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al-Anbiya` (The Prophets)
as rendered by Muhammad Asad

Muhammad Asad rendition of Surah The Prophets(al-Anbiya`)
21:1 CLOSER DRAWS unto men their reckoning: and yet they remain stubbornly heedless [of its approach].
21:2 Whenever there comes unto them any new reminder from their Sustainer, they but listen to it with playful amusement,
21:3 their hearts set on passing delights; yet they who are [thus] bent on wrongdoing conceal their innermost thoughts [when they say to one another], “Is this [Muhammad] anything but a mortal like yourselves? Will you, then, yield to [his] spellbinding eloquence with your eyes open?”
21:4 Say: “My Sustainer knows whatever is spoken in heaven and on earth; and He alone is all-hearing, all-knowing.”
21:5 “Nay,” they say, “[Muhammad propounds] the most involved and confusing of dreams!” “Nay, but he has invented [all] this!” - “Nay, but he is [only] a poet!” - [and,] “Let him, then, come unto us with a miracle, just as those [prophets] of old were sent [with miracles]?”
21:6 Not one of the communities that We destroyed in bygone times would ever believe [their prophets]: will these, then, [be more willing to] believe?
21:7 For [even] before thy time, [O Muhammad,] We never sent [as Our apostles] any but [mortal] men, whom We inspired - hence, [tell the deniers of the truth,] “If you do not know this, ask the followers of earlier revelation”
21:8 and neither did We endow them with bodies that could dispense with food nor were they immortal.
21:9 In the end, We made good unto them Our promise, and We saved them and all whom We willed [to save], and We destroyed those who had wasted their own selves.
21:10 [O MEN!] We have now bestowed upon you from on high a divine writ containing all that you ought to bear in mind will you not, then, use your reason?
21:11 For, how many a community that persisted in evildoing have We dashed into fragments, and raised another people in its stead!
21:12 And [every time,] as soon as they began to feel Our punishing might, lo! they tried to flee from it
21:13 [and at the same time they seemed to hear a scornful voice]: “Do not try to flee, but return to all that [once] gave you pleasure and corrupted your whole being. and [return] to your homes, so that you might be called to account [for what you have done]!”
21:14 And they could only cry: “Oh, woe unto us! Verily, we were wrongdoers!”
21:15 And that cry of theirs did not cease until We caused them to become [like] a field mown down, still and silent as ashes.
21:16 AND [know that] We have not created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in mere idle play:
21:17 [for,] had We willed to indulge in a pastime, We would indeed have produced it from within Ourselves - if such had been Our will at all!
21:18 Nay, but [by the very act of creation] We hurl the truth against falsehood, and it crushes the latter: and lo! it withers away. But woe unto you for all your [attempts at] defining [God] –
21:19 for, unto Him belong all [beings] that are in the heavens and on earth; and those that are with Him are never too proud to worship Him and never grow weary [thereof]:
21:20 they extol His limitless glory by night and by day, never flagging [therein].
21:21 And yet some people choose to worship certain earthly things or beings as deities that [are supposed to] resurrect [the dead; and they fail to realize that],
21:22 had there been in heaven or on earth any deities other than God, both [those realms would surely have fallen into ruin! But limitless in His glory is God, enthroned in His awesome almightiness far] above anything that men may devise by way of definition!
21:23 He cannot be called to account for whatever He does, whereas they will be called to account:
21:24 and yet, they choose to worship [imaginary] deities instead of Him! Say [O Prophet]: “Produce an evidence for what you are claiming: this is a reminder [unceasingly voiced] by those who are with me, just as it was a reminder [voiced] by those who came before me.” But nay, most of them do not know the truth, and so they stubbornly turn away [from it]
21:25 and [this despite the fact that even] before thy time We never sent any apostle without having revealed to him that there is no deity save Me, - [and that,] therefore, you shall worship Me [alone]!
21:26 And [yet,] some say, “The Most Gracious has taken unto Himself a son”! Limitless is He in His glory! Nay, [those whom they regard as God’s “offspring” are but His] honoured servants:
21:27 they speak not until He has spoken unto them, and [whenever they act,] they act at His behest.
21:28 He knows all that lies open before them and all that is hidden from them: hence, they cannot intercede for any but those whom He has [already] graced with His goodly acceptance, since they themselves stand in reverent awe of Him.
21:29 And if any of them were to say, “Behold, I am deity beside Him” - that one We should requite with hell: thus do We requite all [such] evildoers.
21:30 ARE, THEN, they who are bent on denying the truth not aware that the heavens and the earth were [once] one single entity, which We then parted asunder? – and [that] We made out of water every living thing? Will they not, then, [begin to] believe?
21:31 And [are they not aware that] We have set up firm mountains on earth, lest it sway with them, and [that] We have appointed thereon broad paths, so that they might find their way,
21:32 and [that] We have set up the sky as a canopy well-secured? And yet, they stubbornly turn away from [all] the signs of this [creation],
21:33 and [fail to see that] it is He who has created the night and the day and the sun and the moon - all of them floating through space!
21:34 AND [remind those who deny thee, O Prophet, that] never have We granted life everlasting to any mortal before thee: but do they, perchance, hope that although thou must die, they will live forever?”
21:35 Every human being is bound to taste death; and We test you [all] through the bad and the good [things of life] by way of trial: and unto Us you all must return.
21:36 But [thus it is:] whenever they who are bent on denying the truth consider thee, they make thee but a target of their mockery, [saying to one another,] “Is this the one who speaks [so contemptuously] of your gods?” and yet, it is they themselves who, at [every] mention of the Most Gracious, are wont to deny the truth!
21:37 Man is a creature of haste; [but in time] I shall make obvious to you [the truth of] My messages: do not, then, ask Me to hasten [it]!
21:38 But they [who reject My messages are wont to] ask, “When is that promise [of God’s judgment] to be fulfilled? [Answer this, O you who believe in it,] if you are men of truth!”
21:39 If they but knew - they who are bent on denying the truth - [that there will come] a time when they will not be able to ward off the fire from their faces, nor from their backs, and will not find any succour!
21:40 Nay, but [the Last Hour] will come upon them of a sudden, and will stupefy them: and they will be unable to avert it, and neither wilt they be allowed any respite.
21:41 And, indeed, [O Muhammad, even] before thy time have [God’s] apostles been derided - but those who scoffed at them were [in the end] overwhelmed by the very thing which they had been wont to deride.
21:42 Say: “Who could protect you, by night or by day, from the Most Gracious?” And yet, from a remembrance of their Sustainer do they stubbornly turn away!
21:43 Do they [really think that they] have deities that could shield them from Us? Those [alleged deities] are not [even] able to succour themselves: hence, neither can they [who worship them hope to] be aided [by them] against Us.
21:44 Nay, We have allowed these [sinners] – as [We allowed] their forebears – to enjoy the good things of life for a great length of time: but then – have they never yet seen how We visit the earth [with Our punishment], gradually depriving it of all that is best thereon? Can they, then, [hope to] be the winners?
21:45 SAY [unto all men]: “1 but warn you on the strength of divine revelation!” But the deaf [of heart] will not hearken to this call, however often they are warned.
21:46 And yet, if but a breath of thy Sustainer’s chastisement touches them, they are sure to cry, “Oh, woe unto us! Verily, we were evildoers!”
21:47 But We shall set up just balance-scales on Resurrection Day, and no human being shall be wronged in the least: for though there be [in him but] the weight of a mustard-seed [of good or evil], We shall bring it forth; and none can take count as We do!
21:48 AND, INDEED, We vouchsafed unto Moses and Aaron [Our revelation as] the standard by which to discern the true from the false, and as a [guiding] light and a reminder for the God-conscious
21:49 who stand in awe of their Sustainer although He is beyond the reach of human perception, and who tremble at the thought of the Last Hour.
21:50 And [like those earlier revelations,] this one, too, is a blessed reminder which We have bestowed from on high: will you, then, disavow it?
21:51 AND, INDEED, long before [the time of Moses] We vouchsafed unto Abraham his consciousness of what is right; and We were aware of [what moved] him
21:52 when he said unto his father and his people, “What are these images to which you are so intensely devoted?”
21:53 They answered: “We found our forefathers worshipping them.”
21:54 Said he: “Indeed, you and your forefathers have obviously gone astray!”
21:55 They asked: “Hast thou come unto us [with this claim] in all earnest - or art thou one of those jesters?”
21:56 He answered: “Nay, but your [true] Sustainer is the Sustainer of the heavens and the earth - He who has brought them into being: and I am one of those who bear witness to this [truth]!”
21:57 And [he added to himself.] “By God, I shall most certainly bring about the downfall of your idols as soon as you have turned your backs and gone away!”
21:58 And then he broke those [idols] to pieces, [all] save the biggest of them, so that they might [be able to] turn to it.
21:59 [When they saw what had happened,] they said: “Who has done this to our gods? Verily, one of the worst wrongdoers is he!”
21:60 Said some [of them]: “We heard a youth speak of these [gods with scorn]: he is called Abraham.”
21:61 [The others] said: “Then bring him before the peoples eyes, so that they might bear witness [against him]!”
21:62 [And when he came.] they asked: “Hast thou done this to our gods, O Abraham?”
21:63 He answered: “Nay, it was this one, the biggest of them, that did it: but ask them [yourselves] - provided they can speak!”
21:64 And so they turned upon one another, saying, “Behold, it is you who are doing wrong.”
21:65 But then they relapsed into their former way of thinking and said: “Thou knowest very well that these [idols] cannot speak!”
21:66 Said [Abraham]: “Do you then worship, instead of God, something that cannot benefit you in any way, nor harm you?
21:67 Fie upon you and upon all that you worship instead of God! Will you not, then, use your reason?”
21:68 They exclaimed: “Burn him, and [thereby] succour your gods, if you are going to do [anything]!”
21:69 [But] We said: O fire! Be thou cool, and [a source of] inner peace for Abraham!”
21:70 and whereas they sought to do evil unto him, We caused them to suffer the greatest loss:
21:71 for We saved him and Lot, [his brother’s son, by guiding them] to the land which We have blessed for all times to come.
21:72 And We bestowed upon him Isaac and [Isaacs son] Jacob as an additional gift and caused all of them to be righteous men,
21:73 and made them leaders who would guide [others] in accordance with Our behest: for We inspired them [with a will] to do good works, and to be constant in prayer, and to dispense charity: and Us [alone] did they worship.
21:74 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 –
21:75 whereas him We admitted unto Our grace: for, behold, he was among the righteous.
21:76 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;
21:77 and [how] We succoured him against the people who had given the lie to Our messages: verily, they were people lost in evil - and [so] We caused them all to drown.
21:78 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:
21:79 for, [though] We made Solomon understand the case [more profoundly] yet We vouchsafed unto both of them sound judgment and knowledge [of right and wrong]. And We caused the mountains to join David in extolling Our limitless glory, and likewise the birds: for We are able to do [all things].
21:80 And We taught him how to make garments [of God- consciousness] for you, [O men,] so that they might fortify you against all that may cause you fear: but are you grateful [for this boon]?
21:81 And unto Solomon [We made subservient] the stormy wind, so that it sped at his behest towards the land which We had blessed: for it is We who have knowledge of everything.
21:82 And among the rebellious forces [which We made subservient to him] there were some that dived for him [into the sea] and performed other works, besides: but it was We who kept watch over them.
21:83 AND [remember] Job, when he cried out to his Sustainer, “Affliction has befallen me: but Thou art the most merciful of the merciful!”
21:84 whereupon We responded unto him and removed all the affliction from which he suffered; and We gave him new offspring, doubling their number as an act of grace from Us, and as a reminder unto all who worship Us.
21:85 AND [remember] Ishmael and Idris and every one who [like them] has pledged himself [unto God]: they all were among those who are patient in adversity,
21:86 and so We admitted them unto Our grace: behold, they were among the righteous!
21:87 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!”
21:88 And so We responded unto him and delivered him from [his] distress: for thus do We deliver all who have faith.
21:89 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!”
21:90 And so We responded unto him, and bestowed upon him the gift of John, having made his wife fit to bear him a child: [and,] verily, these [three] would vie with one another in doing good works, and would call unto Us in yearning and awe; and they were always humble before Us.
21:91 AND [remember] her who guarded her chastity, whereupon We breathed into her of Our spirit and caused her, together with her son, to become a symbol [of Our grace] unto all people.
21:92 VERILY, [O you who believe in Me,] this community of yours is one single community, since I am the Sustainer of you all: worship, then, Me [alone]!
21:93 But men have torn their unity wide asunder, [forgetting that] unto Us they all are bound to return.
21:94 And yet, whoever does [the least] of righteous deeds and is a believer withal, his endeavour shall not be disowned: for, behold, We shall record it in his favour.
21:95 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]
21:96 until such a time as Gog and Magog are let loose [upon the world] and swarm down from every corner [of the earth],
21:97 the while the true promise [of resurrection] draws close [to its fulfillment]. But then, lo! the eyes of those who [in their lifetime] were bent on denying the truth will stare in horror, [and they will exclaim:] “Oh, woe unto us! We were indeed heedless of this [promise of resurrection]! - nay, we were [bent on] doing evil!”
21:98 [Then they will be told:] “Verily, you and all that you [were wont to] worship instead of God are but the fuel of hell: that is what you are destined for.
21:99 If those [false objects of your worship] had truly been divine, they would not have been destined for it: but [as it is, you] all shall abide therein!”
21:100 Moaning will be their lot therein, and nothing [else] will they hear therein.
21:101 [But,] behold, as for those for whom [the decree of] ultimate good has already gone forth from Us these will be kept far away from that [hell]:
21:102 no sound thereof will they hear; and they will abide in all that their souls have ever desired.
21:103 The supreme awesomeness [of the Day of Resurrection] will cause them no grief, since the angels will receive them with the greeting. “This is your Day [of triumph - the Day] which you were promised!”
21:104 On that Day We shall roll up the skies as written scrolls are rolled up; [and] as We brought into being the first creation, so We shall bring it forth anew a promise which We have willed upon Ourselves: for, behold, We are able to do [all things]!
21:105 AND, INDEED, after having exhorted [man], We laid it down in all the books of divine wisdom that My righteous servants shall inherit the earth:
21:106 herein, behold, there is a message for people who [truly] worship God.
21:107 And [thus, O Prophet,] We have sent thee as [an evidence of Our] grace towards all the worlds.
21:108 Say: “It has but been revealed unto me that your God is the One and Only God: will you, then, surrender yourselves unto Him?”
21:109 But if they turn away, say: “I have proclaimed this in equity unto all of you alike; but I do not know whether that [judgment] which you are promised [by God] is near or far [in time].
21:110 “Verily, He knows all that is said openly, just as He [alone] knows all that you would conceal.
21:111 But [as for me,] I do not know whether, perchance, this [delay in God’s judgment] is but a trial for you, and a [merciful] respite for a while.”
21:112 Say: “O my Sustainer! Judge Thou in truth!” - and [say]: “Our Sustainer is the Most Gracious, the One whose aid is ever to be sought against all your [attempts at] defining [Him]!”


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