AS FOR THOSE who are bent on denying the truth and on barring [others] from the path of God - all their [good] deeds will He let go to waste;
whereas those who have attained to faith and do righteous deeds, and have come to believe in what has been bestowed from on high on Muhammad - for it is the truth from their Sustainer - [shall attain to God’s grace:] He will efface their [past] bad deeds, and will set their hearts at rest.
This, because they who are bent on denying the truth pursue falsehood, whereas they who have attained to faith pursue [but] the truth [that flows] from their Sustainer. In this way does God set forth unto man the parables of their true state.
NOW WHEN you meet [in war] those who are bent on denying the truth, smite their necks until you overcome them fully, and then tighten their bonds; but thereafter [set them free,] either by an act of grace or against ransom, so that the burden of war may be lifted: thus [shall it be]. And [know that] had God so willed, He could indeed punish them [Himself]; but [He wills you to struggle] so as to test you [all] by means of one another. And as for those who are slain in God’s cause, never will He let their deeds go to waste:
He will guide them [in the hereafter as well], and will set their hearts at rest,
and will admit them to the paradise which He has promised them.
O you who have attained to faith! If you help [the cause of] God, He will help you, and will make firm your steps;
but as for those who are bent on denying the truth, ill fortune awaits them, since He will let all their [good] deeds go to waste:
this, because they hate [the very thought of] what God has bestowed from on high and thus He causes all their deeds to come to nought!
Have they, then, never journeyed about the earth and beheld what happened in the end to those [willful sinners] who lived before their time? God destroyed them utterly: and the like thereof awaits all who deny the truth.
This, because God is the Protector of all who have attained to faith, whereas they who deny the truth have no protector.
Verily, God will admit all who attain to faith and do righteous deeds into gardens through which running waters flow, whereas they who are bent on denying the truth shall have - even though they may enjoy their life [in this world] and eat as cattle eat - the fire [of the hereafter] for their abode.
And how many a community of greater power than this thy community which has driven thee out, [O Muhammad,] have We destroyed, with none to succour them!
CAN, THEN, he who takes his stand on a clear evidence from his Sustainer be likened Unto one to whom the evil of his own doings [always] seems goodly, and unto such as would follow but their own lusts?
[And can] the parable of the paradise which the God-conscious are promised [a paradise] wherein there are rivers of water which time does not corrupt, and rivers of milk the taste whereof never alters, and rivers of wine delightful to those who drink it, and rivers of honey of all impurity cleansed, and the enjoyment of all the fruits [of their good deeds] and of forgiveness from their Sustainer -: can this [parable of paradise] be likened unto [the parable of the recompense of] such as are to abide in the fire and be given waters of burning despair to drink, so that it will tear their bowels asunder?
Now among those [hapless sinners] are such as [pretend to] listen to thee, [O Muhammad,] and then, as soon as they leave thy presence, speak [with scorn] unto those who have understood [thy message]: “What is it that he has said just now?” It is such as these whose hearts God has sealed because they [always] followed but their own lusts
just as for those who are [willing to be] guided, He increases their [ability to follow His] guidance and causes them to grow in God-consciousness.
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?
Know, then, [O man,] that there is no deity save God, and [while there is yet time,] ask forgiveness for thy sins and for [the sins of] all other believing men and women: for God knows all your comings and goings as well as your abiding [at rest].
NOW THOSE who have attained to faith say, “Would that a revelation [allowing us to fight] was bestowed from on high!” But now that a revelation clear in and by itself, mentioning war, has been bestowed from on high, thou canst see those in whose hearts is disease looking at thee, [O Muhammad,] with the look of one who is about to faint for fear of death! And yet, far better for them would be
obedience [to God’s call] and a word that could win [His] approval: for, since the matter has been resolved [by His revelation], it would be but for their own good to remain true to God.
[Ask them:] “Would you, perchance, after having turned away [from God’s commandment, prefer to revert to your old ways, and] spread corruption on earth, and [once again] cut asunder your ties of kinship?”
It is such as these whom God rejects, and whom He makes deaf [to the voice of truth], and whose eyes He blinds [to its sight]!
Will they not, then, ponder over this Qur’an? - or are there locks upon their hearts?
VERILY, those who turn their backs [on this message] after guidance has been vouchsafed to them, [do it because] Satan has embellished their fancies and filled them with false hopes:
[they do turn their backs on it] inasmuch as they are wont to say unto those who abhor all that God has revealed, “We will comply with your views on some points.” But God knows their secret thoughts:
hence, how [will they fare] when the angels gather them in death, striking their faces and their backs?
This, because they were wont to pursue what God condemns and to hate [whatever would meet with] His goodly acceptance: and so He has caused all their [good] deeds to come to nought.
Or do they in whose hearts is disease think, perchance, that God would never bring their moral failings to light?
Now had We so willed, We could have shown them clearly to thee, so that thou wouldst know them for sure as by a visible mark: but [even so,] thou wilt most certainly recognize them by the tone of their voice. And God knows all that you do, [O men;]
and most certainly We shall try you all, so that We might mark out those of you who strive hard [in Our cause] and are patient in adversity: for We shall put to a test [the truth of] all your assertions.
Verily, they who are bent on denying the truth and on barring [others] from the path of God, and [who thus] cut themselves off from the Apostle after guidance has been vouchsafed to them, can in no wise harm God; but He will cause all their deeds to come to nought.
O you who have attained to faith! Pay heed unto God, and pay heed unto the Apostle, and let not your [good] deeds come to nought!
Verily, as for those who are bent on denying the truth and on barring [others] from the path of God, and then die as deniers of the truth - indeed, God will not grant them forgiveness!
AND SO, [when you fight in a just cause,] do not lose heart and [never] beg for peace: for, seeing that God is with you, you are bound to rise high [in the end]; and never will He let your [good] deeds go to waste.
The life of this world is but a play and a passing delight: but if you believe [in God] and are conscious of Him, He will grant you your deserts. And withal, He does not demand of you [to sacrifice in His cause all of] your possessions:
[for,] if He were to demand of you all of them, and urge you, you would niggardly cling [to them], and so He would [but] bring out your moral failings.
Behold, [O believers,] it is you who are called upon to spend freely in God’s cause: but [even] among you are such as turn out to be niggardly! And yet, he who acts niggardly [in God’s cause] is but niggardly towards his own self: for God is indeed self-sufficient, whereas you stand in need [of Him]; and if you turn away [from Him], He will cause other people to take your place, and they will not be the likes of you!