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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

38. Sad (1 – 24)

This Meccan sura mentions previous prophets in support and encouragement for Muhammad, and makes a clear link between the arrogance displayed by the disbelievers of Mecca, previous generations, and Iblis, the original rebel. The first and last verses assert the truth and nobility of the Qurʾan.

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

1Sad

By the Qurʾan with its reminding . . .!a The complement of this oath is understood to be ‘There is only one God’ (see 50: 1–2). 2Yet the disbelievers are steeped in arrogance and hostility.3How many generations We have destroyed before them! They all cried out, once it was too late, for escape. 4The disbelievers think it strange that a prophet of their own people has come to warn them: they say, ‘He is just a lying sorcerer. 5How can he claim that all the gods are but one God? What an astonishing thing [to claim]!’ 6Their leaders depart, saying, ‘Walk away! Stay faithful to your gods! That is what you must do.7We did not hear any such claim in the last religion:b An allusion to the Christian Trinity. it is all an invention. 8Was the message sent only to him out of all of us?’

In fact they doubt My warning; in fact they have not tasted My punishment yet. 9Do they possess the treasures of your Lord's bounty, the Mighty, the All Giving? 10Do they control the heavens and earth and everything between? Let them climb their ropes:c Cf. note to 22: 15. 11their armed alliance is weak and will be crushed. 12The people of Noah, ‘Ad, and firmly-supportedd Dhu’l-awtad literally means ‘with his pegs’, but is understood here metaphorically, to indicate something firmly fixed; cf. its use with reference to mountains in 78: 7. Pharaoh rejected their prophets before them. 13Thamud, the people of Lot, and the Forest-Dwellers each formed opposition [against theirs]. 14They all rejected the messengers and they were deservedly struck by My punishment: 15all the disbelievers here are waiting for is a single blast that cannot be postponed. 16They say, ‘Our Lord! Advance us our share of punishment before the Day of Reckoning!’ 17Bear their words patiently [Prophet].

Remember Our servant David, a man of strength who always turned to Us: 18We made the mountains join him in glorifying Us at sunset and sunrise; 19and the birds, too, in flocks, all echoed his praise. 20We strengthened his kingdom; We gave him wisdom and a decisive way of speaking. 21Have you heard the story of the two litigants who climbed into his private quarters?22When they reached David, he took fright, but they said, ‘Do not be afraid. We are two litigants, one of whom has wronged the other: judge between us fairly—do not be unjust—and guide us to the right path. 23This is my brother. He had ninety-nine ewes and I just the one, and he said, “Let me take charge of her,” and overpowered me with his words.’ 24David said, ‘He has done you wrong by demanding to add your ewe to his flock. Many partners treat each other unfairly. Those who sincerely believe and do good deeds do not do this, but these are very few.’

Notes:

a The complement of this oath is understood to be ‘There is only one God’ (see 50: 1–2).

b An allusion to the Christian Trinity.

c Cf. note to 22: 15.

d Dhu’l-awtad literally means ‘with his pegs’, but is understood here metaphorically, to indicate something firmly fixed; cf. its use with reference to mountains in 78: 7.

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