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A. (Alef), L. (lam) R. (Raa), the Surah opens with these letters introductory from the Arabic Alphabet to draw attention to the miracle of the Quran which though written in the people's tongue, cannot be emulated. These are divine prosy discoursed verses of the Book and a perspicuous Quran which stands manifest of enlightenment and imparting knowledge, wisdom and spiritual light
Perhaps the Day shall come sooner than expected when those who denied Allah and disobeyed His statutes wish they had conformed to Islam as ordained by Him
Let them feast their senses, their thoughts and their feelings with infidelity and disobedience and experience with delight the pleasure they draw from such a disposition and be fooled by their hopes which they shall come to know and. realize that they are doomed to disappointmen
We never destroyed a city, a people or a nation arbitrarily but according to a justified act. There and then their end is being predetermined and unalterably decreed
Nor can a people or a nation hasten their own end of ultimate state earlier than the predetermined due date nor can they delay it either
Acting against their own best interests, they accuse the Messenger of falsehood; they mockingly say to him: "O you who claim to have received the divine message from heaven, you are indeed insane or demoniac"
"Why then", they add, "you do not bring down the angels to substantiate your claim if indeed you are declaring the truth!"
They do not realize that We do not send down the angels to satisfy a curiosity. We only send them down for a valid reason and a just cause -to execute Allah's decrees-, and if We do send them down, the infidels shall be annihilated on the spot and no hope shall there be for respite
We have sent down the Quran featuring the virtuous divine message of truth which shall never suffer eclipse nor shall its spiritual power ever be on the wane and its preservation against loss and corruption is indeed Our concern
We sent Messengers before you O Muhammad to the various sects of the distant past who were adherents of different systems of faith and worship
And never did a Messenger present himself to them but suffered malicious mockery and was laughed to scorn
Thus do We picture him in the minds and hearts of the sinful who grow daily more and more wicked
They just refuse to recognize him nor do they accept his message, notwithstanding that Allah's mode of action which has long been pursued in the past for each typical instance forming a particular case of a principle and a signal instance of punishment shall not alter
And if We were to open to them a gate in heaven to provide a free passage so as to admit of their continued ascent into the realm
They would, thus still, say: "This is an eye trap. Our eyes have been confused with drink. In fact we have been bewitched"
We established in the heavens mansions or divisions of the ecliptic to be occupied by the moon on successive days and a belt within which the apparent motions of the sun, the moon and principal planets take place - Signs of the Zodiac*- and We adorned them with qualities affording keen pleasure to the sense of sight
And We guarded them and their harmonious setting from disturbing Satanic forces and from those with characteristics befitting AL-Shaytan, the accursed
He who peers inquisitively into the realm to steal whatever comes to his hearing of the secrets or future events is pursued by a flame of fire which does not miss
And the earth did We spread out and stretch* and furnish with mountains placed in a certain setting, fixed as with an anchor, and therein did We produce and cause to grow a set of every kind whose seeming speaks of interdependence and the bearing of proportion
And We provisioned you thereon with livelihood and We provisioned those creatures for which you are not responsible for furnishing with the necessities of life. -see introduction
No material or immaterial object, an article or a substance of any kind or anything with which anyone is concerned in action or in thought but We have infinite stores thereof, and what We release from all and each and send down to meet the needs is ascertained by due measure
And We send the wind as an agent of fertilization in plants and it impregnates also the clouds and there issues the rain We send down from the floor of the vault of heaven and We afford you aliment therewith and quench your thirst. It is not under your dominion or control that you can lay it up in store
And it is We Who give life and inspirit the property of animate existence and occasion the moment of death and deprive of animate existence, and indeed it is We Who are in the end the inheritors of the heavens and the earth
And We already know those of you whose turn to pay nature's debt comes first, and We already know those of you who would follow
And it is Allah, your Creator, O Muhammad Who shall throng them all at Judgement. He is indeed Hakimun (Wise) and, 'Alimun (Omniseient)
And We created man from dried clay, a product of dark modelling clay that has been polished
And the Jinn did We create earlier from a fiery blast of fervently hot wind
And for once did Allah say to the angels: I am on the point of creating a human from dried clay, the product of dark modelling clay that has been polished
And when I have fashioned it and furnished it with a definite shape and imparted to it My spirit, then prostrate yourselves to him in reverence and admiration
There and then did all the angels cast themselves down prostrate
Except Iblis (AL-Shaytan-to-be) who refused to join those who prostrated themselves in obeisance to Allah
"What kept you, O Iblis", Allah Asked, "from joining those who cast themselves down in reverence and admiration!"
"It is not I", Iblis said, "who would cast himself down in reverence to a human whom You created from dried clay, a product of dark modeling clay that has been polished."
"Then get out of hence", Allah said, " you are dismissed and accursed"
"And the curse shall pursue you till The Day of Judgment"
Then Iblis requested Allah saying: "delay, my condemnation", O Allah till the Day of Resurrection"
"Reprieve is granted", Allah said, "respiting your condemnation"
"Till the specified Day on which the point of time has been predetermined"
"Now, O Allah", Iblis said, that You have destined me and I have erred, I will entangle them with the bird-lime of fleshy passions, mundane vanity and temporalities and I will entice them all to do evil and I will incite idle men to tempt me to tempt them
"But not the devout among Your worshippers whose hearts have been touched with the divine hand and they lift to You their inward sight"
"This is the path", Allah said, "the devout tread. It is the path of righteousness which leads directly to Me"
"My devout worshippers", Allah continued, "do not come under your authority nor have you the power to influence their conduct and actions; you only have influence over those who follow you and in vanity they waste their days"
"And Hell is indeed the destination wherein shall they all make their abode"
Apprehended in a material sense, it has seven gates through each of which shall enter those appropriated to the degree of suffering that is commensurate with their evil deeds
Whereas those who have always entertained the profound reverence dutiful to Allah shall be blessed with divine favour. They are destined to make abode in blissful gardens in the beatitude of heaven fountained wits dazzling springs
They will be addressed with expression of good will, thus: "Make entry into Paradise", they are told, "We bid you a hearty welcome wherein you shall live in peace, safe and secure"
And We will have erased malevolence from their breasts and injurious events from their memories; now they are an association of brothers spiritually allied to each other, seated on thrones of dignity facing each other
There and then they are not overtaken by fatigue nor shall there be an impression of it upon their minds or their souls nor shall they be asked to leave or depart therefrom
Tell My servants O Muhammad that I am indeed AL-Ghafur (the Forgiving) and AL-Rahim (the Merciful)
and also that My retributive punishment is indeed severe; it is the torment laid upon the damned
And inform their thoughts O Muhammad with the disguised angels who were the guests of Ibrahim
They made entry into his home and greeted him with the expression of good will, "Peace", he recoiled back afraid of them -due to their unusual behaviour-
"Do not be afraid". They said, " we have some news to break to you. We are here to announce to you the procreation of a son Ishaq (Isaac) who shall be imbued with wisdom and divine know ledge"
"How can you", said Ibrahim, "intimate to me such news when I have been carried through the stealing steps of age to advanced life! Is this an object of a joke that you intimate to me!"
"Never", they said, "but we have intimated to you the truth and therefore do not entertain the idea that the thing which seems hopeless makes you despair of Allah's mercy."
"Who would despair of Allah's mercy", Ibrahim said, " but those who are lost in the maze of error!"
"And now", Ibrahim said, "what is the errand on which you Messengers have come?"
"We have been sent", the Messengers said, "to a sinful people who grow daily more and more wicked"
"But not the family of Lut (Lot) all of whom will we save"
"Excepting his wife whom we have determined that she be among those who shall be left behind to share their destiny"
And when the Messengers presented themselves to Lut
He said to them: "You are strangers who are foreign to me."
"But", said the Messengers, "we have brought you the answer to the problem of those who doubted your mission and denied your divine message."
"And we have brought you the truth and we conduct ourselves in accordance with the divine standard."
"You just escort your family", they said, "and take them out of this town at the dead hours of the night hanging on their rear and none of you shall look in the direction from which you are going and keep going to where you are commanded."
And We informed him of this decree, thus: "These wicked people shall be uprooted by morning"
In the interim, there came the city dwellers displaying their gasp of pleasure and joyous delight at the thought of the presence of young men
"These are my guests", said Lut, "I beg of you not to bring shame or discredit upon me"
"And fear Allah and do not disgrace me."
"Did we not forbid you", they said "to entertain people in your house and defend your principles!"
"There", said Lut, "you may wed my daughters if you must exercise your libidinous desire."
"To your life, O prophets" he was told, "they -the wicked- are wandering here and there being deceived by their vain illusive sensuous perception which shall melt when the sun beams glow"
And there it was: a single cry* from heaven's realm stirred up a merciless blast which overtook them by sun- rise
And We turned those cities -Sodom and Gomorrah- upside down and rained them with fire and successional brimstones as hard as baked clay
These are indeed divine signs making a deep impression on the minds or senses of those who ponder
And the evidence still stands as a scene of dismal devastation to the travelers (in the neighbourhood of the dead sea between Syria and Arabia)
This is indeed a meaningful sign which is quite impressive to those whose hearts have been touched with the divine hand
Thus much did the woodlanders Madyanites wrong themselves and were wrongful of actions
And in consequence we took just-vengeance on them and both sites stand manifest of the events on a course of travel where people can see
Similarly did the dwellers of the rocky territory -the Thamudites- deny the truth of the divine message conveyed to them by the Messengers and were wrongful of actions
And We presented them with Our signs betokening Omnipotence and Authority but they took objection against them and a dislike
And they were carving the mountains into homes wherein they made abode and enjoyed safety and security
Nonetheless a single cry* from heaven's realm stirred up a merciless rumbling earthly convulsion which overtook them by day light
And so be it, what they gained of skill and enjoyed of safety did not profit them nor help them accomplish a useful purpose
Nor did We create the heavens and the earth and all that lies between them but in accordance with reason and truth and for just ends. And the Final predetermined Hour is inevitably coming, therefore, forgive O Muhammad your opponent's human instability with gracious intent
For, it is Allah, indeed who is the Creator of the whole and of all in all and He is the AL-'Alim (the Omniscient)
And We have given you O Muhammad seven reiterative dual verses of opening in Allah's Name: in praise, in thanks, in action and in prayer, and the meritorious Quran which is eminently entitled to the designation, the great
Do not direct your sight wistfully O Muhammad at the advantages We gave to some of the unbelievers among the various sects nor grieve at heart for their disobedience to Allah, and be soft in temper and disposition to those whose hearts are impressed with the image of religious and spiritual virtues and take them under your wing
And say: "I hereby declare to the wide circle of the all that I am delegated by Allah to make manifest His warning against denying Him and/or His statutes"
Just as We had sent down a warning to those who treated Our Scriptures in the way it suited them dividing them into parts, accepting some and rejecting others
And together with the Pagans they used their underhand scheming to discredit the Quran by fragmenting it into parts, labelling some as sheer poetry, some as legendary and others as divinatory, and fed the pilgrims thoughts with their falsehood
But by Allah, your Creator, there shall come the Day when all of them shall have much to answer for
And all their misdeeds shall be laid to their charge
Therefore, you just proclaim Allah's message O Muhammad and publish all that you have been commanded to declare and attach no importance to those who incorporate with Him other deities
We have guarded you from the danger of those who hold the truth in disdain, and maintain your cause against their cunning which they take for a sinister and crooked wisdom
And they incorporate with Allah other deities, but soon shall they know the logical conclusion and experience the losses and injuries which are the consequent of their crimes
And We do know how much does their vain discourse depress your spirits and oppress your thoughts and your feelings
But you just praise Allah, your Creator, and extoll His glorious attributes and join yourself to those who prostrate themselves to Him in reverence and adoration
And worship Allah, your Creator, until the encounter with death which is indeed a matter of certainty