[Hence,] vie with one another in seeking to attain to your Sustainer's forgiveness,* and [thus] to a paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth, which has been readied for those who have attained to faith in God and His Apostle:* such is the bounty of God which He grants unto whomever He wills - for God is limitless in His great bounty.
and yet overtake [one another] with swift overtaking:*
We have [indeed] decreed that death shall be [ever-present] among you: but there is nothing to prevent Us
to replace them with [people] better than they are; for there is nothing to prevent Us [from doing what We will].*
for, every community faces a direction of its own, of which He is the focal point.* Vie, therefore, with one another in doing good works. Wherever you may be, God will gather you all unto Himself: for, verily, God has the power to will anything.
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.*
[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" -
And they both rushed to the door; and she [grasped and] rent his tunic from behind-and [lo!] they met her lord at the door! Said she: "What ought to be the punishment of one who had evil designs on [the virtue of] thy wife - [what] but imprisonment or a [yet more] grievous chastisement?"
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 as for the first and foremost of those who have forsaken the domain of evil and of those who have sheltered and succoured the Faith,* as well as those who follow them in [the way of] righteousness - God is well-pleased with them, and well--pleased are they with Him. And for them has He readied gardens through which running waters flow, therein to abide beyond the count of time: this is the triumph supreme!
it is they who vie with one another in doing good works, and it is they who outrun [all others] in attaining to them!
And [thus, too, did We deal with] Qarun and Pharaoh, and Haman:* to them had come Moses with all evidence of the truth, but they behaved arrogantly on earth [and rejected him]; and withal, they could not escape [Us].
And so, We have bestowed this divine writ as a heritage unto such of Our servants as We chose: and among them are some who sin against themselves; and some who keep half-way [between right and wrong];* and some who, by God's leave, are foremost in deeds of goodness: [and] this, indeed, is a merit most high!
[and] neither may the sun overtake the moon, nor can the night usurp the time of day,* since all of them float through space [in accordance with Our laws].
But the foremost shall be [they who in life were] the foremost [in faith and good works]:
AND [remember] Lot ,* when he said unto his people: "Will you commit abominations such as none in all the world has ever done before you?
And let them not think - those who are bent on denying the truth -that they shall escapee* [God]: behold, they can never frustrate [His purpose].
Had it not been for a decree from God that had already gone forth, there would indeed have befallen you a tremendous chastisement on account of all [the captives] that you took.*
AND [know that] all mankind were once but one single community, and only later did they begin to hold divergent views.* And had it not been for a decree- that had already gone forth from thy Sustainer, all their differences would indeed have been settled [from the outset].*
[And so it went on] till, when Our judgment came to pass, and waters gushed forth in torrents over the face of the earth,* We said [unto Noah]: "Place on board of this [ark] one pair of each [kind of animal] of either sex,* as well as thy family -except those on whom [Our] sentence has already been passed* -and all [others] who have attained to faith!"-for, only a few [of Noah's people] shared his faith.
And, indeed, [similar was the case when] We vouchsafed the divine writ unto Moses, and some of his people set their own views against it;* and had it not been for a decree that had already gone forth from thy Sustainer, judgment would indeed have been passed on them [then and there]:* for, behold, they were in grave doubt, amounting to suspicion, about him [who called them unto God].*
[but remember that] no community can ever forestall [the end of] its term - and neither can they delay [it].*
THUS DO WE relate unto thee some of the stories of what happened in the past; and [thus] have We vouchsafed unto thee, out of Our grace, a reminder.*
Now were it not for a decree that has already gone forth from thy Sustainer, setting a term* [for each sinner's repentance], it would inescapably follow [that all who sin must be doomed at once].*
they speak not until He has spoken unto them, and [whenever they act,] they act at His behest.
[But,] behold, as for those for whom [the decree of] ultimate good has already gone forth from Us* these will be kept far away from that [hell]:
Thereupon We inspired him thus: Build, under Our eyes* and according to Our inspiration, the ark [that shall save thee and those who follow thee].* And when Our judgment comes to pass, and waters gush forth in torrents over the face of the earth, place on board of this [ark] one pair of each [kind of animal] of either sex, as well as thy family - excepting those on whom sentence has already been passed; and do not appeal to Me [any more] in behalf of those who are bent on evildoing - for, behold, they are destined to be drowned!
[for,] no community can ever forestall [the end of] its term - and neither can they delay [its coming].*
Or do they think - they who do evil deeds [while claiming to have attained to faith] - that they can escape Us? Bad, indeed, is their judgment!
And Lot, [too, was inspired by Us] when he said unto his people: Verily, you commit abominations such as none in all the world has ever committed before you!
for, long ago has Our word gone forth unto Our servants, the message- bearers,
Thus, too, have We vouchsafed revelation unto Moses aforetime, and thereupon disputes arose about it.* And [then, as now,] had it not been for a decree that had already gone forth from thy Sustainer, all would indeed have been decided between them [from the outset].* As it is, behold, they [who will not believe in this divine writ] are in grave doubt, amounting to suspicion, about what it portends.*
And [as for the followers of earlier revelation,] they broke up their unity, out of mutual jealousy, only after they had come to know [the truth].* And had it not been for a decree that had already gone forth from thy Sustainer, [postponing all decision] until a term set [by Him], all would indeed have been decided between them [from the outset].* As it is, behold, they who have inherited their divine writ from those who preceded them* are [now] in grave doubt, amounting to suspicion, about what it portends.*
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!"*
And so, they who come after them pray:* O our Sustainer! Forgive us our sins, as well as those of our brethren who preceded us in faith, and let not our hearts entertain any unworthy thoughts or feelings against [any of] those who have attained to faith. O our Sustainer! Verily, Thou art compassionate, a dispenser of grace!"