Alif. Lam. Ra. A DIVINE WRIT [is this], with messages that have been made clear in and by themselves, and have been distinctly spelled out as well - [bestowed upon you] out of the grace of One who is wise, all-aware,
so that you may worship none but God. [Say, O Prophet:] "Behold, I come unto you from Him [as] a warner and a bearer of glad tidings:
Ask your Sustainer to forgive you your sins, and then turn towards Him in repentance - [whereupon] He will grant you a goodly enjoyment of life [in this world] until a term set [by Him is fulfilled]; and [in the life to come] He will bestow upon everyone possessed of merit [a full reward for] his merit. But if you turn away, then, verily, I dread for you the suffering [which is bound to befall you] on that awesome Day
Unto God you all must return: and He has the power to will anything."
Oh, verily, they [who are bent on denying the truth of this divine writ] are enshrouding their hearts in order to hide from Him. Oh, verily, [even] when they cover themselves with their garments [in order not to see or hear], He knows all that they keep secret as well as all that they bring into the open - for, behold, He has full knowledge of what is in the hearts [of men].
And there is no living creature on earth but depends for its sustenance on God; and He knows its time-limit [on earth] and its resting-place [after death]: all [this] is laid down in [His] clear decree.
And He it is who has created the heavens and the earth in six aeons; and [ever since He has willed to create life,] the throne of His almightiness has rested upon water. [God reminds you of your dependence on Him] in order to test you [and thus to make manifest] which of you is best in conduct. For thus it is: if thou sayest [unto men], "Behold, you shall be raised again after death!" - they who are bent on denying the truth are sure to answer, "This is clearly nothing but an enchanting delusion"
And thus it is: if We defer their suffering until a time-limit set [by Us], they are sure to say, "What is preventing it [from coming now]?" Oh, verily, on the Day when it befalls them there will be nothing to avert it from them; and they shall be overwhelmed by the very thing which they were wont to deride.
And thus it is: if We let man taste some of Our grace, and then take it away from him -behold, he abandons all hope, forgetting all gratitude [for Our past favours].
And thus it is: if We let him taste ease and plenty after hardship has visited him, he is sure to say, "Gone is all affliction from me!"-for, behold, he is given to vain exultation, and glories only in himself.
[And thus it is with most men-] save those who are patient in adversity and do righteous deeds: it is they whom forgiveness of sins awaits, and a great reward.
IS IT, then, conceivable [O Prophet] that thou couldst omit any part of what is being revealed unto thee [because the deniers of the truth dislike it,-and] because thy heart is distressed at their saying, "Why has not a treasure been bestowed upon him from on high?" -or, "[Why has not] an angel come [visibly:: with him?" [They fail to understand that] thou art only a warner, whereas God has everything in His care;
and so they assert, "[Muhammad himself] has invented this [Qur'an)!" Say [unto them]: "Produce, then, ten surahs of similar merit, invented [by yourselves], and [to this end] call to your aid whomever you can, other than, God, if what you say is true!
And if they [whom you have called to your aid] are not able to help you, then know that [this Qur'an] has been bestowed from on high out of God's wisdom alone, and that there is no deity save Him. Will you, then, surrender yourselves unto Him?"
AS FOR THOSE who care for [no more than] the life of this world and its bounties -We shall repay them in full for all that they did in this [life], and they, shall not be deprived of their just due therein:
[yet] it is they who, in the life to come, shall have nothing but the fire -for in vain shall be all that they wrought in this [world], and worthless all that they ever did!
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.
And who could be more wicked than they who attribute their own lying inventions to God? [On the Day of Judgment, such as] these shall be arraigned before their Sustainer, and those who are called upon to bear witness [against them] shall say, "It is they who uttered lies about their Sustainer!" Oh, verily, God's rejection is the due of all evildoers
who turn others away from the path of God and try to make it appear crooked -since it is they, they who refuse to acknowledge the truth of the life to come!
Never can they elude [their final reckoning, even if they remain unscathed] on earth: never will they find anyone who could protect them from God. [In the life to come] double suffering will be imposed on them for having lost the ability to hear [the truth] and having failed to see [it].
It is they who have squandered their own selves-for [on the Day of Resurrection] all their false imagery will have forsaken them:
truly it is they, they who in the life to come shall be the losers!
Behold, [only] those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds and humble themselves before their Sustainer - [only] they are destined for paradise, and there shall they abide.
These two kinds of man may be likened to the blind and deaf and the seeing and hearing. Can these two be deemed alike in [their] nature? ` Will you not, then, keep this in mind?
AND INDEED, [it was with the same message that] We sent forth Noah unto his people: "Behold, I come unto you with the plain warning
that you may worship none but God-for, verily, I fear lest suffering befall you on a grievous Day!"
But the great ones among his people, who refused to acknowledge the truth, answered: "We do not see in thee anything but a mortal man like ourselves; and we do not see that any follow thee save those who are quite obviously the most abject among us; and we do not see that you could be in any way superior to us: on the contrary, we think that you are liars!"
Said [Noah]: "O my people! What do you think? If [it be true that I am taking my stand on a clear evidence from my~ Sustainer, who has vouchsafed unto me grace from Himself - [a revelation] to which you have remained blind-: [if this be true,] can we force it on you even though it be hateful to you?
"And, O my people, no benefit do I ask of you for this [message]: my reward rests with none but God. And I shall not repulse [any of] those who have attained to faith. Verily, they [know that they] are destined to meet their Sustainer, whereas in you I see people without any awareness [of right and wrong]!
And, O my people, who would shield me from God were I to repulse them? Will you not, then, keep this in mind?
"And I do not say unto you, `God's treasures are with me'; nor [do I say], `I know the reality which is beyond the reach of human perception'; nor do I say, 'Behold, I am an angel'; nor do I say of those whom your eyes hold in contempt, `Never will God grant them any good'- for God is fully aware of what is in their hearts. [Were I to speak thus,] verily, I would indeed be among the evildoers."
[But the great ones] said: "O Noah! Thou hast contended with us in argument, and hast [needlessly] prolonged our controversy: bring upon us, therefore, that with which thou dost threaten us, if thou art a man of truth!"
He answered: "Only God can bring it upon you, if He so wills, and you shall not elude it:
for, my advice will not benefit you -much as I desire to give you good advice - if it be God's will that you shall remain lost in grievous error. He is your Sustainer, and unto Him you must return."
DO SOME, perchance, assert, "[Muhammad] has invented this [story]"? Say [O Prophet]: "If I have invented it, upon me be this sin; but far be it from me to commit the sin of which you are guilty."
AND THIS was revealed unto Noah: "Never will any of thy people believe except those who have already attained to faith. Be not, then, distressed by anything that they may do,
but build, under Our eyes and according to Our inspiration, the ark [that shall save thee and those who follow thee]; and do not appeal to Me in behalf of those who are bent on evildoing for, behold, they are destined to be drowned!"
And [so Noah] set himself to building the ark; and every time the great ones of his people passed by him, they scoffed at him. [Thereupon] he said: "If you are scoffing at us-behold, we are scoffing at you [and your ignorance], just as you are scoffing at us.
But in time you will come to know who it is that [in this world] shall be visited by suffering which will cover him with ignominy, and upon whom long lasting suffering shall alight [in the life to come]!"
[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.
So he said [unto his followers]: "Embark in this [ship]! In the name of God be its run and its riding at anchor! Behold, my. Sustainer is indeed much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace!"
And it moved on with them into waves that were like mountains. At that [moment] Noah cried out to a son of his, who had kept himself aloof [from the others]: "O my dear son! Embark with us, and remain not with those who deny the truth!"
[But the son] answered: "I shall betake myself to a mountain that will protect me from the waters." Said [Noah]: "Today there is no protection [for anyone] from God's judgment, save [for] those who have earned [His] mercy!" And a wave rose up between them, and [the son] was among those who were drowned.
And the word was spoken: "O earth, swallow up thy waters! And, O sky, cease [thy rain]!" And the waters sank into the earth, and the will [of God] was done, and the ark came to rest on Mount Judl And the word was spoken: "Away with these evildoing folk!"
And Noah called out to his Sustainer, and said: "O my Sustainer! Verily, my son was of my family; and, verily, Thy promise always comes true, and Thou art the most just of all judges!"
[God] answered: "O Noah, behold, he was not of thy family, for, verily, he was unrighteous in his conduct. And thou shalt not ask of Me anything whereof thou canst not have any knowledge: thus, behold, do I admonish thee lest thou become one of those who are unaware [of what is right]."
Said [Noah]: "O my Sustainer! Verily, I seek refuge with Thee from [ever again] asking of Thee anything whereof I cannot have any knowledge! For unless Thou grant me forgiveness and bestow Thy mercy upon me, I shall be among the lost!"
[Thereupon] the word was spoken: "O Noah! Disembark in peace from Us, and with [Our] blessings upon thee as well as upon the people [who are with thee, and the righteous ones that will spring from thee and] from those who are with thee. But [as for the unrighteous] folk [that will spring from you] - We shall allow them to enjoy life [for a little while], and then there will befall them grievous suffering from Us."
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!
AND UNTO [the tribe of] `Ad [We sent] their brother Hud. He said: "O my people! Worship God [alone]: you have no deity other than Him. [As it is,] you are but inventors of falsehood!
"O my people! No reward do I ask of you for this [message]: my reward rests with none but Him who brought me into being. Will you not, then, use your reason?
"Hence, O my people, ask your Sustainer to forgive you your sins, and then turn towards Him in repentance-[whereupon] He will shower upon you heavenly blessings abundant, and will add strength to your strength: only do not turn away [from me] as people lost in sin!"
Said they: "O Hud! Thou hast brought us no clear evidence [that thou art a prophet]; and we are not going to forsake our gods on thy mere word, the more so as we do not believe thee.
We can say no more than that one of our gods may have smitten thee with something evil!" Answered [Hud]: "Behold, I call God to witness - and you, too, be [my] witnesses - that, verily, it is not in me to ascribe divinity, as you do, to aught
beside Him! Contrive, then, [anything that you may wish] against me, all of you, and give me no respite!
Behold, I have placed my trust in God, [who is] my Sustainer as well as your Sustainer: for there is no living creature which He does not hold by its forelock. Verily, straight is my Sustainer's way!
"But if you choose to turn away, then [know that] I have delivered to you the message with which I was sent unto you, and [that] my Sustainer may cause another people to take your place, whereas you will in no wise harm Him. Verily, my Sustainer watches over all things!"
And so, when Our judgment came to pass, by Our grace We saved Hud and those who shared his faith; and We saved them [too] from suffering severe [in the life to come].
And that was [the end of the tribe of] `Ad, [who] had rejected their Sustainer's messages, and rebelled against His apostles, and followed the bidding of every arrogant enemy of the truth.
And they were pursued in this world by [God's] rejection, and [shall finally be overtaken by it] on the Day of Resurrection. Oh, verily, [the tribe of] `Ad denied their Sustainer! Oh, away with the `Ad, the people of Hud!
AND UNTO [the tribe of] Thamud [We sent] their brother Salih. He said: "O my people! Worship God [alone]: you have no deity other than Him. He brought you into being out of the earth, and made you thrive thereon. Ask Him, therefore, to forgive you your sins, and then turn towards Him in repentance-for, verily, my Sustainer is ever-near, responding [to the call of whoever calls unto Him]!"
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!"
He retorted: "O my people! What do you think? If [it be true that] I am taking my stand on a cleat evidence from my Sustainer, who has vouchsafed unto me grace from Himself -[if this be true,] who would shield me from God were I to rebel against Him? Hence, what you are offering me is no more than perdition!"
And [then he said]: "O my people! This she-camel belonging to God shall be a token for you: so leave her alone to pasture on God's earth, and do her no harm, lest speedy chastisement befall you!"
But they cruelly slaughtered her. And thereupon [Salih] said: "[Only] for three days [more] shall you enjoy life in your homes: this is a judgment which will not be belied!"
And so, when Our judgment came to pass, by Our grace We saved Salih and those who shared his faith; and [We saved them, too,] from the ignominy of [Our rejection on] that Day [of Resurrection]. Verily, thy Sustainer alone is powerful, almighty!
And the blast [of God's punishment] overtook those who had been bent on evildoing: and then they lay lifeless, in their very homes, on the ground,
as though they had never lived there. Oh, verily, [the tribe of] Thamud denied their Sustainer! Oh, away with the Thamud!
AND, INDEED, there came unto Abraham Our [heavenly] messengers, bearing a glad tiding. They bade him peace; [and] he answered, "[And upon you be] peace!"-and made haste to place before them a roasted calf.
But when he saw that their hands did not reach out towards it, he deemed their conduct strange and became apprehensive of them. [But] they said: "Fear not! Behold, we are sent to the people of Lot.
And his wife, standing [nearby], laughed [with happiness]; whereupon We gave her the glad tiding of [the birth of] Isaac and, after Isaac, of [his son] Jacob.
Said she: "Oh, woe is me! Shall I bear a child, now that I am an old woman and this husband of mine is an old man? Verily, that would be a strange thing indeed!"
Answered [the messengers]: "Dost thou deem it strange that God should decree what He wills? The grace of God and His blessings be upon you, O people of this house! Verily, ever to be praised, sublime is He!"
And when the fear had left Abraham, and the glad tiding had been conveyed to him, he began to plead with Us for Lot's people:
for, behold, Abraham was most clement, most tender-hearted, intent upon turning to God again and again.
[But God's messengers replied:] "O Abraham! Desist from this [pleading]! Behold, thy Sustainer's judgment has already gone forth: and, verily, there shall fall upon them a chastisement which none can avert!"
AND WHEN Our messengers came unto Lot, he was sorely grieved on their account, seeing that it was beyond his power to shield them; and he exclaimed: "This is a woeful day!"
And 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?"
They answered: "Thou hast always known that we have no use whatever for thy daughters; and, verily, well dost thou know what we want!"
Exclaimed [Lot]: "Would that I had the strength to defeat you, or that I could lean upon some mightier support!"
[Whereupon the angels] said: "O Lot! Behold, we are messengers from thy Sustainer! Never shall [thy enemies] attain to thee! Depart, then, with thy household while it is yet night, and let none of you look back; [and take with thee all thy family] with the exception of thy wife: for, behold, that which is to befall these [people of Sodom] shall befall her [as well]. Verily, their appointed time is the morning [and] is not the morning nigh?"
And so, when Our judgment came to pass, We turned those [sinful towns] upside down, and rained down upon them stone-hard blows of chastisement pre-ordained. one upon another,
marked out in thy Sustainer's sight [for the punishment of such as are lost in sin]. And these [blows of God-willed doom] are never far from evildoers
AND UNTO [the people of] Madyan [We sent] their brother Shu'ayb. He said: "O my people! Worship God [alone]: you have no deity other than Him; and do not give short measure and weight [in any of your dealings with men]. Behold, I see you [now] in a happy state; but, verily, I dread lest suffering befall you on a Day that will encompass [you with doom]!
Hence, O my people, [always] give full measure and weight, with equity, and do not deprive people of what is rightfully theirs, and do not act wickedly on earth by spreading corruption.
That which rests with God is best for you, if you but believe [in Him]! However, I am not your keeper."
Said they: "O Shu'ayb! Does thy [habit of] praying compel thee to demand of us that we give up all that our forefathers were wont to worship, or that we refrain from doing whatever we please with our possessions? Behold, [thou wouldst have us believe that] thou art indeed the only clement, the only right-minded man!"
He answered: "O my people! What do you think? If [it be true that] I am taking my stand on a clear evidence from my Sustainer, who has vouchsafed me goodly sustenance [as a gift] from Himself - [how could I speak to you otherwise than I do]? And yet, I have no desire to do, out of opposition to you, what I am asking you not to do: I desire no more than to set things to rights in so far as it lies within my power; but the achievement of my aim depends on God alone. In Him have I placed my trust, and unto Him do I always turn!
"And, O my people, let not [your] dissent from me drive you into sin, lest there befall you the like of what befell the people of Noah, or the people of Hud. or the people of Salih: and [remember that] the people of Lot lived not very far from you!"
Hence, ask your Sustainer to forgive you your sins, and then turn towards Him in repentance - for, verily, my Sustainer is a dispenser of grace, a fount of love!"
[But his people] said: "O Shu'ayb! We cannot grasp the purport of much of what thou sayest; on the other hand, behold, we do see clearly how- weak thou art in our midst:" and were it not for thy family, we would have most certainly stoned thee to death, considering that thou hast no power over us!"
Said he: "O my people! Do you hold my family in greater esteem than God? -for, Him you regard as something that may be cast behind you and be forgotten! Verily, my Sustainer encompasses [with His might] all that you do!
Hence, O my people, do [to me] anything that may be within your power, [while] I, behold, shall labour [in God's way]; in time you will come to know which [of us] shall be visited by suffering that will cover him with ignominy, and which [of us] is a liar. Watch, then, [for what is coming:] behold, I shall watch with you!"
And so, when Our judgment came to pass, by Our grace We saved Shu'ayb and those who shared his faith, whereas the blast [of Our punishment] overtook those who had been bent on evildoing: and then they lay lifeless, in their very homes, on the ground,
as though they had never lived there. Oh, away with [the people of] Madyan, even as the Thamud have been done away with!
AND, INDEED, We sent Moses with Our messages and a manifest authority [from Us]
unto Pharaoh and his great ones: but these followed [only] Pharaoh's bidding - and Pharaoh's bidding led by no means to what is right.
[And so] he shall go before his people on the Day of Resurrection, having led them [in this world] towards the fire [of the life to come]; and vile was the destination towards which they were led -
seeing that they were pursued by [God's] rejection in this [world], and [shall be finally overtaken by it] on the Day of Resurrection; [and] vile was the gift which they were given!
THIS ACCOUNT of the [fate of those ancient] communities - some of them still remaining, and some [extinct like] a field mown-down - We convey unto thee [as a lesson for mankind]:
for, no wrong did We do to them, but it was they who wronged themselves. And when thy Sustainer's judgment came to pass, those deities of theirs which they had been wont to invoke instead of God proved of no avail whatever to them, and brought them no more than utter perdition.
And such is thy Sustainer's punishing grasp whenever He takes to task any community that is given to evildoing: verily, His punishing grasp is grievous, severe!
Herein, behold, lies a message indeed for all who fear the suffering [which may befall them] in the life to come, (and are conscious of the coming of] that Day on which all mankind shall be gathered together-that Day [of Judgment] which shall be witnessed [by all that ever lived],
and which We shall not delay beyond a term set [by Us].
When that Day comes, not a soul will speak. unless it be by His leave; and of those [that are gathered together], some will be wretched and some, happy.
Now as for those who [by their deeds] will have brought wretchedness upon them-selves, [they shall live] in the fire, where they will have [nothing but] moans and sobs [to relieve their pain],
therein to abide as long as the heavens and the earth endure-unless thy Sustainer wills it otherwise: for, verily, thy Sustainer is a sovereign doer of whatever He wills.
But as for those who [by virtue of their past deeds] will have been blest with happiness, [they shall live] in paradise, therein to abide as long as the heavens and the earth endure -unless thy Sustainer wills it otherwise -as a gift unceasing.
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.
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].
And, verily, unto each and all will thy Sustainer give their full due for whatever [good or evil] they may have done: behold, He is aware of all that they do!
Pursue, then, the right course, as thou hast been bidden [by God], together with all who, with thee, have turned unto Him; and let none of you behave in an overweening manner: for, verily, He sees all that you do.
And do not incline towards, nor rely upon, those who are bent on evildoing lest the fire [of the hereafter] touch you: for [then] you would have none to protect you from God, nor would you ever be succoured [by Him].
And be constant in praying at the beginning and the end of the day, as well as during the early watches of the night: for, verily, good deeds drive away evil deeds: this is a reminder to all who bear [God] in mind.
And be patient in adversity: for, verily,. God does not fail to requite the doers of good!
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.
For, never would thy Sustainer destroy a community for wrong [beliefs alone] so long as its people behave righteously [towards one another].
And had thy Sustainer so willed, He could surely have made all mankind one single community: but [He willed it otherwise, and so] they continue to hold divergent views'
[all of them,] save those upon whom thy Sustainer has bestowed His grace. And to this end has He created them [all. But [as for those who refuse to avail themselves of divine guidance,] that word of thy Sustainer shall be fulfilled: "Most certainly will I fill hell with invisible beings as well as with humans, all together!"
AND [remember:] out of all the accounts relating to the [earlier] apostles We convey unto thee [only] that wherewith We [aim to] make firm thy heart: for through these [accounts] comes the truth unto thee, as well as an admonition and a reminder unto all believers.
And say unto those who will not believe: "Do anything that may be within your power, [while] we, behold, shall labour [in God's way];
and wait [for what is coming]: behold, we too are waiting!"
And God alone comprehends the hidden reality of the heavens and the earth: for, all that exists goes back to Him [as its source]. Worship Him, then, and place thy trust in Him alone: for thy Sustainer is not unaware of what you do.