CONSIDER the winds that scatter the dust far and wide,
and those that carry the burden [of heavy clouds],
and those that speed along with gentle ease,
and those that apportion [the gift of life] at [God’s] behest!
Verily, that which you are promised is true indeed,
and, verily, judgment is bound to come!
CONSIDER the firmament full of starry paths!
Verily, [O men,] you are deeply at variance as to what to believe:
perverted in his views thereon is he who would deceive himself!
They but destroy themselves, they who are given to guessing at what they cannot ascertain –
they who blunder along, in ignorance lost –
they who [mockingly] ask, “When is that Day of Judgment to be?”
[It will be] a Day when they will be sorely tried by the fire,
[and will be told:] “Taste this your trial! It is this that you were so hastily asking for!”
[But,] behold, the God-conscious will find themselves amid gardens and springs,
enjoying all that their Sustainer will have granted them [because], verily, they were doers of good in the past:
they would lie asleep during but a small part of the night,
and would pray for forgiveness from their innermost hearts;
and [would assign] in all that they possessed a due share unto such as might ask [for help] and such as might suffer privation.
AND ON EARTH there are signs [of God’s existence, visible] to all who are endowed with inner certainty,
just as [there are signs thereof] within your own selves: can you not, then, see?
And in heaven is [the source of] your sustenance [on earth] and [of] all that you are promised [for your life after death]:
for, by the Sustainer of heaven and earth, this [life after death] is the very truth - as true as that you are endowed with speech!
AND HAS the story of Abraham’s honoured guests ever come within thy ken?
When those [heavenly messengers] came unto him and bade him peace, he answered, “[And upon you be] peace!” - [saying to himself,] “They are strangers.”
Then he turned quietly to his household, and brought forth a fat [roasted] calf,
and placed it before them, saying, “Will you not eat?”
[And when he saw that the guests would not eat,] he became apprehensive of them; [but] they said, “Fear not” - and gave him the glad tiding of [the birth of] a son who would be endowed with deep knowledge.
Thereupon his wife approached [the guests] with a loud cry, and struck her face [in astonishment] and exclaimed: “A barren old woman [like me]!”
They answered: “Thus has thy Sustainer decreed; and, verily, He alone is truly wise, all- knowing!”
Said [Abraham]: “And what [else] may you have in view, O you [heavenly] messengers?”
They answered: “Behold, we have been sent unto a people lost in sin,
to let loose upon them stone-hard blows of chastisement,
marked out in thy Sustainer’s sight for [the punishment of] such as have wasted their own selves.”
And in the course of time We brought out [of Lot ’s city] such [few] believers as were there:
for apart from one [single] house We did not find there any who had surrendered themselves to Us.
And so We left therein a message for those who fear the grievous suffering [which awaits all evildoers].
AND IN [the story of Pharaoh and] Moses, too, [We left the same message: for] when We sent him unto Pharaoh with [Our] manifest authority,
and he turned away in [the pride of] his power and said, “A sorcerer [is this Moses], or a madman!” –
We seized him and his hosts, and cast them all into the sea: and [none but Pharaoh] himself was to blame [for what happened].
And [you have the same message] in [what happened to the tribe of] Ad, when We let loose against them that life-destroying wind
which spared nothing of what it came upon, but caused [all of] it to become like bones dead and decayed.
And in [the story of the tribe of] Thamud, too, when they were told, “You shall enjoy your life for [but] a little while,”
after they had turned with disdain from their Sustainer’s commandment - whereupon the thunderbolt of punishment overtook them while they were [helplessly] looking on:
for they were unable even to rise, and could not defend themselves.
And [thus, too, We destroyed] Noah’s people aforetime: for they were iniquitous folk.
AND IT IS We who have built the universe with [Our creative] power; and, verily, it is We who are steadily expanding it.
And the earth have We spread out wide - and how well have We ordered it!
And in everything have We created opposites, so that you might bear in mind [that God alone is One].
And so, [O Muhammad, say unto them:] “Flee unto God [from all that is false and evil]! Verily, I am a plain warner to you from Him!
And do not ascribe divinity to aught side by side with God: verily, I am a plain warner to you from Him!”
[But] thus it is: never yet came any apostle to those who lived before their time but they said, “A spellbinder [Lit., "sorcerer".] [is he], or a madman!”
Have they, perchance, handed down this [way of thinking] as a legacy unto one another? Nay, they are people filled with overweening arrogance!
Turn, then, away from them, and thou shalt incur no blame;
yet go on reminding [all who would listen]: for, verily, such a reminder will profit the believers.
And [tell them that] I have not created the invisible beings and men to any end other than that they may [know and] worship Me.
[But withal,] no sustenance do I ever demand of them, nor do I demand that they feed Me:
for, verily, God Himself is the Provider of all sustenance, the Lord of all might, the Eternal!
And, verily, they who are bent on doing evil shall have their share [of evil] like unto the share of their fellows [of old]: so let them not ask Me to hasten [their doom]!
For, woe unto those who are bent on denying the truth - [woe] on the Day which they have been promised