THE BESTOWAL from on high [of this revelation] issues from the Most Gracious, the Dispenser of Grace:
a divine writ, the messages whereof have been clearly spelled out as a discourse in the Arabic tongue for people of [innate] knowledge,
to be a herald of glad tidings as well as a warning. And yet, [whenever this divine writ is offered to men,] most of them turn away, so that they cannot hear [its message];
and so they say, [as it were:] “Our hearts are veiled from whatever thou callest us to, [O Muhammad,] and in our ears is deafness, and between us and thee is a barrier. Do, then, [whatever thou wilt, whereas,] behold, we shall do [as we have always done]!”
Say thou, [O Prophet:] “I am but a mortal like you. It has been revealed to me that your God is the One God: go, then, straight towards Him and seek His forgiveness!” And woe unto those who ascribe divinity to aught beside Him,
[and] those who do not spend in charity: for it is they, they who [thus] deny the truth of the life to come!
[But,] verily, they who have attained to faith and do good works shall have a reward unending!
SAY: “Would you indeed deny Him who has created the earth in two aeons? And do you claim that there is any power that could rival Him, the Sustainer of all the worlds?”
For He [it is who, after creating the earth,] placed firm mountains on it, [towering] above its surface, and bestowed [so many] blessings on it, and equitably apportioned its means of subsistence to all who would seek it: [and all this He created] in four aeons.
And He [it is who] applied His design to the skies, which were [yet but] smoke; and He [it is who] said to them and to the earth, “Come [into being], both of you, willingly or unwillingly!” - to which both responded, “We do come in obedience.”
And He [it is who] decreed that they become seven heavens in two aeons, and imparted unto each heaven its function. And We adorned the skies nearest to the earth with lights, and made them secure: such is the ordaining of the Almighty, the All-Knowing.
BUT IF they turn away, say: “I warn you of [the coming of] a thunderbolt of punishment like the thunderbolt [that fell upon the tribes] of Ad and Thamud!”
Lo! There came unto them [God’s] apostles, speaking of what lay open before them and what was [still] beyond their ken, [and calling unto them,] “Worship none but God!” They answered: “If our Sustainer had willed [us to believe in what you say], He would have sent down angels [as His message-bearers]. As it is, behold, we deny that there is any truth in what you [claim to] have been sent with!”
Now as for [the tribe of] Ad, they walked arrogantly on earth, [offending] against all right, and saying, “Who could have a power greater than ours?” Why - were they, then, not aware that God, who created them, had a power greater than theirs? But they went on rejecting Our messages;
and thereupon We let loose upon them a storm wind raging through days of misfortune, so as to give them, in the life of this world, a foretaste of suffering through humiliation: but [their] suffering in the life to come will be far more humiliating, and they will have none to succour them.
And as for [the tribe of] Thamud, We offered them guidance, but they chose blindness in preference to guidance: and so the thunderbolt of shameful suffering fell upon them as an outcome of all [the evil] that they had wrought;
and We saved [only] those who had attained to faith and were conscious of Us.
Hence, [warn all men of] the Day when the enemies of God shall be gathered together before the fire, and then shall be driven onward,
till, when they come close to it, their hearing and their sight and their [very] skins will bear witness against them, speaking of what they were doing [on earth].
And they will ask their skins, “Why did you bear witness against us?” - [and] these will reply: “God, who gives speech to all things, has given speech to us [as well]: for He [it is who] has created you in the first instance - and unto Him you are [now] brought back.
And you did not try to hide [your sins] lest your hearing or your sight or your skins bear witness against you: nay, but you thought that God did not know much of what you were doing –
and that very thought which you thought about your Sustainer has brought you to perdition, and so now you find yourselves among the lost!”
And then, [even] if they endure [their lot] in patience, the fire will still be their abode; and if they pray to be allowed to make amends, they will not be allowed to do so:
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!
NOW THOSE who are bent on denying the truth say [unto one another]: “Do not listen to this Qur’an, but rather talk frivolously about it, so that you might gain the upper hand!”
But We shall most certainly give those who are [thus] bent on denying the truth a taste of suffering severe, and We shall most certainly requite them according to the worst of their deeds!
That requital of God’s enemies will be the fire [of the hereafter]: in it will they have an abode of immeasurable duration as an outcome of their having knowingly rejected Our messages.
And they who [in their life on earth] were bent on denying the truth will [thereupon] exclaim: “O our Sustainer! Show us those of the invisible beings and humans that have led us astray: we shall trample them underfoot, so that they shall be the lowest of all!”
[But,] behold, as for those who say, “Our Sustainer is God,” and then steadfastly pursue the right way - upon them do angels often descend, [saying:] “Fear not and grieve not, but receive the glad tiding of that paradise which has been promised to you!
We are close unto you in the life of this world and [will be so] in the life to come; and in that [life to come] you shall have all that your souls may desire, and in it you shall have all that you ever prayed for,
as a ready welcome from Him who is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace!”
And who could be better of speech than he who calls [his fellow-men] unto God, and does what is just and right, and says, “Verily, I am of those who have surrendered themselves to God”?
But [since] good and evil cannot be equal, repel thou [evil] with something that is better and lo! he between whom and thyself was enmity [may then become] as though he had [always] been close [unto thee], a true friend!
Yet [to achieve] this is not given to any but those who are wont to be patient in adversity: it is not given to any but those endowed with the greatest good fortune!
Hence, if it should happen that a prompting from Satan stirs thee up [to blind anger], seek refuge with God: behold, He alone is all-hearing, all-knowing!
Now among His signs are the night and the day, as well as the sun and the moon: [hence,] adore not the sun or the moon, but prostrate yourselves in adoration before God, who has created them - if it is Him whom you [really] worship.
And though some be too proud [to listen to this call], they who [in their hearts] are with thy Sustainer extol His limitless glory by night and by day, and never grow weary [thereof].
For among His signs is this: thou seest the earth lying desolate - and lo! when We send down water upon it, it stirs and swells [with life]! Verily, He who brings it to life can surely give life to the dead [of heart as well]: for, behold, He has the power to will anything.
VERILY, they who distort the meaning of Our messages are not hidden from Us: hence, which [of the two] will be in a better state - he that is [destined to be] cast into the fire, or he that shall come secure [before Us] on Resurrection Day? Do what you will: verily, He sees all that you do.
Verily, they who are bent on denying the truth of this reminder as soon as it comes to them - [they are the losers]: for, behold, it is a sublime divine writ:
no falsehood can ever attain to it openly, and neither in a stealthy manner, [since it is] bestowed from on high by One who is truly wise, ever to be praised.
[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!
Now if We had willed this [divine writ] to be a discourse in a non-Arabic tongue, they [who now reject it] would surely have said, “Why is it that its messages have not been spelled out clearly? Why - [a message in] a non-Arabic tongue, and [its bearer] an Arab?” Say: “Unto all who have attained to faith, this [divine writ] is a guidance and a source of health; but as for those who will not believe - in their ears is deafness, and so it remains obscure to them: they are [like people who are] being called from too far away.
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.
WHOEVER does what is just and right, does so for his own good; and whoever does evil, does so to his own hurt: and never does God do the least wrong to His creatures.
In Him alone is vested the knowledge of when the Last Hour will come. And no fruit bursts forth from its calyx, and no female ever conceives, nor ever gives birth, save with His knowledge. And so, on the Day when He shall call out to them, “Where, now, are those [alleged] partners of Mine?” - they will [surely] answer, “We confess unto Thee that none of us can bear witness [to anyone’s having a share in Thy divinity]!”
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.
MAN NEVER TIRES of asking for the good [things of life]; and if evil fortune touches him, he abandons all hope, giving himself up to despair.
Yet whenever We let him taste some of Our grace after hardship has visited him, he is sure to say, “This is but my due!” - and, “I do not think that the Last Hour will ever come: but if [it should come, and] I should indeed be brought back unto my Sustainer, then, behold, the ultimate good awaits me with Him! But [on the Day of Judgment] We shall most certainly give those who were bent on denying the truth full understanding of all that they ever did, and shall most certainly give them [thereby] a taste of suffering severe.
And, too, when We bestow Our blessings upon man, he tends to turn aside and keep aloof [from remembering Us]; but as soon as evil fortune touches him, he is full of wordy prayers!
HAVE YOU given thought [to how you will fare] if this be truly [a revelation] from God, the while you deny its truth? Who could be more astray than one who places himself [so] deeply in the wrong?
In time We shall make them fully understand Our messages [through what they perceive] in the utmost horizons [of the universe] and within themselves, so that it will become clear unto them that this [revelation] is indeed the truth. [Still,] is it not enough [for them to know] that thy Sustainer is witness unto everything?
Oh, verily, they are in doubt as to whether they will meet their Sustainer [on Judgment Day]! Oh, verily, He encompasses everything!