between it and [their own] burning-hot despair will they wander to and fro!*
O YOU who have attained to faith! Do not enter the Prophet's dwellings unless you are given leave; [and when invited] to a meal, do not come [so early as] to wait for it to be readied: but whenever you are invited, enter [at the proper time]; and when you have partaken of the meal, disperse without lingering for the sake of mere talk: that, behold, might give offence to the Prophet, and yet he might feel shy of [asking] you [to leave]: but God is not shy of [teaching you] what is right.* And [as for the Prophet's wives,] whenever you ask them for anything that you need, ask them from behind a screen:* this will but deepen the purity of your hearts and theirs. Moreover, it does not behove you to give offence to God's Apostle - just as it would not behove you ever to marry his widows after he has passed away:* that, verily, would be an enormity in the sight of God.
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?*
And they will be waited upon with vessels of silver and goblets that will [seem to] be crystal
given to drink from a boiling spring.
[But] they are not all alike: among the followers of earlier revelation there are upright people,* who recite God's messages throughout the night, and prostrate themselves [before Him].
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.
Or [dost thou deem thyself equal to] one who devoutly worships [God] throughout the night, prostrating himself or standing [in prayer], ever- mindful of the life to come, and hoping for his Sustainer's grace?"* Say: Can they who know and they who do not know be deemed equal?" [But] only they who are endowed with insight keep this in mind!
Your wives are your tilth; go, then, unto your tilth as you may desire, but first provide something for your souls,* and remain conscious of God, and know that you are destined to meet Him. And give glad tidings unto those who believe.
And their prophet said unto those elders:* "Behold, now God has raised up Saul to be your king." They said: "How can he have dominion over us when we have a better claim to dominion than he, and he has not [even] been endowed with abundant wealth?" [The prophet] replied: "Behold, God has exalted him above you, and endowed him abundantly with knowledge and bodily perfection. And God bestows His dominion* upon whom He wills: for God is infinite, all-knowing."
Or [art thou, O man, of the same mind] as he* who passed by a town deserted by its people, with its roofs caved in, [and] said, "How could God bring all this back to life after its death?"* Thereupon God caused him to be dead for a hundred years; where after He brought him back to life [and] said: "How long hast thou remained thus?" He answered: "I have remained thus a day, or part of a day." Said [God]: "Nay, but thou hast remained thus for a hundred years! But look at thy food and thy drink-untouched is it by the passing of years - and look at thine ass!* And [We did all this so that We might make thee a symbol unto men. And look at the bones [of animals and men] - how We put them together and then clothe them with flesh!"* And when [all this] became clear to him, he said: "I know [now] that God has the power to will anything!"
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."*
[Zachariah] exclaimed: "O my Sustainer! How can I have a son when old age has already overtaken me, and my wife is barren?" Answered [the angel]: "Thus it is: God does what He wills."
Said she: "O my Sustainer! How can I have a son when no man has ever touched me?" [The angel] answered: "Thus it is: God creates what He wills* when He wills a thing to be, He but says unto it, 'Be' - and it is.
AND DO YOU, now that a calamity has befallen you after you had inflicted twice as much [on your foes],* ask yourselves, "How has this come about?" Say: "It has come from your own selves."* Verily, God has the power to will anything:
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!*
VERILY, God is the One who cleaves the grain and the fruit-kernel asunder, bringing forth the living out of that which is dead, and He is the One who brings forth the dead out of that which is alive. This, then, is God: and yet, how perverted are your minds!*
the Originator of the heavens and the earth! How could it be that He should have a child without there ever having been a mate for Him - since it is He who has created everything, and He alone knows everything?
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!*
seeing that He is God, your Sustainer, the Ultimate Truth?* For, after the truth [has been forsaken], what is there [left] but error? How, then, can you lose sight of the truth?"*
Say: "Can any of those beings to whom you ascribe a share in God's divinity create [life] in the first instance, and then bring it forth anew?"* Say: "It is God [alone] who creates [all life] in the first instance, and then brings it forth anew. How perverted, then, are your minds!"*
[Zachariah] exclaimed: "O my Sustainer! How can I have a son when my wife has always been barren and I have become utterly infirm through old age?"
Said she: "How can I have a son when no man has ever touched me? - for, never have I been a loose woman!"
[And] they will reply: [All this power belongs] to God." Say: 'How, then, can you be so deluded?"*
And thus it is [with most people]:* if thou ask them, Who is it that has created the heavens and the earth, and made the sun and the moon subservient [to His laws]?" - they will surely answer, God." How perverted, then, are their minds!*
and will cry, We do [now] believe in it!" But how can they [hope to] attain [to salvation] from so far away,*
O men! Call to mind the blessings which God has bestowed upon you! Is there any creator, other than God, that could provide for you sustenance out of heaven and earth?* There is no deity save Him: and yet, how perverted are your minds!*
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]?*
He has created you [all] out of one living entity, and out of it fashioned its mate;* and he has bestowed upon you four kinds of cattle of either sex;* [and] He creates you in your mothers' wombs, one act of creation after another, in threefold depths of darkness.* Thus is God, your Sustainer: unto Him belongs all dominion: there is no deity save Him: how, then, can you lose sight of the truth?*
Such is God, your Sustainer, the Creator of all that exists: there is no deity save Him. How perverted, then, are your minds!*
ART THOU NOT aware of how far they who call God's messages in question have lost sight of the truth?*
Now if thou ask those [who worship any being other than God] as to who it is that has created them, they are sure to answer, God." How perverted, then, are their minds!
[But] how shall this remembrance avail them [at the Last Hour], seeing that an apostle had previously come unto them, clearly expounding the truth,
Are, then, they [whose hearts are sealed] waiting for the Last Hour - [waiting] that it come upon them of a sudden? But it has already been foretold!* And what will their remembrance [of their past sins] avail them, once it has come upon them?*
Now when thou seest them, their outward appearance may please thee; and when they speak, thou art inclined to lend ear to what they say.* [But though they may seem as sure of themselves] as if they were timbers [firmly] propped up, they think that every shout is [directed] against them. They are the [real] enemies [of all faith], so beware of them. [They deserve the imprecation,] "May God destroy them!"* How perverted are their minds!*
And on that Day hell will be brought [within sight]; on that Day man will remember [all that he did and failed to do]: but what will that remembrance avail him?