Alif. Lam. Mim.
DO MEN THINK that on their [mere] saying, “We have attained to faith”, they will be left to themselves, and will not be put to a test?
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.
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!
Whoever looks forward [with hope and awe] to meeting God [on Resurrection Day, let him be ready for it]: for, behold, the end set by God [for everyone’s life] is bound to come - and He alone is all-hearing, all-knowing!
Hence, whoever strives hard [in God’s cause] does so only for his own good: for, verily, God does not stand in need of anything in all the worlds!
And as for those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds, We shall most certainly efface their [previous] bad deeds, and shall most certainly reward them in accordance with the best that they ever did.
Now [among the best of righteous deeds which] We have enjoined upon man [is] goodness towards his parents; yet [even so,] should they endeavour to make thee ascribe divinity, side by side with Me, to something which thy mind cannot accept [as divine], obey then, not: [for] it is unto Me that you all must return, whereupon I shall make you [truly] understand [the right and wrong of] all that you were doing [in life].
But as for those who have attained to faith and have done righteous deeds, We shall most certainly cause them to join the righteous [in the hereafter as well].
Now there is among men many a one who says [of himself and of others like him], “We do believe in God” - but whenever he is made to suffer in God’s cause, he thinks that persecution at the hands of man is as [much to be feared, or even more than,] God’s chastisement; whereas, if succour from thy Sustainer comes [to those who truly believe] he is sure to say. “Behold, we have always been with you!” Is not God fully aware of what is in the hearts of all creatures?
[Yea-] and most certainly will God mark out those who have [truly] attained to faith, and most certainly will He mark out the hypocrites.
And [He is aware, too, that] they who are bent on denying the truth speak [thus, as it were,] to those who have attained to faith: “Follow our way [of life], and we shall indeed take your sins upon ourselves!” But never could they take upon themselves aught of the sins of those [whom they would thus mislead]: behold, they are liars indeed!
Yet most certainly will they have to bear their own burdens, and other burdens besides their own; and most certainly will they be called to account on Resurrection Day for all their false assertions!
And, indeed, [in times long past] We sent forth Noah unto his people, and he dwelt among them a thousand years bar fifty; and then the floods overwhelmed them while they were still lost in evildoing:
but We saved him, together with all who were in the ark, which We then set up as a symbol [of Our grace] for all people [to remember].
And Abraham, [too, was inspired by Us] when he said unto his people: “Worship God, and be conscious of Him: this is the best for you, if you but knew it!
You worship only [lifeless] idols instead of God, and [thus] you give visible shape to a lie! Behold, those [things and beings] that you worship instead of God have it not in their power to provide sustenance for you: seek, then, all [your] sustenance from God, and worship Him [alone] and be grateful to Him: [for] unto Him you shall be brought back!
“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].”
Are then they [who deny the truth] not aware of how God creates [life] in the first instance, and then brings it forth anew? This, verily, is easy for God!
Say: “Go all over the earth and behold how [wondrously] He has created [man] in the first instance: and thus, too, will God bring into being your second life for, verily, God has the power to will anything!
He causes to suffer whomever He wills, and bestows His mercy on whomever He wills; and unto Him you shall be made to return:
and never - not on earth and not in the skies - can you [hope to] elude Him: and you have none to protect you from God, and none to bring you succour.”
And [thus it is:] they who are bent on denying the truth of God’s messages and of their [ultimate] meeting with Him - it is they who abandon all hope of My grace and mercy: and it is they whom grievous suffering awaits [in the life to come].
Now [as for Abraham,] his people’s only answer was, “Slay him, or burn him!” – but God saved him from the fire. Behold, in this [story] there are messages indeed for people who will believe!
And [Abraham] said: “You have chosen to worship idols instead of God for no other reason than to have a bond of love in the life of this world, between yourselves [and your forebears]: but then, on Resurrection Day, you shall disown one another and curse one another - for the goal of you all will be the fire, and you will have none to succour you.
Thereupon [his brother’s son] Lot came to believe in him and said: “Verily, I [too] shall forsake the domain of evil [and turn] to my Sustainer: for, verily, He alone is almighty, truly wise!”
And [as for Abraham,] We bestowed upon him Isaac and [Isaac’s son] Jacob, and caused prophethood and revelation to continue among his offspring. And We vouchsafed him his reward in this world; and, verily, in the life to come [too] he shall find himself among the righteous.
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!
Must you indeed approach men [with lust], and thus cut across the way [of nature]? and must you commit these shameful deeds in your open] assemblies?” But his people’s only answer was, “Bring down upon us God’s chastisement, if thou art a man of truth!”
[And] he prayed: “O my Sustainer! Succour Thou me against these people who spread corruption!”
And so, when Our [heavenly] messengers came to Abraham with the glad tiding [of the birth of Isaac], they [also] said, “Behold, we are about to destroy the people of that land, for its people are truly evildoers!”
[And when Abraham] exclaimed, “But Lot lives there!” - they answered: We know fully well who is there; most certainly we shall save him and his household - all but his wife: she will indeed be among those that stay behind.”
And when Our messengers came unto Lot, he was sorely grieved on their account, seeing that it was beyond his power to shield them; but they said: “Fear not, and grieve not! Behold, we shall save thee and thy household - all but thy wife: she will indeed be among those that stay behind.
Verily, we shall bring down upon the people of this land a horror from heaven in requital of all their iniquitous doings!”
And [so it happened; and] thereof, indeed, We have left a clear sign for people who use their reason.
AND UNTO [the people of] Madyan [We sent] their brother Shu’ayb who thereupon said: “O my people! Worship God [alone], and look forward to the Last Day, and do not act wickedly on earth by spreading corruption!”
But they gave him the lie. Thereupon an earthquake overtook them: and then they lay lifeless, in their very homes, on the ground.
AND [the tribes of] Ad and Thamud [too, did We destroy -] as should have become obvious to you from [whatever there remains of] their dwellings. [They perished] because Satan had made their [sinful] doings seem goodly to them, and thus had barred them from the path [of God] despite their having been endowed with the ability to perceive the truth.
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].
For, every one of them, did We take to task for his sin: and so, upon some of them We let loose a deadly storm wind; and some of them were overtaken by a [sudden] blast; and some of them We caused to be swallowed by the earth: and some of them We caused to drown. And it was not God who wronged them, but it was they who had wronged themselves.
The parable of those who take [beings or forces] other than God for their protectors is that of the spider which makes for itself a house: for, behold, the frailest of all houses is the spiders house. Could they but understand this!
Verily, God knows whatever it is that men invoke instead of Him for He alone is almighty, truly wise.
And so We propound these parables unto man: but none can grasp their innermost meaning save those who [of Us] are aware
[and hence are certain that] God has created the heavens and the earth in accordance with [an inner] truth: for, behold, in this [very creation] there is a message indeed for all who believe [in Him].
CONVEY [unto others] whatever of this divine writ has been revealed unto thee, and be constant in prayer: for, behold, prayer restrains [man] from loathsome deeds and from all that runs counter to reason; and remembrance of God is indeed the greatest [good]. And God knows all that you do.
And do not argue with the followers of earlier revelation otherwise than in a most kindly manner - unless it be such of them as are bent on evildoing and say: “We believe in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, as well as that which has been bestowed upon you: or our God and your God is one and the same, and it is unto Him that We [all] surrender ourselves.”
For it is thus that We have bestowed this divine writ from on high upon thee [O Muhammad]. And they to whom we have vouchsafed this divine writ believe in it just as among those [followers of earlier revelation] there are some who believe in it. And none could knowingly reject Our messages unless it be such as would deny [an obvious] truth:
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].
Nay, but this [divine writ] consists of messages clear to the hearts of all who are gifted with [innate] knowledge and none could knowingly reject Our messages unless it be such as would do wrong [to themselves].
And yet they say, “Why have no miraculous signs ever been bestowed upon him from on high by his Sustainer?” Say: “Miracles are in the power of God alone; and as for me - I am but a plain warner.”
Why - is it not enough for them that We have bestowed this divine writ on thee from on high, to be conveyed [by thee] to them? For, verily, in it is [manifested Our] grace, and a reminder to people who will believe.
Say [unto those who will not believe]: “God is witness enough between me and you! He knows all that is in the heavens and on earth; and they who are bent on believing in what is false and vain, and thus on denying God - it is they, they who shall be the losers!”
Now they challenge thee to hasten the coming upon them of [God’s] chastisement: and indeed, had not a term been set [for it by God], that suffering would already have come upon them! But indeed, it will most certainly come upon them of a sudden, and they will be taken unawares.
They challenge thee to hasten the coming upon them of [God’s] chastisement: but, verily, hell is bound to encompass all who deny the truth –
[encompass them] on the Day when suffering will overwhelm them from above them and from beneath their feet, whereupon He shall say: “Taste [now the fruit of] your own doings!”
O YOU servants of Mine who have attained to faith! Behold, wide is Mine earth: worship Me, then, Me alone!
Every human being is bound to taste death, [and] in the end unto Us shall all be brought back:
whereupon unto those who have attained to faith and wrought good works We shall most certainly assign mansions in that paradise through which running waters flow, therein to abide: how excellent a reward for those who labour –
those who are patient in adversity and in their Sustainer place their trust!
And how many a living creature is there that takes no thought of its own sustenance; [the while] God provides for it as [He provides] for you - since He alone is all-hearing, all-knowing.
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!
God grants abundant sustenance, or gives it in scant measure, to whichever He wills of His creatures: for, behold, God has full knowledge of everything.
And thus it is: if thou ask them, “Who is it that sends down water from the skies, giving life thereby to the earth after it had been lifeless?” - they will surely answer, “God.” Say thou: “[Since this is so,] all praise is due to God [alone]!” But most of them will not use their reason:
for, [if they did, they would know that] the life of this world is nothing but a passing delight and a play - whereas, behold, the life in the hereafter is indeed the only [true] life: if they but knew this!
And so, when they embark on a ship [and find themselves in danger], they call unto God, [at that moment] sincere in their faith in Him alone; but as soon as He has brought them safe ashore, they [begin to] ascribe to imaginary powers a share in His divinity:
and thus they show utter ingratitude for all that We have vouchsafed them, and go on [thoughtlessly] enjoying their worldly life.
Are they, then, not aware that We have set up a sanctuary secure [for those who believe in Us], the while all around them men are being carried away [by fear and despair]? Will they, then, [continue to] believe in things false and vain, and thus deny God’s blessings.
And who could be more wicked than he who attributes his own lying inventions to God, or gives the lie to the truth when it comes unto him [through revelation]? Is not hell the [proper] abode for all who [thus] deny the truth?
But as for those who strive hard in Our cause -We shall most certainly guide them onto paths that lead unto Us: for, behold, God is indeed with the doers of good.