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,
forgiving sins and accepting repentance, severe in retribution, limitless in His bounty. There is no deity save Him: with Him is all journeys' end.
O men! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female,* and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another.* Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware.
And thereupon her Sustainer accepted the girl-child with goodly acceptance, and caused her to grow up in goodly growth, and placed her in the care of Zachariah.* Whenever Zachariah visited her in the sanctuary, he found her provided with food. He would ask: "O Mary, whence came this unto thee?" She would answer: "It is from God; behold, God grants sustenance unto whom He wills, beyond all reckoning."*
O children of Adam! Do not allow Satan to seduce you in the same way as he caused your ancestors to be driven out of the garden: he deprived them of their garment [of God-consciousness] in order to make them aware of their nakedness. Verily, he and his tribe are lying in wait for you where you cannot perceive them!* Verily, We have placed [all manner of] satanic forces near unto those who do not [truly] believe;*
or thou cause the skies to fall down upon us in smithereens, as thou hast threatened,* or [till] thou bring God and the angels face to face before us,
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.
[Joseph] exclaimed: "It was she who sought to make me yield myself unto her!" Now one of those present, a member of her own household, suggested this:* If his tunic has been torn from the front, then she is telling the truth, and he is a liar;
for, what is there to keep people from attaining to faith now that guidance has come unto them, and from asking their Sustainer to forgive them their sins - unless it be [their wish] that the fate of the [sinful] people of ancient times should befall them [as well], or that the [ultimate] suffering should befall them in the hereafter?*
And [by then] We shall have removed whatever unworthy thoughts or feelings may have been [lingering] in their breasts, [and they shall rest] as brethren, facing one another [in love] upon thrones of happiness.*
facing one another [in love] upon thrones of happiness.*
wearing [garments] of silk and brocade, facing one another [in love].*
reclining upon them, facing one another [in love].*
True piety does not consist in turning your faces towards the east or the west* - but truly pious is he who believes in God, and the Last Day; and the angels, and revelation,* and the prophets; and spends his substance - however much he himself may cherish - it - upon his near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer,* and the beggars, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage;* and is constant in prayer, and renders the purifying dues; and [truly pious are] they who keep their promises whenever they promise, and are patient in misfortune and hardship and in time of peril: it is they that have proved themselves true, and it is they, they who are conscious of God.
Go thou back unto them [that have sent thee]! For, [God says:] 'We shall most certainly come upon them with forces which they will never be able to withstand, and shall most certainly cause them to be driven from that [land of theirs], despicable and humbled!' "*
On that Day shall the hypocrites, both men and women,* speak [thus] unto those who have attained to faith: Wait for us! Let us have a [ray of] light from your light!" [But] they will be told: Turn back, and seek a light [of your own]!"* And thereupon a wall will be raised between them [and the believers], with a gate in it: within it will be grace and mercy, and against the outside thereof, suffering.*
WHAT, THEN, is amiss with such as are bent on denying the truth, that they run about confusedly to and fro before thee,
THE WEAK-MINDED among people will say, "What has turned them away from the direction of prayer which they have hitherto observed?"* Say: "God's is the east and the west; He guides whom He wills onto a straight way."*
And thus have We willed you to be a community of the middle way,* so that [with your lives] you might bear witness to the truth before all mankind, and that the Apostle might bear witness to it before you.* And it is only to the end that We might make a clear distinction between those who follow the Apostle and those who turn about on their heels that We have appointed [for this community] the direction of prayer which thou [O Prophet] hast formerly observed: for this was indeed a hard test for all but those whom God has guided aright.* But God will surely not lose sight of your faith-for, behold, God is most compassionate towards man, a dispenser of grace.
We have seen thee [O Prophet] often turn thy face towards heaven [for guidance]: and now We shall indeed make thee turn in prayer in a direction which will fulfil thy desire. Turn, then, thy face towards the Inviolable House of Worship; and wherever you all may be, turn your faces towards it [in prayer]. And, verily, those who have been vouchsafed revelation aforetime know well that this [commandment] comes in truth from their Sustainer; and God is not unaware of what they do.
And yet, even if thou wert to place all evidence* before those who have been vouchsafed earlier revelation, they would not follow thy direction of prayer; and neither mayest thou follow their direction of prayer, nor even do they follow one another's direction. And if thou shouldst follow their errant views after all the knowledge that has come unto thee thou wouldst surely be among the evildoers.
And [thus] did We inspire Moses and his brother: "Set aside for your people some houses in the city, and [tell them], `Turn your houses into places of worship,* and be constant in prayer!' And give thou [O Moses] the glad tiding [of God's succour] to all believers."
Turning towards the herald and his companions, the brothers asked:* "What is it that you miss?"
And ask thou in the town in which we were [at the time], and of the people of the caravan with whom we travelled hither, and [thou wilt find that] we, are indeed telling the truth!"'
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 [since it will be too late,] they will turn upon one another, demanding of each other [to relieve them of the burden of their past sins].*
And they will all turn to one another, asking each other [about their past lives].*
[But] then the others came towards him hurriedly [and accused him of his deed].
Thereupon his wife approached [the guests] with a loud cry, and struck her face [in astonishment] and exclaimed: A barren old woman [like me]!"
And they [who are thus blest] will turn to one another, asking each other [about their past lives].*
- and then they turned upon one another with mutual reproaches.
and remain conscious of [the coming of] a Day when no human being shall in the least avail another, nor shall intercession be accepted from any of them, nor ransom taken from them,* and none shall be succoured.
and remain conscious of [the coming of] a Day when no human being shall in the least avail another, nor shall ransom be accepted from any of them, nor shall intercession be of any use to them, and none shall be succoured.*
For, if one goes in search of a religion other than self-surrender unto God, it will never be accepted from him, and in the life to come he shall be among the lost.
Verily, as for those who are bent on denying the truth after having attained to faith, and then grow [ever more stubborn] in their refusal to acknowledge the truth, their repentance [of other sins] shall not be accepted:* for it is they who have truly gone astray.
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.
For, only this prevents their spending from being accepted from them:* they are bent on refusing to acknowledge God and His Apostle, and never pray without reluctance ,* and never spend [on righteous causes] without resentment.
Do they not know that it is God alone who can accept the repentance of His servants* and is the [true] recipient of whatever is offered for His sake - and that God alone is an acceptor of repentance, a dispenser of grace?
And as for those who accuse chaste women [of adultery],* and then are unable to produce four witnesses [in support of their accusation], flog them with eighty stripes* and ever after refuse to accept from them any testimony - since it is they, they that are truly depraved!
and it is He who accepts repentance from His servants, and pardons bad deeds, and knows all that you do,
And when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the Temple , [they prayed:] "O our Sustainer! Accept Thou this from us: for, verily, Thou alone art all-hearing, all-knowing!
when a woman of [the House of] `Imran prayed: "O my Sustainer! Behold, unto Thee do I vow [the child] that is in, my womb, to be devoted to Thy service. Accept it, then, from me: verily, Thou alone art all-hearing, all-knowing!"
And thereupon her Sustainer accepted the girl-child with goodly acceptance, and caused her to grow up in goodly growth, and placed her in the care of Zachariah.* Whenever Zachariah visited her in the sanctuary, he found her provided with food. He would ask: "O Mary, whence came this unto thee?" She would answer: "It is from God; behold, God grants sustenance unto whom He wills, beyond all reckoning."*
AND CONVEY unto them, setting forth the truth, the story of the two sons of Adam* -how each offered a sacrifice, and it was accepted from one of them whereas it was not accepted from the other. [And Cain] said: "I will surely slay thee!" [Abel] replied: "Behold, God accepts only from those who are conscious of Him.
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.
Say: "You may spend [anything], willingly-or unwillingly, [pretending that you do it for the sake of God:] it shall never be accepted from you* -for, verily, you are people bent on iniquity!"
[hence,] O my Sustainer, cause me and [some] of my offspring to remain constant in prayer!* "And, O our Sustainer, accept this my prayer:
It is [such as] these from whom We shall accept the best that they ever did,* and whose bad deeds We shall overlook: [they will find themselves] among those who are destined for paradise, in fulfillment of the true promise which they were given [in this world].
And who believe in that which has been bestowed from on high upon thee, [O Prophet,] as well as in that which was bestowed before thy time:* for it is they who in their innermost are certain of the life to come!
O MANKIND! Worship your Sustainer, who has created you and those who lived before you, so that you might remain conscious of Him
But unto those who have attained to faith and do good works give the glad tiding that theirs shall be gardens through which running waters flow. Whenever they are granted fruits there from as their appointed sustenance, they will say, "It is this that in days of yore was granted to us as our sustenance!"-for they shall be given something that will recall that [past].* And there shall they have spouses pure, and there shall they abide.
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.
For when they are told, "Believe in what God has bestowed from on high," they reply, "We believe [only] in what has been bestowed on us"-and they deny the truth of everything else, although it be a truth confirming the one already in their possession. Say "Why, then, did you slay God's prophets aforetime, if you were (truly] believers?"*
Would you, perchance, ask of the Apostle who has been sent unto you what was asked aforetime of Moses? But whoever chooses to deny the [evidence of the] truth, instead of believing in it,* has already strayed from the right path.
AND [only] those who are devoid of knowledge say, "Why does God not speak unto us, nor is a [miraculous] sign shown to us?" Even thus, like unto what they, say, spoke those who lived before their time* their hearts are all alike. Indeed, We have made all the signs manifest unto people who are endowed with inner certainty.
O YOU who have attained to faith! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you might remain conscious of God:
[However,] you will be committing no sin if [during the pilgrimage] you seek to obtain any bounty from your Sustainer.* And when you surge downward in multitudes from `Arafat,* remember God at the holy place, and remember Him as the One who guided you after you had indeed been lost on your way;*
[But] do you think that you could enter para-dise without having suffered like those [believers] who passed away before you?* Misfortune and hardship befell them, and so shaken were they that the apostle, and the believers with him, would exclaim, "When will God's succour come?"* Oh, verily, God's succour is [always] near!
And if you divorce them before having touched them, but after having settled a dower upon them, then [give them] half of what you have settled - unless it be that they forgo their claim or he in whose hand is the marriage-tie* forgoes his claim [to half of the dower]: and to forgo what is due to you is more in accord with God-consciousness. And forget not [that you are to act with] grace towards one another: verily, God sees all that you do.
O YOU who have attained to faith! Spend [in Our way] out of what We have granted you as sustenance ere there come a Day* when there will be no bargaining, and no friendship, and no intercession. And they who deny the truth -it is they who are evildoers!
God does not burden any human being with more than he is well able to bear: in his favour shall be whatever good he does, and against him whatever evil he does. O our Sustainer! Take us not to task if we forget or unwittingly do wrong! "O our Sustainer! Lay not upon us a burden such as Thou didst lay upon those who lived before us!* O our Sustainer! Make us not bear burdens which we have no strength to bear! "And efface Thou our sins, and grant us forgiveness, and bestow Thy mercy upon us! Thou art our Lord Supreme: succour us, then, against people who deny the truth!"
aforetime, as a guidance unto mankind, and it is He who has bestowed [upon man] the standard by which to discern the true from the false.* Behold, as for those who are bent on denying God's messages - grievous suffering awaits them: for God is almighty, an avenger of evil.
[To them shall - happen] the like of what happened to Pharaoh's people and those who lived before them: they gave the lie to Our messages - and so God took them to task for their sins: for God is severe in retribution.
ALL FOOD was lawful unto the children of Israel, save what Israel had made unlawful unto itself [by its sinning] before the Torah was bestowed from on high.* Say: "Come forward, then, with the Torah and recite it, if what you say is true!"
[MANY] WAYS of life have passed away before your time.* Go, then, about the earth and behold what happened in the end to those who gave the lie to the truth:
For, indeed, you did long for death [in God's cause] before you came face to face with it; and now you have seen it with your own eyes!*
AND MUHAMMAD is only an apostle; all the [other] apostles have passed away before him: if, then, he dies or is slain, will you turn about on your heels?* But he that turns about on his heels can in no wise harm God - whereas God will requite all who are grateful [to Him].
Indeed, God bestowed a favour upon the believers when he raised up in their midst an apostle from among themselves, to convey His messages unto them, and to cause them to grow in purity, and to impart unto them the divine writ as well as wisdom - whereas before that they were indeed, most obviously, lost in error.
As for those who maintain, "Behold, God has bidden us not to believe in any apostle unless he comes unto us with burnt offerings"* - say [unto them, O Prophet]: "Even before me there came unto you apostles with all evidence of the truth, and with that whereof you speak: why, then, did you slay them, if what you say is true?"*
And if they give thee the lie - even so, before thy time, have [other] apostles been given the lie when they came with all evidence of the truth, and with books of divine wisdom, and with light-giving revelation.
You shall most certainly be tried in your possessions and in your persons; and indeed you shall hear many hurtful things from those to whom revelation was granted before your time, as well as from those who have come to ascribe divinity to other beings beside God. But if you remain patient in adversity and conscious of Him - this, behold, is something to set one's heart upon.
God wants to make [all this] clear unto you, and to guide you onto the [righteous] ways of life of those who preceded you,* and to turn unto you in His mercy: for God is all-knowing, wise.
O you who have been granted revelation [aforetime]! Believe in what We have [now] bestowed from on high in confirmation of whatever [of the truth] you already possess, lest We efface your hopes and bring them to an end* - just as We rejected those people who broke the Sabbath: for God's will is always done.*
ART THOU NOT aware of those who claim that they believe in what has been bestowed from on high upon thee, [O Prophet,] as well as in what was bestowed from on high before thee, [and yet] are willing to defer to the rule of the powers of evil* - although they were bidden to deny it, seeing that Satan but wants to lead them far astray?
[Hence,] O you who have attained to faith, when you go forth [to war] in God's cause, use your discernment, and do not - out of a desire for the fleeting gains of this worldly life - say unto anyone who offers you the greeting of peace, "Thou art not a believer"* for with God there are gains abundant. You, too, were once in the same condition* - but God has been gracious unto you. Use, therefore, your discernment: verily, God is always aware of what you do.
and unto God belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. AND, INDEED, We have enjoined upon those who were granted revelation before your time, as well as upon yourselves, to remain conscious of God. And if you deny Him - behold, unto God belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth, and God is indeed self-sufficient, ever to be praised.
O you who have attained to faith! Hold fast unto your belief in God and His Apostle, and in the divine writ which He has bestowed from on high upon His Apostle, step by step, as well as in the revelation which He sent down aforetime:** for he who denies God, and His angels, and His revelations, and His apostles, and the Last Day, has indeed gone far astray.*
Yet there is not one of the followers of earlier revelation who does not, at the moment of his death, grasp the truth about Jesus;* and on the Day of Resurrection he [himself] shall bear witness to the truth against them.
But as for those from among them who are deeply rooted in knowledge,* and the believers who believe in that which has been bestowed upon thee from on high as well as that which was bestowed from on high before thee, and those who are [especially] constant in prayer,* and spend in charity, and all who believe in God and the Last Day - these it is unto whom We shall grant a mighty reward.
and as [We inspired other] apostles whom We have mentioned to thee ere this,* as well as apostles whom We have not mentioned to thee; and as God spoke His word unto Moses:
Today, all the good things of life have been made lawful to you. And the food of those who have been vouchsafed revelation aforetime is lawful to you,* and your food is lawful to them. And [lawful to you are], in wedlock, women from among those who believe [in this divine writ], and, in wedlock, women from among those who have been vouchsafed revelation before your time -provided that you give them their dowers, taking them in honest wedlock, not in fornication, nor as secret love-companions.* But as for him who rejects belief [in God] - in vain will be all his works: for in the life to come he shall be among the lost.*
save for such [of them] as repent ere you [O believers] become more powerful than they:* for you must know that God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.
O you who have attained to faith! Do not take for your friends such as mock at your, faith and make a jest of it-be they from among those who have been vouchsafed revelation before your time, or [from among] those who deny the truth [of revelation as such] -but remain conscious of God, if you are [truly] believers:
Say: "O followers of earlier revelation! Do you find fault with us for no other reason than that we believe in God [alone], and in that which He has bestowed from on high upon us as well as that which He has bestowed aforetime? - or [is it only] because most of you are iniquitous?"
The Christ, son of Mary, was but an apostle: all [other] apostles had passed away before him; and his mother was one who never deviated from the truth; and they both ate food [like other mortals].* Behold how clear We make these messages unto them: and then behold how perverted are their minds!*
Say: "O followers of the Gospel! Do not overstep the bounds [of truth] in your religious beliefs;* and do not follow the errant views of people who have gone astray aforetime, and have led many [others] astray, and are still straying from the right path."*
People before your time have indeed asked such questions-and in result thereof have come to deny the truth.*
Do they not see how many a generation We have destroyed before their time - [people] whom We had given a [bountiful] place on earth, the like of which We never gave unto you, and upon whom We showered heavenly blessings abundant, and at whose feet We made running waters flow? And yet we destroyed them for their sins, and gave rise to other people in their stead.*
And, indeed, [even] before thy time have apostles been derided - but those who scoffed at them were [in the end] overwhelmed by the very thing which they were wont to deride.*
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!*
And, indeed, [even] before thy time have apostles been given the lie, and they endured with patience all those charges of falsehood, and all the hurt done to them, till succour came unto them from Us: for there is no power that could alter [the outcome of] God's promises. And some of the histories of those apostles have already come within thy ken.*
And, indeed, We sent Our messages unto people before thy time, [O Prophet,] and visited them with misfortune and hardship so that they might humble themselves:
And We bestowed upon him Isaac and Jacob; and We guided each of them as We had guided Noah aforetime. And out of his offspring, [We bestowed prophethood upon] David, and Solomon, and Job, and Joseph, and Moses, and Aaron: for thus do We reward the doers of good;
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."
It has been given to you] lest you say, "Only unto two groups of people, [both of them] before our time, has a divine writ been bestowed from on high* and we were indeed unaware of their teachings";
Do they, perchance, wait for the angels to appear unto them, or for thy Sustainer [Himself] to appear, or for some of thy Sustainer's [final] portents to appear?* [But] on the Day when thy Sustainer's [final] portents do appear, believing will be of no avail to any human being who did not believe before, or who, while believing, did no good works.* Say: "Wait, [then, for the Last Day, O unbelievers:] behold, we [believers] are waiting, too!"
[And God] will say: "Join those hosts of invisible beings and humans who have gone before you into the fire!" [And] every time a host enters [the fire], it will curse its fellow-host -so much so that, when they all shall have passed into it, one after another, the last of them will speak [thus] of the first of them:* "O our Sustainer! It is they who have led us astray: give, them, therefore, double suffering through fire!" He, will reply: "Every one of you deserves double suffering* -but you know it not."
Are [the unbelievers] but waiting for the final meaning of that [Day of Judgment] to unfold?* [But] on the Day when its final meaning is unfolded, those who aforetime had been oblivious thereof will say: "Our Sustainer's apostles have indeed told us the truth! Have we, then, any intercessors who could intercede in our behalf? Or could we be brought back [to life] so that we might act otherwise than we were wont to act?"* Indeed, they will have squandered their own selves, and all their false imagery will have forsaken them.
Unto those [earlier] communities - some of whose stories We [now] relate unto thee -there had indeed come apostles of their own with all evidence of the truth; but they would not believe in anything to which they had once given the lie:* thus it is that God seals the hearts of those who deny the truth;
Said Pharaoh: "Have you come to believe in him* ere I have given you permission? Behold, this is indeed a plot which you have cunningly devised in this [my] city in order to drive out its people hence! But in time you shall come to know, [my revenge]:
[But the children of Israel ] said: "We have suffered hurt ere thou camest to us and since thou hast come to us!* [Moses] replied: "It may well be that your Sustainer will destroy your foe and make you inherit the earth: and thereupon he will behold how you act."*
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!
or lest you say, "Verily, it was but our forefathers who, in times gone by, began to ascribe divinity to other beings beside God; and we were but their late offspring: wilt Thou, then, destroy us for the doings of those inventors of falsehoods?"
[To them shall happen.] the like of what happened to Pharaoh's people and those who lived before them: they denied the truth of God's messagesand so God took them to task for their sins. Verily, God is powerful, severe in retribution!
[To those sinners shall happen] the like of what happened to Pharaoh's people and those who lived before them: they gave the lie to their Sustainer's messages - and so We destroyed them in return for their sins, and caused Pharaoh's people to drown: for they were evildoers all.
And should they but seek to play false with thee* -well, they were false to God [Himself] ere this: but He gave [the believers] mastery over them.* And God is all-knowing, wise.
AND THE JEWS say, "Ezra is God's son," while the Christians say, "The Christ is God's son." Such are the sayings which they utter with their mouths, following in spirit assertions made in earlier times by people who denied the truth!* [They deserve the imprecation:] "May God destroy them!"* How perverted are their minds!*
Indeed, even before this time* have they tried to stir up discord and devised all manner of plots against thee, [O Prophet,] until the truth was revealed and God's will became manifest, however hateful this may have been to them.
Should good fortune alight on thee,* [O Prophet,] it will grieve them; and should misfortune befall thee, they will say [to themselves], "We have already taken our precautions beforehand!" - and will turn away, and will rejoice.
[Say unto them: "You are] like those [hypocrites] who lived before your time.* Greater than you were they in power, and richer in wealth and in children; and they enjoyed their share [of happiness]. And you have been enjoying your share -just as those who preceded you enjoyed their share; and you have been indulging in scurrilous talk -just as they indulged in it. It is they .whose works have come to nought in this world and in the life to come - and it is they, they who are the cost!"*
Have, then, the stories of those who preceded them never come within the ken of these [hypocrites and deniers of the truth]?-[the stories] of Noah's people, and of [the tribes of] `Ad and Thamud, and of Abraham's people, and of the folk of Madyan, and of the cities that were overthrown?* To [all of] them their apostles had come with all evidence of the truth. [but they rejected them:] and so it was not God who wronged them [by His punishment], but it was they who wronged themselves.
AND [there are hypocrites] who have established a [separate] house of worship in order to create mischief, and to promote apostasy and disunity among the believers, and to provide an outpost for all who from the outset have been warring against God and His Apostle.* And they will surely swear [to you, O believers], "We had but the best of intentions!" -the while God [Himself] bears witness that they are lying.*
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.*
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 ?"*
Nay, but they are bent on giving the lie to everything the wisdom whereof they do not comprehend, and ere its inner meaning has become clear to them* Even thus did those who lived before their time give the lie to the truth: and behold what happened in the end to those evildoers!
AND THEN, after him, We sent forth [other] apostles-each one unto his own people* -and they brought them all evidence of the truth; but they would not believe in anything to which they had once given the lie:* thus it is that We seal the hearts of such as [are wont to] transgress the bounds of what is right.*
[But God said:] "Now?* -when ever before this thou hast been rebelling [against Us], and hast been among those who spread corruption?
AND SO, [O man,] if thou art in doubt about [the truth of] what We have [now] bestowed upon thee from on high,* ask those who read the divine writ [revealed] before thy time:* [and thou wilt find that,] surely, the truth has now come unto thee from thy Sustainer. Be not, then, among the doubters -
Can such, then, expect anything else [to befall them] but the like of the days of [calamity which befell] those [deniers of the truth] who passed away before them? Say: "Wait, then, [for what will happen) verily, I shall wait with you!"
Can, then, [he who cares for no more than the life of this world be compared with* ] one who takes his stand on a clear evidence from his Sustainer, conveyed through [this] testimony from Him,* as was the revelation vouchsafed to Moses aforetime-[a divine writ ordained by Him] to be a guidance and grace [unto man]? They [who understand this message-it is they alone who truly] believe in it;* whereas for any of those who, leagued together [in common hostility],* deny its truth - the fire shall be their appointed state [in the life to come]. And so,* be not in doubt about this [revelation]: behold, it is the truth from thy Sustainer, even though* most people will not believe in it.
THESE ACCOUNTS of something that was beyond the reach of thy perception We [now] reveal unto thee, [O Muhammad: for] neither thou nor thy people knew them [fully] ere this.* Be, then, [like Noah,] patient in adversity - for, behold, the future belongs to the God-conscious!
They answered: "O Salih! Great hopes did we place in thee ere this!* Wouldst thou forbid us to worship what our forefathers were wont to worship? Because [of this], behold, we are in grave doubt, amounting to suspicion, about [the meaning of] thy call to us!"*
And his people came running to him, impelled towards his house [by their desire]:* for they had ever been wont to commit [such], abominations. Said [Lot]: "O my people! [Take instead] these daughters of mine: they are purer for you [than men]!* Be, then, conscious of God, and disgrace me not by [assaulting] my guests. Is there not among you even one right-minded man?"
AND SO, [O Prophet,] be not in doubt about anything that those [misguided people] worship:* they but [thoughtlessly] worship as their forefathers worshipped aforetime; and, behold, We shall most certainly give them their full due [for whatever good or evil they have earned], without diminishing aught thereof.*
BUT, ALAS, among those generations [whom We destroyed] before your time there were no people endowed with any virtue* - [people] who would speak out against the [spread of] corruption on earth -except the few of them whom We saved [because of their righteousness], whereas those who were bent on evildoing only pursued pleasures which corrupted their whole being,* and so lost themselves in sinning.
In the measure that We reveal* this Qur'an unto thee, [O Prophet,] We explain it to thee in the best possible way,* seeing that ere this thou wert indeed among those who are unaware [of what revelation is].*
For, [as thou hast been shown in thy dream,] even thus will thy Sustainer elect thee, and will impart unto thee some understanding of the inner meaning of happenings,* and will bestow the full measure of His blessings upon thee and upon the House of Jacob -even as, aforetime, He bestowed it in full measure upon thy forefathers Abraham and Isaac. Verily, thy Sustainer is all-knowing, wise!"
[Joseph] answered: "Ere there comes unto you the meal which you are [daily] fed, I shall have informed you of the real meaning of your dreams,* [so that you might know what is to come] before it comes unto you: for this is [part] of the knowledge which my Sustainer has imparted to me. "Behold, I have left behind me the ways of people who do not believe in God,* and who persistently refuse to acknowledge the truth of the life to come;
[Jacob] replied: "Shall I trust you with him in the same way* as I trusted you with his brother (Joseph] aforetime? [Nay,] but God's guardianship is better [than yours], for He is the most merciful of the merciful!"
Thereupon [they were brought before Joseph to be searched; and] he began with the bags of his half-brothers* before the bag of his brother [Benjamin]: and in the end he brought forth the drinking Cups* out of his brother's bag. In this way did We contrive for Joseph [the attainment of his heart's desire]: under the King's law, he would [otherwise] not have been able to detain his brother, had not God so willed. We do raise to [high] degrees [of knowledge] whomever We will - but above everyone who is endowed with knowledge there is One who knows all.*
[As soon as the cup came to light out of Benjamin's bag, the brothers] exclaimed: "If he has stolen-well, a brother of his used to steal afore-time !"* Thereupon Joseph said to himself, without revealing his thought to them:* "You are far worse in this respect, and God is fully aware of what you are saying.*
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 he raised his parents to the highest place of honour;* and they [all] fell down before Him, prostrating themselves in adoration.* Thereupon [Joseph] said: "O my father! This is the real meaning of my dream of long ago, which my Sustainer has made come true.* And He was indeed good to me when He freed me from the prison, and [when] He brought you [all unto me] from the desert after Satan had sown discord between me and my brothers. Verily, my Sustainer is unfathomable in [the way He brings about] whatever He wills:* verily, He alone is all-knowing, truly wise!
And [even] before thy time, We never sent [as Our apostles] any but [mortal] men, whom We inspired, [and whom We always chose] from among the people of the [very] communities [to whom the message was to be brought].* Have, then, they [who reject this divine writ] never journeyed about the earth and beheld what happened in the end to those [deniers of the truth] who lived before them?-and [do they not know that] to those who are conscious of God the life in the hereafter is indeed better [than this world]? Will they not, then, use their reason?
And [since, O Prophet, they are bent on denying the truth,] they challenge thee to hasten the coming upon them of evil instead of [hoping for] good* although [they ought to know that] the exemplary punishments [which they now deride] have indeed come to pass before their time. Now, behold, thy Sustainer is full of forgiveness unto men despite all their evildoing:* but, behold, thy Sustainer is [also] truly severe in retribution!
Thus* have We raised thee [O Muhammad] as Our Apostle amidst a community [of unbelievers] before whose time [similar] communities have come and gone,* so that thou might propound to them what We have revealed unto thee: for [in their ignorance] they deny the Most Gracious !* Say: "He is my Sustainer. There is no deity save Him. In Him have I placed my trust, and unto Him is my recourse!"
And, indeed, [even] before thy time have [God's] apostles been derided, and for a while I gave rein to those who were [thus] bent on denying the truth: but then I took them to task - and how awesome was My retribution!
And, truly, We sent forth apostles before thee, and We appointed for them wives and offspring;* and it was not given to any apostle to produce a miracle save at God's behest.* Every age has had its revelation:*
Now those who lived before these [sinners] did, too, devise many a blasphemy* -but the most subtle devising is that of God, who knows what each human being deserves :* and the deniers of the truth will [in time] come to know to whom the future belongs.*
HAVE THE STORIES of those [deniers of the truth] who lived before you never yet come within your ken - [the stories of] the people of Noah, and of [the tribes of] `Ad and Thamud, and of those who came after them? None knows them [now] save God.* There came unto them their apostles with all evidence of the truth -but they covered their mouths with their hands* and answered: "Behold, we refuse to regard as true the message with which you [claim to] have been entrusted; and, behold, we are .in grave doubt, amounting to suspicion, about [the meaning of] your call to us!"*
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] tell [those of] My servants who have attained to faith that they should be constant in prayer and spend [in Our way], secretly and openly, out of what We provide for them as sustenance,* ere there come a Day when there will be no bargaining, and no mutual befriending.*
Hence, warn men of the Day when this suffering may befall them, and when those who did wrong [in their lifetime] will exclaim: "O our Sustainer! Grant us respite for a short while, so that we might respond to Thy call and follow the apostles!"* [But God will answer:] "Why - were you not aforetime wont to swear that no kind of resurrection and retribution awaited you?*
AND, INDEED, [O Prophet,] even before thy time did We send [Our apostles] unto communities* of old -
whereas the invisible beings We had created, [long] before that, out of the fire of scorching winds.*
Those who lived before them did, too, devise many a blasphemy* -whereupon God visited with destruction all that they had ever built,* [striking] at its very foundations, so that the roof fell in upon them from above* and suffering befell them without their having perceived whence it came.
ARE THEY [who deny the truth] but waiting for the angels to appear unto them, or for God's judgment to become manifest?* Even thus did behave those [stubborn sinners] who lived before their time; and [when they were destroyed,] it was not God who wronged them, but it was they who had wronged themselves:
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] ?*
AND [even] before thy time, [O Muhammad,] We never sent [as Our apostles] any but [mortal] men, whom We inspired:* and if you have not [yet] realized this, ask the followers of [earlier] revelation,"*
By God, [O Prophet,] even before thy time have We sent apostles unto [various] communities: but [those who were bent on denying the truth have always refused to listen to Our messages because] Satan has made all their own doings seem goodly to them: and he is [as] close to them today* [as he was to the sinners of yore]; hence, grievous suffering awaits them.
And [only] unto those who followed the Jewish faith did We forbid all that We have mentioned to thee ere this;* and no wrong did We do to them, but it was they who persistently wronged themselves.
And [bear in mind:] there is no community which We will not destroy before the Day of Resurrection,* or chastise [even earlier, if it proves sinful,] with suffering severe: all this is laid down in Our decree.*
[such has been Our] way with all of Our apostles whom We sent before thy time;* and no change wilt thou find in Our ways.
Say: "Believe in it or do not believe." Behold, those who are already* endowed with [innate] knowledge fall down upon their faces in prostration as soon as this [divine writ] is conveyed unto them,
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."*
[Thereupon the angels called out unto him:* "O Zachariah! We bring thee the glad tiding of [the birth of] a son whose name shall be John. [And God says,] `Never have We given this name to anyone before him."*
Answered [the angel]: "Thus. it is; [but] thy 'Sustainer says, `This is easy for Me -even as I have created thee aforetime out of nothing.*
And [when] the throes of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree,* she exclaimed: "Oh, would that I had died ere this, and had become a thing forgotten, utterly forgotten!"
But does man not bear in mind that We have created him aforetime out of nothing?*
And yet, how many a generation have We destroyed before their time-[people] who surpassed them in material power* and in outward show!
for, how many a generation* have We destroyed before their time - [and] canst thou perceive any one of them [now], or hear any whisper of them?
Said [Pharaoh]: "Have you come to believe in him* ere I have given you permission? Verily, he must be your master who has taught you magic! But I shall most certainly cut off your hands and feet in great numbers, because of [your] perverseness, and I shall most certainly crucify you in great numbers on trunks of palm-trees:* and [I shall do this] so that you might come to know for certain as to which of us [two]* can inflict a more severe chastisement, and [which] is the more abiding!"
And, indeed, even before [the return of Moses] had Aaron said unto them: "O .my people! You are but being tempted to evil by this [idol] -for, behold, your [only] Sustainer is the Most Gracious! Follow me, then, and obey my bidding!"*
[Know,] then, [that) God is sublimely exalted. the Ultimate Sovereign, the Ultimate Truth* and [knowing this,] do not approach the Qur'an in haste,* ere it has been revealed unto thee in full, but [always) say: "O my Sustainer, cause me to grow in knowledge!*
AND, INDEED, long ago did We impose Our commandment on Adam;* but he forgot it, and We found no firmness of purpose in him.
CAN, THEN, they [who reject the truth] learn no lesson by recalling how many a generation We have destroyed before their time?* - [people] in whose dwelling-places they [themselves now] walk about? In this, behold, there are messages indeed for those who are endowed with reason!
Hence, bear with patience whatever they [who deny the truth] may say, and extol thy Sustainer's limitless glory and praise Him before the rising of the sun and before its setting; and extol His glory, too, during some of the hours of the night as well as during the hours of the day,* so that thou might attain to happiness.
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]!"*
Not one of the communities that We destroyed in bygone times* would ever believe [their prophets]: will these, then, [be more willing to] believe?*
For [even] before thy time, [O Muhammad,] We never sent [as Our apostles] any but [mortal] men, whom We inspired - hence, [tell the deniers of the truth,] If you do not know this, ask the followers of earlier revelation"*
and yet,* they choose to worship [imaginary] deities instead of Him! Say [O Prophet]: Produce an evidence for what you are claiming:* this is a reminder [unceasingly voiced] by those who are with me, just as it was a reminder [voiced] by those who came before me."* But nay, most of them do not know the truth, and so they stubbornly turn away [from it]*
and [this despite the fact that even] before thy time We never sent any apostle without having revealed to him that there is no deity save Me, - [and that,] therefore, you shall worship Me [alone]!
AND [remind those who deny thee, O Prophet, that]* never have We granted life everlasting to any mortal before thee:* but do they, perchance, hope that although thou must die, they will live forever?"*
And, indeed, [O Muhammad, even] before thy time have [God's] apostles been derided - but those who scoffed at them were [in the end] overwhelmed by the very thing which they had been wont to deride.*
AND, INDEED, long before [the time of Moses] We vouchsafed unto Abraham his consciousness of what is right;* and We were aware of [what moved] him
AND [remember] Noah - [how,] when He called out [unto Us], long before [the time of Abraham and Lot], We responded to him and saved him and his household from that awesome calamity;*
AND IF THEY [who are bent on denying the truth] give thee the lie, [O Muhammad, remember that, long] before their time, the people of Noah and [the tribes of] Ad and Thamud gave the lie [to their prophets],
Yet whenever We sent forth any apostle or prophet before thee, and he was hoping* [that his warnings would be heeded], Satan would cast an aspersion on his innermost aims:* but God renders null and void whatever aspersion Satan may cast; and God makes His messages clear in and by themselves* for God is all-knowing, wise.
And strive hard in God's cause with all the striving that is due to Him: it is He who has elected you [to carry His message], and has laid no hardship on you in [anything that pertains to religion,* [and made you follow] the creed of your forefather Abraham.* It is He who has named you in bygone times as well as in this [divine writ] those who have surrendered themselves to God",* so that the Apostle might bear witness to the truth before you, and that you might bear witness to it before all mankind. Thus, be constant in prayer, and render the purifying dues, and hold fast unto God. He is your Lord Supreme: and how excellent is this Lord Supreme, and how excellent this Giver of Succour!
Indeed, this [very thing] we have been promised - we and our forefathers - long ago! This is nothing but fables of ancient times!"
AND, INDEED, from on high have We bestowed upon you messages clearly showing the truth, and [many] a lesson from [the stories of] those who have passed away before you, and [many] an admonition to the God-conscious.
God has promised those of you who have attained to faith and do righteous deeds that, of a certainty, He will cause them to accede to power on earth,* even as He caused [some of] those who lived before them to accede to it; and that, of a certainty, He will firmly establish for them the religion which He has been pleased to bestow on them;* and that, of a certainty, He will cause their erstwhile state of fear to be replaced by a sense of security* [seeing that] they worship Me [alone], not ascribing divine powers to aught beside Me.* But all who, after [having understood] this, choose to deny the truth - it is they, they who are truly iniquitous!
O YOU who have attained to faith!* At three times [of day], let [even] those whom you rightfully possess,* as well as those from among you who have not yet attained to puberty,* ask leave of you [before intruding upon your privacy]: before the prayer of daybreak, and whenever you lay aside your garments in the middle of the day, and after the prayer of nightfall:* the three occasions on which your nakedness is likely to be bared.* Beyond these [occasions], neither you nor they will incur any sin if they move [freely] about you, attending to [the needs of] one another. In this way God makes clear unto you His messages: for God is all-knowing, wise!
Yet when the children among you attain to puberty, let them ask leave of you [at all times], even as those [who have reached maturity] before them have been enjoined to ask it.* In this way God makes clear unto you His messages: for God is all-knowing, wise!
AND [even] before thee, [O Muhammad,] We never sent as Our message-bearers any but [mortal men] who indeed ate food [like other human beings] and went about in the market places: for [it is thus that] We cause you [human beings] to be a means of testing one another.* Are you* able to endure [this test] with patience? For [remember, O man,] thy Sustainer is truly all-seeing!
Said [Pharaoh]: Have you come to believe in him* ere I have given you permission? Verily, he must be your master who has taught you magic!* But in time you shall come to know [my revenge]: most certainly shall I cut off your hands and your feet in great numbers, because of [your] perverseness, and shall most certainly crucify you in great numbers, all together!"*
[When Solomon learned that the Queen of Sheba was coming,]* he said [to his council]: O you nobles! Which of you can bring me her throne ere she and her followers come unto me in willing surrender to God?"*
Said a bold one of the invisible beings [subject to Solomon]: I shall bring it to thee ere thou rise from thy council-seat - for, behold, I am powerful enough to do it, [and] worthy of trust!"
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!
Said [Salih to the erring ones]: Why do you seek to hasten the coming upon you of evil instead of hoping for the good?"* Why do you not, rather, ask God to forgive you your sins, so that you might be graced with His mercy?"
Indeed, we were promised this - we and our forefathers - in the past as well; it is nothing but fables of ancient times!"
Now from the very beginning We caused him to refuse the breast of [Egyptian] nurses; and [when his sister came to know this,] she said: Shall I guide you to a family that might rear him for you, and look after him with good will?"
And neither wert thou present on the slope of Mount Sinai when We called out [to Moses]:* but [thou, too, art sent] as an act of thy Sustainer's grace, to warn people to whom no warner has come before thee, so that they might bethink themselves [of Us];
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!"
As for those unto whom We have vouchsafed revelation aforetime - they [are bound to] believe in this one [as well];*
and whenever it is [clearly] conveyed unto them, they [are bound to] profess, We have come to believe in it, for, behold, it is the truth from our Sustainer - and, verily, even before this have we surrendered ourselves unto Him!"
Answered he: This [wealth] has been given to me only by virtue of the knowledge that is in me!"* Did he not know that God had destroyed [the arrogant of] many a generation that preceded him - people who were greater than he in power, and richer in what they had amassed? But such as are lost in sin may not be asked about, their sins.*
Yea, indeed, We did test those who lived before them; and so, [too, shall be tested the people now living: and] most certainly will God mark out those who prove themselves true, and most certainly will He mark out those who are lying.*
And if you give [me] the lie - well, [other] communities have given the lie [to Gods prophets] before your time: but no more is an apostle bound to do than clearly deliver the message [entrusted to him]."
for, [O Muhammad,] thou hast never been able to recite any divine writ ere this one [was revealed], nor didst thou ever transcribe one with your own hand* or else, they who try to disprove the truth [of thy revelation] might indeed have had cause to doubt [it].*
within a few years: [for] with God rests all power of decision, first and last.* And on that day will the believers [too, have cause to] rejoice
Have they, then, never journeyed about the earth and beheld what happened in the end to those [deniers of the truth] who lived before their time? Greater were they in power than they are; and they left a stronger impact on the earth, and built it up even better* than these [are doing]; and to them [too] came their apostles with all evidence of the truth: and so, [when they rejected the truth and thereupon perished,] it was not God who wronged them, but it was they who had wronged themselves.
Say: Go all over the earth, and behold what happened in the end to those [sinners] who lived before [you]: most of them were wont to ascribe divine qualities to things or beings other than God."*
Set, then, thy face steadfastly towards the one ever-true faith,* ere there come from God a Day [of reckoning - the Day] which cannot be averted. On that Day all will be sundered:
And indeed, [O Muhammad, even] before thee did We send forth apostles - each one unto his own people* and they brought them all evidence of the truth: and then, [by causing the believers to triumph,] We inflicted Our retribution upon those who [deliberately] did evil: for We had willed it upon Ourselves to succour the believers.
even though a short while ago, [just] before it was sent down upon them, they had abandoned all hope!
and yet,* they [who are bent on denying the truth] assert, [Muhammad] has invented it!" Nay, but it is the truth from thy Sustainer, enabling thee to warn [this] people to whom no warner has come before thee, so that they might follow the right path.
[But] can, then, they [who deny the truth] learn no lesson by recalling how many a generation We have destroyed before their time?* [people] in whose dwelling-places they [themselves now] walk about? In this, behold, there are messages indeed: will they not, then, listen?
although ere that they had vowed before God that they would never turn their backs [on His message]: and a vow made to God must surely be answered for!
[Hence,] no blame whatever attaches to the Prophet for [having done] what God has ordained for him.* [Indeed, such was] God's way with those that have passed away aforetime* and [remember that] God's will is always destiny absolute-;
O YOU who have attained to faith! If you marry believing women and then divorce them ere you have touched them, you have no reason to expect, and to calculate, any waiting period on their part:* hence, make [at once] provision for them, and release them in a becoming manner.*
Such has been God's way with those who [sinned in like manner and] passed away aforetime - and never wilt thou find any change in God's way!*
And yet, [O Muhammad,] never have We vouchsafed them any revelations which they could quote, and neither have We sent unto them any warner before thee.*
Thus, too, gave the lie to the truth [many of] those who lived before them; and although those [earlier people] had not attained to even a tenth of [the evidence of the truth] which We have vouchsafed unto these [late successors of theirs], yet when they gave the lie to My apostles, how awesome was My rejection!*
seeing that aforetime they had been bent on denying the truth, and had been wont to cast scorn, from far away, on something that was beyond the reach of human perception?*
And so, a barrier will be set between them and all that they had [ever] desired,* as will be done to such of their kind as lived before their time: for, behold, they [too] were lost in doubt amounting to suspicion.*
But if they [whose minds are perverted] give thee the lie, [O Prophet, remember that] even so, before thy time, have [other] apostles been given the lie: for [the unbelievers always refuse to admit that] all things go back to God [as their source].
And if they give thee the lie - even so gave the lie to the truth [many of] those who lived before their time, [when] there came unto them their apostles with all evidence of the truth, and with books of divine wisdom, and with light-giving revelation;
Have they never journeyed about the earth and beheld what happened in the end to those [deniers of the truth] who lived before their time and were [so much] greater than they in power? And [do they not see that the will of] God can never be foiled by anything whatever in the heavens or on earth, since, verily, He is all-knowing, infinite in His power?
Are they not aware of how many a generation We have destroyed before their time, [and] that those [that have perished] will never return to them,*
Thus, indeed, most of the people of old went astray before them,
How many a generation have We destroyed before their time [for this very sin]!* And [how] they called [unto Us] when it was too late to escape!*
To the truth gave the lie aforetime* Noah's people, and [the tribe of] Ad, and Pharaoh of the [many] tent-poles,*
As it is, they say [mockingly]: O our Sustainer! Hasten on to us our share [of punishment even] before the Day of Reckoning!"*
NOW [thus it is:] when affliction befalls man, he is likely to cry out to his Sustainer, turning unto Him [for help];* but as soon as He has bestowed upon him a boon by His grace, he forgets Him whom he invoked before, and claims that there are other powers that could rival God* - and thus leads [others] astray from His path. Say [unto him who sins in this way]: Enjoy thyself for a while in this thy denial of the truth; [yet,] verily, thou art of those who are destined for the fire!
Those who lived before them did [too] give the lie to the truth - whereupon suffering befell them without their having perceived whence it came:
The same did say [to themselves many of] those who lived before their time; but of no avail to them was all that they had ever achieved:
Hence, turn towards your Sustainer [alone] and surrender yourselves unto Him ere the suffering [of death and resurrection] comes upon you, for then you will not be succoured.*
And ere that suffering comes upon you of a sudden, without your being aware [of its approach], follow the most goodly [teaching] that has been revealed unto you by your Sustainer,
And yet, it has already been revealed to thee [O man,]* as well as to those who lived before thee, that if thou ever ascribe divine powers to aught but God, all thy works shall most certainly have been in vain: for [in the life to come] thou shalt most certainly be among the lost.
to the truth gave the lie, before their time, the people of Noah and, after them, all those [others] who were leagued together [against God's message-bearers];* and each of those communities schemed against the apostle sent unto them,* aiming to lay hands on him; and they contended [against his message] with fallacious arguments, so as to render void the truth thereby: but then I took them to task - and how awesome was My retribution!
Have they, then, never journeyed about the earth and beheld what happened in the end to those [deniers of the truth] who lived before their time? Greater were they in power than they are, and in the impact which they left on earth: but God took them to task for their sins, and they had none to defend them against God:
And [remember:] it was to you that Joseph came aforetime with all evidence of the truth; but you never ceased to throw doubt on all [the messages] that he brought you - so much so that when he died, you said, 'Never will God send any apostle [even] after him!'* In this way God lets go astray such as waste their own selves by throwing suspicion [on His revelations]
It is He who creates you out of dust,* and then out of a drop of sperm, and then out of a germ-cell; and then He brings you forth as children; and then [He ordains] that you reach maturity, and then, that you grow old - though some of you [He causes to] die earlier -: and [all this He ordains] so that you might reach a term set [by Him],* and that you might [learn to] use your reason.
side by side with God?" They will answer: They have forsaken us - or, rather, what we were wont to invoke aforetime did not exist at all!"* And they will be told:] It is thus that God lets the deniers of the truth go astray:*
And, indeed, [O Muhammad,] We sent forth apostles before thy time; some of them We have mentioned to thee,* and some of them We have not mentioned to thee. And it was not given to any apostle to bring forth a miracle other than by God's leave.* Yet when God's will becomes manifest,* judgment will [already] have been passed in all justice, and lost will be, then and there, all who tried to reduce to nothing [whatever they could not understand].*
HAVE THEY, then, never journeyed about the earth and beheld what happened in the end to those [deniers of the truth] who lived before their time? More numerous were they, and greater in power than they are, and in the impact which they left on earth: but all that they ever achieved was of no avail to them
for [when they became oblivious of Us,] We assigned to them [their own evil impulses as their] other selves,* and these made appear goodly to them whatever lay open before them and whatever was beyond their ken.* And so, the sentence [of doom] will have fallen due upon them together with the [other sinful] communities of invisible beings* and humans that passed away before their time: verily, they [all] will indeed be lost!
[And as for thee, O Prophet,] nothing is being said to thee but what was said to all [of God's] apostles before thy time.* Behold, thy Sustainer is indeed full of forgiveness - but He has also the power to requite most grievously!
And so, all that they were wont to invoke aforetime will have forsaken them; and they shall know for certain that there is no escape for them.
THUS has God, the Almighty, the Wise, revealed [the truth] unto thee, [O Muhammad,] and unto those who preceded thee:*
[Hence, O men,] respond to your Sustainer before there comes, at God's behest,* a Day on which there will be no turning back: [for] on that Day you will have no place of refuge, and neither will you be able to deny aught [of the wrong that you have done].
Or have We, perchance, vouchsafed them, before this one, a revelation [to the contrary,] to which they are still holding fast?*
And thus it is: whenever We sent, before thy time, a warner to any community, those of its people who had lost themselves entirely in the pursuit of pleasures* would always say, Behold, we found our forefathers agreed on what to believe - and, verily, it is but in their footsteps that we follow!"*
Yet [above all else,] ask any of Our apostles whom We sent forth before thy time* whether We have ever allowed that deities other than the Most Gracious be worshipped!
AND, INDEED, [long] before their time did We try Pharaoh's people [in the same way]: for there came unto them a noble apostle, [who said:]
Are they, then, better than the people of Tubba and those before them, whom We destroyed because they were truly lost in [the same] sin?*
Say: Have you [really] given thought to what it is that you invoke instead of God? Show me what these [beings or forces] have created anywhere on earth! Or had they, perchance, a share in [creating] the heavens? [If so,] bring me any divine writ preceding this one, or any [other] vestige of knowledge - if what you claim is true!"*
And yet, before this there was the revelation of Moses, a guide and a [sign of God's] grace; and this [Qur'an] is a divine writ confirming the truth [of the Torah]* in the Arabic tongue, to warn those who are bent on evildoing, and [to bring] a glad tiding to the doers of good:
But [there is many a one] who says to his parents [whenever they try to imbue him with faith in God]: Fie upon both of you! Do you promise me that I shall be brought forth [from the dead], although [so many] generations have passed away before me?"* And [while] they both pray for God's help [and say], Alas for thee! For, behold, God's promise always comes true!" - he but answers, All this is nothing but fables of ancient times!"
It is [such as] these upon whom the sentence [of doom] will fall due, together with the [other sinful] communities of invisible beings* and humans that have passed away before their time. Verily, they will be lost:
Have they, then, never journeyed about the earth and beheld what happened in the end to those [willful sinners] who lived before their time? God destroyed them utterly: and the like thereof awaits all who deny the truth.*
As soon as you [O believers] are about to set forth on a war that promises booty,* those who stayed behind [aforetime] will surely say, Allow us to go with you" - [thus showing that] they would like to alter the Word of God.* Say: By no means shall you go with us: God has declared aforetime [to whom all spoils shall belong]."* Thereupon they will [surely] answer, Nay, but you begrudge us [our share of booty]!" Nay, they can grasp but so little of the truth!
Say unto those bedouin who stayed behind: In time you will be called upon [to fight] against people of great prowess in war:* you will have to fight against them [until you die] or they surrender. And then, if you heed [that call], God will bestow on you a goodly reward; but if you turn away as you turned away this time,* He will chastise you with grievous chastisement."
such being God's way which has ever obtained in the past - and never wilt thou find any change in God's way!*
[Long] before those [who now deny resurrection] did Noah's people give the lie to this truth, and [so did] the folk of Ar-Rass,* and [the tribes of] Thamud
AND HOW MANY a generation have We destroyed before those [who now deny the truth]* people of greater might than theirs; but [when Our chastisement befell them,] they became wanderers on the face of the earth, seeking no more than a place of refuge*
HENCE, [O believer,] bear thou with patience whatever they may say,* and extol thy Sustainer's limitless glory and praise before the rising of the sun and before its setting;*
enjoying all that their Sustainer will have granted them [because], verily, they were doers of good in the past:*
And [thus, too, We destroyed] Noah's people aforetime: for they were iniquitous folk.
[But] thus it is: never yet came any apostle to those who lived before their time but they said, A spel1binder*
They will say: Behold, aforetime - when we were [still living] in the midst of our kith and kin - we were full of fear [at the thought of God's displeasure]:*
Verily, we did invoke Him [alone] ere this: [and now He has shown us]* that He alone is truly benign, a true dispenser of grace!"
as well as the people of Noah before them - [since,] verily, they all had been most willful in their evildoing and most overweening
[LONG] BEFORE those [who now deny resurrection] did Noah's people call it a lie; and they gave the lie to Our servant and said, Mad is he!" - and he was repulsed.*
In these [gardens] will be mates of modest gaze, whom neither man nor invisible being will have touched ere then.*
[companions] whom neither man nor invisible being will have touched ere then.
For, behold, in times gone by they were wont to abandon themselves wholly to the pursuit of pleasures,*
And why should you not spend freely in the cause of God, seeing that God's [alone] is the heritage of the heavens and the earth?* Not equal are those of you who spent and fought [in God's cause] before the Victory* [and those who did not do so]: they are of a higher rank than those who would spend and fight [only] after it - although God has promised the ultimate good to all [who strive in His cause].* and god is aware of that you do.
IS IT NOT time that the hearts of all who have attained to faith should feel humble at the remembrance of God and of all the truth that has been bestowed [on them] from on high,* lest they become like those who were granted revelation aforetime,* and whose hearts have hardened with the passing of time so that many of them are [now] depraved?*
NO CALAMITY can ever befall the earth, and neither your own selves,* unless it be [laid down] in Our decree before We bring it into being: verily, all this* is easy for God.
hence, as for those who would separate themselves from their wives by saying, Thou art as unlawful to me as my mother", and thereafter would go back on what they have said, [their atonement] shall be the freeing of a human being from bondage* before the couple may touch one another again: this you are [hereby] exhorted to do - for God is fully aware of all that you do.*
However, he who does not have the wherewithal shall fast [instead] for two consecutive months* before the couple may touch one another again; and he who is unable to do it shall feed sixty needy ones:* this, so that you might prove your faith in God and His Apostle.* Now these are the bounds set by God; and grievous suffering [in the life to come] awaits all who deny the truth.
Verily, those who contend against God and His Apostle shall be brought low even as those [evildoers] who lived before them were brought low after We had bestowed [on them] clear messages from on high.* And [so,] for those who deny the truth there will be shameful suffering in store
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!*
[To both kinds of your enemies, O believers, is bound to happen]* the like of [what happened to] those who, a short while before them, had to taste the evil that came from their own doings,* with [yet more] grievous suffering awaiting them [in the life to come]:
He it is who has sent unto the unlettered people an apostle from among themselves,* to convey unto them His messages, and to cause them to grow in purity, and to impart unto them the divine writ as well as wisdom - whereas before that they were indeed, most obviously, lost in error
And spend on others out of what We have provided for you as sustenance,* ere there come a time when death approaches any of you, and he then says, "O my Sustainer! If only Thou wouldst grant me a delay for a short while,* so that I could give in charity and be among the righteous!"
HAVE THE STORIES of those who, in earlier times, refused to acknowledge the truth never yet come within your ken? [They denied it -] and so they had to taste the evil outcome of their own doings,* with [more] grievous suffering awaiting them [in the life to come]:
And, indeed, [many of] those who lived aforetime* did give the lie [to My warnings]: and how awesome was My rejection [of them]!
And there was Pharaoh, too, and [many of] those who lived before him, and the cities that were overthrown* - [all of them] indulged in sin upon sin
BEHOLD. We sent Noah unto his people. [saying:] "Warn thy people ere grievous suffering befall them!