AND LO!* Thy Sustainer said unto the angels: "Behold, I am about to establish upon earth one who shall inherit it."* They said: "Wilt Thou place on it such as will spread corruption thereon and shed blood -whereas it is we who extol Thy limitless glory, and praise Thee, and hallow Thy name?" [God] answered: "Verily, I know that which you do not know."
And when We told the angels, "Prostrate yourselves before Adam!"* -they all prostrated themselves, save Iblis, who refused and gloried in his arrogance: and thus he became one of those who deny the truth.*
And [remember the time] when We saved you from Pharaoh's people, who afflicted you with cruel suffering, slaughtering your sons and sparing [only] your women* - which was an awesome trial from your Sustainer;
and when We cleft the sea before you, and thus saved you and caused Pharaoh's people to drown before your very eyes;
and when We appointed for Moses forty nights [on Mount Sinai], and in his absence you took to worshipping the [golden] calf, and thus became evildoers:
And [remember the time] when We vouchsafed unto Moses the divine writ-and [thus] a standard by which to discern the true from the false* -so that you might be guided aright;
and when Moses said unto his people: "O my people! Verily, you have sinned against yourselves by worshipping the calf; turn, then. in repentance to your Maker and mortify yourselves;* this will be the best for you in your Maker's sight". And thereupon He accepted your repentance: for, behold, He alone is the Acceptor of Repentance, the Dispenser of Grace.
And [remember] when you said, "O Moses. indeed we shall not believe thee unto we see God face to face!" - whereupon the thunderbolt of punishment* overtook you before your very eyes.
And [remember the time] when We said: "Enter this land,* and eat of its food as you may desire. abundantly; but enter the gate humbly and say, `Remove Thou from us the burden of our sins',* [whereupon] We shall forgive you your sins, and shall amply reward the doers of good."
And [remember] when Moses prayed for water for his people and We replied, "Strike the rock with thy staff!"-whereupon twelve springs gushed forth from it, so that all the people knew whence to drink.* [And Moses said:] "Eat and drink the sustenance provided by God, and do not act wickedly on earth by spreading corruption."
And [remember] when you said: "O Moses, indeed we cannot endure but one kind of food; pray, then, to thy Sustainer that He bring forth for us aught of what grows from the earth - of its herbs, its cucumbers, its garlic, its lentils, its onions." Said [Moses]: "Would you take a lesser thing in exchange for what is [so much] better?* Go back in shame to Egypt , and then you can have what you are asking for!"* And so, ignominy and humiliation overshadowed them, and they earned the burden of God's condemnation: all this, because they persisted in denying the truth of God's messages and in slaying the prophets against all right: all this, because they rebelled [against God], and persisted in transgressing the bounds of what is right.*
AND LO! We accepted your solemn pledge, raising Mount Sinai high above you,* [and saying;] "Hold fast with [all your] strength unto what We have vouchsafed you, and bear in mind all that is therein, so that you might remain conscious of God!"
AND LO! Moses said unto his people: "Behold, God bids you to sacrifice a cow."* They said: "Dost thou mock at us?" He answered: "I seek refuge with God against being so ignorant!"*
For, O children of Israel, because you had slain a human being and then cast the blame for this [crime] upon one another -although God will bring to light what you would conceals*
AND LO! We accepted this solemn pledge from [you,] ' the children of Israel:* "You shall worship none but God; and you shall do good unto your parents and kinsfolk, and the orphans, and the poor; and you shall speak unto all people in a kindly way; and you shall be constant in prayer; and you shall spend in charity.* "And yet, save for a few of you, you turned away: for you are obstinate folk!*
And lo! We accepted your solemn pledge that you would not shed one another's blood, and would not drive one another from your homelands - whereupon you acknowledged it; and thereto you bear witness [even now].
And, lo, We accepted your solemn pledge, raising Mount Sinai high above you, [saying,] "Hold fast with [all your] strength unto what We have vouchsafed you, and hearken unto it!" [But] they say, "We have heard, but we disobey"* - for their hearts are filled to overflowing with love of the [golden] calf because of their refusal to acknowledge the truth.* Say: "Vile is what this [false] belief of yours enjoins upon you-if indeed you are believers!"
And [remember this:] when his Sustainer tried Abraham by [His] commandments and the latter fulfilled them,* He said: "Behold, I shall make thee a leader of men. "Abraham asked: "And [wilt Thou make leaders] of my offspring as well? "[God] answered: "My covenant does not embrace the evildoers."*
AND LO! We made the Temple a goal to which people might repair again and again, and a sanctuary:* take then, the place whereon Abraham once stood as your place of prayer."* And thus did We command Abraham and Ishmael: "Purify My Temple for those who will walk around it,* and those who will abide near it in meditation, and those who will bow down and prostrate themselves [in prayer]."
And, lo, Abraham prayed: "O my Sustainer! Make this a land secure, and grant its people fruitful sustenance - such of them as believe in God and the Last Day." [God] answered: "And whoever shall deny the truth, him will I let enjoy himself for a short while -but in the end I shall drive him to suffering through fire: and how vile a journey's end!"
And when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the Temple , [they prayed:] "O our Sustainer! Accept Thou this from us: for, verily, Thou alone art all-hearing, all-knowing!
When his Sustainer said to him, "Surrender thyself unto Me!" - he answered, "I have surrendered myself unto [Thee,] the Sustainer of all the worlds."
Nay, but you [yourselves, O children of Israel ,] bear witness* that when death was approaching Jacob, he said unto his sons: "Whom will you worship after I am gone?" They answered: "We will worship thy God, the God of thy forefathers Abraham and Ishmael* and Isaac, the One God; and unto Him w;1l we surrender ourselves."
And yet there are people who choose to believe in beings that allegedly rival God,* loving them as [only] God should be loved: whereas those who have attained to faith love God more than all else. If they who are bent on evildoing could but see - as see they will when they are made to suffer* [on Resurrection Day] -that all might belongs to God alone, and that God is severe in [meting out] punishment!
[On that Day] it will come to pass that those who had been [falsely] adored* shall disown their followers, and the latter shall see the suffering [that awaits them], with all their hopes* cut to pieces!
Art thou not aware of those elders of the children of Israel , after the time of Moses, how they said unto a prophet of theirs,* "Raise up a king for us, [and] we shall fight in God's cause"? Said he: "Would you, perchance, refrain from fighting if fighting is ordained for you?" They answered: "And why should we not fight in God's cause when we and our children have been driven from our homelands?"* Yet, when fighting was ordained for them, they did turn back, save for a few of them; but God had full knowledge of the evildoers.
ART THOU NOT aware of that [king] who argued with Abraham about his Sustainer, (simply] because God had granted him kingship? Lo! Abraham said: "My Sustainer is He who grants life and deals death." [The king] replied: "I [too] grant life and deal death!" Said Abraham: "Verily, God causes the sun to rise in the east; cause it, then, to rise in the west!" Thereupon he who was bent on denying the truth remained dumbfounded: for God does not guide people who [deliberately] do wrong.*
And, lo, Abraham said: "O my Sustainer! Show me how Thou givest life unto the dead!" Said He: "Hast thou, then, no faith?" (Abraham) answered: "Yea, but [let me see it] so that my heart may be set fully at rest." Said He: "Take, then, four birds and teach them to obey thee;* . then place them separately on every hill [around thee]; then summon them: they will come flying to thee. And know that God is almighty, wise."*
"O our Sustainer! Let not our hearts swerve from the truth after Thou hast guided us; and bestow upon us the gift of Thy grace: verily, Thou art the [true] Giver of Gifts.
when a woman of [the House of] `Imran prayed: "O my Sustainer! Behold, unto Thee do I vow [the child] that is in, my womb, to be devoted to Thy service. Accept it, then, from me: verily, Thou alone art all-hearing, all-knowing!"
AND LO! The angels said: "O Mary! Behold, God has elected thee and made thee pure, and raised thee above all the women of the world.
This account of something that was beyond the reach of thy perception We [now] reveal unto thee:* for thou wert not with them when they drew lots as to which of them should be Mary's guardian,* and thou wert not with them when they contended [about it] with one another.
Lo! The angels said: "O Mary! Behold, God sends thee the glad tiding, through a word from Him, [of a son] who shall become known as the Christ* Jesus, son of Mary, of great honour in this world and in the life to come, and [shall be] of those who are drawn near unto God.
Lo! God said: "O Jesus! Verily, I shall cause thee to die, and shall exalt thee unto Me, and cleanse thee of [the presence of] those who are bent on denying the truth; and I shall place those who follow thee [far] above those who are bent on denying the truth, unto the Day of Resurrection. In the end, unto Me you all must return, and I shall judge between you with regard to all on which you were wont to differ.*
And neither did he bid you to take the angels and the prophets for your lords:* [for] would he bid you to deny the truth after you have surrendered yourselves unto God?
AND, LO, God accepted, through the prophets, this solemn pledge [from the followers of earlier revelation]:* "If, after all the revelation and the wisdom which I have vouchsafed unto you, there comes to you an apostle confirming the truth already in your possession, you must believe in him and succour him. Do you" - said He - "acknowledge and accept My bond on this condition?" They answered: "We do acknowledge it." Said He: "Then bear witness [thereto], and I shall be your witness.*
And hold fast, all together, unto the bond with God, and do not draw apart from one another. And remember the blessings which God has bestowed upon you: how, when you were enemies, He brought your hearts together, so that through His blessing you became brethren; and [how, when] you were on the brink of a fiery abyss.* He saved you from it. In this way God makes clear His messages unto you, so that you might find guidance,
AND [remember, O Prophet, the day] when thou didst set out from thy home at early morn to place the believers in battle array.* And God was all-hearing, all-knowing
when two groups from among you were about to lose heart,* although God was near unto them and it is in God that the believers must place their trust:
[And remember] when thou didst say unto the believers: "Is it not enough for you [to know] that your Sustainer will aid you with three thousand angels sent down [from on high]?
AND, INDEED, God made good His promise unto you when, by His leave, you were about to destroy your foes* - until the moment when you lost heart and acted contrary to the [Prophet's] command,* and disobeyed after He had brought you within view of that [victory] for which you were longing. There were among you such as cared for this world [alone], just as there were among you such as cared for the life to come:* whereupon, in order that He might put you to a test, He prevented you from defeating your foes.* But now He has effaced your sin: for God is limitless in His bounty unto the believers.
[Remember the time] when you fled, paying no heed to anyone, while at your rear the Apostle was calling out to you - wherefore He requited you with woe in return for [the Apostle's] woe, so that you should not grieve [merely] over what had escaped you, nor over what had befallen you: for God is aware of all that you do.*
Indeed, God bestowed a favour upon the believers when he raised up in their midst an apostle from among themselves, to convey His messages unto them, and to cause them to grow in purity, and to impart unto them the divine writ as well as wisdom - whereas before that they were indeed, most obviously, lost in error.
AND LO, God accepted a solemn pledge from those who were granted earlier revelation [when He bade them]: "Make it known unto mankind, and do not conceal it!"* But they cast this [pledge] behind their backs, and bartered it away for a trifling gain: and how evil was their bargain!*
for We have never sent any apostle save that he should be heeded by God's leave.* If, then, after having sinned against themselves, they would but come round to thee and ask God to forgive them - with the Apostle, too, praying that they be forgiven - they would assuredly find that God is an acceptor of repentance, a dispenser of grace.
And, behold, there are indeed among you such as would lag behind, and then, if calamity befalls you, say, "God has bestowed His favour upon me in that I did not accompany them."
They would conceal their doings from men; but from God they cannot conceal them - for He is with them whenever they devise, in the dark of night, all manner of beliefs* which He does not approve. And God indeed encompasses [with His knowledge] whatever they do.
And [always] remember the blessings which God has bestowed upon you, and the solemn pledge by which He bound you to Himself* when you said, "We have heard, and we pay heed." Hence, remain conscious of God: verily, God has full knowledge of what is in the hearts [of men].
O you who have attained to faith! Remember the blessings which God bestowed upon you when [hostile] people were about to lay hands on you* and He stayed their hands from you. Remain, then, conscious of God: and in God let the believers place their trust.
AND, LO, Moses said unto his people:"* O my people! Remember the blessings which God bestowed upon you when he raised up prophets among you, and made you your own masters,* and granted unto you [favours] such as He had not granted to anyone else in the world.
AND CONVEY unto them, setting forth the truth, the story of the two sons of Adam* -how each offered a sacrifice, and it was accepted from one of them whereas it was not accepted from the other. [And Cain] said: "I will surely slay thee!" [Abel] replied: "Behold, God accepts only from those who are conscious of Him.
Lo!* God will say: "O Jesus, son of Mary! Remember the blessings which I bestowed upon thee and thy mother-how I strengthened thee with holy inspiration,* so that thou couldst speak unto men in thy cradle, and as a grown man; and how I imparted unto thee revelation and wisdom, including the Torah and the Gospel;* and how by My leave thou didst create out of clay, as it were, the shape of [thy followers'] destiny, and then didst breathe into it, so that it might become, by My leave, [their] destiny ;* and how thou didst heal the blind and the leper by My leave, and how thou didst raise the dead by My leave;* and how I prevented the children of Israel from harming thee when thou camest unto them with all evidence of the truth, and [when] those of them who were bent on denying the truth were saying, `This is clearly nothing but deception!"'
AND [remember the time] when I inspired the white-garbed ones:* Believe in Me and in My Apostle!" They answered: "We believe; and bear Thou witness that we have surrendered ourselves [unto Thee]."
[And,] lo, the white-garbed ones said: "O Jesus, son of Mary! Could thy Sustainer send down unto us a repast from heaven?"* [Jesus] answered: "Be conscious of God, if you are [truly] believers!"
AND LO! God said:* O Jesus, son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, `Worship me and my mother as deities beside God'?" [Jesus] answered: "Limitless art Thou in Thy glory! It would not have been possible for me to say what I had no right to [say]! Had I said this, Thou wouldst indeed have known it! Thou knowest all that is within myself, whereas I know not what is in Thy Self. Verily, it is Thou alone who fully knowest all the things that are beyond the reach of a created being's perception.
If thou couldst but see [them] when they will be made to stand before the fire and will say, "Oh, would that we were brought back [to life]: then we would not give the lie to our Sustainer's messages, but would be among the believers!"
If thou couldst but see [them] when they shall be made to stand before their Sustainer [and] He will say, "Is not this the truth?" They will answer: "Yea, indeed, by our Sustainer!" [Whereupon] He will say: "Taste, then, the suffering that comes from* your having refused to acknowledge the truth!"
yet when the misfortune decreed by Us befell them, they did not humble themselves, but rather their hearts grew hard, for Satan had made all their doings seem goodly to them.
SAY: "Shall we invoke, instead of God, something that can neither benefit us nor harm us, and [thus] turn around on our heels after God has guided us aright? -like one whom the satans have enticed into blundering after earthly lusts, the while his companions, trying to guide him, call out unto him [from afar] ,* `Come thou to us!"' Say: "Verily, God's guidance is the only guidance: and so we have been bidden to surrender ourselves unto the Sustainer of all the worlds,
AND, LO, [thus] spoke Abraham unto his father Azar:* "Takest thou idols for gods? Verily, I see that thou and thy people have obviously gone astray!"
For, no true understanding of God have they when they say, "Never has God revealed anything unto man." Say: "Who has bestowed from on high the divine writ which Moses brought unto men as a light and a guidance, [and] which you treat as* [mere] leaves of paper, making a show of them the while you conceal [so] much - although you have been taught [by it] what neither you nor your forefathers had ever known?"* Say: "God [has revealed that divine writ]!" - and then leave them to play at their vain talk.
And who could be more wicked than he who invents a lie about God,* or says, "This has been revealed unto me," the while nothing has been revealed to him? - or he who says, "I, too, can bestow from on high the like of what God has bestowed"?* If thou couldst but see [how it will be] when these evildoers find themselves in the agonies of death, and the angels stretch forth their hands [and call]: "Give up your souls! Today you shall be requited with the suffering of humiliation for having attributed to God something that is not true, and for having persistently scorned His messages in your arrogance!"
And [likewise they declare as unlawful] either of the two sexes of camels and of bovine cattle.* Ask [them]: "Is it the two males that He has forbidden, or the two females, or that which the wombs of the two females may contain? Is it, perchance, that you [yourselves] were witnesses when God enjoined [all] this upon you?" And who could be more wicked than he who, without any [real] knowledge, attributes his own lying inventions to God, and thus leads people astray'?* Behold, God does not grace [such] evildoing folk with His guidance.
And when Our punishment came upon them, they had nothing to say for themselves, and could only cry,* "Verily, we were wrongdoers!"
[And God] said: "What has kept thee from prostrating thyself when I commanded thee?" Answered [Iblis]: "I am better than he: Thou hast created me out of fire, whereas him Thou hast created out of clay."
Why, do you deem it strange that a tiding from your Sustainer should have come unto you through a man from among yourselves, so that he might warn you? Do but remember how He made you heirs to Noah's people, and endowed you abundantly with power:* remember, then, God's blessings, so that you might attain to a happy state!"
"And remember how He made you heirs to [the tribe of] `Ad* and settled you firmly on earth, so that you [are able to] build for yourselves castles on its plains and hew out mountains [to serve you] as dwellings:* remember, then, God's blessings, and do not act wickedly on earth by spreading corruption."
AND [remember] Lot ,* when he said unto his people: "Will you commit abominations such as none in all the world has ever done before you?
And do not lie in ambush by every road [that leads to the truth* ], threatening and trying to turn away from God's path all who believe in Him, and trying to make it appear crooked. And remember [the time] when you were few, and [how] He made you many: and behold what happened in the end to the spreaders of corruption!
We should be guilty of blaspheming against God* were we to return to your ways after God has saved us from them! It is not conceivable that we should return to them-unless God, our Sustainer, so wills.* All things does our Sustainer embrace within His knowledge; in God do we place our trust. O our Sustainer! Lay Thou open the truth between us and our people -for Thou art the best of all to lay open the truth!"*
And [he reminded them of this word of God]: "Lo, We saved you from Pharaoh's people who afflicted you with cruel suffering, slaying your sons in great numbers and sparing [only] your women - which was an awesome trial from your Sustainer."*
And We divided them into twelve tribes, [or] communities. And when his people asked Moses for water, We inspired him, "Strike the rock with thy staff!" -whereupon twelve springs gushed forth from it, so that all the people knew whence to drink., And We caused the clouds to comfort them with their shade, and We sent down unto them manna and quails, [saying:] "Partake of the good things which We have provided for you as sustenance." And [by all their sinning] they did no harm unto Us-but [only] against their own selves did they sin.
And [remember] when you were told: "Dwell in this land and eat of its food as you may desire; but say, `Remove Thou from us the burden of our sins,' and enter the gate humbly - [whereupon] We shall forgive you your sins [and] shall amply reward the doers of good."
And ask them about that town which stood by the sea: how its people would profane the Sabbath whenever their fish came to them, breaking the water's surface, on a day on which they ought to have kept Sabbath -because they would not come to them on other than Sabbath-days!* Thus did We try them by means of their [own] iniquitous doings.
And whenever some people* among them asked [those who tried to restrain the Sabbath-breakers], "Why do you preach to people whom God is about to destroy or [at least] to chastise with suffering severe?" -the pious ones* would answer, "In order to be free from blame before your Sustainer, and that these [transgressors, too,] might become conscious of Him."
And lo! Thy Sustainer made it known that most certainly He would rouse against them, unto Resurrection Day, people who would afflict them with cruel suffering: verily, thy Sustainer is swift in retribution - yet, verily, He is [also] much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.
And [did We not say,] when We caused Mount Sinai to quake above the children of Israel* as though it were a [mere] shadow, and they thought that it would fall upon them, "Hold fast with [all your] strength unto what We have vouchsafed you, and bear in mind all that is therein, so that you might remain conscious of God"?*
AND WHENEVER thy Sustainer brings forth their offspring from the loins of the children of Adam, He [thus] calls upon them to bear witness about themselves: "Am I not your Sustainer?" - to which they answer: "Yea, indeed, we do bear witness thereto!"* [Of this We remind you,] lest you say on the Day of Resurrection, "Verily, we were unaware of this";
And, lo, God gave you the promise that one of the two [enemy] hosts would fall to you: and you would have liked to seize the less powerful one,* whereas it was God's will to prove the truth to be true in accordance with His words, and to wipe out the last remnant of those who denied the truth* -
Lo! You were praying unto your Sustainer for aid, whereupon He thus responded to you: "I shall, verily, aid you with a thousand angels following one upon' another!"
[Remember how it was] when He caused inner calm to enfold you,* as an assurance from Him, and sent down upon you water from the skies, so that He might purify you thereby and free you from Satan's unclean whisperings* and strengthen your hearts and thus make firm your steps.
Lo! Thy Sustainer inspired the angels [to convey this His message to the believers]: "I am with you !"* [And He commanded the angels:] "And, give firmness unto those who have attained to faith [with these words from Me]:* `I shall cast terror into the hearts of those who are bent on denying the truth; strike, then, their necks, [O believers,] and strike off every one of their finger-tips!"*
And yet, [O believers,] it was not you who slew the enemy,* but it was God who slew them; and it was not thou who cast [terror into them, O Prophet], when thou didst cast it, but it was God who cast it:* and [He did all this] in order that He might test the believers by a goodly test of His Own or daining.* Verily, God is all-hearing, all-knowing!
And remember the time when you were few [and] helpless on earth, fearful lest people do away with you* - whereupon He sheltered you, and strengthened you with His succour, and provided for you sustenance out of the good things of life, so that you might have cause to be grateful.
AND [remember, O Prophet,] how those who were bent on denying the truth were scheming against thee, in order to restrain thee [from preaching], or to slay thee, or to drive thee away: thus have they [always] schemed:* but God brought their scheming to nought-for God is above all schemers.
And, lo, they would say, "O God! If this. be indeed the truth from Thee, then rain down upon us stones from the skies, or inflict [some other] grievous suffering on us!*
[Remember that day] when you were at the near end of the valley [of Badr], and they were at its farthest end, while the caravan was below you.* And if you had known that a battle was to take place, you would indeed have refused to accept the challenge:* but [the battle was brought about none the less,] so that God might accomplish a thing [which He willed] to be done,* [and] that he who would perish might perish in clear evidence of the truth, and that he who would remain alive might live in clear evidence of the truth.* And, behold, God is indeed all-hearing, all-knowing.
Lo! God showed them to thee in a dream as few:* for, had He shown them to you as many, you would surely have lost heart, and would surely have disagreed with one another about what to do.* But God saved [you from this]: verily, He has full knowledge of what is the hearts [of men].
And so, when you met in battle, He made them appear as few in your eyes -just as He made you appear as of little account in their eyes - so that God might accomplish a thing [which He willed] to be done:* for all things go back to God [as their source].
And, lo, Satan made all their doings seem goodly to them, and said, "No one can overcome you this day, for, behold, I shall be your protector !"* but as soon as the two hosts came within sight of one another, he turned on his heels and said, "Behold, I am not responsible for you: behold, I see something that you do not see: behold, I fear God-for God is severe in retribution !"*
At the same time, the hypocrites and those in whose hearts was disease were saying, "Their faith has deluded these [believers] !"* But he who places his trust in God [knows that], verily, God is almighty, wise.
AND IF thou couldst but see [how it will be] when He causes those who are bent on denying the truth to die: the angels will strike their faces: and their backs,* and [will say]: "Taste suffering through fire
Indeed, God has succoured you on many battlefields, [when you were few;] and [He did so, too,] on the Day of Hunayn, when you took pride in your great numbers and they proved of no avail whatever to you -for the earth, despite all its vastness, became [too] narrow for you and you turned back, retreating:*
If you do not succour the Apostle,* then [know that God will do so -just as] God succoured him at the time when those who were bent on denying the truth drove him away, [and he was but] one of two:* when these two were [hiding] in the cave, [and] the Apostle said to his companion, "Grieve not: verily, God is with us."* And thereupon God bestowed upon him from on high His (gift of] inner peace,* and brought utterly low the cause of those who were bent on denying the truth, whereas the cause of God remained supreme:* for God is almighty, wise.
And God would never-after having invited them to His guidance -condemn people for going astray* ere He has made [entirely] clear unto them of what they should beware. Verily, God has full knowledge of everything.*
AND IN whatever condition thou mayest find thyself, [O Prophet,] and whatever discourse of this [divine writ]* thou mayest be reciting, and whatever work you [all, O men,] may do -[remember that] We are your witness* [from the moment] when you enter upon it: for, not even an atom's weight [of whatever there is] on earth or in heaven escapes thy Sustainer's knowledge; and neither is there anything smaller than that, or larger, but is recorded in [His] clear decree.
AND CONVEY unto them the story of Noah-when he said unto his people: "O my people! If my presence [among you] and my announcement of God's messages are repugnant to you* -well, in God have I placed my trust. Decide, then, upon what you are going to do [against me],* and [call to your aid] those beings to whom you ascribe a share in God's divinity;* and once you have chosen your course of action, let no hesitation deflect you from it;* and then carry out against me [whatever you may have decided], and give me no respite!
LO!* Thus spoke Joseph unto his father: "O my father! Behold, I saw [in a dream] eleven stars, as well as the sun and the moon: I saw them prostrate themselves before me!"
NOW [Joseph's brothers] spoke [thus to one another:] "Truly, Joseph and his brother [Benjamin] are dearer to our father than we, even though we are so many.* Behold, our father is surely suffering from an aberration!"*
[Thereupon the King sent for those women; and when they came,] he asked: "What was it that you hoped to achieve when you sought to make Joseph yield himself unto you?"* The women answered: "God save us! We did not perceive the least evil [intention] on his part!" [And] the wife of Joseph's former master* exclaimed: "Now has the truth come to light! It was I who sought to make him yield himself unto me - whereas he, behold, was indeed speaking the truth!"
Replied he: "Do you remember* what you did to Joseph and his brother when you were still unaware [of right and wrong]?"*
And he raised his parents to the highest place of honour;* and they [all] fell down before Him, prostrating themselves in adoration.* Thereupon [Joseph] said: "O my father! This is the real meaning of my dream of long ago, which my Sustainer has made come true.* And He was indeed good to me when He freed me from the prison, and [when] He brought you [all unto me] from the desert after Satan had sown discord between me and my brothers. Verily, my Sustainer is unfathomable in [the way He brings about] whatever He wills:* verily, He alone is all-knowing, truly wise!
THIS ACCOUNT of something that was beyond the reach of thy perception We [now] reveal unto thee, [O Prophet:] for thou wert not with Joseph's brothers* when they resolved upon what they were going to do and wove their schemes [against him].
And, lo* Moses spoke [thus] unto his people: "Remember the blessings which God bestowed upon you when He saved you from Pharaoh's people who afflicted you with cruel suffering, and slaughtered your sons, and spared [only] your women* -which was an awesome trial from your Sustainer.
And [remember the time] when your Sustainer made [this promise] known: 'If you are grateful [to Me], I shall most certainly give you more and more;* but if you are ungrateful, verily, My chastisement will be severe indeed!"'
AND [remember the time] when Abraham spoke [thus]:* "O my Sustainer! Make this land secure,* and preserve me and my children from ever worshipping idols* -
And lo! Thy Sustainer said unto the angels: "Behold, I am about to create mortal man out of sounding clay, out of dark slime transmuted;
[how,] when they presented themselves before him and bade him peace, he answered: "Behold, we are afraid of you!"*
We are fully aware of what they are listening for when they listen to thee:* for when they are secluded among themselves, lo! these wrongdoers say [unto one another], "If you were to follow [Muhammad, you would follow] only a man bewitched!"
And lo! We said unto thee, [O Prophet:] "Behold, thy Sustainer encompasses all mankind [within His knowledge and might]: and so We have ordained that the vision which We have shown thee* -as also the tree [of hell,] cursed in this Qur'an - shall be but a trial for men .* Now [by Our mentioning hell] We convey a warning to them: but [if they are bent on denying the truth,] this [warning] only increases their gross, overweening arrogance."
AND LO! We said unto the angels, "Prostrate yourselves before Adam"-whereupon they all prostrated themselves, save Iblis.* Said he: "Shall I prostrate myself before one whom Thou hast created out of clay?"
Yet whenever [God's] guidance came to them [through a prophet,] nothing has ever kept people from believing [in him] save this their objection:* "Would God have sent a [mere] mortal man as His apostle?"
AND, INDEED, We gave unto Moses nine clear messages.* Ask, then, the children of Israel* [to tell thee what happened] when he came unto them, [and appealed to Pharaoh,* ] and Pharaoh said unto him, "Verily, O Moses, I think that thou art full of sorcery!"*
When those youths took refuge in the cave, they prayed: "O our Sustainer! Bestow on us grace from Thyself, and endow us, whatever our [outward] condition, with consciousness of what is right!"*
and endowed their hearts with strength, so that they stood up* and said [to one another]: "Our Sustainer is the Sustainer of the heavens and the earth. Never shall we invoke any deity other than Him: [if we did,] we should indeed have uttered an enormity!
Hence, now that you have withdrawn from them and from all that they worship instead of God, take refuge in that cave: God will spread His grace over you, and will endow you - whatever your [outward] condition - with all that your souls may need!*
AND IN THIS way* have We drawn [people's] attention to their story,* so that they might know - whenever they debate among themselves as to what happened to those [Men of the Cave]* that God's promise [of resurrection] is true, and that there can be no doubt as to [the coming of] the Last Hour. And so, some [people] said: "Erect a building in their memory;* God knows best what happened to them." Said they whose opinion prevailed in the end: "Indeed, we must surely raise a house of worship in their memory!"
And [he continued:] "Alas,* if thou hadst but said, on entering thy garden, `Whatever God wills [shall come to pass, for] there is no power save with God!' Although, as thou seest, I have less wealth and offspring than thou,
AND [remember that] when We told the angels, "Prostrate yourselves before Adam,"* they all prostrated themselves, save Iblis: he [too] was one of those invisible beings,* but then he turned away from his Sustainer's command. Will you, then, take him and his cohorts* for (your], masters instead of Me, although they are your foe? How vile an exchange on the evildoers' part!*
for, what is there to keep people from attaining to faith now that guidance has come unto them, and from asking their Sustainer to forgive them their sins - unless it be [their wish] that the fate of the [sinful] people of ancient times should befall them [as well], or that the [ultimate] suffering should befall them in the hereafter?*
AND LO! [In the course of his wanderings,] Moses said to his servant:* "I shall not give up until I reach the junction of the two seas, even if I [have to] spend untold years [in my quest]!"
Said [the servant]: "Wouldst thou believe it?* When we betook ourselves to that rock for a rest, behold, I forgot about the fish-and none but Satan made me thus forget it* - and it took its way into the sea! How strange!"
When he called out to his Sustainer in the secrecy of his heart,*
AND CALL to mind, through this divine writ,* Mary. Lo! She withdrew from her family to an eastern place
hence, warn them of [the coming of] the Day of Regrets, when everything will have been decided-for as yet they are heedless, and they do not believe [in it].
when he spoke [thus] unto his father: "O my father! Why dost thou worship something that neither hears nor sees and can be of no avail whatever to thee?
Lo! he saw a fire [in the desert];* and so he said to his family: "Wait here! Behold, I perceive a fire [far away]: perhaps I can bring you a brand there from, or find at the fire some guidance."
when We inspired thy mother with this inspiration:
"[And thou wert under Mine eye] when thy sister went forth and said [to Pharaoh's people], 'Shall I guide you unto [a woman] who might take charge of him?''* And so We returned thee unto thy mother, so that her eye be gladdened, and that she might not sorrow [any longer].* "And [when thou camest of age,* thou didst slay a man: but We did save thee from all grief, although We tried thee with various trials.* "And then thou didst sojourn for years among the people of Madyan;* and now thou hast come [here] as ordained [by Me], O Moses:
[And now that he had come back, Moses] said: "O Aaron! What has prevented thee, when thou didst see that they had gone astray,
[But] We know best* what they will be saying when the most perceptive of them shall say, "You have spent [there] but one day!"
For [thus it was:] when We told the angels, "Prostrate yourselves before Adam!"- they all prostrated themselves, save Ibis, who refused [to do it];*
when he said unto his father and his people, What are these images to which you are so intensely devoted?"
AND [remember] Noah - [how,] when He called out [unto Us], long before [the time of Abraham and Lot], We responded to him and saved him and his household from that awesome calamity;*
AND [remember] David and Solomon - [how it was] when both of them gave judgment concerning the field into which some people's sheep had strayed by night and pastured therein, and [how] We bore witness to their judgment:*
AND [remember] Job, when he cried out to his Sustainer, Affliction has befallen me: but Thou art the most merciful of the merciful!"*
AND [remember] him of the great fish* when he went off in wrath, thinking that We had no power over him!* But then heeded out in the deep darkness [of his distress]: There is no deity save Thee! Limitless art Thou in Thy glory! Verily, I have done wrong!"*
AND [thus did We deliver] Zachariah when he cried out unto his Sustainer: O my Sustainer! Leave me not childless! But [even if Thou grant me no bodily heir, I know that] Thou wilt remain when all else has ceased to be!"*
For, when We assigned unto Abraham the site of this Temple,* [We said unto him:] Do not ascribe divinity to aught beside Me!"* and: Purify My Temple for those who will walk around it,* and those who will stand before it [in meditation], and those who will bow down and prostrate themselves [in prayer]."
Why do not the believing men and women, whenever such [a rumour] is heard,* think the best of one another and say, This is an obvious falsehood"?
why do they not [demand of the accusers that they]* their allegation?* for, if they do not produce such witnesses, it is those [accusers] who, in the sight of God, are liars indeed!
when you take it up with your tongues, uttering with your mouths something of which you have no knowledge, and deeming it a light matter whereas in the sight of God it is an awful thing!
And [once again]: Why do you not say, whenever you hear such [a rumour], It does not behove us to speak of this, O Thou who art limitless in Thy glory: this is an awesome calumny"?*
Indeed, he led me astray from the remembrance [of God] after it had come unto me!" For [thus it is:] Satan is ever a betrayer of man.*
HENCE, [remember how it was] when thy Sustainer summoned Moses: Go unto those evil doing people.
[how it was] when he asked his father and his people, What is it that you worship?"
Said he: Do [you really think that] they hear you when you invoke them,
when we deemed you [false deities] equal to the Sustainer of all the worlds
when their brother Noah said unto them: Will you not be conscious of God?
when their brother Hud said unto them:* Will you not be conscious of God?
when their brother Salih said unto them:* Will you not be conscious of God?
when their brother Lot said unto them: Will you not be conscious of God?
when their brother Shu'ayb said unto them:* Will you not be conscious of God?
Lo! [While lost in the desert,] Moses said to his family:* Behold, I perceive a fire [far away]; I may bring you from there some tiding [as to which way we arc to pursue], or bring you [at least] a burning brand so that you might warm yourselves."
AND [thus, too, did We save] Lot, when he said unto his people:* Would you commit this abomination with your eyes open (to its being against all nature)?*
NOW [as for thee, O Muhammad,] thou wert not present on the sunset slope [of Mount Sinai] when We imposed the Law upon Moses, nor wert thou among those who witnessed [his times]:*
And neither wert thou present on the slope of Mount Sinai when We called out [to Moses]:* but [thou, too, art sent] as an act of thy Sustainer's grace, to warn people to whom no warner has come before thee, so that they might bethink themselves [of Us];
[NOW,] BEHOLD, Qarun was one of the people of Moses;* but he arrogantly exalted himself above them - simply because We had granted him such riches that his treasure-chests alone would surely have been too heavy a burden for a troop of ten men or even more.* When [they perceived his arrogance,] his people said unto him: Exult not [in thy wealth], for, verily, God does not love those who exult [in things vain]!
and never let them turn thee away from God's messages after they have been bestowed upon thee from on high: instead* summon [all men] to thy Sustainer. And never be of those who ascribe divinity to aught but Him,
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!
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!
And, lo, Luqman spoke thus unto his son, admonishing him: O my dear son!* Do not ascribe divine powers to aught beside God: for, behold, such [a false] ascribing of divinity is indeed an awesome wrong!
If thou couldst but see [how it will be on Judgment Day], when those who are lost in sin will hang their heads before their Sustainer, [saying:] O our Sustainer! [Now] we have seen, and we have heard! Return us, then, [to our earthly life] that we may do good deeds: for [now], behold, we are certain [of the truth]!"
AND LO! We did accept a solemn pledge from all the prophets* from thee, [O Muhammad,] as well as from Noah, and Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus the son of Mary -: for We accepted a most weighty, solemn pledge from [all of] them,
O YOU who have attained to faith! Call to mind the blessings which God bestowed on you (at the time) when [enemy] hosts came down upon you, whereupon We let loose against them a storm wind and [heavenly] hosts that you could not see:* yet God saw all that you did.
[Remember what you felt] when they came upon you from above you and from below you,* and when [your] eyes became dim and [your] hearts came up to [your] throats, and [when] most conflicting thoughts about God passed through your minds:*
And [remember how it was] when the hypocrites and those with hearts diseased* said [to one another], God and His Apostle have promised us nothing but delusions!"*
and when some of them said, O you people of Yathrib! You cannot withstand [the enemy] here:* hence, go back [to your homes]!" Whereupon a party from among them asked leave of the Prophet, saying, Behold, our houses are exposed [to attack]!" The while they were not [really] exposed: they wanted nothing but to flee.
AND LO,* [O Muhammad,] thou didst say unto the one to whom God had shown favour and to whom thou hadst shown favour,* Hold on to thy wife, and remain conscious of God!" And [thus] wouldst thou hide within thyself something that God was about to bring to light* for thou didst stand in awe of [what] people [might think], whereas it was God alone of whom thou shouldst have stood in awe!* [But] then, when Zayd had come to the end of his union with her,* We gave her to thee in marriage, so that [in future] no blame should attach to the believers for [marrying] the spouses of their adopted children when the latter have come to the end of their union with them.* And [thus] God's will was done.
And [yet,] those who are bent on denying the truth do say, We shall never believe in this Qur'an, and neither in whatever there still remains of earlier revelations!"* But if thou couldst only see [how it will be on Judgment Day,] when these evildoers shall be made to stand before their Sustainer, hurling reproaches back and forth at one another! Those [of them] who had been weak [on earth] will say unto those who had gloried in their arrogance:* Had it not been for you, we would certainly have been believers!"
[And] those who were wont to glory in their arrogance will say unto those who had been weak: Why - did we keep you [forcibly] from following the right path after it had become obvious to you?* Nay, it was but you [yourselves] who were guilty!"
But those who had been weak will say unto those who had gloried in their arrogance: Nay, [what kept us away was your] devising of false arguments, night and day, [against God's messages- as you did]* when you persuaded us to blaspheme against God and to claim that there are powers that could rival Him!"* And when they see the suffering [that awaits them], they will [all] be unable to express [the full depth of] their remorse:* for We shall have put shackles around the necks of those who had been bent on denying the truth:* [and] will this be aught but a [just] requital for what they were doing?
IF THOU couldst but see [how the deniers of the truth will fare on Resurrection Day,] when they will shrink in terror, with nowhere to escape - since they will have been seized from so close nearby*
AND SET FORTH unto them a parable - [the story of how] the people of a township [behaved] when [Our] message-bearers came unto them.
Lo! We sent unto them two [apostles], and. they gave the lie to both; and so We strengthened [the two] with a third; and thereupon they said: Behold, we have been sent unto you [by God]!"*
when he turned to his Sustainer with a heart free of evil,
and [thus] spoke to his father and his people: What is it that you worship?
when he spoke [thus] to his people: Will you not remain conscious of God?
[and so,] when [We decreed the doom of his sinful town,]* We saved him and his household,
when he fled like a runaway slave onto a laden ship.*
AND YET, has the story of the litigants come within thy ken - [the story of the two] who surmounted the walls of the sanctuary [in which David prayed]?*
As they came upon David, and he shrank back in fear from them, they said: Fear not! [We are but] two litigants. One of us has wronged the other: so judge thou between us with justice, and deviate not from what is right, and show [both of] us the way to rectitude.
[and even] when, towards the close of day, nobly-bred, swift-footed steeds were brought before him,
AND CALL to mind Our servant Job,* [how it was] when he cried out to his Sustainer, Behold, Satan has afflicted me with [utter] weariness and suffering!"*
[Say, O Muhammad:] No knowledge would I have had of [what passed among] the host on high when they argued [against the creation of man],*
[For,] lo,* thy Sustainer said unto the angels: Behold, I am about to create a human being out of clay;*
And who could be more wicked than he who invents lies about God?* and gives the lie to the truth as soon as it has been placed before him? Is not hell the [proper] abode for all who deny the truth?*
[But,] behold, as for those who are bent on denying the truth - [on that same Day] a voice will call out unto them:* Indeed, greater than your [present] loathing of yourselves* was God's loathing of you [at the time] when you were called unto faith but went on denying the truth!"*
Hence, warn them of that Day which draws ever nearer, when the hearts will chokingly come up to the throats: no loving friend will the evildoers have, nor any intercessor who would be heeded:*
AND LO! They [who in life were wont to deny the truth] will contend with one another in the fire [of the hereafter]; and then the weak will say unto those who had gloried in their arrogance, Behold, we were but your followers: can you, then, relieve us of some [of our] share of this fire?"*
when they shall have to carry the shackles and chains [of their own making] around their necks,*
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!"
AND WHEN Abraham spoke to his father and his people, [he had this very truth in mind:]* Verily, far be it from me to worship what you worship!
On that Day it will not profit you in the least [to know] that, since you have sinned [together], you are now to share your suffering [as well].*
But they who are bent on denying the truth speak thus of those who have attained to faith: If this [message] were any good, these [people] would not have preceded us in accepting it!"* And since they refuse to be guided by it, they will always say, This is [but] an ancient falsehood!"*
AND REMEMBER that brother of [the tribe of] Ad,* how - seeing that [other] warnings had already come and gone within his own knowledge as well as in times beyond his ken -* he warned his people [who lived] among those sand-dunes: Worship none but God! Verily, I fear lest suffering befall you on an awesome day!"
And yet, We had established them securely in a manner in which We have never established you, [O people of later times;]* and We had endowed them with hearing, and sight, and [knowledgeable] hearts:* but neither their hearing, nor their sight, nor their hearts were of the least avail to them, seeing that they went on rejecting God's messages; and [in the end] they were overwhelmed* by the very thing which they had been wont to deride.
AND LO!* We caused a group of unseen beings to incline towards thee, [O Muhammad,]* so that they might give ear to the Qur'an; and so, as soon as they became aware of it,* they said [unto one another], Listen in silence!" And when [the recitation] was ended, they returned to their people as warners.*
INDEED, well-pleased was God with the believers when they pledged their allegiance unto thee [O Muhammad] under that tree,* for He knew what was in their hearts; and so He bestowed inner peace upon them from on high, and rewarded them with [the glad tiding of] a victory soon to come*
Whereas they who are bent on denying the truth harboured a stubborn disdain in their hearts - the stubborn disdain [born] of ignorance* God bestowed from on high His [gift of] inner peace upon His Apostle and the believers, and bound them to the spirit of God-consciousness:* for they were most worthy of this [divine gift], and deserved it well. And God has full knowledge of all things.
[And so,] whenever the two demands [of his nature] come face to face, contending from the right and from the left,*
When those [heavenly messengers] came unto him and bade him peace, he answered, [And upon you be] peace!" - [saying to himself,] They are strangers."*
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 [you have the same message] in [what happened to the tribe of] Ad, when We let loose against them that life-destroying wind
And in [the story of the tribe of] Thamud, too, when they were told, You shall enjoy your life for [but] a little while,"*
with the lote-tree veiled in a veil of nameless splendour
As for those who avoid the [truly] grave sins and shameful deeds - even though they may sometimes stumble* behold, thy Sustainer is abounding in forgiveness. He is fully aware of you* when He brings you into being out of dust,* and when you are still hidden in your mothers' wombs: do not, then, consider yourselves pure - [for] He knows best as to who is conscious of Him.*
Do you, perchance, fear lest [you may be sinning if] you cannot offer up anything in charity on the occasion of your consultation [with the Apostle]? But if you fail to do it [for lack of opportunity], and God turns unto you in His mercy, remain but constant in prayer and render [no more than] the purifying dues,* and [thus] pay heed unto God and His Apostle: for God is fully aware of all that you do.
the like of [what happens] when Satan says unto man, Deny the truth!" - but as soon as [man] has denied the truth, [Satan] says, Behold, I am not responsible for thee: behold, I fear God, the Sustainer of all the worlds!"*
Indeed, you have had a good example in Abraham and those who followed him, when they said unto their [idolatrous] people: "Verily, we are quit of you and of all that you worship instead of God: we deny the truth of whatever you believe; and between us and you there has arisen enmity and hatred, to last until such a time* as you come to believe in the One God!" The only exception was* Abraham's saying to his father "I shall indeed pray for [God's] forgiveness for thee,* although I have it not in my power to obtain anything from God in thy behalf." [And Abraham and his followers prayed:] "O our Sustainer! In Thee have we placed our trust, and unto Thee do we turn: for unto Thee is all journeys' end.
Now when Moses spoke to his people, [it was this same truth that he had in mind:] "O my people! Why do you cause me grief,* the while you know that I am an apostle of God sent unto you?" And so, when they swerved from the right way, God let their hearts swerve from the truth:* for God does not bestow His guidance upon iniquitous folk.
And [this happened, too,] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said: "O children of Israel! Behold, I am an apostle of God unto you, [sent] to confirm the truth of whatever there still remains* of the Torah, and to give [you] the glad tiding of an apostle who shall come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad."* But when he [whose coming Jesus had foretold] came unto them* with all evidence of the truth, they said: "This [alleged message of his] is [nothing but] spellbinding eloquence!"*
And lo!* [It so happened that] the Prophet told something in confidence to one of his wives; and when she thereupon divulged it, and God made this known to him, he acquainted [others] with some of it and passed over some of it.* And as soon as he let her know it, she asked, "Who has told thee this?"* - [to which] he replied, "The All-Knowing, the All-Aware has told me."
And for those who have attained to faith God has propounded a parable in [the story of] Pharaoh's wife* as she prayed "O my Sustainer! Build Thou for me a mansion in the paradise [that is] with Thee, and save me from Pharaoh and his doings, and save me, from all evildoing folk!
[As for such sinners,] behold, We [but] try them* as We tried the owners of a certain garden who vowed that they would surely harvest its fruit on the morrow,
BEAR THEN with patience thy Sustainer's will and be not like him of the great fish, who cried out [in distress] after having given in to anger.*
Consider the night when it departs,
Lo! His Sustainer called out to him in the twice-hallowed valley:*
Lo! [With glee do] they contemplate that [fire],
when that most hapless wretch from among them rushed forward [to commit his evil deed],