All praise is due to God who has bestowed this book from on high on His servant, and has ensured that it remains free of distortion,
unerringly straight, meant to warn people of a severe punishment from Himself, and to give the believers who do good works the happy news that they shall have a goodly reward
which continues to be theirs forever.
Furthermore, it warns those who assert, 'God has taken to Himself a son.'
No knowledge whatever have they of Him, and neither had their forefathers. Dreadful indeed is this saying that issues from their mouths. Nothing but falsehood do they utter.
Would you, perhaps, torment yourself to death with grief over them if they will not believe in this message?
We have made all that is on earth as an adornment in order to test people as to which of them are best in conduct;
and, in time, We shall indeed reduce all that is on it to barren dust.
Do you think that the People of the Cave and the inscription were a wonder among Our signs?
When those youths took refuge in the cave, they said: 'Our Lord! Bestow on us Your grace, and provide for us right guidance in our affair.'
So We drew a veil over their ears in the cave, for a number of years,
and then We awakened them so that We might mark out which of the two parties managed to calculate the time they had remained in that state.
We shall relate to you their story in all truth. They were young men who believed in their Lord, so We increased them in guidance.
We put courage in their hearts, so that they stood up and said: 'Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth. Never shall we call upon any deity other than Him. If we did, we should indeed have uttered an enormity!
These people of ours have taken for worship deities other than Him, without being able to show any convincing proof of their beliefs. Who does more wrong than he who invents a lie about God?
Hence, now that you have withdrawn from them and all that they worship instead of God, take refuge in the cave. God may well spread His grace over you and make fitting arrangements for you in your affairs.'
You might have seen the sun, on its rising, incline away from their cave on the right, and, on its setting, turn away from them on the left, while they lay in a space within. That was one of God's signs. He whom God guides is indeed rightly guided, but for him whom He lets go astray you can never find any protector who would point out the right way.
You would have thought that they were awake, when they were certainly asleep. And We turned them over repeatedly, now to the right, now to the left; and their dog lay at the cave's entrance, with its forepaws outstretched. Had you come upon them, you would have certainly turned away from them in flight, and would surely have been filled with terror of them.
Such being their state, We awakened them; and they began to question one another. One of them asked: 'How long have you remained thus?' They answered: 'We have remained thus a day, or part of a day.' They said: 'Your Lord knows best how long you have remained thus. Let, then, one of you go with these silver coins to the town, and let him find out what food is purest there, and bring you some of it. But let him behave with great care and by no means make anyone aware of you.
For, indeed, if they should come to know of you, they might stone you to death or force you back to their faith, in which case you would never attain to any good!'
In this way have We drawn people's attention to their case, so that they might know that God's promise is true and that there can be no doubt as to the Last Hour. The people disputed among themselves as to what happened to them. Some of them said: 'Erect a building in their memory. God knows their case best.' Those whose opinion prevailed in the end said: 'Indeed, we must surely raise a house of worship in their memory.'
Some will say, 'They were three, the fourth of them being their dog,' while others will say, 'Five, with their dog being the sixth of them,' idly guessing at the unknown. Yet others will say, 'They were seven, the eighth of them being their dog.' Say: 'My Lord knows best how many they were. None but a few have any real knowledge of them. Hence, do not enter into argument about them, except on a matter that is clear, nor ask anyone of these people to enlighten you about them.'
Never say about anything, 'I shall do this tomorrow,'
without adding, 'if God so wills.' Should you forget, then call your Lord to mind and say, 'I pray that my Lord will guide me even closer thanthis to what is right.'
So they stayed in their cave three hundred years, and [some] add nine years more.
Say: 'God knows best how long they remained there. His alone is the knowledge of the secrets of the heavens and earth. How well does He see and hear! No guardian have they apart from Him; nor does He allot to anyone a share in His rule.'
Recite whatever has been revealed to you of your Lord's book. There is nothing that could alter His words. You can find no refuge other than with Him.
And contain yourself in patience with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His countenance. Let not your eyes pass beyond them in quest of the beauties of the life of this world. Pay no heed to any whose heart We have left to be negligent of all remembrance of Us because he had always followed his own desires, and whose case has gone beyond all bounds.
Say: 'The truth [has now come] from your Lord. Let him who wills, believe in it, and let him who wills, reject it.' For the wrongdoers We have prepared a fire whose billowing folds will encompass them from all sides. If they beg for water, they will be given water [hot] like molten lead, which will scald their faces. Dreadful is the drink, and evil is the place to seek rest.
As for those who believe and do righteous deeds â€” We, for certain, do not fail to reward any who perseveres in doing good.
Theirs shall be gardens of perpetual bliss, with rivers rolling at their feet. There they will be adorned with bracelets of gold and will wear green garments of silk and brocade, and they will recline on couches. Excellent is the recompense, and comfortable is the place to rest.
Set forth to them the case of two men, to one of whom We gave two vineyards and surrounded them with date-palms, and placed a field of grain in between.
Each of the two gardens yielded its produce and never failed to do so in any way. In the midst of them We caused a stream to flow.
And so [the man] had fruit in abundance. This man said once to his friend, in the course of a discussion between them, 'More wealth have I than you, and more power and followers.'
And having thus wronged his soul, he went into his garden, saying: 'I do not think that this will ever perish!
Nor do I think that the Last Hour will ever come. But even if [it does and] I am brought before my Lord, I should surely find there something better than this in exchange.'
His friend replied in the course of their discussion: 'Do you deny Him who has created you out of dust, and then out of a drop of sperm, and in the end fashioned you into a man?
But for my part, I believe that He is God, my Lord, and none shall I associate with my Lord.
If only you said as you entered your garden, â€œWhatever God wills [shall come to pass, for] there is no power except with God!â€ Although, as you see, I have less wealth and offspring than you,
yet it may well be that my Lord will give me something better than your garden, just as He may let loose a calamity out of heaven upon this [your garden], so that it becomes a heap of barren dust
or its water sinks deep into the ground, so that you will never be able to find it.'
So his fruitful gardens were encompassed with ruin, and there he was, wringing his hands over all that he had spent on that which now lay waste, with its trellises caved in; and he could only say: 'Would that I had not associated partners with my Lord!'
He had none to support him against God, nor was he able to save himself.
For thus it is: all protection comes from God, the True One. He is the best to grant reward and the best to [determine] outcome.
Set forth to them a simile about the life of this world: [it is] like the water which We send down from the skies, and which is absorbed by the plants of the earth. In time they turn into dry stubble which the winds blow freely about. It is God alone who has power over all things.
Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world: but the things that endure, good deeds, are of far greater merit in your Lord's sight, and a far better source of hope.
One day We shall cause the mountains to move and you will see the earth void and bare. We will gather them all together, leaving out not a single one of them.
They will be lined up before your Lord, [and He will say]: 'Now you have come to Us as We created you in the first instance, although you claimed that We would never appoint for you a time [for your resurrection]!'
The record [of everyone's deeds] will be laid open; and you will see the guilty filled with dread at what it contains. They will say: 'Woe to us! What a record is this! It leaves out nothing, small or great, but takes everything into account.' They will find all that they ever wrought now facing them. Your Lord does not wrong anyone.
When We said to the angels: 'Prostrate yourselves before Adam,' they all prostrated themselves. Not so IblÄ«s, who belonged to the jinn and he disobeyed his Lord's command. Will you, then, take him and his progeny for your masters instead of Me, when they are enemies to you? Vile is the substitute for the wrongdoers!
I did not call them to witness at the creation of the heavens and the earth, nor at their own creation; nor do I seek aid from those who lead people astray.
Once day He will say, 'Call now on those beings whom you alleged to be My partners!' They will invoke them, but those [beings] will not respond to them; for We shall have placed an unbridgeable gulf between them.
And when those who were lost in sin will see the fire, they will realize that they are bound to fall in it, and will find no way to escape from it.
We have indeed given in this Qur'Än many facets to every kind of lesson for mankind. But man is, above all else, always given to contention.
What is there to keep people from accepting the faith now that guidance has come to them, and from seeking forgiveness from their Lord, unless it be that they are waiting for the fate of the [sinful] people of ancient times to befall them as well, or for the suffering to be brought before their eyes?
We send Our messengers only as bearers of good news and as warners. But with false arguments the unbelievers seek to confute the truth. They make My revelations and warnings a target for their. mockery.
Who could be more wicked than one who, when reminded of his Lord's revelations, turns away from them and forgets what his own hands have done? Over their hearts We have cast veils which prevent them from grasping the truth, and into their ears, deafness. Even if you call them to the right path, they shall never be guided.
Your Lord is Most Forgiving, limitless in His grace. Were He to take them now to task for whatever they do, He would indeed bring about their speedy punishment. But they have an appointed time which they cannot evade.
The same applied to other communities which We destroyed when they persisted in wrongdoing. For We had set a time for their destruction.
Moses said to his servant: 'I shall journey on until I reach the point where the two seas meet, though I may march for ages.'
But when they reached the junction between the two seas, they forgot their fish, and it took its way into the sea and disappeared from sight.
And after they had marched on for some distance, Moses said to his servant: 'Bring us our midday meal; we are indeed worn out by this our journey.'
Said [the servant]: 'Do you recall when we betook ourselves to that rock for rest. There I forgot the fish â€” and none but Satan made me thus forget it! â€” and it took its way into the sea. How strange!'
[Moses] said: 'That is [the place] we are seeking!' So they turned back, retracing their footsteps,
and found one of Our servants, on whom We had bestowed Our mercy and whom We had endowed with knowledge of Our own.
Moses said to him: 'May I follow you, on the understanding that you will teach me something of the wisdom you have been taught?'
The other answered: 'You will not be able to have patience with me,
for how can you be patient with something which you cannot fully comprehend?'
Moses replied: 'You will find me patient, if God so wills; and I shall not disobey you in anything.'
The other said: 'Well, then, if you are to follow me, do not question me about anything until I mention it to you myself.'
And so the two went on their way, and when they embarked, [the sage] made a hole in the boat. Moses exclaimed: 'Have you made a hole in it in order to drown the people in it? Strange indeed is that which you have done!'
He replied: 'Did I not say that you would not he able to have patience with me?'
Moses said: 'Do not take me to task for my having forgotten, and be not hard on me on account of what I have done.'
And so the two went on until they met a certain young man. [The sage] slew him, whereupon Moses exclaimed: 'Have you killed an innocent man with no cause of just retribution for murder? Foul indeed is that which you have perpetrated!'
He replied: 'Did I not make it clear to you that you would not be able to have patience with me?'
Moses said: 'If ever I question you again, do not keep me in your company; for then you would have had enough excuses from me.'
And so the two went on until they came to a town, where they asked its people for food, but they refused them all hospitality. There they found a wall on the point of falling down, and [the sage] rebuilt it. Moses said: 'Had you wished, you could have taken payment for what you did.'
[The sage] replied: 'This is the parting of ways between me and you. Now I shall explain to you the real meaning of all [those events] which you were unable to bear with patience.
As for the boat, it belonged to some needy people who toiled upon the sea â€” and I desired to slightly damage it because behind them there was a king who was taking every boat by force.
And as for the young man, his parents are true believers, and we feared lest he should cause them much grief by his overweening wickedness and unbelief.
And so we desired that their Lord grant them in his stead [a son] of greater purity than him, and closer in loving tenderness.
And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys living in the town, and beneath it was buried a treasure belonging to them. Their father had been a righteous man. So your Lord has willed it that when they come of age they should dig up their treasure by your Lord's grace. I did not do any of this of my own accord. This is the real meaning of all [those events] which you were unable to bear with patience.'
They will ask you about Dhu'l-Qarnayn. Say: 'I will give you an account of him.'
We established his power on earth, and gave him means to achieve anything.
So he followed a certain way
and [marched westwards] till, when he came to the setting of the sun, it appeared to him that it was setting in dark, turbid waters; and nearby he found a certain people. 'Dhu'l-Qarnayn,' We said, 'you may either punish them or treat them with kindness.'
He replied: 'The one who does wrong we shall punish. Then he will return to his Lord and be sternly punished by Him.
But the one who believes and does righteous deeds shall have a goodly reward, and we shall assign to him a task that is easy to fulfil.'
Then he followed another way
and [marched eastwards] till, when he came to the rising of the sun, he found that it was rising on a people for whom We had provided no coverings against it.
So he did; and We had full knowledge of all the means available to him.
Then he followed yet another way
and [marched on] till, when he reached a place between the two mountain-barriers he found beneath them a people who could scarcely understand a word.
'Dhu'l-Qarnayn,' they said, 'Gog and Magog are ravaging this land. May we pay you a tribute so that you erect a barrier between us and them?'
He answered: 'That with which my Lord has established me is better [than any tribute]. Hence, do but help me with strength, and I shall erect a rampart between you and them!
Bring me blocks of iron!' At length, when he had filled up the gap between the two mountainsides, he said: 'Ply your bellows!' Then, when he made [the iron glow like] fire, he said: 'Bring me molten copper which I will pour over it.'
And thus their enemies were unable to scale [the rampart], nor could they dig their way through it.
He said: 'This is a mercy from my Lord. Yet when the time appointed by my Lord shall come, He will make this [rampart] level with the ground. My Lord's promise always comes true.'
On that day We shall leave them to surge like waves dashing against one another. The trumpet will be blown, and We shall gather them all together.
And We shall, on that day, present hell, all spread out, for the unbelievers,
who have turned a blind eye to My admonition and a deaf ear to My warning.
Do the unbelievers think that they could take My creatures for patrons against Me? We have indeed readied hell as a dwelling place for the unbelievers.
Say: 'Shall we tell you who are the greatest losers in whatever they may do?
It is they whose labour in this world has been misguided, and who nonetheless think that what they do is right.
It is they who have chosen to disbelieve in their Lord's revelations and deny the truth that they will meet Him. Vain will be their works. No weight shall We assign to them on Resurrection Day.
That will be their reward, hell, for having rejected the faith, and made My revelations and My messengers a target of their mockery.'
But those who have faith and do righteous deeds shall have the gardens of paradise as their dwelling place.
Therein they will abide, and never will they desire any change to befall them.
Say: 'If the sea were ink for my Lord's words, the sea would surely dry up before my Lord's words are exhausted, even though we were to add to it another sea to replenish it.'
Say: 'I am but a human being like yourselves. It has been revealed to me that your God is the One and only God. Hence, whoever expects to meet his Lord [on Judgement Day], let him do what is right, and in the worship due to his Lord admit no one as a partner.'