any of them* for your ally or giver of succour,
unless it be such [of them] as have ties with people to whom you yourselves are bound by a covenant, or such as come unto you because their hearts shrink from [the thought of] making war either on you or on their own folk - although, if God had willed to make them stronger than you, they would certainly have made war on you.* Thus, if they let you be, and do not make war on you, and offer you peace, God does not allow you to harm them.*
Thus, when thou art among the believers* and about to lead them in prayer, let [only] part of them stand up with thee, retaining their arms. Then, after they have finished their prayer, let them provide you cover* while another group, who have not yet prayed, shall come forward and pray with thee, being fully prepared against danger and retaining their arms: (for) those who are bent on denying the truth would love to see you oblivious of your arms and your equipment, so that they might fall upon you in a surprise attack.* But it shall not be wrong for you to lay down your arms [while you pray] if you are troubled by rain* or if you are ill; but [always] be fully prepared against danger. Verily, God has readied shameful suffering for all who deny the truth!
And it will not be within your power to treat your wives with equal fairness, however much you may desire it;* and so, do not allow yourselves to incline towards one to the exclusion of the other, leaving her in a state, as it were, of having and not having a husband.* But if you put things to rights and are conscious of Him - behold, God is indeed much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.
O YOU who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in upholding equity, bearing witness to the truth for the sake of God, even though it be against your own selves or your parents and kinsfolk. Whether the person concerned be rich or poor, God's claim takes precedence over [the claims of] either of them.* Do not, then, follow your own desires, lest you swerve from justice: for if you distort [the truth], behold, God is indeed aware of all that you do!
Verily, if those who are bent on denying the truth had all that is on earth, and twice as much,* to offer as ransom from suffering on the Day of Resurrection, it would not be accepted from them: for grievous suffering awaits them.
And unto thee [O Prophet] have We vouchsafed this divine writ, setting forth the truth, confirming the truth of whatever there still remains of earlier revelations and determining what is true therein.* Judge, then, between the followers of earlier revelation in accordance with what God has bestowed from on high,* and do not follow their errant views, forsaking the truth that has come unto thee. Unto every one of you have We appointed a [different] law and way of life.* And if God had so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community: but [He willed it otherwise] in order to test you by means of what He has vouchsafed unto, you.* Vie, then, with one another in doing good works! Unto God you all must return; and then He will make you truly understand all that on which you were wont to differ.*
If the followers of the Bible would but attain to [true] faith and God-consciousness, We should indeed efface their [previous] bad deeds, and indeed bring them into gardens of bliss;
and if they would but truly observe the Torah and the Gospel and all [the revelation] that has been bestowed from on high upon them by their Sustainer, they would indeed partake of all the blessings of heaven and earth. Some of them do pursue a right course; but as for most of them -vile indeed is what they do!*
For, if they [truly] believed in God and their Prophet* and all that was bestowed upon him from on high, they would not take those [deniers of the truth] for their allies: but most of them are iniquitous.
Say: "There is no comparison between the bad things and the good things,* even though very many of the bad things may please thee greatly. Be, then, conscious of God, O you who are endowed with insight, so that you might attain to a happy state!"
for when they are told, "Come unto that which God has bestowed from on high, and unto the Apostle" - they answer, "Enough for us is that which we found our forefathers believing in and doing." Why, even though their forefathers knew nothing, and were devoid of all guidance?
O YOU who have attained to faith! Let there be witnesses to what you do when death approaches you and you are about to make bequests:* two persons of probity from among your own people, or -if the pangs of death come upon you while you are travelling far from home* -two other persons from [among people] other than your own. Take hold of the two after having prayed; and if you have any doubt in your mind, let each of them swear by God, "We shall not sell this [our word] for any price, even though it were [for the sake of] a near kinsman; and neither shall we conceal aught of what we have witnessed before God* -or else, may we indeed be counted among the sinful."
But even if we had sent down unto thee [O Prophet] a writing on paper, and they had touched it with their own hands - those who are bent on denying the truth would indeed have said, "This is clearly nothing but a deception!"
They are saying, too, "Why has not an angel (visibly] been sent down unto him?" But had we sent down an angel, all would indeed have been decided,* and they would have been allowed no further respite [for repentance.
And (even] if We had appointed an angel as Our message-bearer,* We would certainly have made him [appear as] a man - and thus We would only have confused them in the same way as they are now confusing themselves.*
If thou couldst but see [them] when they will be made to stand before the fire and will say, "Oh, would that we were brought back [to life]: then we would not give the lie to our Sustainer's messages, but would be among the believers!"
But nay -[they will say this only because] the truth which they used to conceal [from themselves] in the past will have become obvious to them; and if they were brought back [to life], they would return to the very thing which was forbidden to them: for behold, they are indeed liars!*
If thou couldst but see [them] when they shall be made to stand before their Sustainer [and] He will say, "Is not this the truth?" They will answer: "Yea, indeed, by our Sustainer!" [Whereupon] He will say: "Taste, then, the suffering that comes from* your having refused to acknowledge the truth!"
And if it distress thee that those who deny the truth* turn their backs on thee - why, then, if thou art able to go down deep into the earth or to ascend a ladder unto heaven* in order to bring them a [yet more convincing] message, [do so;] but [remember that] had God so willed, He would indeed have gathered them all unto [His] guidance. Do not, therefore, allow thyself to ignore [God's ways].*
Say: "If that which you so hastily demand were in my power, everything would indeed have been decided between me and you.* But God knows best as to who is doing wrong."
Such is God's guidance: He guides therewith whomever He wills of His servants. And had they ascribed divinity to aught beside Him-in vain, indeed, would have been all [the good] that they ever did:
And who could be more wicked than he who invents a lie about God,* or says, "This has been revealed unto me," the while nothing has been revealed to him? - or he who says, "I, too, can bestow from on high the like of what God has bestowed"?* If thou couldst but see [how it will be] when these evildoers find themselves in the agonies of death, and the angels stretch forth their hands [and call]: "Give up your souls! Today you shall be requited with the suffering of humiliation for having attributed to God something that is not true, and for having persistently scorned His messages in your arrogance!"
Yet if God had so willed, they would not have ascribed divinity to aught beside Him;* hence, We have not made thee their keeper, and neither art thou responsible for their conduct.
And even if We were to send down angels unto them, and if the dead were to speak unto them* and [even if] We were to assemble before them, face to face, all the things [that can prove the truth], they would still not believe unless God so willed* But [of this] most of them are entirely unaware.
AND THUS it is that against every prophet We have set up as enemies the evil forces from among humans as well as from among invisible beings that whisper unto one another glittering half-truths meant to delude the mind* But they could not do this unless thy Sustainer had so willed: stand, therefore, aloof from them and from all their false imagery!
And, likewise, their belief in beings or powers that are supposed to have a share in God's divinity makes* [even] the slaying of their children seem goodly to many of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God, thus bringing them to ruin and confusing them in their faith.* Yet, unless God had so willed, they would not be doing all this:* stand, therefore, aloof from them and all their false imagery!
THOSE who are bent on ascribing divinity to aught beside God will say, "Had God so willed, we would not have ascribed divinity to aught but Him, nor would our forefathers [have done so]; and neither would we have declared as forbidden anything [that He has allowed]." Even so did those who lived before them give the lie to the truth* -until they came to taste Our punishment! Say: "Have you any [certain] knowledge which you could proffer to us?* You follow but [other people's] conjectures, and you yourselves do nothing but guess."
Say: "[Know,] then, that the final evidence [of all truth] rests with God alone; and had He so willed, He would have guided you all aright.*
and do not touch the substance of an orphan - save to improve it-before he comes of age."* And [in all your dealings] give full measure and weight,* with equity: [however,] We do not burden any human being with more than he is well able to bear;* and when you voice an opinion, be just, even though it be [against] one near of kin.* And [always] observe your bond with God:* this has He enjoined upon you, so that you might keep it in mind.
or lest you say, "If a divine writ had been bestowed from on high upon us, we would surely have followed its guidance better than they did."* And so, a clear evidence of the truth has now come unto you from your Sustainer, and guidance, and grace. Who, then, could be more wicked than he who gives the lie to God's messages, and turns away from them in disdain? We shall requite those who turn away from Our messages in disdain with evil suffering for having thus turned away!
Said the great ones among his people, who gloried in their arrogance: "Most certainly, O Shu'ayb, we shall expel thee and thy fellow-believers from our land, unless you indeed return to our ways!" Said [Shu'ayb]: "Why, even though we abhor [them]?
Yet if the people of those communities had but attained to faith and been conscious of Us, We would indeed have opened up for them blessings out of heaven and earth: but they gave the lie to the truth - and so We took them to task through what they [themselves] had been doing.*
Has it, then, not become obvious unto those who have inherited the earth in the wake of former generations* that, if We so willed, We could smite them [too] by means of their sins, sealing their hearts so that they cannot hear [the truth]?*
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!
Now had We so willed, We could indeed have exalted him by means of those [messages]: but he always clung to the earth and followed but his own desires. Thus, his parable is that of an [excited] dog: if thou approach him threateningly, he will pant with his tongue lolling; and. if thou leave him alone, he will pant with his tongue lolling.* Such is the parable of those who are bent on giving the lie to Our messages. Tell [them], then, this story, so that they might take thought.
Say [O Prophet]: "It is not within my power to bring benefit to, or avert harm from, myself, except as God may please. And if I knew that which is beyond the reach of human perception, abundant good fortune-would surely have fallen to my lot, and no evil would ever have touched me. I am nothing but a warner, and a herald of glad tidings unto people who will believe."*
so that He might prove the truth to be true and the false to be false, however hateful this might be to those who were lost in sin.*
If you have been praying for victory, [O believers] - victory has now indeed come unto you. And if you abstain [from sinning], it will be for your own good; but if you revert to it, We shall revoke [Our promise of aid] - and never will your community be of any avail to you, however great its numbers: for, behold, God is [only] with those who believe !*
For, if God had seen any good in them, He would certainly have made them hear: but [as it is,] even if He had made them hear, they would surely have turned away in their obstinacy.
And whenever Our messages were conveyed to them, they would say, "We have heard [all this] before; if we wanted, we could certainly compose sayings like these [ourselves]: they are nothing but fables of ancient times!"*
[Remember that day] when you were at the near end of the valley [of Badr], and they were at its farthest end, while the caravan was below you.* And if you had known that a battle was to take place, you would indeed have refused to accept the challenge:* but [the battle was brought about none the less,] so that God might accomplish a thing [which He willed] to be done,* [and] that he who would perish might perish in clear evidence of the truth, and that he who would remain alive might live in clear evidence of the truth.* And, behold, God is indeed all-hearing, all-knowing.
Lo! God showed them to thee in a dream as few:* for, had He shown them to you as many, you would surely have lost heart, and would surely have disagreed with one another about what to do.* But God saved [you from this]: verily, He has full knowledge of what is the hearts [of men].
AND IF thou couldst but see [how it will be] when He causes those who are bent on denying the truth to die: the angels will strike their faces: and their backs,* and [will say]: "Taste suffering through fire
whose hearts He has brought together: [for,] if thou hadst expended all that is on earth, thou couldst not have brought their hearts together [by thyself]: but God did bring them together. Verily, He is almighty, wise.
They want to extinguish God's [guiding] light with their utterances:* but God will not allow [this to pass], for He has willed to spread His light in all its fullness,* however hateful this may be to all who deny the truth.
He it is who has sent forth His Apostle with the [task of spreading] guidance and the religion of truth, to the end that He may cause it to prevail over all [false] religion* -however hateful this may be to those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God.
Had there been [a prospect of] immediate gain, and an easy journey, they would certainly have followed thee, [O Prophet:] but the distance was too great for them* . And yet, [after your return, O believers,] they will swear by God, "Had we been able to do so, we would certainly have set out with you!" - [and by thus falsely swearing] they will be destroying their own selves: for God knows indeed that they are lying!
For, had they been [truly] desirous of setting out [with thee], they would surely have made some preparation therefor: but God was averse to their taking the field, and so He caused them to hold back when it was said, "[You may] stay at home with all [the others] who stay at home."*
Had these [hypocrites] set out with_ you, [O believers,] they would have added nothing to you save the evil of corruption, and would surely have scurried to and fro in your midst, seeking to stir up discord among you, seeing that there are in your midst such as would have lent them ear: but God has full knowledge of the evildoers.
if they could but find a place of refuge, or any cavern, or a crevice [in the earth], they would turn towards it in headlong haste.*
And yet, [it would be but for their own good] if they were to content themselves with what God has given them and [caused] His Apostle [to give them],* and would say, "God is enough for us! God will give us [whatever He wills] out of His bounty, and [will cause] His Apostle [to give us, too]: verily, unto God alone do we turn with hope!"
THOSE [hypocrites] who were left behind rejoiced in their staying away [from war]* after [the departure of] God's Apostle, for they hated the thought of striving with their possessions and their lives in God's cause; and they had [even] said [to the others], "Do not go forth to war in this heat!" Say: "The fire of hell is hotter by far!" Had they but grasped this truth!
IT DOES NOT behove the Prophet and those who have attained to faith to pray that they who ascribed divinity to aught beside God be forgiven [by Him] even though they happened to be [their] near of kin* -after it has been made clear unto them that those [dead sinners] are destined for. the blazing fire.
NOW IF GOD were to hasten for human beings the ill [which they deserve by their sinning] in the same manner as they [themselves] would hasten [the coming to them of what they consider to be] goad, their end would indeed come forthwith!* But We leave them alone [for a while] -all those who do not believe that they are destined to meet Us:* [We leave them alone] in their overweening arrogance, blindly stumbling to and fro.
Say: "Had God willed it [otherwise], I would not have conveyed this [divine writ] unto you, nor would He have brought it to your knowledge. Indeed. a whole lifetime have I dwelt among you ere this [revelation came unto me]: will you not, then, use your reason ?"*
And there are among them such as (pretend to] listen to thee: but canst thou cause the deaf to hearken even though they will not use their reason?
And there are among them such as [pretend to] look towards thee: but canst thou show the right way to the blind even though they cannot see?
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.
whereas by His words God proves the truth to be true,* however hateful this may be to those who are lost in sin!"
even though every sign [of the truth] should come within their ken - until they behold the grievous suffering [that awaits them in the life to come].*
And [thus it is:] had thy Sustainer so willed, all those who live on earth would surely have attained to faith, all of them:* dost thou, then, think that thou couldst compel people to believe,
Exclaimed .[Lot]: "Would that I had the strength to defeat you, or that I could lean upon some mightier support!"*
And had thy Sustainer so willed, He could surely have made all mankind one single community: but [He willed it otherwise, and so] they continue to hold divergent views'*
[and] said: "O our father! Behold, we went off racing with one another, and left Joseph behind with our things; and thereupon the wolf devoured him! But [we know that] thou wouldst not believe us even though we speak the truth" -
Yet - however strongly thou mayest desire it -most people will not believe [in this revelation],
of those who have responded to their Sustainer with a goodly response, and of those who did not respond to Him.* [As for the latter,] if they possessed all that is on earth, and twice as much,* they would surely offer it as ransom [on the Day of Judgment] :* a most evil reckoning awaits them, and their goal is hell: and how evil a resting-place!
Yet even if [they should listen to] a [divine] discourse by which mountains could be moved, or the earth cleft asunder, or the dead made to speak - [they who are bent on denying the truth would still refuse to believe in it]!* Nay, but God alone has the power to decide what shall be.* Have, then, they who have attained to faith not yet come to know that, had God so willed; He would indeed have guided all mankind aright?* But as for those who are bent on denying the truth-in result of their [evil] deeds, sudden calamities will always befall them or will alight close to their homes;* [and this will continue] until God's promise [of resurrection] is fulfilled: verily, God never fails to fulfil His promise!
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!"
And it will come to pass that those who are [now] bent on denying this truth will wish that they had surrendered themselves to God [in their life time].*
Why dost thou not bring before us angels, if thou art a man of truth?*
Yet even had We opened to them a gateway to heaven and they had ascended, on and on, up to it,
And [because He is your Creator,] it rests with God alone to show you the right path:* yet there is [many a one] who swerves from it. However, had He so willed, He would have guided you all aright.*
Now they who ascribe divinity to aught beside God say, "Had God so willed, we would not have worshipped aught but Him - neither we nor our forefathers; nor would we have declared aught as forbidden without a commandment from Him."* Even thus did speak those [sinners] who lived before their time; but, then, are the apostles bound to do more than clearly deliver the message [entrusted to them] ?*
NOW as for those who forsake the domain of evil* in the cause of God, after having suffered wrong [on account of their faith] - We shall most certainly grant them a station of good fortune in this world:* but their reward in the life to come will be far greater yet. If they [who deny the truth] could but understand*
Now if God were to take men [immediately] to task for all the evil that they do [on earth], He would not leave a single living creature upon its face. However, He grants them respite until a term set [by Him]:* but when the end of their term approaches, they can neither delay it by a single moment, nor can they hasten it.*
For, had God so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community;* however, He lets go astray him that wills [to go astray], and guides aright him that wills [to be guided];* and you will surely be called to account for all that you ever did!*
Say: "If there were-as some people assert [other] deities side by side with Him, surely [even] they would have to strive to find a way unto Him who is enthroned on His almightiness?"*
Say: "If all mankind and all invisible beings* would come together with a view to producing the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce its like even though they were to exert all their strength in aiding one another!"
Say: "If angels were walking about on earth as their natural abode, We would indeed have sent down unto them an angel out of heaven as Our apostle."
Say: "If you were to own' all the treasure-houses of my Sustainer's bounty,* lo! you would still try to hold on [to them] tightly for fear of spending [too much]: for man has always been avaricious [whereas God is limitless in His bounty].*
And thou wouldst have thought that they were awake, whereas they lay asleep. And We caused them to turn over repeatedly, now to the right, now to the left; and their dog [lay] on the threshold, its forepaws outstretched. Hadst thou come upon them [unprepared], thou wouldst surely have turned away from them in flight, and wouldst surely have been filled with awe of them.*
Yet, [withal,] thy Sustainer is the Truly-Forgiving One, limitless in His grace. Were He to take them [at once] to task for whatever [wrong] they commit, He would indeed bring about their speedy punishment [then and there]:* but nay, they have a time-limit beyond which they shall find no redemption*
And so the two went on, till, when they came upon some village people, they asked them* for food; but those [people] refused them all hospitality. And they saw in that (village] a wall which was on the point of tumbling down, and [the sage] rebuilt it[whereupon Moses] said: "Hadst thou so wished, surely thou couldst [at least] have obtained some payment for it?"
SAY: "If all the sea were ink for my Sustainer's words, the sea would indeed be exhausted ere my Sustainer's words are exhausted! And [thus it would be] if we were to add to it sea upon sea."*
For [thus it is:] had We destroyed them by means of a chastisement ere this [divine writ was revealed], they would indeed [be justified to] say [on Judgment Day]: "O our Sustainer! If only Thou hadst sent an apostle unto us, we would have followed Thy messages rather than be humiliated and disgraced [in the hereafter]!"*
[for,] had We willed to indulge in a pastime, We would indeed have produced it from within Ourselves - if such had been Our will at all!*
had there been in heaven or on earth* any deities other than God, both [those realms would surely have fallen into ruin! But limitless in His glory is God, enthroned in His awesome almightiness* far] above anything that men may devise by way of definition!*
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!
If those [false objects of your worship] had truly been divine, they would not have been destined for it: but [as it is, you] all shall abide therein!''
O MEN! A parable is set forth [herewith]; hearken, then, to it! Behold, those beings whom you invoke instead of God cannot create [as much as] a fly, even were they to join all their forces to that end! And if a fly robs them of anything, they cannot [even] rescue it from him! Weak indeed is the seeker, and [weak] the sought!
But the great ones among his people, who refused to acknowledge the truth, replied: This [man] is nothing but a mortal like yourselves who wants to make himself superior to you! For, if God had willed [to convey a message unto us], He would surely have sent down angels; [moreover,] we have never heard [anything like] this from our forebears of old!*
But if the truth* were in accord with their own likes and dislikes, the heavens and the earth would surely have fallen into ruin, and all that lives in them [would long ago have perished]!* Nay, [in this divine writ] We have conveyed unto them all that they ought to bear in mind:* and from this their reminder they [heedlessly] turn away!
And even were We to show them mercy and remove whatever distress might befall them [in this life],* they would still persist in their overweening arrogance, blindly stumbling to and fro.
[Whereupon] He will say: You have spent there but a short while: had you but known [how short it was to be]!
God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His light is, as it were,* that of a niche containing a lamp; the lamp is [enclosed] in glass, the glass [shining] like a radiant star:* [a lamp] lit from a blessed tree - an olive-tree that is neither of the east nor of the west* the oil whereof [is so bright that it] would well-nigh give light [of itself] even though fire had not touched it: light upon light!* God guides unto His light him that wills [to be guided];* and [to this end] God propounds parables unto men, since God [alone] has full knowledge of all things.*
Art thou not aware of thy Sustainer [through His works]? - how He causes the shadow to lengthen [towards the night] when, had He so willed, He could indeed have made it stand still: but then, We have made the sun its guide;
Now had We so willed. We could have [continued as before and] raised up a [separate] warner in every single community:*
Said he: Even if I should bring about before thee something that clearly shows the truth?"*
Would that we had a second chance [in life],* so that we could be among the believers!"
Their reckoning rests with none but my Sustainer: if you could but understand [this]!*
But [even] had We bestowed it from on high upon any of the non-Arabs,
And [they] will be told: Call [now] unto those [beings or powers] to whom you were wont to ascribe a share in God's divinity!"* and they will call unto them [for help], but those [fake objects of worship] will not respond to them: whereupon they will see the suffering [that awaits them - the suffering which could have been avoided] if only they had allowed themselves to be guided!*
The parable of those who take [beings or forces] other than God for their protectors is that of the spider which makes for itself a house: for, behold, the frailest of all houses is the spiders house. Could they but understand this!
for, [if they did, they would know that] the life of this world is nothing but a passing delight and a play - whereas, behold, the life in the hereafter is indeed the only [true] life: if they but knew this!
and when such [people] are told to follow that which God has bestowed from on high, they answer, Nay, we shall follow that which we found our forefathers believing in and doing!" Why - [would you follow your forefathers] even if Satan had invited them unto the suffering of the blazing flame?*
And if all the trees on earth were pens, and the sea [were] ink, with seven [morel seas yet* added to it, the words of God would not be exhausted: for, verily, God is almighty, wise.*
If thou couldst but see [how it will be on Judgment Day], when those who are lost in sin will hang their heads before their Sustainer, [saying:] O our Sustainer! [Now] we have seen, and we have heard! Return us, then, [to our earthly life] that we may do good deeds: for [now], behold, we are certain [of the truth]!"
Yet had We so willed, We could indeed have imposed Our guidance upon every human being:* but [We have not willed it thus - and so] that word of Mine has come true: Most certainly will I fill hell with invisible beings as well as with humans, all together!"*
Now if their town had been stormed,* and they had been asked [by the enemy] to commit apostasy, [the hypocrites] would have done so without much delay*
They think that the Confederates have not [really] withdrawn;* and should the Confederates return, these [hypocrites] would prefer to be in the desert, among the bedouin, asking for news about you, [O believers, from far away;] and even were they to find themselves in your midst, they would but make a pretence at fighting [by your side].*
No [other] women shall henceforth be lawful to thee* nor art thou [allowed] to supplant [any of] them by other wives,* even though their beauty should please thee greatly -: [none shall be lawful to thee] beyond those whom thou [already] hast come to possess.* And God keeps watch over everything.
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]*
And [yet,] those who are bent on denying the truth do say, We shall never believe in this Qur'an, and neither in whatever there still remains of earlier revelations!"* But if thou couldst only see [how it will be on Judgment Day,] when these evildoers shall be made to stand before their Sustainer, hurling reproaches back and forth at one another! Those [of them] who had been weak [on earth] will say unto those who had gloried in their arrogance:* Had it not been for you, we would certainly have been believers!"
IF THOU couldst but see [how the deniers of the truth will fare on Resurrection Day,] when they will shrink in terror, with nowhere to escape - since they will have been seized from so close nearby*
If you invoke them, they do not hear your call; and even if they could hear, they would not [be able to] respond to you. And [withal,] on the Day of Resurrection they will utterly disown your having associated them with God.* And none can make thee understand [the truth] like the One who is all-aware.
AND NO BEARER of burdens shall be made to bear another's burden;* and if one weighed down by his load calls upon [another] to help him carry it, nothing thereof may be carried [by that other], even if it be one's near of kin.* Hence, thou canst [truly] warn only those who stand in awe of their Sustainer although He is beyond the reach of their perception,* and are constant in prayer, and [know that] whoever grows in purity, attains to purity but for the good of his own self, and [that] with God is all journeys' end.
Now if God were to take men [at once] to task for whatever [wrong] they commit [on earth], He would not leave a single living creature upon its surface. However, He grants them respite for a term set [by Him]:* but when their term comes to an end - then, verily, [they come to know that] God sees all that is in [the hearts of] His servants.
Thus, when they are told, Spend on others out of what God has provided for you as sustenance,"* those who are bent on denying the truth say unto those who believe, Shall we feed anyone whom, if [your] God had so willed, He could have fed [Himself]? Clearly, you are but lost in error!"
NOW HAD IT BEEN Our will [that men should not be able to discern between right and wrong], We could surely have deprived them of their sight,* so that they would stray forever from the [right] way: for how could they have had insight [into what is true]?*
And had it been Our will [that they should not be free to choose between right and wrong], We could surely have given them a different nature* [and created them as beings rooted] in their places, so that they would not be able to move forward, and could not turn back.]*
If only we had a tradition [to this effect] from our forebears,*
Had God willed to take Unto Himself a son, He could have chosen anyone that He wanted out of whatever He has created - [but] limitless is He in His glory!* He is the One God, the One who holds absolute sway over all that exists!
and thus God let them taste ignominy [even] in the life of this world.* Yet [how] much greater will be the [sinners'] suffering in the life to come - if they [who now deny the truth] but knew it!
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?"*
But if those who are bent on evildoing possessed all that is on earth, and twice as much,* they would surely offer it as ransom from the awful suffering [that will befall them] on the Day of Resurrection:* for, something with which they had not reckoned before will [by then] have been made obvious to them by God;*
or lest he should say, If God had but guided me, I would surely have been among those who are conscious of Him!"-
or lest he should say, when he becomes aware of the suffering [that awaits him], Would that I had a second chance [in life], so that I could be among the doers of good!"*
Invoke, then, God, sincere in your faith in Him alone, however hateful this may be to those who deny the truth!
Lo! There came unto them [God's] apostles, speaking of what lay open before them and what was [still] beyond their ken,* [and calling unto them,] Worship none but God!" They answered: If our Sustainer had willed [us to believe in what you say], He would have sent down angels [as His message-bearers].* As it is, behold, we deny that there is any truth in what you [claim to] have been sent with!"
Now if We had willed this [divine writ] to be a discourse in a non-Arabic tongue, they [who now reject it] would surely have said, Why is it that its messages have not been spelled out clearly?* Why - [a message in] a non-Arabic tongue, and [its bearer] an Arab?" Say: Unto all who have attained to faith, this [divine writ] is a guidance and a source of health; but as for those who will not believe - in their ears is deafness, and so it remains obscure to them: they are [like people who are] being called from too far away.*
Now had God so willed, He could surely have made them all one single community:* none the less, He admits unto His grace him that wills [to be admitted]* whereas the evildoers shall have none to protect them and none to succour them [on Judgment Day].
For, if God were to grant [in this world] abundant sustenance to [all of] His servants, they would behave on earth with wanton insolence:* but as it is, He bestows [His grace] from on high in due measure, as He wills: for, verily, He is fully aware of [the needs of] His creatures, and sees them all.
Yet they say, Had [not] the Most Gracious so willed, we would never have worshipped them!" [But] they cannot have any knowledge of [His having willed] such a thing: they do nothing but guess.*
[Whereupon each prophet] would say,* Why, even though I bring you guidance better than that which you found your forefathers believing in?" - [to which] the others would reply, Behold, we deny that there is any truth in [what you claim to be] your messages!"
And had We so willed, [O you who worship angels,] We could indeed have made you into angels succeeding one another on earth!*
But they who are bent on denying the truth speak thus of those who have attained to faith: If this [message] were any good, these [people] would not have preceded us in accepting it!"* And since they refuse to be guided by it, they will always say, This is [but] an ancient falsehood!"*
NOW WHEN you meet [in war] those who are bent on denying the truth,* smite their necks until you overcome them fully, and then tighten their bonds;* but thereafter [set them free,] either by an act of grace or against ransom, so that the burden of war may be lifted:* thus [shall it be]. And [know that] had God so willed, He could indeed punish them [Himself]; but [He wills you to struggle] so as to test you [all] by means of one another.* And as for those who are slain in God's cause, never will He let their deeds go to waste:
obedience [to God's call] and a word that could win [His] approval:* for, since the matter has been resolved [by His revelation], it would be but for their own good to remain true to God.
Now had We so willed, We could have shown them clearly to thee, so that thou wouldst know them for sure as by a visible mark:* but [even so,] thou wilt most certainly recognize them by the tone of their voice.* And God knows all that you do, [O men;]
And [now,] if they who are bent on denying the truth should fight against you, they will indeed turn their backs [in flight], and will find none to protect them and none to bring them succour:*
[It was not for your enemies sake that He stayed your hands from them: for]* it was they who were bent on denying the truth, and who debarred you from the Inviolable House of Worship* and prevented your offering from reaching its destination.* And had it not been for the believing men and believing women [in Mecca ], whom you might have unwittingly trampled underfoot,* and on whose account you might have become guilty, without knowing it, of a grievous wrong-: [had it not been for this, you would have been allowed to fight your way into the city: but you were forbidden to fight]* so that [in time] God might admit to His grace whomever He wills.* Had they [who deserve Our mercy and they whom We have condemned] been clearly discernible [to you],* We would indeed have imposed grievous suffering [at your hands] on such of them as were bent on denying the truth.
for, if they had the patience [to wait] until thou come forth to them [of thine own accord], it would be for their own good. Still, God is much forgiving, a dispenser of grace.
And know that God's Apostle is among you:* were he to comply with your inclinations in each and every case,* you would be bound to come to harm [as a community]. But as it is, God has caused [your] faith to be dear to you, and has given it beauty in your hearts, and has made hateful to you all denial of the truth, and all iniquity, and all rebellion [against what is good]. Such indeed are they who follow the right course
[For,] were it Our will, We could indeed turn it into chaff, and you would be left to wonder [and to lament],
[It comes down sweet - but] were it Our will, We could make it burningly salty and bitter: why, then, do you not give thanks [unto Us]?
and, behold, this is indeed a most solemn affirmation, if you but knew it!
Thou canst not find people who [truly] believe in God and the Last Day and [at the same time] love anyone who contends against God and His Apostle - even though they be their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or [others of] their kindred.* [As for the true believers,] it is they in whose hearts He has inscribed faith, and whom He has strengthened with inspiration from Himself,* and whom [in time] He will admit into gardens through which running waters flow, therein to abide. Well-pleased is God with them, and well-pleased are they with Him. They are God's partisans: oh, verily, it is they, the partisans of God, who shall attain to a happy state!
And [it shall be offered, too, unto the poor from among] those who, before them,* had their abode in this realm and in faith - [those] who love all that come to them in search of refuge, and who harbour in their hearts no grudge for whatever the others may have been given, but rather give them preference over themselves, even though poverty be their own lot:* for, such as from their own covetousness are saved - it is they, they that shall attain to a happy state!*
HAD WE bestowed this Qur'an from on high upon a mountain, thou wouldst indeed see it humbling itself, breaking asunder for awe of God.* And [all] such parables We propound unto men, so that they might [learn to] think.
If they could but overcome you, they would [still] remain your foes, and would stretch forth their hands and tongues against you with evil intent: for they desire that you [too] should deny the truth.
They aim to extinguish God's light with their utterances:* but God has willed to spread His light in all its fullness, however hateful this may be to all who deny the truth
He it is who has sent forth His Apostle with [the task of] spreading guidance and the religion of truth, to the end that He make it prevail over all [false] religion,* however hateful this may be to those who ascribe divinity to aught but God.
And they will add: "Had we but listened [to those warnings], or [at least] used our own reason, we would not [now] be among those who are destined for the blazing flame!"*
they would like thee to be soft [with them], so that they might be soft [with thee].*
SUCH is the suffering [with which We try some people in this world];* but greater by far will be the suffering [which sinners shall have to bear] in the life to come - if they but knew it!
Now if he [whom We have entrusted with it] had dared to attribute some [of his own] sayings unto Us,
though they may be in one another's sight: [for,] everyone who was lost in sin will on that Day but desire to ransom himself from suffering at the price of his own children,
so that He may forgive you some of your sins, and grant you respite until a term known [to Him alone]:* but, behold, when the term appointed by God does come, it can never be put back - if you but knew it!"
[KNOW,] THEN, that if they [who have heard Our call] keep firmly to the [right] path, We shall certainly shower them with blessings abundant,*
even though he may veil himself in excuses.*
Nay, if you could but understand [it] with an understanding [born] of certainty,