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The Qurʾan What is This? A current English-language version of the Qur'an, published in 2004
Translation by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem

16. The Bee (43 – 62)

43[Prophet], all the messengers We sent before you were simply men to whom We had given the Revelation: you [people] can ask those who have knowledge if you do not know. 44We sent them with clear signs and scriptures. We have sent down the message to you too [Prophet], so that you can explain to people what was sent for them, so that they may reflect.

45Are those who plan evil so sure that God will not make the earth swallow them up, that punishment will not come on them from some unimagined direction, 46that it will not catch them suddenly in the midst of their comings and goings—for they cannot frustrate God— 47or that it will not catch up with them gradually? Indeed your Lord is kind and merciful. 48Do the [disbelievers] not observe the things that God has created, casting their shadows right and left, submitting themselves to God obediently?49It is to God that everything in the heavens and earth submits, every beast that moves, even the angels—they are free from arrogance: 50they fear their Lord above them, and they do as they are commanded.

51God said, ‘Do not take two gods’—for He is the One God—’I alone am the One that you should hold in awe.’ 52Everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him: everlasting obedience is His right. Will you heed anyone other than God? 53Whatever good things you possess come from God, and when hardship afflicts you, it is to Him alone you cry out for help, 54yet when He has relieved you of your hardship—lo and behold!—some of you attribute partners to your Lord. 55Let them show ingratitude for the favours We have shown them; ‘Enjoy your brief time—soon you will know.’

56They set aside part of the sustenance We give them, for [idols] about which they have no true knowledge.a The pagan Arabs gave part of their crops and livestock to their deities (6: 136). By God! You will be questioned about your false inventions. 57They assign daughters to Godb Some of the pagan Arabs called angels the daughters of God. This is doubly blasphemous because of the contempt in which daughters were held in a warrior community, to the extent of female infanticide as described below.—may He be exalted!—and the [sons] they desire to themselves. 58When one of them is given news of the birth of a baby girl, his face darkens and he is filled with gloom. 59In his shame he hides himself away from his people because of the bad news he has been given. Should he keep her and suffer contempt or bury her in the dust? How ill they judge! 60Those who do not believe in the Hereafter should have the contemptible image, and God should have the highest one:c Their image of God is that He can only have daughters, though they themselves have contempt for their daughters. He is the Mighty, the Wise. 61If God took people to task for the evil they do, He would not leave one living creature on earth, but He reprieves them until an appointed time: when their time comes they cannot delay it for a moment nor can they bring it forward. 62They attribute to God what they themselves dislike while their own tongues utter the lie that the besta i.e. sons. belongs to them. Without doubt it is the Fire that belongs to them: they will be given priority there!b This meaning of farata is supported by Razi.

Notes:

a The pagan Arabs gave part of their crops and livestock to their deities (6: 136).

b Some of the pagan Arabs called angels the daughters of God. This is doubly blasphemous because of the contempt in which daughters were held in a warrior community, to the extent of female infanticide as described below.

c Their image of God is that He can only have daughters, though they themselves have contempt for their daughters.

a i.e. sons.

b This meaning of farata is supported by Razi.

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