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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

30. The Byzantines (1 – 27)

A Meccan sura which opens with a reference to the defeat of the Byzantines at the hands of the Persians (613–14 CE) in Syria, and the subsequent victory of the Byzantines in 624 CE. The sura urges people to reflect on the creation of themselves, the heavens and earth, and all God's wonders. God's power to give life to a barren land is repeated as an indication both of His ability to raise the dead and of His mercy to mankind. The disbelievers are warned to believe before it is too late; the Prophet is urged to persevere and to ignore the taunts of the disbelievers.

In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

1Alif Lam Mim

2The Byzantines have been defeated 3in a nearby land. They will reverse their defeat with a victory 4in a few years’ timea When fortunes were reversed and the Byzantines won a victory, this was to please the believers. This was also the year of the Muslim victory at Badr. The earlier defeat of the Byzantines had been viewed by the Meccan pagans as a victory for paganism.—God is in command, first and last. On that day, the believers will rejoice 5at God's help. He helps whoever He pleases: He is the Mighty, the Merciful. 6This is God's promise: God never breaks His promise, but most people do not know; 7they only know the outer surface of this present life and are heedless of the life to come. 8Have they not thought about their own selves? b Or ‘within’ themselves. See also 41: 53. God did not create the heavens and earth and everything between them without a serious purpose and an appointed time, yet many people deny that they will meet their Lord.

9Have they not travelled through the land and seen how their predecessors met their end? They were mightier than them: they cultivated the earth more and built more upon it. Their own messengers also came to them with clear signs: God did not wrong them; they wronged themselves. 10Later the evildoers met a terrible end for rejecting and [repeatedly] mocking God's revelations. 11God brings creation into being; in the end He will reproduce it and it is to Him you will be recalled.

12On the Day the Hour arrives, the guilty will despair 13and they will have no intercessors among those partners they ascribed to God—they will deny these partners. 14When the Hour arrives, on that Day people will be separated: 15those who believed and did good deeds will delight in a Garden, 16while those who disbelieved and denied Our messages and the meeting of the Hereafter will be brought for punishment.

17So celebrate God's glory in the evening, in the morning— 18praise is due to Him in the heavens and the earth—in the late afternoon, and at midday. 19He brings the living out of the dead and the dead out of the living. He gives life to the earth after death, and you will be brought out in the same way. 20One of His signs is that He created you from dust and—lo and behold!—you became human and scattered far and wide.21Another of His signs is that He created spouses from among yourselves for you to live with in tranquillity: He ordained love and kindness between you. There truly are signs in this for those who reflect.22Another of His signs is the creation of the heavens and earth, and the diversity of your languages and colours. There truly are signs in this for those who know.23Among His signs are your sleep, by night and by day, and your seeking His bounty. There truly are signs in this for those who can hear. 24Among His signs, too, are that He shows you the lightning that terrifies and inspires hope; that He sends water down from the sky to restore the earth to life after death. There truly are signs in this for those who use their reason.25Among His signs, too, is the fact that the heavens and the earth stand firm by His command. In the end, you will all emerge when He calls you from the earth.26Everyone in the heavens and earth belongs to Him, and all are obedient to Him. 27He is the One who originates creation and will do it again—this is even easier for Him. He is above all comparison in the heavens and earth; He is the Almighty, the All Wise.

Notes:

a When fortunes were reversed and the Byzantines won a victory, this was to please the believers. This was also the year of the Muslim victory at Badr. The earlier defeat of the Byzantines had been viewed by the Meccan pagans as a victory for paganism.

b Or ‘within’ themselves. See also 41: 53.

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