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."
Or [art thou, O man, of the same mind] as he* who passed by a town deserted by its people, with its roofs caved in, [and] said, "How could God bring all this back to life after its death?"* Thereupon God caused him to be dead for a hundred years; where after He brought him back to life [and] said: "How long hast thou remained thus?" He answered: "I have remained thus a day, or part of a day." Said [God]: "Nay, but thou hast remained thus for a hundred years! But look at thy food and thy drink-untouched is it by the passing of years - and look at thine ass!* And [We did all this so that We might make thee a symbol unto men. And look at the bones [of animals and men] - how We put them together and then clothe them with flesh!"* And when [all this] became clear to him, he said: "I know [now] that God has the power to will anything!"
And how could you refuse to fight* in the cause of God and of the utterly helpless men and women and children who are crying, "O our Sustainer! Lead us forth [to freedom] out of this land whose people are oppressors, and raise for us, out of Thy grace, a protector, and raise for us, out of Thy grace, one who will bring us succour!"
And this, too, is a divine writ which We have bestowed from on high - blessed, confirming the truth of whatever there still remains [of earlier revelations]* -and [this] in order that thou mayest warn the foremost of all cities and all who dwell around it.* And those who believe in the life to come do believe in this [warning]; and it is they who are ever-mindful of their prayers.
And it is in this way that We cause the great ones in every land to become its [greatest] evildoers,* there to weave their schemes: yet it is only against themselves that they scheme -and they perceive it not.
And so it is that thy Sustainer would never destroy a community* for its wrongdoing so long as its people are still unaware [of the meaning of right and wrong]:
And how many a [rebellious] community have We destroyed, with Our punishment coming upon it by night, or while they were resting at noontide!*
But his people's only answer was this:* "Expel them from your land! Verily, they are folk who make themselves out to be pure!"*
Said the great ones among his people, who gloried in their arrogance: "Most certainly, O Shu'ayb, we shall expel thee and thy fellow-believers from our land, unless you indeed return to our ways!" Said [Shu'ayb]: "Why, even though we abhor [them]?
AND NEVER YET have We sent a prophet unto any community without trying its people with misfortune and hardship, so that they might humble themselves;
Yet if the people of those communities had but attained to faith and been conscious of Us, We would indeed have opened up for them blessings out of heaven and earth: but they gave the lie to the truth - and so We took them to task through what they [themselves] had been doing.*
Can, then, the people of any community ever feel secure that Our punishment will not come upon them by night, while they are asleep?
Why, can the people of any community ever feel secure that Our punishment will not come upon them in broad daylight, while they are engaged in (worldly] play?*
Unto those [earlier] communities - some of whose stories We [now] relate unto thee -there had indeed come apostles of their own with all evidence of the truth; but they would not believe in anything to which they had once given the lie:* thus it is that God seals the hearts of those who deny the truth;
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.
For, alas,* there has never yet been any community that attained to faith [in its entirety,] and thereupon benefited by its faith, except the people of Jonah.* When they came to believe, We removed from them the suffering of disgrace [which otherwise would have befallen them even] in the life of this world, and allowed them to enjoy their life during the time allotted to them.*
THIS ACCOUNT* of the [fate of those ancient] communities - some of them still remaining, and some [extinct like] a field mown-down - We convey unto thee [as a lesson for mankind]:*
And such is thy Sustainer's punishing grasp whenever He takes to task any community that is given to evildoing: verily, His punishing grasp is grievous, severe!
For, never would thy Sustainer destroy a community* for wrong [beliefs alone] so long as its people behave righteously [towards one another].*
And ask thou in the town in which we were [at the time], and of the people of the caravan with whom we travelled hither, and [thou wilt find that] we, are indeed telling the truth!"'
And [even] before thy time, We never sent [as Our apostles] any but [mortal] men, whom We inspired, [and whom We always chose] from among the people of the [very] communities [to whom the message was to be brought].* Have, then, they [who reject this divine writ] never journeyed about the earth and beheld what happened in the end to those [deniers of the truth] who lived before them?-and [do they not know that] to those who are conscious of God the life in the hereafter is indeed better [than this world]? Will they not, then, use their reason?
And never have We destroyed any community [for its wrongdoing] unless a divine writ had (previously] been made known to it;*
AND GOD propounds [to you] a parable: [Imagine] a town which was [once] secure and at ease, with its sustenance coming to it abundantly from all quarters, and which thereupon blasphemously refused to show gratitude for God's blessings: and therefore God caused it to taste the all-embracing misery* of hunger and fear in result of all [the evil] that its people had so persistently wrought.*
But when [this has been done, and] it is Our will to destroy a community, We convey Our last warning* to those of its people who have lost themselves entirely in the pursuit of pleasures;* and [if] they [continue to] act sinfully, the sentence [of doom] passed on the community takes effect, and We break it to smithereens.
And [bear in mind:] there is no community which We will not destroy before the Day of Resurrection,* or chastise [even earlier, if it proves sinful,] with suffering severe: all this is laid down in Our decree.*
as [was the case with all] those communities that We destroyed when they went on and on doing wrong:* for We had set a time-limit for their destruction.
And so the two went on, till, when they came upon some village people, they asked them* for food; but those [people] refused them all hospitality. And they saw in that (village] a wall which was on the point of tumbling down, and [the sage] rebuilt it[whereupon Moses] said: "Hadst thou so wished, surely thou couldst [at least] have obtained some payment for it?"
Not one of the communities that We destroyed in bygone times* would ever believe [their prophets]: will these, then, [be more willing to] believe?*
For, how many a community that persisted in evildoing have We dashed into fragments, and raised another people in its stead!*
AND UNTO Lot, too, We vouchsafed sound judgment and knowledge [of right and wrong], and saved him from that community which was given to deeds of abomination.* [We destroyed those people - forr,] verily, they were people lost in evil, depraved
Hence, it has been unfailingly true of* any community whom We have ever destroyed that they [were people who] would never turn back [from their sinful ways]*
And how many a township have We destroyed because it had been immersed in evildoing - and now they [all] lie deserted, with their roofs caved in! And how many a well lies abandoned, and how many a castle that [once] stood high!
And to how many a community that was immersed in evildoing have I given rein for a while! But then I took it to task: for with Me is all journeys' end!
And they [who now deny Our messages] must surely have come across that town which was rained upon by a rain of evil:* have they, then, never beheld it [with their minds eye]? But nay, they would not believe in resurrection!*
Now had We so willed. We could have [continued as before and] raised up a [separate] warner in every single community:*
And withal, never have We destroyed any community unless it had been warned
Said she: Verily, whenever kings enter a country they corrupt it,* and turn the noblest of its people into the most abject. And this is the way they [always] behave?*
But his people's only answer was this: Expel [Lot and] Lot's followers from your township! Verily, they are folk who make themselves out to be pure!"*
And how many a community that [once] exulted in its wanton wealth and ease of life have We destroyed, so that those dwelling-places of theirs all but a few - have never been dwelt-in after them: for it is indeed We alone who shall remain when all else will have passed away!*
Yet, withal, thy Sustainer would never destroy a community without having [first] raised in its midst an apostle who would convey unto them Our messages;* and never would We destroy a community unless its people are wont to do wrong [to one another].*
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!"*
Verily, we shall bring down upon the people of this land a horror from heaven in requital of all their iniquitous doings!"
Now [before their downfall,] We had placed between them and the cities which We had blessed* [many] towns within sight of one another; and thus We had made traveling easy [for them, as if to say]: Travel safely in this [land], by night or by day!"
For [thus it is:] whenever We sent a warner to any community, those of its people who had lost themselves entirely in the pursuit of pleasures would declare,* Behold, we deny that there is any truth in [what you claim to be] your message!"
AND SET FORTH unto them a parable - [the story of how] the people of a township [behaved] when [Our] message-bearers came unto them.
[Thou art but entrusted with Our message:] and so We have revealed unto thee a discourse in the Arabic tongue* in order that thou mayest warn the foremost of all cities and all who dwell around it* to wit, warn [them] of the Day of the Gathering, [the coming of] which is beyond all doubt: [the Day when] some shall find themselves in paradise, and some in the blazing flame.
And thus it is: whenever We sent, before thy time, a warner to any community, those of its people who had lost themselves entirely in the pursuit of pleasures* would always say, Behold, we found our forefathers agreed on what to believe - and, verily, it is but in their footsteps that we follow!"*
And they say, too, Why was not this Qur'an bestowed from on high on some great man of the two cities?"*
Thus have We destroyed many a [sinful] community living round about you;* and yet, [before destroying them,] We had given many facets to [Our warning] messages, so that they might turn back [from their evil ways].
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!
Whatever [spoils taken] from the people of those villages God has turned over to His Apostle - [all of it] belongs to God and the Apostle,* and the near of kin [of deceased believers], and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer,* so that it may not be [a benefit] going round and round among such of you as may [already] be rich. Hence, accept [willingly] whatever the Apostle* gives you [thereof], and refrain from [demanding] anything that he withholds from you; and remain conscious of God: for, verily, God is severe in retribution.*
Never will they fight you, [even] in unison, otherwise than from within fortified strongholds or from behind walls.* Severe is their warlike discord among themselves: thou wouldst think that they are united, whereas [in fact] their hearts are at odds [with one another]: this, because they are people who will not use their reason.*
AND HOW MANY a community has turned with disdain from the commandment of its Sustainer and His apostles!* -whereupon We callled them all to account with an accounting severe, and caused them to suffer with a suffering unnameable: