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al-Qalam (The Pen)
as rendered by Muhammad Asad
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Muhammad Asad rendition of Surah The Pen(al-Qalam)
68:1 Nun. CONSIDER the pen, and all that they write [therewith]!
68:2 Thou art not, by thy Sustainer's grace, a madman!
68:3 And, verily, thine shall be a reward neverending –
68:4 for, behold, thou keepest indeed to a sublime way of life;
68:5 and [one day] thou shalt see, and they [who now deride thee] shall see,
68:6 which of you was bereft of reason.
68:7 Verily, thy Sustainer alone is fully aware as to who has strayed from His path, Just as He alone is fully aware of those who have found the right way.
68:8 Hence, defer not to [the likes and dislikes of] those who give the lie to the truth:
68:9 they would like thee to be soft [with them], so that they might be soft [with thee].
68:10 Furthermore, defer not to the contemptible swearer of oaths,
68:11 [or to] the slanderer that goes about with defaming tales,
68:12 [or] the withholder of good, [or] the sinful aggressor,
68:13 [or] one who is cruel, by greed possessed, and, in addition to all this, utterly useless [to his fellow-men].
68:14 Is it because he is possessed of worldly goods and children
68:15 that, whenever Our messages are conveyed to him, such a one says, "Fables of ancient times"?
68:16 [For this] We shall brand him with indelible disgrace!
68:17 [As for such sinners,] behold, We [but] try them as We tried the owners of a certain garden who vowed that they would surely harvest its fruit on the morrow,
68:18 and made no allowance [for the will of God]:
68:19 whereupon a visitation for thy Sustainer came upon that [garden] while they were asleep,
68:20 so that by the morrow it became barren and bleak.
68:21 Now when they rose at early morn, they called unto one another,
68:22 "Go early to your tilth if you want to harvest the fruit!"
68:23 Thus they launched forth, whispering unto one another,
68:24 "Indeed, no needy person shall enter it today [and come] upon you [unawares],"
68:25 – and early they went, strongly bent upon their purpose.
68:26 But as soon as they beheld [the garden and could not recognize] it, they exclaimed, "Surely we have lost our way!"
68:27 - [and then,] "Nay, but we have been rendered destitute!"
68:28 Said the most right-minded among them: "Did I not tell you, 'Will you not extol God's limitless glory?’"
68:29 They answered: "Limitless in His glory is our Sustainer! Verily, we were doing wrong!"
68:30 - and then they turned upon one another with mutual reproaches.
68:31 [In the end] they said: "Oh, woe unto us! Verily, we did behave outrageously!
68:32 [But] it may be that our Sustainer will grant us something better instead: for, verily, unto our Sustainer do we turn with hope!"
68:33 SUCH is the suffering [with which We try some people in this world]; but greater by far will be the suffering [which sinners shall have to bear] in the life to come - if they but knew it!
68:34 For, behold, it is the God-conscious [alone] whom gardens of bliss await with their Sustainer:
68:35 or should We, perchance, treat those who surrender themselves unto Us as [We would treat] those who remain lost in sin?
68:36 What is amiss with you? On what do you base your judgment [of right and wrong]?
68:37 Or have you, perchance, a [special] divine writ which you study,
68:38 and in which you find all that you may wish to find?
68:39 Or have you received a solemn promise, binding on Us till Resurrection Day, that yours will assuredly be whatever you judge [to be your rightful due]?
68:40 Ask them which of them is able to vouch for this!
68:41 Or have they, perchance, anys ages to support their views? Well, then, if they are sincere in this their claim, let them produce those supporters of theirs
68:42 on the Day when man's very being shall be bared to the bone, and when they [who now deny the truth] shall be called upon to prostrate themselves [before God], and shall be unable to do so:
68:43 downcast will be their eyes, with ignominy overwhelming them - seeing that they had been called upon [in vain] to prostrate themselves [before Him] while they were yet sound [and alive].
68:44 Hence, leave Me alone with such as give the lie to this tiding. We shall bring them low, step by step, without their perceiving how it has come about:
68:45 for, behold, though I may give them rein for a while, My subtle scheme is exceedingly firm!
68:46 Or is it that [they fear lest] thou ask them for a reward, [O Prophet,] so that they would be burdened with debt [if they listened to thee]?
68:47 Or [do they think] that the hidden reality [of all that exists] is within their grasp, so that [in time] they can write it down?
68:48 BEAR THEN with patience thy Sustainer's will and be not like him of the great fish, who cried out [in distress] after having given in to anger.
68:49 [And remember:] had not grace from his Sustainer reached him, he would indeed have been cast forth upon that barren shore in a state of disgrace:
68:50 but [as it was,] his Sustainer had elected him and placed him among the righteous.
68:51 Hence, [be patient,] even though they who are bent on denying the truth would all but kill thee with their eyes whenever they hear this reminder, and [though] they say, "[As for Mubammad,] behold, most surely he is a madman!"
68:52 [Be patient:] for this is nought else but a reminder [from God] to all mankind.


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