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al-Ma`arij (The Ascending Stairways, The Ladders)
as rendered by N J Dawood 2014
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N J Dawood (2014) rendition of Surah The Ascending Stairways, The Ladders(al-Ma`arij)
70:1 A SCEPTIC² once demanded that punishment be visited
70:2 forthwith upon the unbelievers. No power can hinder
70:3 God from punishing them. He is the Lord of the Stairways,
70:4 whereby the angels and the Spirit will ascend to Him in one day whose space is fifty thousand years.
70:5 Therefore conduct yourself with becoming patience.
70:6 They think the Day of Judgement is far off:
70:7 but We see it near at hand.
70:8 On that day the sky shall become like molten brass,
70:9 and the mountains like tufts of wool scattered in the wind.
70:10 No bosom friend shall ask a bosom friend when eye meets eye.
70:11 To redeem himself from the torment of that day the sinner will gladly sacrifice his children,
70:12 his consort, his brother,
70:13 the kin who gave him shelter,
70:14 and all that are on the earth, if then this might deliver him.
70:15 But no! The fire of Hell
70:16 shall drag him down by the scalp,
70:17 shall claim him who had turned his back
70:18 and amassed riches and covetously hoarded them.
70:19 Indeed, man was created impatient.
70:20 When evil befalls him he is despondent;
70:21 but, blessed with good fortune, he grows niggardly.
70:22 Not so the worshippers,
70:23 who are steadfast in prayer;
70:24 who set aside a due portion of their wealth
70:25 for the beggar and for the dispossessed;
70:26 who truly believe in the Day of Reckoning,
70:27 and dread the punishment of their Lord
70:28 (for none is secure from the punishment of their Lord);
70:29 who restrain their carnal desire
70:30 (save with their wives and slave-girls, for with these they are blameless:
70:31 transgressors are those who lust after other than these);
70:32 who keep their trusts and promises
70:33 and bear true witness;
70:34 and who attend to their prayers with promptitude.
70:35 These shall be laden with honours, in fair Gardens.
70:36 But what has befallen the unbelievers, that they scramble towards you
70:37 in multitudes from right and left?
70:38 Are they each seeking to enter a Garden of Delight?
70:39 No! Of what We created them they know full well.
70:40 I swear by the Lord of the easts and of the wests that We have the power
70:41 to replace them by others better than they: nothing can hinder us from so doing.
70:42 So let them paddle, let them play until they face the day they are promised;
70:43 the day when they shall rush headlong from their graves,
70:44 like men rallying to a standard, with downcast eyes and countenances distorted and abject. Such is the day they are promised.


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