Thou truly canst not guide whom thou desirest; but God guideth whom He will;
and He best knoweth those who yield to guidance.
But they say, "If we follow the way in which thou art guided,19 we shall be
driven from our country." But have we not established for them a sacred
secure precinct, to which fruits of every kind, our gift for their support,
are gathered together? But most of them have no knowledge.
And how many cities have we destroyed that flourished in wanton ease! And
these their dwellings have not been inhabited since their time save by a few,
and it is we who became their heirs.
But thy Lord did not destroy the cities till He had sent an apostle to their
mother-city to rehearse our signs to its people: nor did we destroy the
cities unless its people were unjust.
And all that hath been bestowed on you is merely for enjoyment and pomp of
this life present: but that which is with God is better and more lasting.
Will ye not be wise?
Shall he then to whom we have promised a goodly promise and who obtaineth it,
be as he on whom we have bestowed the enjoyments of this life present, and
who on the day of Resurrection shall be brought up for punishment?
On that day will God cry to them and say, "Where are my companions, as ye
They on whom doom shall be justly pronounced will say, "O our Lord! these are
they whom we led astray: we led them astray even as we had been led astray
ourselves: Thou hast no cause of blame against us: It was not we whom they
And it shall be said, "Call now on those whom ye made God's companions:" and
they shall call on them, but they will not answer them. And they shall see
the punishment, and wish that they had been guided aright.
And on that day shall God call to them and say, "How answered ye the
But on that day they shall be too blinded with confusion to give an
account,21 nor shall they ask it of one another.
Yet as to him who shall turn to God and believe and do the thing that is
right, it may come to pass that he shall be among the happy.
And thy Lord createth what he will and hath a free choice. But they, the
false gods, have no power to choose. Glory be to God! and high let him be
exalted above those whom they associate with him.
And thy Lord knoweth what their breasts conceal and what they bring to light.
And He is God! There is no god but He! His, all praise in this life and in
the next, and His the power supreme,22 and to Him shall ye be brought back!
SAY: What think ye? If God should enshroud you with a long night until the
day of resurrection, what god beside God would bring you light? Will ye not
SAY: What think ye? If God should make it one long day for you until the day
of resurrection, what god but God could bring you the night in which to take
your rest? Will ye not then see?
Of His mercy he hath made for you the night that ye may take your rest in it;
and the day that ye may seek what ye need out of his bounteous supplies, and
that ye may give thanks.
One day God will call to them and say, "Where are my companions as ye
And we will bring up a witness out of every nation and say, "Bring your
proofs." And they shall know that the truth is with God alone, and the gods
of their own devising shall desert them.
Now Korah23 was of the people of Moses: but he behaved haughtily toward them;
for we had given him such treasure that its keys would have burdened a
company of men of strength. When his people said to him, "Exult not, for God
loveth not those who exult;
But seek, by means of what God hath given thee, to attain the future Mansion;
and neglect not thy part in this world, but be bounteous to others as God
hath been bounteous to thee, and seek not to commit excesses on the earth;
for God loveth not those who commit excesses:"
He said, "It hath been given me only on account of the knowledge that is in
me." Did he not know that God had destroyed before him generations that were
mightier than he in strength and had amassed more abundant wealth? But the
wicked shall not be asked of their crimes.
And Korah went forth to his people in his pomp. Those who were greedy for
this present life said, "Oh that we had the like of that which hath been
bestowed on Korah! Truly he is possessed of great good fortune."
But they to whom knowledge had been given said, "Woe to you! the reward of
God is better for him who believeth and worketh righteousness, and none shall
win it but those who have patiently endured."
And we clave the earth for him and for his palace, and he had no forces, in
the place of God,24 to help him, nor was he among those who are succoured.
And in the morning those who the day before had coveted his lot said, "Aha!
God enlargeth supplies to whom he pleaseth of his servants, or is sparing.
Had not God been gracious to us, He had caused it to cleave for us. Aha! the
ungrateful can never prosper."
As to this future mansion, we will bestow it on those who seek not to exalt
them in the earth or to do wrong: And there is a happy issue for the God-
Whoso doeth good shall have reward beyond its merits, and whoso doeth evil,
they who do evil shall be rewarded only as they shall have wrought.
He who hath sanctioned the Koran to thee will certainly bring thee to thy
home.25 SAY: My Lord best knoweth who hath guidance, and who is in undoubted
Thou didst never expect that the Book would be given thee. Of thy Lord's
mercy only hath it been sent down. Be not thou helpful then to the
Neither let them turn thee aside from the signs of God after they have been
sent down to thee, but bid men to thy Lord; and be not among those who add
gods to God:
And call not on any other god with God. There is no god but He! Everything
shall perish except Himself! Judgment is His, and to Him shall ye return!
1 See Sura lxviii. 1, p. 32.
2 Lit. Imâms.
3 Comp. [xci.] ii. 58.
4 That is, This child will be a comfort to us. See Sura [lviii.] xix. 26.
5 "Why must the nurse be a Hebrew woman? (Ex. ii. 7.) This shews that he
refused the breast of all the Egyptian women. For the Holy, blessed be He,
had said, Shall the mouth that is to speak with me suck an unclean thing?"
Sotah. xii. 2.
6 Lit. in the time of neglect on the part of its people, i.e. at the hour of
the noon sleep.
7 Lit. I have acted unjustly to my soul.
8 Comp. Ex. ii. 16, 17, where the daughters are said to be seven.
9 That is, of a wife.
10 The compact (Gen. xxix. 15-39) between Laban and Jacob must have been
present to the mind of Muhammad when composing this tale.
11 Lit. he was cried to. According to Muhammad, Moses had resolved to quit
Madian previously to the Vision of the Bush, which, according to Ex. iii.,
was the real occasion.
12 Lit. thy wing.
13 Lit. kindle upon the clay. Comp. [lxxviii.] xl. 38-49. "He (Pharaoh) said
to them: From the first have ye spoken an untruth, for Lord of the Worlds am
I. I created myself and the Nile, as it is said (Ez. xxix. 3), 'My river is
mine own and I have made it for myself."' (E.T.) Mid. Rab. on Ex. Par. 5.
14 So that the oral traditions would be easily handed down.
15 Or, yet have we sent thee as an Apostle to them.
16 Supply, we will not believe.
17 That is, the Pentateuch and the Koran.
18 The Meccan Jews and Christians who had formerly embraced Islam, and could
now affirm that they had always held the same faith. This passage could not
have been written after Muhammad's experience of Jewish unbelief at Medina.
19 Lit. the guidance with thee.
20 But their own imaginations and passions.
21 Lit. the account shall be blind or dark to them. Sie werden vor Bestürzung
keine Rechenschaft geben. Ullm.
22 Potestas judiciaria. Mar. Richteramt. Ullm.
23 Ar. Karun. "Joseph concealed three treasures in Egypt, one of which became
known to Korah . . . the keys of Korah's treasure chambers were a burden for
300 white mules." Midr. Jalkut on Eccl. v. 12, "Riches kept for the owners
thereof to their hurt,"�which may have furnished Muhammad with the nucleus of
this story. Compare also Tract. Psachim. fol. 119 a.
24 Or, against God.
25 Probably to Paradise, according to others to Mecca, as a conqueror. But
this latter interpretation involves the revelation of this verse at least, at
SURA XXXIX.�THE TROOPS [LXXX.]
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
THE Book1 sent down from God, the Mighty, the Wise!
We have sent down the Book to thee with the truth: serve thou God then, and
be sincere in thy worship:
Is not a sincere worship due to God?
But they who take others beside him as lords saying, "We serve them only that
they may bring us near to God"�God will judge between them and the faithful,
concerning that wherein they are at variance.
Verily God will not guide him who is a liar, an infidel.
Had God desired to have had a son, he had surely chosen what he pleased out
of his own creation. But praise be to Him! He is God, the One, the Almighty.
For truth2 hath he created the Heavens and the Earth: It is of Him that the
night returneth upon the day and that the day returneth upon the night: and
He controlleth the sun and the moon so that each speedeth to an appointed
goal. Is He not the Mighty, the Gracious?
He created you all of one man, from whom He afterwards formed his wife; and
of cattle He hath sent down to you four pairs.3 In the wombs of your mothers
did He create you by creation upon creation in triple darkness. It is He who
is God your Lord: the kingdom is His: There is no God but He. How then are ye
so turned aside from Him?
Suppose ye render him no thanks! yet forsooth is God rich without you: but He
is not pleased with thanklessness in His servants: yet if ye be thankful He
will be pleased with you. The soul burdened with its own works shall not be
burdened with the burden of another: hereafter shall ye return to your Lord,
and he will tell you of all your works,
For he knoweth the very secrets of your breasts.
When some trouble toucheth a man, he turneth to his Lord and calleth on him:
yet no sooner hath He enriched him with his favour than he forgetteth Him on
whom he before had called, and setteth up peers with God, that he may beguile
others from His way. SAY: Enjoy thou thyself yet a little in thine
ingratitude! but thou shalt surely be one of the inmates of the fire.
Shall he who observeth the hours of the night, prostrate or standing in
devotion, heedful of the life to come, and hoping for the mercy of his Lord .
. .? SAY: Shall they who have knowledge and they who have it not, be treated
alike? In sooth, men of understanding only will take the warning.
SAY: O my believing servants, fear your Lord. For those who do good in this
world there is good: and broad is God's earth4�verily those who endure with
patience shall be repaid: their reward shall not be by measure.
SAY: I am bidden to serve God with a sincere worship: and I am bidden to be
the first of those who surrender themselves to him (Muslims).
SAY: Verily I fear if I rebel against my Lord the punishment of a great day.
SAY: God will I serve, presenting him with a sincere worship:
And serve ye what ye choose beside Him. SAY: The losers truly will they be
who shall lose their own souls and their families on the day of resurrection:
Is not this the clear ruin?
Canopies of fire shall be over them, and floors of fire beneath them. With
this doth God alarm his servants: Fear ye me, then, O my servants!
But good tidings are there for those who shun the worship of Thagout and are
turned to God. Cheer then with good tidings those my servants who hearken to
my word and follow its excellence. These are they whom God guideth, and these
are men of insight.
Him then on whom the sentence of punishment hath justly lighted�him who is
doomed to the fire canst thou rescue?
But for those who fear their Lord are storied pavilions beneath which shall
the rivers flow: it is the promise of God, and God will not fail in his
Seest thou not that God sendeth down water from heaven, and guideth it along
so as to form springs in the earth�then bringeth forth by it corn of varied
sorts�then causeth he it to wither, and thou seest it become yellow�then
crumbleth it away? Lo! herein is teaching for men of insight.
Shall he then whose breast God hath opened to Islam, and who hath light from
his Lord . . .? But woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the
remembrance of God! They plainly err.
The best of recitals hath God sent down a book in unison with itself, and
teaching by iteration.5 The very skins of those who fear their Lord do creep
at it! Then do their skins and their hearts soften at the remembrance of
their Lord! This is God's guidance: by it will He guide whom He pleaseth;
and, whom God shall mislead, no guide shall there be for him.
Shall he who shall have nought but his own face to shelter him with from the
torment of the punishment on the day of the resurrection . . .? Aye, to the
evil doers it shall be said, "Taste what ye have earned."
They who were before them said it was a lie; but a punishment came upon them
whence they looked not for it:
And God made them taste humiliation in this present life: but greater surely
will be the punishment of the life to come. Did they but know it!
Now have we set before man in this Koran every kind of parable for their
An Arabic Koran, free from tortuous wording, to the intent that they may fear
God setteth forth the comparison of a man with associates6 at variance among
themselves, and of a man devoted wholly to a man. Are these to be held alike?
No, praise be to God! But the greater part of them understand not.
Thou truly shall die, O Muhammad, and they too shall die:
Then, at the day of resurrection, ye shall wrangle with one another in the
presence of your Lord.
And who acteth more unjustly than he who lieth of God, and treateth the truth
when it cometh to him as a lie? Is there not a dwelling-place in Hell for the
But he who bringeth the truth, and he who believeth it to be the truth: these
are the God-fearing.
Whatever they shall desire, awaiteth them with their Lord! This is the reward
of the righteous;
That God may do away the guilt of their worst actions, and for their best
actions render them their reward.
Is not God all-sufficient for his servant? Yet would they scare thee by their
idols. But no guide shall there be for him whom God misleadeth:
And he whom God guideth shall have none to mislead him. Is not God, all-
mighty, able to revenge?
And if thou ask them who hath created the Heavens and the Earth, they will
surely answer, God. SAY: Think ye, then, that they7 on whom ye call beside
God, if God choose to afflict me, could remove his affliction? or if he
choose to show me mercy, could they withhold His mercy? SAY: God sufficeth
me: in Him let the trusting trust.
SAY: O my people, act your part as best ye can, I too will act mine; and in
the end ye shall know
On whom shall light a punishment that shall shame him, and on whom a lasting
punishment shall fall.
Assuredly we have sent down the Book to thee for man and for the ends of
truth. Whoso shall be guided by it�it will be for his own advantage, and
whoso shall err, shall only err to his own loss. But not to thy keeping are
God taketh souls unto Himself at death; and during their sleep those who do
not die:8 and he retaineth those on which he hath passed a decree of death,
but sendeth the others back till a time that is fixed. Herein are signs for
Have they taken aught beside God as intercessors? SAY: What! though they have
no power over anything, neither do they understand?
SAY: Intercession is wholly with God:9 His the kingdom of the Heavens and of
the Earth! To him shall ye be brought back hereafter!
But when the One God is named, the hearts of those who believe not in the
life to come, shrivel up: but when the deities who are adored beside Him are
named, lo! they are filled with joy.
SAY: O God, creator of the Heaven and of the Earth, who knowest the hidden
and the manifest, thou shalt judge between thy servants as to the subject of
If the wicked possessed all that is in the earth and as much again therewith,
verily they would ransom themselves with it from the pain of the punishment
on the day of the resurrection; and there shall appear to them, from God,
things they had never reckoned on:
And their own ill deeds shall be clearly perceived by them, and that fire at
which they mocked shall encircle them on every side.
When trouble befalleth a man he crieth to Us; afterwards, when we have
vouchsafed favour to him, he saith, "God knew that I deserved it."10 Nay, it
is a trial. But the greater part of them knew it not.
The same said those who flourished before them; but their deeds profited them
And their own ill deeds recoiled upon them. And whoso among these (Meccans)
shall do wrong, on them likewise their own misdeeds shall light, neither
shall they invalidate God.
Know they not that God giveth supplies with open hand, and that He is sparing
to whom He will? Of a truth herein are signs to those who believe.
SAY: O my servants who have transgressed to your own hurt,11 despair not of
God's mercy, for all sins doth God forgive. Gracious, Merciful is He!
And return ye to your Lord, and to Him resign yourselves, ere the punishment
come on you, for then ye shall not be helped:
And follow that most excellent thing which hath been sent down to you from
your Lord, ere the punishment come on you suddenly, and when ye look not for
So that a soul say, "Oh misery! for my failures in duty towards God! and
verily I was of those who scoffed:"
Or say, "Had God guided me, I had surely been of those who feared Him:"
Or say, when it seeth the punishment, "Could I but return, then I would be of
Nay! my signs had already come to thee, and thou didst treat them as
untruths, and wast arrogant, and becamest of those who believed not.
And on the resurrection day, thou shalt see those who have lied of God, with
their faces black. Is there not an abode in Hell for the arrogant?
But God shall rescue those who fear him into their safe retreat: no ill shall
touch them, neither shall they be put to grief.
God is the creator of all things, and of all things is He the guardian! His
the keys of the Heavens and of the Earth! and�who believe not in the signs of
God�these! they shall perish!
SAY: What! do ye then bid me worship other than God, O ye ignorant ones?
But now hath it been revealed to thee and to those who flourished before
thee,�"Verily, if thou join partners with God, vain shall be all thy work,
and thyself shalt be of those who perish.
Nay, rather worship God! and be of those who render thanks."
But they have not deemed of God as is His due;12 for on the resurrection day
the whole Earth shall be but his handful, and in his right hand shall the
Heavens be folded together. Praise be to Him! and high be He uplifted above
the partners they join with Him!
And there shall be a blast on the trumpet, and all who are in the Heavens and
all who are in the Earth shall expire, save those whom God shall vouchsafe to
live. Then shall there be another blast on it, and lo! arising they shall
gaze around them:
And the earth shall shine with the light of her Lord, and the Book shall be
set, and the prophets shall be brought up, and the witnesses; and judgment
shall be given between them with equity; and none shall be wronged:
And every soul shall receive as it shall have wrought, for well knoweth He
And by TROOPS shall the unbelievers be driven towards Hell, until when they
reach it, its gates shall be opened, and its keepers shall say to them, "Came
not apostles from among yourselves to you, reciting to you the signs of your
Lord, and warning you of the meeting with Him on this your day?"13 They shall
say, "Yes." But just is the sentence of punishment on the unbelievers.
It shall be said to them, "Enter ye the gates of Hell, therein to dwell for
ever;" and wretched the abode of the arrogant!
But those who feared their Lord shall be driven on by troops to Paradise,
until when they reach it, its gates shall be opened, and its keepers shall
say to them, "All hail! virtuous have ye been: enter then in, to abide herein
And they shall say, "Praise be to God, who hath made good to us His promise,
and hath given to us the earth as our heritage, that we may dwell in Paradise
wherever we please!" And goodly is the reward of those who travailed
And thou shalt see the Angels circling around the Throne with praises of
their Lord: and judgment shall be pronounced between them with equity: and it
shall be said, "Glory be to God the Lord of the Worlds."
1 Lit. the sending down, or revelation, of the Book is, etc.
2 Lit. in truth, i.e. for a serious and earnest purpose, and not as mere
3 That is, camels, oxen, sheep and goats.
4 The wording of this verse would seem to indicate a period when Muhammad was
meditating flight from Mecca. Comp. [lxxxi.] xxix. 56.
5 See on the word Mathani, Sura xv. 87, p. 116. Or, by rhyming couplets.
6 The word associates contains an implied allusion to the deities associated
with God, and who distract the idolaters in their worship.
7 In the fem. gender in the Ar. This passage was revealed shortly after the
circumstances mentioned, liii. 20, n. p. 70.
8 See Sura [lxxxix.] vi. 60.
9 That is, none may intercede with Him but those whom He permits to do so.
10 Lit. It was only given to me on account of knowledge. Mar. Deus sciebat me
esse dignum eo. Thus Sale.
11 By becoming apostates from Islam. Comp. Sura [lxxiii.] xvi. 108. This and
the two following verses are said to have originated at Medina. His 230, Wah.
Omar ben Muhammad. Beidh. Itq. 19.
12 Lit. they have not esteemed God according to the truth of His estimation.
13 Adventum diei hujus. Mar.
SURA XXIX.�THE SPIDER [LXXXI.]